Wed, Jul 07, 2004 - Page 8 News List

The naked truth: streaking is good

By Liu Chin-hsin劉進興

Streaking was once popular all over US campuses, and the country did not collapse. Rather, the US' national power greatly surpasses that of streaker-banning Taiwan. What needs to be corrected is the school's conservative beliefs, not the streaker's behavior.

Frankly speaking, the majority of people -- even Americans -- do not have the courage or the urge to streak. Societies should tolerate harmless delinquent behavior, because who knows whether geniuses like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Nicolaus Copernicus or Karl Marx might appear among the "eccentrics?"

Richard Florida pointed out in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life that the new economy is developing in cities that embrace a multi-faceted and creative social life. The development of high-tech companies correlates strongly and positively with the number of homosexual and bohemian types in a city.

This does not mean you need to be a homosexual to be creative, but if such insignificant delinquent behavior as streaking cannot be tolerated by a city, university or country, then we cannot expect that Copernicus could have escaped prosecution, or that creativity in literature, art and science would not be suppressed.

Excessive punishment of inoffensive "eccentric" behavior is in reality preventing the development of a multi-faceted, diverse and creative environment. The more schools follow the approach of Chang Gung University, the more unattainable Taiwan's transition from a society based on traditional industry to one based on creativity will be.

Liu Chin-hsin is a professor at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

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