Commentary  Letters

Police fans band together

Re: “Laying down the law” | Commentary | November 24

“So Lonely” is indeed the best of the Police’s oeuvre, as anyone with respectable taste will agree. Thanks for increasing awareness of the insidious oppression of Police fans. The struggle to appreciate earnest, occasionally overproduced rock songs unridiculed can now begin–well, in earnest.

Myles Gaulin U1 English and Psychology

Let’s talk about The Daily, baby

Re: “Addressing the Public Editor…” & “Addressing The Daily’s uniform content…” | Commentary | Dec. 1 & Nov. 20

I applaud Marc Selles’s assessment of The Daily’s content, but am disappointed by the dismissive response that it has received. Stylistic concerns aside, the issue of The Daily’s exclusivity and uniformity of opinion demands further dialogue. Ted Sprague’s letter in the December 1 edition is very troubling, as it seems to suggest that such dialogue will not be forthcoming.

The words “radical,” “progressive,” and indeed “alternative” have come to define an increasingly rigid set of political and social views – a codification that should be evident to a regular reader of this publication, or to any hapless soul who reveals himself or herself to have “conservative” views within the walls of our campus. I am appalled by the single-mindedness that prevails at an institution like ours, where difference of opinion should be viewed as a prime opportunity for conversation and learning, and regret that The Daily has come to reflect it.

To dissect issues and assess the value of different views is the charge of The Daily as a newspaper and as a representative of the University; to propagate a particular set of “marginalized” views as the only reasonable positions (or, much more shockingly, as the only “human” ones), is tantamount to the silencing of intellectual discourse in what should be a forum for just that, and indicates that other opinions are now the victims of marginalization.

The solution to the “prejudice perpetuated by the current mainstream media” that Mr. Sprague so forcefully decries is not the creation of a nearly identical system of intellectual prejudice within the media at McGill. The Daily belongs to all of us, not simply to the massive, overbearing clique of the like-mindedly “alternative.” I hope that the McGill community will not abandon it to the fate that it seems bound for.

Mike Prebil

U1 History

Why do we value the lives of Canadians above others?

Re: “Praying for friends killed in Mumbai” | Commentary | December 1

Let me begin by expressing my horror at the recent violence in Mumbai; opening fire on civilians was truly a heinous act. I read Mr. Holzman’s piece in your previous issue. I cannot convey my sorrow at such senseless loss of life.

However, one rather unique facet of these attacks has captured my interest: its coverage in the Western media. It is fascinating to me that this event, while tragic and appalling, has garnered such interest amongst our beloved broadcasters.

In the last few days of November, the BBC has produced myriad headlining stories detailing the belligerents’ every move. These stories have also portrayed a mutilated city in dire straits; symbols of its previous glory tattered. I challenge these sentiments. I wonder as to the significance of the “historic” Taj Hotel in the life of a slum-dwelling Mumbaiker. With a population near 20-million, Greater Mumbai is an exceedingly huge metropolis. Furthermore, this city is hardly naïve: in 2006, 190 people were killed in train bombings. I believe Mumbai will flourish once more.

In fact, the only reason this tragedy has elicited such a strong response is due to the deaths of Western nationals. My conviction comes from our large ignorance of other major world events. We rarely hear of the 10,000-30,000 Afghans slaughtered this decade; neither of at least 150,000 innocent Iraqis murdered in the name of democracy. There has even been scanty coverage of a sectarian riot that caused over 300 deaths in Nigeria only last week.

So I ask: why do we value the lives of our countrymen above others? Are we not all human beings?

It seems to me that we are not.

Rohith Bhargavan

U2 Microbiology and Immunology

Education isn’t a right, it’s a commodity

Re: “PGSS stabbed us in the back…”

| Commentary | November 24

I read with dismay Ted Sprague’s article about the $10 graduate tuition fee hike. Sprague succumbs to the popular notion that education is a right, not a privilege. Nowhere does it say we have a right to a university education. UN declarations refer to a minimum level of education, and are focused on developing nations. In a first-world country like Canada, education is a commodity available only to those who can afford it.

