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December 08, 1984 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-12-08

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I

OPINION

Page 4 Saturday, December 8, 1984 The Michigan Daily
Trip to yland is a cultural experience

0

By Jackie Young
Thirteen years ago around this time
of year an elementary school friend and
I set out to do our Christmas shopping.
And, of course, our highest priority was
to check out Kiddie-Land, the toystore
on South Main Street. Though we had
originally set out to buy something for
our parents, the toystore seemed the
natural place to look for the best gift for
anyone: mom, dad, grandma, or gran-
dpa. I remember the toy stacks looming
like huge mountains over our heads;
pink plastic ballerina dolls with blond
hair down one aisle and G.I. Joes down
another. It was es if we had just taken a
trip to the North Pole to visit Santa's
elves.
A couple of weeks ago I had a chance
to return to Kiddie-Land to see if it had
changed at all since I was in second
grade. Surprisingly, the shelves of toys
seemed just as high and somewhat
threatening as they had before. A friend
who had come with me on this excur-
sion picked up a Raggedy Ann doll to
examine it and, as feared, the stack of
toys beneath the doll began to give way.
Luckily, an avalanche was avoided.
Though I expected to be less interested
in the selection of toys, I found that I
was fascinated by the variety and
originality of what I saw. And, though I
didn't expect to see many college
students roaming the aislesat Kiddie-
Land, there were actually quite a few.
FOR GOOD REASON. All University
sociology students and American in-
stitutions majors should visit a toy
store. Yes, even political science con-
centrators may be able to glean from

the visit some interesting tidbit of in-
formation regarding American culture.
After all, the kinds of toys young
children play with may very well
determine what kinds of values they
have in later life. Right?
So I set out to ask the experts what
kids were into these days. I thought that
there would be a lot of really spec-
tacular, high technology toys, perhaps
building off of the Star Wars motif. But
I was mistaken. As Mrs. Plotner, who
has been owner of the campus Bike &
Toy Shop for 40 years, told me, "(the
store hasn't) really changed that
much." She noted, though, that "toys
do more today" and are "more
sophisticated." For example,
toymakers produce battery operated
dolls that drink from a bottle and wet
their pants. Yet traditional toys like
slinkys and jacks are still sold in good
numbers. A lot of the trend toward
traditional toys, she believes, is a belief
that a child should have the same toy
the parent had as a child. It's almost as
if the parent gets as much out of buying
the toy as the child does.
One newfangled toy that is anything
but traditional, however, is the "tran-
sformer." This toy, according to local
merchants, is perhaps the hottest
selling item outside of the ever-popular
Cabbage Patch dolls. Believe it or not,
the transformer, as its name implies,
can change from robot form into truck
form. By moving different parts, a
plane can turn into a robot. And a
walkie talkie, which by the way isn't
functional, can be transformed into a
radio, which also isn't functional. Ap-
parently this toy is designed for the
fickle and finicky child who gets sick of

borland's Toys-R-Us, says "people still
tend to buy 'girl toys' for girls and 'boy
toys' for boys," Cabbage Patch dolls
are the exception. She says that they
are so hot that everybody wants one.
Boone believes boys have ceased to
worry about the stigma of getting a
"doll" and want Cabbage Patch dolls as
collectors items since everyone is def-
ferent. Dolls also come in basically
every ethnic group as well as male and
female. It seems that affirmative ac-
tion has had an impact on the manufac-
ture of Barbie dolls as well. Boone says
that for at least a year there has been a
Hispanic Barbie on the market.
Much to my displeasure, Boone ing
formed me that there seems to be a
resurgence of interest not so much in*
Barbie, but in G.I. Joe. "G.I. Joe has
made a comeback," Boone says, ad-
ding that there is practically a whole
aisle in the store loaded with G.I. Joes
and their accessories, such as jeeps and
amphibious paraphernalia. She thinks
that perhaps the absence of war has
lead to a glorification of the military
hero once again. Perhaps President
Ronald Reagan's new patriotism has
trickled down to the tots too.
As for my original conviction that
Star Wars toys would be the most
popular, Kiddie-Land's Toy Depar-
tment Superior, Denise Machnak, in-
formed me that Star Wars is passe.
Harboring apersonal dislike for the
Barbie doll and the G.I1. Joe, which I
believe might encourage materialism
and militarism, I was discouraged to
find that in the world of toys, somel
things never change.

Daily Photo by MATT PETRIE
The world of high technology hasn't really invaded Kiddie-Land on S. Main Street yet. Traditional dolls, including Bar-
bie and G.I. Joe, can still be found on the shelves of local toy retailers.

looking at the same toy all the time. By
the way, depending on the size and
brand, this toy can cost from $4 to $29

group of superhero figures, is also a
hot-selling item. Once a figure is pur-
chased, there are many accessories to
choose from, including a "good-guy"
and a "bad-guy" castle. Little boys are

most fond of this toy, retailers say.
The Cabbage Patch dolls have a
broader appeal with both little boys and
girls hoping to receive them. Although
Liz Boone, assistant manager of Ar-

dollars.
MASTERS OF

THE Universe, a

Young is a Daily Opinion
editor.

Page

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCV, No. 77

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Bowling behind bars

Deu~caTe HeGaoTTON
My 4Dr APiWSTRaTioN UNeRTal(eS,
DUT DTeNre is
a &&i PRORiTY FOR

HeLLO1 MicHaeL? THIS
IS MR. SHULTZ. YOUR DUP
WaNT- YoU To KNOW He
Loves YOU VeRY MUCH.,.

