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November 23, 1982 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-23

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A

OPINION

_

Page 4

Tuesday, November 23, 1982

The Michigan Daily

s

On what to do

when the wind blows

4

By David Spak
I can only imagine one horror worse than a
nuclear war-surviving it.
When people discuss the nuclear arms freeze
or civil defense, they focus on governmental or
societdl concerns. Government officials ask
questions like, "How do we know the Soviets
will abide by a freeze agreement?" or "How
can we prepare for the aftermath of an all-out
nuclear war?"
THE EXPERTS almost always talk about
what they think will or won't happen to our
society after nuclear devastation. Military
people talk in terms of "us" (Americans)
against "them" (Soviets). Others try to
estimate how many millions will die or how
many millions can be saved with a civil defense
program.
What is missing in all this rhetoric is what
will happen to me-one individual-if the world
blows up and I don't go with it right away. I've
searched for someone to tell me what will hap-
: pen to me if I live through a nuclear attack.
Recently, I found that someone.

RAYMOND Briggs, an English author, has
written a book called When the Wind Blows
(now available in Ann Arbor). Briggs' book
examines how a retired English couple hastily
prepares for the aftermath of an impending
nuclear attack.
James and his wife Ducks read all the gover-
nment pamphlets on how to prepare their home
for the holocaust. James puts up a crude blast
shelter and Ducks gathers supplies, including
two weeks worth of fresh water. They scramble
to put their important papers, such as birth
certificates, in a box for safe-keeping, as
recommended by one of the pamphlets. "I
wonder what would be a safe place?" James
asks.
The attack comes and goes in a manner of
minutes. James and Ducks survive and
dutifully spend the first day after the attack in-
side their lean-to. The next day, they both wake
up with headaches.
Leaving their little hideout to explore the rest
of their retirement village, they find their
water supply has evaporated, all power is shut
off-all their links with the outside world are

dead, "all dead," as Ducks says. Soon James
and Ducks are dead, too.
BRIGGS TELLS his story in cartoon form.
And strangely enough, that only makes his
book more emotionally powerful. The slow and
painful deaths are not only described with wor-
ds, they are visually portrayed. You get to see
James and Ducks get sicker and sicker.
Perhaps the only comparable experience
would be to view films of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki. Those films reveal the pain caused
by massive radiation burns and radiation
poisoning-pain that can only be relieved by
death.
That may be Briggs' shining achievement. He
is able to show with unmistakable clarity the
suffering inflicted upon the survivors of a
nuclear holocaust. By demonstrating the sheer
madness of trying to prepare for a nuclear war,
he shows that there is simply no surviving such
an event. Not for a single individual. Not for a
society.
Those who argue that we can either win or
survive a nuclear war are deluding themselves

and are trying to delude everyone else.
THE FOLKS in the White House and the
Kremlin should read When the Wind Blows. If
the "powers that be," as James calls them,
could only realize what a nuclear war would
mean, maybe they could look past their mutual
mistrust and come to terms.
I'm probably deluding myself by believing
that any amount of books, cartoons, and films
depicting the horrors of nuclear holocaust-
let alone one book by one author-could have
that kind of impact on those who control the
means to destroy us. After all, the Reagan ad-
ministration has waged a propaganda war
against the nuclear freeze campaign. And the
Kremlin has hardly been the most receptive
group to new ideas.
So what am I left with? Hope.
HOPE THAT, for whatever reason, the
"powers that be" put an end to nuclear mad-
ness.
Or hope that I'm underneath the first bomb.
Spak is a Daily staff writer.

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

0

Vol. XCIII, No. 65

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

OUR NSW IRILLIANIT FLNWTo YRoT-Cr
THE N\X ISTo BUNCH THEM AD
CLOE TOC Th

Selective recall

REMEMBER all the sweet-talk
from the administration on the
wisdom of local control? Remember
New Federalism, and its praise for the
ability of state and local governments
to make sounder, more cost-effective
decisions than the federal gover-
nment?
James Watt doesn't.
Watt's Interior Department recently
put out some rules on coal mining
which are anything but the New
Federalist ideal.
The rules subtly change the way the
coal mining game will be played in the
West, but the change is important. Un-
der Watt's new order, the Interior
Department will no longer be bound by
the opinions of regional panels in
deciding how much federal land is to
be leased for development.
Watt's motivation in changing the
rules seems consistent with his past
action on resource management. The
goal of the changes is to dramatically
increase the speed at which the

tremendous reserves of Western coal
are exploited-no matter what the cost
to the environment.
Since state governments and agen-
cies representing regional interests
are somewhat less fond of the destruc-
tion of their locales than Watt, they
have been resisting the Interior Depar-
tment efforts. The Interior Depar-
tment's solution to that problem is
straightforward: The coal rules are an
attempt to eliminate another hurdle
from the paths of the resource ex-
ploitation interests.
But what ever happened to New
Federalism-or to Watt's often-touted
commitment to local control of federal
lands? It seems to have been replaced
by "more important" priorities, such
as strip mining.
Watt is exercising some pretty selec-
tive recall here-and whatever he
selects to recall somehow winds up
screwing the people he is supposed to
serve.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

