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Jim Burroway

October 6th, 2010

The death of University student Tyler Clementi might have been properly mourned if it were not for the massive rallies and aggressive news coverage that altered the nature of the situation. The truth is that an 18-year-old boy killed himself – he was a student just like the rest of us, someone just trying to receive an education. Yet people’s relentless agendas took his death and turned it into a cause based on false pretenses.

Was it:

a) Focus On the Family’s Candi Cushman?
b) Amerians for Truth’s Peter LaBarbera?
c) Mission America’s Linda Harvey?
d) The editorial staff at the Rutgers University student newspaper, Daily Targum?


If you picked d), the Daily Targum, you’re correct.

When the student editors of the Rutgers University paper pondered the terrible tragedy of Tyler Clementi’s suicide after his roommate surreptitiously videoed him having sex with another man and broadcasted it on the Internet, they chose not to engage their readers in a broad discussion on respecting your peers, invasion of privacy, or valuing diversity.

Instead, they reached for exactly the same talking points being spouted by some of the most ardent elements of the anti-gay right who would rather see more LGBT youth commit suicide than actually coming to grips with the environments that foster these tragedies. Instead, we get some idiotic pablum about “a boy’s inability to deal with the hardships of life.”

There are many ways to respond to a tragedy. Corpse-kicking is perhaps the worst possible way. They may have well asked Linda Harvey to write a guest editorial for them. All Rutgers students should be ashamed of their paper. Deeply ashamed.

Comments

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Ben Mathis
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

The point being, even if it was completely unconnected (something that cannot be proven easily) it’s not like it would be a bad thing to gain more protection for GLBT youth who might commit suicide in this homophobic environment.

Why is it so important that everyone treat it as a totally random and unimportant issue that has no connection to gay bullying unless the writers are upset about something?

John in the Bay Area
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

I guess he would have been properly mourned if nobody said anything about what happened, nobody did anything to hold his abusers accountable for their invasion of his privacy, nobody acknowledged that he was gay, and if nobody but his parents knew that he was dead.

Sounds like the Rutgers student editorial staff defines “properly mourned” the way most folks would define “swept under the rug.”

I do wonder what connections, if any, the editorial writers have to Wei and Razi.

AJD
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Fortunately, if you read the comments on the editorial, about 99.5% of them are negative, and most have some pretty choice words for the Daily Targum’s editorial staff.

What’s more is that the editorial was badly written. They even used “media” as a singular noun in the headline…

Jack
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

What is going on in North Jersey? Two days, and two publications one would think would be sympathetic to gay issues totally throw us under the bus: the Jewish Standard and now the Rutgers student paper. Both commentaries are extremely offensive.

gar
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

When my college paper did something boneheaded (printing the names of folks arrested in a campus tearoom — big no-no), I marched to the paper’s offices and raised hell. I did it alone, but I did it. I hope folks go to the Targum’s offices and engage in a stern dialog about why this editorial is really, really not OK.

Timothy Kincaid
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Homosexuality is not the only reason for which people kill themselves. In this case, it might have pushed Clementi over the edge, but the fact that he was gay should by no means turn his death into a march for safe spaces.

“It” in the highlighted portion is “Homosexuality”. Or: “Homosexuality may have pushed Clementi over the edge…”

These editors share the same values as Vox Day

Priya Lynn
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

the fact that he was gay should by no means turn his death into a march for safe spaces.

I am totally mystified – why the hell not? What possible reason could any moral sane person have for opposing his death being a motivation to create safe places?

TampaZeke
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

The Editor says, “Let us – family, friends and the University together – mourn for Clementi, and just for him, rather than using him as a martyr for a cause that has yet to be proven”, yet NOWHERE in his commentary did he indicate that he has spoken with a family member or friend of Tyler.

How infuriatingly insensitive, ignorant and offensive this trash is.

The editors, The Targum, Rutgers University, their students, alumni, faculty and staff should be utterly ashamed of this editorial.

Rob San Diego
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

And here I chose “A”. Damn it, I thought I had chosen the right one. There wasn’t enough hate in it to be from LaBarbara.

Paul in Canada
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Priya, my reaction too! WTF???!!!! Why do people constantly want to dis-associate the ‘gay’ from these suicides?

Oh yeah, accountability and personal responsibility/culpability.

