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April 02, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-04-02

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OPINION

~he Michigan Daily

Page 4

Tuesday, April 2, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Responsibility in the 'me age"'

Vol. XCV, No. 144

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

-

Sexist advertising

A BILLBOARD on Main St. has
been the center of a great deal of
controversy much of the last month.
The billboard, which depicts a
woman reclining in a dark evening
dress, reads, "Feel the Velvet
Canadian." It first came into the news
when two women, Jennifer Akfirat and
Mary Jane Emanoil; were arrested
and charged with defacing it. They are
charged with graffittying the sign and
writing, among other things, "Objects
Never, Women Forever."
In subsequent weeks, there have
been protests and pickets in front of the
billboard, calling for removal of the
billboard and exoneration of the
women on the grounds that they were
threatened by the overt sexist tone of
the picture. .
Although there is a city ordinance
which governs the size and location of
billboards, the Velvet Touch billboard
is not covered because it was erected
prior to the ordinance. According to
Dana Dever, who serves on the com-
mission, the sign would violate the or-
dinance because it is too large for its
location.
The question involved in the issue is
not so much of size or location,
however, as it is of blatant sexism in
advertising.
Sexist advertising depicts women as
sexual objects in the hopes of imbuing
their products with a sense of

promiscuity. Although it may be an ef-
fective method of promoting sales,
sexist advertising nonetheless violates
the rights of women everywhere who
can be made to feel-and be treated-
as much like objects as the women who
are depicted.
It is difficult to establish a standard
for determining what constitutes sexist
advertising. Nevertheless, a scantily-
clad woman in a seductive pose asking
passersby to "Feel the Velvet," is
most certainly sexist and exploitive.
In response to the protests over the
billboard, its owners should have it
changed. However, complaints in
previous years have brought no action.
The protests around the billboard
point out the need for-and should in-
spire-legislation governing the con-
tent of billboards. Considering com-
plaints in the past have had no effect on
the owner's policy, the protests of the
women are justified.
Until such legislation is enacted, ad-
vertisers and corporations should be
made to hear complaints with their ex-
ploitive advertising tactics. Letter
writing, picketing, lobbying, and in
some circumstances defacement, are
all appropriate means of working to rid
the city of such exploitive advertising.
Akfirat and Emanoil should be suppor-
ted for their actions, and the public
should begin working to establish
legislation governing billboard con-
tent.

By Dennis G. Terez
LastmThursday, President Reagan
proclaimed a new economic "age of the en-
trepreneur, the age of the individual." That
same day on Wall Street he rang in the year
of the bull, although it really is the year of the
ox. Later that day, he spoke to college studen-
ts at St. John's University where he received
enthusiastic applause and suffered not a
single vocal complaint when he mentioned
that "some of you are concerned about our
proposed limits on financial aid for students."
That same week, the President won an in-
credible political victory by receiving
congressional approval for 21 more MX
Peacekeeper missiles, or 210 more nuclear.
warheads, at a cost of $1.5 billion.
The President had cause to celebrate as the
week ended. It was a wonderful week for him.
He had hoodwinked the American public nott
just once but at least three times in a single
week. And it just wasn't the common man on
the street who he had hoodwinked. No, the
President this time claimed avictory over the
best and the brightest.'This President, despite
the criticisms for his lack of intellectual in-
sight and acumen, is no dummy.
Indeed, President Reagan, or any
President'for that matter with any felicity in
the English language, will always receive
wide applause when he speaks of the "new
age of the individual," because that nicely
appeals to the selfish aspects of the human
spirit. And that is especially true in the age of
the so-called "me generation." Language like
that shows absolutely no courage at all. The
more difficult task would be to declare this
the new age of international cooperation. An
age not dominated by the selfish spirits of the
few who happen to make it to the top and
boastfully declare so, but an age led by in-
dividuals who realize that great respon-
sibility, at times global in nature, accom-
panies'great wealth and talent. The age of the
individual can and should no longer survive
the nuclear age. For whether President
Reagan or any of his followers likes it or not,
Terez is a third-year law student.

the destinies of American citizens are lined to
the destinies of the French, the Germans, the
Soviets, and all of the other peoples of this
world by more than just the nuclear thread.
As to the college students' . failure to speak
up when the President spoke of cutting
federal financial aid and instead giving him a
warm welcome, I suppose a recent poll helps
explain this one. Not surprisingly, the poll in-
dicated that one of the lowest priorities of
college students today is the need for a per-
sonal philosophy, while one of the highest
priorities was the need to become an
authority in one's field. Knowledge does not
often liberate but instead imposes new bur-
dens of responsibility on the educated. But
before you can understand what those bur-
dens are, you have to stop buying your Dress
for Success books, stop putting together your
resumes, stop gunning for the top, and start
taking time out just to think about what good
you can achieve on the face of this earth.
The St. John's story amazes me, because
here we have a group of educated individuals
who have not even taken the time out to
discover their own self-interest. Their pursuit
of whatever it istthey are after is totally blind.
The results of their priorities are showing.
You have no philosophy; you have no direc-
tion. And when you have no direction, you
don't have to worry about fulfilling any
responsibility that may accompany your
position in this society. It'sanot only the "me
generation," it's the "'irresponsible
genefation."
The MX victory for President Reagan only
confirms in my mind that educated people
who couldn't see the forest for the trees when
they were in less stressful positions continue
to do so when it really counts. There is ab-
solutely no sane explanation for this further
arms build-up. The President argues that it is
necessary for his negotiating position and to
strengthen deterrence (although many
analysts believe that his Strategic Defense
Initiative destroys the deterrence theory
altogether). If that is so, then why has he
already planned to ask for 48 more

