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OPINION State must invest in broadband 4

Friday August 24, 2012

According to a newly released Federal Communications Commission report, West Virginia has a lower percentage of residents with access to a broadband Internet connection than any other state in the country. The FCC report found that 46 percent of West Virginia’s population, which amounts to around 840,000 people, does not have highspeed internet access. Across the country, only six percent of Americans

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do not have high-speed Internet access. This shocking disparity caught state officials by surprise and it highlights the need for West Virginia’s legislators to take action on this critical issue. Widespread high-speed Internet access is an essential component of any state’s efforts to develop a successful 21st century economy. The benefits of expanding broadband Internet access are numerous and they are essential for this state’s progress.

First and foremost, the Internet is an invaluable tool for disseminating information. This information can serve a variety of important functions, ranging from keeping the citizenry informed on key political issues to providing online educational opportunities that otherwise would be unavailable in a particular area. The fact that the FCC report found West Virginia’s rural areas to be suffering from the most severe high-

speed Internet shortages is an important one to consider. Our state’s rural areas suffer from a plethora of social ills, many of which can be mitigated by the free flow of information the Internet provides. This flow of information has empowered individuals, especially those on the fringes of society, in a truly unprecedented manner. For this reason, the United Nations has designated Internet access as a basic human right. It is thus

unquestionable providing this powerful tool to West Virginia’s languishing rural communities will help them reverse their fortunes It is almost unfathomable – and inexcusable – that almost half of our state’s population lacks access to high-speed internet. Our state government must take action to ensure we do not continue to lag behind the rest of the country in this vital area. daperspectives@mail.wvu.edu

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ success illustrates societal depravity celeste lantz copy editor

E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades” trilogy is the most recent novel that has sexually repressed housewives flocking to booksellers everywhere. Originally written as a “Twilight”-based fan fiction, James saw rapidly rising interest, changed the names of the characters and sold the e-book rights to a virtual publisher in Australia. Due to a limited budget, the first book, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” was sold on an on-demand basis. Religious followers pounced on this release, and the print book quickly became popular through word-of-mouth. As of this month, “Fifty Shades” has become the no.1 best-seller in Australia and has grossed more in the UK than the Harry Potter series. So what, then, is the appeal of this so-called “mommy porn”? It has been stated that the intended demographic is married women over 30, though it has trickled down into a few women in their early-tomid-20s. The writing is subpar at best and only provides a watered-down picture of BDSM. The characters are hardly well-developed, and Anastasia is as flat as the character she was originally written as, Bella Swan. It clearly isn’t the diction that is attracting tens of thousands of women to this “Twilight” wannabe. There certainly has been a shift in what is considered “appropriate” reading. Ten years ago, even five years ago, no self-respecting woman would have been

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‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ author signs copies of her book during her U.S. book tour. caught dead with a book like “Fifty Shades” in their hands in public. Today, it is sold in our very own WVU Barnes and Noble bookstore. When did it become acceptable to read erotica in public? I must have missed the memo, though I do admit to being a prude. This series sends a very difficult message to generational readers. First, the publishing industry is beginning to give the impression that anyone can write

a piece of fiction and become famous through blogs and self-publishing sites. Just because my 50-yearold mother can write about her fantasies on the internet and publish them doesn’t mean she should. This sort of self-publishing is tainting the once-prestigious name of the original book publishing industry. Second, E. L. James sends out the message that women no longer need to think for themselves and be strong

or independent. No, for a woman to be truly happy, she must literally sign her life away to a man who will then take care of but fully control her. For years, women have fought for equality, only to make these regressive novels popular. Yet there are countless Internet memes expressing an interest in a Christian Greylike character to swoop in and handcuff them. Could it be that women are so equal to men that they de-

sire that submissive nature? Or is it possible that James has stumbled upon a hidden comment on women’s enduring lack of rights? Despite the influx of novels and movies that depict a strong female lead, female audience members still want to see the cliched romance unfold between a vulnerable young woman and brooding older man. As wonderful as it would be to see women burn their bras and roar about their self-re-

liance, it’s difficult to ignore the masses of women who spend hours crying over emotionally distant and unavailable men. In March, Universal Pictures announced it would produce the film adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” a decision that has women guessing the actor who will play Mr. Grey. The excitement continues to build for what is sure to be 90 minutes and 50 shades of uncomfortable.

