Letters To the Editor

Re: Patrick Berkely’s Jan. 25 article “Worst of the supposed best:”

Before I delve into the topic of my discontent, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Patrick Berkley who has already lost his free will by subscribing to the same philosophy of superiority and cynicism that governs the lives of many professional critics.
That being said, I am sadly driven to state my frustration with this fledgling critic who, blinded by some personal sense of duty to his superfluous art, condemned The Family Guy as a Simpsons rip-off intended only for “stupid kids.” Unfortunately, Mr. Berkley is seriously mistaken. As a member of our beloved critic’s hoi polloi, I am a fan of The Family Guy.
While I will agree with Mr. Berkley on the fact that The Simpsons is a show without equal, I believe that his assessment of the situation is more than slightly myopic. Calling The Family Guy a copy of The Simpsons is a telltale sign of a person who judges without true knowledge – at least Mr. Berkley will be a credit to his profession. In fact, the only similarities between the two shows are that they are both comedic primetime cartoons intended for older audiences.
Beneath the superficial veneer with which Mr. Berkley concerned himself, the true intent for each show becomes apparent. The Simpsons is based on a humor that derives its force from social commentary and literary allusions – both of which combine into a comic vision honed over the past decade. In contrast, The Family Guy relies on a crass satire of today’s society, groundless stereotypes and pure erraticism. The resulting melange of these elements forms a completely different style of humor than that of The Simpsons. In a manner of speaking, one can compare the humor of The Family Guy to that found in Voltaire’s Candide and Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. Both works contain a crude form of satire which, when they were written, was extremely scandalous. Such I believe is the nature of the controversy regarding this harmless cartoon whose primary purpose is simply to force us to laugh at ourselves in an extreme light.
I find the landscape of today’s entertainment particularly distressing. Many people are lulled into the fallacy of believing that critics know more than just their own opinions. This situation is especially problematic as most critics’ beliefs, such as those of Mr. Berkley, are based largely on their own sense of inadequacy: or in this instance, one critic’s inability to find the humor in sometimes-humorless situations. My advice to Mr. Berkley is to learn to laugh at yourself; life will be much more fun.

Matthew Weiss

Re: Patrick Berkely’s Jan. 18 article “The Best of the Best: 2001’s greatest entertainment achievements”

I was saddened to see that the movie Moulin Rouge was not included in Patrick Berkely’s article “The Best of the Best: 2001’s greatest entertainment achievements. The film was a creative risk in its efforts to revitalize the genre of musicals in today’s action based cinema. Director Baz Luhrmann took a standard love story and infused it with comedy, tragedy, drama, and very interesting covers of songs such as Sting’s Roxanne and Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit.
The set for this movie cannot go unmentioned either. The visually stunning spectacle of colors and lights provide the perfect atmosphere for the viewer to completely consume himself in the story of Satine and Christian, brilliantly played by Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The intensity that they brought to the tale of the forbidden lovers pleasantly surprised me. The acting by supporting cast members, such as John Leguizamo, Richard Roxburgh, and Jim Broadbent, complemented Kidman and McGregor’s performances, thus making Moulin Rouge a pleasure to watch. It is my hope that this film is rewarded greatly for the risks that it dared to take. If wins at the Golden Globes for Kidman (best performance by an actress in a motion picture-musical or comedy) and the film (best motion picture-musical or comedy) are any indication, Moulin Rouge has nothing to worry about when the Oscars are awarded in March.

Shani K. Simpson

Thieves strike again; Security guards nowhere
to be found
This is war. I tolerated it the first time to the best extent that I could. I tried to go on with my life, and slowly things went back to normal.
But now, this is just ridiculous. Pathetic. I can’t even express the frustration I have for this school right now.
Our apartment got burglarized again this past Thursday. And while we were there asleep no less. Somebody apparently has confiscated a key to our apartment, walked in and took two of my roommates’ wallets that were lying on the coffee table.
This is the second time we’ve been violated in two months.
Where do I even begin?
How about this for starters: What the hell happened to the security that the school had placed around our apartment building the last time events of this nature happened? True, there was all of one police officer walking around our building maybe a few times after Thanksgiving and during finals. Not much, granted, but I get back this semester and nothing.
How in the world are we supposed to feel safe anymore? We’ve already been locking our door 24/7, practically whenever we take a step outside, and lock all the windows. But now that’s not even good enough if the perpetrator really does have a key to our place now, which it seems that they do. We’ve been told that the University will not even change the locks to our door or allow us to do so without receiving a fine.
It gets worse. I walked into my apartment a couple of weeks ago to find a maintenance worker already in there repairing a window that I didn’t even know was broken in the first place. Nobody else was there and our door was wide open. Now, I know that these people have jobs to do, but there’s a fine line to be crossed when it comes to our rights to privacy. These are NOT the dorms. These are legitimate apartments with a lot of money put into them by students. The University has no right whatsoever to blatantly disregard this fact and have someone enter my apartment while no one is there to fix a damn window. It’s just not right.
And worst of all, I feel like nothing ever gets done and will not be done by our school to remedy this huge problem. Even the statistics as reported to the University of Miami Departments of Public Safety and Security show the trend. There were 66 burglaries on the Coral Gables campus alone in 1998, 48 in 1999, and 34 in 2000. Besides these numbers, you would think the fact that burglaries are the number one crime committed on campus is reason enough to make some kind of change.
I do know that I am to the point where I no longer want to reside in this apartment or on this campus. I officially do not feel safe living here anymore. I can’t leave my apartment anymore without worrying if my belongings will be secure or go to sleep feeling totally sound.
My message is this to my fellow students and apartment residents: If you’re smart, get the hell out while you still can. To those who have already been robbed, then you know it’s a horrible thing. To know that it’s happening again makes me want to leave so quickly my head will spin. I am a victim here and am sick and tired of trying to change what can’t be changed.
It always seems to boil down to money. I know goddamn well that I don’t pay $32,000 a year to stay here and have my stuff get stolen every other week. That is just way too much money for this school to remain inactive about this pressing issue. How far is the nonsense supposed to go before something is done about this?

Derek Bramble is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism and theater