Bloggers on the protests at Gallaudet.

Bloggers on the protests at Gallaudet.

Bloggers on the protests at Gallaudet.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Oct. 16 2006 5:07 PM

Gallaudet's Sign of the Times

Bloggers are reacting to the arrest of more than 100 students at Gallaudet University, pondering the prospect of U.N. sanctions against North Korea, and contemplating the meaning of reporters covering virtual reality.

Gallaudet's sign of the times: A continuous week of protests at Gallaudet, the nation's only liberal-arts college for deaf students, culminated in the arrests of 133 students and other peaceful demonstrators on the Washington, D.C., campus last Friday. Tension has been high on campus since last May, when the announcement was made that Jane K. Fernandes would replace current President I. King Jordan. The school, closed for three days last week, reopened for classes on Monday.

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A few bloggers visited the tent city that sprung up on the school's lawn. Bobby White, a guest blogger at DeafDC, was present at Friday's protest and decries the arrest of the protesters. "Friday was a sad day for Deaf people all over the world, 135 brave men and women were arrested … while defending the University they love and call home. … I. King Jordan said it was one of the saddest days of his life, I think we can all agree it was one of the saddest days in the history of Gallaudet University." Also on DeafDC, Tom Willard chimes in with some suggestions on how to resolve the crisis, such as changing how the school selects its presidents.

Barbara, a "semi-junior" at Gallaudet, was also present on Friday night and describes her fear that "it could become the ugliest scene since Kent State. I was heartbroken knowing that the home I love, is no longer the home I can be at anymore."

Conservative James Joyner at Outside the Beltway is puzzled by the protests. "[T]here is a strong subculture among the deaf that is akin to what we often observe among minority ethnic groups. There seems to be a strong resentment of deaf or hard of hearing people who try to assimilate into mainstream society rather than adopting a separate medium of communication and a unique lifestyle. … Obviously, people with a given disability share common obstacles and experiences which will create some unity. Still, their forming such a strong subcultural identity is quite odd to me. Presumably, after all, the intermediate goal would be to do whatever is possible to overcome the disadvantages imposed by that disability in order to adapt to the world around them."

Ben Adler critiques the Washington Post's "establishmentarian" coverage of the protests at Campus Progress as "clearly skewed towards the school administration" and for "repeat[ing] Fernandes' complaint that those who oppose her feel she 'is not deaf enough'--something none of the protestors interviewed by me, or any other reporter, have actually heard from Fernandes' opponents."

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At Gallaudet Protests, Elisa has been sending dispatches from Kendall Green, the protest site. Joseph Rainmound at Deaf in the City offers a helpful summary of the issues, from their beginnings in April 2006.

Read more about the protests at Gallaudet.

Sanctions for Pyongyang: Over the weekend, the U.N. Security Council adopted sanctions against the newest member of the world's nuclear club, North Korea. It remains unclear whether China and South Korea will adhere to them. Meanwhile, an analysis of air samples has indicated that the device North Korea detonated during last Monday's subterranean test was indeed nuclear.

Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters elaborates on the importance of China's active cooperation: "China doesn't want to be put in the position of enforcing sanctions against a brittle regime that could easily collapse and cause a flood of refugees into its own country. However, the US isn't about to let China off the hook. … When we have motivated the Chinese enough, Kim will disarm -- or China will simply roll down to the 38th Parallel on their own to end the entire issue." At The Washington Realist, Nikolas Gvosdev, editor of the National Interest, asserts that China "will continue to 'do enough' on North Korea to prevent major transfers of technology and to forestall a U.S. armed response." 

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Michelle Malkin at Hot Air is bored to tears by the sanctions, (jokingly?) advocating a different path: "Should we do it? Send Bush to Pyongyang to formally bestow upon him the American imprimatur of legitimacy and, just maybe, a basketball signed by Kobe Bryant? That'd be quite the Faustian bargin."

Read more about the sanctions against North Korea.

Virtual correspondent: Reuters has dispatched a real reporter to provide full-time coverage on the happenings in the popular virtual online realm Second Life. A New York Times story revels in the novelty: "In preparing to open a Reuters bureau on a bustling island, Adam Pasick has been introducing himself to residents and interviewing entrepreneurs. After finishing such interviews, Mr. Pasick often levitates for a moment, then flies over buildings."

Law-blogger extraordinare Ann Althouse is delighted and bemused: "Having a news bureau inside of virtual reality is a branding device: Reuters is an it-getter. And they're getting the press. And I'm chipping in. But I do think it's kind of cool."

Techie Carlo at Techdirt smells a publicity stunt. "There are undoubtedly some interesting stories to be told about the in-game economy … but this really seems secondary to the publicity aims of this move. In real life, Reuters competes furiously with other newswires like Dow Jones and Bloomberg to get its stories out to its financial-industry subscribers the quickest. While it may have beaten its rivals on this scoop, somehow we doubt they're too bothered."

Smartalix at Dvorak Uncensored is concerned about what this bodes for humanity. He sees this as the latest move toward "the inevitable creation of a troglodyte-like race of humans who sit in baskets with their brains wired into a computer. You can be as beautiful and as fit as you want in fake reality."

Read more about Reuters' move into the virtual realm.