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January 23, 1981 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-01-23

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al

OPINION
Friday, January 23, 1981

Pag

e 4

The Michigan Daily

A phony bill of

For those gnomes among you who prefer
reading books, be informed that an auburn-
haired lynx named Tanya Roberts is TV's
latest recruit to be a Charlie's Angel. Though
per co-worker sleuths have lately been drop-
ping as fast as the show's ratings, Ms. Ioberts
is Amazonesque proof that ABC's now-
venerable sire of the television jiggle shows is
not about to alter its honored bump-and-grind
tradition.
Our new., star seems unlikely to threaten
Sarah Bernhardt or even Farrah Fawcett as a

Coming
Apart
By Christopher Potter

Tanya is the idiot box's newest earth
mother-a manufactured, pre-packaged recep-
tacle for the American male's darkest back-to-
the-womb yearnings. No less is she the newest
sanctioned ideal for the American female:
Even now her visage adorns the covers and in-
nards of a dozen glamour magazines. She leers
haughtily out at her covetous readers,
ministering the ancient beauty catechism:
"Just apply a touch of my eye shadow, a
smidgen of my makeup, a dab of my cream, fif-
teen minutes of my exercises-and you can
look just like me!"
Untold numbers of women will follow her ad-
vice. And wind up hating themselves because,
sweat and strain though they might, they still
won't look like Tanya Roberts.
What a mean little tyranny it all is. As if
women didn't face enough adversity in their
daily struggles against prejudice on the job, in
the home, on the street-they must also do bat-
tle with a pre-conceived societal absolutism
which says if you're not born beautiful you're
doomed to limp through life with two strikes
against you.
IT IS A CRUEL and bogus philosophy, yet
women fall for it by the millions. Taking their
cue from deep-rooted Madison Avenue
stereotypes, they perpetuate with religious zeal
a masochistic denial of themselves.
Most women do not possess perfect noses,
alabaster skin, mountainous breasts, and
veinless legs-yet they're forced to despise
their bodies for being normal. It is a tyranny of
the majority against itself, a women's war
upon women. It pushes a value system which
equates cellulite thighs with having three eyes
or eleven toes. Behind every self-improvement
ad in the beauty mags shrieks the same
subliminal harangue: "You're ugly! You're

goods
disgusting! Why don't you do something about
it?"
It's an albatross men aren't forced to bear.
Members of my sex might wish to emulate
Robert Redford or George Brett, even mold
themselves into comparable physical con-
dition; but we aren't compelled to become our
idols. Not so for the suffering female: All the
media agree that if she doesn't look like Cheryl
Tiegs, then she's a dog.
NO AMERICAN social doctrine is more war-
ped, more out of touch with true human
feelings. Those thimble-brained TV vixens we
males are expected to pant and howl for have
as much to do with the realities of love and the
the women we hunger for as do Harlequin
romances. It's no mystery that imperfect
screen beauties like Bette Davis and Katherine
Hepburn captivated audiences year after year,
that their contemporary successors like Jill
Clayburgh and Goldie Hawn endure, while
Farrah and Bo fade like the morning mist. In-
telligence is sexy. Reality is sexy.
The most wonderful girl I ever loved had a
bent nose, weak chin, and beady eyes; she was
also radiant, inquisitive, gloriously sexy. She
didn't subscribe to the prescribed notions of
beauty because she knew she didn't have to;
she was content in her own physicality and
could spot affection a mile away.
Yet the ministries of taste continue to offer
up a phony, sadistic bill of goods and we all
keep buying it. The sooner we reject their
hyperbole, the sooner we can then shed our own
self-dictated, self-denying falsehoods. For all
we know, Tanya Roberts may have a worse sex
life than any of us.

thespian overachiever: She performs her
physical feats of crime-busting derring-do like
a spastic running backwards over a cliff, wears
a perpetual "er, what's my next line?" per-
plexity across her lovely countenance, delivers
her seven-word speeches with a huffing,
wheezing exertion that suggests a lifetime war
r of attrition with asthma and adenoids.
BU'T OH, SHE is so beautiful: A dark,.
tawny mane brushing against high, Viking
cheekbones; blue eyes translucent enough to
make Casanova weep; perfect se; half-
opened mouth revealing choppers o t of an or-
thodonist's master sculpture; long, lanky legs;
hourglass waist; free-slung breasts of such
epicurean accessibility as to satisfy a million
wet dreams a night.

