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:'THE MICHIGAN REVIEW Volume 15, Number 6

January 22, 1997

The Campus Affairs Journal of the University of Michigan

U-M Commemorates Martin Luther King BY EVAN KNOTT

TUDENTS, FACULTY, AND staff at large ofthe University community were given the opportunity to take part of the tenth anniversary of the University of Michigan's designated day of celebration and education on the life, work, and milestones achieved by the Reverend Dr . Martin Luther King, Jr. this past Monday. As classes were not in session, visiting scholars, renowned speakers, lecturers, and fellow Michigan students organized numerous lectures, discussion panels, and symposium panels for this year's program. The theme selected for this year's Symposium was "Campaign for a Unified Community of Justice." Organizers of the events describe the goals of the Symposium as an effort to "clearly and publicly articulate the critical value of our multicultural perspectives in the Academy." The subject of diversity at the University of Michigan campus was a central focus for many of the days events. "Michigan can become the model multicultural university of the 21st century," writes Dr. Lester P . Monts in the MLK program brochure. The program is noted to "focus on opportunities for a11_ respectful of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, religion , ethnicity, background and differences ." The Martin Luther King Symposium, celebrating its tenth year at the University of Michigan, has become one of the most comprehensive celebrations of diversity in the nation. The Symposium was first initiated in 1987 after students petitioned the University community to formallyrecognize the Martin Luther King holiday. Students last year enjoyed the lectures by such prominent AfricanAmerican speakers as formal surgeon general Jocelyn Elders and former Black Panther and Chicago Eight

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From Suite One

A discussion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and Fiona Rose's mid-year report card .

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showing art exhibits through the redefendant Bobby Seale. writer Farai Chideya gave a lecture mainder of the month. The U- M EnAlthough the Review was unforto an audience in the Michigan Union gineering Council will sponsor a seBallroom. With 30 events taking place tunately unable to report the prories of films and discussions at the ceedings of the MLK Day events as of this past Monday, the MLK Day celDow Building on North Campus to press time due , _ .. BZ _ • ebraexplore subjects of diversity and t ion to time conmulticulturalism. was straints, here The many events and seminars con are some retlecheld on Monday and throughout the tions on the macluded remaining weeks of January intend by a jor events that to reflect on the milestones of Dr. perfortook place durmance King's courageous civil rights career. ing MLK Day. .by the On of the most significant events in The 1997 MLK "Soonds American history and of Dr. King's Memorial Lecearly career began in 1955 with the o f ture and KeyBlackMontgomery Bus Boycott. The boynote Speaker n ess" cott began when 43-year-old black was given by c hoi r seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give Dr. Mary at Hill up her front seat on a public bus for a Frances Berry n zsi __ Au d i-white person. Although Parks was of the UniverDr. King delivering his famous "I Have a Dream" speech t 0 soon arrested for her brave act of sity ofPennsylrium. protest, Dr. King and fifty other leadvania at Hill Auditorium . Dr. Berry, the events and lectures ers from the Negro community quickly Although who has served as the Chairperson of in celebration of MLK-.... ¡ ... organized a successful boycott of the held Monday the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights since 1980 and also as the U.S. AssisDay, the University is encouragmg bus company that deprived it of over tant Secretary of Education in the students and faculty to take part in 65% of its income. Outraged public Department ofHealth, Education, and many of the other events being held officials issued Dr. King a $500 fine or Welfare; has been a prominent figure throughout the rest of the week. The 386 days in jail. The fine was quickly in the civil rights movement for years. paid, and eight months later the SuUniversity will host renowned AfriHer major areas of research, writing, can-American scholar Manning preme Court ruled bus segregation and teaching have centered around violated the Constitution in the same Marable Wednesday at 3:00 p .m. at constitutional racism, women's rights, the Mendelssohn Theater . Dr. manner that school segregation was black citizenship and history, and Marable isa professor of History at overturned in the Brown v. Board of apartheid. Columbia University and has been Education case. Another major event held MonOne of the first in a series of widely published in academic and day was a Symposium panel entitled political circles for many years. The nonviolent protests began in 1963 in "Affirmative Action in the Academy: Birmingham, Alabama. Birmingham, Michigan Theater will be screening a Safeguarding the Gains Made." The special presentation of Spike Lee's perhaps the most segregated city in panel was moderated by MSA Presi"Get On the Bus," an insight into the the nation at the time, witnessed dent Fiona Rose and SACUA Chair Million Man March. A workshop to many lunch counter sit-ins and Tom Dunn and included Director educate members of the community church kneel-ins. Hundreds of peaceDennis Hayashi of the Office for Civil about anti-racist political prisoners ful protestors were .fined and jailed. Rights at the U.S. Department of in U.S. prisons today will be held In response, Dr. King, Reverend Health and Human Services as one of Thursday at 7:00 p.m. in the WolverAbernathy, and Reverend the panelists. The Black Student ine Room of the Michigan Union. The Shuttlesworth lead a protest march Union sponsored the MLK Unity' University has even organized nu-in which all three were arrested and March held at noon on Monday where merous other events that will take taken to the Southside Jail. It was participants marched from South" place in the weeks following the MLK here that King wrote his famous "LetUniversity St. to the Diag where sevDay celebration. Both the Pierpont ter From A Birmingham Jail." eral speakers greeted the crowd. CNN Commons on North campus and the Continued on Page 14 political analyst and former Newsweek Michigan Union Art Lounge will be

From Exile ~ Nicaragua

Gettin' down wit' Ebonics, and the trouble with public schools.

8

Issues . Forum

Matt and Evan discuss the Gingrich situation, while Geoff and Maureen debate the line-item veto.

12columns

15

Geoff takes a trip to the past and predicts the future , while Ben trashes academia.

Book, film, and music review's, and Evan's Top Ten Albums of 1996.

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January 22, 1997

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

THE iVliCHIGAI\i RFVIEVv'

o FROM THE EDITOR,

The Campus Affairs Joumal· of the University of Michigan

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'Who came up with 'Dick Jerk,' anyway?!?" EDITORIAL BOARD

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REETINGS! WELCOME back! I hope y'all had a good

~nterbreak,andthat~ter

term is going well for you. This is, in many ways, our uyear in Review" issue (no pun intended), but we also have many new features and stories for your enjoyment this time around. Also, as this is our first issue of the new semester, I'd like to invite those of you who are looking to get involved with the Review to stop by one of our meetings this term, and join in the fun. We don't have many requirements to join - you don't need to have any experience working for a newspaper, you just need to be able to write well, and have an interest in campus affairs and helping us be a beacon of truth on a campus rife with political correctness and administration obfuscation. We're particularly in search of people interested in reporting on campus events and also for people who would like to work on the business staff. However, we also welcome those who would like to write for the national affairs and arts sections

as well. Basically, if you've ever said to yourself, "I'd sure like to join the Review," then, by all means, come on down! Our meetings are at 7 pm on Tuesdays in our office in Room 32 in the basement of the Perry Building (across from Blimpy Burger) - if you can't make that, give us an email, or call us at 662-1909. We're all pretty friendly, fun to hang 'out ~th, and, unlike some other newspapers, we don't put you through these intricate initiation rites before we hire you, and we don't have columnists who publicly call for the death of cute, defenseless IUttle kitty cats. Even if you don't j oin the staff, we would still like to hear from you. We value the opinions of our readers, and we look forward to your feedback. You can send us letters via campus mail (Michigan Review, Michigan League Suite One, Campus Zip 1265), via US Mail (911 N. University Ave., Suite One, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.,..1265), or via email (mreV@Umich.edu). If you send us email, be sure to make the subject read "LE'ITER TO THE EDI-

TOR" if you would like to have it printed. We're also in the process of overhauling our World Wide Web (WWW) Home Page (of course we have a WWW Home Page - doesn't every~ body have one now??), so you may want to take a look at that from time to time. You can find it at http:// www.umich.edul-mrev!. Enjoy this issue. Write liS a letter or drop us an email and let us know what you think. Even better, why not join our merry band of merry-makers (or was that "trouble-makers?"). We look forward to hearing from you!

s;cere.Yf'~

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EDITOR-lN-CHIEF: PUBLISHER: MANAGING EDITOR: CAMPUS AFFAIRS EDITOR: FEATURES EDITOR: ARTS EDITOR: EDITOR EMERITUS:

Geoff Brown Pat Eskew Benjamin Kepple Evan Knott Lisa Wagner Tom Jolliffe Mohan Krishnan

EDITORIAL STAFF Matthew Buckley Chris Hayes Reah Johnson Lee Bockhom

ASSISTANT EDITOR: MUSIC EDITOR: PHOTO EDITOR: COPY EDITOR:

STAFF WRITERS: Kristina Curkovic, Simon Einspahr, Calvin Hwang, Matthew Jakubowski, Elizabeth Keslacy, Nora Obringer, Charles Ottman, Drew Peters, Maureen Sirhal, Jamie Smith, Adam Starr, Daniel Succarc\e, Nate Teisman, Josh Trapani, Miranda West, Curtis Zimmermann. EDITOR EMERITUS: James A. Roberts, II EDITOR-AT-lARGE: Geraldo Armando-Ruiz

__

BUSINESS STAFF PUBLISHER & BUS. MGR.:

Pat Eskew

STAFF: Joe Lester, Scott Russel, Josh Stern

The Michigan Reviewis an independent student-run journal of moderately conservative and civil libertarian opinion at the University of Michigan. We neither solicit nor accept J-'-~ monetary donations from the u-M, and have no respectfor rl------------------------------------------------~-=------,I anyone who does. We're also pretty sure that US Rep. David Bonior (O-The Fifth Dimension) is a servant 01 the Devil. But don't quote us on that. By the way, contributions to the Michigan Revieware tax-deductible under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Reviewis not affiliated with any political party or university political group.

o ROVING PHOTOGRAPHER

Geoff Brown . f Editor-in-Chie

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by: Lisa Wagner

What be yo' favorite word in' Ebonies? Scott Naeau Graduate Student Public Health

Nick Kirk L.S.A. Junior Pres. College Republicans

«be (unconjugated)."

"Dudastadt. "

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion 01 the editorial board. Ergo, they are unequivocably correct and just. Signed articles, letters, and cartoons represent the opinions 01 the author and not necessarily those of the Review. The opinionS presented in this publication are not necessarily those of the advertisers or of the University 01 Michigan. We welcome letters, articles, and comments about the journal, as well as burgers from Blimpy Burger (pref. quintw/cheddar, bacon, onions, mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, mayo, and pickles on an onion roll, please). Please address all advertising and subscription inquiries to: Publisher c/o the Michigan Review. Editorial And Business Offices: 911 N. University Avenue, Suite One Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1265 EMAIL: MREV@umich.edu Tel. (313) 662-1909 Fax (313) 936-2505 Copyright 0 1996, by The Michigan Review, Inc. AR rights rewved. The Michigan R""lewls • rnembe< 01 the Collegiate Network.

Chris Roe L.S.A. Senior Major: Creative Writing

Jason Alan Wantuck L.S.A. Senior Major: FilmNideo

"It don 't make no nevermind. "

{fain 't got no nuthin ( "

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The Michigan Review Letters to the Editor 911 N. University Ave. Suite One Ann Arbor, MI48109 or email with subject "Letters to the Editor": mrev@umich.edu

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January 22, 1997

3

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o SERPENT'S TOOT-a After viewing Mars Attacks!, House Majority Leader Trent Lott reviewed the actions of President Clinton's first term. Lott then hastily called a press conference to reassure the public "that they still have two out of three branches of government working for them, and that ain't bad." On further consideration, House Republican Sanford Martin pointed to Speaker Newt Gingrich's recent scandals and the scrapping of California's Proposition 209 by an overzealous federal justice as evidence that, in fact, none of the branches of the government are working for the people. Recent statistics show that the unemployment rate in Washtenaw County is at an all-time low. As it was graciously pointed out to the Serpent's Tooth staff, we would like to point out that this doesn't include college students sucking money from their parents . It also doesn't include members of NWROC, who allegedly await re-

payment in some future, undisclosed communist regime. In rela~news, NWROC was stunned to see that the Ann Arbor City Councilleft within minutes of the group's hostile interruption of a meeting. It seems that people are finally adopting the appropriate response to NWROC's in-your-face methods. The Reverend Jesse Jackson initially blasted Oakland, California schools' decision to teach classes in ebonies. However, he later changed his mind and released a statement, pointing out that "Yo, I used to dis dat shit, but now, I be down wid it, biatch!" In related news, the modern language departments at the U-M, concerned with dropping popularity oflanguage sequences with LSA students, are desperately attempting to draw up clear definitions of a "four term proficiency in ebonics." Reportedly, the plan will include a final, oral exam

which will be administered by the new U-M Adjunct Professor of Modern Languages, Dr. Ore. Higher levels of proficiency will be available through tests in which students will be asked to listen to albums from Death Row Records, and explain just what the hell they mean.

Rodman. It's a big step getting from an ugly, nasty, tattooed man wearing neon clothes with tie-dyed hair to a nasty, ugly, tattooed, anatomicallyincorrect woman in a wedding dress with a veil covering her tie-dyed hair.

The Tickle-Me Elmo was one of the hottest toys on the market this Christmas. Some parents allegedly paid amounts in excess of$200 for the doll, which carried a price tag of approximately one-tenth that amount. When asked about the craze surrounding the doll, which shakes when tickled, one mother responded, saying "I don't see what the big deal is. It's just a fuzzy vibrator:" ,

In the second incident, Rodman received the second longest suspension in NBA history when, thinking he had been tripped, he kicked a cameraman, who later had to be removed from the stadium on a stretcher. While we feel the pain of the cameraman, we feel this is an ideal opPbrtunity for Rodman to work on his wardrobe. After all, the spring collections are coming to stores right now, and Rodman still has to work hard ifhe wants to fit in that to-die-for miniskirt.

Dennis Rodman was in the news twice recently. First, he attained new heights in his transsexual odyssey when a famous poll ranked him among the ten worst dressed women in the world. We at the Review are happy for

Bumper sticker seen on I-94just outside of town: "Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than my guns." And furthermore, the gunownerprobably won't leave the scene of the crime, either.

