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December 07, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-07

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6

OPINION

I,

Page 4

Sun'day, December 7, 1980

The Michigan Daily

How to make a moviegoer mis

Big city chauvinists may say what they will
about Ann Arbor's provinciality; on one count
this city makes New York look like Podunk. I
spent 15 years living in the Big Apple environs,
one summer in Boston, another supposed
cultural haven, and I maintain that Ann Ar-
bor's movie scene far surpasses either.
ff you want to see a new film in New York,
you have a choice between ritzy theaters at
$4.50-$6.00 a shot or sleazo houses in Times

Obliquity
By Joshua Peck

along with the boring classics (Gone With The
Wind). After paying three dollars each for the
privilege of seeing West Side Story and Black
Orpheus on 57th Street, the price hike for the
campus movies this term didn't bother me a
bit.
Still, there are mundane aspects of the local
film scene that keep it from quite qualifying as
movie heaven. Heaven, after all, isn't the home
of any devils; Lucifer has long since found ac-
commodations elsewhere. Ann Arbor's
demonic contingent must have stronger
housing laws, for dozens of them haunt the
campus theaters, intent. on destroying the
pleasure of the experience for everyone else. It
is for those evil souls that my wrath
today-and, I hope, the hottest places in
Hell-are reserved.
THEY FALL INTO three categories, these
devils, each worthy of successively hotter
flames. The first are merely minor annoyan-
ces. Parents of young children who imagine
that their progeny are going to sit quietly for
three hours of Ingmar Bergman (or even two
hours of Steven Spielberg) are a tad idealistic
for my tastes. The yoga practitioners who in-
sist on doing their exercises right in their
theater seats also strike me as inconsiderate
louts. This is a particular problem in Lorch
Hall, where-owing to the rows being closely
packed together-a capable contortionist can
get a good two feet of his leg thrust over the
seat in front of him. Without fail, those legs are
placed a whisper away, from a moviegoer who
would much rather be watching Grant and

Hepburn's breathless flirting than the insoles
of a pair of Keds.
Appalling as these infractions of decency
are, they are at least not motivated by con-
scious malice; they're the result of unthinking
restlessness, or the inability to pay for a
babysitter.
Compulsive talkers, however, have no such
excuse. The Peanuts cartoon wherein Lucy
tells Linus the meaning of "Rosebud" as he sits
down to watch Citizen Kane is not quite so
hugmorous to someone who learned the truth
about Darth Vader only a few minutes into The
Empire Strikes Back, thanks to an overzealous
Star Wars groupie in the next seat. Film
criticism, thank you, belongs in the pages of a
newspaper, not broadcast, through an
auditorium full of moviegoers who would much
rather formulate their own opinions.
YET INVARIABLY, there are chatterers
who insist on pontificating on every new
development in theme,, character, or story.
"Who's he?" an obnoxious loudmouth will
bellow as a new character appears on the
screen. (Perhaps he's screening the audience
for clairvoyants.) "What a pair!" exclaims a
newly adolescent youth upon Lana Turner's
arrival in I Married a Witch. Couldn't he find
some other way to affirm his libido? And then
there is the old standby, "What'd she say?,"
which of course initiates an exchange that on-
scures the next five or six lines of dialogue as
well.
As infuriating as the crimes against
humanity I've enumerated are, they pale

next to the major sin currently practiced by
Ann Arbor filmgoers (I assume it happens in
other "enlightened" towns as well, but I've
never observed it elsewhere first-hand). On the
surface, this sin is less annoying than that
practiced by conversationalists or contor-
tionists; it is the thinking behind it that suc-
ceeds in making it so very perfidious. I refer to
the practice of hissing upon the utterance of
lines deemed sexist in old movies.
THE SCENE IS typical: you've just finished
a 20-page term paper for Political Science..,
You're feeling relieved, though there still is
that reading left to do for Urdu, the oral presen-
tation for History of the American Washroom
Attendant, and of course those extrapolations
for, the Anthropomorphic Econometrics
graphs. But you feel you've deserved a brief
vacation, anyway, so you go out to take in a De
Sica film, perhaps, or (my preferred alter-
native) another showing of Casablanca.
It's the perfect remedy. Just Rick, Elsa, Vic-
tor, Sam, the French, the Germans, and you.
None of the niggling concerns of the University
rat race here; the conflicts are comparatively
vast. The lovers of freedom versus embracers
of the Third Reich;' the brave, teary-eyed
woman who sings the Marseillaise against the
brutish German slobs roaring out their beastly
drinking song. And beneath it all, the politics
give way to the most affecting array of per-
sonal relationships ever crowded into a single
film.
Why, then, must some smug feminist do her
best to ruin it all?