Christopher Potter is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears every Friday.

m

Edited and managed by students at The.University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No. 97

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

A local horror show

T WAS A HORROR show, all right,
w~ but it was not at all "horrorshow."
Wednesday night, hundreds of
%filmgoers flocked to Angell Hall to see
.Stanley Kubrick's 1971 masterpiece of
ultra-violence, A Clockwork Orange.
:mss they watched nightmarish scenes of
:four young hoodlums raping, kicking,
"slashing, and beating helpless victims,
those audience members may well
shave taken refuge from the
'unimaginable violence on the screen
by assuring themselves that no real
danger was near; that it was, after all,
only a movie.
But only yards away from the haven
,of Auditorium A, a very real scene of
-brutality was occurring in the
Michigan Union.
At 7:45 p.m., about the time a
character in the movie was smashing
the skull of a woman with a large piece
of sculpture, two men were actually
bludgeoning a woman about the head
in a music practice room in the Union.
The woman managed to break free
from her assailants, who, according to
HiKEE FTRMA bX I
HEMHA1 EEJIN1

police, may have been trying to rape
her. Witnesses reported that she was
beaten on the head with a piano bench;
a large pool of blood in the hallway was
testimony to the wounds she received.
The coincidence of this assault and
the screening of the movie is not, in
fact, especially unusual. One might
just as easily point to the thousands of
rapes occurring across the country at
the precisie moment when Alex-the
vicious, detached, eerily unrepentent
star of A Clockwork Orange-rapes a
woman after crippling her husband.
What should make us pause to think
is the message of the movie as it
relates to reality. A Clockwork Orange
plays with our sensibilities, almost
persuading us to feel sorry for Alex
and his ruthless partners by
separating them from their deeds. As
Alex beams, coining a cult phrase,
violence is "horrorshow"-really
great.
In the real world of assaults in music
practice rooms, there is no such moral
confusion.
~' /~ / 7/4/7z~ 7/s
J-

The Department of the Interior
may well be the least "visible"
office in Washington-a complex
bureaucracy whose respon-
sibilities are fully understood by
only a few Americans.
But as the initial controversy
over the appointment of new In-
terior Secretary James Watt
demonstrates, the Department's
policies today have consequences
as far-reaching as those of the
more glamorous Departments of
State and Justice. It has become
absolutely vital to the American
West, and is increasingly so for
the entire nation.
WATT <WILL, IN effect, be
Reagan's Minister of Western Af-
fairs, overseeing a vast, rich em-
pire: half a billion acres of public
land; an enormous concentration
of coal, uranium, oil and natural
gas; the nation's national park
system; the dams and irrigation
systems which water 17 million
acres of cropland, quench the
thirst of one-third of the West's
population, and provide cheap
electric power for many of its
cities.
In addition, through its Bureau
of Indian Affairs, Interior is the
final arbiter of the fate of the
nation's Indian tribes-tribes
that control vast mineral resour-
ces of their own.
This is the powerful dominion
inherited by James Watt. And
despite his reputation as an un-
compromising hard-line op-
ponent of federal restrictions on
development, the size and history
of Interior- may combine with
Western political realities to
moderate his rule.
FOR MOST of its history, In-
terior has been the "Department
of SpectaculartGive-Aways,"
providing private individuals and
corporations with public resour-
ces at bargain prices and with lit-
tle regard for the future. The
reclamation program's cheap,
taxpayer-funded water supply
became the basis for both the
rapid urbanization of modern
boom towns like Los Angeles and
Phoenix and for the transfor-
mation of Western agriculture in-
to agribusiness. For minimal
fees, the Department handed
over huge resource reserves to
the energy companies during the
1950s and 1960s, with major oil
corporations like Gulf and Exxon
heading the list of Interior's
beneficiaries. By the late 1970s,
42 percent of Western coal was
being produced from leased
public lands, while royalties
averaged a piddling 19 cents a ton
at a time when coal was being
sold for more than 20 dollars a
ton. The Department became
notorious for striking deals for
resources on Indian reservations
for minimal fees, without the
knowledge or approval of the
tribes themselves.
With the onset of the energy