If you think the government should pay for you, fair enough, but why? What, other than a faulty rights rhetoric, is this based on? Yes, there are societal benefits to an educated public, but maybe we should focus on fixing our primary and secondary education systems first. You don’t need an undergraduate degree. You are just told that you do and you don’t know what else to do with your life. A university education is largely superfluous. It’s a privilege and a bonus.

But some students know what they want. So should they not be funded? Okay, but who should pay for them? Why not have corporations pay? Well, they already do, to an extent, but the same student “activists” who decry moving the financial burden of postsecondary education onto the students themselves refuse to accept this potential solution.

A novel solution would be to make universities elite, not in a financial sense, but academically: raise the entrance requirements and take only the true best and brightest. Let the rest find jobs – a good three year CEGEP program will help you out with that. That way, the government could afford to put more money into education at all levels, they’d be getting a higher quality product, and there would be more money for student services.

Treat your time here as a privilege,

not a right.

John Lofranco

Law II

Why I changed my name to Andy Summers

Re: “Laying down the law” | Commentary | November 24

My dad (Ed) has been an Orlando, Florida support-my-family-with-my-earnings musician since the 1970s, playing popular tunes to tourists in and around my hometown many hotels, bars, lounges, etc. Whatever his disdain for the music he played to bring home the bacon, he played it regardless, because cash is cash. He did, however, like the Police, especially the music of their guitarist Andy Summers. I grew up watching and hearing my dad perform songs with a Stewart Copeland-esque percussive-tilt, and Sting’s vocal range. Listening to the Police for me, now, is like hearing my dad sing to me when I was a little boy. Zachary Shuster’s article (on how the Police are too often derided as lame and how they are actually super-cool) was awesome. Nice job, Zachary. From someone else who cares, thanks a lot. I mean, shit, I’ve even changed my name to Andy Summers.

Andy Summers (White)

U2 Sociology & Geography

(Urban Systems)

In defense of cats, and offense on Mendelson

Re: “McGill centralizing food services” & “Enough with the cats” | News & Commentary | December 1

1) People of earth! Ignore Morton Mendelson’s sugar-coated promises! Recognize that by “centralizing food services” and “making things more efficient” he actually means “unilaterally taking over all campus food providers.” He has made it clear that he does not want to introduce new student-run food services. If centralizing McGill food services actually made it more effiicient, he would have no reason to fear a little healthy competition from students. His dialogue is blatantly anti-student autonomy, though, when he says “We’re not contemplating handing any more locations over to students.” What do you mean handing any more locations to students? You didn’t hand Architecture Café to students, you took it away from students and annexed it under campus food services. And the idea of taking over the SSMU food court is laughable. Students need at least one space where student-run food is a priority.

That said, I’m not sure SSMU actually prioritizes student-run food as much as they say they do, considering the distinctly un-student run nature of Liquid Nutrition, the Shatner food court, Caferama, and the beloved but independent Al-Taib. Just pointing that out.

2) Allison McNeely, I demand that you apologize to the feline population of Montreal for your distinctly anti-cat rhetoric. As someone who will likely end up living in a dark musky basement with only the company of dozens of cats, I resent your implication that limiting the number of cats per household in a certain neighbourhood is not newsworthy. I, for one, was grateful to The McGill Daily for making it clear which neighbourhoods I should boycott. By claiming that cats are not front-page worthy, you marginalize the feline experience.

And more seriously, the overpopulation of stray cats is a serious problem that won’t be solved by limiting the number of cats per household. People, please spay and/or neuter your pets.

Also, I find it laughable that you accuse the article of being a front-page article when the front page of The Daily is clearly reserved for graphics.


Iris Erdile

U3 Education English & History