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February 15, 1977 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-02-15

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i1 e SfrMit4gan 4U)i
Eighty-Seven Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Fawcett: Computer envy

Tuesday, February 15, 1977

News Phone: 764-05521

Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan
Chemicals:Can't live without
them, can't live with them?

"CHEMISTRY FOR Better Living" is
a slogan we've all grown up with.
Our modern world of fast foods and
molded plastics relies on a hodge-
podge of man-made substances.
In recent years, we've come to learn
that there's a price to be paid. DDT,
PBB, kepone and other "safe and re-
liable" chemicals have turned into
hidden killers.
Now the Washington-based Envir-
onmental Fund has announced that
the chemical "tris-BP" is also a killer
-a potent carcinogen. Tris is the
chemical additive used in at least
half of the children's sleepwear now
on the market.
When, in 1972, Congress set stand-
ards for flammability of children's
sleepwear, it was received as an im-
portant victory for parents and con-
sumers, as welly it should have been.
Of the two million Americans who
are burned each year, children under}
ten years old will suffer almost one
third of all serious burns. No national
records exist, but burn authorities
have been saying that the sleepwear
standards are working.
But what if a solution is worse
than the original problem, asked Uni-
versity of California chemists Arlene
Blum ,and Bruce N. Ames in a
"Science" magazine article l a s t
"The risk of exposing tens of mil-
lions of children . . . to an untested
chemical additive is unacceptable in

view of the enormous risks," they
INDUSTRY HAS been quick to re-
spond. There were plans to phase
tris out over the near future, and now
Michigan Chemical, the nation's larg-
est manufacturer of t r i s, has an-
nounced that it will no longer sell the
chemical for garment use.
"We don't want to go through the
trouble we had with PBB again," a
company spokesperson said.
How many times will consumers
have to go through this again?
A thousand new chemicals are in-
troduced each year for use in every-
thing from foods to paints to tooth-
pastes. Until recently, only some of
these chemicals, primarily those used
in foods and drugs, were required to
u n d e r g o any significant environ-
mental or toxicological testing.
The Toxic Substances Act, which
went into effect this year, now re-
quires all new chemicals to be regis-
tered and tested by the Environmen-
tal Protection Agency (EPA).
But there are still thousands more
chemicals which r e m a i n on the
market, untested. Which brings us
to this point: Our society depends on
the fruits of its technology. It would
be foolish to think we could or would
go back to our simpler days. But we
- and our environment - are frail;
we've got to be alive and healthy to
enjoy the fruits of our technology.
How many more poisons like tris and
PBB are there yet to be discovered?

RALPII KEYES, writing in Newsweek, quoted psy-
chologist Herbert Hendin, who said in effect that
people envy machines. It was part of an immensely
thought-provoking piece entitled "The Bionic Boom"
(Feb. 7, 1977). Without debating the truth or falsity of
this, let me just point out that America's Sweetheart
(yes, that used to be Mary Pickford) is now Farrah
Fawcett-Majors, of "Charlie's Angels" fame (infamy?).
What makes Farrah (and that nonsensical TV,
show) so popular? She herself credits its ratings (now
right around No. 1) to the fact that she and her two
co-stars go braless. While any discussion of this re-
mark seems sexist, nonetheless its very utterance
makes clear just what Fawcett-Majors thinks of her
show's acting content. All of which reveals a laudable
lack of self delusion; none of which is the point.
The point is that once again America has a symbol.
But this symbol, or the image that she perhaps de-
liberately, certainly elaborately projects, is decidedly
inhuman and unappealing. What is she composed of?
A machine-like perfect body (no, I'm not against physi-
cal fitness, just production-line symmetry), a rectangu-
lar dazzling smile, and an appealing blandness of char-
acter. She is the first computer print-out person, and
a sort of human twinkly to boot.
I'LL GRANT YOU she can no more help what she
looks like than I can, but my argument is with the way
she is idolized by so many. The sales of her famous
pin-up poster and the ratings of her TV show prove this.
So, is America taken in by press-agentry and such
nonesense? Yes, I think so..Several people I know have
expressed approval that she a) says her rosary every
night, b) goes home at a certain time each day to be
sure and cook dinner for her hubby, c) ad nauseum I