Pussy Riot verdict and Assange extradition reveal US hypocrisy ishan raval technician n.c. State

In February, the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot performed an impromptu “punk-prayer” in Moscow’s hallowed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in protest against President Putin’s controversial reelection and the Russian Orthodox Church’s political sway. For more than six months, their case has become a global cause célèbre. This past Friday, three members of Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years imprisonment for “hooliganism” motivated by “religious hatred.” Both within and beyond Russia, their treatment has been regarded as oppressive, their trial frivolous, and the verdict a grossly unfair, politically-motivated attack on free speech. Following worldwide shows of solidarity from human rights groups, artists and citizens, the U.S. Department of State has also voiced its support for Pussy Riot, saying that it is “concerned” by the “disproportionate” verdicts. Spokesperson Victoria Nuland has called for Russian authorities to “ensure that the right to freedom of expression is upheld.”

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Feminist punk group Pussy Riot members show the court’s verdict as they sit in a glass cage at a courtroom in Moscow. Indeed, Russia should do that. However, we here should pay attention to the almost laughable contradiction of the U.S. government snatching for itself the moral high ground of being the purveyors of democracy. Ironically, though perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. is making such statements when due to its own pressure exerted overseas, British police have surrounded the Ecuadorian Embassy in

London, and the U.K. has unethically threatened to remove both the diplomatic standing of the Embassy building and the news publisher who has been granted political asylum in it. Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, has been legitimately granted asylum in Ecuador because the U.K. is having him extradited to Sweden, from where he validly fears extradition to the U.S. In Swe-

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den, he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape. He has not been formally charged, as there simply is not enough evidence for that, and the allegations are shrouded in controversy because of the credibility of the accusing parties and the extremely broad definition of rape in Sweden. He has offered Swedish authorities the chance to interrogate him in London, which is normal procedure in transna-

tional legal proceedings, but they have declined him. He has also offered to go to Sweden for questioning with the assurance that he would not be extradited to the US, which too has been declined. Because of his work with Wikileaks, a secret grand jury in the U.S. has already been reported to have issued a sealed indictment against Assange. Prominent U.S. politicians of both parties have called for his assassination or life imprisonment as a spy or a terrorist, which could happen if he is convicted under the 1917 Espionage Act (an adjudication which some commentators hold would violate the First and 14th Amendments). The same Victoria Nuland quoted previously has insinuated toward his probable prosecution in the U.S. However, any of this happening will too be an attack on free expression and democracy. Even if Wikileaks’ activities are judged illegal by American courts, their legitimacy from a holistic democratic perspective is unambiguous. Wikileaks exposed misuses of power, by the U.S. government and others, to an extent never before seen in history. The news media is called the Fourth Estate of democracy – its role is

to report the misdeeds of and keep a check on the government, and that is what Wikileaks has been doing. The documents released by Wikileaks details offenses, including the mass-murder of civilians, and displays the cavalier attitude held by diplomats regarding the same. Such information should not be secret to begin with, and so, its dissemination is not just an exercise of free expression, but a service to democracy. The U.S. government has not prosecuted the publication of classified information in all instances. In fact, the government itself has leaked extremely sensitive material which showed potential as propaganda, such as the recent New York Times revelations about President Barack Obama’s killlists and cyberwarfare. Thus, the crusade against Wikileaks and Assange is not only an assault on press freedom, but viewed in conjunction with Washington’s own leaks and its statements regarding Pussy Riot, highlights an ugly fact about the U.S. government: It supports free expression and democracy when they are useful to its own image and power, but will do anything to restrict them when they are not.

Letters to the Editor can be sent 284 Prospect St. or emailed to DAPERSPECTIVES@mail.wvu.edu. Letters should include NAME, TITLE and be no more than 300 words. Letters and columns, excluding the editorial, are not necessarily representative of The Daily Athenaeum’s opinion. Letters may be faxed to 304-293-6857 or delivered to The Daily Athenaeum. EDITORIAL STAFF: LYDIA NUZUM, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF • CODY SCHULER, MANAGING EDITOR • OMAR GHABRA, OPINION EDITOR • CARLEE LAMMERS, CITY EDITOR • BRYAN BUMGARDNER, ASSOCIATE CITY EDITOR • MICHAEL CARVELLI, SPORTS EDITOR • NICK ARTHUR, ASSOCIATE SPORTS EDITOR • JEREMIAH YATES, A&E EDITOR • HUNTER HOMISTEK , ASSOCIATE A&E EDITOR • MATT SUNDAY, ART THEDAONLINE.COM DIRECTOR • CAROL FOX, COPY DESK CHIEF • VALERIE BENNETT, BUSINESS MANAGER • ALEC BERRY, WEB EDITOR • JOHN TERRY, CAMPUS CALENDAR EDITOR • ALAN WATERS, GENERAL MANAGER

The DA 08-24-2012  
The DA 08-24-2012  

The August 24 edition of The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University's official student newspaper.

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