Opinion

Editorials

The UCSD Guardian is published twice a week at the University of California, San Diego. Contents (c)2000. Views expressed herein represent the majority vote of the editorial board, and are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff. Vincent Gragnani, Editor in ChiefBill Burger Managing EditorsJeffrey White, Copy EditorTom Vu, Opinion EditorLauren I. Coartney, News EditorRobert Fulton, Sports EditorDavid Pilz, Photo Editor With the announcement of the certified vote in Florida on Sunday afternoon, Texas Gov. George W. Bush has been unofficially named the president-elect of the United States. This, however, has not stopped Vice President Al Gore from contesting the results of the election on several counts in an attempt to have the decision turned in his favor. The Guardian believes that it would be in the best interest of the Democratic Party if Gore conceded the election now and looked toward the 2004 election. Was Gore cheated? Possibly. Did more people vote for him than Bush? Definitely. Does he, by all rights, deserve to be the next president of the United States? Perhaps. Despite all this, it would be better for Gore’s party if he conceded now. First of all, by conceding, Gore would make the Democrats appear that they have the best interests of the presidency and the country in mind. This would plant a seed in the minds of voters that the Democratic Party is attempting to do away with partisan politics, a problem against which the population claims to be rebelling. With this thought entrenched in their minds, the voters would be much more likely to elect a Democratic president in four years. Second, winning this election is not much of a prize anymore. Whoever does win will be labeled a phony or counterfeit president and will likely not be given the support and power that the office normally earns. After four years of a weak Republican president, the nation will likely vote in a Democrat next election, whereas if Gore did happen to win, he would stifle the candidacies of many qualified Democrats in 2004 and almost ensure that the next president is Republican. At this point, it is almost certain that Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Dick Gephardt are holding out for a Gore concession. A Gore loss would also put Joseph Lieberman back in the Congress for six more years as a senator from Connecticut. In a Senate that will most likely be split 50-50, the loss of Lieberman to the vice presidency could be catastrophic for the Senate Democrats by giving the Republicans the slight majority. Gore may have something to gain by contesting the results in Florida, but the Guardian feels he would be better serving his party if he simply conceded the race and cut his losses. This election is obviously a very disappointing one for the Democratic Party, one that they felt they should win because of the strength of the economy and President Bill Clinton’s two-term legacy. Despite how much it will hurt to lose the election, it is better to forfeit it now then to go on contesting it and further alienate the American people. ...

Untraditional Ways of Celebrating Traditions

“”Aww, I’m sorry,”” was what my friend Joanna said to me when I mentioned to her that I would be spending Thanksgiving weekend by myself here in San Diego instead of going back home to Sacramento. I have done so the past three years and I did it again this year. I usually have lunch or Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s house and then recluse myself in my cell, affectionately called “”my apartment,”” staring at porn – I mean fantasy hockey statistics – on the Internet. This year is entirely different. My entire four-day weekend was spent by myself, up until my roommates’ return Sunday night. No lunch, no dinner. Was I lonely, like a lone coyote baying at the moon in the desert? Not at all – I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude and peace, a much needed change from my hectic life. I can actually say the weekend was productive. I got the rest I needed, caught up on my readings and just plain relaxed. The second response I got was, “”Don’t you miss your parents?”” Well … no, not entirely. After all, I moved down to San Diego for a reason. All in all, this is perhaps the main reason I do not celebrate Thanksgiving the “”traditional”” way: I have no one to celebrate it with. Please, please, do not say “”aww.”” This is, in a way, of my own machinations. As mentioned earlier, I have friends from San Diego who I could join for dinner, or I could go up to the City of Angels. But I decided to stay on my own. “”But what about the tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner with your friends and loved ones?”” you must be asking yourself. If you know me at all, you would understand that I’m not one for traditions. Thanksgiving (which I have started to refer to as Turkey Day) is a time for me to reflect on things. I admit, during my freshman year, staying alone in the dorms got a little boring. But, as the years progressed, I began to value the time I spent with the apartment all to myself. This holiday gave me the opportunity to sit back for a couple of days and reflect on the year: the good things, the bad things and the friends I hold dear. This year in particular, I was able to reconcile some issues and give thanks to some existential being for all the positive things and people I had the privilege of being friends with. Well, perhaps existential being is not the correct term, seeing how I am not religious and do not believe in any god. This leads me to another holiday I do not celebrate, at least not in the traditional sense: Christmas. Yes, that’s correct, call me a heathen, call me a pagan, call me an infidel; I do not celebrate Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be going back home for Christmas break … sorry, I meant winter break. I’ll go back to freezing Sacramento and see my family and friends. And no, I’m not like Charlie Brown: I do not get depressed at the coming of the holidays. While I agree with him that the season has become too market-driven, so has everything else in our society. I would find it odd and rather hypocritical if I did celebrate Christ’s day of birth. I’m not a Christian. I’m not a Catholic. I’m not an anything that celebrates Christmas. And I apologize to my Christian and Catholic friends, but I mean no disrespect; this is simply what I believe. Actually, one can argue that Christmas has, over the centuries, become more of a pagan ritual. Instead of giving gifts in the name of Christ and his glory, many people today give gifts because of some jovial old man named Saint Nick. His chubby cheeks and red-nosed reindeer are plastered everywhere. You name it, he’s probably on it. We’ve raised an icon that sometimes seems to rival that of Christ himself. We’ve become what Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in “”Dogma”” call “”idolaters.”” Man, good thing God has calmed down over the years or there would’ve been another great flood or destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah a long time ago. So why do I not celebrate Christmas, even though it has become less religiously driven? Again, here comes my twisted sense of celebrating tradition. To me, Christmas merely marks the end of a year and the beginning of a new one. Rather than giving gifts, or even receiving them, I prefer to devote my time and energy to expressing to others what they mean to me and to wish them best luck in the new year. I think of it as a transition period from one year to the next. True, this will most likely change when I have a child of my own. She will probably want a Christmas tree and a new hockey stick, since children are generally naive. She’ll probably learn who Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are before she understands who this guy named Jesus Christ was. Then maybe, once she understands this, she’ll come to the same conclusions I have. ...

