The Terrorists Have Won

Anne Benjaminson is a former Daily Californian Editor in Chief. Respond at [email protected].

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He's 26. He never graduated from college. He competes in a sport that makes you question the relevance of the Olympics. Yet somehow Jonny Moseley has been deemed worthy to speak at UC Berkeley's convocation, following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Madeline Albright, Janet Reno and Terry McMillan.

Has our university really sunk this low? Rather than earning acclaim for breaking barriers or pursuing justice, our honored speaker this year is best known for a "360 degree mute grab," and is often referred to as "Big Air." According to his Web site, his "one-liners" should make him a popular speaker on any occasion. That's fine and good, were this high school career day. But this is Convocation. And it's an embarrassment.

Are we just a big Mountain Dew commercial? I'd rather see Moseley head butt a goat than listen to whatever "wisdom" he has to offer. I'm sure it far surpasses that of National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, Stanford's speaker.

If we wanted an Olympian so badly, why didn't we get one who went here? There are plenty of medal winners-in real sports-on campus or just graduated who would likely do it for free.

The people responsible for this think they can deflect the disgust I'm sure other students are feeling by dredging up ol' Sept. 11. You see, they think we should have someone, err, noncontroversial this year.

This is an affront to our intelligence on many levels. Most fundamentally, it implies that we should avoid disagreeing with each other. Oh, I see, so maybe I should stop voting. Or taking the other side in a classroom discussion. Heck, when people protest, I should tell them to stop expressing their views because it might offend someone. Even if I am pushing this a little too far, couldn't we have found a better, yet noncontroversial, person? Why not invite the families of people killed on Sept. 11? Some firefighters?

Does this really imply that the world is afraid of Bezerkeley? As I recall, Reno's speech went off without a hitch last year. Short of Ariel Sharon, there must be some random semi-famous person out there with something to say who's not afraid to come here. And if there isn't, maybe we need to reevaluate the image we give off to the greater world.

Thank God I'm not graduating this year. Will Moseley say anything to make me remember Berkeley as the nation's best public university? Is this how four years of a fantastic education are supposed to climax? It seems pretty shallow to me, and the signs on campus indicate that I'm not the only one. Then again, at this rate, I can probably look forward to Christina Aguilera as my speaker next year. At least she can sing.


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