Subscribe to the Review... By doing so, you can help support the Michigan Review, the alternative bastion of free thought and sane argument on campus. We provide the University of Michigan with coverage of campus affairs, national events, arts, music, and more! By subscribing to the Review by donating at least $25 a year, you can help support a 15 year tradition of powerful, concise journalism that informs the campus and you about I what really goes on around campus, because the University . administration bloody well isn't going to tell you. Even better, contributions are TAX DEDUCTIBLE under section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, giving you an added bonus around tax-time. Please subscribe to the Review, and help us in our ongoing search for truth and justice; along with helping us proJ1lote sanity around here.

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January 22, 1997

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o FROM SUITE ONE Reform the MLK Holiday

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HE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN CERTAINLY HAS THE RIGHT idea to celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday with a symposium dedicated to remembering the civil rights movement. However, given the historically relatively low level of involvement in this symposium by the students of the University, and given the nature of some of the events at the symposium , it must be questioned whether the symposium is really accomplishing its mission. A more effective symposium would concentrate on the civil rights movement, and the unforgettable contributions made to that movement by King, whereas the current symposium tends to stray from King's message of nonviolent activism and equality for all persons, regardless ofrace. The most disturbing facet of the symposium as it currently stands is the failure of the symposium to keep to a relatively focused topic: namely, civil rights and race relations . One must question the effectiveness that a showing of "Fried Green Tomatoes," an event at last year's King symposium, has to bring the student body a better understanding of the 1960s civil rights movement. Likewise, while it may be enjoyable and probably good for one's heal th to listen to a lecture on "Diversity in Human Atherosclerosis" (hardening of the arteri es ), does this really help people understand the civil rights movement or racial relations? Would it not be more helpful in furthering racial dialogue and understanding to eliminate such trivial events and focus more on racial relations? The same must be said with regards to the Tuesday, January 28th panel regarding discussion of the death penalty, and various discussions regarding health care on Thursday, January 23. The only apparent rationale for the health care events are given in the symposium events booklet, namely that the keynote speaker will be Dr. Antonia Novello, former surgeon general. Again, it must be asked just how "Proactive vs . Reactive: Our Role in Influencing Our Health and Our Care" will bring students a further knowledge of the civil rights movement or current racial relations. One must also question how this year's "Affirmative Action in the Academy: Safeguarding the Gains Made" event will help bring about a constructive dialogue to further racial harmony. For in the description ofthis event on page 8 of the Martin Luther King symposium booklet ("Considering the reversals on previous gains made, (recent attacks on affirmative action, burnings of Black churches, attack on the Mexican nationals ... "), the peaceful dialogue by some who wish to end affirmative action programs is cOIIlpared to hate crime. With such a perspective, how can open dialogue occur, especially from those who do wish to end affirmative action? One must also question the perspective of "From Malcolm to M umia: Po Ii tical Repression Then and Now." Sponsored by the Free Mumia Coalition, the description reads "Learn about anti-racist political prisoners in U.s. prisons today." When the discussion begins to focus on political prisoners (and needless to say, Mumia Abu-Jamal, the main subject, is not), something is seriously wrong. Such events merely antagonize those who do not have these same views, and since attendance is voluntary, these events merely end up preaching to the choir. What purpose do these panels serve if little to no progress will come out of them? It would be far wiser to look at the events in a more neutral manner and invite those with differing opinions, rather than so openly attack those with differing viewpoints . Fortunately, this year's Martin Luther King symposium held some events that were important to furthering racial harmony and an understanding ofthe civil rights movement, such as the presentation by Martin Luther King IlIon Tuesday, January 21. Another important and meaningful lecture was given on Monday, January 20 at the Business School by Julian Bond on the "Civil Rights Movement: Then & Now" . These are the types of events that should be sponsored, events that everyone will want to attend, events that people will feel open and welcome at. Events gerrymandered to one side, such as "Affirmative Action in the Academy" are not the ideal, but an even dialogue that made no apparent bias prevalent would be far more effective. Organizers and attendees at the various Martin Luther King symposium events will most likely, as in past years, wonder why attendance was not higher. For a majority of our campus does not attend these events. Most students look upon the day as a day to sleep in late, or a day allowing them to take a long weekend, or a day to simply relax and hang out; not a day to remember King's legacy or the civil rights movement. Until this last and most important facet changes, the symposium is in need of revision. This revision could start by focusing on the important subjects at hand and only those, and then making sure that these important subjects made everyone feel welcome, ready to drop their armor, and actually begin to talk. Far more will be accomplished this way than simply by repeating th~ I?t!&ti, .$ ,... ... '.. ' . .'. _" ,'. ", _ ~. -! , ' ;'.'":' : _: ' , '. ~ f. ," .. '; '.'

o COMMENTARY Fiona's Midterll1 Grades

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ICHIGAN STUDENT ASSEMBLY (M8A) PRESIDENT FIONA Rose is nearing the end of her year-long reign. Before being elected to President, Rose sta~9-that she and the Michigan Party were "concerned" about the status of campus parking, student group funding, the cost of living in Ann Arbor (see the Daily, Mar. 22, 1996), and an overall concern for "student well-being" (March 25, 1996). As Rose currently heads into the home stretch of her Presidency, it is time to take a look at what she and the Assembly have accomplished: not bloody much. It's time to assign grades for this term, and Fiona and company will be on Academic Probation. CAMPUS PARKING: D-. While Rose stated before the election that talks were underway with the Downtown Development Authority, the city of Ann Arbor, and University Housing (March 22, 1996), the problem remains as bad, ifnot worse, than before the election. Indeed, even the University admits on its web page concerning parking that "Very little parking is available for students." The University does not have any plans to build a nice, new parking structure for its students, although, supposedly, this idea was being tossed around as one of a few "viable options under consideration." (March 22, 1996) If MSA was working on it, we'd probably hear about it. STUDENT GROUP FUNDING: D-. The sole reason that Fiona and the entire Assembly are not handed a large, glaring "F" is because student group funding received a measly 3 percent more ofthe budget this year, from $83,000 to $90,000. However, 56.2% ofthis year's budget -passed in a very short time by the Assembly - will be spent internally. This, while very few student groups receive all the funding they need. The Executive branch could have done far more to propose a budget that would have cut waste in the MSA budget and directed that money to student groups.The only reason funding will improve next year is because students were willing to pay $2 a year more in student fees . THE CODE: F. Frankly, this is one ofthe major issues that Fiona should be concerned about. However, we have seen no action or response on her part during her Presidency to challenge this pernicious document. The only positive work done so far this year on the Code has been done by Anne Marie Ellison, Students Rights Commission Chair. Fiona put this issue was put on the back burner. SERVING STUDENT INTERESTS: C-. While Fiona was successful with her child care initiatives, that is about all the tangible improvement we've had so far. While Assembly members are off gallavanting around the country and holding pointless meetings here to address Affirmative Action, the CCRI, and other national issues that the Assembly has no influence on, the tangible issues such as parking and the Code are lost in the shuffle. This is not to say the Assembly is rotten to the core, but we need to have students genuinely concerned with campus issues in office instead of those who would focus on the tJ:iyia,~~~.

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°School Reform Imperative COMMENTARY

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THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

ET'S FACE IT: PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE IN TROUBLE . TEST scores are pitiful. At many schools safety is a pressing issue. Thousands of high school graduates are not prepared to handle more than the most remedial of subjects. But despite these and many other concerns, public schools must be saved, not broken apart. The issue of integrating students from all backgrounds has been overshadowed by the gripes of a few special interest groups. These groups, including the teachers' unions and school prayer advocates, are holding the system hostage . Criticizing these groups, particularly the teachers' union, is not politically healthy, as Bob Dole can testify. A great media frenzy ensued after the Republican National Convention in 1996 during which Dole harshly condemned the union. How could Dole criticize the people who try every day to right the wrongs ofthis broken system? He wasn't. He was attacking the union leaders who refuse to allow their members to be evaluated at the end of each year, who strike (illegally) during the school year to promote their agenda, who dictate curriculum and handcuff administrators and parents alike. The union leaders scored a victory anyway. . Likewise, advocates of school prayer are promoting the ideas of a minority of parents at the expense of progress. That the Constitution is concrete in its support for the separation of church and state seems to have little effect on these crusaders . Adequate measures for reform are ignored in the fight against these groups. Where do the real remedies lie? Dole's campaign pledge to set up a national voucher system which would allow parents to choose where to send their children has a nice ring to it, but in the end it would not be best for the country. The good schools would get better, the bad schools would get worse or close. A national voucher system would segregate between the haves and have-nots, and in the end destroy the community that the public schools can and must provide. Unfortunately, that community is shattering. There needs to be more classroom space; school buildings need refurbishing. Teachers need to go through an annual evaluation process like most other workers in this country. And these steps are just the beginning. More solutions to the system's maladies might come from the successes of newly created charter schools. The results have largely been positive, though it may be too soon to judge. Charter schools should provide a sense of what needs to be changed with the current system . The special interests should be prepared for those suggestions, as they may not help their case. It is crucial that public schools remain in existence. Indeed, everyone has the right to an education that is free and effective. In the current system special interest groups are tying up the path to real reform. The time for that reform - PatEskew' is overdue. M.t

o FROM EXILE IN NICARAGUA Ebonies Hypocritical, Insulting

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HE STORM OF CONTROVERSY STEMMING FROM THE Oakland, California School Board's decision to use Ebonics as a method to help African-American students learn to speak proper English has opened a new chapter in race relations in the United States. While almost everyone has formed an opinion on this much talked about issue, few have given serious thought to the long-term implications such a policy renders. The Oakland School Board certainly deserves to be commended for pursuing a course of action that helps struggling students to overcome barriers to quality education. However, the Board's intentions are alarmingly ill-{;onceived and premature. The decision to use Ebonics in the Oakland school system not only mocks the abilities and capacity of African-American students to overcome social barriers to a sound education, but also exhibits a grotesque and dangerous instance of unprecedented social engineering. It is foolish to deny that many urban areas of the United States have unfortunately perpetuated socially and culturally segregated environments in education, employment, and other public institutions. The evidence is shocking - the Los Angeles Times recently reported that African Americans constitute 71 percent of special education students in the Oakland district and maintain a mean GPA of 1.8 compared to a mean of2.4 overall for district students . It is abundantly obvious that the Oakland school system is failing to put its MricanAmerican stud~hts on equal footing with their white and Asian peers . Linguistic scholars across the country agree on the importance of recognizing Ebonics as . a prominently spoken dialect in Mrican-American communities. Rather than reevaluate the effectiveness of school curricula or teacher performance relative to the performance of African-American students, the Oakland Scho?l Board acted in cowardice by compromising its obligation to challenge students. By forcing teachers to learn and use Ebonics in the classroom, the school board is giving African-American students the insulting message that they are inca pable oflearning proper English and of im:p'foving academic performance. Many renowned African-American scholars have actively voiced positions on both sides of this sensitive matter. Poet Maya Angelou has indicated a disagreement with the Oakland policy on Ebonics, while Pulitzer Prizewinning author Toni Morrison has voiced support for it. The most intriguing figure to express his opinion on the matter is the Rev . Jesse Jackson. Initially, Rev. Jackson voiced strong opposition to Ebonics, noting that the policy bordered on institutional racism and was insulting. However, these sentiments vehemently contradict an integral component of liberal logic regarding affirmative action. Logically, it is impossible that a policy such as Ebonics can deny African-American students their capacity to overcome institutional barriers to proper education while a very intellectually similar policy such as affirmative action accepts African-American students' inability to pursue higher education without social intervention. Rev. Jackson's initial comments were clearly hypocritical and ill-{;onsidered. It is not at all surprising that he later retracted · many of his statements. The underlying message in this example of flawed liberal reasoning is simple: social engineering is never absolute; there is always a double standard. Ebonics, like affirmative action, has demonstrated our willingness to admit failure in our obligations to provide all students with an equal and quality education. Instead of rising to the challenge before us, the liberal architects of these institutional disasters have abandoned those most in need of our assistance. The most troubling component to the Oakland School Board's decision to use Ebonics lies in its true intentions. The Board's desire to assist AfricanAmerican students to learn proper English through teachers trained in Ebonics was merely a mask to cover a larger scheme to extract more federal education funds from the Department of Education. An education program as provocative as Ebonics has rarely been employed in school districts, thus the effectiveness of using such a novel teaching method has never been properly studied or evaluated in terms of performance. With no statistical evidence or historical cases, only liberal speculation, tax payers have absolutely no way ofdetermining how effectively their tax dollars are being spent. However, the worthiness of establishing an Ebonics training program is irrelevant when one considers how such a proposal literally uses struggling African-American students as a ploy to suck more dollars into the crumbling Oakland school district. If the public schools in California are this desperate for money, as is clearly the case in Oakland, why would the school board allocate extra funds to such a risky and insulting program as Ebonics? With any luck, the national spotlight cast on this hot topic will finally motivate the American people to seriously reconsider the •... " failed liberal infrastructure of public education: l\B ' I