ELECTORAL Fuzziness

The never-ending controversy in Florida is enough to make a person even more cynical about today’s politics in the United States, if that is possible. Not since 1887, when Congress created an election law regarding voter rights, has the fate of a new American president hinged for so long on a single state. Sky Frostenson/ Guardian Many Americans are oblivious to how our country’s politics work. One would hope that by now, however, they have at least learned that they do not actually vote for their presidents. Their vote is far more indirect. In accordance to our country’s official form of electing presidents, the Electoral College system, Americans vote for other people to vote for their president. In other words, even if a candidate wins the popular vote of the people, he may still lose the election if he loses the electoral vote. Sound stupid? Well, you are not the only one who thinks so. According to a recent article in Newsweek, many have described it as “”a dinosaur that should be retired to a museum,”” “”an appendage to an anachronism”” or “”a train wreck waiting to happen.”” Many prominent politicians are part of this list of Electoral College critics. For instance, New York Senator-elect Hillary Clinton and California Gov. Gray Davis, two politicians who appear to be the front-runners for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, have urged the eradication of the entire system. Throughout America’s history, there have been attempts to reform the Electoral College or abolish it altogether. Today, more than 700 such attempts at reforming the system have been made, most recently in this year’s election. Past presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter have been among the past attempted reformers. Perhaps the biggest drawback of the Electoral College is the fact that a president can be elected even if he does not win the popular vote. Such a characteristic cheapens the notion of a so-called fair democracy, one in which the views of a people are supposedly reflected in the political process, especially one as significant as the election of their president. Ironically, an American president has been elected without winning a majority of the popular vote 15 times. It occurred twice in the case of Bill Clinton; he won only 43 percent and 49 percent of the popular vote in 1992 and 1996, respectively. Put simply, the system is old. In fact, it’s so old that at one time, its primary objective was to give a political edge to slave owners, many of whom, not surprisingly, were members of the Electoral College. The Electoral College was born in a country far different from the one we live in today. Two hundred years ago when the framers created it, they emphatically did not want a president dependent on the legislature. Consequently, they immediately rejected a model reminiscent of England’s parliamentary system which allowed the legislature to pick its own leader as chief executive officer and prime minister. Post-colonial traveling was very difficult, and this made the transfer of information slow and tedious. Adding to this was the fact that no national parties existed, leading the framers to fear that many regional candidates would divide the vote and subsequently skew the election process. Proposals to select presidents by direct national popular election were shot down quickly and deemed impractical for a young nation so large and spread out. Three reasons were given by the framers, according to the testimony of Yale professor Akhil Amar to the House Judiciary Committee in a 1997 hearing on Electoral College reform. First, very few candidates would have truly continental reputations among ordinary citizens. As a result, most Americans would not have enough information to intelligently choose a national figure for president. Second, a president elected by a national popular vote was seen with much suspicion. Many founding fathers felt that a populist presidency was at risk of attracting demagoguery and even dictatorship if one man claimed to be the voice of the American people. Third, the framers believed a national popular election would ruin the delicate balance of power among states. For example, southern voices would count less in a direct national election because slaves were not allowed to vote. In addition, abuses in voting practices could result from a popular election. “”A state could increase its clout by recklessly extending its franchise,”” Amar said. “”For example, if a state let women vote, it could double its weight in a direct national election.”” The framers endorsed an Electoral College system because it allowed a state to get a fixed number of electoral votes no matter how broad or narrow its franchise. Amar claimed the system is painfully outdated. “”I consider the so-called Electoral College a brilliant 18th-century device that cleverly solved a cluster of 18th-century problems,”” Amar said. “”As we approach the 21st century, we confront a different cluster of problems and our constitutional machinery of presidential selection does not look so brilliant.”” None of the reasons the framers had for defending the Electoral College system is relevant today. For one thing, almost all Americans are familiar with the candidates running for the