In our print edition for Issue 5 (13 February 2014) we published an abbreviated version of the following letter. Here is the full extended version:
Rory Weal’s opinion in the edition for the 6 February 2014 was a short piece I wished could have been shorter, by around 350 words. His piece contained a number of mistakes and unnecessary hyperbole that it, for the first time in my life, generated the urge in me to write a strongly worded letter. The first issue was to suggest his ‘faith in humanity’ was ‘smashed’ by a group of students singing a rude song at – god forbid – a rugby match. Is Mr Weal such a delicate wallflower to have his hope in the kindness of humankind destroyed by, what is probably a fair assumption, some beer drinking rugby suppporters? If so, then perhaps he should remain in his college quarters and not venture out into the real world.
Secondly, if Mr Weal found it necessary to include the song he found so offensive in his article, then perhaps he could have done the simplest of courtesies of writing out the actual lyrics. A simple search on google could have provided him with the true lyrics. In fact the only place on any forum or internet site that I could find the lyrics as written by Mr Weal, was in a youtube video being sung by a group of teenagers and who managed to get the lyrics wrong in exactly the same way as Mr Weal apparently heard them being sung at the Varsity match. What a very odd coincidence. I’m not suggesting the song wasn’t sung at the rugby, simply that the article was written so long after the event Mr Weal could no longer recall what the rapscallions had been singing, so he had to youtube it to refresh his memory, and he had the misfortune to choose the only video on youtube which has both the lyrics and the pattern of the song incorrect in the exact same way as he stated in his article. I advise him to google 'I used to work in Chicago'. It has a wikipedia page and everything.
Another point I take issue with, is Mr Weal’s use of the phrase ‘this kind of thing’. I was under the impression no one had used phrases like this seriously since Dougal in Father Ted brandished a placard stating ‘down with this sort of thing’. I fear Mr Weal has satirised himself by including it in the sort of article the writers of Father Ted were trying to poke fun at.
But the worst use of hyperbole in the entirety of the article was Mr Weal’s description of Cambridge as a ‘microcosm of a wider culture of imbalance and inequality between the sexes’. You’ll have to forgive me, but I didn’t realise the institution that had an almost equal number of males and females studying, with some colleges just for women, which has a female president of the Student Union and a female president of the Cambridge Union was this microcosm. What’s more, if Mr Weal feels there is an issue with inequality perhaps that is a topic he would find worthwhile writing about.
The serious point in all this, is that perhaps the author could have written about inequality in Cambridge if he feels this exists, instead of writing an easy piece saying nothing about ‘lad culture’.
A disappointed reader.