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March 02, 1984 - Image 13

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-02
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from Page 1
pensity for both mathematics and
English. He eventually chose a
mathematics concentration, but pot
before taking a heavy dose of English
Mike's most noteworthy accomplish-
ment as an undergraduate was using a
radical line of thought to reduce a
previously inviolate proof from nine steps
to eight. His second greatest accomplish-
ment was the cultivation of an extraor-
dinary beard; he seemed to ha*e been
able to coax a hair from virtually every
pore in his face.
. Mike's eccentricity did not affect his
competence. He was an empathetic in-
structor with a sincere desire to keep
his students interested and learning.
My calculus class met at night, twice a
week, for two hours at a time, and Mike
seemed acutely aware of the difficulty
of focusing on one subject for two hours
straight. Besides telling his stories,
Mike implemented a variety of
strategies to alleviate our otherwise
inevitable boredom. He would give a
mid-class break, ask students to do
problems on the blackboard, call on
almost-sleeping class members, and
run around the classroom in fits of ex-
citement about derivatives and
volumes. But he never seemed satisfied
that he was able to keep our attention,
and usually ended class almost twenty
minutes short of the requisite two
One Thursday night during mid-term
review, Mike came to class a few
minutes early, his eyes beaming from
the depths of his thatched face. He was
carrying a few dark-covered books,
each with pagemarkers of torn paper
fluttering from between the pages. With
his lips pursed to keep from smiling in
anticipation, Mike opened one of the
books,;and, without a word, wrote on
the far left hand side of the blackboard
what I later learned was Shakespeare's
Sonnet III:
Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou
Now is the time that face should form
Whose fresh repair if now thou not
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some
For where is she sofair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou are thy mother's glass, and she in
Calls back the lovely April of her prime-
So thous through windows of thine age
shalt see,
Despite of wrinkles, this thy golden time.
But if thou live rememb'red not to be,
Die single, and thine image dies with thee.
This was a rather cryptic blackboard
entry for a calculus class. Judging from
the awkward snickers of my
classmates, they were as confused as I.
To make matters worse, Mike made no
reference to the poem, and began the
review session as scheduled, with a
detailed look at hyperbolas. During the
next half hour, he drew several exem-
plary hyperbolas, graphing each on the
same set of axes to the right of the
poem. Each hyperbolatwas a little fur
.ther from the y-axis, and the curves
began to spread left and right across
the x-axis. I glanced periodically at the
poem during Mike's lecture, reading
parts of it curiously when he was re--I
explaining concepts that I understood.;
As his discussion came to a close and he

plotted the fifth hyperbola on his large
set of axes, I finally saw it, the suc-
cession of curves reflected across the y-
axis complemented the poem's
imagery of mirrors anddescendancy.
For me, this was an exciting
revelation, and I had the urge to leap up
and shout it to the rest of the class. But I
somehow stayed cool enough to notice
that other students had already made
the connection and were sitting conten-
tedly in their seats. I tried my best to
cover my excitement and look self-
Mike continued with the poetry as he
did with the math, changing poetry with
each mathematical concept. For time's
sake, he subsequently used only excer-
pts from poems. In his last and perhaps
most clever pair, he drew several con-
cave parabolas in a row, each plotted
higher than the previous one, creating a
geometric representation of a mountain
range. His excerpt was from Alexander
Pope's "Essay on Criticism," where
Pope metaphorically describes the
vastness of knowledge:
So pleased at thrst the tow'ring Alps we
Mount o'er vales, and seem to tread the sky,
The eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the
But, those attained, we tremble to survey
The growing labors of the lengthened way,
The increasing prospect tires our wandering
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
Mike kept us for the entire two hours
that night, but I did not realize that until
class vWas over. I was too busy enjoying
my math review and at the same time
getting a unique exposure to poetry in a
mathematics environment.
At the end of the class, Mike asked if
we had. any questions or comments.
Suddenly, several students began to
speak at once, in rather antagonistic
tones, expressing dissatisfaction with
the review session. They complained
that his poetry had not only been a
waste of time, but also a source of
distraction and confusion. Countering,
a few students began to praise Mike's
presentation, but were interrupted by
Mike's own response. He explained
defensively that he had not meant to
anger anyone, but put the poetry on the
board to give us a constructive distrac-
tion when our attention had faded from
the overload.
"But why did you choose those
poems?" a student asked.
Mike explained that each poem was
related to its corresponding
mathematical picture, and quickly
pointed out the connection of Pope and
the parabolas, which was still on the
"How were we supposed to know

