Wednesday, January 20, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 75

Staff Editorial

Letters to the Editor

About the Cougar

Strange how it all seems so similar

Amanda Mahmoudi

A stickler for tradition would not let a special day or event pass without performing the perfunctory rituals. It would be absolutely intolerable, unthinkable.

I cannot let a single semester begin without my oh-so-infamous "Why are we here?" column. If I start out the semester this way, things can only improve as time elapses.

Driving to campus this afternoon involved many emotions. It amazes me that vehement feelings can be blocked from memory during the six-week break, only to have them suddenly return.

I felt the almost-forgotten as selfish motorists dared to pass me on the Pierce Elevated. Yes, that means you with the Estereo Latino bumper sticker! Turn down your radio and watch where you're going!

I felt the same disgust as I passed the pristine Athletic Center, scowling at the scantily clad boys bolting across the street, an activity which must have been advised to improve their jungle-quality agility.

(Please, rescue me from the proverbial "whatever.")

The same chronic laughter gripped me suddenly as I pulled into the parking lot, desperately seeking students to stalk on their trek to their cars. Some students saw me laughing through my window and began marching away quickly. One pointed at me and said to his friends, "Look at her! What the hell is she laughing at?"

You want to know what I am laughing at? I laugh because I have no other option.

Let us not waste our time with Houston. The mere mention of this city's name truly causes my brain to hurt. There it goes again.

Lest I digress, let us consider the state of this nation. Selfish political schemes led and supported by a bunch of hillbilly hypocrites once again take precedence over actual governing. Aside from the scruples in the capital, there have been numerous happenings globally to make one's stomach turn. Let us shed some light on what has been happening in the rest of the world. That is the common mentality, is it not? There is the United States and then there is simply "the rest of the world."

Iraq has been bombed to shreds without any sign of resolution or cooperation. American Christians in Israel have taken to violence in fervid attempts to encourage the coming of the Messiah. As various European countries delve deeper into financial disaster, the European Union introduces the single European currency, the euro.

As we move on to the new millennium, life leans more and more toward the extreme. All of this is happening, yet no one seems to care. Why should anyone here care? We are all safe, carefully tucked under the blanket of democracy and capitalism, snug in the bed of ignorant bliss and nonchalant indifference.

Ask any UH students about their greatest desire and over half of them will reply, "My greatest desire is to get out of here." It refers to this spiritual and financial prison of approximately 40,000 meandering souls whose wardens claim to be dedicated to the improvement of curriculum and student affairs.

Is life truly this tragic? Perhaps. How can anyone step outside in the middle of January without a jacket and think that's normal?

So maybe, when I laugh, it isn't really because I have no other option other than to slit my wrists and let the melancholy flow freely from my veins. Perhaps I am laughing at those of you who prance around with gelled hair and fancy cars thinking that there is nothing more important in this universe than your next night out clubbing or your next pretentious pick-up.

Then again, maybe my laughter is simply a result of the shock I feel when I consider that I am here for another semester. Welcome back, my friends. It's going to be a great semester.

Want to be a Cougar columnist? Drop a line to or call (713) 743-5360.

Mahmoudi, a junior French and 
German major and existential enthusiast,
looks forward to hearing complaints and compliments at

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