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6

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

January 22, 1997

o CAMPUS SPOTLIGHT

NWROC UEQnasked BY MAUREEN 8IRHAL

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T WOULD SEEM LIKE A scene from a protest at Ken t State University. Or perhaps a slice of history from the Sixties. But who would have thought that a Klan rally would erupt in so much violence that it was described by onlookers as "completely scary." And yet these are the everyday tactics of one student organization. The National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition (NWROC) fights for the rights of the oppressed and in the process, they fight everyone else . Though their intentions may mark NWROC as the underdog, the tactics would suggest a different outlook. In the past years NWROC has become prominently associated with violence, militancy, and views so far left they could even be called "right." Most recently, the group stormed the Ann Arbor Larcom Municipal building in order to protest the sale of the Ann Arbor armory to a real estate developer wQ.o plans on turning it into condominiums . Protesters for hire NWROC seems to have made a profession out of protesting. It does not matter what they protest since racism , criminal injustice, and homelessness carry as much importance as protesting local campus publications. One has to question if many of these individuals have jobs. Of course they do ... to fight for Truth, Justice, and the American way; or maybe I confuse them with Superman. In any event, there is no task too small, no group whose racists and intolerant ways too big, for the attention of NWROC. Just who these individuals are is a bit of a mystery. Though prevalent among students, NWROC seems to be secured by an elite group ofleftist adults. (And I use the term adults loosely.) In just one year, this group has managed to publicly protest the arrest and conviction of Ervin Mitchell, who was found guilty for the brutal rapes of several women in Ann Arbor. NWROC also defended the rights ofthe oppressed and disgruntled workers of the Detroit newspapers strike. NWROC thought that they should carry their fair share by protesting Borders Books and Music on Liberty street. But wait, there's more. NWROC protested the Michigan Daily for what it deemed was an unacceptable support of the University's decision to fire three dental school . \vorkets after they al1egedly falsified

their time cards. NWROC charged that racism was the motive for the firings and deemed the Daily accountable for being a "mouthpiece" for the Administra tion. Yet the jewel in the crown of protests was last June's Ku Klux Klan rally where more than 227 protesters gathered alongside NWROC to voice their displeasure of the event. This quickly dissipated into a riot, complete with tear gas, fully armored cops, broken windows, and flying bottles and rocks. At the heart of these clashes are a group of individuals whose dedication and fervency must be admired: they are violent, by which I mean passionate, about their beliefs- a passion that most would agree has almost completely disappeared from the once outspoken and active student body. But what goes unnoticed publicly is the complete chaos caused by this relatively small band of revolutionary women. These women rarely engage in the fight for more womenoriented issues like domestic abuse, sexual harassment, and sexism: issues that are so strongly supported by mainstream feminist organizations like the National Organization for Women (N OW). In fact the two groups have often collided over issues. Beverly Fish, the president of the local Ann Arbor NOW chapter remembers the days when the groups shared the task of demonstrating at the anti- abortion rallies. " They escorted people (into abortion clinics) but then became part of the problem . They were yelling and pushing and those are not our tactics. We don't yell back and we don't ever use violence." NWROC seems to leave a bad taste in everyone's mouths, and not just on campus. Nationally, other chapters of NWROC have been involved in highly bizzare occurrences including the attempted indoctrination of two fourteen year old children into the organization . TheTimes Union in Albany, New York reported that on January 6th, 1995, two NWROC members were arrested on the charge of endangering the two youngsters, along with imprisonment. NWROC members attempted to recruit the impressionable children by drowning them in radical literature and enticed them to help change the government. In addition they took the children to a conference, here in Michigan, and allegedly refused to allow the children to return home. The Nation magazine, a bastion of liberalism, called' NWROG"a' radi-

cal group from Detroit that makes a protest out of confronting the Klan." Not that NWROC makes a secret of their militancy. What seems revealing is the pure idealism that this group invokes. Perhaps it is true that issues of homelessness and racism need attention. But the inherent contradiction within NWROC is the fact that what they do has little, or furthermore nothing, to do with women's rights. Instead this band ofindividuals is on the same wavelength as Oliver Stone and believes that oppression is rampant, and that it is its duty to fight against it. Oh really? Last time I checked, the United States of America was a free country founded to protect people's right to free speech. And at last the ball drops. Despite what individuals on campus may believe and what city officials denounce, the group is entitled to their free speech, or so says MSA. In December NWROC petitioned for a grant of more than $2000 to fund an Affirmative Action Forum. Though terribly disorganized and lacking a solid proposal, the group was granted the sum of$200. Karie Morgan, ~SA''''~ representative and Chair of the Budget Priorities Commitee, cited the main reason for giving them the money. "We gave them the chance to have a group and to get their voice heard." Morgan also acknowledges the extremist methods used but said that it is an issue of first amendment rights. Censoring NWROC would create a precedent many want to avoid, though they may disagree with NWROC's opinions and activities. NWROC firmly advocates the use of strong action and militant dedication to be successful in attaining their goals. Oddly enough, there is no attempt to lobby for change within government. Instead NWROC prefers to remain in the limelight and hence simultaneously defeats many oftheir purposes. They seem to lack any real sense of how to effectively influence change for the better and instead, they wish to yell loudly and march on behalf of individuals who have never been able to rally themselves: the poor. The intelligent individuals that make up NWROC would benefit far more from lending a hand rather than a bullhorn. They seem to forget that in order for real social change to occur, someone must roll up his sleeves and put forth a real effort. Washington is full oflip service, but it is in the communities where the real progress is made. NWROC's greatest achivement would be to master that 'idea.'l\R' , . ' . . " " "

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January 22, 1997

7

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o CAMPUS AFFAIRS

1996: The Year In Review· ~ It,~"

BY EVAN KNOTI'

he University of Michigan campus has undergone many changes during the year of 1996, some staying only briefly in the headlines while others will remain targets of focus for years to come. The Review recapped the major campus affairs news stories from 1996 and are pleased to reflect on them,

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• Michigan Party Sweeps Winter 1996 Elections: The Michigan Student Assembly, bidding farewell to President Flint Wainess and VicePresident Sam Goodstein, both ofthe Michigan Party, was again swept by representatives and presidential candidates from the Michigan Party. LSA sophomores Fiona Rose and Probir Mehta won the President and VicePresident's positions, respectively. The pair defeated Students' Party candidates Jonathan Freeman and Olga Savic, Wolverine Party candidates Andy Schor and Matt Curin, and independent candidates Jefe and Mesh. The Michigan Party campaign juggernaut, led by strategist Dan Serota, also captured a majority of seats and the presidency of the LSA Student Government, now headed by Paul Scublinsky. Popular issues of the election involved campus parking, textbook prices, meal plan reform, and more diversity on campus. • Students Steal, Protest The Michigan Daily: On March 27, an anonymous source told Daily reporters that ' ... a group of people, possibly some who were members of Alianza ... ' were responsible for the theft of approximately 8,700 copies of the campus newspaper that day. Shortly after on April 2, close to 250 students participated in an emotionallycharged prote~t outside of the Student Publications Building. Protest endorsers included Fuerza Latina, the Free Mumia Coalition, the Black Student Union, and members of the United People's Coalition. The angry mob complained of alleged racist attacks on campus minorities in Daily editorials, news coverage, and editorial cartoons. • GEO Threatens Work-Stoppage: Graduate student instructors rallied en masse under the GEO to demand better compensation and training during the week of April 10th. After weeks of stalemate with the administration, the GEO members initiated a two day strike simulation, forcing many classes to be cancelled and many

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professors and students to lose days of unrecoverable teaching and hundreds of unrefundable tuition dollars. A compromise was eventually reached, but the GEO came out of the matter considerably weakened, as the University met only part ofthe union's many demands. • Hash Bash '96 Takes Over Diag: The University of Michigan has been home to the annual Hash Bash for years on the central campus Diag. Students and participants from miles around spent the sunny April afternoon playing hackey-sack, forming drum circles, smoking, and occasionally confronting some of the many police officers monitoring the event. The event, now more of a commercialized bastion of anarchical trendiness than a legitimate political demonstration, still attracted several true activist speakers, including officials from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and High Times magazine. Unlike bashes years ago, few arrests were made and the event went by rather peacefully. • Mandatory Living-Learning Programs Proposed: An April proposal was issued before the University community that would require all incoming freshman to participate in a living-learning program similar to the optional ones currently held in several Hill area residence halls. Administrators wished to implement mandatory programs based on the success of the 21st Century Program in Markley Hall and the Pilot Program in Alice Lloyd Hall. They offer intensive, smaller classes that are taught primarily to residents seeking more individual attention and assistance in making the transition from high school to college life. -Cole Sparks Controversy As Spring Commencement Speaker: The University administration selected Spelman College President Johnetta Cole as its Spring 1996 commencement speaker. Many students in the Jewish community expressed outrage, as Ms. Cole is allegedly supportive of anti-semitic beliefs. Other students showed concern for her alleged ties to ultra left-wing communist organizations and hardcore liberal beliefs. - Klan, NWROC Clash At City Hall Rally: City of Ann Arbor administrators permitted members of the Ku Klux Klan to stage a rally at City Hall during the summer, a move that outraged and sparked various.4t;.~~, of

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emotional response from members of the University community. Angry members of the National Women's Rights Organizing Coalition (NWROC) confronted Ann Arbor police and Klan members by throwing debris and using physical force against them. The rally soon turned into a riot, as police used tear gas and strong resistance against Klan protestors. The event even launched Ann Arbor into the national spotlight when young Mrican-American Keisha Thomas was photographed throwing herself in front of an angry mob trying to attack a white man bearing a confederate flag on his clothing. The riot cost the city over $72,000 in damages, which was divided up evenly to the Klan and NWROC. The action led both organizations to threaten lawsuits against the city and left a negative image over city officials and police. - U-M Enacts Formal Religion Policy: In September, the University finally issued a long-awaited formal policy entitled the New University of Michigan Policy On Religious-A~ demic Conflicts. The policy, 'protecting the rights of Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Eastern Orthodox, and other observed religions from academic-related conflicts during religious holidays, was the product of much hard work by Hillel governing board member and University senior Anthony Scaglione. With the help of Vice-President for Student Affairs Maureen Hartford, Scaglione developed the proposal this past summer while attending the Leadership 2017 program. Scaglione recognized academic conflicts to be a serious University problem that was never officially safeguarded by the University. - DuderstadtMakes Questionable Payouts: In October it was discovered that former University President James J. Duderstadt made secret deals with his executive team prior to his leaving office. Looking at all the memos obtained by a FOIA that documented the relevant correspondence be~een Duderstadt and the executive board from October 1995 to June1996. These deals were indeed lucrative, making extensions of administrators' pay for members returning to the faculty. The combined sum of money offered to the executives exceeded one million dollar§, sparking a negative reaction from many members of the University community and the University of Michigan ,BoardqfRegents". , "" __ I I . , ".,",J. .:.c....... ii..:~

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8

January 22,1997

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o ISSUES FORUM: NEWf GINGRICH

Republicans ShouJd Have Supported Newt 't,~

BY MATTHEW BUCKLEY

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T'S IRONIC THAT AT THE height of the Gingrich ethics scandal, one of the big movie events of the year happens to be the film adaptation of The Crucible. Arthur Miller's play stressed the real perils of witch-hunts - how the public could easily be whipped into hysterics by those who manipulate the truth for cynical gains. House Minority Whip David Bonior has learned the lesson well, aided by that shallow cowardice of several GOP lawmakers. The Bonior-Ied charge on Gingrich has only recently blossomed into fruition. Ever since the GOP took over the House in 1994, the Democrats have launched an awesome attack. Much ballyhooed in the media is the fact that Bonior has lodged 75 ethics violations against the Speaker. Also much ballyhooed is the charge that Gingrich purposely lied to Congress. Finally, Democratic claims that Gingrich was involved in a pocketlining scheme involving a charitable fund for disabled children have been spicing up network news for the past

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couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the real Gingrich story is far less interesting. Less ballyhooed is the fact that all but 1 of those 75 charges were dropped. Less ballyhooed is the fact that the remaining charge involves tax laws that intelligent experts disagree on, and that these conflicting tax interpretations are the source of Gingrich's submission of incorrect statements to Congress. The fact that no money for disabled children went anywhere near Gingrich has yet to hit the national public. Little wonder that Gingrich is unpopular. The first observation from the Gingrich saga seems to be that the national media is not covering the whole story. This actually happens to overlap with another observation, that Democrats apparently like throwing stones from glass houses. Mark Levin, president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, noted in a recent National Review article that several years ago Bonior placed his fiancee on his own congressional payroll, then raised her salary by over 20 percent. Conveniently for Bonior, doing this before

the pair married allowed him to bypass House anti-nepotism rules. Where is the ethics-conscious media? Not that Bonior is alone. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial noted that Dick Gephardt has some experien<;e in issuing contradictory statements to Congress. His confusion regarding the tax status of a vacation home let him save several thousand dollars in capital-gains taxes. By the Democratic standards of tax interpretation, Gephardt should clearly be issued some sort ofreprimand. Where is the media? Where is Bonior? A better question would be, where is the GOP? Given that Gingrich in many respects led the Republicans to their first House control in forty years , one would think that he could count on the party for support. Of course, this sort of party discipline is lost on the GOP. The result: days before the vote for Speaker, House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach of Iowa broadsided Gingrich, asking him to step aside. Several other House members also refused to vote for Gingrich, claiming that his actions had tainted the House.

Instead of making the case that the Democratic allegations are worth their weight in cattle dung, these contemporary Benedict Arnolds cut fullscale retreat at a time when it would be most damaging. Apparently, the national media finds Leach "principled" to backstab the man responsible for Leach's most important career post ever. With party allies like these ... The real problem for the GOP is not Gingrich, but an absolute lack of ability to communicate a message to the country. Whether it be Gingrich, Medicare, the government shutdown, or other issues, the GO P has not made needed strides in playing the soundbite politics game. The Democrats are masters, and if the GOP wants to extend its power to the executive branch, it must learn fast. Ironically, this is partly Gingrich's fault; upon gaining power, the communicative touch vanished. The result is now killing Gingrich on the Hill; his major failure within the party now returns to hurt him personally. Not even Arthur Miller's fictional witch-hunt had that much irony. Mt "<",>",,y/'

Gingrich Should Have Stepped Down BY EVAN KNOTT

N FRIDAY, JANUARY 15, the House Ethics Committee closed another chapter in American political history when House Speaker Gingrich (R-Ga.) became the first-ever reprimanded Speaker, subject to a hefty $300,000 fme. The Speaker's penalties result from his December 21st confession that he provided the Ethics Committee with false information and for failing to consult a 'lawyer about the financing of a college course he taught using funds from his political action committee) GOPAC. The investigation will place a damper on future GOP initiatives. Congressional Republicans would have been much better served had Gingrich stepped down from his post. In retrospect, Republican strategists defended the Speaker brilliantly against rather trivial charges, including an attack on Democrats for publicly airing an illegally-taped phone conversation. Although the Republicans have survived another round of lynching by the media and congressional Democrats, it will become tGugher to attack the infinitel,){ more

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serious ethical problems of President Clinton and his demagogic colleagues in Congress. Last week the President broke weeks of silence by declaring his desire that the issue be resolved as soon as possible. This may come as a surprise, especially since there has been a growing buzz in legal circles over a possible indictment of the First Lady, not to mention the President's own tribulations with the Paula Jones sexual harassment case, now awaiting a procedural judgement from the Supreme Court. Apparently, the President and his strategists are so content with the Speaker's diminishing public image that they have confidently begun to break campaign promises. Medicare, the cornerstone ofthe Clinton/Gore campaign to lie, deceive, and scare the Ameriâ&#x201A;Źan elderly away from well-intentioned Republican attempts to overhaul the dying entitlement program, has already been targeted by the President for possible budget cuts. No Republican president in history could ever have gotten away with so many ethical and demagogic schemes as President Clinton has managed during his term as President. With attention shifted away from. the Prel'!ident!s shady,cAAr\lcter

and financial problems to the Speaker's insignificant tax code violation, Republicans may never be able to bring the Clinton administration to justice. Had Speaker Gingrich stepped down to a regular representative's position, the Republican agenda could have made major short-run and longterm gains from a different speaker. Still bearing an image as the party of extremist religious zealots and lackeys of the rich, the GOP could have shed any public doubts about its agenda by appointing House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (ROh.) to the Speaker's chair. Young, spirited, analytical, hard-working, and, most importantly, publicfriendly, Kasich would have been a welcome figurehead to the majority party. Gingrich, every bit as brilliant as Kasich, is much more of an ideological visionary whose talents were best employed during his term as House Minority Whip before the Republican revolution of1994. Gingrich is the type of hard core political strategist who is better positioned behind the scenes, not at the forefront of public battles such as budget resolut!0llij. ÂĽpfl~oyer ~ "yingxicJt,.. ~q~d. hflye .. ., -' , ~

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demonstrated an unprecedented stroke of civility over the President by stepping down, indicating that his party and agenda were above the Washington inner-circle antics so often used by the President to cover his own ethical problems. Finally, the public perception of congressional Republicans as extremists is exacerbated by the unmitigated support thrown around the Speaker in the final days before the opening session. While it is important that the party elites stick together in times oftrouble, the nearly unanimous support for the Speaker seems almost to be part of some unwritten devotion to Gingrich. It is precisely this type of unwillingness to compromise that brings back painful memories ofthe 1995 government shutdowns. No wonder the American public feels uneasy about the Speaker, and congressional Republicans in general. It is impossible to deny that Newt Gingrich has been literally dragged through the mud over a relatively minor breachoffederal tax laws. However, Republican officials must remain mindful of the year 2000 and the chance for a conservative congress and'presidency.l\R, !