The following is an excerpt from the third-place essay byLSA
Senior Mark Hoover.
P RE.PACKAGEDTRUTH is a readily obtained commodity. The man
who wants to become an intercontinental missile expert, a crackpot
nutritionist, a Young Republican, or a Jehovah's Witness has got plenty of
company; skip the details, it's the "Big Picture" that counts: We have over-
simplified, overgeneralized, and overabstracted ourselves to the point of
being almost incapable of understanding anything without the aid of an ex-
pert, and we don't know how to distinguish between knowledge and pseudo-
knowledge. This is perhaps most glaringly evident in politics, but the effect
permeates much of our day-to-day decision making. We are content to rely
on expert opinion for everything from car repair to spiritual guidance.
The problem is not that we seek, or need, expert opinion, but that we ac-
cept it without thinking about it, indiscriminately. We acquire knowledge
about the problems in our lives, but not understanding. We think that
someone else can give us understanding, but that's something we can only
give ourselves.
The difference between knowledge and understanding of a situation or a
problem is the difference between how and why: Knowledge allows us to
manipulate things, change and rearrange them; understanding shows why
we want to do something, for what reasons. Without understanding, we have
to use someone else's reasons, or values, and that is the evil in following
dogma. It's a very small step from being unable to articulate one's own
values to an anarchy of values, I think it's a step that we come perilously
close to taking.
The word "liberal" has lost its meaning since its heyday two centuries
ago. NHistorically, liberalism was associated with the idea of freedom:The
civil and personal freedom of the individual; free political institutions;
freedom of religion; free enterprise through free economic systems. One
needs only to read Paine, Smith and Franklin to get a feeling for the early
fervor these men had for this new idea. We seem to have lost our excitement
along with our sense of history.
Today we spell it liberal with an upper-case "L" and like our other "isms,"
it stands not for freedom of thought and inquiry, but adherence to a,
dogma. It is no better, no worse, than its competing "isms."
The phrase: "Liberal Arts Education" has become similarly polluted. I
believe that the original intention of a liberal education was to educate one
for freedom-not necessarily in the political sense (although that is
unquestionably related), but in the sense of being able to evaluate knowledge
and facts, and integrate them with experience to arrive at a personal under-
standing. In short, in being able to create and support our own set of values.
The poet William Blake states that "Should I not create my own system, I
would be enslaved by another man's," and this is precisely what happens to
us when we are unable to form our own values-we become automata, run
by someone else's instructions.
The real purpose of the liberal arts education is to develop the habit of
critical thinking, and to apply it to learning. Except for the exceptional few,
learning is work, and critical or discriminatory thinking requires discipline.
The liberal arts education should pivot around this concept of mental
discipline-which is not to be confused with drudgery and suppression of
natural curiousity and the desire to learn. Rather, mental discipline is like
the physical discipline of the ballet dancer or the gymnast: It liberates,
permits the full realization of one's talents and gives
form and structure to the wild, unique possibilities in each of us,
each of us.


w ! w

. . * . . . . . . . . . . .:.:.. .::::: ..... ................. .. ........................ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Battle of the Bands
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 8-10
By Joe Hoppe
B AND BATTLES, or battles of bands
somehow always seem to have bad
connotations. Think of battles of the
bands and think of a bunch of Second
Chance-on-the-weekend radio copy-cat
crotch rockers in leather fisted bare
chested competition; wars of the scale
touted on all those heavy metal album
There's a battle of the bands at the U-
Club as part of Michigras but it
shouldn't be one of those horrible af-
fairs just mentioned.
Why not and how do you know?
Because there was one last year and it
was all right, so there. Sure there was
one band where the singer wore leather
pants and raised his fist at the big rock
and roll banner with the group's name
on it, and another that was almost as
bad, but just two out of, a total of eight
bands really is pretty good.
Last year three fine bands made
their debut at the band battle:
Aluminum Beach, Disband (who at that
point were called Boys Life, and then
became Life Boys before their current
moniker), and Resistance Free.
Aluminum Beach and Resistance
Free split the winnings and got to play
at the Second Chance, with Disband
getting foolishly eliminated the first
night. All have gone on to play around
town. Aluminum Beach is even taking
its self-described "surfabilly ska" to
the East Coast under the same
management that books people like the
Violent Femmes and Love Tractor.
Then there's the Aluminum Beach
three song EP that's supposed to come
out in a month and a half. ("Crying,"
"16 Years Old," and "Grey Slacks" are
the songs). And it's all because of last
year's Battle of the Bands. See? This
year's battle is going to be really fun
and a great showcase for new Ann Ar-
bor talent.
Press deadlines being what they are
(this article had to be in before spring

