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March 26, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-26

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OPINION

A

Page 4

Saturday, March 26, 1983

The Michigan Daily 7

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Film writing students big on

Vol. XCIII, No. 138

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M{ 48109

nuclear arms, teddy bears

6

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

IN THE continuing controversy over
the expansion of Ann Arbor airport
expansion project, Mayor Louis
Belcher has charged Democrats with
erecting a political smokescreen
before the April elections. But, when
the haze is cleared, the trail of
wrongdoing and misrepresentation
leads right to the mayor's office.
The City Council had rejected plans
for a longer runway three times over a
five year period. In spite of this, the
mayor, a long time supporter of the
expansion, took it upon himself to con-
tact the Michigan Aeronautics Com-
mission.
He told the commision that the make
up of the Council had changed and that
the city was set to go ahead, according
to the MAC director. The mayor didn't
bother to inform his own Republican
caucus or the-rest of Council that his
actions had already set in motion the
funding for the plan.
On Jan. 24, 1983, the Council again
rejected the plan to build the runway,
but this time asked for answers to
various questions about the plan. In
]February, the mayor signed a "preap-
plication" which states on it "the
document has been duly authorized by

the governing body (city council) of
the applicant." Clearly the mayor had
no such authorization, but he signed
the document anyway without so much
as telling Council.
By the time Ann Arbor's state
legislators got wind of the fiasco in
early February, more than $3.6 million
dollars had been appropriated for the
project that Council had rejected a
total of four times.
Belcher has tried to pass the whole
thing off as a Democratic attempt to
manufacture an issue just before the
elections. But this pale excuse does not
explain his failure to tell the com-
mission that the proposal had been
voted down by Council, his
misrepresentation of Council's wishes
in going forward with the funding
process, or his failure to tell the Coun-
cil just what he was up to.
The issue isn't "backdoor politics"
by the Democrats as Belcher hasn
charged, but power politics by the
mayor. With Detroit Metro airport less
than 30 miles away the Council has
recognized the mayor's pet project for
what it is, a multi-million dollar boon-
doggle.

By Pamela Douglas
LOS ANGELES - As a teacher of screen
writing at two institutions which feed the
Hollywood production mill - UCLA and the
University of Southern California (USC) -
for the past five years, I've been privy to the
fears and fantasies of hundreds of young
filmmakers. This term the scripts have been
different.
My students, mostly 19 to 21 years old, are
obsessed with the day after a nuclear war. Of
60 assigned papers turned in recently, 20 per-
cent focused on a character who is among the
last human beings alive in a dead world.
Oddly, these same young people have taken
up a peculiar hobby: They are collecting ted-
dy bears. In fact, students at USC tell me the
fad is sweeping the undergraduate dorms,
and that the most prized stuffed animals
aren't slick or sophisticated. Students want
the cuddly kind that comforts babies.
NEITHER FADS, nor clumps of subjects in
student papers, are unusual. In the late '70s I
could always count on at least five rape scrip-
ts per term written by female students. The
expected growing-up traumas, breaking
away from mom or dad in favor of love or
career, would yield maybe 15. And the ever-
predictable space adventures continue to
produce their quota.
Every student generation has its own style,
reflected in preoccupations which fill its
writings. The era of campus protest, during
which students identified in their scripts with
a character who was oppressed or who fought
for 'a moral cause, finally yielded, around
1980, to a "supply-side" character: the all-
Wasserman

powerful hero or a lone individual striving
toward a purely private goal.
But these recent scripts on the end of the
world are new - and eerie. They describe
emerging from a bomb shelter to search for
friends;rthey describe the first murder after
the war; they describe death and utter
isolation. And not one, in my experience, of-
fers a glimmer of hope, of a solution, even of
strength to cope.
THESE STUDENTS are not
revolutionaries. On the campuses where I
teach, only the ethnic minorities concern
themselves with international events, or often
with serious national issues. The majority of
young people in my classes are white, from
upper-middle-class families in the west. They
were born in the '60s and don't remember (or
don't understand) the anti-war movement.
One might expect them to relate to the
Nuclear Freeze Initiative, which had its start
in California, but they don't. They don't see
the point.
Instead they collect teddy bears. At USC,
undergraduate women keep as many as 20 on
their beds. They're happy to tell you about
their favorites: "This is the one my dad got
me when I was 16." or, "'he's my favorite
because he hugs me back.".
A 19-year-old given to preppie clothes con-
fided about her "original bear," which she'd
kept since infancy. "If I throw him out of bed,
I ask him if he's hurt." Even those in now-
fashionable punk garb cling to teddies. A 20-
year-old with dyed-black, slicked-back
ducktail hair laughed, "When no one else is
around, I talk to my teddy bears."