presidency. Even if they are not, today’s advanced communications technology allows all information on a candidate to be virtually a click away. The mass media alone is enough to relay sufficient amounts of information about a candidate, even though it is often biased in nature. With the existence of different political parties, demagoguery or dictatorship are highly unlikely. Finally, the framers’ last argument about abuses in state voting practices is thoroughly obsolete. Today, both African Americans and women are able to vote and are no longer selectively disenfranchised. States do not play as big a part in deciding whether to give the voters a direct voice in choosing electors, nor do they play as significant roles in defining the electorate. The Electoral College suffers from other faults, as well. Over the years, it has tended to over-represent voters in rural states. For instance, in 1988, seven of the least populous jurisdictions in the United States, including the District of Columbia, combined to have the same number of electoral votes as Florida: 21. At the time, however, the combined population of those seven jurisdictions was only one-third the population of Florida. Yet another criticism of this antiquated system is that the electoral votes of each state are awarded solely on a winner-take-all basis, in which case the potential of a third-party or independent candidate to win any electoral votes is pitifully slim. Defenders of the Electoral College system argue that to abolish it would be profoundly dangerous. They say that it would allow presidential candidates to direct their campaign attention solely to those areas with the largest populations. With campaign conduct already under heavy scrutiny, many of them feel the problems would only get worse were the current system revised. My retort to these defenders is really quite simple: Time causes change and America as a nation has followed suit accordingly. All complications which may arise as a result of the abolishment of the Electoral College system should be anticipated and prepared for. After all, everyone knows that any significant social change necessitates an almost equal amount of adjustment. Such is evolution and the nature of transition. Let this year’s mess of an election be proof that America is in dire need of change in its method of selecting its presidents. In times of change, America has followed suit admirably before. I say it’s high time we did so once again. ...

Letters to the Editor

Editor: I am responding to the article “”Hillel Seeks to Buy Vacant UCSD Lot.”” The circumstances surrounding the development of this city-owned space parcel (not a “”UCSD lot””) are far more complex than have been presented in your article. Residents of the La Jolla Highlands neighborhood recognize and respect Hillel’s desire to have its own facility to accommodate the social, religious, cultural and educational needs of its constituency. Opposition is based solely upon the proposed use of this site. This site is zoned single-family residential (R-1) and has been designated “”open space”” or “”landscaped park”” in official planning documents over the past 25 years. Residents purchased their homes here with the expectations that zoning regulations would be upheld. In fact, there is a great deal of controversy concerning the process by which this property is now suddenly available for lease or sale, with priority given to nonprofit organizations. The Hillel organization proposes to build a 10,000 square-foot center on this site. The proposed facility would accommodate hundreds of persons — not just UCSD students — for a variety of social activities and religious services, including meal service for 150 to 200 persons ar a time, at least weekly. The facility would be in use seven days a week, including evenings, weekends and holidays — sugesting a use more compatible within a commercial environment. The increased volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic drawn into the neighborhood by participants accessing the facility would significantly impact the quality of life of its residents due to additional traffic congestion, parking problems, noise and safety issues. Similar Hillel facilities at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and SDSU are not located in residential neighborhoods, but in densely populated student housing areas surrounded by fraternity houses, apartment buildings and commercial establishments. The proposed student center does not conform to zoning regulations for this site and is not a compatible use within a single-family residential neighborhood. Further, institutional development of any kind on this site is not appropriate. There are several possible solutions. First, Hillel could utilize existing facilities. Two synagogues are located in our neighborhood and withing walking distance of UCSD. The Jewish Community Center with its own Judaica library is also located neaer UCSD. Second, UCSD plans to increase student meeting space on campus — with the possibility of an ecumenical center for use by all student/religious groups. Third, other city-owned sites nearby may be available. The full City Council will meet soon to discuss and vote upon this issue. — Linda Smith La Jolla Highlands Homeowners ...