4

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"I HAVE HERE IN MY HANP -

Regent chatty, rude, irresponsible

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To the Daily:
Today I attended the public
comments portion of the meeting
of the Board of Regents. At this
monthly meeting many students
took advantage of their once-a-
month chance to let the Regents
know how they feel about their
University, its direction, its pur-
poses, concerns about rising
tuition costs, a decline in
minority enrollment, and other
pressing issues.

To my great surprise and
distress, Regent Deane Baker
stood up halfway into the hour to
chat with friends in the hallway
(making it difficult for some of us
to hear what was being said in-
side).
I find that kind of behavior ex-
tremely rude and irresponsible.
At any other meeting where con-
stituents address their elected of-
ficials, the least of the respon-
sibilities of these officials is to
listen to what the people who

elected them have to say.
I realize that whether or not a
Regents are seated or not is not a
guarantee that they are listening,

but the least they could do is
pretend.
-Janny Huisman
November 18

The facts on porn

4

Legislating morality

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To the Daily:
Mr. Coatney's article of Nov. 20
("Porn: Real men don't read
smut"), concerning the "evils"
of pornography is quite distur-
bing. The Moral Majority men-
tality that his article reflects has
plagued civilization throughout
history with its dangerous
assumption of its own in-
fallibility.
The essential corruption of his
argument is contained in the
statement: "Many people believe
that it is wrong to legislate
morality. Yet inherent in the con-
cept of making laws is imposing a
standard of beliefs." This
statement portrays Mr. Coat-
ney's ignorance on the subject of
liberty and on the Constitution
under which he lives.
Were Washington, Frankin,
Hamilton. and Madison so

morality have no place in the
formation of laws.
Of course individual liberty
must be limited to the point that
one man may not infringe upon
the rights of others. This
validates the nation's laws
prohibiting child pornography
and other forms of pornography
that causes harm to the people
involved in their making. Unfor-
tunately Mr. Coatney's argument
sinks to the depths of ludicrous
demagoguery when he
categorizes 'PG-rated movies"
with the "murder of women for
sexual pleasure."
It is true that there are isolated
individuals who are adversely af-
fected by pornography, but Mr.
Coatney's solution is far worse
than the problem. There are, and
always will be, many aspects of
our society that prove dangerous

To the Daily:
The article by Chris Coatley on
Saturday's opinion page ("Porn:
Real men don't read smut,"
Daily, Nov. 20) was full of in-
nuendo and emotional calls for
morality, but very little fact. The
fact is that in Denmark, where
pornography was legalized in
1967, sex offenses against children
dropped 85 percent in the period
between 1967 and 1973. The rate of
incest dropped to 0 percent in tha~t
same period.
In West Germany, where por-
nography is generally available,
a study showed that the rate of
sexual crimes against children
dropped 50 percent since the time
that the pornography laws were
relaxed. In Japan, the most
common element in pornography
is the depiction of rape, yet the
rate of rape in the United States
is 1700 percent higher than that of
Japan.
It has been shown, in controlled
studies, that women become
sexually aroused from viewing

pornography - even violent por-
nography. This does not mean
that women want to or would
respond to actual acts of this sort.
It does mean that pornography,
like beauty, is in the eye of the
beholder.
The problem is that por-
nography orerotica is a matter of
taste. To lump Playboy, which is
a highly tasteful magazine, with
"depictions of gang rape, snuff
films, genital mutilations, etc."
seems to me quite unfair. But
that is not for me or Chris Coat-
ney to decide. Who decides what
is tasteful erotica and what is
dangerous pornography? I
wouldn't want Chris Coatney or
religious fanatics like him
deciding that for me.
The evidence from all sources
is dramatically clear: Por,
nography does not, per se, en-
courage sexual violence. We may:
not like that fact, it may seem;
illogical. But rather thari
ignoring it or trying to discredit it
as Mr. Coatney does, let us try to
understand what it means.
-Sidney Schipper
November 20

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