The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, April 25, 1996, Page 5, Image 5

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    Meaningful message
Kaczynski’sprofound ideasshouldn’t be ignored
Theodore Kaczynski made a
mistake. What exactly that mistake
was isn’t clear yet.
He’s being jailed as the
Unabomber suspect. The current
charge against him is that of
possessing bombmaking materials.
Between the press and the
compliance of any number of
anonymous government sources,
Kaczynski is likely to be charged in
the “bombing spree that killed three
people and injured 23 since 1978.”
Let’s suppose Kaczynski is the
If he is the Unabomber, he is a
terrorist. He created terror in order
to bring about political change.
The question is: Does violence
dispel the credence of the ideas that
prompt it?
I think not.
Obviously, killing people is
unacceptable regardless of motive.
History provides examples, a fair
number, of people with huge ideas
and noble intentions who were able
to change the social or political
climate of their times without
engaging in violence. Gandhi, for
I won’t accept the supposition
that Kaczynski is simply an out-of
control madman. His method might
be flawed, but that doesn’t mean his
message is.
And the Unabomber has a
message he desperately wants
society to heed.
I think it would be a mistake to
write him off as a lunatic. There’s
got to be something more. This is a
man of obvious depth.
This man sits, motionless, in his
cell and reads books about ancient
history. He writes when he’s not
reading. This man is productive —
some might even call him an active
By any contemporary measure of
intelligence, Kaczynski is brilliant.
He’s a Harvard graduate who
received a Ph.D. from the University
of Michigan.
Kelly Johnson
“Here’s a man who
cared deeply about the
principles he tried to
convey to society. So
deeply that he was
willing to kill to gain a
captive audience. ”
A man with such credentials
surely had the earning potential to
afford many worldly comforts.
However, Kaczynski had little in the
way of possessions. It seems he
collected ideas, not things.
A maxim goes, “Nothing is to be
feared, only to be understood.”
People appear to be fascinated
with Kaczynski’s simple lifestyle.
At his meager mountain home, he
ate porcupine and grew his own
vegetables. He had no outhouse and
didn’t bother much with personal
As basal as his life habits in the
Montana wilderness were,
Kaczynski’s intellectual appetite
was both complex and seemingly
The New York Times reported
that Kaczynski shared his knowl
edge about an ancient Japanese tribe
with his barber. The tribe’s mem
bers did not cut their hair. This man
who found it curious that people of
another time and place wouldn’t
visit barbers has been called a
terrorist. The label of terrorist
immediately draws energy from the
fears of society. The term is clear,
but I’m not sure Kaczynski fits the
conventional definition.
There’s a much larger picture to
behold. A key to gaining a clear
vision of Kaczynski’s intentions lays
in the Unabomber Manifesto.
Here’s a man who cared deeply
about the principles he tried to
convey to society. So deeply that he
was willing to kill to gain a captive
This is intriguing. For better or
worse, I want to know about the
philosophy that drives him.
He acted not for financial gain or
personal fame. He acted out of
conviction. That’s quite different
than the violence one might expect
from a madman.
He’s a selfless killer with a
message for the masses.
He’s a challenge to our sense of
fairplay. He’s problematic because
people don’t want to believe that
anything worthwhile can come from
killing, or in spite of killing.
Let’s be clear. Kaczynski has not
been convicted of any crimes.
But if he is convicted, he’ll be
put away.
Let the man sit in a cell for his
wrong-doing; but don’t let his ideas
be boxed and buried as far-fetched
The responsible response to this
exhibition of well-intentioned, but
brutal, activism is to ask clear
questions and seek out the answers.
If Kaczynski is the Unabomber,
he made the mistake of killing. If
he’s not, he made the mistake of
living outside of society and
thinking deeply.
In any case, don’t let his mistakes
stop you from thinking about his
Johnson Is a senior English and
news-editorial major and a Dally
Nebraskan columnist.
