Fuzzy Skies: Coexist, Hooray for Commencement Speaker Protests, the First Flyover Skirmish

Coexist You have undoubtedly seen a coexist bumper sticker, like one in the accompanying photograph. It’s designed by, and available from, peacemaker.org, a company that  “combines design, function and action for peace.”

IMG_3052This pictured bumper sticker is a best seller at CarryaBigSticker.com which provides a history surrounding the various designs. Piotr Mlodozeniac, a Polish graphic designer, created the original to win a contest by a museum in Jerusalem, which adopted it for its brand. The original design included the Crescent and the star, the Star of David and the Christian Cross. It has fired the imagination of artists yearning for peace and tolerance who have spun out constellations of elaborate designs to Mdlodozeniac’s gratification.

Unfortunately it fired greed also. The museum is reportedly upset because it claims ownership of the design. An obscure U.S. apparel firm formed a legal company called Coexist LLP and trademarked one of the designs. In 2005 and 2006 it sent “cease and desist” letters to stop infringing on its trademark. One letter went to CarryaBigSticker, with an invitation “to resolve this matter amicably if we receive your express written agreement to comply.” CarryaBigSticker posted the letter with a point by point rebuttal and the comment, ”We have chosen to ignore the letter for a variety of reasons.” Since that was eight years ago we can reasonably assume the two firms have learned to coexist.

Students are not stifling speech on campus. The Wenatchee World ran a headline announcing “Students are stifling speech on campus.” At least three invited commencement speakers at universities withdrew from speaking after students and faculty protested. One was Condoleezza Rice, the former U.S. Secretary of State. After she withdrew because she didn’t want to dampen the celebration, pundits blamed the students and staff with terms such as “left-wing anti-liberalism” that is inhibiting debate on campuses. That’s nonsense.

School administrators should quit stifling student freedom with commencement speakers.  In my experience administration picks them without debate from students. Why not present a slate of possible speakers and let students debate whom they’d prefer?

Rutgers reportedly promised to pay Rice $35,000 and award her an honorary doctorate. The protests were about her role in the Iraq war.  If asked student leaders might have invited her to defend her positions in an open debate critical of her record. That style of commencement would showcase the university’s competency in creating au courant adults.  Instead, trustees perpetuated the shameful practice of enticing speakers with extravagant fees and honorary degrees in order to garner more respectability at a time when students and families want to celebrate graduates’ accomplishments. Hooray for the protests.

The First Fly-over Skirmish? Stephen B. Flinn, 66, may have fired the first shot in fly-over wars between private property owners and air-born invaders. He fired his 12-guage shotgun into the air, but not at, a para-glider he saw through his front window in Orondo overlooking the Columbia River. Flinn testified the man swore at him and threatened to come to his home and assault him, so Flinn fired again. The para-glider called the Douglas County sheriff and the prosecutor charged Flinn with unlawfully displaying a weapon.

His lawyer said he was defending his privacy and getting the para-glider’s attention, just like he might have to do against drones and black helicopters. The jury found him innocent.

When the prosecutor was asked if the case establishes airspace over private property as a ‘zone of privacy,’ he said, “I think that’s up to the legislature.”

That should take quite a while to define. Meanwhile, para-gliders should quit peeping at people from 60-80 feet in the air and owners should call the sheriff first.

About Russellsclearskies

Writing to poke fun at a retired klutz like me who's curiously exploring the absurdities and complexities of the good life. .
This entry was posted in Community Building, Humor, Justice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fuzzy Skies: Coexist, Hooray for Commencement Speaker Protests, the First Flyover Skirmish

  1. Jeanie Garrity says:

    Very nice column–both thoughtful and amusing. Thanks

  2. Joann Anderson says:

    Hi, Jim.

    You have written some cogent thoughts on three timely subjects. Thanks for your thoughtfulness. I especially like the challenge to the Wenatchee World on student protests. It is amazing that so called intelligent people can distort truth so completely. And I like your idea of having a choice for students to choose their own commencement speaker.

    Good job! Joann

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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