In the last week, I've stirred things up here by asking an un-PC question re: that WSU date rape survey and by announcing last night that I didn't plan to see "Brokeback Mountain." The rape question, albeit poorly worded, triggered a week-long civil discussion here that underscored my contention that the issue isn't as black-and-white as some people think. It also solidified my standing as a neanderthal among some colleagues who tried in vain to censor the question that launched the thread. Fortunately, Editor Steve Smith understands the value of debate in the public square, even though he thought I was full of beans (and said so in the comments feature of this blog). Last night, I poked a stick in the direction of the controversial gay sheepherder movie for the purpose of launching another discussion. Some people have closed minds about controversial topics, on the right and, yes, on the left. However, I learn from these discussions. They've gone a long way in helping me see things through the eyes of others -- and respecting others. Nothing's off-limits, as far as I'm concerned. I'm willing to go into hell (facing the anger of colleagues and derision of commenters here) for a heavenly cause (of fostering legitimate debate on controversial subjects). Usually, journalists can hide behind telephone recording machines, fax machines, editors, and the high wall that separates the newsroom from the public. I commit journalism here in real time. You can respond to me instantly. I try to be transparent. I ask questions that make people uncomfortable, including fellow journalists. I don't have all the answers. I make mistakes. I try my best.
D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.