break), there wasn't a full list available
of bands competing in this year's com-
petition. Some of those that had en-
tered by February 17 were The Lunar
Glee Club, a nine-piece African jazz
band that does all originals, The Blue
Rays, who do rockin' bluesabilly, the
Roosters, The Slang (both well known
on the local bar circuit), and Disband is
trying one more time.
The contest's rules say they're
looking for "all Ann Arborbands with
limited or no exposure on theslocal
music sceone." All they have to do is to
be able to play at least three originals
and submit a tape. This year, though,
there's no student eligibility
While preference will be given to
bands with University students, you
don't have to be students to enter. That
opens things up a lot.
"Over a hundred applications were
picked up," said Steve Sands, a Soun-
dstage person who along with Danny
Seigal is running the show. "We'll just
have to wait and see who was picked out
of that hundred."
Bands are judged on "Musical
quality, originality, audience in-
volvement, and overall stage presen-
ce." The judges are from Prism
Productions, WIQB, Crescent Music,
A2 Productions, The Ann Arbor News,
WCBN, and even the Daily. "People
that really know about music," said
Then there are the prizes: "There
will be a plethora of prizes including
albums, local gigs, studio time, and
much more!" I really like that press
release lingo. Actually the prizes are
pretty good; seven hours worth of
studio time and a gig at the U-Club will
go to the winner. Second place band
gets stuck with playing at Rick's and
The Second Chance. The rest of the
bands split up the plethora.
Hopefully then, there will be some
great new bands coming out of this bat-
tle. It doesn't cost anything on the final
night, Saturday. And if there's some
band you want to support; show up and
dance. Audience participation is a
fourth of the score, remember.- W

Peter Zazofsky
University Musical Society
Rackham Auditorium
8 p.m. Sunday, March 4
By Gordon Jay Frost
A N ANN ARBOR debut at Rackham
Auditorium does not signal lack of
experience. Peter Zazofsky, the last per-
former in UMS' seasonal Debut and
Encore Series, has already attained
global acclaim and notoriety for his
solo concertizing and concerto perfor-
mances. At 30, Zazofsky may represent
the new generation of musicians who will
soon be regarded as masters.
Zazofsky had the ideal environment
for a young musician. His father was
assistant concertmaster of the Boston
Symphony, while his uncle sat as first
oboe. He began studying at the age of
five under the tutelage of Joseph
Silverstein and made his first concert
appearance at 11 in a boston symphony
Children's Concert (Bach Concerto for
Two Violins, which he played with his
father.) His major introduction to the
community at large, however, was at
the age of 14.
After a Boston Pops Children's Con-
cert, he was enlisted to take the place of
his father (who had injured his hand) in
a Boston Pops concert the same
evening. By the time he was 19, he had
received 12 major competition prizes
and had begun studies under Ivan
Galamaian at Curtis.
Since 1977, this young musician has
won top prizes in some of the world's
most important violin competitions:
The Wieniawski competition, the Mon-
treal International and the Queen
Elisabeth Competition in Brussels.
In addition to his performances with
prominent orchestras throughout
Europe and the United States, he has
released several recordings with

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Klaus T
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Henk B
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citement about Mike's presentation
dissipated. The dissenting students had
a valid objection: The poetry was a
digression from the focus topic of
calculus. It did not clarify any
mathematical concepts, and therefore
did not contribute directly to the infor-
mational content of the review session.
Because it squandered time and atten-
tion that would otherwise have been
spent on calculus, the poetry detracted

'Liberal arts education?' a student quipped
as he left the room. Liberal arts is no

liberal arts education, wondering if I
was wasting my time and money. I
weighed the comment: "Liberal arts is
no education" in my mind, trying to
"decide if I, too, should subscribe to that
view. On Sunday of that weekend, I
finally untangled my dilemma. I con-
cluded that the problem was one of
semantics and that the student who
made the comment was confusing
"education" and "training."
Many students go to college for
training. They want to acquire specific
abilities that will enable them to suc-
ceed in a specific field, either in
graduate school or in the job market.
By focusing on a specific field, a
student can gain a rare comprehensive
knowledge. Training, therefore, almost
guarantees a high-paying job, because
the supply of people well-trained in
any one specific field is usually small.
And a good job appears to be the goal of
most students who pursue training in
Although training can be fulfilling
and financially rewarding, there is
something to be said about education as
well. An education provides a base of
knowledge from which to draw and with
which to compare new knowledge. Fur-
ther, a liberal arts education provides a
multi-faceted base of knowledge. By
delving into several fields, a student not
only gains general knowledge about
each of the fields, but also acquires a
certain flexibility, an instinct for lear-

Rent a Car from Ecc



that?" another student asked.
Many students had begun to file out of
the classroom.
"Well, I assumed," Mike responded,
now with a shake in his voice, "that you
would have learned some poetry
analysis in your English classes or
something. Isn't that still part of a
liberal arts education?"
Several students laughed. Most of my
classmates were mathematics or
science concentrators.
"Liberal arts education?" a student
quipped as he left the room. "Liberal
arts is no education."
With that comment, all of my ex-

from the session's
specifically enhance
calculus abilities, and

potential to
the students'
therefore their

Choose from small econc
to fine luxury cars.
Special weekend rates.
--Pick up services uponrec
-We accept cash deposits.

THAT WEEKEND, I thought a great
deal about Thursday night's
incident. In my. eyes, Mike's review
session had a value outside of the realm
of calculus and grades, and I could not
understand why other students did not
recognize this value. I began to feel in-
secure about my own pursuit of. a



10 Weekend/Friday, March 2, 1984

3 Week

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