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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 25, 2005
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Columnist's statistics hard to believe

There goes John again, still pumping and pounding the right-wing rhetoric. In April 18's article, "A party of the people no more," Riches goes on and on about how the Democrats are more "elitist" than Republicans - whatever that means. To support his thesis, he stated that trial lawyers donated $112 million to the Democratic presidential campaign in 2004, while the "entire oil and gas industry donated only $15 million."

Wow. That is amazing. Now I have no more doubt in my mind: Riches will toss any sort of bogus statistic to shore up his predetermined, foregone conclusions. I would be very interested to know where Riches got his information - because let's not forget, Riches is also the same person who, in a previous column, listed more than 21 countries that supposedly had "violent Islamist groups."

Having done no research for his article, Riches received a wave of mail that gave him a reckoning on his geopolitics. Several readers were actually residing in the countries where Riches claimed terror cells existed. One reader, a correspondent for Agence France Presse based in Azerbaijan, wrote mockingly, "I was hoping the author might be able to point me in the right direction about how to find [the dangerous Islamist groups] here because it would be great to blow the cover on their activities."

So, in this week's column, I don't know where Riches is getting his information that the entire oil and gas industry donated only $15 million to the Republican campaign, but I do know one thing: Don't trust Riches once he starts spitting out numbers or listing countries - because you're bound to look like an idiot if you rely on them.

Joel DeConcini
third-year law student

Gallagher's humor not funny

Through the magic of denial, Gallagher managed to acquire a high horse from which to lash out at everything that's become popular since he stopped being relevant, which in case anyone's forgotten, was about a week after he started being relevant. From people with at least a vestige of artistic credibility left (Blue Man Group), to those who evoke every bit as much pity and contempt from rational people as Gallagher himself (Carrot Top), no one is spared his inexplicable wrath and unwarranted smugness.

In some respects, he's a lot like a curmudgeonly grandfather who lectures you about how all music made after 1948 is a bunch of noisy garbage that was only designed to give kids something to listen to while they skip church and fondle each other in steamy automobiles. In other respects, he's like a homeless person who offers to humiliate himself publicly in exchange for a dollar. However, unlike grandparents and homeless people, he is utterly devoid of both charm and interesting war stories.

I'd hate to write anything that could be mistaken as a defense of Carrot Top (in case I decide to run for public office), but one C-list prop comic implying that another C-list prop comic is a rubbery, pandering goofball is like Bon Jovi calling Def Leppard a bunch of sleazy hacks who make music for high school dropouts.

Hearing him go on to criticize Chris Rock, who makes more insightful social commentary in his sleep than Gallagher could fit into three of his careers, served only to cement his image as a pompous, delusional failure. Accusing Chris Rock of only doing race jokes is like saying that Gallagher only smashes fruit, although you'd actually be doing him a favor by not reminding everyone of his shallow, subpar observational comedy.

Seth Knisley
creative writing sophomore

Gucci-wearing students are like sheep

I am appalled by the usage of sunglasses on this campus. It, quite frankly, disgusts me to the core. Never in my life have I seen such a despicable attempt to conform to some preset idea of "beauty" by the sheep that call themselves students. This is not limited to the female population; the men are just as guilty of being led around by the latest trend in image manipulation. Everyone is just a corporate tool.

All students feel the need to belong to some greater cause. Gucci is the latest of these. Why not join the cause of real individuality? Develop an identity of your own. Stop defining your existence by the cost of your clothes. In short, stop wearing sunglasses. That goes for everyone: male, female, greek, independent, Republican, Democrat and any combination thereof.

I'm so sick of all this. I'm just going to go become a nihilist in my thrift store outfit and $100 studio apartment under the train tracks. God bless America.

David Schuster

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