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November 13, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-13

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4

OPINION
Thursday, November 13, 1980. The Michigan Daily

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

On the writing class shortage

Vol. XCi, No. 61

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

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

The conservative hit team

N AZIS, KLANSMEN, and the
National Conservative Political
Action Committee might not seem to
have all that much in common, bust
they do share certain traits.' First,
each has the unifying ideological bond
common in any group of people that
thinks as a unit. Second, each wants to
exterminate - literally or figura-
tively - those who do not fit the
"correct" pattern. Third, the enemies
of each tend to ,belong to a single
organization or ethnic group.
While Nazis and Klansmen are far
more threatening, NCPAC is just as in-
sidious in its own conspiratorial way.
Its target: liberals and liberal
ideology.
It is apparently not enough for the
committee to work on its own policies;
it also wants to make very sure no one
has the opportunity to enact any liberal
legislation. So it has targeted for
defeat 22 "enemy" congressmen who
are up for re-election in 1982. '
Though the group purports to be non-
partisan, its hit-list for the next
Congressional elections looks to be
heavily peopled by members of the

Democratic party-no surprise.
The list, in fact, doesn't seem to be
nearly so unified along strictly
ideological lines as one might expect, if
indeed NCPAC's enemy is liberalism,
and not the Democrats. Rep. Jim
Wright and Senator Lloyd Bentsen of
Texas are high on thelist, yet neither is
noted as being particularly liberal
among Washington insiders. Senator
Henry Jackson of Washington is
another the committee intends to
knock off-or is it rub out?-who would
not seem to fit in very well with the
Kennedys or the McGoverns. He is
considered one of the staunchest
hawks in the Senate.
What these gentlemen do have in
common with the targeted
progressives, though, is their party.
Michigan's Donald Riegle, who has
served the state well in his Senate post,
is on the committee's hit list. Carl
Levin, also a Democrat, would
probably have made the list too, were he
up for re-election in 1982; fortunately,
he has until 1984.
By that time, perhaps this maniacal
conservatism will have ceased.

Francis Bacon would be bristling if he were
in my situation. Bacon was an Englishman
who, influenced by his last name or not, com-
pared obtaining an education with the
satiating habit of eating. He said, "Some books
are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and
some few to be chewed and digested." He con-
tinued, "Reading maketh a full man, con-
ference a ready man, writing an exact man."
Reading, conference, and writing, accor-
ding to Bacon, are the basics for a well-
educated person. At The University of
Michigan, students receive many reading
assignments. Counselors, professors, and
family members are available to students
who want or need advice. Francis Bacon
would be two-thirds pleased by modern
education and one-third outraged. When it
comes to writing classes at the University, it
is hard to get a square meal.
THE UNIVERSITY IS concerned that
students learn to write. But does the Univer-
sity really have the students' best interests in
mind? This term-Fall, 1980-I found myself
on a waiting list for Argumentative
Writing/English 225. To find out my chances
of getting enrolled, I cheeked with the English
department.
I found there were 144 other students who
had no place available for them. That seemed
to me an inordinate number of students to be
left without a writing class. Had I not pursued
the issue, I might have felt a little dumbfoun-
ded by this situation.1

By Robert Porter
Professor Ejner Jensen, associate chair-
man of the English department, explained
that he was aware that English 225 was
overbooked. The question returns: Does the
University have the students' best interests in
mind?
Professor Jensen, trying to comfort me,
pointed out that I had not discovered a new
problem. For the last three years, similar
over-demand has been occurring. Someone
who has stayed awake in economics class
might turn the idea of over-demand around.
From a different angle, over-demand could
be called under-supply. I still remain per-
plexed about my question.
I PRESSED Professor Jensen until he had
to explain why for the past three years too few
English 225 sections have been offered.
The answer rolled back in basically three
parts. One, English 225 is a sophomore level
course. If, on first try, a sophomore cannot
get into the class, at some point in the next
three years English 225 can be fit into his or,
her schedule. True, but what a handy-even
necessary-tool good writing is for the cour-
ses taken between now and that sometime in
the future.
Two, there is not enough staff available to
teach more 225 sections. How horrible-a
shortage of qualified instructors. I wonder if
the English TA's and other qualified grad.

students realize there is such a drought of
good help these days.
THIRD, UNPEELING the answer to the.
fruit of the response, there really is not any
more money to be put in writing courses. I
realize that Vice President Billy Frye is
threatening in a worst case situation to begin
staff layoffs, and I also know that President
Harold Shapiro wants to see the University
accelerate its efforts in the area of research.
Perhaps a good research project would be
to find out why college students write poorly.
I have a proposal that will help the Univer-
sity with its financial problems, as well as get
students involved in the decision-making
process. I propose that a large cast-iron piggy
bank be placed in Regents Plaza, in the
vicinity of the cube. This piggy bank will be
for deposit of money by all students who wish
to see more writing classes offered. As the pig
is blind, anything from personal checks to
acorns will be accepted.
Before the beginning of each term, the pig
would be dumped out and all funds donated to
the English department. Far better than to
title this "anonymous donations" will be to
name it for the Englishman, who had a par-
ticular appetite for education-in short, The
Bacon Endowment.
Robert Porter is an LSA sophomore
who plans to major in communications.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
'U' must actively contest CIA deceptions"

