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November 29, 1984 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-29

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OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, November 29, 1984

The Michigan Daily

A

Confessions of

a

University tour

By Steve Haddad
On a typical, quiet summer evening
in Ann Arbor, under the security of an
oak tree near the Diag, the serene at-
mosphere is occasionally shattered by
the stomping of 50 pairs of shoes. A
quick glance down the sidewalk reveals
an orientation group of bewildered
freshpersons lost in a mass df campus
buildings. Try to ignore the pang of
fear passing through your body as you
search for the one pre-med in the group
certain to wreck the curve in Biology
985. But there is a far more dangerous
individual present: The campus tour
guide. To the untrained eye, this person
may appear quite harmless. Upon
closer examination, though, this is not
the case.
Campus tour guides come in all
shapes, sizes, and sexes, but they have
one characteristic in common: an in-
credible capacity to talk for hours
without saying anything of substance.
For purposes of shortening this story,
let's follow the unfortunate case of one
tour guide, I'll randomly select the

name Steve, to document the potential
for corruption behind this activity.
Please, if you have a weak stomach,
stop reading now.
THE EVOLUTION of a tour guide
(though Darwin said individuals do not
evolve, this is probably the only known
exception) is a catastrophic story but is
one that must be told. Steve started his
career as most guides do, studying
diligently on the 3A stack of the
Graduate Library. One evening, while
immersed in a text of organic
chemistry, studying how to synthesize
ethanol, I believe, Steve looked over
and noticed a stack of old Michiganen-
sian yearbooks gathering dust on a
shelf. As the legend goes, Steve sud-
denly heard voices inside his head,
leading him beyond his control toward
the awaiting books. The trap was
sprung, and it's all downhill from this
point. University encyclopedias,
history books, and strange but true
stories were all consumed by Steve in a
short while, leaving in his wake bat-
tered librarians desperately searching
for more fact-filled texts.
Now, this wouldn't be so bad if it was
confined to a few demented individuals,
such as Steve, but the problem is

magnified as the tour guide begins in-
flicting the new-found knowledge on
helpless campus visitors. You see, we
are not just dealing with a harmless
pastime here, Terminal Tourism is a
progressive disease. In its final stages,
the victim can be seen shelling out Mr.

large as one people. Steve's friends no
longer visit the campus for fear of get-
ting the expanded five-hour tour.
Friends that are students on campus
cringe as they walk past a University
building with Steve, realizing that at
any moment the number of bricks or

'Campus tour
shapes, sizes,

guides come in all
and sexes, but they

have one characteristic
mon: an incredible ca
talk for hours withou
anything of substance.'

in

com-

Marathon in two hours and fifteen
minutes, but even he only lasted to the
James McDivitt-Edward White Corner.
He never had the opportunity to hear the
recitation of the 179 college coat-of-
arms lining the windows of the Law
School Library. Indeed, something had
to be done to stop this madness, so the
government stepped in. Campus in-
vasion? Conventional weapons? Not
exactly...
IN RESPONSE to the Surgeon
General's warning that the spread of
Terminal Tourism must be stopped
before it reaches epidemic proportions,
the University moved its collection of
yearbooks and University history
paraphernalia up to 6 South. This bold
and nobel gesture may work well in the
long run, but I fear that the move came
too late. On any given hour at the
Alumni Center an individual infested
with Terminal Tourism will break
through the doors with a pack of naive
parents and their children, bombarding
them with enough facts and figures to
make the Apple IE blow its gaskets.
As Foreigner would say, the damage is
done.
Anyway, you may be interested in
discovering what happens to these

guide
organisms teeming with Michigan
history (teeming, what a great
biologist's word). Steve's case is like
most others. Every night he curls up
next to the fire with a glass of wine and
The University of Michigan: An Efi-
cyclopedic Survey. He is currently on
Book VI of the nine volume set. And
what about the future of these star tour
guides. Well, Disneyland actively
recruits the campus every year for
future "Cinderella's Castle" guides:
But for those at the top of the class, the
cut-throat competition is resolved with
the winner receiving the ultimate
prize: the chance to tour at historic
Williamsburg in Virginia and wear a
"neato," old-fashioned costume.
University tour guides who can often be
spotted in characteristic student tour
guide garb-jeans and a t-shirt-can
only dream of sometime being
promoted to the bigtime tourist joints..
Haddad is a senior honors
biology major. He is afflicted with
"Terminal Tourism."

pacity to
it saying

T dolls to entice seven-year-olds to go
on his or her tour.
Steve's case follows a similar path.
On any given day he can be seen
walking backwards in characteristic
tour guide form in front of groups as

name of the architect's sister-in-law
may be thrust upon them. Tours build
to the six and seven hour range, and
finally they emerge as the deluxe
weekend package tour. Sure, Orlando
Pizzolato can run the New York City