Final thoughts
Graduation brings realizations, reflections
As I look back on five years of
college, I realize a couple of things.
1) People with my IQ should
NOT take science classes.
2) I haven’t learned much of
anything useful here, except how to
be on time and how to turn in
assignments and how to pass tests
on a minimal amount of sleep.
3) The single best time in my life
was when some friends and I glued
a dildo to the license plate of a car.
I swear we did.
4) I am going to miss college just
as France missed Germany after
World War II.
But rather than bore you with
another “Fare-Thee-Well, I’m
graduating column,” here is my last
selection of Random Thoughts.
— My last book buy-back. I
spent around $150 in January, and I
received $26 in return. There’s
nothing like getting $1 or sometimes
even $2 per book.
— Six people is not a protest, it’s
a volleyball team. Well, at least they
are standing up for what they
believe in, even if they do sound
ridiculous in interviews.
— From the “But I can act”
Department: Ricki Lake and Shirley
McLaine together? In one movie?
Who’s the wise ass who thought up
this one?
— So why is it that the national
media picked on Lawrence Phillips
on draft day, even after his inter
view? For some reason, I hope he
does well. If he turns his life around
and contributes to the St. Louis
community, I hope he has a long,
successful career.
— My question remains, why rag
on Phillips, who has some sense of
“The single best time in
my life was when some
friends and I glued a
dildo to the license plate
of a car. I swear we did. ”
humility when scum like Christian
Peter can go in the draft? All I can
say is that New England made a
good move dumping him.
— Monday was Earth day, in
case you missed it. I know I did.
Can’t we keep the environment
clean and skip the carnival every
year? Didn’t some people have a
better way to spend Monday
— Why is it every time I open a
national news magazine 1 find an ad
about toenail fungus?
— Madonna is pregnant. Think
she’ll release a video of the birth?
At least the child will get firsthand
knowledge of how to combat STDs.
— Can’t we just give the NBA
title to the Bulls now and save
ourselves from two months of
waiting and blowout playoff games? ,
— I read the other day in Time
that well-cooked steak kills. So let
me get this straight. If I eat it raw, I
might get Mad Cow Disease. If I
cook it too much, I might die. Is it
just me, or do you think someone
might have put the chicken fanners
up to these studies?
— I also read that dark beer is
healthy for you. Possible new
Guinness slogan: “With Our Beer,
You’re In The Clear”?
— It’s evangelist time on campus
again!!! What in the world are these
men thinking? “Think I’ll go down
to campus, insult some heathens,
preach a little Old Testament and
head to Bruegger’s for a bagel.”
— OK, don’t get me wrong, but
if people don’t like America, why
do they stay? I’m not saying that if
you don’t agree with everything in
mainstream society or you think
America has its down points, you
should leave. What I am saying is
that if I was from, oh, say Finland
for instance, and I basically resented
American culture and the standard
of living in this country, I think I
would head back home.
— The whole Berringer thing
makes me just want to ask why. It
reaffirms for me the notion that the
world isn’t fair.
Well, it’s over. Hopefully you all
have been entertained, and maybe I
even made you think once in awhile.
Even though I want out of here like
no one but another graduating senior
would believe, I have enjoyed it,
and in the end am pretty damn glad I
showed up.
Like Dennis Miller used to say,
“I am outta here.”
Barke Is a graduating English major
aad a Dally Nebraskan colamnlst
(Bleep) nAOL service
infuriates executive
In our bustling world of
consumerism, people often have
complaints. They phone big
companies to express these
gripes. Then they talk to people
whose job it is to listen and
maybe do something.
Ideally, everyone involved
would be polite and reasonable.
But that isn’t realistic. Those
making the complaints can Ixj
angry and abusive. And those
who must listen can have nerves
that are frayed from listening to
too many grievances.
Then we can have conflict —
two strangers on opposite ends of
a distant phone hookup.
Something like this happened
when Dennis P. L’Heureux, a
corporate executive who lives in
Rockford, 111., had a dispute with
America Online, the big computer
He came home one day and
decided to go on-line and flit
about the Internet.
