Posted by: nickgerlich | September 13, 2007

You Don’t Know Jack

All it takes is a ban on something to get everyone’s attention.

Case in point: An innocent little student-made video was recently removed from the home page on the WTAMU site. Since its removal, it has been posted at YouTube and God knows where else. The video, simply named Jack, can be viewed here, or by clicking the image below.

jack.jpg

As far as the video goes, it is typical college hijinks. Harmless. Clean. Something I would have done in college.

OK, something I wish I had done in college.

But in removing this short clip from the university site, more controversy has been created than ever would have occurred had it simply been left alone.

As Chairman of the University Marketing Plan Committee, my colleagues and I spent many long hours crafting recommendations for the university. Organic humor such as the Jack video is exactly what we envisioned appearing on our website. We wanted our students to be able to demonstrate their freedom of expression, their wit, their humor, because it would show that WT is indeed a very cool place. You know, not what you might expect for the Texas Panhandle.

But now that someone has seen fit to axe this video, the message has been sent that we are, after all, exactly what you might think of our region. It’s kind of like the wars being fought in churches these days over music, and some stodgy old person whose family has attended for generations declares that we’re all going to sing these old hymns and like it. “We don’t need none of your guitars!”

This bothers me. We need more humorous expression like in Jack. We need more students who can see and think way outside the box imposed upon them by choir leaders and others seeking to preserve the status quo of a safe, sanitized impression management system.  It is in seeking to maintain that squeaky-clean image that we show who we really are.

Let go, and let live.

 Epilogue: Jack was reinstated late on 13 Sept to its rightful place on the university homepage. Let’s hear it for clear thinking!

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