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November 11, 1980 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-11

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A

OPINION

Tuesday, November 11, 1980

The Michigan Daily

.,

4

It's OK! This isn't about the election!

Quick, now: It's 11:28 a.m.-What period is it?
Unless you're a freshperson straight out of
high school, you're probably stumbling right
now. Let's see.. . 11A28 ... that's just about the
time I started staring at the clock, counting the
minutes until English class would be over... I
had English fourth period... Lunch started at
11:50. . . and then I had a free period . .
I think periods are about the most destruc-
tive notion high school instills in anybody. For

Wi tticisms
By Howard Witt

car all afternoon.
Fortunately, the period neurosis wears off
once you reach college, where you can spring
ahead and fall back normally.
Ah, high school-that wonderful world of tur-
nabout dances, going steady, and pig fetuses in
formaldehyde bottles. -
Biology. God, how I hated that class. I could
probably, tell a petri dish from Corningware,
but I wouldn't know an endoplasmic reticulum
if it hit me in the face.
AS MUCH AS I resisted learning anything in
biology class, I was taught one important
adolescent lesson: Never let your peers know
you hate dissecting things. We were pulling
apart the femurs of giant, 8-inch long African
cockroaches one day, and the sight of those
huge, black, crispy, dead insects was causing
my cafeteria lunch to churn within me. I made
the foolish mistake of wincing when the teacher
dropped my cockroach in front of me and it
bounced into my lap. That wince, easily detec-
ted by my lab partner, brought a hail of
"Chicken! Chicken!" my way, followed by a
hail of African cockroaches.
Chemistry was about as bad as biology. We
had a sadistic chemistry teacher who would
sneak up behind us as we were pipeting some
caustic acid and scream "Boo!" (Pipets, for
you non pre-meds, are long glass tubes into

which you suck liquids.) -
My high school had two cafeterias as the
crow flies-the North Cafeteria and the South
Cafeteria. During my freshman and
sophomore years, both were rancid, stuffy
rooms decorated in 1950s institutional style.
The North Cafeteria was characterized by its
food-bedecked acoustical ceiling tiles-we used
to make "Ketchup Surprise" by throwing ket-
chup-soaked napkins straight upward, creating
pop art ceiling designs. The South Cafeteria
was known for its food-bedecked brick wall.
THEY REMODELED the cafeterias in my
junior year, replacing the mental-institution
look with 1970s fake wood formica tables of
various shapes. But it was only a cosmetic
change. The cafeterias still smelled like rotting
milk. We still launched "Ketchup Surprises."
Each year my high school had a Charity
Drive. Now, to get the full flavor of that
beneficent event, you must understand that my
high school is peopled with the children of
wealthy Jews-they comprise about two-thirds
of the student body. Our Homecoming Queen
was selected from among dozens of Jewish
American Princesses.
It was always a problem every year thinking
of recipients for our charity. We usually
donated the proceeds to the American, Cancer
Society or the Muscular Dystrophy Association

or some other traditional cause. I think
someone once suggested donating the funds to
combat anorexia nervosa, a popular disease
among the princesses.
RAISING THE money was less of a problem.
When car washes bombed because nobody
wanted to get his or her topsiders wet or when
Mah-jongg marathons failed, we used the sure-
fire Homeroom Collection Method: We all
brought checks from our parents.
And then there was the physical education'
department, that bastion of officially san-
ctioned brutality, stupidity, and machismo. We
were instructed in the physical graces not by
teachers, but by "coaches." "Call me Coach,"
they all would say. It was simpler for them.
The coaches were a diverse lot-one was a
linguist, skilled in several languages; one was
skilled in karate; one had been an army drill
sergeant. But they all had a lot in common:
Each coached some team sport, each had
taught driver's education at some point in his
career, and each delighted in allowing the least
possible time to shower and dress at the end of
gym periods.
ALL OF THE coaches saw it as their calling
in life to teach their adolescent charges how to
be men. Men ran 50 laps and begged for more.
Men lifted weights to bloat their muscles so
they couldn't bend their arms. Men never had

