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November 19, 1985 - Image 4

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-19

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OPINION

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Vol.

Tuesday, November 19, 1985

The Michigan Daily

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U0br 3tcdgan 17ai1
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

I

A mother's nuclear fear

.XCVI, No. 54

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Editorial Board

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's

By Therese Hill
I do not know who to address these
thoughts to. I have few illusions of anyone
concerning themselves with them. I have no
wealth or influence. I am not famous. I have
not the time to traverse the nation seeking
political ears. I have only my pen and un-
silenceable fears. I cannot answer the
questions of my son with the same confiden-
ce that my mother answered my queries
and that hurts unbearably.
My son, with the natural inquisitiveness
of intelligence, asks me about death. A
question we all ask. "Mom, when am I going
to die?" Not long ago I could have said with
some confidence, "When you get old."
I cannot say that now.
Thenthreat of annihilation from nuclear
war increases daily. Our leader struts about

Sign of sexism

flaunting these accursed weapons,
"testing" Star Wars, making the world ap-
prehensive, taunting the only other country
with comparable destructive capacity into a
state of justifiable nervousness.
'We are standing tall' he says. Who is
standing tall? It is not I as I try to explain
total destruction to my child. I can find no
justification for such irresponsibility.
Parents give their children the gift of life;
the gift of the world with all its beauty and
potential. What have I given mine? What
has been given me? A future whose odds of
actualization are less daily ... here, my love,
I give you death.
Death with no options; no potential. Our
future lies in the hands of men who have had
full lives. Men who's future can go no fur-
ther than a decade or so. My mind rebels
against this control.
Obviously there is no moderation in the
arms race and obviously there is no pruden-
ce or concern for the youth we have
spawned. The advantages of youth and

strength are meaningless. Strength and will
are of no avail against nuclear war. The
push of a button and we are obliterated.
How can this be justified to someone who
should have a lifetime before them? I can
neither justify nor explain.
I want the chance to enact my goals. I
wish to love for a lifetime. I wish to see my
son grow and prosper. I have no confidence
that these will be allowed me. How can I
make the sacrifices of the present worth-
while when the future they lead to loses
probability daily?
Who are you to take away our future?
What justification can you give for this
growing fatalism? Who are you that you are
so pretentious as to threaten us all with an-
nihilation at whim or in the throes of your
unreasonable, irresponsible paranoia?
Who are you?
Are 'you' other than 'we'? There is no
sense to be made of this. There is no
coherence in insanity. You give me no hope
and I can give none to my child.

a
0

EEL THE VELVET !"
44F screams the billboard.
"Feel the oppression!" counter the
protestors.
For five years, a huge sign
featuring a blond woman in a
slinky black gown has dominated
the scenery on North Main Street.
During those five years, several
legal and illegal measures have
been taken by angry Ann Arborites
to rid the city of the sign. Since
1981, the sign has been vandalized
or "enhanced" as some like to say,
12 or 13 times and each episode has
cost its owner, Central Advertising
Co. of Lansing, $2000.
Last summer two women, Jen-
nifer Akfirat and Mary Emanoil,
were convicted of defacing the
sign. Most recently, 45 people
staged a peaceful protest down-
town.
Ironically, the billboard is
illegal. Signs of its size can no
longer be erected downtown, but
those already erected are unaffec-
ted.
The ad, which invites passers by
to "Feel the Velvet" in an attempt
to sell Black Velvet Canadian
Whiskey, clearly disturbs a num-
ber of citizens enough that they
have taken desperate actions.
The issue is sexism. The
billboard is just one example of the
disturbingly common practice of
using sexuality in media to attract
audiences and sell products . Most

often the image is of a woman,
decorated to show that she has no
purpose outside sex, begging for
the domination of a "real" man.
These images, bombarding the
American consciousness constan-
tly, perpetuate the age-old idea of
female subservience and socialize
individuals to commit and accept
sexual violence.
As the protestors contend, adver-
tising schemes like the Black
Velvet campaign add to the weight
of oppression on women. They
tacitly reinforce the subjugation of
half the population by infiltrating
the American psyche. If it is but a
small battle in a huge war, op-
position to ads like Black Velvet is
nonetheless appropriate.
To that end, protests are an ef-
fective means of informing the
public of the billboard's existence
and of the significant community
distaste for it. While some op-
ponents of the billboard have
called for a boycott of Black
Velvet, a more effective means
would be to continue to write let-
ters to the Black Velvet company
and to Central Advertising.
Actions against the billboard of
one sort or another will almost cer-
tainly continue until it is finally
taken down. It is simply too offen-
sive to too many people to go un-
noticed, and the longer people
complain about it, the more likely
it will finally be taken down.

Hill is an Ann Arbor resident.

