Reckless Rhetoric

Matt Oja

Who says a strong central theme is integral to any good column? I’ve got a few ideas in mind that are worth discussing; none, though, merits its own full column. So bear with me while I ramble this week.Snow removal around these parts really leaves something to be desired. The idea of shoveling or plowing, I think, is to scrape the pavement bare of snow. A sidewalk covered with two inches of slush isn’t any better than a sidewalk with half a foot of fresh snow. Very few people (with the notable exception of “Cooking With” Tom, who puts some serious effort into keeping his sidewalk clean) seem to grasp this idea. I’m not tryin’ to pull a muscle walking around this campus. Maybe those tree-trimmers we’ve seen around campus could be better used elsewhere.Speaking of snow, why did I see a snowmobile flying across Whitnall Field yesterday? And (running the risk of alienating some people … hopefully peers and not professors) do I even need a punchline here? I mean, let’s be serious … snowmobiling? Who does that? Gotta be the same demographic that Pabst Blue Ribbon and NASCAR cater to.Speaking of that type of person, let’s get some reader feedback on an interesting social situation. When a rambunctious, aggressive female accuses you of “talking like a girl” and you respond by saying she sounds like a dude, is it OK for her to get hyped at you? My feeling is that any insults can be returned in similar fashion without any negative repercussions. Evidently some differ on this issue. And when is it appropriate to make fun of someone for hooking up with “that guy/girl?” Again, there are some who seem to think such comments aren’t fair game. Whatever happened to that old eye for an eye adage?Kinda surprised by some (most) of the reactions to last week’s column on the inauguration spending. A few liked it. Some thought it was boring (can’t argue with that). Predictably, but at the same time curiously, a good handful disagreed with me. One reader found fault with my claim that $40 million was spent on the inauguration; seems to me that I stole that number from the January 1 edition of the New York Times. Take it up with them. Moreover, such a complaint makes me think that my argument was over the heads of at least a few. My contention wasn’t just that spending $40 million was a reckless use of funds (and that a smaller sum would have been acceptable). The actual figure here is immaterial to the argument. While I hope I was accurate in my presentation of facts, my opinion remains as follows: any amount of money spent on inauguration ceremonies was too much. Not only was the timing of the expenditure poor, but it’s pretty ridiculous to celebrate winning the presidency when you’re the incumbent. C’mon, W, you’ve been there before – act like you. Winning a second term isn’t like a big life change for you. Throwing that kind of a party for the second go-round as president is kind of like Hakim Warrick dancing on the scorer’s table after the Orangemen win their second national championship in three seasons on April 4 – it’s just a bit unseemly. It’s always cool to have a professor approach me about a column (even with criticism). I like to see that the faculty reads the Maroon-News and is at least somewhat familiar with the student body in an extracurricular sense.