But when his computer hooked
up to AOL’s computers, he got a
message on his screen telling him
that his service had been discon
tinued, giving him a phone
number to call.
He phoned and was told by a
woman that there was a problem
with his account and his credit
card, and he was suspected of
having tried to buy products
She insisted that someone used
his computer to do it. Maybe a
child? she suggested.
Impossible, he said. He had
only one son old enough to use
the computer and at the precise
time the attempted fraud oc
curred, the entire family was
watching that son play basketball.
Hah! A likely story. That is
what the obviously skeptical
woman at AOL seemed to say,
which angered Mr. L’Heureux.
And his indignant response made
her, as he described it, “very
Some time after that, his bill
from AOL arrived. His 10-year
old daughter happened to be
outside when the postman
dropped it off.
She brought the envelope in
and L’Heureux heard the child
say to his wife: “What does this
That’s because the envelope
contained a vulgarity that I am
not permitted to use in this
But I’ll try to explain without
using it. It is sometimes referred
to as the “F-word.”
So without using the word, and
by letting you use your imagina
tion for the translation, this is
how the envelope was addressed:
(Bleep)’n Dennis L’Heureux
(Bleep)’n (his home address)
(Bleep)’n Rockford, IL 61114
He tore open the envelope and
took out his bill from AOL. And
there was the same word again.
The letter began:
“Dear (Bleep)’n Dennis
“America Online values you as
a customer and wants to reinstate
your membership as soon as
It went on to urge him to pay
the amount in question because of
the credit card dispute.
And it was signed by one “P.
Maxwell, Credit Department.”
But in the invoice that he was
supposed to send in with his
check, he was again referred to as
the (Bleep)’n Dennis L’Heureux.
L’Heureux says he was
shocked and outraged. So he
Mike Royko
"... the envelope
contained a vulgarity
that I am not
permitted to use in this
newspaper. But I’ll try
to explain without
using it. It is
sometimes referred to
as the T-word.
showed the letter to Rockford’s
postal inspector, who called it to
the attention of AOL.
Someone from AOL phoned
L’Heureux and said the company
was sorry and that the letter
should not have been sent with ■
that language.
That didn’t placate L’Heureux.
Obviously the letter should not
have referred to him and his home
as (Bleep)’n. But he wanted to
know who sent it and what was
being done about it.
So he sent a letter to Steven
Case, president and CEO of
America Online, and one of the
best-known deep thinkers in the
world of cyberspace,
cyberbusiness and cybermoolah.
After describing how appalled
he was, he asked Case, “... I’m
not sure if you have a family, but
if you do, how would you feel if
your 10-year-old daughter
scanned the day’s mail to find an
envelope addressed to (Bleep)’n
Steven Case, her Dad? Well, this
is exactly what has happened in
my household and I am not
amused in the least.”
And he concluded his letter
with, “I demand an explanation ...
and a formal apology for the way
I have been treated.”
He has not received an answer
to that and several follow-up
letters to Case.
So he asked me to make
inquiries, because the Tribune
Company owns a piece of AOL
and that’s where my column
appears on-line.
After several days of leaving
phone messages, someone from
AOL’s public relations depart
ment finally called back and
babbled and babbled, but finally
admitted that they didn’t know
how or why L’Heureux was
referred to as (Bleep)’n.
But I’ll make a guess.
During L’Heureux’s confron
tation with the complaint lady,
she called his account up on a
computer screen. Then when she
got mad, she simply typed in the
(Bleep)’n, making it pit of his
name and address. What does a
computer know about (Bleep)’n
stuff like that? It just does what it
is told.
And, who knows, the way
computerized lists are sold,
swapped and passed around,
L’Heureux might forever and
ever be known as (Bleep)’n
Lucky for AOL and Mr. Case
that it didn’t happen to Ted
(C) 1996 by The Chicago Tribute