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Kate O'Loughlin: we only like politics on Facebook


hen a famous political philosopher offers to give you an exclusive lecture, you'd expect students might be able to give Gallery a miss for once and listen. Recently Noam Chomsky gave a talk on the Obama era and York was amongst 12 universities privileged to receive a live video link up to the event, pain-stakingly arranged by the University’s Palestinian Solidarity Society. The event was of international political significance, but it also offered an insight into the nature of student political participation closer to home. A small room in Derwent was provided for York students to view it - expectations were low all along! But, in reality, the turnout was even less than had been provided for. The room remained half empty for the entirety of the talk. But should we be more optimistic about the political awareness of York’s students, and say half full? Students have long had a reputation of not wanting to squeeze a little politics into their lifestyles. But given the nature of the lecture, maybe it is excusable - a mammoth two and a half hours including a question and answer session. But if we are apathetic, if we don't care that much, why do we always kid ourselves that we do? Ok, so going out drinking might be on the whole more fun than listening to Noam Chomsky discussing international affairs, but why don't we just admit it? Online we all seem to think we are political animals. A Facebook Event for the Chomsky lecture received no less than 125 students confirming themselves as guests. A quick click saying that you're planning to go to an event means you can be apathetic in politics but radical in your profile page. We like to appear intellectually curious and politically ethical in other people's news feeds - who cares if you don't actually show up? The tone of the lecture was quiet, Chomsky himself attired in a jumper and jeans. It reflected its earnest socialist message which championed the downtrodden Palestinians, oppressed by Israeli power bolstered by US support. The modest nature of the lecture was itself resistant to the arrogant political tactics and might of the world’s only superpower. But is this exactly what puts students off politics? Unfortunately, it seems York’s students are more attracted to typically American displays of power and grandness rather than truthful declarations of injustice and policy. Most of us tuned in to the US elections last year and watched the hyped BBC showdown with Britain's "most hated" man, BNP leader Nick Griffin. Chomsky suggested at the lecture that protest against US-British support of Israel should be directed at the military industry. But judging by the popularity of the BAE stall at the recent Careers Fair, more York students appear interested in working for an arms producer than protesting against them.


Tuesday November 24th, 2009


Rachel Knox is shocked to find a student online dating community...


few nights ago, in a rather inebriated state, my housemates and I placed an ad for a friend on an online dating site. It was drunken revenge for him not coming out, apparently he had a "9:15 seminar that I really can’t miss". We went the whole way; uploaded an innocent looking picture, described in detail his ‘fun-loving and caring personality’ and what he was looking for in ‘the one’. We had a good laugh about it at the time, but as with most drunken escapades I’d all but forgotten about it by the morning. That was until multiple emails popped up in my inbox the next day letting me know (we’d used my email address) that quite a few ladies had expressed interest in my friend who has since begged me to remain anonymous- lets just call him Chris*. Feeling a little bit guilty, I grabbed one of my equally responsible housemates to check out the middle-aged divorced women who’d fallen for Chris’ youthful good looks. Except these girls weren’t aged and wrinkled; they were young and some of them were actually good looking. There was a ‘naughtyJodie’ aged 21 from Leeds, a ‘han_579’, 20 from London, and a rather provocative ‘ontheshelf_09’, 21 from Newcastle. Now excuse my assumptions, but I always expected online dating sites to be for older generations too shy to get out and meet new people, or divorced fortysomethings looking for a second chance at love. I had no idea that young people were using these sites, or at least the

sheer amount of young people we found after a quick browse on one of them. Is online dating a good thing for those too shy to approach someone in real life, or is it simply defeatist? Just sitting in front of a computer instead of going out into the real world and meeting real people? Curious about this

confident students can chat and find comfort online. But it freaks me out that these students trust a website to give them ‘perfect matches’ when they could go out to the Courtyard, meet some new people and possibly find a perfect match for themselves, not to mention the obvious dangers of meeting people online. It seems a bit scary that some people let technology make their life choices. And isn’t university supposed to be the time of your life? A time for acting crazy, having fun and meeting friends you’ll know for life, not stuck in front of your laptop talking to God knows who online.

STAYING SAFE ONLINE > Choose a reputable sit

e > Keep your personal de tails safe > Avoid including your real name or location in yo ur username question, I searched the internet to see if there were any sites specifically dedicated to online dating for younger people. The search brought up more than I had expected and even several sites specifically for students looking for love. This was an even bigger revelation; a whole online student dating community, who knew? I’m torn whether this is quite sweet or just really weird. It’s nice that less

> If you're going to et up with someone youme me t online, tell a friend ily member who youorarfammeeting, where you ee going and when you ar ll be back. And always mewi et in a public place. > If you are being ra ssed on line save your coha ersations and contact thenvpo lice.


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Best Comment Contributer Rachel Knox (School of Love)  

GET THE LOOK: Cardigan: Topshop Necklace: Vivienne Westwood Top: Topshop Jeans: Topshop Boots: Primark Bangles: Topshop YORK VISION Rachel K...

Best Comment Contributer Rachel Knox (School of Love)  

GET THE LOOK: Cardigan: Topshop Necklace: Vivienne Westwood Top: Topshop Jeans: Topshop Boots: Primark Bangles: Topshop YORK VISION Rachel K...