Letters to the Editor

By Letters from Readers

United 93

I have less right than those who lost friends or relatives in any of the 9/11 attacks to speak about this. My legitimacy comes only from my being a resident of a New Jersey town close to Manhattan and being, well, myself.

And I think it is too soon.

Maybe the fact that the movie theater accoutrement, the popcorn, the previews, seemed inappropriate is an indication that deep down, the author of the Maroon article (“Riveting United 93: Too soon—or not soon enough?” 5/02/06) also thinks it is too soon. Maybe I’m just projecting my own feelings onto him.

Pearl Harbor is mentioned. But what of Hotel Rwanda—a movie both more recent in its making and in its actual occurrence. After leaving the theater, I too was disgusted by the concession stand and the bright posters for other movies on the walls. Well, in theory I was disgusted. I was so dazed that I wasn’t really paying attention to anything at all. Were the industry to make only this movie “distinct,” as is suggested in the article, and show it in austere theaters with great ceremony, it would cheapen every other film that deals with similarly horrific events.

Hotel Rwanda also had an educational purpose. It is revolting but true that the Rwandan genocide was a tale that needed to be told. I knew nothing about the horrible slaughter before I saw that film. But United 93—well, we all know about that. We were alive and mostly cognizant that day, and anyone too young to have a vague memory probably doesn’t need such a graphic portrayal of the events.

There is something about this film that seems almost voyeuristic, even though done with the best of intentions. The movie doesn’t sit right with me. Granted, I haven’t seen it, how can I judge…but gut reaction counts for something in my book.

I forget sometimes how it has already been almost five years since September 11th. Not to seem melodramatic, but it took more than a year for me to finally emote about that day. My ability to accept such mass-consumed representations will likely be delayed, as well. I know that the movie was made with support from the families of victims, so I respect the film’s existence. But I don’t want to be transported into that plane and live through it.

Deena P. Heller

Second-year in the College

Activism on campus

I must take exception to some of the statements made in Tuesday’s unsigned editorial “Beyond the Quads.” The unsigned claims that student activists of whatever stripe show little engagement with issues beyond that of the campus. In particular, the unsigned singles out immigration and the NSA as two issues which have not been the subject of student concern.

I find this surprising because my organization petitioned on three occasions against domestic wiretapping winter quarter. Earlier this spring, other members and I donated our phones for a telethon outside Cobb so that students could contact their state senators about the Senate immigration bill.

Given the response we had from students and student groups on these issues and others we’ve worked on in the past, it seems untrue to assert that students only have an interest in “campus-level issues.” Petitions or phone calls might not have the visibility of the marches or protests the unsigned longs for, but they certainly mark a concrete sign of students’ engagement with national issues, as I’m sure my cell phone bill will attest.

At the same time, we’ve also been active on local issues such as the Reynolds Club protests and Illinois sex-ed programs. Neither front is more important than the other; both of them represent a way for us to advance the values our group holds.

I don’t think my group is unique; most groups would have a problem with a strict demarcation between “quad” issues and “national” issues. Engagement with local issues provides a means for students to articulate values and practices that will follow them as they move on to act on larger stages.

Assuming that it’s linked to a set of larger values, involvement of any level should be held in esteem.

Robin Wolfe Scheffler

Third-year in the College