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Is This Really The Most Important Issue of the Day?

Written by Bjenning Oct 04, 2007

Before you go any further read this news story and try to contain yourself.

Alright? Have you taken it all in? Has the absurdity permeated every small part of your brain and caused you to think “What in the world?” (or probably something more profane, I try to keep my writing “family friendly.”) Do you, like me, think that this is absolutely ridiculous?

Let me give you a small, limited recap of some of the headlines in newspapers across the country today: “Secret US Endorsement of Severe Interrogations” (nytimes, found here) “North Koreans Agree to Disable Nuclear Facilities” (also NY Times, found here) “KKK Marking Was ‘Game Went Too Far'” (from CNN, found here). That’s only three that I could find with a very limited amount of time and effort. But just by looking around, I discovered that the US has endorsed torture, a black student was held down and had swastikas drawn all over him, and North Korea apparently is no longer going to enrich uranium.

Now, I’m no professional, but it would seem to me any of these issues is imminently more important the future of civilization than BANNING PEOPLE FROM WEARING COLOGNE OR PERFUME IN CLASS! The fact that I actually needed to write that sentence out is both amusing and disheartening. Think about it for a moment. Of all the issues a person might get riled up about, of all the various and far too numerous problems the world faces, 20 students, 20, have decided the most important thing they can tackle is people wearing a bit too much perfume. And the school is going along with it!

Don’t the administrators have something better to do like find a way to decrease tuition costs or find a way to get more grants for research? Shouldn’t the doctors, yes doctors, that these people have found to back up their absurd cause, be out… I don’t know… curing diseases or something? Why in the world does something like this matter? And even more importantly, who the heck do these kids think they are trying to get rules in place so they don’t have to be a bit offended by how people smell?

Don’t get me wrong, I find people who smell like they bathed in Aqua Velva unpleasant too. I hate the smell of coconut scented suntan lotion. I would not choose to spend time around people like that, and if I was forced to sit near them, I would find it slightly irritating. I don’t think I would ever, even if I was feeling especially flippant and sarcastic, equate it to something like second hand smoke. That would just be the height of pretension and idiocy. Oh wait:

“They know some people think the idea is silly, but fragrances are akin to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, said Kristin Oosterkamp, a psychology senior.

‘They’re both so volatile, and both you have to breathe in if you are in close range,’ she said.”

As damaging as second hand smoke? Really? So too much perfume causes lung cancer does it? Where in the world did that girl get her medical degree? I’ve heard Scientologists telling me about the evils of Lord Xenu the galactic tyrant that make more sense than her!

As much as I love activism, and trust me, I do, there are certain issues that seem absolutely absurd to devote our moral energy to. Some people look at our organization and wonder “Does it really matter what a bunch of teenagers and 20 year olds think?” I think the answer there is obvious; discrimination is simply contrary to everything a liberal democratic society stands for. Not only that, our positions are well founded in scientific proof and logic. We’re not saying things like smelling too strongly of perfume is like blowing smoke in people’s faces.

Obviously these students have a great deal of passion and energy that they have little else to spend it on. Perhaps they could try petitioning for American action in Darfur, or improving research grants to cure cancer or hey! How about lowering the drinking age? That sounds like a good cause! But seriously, This is just ridiculous, how can there be nothing better for these people to devote their time to?

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