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November 25, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-11-25

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4

OPINIoN
Page 4 Monday, November 25, 1985 The Michigan Daily

I

i

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The Zombie effect: Part I

Vol. XCVI, No. 58

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

",

Girl talk

MANY PEOPLE still believe
it. Few would dare speak it,
however. In a fit of honesty last
week, White House Chief of Staff
Donald Regan reminded the coun-
try that sexism is alive and
thriving.
Regan informed the world that
women simply aren't interested in
the issues discussed at Geneva.
"They're not...going to understand
(missile) throw-weights or what is
happening in Afghanistan or what
is happening in human rights," he
said. "Some women will, but most
women - believe me, your readers
for the most part if you took a poll
- would rather read the human in-
terest stuff of what happened."
Unbelievable. The fact that a
man in such high office can be so
blatantly insensitive and apparen-
tly ignorant of the capacities of
over half of the human populaton
pushes the mind to disbelief.
Unfortunately, this is nothing
new. During Regan's tenure as
Chief of Staff, several "misunder-
standings" have occured between
him and key female political
figures. Jean Kirkpatrick and
Margaret Heckler have publically
stated that Regan's sexist attitude
has caused them significant
problems. Both women have since
left their positions and have been
succeeded by men.
The fact is, women have shown a
strong interest in the Geneva
Summit. Many women's groups

traveled to Geneva; women from
five continents asked for a meeting
with Reagan and Gorbachev. They
were denied the opportunity to
voice their very valid concerns.
Women have organized locally,
nationally, and internationally to
influence those leaders who per-
petuate the arms race. Women Ac-
ting for Nuclear Disarmament,
Peace Links, and the women's
peace camp at Greenham Com-
mons are but respective examples
of the movement.
Regan's attitude cuts much
deeper than his dismissal of world-
wide women's efforts, however. He
has entirely dismissed their ap-
titude. His statement clearly in-
sinuates that women haven't the
capability to "understand" nuclear
arms or human rights. He honestly
believes that most women are
absorbed by the wardrobes of Nan-
cy Reagan and Raisa Gorbachev.
This attitude, although far from
uncommon, is inexcusable in a
national figure.
Women across the world are
passionately involved in the push
for peace. They are pushing not
only for their own right to survive,
but for the rights of the generations
which they will bear to live 'in a
world free of nuclear hostilities.
To disallow women their voice
and opinion, to belittle their insight
goes beyond insulting to demon-
strate a pathetic ignorance.

By Robert D. Honigman
In popular mythology there's a recurring
nightmare. Something or someone invades
our everyday lives. It may be creatures
from outer space, like the pods in The In-
vasion of the Body Snatchers, or it may be
earth-grown creatures like werewolves,
vampires or the Thing. At the crudest level
we are brutally murdered by the invading
alien, or they eat us, but the more
sophisticated treatment of the myth has the
creatures take over our bodies and change
us into zombies. This is the more frightening
dream because we become the living dead,
still inhabiting familiar bodies and yet no
longer the same.
In Ionesco's play, The. Rhinoceroses, for
example, everyone is changing into
rhinoceroses, and the worst part about it is
that no one thinks anything is wrong or even
tries to stay human.
The zombie effect is not a purely negative
experience. Usually, in return for losing
ourselves we gain a taste of immortality and
immense power - the Faustian exchange.
The Germans were mesmerized by Hitler
and surrendered themselves to his awful
vision. They were enraptured by the taste of
immortality and great power he shared with
them. Totalitarian states too produce a
noticeable zombie effect. You exchange
your freedom for the embrace of the state.
You join the wave of thefuture, the all-
triumphing ideology that promises so much
and in the end gives so little.
Buttall oftus make a Faustian bargain
with the institutions we enter, and all of us
experience some form ofnzombie effect as
the price we pay for our membership. We
give up some of our freedom and we gain in
exchange the power and immortality of the
organization.
A zombie effect is a situation in which the
Honigman is an attorney in Sterling
Heights.

individual learns to conform to institutional
demands and requirements and loses sight
of personal goals and values. The individual
becomes a "zombie," someone without any
deep feelings or emotional ties to their daily
experience. They "act" their part, but deep
inside is the troubling feeling that
something is wrong, that they are out of touc
touch with some part of themselves, a part
that has other needs and goals than those of-
ficially sanctioned. We know it by the
technical name of alienation.
Institutions like zombies because they are
easier to process and control. You go to
class one day, and you look to the left of you
and see a stranger, and you look to the right
and see a stranger, and a stranger is
talking. Then you realize that you'd rather
be a million miles away, but you know it's
simpler to just go on and shuffle through
your life doing whatever you are told.
You're a victim of the zombie effect.
Columbia psychiatrist Herbert Hendin
found modern students deeply troubled by a
zombie effect. "The students I saw tried
many escape routes. The main ones moved
in two seemingly different directions: one
toward numbness and limited controlled
experience; the other toward impulsive ac-
tion and fragmented sensory stimulation."
Lansing Lamont in his book Campus
Shock (1979), reported that in a survey of
the campuses of major universities, in-
cluding Harvard and Michigan, he found
widespread symptoms of social maladjust-
ment, cheating, racial mistrust, crime.
"What shocked me most, however, was the
numbness, emotional as well as moral, that
I encountered everywhere."
It isn't hardto create a zombie effect.
Students are isolated and broken down by
immense loads of academic busy-work;
harrowing grade competition; narrowly
specialized training; chaotic housing and
transportation conditions; a lack of privacy
and long term community; a widely dif-
fused and confusing course structure that
assures no two students will share more

