it’s your choice.
Carleton has recently been accused of “censorship” because Campus Security arrested some students protesting in the Quad. I’m sure you’ve heard about it, but if not, the news article can be found here. Without opening the can of worms that is the topic of the protest, the students in question were displaying some pretty big, pretty graphic images. Not the kind of thing you’d choose to see, if you had the choice.
Oh but wait… I saw those students today. From a glimpse of one of their signs, I knew without a doubt it was the same group. I’m sure, if I was willing to spend time processing the images, I would have been horrified. Horrified isn’t really my colour though, so instead, I turned the volume up on my iPod, looked at the sidewalk like it was my new best friend, and went to class.
Let’s be clear, this was not in a large, open space. The protest was happening on either side of a sidewalk, and not a particularly wide one at that. I was pretty up close and personal with these people and their message, but it was still my choice to give them my time and attention. I chose not to, and it worked shockingly well. I went on to class not having heard a word they said and not having any lingering mental images.
There’s a lot of information in the world, and more of it is available to us now than it has ever been before. Without even knowing it, we’ve all become Grand Masters at filtering information, so that we can spend our time focusing on and processing the information that has value to us. That day, I chose to focus on my upcoming midterm and Bruno Mars, and I was a lot happier because of it.
I’m not supporting these students’ right to protest whatever they want, wherever they want, however they want, but I am supporting our right not to listen, which is much easier than most people seem to think. Choose to focus instead of the things that make you smile, laugh, learn, grow and enjoy the gorgeous fall weather on campus! Because when it comes down to it, it is and always will be your choice. Choose to smile.