Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Education is not a waste, so don't waste it.

Jenn Taylor responds to an earlier letter to the editor bemoaning the "Latexhibition" event and the Herald-Times article on it. (See my previous blog post from January 6.)

Barbara Rogers did not say that AIDS is a topic that is "too taboo to address on a public level". That is a deliberate distortion of what Rogers wrote. Rogers was addressing the methods used by the organizers of "Latexhibition": such as a "safe sex prom dress" covered in condoms and a "condom bouquet".

AIDS should be addressed publicly, and it is addressed publicly in many ways in the mainstream media. Taylor states that "AIDS killed nearly 3 million adults and half a million children in 2006", which is precisely the reason it should be addressed in a serious manner. Putting a bunch of condoms on a dress is childish, not serious. That is not going to teach people how to avoid the HIV.

Taylor asks "What if you had a sibling or child with AIDS — would you realize that ignoring the problem won’t make it go away?" I imagine that if Rogers had a child or sibling with AIDS that she would those attempting to educate people about the disease to take it seriously, rather than to go out of their way to offend people. I guess that Rogers would be upset at juvenile displays that only marginalize the cause.

I find it instructive that Taylor neglects to mention exactly what "art" was displayed at the "Latexhibition" event, instead focusing on the need to educate people about the disease. No one disagrees with that goal. If one were to read about "Latexhibition" for the first time in Taylor's letter, they would have no context of exactly what was involved in the event.

Taylor closes her letter with an extended middle finger: If only one life is saved "then the project was well worth the price paid by (Rogers') prudish sensibilities". What Taylor fails to recognize is that we can educate the general public about HIV/AIDS and do it in a respectful and tactful way. Education is not a waste, so it should not be wasted on foolishness.