"doctor's notes" that excused them from a
day's physical activities. ("I don't care about
the note. How do I know you have a broken
leg?" one coach asked a student wearing an
ankle-to-thigh cast.) Men didn't need to dry their,4
hair after a shower.
(That last masculine requirement changed in
my senior year, when two electric hand dryers
were installed at head-height near the
showers.)
The macho emphasis carried over into the
swimming pool. Until the mid-1970s, men at my
high school swam without the benefit of trunks
through the warm, gently caressing water. Af-
ter numerous problems arose, however, trunks
were provided.
THE SHOWER ROOM before and after
swimming sessions was a very masculine,
place. Imagine 50 naked men jockeying for 30
showerheads while looking only at the floor or
the ceiling. The terror of a problem popping up.
was acute, what with hot water and cold water#
and warm drafts and cool drafts all playing,
havoc with our bodies.
It all kind of makes you want to run back and.
visit your old high school. And forget your.
problems.
Howard Witt is the co-editor of the
Daily's' Opinion page. His column appears
every Tuesday.

four years of your life, you are poisoned to
think in 40-minute intervals. If you sleep late,
it's not "Oh, damn it! It's 10:30!," it's "Oh
dann it! It's Third Period!"
NORMAL CLOCK time loses its meaning.
Woe to the unthinking mother who tells her
high school student she will pick him up at. 2:15
p.m. for his dentist appointment and neglects
to translate that scheduled rendezvous into
period time-she'll be waiting out front in the

i
:.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Higgins

Vol. XCI, No. 59

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Strict secrecy could bring
"more CIA-brand trouble

i3
x

HE NEW UNITED States Senate
will come about as close to being
equally divided along party lines as it
popsibly could: 52-48 Republican.
Thpugh the numbers seem to be very
close-and indeed, in many areas
there is likely to be much healthy par-
tisan squabbling-there is one matter
on which the senators and legislative
staffers of both parties seem to be in
getieral agreement: They believe the
netv Senate is likely to drop regulations
that currently restrict the activities
and secrecy of the Central Intelligence
Agency.
How soon we forget. Endless
problems have been caused by giving
the CIA the freedom to undertake its
programs abroad without supervision
or, accountability. Little has been
gained. Secrecy among the ranks of
the intelligence community has only
ptevented more moderate and sensible
public officials from assessing the
v ue of our clandestine schemes.
The problem does not stem from the
Agency's intelligence operations,
stfictly speaking. The United States
does have operatives in both friendly
ard hostile countries around the world,
arid they in turn have snoops sprinkled

around the States. That in itself has not
caused much of a problem, although
Iran has provided one obvious excep-
tion.
But the other side of the Agency's
work is its tampering with the
sovereignty of foreign governments, a
type of endeavor at which it is unfor-
tunately very experienced. The fiasco
at the Bay of Pigs was only the best-
known of CIA attempts to remove a
popular government from power. Had
the cover of secrecy been "blown" on
it, one of the more embarrassing and
detrimental chapters of American
history might never have made the
textbooks.
One provision of the bills likely to be
shuffled around Congress next year is
particularly frightening. Under the
bill, private citizens who come by in-
formation about covert intelligence
agents-even information culled from
nonclassified material-would be sub-
ject to prosecution if they made any
revelations.
If that notion is any indication of the
general tenor of respect which will be
given First Amendment liberties un-
der the new president and Congress,
ours will be a sorry lot indeed.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Treatment of Shah 's son appalling

