Attracting attention not the answer to problem

One of the most difficult things for a journalist to do is admit being wrong. Writing a retraction or a correction always carries with it the red face of embarrassment and the empty feeling of having messed up.

On occasion, I made references to the John Lennon Society in several columns. I wrote those columns under the impression that the JLS had a commitment to its principles. Despite written testimonials to the contrary, I gave that organization the benefit of the doubt, thinking it was legitimate enough by now to want to address and debate issues and act on them in ways that were constructive and beneficial to NIU and its students. I even found some of their humor amusing, and some of their ideas appeared to make sense.

Imagine my suprise then, when I was told, by the JLS no less, that that was all wrong, that I didn’t have all the facts and my views were distorted.

Well, I was wrong and I apologize.

After being the witness and target of some of their actions last Wednesday, the purpose of their existence and their activity has now become very clear. The JLS is a self-centered group of extremists motivated to scurrilous behavior by ignorance, hate and a warped view of reality.

Let me explain.

Being so pumped after illegally having stopped traffic for a whopping seven minutes, they proceeded to the Star—their next target. Like a lynch mob, they boisterously demanded to see the editor and then viciously lashed out at him, myself and several other Star employees with a barrage of obscene words and gestures.

The JLS showed amazing amounts of ignorance by trying to give the Star a lecture about editorial policy, even though they did not know the difference between independent columns and the view of the Star Editorial Board—despite the policy being clearly printed every day. In addition, when they made references to specific columns or editorials, they had no examples or evidence to support any of the inaccuracies they claimed existed.

Parading through Wirtz Hall and castigating “Yuppies” is a classic example of an ignorant double-standard. Evidently, the pious and diverse JLS is not above a little stereotyping of its own.

And, as if that weren’t enough, one cretin had the gall to think I would believe that Jim Fabris does not lead the JLS. Get serious. Regardless of how Fabris refers to himself—as a member, activist, whatever—he still remains the charismatic heart of the JLS. At EVERY function in which the JLS takes part, Fabris is at the head—leading the chants, speaking into the microphone or instructing people to sit or stand in the street. Just another member? Sure, and the Titanic was just another marine disaster.

The JLS flew its unrealistic colors by paying no heed to the advice from administrators, the Star and even the very legislators they were trying to impress. They were told flat out what was needed to be done to make an impression on the legislature. However, they chose to forgo that in favor of a day-long temper tantrum.

The JLS showed Wednesday they don’t care to actively work for change (making the term “activist” a misnomer for members of their group). That takes too long and is far less fun. Instead, they only care to attract attention that is detrimental in the long run. They merely jump on an issue-bandwagon, act as martyrs and then disappear when the actual work has to be done.

The one problem is that the JLS will never learn. They retort to criticism by hiding behind the worn cloaks of “you don’t have all the facts,” or “you’re distorting the facts.”

My old debate coach once said, “you can’t argue logically with emotional or illogical people.” How true. Reason, logic, facts and evidence mean nothing to those convinced they have a monopoly on truth.

Evidently, the JLS is too proud to admit they were even partially in error. It also must be hard for them to swallow a little false pride.

Apparently no one has a monopoly on that.