So, Jack White’s mad. Earlier this month, the rocker and his company played at the University of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Daily, the student publication of the university, decided to take a risky move, publishing the contract rider between White’s party and the school that outlined terms of guaranteed guacamole and a ban on bananas. The singer was not at all pleased, and said as much in a statement from his management company.
White representatives took stabs at the student journalists that decided to post the rider, as well as any other media reporters that decided to discuss the events surrounding the incident. Sorry, Jack.
Was Jack White right? Was the Oklahoma Daily out of step when they decided to give the world what at points seem like a ridiculous list of demands? I don’t think so.
Students deserve to have their voices heard.
Legally, there is no reason that the publication should have been restricted, citing the Freedom of Information Act that allows access to documents like the White contract for anyone and everyone. Technically, the Oklahoma Daily did not actually leak anything, but simply made public information more apparent to their readership.
Personally, I think this sort of thing is good for student voice. Here student journalists bring up issues that they care about, and people are paying attention, even if it’s resulting in backlash from White’s camp.
Historically, there is a lot of power in the voice of university students. From Vietnam War protests at Kent State to walkouts for Eric Garner at the University of Texas, people take note of college students who take the time to say how they feel, and perhaps there is a moral obligation for students to call out injustices as they see them.
White would beg to differ.
“Just because you can type it on your computer doesn’t make it right,” said the 39-year-old Grammy winner in a press release.
And, to a certain degree, he’s right. Freedom of speech shouldn’t be abused, but in this case, I don’t think there’s a problem.
As both a journalist and a human being, I have a clear obligation to stand for truth. So, even when that truth is as trivial as guacamole, it should be embraced.
So, kudos, Oklahoma Daily for letting your students talk about the things important to them, regardless of the ridiculous consequences which often result from them.
You know, I would think artists like Jack White would take a step back and realize honesty is always the best policy. What is art without honesty?
But, then again, we’re talking about the guy that presented his ex-wife as his sister for years.