The Revival of Alternative Media is on the Way

To hell with Florida. We all know the real source of chaos, confusion and other horrid games you should not play with politics: the mainstream media. Taking more wrong turns on Nov. 7 than a freshman looking for Roosevelt College (why build a new one when no one can find the last one?), the television, print and brand-spank-them-new Internet journalists successfully eradicated any semblance of clarity in our electoral process. All through that quadruple-take of a night and the weeks since, I stay glued not to CNN or ABC, but PBS and the wonder of real information, http://www.indymedia.org. This site is dedicated to alternative reporting on mainstream and alternative events and uses a vast, grass-roots network of informants to bring breaking news direct to me, always with the proper qualifications as to exactly who verified what and when, and never with Dan Rather cracking wise about motor homes. I’d love to continue this tirade about the abrogation of truth by the Associated Press, but there is a malingering dispenser of misinformation much closer to home that begs my wrath. You’re holding it in your hands. The UCSD Guardian is our very own source for a complete void of reporting accuracy, one that makes the case more than any other for alternative media. Aside from failing to deliver a single accurate report on the Triton Cross Country team this season, the assembled (emphasis on iassi) sages of the Guardian editorial staff last year panned our current A.S. Commissioner of Media, Rami Sharaawy, when he ran for the office he now holds. Talk about electoral turnarounds. Shaarawy, one of several A.S. commissioners cute enough to be cast on a WB sitcom, holds the role within the A.S Council traditionally held by status quo hatchet men. Most of his predecessors were used by the administration, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not, to slash funds and support for various publications such as Voz Fronteriza, the New Indicator, and the California Review. You have never heard of these publications? That is because their existence has been almost obliterated over the years, leaving us with only two prominent student-funded and student-run publications: the Koala and the Muir Quarterly. These two vanguards of drunken hilarity certainly make for good reading on the crapper, and make for better toilet paper than the Center Hall one-ply, but do little else to enhance our student lives. Just because you’re handed issues while twiddling your thumbs in the Price Center does not mean that they’re free. You, me and every other student paid for them, at somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 apiece. This money is part of your student activity fees, and it goes to the ASUCSD, and then they give it out. In the case of alternative media, they used to give a lot more of it out, until along came one particularly smarmy commissioner who slashed budgets every which way, but wisely, and then founded (wait for it) the Koala. Funny old world, innit? Flashing forward to the more recent past, we find Sharaawy getting dissed by the Guardian as working every way but competently. This is as near to the truth as York is to Warren. Sharaawy doesn’t suck. He is proving to be an intelligent and dedicated advocate for alternative media, and those two qualities put him aways ahead of most of the pundits, myself excluded, who work for this rag. Sharaawy is now supporting more than 10 alternative media projects, all coming to a table near you, about half of which are very recent developments. Keep an eye out for The Patriot, Free, Al-Qalam, Gernika, Temper, Pinaytation, Truffalla Tree, New Atlantis, Gach Noi, and the old favorites and just recently revived Voz, the New Indicator, and The Disorientation manual. Oh, and the Koala and Muir Quarterly still publish, too. I could attempt a summary of these varied and valuable projects, but it’s better that they speak for themselves. If you are interested in these projects, or a similar one of your own, get in touch with Sharaawy by cruising to the third floor of the Price Center, where all A.S. offices are located. The quarters to come should bring an explosion of new and exciting publications. Keep your eyes peeled, and in the mean time, turn off the tube and try indymedia.org. You might be surprised at how much truth really is out there. ...