January 22, 1997

9

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o ISSUES FORUM: LINE-ITEM VETO

Line-item V8to an Essential Tool BY GEOFF BROWN

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HE LINE-ITEM VETO will soon be available, for the first time, to a President of the United States. This will empower a president to reject certain measures from a bill, if he so chooses, without forcing him to veto the entire bill. This ability is important. Governors in 43 states have had the line-item veto at their disposal for many years, with few negative results. Indeed, the power to eliminate wasteful and unnecessary spending from bills is an important one, one which will enable, for the first time, greater control on congressional spending. However, one might wonder what brought about the need for a lineitem veto. The answer is simple: "pork-barrel spending," plain and simple. Pork-barrel spending happens something like this: when a bill is being considered by the House or Senate, it is discussed and voted upon during a given session. An individual legislator is then allowed the opportunity to amend the bill, or "attach a rider," before the bill goes up for a vote. These riders need not have anything to do with the main purpose of the bill at all- in fact, they usually do not. In most cases, these riders autho-

rize the expenditure of millions of dollars of federal money to pay for projects, generally in the legislators district. For instance, a bill designed to create a national holiday might have a rider attached by Rep. Joe Blow (D-Anytown, NE) that creates a multi-million dollar project to build bridges in Anytown. This makes Rep. Blow look good back home because he has managed to get millions in federal dollars to "create jobs at home." However, these projects are almost never beneficial to anyone outside that district, and quite often, the~ are not beneficial to anybody. Other legislators are reluctant to challenge these riders because they know that the time will come when they want to attach riders to create spending for their districts as well. The result is this: a bill which should have been straightforward and simple now has several attached riders calling for ridiculous amounts of new spending. However, a president was forced to either sign the entire bill into law, or veto the entire bill. Often, these expensive. riders are attached to a bill whose veto would be potentially damaging, politically, to a president. An excellent real-life example ofthis occurred during President George Bush's term. Bush had pushed for a

bill which reduced government spending in ways that he had promised during his campaign. Unfortunately, several riders were attached to this bill which raised taxes. This bill had been hard-fought in Congress, .and the likelihood of another such bill being passed was very low. Therefore, Bush felt compelled to sign the bill into law, thereby raising taxes in contravention of his previous promise of "no new taxes." It is clear that if Bush had had the use of the line-item veto, he would not have been forced to sign that part of the bill into law. Opponents of the line-item veto argue that it gives the president too much power over the legislature. However, the effect is likely the opposite: it reduces an imbalance in power that had previously been in favor of the legislative branch. Gone is the ability of Congress to hold a bill hostage with pork-barrel riders. These riders have had a double benefit for legislators: (1) they have allowed wasteful spending projects to be enacted in their districts, and (2) have allowed blame for wasteful spending and tax increases to be shifted to the presidt!hi,' even if he was opposed to such measures. President Bush was blamed for the tax increases even though Congress enacted them, and even though

vetoing the bill, and thus preventing the tax increase, would likely have proven more detrimental. Furthermore, a president can only use the line-item veto in certain, well-defined situations, meaning that he does not have all-encompassing power to re-write legislation in his own image, as it were. Also, a line-item veto of a certain provision would not prevent Congress from passing that provision as a separate law if such a move was deemed necessary. Others oppose the line-item veto on the less intellectual and more personal grounds that President Clinton will be the first to exercise this power. Thus, his political opponents also oppose his ability to use the line-item veto. However, disagreeable as Clinton and his views may be to some, we must not be so short-'sighted. We must look at what is best in the longterm. Yes, some less-than-desirable presidents will have this power, but so too will the great presidents. We need to look past the man, and consider the office itself. The line-item veto is a great remedy for our spending problems. In an era where spending is out of control, it is essential that the president be given the line-item as a tool to bring it back in line. Mt

Line-item Veto a Potential Disaster BY MAUREEN 8IRHAL

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T HAS BECOME A POPULAR ploy for politicians to blame grid lock on little things like the lineitem veto. In 1992, George Bush pleaded with the American public to re-elect him. He told us that he could not possibly get the economy rolling without a line-item veto. Doomed to repeat past errors, Bill Clinton began his own fight for the dubious device. Public opinion polls have rattled on this subject and supporters from both camps have stepped forward to fight on its behalf. But the founding fathers knew what all the public opinion polls, debates and committees do not, or at least do not care to admit: the lineitem veto is a big mistake. One need not be a strict constructionist to know that. In the process of passing bills and general legislative duties, there are Maureen Sirhal is,q.nI.-SAil,tp-tqr, (1';/.{.1 a staff writer for the Review. .â&#x20AC;˘ "

incentives and perks that allow the rare but great bipartisan efforts to pass laws. Among these great achievements include the Welfare reform bill. Especially when there is a divided Executive and Legislature, these incentives become all the more important. Presidents and congressmen alike must see some benefit from supporting a bill proposed by the opposing party. There are special packages and pet projects meshed with bills for the purpose of garnering support from the other side. If Bill Clinton does not see some direct benefit from signing the welfare reform bill, he will not do it. Luckily that benefit was the 1994 GOP sweep. (i.e.: Clinton really did not have a choice). Allowing presidents to veto individuals lines and portions of bills would cancel the checks and balances allotted by the founders. Of course they wanted grid lock - they did not trust the government . And do you? I think the thought ofBm Clinton with a line-item veto is Ju'st ~~ scaiÂť ~l)e ;'thoUght m--'Piit

Buchanan with one. Many of the proponents who advocate this method are conservative. They blame the excessive approval of pork barrel legislation on the lack of line-item veto. Yet the reality of the line-item veto is that it will divert power from one branch and position more of it elsewhere - the point being that ifthere is too much pork, do not send the bill until it has been trimmed. Government is not meant to accomplish everything, and if it were to accomplish more, tax levels would be a whopping 60 percent and every welfare child in America would be given an intensive education in Ebonics. Though Americans complain tirelessly of the hypocrisy of both parties, the truth is they complain more about what Congress does than what it does not do. Would it have been better if the 1990 budget deal had never been passed? Probably, but then that would not have been sporting. Though it was a big mistake, it demonstrated

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acknowledges the usefulness of the line-item veto according to the possessor of the power. Certainly Bill Clinton would make better use ofthe line-item veto than George Bush. Such veto power would erode the already unstable relations between legislative and executive branches of government. No longer would they balance each other when one is becoming increasingly more powerful. Even if the Congress and the presidency are controlled by two separate parties, bills and amendments would, quickly become fair game for a controlling president, leaving one branch more unstable than the other. For the time being, there must be another way around the mess of passing legislation. Perhaps it should be an increase in the resolve of politicians not to be swayed by the time factor; ifbills are not passed, no sweat, do it next year. In an age where our . culture demands instant results the way we demand food cooked in less than two minutes, the line-item veto wH1-contlnue to 00 (lI sti,mg' issue;i Mtt o

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THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

10

January 22, 1997

o SUPREME COURT NEWS

Court Hears ,llight-to-Die Case like the Journal ofthe American Medimatters for themselves in most cases. the issue and have better ideas recal Association have argued in favor States have shown no signs of abdigarding potential problems in poliof a "futile care" standard for withN ONE OF THE MOST' catingresponsibility;manystatesare cies - the conservative position on drawing life support in cases of scarce anticipated Supreme Court debating the same notions like these. welfare reform is a clear example of economic resources. This is not seekcases in years, the Court heard Given the tenuous (at best) status of this sort of philosophy. ing permission from the families; this oral arguments on January 8 conthis right to die, one wonders why the Physician-assisted suicide clearly is a doctor making a decision based on cerning the issue of physician-asstates cannot be trusted to make this has the potential to involve all sorts of some sort of utilitarian calculus. In sisted suicide. A pair of states, New decision for themselves. complications. In response to an Orsome respects, the slippery slope is York and Washington, had state laws The message to the average voter egon ballot measure that legalized upon us. against physician-assisted suicide is becoming increasingly clear. More physician-assisted suicide led to inGiven that the problems are and more of the social issues which overturned by lower courts. Appeals teresting arguments over the possible clearly laid against the horrors of from the states have brought the isour cOWltry hotly contests are simply effects of the law. Wesley J. Smith, watching the life of a loved one die in sue to the Court, and by this summer being decided by fiat. Think (and vote) author of The Senior Citizens Handpain, this is obviously not .an easy a categorical stance on the right to as you wish on a given issue, but if book, looked at Dutch euthanasia law. decision. It is certainly one on which physician-assisted suicide will be on your voice is not compatible with that In the Netherlands,judges effectively citizens of this country have a right to the books. ofthe Court's, then sit back and watch allowed informal measures of euthabe heard on. The people will more Apparently, things did not go well your position lose at the hands of nasia, leading to a "slippery slope" of accurate\y be heard on the state level, for Laurence Tribe, a constitutional Wlelectedjudges. Obviously cases will chilling aftereffects. Smith noted that not on the national one. Also, state law professor from Harvard who was arise in which judiciary intervention official Dutch government reports sugcontrol, as it does with welfare, allows is necessary - intervention in the arguing for the right. Justices w~re gest that over a thousand citizens are for experimentation to proceed. If cerskeptical about both the existence of civil rights struggle was a correct juinvoluntarily euthanized each year. tain broad principle from the states such a right, and its potential feasidicial decision. Yet comparing the Furthermore, one need not be termiexperimentation seem clear, then perbility as well. This not doubt struggles of Jack Kevorkian with the nally ill to qualify; precedent in the haps they could be implemented at enheartened cons~rvatives, still instruggles of Martin Luther King is Netherlands now encompasses those the national level. At this point, howcensed at the Court for its decision in asinine. who are simply depressed. Smith also supporters of a constitutionalever, Roe v. Wade. Yet it is not over until At some point the Constitutional notes that a disability-rights group enshrined right to die are asking the guarantee of limited national promithe proverbial fat lady sings, and quesin the Netherlands now issqes wallet country to take a huge leap, without a tions during oral arguments don't crenence needs to be respected. If the cards that specifically forbid doctors safety net. ate a scintilla of precedent by themdecisions that voters make at the state from involuntarily saving cardholders' _". >, In other recent Supreme Court selves. That said, the Court's skeptiand local levels are increasingly belives without permission. cism is well-founded, and the reasons coming irrelevant, why should we be To be fair, Smith notes that many news: for this skepticism should not be igsurprised that local voting levels creep of these violations represent physiâ&#x20AC;˘ The justices heard oral arguments nored. lower and lower. The notion that one's from lawyers representing President cians deviating from the law. HowThe first problem with the "right" vote means nothing is reinforced when Clinton and Paula Jones on the issue ever, he raises an excellent point by to assisted suicide is that there does people lose their rights to decide isnoting that once some sort of right to of allowing Jones's civil suit against sues for themselves. not seem to bea clear place for it in the the President to proceed during suicide emerges, no matter how tenA final theoretical consideration text of the constitution. Tribe's contative, it is not long until it extends ' Clinton's term. Accused by Jones of regards these rights to privacy and stitutional argument is that personal out of control. It seems quite clear sexual harassment during his term liberty enshrined in the Constitution liberty upon which a right to die is as governor in Arkansas, Clinton has that safeguards need to be not only demands that people near death canbased . The charm ofthese "rights" is argued that the matter should be put enacted into law, but specifically carnot be forced by the government to go that they are both fantastically openoff until his term as president is over, ried out. through excessive pain . If one cannot ended and greatfor sound bites. Those citing the potential distractions that It is on this level that states' rights who oppose abortion rights are really perform the duty oneself, then the can be affirmed from a practical view, the case could cause. government must allow that physi"against a right to privacy." Those According to news reports, at least in addition to the strong theoretical who contest the right to physiciancians be able to help these individuone. All sorts of different problems one justice is less than convinced. also assisted suicide are really "denying Justice Scalia (recently cited as a.poscould rise up from the establishment The theoretical problems with this people their right to liberty." sible Republican presidential conof an overwhelming right to die. Those position are clear. First, ifthe termi-Given time and a talented enough tender in 2000) noted during the oral who tut-tut the Dutch results as some nally ill have this right to assisted speaker,itishardtothinkofanysort arguments that Clinton has found unrealistic nightmare are being too suicide, why shoulcfu'tother people as ofpolitical stance that could not someplenty of time for leisure activities, hasty. Already, as writers like Father well? Certainly some people are delike golf, during the duration of these how wriggle into these contexts. As Richard John Neuhaus of the Napressed and struggle to make it more and more people seek to expand claims. W. tional Review have noted, institutions through the day, and generally are in the definitions of these rights, one must begin to askifthese open-ended bad shape. If one says that the Constitution allows the terminally ill a right rights are becoming counter-producto die, then one wonders if this right tive. If we do not begin to ask that stops with any people. There is nothproposed rights have some sort of root ing in the text of the Constitution or in actual precedent or text, where the in any recent precedent that sets any heck is the march towards mandated Is that so? TheIl \\'hv" are .VOlt reading . this? sorts oflimits on this type of slippery "liberty" and "privacy" going to lead slope. us? Second, and perhaps most imporThe states' rights argument preAdvertise with the Michigan Review. tant, why is the federal government sented earlier is especially important deciding this? States are certainly when one considers the potential resuIts of a right to die and extension of debating the issues, and different Call Pat at 662-1909 or email physician-assisted suicide. Conserstates are deciding different things mrev@umich.edu for more information. based on the different views of their vativesoftenarguethatthestatesare populations. The Constitution is set better suited to dealing with various up to give" states' tne"power ÂŁ0' decide " " 'problems' because they are Closer to . -

BY MA'ITHEW BUCKLEY

I

"Advertising is a waste of money! Nobody ever pays attention to it!"


