Jury still out: RIBS funny? Mean?

To the Editor:

I wanted to thank Kelly Lottman ’11 for beginning a discussion in the September 30 issue of The Poly on the appropriateness of the inclusion of the RIBS acronym in the “(Almost) All Inclusive Dictionary of Rensselaer Terms” in the mid-summer publication of The Poly. I applaud you for raising this issue and trying to make your readership more aware of the on-campus use of this term. I am in full agreement with your implicit suggestion that a wider understanding of the campus should be sought on the following two issues: A) what this term means, and B) does the RIBS term create a more positive impression of female students attending the Institute? I urge you to conduct a student-wide poll and find out more specifically whether your experience is representative of the entire campus viewpoint on this issue. If the RIBS term creates a more positive impression of our student body, then perhaps it should be championed as you have suggested in your editorial. Sigmund Freud was known to espouse the view that humor allows humans to release less than favorable judgments under the guise of comedy. Is there any possibility that this is the case with the “funny but harmless RIBS remarks” the editorial board has witnessed on campus?

Chris VerWys

Department of Cognitive Science