A few weeks ago I went to a very interesting event here on campus. It was a debate run in a similar format that a presidential debate would be. This event was hosted by the Loyola Rhetoric society, and moderated by the society's president-my good friend Zachary Fechter '19.
The debate was between several people of diverse backgrounds and political ideological views. A young white republican economics student, a woman who is a professor of African American studies, a libertarian professor, a liberal/progressive student, and a republican economics professor. There were three different subjects posed for debate. The first being the idea of safe spaces and free speech on college campuses, the second being the issue of racial tensions and police relations with minorities, and the third being gun control. The debate was overall a very entertaining and well run event. If nothing else, it served to further highlight one of the major issues of the now mercifully ended presidential election season that has shown the antithesis of good argumentation and debate. My only issue with the debate overall was that it seemed like every topic somehow ended up being a debate about race. I understand that this is more to do with the importance of the issue in today's society rather than anything else, yet I wish I could have heard this group tackle issues like immigration, the economy, and healthcare seeing as how they handled the issues of race with such intelligent and respectful dialogue. But I digress.
The first question about safe spaces was answered very well. The African-American Studies professor made a great point about how she saw safe spaces as dialogue walls, that contributed more to the rise in racial tensions and a lack of discussions and progress on those issues than any offensive language had. I only saw one issue, in that one of the women defending safe spaces didn't actually give a reason for having them, she just said what they are, and in my opinion, just defining something isn't in itself an argument in favor of it.
As fate would have it, our reading for this week is Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. I found this to be mildly amusing seeing as the moderator of the debate has been an avid lover of Shakespeare since before I met him, even acting in a special performance he himself put together last fall, in which him and two upperclassmen tried to comically act out every work of Shakespeare in just one ninety minute show.
Anyways getting back on to topic, I have not found twelfth night to be particularly interesting in comparison to some of the other Shakespeare stories I've read. Now with that said it should be noted that I've only read the first two acts, and I say this merely in comparison to his signature works like Hamlet, Julius Caesar, and my personal favorite of his-Much Ado About Nothing. I still find this story to be rather humorous and very well written. The dialogue is crisp and the plot is all together fun to watch/read develop, I'm just not quite "hooked" onto it yet. Maybe that will change in the final three acts.