Shallow and Mindless
I grew up in the ’70s, before AIDS changed everything. Maggie’s exposé (April 18 cover story: “In P.B. the Hotter You Are the Easier It Is Not to Care”) of hot booze-addled babes sexing it up with Marines in P.B. was rather shocking. It describes the shallow, mindless attitude that I used to have when I was a young, total idiot like her and her “friends.”
Perhaps the Marine with PTSD was right, and the truth hurts. Good luck making it to 22! I hope the younger readers don’t see Maggie as a role model. I was waiting for redemption, but it didn’t come. Can’t wait for part two: “Maggie Enters Rehab.”
— Brad, via email
What It Was Like to Be Black
Re “In P.B. the Hotter You Are the Easier It Is Not to Care.”
By turning 21, drunk P.B. girl can now “frolic through the strip and enter any building” she wants. On page 25 the author writes, “I felt that this must’ve been what it was like to be black after the Civil Rights Movement.” Yeah, I bet it was just like that.
What an idiot.
— Blake Finlay, via email
I suppose Maggie’s story (“In P.B. the Hotter You Are the Easier It Is Not to Care”) is a day-in-the-life snapshot of one woman’s experience.
I have precious memories of getting f—ked up beyond all recognition. Some of us didn’t wait until college. I was 21 when I first got sober, and after reading Maggie’s story while waiting for my laundry to finish on the corner of Cass and Loring, I find myself hoping she is one of the lucky ones who didn’t cross the invisible line from rebellion to addiction. And I hope her story was left open to interpretation for good reason.
When I fill in the blanks from my life, I see the cycle of despair caused by my alcoholic use of drugs and my addiction to alcohol. I see the frustrating repetition of the same madness justified by thoughts like, “It’ll be different this time.” Most excruciating of all, I write this after getting the news of yet another family friend choosing to end his journey. Where did all the fun go?
The good news is a lot of us have chosen recovery over the losing proposition of pursuing a party that ended years ago. I’m all for people getting their drink on. I even think the world would be a better place if everyone had a chance to trip out just once. My point is this: the social stigma around addiction prevents a lot of people from asking for help. These are good, loving people — many of whom know how to treat a woman with respect, by the way.
I’ll give Maggie the benefit of the doubt and stop short of implying that she wrote her article to glorify the party scene. Her passing reference to alcoholics is suspect, however, and betrays a far-flung societal ignorance regarding the wide range of addictions which constitute a public health epidemic. How many accidental, mental-health-related, and disease-caused deaths are a result of alcoholism? When we can be honest about this, the numbers are staggering. And when another beer ad on TV advises me to “drink responsibly,” I turn the damn thing off and pray for all of us.
— Clint Kruger, via email
Once again Joe Deegan has produced a penetrating, finely written investigation into an issue not covered by the mainstream media in his March 28 story, “SDSU’s Growing Contempt for Undergrads.”
The central point, that administrators are coming to dominate the university for their own benefit and with their own priorities, applies not just to SDSU but to most colleges. The same phenomenon can be seen at the local community colleges where the number of administrators (with their disproportionate salaries) are increasing while the number of faculty and students are declining. The misappropriation of priorities and public monies can be seen most clearly in the building boom going on at most of the local colleges. This, while course offerings have declined 21% statewide, 60% for summer school.
San Diego City College has not offered summer classes for several years while constructing three new multimillion-dollar buildings. And they spare little expense in wasteful, excessive furnishings and equipment. They build buildings and add new programs at the same time they have neither the staff nor the resources to properly manage their existing programs.
The response to this criticism is a typical bureaucratic rationalization that funds for building is bond money, not a part of the operating budget. Well, of course, it’s still taxpayer money and it’s still obscenely wasteful.
One wonders if taxpayers would be so quick to approve bond issues if they understood how their money was so misused.
— David Gauss, Imperial Beach
Your articles with negativity toward Escondido and the council aren’t appreciated by the citizens in Escondido. An activist trying to divide this town is not a civic leader (City Lights: “The Ruling White Minority,” April 4).
Name Withheld, via snail mail
UC vs. CSU
Regarding the April 18 letter, “Zero-Based Budgeting.”
The letter’s complaint that SDSU is showing contempt for undergrads by adopting a “publish or parish (sic)” attitude among its faculty may not be a misspelling. The author seems to adopt the belief common among American colonists that the purpose of their universities was to prepare students to become ministers. Although, he seems to believe that the purpose of the university now is to train people to occupy a wider range of useful jobs.
Quite apart from the question of why public funds instead of corporate funds should be used to benefit corporations by training their workers, the purpose of education is not to train students to get jobs. Education is meant to benefit both individuals and society by explaining what our current understanding of reality is (i.e., the cause and effect relationship between events), so that the students can improve upon that understanding and correct our current errors. Good jobs may result, but as a side effect of the basic purpose.
This is why both the increase [= research] and diffusion [= teaching] of knowledge among mankind are as inseparable in a university as both practice and playing real games are for a major league baseball team. After all, why would anyone want to join a team that proclaimed it only spent time in spring training, and never played a real game?
Much of the organizational fuzziness in California’s higher education system is caused by the state supporting two separate university systems — the UC system and the CSU system. The reasons for two separate systems (invented by Clark Kerr to aggrandize the UC system by reserving research to it and assigning teaching to a “state college” system ) are irrational. Kerr tried to deny the CSU system the very raison d’etre of a university. This is why the 50-year-old justification for two separate systems has failed. Luckily, the CSU system has successfully overcome this handicap to become a true university system.
California can save a lot of money by amalgamating its two separate university systems into one single system. (The only downside would be, I am certain, that the resulting unified bureaucracy would somehow be larger than the sum of the current two separate ones.)
— J. F. Dolan, Tierrasanta