wonder if her hubby goes home every night to have
dinner with her. How many nights does she eat cold
spaghetti at 11 p.m.?
Which, as you have undoubtedly determined, is also
irrelevant. Not that she does what she does, not that
she is what she is, but rather that America has chosen
these things to take to its collective heart. That is the
And what if (as I suspect) it isn't true? What if he's
had inches of cosmetic surgery and is in reality some-
thing of a swinger? What if she doesn't even know the
rosary? Or own beads? In other words, what if every-
one has fallen for a mass delusion?
Well, it wouldn't be the first or the last time, certain-
ly. But I feel that, rather than having fallen for Farrah
Fawcett-Majors, the country has gone head over heals
IUp and Comuing
with the idea of i person whose parts look as though
they are covered by 12,000 mile warranty. Even her
husband Lee Majors, plays such a creature (the Six-
Million Dollar Man). How enviable. I wonder what her
appeal would be were she married to, say, Raymond
Burr. The whole bionic image would be shot.
THE PRESS AGENTRY itself imparts subtle mes-
sages. That bit about going home to cook dinner, for
example. That contains two sneaky =nessages: a) Faw-
cett-Majors and hubby are good o homebodies, b) even
machines can act human. It is the second message
that makes the idea of computer-envy more acceptable
of capita~l
whatsoever. This is false. Inhibitions are present, but
muted according to the degree of rage; and if an in-
hibition is greater to begin with, it will be greater for
any particular degree.of rage. Hence the greater de-
terrent value of capital punishment will exert an effect
on "crimes of passion."
"During the years the death penalty was in use,
states that repealed it did not experience significant
increases in crime," says Burgett. This is true. It 'is,
true because capital punishment was never abolished
until it had become so rarely used that it no longer
produced a noticeable deterrent effect. If Burgett could
find a case in which eighty per cent of convicted mur-
derers were executed one year, and none the next, he
might be able to make a point. But he cannot find such
a case, and he cannot make a point.
In the Feb. 8 column I suggested that conviction in
a system using "reasonable doubt'" amounts to convic-
tion on probability.
"The'doctrine of reasonable doubt is not the same
as probability," Burgett says, "any reasonable doubt
is to go to the benefit of the accused." This is true. A
man's guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
But this does not mean beyond any doubt, for if this
were the case, conviction would be impossible. Absolute
proof of guilt is not required for conviction. If three
eyewitnesses to a murder are produced, a man may
well be convicted on this evidence, if th jury believes
the witnesses and not the accused. It is incandescently
obvious that this establishes only a legal fact, not
truth. But this is te best we can hope for: an unspeci-
fied, but high probability of guilt.
Righteous wrath is the very essence of the law. The
public desires vengeance; and this clearly shows that
vengeance serves a useful social function.- Perhaps the
desire for vengeance, like lust, is a huma frailty, as
Burgett says. So what. It exists, and denying it will
only alienate the people from the law.
On Feb. 8, I suggested that the ACLU relies on cavil-
ling legal arguments because it cannot sway public
opinion to its own twisted views. Burgett makes the

