Think what you like, I do!

16th April 2010 at 01:00

The consensus on the piece I wrote about Rage Against the Machine (January 22) seems to be that I got it wrong. In my corner, I have my niece and sister-in-law. Lined up against me are various Facebook friends and someone called Morrisman89, who was good enough to comment extensively in the online version of the paper. I must check this more often as I don't like to ignore people who respond to my articles.

I've only just discovered that Morrisman89 has done so (twice!), as has a fellow Linux user. Morrisman89 could be Morris Simpson (see p.32), in which case, I don't get the 89; or are you a Morris dancer or the owner of a Morris car? I hope it's the latter.

To go off at a tangent (or any other trigonometric function of your choice), the late comedian Chic Murray told the story of taking his mother to see the sea for the first time. He left her on the beach in a deckchair and came back for her a fortnight later. She then said to him: "Is that all it does?"

Assuming Morrisman89 is both a Morris and a man, it was exclusively men who thought I'd missed the point with my raging against Rage Against the Machine. I don't think I did. I do not disagree that a disaffection with bankers' bonuses, the Iraq war and MPs' expenses might have led people to be so hacked off with the system that they felt they needed to make some sort of a stand but, to paraphrase Chic's mum, "Is that all you did?"

Not that I'm a firebrand political activist. When Soapy Souter left Oor Wullie's gang to become a millionaire transport magnate, the spoils of which he used to fund an anti-repeal ballot of clause 28, I too took a stand. When the pre-paid envelope came through the door, I cut out a picture of Elton John and posted it back, instead of sending the ballot paper. Ha ha, Soapy, you'd still have to pay for the postage and I didn't fill in your form. And Elton John's gay! That's you put in your place.

I used to wonder how appropriate it was to let pupils know what my view was on a particular matter. When teaching evolution, I used to add a rider along the lines of "other views on the origin of the species are available", but didn't go into what these views might be.

There were times, however, when I thought that it was actually important to say what my view was.

When I was describing the generation of electricity by nuclear power stations, I was often upfront about my views. I wanted pupils to judge for themselves and felt they should know that the facts they were being given came from someone who had an opinion on a particular side of the debate which raged beyond the physics.

Was that the right thing to do? Over to you, Facebook friends and TESS online comment-makers. I value your opinion, especially if you agree with me.

Gregor Steele wrote this on a Linux PC, as reader Gnulinux will be happy to hear.

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