THE MICHIGAN REVIEW Join The Michigan Review! Oh. You want to know why you shouldjoin? You want to know what on earth could' compel you to join the Review? That's fair enough. OK, here's the story: You can ... WRITE about why you hate the language requirement, campus' food, crazed professors, bitter policemen and brutal administrators: Or, you can write about other campus affairs, national affairs, arts, music, and books - whether you are enraged about things on campus or excited about music, you can reach 8,000 students with . your VOIce. MAKE LOADS OF MONEY selling advertisements for the Review and gaining valuable real world experience that will look great on your resume, not to mention the enjoyable benefit of having more money in your pocket . .Y',<tl'"

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CHECK US OUT! Weekly Staff Meetings Every Tuesday Night at 7:00pm in Suite 32 of the Perry Building ... OR, e-mail mreV@Umich.edu or call 662-1909 for more information. (Trust us, you'll be glad you did.) Thisad\'( ,.. tisl'llll'nt ('lIp~Ti gh t 19!'71JvTII<' :\ ! I("!ti~~;11 1 1:1·\iv\\" TI H' \:1'\'11'\\

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12

January 22,1997

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o ROLL UP FOR THE MYSTERY TOUR

Cat Scratch Fever BY GEOFF BROWN

H

OWDY! IT'S TIME FOR another fun-filled term of learning and stuff here at the old U-M. I hope that everyone had as good a break as I did. If you didn't, I'd have to say, using the proper terminology as dictated by standards of decency and etiquette, "tough shit." But I digress. It's also another new year. 1997. The year in which Igradu· ate - it seemed so far away when I started here as a wide-eyed, (rela· ti vely) innocent freshm an (or freshperson, or freshhuman, or freshbeing, or freshentity, or freshorganism, or whatever) in Sep· tember 1993. In fact, it seemed so far offin the future when it became 1996! Of course, I always have a hard time envisioning things too far off in the future. In fact, I have a hard time remembering things that happened too far in the past (like more than a week). Actually, I'm having an aw· fully difficult time visualizing the present at the current moment. But I digress. And no I haven't been drink· ing. Well, not recently. Okay, but not that much, really. Again I digress. A.nyway, the point (I knew I had one around here somewhere) is that I had no idea, at the time, that 1996 would be so eventful. All kinds of things happened. Some of them I even re· member fairly well. Anyhow, it seemed to blow by pretty quickly, and now I have the entire year of 1997 to look forward to. God alone only knows what we have in store for us in the year ahead; of course, I have a few ideas. So roll up - the magical mystery tour is dying to take you away on a whirlwind tour of 1996 and 1997. Ifyou stop a stranger on the street and ask her what exactly she would consider the defining moment of1996, you would be awf1,Jlly lucky if she even replied, because most people are wary of random people stopping them on the street asking them cretin questions like that. So you're pretty much on your own here. However, if one uses one's imagination, one would discover that most people's most deeply ingrained memo· ries of1996 consist ofthe Presidential campaign. My God, how could we ever forget? Month upon month of hot air, of worthless speeches, of mindless debate, of name-ca11ing, of broken promises. And that was just the net-

Geoff Brown is Editor-in-Chief of the Review. He thinks that anyone who would kill a cute little kitty has severe mental problems. Email him at gmbrown@Ul~ich.~dl~' . ..•

work news reporters. The politicians were even worse. The Republican pri· mary races were interesting, to say the least. Prominent political figures and virtual unknowns battled for the right to be the Republican presiden· tial candidate. Thus we were treated to what seemed like centuries of debate between Pat "Ethnic Intolerance" Buchana;', former Senator Bob "Former Senator Bob Dole" Dole, Steve "Flat Tax, Dammit, FLAT TAX!" Forbes, Lamar "What the Hell Kinda Name is 'Lamar'?!?" Alexander, Morry "Nobody Has Ever Even Heard Of Me" Taylor, and many others. How· ever, it was mainly a race between Dole and Buchanan. Eventuall);, however, Dole won out, and was named the Republican candidate. The Demo· cratic race was much calmer, as no· body ran against incumbent President Bill ''Where Did I Leave My Pants?" Clinton. And so it was, the race between Bob Dole, an honorable man who had served his country, and had a wife who had also served her country, who wasn't the most telege· nic man, but nonetheless held to his ideals, mostly, but at the same time said some pre,tty stupid things and fell off a platform, and President Bill Criminal, a dishonest liar who cheated his way out of serving his country, and had a wife who was a probable felon and assured liar and cheat, who was a very charming man, and none· theless didn't stick to any of his ide· als, who said stupid things, and broke many laws, and basically couldn't be trusted, and ripped off a platform from the Republicans. The choice was obvious, and the American people chose, of course: Bill Clinton. Hey, I don't get it either. I considered fleeing to Nicaragua. God alone knows what Bill Clinton is going to do to us now. Not that I'm bitter. Of course, we still managed to save a Republican congress, and good old Newt "Mr. Congeniality" Gingrich was re-elected to his position as Speaker of the House, amid as-yet unresolved questions about how he was going to be punished for violating ethics charges over how he used tax dollars to fund a college course. Ap· parently the whole thing boils down to this: Gingrich used tax dollars to teach a college course that was politically motivated. Well, shit, people, U-M professors in the History de· partment, among others, do this all the time! Do we have to punish them, too? But I digress. 1996 was also an interesting year on campus, as well. It saw the fulljmpl~mJ:lptl;\tiQ.n, pf thtj Ne\'{ flllg,)p).proved Code (Now with 50% More

Liberty-depriving Power!) as well as the end of ex-President James J. Duderstadt's tenure as the leader of this University, and the beginning of Vice President for Student Affairs and Holy Code Empress Maureen Hartford's new powers to expel students and do other things previously the sole province of the University President. Word has it she's trying to get a hold of powers previously held solely by lesser deities. The past year also saw the installation offormer UM Law Dean and Dartmouth Provost Lee Bollinger as the next President of the U-M. It was also the Year of Extreme Tripe on the Michigan Daily editorial page with columnists like Katie "Pretend Environmentalist Chick Who Nonetheless Wants to Kill Cute Little Kitty Cats" Hutchins, and Adrienne "Ashamed of Her Identity" Janney. The whole year was filled with columns of almost no value. Of course, that differs little with my column, excepting the fact that I have never claimed to offer any value in my columns (except that some people hav~",.~ gained some laughter from them, which makes me happy). For example, Hutchins has been prattling on about how cool and alternative she and her friends are, and how she is morally superior because she is a vegetarian. environmentalist, and then she turns around and writes a column about wanting to kill a defenseless little cat! Now you can say all you want about how heartless we Review editors are, but, dammit, I like kitty cats! Granted, dogs are much much cooler pets, but I've been known to be reduced to a child-like state around cats, espe· dally the ones who I can get to play "chase the string" with me. So I may like to eat steak and Blimpy burgers, and I might drive a relatively fuelinefficient car, and I might not use recycled notebook paper all the time, but I have never wanted to kill a cat! Hutchins, the so-called environmentalist, never ceases to amaze me with her hypocrisy. She probably wears leather jackets and shoes made by sweat-shop workers, and eats her veggie burgers from styrofoam con· tainers, too. Anyway, I've babbled enough about the past. I've never liked living in the past very much. So I think I'll take a little look ahead at the term ahead, and offer some predictions.

• FEBRUARY. As U-M President Lee· Bollinger officially settles into office to begin his tenure, he makes hl:m ,SweAping AdminiRtra. lTes~ inI t.he r "tf'i Ct~rr-p ." ... T t- l ( tion and policies of the U-M. Vice ('1

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President for Student Affairs and Chief Warlord of The Code Maureen Hartford immediately charges Bollinger with several Code violations, removes him from office, and incar· cerates him in the Code Gulag. Daily columnist Adrienne Janney blames the entire incident on her "whiteness." Meanwhile Warlord Hartford declares herself President ofthe U-M. US Rep. David Bonior (D-Mount Clemens, MI), empowered by his recent victory in the Gingrich ethics case, charges the Speaker with "thinking about political subjects while on tax-payer time."

• MARCH. University President and Grand Master of The Code Maureen Hartford delcares herself "Emperor of the University" and claims all of Ann Arbor as her domain. She imme· diately outlaws the Michigan Review under the Code, and expands Code jurisdiction to make it possible to prosecute all Code violations, real orimag· ined, that occur anywhere within the State. Upon hearing the news, Daily columnist Adrienne Janney mysteriously shrieks "THREE WHITE BOYS AND ONE WHITE GIRL!!" for no apparent reason, while Daily Edito· rial Page Editor Zack Raimi desperately searches· for a new job. This prompts Katie Hutchins to kick a cute little three-week old kitten. In the meantime, Rep. Bonior (D-Mars) charges Gingrich with "conspiring to assasinate President Lincoln," which causes Review Managing Editor Ben Kepple to trip on the way to the water fountain. Again.

• APRIL. Rep. Bonior (D-Planet Zorkon) declares Newt Gingrich "En· emy of the People." University Emperor and Code Deity Maureen Hartford immediately charges the Speaker with several Code violations, and amends the Code to allow prosecution of offenses committed anywhere outside the University Empire, including "other planets." She further declares the DPS, or "M-Cops," as the supreme enforcement authority. MCop brigades immediately crack down on all forms of dissent, and begin an Empire-wide manhunt. Emperor Hartford denies that the M-Cops are searching for "Enemy of the M-Empire" Lee Bollinger, stating that the ex-President was safely in a Code Gulag and "definitely was not freed by rogue Michigan Review editors." So it looks like we have a rough term ahead of us. As long as we pull together l ~~o~$h, >ye ~tl(;)l~I?.I:~e .a}:>;l~ t,o tough it out: l\R . •... . ...

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January 22, 1997

13

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o loST IN THE EIGHTIESTM

Ben's Worst of Winter 1997 .",

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BY BENJAMIN KEPPLE

I

T WOULD BE NICE IF ALL of us were taking classes we enjoyed. However, this is simply not the case. Too often at the University of Michigan, we are forced to endure historical revisionism, crackpot sociological theory, and professors who spout this knowledge, having succeeded in the Grand Quest of Academia: Getting Tenure, and thus avoiding real life for good. This is not to say that there are not good classes here taught by good professors. There most certainly are. However, I've also had some real morons-yes,morons-who, while they are able to expound for days on the importance of gender relations during the Victorian era, have seemingly no clue as to how the real world actually operates. If they do have any clue, it lies so far beneath intellectual drivel, beneath academic crap --yes, crapthat it becomes totally hidden from the world. So here are my tips for selecting courses. 1. Read course descriptions and watch for key words. If a basic survey course says anything about sexuality, gender roles, ethnicity, what have you, you should (if at all possible) try to find a different course. (History 152 (Southeast Asian Civilization) is a good different course.) If you're looking for history, try to find a course where history will be taught, not some crackpot revisionistic theory or what is really sociology. On this note, avoid any courses with the following words in their descriptions as well: "sociological inquiry," "transformative interdisciplines ," "oppression," "Ojibwa," "high school mathematics," "for nonscientists," "sport in the ancient world," "comparative literature," "gangsta rap," "freshpersons," "Freudian psychoanalytic theory," "alternatives to capitalism," etc. 2. Some departments are just out of it. If at any time you wish to receive a paying job outside of the academic field, I strongly urge you to avoid Sociology, Women's Studies, and American Culture. These are the types of departments that spawn unemployed baccalaureates, who then go on to graduate school, eventually becoming professors in these same fields. You can already see the vicious cycle beginning. You owe it to yourself to major in a nice field, like History, English, or Psychology. A good friend of mine had a roomBenjamin Kepple is Managing Editor of the Michigan Review. He recently visited Swamp Cruc(, \Flor:ida~ ,

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mate who Made The Mistake of taking AmCult 373, History of the U.S. West. This course had exam questions such as "Why were no EuroAmerican women included on Lewis and Clark's expedition?" I am not making any of this up. Women's Studies 240, "Introduction to Women's Studies", is an "introduction to the new, feminist scholarship on women" and promises to offer students an analysis ofwomen's oppression. Great. Sociology, well, it's beyond hope. I would only ask that you do not take "Contemporary Social Issues: An Introduction to Sociology." There is still time to drop. . 3.AvoidLiving-LearningPrograms. The Administration's decision to put living-learning programs in all the dorms by 1998 - please suppress the urge to vomit - is really rather scary. According to my copy of the LSA bulletin, courses that can be offered in the flagship program - the Residential College - include RC Social Science 320: "Exploring Alternatives to Capitalism" and RC Humanities 360 "The Existential Quest in the Modem Novel." These sound like some ofthe joke courses offered in Woody Allen's Annie Hall, to wit: "Existential Motifs in Russian literature." Come on, admit it. You're glad, aren't you, that you're not in these. Therefore, avoid classes in these programs as well. So, without further ado, here are my Top Ten Worst Classes Offered This Term. 10. American Culture 401: Race and Racialization in the Americas. This course description uses so much academic jargon I can't bloody tell what it is trying to say. It obviously expounds upon the problem of racism. However, in a 100 word descriptive paragraph it uses the phrases "institutionalization of racism in Brazil, Puerto Rico, the United States, and Mexico from an interdisciniplary perspective" (films 'til you puke), "gendered and racialist regimes" (like the Sandinistas?), and "the multiple meanings of multiculturalism" (like doublethink, there is more than one correct answer ... ). If the teaching is anything like the course description, God help us all. 9. History 111: History of Modern Europe This frustrating (I took it) course is the ideal trap set by any politically correct professor: It's the second survey course in sequence for history ma~or~, Hfncfil, it i~ ch~ck full of im-..)