No male students confess to hugging teddy
bears. But they have their equivalent in'
prose: Young men are writing stories from
children's viewpoints in record numbers.
Five this term are about little boys under 9
years old. That just hasn't happened in my
classes before.
Outwardly, these students continue to play
the career-bound university game. But why
bother, I asked a 21-year-old philosophy
major, if he believes the world is about to
end? "Why not?" he answered. "Taking film
courses is fun. I don't think we have much of a
future, not really. What else would I do?"
The mood on campus, whatever the conven-
tional wisdom, is not one of apathy. That,
means not caring. These kids do care, but.
they feel exceptionally powerless to influence
their futures. The mood, rather, is one of
retreat back to a time of safety, to childhood,.,
to teddy bears.
One A-student, who wrote of wandering
through underground tunnels beneath
Washington in search of another living soul
after the apocalypse, held onto a soft, round-
eyed bear as she talked to me. "He's my-
security blanket," she admitted. For an in-
stant, a smile warmed her face, perhaps from
some remembered peace.

Douglas teaches screen
UCLA and USC. She wrote
for the Pacific News Service.

writing at
this article

Saving Social Security

HE CAVALRY has come to the
rescue again. This time, the
cavalry, otherwise known as the 98th
Congress, has passed a long-term
Social Security bailout plan aimed at
solving the benefit system's chronic
money problems. Though the bailout is
welcome, Social Security will not be
out of danger until this plan proves it
can work. The last long-term rescue
mission, which came only five years
ago, failed miserably.
Admittedly, the last plan suffered
because of the dismal economy, but
any such plan must be able to weather
good and bad times. Fortunately, this
nteasure apparently starts with a better
chance of success, given recent signals
that an economic recovery may be
beginning.
This intiative has some features that
iake its chances for success a little
miore favorable. Besides raising the
Social Security tax rate over a period of
years, the measure raises the retir-
ement age by two years by the year

2027. This will encourage older people
to continue working longer, con-
sidering that people are healthier and
living longer.
The plan also cuts benefits for those
earning more than $6,600 per year and
brings federal employees into the
system for the first time. All this is
supposed to raise $165 billion for the
Social Security trust funds and keep it
from collapsing.
The system's success, though,
hinges on the economy .and em-
ployment. The principles of the syst-
em from its inception included the
premise that many more people will
contribute to it than will receive
benefits. Thus, the more people em-
ployed, the healthier the system
remains.
That is why the cavalry has come to
the rescue in such grand style. First,
they passed a jobs bill that, though it
won't solve unemployment, will put
people to work. And now, they have
taken steps that will probably save
Social Security.

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LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Sportswriter shows poor taste

j.

N"

W.E-C L

To the Daily:
At the risk of allowing too much
publicity, I would like to call at-
tention to the article written by
Mr. Larry Freed on March 12,
appropriately entitled "Freedian
Slips" ("Entertainment at
Crisler...Basketball enough").
The article seemed intended to be
a critique of the pre-game and
halftime shows presented by Mr.
Eric Becher and the University
basketball band, featuring
vocalists Pam Wallace and Ty
Cool.
It was Ty Cool who received hte
brunt of the article's tasteless
and ludricrous jabs. Mr. Freed
attacked not only the presen-
tation and choice of material, but
also Ty's clothing, appearance,
and even his name. Freed asked
how he could be expected to
believe that Ty's parents were
really named Mr. and Mrs. Cool.

cross between Howdy Doody and
Richie Cunningham. Producing
my driver's license, I introduced
myself as Ty's brother, Bill Cool,
the proud son of Mr. and Mrs.
William Cool.
He, along with a number of his
associates who had quickly come
to his rescue, explained that he
was merely trying to point out
that this type of show was inap-
propriate for a Michigan basket-
ball game - a statement he could
have effectively made in one
paragraph. He then admitted
that the article may have been a
bit too "toungue-in-cheek." I
suggested that it seemed as if his
tongue was stuck somewhere
else.
I pointed out that Ty and Pam
were asked by the band to per-
form as a favor. They both
graciously accepted, spending a
good number of hours in
preparation, for which they

many feel that kudos are in order
for Mr. Becher and his band.
I would like to also address
coach Bill Frieder, who was
overheard supplying his own con-
temptuous cracks against the
shows. If he were to exhibit as
much creativity and command as
much excellence from his team
as Mr. Becher does with his
band, his team might not have
finished so poorly in the Big Ten.
In fact, considering that his team

won the two games at which Ty.
and Pam performed, he might
want to solicit them to perform
for every home game next
season.
If Larry Freed would spend a
little more time researching his
subject matter and injecting a>
higher level of taste in his writing
style, he might one day grow up-.
to be a fine reporter,
- William Cool II
March 22

q

qTI.

if

To the Daily:
Isn't it bad enough already that
there is not adequate library
study space at this University?
Then Why, praytell, do some
people insist on ruining for others
what limited space there is with
unruly manners, constant
socializing, loud personal

help but get is that these people
do not need to study (They never
do anything but go from table to
table conversing with each other,
perhaps allowing a few moments
in between to gaze at the title
page of the book they brought with
them), which leads one to ask;
Why are they here?

Rudeness at the library

U

Aj

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