'4

To the Daily:
I "do-it-daily"-read The
Michigan Daily, that is, and I
have generally been impressed
with the quality of your editorial
comments, but I was appalled by
your treatment of the Shah's son
(Daily, November 1). As a
newspaper editor myself, I'm
very concerned with the abuse of
media power, intentional or
otherwise. Your uncharac-
teristically irresponsible attitude
in this commentary is a disser-
vice to both your readership and
yourselves.
You portray the Shah only as'a
"ruthless dictator," implying
that he is some kind of monster
and inferring that he must only
be, capable of conceiving and
raising a monster. In reality,
history has yet to determine the
villainy or greatness of the Shah,
although Iran was clearly doing
much better under his brand of
leadership than it's been doing
since (international terrorism,
war, social chaos, and economic

disaster).
But my purpose is in no way to
defend the Shah a sticky, if not
futile, endeavor); rather, to ask
rhetorically, isn't it possible that
his son is a human being?
Reza Pahlavi has shared his
anguish over the devastation of
his homeland and the misery his
countrymen are enduring,
pledging his loyalty to therp.
While you sit snickering cynically
at this young man, millions of
Iranians respond with renewed
hope that someone can bring an
end to thissperiod of horror. Not
all Iranians are terrorists or
religious fanatics; rather, they
are a proud people locked in the
challenge of preserving their rich
Islamic traditions while
assuming their rightful position
as arespected nation in a modern
world community. Blending
tradition with modernization is
no easy task, profoundly
elucidated through the lessons of
Lenin, Mao, and Pol Pot.
Your stereotypical stripping

away of the humanity of the
Shah's son is the same kind of
mentality rapists have in
justifying their attacks on women
("they all want it anyway"),
Klan members have to justify
lynching black people, and Nazis
had when incinerating Jews.
Our nationprides itself in laws
and traditions respecting the
rights of individuals, like "due
process," which assumes innoc-
ence until proven guilty. Are you
somehow "above" the con-
Pigeon kill
To the Daily:
"Pigeons pose a very definite
public health menace to humans,
and especially to the University's
staff members who work near
areas with pigeon droppings
(Daily, November 6)." The an-
swer to the pigeon problem as the
speaker sees it is to kill them all.
Oddly enough, his name is
(University occupational safety
officer William) Joy.
Of course there are risks.
There are risks every time one
gets away from man's paranoid
and ultra-sterile world to explore
nature. The squirrels on campus
could bite and cause disease,
therefore I suggest we kill them,
too. The fall trees, being so
beautiful that they cause people
to stare and run into each other,
are a very definite public health
menace. l recommend that we
cut them down. Perhaps we could

stitutional law of our land?
In times of despair, people look
for hope in unlikely places.
America is now looking to Ronald
Reagan. Iranians may just be
looking to the young Pahlavi.
-Nate Windman
Editor
World Student Times
November 5

rj

The World Student Times is
affiliated with the Unification
Church.
pave the Diag. No, on second
thought, the cracks in the
pavement could collect debrisw of host
organisms. Glass would be a bet-
ter choice; it is pleasantly sterile:
We could have fountains of'
cleansing fluid to help rid the"
Diag of disease - a veritable"
fountain of youth. Think of it!'
Plastic bubble suits could be
issued to incoming freshmen,-
Then, maybe, we can rid our
selves of the disease-ridden
splendor of nature.
Something that Dr. Lewis
Thomas wrote in an essay in The
Lives of a Cell applies to this
killing of our pigeons. "It says
something about our century, our
attitude toward life, our ob-
session with disease and death,
our human chauvinism."
-Randy Wirth
November 6

4

An SYL letter guide

To the Daily:
Gee whiz, it's really great to
hear that the Symbionese Youth
League or whatever they call
themselves supports the two
recently-arrested Daily editors
(Daily, November 5). With the
help of all the Commie Clubbers
the people can beat back every

derlines. NOW I KNOW THAT
DOESN'T WORK!!! JUST LIKE
THE SYL I MUST EXPRESS
MYSELF BY HITTING THE
SHIFT LOCK AND POUNDING
AWAY!!!!!!
From many observations, the
SYL's pattern emerges:
!-We're not too happy about

* Li I4~~~ENY X~2 U I U ~

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