"Most advertising is schlock because most people have bad taste, not because of who pays for it. For that matter, most attempted art is schlock too." —Harold Henderson, November 1
Can't Blamea Punk for Trying
I haven't yet read Moore's book [reviewed by Harold Henderson, November 1], but I definitely plan to now. Some of Henderson's criticisms seem interesting, but I am shocked at his presumptive tone that capitalism is great when "done right." What exactly is capitalism being done right? The more I read up on current affairs, the more I am outraged with capitalism and its by-products. Global warming, privatizing water supplies, slaving workers in third world countries, economic hit men (as John Perkins writes about), and countless wars fought for profit seem to be some of the many ills caused by the greed of capitalist markets. Is this kind of rampant destruction what he means by capitalism being "done right"? Because this seems to be what capitalism is in its very essence. To presuppose a squeaky-clean capitalism is to deal with abstractions that do not exist. The people that profit from this destruction simply rationalize these as necessary evils, because they want us to keep participating in the facade.
Maybe what it takes to diminish this kind of destruction is for groups of people to try to band together to find alternatives to the capitalist greed that is negatively impacting all of our lives. Who likes to have such infinitely valuable things, such as their every human interaction, their thoughts, their art/culture, and natural resources co-opted to make more money for someone that already has enough in the first place (and who probably has little, if no regard for the intrinsic value of these beautiful things)? Perhaps punk has been a failure at that resistance in some respects, as any counterculture that buys into (or is co-opted by) things it hates would be a failure. However, I don't think that anyone can fault a person or a group of people for trying to find a new way to live without such greed, manipulation, and disrespect in their lives, even if they aren't able to do so 100 percent. And I don't think that anyone can fault Anne Elizabeth Moore's disgust with the subversion of an anticapitalist movement by greedy capitalists. Can't wait to read that book.
Eyes on the Prize
After reading Paul Street's poorly reasoned argument in favor of racial reparations [The Business, October 25] I was all set to write a letter pointing out the numerous problems with such a policy, but S. Haake beat me to the punch [November 1].
I'm politically conservative in comparison with S. Haake, so I would have omitted the sentence which declared that gay people had "no civil rights" in the U.S. The paragraph with which my letter ended would also have exhibited less liberal bias, in terms of its somewhat gratuitous references to Iraq. Nevertheless, I thought that the rest of the S. Haake letter was excellent, inasmuch as it addressed many of the same points which I would have addressed. And I'm actually glad that [the] letter was written by a liberal, because it amply illustrates the fact that one need not be a conservative in order to see that the idea of racial reparations is a bad idea.
I particularly liked the point S. Haake made with regard to people of mixed race. In a scenario in which people would either pay or not pay, depending on their race, how should one treat people such as Barack Obama, who (judging by his family ties to Dick Cheney) is as white as he is black? If reparations are ever enacted as national policy, do racially mixed people get prorated benefits and/or tax breaks based on how subjectively dark their skin is? If that's the case, how exactly does one measure such things? To say that implementation would be difficult and contentious is the understatement of the century.
Advocates of racial reparations would have you believe that a nationwide policy of reparations would redress the many injustices caused by slavery and by unjust jim crow laws, in spite of the fact that such a policy would amount to a blatant systematic act of racial discrimination. Funny, I always thought that racial discrimination (without any consideration of the many variables which distinguish one person of a particular race from another) was a sign of racism. Silly me. If you believe the advocates of reparations, racial discrimination is not only acceptable but admirable, as long as the folks it penalizes unjustly are white. So much for principles.
Mark W. Pettigrew
From OurOnline Readers
I was always troubled by the imagery and symbolism of Blade Runner [November 1]. Isn't it essentially Wagnerian and quasi-fascist? Replicants are presented as Aryan supermen. The Nibelungen, in this case, are not Jews but smallish Asians crouched over their work. Isn't Tyrell supposed to be like Wotan? And, the Hauer character is like Siegfried with a touch of Christian imagery thrown into the mix. I suppose his being a slave throws in some leftism-a-la-Spartacus into the mix, but the aesthetics seem to be lifted largely from the Teutonism of Lang—who was ironically Jewish and admired by Nazis—and the monumentalism of Riefenstahl.
Rosenbaum doesn't seem bothered by the fact that the replicants are supposed to be superior to human beings in every way. On the one hand, rooting for them or sympathizing with them may make us feel righteous. But, if they are supposed to be "racially" superior, then it means one brand of slavery replaced by another. If replicants do survive, they will take over or run the world since they are better than humans. So, what does Blade Runner say about our world? Does it express fear of Jews, blacks, and Asians that is prevalent among Western white people? Superior Jewish intelligence taking over capitalism? Tougher blacks taking over the streets? Hardworking Asians taking over American industry and economy? It's a great movie and a very disturbing work.
THE MEDILL SCHOOL IS TRULY IN TURMOIL [July 6]. So many of us have gone into so much debt to be here, only to find that we are not being taught anything that will actually help us get jobs once we graduate. I am a student who is transferring because the dean is too arrogant to listen to or ACT on student concerns about the curriculum. After nearly six months of learning about how to run a newspaper, when I came to the ONE YEAR LONG graduate program to become a broadcaster, I feel that Medill "mis-advertised." It is difficult to even find a posting on the careers Web site for anything other than IMC positions and even if I did want to apply I do not have a video to submit along with my resumé in order to get jobs. The school teaches just enough of everything to graduate people who don't really know how to do anything.
Anonymous Because I would like to Keep MY GRADES UP