To the Daily:
There is a serious dilemma in
the thinking of liberal Americans.
Speaking with many people here
on campus it is apparent to me
that American students are no
longer motivated by the
chauvinistic "patriotism" which
characterized the 1950s and early
'60s. The civil rights movement

and the Vietnam war, among
other issues, helped to change
that. But now, many who con-
sider themselves liberals are
bent on saving themselves from
progressive political commit-
ment by resorting to the con-
tradictory argument for "free
expression in the marketplace of
ideas."

Andrei Amairik: A human
rights champion is dead

Arts reviews wasteful.

0 .

7'tHE UNITED STATES is blessed
a with a vocal and persistent con-
tingent of spokespersons for civil liber-
ties, and we cannot underestimate
their importance in keeping some of
the more totalitarian tendencies of our
government under control. Despite
those tendenoies, few Americans have
died or even suffered very much in
defense of Americans' rights to speak
or freely express themselves.
Andrei Amalrik was a defender of
civil liberties whose adversary was
orie of the more sinister governments
in" the world: the one based in Moscow.
jie did not start out as a political
figure, but-life in the Soviet Union has a
way of turning any independent
thinker into a radical. As a student
some 20 years ago at Moscow Univer-
stty, Amalrik got in trouble with the
al.ministration for supporting a par-
tlcular historical theory that his
teachers thought unpatriotic. He was
expelled.
-That alone did not start Amalrik
along the path to becoming a world-
fAmous dissident; it took a brush with
tF e government itself to have that ef-'

fect. His academic goals thwarted,
Amalrik turned to the arts. He began
writing plays, which, though they were
not easy to come by, achieved a certain
reputation in Moscow literary circles.
The defenders of the faith moved in,
confiscating the plays for their por-
nographic and-worse-anti-Soviet
content.
Thus began a new and strenuous life
that included two involuntary trips to
Siberia (the second imposed for
writing about the first), and finally,
exile from his homeland. His haggard
existence took its toll: When he visited
Ann Arbor less than four years ago,
Amalrik was only in his late 30s. To
some of us, he looked closer to 50.
Andrei Amalrik died yesterday in a'
traffic accident in Spain. He was on his
way to a human rights conference
where he would have raised his voice
for perhaps the thousandth time again-
st the outrageous disregard his
homeland has displayed for the
Helsinki human rights accords.
One hero is dead; but his cause,
freedom for the natives of the Soviet
Union, is not. Amalrik will continue as
an inspiration to us all.

To the Daily:
The Daily's Arts page is
wasteful. It's that simple, honest.
Wasteful of what? Words. Almost
every review I've read this year
was full of senseless, useless
words that didn't help clarify the
idea of the reviewer. The writers
don't have much to say, just a
jumble of jargon to hide behind.
So I gave up trying and now skip
over the Arts page.
I used to read the articles
because I often attended the
events under seige. My usual
reaction to the reviews was that
the reviewer hadn't attended the
event; that he had just stayed
home and written his review
from other sources. Such efforts
seem directed by no "aesthetic"
motivation other than the
reviewer's own ego. Here his ego
has a chance to scribble all over
an entire newspaper page: "Look
at me, all my hot air is in print,"

screams the reviewer's ego.
If writing is really for the
public and not for a.private jour-.
nal, then it should serve some
purpose. Flaunting, words a
million syllables long is fine if
they are used correctly. But most
often, the Arts reviewers simply
reel them off in blatant misuse. I
would rather read an article writ-
ten in simple, correct wording
than in words which do nothing to
promote meaning. I thought the
aim of a newspaper was to con-
vey ideas to the reader, not to
decorate a writer.
Iddon't thinkthe Daily Arts
page editors know the difference
between a bunch of words thrown
together and a coherent sentence.
Their superfluous verbiage is
neither admirable nor awesome.
It's boring.
-Ellen Lindquist
November 12

Free expression is indeed a,
sacred right in a democracy, but
we must admitdfrom the outset
that even in a democracy there
must be certain qualifications to
that right. In an editorial of
November 7, The Michigan Daily
recognized that the demon-
strators who protested CIA
recruiting on campus "had a
point." The editorial went on to
admit that the CIA had commit-
ted "hundreds of indiscretions
and atrocities," but ended up
defending the right of the
recruiters to come here, saying
that only 12 people showed up to
be interviewed. But if several of
those twelve students who were
interviewed are hired by the
Agency and end up working out
cover-up stories for CIA coups in
Latin America ten years from
now-and history shows this is
far ,from impossible-is the
University innocent of com-
plicity?
In our country, if a person
commits murder and the crime
can be proven, he or she is liable
for severe penalties. The CIA

