Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gender 'Joke' on Net Inflames Campus Furor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gender 'Joke' on Net Inflames Campus Furor

Article excerpt

A VULGAR E-MAIL message listing the "Top 75 Reasons Why Women (Bitches) Should Not Have Freedom of Speech" is creating an electronic furor as it zips around the Internet. For not only does the list include reasons such as, "No. 38. If she can't speak, she can't cry rape," it also includes the names of the four Cornell University freshmen who wrote it.

The freshmen have apologized publicly and electronically, but they still must face disciplinary charges as well as on-line "flames" from campus feminists offering "75 Reasons You Should Shut Your Mouths" and other angry messages. The young men are learning the price of offensive behavior in an era of instant communication and heightened sensitivity.

"This kind of thing is not acceptable in 1995," said Tracey Spiegel, 17, who first saw the list in the student lounge at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Mass. "I just can't believe that Cornell students would be that stupid."

The self-styled "four-players of Cornell" - Rikus Linschoten, Brian Waldman, Evan Camps and Patrick Sicher - did not return calls or e-mail from the Boston Globe. But in a letter to the Cornell student newspaper, they expressed "deep remorse" for their "stupid actions." They said they circulated the list as a joke among friends, never intending to offend anyone. They also tried to distance themselves a bit from their material:

"We have seen almost everything on that list in some kind of TV show, rap song, Internet list, comedian's act or talk show. We are not trying to blame anything on society; we just wish to convey that we never meant any of the things we wrote."

The apology has fallen flat on line; the list is pretty nasty. Many of the reasons they listed cannot be reprinted here. Some of the reasons seem to support rape: "No. 39. Of course, If she can't speak, she can't say no." Most are gleefully sexist: "49. Whores get payed (sic) by the hour not by the word." Some are pure misogyny: "53. If it hurts, I don't wanna hear it." Others are baffling as well as harsh: "10. When men whistle at them in the street, they should just shut up and obey anyway."

Other reasons include affirmative action, women in Congress and Marcia Clark. …

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