erable
BOGEY DARES to make a slightly con-
descending comment to his lover of years past,E
and he is rewarded with that serpentine sound.
The hiss wends its way through the auditorium.
Whatever can the point be? In the presence of
art of every stripe far greater than anything
theirAiny little minds could hope to create, the
hissers think it their obligation to publicize the,
one area in which they have outdone the film,
namely their sexual, consciences. Casablanca's
outstanding script, acting, direction, design,'
cinematography, and music, we are to under-
stand, are all undone by its sexism. Crap.
Frankly, I find it a little frightening. The
suggestion that all art pre-Betty Friedan is
somehow flawed or unworthy is disgusting. in'
not at all comfortable with the idea that we
ought to throw out twenty centuries of human
culture because it doesn't meet with ideological
standards spawned a few decades ago. Yeti
that's the idea behind the untoward hissing.
If anything, old movies are a help to
feminists now. They have a lot to say about how
current sexual politics grew and just what the
expectations were of men and women decades
back.
But no, Frieda Feminist will have her disap-
proval heard, like it or not. Hiss out that
fascist, sexist dialogue. Teach the pigs a
lesson!
Kind of makes you wish Dante's visions were
right after all.
Joshua Peck is the co-editor of the
Daily's Opinion page. His column appears
every Sunday.

Square where emphysematous curmudgeons,
will breath on your neck. If you're in the mood
for an old Bogey or Hepburn movie, the
possibilities are a little brighter-there's the
Bleeker Street downtown, the Carnegie Hall
cinemas midtown, and the Thalia on the Upper,
West Side. For three bucks a throw, you get a
chance to see some of the most popular films of
bygone eras-but very few of the less well-
known , arty ones.
ANN ARBOR, comparatively speaking, is
paradise. The student film co-ops show the
weird old mysteries (Jamaica Inn) and ex-
pressionist masterpieces (Dr. Caligari} right

_____
T_ ..

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard'St.
Vol. XCI, No. 78 Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Restraining U.S. response

Feiffer

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E POLISH people "can firmly
count on the fraternal solidarity
and! support of the Warsaw Treaty
countries," according to a declaration
issued by the Soviet press agency on
Friday during a surprise meeting of
Communist bloc nations .
Will that "fraternal solidarity and
support" translate into patience and
understanding while the Polish Gover-
nment tries to gain control over the in-
dependent trade unions? Will it be
something more tangible, such as food
and fuel to help Poland through an-
ticipated shortages this winter?
Or will the solidarity anid support
come in the form of a Warsaw Pact in-
vasion of Poland?A
Only the Communist leaders might
have the answer-and even they
haven't decided yet.
Are there new Soviet troops deployed
along the Polish border, preparing for
a major maneuver? Or are the usual
troops stationed there merely in a state
of alert? Again, the answer is not
clear-both Western and Soviet sour-
ces give conflicting reports.
Finally, was the emergency Com-

munist summit a chance for the Polish
leaders to state their case and convin-
ce the other bloc nations that invasion
would only lead to catastrophe? Or was
the meeting used 'to establish certain
ultimatums and time limits by which
the Polish Government must regain
control of its country or face invasion?
Western analysts are split on the an-
swers to these questions as well.
About all we can do right now is wait
and see. Events appear to be
progressing toward a non-military
resolution of the Polish
problems-Solidarity, the largest in-
dependent trade union in Poland, is
worried enough about the possibility of
a Soviet invasion that it has condem-
ned "irresponsible strikes" and in-
dicated that no further labor actions
are planned.
What the U.S. leaders-and leaders-
to-be-must not do is aggravate the
situation with careless threats. To in-
tone ominously in regard to possible
U.S. responses that "the imagination is
the limit"-as Ronald Reagan's key
foreign policy adviser, Richard
Allen, did recently-is inexcusable.

