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February 13, 1981 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-02-13

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OPINION

rriday, February 13, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Attempting to deal with pain

Vol. XCI, No. 115

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Hwte West was lost

The problems began two months ago. I was
nestled in the tomblike 9 a.m. atmosphere of
my living room when the doorbell rang. The
momentarily shattering sonic effect caused
me to jerk abruptly upright and out of my
chair. I immediately felt a stab of pain
shooting from the base of my spine down both
my legs.
The sensation was like nothing I had ex-
perienced before in my life. Clearly, I had
knocked something exceedingly out of whack
in my anatomy, and the sheer surprise of it
was traumatic: After a lifetime of unrelen-
ting good health which had included not a
single serious illness or injury, I suddenly
found myself limping, aching, and quite at a

SECRETARY OF THE Interior
James Watt has not taken long to
substantiate the fears of environmen-
talists who fiercely opposed his
nomination last month. Watt is now
pushing to open up more than one
million acres of environmentally sen-
sitive California coastal waters for oil
and gas exploration.
Watt has set into motion a plan that
would lift environmental restrictions
that protect a large strip of Pacific
coastal waters from economic ex-
ploitation. Such a move would disrupt,
perhaps irrepairably, the delicate
ecology of the area. Unfortunately, this
may be mterely the first of a number of
environmentally disastrous moves on
the part of the new Interior Depar-
tment, under the leadership of Watt.
Watt has made clear his shallow
commitment to environmental preser-
vation through a life's work against
government protection of public lands.
In his capacity as chief legal officer
for the Mountain States Legal Foun-
dation, a conservative, self-
proclaimed "public interest" law firm,
Watt has served as a point man in the
fight for economic protection of the en-
vironment.
Furthermore, Watt has been a vocal
advocate of the "Sagebrush rebellion,"
a movement of Western anti-environ-
mentalists to take vast public lands out
of federal government ownership and
turn them over to the individual states,
which would in turn open them up for
development.

It is the difficult job of the secretary
of the interior to balance carefully the
need for responsible energy develop-
ment with the need for preservation of
America's limited lands and resour-
ces. For most administrators, this task
would be one of conflicting but
mutually valid cross-purposes. Not so
for Watt. For him, this secretariat has
only one clear purpose-to open up
protected public lands for private
development and exploitation.
Watt has busily set about fulfilling
this distorted purpose in his first mon-
th in office. Sadly, it appears he may
succeed in this effort.
His move to lift safeguards on the
Pacific coastal waters and free the
path for unrestricted private develop-
ment is only the beginning. He has
already delayed implementation of
more than 20 regu.ations and
eliminated an order to require labeling
of hazardous chemicals, all products of
the Carter administration.
With a man for whomh the environ-
ment is a secondary consideration to
immediate energy production at the
helm of the very department
designated to balance those interests,
there is a bleak future for the environ-
ment.
Those persons with a reasonable ap-
proach to responsible energy
development without disregard for en-
vironmental consequences must rally
in opposition to Watt. There is still time
to save the environment from the
department that used to be trusted
with its protection.

Coming
BApart
By Christopher Potter

and where to tread gingerly through formerly
free-flung routines. You're hit with the sud-
den shock that you're not immortal after all,
that your body is a perilously fragile
mechanism subject to the most arbitrary
whims of nature and chance. If one is inor-
dinately lucky, physical calamity may keep
its distance; if one is among the less fortunate
majority, one learns to live with one's fate.
Specifically, one learns about pain. If
poetry liberates, pain incarcerates. It is the
great equalizer, the universal leveler of us all
- George Washington's hemorrhoids hurt
every bit as much as my grandfather's did. If
constant, pain can reduce every other human
emotion to a hazy nightmare of distortion.
There is nothing enobling about it in the
haughty, religious sense of bearing one's bur-
den.
PAIN IS A wretched little corrupter,
providing no insight, only desperation. It
elicits a numbing, dimming effect which dulls
creative thought, causing the brain to ob-
sessively focus on the pain and only the pain,
to bargain or plead with it, to wage an'en-
dless, three-in-the-morning duel against it
while the rest of the world fades away.
I'm not yet used to waging such a war. My
vocal complaints over my nouveau aches and
twinges have lately driven my friends up a
wall. It only makes me wonder in amazement
how those a hundred times worse off than me
learn to tolerate their grim destinies - the
terminaltpatient whose universe is a daily
exercise in torture; the quadraplegic whose
body remains wracked with pain even though
he can no longer move it; the arthritic whose
own joints and limbs turned deadly, sadistic
enemies. Victims who are denied even the
hope of a future without suffering, who know
full well that the months and years to come
will be even worse.
I sit and wonder what compels these people,
what it is they manage to dredge out of the