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

Vol. XCV,

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109

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

Another blow to MSA

A~ourT To?cRZM\
A R Vo TiONA'QY ((_
M 9CAP~9FoGEUR2E
W ttT STAE Gw
OF -EXPKANCY?~ 4

ab

A RECENT amendment to the Mich-
igan Union Board of Director's
charter, which gives the chairman of
the board sole power to appoint studen-
ts to the Union's governing body,
represents a successful attempt to un-
dermine the influence of the Michigan
Student Assembly in guiding the
management of the Union.
By taking away MSA's voice in
determining who sits on the Union
board, the- board has sacrificed the
broad student interest as represented
by MSA, to the administrative ef-
ficiency of a hand-picked board. This
type of maneuvering to get around
MSA's input-maneuvering that is also
seen in the administration's lack of
willingness to honor regent's bylaw
7.02-signals a frightening trend
toward an administration of Univer-
sity services and rules that disregards
the independent student voice. MSA's
input is desireable not only because it
represents the student body as a whole,
but because it is an organization in-
dependent of the Union Board.
Union Board Chairman Michael
Perigo explained the need for the

amendment saying, "We just thought
it would be more efficient this way."
In other words, the board now has the
ability to "inbreed", to select mem-
bers that it feels will further the aims
of the board as it now exists. Diversity
of viewpoint most likely will not be en-
couraged since conflicting ideas don't
make for managerial efficiency.
The fact that MSA is independent in-
sures that the broadest student con-
cerns are represented. It is too bad
that representation will be lost since,
after all, the Union exists to serve the
students. The board's ability to in-
breed does not necessarily spell doom
for the direction of the Union but it will
stifle a valuable diversity of opinion
concerning that direction.
What needs to be corrected is the at-
titude that MSA's input is irrelevant or
in some way "inefficient." MSA exists
to represent the concerns of the
student body and should therefore be
treated as a necessary and valuable
voice in the formulation of University
policy, whether that policy be a code of
conduct or the management of the
Union.

MRIR xENtAIL JT
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Stale politicians do no harm

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By Franz Schurmann
If the recent presidential elec-
tion demonstrated anything con-
vincingly, it was that the
American political scene is
barren of new ideas. Walter
Mondale's platform never was
anything more than warmed over
liberal notions of government
leadership and social interven-
tion. Ronald Reagan's conser-
vatism offered only spruced up
versions of free enterprise and
old-time religion.
Historically, the absence of
political innovation has meant
either that things were working
so well that new ideas were not
needed or that the civilization
was decaying. But today, neither
of these conditions pertain.
Things are not working par-
ticularly well and-apart from
politics-Western civilization ap-
pears to be robust and strong.
The puzzle is: Why is this
creativity so conspicuously
lacking in politics.
A HUNDRED years ago, in an
era somewhat like our own, the
West was being revolutionized by
astonishing new ideas in science,
technology, and culture. Politics
kept apace with the rapid change,
dnre.nn n lha 4nlin4o ac no

thropology and psychology, came
into prominence. The faith in
these new political ideas
remained strong despite the
horrors committed in their name.
In 1917, millions of Russians
were convinced that socialism
would rescue them from op-
pression. War and all of Stalin's
horrors failed to shake that faith.
Yet today, a swath of political
apathy stretches over the Soviet
Union where few people appear
to believe that the Kremlin can do
much to improve their lives.
Nonetheless, Russian science and
technology advances, even while
hobbled by socialist
bureaucracy. And new cultural
forms are arising in that coun-
try's underground society.
DURING the last two decades,
the way we live, work, and think
has changed more rapidly and
radically than in any period of
human history. In a mere
generation, the traditional place-
bound family is vanishing, most
of us in the West work not in fac-
tory or farm but in service oc-
cupations, and the advent of the
electronic revolution is bombar-
ding us with every variety of new
idea.
BLOOM COUNTY

Significantly, these ideas arise
from a far-flung variety of sour-
ces. There is no handful of
prestigious universities
generating the innovations. They
come from many different
schools and many different coun-
tries. Much of the biotechnology
revolution, for instance, has
come from small, makeshift labs,
where scientists work with small
grants and simple dishes of
biological cultures.
What we see today is an
astonishing democratization of
innovation in all areas-save
politics. So why do we need
politics? Judging from the elec-
tion, people seem to believe that
politicians should do no more
than manage the basic functions
of government-things like

keeping the peace, protecting the
country, assuring the value of the
currency and, as voters showed
in electing a middle-of-the-road
Congress, maintaining most of
the modern welfare state.
In the end, the barrenness of
ideas in American politics may
not be so bad after all. It may
serve to drive home the lesson
that, rather than leadership,
government's proper role today
is that of competent and honest
service of the people and guar-1
dian of the realm.
Schurmann teaches history
and sociology at the University
of California, Berkeley. He
wrote this article for the
Pacific News Service.

Unsigned editorials ap-
pearing on the left side
of this page represent a
majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board.

S

by Berke Breathed

I i

.

mq

1

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