Damn.

anteros
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

wow. i wonder what made me think highly of rutgers… it seems like a really dark place.

Priya Lynn
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

I’m not following Paul, why would the desire for accountability and personal responsibility/culpability make one want to disassociate gayness from these suicides?

Penguinsaur
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

Event A: Guy gets the fact that he’s gay broadcast to everyone he knows in the most explicit way possible.

Event B: Guy commits suicide.

It takes breathtaking levels of denial for someone to claim they don’t see the cause and effect at work here. Do they seriously think he shrugged off being outed and then jumped because he was getting bad grades or something?

Amicus
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

What if he hadn’t taken his own life?

Suppose the headline news was ‘gay frosh’s sex tryst filmed twice and streamed on net by his roommate’?

Wouldn’t that kind of repeated, targeted, invasion of privacy have perked the ears of many, on campus and off?

Put another way, Tyler’s death is not the center of an ‘agenda’. It is Ravi’s actions, not Tyler’s, at the center of what is in question.

Amicus
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

adding:

“Media exploitation” is off the mark, too, no?

Isn’t the tragedy for the community that they have to pay so high a price to get clear a focus on the problems, no matter what extent they were a trigger in Tyler’s untimely death?

I watched as one of our state Senators listened to a kid, right in front of him, tell him that he was being picked on because he had two mommies and he couldn’t tell the bullies that they were married, “just like everyone else’s parents”.

Instead of accepting the logical conclusion to redress that injustice, that cold-hearted Senator said, while right in front of that family, that he was against bullying and for people doing a better job understanding civil unions. Surely, he was intelligent enough to understand that neither were sufficient (or timely enough) to stop the harms.

The hostility is palpable, on display, and the kids eventually feel it and _everyone_ becomes a victim of homophobia, sometimes in high profile tragedy and sometimes in smaller ways.

TonyJazz
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

While the newspaper editorial is shameful, don’t blame the rest of the student body.

Yes, a few students are this hateful towards us, but it does not reflect on the majority of the population….

I cannot believe Rutgers has students more bigotted than average….

Ryan
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

If he had been killed by a drunk driver, MADD would be making speeches and protesting, if he were killed by an illegal immigrant, all of Fox News would be in an uproar, if he were killed by someone with an unlicensed handgun, the anti-NRA liberals would be making noise. This man was killed by anti-gay sentiment that pervades much of this country, but apparently it’s impolite to point that out.

Candace
October 6th, 2010 | LINK

The fact that he was gay had absolutely nothing to do with him being outed by being secretly filmed while having gay sex while the filmer tweeted looklook, gay sex. Got it.

Who do I hold responsible for his death? NOM. Savage. Barber. La Barbera. The AFA. Exodus. Tony Perkins. God, they’ve probably had hard-ons for days.

customartist
October 7th, 2010 | LINK

I think that Country Singer Shelly Wright made a very important point on Larry King Monday when she said that while she had been mostly undetected as gay until when she came out about a year and a half ago, that she HAD been bullied Since that time, and by adults no less.

The overall comment she made was that “There are Bullies in Government, there are Bullies in Society, and there are Bullies in Churches, etc.”

I thought that his was a perfectly accurate depiction of the current day situation.

JimInMa
October 7th, 2010 | LINK

You forget that many of the kids writing for that paper are working toward a journalism major, and are probably hoping to be living in the NYC/NJ area after they graduate. Which means they’re looking for jobs at the ultra-conservative newspapers in that area. You can’t land one of those jobs without stomping on one minority group or another. I went to school at Rutgers. I still remember how things work in NJ.

customartist
October 7th, 2010 | LINK

Well Jim,

I haven’t done much traveling in New Jersey, but the transplants relocating to the Myrtle Beach area from NY are certainly Of that particular mindset.

Your comments make things a bit clearer.

Everett
October 10th, 2010 | LINK

Well if the student editors are anything my alma mater’s newspaper staff…then we just have to remember that these college students aren’t the brightest folks on campus and probably haven’t really learned to analyze, critically think, and appreciate nuances. It doesn’t excuse this dumb editorial, but let’s face it, some of the biggest morons in college are the ones writing crap for their college newspapers rather than studying in the library, working as a research assistant for a professor, interning off-campus, or taking graduate school courses.

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