hidden recesses of their emotions to per-
severe as their days wind slowly, grindingly
down. It has to be more than mere courage
courage without hope becomes contradictory,
nihilistic. In some, such tenacity may
eminate out of a reverence of life, no matter
how hideously it has mutated. Traditional "
religious values and fears ("You're going to
Hell is you commit suicide) surely play a
prominent part as well.
YET I SUSPECT what dominates is the
simple human instinct to survive at all costs,
no matter how dubious one's future. It's an in-
stinct ingrained deep in our collective con-
sciousness, often transcending both intellect
and emotion. Only the truly suicidal among us
are willing to capriciously dangle life like a
thread; the rest of us cling to it with demonic
tenacity, regardless of the agonies attendant.
To be is to continue.
In the current film Ressurection, the lead
character describes her brief experience in a
mystic "afterworld" following a near-fatal
auto accident. Among other revelations, she
joyously confides that "you don't feel your
body" once you've entered this strange
paradise.
I wonder whether such a universe would be
liberating or contracting - surely human
sensation is as capable of producing ecstacy*
as it is torment. Is existence (or perhaps non-
existence) as an amorphous presence
preferable to tangible physicality?
We'll never know until we get there. In the
meantime, we will continue to get outof our
respective beds in the morning, even though'
every muscle, joint, and nerve in our bodies
may cry out against it. Our humanity deman-,
ds we do no less.

loss of how to cope with this abrupt and
agonizing new world.
I SUBSEQUENTLY obtained diagnoses
from practitioners of both the medical and
chiropractic schools of healing, who variously
defined my malady as muscle strain, muscle
tear, and general spinal discombobulation. I
then began treatment which will hopefully
prove restorative in the long run, yet clearly
will not trigger any rapid-fire recovery. My
back continues to bedevil me, maliciously
pricking its invisible needles into my tailbone
straight up through my neck into the base of
my skull.
It is not conducive to a bustling existence.
Though you've been used to running, it now
hurts to walk, so you change your habits. You
must relearn your patterns in the world, when

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

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Daily ignores MSA strongpoints

Beware! Friday, the 13th

L OCK THE DOORS. Close the
blinds. Huddle in the corner.
Trust no strangers-it's Friday the
13th.
Unlike other omens, Friday the 13th
is unavoidable. You can walk away
from a black cat; you don't have to
walk under a ladder; and you can be
extra careful when you handle a
mirror. But no matter what you do, you
can't excape this day.
Don't scoff. Something bad's going to
happen and there will be nothing to
blame except Friday the 13th.
Wait until you slip on the sidewalk
walking to class. It doesn't matter that
the sidewalks are covered with ice and
you slipped and fell every other day.
Today you fell because it's Friday the
13th.

When you fail a test today, you'll
know that it's not because you haven't
opened a book all term. It's Friday the
13th.
And when your car doesn't start? It's
not because it's so cold outside. It's
because the demonic forces behind
Friday the 13th are hard at work.
Youralarm didn't go off today? It's
not because you forgot to set it last
night. Those Friday the 13th devils
were working early today.
In fact, every little thing that goes
wrong today you can blame on Friday
the 13th.
Who cares that its only superstition?
Who cares that it's not logical at all?
Who cares that nobody's going to
believe you?1
It's as good an excuse as any.

To the Daily:
Your criticisms against the
Michigan Student Assembly's
endorsement of the February 9
Diag Rally on budget cuts, tuition
hikes, and layoffs (Daily, Feb.
11) were extremely irresponsible
(even by the Daily's standards).
You voiced a strong disapproval
of our involvement in the rally,
clearly without even having the
foggiest notion of what MSA's
position is on these issues.
The Assembly's views were
clearly articulated at the Rally
by Legislative Relations coor-
dinator Jon Feiger. Unfor-
tunately, your Cub Scout reporter
ter attributed to Feiger, and hen-
ce MSA, the comments of
Graduate Employees
Organization member Barney
Pace. If Mark Gindin had been
listening, he would have heard
something like this:
The Michigan Student Assem-
bly acknowledges that budget
cut backs are a necessity for the
University. However, we have
not yet accepted (as you
prematurely have) the ad-
ministration's immovable endor-
sement of the smaller and better
strategy of selective discon-
tinuance. We believe that the im-
plications of "smaller but better"
have been insufficiently
discussed and are not completely
understood. Nonetheless, we feel
that there must be real student
input into budget cut decisions at
every level of the decision-
making process.
As for your disapproval of the
Assembly's endorsement of the
event, you should understand
that M§A supported the effort
Bailey can 't
To the Daily:
Last week, I learned about the
sudden and tragic death of Near
Eastern Studies Prof. John
Bailey.
Since Prof. Bailey taught ad-
vanced courses in one of the
smaller departments, many
members of the University com-
munity are probably unaware of
this man's life and work. But if
we value academic excellence
and basic human compassion,
then we all owe a debt to Jack
Bailey and I think it is important
for my neighbors to know
something about him.
From my conversations with
Prof. Bailey and his friends. I