(along with the Ku Klux Klan and
the Nazis) has been proven guilty
of murderous citmes time and
again. The "philosophy" of such
an organizaton prescribes mur-
der and the deprivation of liber-
ties for all those whom they op-
pose. How, then, can they be'
respected as legitimate con
tributors in the "marketplace of
ideas," when their practice is to,
silence vast sectors of opinion?
I would hope that beyond "fun-
damental trust" in the ability of. y
people to think for themselves-
the editors of the Daily also
recognize the fundamental need
to actively contest the deceptive
image of CIA-type organizations
propagated through government-
approved mass media.
Students must take a stand and-
demand that the institutions sup-,
ported with our tuition and tax ,
money be off limits to criminal
organizations-and that includes
the CIA 'and the profiteering war,
industries no less than the Mafia
and the Charles Manson gang.
-Joel Stern
November 8

Moral Majority chaos .. .

... and too negative.

0 0

To the Daily:
Your review of the Musket per-
formance of Anything Goes
(Daily, November 8) struck a
particular nerve that typifies the
average attitude your paper
seems to carry-negativism. Not
that all should be rosy red either,
but credit should be given when it
is due, and the failure to do this
gives the Daily a pessimistic
aura.
The Daily frowns upon
everything and everyone: punk,
new wave, rock and roll, dorm
life, frat life, athletes, ad-
ministration, ad nauseum. Bruce

Springsteen could not be praised
in the slightest. And when
Anything Goes, a poorly-directed
but energetic and entertaining
performance, gets cut down, one
must ask if it is the show or the
critic, the actors or an attitude,
the rest of the world or the Daily
itself.
There are other cool things and
acceptable people besides the
Daily clique, and you have a duty
to recognize these people in print.
So get off your high horse.
-Andy Rubinson
November 12

To the Daily:
The philosophy, attitudes, and
values that were so resoundingly
rejected in the 1964 election have
been literally embraced in 1980.
Moral Majority has refuted the
goals and aspirations of the
programs developed under
Roosevelt, Kennedy, Johnson,
and Carter. Thelandslide victory
of Ronald Reagan probably
means the end of the ERA, Legal
Aid, food stamps, and the end of
servies to the poor, the elderly,
the sick, and the afflicted.
A two-bit cowboy actor has
received a mandate from his con-
stituency; Moral Majority has
spoken in a most powerful man-
ner. The budget will be balanced;
taxes for wealthy individuals and
profitable corporations will be
cut, defense spending increased
and the arms race will be
renewed with vigor. The
possibility of war now becomes a
probability, an eventuality,
merely a matter of time. Where
.T t is actualiI
To the Daily:
In your editorial on November
5, you ask if America will survive
(1) the Reagan presidency, and
(2) its own rightward shift. As a
taxpayer-one who voted for
Governor Reagan-I call your
message short-sighted and im-
mature. The reason I, like many
other Americans, voted for
Reagan was because of the major
issue for all America, which is-
the economy.

will "Tricky Ronnie" first send in
the Marines? To Iran, South
Africa, South America? Or
perhaps, another invasion of
Cambodia. How exciting! After
all, Vietnam was such a "noble
cause." And when will "Tricky
Ronnie" experiment with tactical
nuclear weapons? The sobering,
realityis such that no longer is it
an ,issue of the why of nuclear
weapons; but how, when, and
where these tools may be em-
ployed with maximum effec-
tiveness.
The fact is that Moral Majority
has elected an impulsive nar-
cissist who mirrors back the
same decadent values and distor-
ted world-view that is responsible
for this mess in the first place.
May Moral Majority reap full
harvest and benefits from the
violent chaos that is an inevitable
consequence of their own twisted
values and actions.
-Joel Mulle
November 12

.. . and just unbelievable

To the Daily:
In regard to Fred Schill's
review of the Michael Stanley
Band's performance at Second'
Chance (Daily, November 5), I
have several questions. First,
what is his definition of "heavy
metal"? I can see how Michael
Stanley s music can be con-
sidered heavy metal if one is a
Perry Como follower. Also, what
would be the logic behind playing
mellow songs to a hyped-up
crowd like the one present Mon-
day night? Was Schill in the mood

an informed critic).
If the band possessed no stage
presence or charisma, as the
reviewer contends, why was the
crowd still screaming for another
encore up until the time the
equipment was being taken
down? Also, did the reviewer
become a Lou Harris pollster,
asking who wanted to leave?
Let's not make unfounded
assumptions.
One final question, Mr. Schill:
Did you actually attend the con-
cert or was it just that you passed

good

change

When our economy is once
again strong and people are em-
ployed, there will be a healthy
society in which to make
decisions on other issues.
In 1964, by the way, liberals
cried throughout the land that if
Goldwater were elected, we
would certainly begin bombing
Vietnam. Well, he wasn't elected,
because (among other reasons)
he was a "warmonger." But

Ii Y Y.'T., , .O'I1

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