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14

Not many people in Ann Arbor
have ever heard of the
Dreisameck, nor will many ever
know the meaning of this odd-
sounding name. But to a number
of students in the southern Ger-
man town of Freiburg, the name
Dreisameck has a lot of
meaning-a meaning which we,
here in Ann Arbor, may come to
appreciate in the future.
To these students in Freiburg,
the Dreisameck meant the brutal
removal of 400 peaceful demon-
strators from a sit-in by 1,200 riot
police and a special commando
team. It meant five days of oc-
cupation of the city by an enor-
mous police force while working
crews razed some low-income
homes for students being plowed
under for profit. To these studen-
ts, Dreisameck was something
worth fighting for.
IF THE HOUSING situation in
Ann Arbor is tight, in Freiburg it
is impossible. Hundreds of
students end up living each
semester, at least temporarily, in
garages and basements. In
Freiburg it's not just a matter of
expense, it's a matter of space.
So when the city permitted the
razing of some housing near the
university-four large inner-city
houses in an area known as
Dreisarpeck-people were un-
derstandably upset.
The story sounds all too
familiar. A large developer
bought the property, and then
planned to raze the buildings to
make room for a planned high-
rise complex of shops, offices,
and an underground parking lot.
A good venture for business; a
bad venture of the students of
Freiburg.
Once the developer had
received permission from the
city to go ahead with his plans,

A student
protest in
Freiburg hc,
meaning he4B 'ar ~n
By Mark Ryan

f 6 AORK PLACEc-
cm)wE c 15 A"< AWO
1cx14Aik) L.AtJ6OA F'AltTRY
IT or0 1 C) CUAS=
and witnessed the demon-
strations from beginning to end.
Another University of Michigan:
student, Kim Hill, was at the sit-
in when the police attacked on
Sunday morning. I photographed
the demonstrations intently and
at one point had my film
destroyed by three policemen
armed with machine guns.
Such a show of revolt~ by
'students or use of force by the
state has not been seen in the
United States since the early '70s.
In the four years I have been on
the Ann Arbor campus, I have not
once witnessed such a display of
unity for a common cause-out-
side of the Ohio State game.
DREISAMECK was an event
that was very important to a4
great number of conscientious
German students, but mearns
the police nothing to most of us. This is,
city block however, something about which
h NATO we should care. The American
ire andwith student body now stands under
s simply in- the dark shadow of apathy. We
e. Further should take note.
occurred In a town like Ann Arbor,
ve days. where the rent skyrockets every,
year, students should look to our
i the entire peers in Freiburg. We should
at the han- realize there are some things
ck occupan- worth fighting for other than A's
ets in large in organic chemistry. It goes far
st. On the beyond fair housing practices.
i police ac- There lies a great potential in
ontaneously student activism. This was
protest. The proven on this very campus in the
organized various movements of the late
0,000 (more '60s and early '70s.
ent body of As responsible citizens, it is not
the streets just our privilege, but our duty to
he incident, protest what we feel is wrong. A
weg von state is not a democracy if the
lands off people do not participate.

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the 60 residents of the four
buildings, mostly students, were
told to vacate. The residents, not
ready to stand idly by and watch
their homes destroyed, refused to
leave and were soon joined by
another 300 sympathizers.
THE CITY WAS ordered to get
the students out. This was done
in the typical German fashion of
great efficiency. Twelve hundred
riot police and a special com-
mando team moved in on the
students at 4:30 a.m. on the mor-
ning of June 8, 1980. It was a Sun-
day morning, and many students
had gone home for the weekend.
Driving through the barricaded
doors of the houses and sweeping
from the roofs by ropes, the
police quickly swept the students
out into the streets, where all fur-
ther attempts to re-enter the
houses were repulsed by high-
powered water cannons mounted
on armored cars. Three students
required hospitalization.
Although the students offered

no violent resistance
soon had the entire
barricaded with
regulation barbed w
a 24-hour guard. This
voked more troubl
demonstrations
throughout the next fi
STUDENTS FROM
university, outraged.
dling of the Dreisame
ts, took to the stre
numbers to protes
evening of the initia
tion, 6,000 students sp
gathered to march inf
next day, at an
rally, more than 10
than half of the stud
the university) filled
in condemnation of t
Shouts of "Haende
Dreisameck" ("H
Dreisameck") coul
throughout the city.
I was in Freiburg at
a Junior Year Abro

r \.

d be heard
t the time as
oad student

Mark Ryan is a senior in the
School of Natural Resources.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

C

w d'~~~~~~W ___. . .. _- 4

JEFF-- I

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