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September 09, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-09

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Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCI, No. 5 420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorials represent a majority opinion of The Daily's Editorial Board

Tuesday, September 9, 1980

The Michigan Daily



The American wet dream

Religious 0
JAMS, Buchanan, a Republican
congressman from Alabama and a
Baptist minister, last week lost his
renomination bid to Albert Smith, an
insurance salesman from Bir-
mingham. There's nothing in itself
unusual about that; incumbency is get-
ting to be less and less of a guarantor of
success. But Buchanan, though he is a
minister of the South's most populous
religious faction, was defeated largely
by the efforts of a force of zealous,
politically-oriented Christians that
goes by the name of the Moral
The religious organization at. work
in Alabama and around the country
has many advantages over ordinary
political action committees, evidenced
by its resounding success in Alabama
after only six months of work in the
state. The group not only helped Smith,
but it put Jeremiah Denton, now the
Republican nominee for Senate, over
the top.
The Moral Majority plays to an
established constituency. The group's
leadership comes from the "electronic
church" and Jerry Falwell, the most
popular of the television ministers,
was its founder.
The kinds of concerns the Moral
Majority addresses are not exactly
progressive: It stands against such
"dangerous" legislation as the Equal
Rights Amendment and in favor of the

!e .
proposed Human Life Amendment,
prayer in the schools, and any other
notions that appeal to its collective
religious fancy. The result of a string
of Majority successes would almost
undoubtedly be a body of law that
would threaten the idea of separation
of church and state.
Certainly, evangelical Christians
have as much right as any other
Americans to attempt to push through
their programs in state capitals and in
Washington. But the religious right has
some advantages over other political
lobbies that can and should be taken
away. The Moral Majority group, for
instance, has classification as a non-
profit organization because it does not
make specific political endorsements.
Yet its political efforts are nearly
always aimed at chasing progressives
from office and putting in candidates
of a very specific and depressing
political philosophy. That would seem
to be equivalent' to endorsement.
Furthermore, much of the
organizing for the group is done in
churches, and is therefore totally free
from taxation of fundraisers, meeting
facilities, etc.
Some think that the religious march
rightward will ultimately by suc-
cessful, no matter how liberals and lef-
tists respond. Even if that is true, the
Moral Majority and its sibling
organizations ought at least to be put
on the same footing as everyone else.

The performers jiggled. They giggled.
They jumped up and down, smiling, smiling,
smiling. Chests thrust forward, bottoms
thrust outward. They thrusted teasingly.
The spectators jiggled. They giggled. They
adjusted the crotches of their suddenly-pin-
ching jeans, smiling, smiling, smiling.
Muscles cocked proudly, heads cocked
cockily. They cocked teasingly.
"Can you believe this?" an athletic stud
"Oh, my God!" a virile hunk moaned.
THE ATHLETIC STUD and the virile hunk,
their libidos throbbing, were just two of
several dozen drooling men gaping at nearly
100 teenage cheerleaders-clad in short-
shorts and t-shirts-prancing beneath the
dignified columns of Angell Hall a few weeks
Of course, one could describe the goings-on
of that warm July evening without such ,sen-
sual, sexual language. One could say simply:
"Several dozen curious spectators watched
about 100 high school cheerleaders-at the
University for a summer cheerleading
camp-practice their routines."
But that would be lying. The sexual depic-
tion is much more accurate.
Which brings me to my point: Cheerleading
is perhaps the most worthless and degrading
of human activities.