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A LETTER FROM Defense
Secretary Caspar Weinburger
to President Reagan threatens to
devastate whatever slim chances
there are for a lasting accord at the
Geneva summit talks between
Reagan and Soviet Premier Gor-
bachev.
On Sunday, both the New York
Times and The Washington Post
disclosed the contents of the letter
which urges that no accords be
rmade regarding either the 1972 An-
ti-Ballistic Missile treaty or the
Salt II treaty of 1979. Secretary of
State George Schultz and Reagan
are, at least publicly, open to
negotiations on both topics.
Such factionalization within the
administration will certainly make
it more difficult for Reagan to ap-
pear serious about arms reduction
talks.
While there is still a debate over
who leaked the letter and whether
it was done intentionally, the fact
that Weinburger is trying to
sabotage the talks is clear. Even if
the letter had not been made
public, he would have been putting
his weight behind a paranoid, in-
transigent approach to the
negotiations.
In his letter, Weinburger advised
Reagan against making a pledge to
Gorbachev that the U.S. would con-
tinue to abide by the unratified
SALT II treaty which limits the
number of strategic weapons built

should not promise Gorbachev that
he would abide by a "narrow inter-
pretation" of the 1972 ABM treaty,
claiming such an agreement would
restrict U.S. efforts to conduct full
scale research on the Strategic
Defense Initiative.
While many have argued that
Weinberger deliberately attem-
pted to undermine grounds for
negotiation, Administration of-
ficials dismiss the charge by
saying that Weinberger's views in
fact coincide with Reagan's and
that he was merely trying to warn
him from obvious pitfalls.
Throughout his tenure, Wein-
berger has argued that to agree on
general principles without details
would amount to "Buying a
moment of glory in Geneva at a
high cost later." If Reagan truly
does agree with him, there is
clearly no hope whatsoever for
successful talks.
Privately, however, Shultz and
Paul H. Nitze, the Senior arms con-
trol adviser, are said to heavily
favor an agreement on guidelines
which could lead to substantial
cuts in offensive weaponry.
Although Reagan and Ad-
ministration officials have
rationalized the Weinberger
statement in concurrence with a
common desire "to deal with the
Soviets from a position of
strength," the untimely recom-
mendations have clearly outlined
A r 1 , - . . .

LETTERS:
Video Yearbook seeks cre

To the Daily:
I was terribly disappointed to
find that Laura Bischoff's article
on the Michigan Video Yearbook
largely missed the point of our
student organization. Despite
taking over a month to write the
article, Bischoff made a number
of factual errors and ignored
several major points brought out
in the interview. I would like to
set the record straight.
In the article, Bischoff neglec-
ted to mention the potential of the
Michigan Video Yearbook as a
historical record for documen-
ting the changes and growth of
the University eachyear.
We stressed in the interview
that we want to establish the
Michigan Video Yearbook as a
student development program in
which students have the oppor-
tunity to work in business, adver-
tising, and video production and
gain valuable experience that
could be useful later in their
careers.
TheMichigan Video Yearbook
decided to become independent
from Yearlook Enterprises this
year BECAUSE,
a) we suffered from a
credibility problem last year
becuase we were not regarded as
a legitimate student organization
in that we were completely fun-
ded by an outside company that
made all business and marketing
decisions. The voice of the
Michigan Video Yearbook must
be that of University students.
b) We saw no reason. with all of

munity.
Bischoff neglected to mention
that we believe the organization
has the potential of becoming
financially solvent in one or two
years. We tried to stress that if
we reach our fundraising and
sales goals for this year, that the
Michigan Video Yearbook will be
able to start again next year
without additional funding.
We are showing last year's
tape to as many administrative
and academic officials as
possible in search of endor-
sements and financial support.
Financial support would not
come solely because a group
could use the video yearbook for
promotional purposes, as the ar-
ticle suggested, but becuase they
endorse our student organization,
recognize the value of documen-
ting University activities on
video each year, and believe in
the concept of a student
development program as a con-
structive and valuable addition to
the University community.
We are committed to achieving
independent financial status this
year, and would turn to Yearlook
Enterprises only as a desperate
last resort. Only if we were shut
out by the University community
would we have to turn to
Yearlook Enterprises to finance
this year's production.
In the interview we stressed
that it was important forsthe
video yearbook to represent the

diversity of the University com-
munity as completely and
responsibly as possible. We hope
to integrate the various groups
that contribute to this campus
and present a balanced and more
substantive Michigan Video
Yearbook in 1986 than we
produced in our first year.
Because most students do not
have VCR's we tried to make it
clear that we are willing to
schedule showings for interested
students or groups in addition to
our weekly showing on campus.
Furthermore, a video yearbook is
something that a student can take
advantage of years after
graduation, if they start to miss
teh good old college days.
Finally, we are concerned with
insuring that the organization
survives the transition from year
to year and are trying to establish
effective bylaws and a working
mechanism to make the
Michigan Video Yearbook a
stable and self-perpetuating non-
profit, student organization that
will remain an exciting and im-
portant part of the University
community in the future. This in-
cludes giving younger students
the responsibility and experience
that they will need to run the
organization in subsequent years.
On a more trivial note there are
a few factual errors that I would

libility
sororities.
" it is not even remotely
possible that we would have
thousands of hours of footage to
review at the end of the year, as
Bischoff wrote. Rather, I would
estimate that we will have at
most 50 hours of actual footage by
the end of the year (and that's a
lot).
" although valuable to us this
year, Jeff Libman was not a
member of the Michigan Video
Yearbook last year.
* final editing will be done by
one member from last year's
staff and one of our new produc-
tion people who will be here next
year.
The Michigan Video Yearbook
is struggling to establish itself as
part of the University community
this year and we need all of the
support that we can get. We need
to be accepted by the students
and the administration of the
University in order to make this
project happen. We want to make
the Michigan Video Yearbook
work as a non-profit student
organization here in Ann Arbor,
and we still have a long way to go.
I hope that this letter makes'our
goals better understood.
Eric Capstick
Nov.13
Capstick is president of the
Michigan Video Yearbook.
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