primarily because of its strong
demand for meaningful student
involvement in all budget cut
decisions. I believe our position to
be an appropriate one, especially
given the insignificant role that
students currently' have in these
issues.
I am irritated most by the fact
that up until the Feb. 11 editorial,
you have totally ignored MSA's
organizing efforts on the budget
cuts issue. Over the past six
weeks, MSA members have been
gathering information pertaining
budget cuts, independently as
well as in cooperation with
student groups and have been
searching for the most effective
student role in the budget cutting
process.
Already we have expressed our
concerns and objections to
various budget cuts and their un-
derlying intent, by directly con-
fronting key administrators with
our views as well as by becoming
involved with several of the non-
academic budget review commit-
tees. Yet the Daily has made no
effort to cover these actions.
On several occasions I have
had to literally beg the Daily
MSA reporter Beth Allen just to
attend our weekly 2-3 hour budget
cuts task force meetings. On at
least one occasion Allen attended
the meeting, yet failed to write
about it. As long as you neglect
our efforts, students will continue
to believe that their interests are
being ill served by their elected
representatives.
Because the issues are com-
plex, and the amount of infor-
mation to be collected immense,
students need time to truly un-
be forgotten
proach to academics was
pleasingly unique; he was a per-
fectionist without the common
flaw of believing himself capable
of perfection.
On a personal level, Jack
Bailey proved himself to be a
remarkably caring individual.
Although often stereotypically
absent-minded about trivial mat-
ters, Prof. Bailey took an abiding
interest in the pains and triumphs
of those around him. All his
friends knew him to be a deeply
principled man whose convic-
tions were not confined to the
classroom. In all aspects of his
life, Jack Bailey actively sought
to annly his faith to combat the

derstand the total budget picture.
While MSA is engaged in this
task, we nevertheless will con-
tinue to demand a direct student
role in the ongoing budget cut
proceedings. If you really-
believe, as you'purpot in your
criticism, that student voices
should be heard, why don't you
focus some attention on the
various attempts by some ad-
ministrators to exclude student
views from the budget cut
process.
Thus far, Acting Dean John
Knott has refused to come forth
with a plan for student opinions to
be heard in the geography depar-
tment review. The Regent's
guidelines on the procedures for
academic program discon-
tinuance clearly state "that there
will be maximum opportunity for
early and meaningful con-
sultation with faculty and studen-
ts.,
Dean Knott, however, has
taken the position that the
geography review committee has
the freedom "to decide however
they wish" to solicit student in-

put. This suggests to me that with
the dean's tacit approval, the
review committee potentially
could decide to exclude virtually
all student views on the
geography discontinuance issue.
Since you have demanded that
"students take a responsible
part in the decision-making
process", why not accordingly
demand that opportunities be
provided for students to become'
involved in a real and direct way
in these proceedings?
I suggest, since you have'
criticized so severely the Assem-
bly's efforts, that you now have a
responsibility to report
adequately on the affirmative ef-'
forts of MSA and other student
groups on the budget cut issue.,'if
you take the time to cover student
efforts in this regard, I am cer
tain that you will be pleasantly
surprised by the number and'
diversity of actions now under-'
way.
-Marc Breakstone
President, Michigan
Student Assembly
February 12

A

0

U' doesn 't meet bargain

HI5 MAY HOTBE AS
ZIMPLE A5 IT LIOOK W

To the Daily:
This letter is a reminder to
University officials of their
commitment to their students.
Tuition payment signifies a
commitment on the part, of
student and University. A com-
mitment implies fulfillment. So
far, students have fulfilled their
obligations but are increasingly
doubtful of the responsibility of
their administrators.
President Shapiro, if you would
like a "smaller, but better
University," then admitting the
second largest freshman class

EVER is not a very appropriate
first step, especially when one
already has plans to cut
academic programs.
Students are paying for a
quality education but are having
difficulty getting the classes they
want. Class size ,is increasingly
becoming a problem. In view of
the further imbalance that more
students and increased cutbacks
creates, how do you intend to
fulfill your half of our commit-
ment?
--Diane Dulken
February 10

S
0
6

'13
.5

Perry and the Hash Bash

To the Daily: ,
Thanks for attempting to do to
the Hash Bash (Daily, Feb. 8)
what state Rep. Perry Bullard
hasn't had either the courage or
smarts to try since he was an
early supporter of that shameful
charade.
Of course, you really can't fault
Bullard for not lifting a finger af-
ter the Bash served his im-
mediate purpose; in Perry's
political infancy his pitches were
targeted at the student vote. Alas
for Perry, the students didn't

So Perry's sights turned to a
group that votes consistantly in
every election in any weather on
any issue: the retirees. Today is
seems that every other scheme
Perry proposes has the term
"senior citizens" worked into tle
text someplace.
Probably that act will someday
be seen for what it really is -
personal political expedience and
nothing else. Meanwhile, 'no
thanks to Bullard for making any
effort whatsoever to clean up the
garbage he left behind on the

-w , j;

AM

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