Letters

For what cause, O man, chargest thou me thy daily complaint? - Boethius

February 1990; page 14; Volume 1, No. 4
Polemicist

Editor:

Inspired and emboldened by your Decembers "chastisement," I have embarked on a rigorous daily regimen of Cunningham harassment. On Dec. 12, I sent him a Christmas card in which I politely explained my motives, but the harassments themselves are anything but polite.

Fellow students, Cunningham harassment is a serious business, not to be taken lightly. Every night before I close my eyes, I ask myself, "Have I harassed Cunningham today?" and if, after searching my heart of hearts, the answer is "no," I drag myself out of bed - no matter how late it is, no matter how drunk I am - and make that call. 328-2285. Last night I asked him how much he and his wife would charge to massage me while wearing a penguin costume. (This is actually not an original idea: it is from the book Pranks put out by Re-search magazine - an invaluable resource for any subversive.)

My fellow students, a Cunningham harasser must above all else be merciless. It is easy to feel sorry for the guy when you hear his tired "Hello?", easy to falter and hang up. Just think about the lines you stood in, your mega-classes, think about Balcones and Sematech, think about bombs and missiles, and BLURT OUT that absurdity!

And, my fellow students, we need imagination. There are only so many times that Domino's will deliver an unwanted pizza with extra anchovies to that address, only so many times the taxi companies will send their drivers out to wait and honk in front of 1106 Kennan Road. Doubtless he will soon change his phone number. We need to invent new strategies, new tactics, day by day.

And finally, we must be relentless. Cunningham harassment must be performed daily, by as many students as possible, if we are to meet with success. Never lose sight of our goal - his resignation, and subsequent replacement with a president who cares about students and teachers, not military research.

A. Student

 

Editor:

The level of writing, thinking and purpose in your journal has, in my mind been very high. I contest neither your facts nor your conclusions, and applaud your clear presentation of both. However, being a stickler for detail, I must point our how incongruous the "Fuck George Bush" and the "TWAT" ads are to the implicit goal of your paper. Polemicist is an alternative to other sources, I take it, for the quality of its discourse - not only for the subjects it addresses, but also for the way it addresses them. An ad hominem remark, however, is an ad hominem remark, whether made by Bush to Ortega ("that little man"), or by you to Bush. "Fuck George Bush" is a statement of approximate sophistication of "Beat the hell out of OU" or "A&M sucks." This mentality Polemicist attempts to distance itself from in Vol. 1, no. 3. The contiguity of the ad to the colophon leads one to conclude that it was meant as an editorial joke. Whether joke or paid ad, it conflicts seriously with the tone of your paper.

Likewise the acronym "TWAT," which is about as clever a one as any other fifth-grade retentive might come up with. Call me old fashioned, but I don't think waving one's genitals (symbolically or not) is a powerful statement, either positively or negatively, for either sex. I realize you have no editorial control over The Woman's Alternative Times or their choice of acronyms. You might, however, to spare your readers the inanities they perhaps open your paper to escape, refer in the future to The Women's Alternative Times in its long form.

Sincerely,
Miles Mathis

The editors respond:

Mr. Mathis wasn't the only person to register a complaint about the "Fuck George Bush" ad. In fact, we noted an astonishing similarity between Mr. Mathis' letter and the letters of many others who complained - it contained no money, whereas Polemicist was paid $40 to print the ad. We understand the need to maintain our credibility, but, to pervert Marx, a journal must have funding if it is to struggle.

As for the use of the acronym TWAT, we believe that if more folks were less fearful of their sexuality, even celebrated it, then our society would be a much healthier and safer place for everyone. Whether you think folks should be "waving their genitals," surely that's better than denying they exist. Polemicist will never shy away from using the acronym of our sister publication - TWAT - but on the question of George Bush we will make a compromise. For the cost of a mere $40 insurance policy, we'll promise never to do it again.