New Photos:

  New Ramblings:

  New Links:


Last Updated


Previous Posts

About the Blog

The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Penn President Trick is no Treat

Dr. Amy Guttman, President of the University of Pennsylvania, who is Jewish and the child of holacaust-era parents, hosted her annual Halloween party last week for roughly 700 students. At the party, one of the students, Saad Saadi, dressed up as a suicide bomber, had his picture taken with Dr. Guttman, and then posted it on his personal website. He also posted other pictures of himself conducting mock hostage executions, etc. with other students.

Stupid? Maybe. Funny? Not really (although I'll give him props for using uncooked hot dogs as the dynamite sticks). Bad Taste? Most definitely. International news? we go again.

The Jerusalem Post found the picture and ran a story about it. The Drudge Report linked to the story. Dr. Guttman posted a response on Penn's website, as did Saadi on his personal page. Both of the principle actors seem to be keeping level heads about it:

Dr. Guttman:

The costume is clearly offensive and I was offended by it. . . . The student had the right to wear the costume just as I, and others, have a right to criticize his wearing of it.


We wish to make it clear that we do not support terrorism, violence, or anything that is against society. . . . The costumes are meant to portray scary characters much like many other costumes on Halloween. We are deeply sorry for anyone who has been hurt or upset.

He might have gone on to say, "and I didn't realize anyone outside my circle of friends would find out about it." So, since college is all about learning, I think we can safely say that Saadi learned a few things this past Halloween:

Lesson #1: There is no "just between us" in a public place. If a picture is taken these days, you almost need to assume that it's going to be seen by everyone in the world. Casual, stupid humor has consequences that it didn't have, say, when I was in college. That's not to say you should refrain, but you've got to be aware of the consequences of your actions.

Lesson #2: People are wound very tightly about certain subjects. One would think the concept of a "costume" would be well understood by most rational adults in the world. The guy dressed as a flasher isn't condoing sexual harrassment, the woman dressed as a stripper/prostitute isn't really willing to take her clothes off for money, and the folks with sheets over their heads aren't dead, nor are they advocating certain religious beliefs about the afterworld. In fact, if you wanted to make a political statement by altering your clothing, Halloween is the worst possible day to do it, since your message would be obscured amongst all the revellers. That said, there are people in the world, particularly people who strive to sell advertising on TV and in newspapers, who seek out opportunities to point out offensive activities to others. By doing so, they draw more attention to the supposedly offensive thing than it would otherwise have received, and weaken their own (stated) goals.

So, to sum up: Saad Saadi - quite a fine mess you've gotten yourself into. Rest of the world - lighten up, it was just a costume...

posted by Brian at 9:39 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home