A semester’s worth of bad memories

Sam Feldmancolumnist

Sam Feldman
columnist

Samuel Feldman

Hooking up with a random guy from the bar, losing an election and our higher tuition bills. Perhaps you’ve had to deal with one, two or all of these traumatic – or at least unhappy – occurrences over the past semester.

One already FDA-approved drug, Propranolol, seeks to save victims the trauma of remembering distressing events. It’s undergoing trials right now to test its ability to temper a victim’s stress after rape or serious injury.

But Propranolol should not just be for victims of these incidents. After such a rough semester, maybe we could all use a pill to mitigate the stress of our own disasters.

Here are some individuals who really need a good dose of the wonder drug after this semester’s events.

Take Michael Richards – Kramer on TV’s “”Seinfeld”” – and his recent public outburst. I am sure the fallout from his racist tirade in a comedy club surely was stressful. He would be a great candidate to receive Propranolol.ÿ

“”Trauma is not just reserved for the things that have happened to us – it also can apply to what we have failed to do.””

If you want to find someone else who knows the trauma of saying something bad, then just ask Pope Benedict. In September, his Holiness visited Germany and quoted a 14th-century criticism of Islam that nearly started an all-out faith war.

Even his recent trip to Turkey sparked riots and the need for heavy protection for the Pope. The trauma and stress of knowing that his words caused violence and hatred must be hard to handle. Propranolol seems helpful in this situation too.

Or how about Len Munsil, the Republican candidate for governor? Losing by almost 30 percent to a Democrat in a Republican state surely must be serious trauma. And having the moderator of the gubernatorial debate in our own Student Union Memorial Center forget your name must be pretty traumatic too.

What the man formerly known as the Republican candidate for governor should do is pop a pill of Propranolol. It may make all of his worry and trauma from being almost completely unknown fall away.

Among political losses this semester, though, Len had it easy. Many Republican congressional leaders may need more than the normal dose to get over the trauma of losing both houses of Congress.

It must be hard to see one’s own constituents reject the queer-bating, flag-waving, war-mongering tactics they once embraced. But since that act grew stale and Republican leaders were voted out of office, maybe this new drug will help mitigate the stress it causes.

Trauma is not just reserved for the things that have happened to us – it also can apply to what we have failed to do.

Our student leaders in Arizona hopefully strongly regret not fighting for a zero tuition increase for Arizona students. Then again, judging by the way the Arizona Board of Regents easily voted to increase tuition, maybe our spineless leaders don’t care enough to need a drug to feel better about their inaction.

But Arizona’s university students may need the Propranolol when they receive their ever-growing tuition bill and realize their student leaders have screwed them out of another $200 this year. It’s fairly traumatic receiving a bill for several thousand dollars; to realize our student leaders are negligent in their complacency makes it that much worse.

Of all the events this semester, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation from office was surely the most brazen attempt to forget past bad memories. But it’s not just Rumsfeld who may need a heavy dose of Propranolol – President Bush may need the heaviest dose after his almost four-year campaign in Iraq.

The war has now lasted longer than America’s involvement in World War II, and almost 3,000 American forces are dead. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Iraq is now a breeding ground for terrorists and the living conditions in Iraq are worse today than before the start of the war.

If anyone needs a pill to temper a stress-inducing memory, it’s President Bush. His failed policies are directly responsible for the death of as many as 100,000 civilians in Iraq. Too bad the pill can’t send us back four years to prevent the war.

Critics of Propranolol say that there is a reason there is ongoing stress associated with traumatic events, and maybe they’re right. From each of the above examples, there is a lesson to be learned – some have learned it, and others are still learning.

Here’s hoping by next semester, we can each learn a lesson from their trauma.


Sam Feldman is a junior majoring in Spanish and political science. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.