Letters To The Editor

Keating’s column more laughable than Evans’

I used to think that Monday columnist Tony Evans was the undisputed king of Forum page comedy. But now it seems that the chuckle crown has been snatched away from him by none other than Friday columnist Elizabeth Keating!

Evans’ most recent column, a description of a lonely nerd who falls in love with a girl who sits next to him in class and who fantasizes about making love to his supposed kindred soul, did elicit from me several hearty chortles, but – let’s be honest here, Tony – the joke was perhaps a bit obvious and broad, and we’ve all seen it done before on TV and in the funny pages.

Keating’s response column (“Indiscreet joke insults all women,” Jan. 26), however, was an original and rip-roaringly hilarious piece of biting, vicious satire! In it, she appropriated Evans’ column as the perfect springboard to launch her scathing attack on Northwestern’s small-but-surly “overly sensitive” community.

All reasonable NU students likely believe that there is no way Evans’ silly, self-deprecating column could possibly scandalize anyone, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Northwestern is home to a number of students and administrators who possess the uncanny ability to be offended by just about anything, and to complain about said offense as loudly and publicly as possible.

Keating’s column does a brilliant job exposing these people for the miserable, bitter, whiny cranks they are. In fact, her barbs are so subtle in their pointedness that the column at first may not seem like a satire at all. But a closer reading reveals just how deft Keating is at parodying the ridiculousness of NU’s take-offense brigade.

Note the impossibly vague passages she quotes from Northwestern’s sexual harassment policy – “unwelcome references to various parts of the body!” – or the way she manages to equate Tony’s column with “sexual abuse” via an awkward skewering of his headline. This is funny, brilliantly subversive stuff, folks.

So thank you, Elizabeth, for reminding us that put-upon PC whiners still exist at NU. Thank you for reminding us that some things are just too silly to get offended by. Thank you for reminding us that using a grave issue such as sexual abuse to attack a petty newspaper humor column is an appalling misappropriation of a serious matter and an insult to people who really do suffer at the hands of such abuse. But most of all, Elizabeth, thanks for the laughs!

– Jim WagnerWeinberg ’05Former Daily columnist

Obama’s charisma alone won’t win the presidency

I had the great honor of meeting Sen. Barack Obama in the summer of 2004. Till this day, I still recall his friendliness and compassion. But one thing I always find puzzling is that during his last few years in the Senate, there has not been even a single milestone accomplishment from him. One question I always want to ask a die-hard Obama fan is, “Can you tell me one thing he has accomplished in the Senate?”

I fully understand that to many people, Obama represents something fresh to U.S. politics, a field that has been largely dominated by WASP traditions. But freshness alone does not make a great president. A commander-in-chief’s top priority is getting the job done. Obama has not yet displayed his capabilities in this area.

On the other hand, other potential candidates have far better track records in handling difficult domestic and international issues. Sen. Hillary Clinton spent eight years in the White House and witnessed firsthand the responsibilities of a president. In addition, she has tremendous political connections and worldwide credibility.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney was chief executive officer of one of the largest consulting and private equity firms in the world. He also won a landslide victory in the 2002 gubernatorial election as a conservative Republican in Massachusetts, a center of Democratic radiation. Furthermore, Romney successfully organized and managed the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Possible third-party candidate New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is a self-made billionaire, who in less than 20 years has built an enormous empire in such fields as finance, technology and media. In addition, Bloomberg has successfully run New York City since 2001 by applying his skills from the private sector.

Even Sen. John McCain has a depth of political experience that enables him to unite interest groups of dramatically different agendas and objectives. Among these candidates, Clinton is a woman, Romney is Mormon and Bloomberg is Jewish, all of whom to a certain degree represent the underrepresented minorities in the US.

After all, the presidential election should not be and is not a popularity contest. Being president means dealing with extremely complex and tough issues globally and domestically on a daily basis. Though I have great respect and admiration for Obama personally, I have to say that up until now he has not fully shown his abilities in leading this country.

– Haimu SunWeinberg senior