Letters to the Editor 11/12

Don’t knock a band until you’re in one

If you don’t appreciate good music, then please don’t become a music commentator in the school newspaper. This past Thursday, some probably good-intentioned, but decidedly over-zealous, music critics made some accusations against some very respectable bands, as to being “performers who many think are good but really lack true substance.”

I’m sure you guys are wonderful people and all, but to say that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are just trying to duplicate “Under the Bridge” and that the Dave Matthews Band is no more than a Genesis rip-off and with lyrics “like puddles on blacktop” is, in my opinion, again not to say you guys aren’t decent folk, about as dumb as mud.

I beg you, please go to the upcoming Dave show Dec.10., that is, if you can still get tickets which chances are you won’t, and just listen. Listen to Dave and the guys play a 20 to 30-minute rendition of one of their world-famous top ten hits and then come back and write an editorial about it. I think you might then have to aim your “music’s-worst” gun at some other band.

Or better yet, learn how to play the guitar and practice every day for, let’s say, 20 years and start a band that can sell out every stadium and be ranked the No. 1 grossing touring band in the nation. That way, when all is completely said and done, you will have the right to come back and write an editorial on the worst bands in rock because you’ll know exactly what it takes to be a great rock band.

Steve Carroll is an undeclared freshman.

Media creates more chaos for public

In a democracy, the media plays a pivotal role in keeping the populace informed. But in a consumeristic society, the media has to keep producing news for the consumption of the customers. While the media ensures transparency and accountability in the state policies, sometimes the media becomes the marauder.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, fingers were pointed at several institutions such as the police, CIA, FBI, NSA, the Federal government, Aviation Authority, etc. As Senator John McCain averred, it is truly astonishing that after such a massive failure not a single official has been fired.

Thousands of people have been killed, millions of jobs have been lost and billions of dollars worth of property has been destroyed. To top it all, the INS, several months after the attack, approved the visa applications of the hijackers and mailed them. The Sun Trust Bank opened accounts for Mohammed Atta and other hijackers without even checking their background.

While the government agencies failed miserably in carrying out their duties, the strength of the American democracy was shown by the people on the streets, in the universities and the colleges, as well as by firefighters, policemen, et al. In spite of such a grave provocation, the people of United States kept their poise and prevented what would have been a very volatile situation with people belonging to a particular religion, region, color, etc. being targeted. The people demonstrated what a democratic-pluralistic county is all about, while the government and the security agencies were recovering from the debilitating blow. But, what was the role of the media in the before-mentioned episode?

The television news kept on showing the planes slamming into the World Trade Center towers and Pentagon. It took the wizards in the newsroom weeks to realize the traumatic experience that children and even grown-ups were being subjected to. While the habit of sensationalizing the news is imbedded in the media culture, not a single newspaper, television station or radio station did research on U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan and its ramifications before the Sept. 11 attacks.

While those who were not from the United States were reading several different newspapers, the U.S. populace was happily consuming CNN, NBC, Fox, etc. For 25 years, the U.S. government spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan to drive the erstwhile U.S.S.R military away. Osama bin Laden was a by-product of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Until, the Sept. 11 attacks, no media group was ready to critically evaluate U.S. foreign policy and how it would affect the people of the U.S.

One of the most glaring reasons for the Sept. 11 attacks is the abject failure of the U.S. media. It was basking in its own glory of U.S. consumer ratings and not worrying about real news. Due to the lack of media attention about U.S. foreign policies and what was happening outside the United States, there was no knowledge available to the general public. Hence, the senators and the representatives were not pressured by their constituents to evaluate the government’s foreign policies, security environment, etc.

While it is true that the security agencies failed in preventing the Sept. 11 tragedy, equal blame must fall on the educators, foreign policy experts, defense policy experts and the media for failing to educate the people about the brewing trouble in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other parts of the world.

Thus, the media in the United States is very much like Enron and Worldcom with certain exceptions, but unlike Enron and Worldcom the media will survive. The media never loses, and it is a paradox because if the media gets it right, it wins, and if it gets it wrong, still it wins.

Sudarsan Padmanabhan is a member of the USF department of philosophy.

Generalizations are uncalled for

Did you really print that letter from Matthew Cooke making fun of kids in Hondas? I mean, did someone get made fun of last week and decide to blast kids in their rice-rocket Hondas?

I have a scooter, so I wouldn’t know what Vin Diesel wannabes look like, but come on Mr. Cooke, this is a university, time to be open-minded. That letter could have been about the kids who wear Abercrombie, Old Navy or Gap. Or alternatives with studded belts … it sucks, but there’s conformity and people are gonna look the same.

Finish your degree and get the heck out of Dodge. Stop worrying about everyone else and what they look like. Get some self-esteem while you’re at it. ‘Cause if you had some, you wouldn’t have felt the need to write a letter concerning Eminem and Vin Diesel wannabes.

Tai Truong is a sophomore.