Commentary  Letters

Equality for turtles!

While I applaud Natalie Church for starting the year off right with her scathing criticisms of Engineering Frosh (“Ro-dee-NO,” Commentary, September 6, Page 6), I feel like many problems were left untouched. The author was right to point out some of the big negative points of Frosh, such as how we are celebrating the morally bankrupt James McGill or showing undue pride in our school and respective faculties. However, I don’t think she went far enough in identifying the issues with Engineering Frosh or the various Froshes organized by the other faculties. To begin with, not all the people of the Old West identify with the hetero-normative, binary gender roles used in the article. Therefore, referring to them as “cowboys and cowgirls” is hugely disrespectful. They may prefer to be called cow people, cow folk, or bovine Canadians. I am glad that someone took the Engineers to task for their callousness, but I felt it was an incomplete critique. Beyond the follies of the Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS), the other themes this year were also incredibly offensive to many groups. Management’s “Froshopoly” is hugely distasteful as it made light of the economic hardships many people are going through right now, while simultaneously glorifying the fat cats that are living off of the pain and toil of the 99 per cent. “The Frosh Prince of Bel Arts” reinforces hackneyed racial stereotypes, especially with their irritatingly archetypal character Carlton. Science’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Frosh” is immensely insensitive to the victims of radioactive mutation. Finally, the common practice of cutting sleeves off of Frosh t-shirts is harmful to the skinny or tan challenged among us. We have come a long way in terms of perfect equality and not ever offending anyone, but we have so much further to go.

—Jonathan Carson

U2 History and Political Science.

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Beating the horse

For those who may not have heard about the controversy, the Engineering Frosh this year at McGill University was rodeo themed. I’ll pause while you recover from the shock.

The issue was first brought to my attention by the article “Ro-dee-NO” (Commentary, September 6, Page 6) published in last week’s issue of The McGill Daily, wherein I learned a rodeo themed Frosh “glorifies” people who “committed innumerable atrocities.” Previously, I had been under the impression that a rodeo-themed Frosh was about having fun.

We should stop chasing controversy like crack, and just recognize that these events are in fact not motivated by evil, even if it’s really easy to make them seem as such.

Take the undergraduate Arts Frosh: it was titled “The Frosh Prince of Bel Arts,” and was a spoof of that Will Smith show that everyone pretends to have liked. The opening credits of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air have Will Smith doing petty crime, playing basketball, and getting into a fight. Should we now boycott the Arts faculty for having propagated racial stereotypes? After all, their Frosh website does list language like “yo yo yo.”

And what about the Science frosh? Its theme was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Does this mean the Science faculty is now encouraging its members to pour radioactive waste down their toilet bowls in a bid to create super awesome reptilian crime fighters? That kind of behaviour could cause irreparable damage to our environment!

Having an educated conversation about how to improve Frosh? Sounds good to me. An inflammatory article about the Engineering Frosh’s theme? That’s just beating a dead horse.

—Michael Oberman

U1 History and Political Science

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Average Joes, more than a dodgeball team

Dear Seamus (“A Diversity of Tagtics,” Commentary, September 10, Page 6),

I like art. I studied art, and I appreciate art. However, I think your view on tagging and graffiti is completely out of bounds, and brings forth a whole other slew of issues, personal property being one of them. I am sure that you would not be thrilled to have “public art” on your house or car. I know my father’s office door used to get tagged all of the time. He had to pay to have it painted, out of his own pocket. I think you need to stop looking at everything from the perspective of the so-called “ruling class” and start thinking about the average joe.

—Michaela Hirsh

U2 Finance and Accounting

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