Commentary  Letters: Words from Herring herds; frat boy tact

Get beyond blind partisan


Re: “Pro-Obama students pack into Gerts for election coverage” | News | Nov. 6

While cheering on your candidate is fun, and while I was happy that the election turned out as it did, I feel it necessary to point out that strict adherence to party politics is really abhorrent.

The democratic senator from North Carolina was just predicted to win. Why is there cheering all around me? I am frankly sick of these blind loyalties – it is much akin to religious sects. Stop believing in people just because they put a D or R in front of their name. Start believing in individuals for what they bring to the table, regardless of affiliation. This applies to non-Americans as well. Pay attention to how people stand, don’t get too hyped up, and VOTE. Thanks.

Steven Ahern

U3 Biomedical Sciences

The Herring’s letter policy

Re: “Did you read my article Ezra?” and “Rich-boy Rupert gets his first letter!” | Commentary | Nov. 6

I see that two of The Red Herring’s staff writers, Rupert Common and Ezra Black, have received complaints for articles they wrote for The Daily. I hope this explains why we don’t have a letters section.

David Groves

U3 Anthropology

Editor-in-Chief of The Red Herring

Lessons on Vancouver and causation

Re: “Rich-boy Rupert gets his first letter!” | Commentary | Nov. 6

Dear Victoria,

Your letter indicates a poor reading of my article. You’re blind to its tone and missed several important details.

If you recall, I lived with my sister, a part-time social worker for the downtown East Side. We had many discussions on the subject of homelessness, and I learned a great deal from her.

You reacted strongly to my calling the neighbourhood lower class, and prefer to label it as “lower middle class.” Perhaps I was wrong to call it poor, as the area was by no means dilapidated, but these labels don’t really matter.

In relation the other areas of Vancouver’s lower mainland, this neighbourhood is lower class, and its laundromats indicate that the majority of the area’s population can’t afford their own machines. I doubt you can find an apartment in these so-called “ritzier” areas of Montreal for $320, which is what I paid in East Van. And what do you mean exactly by “ritzy?” I would be interested to know what areas of Montreal are – in your esteemed opinion – ritzy, so that I could immediately object to your claims and instead call them middle-to-upper income-working-class bourgeois.

Finally, I doubt that people’s attitudes are “the reason why the down town is so ghettoized.” Well, there was that one time when I was walking down Commercial Dr. and said, “Isn’t downtown so ghettoized,” and then a drug addict immediately appeared out of thin air and stole copper piping from a women’s shelter. Even if attitudes correlate to the condition of the area, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. But I guess you will learn that in U1 Science.

Rupert Common

U3 English Literature

What’s wrong with frat boys?

Is there not a more solemn way to distribute poppies on campus than the braying frat boys at the crossroads? Assaulting passers-by opposite the Holocaust commemoration over the past couple days was surreal and obnoxious.

Adam Hodge

U4 Mechanical Engineering

First nations self-governance is tricky

Re: “First Nations’ rights violated by Canada’s refusal to ratify UN treaty” | News | Nov. 6

So Canada, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand are the only countries that didn’t sign the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People? Could it be a coincidence that these are also four of the only countries that have colonized minority indigenous populations?

It’s a bit rich and self-righteous for an international body consisting mainly of states in completely different paradigms than us – many of whom are responsible for the situation we’re trying to fix – to think they can solve this issue.

I have every respect for international law, but kudos to Canada for ignoring legislation crafted in such an illegitimate manner. Our aboriginals do deserve self-government, but this is a tricky issue. Some things to consider are: some self-government exists already, and what form does self-determination take? There are many aboriginal nations, are we talking about a new state?

In any case, it is clear that our native peoples deserve more humane, less paternalistic treatment, but ultimately the effective solution will be home-grown, not imposed by foreign diplomats with nothing more than a theoretical knowledge of the situation.

Mookie Kideckel

U1 Political Science

Don’t get a Rogers phone plan!

I have been a Rogers customer since September 2006, having entered into a three-year contract with that company. I moved to Edmonton for the summer of 2008, and was advised to change to a local Edmonton number for that duration. When I tried to change back to a Montreal number in August, I was told my old plan was no longer available, and I could take another $25 plan instead. I did.

I use my phone to call my family in Edmonton, and I did so freely considering the 1,000 weeknight and weekend minutes in my new plan. I was unpleasantly surprised to find I had been billed in excess of an extra $130 for doing so. Apparently, my plan does not cover long-distance charges, contradicting what I was told over the phone by a Rogers representative while switching in August.

Having learned this, I tried to switch to their (new, I am told) $25 student plan with My10, but was told it meant a new three-year period.

As someone who has had occasion to use telephone services in India and the Emirates, I find Canadian cellular rates overpriced to begin with, and for a lower quality of service, too. Do they really have to add misinformation and obfuscation to that? I shall be cancelling my Rogers account as soon as feasible.

I suggest other victims of this crass corporation do the same. If you are someone who hasn’t a phone yet, go for a convenient card rather than sign off your liberty to an opaque, dishonest, and inconsiderate organization.

I don’t grudge them making a profit off my subscription – it’s literally their business. It’s the cloak-and-dagger and bonded-labour attitude that annoys me. The Ministry of Industry apparently took an interest in SMS rates earlier this year. Perhaps it is time for them to scrutinize the industry as a whole.

Manosij Majumdar

U2 Chemical Engineering

More letters were received than could be printed, they’ll appear soon. Send your non-hateful letters to