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port ant topics such as "the making of modem gender and racial differences," "the position of women in European society," and "the ways that people in the past invented their worlds, their sensibility, and their sexuality" and unimportant topics such as "the revolutions of the 19th and 20th centuries" and "war and society." It focuses a lot more on the sociological than on the historical. YECCCCCH. 8. Pilot Course 165, College Writing, sect. 7: Representations of Law in American Trial Films. Trial films are schlock. Nothing good ever came out of a trial film produced after 1970. Why anyone would waste credit hours so they could watch "Primal Fear,""The Firm," "The Chamber," or some other mindless drivel is beyond me. There are so many other sources of material of merit out there that using trial films as a basis for writing about is sick. I know, I know, I CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH that somewhere someone may be gettirig credit for this. 7. Mathematics 147. Introduction to Interest Theory. This bare-bones class on the way reality works isn't necessary. We ltlr~ know how interest works. Savings accounts get paid out at 1.5%, your credit card charges you at 17.15%, and a decent home equity loan runs 11 %. This is all determined by the Prime Rate. Then, banks add on to the Prime Rate so they can make money, squeezing you. There. Interest Theory in a bottle. 6. Sociology 102: Contemporary Social Issues (Intro to Sociology), Section 001 All sections of this worthless course in this worthless discipline are bad, but this one is scary. The description reads: "This course will provide an introduction to sociology through an in-depth analysis of one or more contemporary issues." Allow me to translate. "Introduction to Sociology" = An introduction on how to eventually become a "diversity facilitator" for large corporations; "in-depth analysis" = You will be fed propaganda until your head spins; "one or more contemporary issues" = Affirmative Action. 5. Women's Studies 230: Women's Movements. Scary catch phrases say it all. "In this course we will explore the progress that the international women's movement has been making ... we will examine key issues such as ... structural adjustment...We will also consider what specific roles women in America can play in furthering the Platform for Action." Ohmy God. What in hell r"', 1 "!-

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is structural adjustment? I hope this has something to do with the glass ceiling, but doesn't the whole tone of the description shout propaganda? The Platform for Action? Good Lord. Look, just Run Away. Quickly. 4. Introduction to Women's Studies: WS 240 "Designed as an introduction to the new, feminist scholarship on women." Oh boy! Andrea Dworkin! Catharine MacKinnon! The course will also provide students "with an analysis of women's oppression"! Not surprisingly, this is cross listed with American Culture. It also includes "how capitalism, racism, imperialism, andheterosexism affect women's lives." Gosh, there's no negativity here, is there? 3.

Any

Kinesiology Course.

Kinesiology was created with one purpose in mind. This was to provide athletes, who provide revenue for the University, a warm and friendly place where they wouldn't have to do Actual Academic Work. Just what are you going to do with a degree in Sports Management? That's almost as bad as having a degree in Women's Studies or American Culture. Avoid Kinesiology the same way you would avoid your dorm cafeteria because they had another outbreak of"pathogenic molds and spores" in the "Canadian Cheese Soup." 2. English 411: Art of the FUm, Sect. 1: Prison and the Artist. "The United States is the most incarcerating nation in the world." Yes, but we put them in prison for committing crimes. [more anti-prison statistics deleted] "This course will address prison reality and culture." This is an English course. No, wait! It's a Film course! No! It's neither! This course can be used to indoctrinate people! We'll show them the brutal aspects of prison, and the horrors of being denied color television and weight training. This is just what we need, a class that might cause someone to have sympathy for felons. It's got to be stopped. 1. STATS402. Thisinsipid,painful, dreary class is similar to that Packard Bell commerical where the people visibly age while standing in line at the bank. This is what the class does to you. You age. It hurts. It's painful. Deceptive at first, it then delves into topics of little interest to anyone, and is presented in such a dry manner that most students stop attending lecture and end up with a C or worse. The labs are uniformily useless. I beg of you that you do NOT take Stats 402 unless you absolutely must. The horror! The horror! Mt ,

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14

January 22,1997

THE MICHIGAN REVIEW

o FEATURE

Universal DichotO!llY Found on Sirnpsons BY JOSH

TRAPANI

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EMEMBER THE SIMPSONS phenomenon? No, not O.J., but the one several years before. Remember when you and all your friends were walking around with Tshirts that sported such profound logos as: ''I'm Bart Simpson; who the hell are you?" Most people never knew WHY they liked the S~mpsons so much. It just appealed to something deep within our souls. As a long-time fan 1 have devoted a great deal of thought to the little microcosm of Springfield, and especially to the most central character of the show - Homer J. Simpson. On the surface, Homer seems nothing more than a clown, a little kid in an adult's body. We laugh at his apparent lack of any sense of right and wrong or redeeming moral qualities. But if we look deeper, we find that Homer actually holds the key to understanding all of our lives. This may seem a vast overstatement, but think about two of his exclamations: "Doh!" and "Woohoo!" These two can be applied to 99% of the situations people run into in life. It's true for me, if not for you. (And I have friends who insist that Nelson's "HA-ha!" fits the remaining 1%.) The profundity of this finding is staggering. Consider a typical day in a college student's life. You wake up (Woo-hoo!). Then you remember that you have class that day (Doh!). But your first class isn't until late afternoon (WoohooD. But it's biology (Doh!). Then you remember the cute brunette who sits in front of you (Woo-hoot). Unfortunately, you also remember how the last time you tried to talk to her she called you a big creep and her boyfriend, a huge muscle-bound jock named Hans who moonlights as a bouncer, swore eternal vengeance on you (Doh!). Yet this of course reminds you ofthe bazooka you purchased and are going to tote to class this time just in case Hans forgets his manners (Woo-hoo!). And so on and so forth. (By the way, if you go to class and say hi to your love, and Hans gets up and flexes and says, "1 Yill break you!" and you get to use your bazooka, that's a perfect example of a HA-ha!) The DohIWoo-hoo phenomenon has implications beyond the life ofthe individual. Marx argued that human history was a struggle between the haves and have-nots; I would instead argue that human history is nothing Josh Trapani is a staff writer for the Review and a first-year graduate student. He likes television.

more than a long series ofDoh!s and Woo-hoo!s. Think about it. The Spanish Inquisition (Doh!). The Renaissance (Woo-hoo!). The Black Plague (Doh!). The American Revolution (Woo-hoo!). Of course, in many cases whether an event deserves a Doh! or a Woo-hoo! depends on your point of view. For instance, while I would give the French Revolution a Woo-hoot, something tells me that what Marie Antoinette was thinking on her way to the guillotine was something more along the lines of Doh! (well, either that, or perhaps Mmmm ... cake another Homer-esque thought). But this doesn't defeat the general point one or the other still applies. Furthermore, I would argue that the Doh!lWoo-hoo! dichotomy transcends linguistic and cultural barriers. If you were stuck in a room with an Australian Aborigine, a Mongol, an Ainu, a Bedouin, a Finn, and a Yanomamo tribesman and had to conveyyouremotionalstatetoallofthem simultaneously using only one word or expression, what would you do? Something tells me Doh! or Woo-hoo! would work better than just about

anything else. They say love is the universal language? Baloney. Homerese is the only universal language there is. 1 don't know about you, but I am reeling with the shocking universality of all this. Five million years of human evolution, all of our intricate neuroanatomy and complex social systems, thousands oflanguages and cultures, and it can all be summed up in Doh! and Woo-hoot Makes you feel all kind of warm and tingly inside, doesn't it? I would even contend that the power of Doh! and Woo-hoot extends beyond the realm of humans and into natural history. Consider, for example, the extinction of the dinosaurs. Dinosaurs were the dominant large vertebrates on earth for more than 150 million years, and many scientists now believe their reign came to an end when a large meteor collided with the earth and caused drastic climate changes. One can imagine that if a dinosaur opinion survey were conducted at about this time, the results would probably indicate a general feeling of Doh! On the other hang"".~

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think about the mammals. Mammals were around during the entire reign of the dinosaurs, and managed to achieve a fairly large diversity. Yet none of them attained a size larger than a modern house-cat, and the vast majority were relegated to a diet of insects. The demise of the dinosaurs allowed the mammals to expand and diversify in order to fill the ecological niches they occupy today. An opinion survey of mammals at the time of the extinction of dinosaurs would therefore show different results from that of the dinosaurs - an opinion that might best be summed up as Woo-hoot I feel imminently qualified to say that I know absolutely nothing about interpreting art, and in fact wouldn't know good art ifit came up and bit me on the butt. What I do know however is that the creators of the Simpsons were somehow able to capture the very essence of life in Homer J. Simpson, and we can only bow to their brilliance. Even his name tells us something. Homer Simpson and Homo sapiens ... is it just coincidence they sound so alike? I think not. Mt

l\'IEKDay Continued from page 1 .. King's s truggIe «Qn tillued through 1963 where he gave his hist9ric an.dlllost . famous speech at

generate into physical violence. Agairi and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force." These words defined pre- . ciselythenonviolentstrugglesDr.King advo.c ated that proved so effective se\l-

Marion, Al~bama, black leaders ofganized a march frOIn SelIna tQ the ' state capital of Montgomery on Sunday, March 7th. The marcll an appeal to Gov.\Valltl~etostop the ., po.lice brutality against civil

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"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup ofbitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane ofdignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force."

King eloquently· stated to th~ masses "Let us not seek to satisfy. our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup ofbittemess·and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to de-

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$JJ 'BookJ

Sommers Attacks Radicalism BY MATTHEW BUCKLEY

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NE OF CONTEMPORARY societies greatest outrages is the pricing ofhardcovers. Getting hands on great books is a pain given the typical student budget. After several months, tho~gh, the release of Christina Hoff Sommers Who Stole Feminism ($12.00, Simon & Schuster) as a paperback begins to alleviate the problem. Sommers, an associate professor of philosophy at Clark University, is not new to the media. Though she identifies herself as a Democrat, her articles have appeared in publications spanning many ideologies, from the New Democrat New Republic to the conservative Wall Street Journal. Sommers is an active critic of modern feminism, and her positions get her attention. The cover reveals the gist of Sommers' thesis - modern feminism allegedly betrays women. Sommers identifies herself as an equity feminist. This school espouses classically liberal views; their main goal was to establish equal rights of men and

women before the law. Sommers claims this "First Wave" feminism has been very successful, and that most women identifY with it. The onslaught on equity feminism comes from New Feminism (aka gender feminism, or "Second Wave" feminism). With little grass roots support but lots of intellectual muscle, this school engages in a never-ending battle against a social patriarchy. Most modern feminists reside here, including people like Susan Faludi, Gloria Steinem, and Naomi Wolf. Two parts of the book are of particular interest. The first is three chapters devoted to attempts (and successes) by the New Feminists in taking academia. While Sommers' list of most indoctrinating schools consists mainly of East Coast havens, the University of Michigan does not go untouched. Not only is the controversial gender feminist Catherine MacKinnon a member of the law school faculty, but several incidents in the University's recent past find their way into Sommers prose. Changes in the teaching of history illustrate the type of change that

this "gender feminism" exemplifies. As Sommers notes, gender feminists claim that women are underrepresented in history textbooks, and that women overtime have been systematically oppressed. Since this historical sexism surely existed, it did act to keep women out of the public sphere, Sommers notes - but then underrepresentation in the history books is to be expected. While it is certainly regrettable that women were not as active in the political process during in the past, the result is that studying the periods politics means looking disproportionately at men. To avoid criticism, Sommers notes, textbooks are relying on filler feminism and misrepresentations of history in order to appease gender feminists. Another interesting section focuses on misleading statistics trumpeted by gender feminism. The June 1994 National Review article, expanded here, exposed the fraudulent claim by feminist groups that Super Bowl Sunday saw more domestic violence than any other day ofthe year. Sommers chronicles with devastat="~

ing efficiency how the press picked up the story and ran like the wind, without taking any critical look at the actual data. Accompanied by other tales of outlandish lying via statistics, the section is distinctly chilling. The book certainly has flaws. Sommers' idea of a harsh dichotomy seperating gender and equity feminists is overplayed. While certainly both schools exist, it seems far more likely that a gradual continuum bridges the two schools of feminism; the dichotomy is too simplistic. Also, Sommers relies extensively on anecdotes and not on rigourous studies of her own. While this is entertaining, at some points one would like something more than Sommers' stories to rely on. Overall, however, Sommers book is an excellent read, with plenty of revealing insights for men and women alike concerning one of the major social movements ofour time. The cover's claim that this book makes controversial reading is correct; if the gender feminists had the ability, they should have tried to keep this book in hardcover ... permanently.

The Review Brings You Poetry Stand

One of many, the least of which is mine

As time passes slowly Looking back on the past Teaching lessons, learning mistakes Each day growing stronger Consuming the world which lies In her. hand. The future staring Her in the face Hands extended, it's within Reach, hold fast. Strength The wick burning. Day by day, pain no longer Owns her. Once in shambles Standing tall today. Realizing he is not needed She stands alone enjoying The company_ - Krystal Amstultz

An animated mannequin takes once upon himself a look around or felt his head turning "and my eyes did see" "and my ears did hear" the stones of this good home below stones of mad existence at once quiet and laughing and strange clear and mumbling mannequin hearing voices of life stuffed into his breast such stuffing cries out with a sigh "You symphony!" And his ears did hear life echo back "You quack!"