to those who might find the metallic life just a little
On Star Trek, there was once an episode where
villain Harry Mudd possessed an android-replica of his
shrewish wife that he could command at will. She was
treated by,the show's writers with humorous contempt,
but in the end she took over. In retrospect, with Farrah
in mind, that episode looks like whistling past the
graveyard. For of course the android was incredibly
ugly-but that was several years ago.
So, is Fawcett-Majors idolized because she is human?
Because she is vulnerable? Hah! Keyes made a point
about the popularity, despite inconveniences, of digital
watches. It occurs to me that the lure must be similar.
If we concede, then (hypothetically), that her appeal
is one of perfection, then the inevitable-is this ersatz
perfection what people are looking for? Gulp.
A reassuring note. Even as I write this, many people
have come up to tell me that she isn't their idea of
perfection at all; in fact they don't even like her much.
But it is undeniable that she has some appeal. The
Datroit Free Press of Feb. 3, 1977 ran a Farrah
Fawcett-Majors lookalike contest on page one, and her
posters sell like mad.
Well, it's about time for me to do some whistling.
Remember David Cassidy? He used to sell like mad
too. His fans are a little older; let us hope no less fickle,
and let us certainly hope that they make up tmost of
Farrah's constituency. For lack of a better, we could
call them the "computer-envy" crowd.
This is the first installment of a new weekly column,
"Up and Coming." Each and every Tuesday the charm-
ing, witty, hon vivant Jeffrey P. Selbst (a former Daily
Arts Editor) will take a look at some of the bizzare
things that happen around us. Watch for it!
)unishm ent
interesting assertion that, since the Constitution is the
will of the people, and takes precedence over statutory
law, the ACLU appeals to public opinion when it
appeals to the Constitution. But the Constitution repre-
sents the will of the people only when it is interpreted
according to the will of the people.
The ACLU's arguments against the death penalty rest
on the 8th aniendment prohibition of "cruel and unusual
punishment." How is this to be interpreted? Certainly
the original intent was not to prohibit caiptal punish-
ment, for' the fifth amendment speaks of "capital, or
otherwise infamous" crimes. But values change. The
question now before the court is this: have changing
social mores made the death penalty unacceptable by
current standards? The only sane interpretation must
be couched on the beliefs of the American people. And
Americans plainly think the death penalty & just and
Hence the ACLU is not appealing to the will of the
people when it appeals to the Constitution. It is seeking
an interpretation of the Constitution completely inimical
to the will of the people who have ordained and estab-
lished it. Such behavior deserves the most profound
AS A MEMBER of the ACLU, Burgett has a fetish
for process. The rule of law is holy to him. Statutes,
precedents, and points of law are his idols.
The rule of law is nothing in itself. It exists only to
serve the higher end of justice.
Thus the question here is simple: do the ACLU's
"remedies" for injustice create more injustice than
they eliminate? Or, to put it another way, do the
ACLU's actions simply exchange one form of injustice
for another? The answer to both questions is yes. By
defending what it believes to be civil liberties, the
ACLU has made a mockery of the rule of law. It has
made the conviction of criminals so difficult that male-
factors no longer fear the law's wrath-thus fomenting
crime and increasing the sufferings of innocent people
The ACLU's actions may be legal and constitutional,
yet pernicious and unjust.
If the ACLU continues on its present path, we can
expect the rule of law to collapse under its owr weight.
What follows this collapse will have onthing to do with
civil liberties.

Casting oil upon the waters

PRINCE SAUD al-Faisal, Saudi Ara-
bia's foreign minister, has threat-
ened to give up his country's 5 per
cent lid on oil prices if the U.S. and
other Western powers do not lend
sunport to the anti-Israel causes
This is blackmail, pure and simple,
and we cannot and must not suc-
cumb to this type of cheap extortion
no matter what the cost.
Al-Faisal's warning is an attempt
to force the West to evaluate what is
essentially a moral question on the
basis of economic consideration. We
urge President Carter to discourage
this method of gaining allies by ig-
noring al-Faisal's demand. The gov-
ernment must determine its Mid-East
policy on the basis of political and
moral justice, not economic expedi-
At this crucial phase in Mid-East
negotiations, great care should be ex-
ercized by officials of all the countries
inyolved. Other leaders have quite
nobly indicated their willingness to
negotiate and to consider, at least,
the opposition's point of view. The
Israeli's have begun to deal with the
Palestinian problem to some extent..
Editorial positions represent a
consensus of The Daily Editorial staff.