I ;. *l, ': " .'A _ 'k, k , K 7 : ' - :f % I -.. : , -

By Howard Witt

Abb e Hofreturn
A LL THAT clucking and not a ts have shifted can be explained away
single egg to show for it. by talk of the lack of an issue such as
By far the snickers from the the Vietnam War, by talk of the en-
gallery of disheartened observers were tropic economy and its effects, by
loudest the day Jerry Rubin many things, in fact. But however the
"apologized" for his "sins" and took a explaining is done, the fact remains
'job on Wall Street. Yet whatever has that things have come a long way when
been made out of those instances, the students who once might have suppor-
case of Abbie Hoffman is something ted the causes of Hoffman and his Yip-
else again, pies now rally around a congressman
There was no repudiation of past from Illinois.
deeds figuring in Hoffman's turning Abbie Hoffman is no longer a
himself over to Federal officials; in fugitive. But it would be wrong to state
fact it seems clear that "Barry Freed" that his was a move rooted in repen-
on te la ha thesam mocing tance. Hoffman was fending a sort of
outlook that Hoffman enjoyed six hellish voluntary exile that had lead to
years ago. The Hoffman who once a pair of nervous breakdowns and
demonstrated his yo:-yo technique int unknowable personal exhaustion. It
front of a Congressional Committee
was the man who while underground would be no chance bet to wager that
toured the FBI building and sold a we have not seen the last of the
story about it to a national magazine. political street theatrics of the
That the political attitudes of studen- prankster from Worcester.

I ARRIVED AT this not-particulaly-earth-
shattering discovery-sure to be scorned by
the millions of bulls who enjoy watching the
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders-while obser-
ving the high school girls on that summer
I think I was first struck by the nauseating
smiley-sweetness of the plump, college-age
cheerleading instructor: "Okay, girls! Let's
hold hands and make a nice big circle !" and
"Smile! Let's see some spirit!" and
"Remember! Lights out is at 10 o'clock! "-a
reminder followed immediately by nods,
smiles, and childish patter-clapping from the
compliant girls.
Indeed, the entire practice session closely
resembled a Moonie indoctrination meeting,
with songs, cheers, and frenetic activity in-
terspersed with orders, commands, and
reminders. It seemed the instructor could
have squealed, "Let's rob a store!" and had it
been for The Team, in the name of Spirit, the
girls would have hopped off and done it.
BEFORE I DISCUSS what cheerleaders
are, let me state directly what they are
not-fosterers of a winning spirit for the home
I am reminded of a biannual event at my
high chool of 2,400 in Highland Park,

Illinois-the Pep Rally. Each fall and spring,
the entire population of the school was herded
into the boys' gymnasium for a one-hour
parade of scantily-clad, newly-pubescent
cheerleaders and pom-pon girls chanting "Go
Giants!" (our team name) and "Two, four,
six, eight, we are going to mutilate!"
There was spirit running through the crowd
of male onlookers, alright. But it had little to
do with whether our team would win the next
football or baseball game. Suffice it to say the
boys were more concerned about whose
breasts were jumping the most than what the
Northern Illinois Class 5A high school con-
ference competition looked like.rs
CLEARLY, NO TEAM has ever won or lost
a game because of exuberance or lack of it
on the part of the cheerleading squad.
If you doubt that the true essence of
cheerleading is sex, just consider how many
ugly cheerleaders you have ever seen. The
successful cheerleader smiles, winks,
wiggles, and thrusts, both on and off the field.
In fact, cockteasing is built into the institution
of cheerleading; it is no accident that
cheerleaders have traditionally been con-
sidered the dream screws of the American
Certainly there are some cheerleaders so
naive and oblivious that they remain sexually
innocent even as they thrust and undulate. I
have known such earnest, . innocent
cheerleaders.nThe rest, however, know exac-
tly what they are doing and love every
moment of it.
THE FORMER INSPIRE pity; they do not
know they are being trained as the starring

actresses in a thousand wet dreams.
The latter inspire a sort of tumescent
There really is no redeeming social value to
cheerleading. Cheerleaders do nothing to
ease the human condition. There is ,no'
valuable skill that a cheerleader lear-
ns-unless of course you consider mindless,
Babbitt-like boosterism desirable.
If cheerleading were merely harmless fun,
as most Americans seem to regard it, then I
would have trouble inveighing against it. The
problem is, cheerleading smacks of ex-
politation, and there is no such thing as har-
mless exploitation. Cheerleaders are
publicly-sanctioned sex objects. And any in-
stitution that encourages men to regard
women as sexual poppets is invidious.
One evening in July, a few days after the
Angell Hall practice session, the girls showed
up to rehearse in front of the Student Ac-
tivities Building-which happens to be direc-
tly adjacent to the Student Publications
Building. As the girls jumped and bounced, I
positioned myself in a second-floor window to
watch; after a few minutes, the plump in-
structor yelled at me to stop gawking at her
pupils because I was "making them ner-
How maternal of her, I thought, as she
urged the girls to "stick out those bosoms" as
they did the splits:

Howard Witt is co-editor of
Daily's Opinion page. His, column
appear every Tuesday.


