To the editor:
Of all the outlandish pieces to grace the editorial column of the Journal-World over past years, one of the most bizarre appeared in the May 14 issue, entitled “Overreacting.”
Here, the writer dishes up a defense of certain varieties of student hazing as “harmless acts” in the spirit of Gaudeamus Igitur, old times’ sake or just plain “fun.” He mercifully excludes the more sadistic and demeaning forms of hazing from the approval rating, but says it’s OK for kids to litter the homeowner’s premises with toilet paper and deface his car with greasepaint. One wonders what other forms of “harmless” vandalism might pass muster under the writer’s indulgent eye. Can freshman beanies, nightshirt parades and consensual panty raids be far behind?
There are a lot more pressing issues affecting Lawrence that should occupy the hometown paper. We have a fiscal crisis, the intrusion of predatory corporate interests into our neighborhoods, a governor and Legislature trying to turn our state into a vaudeville parody of Spain under Franco. The city and university are collaborating to curb the abuses of “party houses” where fun-loving students raise their antics to new heights of harm and annoyance. These are compelling issues worthy of residents’ concern and the editorialist’s attention.
More appropriate is a statement I remember from my own youth, made by a deacon responsible for hiring a new youth director for our church. “We need someone young enough to know what the kids like to do and old enough to make sure they don’t do it.”