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Cartoon screening insensitive

On Friday Oct. 4, the MIT Lecture Series Committee presented the critically acclaimed film Ju Dou. This is a film about a young Chinese woman who is purchased by an infertile tyrant to be his wife. The movie chronicles the physical and mental tortures to which the woman, Ju Dou, is subjected because she does not bear him a son. It was a deeply moving film which I enjoyed immensely, as I'm sure did most of those in attendance. What I did not appreciate, however, was LSC's insensitive choice for the short clip preceding the movie.

LSC, in its infinite wisdom, thought it appropriate to show a Daffy Duck cartoon to set the mood for the somber feature presentation. It is not the cartoon itself that bothered me. It was the ending scene in which Daffy and two little chipmunks are imitating the classic stereotype of Asian people. This is the one in which Asians are depicted wearing straw hats and sporting buck teeth and disfiguring slanted eyes. Although many in the audience found this amusing, it is appalling that LSC chose to present this cartoon preceding a critically acclaimed film on the plight of a young Chinese woman.

The decision to show the cartoon was distasteful and uncalled for. LSC should be more aware of the responsibility it has to its audience. I hope that it is not a regular policy of LSC to insult its audience with such trash. In the future, I hope that LSC will use better judgment when deciding what material is to be presented. In the meantime, I think LSC owes an apology, not just to the Asian people who were in attendance, but to everyone who, like me, was as disgusted by such irresponsibility.

Michael J. Zammit G->