February 3, 2010 9:48:00 AM
In Mein Kamp Hitler demonstrated that he understood the power of the "big lie." Being more genteel than he, I prefer to call the repetitions, distortions, denials and ad hominem attacks on MUW alumnae who oppose the name change - myths. In the interest of accuracy in journalism, I want to bust a few of those myths.
The blue haired termagants myth: A single, solitary Blue haired W alum may exist somewhere in the state of Mississippi, but I have attended alumni events for years and never caught sight of one. I challenge all you name callers out there to either produce a live blue-haired W alum or drop the phrase from your diatribes.
The shrill myth: Media types seem fixated on using the adjective shrill to describe W alums who disagree with them. Sheer myth. I studied "speech correction" at the W and I taught a course in Voice and Articulation for 40 years. My ears are trained to identify pitch problems. I challenge you to establish a quantifiable standard for measuring shrillness and name the offenders you have personally heard screeching. The W alums I know have rather pleasant, cultured and resonant voices.
The small group myth: Your fallacy here lies in the assumption that we are a small group. Do you really believe that a small group of shrill, blue-haired shrews could counter the combined weight of the Link, EMC, and IHL and get an entire Senate committee "in our clutches." Surely you know that the legislative game is a numbers game and the "long blue line" is obviously a whole lot longer than you believe it to be. Is it so hard to believe that legislators actually assessed the issue and arrived at a different conclusion from yours?
The it''s all about emotion myth: If you read and analyze the statements Betty Lou Jones, David Ivey, and Ann Lamarr Franklin prepared for the Senate Hearing committee, you have to be delusional to characterize the content as emotional. Their statements were replete with citations affirming the value of women''s studies and colleges focused on the education of women. In contrast proponents of name change offer no empirical date to support their position and ignore the failure of the Randolph Macon example. This is actually the biggest myth of all. The distinction between the use of pathos and logos is very real; the former relies on emotion - the latter on reasoning and evidence. In the current debate it is the name change proponents who have failed to carry the burden of proof and have relied instead on circular reasoning, essentially asserting that "the name should be changed because it needs to be changed."
The myth of alums clinging to the past: Nothing could be more sexist than arguing that the time/need for educating women for leadership and employment is a thing of the past. 125 years ago the W became the first state supported institution of higher education devoted to doing just that. In a state rife with domestic violence, teen pregnancies, un and under-employment, where women are paid 25 percent less than men for doing the same work as men - MUW''s women''s mission is more rather than less viable today. Clinging to our alma mater''s mission is a very very different thing from clinging to the past.
You missed a great editorial opportunity today. Instead of coming on as a poor loser and attacking legislators and alums alike, you could have taken this as an opportunity to provide constructive leadership for the community and to promote pride and unity in support of MUW for what it is and what it has to offer.
Fortunately it''s not too late for you and The Dispatch to be real cheerleaders for The W.
Jimmie Meese Moomaw, MUW, Class of ''58, Avondale Estates, Ga.