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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (June 12, 1984)
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The question is at once annoyingly simple and
agonizingly complex, and some would say a little
silly: WTiy are people such boobs?
In their own ways, Albert Einstein, Voltaire and
the Beetles have asked essentially the same question.
Einstein: "Against every miraculous human endeavor
there are a million mediocre minds." ,
Voltaire: "Common sense is not so common."
Even the Beatles sung about the fool on the hill"
For centuries, men have puzzled over the role of
the boob. After all, with so many around, they must
have a function. They do. In recent years it has
become painfully apparent that the role of the boob
in American society is to elect the next president.
It has also become increasingly apparent that to
be elected, a candidate must possess the nebulous
ability to win a large group of voters who, let's face it,
haven't the slightest idea what the issues are and
frankly couldn't care less. In other words, a success
ful presidential candidate must be able to get "the
Oh, now just hold on, it's not my intention to
offend the sensibilities of the conscientious voters,,
all 50 of you. It is my intention to point out an
alarming and dangerous trend in America.
What, exactly, is the idiot vote? It's a large and
growing segment of the voting public. It cuts across
economic, social and political lines; it knows no
party, no ideology, no credo; it is not bound by race
or sex and it can't be measured by any poll.
President Reagan swept into office because of the
idiot vote. Jimmy Carter got it in 1976 and John
Kennedy got it in 1 960. It's also the main reason why
Walter Mondale cant relax at the Democratic Nation
al Convention despite currently having enough
delegates to claim the nomination on the first vote.
Gary Hart has idiot vote appeal, Mondale does
not. That's not to say that Hart and his supporters
are idipts. Far from it. But Hart, Reagan, Carter and
Kennedy all possess(ed) qualities that allow(ed)
them to attract votes from people who don't really
know them or what they stand (stood) for. Hart is
young and rugged, Reagan is a charmer and Kennedy
was a little of both. Carter had an infectious smile.
V'' M J -""7 ff;l
Idiot voters vote on personality, on the way a
candidate says something rather than what he says.
They vote on the hair he has on the top of his head
rather than the brains he has inside of it. You could
call them casual voters, you could call them in
different voters. You know what I call them.
Not surprisingly, the idiot vote has been molded
by the idiot box. Television has proven once again
that the quick visual fix is more important than a
true understanding, that style wins over substance.
Today, a candidate's ability to handle himself in a
commercial is more important than his ability to
handle himself in a crisis.
With the influence of television leading the way, a
strange and dangerous metamorphosis has turned
Americans from the bourgeoisie into the booboisie.
That is, at least in our voting skills, we are progressing
backward at record speed: We are evolving into a
nation of apathetic boob3 while our very demo
cracy hangs in the balance.
In each election enough knowledgeable people
vote to make it a horse race. But it Is the large block
of idiot votes that picks the winner. In a tense
nuclear age, we can no longer afford the luxury of an
idiot vote. Think about it, then vote.
Still, most ofthe idiots won't get the message. Why
are people such boobs? Ultimately, Oscar Wilde, the
English playrightf may have come up with the best
answer. "I sometimes think that God, in creating
man; overestimated his ability."
New Culture Center
a top-priority need
As the university heads into a new
summer session and gears up for
summer activities, some not-so-new
issues still need to be re-examined.
At this time in 1932, a task force
was formed to study the relocation
of the Culture Center and it pre
sented its recommendations to the
adrninJstratkn. This task force recom
mended that the center, currently
at 16th and Y streets, be moved to
the Terrace Hall Annex. This pro
posal was rejected- As we near the
two-year anniversary ofthe recom
mendation, simple observation
would tell us that no progress has
Upon deeper observation of the
situation, it seems that what is at
issue is not only a building. The cul
ture center issue, together with other
issues that have arisen during the
years within the university system,
signals a lack of concern for some
segments of the student population..