A Mockery of America's Status

Even though most Americans and students are reluctant about voting, I’m glad I voted. I am especially content that I voted this time because I feel like I made a difference in the state of our powerful union. For all of you who did not vote, I hope you feel that next time you really should do it. You can make a significant difference. Voting is the way we do things. The process of voting has discrepancies, but it is highly reliable in determining the will of the people. Voting is one of the only privileges a simple citizen has. We should be exercising that privilege at all times. The important issue at hand here is the presidency of the United States. I voted for the next commander in chief of the United States armed forces. I give a lot of respect to the office of the president. I consider the United States to be a modern Roman Empire. Voting for the next president is like voting for the next Caesar. For example, I voted for the guy who will have the power to nuke any country he pleases. I voted for the single guy who can veto any legislative bill that hundreds of Congressmen put together. I had a say in the quality and standards of life for the next four years. I voted for the guy who can use the Oval Office for sexual pleasure. I voted for the guy who gets to own Air Force One and whom Harrison Ford portrayed. I voted for the most powerful man in the world. Who ever expected this election crap to happen? I thought we had a systematic, flawless process of electing a president. The election process that we have become accustomed to seems to have come to a standstill. None of us ever expected a close race to be determined by courts or by overseas absentee ballots. Who ever thought that the people determining the next president would be the people who were fed up with the country and had moved away? We are all used to a race being determined by a huge sum of votes. But look what happened: We still do not know who the next president is. The presidential transition process needs to be credible, and at this moment it is not as credible as before. In the eyes of foreign nations, our election process is not as worthy as it was before. Credibility in political affairs is like the value of the dollar. We want both to be considered the world standard. During the last couple of days, other nations such as Russia and Cuba have offered to bring diplomats over to our country to ensure the election process in the United States is fairly conducted. They have some nerve to dare to set foot into the American democratic process. The British have ostracized the American democratic process. British comedians suggest jokingly that the U.S. Declaration of Independence be repealed and that the British should appoint a foreign minister of affairs in America. This is bad. These invitations and jokes have highlighted how the American democratic system is now less credible than before. We are supposed to be the advocators of a fair democracy. In the eyes of the people of other nations, however, our democracy is not as perfect as before because of this election. The good things: Other countries are not sanctioning America. Americans are not in a civil war over the issue. The bad things: Russia and Cuba think our democracy is less credible, and can use that in their favor in diplomatic relations. The British are also making a mockery of American politics. I hope the transition to the next president preserves American credibility. I hope Americans remain the incontested world power for many years to come. I am proud of the democratic process. I am proud of voting, but I am worried about our credibility. ...