As the stones turned over in their mud and mortar humming to themselves "Ab, this love, this love." - M. Jakubowski

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Music

KISS Explodes into the New Year

BY CURTIS ZIMMERMANN

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N DECEMBER 31, NEW Year's was celebrated in East Rutherford, New Jersey in perhaps the most amazing spectacle ever to grace any stage. During this performance, Kiss got a chance to prove to the entire country that they have enf,rineered perhaps one of the finest rock concerts ever. Paul Stanley, Kiss rhythm guitarist and lead singer, said it best right before they played "Rock and Roll All Night": "There are a lot of bands out there that like to tell you how miserable life is. Bullshit!" This might be able to explain why Kiss has managed to re-ignite their legendary KISS ARMY on their reunion tour and become the highest grossing musical act of 1996. There was a diverse crowd that ranged in age from ten to fifty. This included many Kiss imitators with their faces painted to resemble the band. Before the show even began, several large video screens above the audience, and one on the stage under the light marquee that spelled out the f,TfOUp'S name, showed a half hour video that told the entire KISSTORY. The band began back in the early Seventies; its original members who were reunited for this tour are Paul Stanley, rhythm guitar; Gene Simmons, bass; Ace Frehley, lead guitar; and Peter Criss on drums. All four members sing on various songs. The video created a frenzy of excitement among audience members. It made us feel like we weren't just at a concert, but that we were at a once-ina-lifetime experience. This film documented the rise and fall offour guys who revolutionized the way Rock and Roll was and is performed. It told of the heights that their fame reached, which included lunch boxes, dolls, and even a Kiss comic book in which the band members donated their own blood to be used as ink. By the time this video was over everyone in the crowd was fired up and screaming for the band to come on stage. . In the midst of massive explosions and fireworks, they entered the arena. All four of them were adorned in the white makeup, black costumes and seven inch heels that first made Kiss legendary. They opened with "Deuce", a powerful track from their first album. The entire audience seemed as though it was hypnotized as everyone sang the chorus in unison, "You know your man is working hard, he's worth a deuce!" AE they played, lights were flashing everywhere and explosions occurred routinely. The band continued on its ram~

and then down over the audience. all viewed something that has now page early in the show with They then left the stage with firebecome almost bigger than the band "Firehouse," which ended in a craze of works bursting in the air, and the itself. Blood capsules spilled red ooze sirens and red lights. Another highcrowd screamed out, "KISS, KISS, from his mouth, and the TV cameras light of the early stages ofthe concert KISS!!!", over and over again. focused in on his gargantuan squirmwas Ace Frehley's guitar solo, which The band returned once again, ing tongue for all to see. He was then ended with fireworks shooting out of and Paul Stanley addressed the crowd slowly raised by cables to the top of the head of his guitar and blowing out saying, "People, we have to go." folsome lights in lowed by a dismal "Ohhh!" that echthe fixtures oed throughout the arena. He then above the stage. came back and shouted, "You're comThroughout ing with us to 'Detroit Rock City.'" the evening they This is the song that has made Detroit played just about their adopted home town. After this, every one oftheir the lights on stage went completely tracks which are black and a lone spotlight glowed on a now considered chair in the center. Peter Criss enclassics. These tered the spotlight as the introducincluded; "Shout tion to Kiss's immortal ballad "Beth" It Out Loud", echoed through the air. The sudden "Cold Gin," change of pace was staggering as he "Love Gun," sang one of Kiss's few slow love songs: "King of the "Beth I know you're empty, and I hope Nighttime you'll be all right, because me and the World," "Black boys will be playing all night." The Diamond," "Do song ended amidst a sea of lighters You Love Me," Gene Simmons once again returns as the bass playing demon. . flickering in the darkness. and "Calling Dr. The rest of the band returned to Love." Each song the stage. From this vantage point he_,.~,.~the stage once again to a howling seemed to top the previous one, and looked over the audience with' an crowd. Paul Stanley spoke his great every spectacle out-did the last. words to the audience that I menThroughout the entire performance awesome presence and the band retioned in the first paragraph. The the audience seemed only to gain more turned to the stage to perform "God of video shown prior to the show spoke Thunder," Simmons's own personal and more energy, everyone (including of "Rock and Roll All Night" as Kiss's myselD screaming at the top of their theme song. defining song. Since the Seventies it Another event that marked the lungs. The lights enveloped the stage, and kept plastering it with new imevening was when Paul Stanley an- . has become one of the greatest rock anthems ever. When they began, the ages and patterns. The giant Kiss nounced that the show would be teleaudience unleashed mass hysteria as marquee behind the band kept lightvised live on Dick Clark's New Year's all 16,000 people sang every single ing up in all sorts of ways. While they Eve show. The place went ballistic word to the song. "I want to rock and w hen roll all night and party every day" Dick's imreverberated itself again and again in age apan unending fury. As the song came peared on to an end thousands of balloons were the large dropped on the crowd each bearing screens. the Kiss logo. Everyone frolicked in As he the unending sea of rubber as the spoke to the audiband left the stage. What made this Kiss concert more ence, the memorable than others was that it roar ofthe wasn't just four men up on stage playcrowd ining their music; it was an experience creased to of sounds and mind. Never before such inhave I seen a crowd so captivated by tensity every note a band played. It seemed that it as though everyone in the audience was imknew every single word to every song. possible Perhaps many of the new bands can to hear learn from Kiss and what their sucone word cess this year has shown. It proves to he was the entire nation that Rock and Roll saying. isn't just something you hear; it's an The band Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley slam out another riff. experience that, if channeled right, then ushcan put a smile on your face that lasts ered in the for days. This is what ties Kiss with New Year with a finale consisting of were performing "Calling Dr. Love," people like Bill Haley. They are conPeter Criss's drums rising up at least blinding fire came up from the floor of tinuing the legacy began forty years the stage. AE if all of, this wasn't thirty feet in the air. The other memago when Haley sang "Rock around bers of the band were on platforms enough, the band left the stage with the Clock'. l\R ' ; ' ., which raise-d them to the upper tier only Gene Simmons upthere-, and we ----'.~,-.-=--~%,-.-~-,~"----,...,.,--------------


MICHIGAN REVIEW LIVING CULTURE

17

January 22, 1997'

I Music

Best Album 0L 1996: "Outer Space"

BY SIMON EINSPAHR

W

ELL, WE NOW ARE officially into a new year, and thus the traditional "best of' lists abound in papers, television, and radio, both on campus and nationally. This is where entertainment news finds safe haven until spring, when the music and movie industries begin to pick up steam . On that note, rather than tossing up another glowing review ofR.E .M.'s disappointing "New Adventures In HiFi" album, or bashing the new Nirvana tribute album, "Razorblade Suitcase," I'll instead write about an album which I think is one of the best in years, and certainly the most innovative rock "dark horse" album of 1996. I waited to review it until now because it is especially relevant in these doldrums of winter. This said album is Thought Industry's "Outer Space Is Just A Martini Away." Thought Industry formed in Kalamazoo, MI around 1989, playing shows around Western Michigan. Their debut album, "Songs For Insects" and their next album, "Mods

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Carve The Pig: Assassins, Toads, and God's Flesh" continued their creative push, fleshing out their rough, meticulous music with more melody and increasingly intense lyrics. When drummer Dustin Donaldson left the group, Brent Oberlin (bass, lead vocals, keyboards), Paul Enzio (guitar), and Chris Lee (guitar) hired Jared Bryant filled the vacancy on drums, and Herb Ledbetter took over bass duties, allowing Brent to focus on his singing. This paved the way for Thought Industry's opus "Outer Space Is Just A Martini Away." Released last January, the album is a wide departure from their previous work, trading much oftheir shredding guitars for keyboards and synthesizers. While there is still a lot of guitar, it seems to be used as a layering tool and not as the backbone of the songs. The lyrics, or "lyrical bartending" according to Brent, is often the most intriguing aspect of the songs. They provide a perfect companion to the drab Michigan winter. The album leads off with "Love Is America Spelled Backwards," a fastpaced ode to crashing funeral services

while inebriated, with dark but am usiI).g lines such as "Margaret hands me a librium, I say 'thanks for the confidence.'" and the catchy chorus, "Hey, hey, fill in the grave, then steal the collection tray." Other standout tracks include "Dante Dangling From A Noose," about boredom and losing faith, and "Pinto Award In Literature," which describes faking one's death, with the chorus "This life is boring me, I knew it ever since thirteen." "Outer Space" is a perfect winter album, for it combines dark wit and humor with expression of the bleak underbelly of life. Thought Industry has obviously gained greater songwriting ability since their last album. The single off the album, "Soot On The Radio," is one of my personal favorites, trading the barren lines "A sad walk / Fifteen miles into town" with the stark realization in the chorus, "I gave up hope for my WQrld / There's nothing to give in, you're my plastic girL""Jack Frost Junior" also stands out, with its pulsing bass riff and drumming, and the chorus, "So they kick you when you're 'down, but I'm Jack Frost's son any"

how / Wearing my red shoes out of the wreck." Another example of Thought Industry's songwriting craft is in "The Squid," an irresistibly catchy song which hearkens Todd Rundgren's musical style and wit. The song's underlying theme is drowning one's sorrow, with such powerful imagery as, "Club Stupid is a ginger house / The bar a welfare line" and "My mind a razorblade / Rusty maybe, but fair today." By far the funniest song on the album is the tongue-in-cheek "Fruitcake and Cider," about a struggling paranoid who thinks "pets are just camcorders for God" and believes, "It's not easy convincing people of the conspiracy / At least the NRA believes me." And in "D.I.Y. Tranquilizers," the band's musical prowess takes center stage with one of the best guitar riffs I've heard in a while. In short, every track on this remarkable album offers something unique to break up the monotony ofwind chills, midterms, and the radio. In my opinion, for your dollar and your hungry musical appetite, "Outer Space Is Just A Martini Away" is the record of the year.Ml

Larry Flynt: Hero?

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BY KRISTINA CURKOVIC

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ARRY FLYNT IS NOT MY hero. Of course, he should be, considering that he is a champion of free speech in Milos Forman's new film, "The Peoplevs. Larry Flynt." Flynt rises from squalor to fortune, risking everything in the process in order to make sure that all of us, as Americans, can enjoy perusing a copy of "Hustler," the porn magazine he founded and defended. Even if you love free speech and abhor the thought of censorship, it is a little hard to like Larry Flynt in this movie. Forman craftily fashions adespicable image of Flynt early in the film, saturating the screen with scenes of Flynt's selfish motives and relentless womanizing. Woody Harrelson plays Flynt, complete with a white trash accent and bad teeth, and adds to the idea that Flynt had few tender or patriotic bones in his body. His marriage to Althea (played unremarkably, though boldly, by Courtney Love), does not help to soften his brazen image, especially when they are unabashed accomplices in each other's infidelity. (Of course, if that's not love, then what is?) Flynt's actions in court and prison seem to contradict his purpose...m$n,g his .... . f .

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pursuit of unalienable rights less of a crusade for his fellow Americans and more of a personal vendetta against those who done him wrong, something that is especially evident in his court battle with Jerry Falwell. Of course, you can't hate a guy who, all motives aside, has helped protect your rights to freedom of speech. This is the theme that the movie keeps hammering away at, sometimes successfully, and most successfully when Flynt's lawyer, Alan Isaacman, takes the floor. Isaacman seems to reflect the feelings of the audience and maybe of the director while he may not like what Flynt does, Isaacman_still appreciates his client's rights to free speech and will defend those rights to the very end. Edward Norton ("Primal Fear") plays Isaacman with an understated demeanor that makes Harrelson and especially Love's roles overdone and rough-cut. If the movie is about protecting our rights to freedom ofspeech, then the best dialogue and the director's most approving vision in the whole film goes to Norton's character. In one ofthe movie's final scenes, Isaacman appears before the Supreme Court of the United States to defend his client - who is finally and appropriately mut~d and sidelined -: in a • "_,r '1 (": ·,, ' \.:-1 \< ,f". ·~ . t.. t,~·?, . . f.' ~},~,~ ~t/J i

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manner befitting the issue and the court. Eloquent, sincere, and friendly, Isaacman - not Flynt - is the man we want defending our rights. Milos Forman's previous two masterpieces, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and "Amedeus," focused on the disturbed lives of men who wanted to make an impact but managed to destroy themselves in the process. Similarly, Flynt certainly made an impact through his great opus, "Hustler" magazine, which brought him fame and fortune, and at the same time also brought Flynt serious misery: prison terms, psychiatric confinement, drug addictions, paralyzation, and the loss of his wife to AIDS. Yet Forman does not present Flynt as a martyr; in fact, the movie never brings up Flynt's service in the U.S. Army and Navy, nor his children-:topics that may have made the character more presentable and endearing as a hero. Forman's central question is whether Larry Flynt should have been able to brandish First Amendment rights in order to save a multi-million dollar empire that was based on basic pornography and extremely bad taste. One of Flynt's arguments is that while images of sexuality are frowned upon, images of violence bombard society .. ' ''IP '

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without much comment. Yet, "Hustler" was often based on mixing sexuality and misogynist violence; take, for example, the famous cover featuring a woman's body crushed into a meat grinder. In spite of what may seem extreme, outrageous, and worth censoring, one still recognizes the fact that all of us have basic rights that must be protected at all costs. Sometimes there is more danger in giving someone the power to take those rights from Larry Flynt than in giving someone the right to be outrageous. Forman, born in Czechoslovakia, whose parents died at the hands of Nazis, raises poignant questions about our integral rights as Americans. So while Larry Flynt may not be a true hero, we have to grudgingly appreciate him, like the friend you may not like but invite to the party anyway because he can afford to bring the beer. Forman, who has the objective view ofsomeone who didn't grow up in the United States, tries to give us a warning. In this movie, there is no clear-cut battle between the people and the establishment; instead, we see a smoking gun in our own hands when we recognize that rights we want for ourselves may not always be the rights that we especially want to give to others.l\R f : ~ "";· '~'~ ''' ~jl .) .~ +:},. ~ .: i . 1}· ~ ) ; 1 J~\ t

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.0 Music Evan's Top T'eh Albums Of 1996 all in black and white. 2. SLOAN One Chord To Another (Murderecords): Sloan is by far the most underrated band in the world. Coming out of the burgeoning music scene in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Sloan is the reincarnation of the Fab Four. After their brilliant first album Smeared got the band signed to Geffen Records, the band dropped its noisy shoegaze sound for a more classic rock sound. Unlike the arrogant, pissy Beatles-wannabesOasis,Sloanisthe real deal. Perhaps the most ingenious element of the band's music is their discovery of an element foreign to almost all of today's music: learning to actually playa real instrument. "One Chord To Another" has it all, flashy trumpets a la Chicago, boozy piano licks, hand claps- can you say "Rubber Soul"? The four way democracy in Sloan allows each member to sing several songs. Hopefully American listeners will come around to Sloan- if only Ed Sullivan were still on the air.

