LETTERS

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May 25, 2007

Letters to the Editor

RBIM review was unfair

I am writing in response to the “Dancers Change for the Better, But Show Stagnates from Lack of Diversity” article featured in the May 22 issue of the Maroon. Disappointment doesn’t come close to my reaction to the misrepresenting article: maybe astounded, enraged, and quite frankly confused might be better.

There are numerous factual errors in the article, not only about the organization but about the show itself. First, RBIM’s mission statement is based on three components of diversity: diversity in dance skill, dance style, and ethnicity, not as stated, “Life is a Stage...Dance”, and the company was founded in the fall of 2003, not 2004. Second, the organization does not “drag dancers” away from styles they are familiar with, but rather provides dancers the opportunity to explore different forms of dance. Further, the theme, or rather, title of the show “Change is Gonna Come” had absolutely nothing to do with experimenting with dancers stepping outside of their comfort zones. Did the writer make this up? Thirdly, the “belly dancing to the jazzy ‘God Moving Over the Face of the Water’” manages to reference three pieces while attempting to describe the tribal belly dance piece. If you didn’t understand from watching the piece that it was a tribal form of belly dance, it was clearly spelled out in the program and was by no means jazzy. Not to mention the music referenced was used for the ballet piece, making me question if the writer even saw the show. Fourth, the unlikely pairing between rock and tap is actually the most likely pairing, especially in a college setting—has this writer ever experienced dance of all genres? And let’s not forget about the title, which references a “lack of diversity.” Excuse me if I am wrong, but jazz, African, ballet, salsa, belly dance, tap, line dance, lyrical, hip-hop, modern, and Caribbean certainly constitutes diversity in my book.

Most importantly, if the writer of the article wanted to make a shout-out to his friends, he could have bought them flowers for their performance, but writing an article in a school newspaper is absolutely unprofessional. His focus on the two dancers, with whom he is close friends, is disappointing and unwarranted, not to mention how it shows a lack of research and effort put into the article. Critiquing the show based on the performance of one’s friends is misrepresentative and wholly one-sided.

As a director for three years running I am probably the most critical of the company and could pinpoint many weaknesses and strengths. Furthermore I welcome outside criticism because I believe it is the only way to recognize flaws and weaknesses and improve from year to year. But with that said, inaccurate and biased accounts by no means constitute a constructive and professional critique. This article was nothing more than poorly written journalistic scribble.

Alida Marie Lujan

Director, RBIM

Romney’s no conservative

Matt Barnum’s article supporting Mitt Romney (“Romney’s Not Genuine, But He Gets My Vote”) in the May 18 issue of the Maroon is uninformed and contradictory to the viewpoint of anyone who is a genuine libertarian or traditional conservative. In fact, I don’t see any reason why Barnum bothers to call himself a libertarian while betraying every libertarian principle in favor of a Bob Dole–esque “pragmatic candidate” without a moment’s hesitation. Maybe Barnum forgot President Bush ran on a platform of responsible spending and limited foreign intervention before taking the oath of office and doing the exact opposite—all in the name of pragmatism. A Democratic president has never racked up as much debt as our current one, yet Bush is supposedly a conservative. Anyone who genuinely considers himself a conservative should ask himself, “What’s the difference between Romney (or any ‘pragmatic conservative’ for that matter) and Hilary Clinton?” Gun control, government spending, civil rights, etc.—re you really willing to sacrifice all these issues because you think he might cut taxes or he’s really pro-life but hiding this position to attract more voters? Ron Paul is the only genuine conservative in the running and if he doesn’t get the nomination, I won’t be voting on election day. I’ll gladly hand the presidency to the Democrats because then Republicans will at least pretend to be conservatives.

Ge An Zhu

Wang wrong on Coke controversy

James Wang casually assumes in his Viewpoints piece on the Coke controversy (“Capitalism, Choice Work—Even in Colombia,” 5/22/07) that the kinds of "choice" available to a University of Chicago math-econ-stat major are similar in some relevant way to the kinds of "choice" available to a worker at a Coke plant in Colombia; as if to choose between a terrible job on a bottling line and prostitution or picking coca leaves were very much like the choice between McKinsey's and Morgan Stanley or Lazard. I make my decisions about bank jobs based on the "packages," "perks," and "workplace positives" my prospective employers offer me. Life is very different at the very bottom. In large part, this is because of the unions which reshaped the normative landscape upon which American capitalism must operate, bringing us, through violent clashes with management and strife at the polls, such "perks" as the abolition of child labor, the eight-hour day, the five-day week, and workers' compensation. Unions are not, like workplace gyms, quasi-salary benefits; they are political instruments in the struggle to establish the conditions for a society which offers its workers more than the prospect of unremitting exploitation. But leave his cheerleading aside, Wang hasn't even bothered to think in the simplest way about his topic before mechanically applying what he's been taught in his classes. Coke bottling plants aren't, by the nature of the product, internationally mobile (as he straightforwardly assumes). Nor is pressure on Coca-Cola in the U.S. direct economic pressure on Colombian bottlers—bottling is franchised. The anti-Coke campaign is in fact a campaign designed and waged in perfect accordance with the orthodox economic theory to which Wang subscribes—it appeals only to our ethics and mobilizes only our dollars. If consumer choice means anything at all, it means that we may prefer not to drink a certain soda—remember, at issue is an experimentally indistinguishable (though to my palate slightly better than the alternative) cola-flavored fizzy sweet—when that means subsidizing a corporate entity which employs, at some stage of production, labor practices we find reprehensible. Such campaigns have worked in the past to materially change the conditions of sweatshop laborers; there is no reason to think they will not work in the future. Errors and faults in reasoning aside, the slightest acquaintance with history, the slightest sympathy for those who live in conditions we find unimaginable, would have sufficed to keep Wang's piece from the light of day. Myopic and parochial, it is an emblem of everything that is wrong with his most expensive of educations.

Max Gasner

Class of 2007

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