The Lesser of two evils

It’s time for me to set the record straight. With any luck, the age-old debate will finally be put to rest. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Drinkers are more annoying than smokers. Sky Frostenson/ Guardian To understand why I feel the way I do is to understand that while growing up, I have known many drinkers. Whether they have been close friends, or even family members who would get a little tipsy now and then, drinkers have been a staple of my life. In fact, I recall a picture of myself as a toddler proudly holding a Bud in my tiny hands. I have also shared the company of plenty a smokers, most notably my father, who could not shake the habit until my family finally made him quit after nearly 20 years. Being Korean, it’s a wonder I did not pick up smoking the minute I hit puberty. Alas, I can’t say the same for some of my peers, many of whom light up as often as they eat a meal. Needless to say, I’ve had my share of alcohol and cigarettes. Easy access is truly an understatement when it comes to finding the stuff on campus. While no clear-cut distinction exists between drinkers and smokers — and indeed many people do both — a smoker is still more tolerable than a drinker. No doubt, students are shaking their heads right now, either in disbelief or disgust. They are probably wondering how I could conclude that drinkers are the worse of the two groups. Before I continue my little diatribe, however, I must admit that even smokers can be a tad annoying in their own right. Understand that it’s all a matter of preference. With smokers, all someone really has to deal with is the stench. Then again, if you are like me and the smell of smoke doesn’t send you sprinting in the other direction, smoking really isn’t all that annoying. Aside from all the havoc second-hand smoke wreaks on a person’s body, the annoyance level of a smoker continues to be significantly lower than that of a drinker. Honestly, some people actually like the smell, and understandably so. For many, it’s a very soothing smell, not unlike the rich aroma of a wood-burning fire. Smokers tend to be a mellow bunch. Much like their pot-smoking cousins, they choose to chat openly about their problems and ponder deep, philosophical questions. In other words, a smoker usually still has his mind intact. Even though they may still be “”escaping”” their problems with each puff, they are still there, mentally at least. Not surprisingly, they tend to be a more thoughtful, contemplative crowd, less inclined to act like morons and annoy somebody in the process. I can recall many times I’ve found myself in a crowd of smokers. I remember the calmness of the mood in the circle. The vibe was good. Sure, their frequent spitting and coughing got to me after a while, but that was a minor distraction. The point is that everyone was pretty real, which is more than I can say for most people who get wasted. We shared laughs and had a good time. I am not advocating smoking, you see. Few would argue that it isn’t a bad habit. I am simply saying that compared to most obnoxious drinkers I have known in my day, smokers are a much more tolerable crowd. I feel it necessary to clarify my argument a bit, so as not to confuse our loyal readers. When I say I find drinkers annoying, I am referring to a specific type of drinker. I’m not referring to the drinker who has a couple of drinks to unwind every now and then. That type tends to be mellow and cool, almost on par with the most bearable smokers. Instead, I’m talking about the kind who cannot hold their liquor and periodically end up vomiting chunks over a railing at the end of a party. What exactly makes these sorts of drinkers so very annoying? For starters, they have a tendency to get very loud. Losing all inhibitions is to be expected, but many take it to the extreme. Often, sexual energy takes charge of a drinker’s entire being, and before you know it, there’s a greasy drunk hunched over your lap trying to straddle you and lick your forehead. Drinking can be very fun, and I realize this. Losing control isn’t, however. Unfortunately, too many drinkers often do the latter. Bliss for them is chugging shot after shot of Bacardi 151 until they lose count. Maybe losing his mind occasionally is fun for the person doing it, but it is rarely so for everyone else witnessing it. We laugh at drunken people because — let’s face it — they’re hilarious. Few things are as entertaining as incoherent and goofy drunks. Comedy, though, only goes so far. After a while, their wild ways are no longer as funny and soon become downright irritating. Particularly striking is when they are so smashed that they’re whining about how bad they feel. Before you know it, they’re hugging a toilet, wishing to God something would come up. That reminds me of a party I was at not too long ago. Alcohol was flowing and the mood was festive. I could barely walk five feet without encountering another happy drunk venting about his problems or just acting silly. Being buzzed myself, I didn’t mind the inebriated ones around me. No sooner had I started to enjoy the ambiance of the party, however, than did their over-the-top behavior start to really bug me. The drinkers started to get rowdy and idiotic. They became insincere up to the point where I wasn’t sure if they were really that stupid or if it was just the alcohol talking. Comments were thrown around, such as, “”I am so wasted right now, let’s see how many more shots `til I pass out!”” It was this sort of self-proclaiming, self-aggrandizing behavior that I found particularly vexatious. It’s about as annoying as a group of guys bragging about who’s got a bigger package or who’s slept with the most girls. Many drinkers become pretentious and feel the need to declare how cool they are by the number of shots they can down in one sitting. Let’s face it, some people are annoying enough sober. But if you give them a few drinks, forget it. They become unbearable. Smokers smell and drinkers can be fake. Pick your complaint. As for myself, I have no trouble breathing a little smoke. The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “”Drunkenness is simply voluntary insanity.”” Show me one truly sane person, and I’ll show you a completely honest world. From time to time, a little insanity is a marvelous thing. Drinking can provide the necessary fuel for a perfectly mindless experience, one fraught with fun and merriment. Crossing the line by acting fake and brainless is when it becomes old. Some smokers may be fake, but at least it isn’t the cigarette that’s causing it. I’ve said it twice and I’ll say it again: Drinkers are more annoying than smokers. ...