A

mwmww

/dl

r
LA

Unless the fine art of bowling has
been, accepted as an effective
means of criminal rehabilitation,
Michigan's prison system is headed in
the wrong direction. It is time for the
State to conduct a thorough review of
its correctional facilities. The system
has serious fundamental problems and
must be revamped.
Last Thursday, the State Corrections
Commission made a plea to Gov.
James Blanchard to declare "an over-
crowding emergency" in the state's
women's prisons. Next week, the com-
mission is expected to send another-
request to the Governor declaring that
the men's prisons are in the same state
of emergency.
As a result of the 1980 Prison Over-
crowding Emergency Powers Act,
Blanchard has the authority to take
emergency action, such as prisoner
relocation or early release, in severe
cases of prison overcrowding. Blan-
chard has said that he will not sign
either order. Since the emergency
legislation was enacted in 1980, there
have been nine sentence-cutting or-
ders, which reduced sentences for
most of the state's inmates. Blanchard
has decided that functional concerns
cannot stand in the way of criminal
justice.
The state is caught in a bind.
Because of the increasing number of
inmates, Blanchard and the Depar-
tment of Corrections are cast into a no-
win situation. The choice is between

releasing criminals from their cells
prematurely and packing convicts into
an extremely volatile situation. The
Commission is aware of this, and has
proposed placing inmates in state-
owned cottages, camps-and even a
bowling alley.
But these are all temporary
solutions. Housing a few hundred in-
mates in a bowling alley will not solve
the more basic problem facing the
commission. Instead of finding state
properties where the overflow of the
state's criminals can be temporarily
stacked, the commissioner's energies
would be better served in thinking of
more long-term solutions. What is the
purpose of a Corrections Commission
if they cannot even define the problem
with Michigan's facilities or find a
viable solution to that problem? The
State is facing a crisis in its prison
system and a committee that cannot
anticipate these crises and must run to
the governor at the first sight of
trouble has no place making decisions
on the future of the Correction system.
In short, the system needs to be
completely revamped. No longer will
one more prison-or one more bowling
alley-solve the problem. The com-
mission must take a long hard look at
what they are doing and, more impor-
tantly, what they should be doing. Until
the State is willing to accept this fact,
the Prisons will continue to overflow
with inmates-until there are no
bowling alleys or cottages left.

M

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY

MSA will stand behind the BDSO

To the Daily:
The article "MSA Fights for
Minority Recruiter" (Daily, Dec.
5) captured the spirit and intent
of the assembly's action-op-
position to the weakening of
minority recruitment and reten-
tion efforts in the School of Den-
tistry. I am happy that the con-
cerns brought to the attention of
the assembly by the Black Dental
Students Organization received
front page coverage. The
elimination of the position
currently held by Dr. Lee Jones is
slated to occur at a most unfor-
tunate time. The University is
finally responding, albeit slowly,
to the pressure to attain the 10
percent Black student (BAM)
enrollment goal reaffirmed
earlier this Fall by Dr. Niara
Sudarkasa, the Associate vice-
president for academic affairs.
Those points were clear in the ar-
ticle.
However, there are several
errors included which are impor-
tant to correct for the public
record and historical accuracy.
First, MSA at its December 4
meeting unanimnusl Pndnrseg

issue of the MSA News. The
assembly members urged me to
continue to correspond with BD-
SO and the Dental School officials
on behalf of MSA. MSA will be
updated and involved when and
where it is possible.
Secondly, the enrollment
figures in the article are in-
correctly reported. According to
the "Report on the Recruitment
and Retention of Minority
Students in the School of Den-
tistry(1981)" and the 1984
enrollment figures provided by
the Office of the Registrar, total
minority enrollment had been
about nine percent in the seven
years preceeding 1982, which is,
one percent lower than the goal of
10 percent Black student
enrollment. Sadly, the
enrollment figures cited in the ar-
ticle are better than what is
currently the case. 1984 Fall
Black student enrollment at the
Dental School is 6.5 percent (43 of
659 total students). Total
BLOOM COUNTY

minority enrollment is 11.1 per-
cent (73 of 659 total students).
Additionally, the impressive
"15.7" percent figure refers to the
1983-1984 entering.
There is no question that the
priority is' to assure that
minorities will be recruited and
graduated in proportion to their
presence in the population, not to
debate the accuracy of numbers,
which vary according to source
and statistical manipulation.
That priority and the goal of ac-
curate reporting are not mutually
exclusive.
The main issue is the
elimination of the recruiting of-
ficer's position and the
reassignment of those respon-
sibilities. MSA will not be swayed
from its support of the BDSO in
our efforts to convince the Dental
School to strengthen and finance
the attainment of the enrollment
and retention goals for Black,
Hispanic, Asian, and Native-
American students. This is one of

the first critical opportunities for'
the University executive officers
to support their espoused -goals
The newly-appointed associate
vice-president-for academic af-
fairs, Dr. Sudarkasa should be
given the adminstrative
authority, research support, staff
assistance and budgetary flexib-
ility to effectively counter the
temptation of this and other units
of the University to retreat from
affirmative action, recruitment,
and retention goals during times
of budgetary constraint. This
issue is well within her area of
administrative "oversight and
initiative" responsibilities for
recruitment and retention. The
power and influence of her office
should be used to remedy this
problem. We urge widespread
discussion of this issue and en-
courage support of our position.
-Roderick Linzie
December 6

- - , ., \
//. a !% n
9
4." ..
y Xl i kw, , ,
.___ a
_ U ,ST
_

Linzie is MSA 's

Black

student researcher.
by Berke Breathed

^
.tni. .irn.-/ ni.n .u.. . i n-r..a

----

__ _

I CAN'r WA11H!

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