Departments that are sensitive to
the needs of students of color, and
in which students are considered
mere than a face and a number, are
being replaced with tergsr depart
ments whose focus b so broad that
the student of color will once again
be lost in a sea of white faces. And
the Culture Center; which once
served as a positive symbol of inter
action between blacks, Native Ameri
cans and Chicano students, and the
university as a whole, is being left to
fall down without a prospective re
placement. The 10-year struggle for a new
building has masked the underlying
issues. The battle has been waged
for so long that, like in many lengt hy
fights, the adversaries may have lost
sight of what the fight is all about. It
appears that this is the strategy of
the administration, to drag the issue
out so long until there are not stu
dents on campus who remember
what is at issue.
The building was designated as a
Culture Center in the 1970s at the
request of black, Native American
and Chicano students. These stu
dents made tangible for the major
ity population an ideal which the
building and the continuing strug
gle for a new one signify. We are not
white students, and do not wish to
be considered so; we have a cultural
heritage which is unique: we are
forced to deal with the majority cul
ture everyday. However, since we
spend time and more importantly,
money on this campus, we also
k want a representation of ourselves.
'The administration's action to
date in effect say that they ref use to
recognize that anyone non-white
Lack of interest threatens
continuance of black studies
For people who bother to watch the
news and who have, from time to time,
heard about a black studies controv
ersy at UNO, the issue is not as shock
ing as the media and those involved
have made it out to be. Even as the NU
Board of Regents prepare to render a
"final decision" on the mattei this week
end, there are some behind the scenes
Like most black studies departments
around the country, UNO's also was
born out ofthe tumult and turmoil of
the student revolts ofthe 1960s. From
that point on, black studies became a
part of the l)NO curriculum, offering
courses ranging from black history to
the black experience in the social
However, unlike most new curricula,
black studies never really got the
chance to develop itself to its fullest
potential. From the late 70s on, the
regents continually pressured the de
partment to become defunct, using as
their rationale the fact that "we have
budgetary problems." This meant that
whenever there was some kind of fin
ancial crisis, and whenever courses
were to be cut, black studies would be
the first on the chopping board. Until
recently, these attacks were at the very
least bi-annual and it finally got to the
point where something had to be done.
Julien Lafontant, chairman of the
department for the last seven years,
suggested that the department be
come a "program." If such a change
wsj made, there would not be the con
tinual pressure to slice classes or fac
ulty. Further, those faculty members
now teaching would be re-assigned to
their traditional departments and
when proposed cuts came, black stu
dies would be safely nestled in tradi-
This was an excellent idea for sev
eral reasons. Such a move would let
black studies live much longer at UNO
than if it remained as a department.
And, by becoming a program, black
studies could work out its enrollment
problems and build for a new future.
After all, one of the primary justifica
tions for cutting the department was
that not enough students had enrolled
This was a sound argument, but the
basis of it was very discriminatory.
First of all, black studies courses are
not jequired. Therefore, there is no
mandate for students to enroll in such
courses. Secondly, counselors do not
suggest black studies courses to stu
dents who are more interested in com
puters and business than in culture
and black people.
At a regents meeting earlier this
year, the National Association for Ad
vancement of Colored Pjeople had
threatened to write letters to prospec
tive UNL athletes telling them to boy
cott the NU system if black studies
were not left alone at NU. Fearful and
somewhat spineless, the regents duped
black leadership into thinking that
they would leave the department alone.
However, at that meeting, Chancellor
Del Weber's last words were ".fcr now."
- It was at this time that I approached
community leadership and implored
them not to trust the regents. It was at
this time that I tried to explain Lafon
tant's idea, and offered up mere than
10 pages of counter-suggestions to go
along with the proposed program idea.
Now the board will meet again to
"decide the issue," although the issues
were supposedly decided earlier this
year. The athletes have now been re
cruited, the leadership Quieted, and
now, once again, it's business cs usual.
The regents will vote on this issue
Saturday. If dont work out, it is
safe to say that thb time around, black
people will have only themselves to
blame. , -
Tuesday. Juno 1Z 19B4
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