Letters to the Editor: Protestor Rhetoric Leaves Something to be Desired

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Wednesday afternoon, I was shocked to discover many frightening truths revealed at the rally for some cause on Sproul Plaza. I was laughing too hard to really find out what the cause was, but I did discover that $6 billion dollars had been spent to step on cardboard boxes in some metaphorical way, a serious misallocation of resources by any count. I also learned that when action taken against the Palestinians is justified in the name of peace, that "this is not peace, this is rhetoric... this is public relations."

I am grateful I had the opportunity to hear the rhetorical public relations speech condemning American rhetorical public relations speaking. I did think the mindless sheep-like repetition of "Apartheid" to the cry of some person calling for definitions was entirely unnecessary, what with the readily available dictionaries in any public or university library.

Justin Azadivar

Berkeley student

Gay Television

MTV and Showtime are planning to launch a new gay cable channel. I suppose, as a gay man, I should be overjoyed. But I'm not. It's not that I'm against a gay channel in theory. But in the big picture, I'm not certain it's what we really need right now. It's been nearly two years since I came out. And if asked, I'm honest about who I am.

But, being gay does not mean I want to isolate myself, or allow my sexuality to completely define who I am. I don't go to a "gay church." I've never seen an episode of Showtime's "Queer As Folk." I don't even own a rainbow flag. I'm certainly not opposed to these icons of gay culture. But I do believe these-and other interest-driven endeavors-can serve as tools of isolation.

When I first read about the new gay TV channel, it made me think of other ways in which our society isolates other minorities: Lifetime, the cable channel for women, and Sunday mornings, the most racially segregated time of the week. That can mean missed opportunities to see how "the other half" lives.

A number of heterosexuals have been brave enough to tune into "Will & Grace," the Emmy Award-winning sitcom now into its fourth season. It has become a jewel among NBC's "Must-See TV" Thursday night lineup. I wonder whether some of those heterosexual viewers, before their exposure to that series, were somewhat homophobic and have softened a little because of the show's positive portrayal of our lives. If "Will & Grace" were on the new "gay channel," I doubt seriously that many heterosexuals would be watching.

I know a lot of gays who only go to gay bars, worship at gay churches, socialize with gay friends, and watch gay-themed shows. At the same time, they're screaming for equal rights.

Gays, and any other minorities for that matter, should receive equal play. But like it or not, that comes with proving ourselves. Minorities gain equal rights by proving to the majority that our similarities far outweigh our differences.

Only a few years ago, Ellen DeGeneres was removed from ABC for coming out on her show. Now, we have "Will & Grace" and "Queer As Folk," and Ellen is back on the air for a second season with a CBS sitcom where she again plays a lesbian. Look around-mainstream society is slowly opening its arms and welcoming us in.

That has a lot to do with us making them feel comfortable enough to do so. It has a lot to do with including ourselves in their everyday life without compromising who we are, and without isolating ourselves.

Miles Daniels

Wilmington, N.C.

Out of Context

I worked with Matteen Mokalla last year when he was an ASUC senator, and he consistently supported internal reform proposals that I helped author, including separation of powers, rational spending of student fees, and making ASUC documents more accessible to students. He also supported focusing the ASUC on student issues, and less on political problems outside of Berkeley. Anyone that knows Matteen understands the quotations reported were taken out of context during a difficult time ("Internal Politics of APPLE Party May Incite Changes Prior To ASUC Elections," Feb. 6).

Joseph Henchman

UC Berkeley student

Student Regents

In regards to your editorial about the tendency for governors to appoint heavy campaign donors to the UC Board of Regents ("To Whom is the Governor Handing UC's Future?" Feb. 5), regardless of their lack of background in higher education, I would like to point out that the only current regent with an advanced degree in education is the student regent, Tracy Davis from UCLA. And when current student regent designate Dexter Ligot-Gordon, a Berkeley undergraduate from Vallejo, becomes the official student regent in July, I bet he will be the only regent with extensive experience in community organizing and youth support programs, combined with substantial experience in formulating policy on admission and enrollment.

In addition, since the student regent is selected by students (more precisely, students present the entire board with three finalists to choose from), he or she comes to the board without any political indebtedness to the Governor. Clearly the student regent brings more than just a "student perspective" to the UC Board of Regents.

Hal Reynolds

UC Berkeley student affairs officer

ASUC's Important Role

I would like to respond to a very minimalistic view of ASUC promulgated by one Bret Heilig ("Feeding the Many Mouths of ASUC Interns," Feb. 5). ASUC, the nation's sole independent student government, was founded on the exact opposite principle-the principle of students organizing to provide events and services for each other in the face of a university that solely focused on the classroom.

The issue should not be that ASUC, like any corporation, is spending money on food in an open manner to those we don't pay (unlike the university). Yes, we should be conscientious about spending, but there are greater things on the horizon, and encouraging those who volunteer to face them is a necessity.

The real issue should be how effective ASUC is in promoting social and intellectual community and student life. The real issue is how effective we are in making a school that receives over $13,000 a year (including state support) accountable to its students and the people of California. Improving student services, building campus community, and reforming tenuring and resource allocation to be based on how teaching and programs support undergraduate education, mentoring and student research, should be the issues of the day. The students deserve leadership on these issues, not the opposite.

Tony Falcone

ASUC senator


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