Letters To The Editor

Borat’s jokes aim at others

In his Tuesday column, Alec Davis claims that Sacha Baron Cohen is laughing at himself in his “Borat” movie and urges people generally and politicians specifically to follow his model. Cohen, however, never laughs at himself, never makes fun of Jews (thankfully), but aims at the anti-Semitism of his interviewees. In fact, the entire movie makes fun of other people: feminists, rodeo spectators, frat boys, Pentecostals, etc.

I love much of Cohen’s work and I enjoyed large parts of the movie, yet I am uncomfortable with turning Cohen into a model. Some of his victims are clearly deserving, but in many cases he makes fun of people who are, well, different. Take the Pentecostal service he visits. The churchgoers welcome a stranger and include him in their prayers – why do they deserve ridicule?

I’m a European atheist, so Pentecostalism certainly seems a bit strange to me, but I always thought the idea of liberalism was to accept differences. Unfortunately, laughing at others has become somewhat of a fad, especially among U.S. liberals. It hasn’t turned out to be such a great political strategy. Recently, conservatives have followed suit. They’re even worse at it: Both the “macaca” incident and Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Michael J. Fox were attempts to make fun of political opponents.

Davis argues that politicians should learn from “Borat.” I think we have seen enough of ridiculing the other side and calling it stupid. I prefer politicians to take their opponents, and themselves, quite seriously.

– Sebastian KarcherThird-year political science Ph.D. student

Dems offer more of the same

Thursday’s Daily editorial mused, “The Democrats won. Now what?” Asking “so what?” might have been a more astute query. If the rhetoric around this last campaign cycle is any indication, there’s no empirical reason to expect anything but more of the same. As the editorial points out, Democrats have criticized Bush’s handling of Iraq and not the merits of the occupation itself. A Democratic majority only means that fresh ideas will be included in the debate of how best to control Iraq, which Bush announced Thursday he’s open to considering. Pick your imperialism: red or blue.

But more than just Baghdad, a Democratic majority bodes no substantive shift whatsoever on foreign policy: military funding for the continued occupation of Palestinian land; a get-tough policy on Latin America; a constant bandying about of military intervention in Iran (led by our own Sen. Barack Obama).

Nor does a Democratic majority suggest an appreciable shift in major domestic policies. Universal healthcare is not on the agenda; a border wall and other draconian anti-immigrant policies still are; the war on drugs will continue putting more poor minorities in prison; electoral reform and an end to corporate influence of politics probably isn’t in the near future.

As great as it is to see Rick “the Frothy Mixture” Santorum bumped from office, it’s important that partisan revelry doesn’t get in the way of organizing against both players in what’s bound to be a bummer of a 110th Congress.

– Nick BurtMedill seniorNU Campus Greens

Laptop service has problems

I could not disagree more with Emily Hinkens’ angry, wrongheaded letter (“ResCons, get over changes to tech support service”).

I have never experienced the problems with ResCons that Hinkens mentioned. Until this year, when the ResCons were phased out, I received excellent service in my room at all times of the day. But I’ve already had scheduling problems with the new system, considering I have a full schedule of classes and multiple jobs.

No one wants to pick up a laptop and carry it across campus when they could just receive support in their room. It’s clear the university just wanted to cut costs. Did you know that drop-in service was offered last year in addition to the in-room support that’s been cut for cost reasons?

I don’t know about you, Emily, but I also need my daily nap and ample time to build up my armies of night elves and gnomes, not to mention to attend five classes and two jobs. So when the university cuts a valuable student service because of costs, don’t justify it by bashing ResCons.

– Tatiana RostovtsevaSESP sophomore