Collegian: News

All the news that's fit to blog

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How bout a horse of a different color? (I'm talking real news here people)

On Monday one of the Collegian columnists, Chris Mueller, wrote a column that sparked a barrage of letters unlike anything I’ve ever seen here at the Collegian. What was the topic of this column, you might ask?

A stupid horse.

If you haven’t heard yet (in which case you’re illiterate and deaf, or just living in a closet playing video games all day) the equine equivalent of the Messiah died on Monday. Barbaro was a great competitor, energized the sport of horse racing for many and was an all-around amazing horse.

But he was just that: a horse.

Reading the letters we received, you would have thought Mueller had advocated the destruction of an orphanage, while the children were still in it. Someone from South Carolina threatened to do something unkind to his posterior region (yeah…I cleaned that up a bit); he was called an idiot numerous times; and was told, by people who have no knowledge of grammar or syntax, that he was a terrible writer.

I laughed at these letters at first, and then I got angry, and then I got bored. (There’s only so many ways you can call someone worthless with any sort of conviction, and the word "idiot" was worn out by the thirteenth letter.)

But now I’m angry again and with good reason. I just finished reading this wonderful column by Chris Donnely, who writes for the University of Connecticut’s paper, the Daily Campus, and he hit the nail on the head.

"Forget Barbaro, Remember Humans," is the headline of his column and, quite frankly, it explains everything I’m feeling perfectly.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things emotionally that when someone criticizes what we love, we fly off the deep end, which I'm guessing is what happened with the reader who called Mueller "disgusting" and a sick son of a female dog. (How she knows this I have no idea. I didn't even realize Mueller was feeling under the weather, and I've met his mother and she's a wonderful lady.)

What Donnely says in his column is that there are much more serious news stories happening in the world to get emotional about. Yeah, it sucks that Barbaro bit it, but hello, there are still children starving to death in Darfur, and I'm pretty sure there's a large portion of New Orleans laid to waste.

Troops are still getting killed in Iraq. A former NASA astronaut allegedly flew off the handle and tried to murder someone. Hell, even a Snickers add that some are deeming "homophobic" is creating a stir. These are all infinitely more topical and important to our society than the death of a racehorse. Where are the letters about these things?

Do any students realize that we still don't know where all the tuition we pay goes to? How about the fact that tuition will inevitably rise next year; the State College Borough Council is trying to tax alcoholic drinks at bars; St. Patrick's day was just moved to March 2 so that students can still get wasted before Spring Break. Doesn't anyone care about these things?

We got one letter today about the kid who was jumped and beaten with metal rods. One letter compared to almost 50 letters the Collegian and Mueller received about a horse.

Where do our priorities lie?