Watt will be
restrained by
Washington 's
m odera tes

By Bob Gottlieb
and Peter Wiley

leasing program to a virtual halt.
When President Carter appoin-
ted Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus,
the first committed conser-
vationist to serve as Interior
Secretary since Harold Ickes
held the post under Franklin
Roosevelt, Andrusdpromised to
end the era of "rape, ruin and
run" at Interior and brought a
number of Washington environ-
mentalists into the Department.
Andrus assumed responsibility
for regulating strip-mining for
the first time while also setting
out to reform the reclamation
program and the Department's
leasing procedures.
IN ITS most publicized and
least understood initiative, the
Carter administration placed a
small number of water projects
previously-proposed by Interior
on a "hit list" because of their
lack of economic justification or
their potential for causing en-
vironmental damage. The inept
way in which the administration
handled the "hit list" controver-
sy led Western interests to accuse
Carter of promotiong a "War on
the West" and contributed
ultimately to the beginnings of
the "Sagebrush. Rebellion" -
which is where James Watt en-
tered the picture.
During the Andrus years, two
strategies for dealing with the
feds emerged from the corporate
sector. One group of corporate
leaders, epitomized by Joseph
Coors of the Coors/beer family,
allied themselves with smaller-
scale Western businessmen and
politicians-the so-called
Sagebrush Rebels-in a frontal
attack on federal control of public
lands. Another group, dismissing
the confrontationists as Neander-
thals, tried to cultivate a
progressive image by working
closely with Interior to get what
they wanted without tackling the
difficult question of federal con-
trol.
The Mountain States Legal
Foundatinn (MST.LF' _etablished

believe in the constitutional
rights of businessmen."
BUT IT WAS the more
moderate WRC approach that
produced results, such as the
establishment in Utah of the In-
termountain Power Project-the
largest coal-fired plant in the
West-and the massive sub-
sidization of the synfuels
program. Meanwhile, the
Sagebrush Rebels found
theyselves embroiled in
numerous long, unproductive
legal battles over federal control.
When Reagan -announced
Watt's appointment, an outraged
environmental movement went
on the attack and even a WRC in-
sider expressed surprise, since.
most corporate leaders had ex-
pected a more flexible pro-
development Secretary like
Congressman John Rhodes of
Arizona. Watt, instead, seemed to
epitomize the contradictory at-
titude of the hard-line Western
conservative: heavily dependent
on federal subsidies and public'
resources, but yearning for the
days of the wide-open frontier,
when the public domain was up
for grabs without interference
from "outsiders" in Washington.
There are signs already,
however, that once in office Watt
will have to soften his stance to
conform with the more subtle
mainstream approach of the big
energy companies. During his
confirmation hearings, he
promised to disqualify himself
from dealing with cases in which

the Mountain States Legal Foun-
dationsued the Department of In'-
terior.
PERHAPS MOST startling was
the almost complete turnabout in
attitude by established Indian
organizations which originally
worked feverishly to mobilize op-
position to Watt. Watt's MSLF
had been party to a controversial
suit against the Jicarilla Apaches
which challenged the tribe's right
to tax commercial activities on
the reservation. But when Watt
embraced the Reagan campaign
line' on Indian anffairs, which in-
cludes recognition of tribal
sovereignty, respect for Indian
treaty rights, and a commitment
to federal rather than state
jurisdiction over Indian matters,
all but one Indian organization
dropped opposition to the ne4
secretary. It was a question of
"how and to what extent do
promises translate into perfor-
mance," said Kirke Kickingbird,
a Washington lawyer long active
in both Indian and Democratic
party politics.
In general, the furor over
Watt's appointment highlights
the deeper split within the
Reagan ranks between hard-lire
conservatives who drove tite
party into purist isolation during
the. Goldwater presidential cam-
paign of 1964, and the more
mainstream center which Is
closely tied to most Repubric n
corporate leaders in both tle
West and the East. Above all,
these businessmen would like to
avoid the kind of confrontations
which produce long delays In
their plans for resource
development. They see i
reasontwhy they should now em-
brace the line of the embittere~d
and provincial Sagebrush Rebels
when, under a Democratic
president, with an avowed en-
vironmentalist at Interior, they
still managed to win practical
support for their basic position in
the debate over Western land use.
Given that climate of opinion
Watt may have no choice but-a
more moderate approach to his
job.
Bob Gottlieb and Peter
Wiley are completing a book
on the energy politics of the
west. They wrote this article
for the Pacific News Service.

LETTERS TO THE DA-LY:
Learning from Iran

0

To the Daily:
I share in the feelings of joy and
happiness as the hostages are
reunited with their family and
friends. However I also feel
remorseful and angry as I hear

atrocities committed by the Shah
and admit the error in U.S. sup-
port of his regime. Let us not fall
prey to nationalistic prejudices,
but let us view Iranians with the
respect all people deserve. Let u.

1 I

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