Soviet education: It's~ bigger,
better-and in some trouble


WAS 0.

Less than fifteen years after
launching an all-out campaign to
upgrade schools, teachers, and
student performance, the Soviet
Union has developed one of the
world's most impressive
educational systems-at least on-
the surface.I
According to a recent report by
Dr. Izaac Wirszup, a professor at
the University of Chicago and an
expert on Russian science
education, the Soviets have
raised their secondary school
graduation rate from the scant
4.9 percent recorded in 1940 to
97.7 percent in 1978.
BY COMPARISON, only 75 per-
cent of all students in the United
States complete high school.
But that amazing educational
achievement has not been
without its price or its com-
plications. Today the Soviet
Union is producing growing
numbers of young, highly-trained
specialists who are increasingly
dissatisfied with their roles in
At the heart of the Soviet
achievement-and problem-is a
national curriculum which over-
whelmingly emphasizes
technology. The Russian educa-
tional system places far more
imnortance in the study of the

" Ten years of Workshop
* One year of Astronomy.
In addition, Russian students
are required to complete five
years of Algebra, ten of
Geometry, and two of Calculus.
that "it is extremely difficult to
compare educational
achievements in two countries as
fundamentally different as the
Soviet Union and the U.S.," he
points to the results of a recent
National Science Foundation
study which show that of our own
high school graduates, only 9.1
percent receive even one year of
Physics, 16.1 percent one year of
Chemistry, 45 percent one year of
Biology, and 17.3 percent one
year of general science.
"The disparity between the
level of training in science and
mathematics of an average
Soviet skilled worked or military
recruit and that of a non-college
bound American high school
graduate, and an average worker
in one of our major industries, or
an average member of our all-
volunteer Army is so great that

resolution calling for a com-
prehensive "educational.
boards, when the Soviet Central
decides that it will in-
stitute sweeping reforms in the
educational system, it does not
have to negotiate with special in-
terest groups, teacher unions, or
congressional budget commit-
tees. The -committee has the
resources and authority to in-
stitute such changes without
delay or compromise.
Furthermore, the control
wielded by the Soviet government
over its citizens and scientists
allows it to assign the tasks of
program development and the
writing of secondary school text
books to the country's top scien-
tists. This would be unthinkable
in the United States where such
work has lower status and pay.
Noted American scientists are
generally disdainful of such
tasks, and high school texts are
written by their less-
accomplished colleagues.
But despite the success of the
Soviet educational revolution, its
deoth and intensity are now

By Patrick Marshall

Union has a continuing need for
skilled technicians and resear-
chers, there is only room for 9 tog
10 percent of the secondary
school graduates in their univer-
sities. The rest must either enter
the work world of the Soviet
economy or enter one of the
technical vocational schools for
specific skill training.
IN EITHER case, there seems
to be a growing awareness that
many of the students are over-
trained for their jobs. r
According to recent reports,
the situation for college
graduates is not much better.
Though university graduates are
promised status, interesting
research work, and a comfor-
table income, 60 to 70 percent of
the graduates in the natural
sciences are subsequently sent to
teaching posts, and often in rural
Reporting from Moscow recen-
tly, Los Angeles Times
correspondent Dan Fisher found
the graduates to be increasingly
dissatisfied with the government
controlled assignment of jobs and
studies. "We were deceived,"
Fisher quotes graduating studen-
ts at Tyumen University as
saying. "The instructors
repeatedly told us that par-


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