09 December 2003

What? Implicit proposals don't count?


Yes! Zachary
Goldstein
prolongs my streak: I have yet to publish a column
without someone writing to the Prince shortly after to explain that
I’m wrong.

I’ve also got to thank him for underscoring one of my points: much of
his letter is the exact sort of rhetorical grandstanding that I
discussed in the column. (He even refers to that section.) But that’s
not to say I disapprove of his letter. For instance, it included this
delightful factoid:



Do you know that a Borough police sergeant makes $75,000 a
year, while a New York Police Department officer who served at the
World Trade Center gets about half that?


But I must take issue with part of his letter:



Mr. Barillari offered no example of a system he regards as
“safer.”


Hm, I don’t know. Maybe one in which people didn’t get href=“http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2003/12/02/news/9243.shtml”>hospitalized
on a href=“http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2003/02/12/news/7263.shtml”>semi-regular
href=“http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2002/05/13/news/5170.shtml”>basis.



Mr. Goldstein also observes that



Princeton, unlike other schools, has not had deaths due to binge
drinking, making us comparatively the safest.


It’s not untrue, per se, but club-based binge drinking is at least a
nominal partner in the unfortunate case of href=“http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2001/11/29/news/3972.shtml”>triple-amputee
B.J. Miller ’93.



Regrettably, Mr. Goldstein missed the point. I can’t fault him for
rhetorical grandstanding (I run a weblog, for heaven’s sake), but I
can fault him for immediately taking the defensive. Needless to say, I
disapprove of the Borough Police’s tactics — especially, the fact
that they href=“http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2003/12/09/news/9320.shtml”>waited
until just before the Borough Council’s meeting to issue the latest
round of charges. (The Cap and Tower incidents happened in October,
mind you.) But the mere fact that the club system has not killed
anyone (unlike href=“http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/1998/sep23/da.html”>some we
could href=“http://www.cnn.com/US/9708/27/lsu.drinking/”>mention) does
not immunize it from criticism. I would have less sympathy for href=“http://www.princeton.edu/~speac/wroc.htm”>WROC, for
instance, if I didn’t see the unspeakable filth that the janitors must
clean up. I proposed only that students begin to view getting
piss-drunk as dishonorable —- and if they do, it might cut down on
public befoulings by Prospect revelers.



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