Letters //

Letters – Week 11

Our letters from this week, covering a broad range of topics, including the SRC, Ralph, objectivity, and trolls.



The SRC should debate student issues

Dear Honi,

I would like to lament the recent antics of the SRC council. As Dylan Parker aptly put in his column last week, the Council spends its time on the most ridiculous and obscure policy motions designed to allow for morally righteous pontification, instead of actual student governance. At the expense of tabled motions regarding the National Union of Students, the student strikes, and the student interfaith officer position, (you know, issues that expressly and directly affect students) the valuable time of councilors is lost to at best irrelevant (and at worst, abhorrent) motions like the BDS issue, which in no way can be said to affect students in a meaningful way, beyond appeasing an activist minority. Such student relevant motions were proposed more than two and half months ago, yet have yet to see any debate or discussion on them whatsoever. It’s no wonder that the meeting attendance two weeks ago was so poor when on the agenda scheduled debates over a missile company’s role in bankrolling an international defence-alliance research project, and the passing of Margaret Thatcher.  If people want to discuss the ideological rammifications of Thatcherite policies twenty years ago, in Britain of all place, then fine, but don’t do it at the expense of the valuable time of councilors, or at the expense of motions that might actually affect the students, and even have an effect.

Sam Murray

Arts/Law III



Naturopathy isn’t science!

Dear Honi,

I almost had a stroke when I saw that Lachlan Munro’s report of an event run by a naturopathic company in this week’s Honi was listed under the heading of “Science”. Any linguist will tell you that naturopathy is Greek for “not a science”. It astounds me that the views of “holistic” or “alternative” medicine (it’s the alternative to logic and reason) are given any credence at all. The ideas spewed forth by followers of alternative medicine are unfounded by definition. Anything that hasn’t been proven to work or, indeed, has been proven not to work is not accepted by the medical community and will remain classified as “alternative”. Therefore it is quite unsurprising to see crackpots trying to make a quick buck by selling miracle creams to their gullible and moronic followers. Seeing ideas like this publicised is an insult to medical practitioners and researchers who dedicate their lives actually trying to alleviate suffering and to all those who worship at the altar of reason. I’m sorry if I seem a bit intense, but I can’t help it this week. I’m a gemini and Mercury is in retrograde.

William Poulos

Arts I



Farewell, Ralph


I was very sad to read last week about the sad passing of RALPH Panebianco from Ralphs Cafe and send my love and thoughts and respect to his wife and 3 kids. I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Ralph only a few times over the years, but what a great and larger than life man he was… and his memory must live on at the cafe. I hope that happens.

I also think a wall of photos or at least a large picture of Ralph should be erected on the wall so Ralph can keep an eye on all his happy customers. Great coffee and food and banter was his specialty. He remembered people and he made me feel very welcome even if there was months or years between visits. We need more Ralphs in this world.

Once met never forgotten. But make sure you have your money ready.  See you in the big Espresso in the sky old mate.   Thanks for the memories.

Jonathan Coleman

Father of Oscar Coleman

B Comm/ Dip SocSci II



You guys suck

Honi Soit Editors,

You made an error in your election coverage. The writer of the section about Robby Magyar referred to Honi Soit as a “newspaper.”

Any publication that states in its first issue that “objectivity is dead” cannot be a newspaper. Objectivity is the discipline that turns amateur writers into journalists, and newspapers publish the work of journalists.

Honi Soit has the pretences of a newspaper, but doesn’t need them. There’s no need to label Georgia Behrens’ article as OPINION as if it’s different from anything else in the election pages. There’s no reason to recruit an impartial writer to interview Bebe D’Souza when your editor-in-chief reminds us on p. 2 that “objectivity is dead. We stand by that.”

You should have declared that “laziness is alive” as a more truthful excuse to print whatever’s easy to write.

Jason Dunn

Attended USyd briefly and occasionally visits the campus.



People are the worst 2.0

Dear Honi,

I write to you not because of what has been in your paper, but to condemn the words of those who have spoken against it.

It is one thing to object to the demands made by staff, to the strike and to the pickets. People have a right to object, I just think they are being willfully ignorant of the facts.

There is a difference between this and justifying violence committed by the State. The police are an arm of our judiciary, and ought to be held to same standards. When people were strangled, bruised and bones were broken, it is wrong to say they deserved it. It is wrong to defend cops who use violence and intimidation when laws are not being broken.

Some of these people are my friends, they are passionate, they are fighting for what they believe in. They did not forfeit their rights, they do not deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.

When people do this they choose to ignore common humanity, to unthinkingly and unfeelingly accept the actions of police because they wear a badge. Authority does not mean people are right. Before you go to war from behind a keyboard, take a second in case an independent thought appears.

Sean O’Grady

Arts II



People are the worst 3.0


I read Tom Raue’s article about his experience at the protests last week on online Honi Soit and was genuinely horrified. I do not know him. I do not actively support the protests (as in, I should probably do some research/read the posters). I’m not a left wing identifier. I didn’t think that empathising and respecting Tom rested on any of these things. Apparently, I was wrong. At the bottom of the article only hours after it had been written the usual collection of internet trolls had collaborated to tell Tom that he needed to harden up as he had asked for the violence (apparently).

I’m sure these trollers would tell me that “it’s a fuckin’ free country”, but that’s not good enough. The whole point of free speech is not free speech in and of itself, it’s for that speech to be constructive, discursive. Most of those commenters speaking against Raue didn’t have anything meaningful to say against the protests. Their intention was to offend and upset Tom Raue. When did we become so cynical? So cynical that the minute a fellow university student recounts the infliction of near fatal violence the immediate response is that he is lying, overdramatising what happened or was asking for it.

Even if any of those things were true, none of these people were at the protest and witnessed what happened. Surely when the allegations are so severe you use caution before hurling direct abuse at the victim.

Another thing to note is how offensive the comments were in general. One of the highest liked comments told Tom to “suck it up princess”. Since when were we still adhering to archaic conceptions of gender? Not only is it offensive to suggest that any man who shows an ounce of emotion is automatically castrating himself, the inverse is that every woman is privy to irrational emotional responses. The other comment to note was “you need a good dick up your ass”. So not only is that homophobic, but it echoes claims about women who just need a “good fuck to get them in line”. Not only is that view of sexuality crude and reductive, but feeds greater problematic narratives of victim shaming.

To be fair, when I went back and looked at the article more recently many people have rallied in support against the trollers. But for those who enjoy being overtly offensive, take it elsewhere. This sort of behaviour is not appropriate when it comes from 12 year old Justin Bieber fans on twitter, so it’s completely inappopriate when you’re a university student talking to a fellow peer.

Subeta Vimalarajah

Arts/Law II

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