Saturday, September 13, 2008

Remembrance of Campaigns Past

Reading the comments on this Althouse post reminded me of a small controversy during the 1996 Presidential campaign. In 1996 my wife and I lived in Gainesville Florida and attended the University of Florida. The Clinton/Dole campaign naturally came up in the school paper, The Independent Florida Alligator. In the space of a week they printed two opinion pieces that received very different reactions.

In the first piece, the writer took great offense to Dole's opposition to abortion rights and asked, "What is he, some kind of Nazi?" Given Dole's injuries, and how he got them, I found this very offensive. This writer wrote "serious" opinion pieces for the paper, so I expected some form of outcry. However this scurrilous comment apparently didn't bother the UF community too much.

Less than a week later another writer, who wrote tongue in cheek pieces, called Dole an "old cripple." Perhaps this comment lacked grace, but it had the advantages of being (1) true (Dole was 73 years-old at the time, and crippled) and (2) part of a humor piece. Naturally, the UF community was outraged. How could this writer POSSIBLY use the word "cripple", and how could the editors of the Alligator have allowed this offensive word to make it into print? Dozens of letters to the editor were printed in the next few editions of the paper. The editors had to grovel before the offended masses and the writer was damned near run out of town. One day he was one the more popular writers at the school, the next he was the biggest criminal in Gainesville. I think Danny Rolling was the only person more hated in Gainesville. [Correction: My wife points out that Bobby Bowden was more hated in Gainesville than the writer in question.]

You can draw whatever conclusion you want from this episode.

3 comments:

Icepick said...

But the conclusion I draw is this: College students represent one of the silliest sections of the electorate, and I don't much care who they support. In fact, episodes such as this one make me think that we should propose an amendment to the constitution removing the franchise from any and all college students.

justkim said...

Now, be reasonable.

Bobby Bowden was the second-most hated man in Gainesville.

Hurricane Heather said...

I'll raise you one....

As a woman with a vagina and a brain, I'm willing to relinquish my right to vote if it means the whackjobs don't get elected by some women with just a vagina and no brain.

(Don't kill me, justkim...you know I'm certifiable...)

PS - Bobby Bowden didn't cause a quiet, law-abiding, own-business-minding young girl to wreck her bike on North South drive way back in September of 1993, I guaradamntee y'all that. Just remember the wrap around oakleys and hot pink jogging shorts worn by the currently most hated man by Gainesville, but not in Gainesville. Dadgumit. Bobby Bowden would have taken that own-business minding young girl to breakfast, cleaned her wounds and road rash, prayed for her, and sent her Christmas cards for the next 15 years, I guaradamntee you that.