Violence Part I: Illustration

This is the first part in a series on Marc Kelly, U of O Voice and the SFUO. Part II.

After reading the email entitled "[uOttawa Community] President Rock, Please Stop" that was sent to the entire student body at the University of Ottawa: I was struck by the fact that I don't think Mark understands what a "violent exchange" really is.

To help him (and others who have been failed by our education system) I have drafted an Illustrative Cartoon:


At this point, some of you may say: "But Aaron, Mark wasn't trying to imply that blows were exchanged, he was just being poetic". Which brings me to the actual point: The letter contained an insulting amount of loaded language with (I assume) the goal of (relatively) subtle emotional manipulation1.

Lookit Me, I'm the Victim

"... the most violent exchange I have been subjected to..."

You meant, "explosive and passionate" right? You're not trying to play on the general unacceptability of the use of violence (the real kind) to resolve disputes or to characterize yourself as a victim? Right?

"Emotionally Battering"

You're not continuing a theme of characterizing Mr. Rock's behaviour as violent, abusive, and unacceptably physical? I certainly hope not, because doing so would be downright manipulative.

... And Now to Demonize the Opponent

"the SFUO ... condemned you ... for your tyranny"

Nice. Ad hominim, and argument from authority all in one fell swoop. I applaud you.

That's right boys and girls: I have it on good authority that my opponent is a Kitten-eating lizard...

What does that have to with his policy on agricultural subsidies!?! Everything!

Think of the kittens!

... and a tyrannical kitten-eating lizard at that: Vladimir McGuinty would be proud.

"you have stolen my humanity"

What does this even mean? At this point, I have no idea what's going on (it's not like he sent you to Abu Ghraib).

But "humanity" good, "theft" bad. Me victim, you bad guy. thumbs way up

"I now understand that you do not see students as people"

Does this mean that the big, bad Mr. Rock will eat my kittens too?

That would make me a sad panda.


After taking my trusty red pen and my copy of "Strunk & White" to the original letter I realized that the letter could really be summed up as:

Dear Mr. Rock,

I was disappointed by our encounter on November 3rd and your subsequent apology. During the encounter, you were rude and your apology was insincere.

I'm concerned about your interference in my registration and my appointment to the senate.

I look forward to your response to my previous email.



Once you cut away the emotional manipulation which attempts to demonize the university administration and rally the student body against them on the basis of a single anecdote, you realize that there is little content other than Mark having his feelings hurt.

Of course, without the manipulative language there wouldn't be any need to copy it to the entire student body. I, for one, feel that Mark's attempt to involve me in his petty dispute by attempting to pray on my fears and inspire an emotional response was disrespectful and annoying.

Mark Kelly, please stop!

I don't really care about your insipid whining. I don't appreciate you attempting to manipulate me and would rather your future pointless email not land in my inbox. Cheers.

What I Really Want to Know...

How annoying must Mark have been to elicit not "Hi, how can I help you?" nor "I'm sorry. I'm busy. You will need an appointment." but rather "GET OUT OF MY OFFICE!" ?

How did this email even reach my inbox? I don't recall giving Random J. Blogger my email address so that he could spam me with his pointless whining (Random is a dude. I checked ;-).

[1]He didn't implore us to think of the children or warn us that the terrorists would win. For that I applaud him.