During the civil war in Lebanon,
the Israelis adopted a "good fence"
policy, letting Lebanese peasants into
Israel for medical help, and even
some for employment. Anwar Sadat
of Egypt has indicated a sincere de-
sire to achieve peace, even if that
means m a k in g some concessions.
There are even r u m o r s that the
Palestine Liberation Organization is
prepared to move in a more moderate
At a time when a long-term settle-
ment is in sight, it seems incredible
that any leader would foul the air
with an attempt at common black-
mail. For al-Faisal to resort to an
economic threat makes us wonder if
he considers Saudi Arabia's demands
justifiable from any other point of
view. We are certainly moved to lend
more credence to Israeli accusations
of Arab indiscretion.
News: Gwen Barr, Ann Marie Lipinski,
Stu McConnell, Ken Parsigian, Mar-
garet Yao, Barb Zahs
Editorial Page: Michael Beckman,
Paul Eisenstein, Marnie Heyn, Ken
Parsigion, Joshua Peck
Arts Page: Lois Josimovich

ON FEBRUARY 11, Mr. Dave Burgett made reply
to my February 8 column supporting capital punish-
ment. Ordinarily a response to his liberal railings would
not be necessary. But since he chose to meet my terse
column with an extensive, polemical discussion of topics
I had to treat briefly, a reply is necessary to set the
record straight.
Burgett's handling of the deterrence question dis-
plays an appalling lack of knowledge. He states that
"The essence of deterrence is not the nature of the
punishment, be it the death sentence or any other, but
the expectation of punishment--the 'certainty, rather
than the severity of punishment." This fatuous assertion
would seem to indicate that the certainty of a $5 fine
for murder would be a more effective deterrent than
a -more remote possibility of death. True, the certainty
of punishment-or at least the chance of it-is an
essential part of the deterrence function. But if we hold
the probability of punishment constant, and increase
the severity of punishment, deterrence will increase: If
a week's imprisonment were visited on every person
guilty of overparking, the incidence of that violation
would be dramatically reduced. And since increasing
the probability of punishment is unlikely-thanks to the
ACLU's handcuffing of the police-the best we can do
is to make punishment more severe.
Is death really a more severe punishment than life
imprisonment? As I said in the Feb. 8 column, the
waves of dread striking death row after Gilmore's
execution shows that 354 death row inmates think it is.
Gilmore was an exception, but he chose to barter con-
tinuing life in prison for a few months of notoriety.
Now that the spell is broken, this situation will not
arise again.
Does the operation of deterrence, as Burgett suggests,
presume rational behavior? Not necessarily. Deter-
rence will operate even in a deterministic model of
behavior. The principle of avoiding pain still pertains.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, Burgett observes that most
homicides are committed by angry people. According
to him, angry people are immune to the effect of deter-
rence. The assumption here seems to be that an angry
person is completely berserk and has no inhibitions

"___ . Photo Technician: Brad Benjamin
~~ ~

To the Editor:
the Daily magazine ran a
cle on the manipulation,
CIA, of the United Stat
tional Student Association
pite its general accuracy
article misquotes me,
would like to set the
.TheDaily misquotes m
having me identify Ed C
as Assistant Director of th
I have no such knowledge
Garvey, and I didn't sai
The reporter confused E
vey with another personv
cussed: Robert Kiley. Nov
of the Mass. Bay Transpo
Authority, and a former
of NSA, Kiley's CIA rol
matter of public record.
I have reason to believ
NSA "representatives"
were in communication w
working for, the CIA, an
that Garvey was "w
about the affair, I have n
crete information to lee
to the conclusion thatC
was part of the executive
Ions of the Agency.
THERE ARE some oth
tual errors in the articl
International Student Re