BY EVAN KNOTI'

I

T WAS THE BEST OF TIMES;

it was the worst of times. This tacky maxim best sums up the year in music for 1996. Although tossaway, three chord grunge has died a long-{)verdue death, so-called modern rock stations now insist replacing the air space once dominated by Alice In Chains, Silverchair, Seven Mary Three, and Green Day with even more intolerable, half-baked wonders. If I had a nickel for every time I heard Alanis Morrisettes' "Ironic," anything by Dave Matthews, or the Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight Tonight," I would have left U-M months ago in pursuit of a real life listening to worthy records. The problem with so much of today's music is the bands' insistence on marketing their projects to a socalled "generation X" crowd oftwentysome things who don't know any better. My top ten list this year illustrates a somewhat diverse collection oftruly original, innovating, and daring musicians. It has always been my opinion that a band is only as good as its live performance, and I have been blessed with the opportunity to see six of the featured bands in concert. Uninterested in promotion, indifferent in targeting a certain audience, each of these bands stretches the established boundaries of conventional song structure. Isn't this what music is really about? Music as a medium is about transcending emotions and ideas through original combinations of sounds, rhythms, textures, and words. Without further ado, I proudly present the top ten albums of 1996:

3. SWIRLIES They Spent Their Wild Youthful Days In The Glittering World Of The Salons (Taang Records): The Swirlies are the type of band that actually sound better the worse they produce their records. The quintessential collection of bizarre samples of noise, knob-tweaked analog melodies, and warbly guitar riffs, Swirlies are like a Weird Al version of My Bloody Valentine. The album even includes samples of a Speak and Spell computer; the digital voice of the machine is looped hundreds of times and forms the rhythmical background on "You Can't Be Told It, You Must Behold It."

1. AMP Sirenes (Petrol Records): Simply the most astounding sounding album ofl996. This eight member collaboration of sound and noise architects is the ultimate mood music record. Hailing from the Bristol, England scene, AMP has close ties to other local lo-fi noise masters like Flying Saucer Attack and the Third Eye Foundation. On Sirenes, the band paints an aural landscape of distant orchestras, heavenly bursts of feedback burying subtle French vocals, erotically pulsating beats, and a crashing wave ofdistortion and white noise. During its lighter moments, the album contains several minimal tracks using only a piano or series of manipulated feedback and samples. The album sounds strangely like some~ thing out of a David Lynch movie ifit had been produced in 1920 and was

Evan likes weird music, d6esn't he'? "-''''''''''''''''''''."""

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4. SEBADOHHarmacy(Subpop Records): Although not as good as 1994's breakthrough Bakesale, Harmacy nicely continues where this Boston trio left off. Like all Sebadoh records, Harmacy is an emotional rollercoaster of love, despair, angst, and indifference. What makes a record like Harmacy so appealing and everlasting in its sound is due to its raw sincerity. When frontman Lou Barlow whimpers "I wanna hold you close but I can't lift my arms up" or bassist drummer Bob Fay screams "charmed the woman, drank the whiskey, just made history, bullshit," the listener can't help but cringe at the plain relevancy of the lyrics to real life. Ifyour life revolves around shattered hopes, wrenching breakups, or simply fear and doubt of all that is imminent, Harmacy perfectly comforts all that despair:' ,I""'" "11"

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5. CIBO MATTO Viva! La WomanCWarnerBros.Records):Cibo Matto is two female Asian D.J. types who blend heavy bass beats, sampled horns, screeching organs, and mesmerizing chimes into an incredibly clever progression of songs. The band, opening up for Beck on his recent U.S. tour, has also been known to spontaneously bring Yoko Ono on stage during their live shows. The album features a hypnotic, druggish remake of Willy Wonka's "The Candy Man" amongst other erratic outtakes lying somewhere on the continuum between Beck and Pizzicato Five. And don't forget, "Spare the rod and spoil the chick, before you go and shit a brick".

Horsedrawn Wishes (Warner Bros. Records): Rollerskate Skinny is a brilliant Irish trio that combines elements ofDavid Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust" with My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" into an incredible assortment of orchestrated ballads. On "Cradle Burns", the band churns traditional Irish tunes played on flutes and dulcimers into bizarre loops of electronic bliss and texture. Later, on "One Thousand Couples" more than 8 distinct melodies crash against each other at once during the song's climax. Fans of Mercury Rev, Bardo Pond, and of course MBV will certainly enjoy Horsedrawn Wishes, if only Warner Brothers would give them the attention they justly deserve.

6. GIRLS AGAINST BOYS House Of GVSB (Touch and Go Records): Girls Against Boys (GVSB) redefine the word sexy. This power quartet, hailing from New York City, combinesthesinooth,loungyelements ofjazz with grinding, thundering guitar riffs. The sound of GVSB that distinguishes them from other guitar-based bands is due to Eli Janney and Johnny Temple's dueling bass" lines. On "Life In Pink", Janney runs a spacey sampled organ sound through a wah-wah pedal to produce a swirly, atmospheric swelling of drones that characterizes GVSB's intensity. The words "cool baby" immediately pop into the listener's head after hearing the album, with visions of martinis, tacky leisure suits, maybe a cigar, and lots of raw sensuality.

9.POLVOExplodingDrawing (Merge Records): This Chapel Hill, North Carolina quartet releases their longest and most diverse effort yet with Exploding Drawing. The hallmark of Polvo's sound is their patented experiments in song structure. Sometimes confusing, but always ~~..catchy, Polvo's songs never follow the same pattern and very rarely contain a chorus. Instead, listeners are surrounded by swirly guitars, melodic bass lines, and irregular beats and rhythms. Many of the songs contain elements of ancient middle eastern melodies, jangly western riffs, and random bursts offeedback common to the band's previous efforts. However, never before has Polvo combined so many different musical ideas into one song or one album as they have on Exploding Drawing. 7. THE THIRD EYE FOUNDATION Semtex (Linda's Strange Va10. STEREOLAB Emporer Tocation Records): 3EF is probably a matoKetchup (Elektra Records): The pretty good example of what the next French krautrock darlings who My Bloody Valentine record would brought us such blissful analog jourhave sounded like if Kevin Shields neys like Mars Audiac Quintet and wasn't afloat in chemical purgatory. Space Age Bachelor Pad Music are Capturing the rumored shoegaze with back with a more funked-up, groove jungle beats sound, Semtex contains driven collection of drony, texture only six songs in all, but each is well driven songs. Retaining the signaover seven minutes long. Vocals on ture soundingmoogs, mellotrons, and the album are nearly non-existent, assortments of strange bleepy noises; an occasional breathy, ghost like whisStereolab explores some new fronper will surface from under an ocean tiers this time around. While most of of lush, warm drones of guitar feedthe songs continue to develop in a back. On the album's opening track repetitive, trance-inducing pattern, "Sleep", listeners are given a 20-secwe find the band using record scratchond introductory warning of the ening and string arrangements for the suing wave of racing guitars and layfirst time. Always a pleasure either ers of violent distortion. The record is live or recorded, Stereolab's original rumored to be a limited edition printapproach to pop music will surely ing of 1000 copies, with a price tag of outlast the legions of "grunge" driven approximately $20. However, any acts currently dominating the altershoegaze fan will most likely adore native music scene. the efforts of3EF, or at least until the This list is guaranteed to chalmythical, new My Bloody Valentine lenge listeners and expand their perrecord is released. ceptions of music. l\R , '8.' ROLLBRSKATE, SKINNY _ _ _ _ â&#x20AC;˘â&#x20AC;˘_,_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-

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MICHIGAN REVIEW LIVING CULTURE

Music

BY MICHAEL

W

1996: Not

J.

FIRWOOD

ELL, IT IS THAT TIME at the Review when we sit back and relax for a moment and reflect upon what events have filled and affected our lives over the past year- the laughter, the heartaches, the kicks in the booty. Then it is our job to write about it. Since I started writing for the Review in the fall, I have pretty much dreaded the idea of writing the article you are currently reading, I said to myself, "Michael, there is not enough good things in rock that happened this year to write about." I was right. When the industry is so drained of quality artists that the highlight of the musical year was Jennifer Aniston's bare butt on the cover of Rolling Stone, I have a problem with the year in rock. Nice picture, though. Although 1996 was not one ofthe greatest years in terms of musical artistry, it was certainly very significant and startling to say the least. Heroin was the wonder drug. Putting a number of rock stars in the hospital and claiming the lives of several others, heroin numbed the rock world. Heroin brought lows for the Smashing Pumpkins and Depeche Mode, but brought highs for the trendy film Trainspotting as well as its soundtrack. Shannon Hoon's (Blind Melon) death, as well as Scott Weiland's (Stone Temple Pilots) hospitalization and rehab visits, forced grim reality upon the glamour of drugs. STP was forced to cancel a summer tour which is said to have cost them millions of dollars in album and ticket sales. If drugs weren't ending the careers of rock stars as we know them, follow-up albums certainly were. Gin Blossoms, Weezer, Counting Crows, Hootie and his little Blowfish, and Bush all attempted to shake the scene a second time aroUhd with their sophomore efforts. Each of these bands sold millions upon millions of debut albums, not forgetting that Cracked Rear View was the best selling debut album of all time. In respect to their predecessors, each of these sophomore albums flopped. Blame it on the qualityofthe album, on limited radio play, on whatever you want. What this shows artists, as well as the record industry, is the increasingdifficulty in keeping a public audience and that no band is a sure thing these days. Fan loyalty as we know it is almost completely wiped out. Hootie, Gin Blossoms, and Counting Crows all released albUms to respected reviews, yet Fair: ,We.qtlt~r /,o,hnt;o~ .

-

the~ Greatest

January 22: 1997 1

,R ock Year

tinuously been selling 500,000 copies a week . Yes, a week . Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill has kept its place in Billboard's Top 5 for more than a year and has been popping out hot single after hot single. In August it be,\, . K .. 5 came the best-selling debut album ever, surpassing Hootie; In Octoberit became the best-sellingalbum ever by a female artist. This is Alanis Morissette here. Don't be confused. It is the same girl with the trite and misplaced drum loops and samples, the same girl with Beck: Goofy? Maybe. But he can make a hell of an the whiny "nails on the chalkboard" vocals we grew to hat~_~ The saying "What goes around comes around" can not be more true in My question is "How can a girl who, if rumor is true, sings about felating these instances. What these bands did to the mainstream scene two or the guy who played Uncle Joey on three years ago is being done in the Full House in a movie theater, continue to sell millions of albums and exact same manner to them. This sell out concerts?" I wish I had an time their challengers take the form of the "independent female," otherintelligent answer. I believe that if wise known as Alanis Morissette and the eighties were known as.the era of Gwen Steffani of No Doubt . . "one hit wonders," the nineties will No Doubt is currently in a whirlbe known as that of the "one album wind of record sales and popularity. wonders." Predictions of follow up albums by both No Doubt and Alanis They are rated the second best new make me stick to my thinking. OK, now I will talk about some cool stuff that happened. While the albums that were produced on a whole were rather disappointing and there were more let downs than pleasant surprises, I did find myself clinging on to a couple albums throughout the year. Early in the spring of'96, a little ~:........;;,--_ _..:::=o-.;:'~:;.o;'..;....;;......:~ band name Fuzzy released Electric Juices on Tag/Atlantic Records . Fuzzy: Won't some label pick up these rockers? Some of you might artist of'96 in the reader's poll. Since have seen them a few years back with their current single "Don't Speak" hit the Lemon Heads or last spring when they played the Blind Pig withY-eloe,, adult r~q.i9, T;r,agi<; Kj._11g~¥s. Fon, ' . . Ii..,l '.,t -" ' .. .

only sold a fifth of Cracked and the Gin Blossoms did not even pass the half a million mark. Counting Crows are riding on a few radio singles and stellar reviews, but coming nowhere close to their first release.

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ity Girl. Anyway, this is my numero uno pick of the year. Filled with killer tunes that all should be radio hits, Electric Juices showed huge potential for Atlantic. Like most record companies, they have their heads in other bands'asses, and ignore what they should be paying attention too. Fuzzy recorded a near perfect pop album with short and sweet tunes with melodies and harmonies that kick my ass. But, they were dropped by Atlantic for God knows why. If they were pushed in the slightest way, both the public and Atlantic would have been happy with the outcome . I am happy to be able to now write about an album that received praise from critics and public alike. Beck's second effort Ode lay is a winner. I guess one of the reasons I dig it is because I hated Beck, I mean actually detested everything he stood for after that "Loser" thing happened. I used to make fun of people who liked him. I am a sensitive man who can admit when he was wrong. In this instance I was wrong ... sort of. I saw him a couple of summer's ago touring for Mello Gold and hated it. I almost trashed his follow up without putting it in the CD player. I would hav~ been a jack-ass for that one. Beck hired producers the Dust Brothers (Beastie Boys) to do the recordings. Smart move, Beck. What came' out was a diverse, smart, and witty album that combines influences from rock, jazz, hip-hop, rap,.and country. That is the cool part. The album could have, and probably should have, been terrible. But the combined talent, or lack of, makes it unique and damn good. If Beck comes through town, skip it. His live act is far short from impressive. Dance continued to make a mark in the cross-over to main stream rock. The Chemical Brother's "Setting Sun" combined their trademark dance beats with the vocals of Noel Gallagher of Oasis for one of the first techno dance tracks to be aired on MTV during prime time viewing. Tricky, known for his experimental and acclaimed work in the realm ofdance and techno, released Pre-millennium Tension that combined a bit more rock with his earlier dance. A somewhat "tricky" mixture, but not too shabby. Yeah, 1996 was a laaking year to say the least. While the albums that did the best were '95 releases (Garbage, Oasis, and Morissette), a few promising albums and artists made their mark. Hopefully they will continue to create a dent in '97 along with an increase in deserving others. Yet, if we are to follow suit, it is--not too promising.l\R ', ' ·t \ ~

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vol_15_no_6  

vol_15_no_6

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