Letters to the Editor

UCSD Students Deserve An Enjoyable Social Atmosphere Editor, Hmmm…some say UCSD life needs more spice? I agree entirely. It’s sad to see students who chose to come here for college ridicule the endlessly dead weekends and lack of student unity. UCSD and pride are two words that simply cannot go together for such reasons. We have no football team, no reason to paint our faces and show sufficient pride or even develop a rivalry. The administration simply does not understand this: there are two sports which college students go crazy over, football and basketball. Sure it was nice to move up to Division II, but football is what this campus needs. Additionally, as a result of skyrocketing rent fees in La Jolla, UCSD is becoming more of a commuter school. Now, why would such commuters even find any such reason to make the long drive back to campus and hang out? To go to the library? Oh please. However, the library is pretty much one of the few things open on campus late at night. There simply is nothing to do here on the weekends, no big football match-up to look forward to, no frat row to hit up, nothing to do even within walking distance of campus. What I have seen around my dorms is that students find it more beneficial to go home for the weekends than enjoy their college experience away from their parents. Are there any fun traditions here at UCSD (besides studying) that have been thus far established? I admit that the all-campus dance at the beginning of the year was cool, but why not more of such all-campus events? US News and World report ranks UCSD lower than I believe it deserves because of its low alumni contribution. What was it 200th in the nation? The reason for this is because alumni have no programs, i.e. athletics, to give back to. There has been nothing truly extraordinary about my college “”experience”” here at UCSD up to now. What will I remember thus far of the “”cultural mecca”” that is UCSD? Oppressive administration, one hell of a lot of studying, and a lack of student unity and pride that desperately needs improving. — Daniel Alyeshmerni UCSD Student ...

Fanmail Makes For An Interesting Read

At first I thought it was a joke. I mean, who really has the time to write a two-page, single-spaced letter when she could be shaving her armpits instead? This thought plagued my mind as I read over the fascinating, if not unintelligible, letter from an anonymous “”fan.”” Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I’m ungrateful to my loyal readers. I just wish “”fan”” mail would really mean “”fan”” mail, instead of a diatribe against the current American political infrastructure. When my editor first called me to tell me I had a package to pick up, I dropped everything and ran to my car. As I sped toward UCSD, images of adoring letters from gorgeous, intelligent, single men danced in my head. I could picture it in my head: “”Dear Divya,”” it would begin, “”your prose is sweet music to my unworthy ears. Please be mine now and forever,”” or, “”Dear Divya: Enclosed is a first-class ticket for a flight on Air France. Meet me on the top of the Eiffel Towel. Love, Pierre (a.k.a. handsome and wealthy exchange student).”” As I walked into the office, my heart throbbing and my head ringing, I was filled with gleeful anticipation. However, my joy quickly turned into confusion after I opened a thick manila envelope and found, to my chagrin, documents on science and abortion instead of flowery poetry. I couldn’t believe it. Here was my first fan mail and it was a disappointment! I realized the “”fan”” letter may not actually have been from an admirer at all when I saw the line “”Your writing could have been seen as humorous with a little more work/polish on it.”” Call me hairy and an idiot, but not funny? That’s a direct stab to my heart. Worse, instead of commenting on my article, the author encouraged me to watch “”CSPAN for a year or two”” in order to “”become an expert on the real issues.”” Sorry, dear reader, but I don’t have cable, so that’s an impossibility. Besides, aren’t pointless articles more enjoyable than suffering through boring congressional speeches? At least the author, who is obviously an intelligent person, had good intentions. After a lengthy discussion on everything from Napoleon to abortion, the author finally got to the good part: me. I am sure he or she was being considerate when stating, “”Keep some of your paranoia.”” it will protect you from something worse “”trying to become a syrupy goody two-shoes,”” but it sounded like something Ted Kaczynski would say. Anyway, I’m sure my parents would be horrified if I got drunk in TJ, so I think I have to stay on the straight path, however boring it may be. (Besides, they pay for my hair removal.) Perhaps my favorite line was, “”You are insecure because you need seasoning like a good soup.”” Of course I’m insecure. If you were a hairy, dramatic 18-year-old girl who had never kissed a boy and was failing your classes, I doubt you would be extremely chipper. Call me a brat, but when a reader informs you that “”the best way to become a logical person is not to study philosophy, religion or courses in logic,”” you might be a tad perplexed too. Additionally, when someone says “”Don’t buy any books (except a good dictionary, anatomy and physiology textbook and other good reference books),”” she is basically stating that great works of literature are meaningless. I’m sure the literature and history departments would have a field day over that quote. Frankly, I can’t remember anything particularly meaningful or life-changing occurring when I opened up “”Webster’s Dictionary”” to look up the word “”pernicious”” (no offense to dictionary lovers). The point is that the one time I hoped to get an adoring “”fan”” letter, I got an interesting but not exactly understandable letter instead. Throwing in “”Ophra … is a beautiful although fat woman”” didn’t exactly make anything clearer. Anyway, whoever you are, I forgive you this indiscretion. However, the next time you have this much time on your hands, I suggest a good waxing experience instead. ...