NSA ing body for NSA. NSA was,
technically, a federation of stu-
dent governments. Daily edi-
)ruary, tors 'usually attended the con-
n arti- ventions because they wece ex
by the officio members of student gov-
es Na- ernment. From 1960 to 1963, I
. Des- was the only Michigan person
, t h e to attend an ISRS.
and I Did Hayden really say that
record "most (Daily. editors) went into
the CIA" in the late Fiftias and
ne by early Sixties? I doubt it. If he
Garvey did say it, I doubt the truth of
e CIA. it. Certainly Tom's immediate
about successors Mike Olinick and
y that. John Roberts did not became
d Gar- agents. The reality, it seems
we dis- to me, was weird enough with-
w head out retailing wild charges.
Pres. FINALLY, you may wish to
e is a note that veterans of NSA are
While having a 30th anniversary base
e that in Washington later this month.
abroad One wonders what they have to
ith, or celebrate; and how anyone
d thus, could be proud of the damn his-
'itting" tory.
no con- -Robert Ross
ad me Visiting Assistant
Garvey Professor
ecne- Sociology and Social
er fac- February 1A
e. The
lations L 1.


than reality, more concerned
with comparative rather t h a n
objective quality, for the sake
of maintaining their level of re-
search grants rather than the
education the undergraduates
are receiving.
I'm tired of the justification
of the need to compete with our
"peer institutions." Who cares
what's happening in Cambridge,
Chicago, or Berkeley? The issue
is what's happening in Ann Ar-
bor. This is a state institution,
if I recall correctly: Let us
not forget that schools like Cal-
ifornia, Texas, Wisconsin, New
York, and North Carolina ac-
tually do have quality programs
without sky-high tuition. Or has
the "Harvard of the Midwest"
mentality so infected the ad-
ministration that they can't
"lower" themselves to a com-
parison to other "mere" state
-Kent Schielke
February It
To the Daily:
YOUR ARTICLE of February
3 and your editorial of the fol-
lowing dayplace the blame on
GEO for the latest delay in con-
tract "negotiations." Both a r e

pre-trial hearing of the Unfair
Labor Practice charge against
them, they decided at last that
they were willing to discuss set-
tlement. Though this was to
have been a trial, not a nego-
tiating'session, GEO was willing
then, and had attempted a ll
along, to negotiate a settlement.
We at (EO hope that the Uni-
versity's belated willingness to
bargain is a serious, good faith
attempt which will lead to a
settlement, and not just ano-
ther delaying tactic to hurt the
union and its members.
-The GEO Bargaining
February 14
nale mail
To The Daily:
a quite telling remark, in their
"Male Role and Image" column
of today's Daily. The context of
the passage to which I refer is
of the hero of T.V. commercials
who cleans kitchen sinks with
Ajax and unplugs drains with
Drano. I quote, "These are us-
ually obnoxious, know-it-all men
who appear to get an inordinate
amount of pea sure from accom-
11lishing menial tasks, the same
tasks that ordinary men would

have women in mind - and be
they ordinary, extraordinary,
more-than/less-than ordinary,
they are still slaves by tradition
atnd therefore expected to clean
sinks and drains.
IF I READ correctly then, the
very traditions and stereotypes
the Tamboriellos seem to detest
in this and other of their col-
umns are quite a part of their
Weltanschauung. While I can
annreciate their attempts, to ex-
plore the traditional male roles,
I fear that they have fallen prey
to the very attitudes which os-
tensibly they try to dispel.
-Jan Kozma, Ph.D.
February 11
To the Editor:
IT DOESN'T matter much,
but the printer accidentally
dropped a line from my letter
of February seventh. If a n y
reader was confused, what I
wrote was, "When from ninety,
to a hundred per cent die in any
prison camp, in any age or
country, it is historical proof
that there was positive program
of extermination, or that the in-
mates suffer the crueler fate
4e rivng rn., Rarvntinn en



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