Peacekeepers next year? (Is the President
perhaps predicting a year in advance that the
negotiations will not be successful?)
Why is he violating every negotiating rule
in the book by nearly begging the new Soviet
leader to come together for a summit? An
American soldier is killed by a Soviet soldier
under rather suspicious circumstances and
the President's response? All the more reason
why we need a summit. Somehow that doesn't
match the vitriolic language the President
used when he wasn't so interested in a sum-
mit, such as when Flight 007 was shot down or
when he referred to the Soviet Union as that
"evil, empire." And why is it that the
President gets angry when the Soviets use the
negotations in Geneva as a political weapon to
support their position (by mock pull-outs and
the like), and yet Max Kampelman can be
called back from Geneva and stop the
negotiation process just so he can shuttle
between the White House and Congress to
make sure that the President's week-long vic-
tories are complete?
Ronald Reagan continues to enjoy the
political honeymoon that began in 1980
because he is viewed as a "nice guy." The
Democrats lost the election in 1984 because
they have yet to find a candidate who is a
"nice guy". In a recent interview, David
Stockman remarked that the entire attitude
in Washington has changed, because no one
now dares to propose a new federally funded
program. The budget director is .only half
correct. No new social aid programs, but $1.5
billion would have gone quite far to help the
needy. And if you still think he is a nice guy,
then why is he so worried about the contras in
Nicaragua when the poorest nation in the
Western Hemisphere and also in Central
America, Haiti, goes practically unnoticed?
America, wake up., You are militarizing
yourself to the point of no return.. And at a
cost that neither you nor the world can bear.
You are a great Nation. But history has
taught us at least one lesson which you have
hopefully not forgotten: With greatness
comes responsibility. For God's sake, be
responsible again.

Wasserman

I

Blowing the budget

L AST NOVEMBER, President Reagan
received the consent of the
American voters to remain at the helm
for four more years. He won the
election by emphasizing the oversized
Federal Government. Before the elec-
tion, he optimistically promised that
the Federal deficit would be trimmed
in the next year to an estimated $172
billion. Instead, it climbed to ap-
proximately $223.23 billion. This was a
miscalculation of $50 billion.
These deficits are pushing the coun-
try closer. and closer to an economic
doomsday. Last week, the Commerce
Department released figures of alar-
ming significance. They show last
year's foreign trade deficit to be ap-
proximately $101 billion. In addition,
the figures reveal that the U.S. is
currently being forced to borrow
abroad. Usually, this would not merit
much concern, but the U.S. being for-
ced to borrow more and faster than the
most debt-riddled countries such as
Brazil and Mexico! Perhaps the most
ominous consequence of this un-
precedented trend is that the United
States, for the first time since 1914,
would become a debtor nation. This
means that we will owe more to nations
abroad than they owe to the U.S.
The most obvious source of the
problem is that the current ad-
ministration is on a shopping spree. It

collects debts causing three worrisome
things to happen. The first arises from
the strong dollar abroad. It promotes
greater foreign investment in the U.S.
Therefore, if the economy begins
showing any signs of stagnation, which
Federal Reserve Chairman Paul
Volcker is warning may happen soon,
foreign investments will soon disap-
pear leaving an extremely unstable
situation at home.
Second, in an effort to finance these
deficits and continue federal spending,
the government is turning to both the
domestic and foreign sectors. As a
result, increases in interest rates and
the crowding out of the consumer
market continues.
And third, foreign products are
becoming relatively cheap in the U.S.
This can only mean that soon
Americans will be wearing more
Taiwanese shirts, listening to more
Japanese walkmen and buying more
Brazilian steel. U.S. producers will
soon become incapable of competing
with foreign products that continue to
flood the U.S. market.
Paradoxically, President Reagan
remains optimistic. He seems to
believe that his spending practices are
saving the economy. Unfortunately,
the youth of America stand in line to
inherit these staggering deficits
tomorrow.

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- I

Letters
Voting i
To the Daily:
The article, "Council Majority
Hinges on Mayoral Race," in the
Friday, March 29, Daily leaves
me appalled, outraged, and
horrified. Is Republican Richard
Hadler actually a mayoral can-
Forget not
the past
To the Daily:
Professor Will Bigelow doesn't
have to apologize for the
engineering curriculum
("Engineers Face a New Direc-
tion," 29 March). Anyone finding
thermodynamics thrilling has as
much right to a specialized
education as does the English
major or the musician. Professor
Bigelow does have to apologize,
however, for his remarks con-

4A

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.

s always moral and ethical

didate? Hadler stated, "It's legal
for students to register and vote,
obviously, but I don't think it's
morally and ethically proper for
an undergraduate student who is
going to be here one or two years
to be voting in something that
could set the political and
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economic agenda for some years vote for
to come." this sug,
I donot know of any U.S. Amendi
citizen, over 18 years of age and States C
registered to vote, who does not
deserve to vote for a moral or
ethical reason. I do question
whether it is moral or ethical to
by B
° ii I

a candidate who makes
ggestion in violation of
nent 26 of the United
onstitution.
- Carol Cage
March 29
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