Letters to the Editor

“High School Musical” important for all ages

I’m writing in response to an article by Jeremy Gordon about the Disney film “High School Musical” (“The Mouse sells out, kids buy in” Feb. 19). The author asserted that this film was “banal,” “made for children,” and that “liking it means you’re admitting that you have the mind set of a kid.” Well, if that’s the case, then I guess I should bid farewell to college and return to sandboxes and jungle gyms.

Many people are probably unaware that there is a stage version of “High School Musical.” Last year, I directed this production at my own high school as our senior class play. The broad appeal of this show united my class like nothing else ever could. We managed to inspire 60 seniors with no theatrical experience to work together as a community and as an ensemble – people who, like the characters in the show, represented the school’s various “cliques.” Gordon’s implication that men in fraternities should not enjoy musicals epitomizes the very stereotypes that this “banal” show tries to deconstruct. Not only did we unite a cast of actors, cheerleaders, nerds, and class clowns, but the show’s success allowed us to donate thousands of dollars of profit to a local charity in support of a classmate who had died, bringing together the community at large.

The reason that “High School Musical” is so popular with children is that it hits on key issues: The need to belong, the pain of stereotypes and the feeling you get when someone loves you for who you are. These are things that never change, no matter how old you get. Sure, it may not be the most intellectually challenging film out there, but it definitely raises some important issues. If these are the kind of messages we’re sending our youth, I say bring ’em on!

– Jacob WatsonCommunication freshman

Medill no longer stands for the proper ideal

My education as a Medill master’s student was incredible. But when friends ask me for advice about applying to Medill now, my answer is simple: Don’t. Go to Columbia.

Journalism programs such as Medill should represent the ideal. Students will have plenty of time to wade through the ethical muck in the real world. So it was with a great deal of concern that I’ve watched as Dean John Lavine blurred the line between journalism and business.

And unfortunately, Lavine confirmed my worst fears when he might have fabricated quotes in the Medill alumni magazine. Had Lavine acknowledged his mistake, I would have forgiven and moved on.

But he has responded with arrogance and denials. He should resign. Fortunately, David Spett’s dogged reporting proved that good journalism is still being practiced at Medill, with no help, of course, from Lavine.

– Raam WongGraduate Medill ’05