than one class together. Only the institution
will certify them as reliable and highly
skilled technicians and allow them to pass
on to other large scale institutions. There is
massive coercive pressure to create cheap,
efficient, reliable human machines. And in
the end, students succumb. "It is not the
idea of being programmed that bothers
them," Hendin found, "but of being badly
programmed. They envy machines."
But it's more than machines that the
creature wants, for in every zombie movie,
the creature sucks the life blood out of its
victims in the process of converting them to
a zombie. And the central fact about the
university is that funds are shifted out of
undergraduate education to support and
subsidize graduate and research programs.
Undergraduate education is sucked dry of
resources for the benefit of institutional
growth and development.
This is not a conscious effort to exploit
students, but rather a preoccupation with
institutional competition and prestige. In
fact, I doubt if faculty and officials ever
realize how much they use and manipulate
students. Officials point to exciting ex-
perimental programs, like the Pilot
Program and the Residential College. The
institution wears a human face .In~
describing 'total institutions,' Erving Gof-
fman once noted the prisons always have a
'model cottage' that they show to visitors.
And a creature like the University has to
appear to be kind and generous or it would
lose its power over people. That's why in the
best zombie movies nothing is what it
seems.
The university says, "Power and status
are the only good things. Weakness and
failure are the only bad. Give us your lives
for these things." All of us want the good
things in life, or none of us would have gone
to a university, but unless we realize that a
bargain is being struck with a more power-
ful and selfish adversary, we may not make
the best deal we can. We'may discover that
we've gained what we want, but lost what
we need to remain human.

Wasserman

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LETTERS:
Whitewash resolution alert!

A

MOVE on

T WO WEEKS ago, the
Philadelphia chief of police
resigned - an indication that mon-
ths after the May 13th bombing of
the MOVE house that left 7 adults
and 4 children dead and 60 houses
burned to the ground, there are still
many disturbing and unanswered
questions about the bombing.
Initially, the media and
Philadelphia public officials
agreed that MOVE was a group of
crazy radical fanatics that con-
stituted a public nuisance. When
MOVE's neighborhood went up in
flames, fire officials and the mass
media claimed that MOVE put
gasoline on its own house and lit it.
The follow-up investigation of the
MOVE bombing has received little
media coverage despite the sen-
sational coverage of the siege and
the bombing itself in May. Since
the initial consensus to blame the
victim, fact after fact has emerged
to paint an ugly picture of a savage
bombing with possible political and
racial motivations.
First, the New York Times
reported that the bomb dropped on
the MOVE house was an "incen-
diary device." Today, though
Mayor Goode denied knowledge of
it and says he would never have
approved the bombing of a house, it
is clear that police dropped a
military charge on the house.
When the fire went out of control
fire nfficials rennrter that thev

away gasoline from the roof of the
MOVE house before police
executed the bombing. Water can-
nons fired tens of thousands of
gallons of water at bunkers on the
house in the heat of the siege only to
be shut off after the bombing.
In the investigation of the bom-
bing, other interesting details
came out. The police officer who
dropped the bomb on the house
refused to testify for fear of in-
criminating himself, but police
have said that the MOVE bombing
was premeditated. It had been
planned a year in advance.
It turns out the mayor rejected
the idea of using a crane to knock
down the MOVE bunker. The crane
idea would have cost $6,500, which
Goode considered too much.
Police pumped 10,000 shots into
the MOVE house. Recent autopsies
show that two children died from
shots while escaping the fire. While
police deny that they shot the
children, there were no shots by
MOVE members after the bom-
bing.
Despite the razing of 60 houses, a
poll of Philadelphians in May con-
ducted by Time magazine showed
71% approval of Goode's handling
of the bombing. Perhaps that 71%
would think differently now if it
knew the details.
Unfortunately, because the facts
about the bombing have dribbled
out over a period of months, the

To the Daily:
The University of Michigan has
a set of guidelines concerning
classified research. The rules
state that no U of M researcher
may participate in a project that
is directed toward the destruction
of human life, or the results of
which may not be released within
one year of completion. Last
summer, for the first time in thir-
teen years, the Research Policy
Committee (which oversees the
classified guidelines) rejected a
project. The proposed project
Prof. Tanter submitted would
have been unpublishable for
more than a year. The guidelines
became a stumbling block. This

fall, in order to deal with this
problem, the regents appointed a
twelve member committee to
review the classified guidelines.
This may sound O.K., but as the
committee decided last week to
close all their meetings (possibly
even including two "public
hearings"), in violation of the
Open Meetings law, it begins to
look more and more like a
whitewash.
President Reagan's SDI plan
(Star Wars) calls for 28 billion
dollars worth of research, much
of which could not pass the
present guidelines. President
Shapiro feels that we at the
University of Michigan need to do

this research and get this pen-
tagon money. In September,
without even one minute of
discussion, the regents passed a
resolution encouraging UM
researchers to pursue SDI con-
tracts. In October, only one
regent and no Pres. Shapiro
showed up at the Star Wars con-
ference that was attended by
over 1000 concerned faculty,

students, and community mem-
bers. The next committee
meeting is this Monday at 5:30
p.m. in the second floor conferen-
ce room of the administration
building. Invite yourself! This is
an important issue. It, like the
summit (which is also stumbling
over star wars), deserves
coverage. -Dan Archist
November 20

Poor question framing

Labelling excesses

To the Daily:
You recently printed a letter
condemning Zionism as racism
that typified the inadequacy of
such a position. While addressing
the real need for a solution to the
Palestinian problem, the letter
failed to provide the nexus bet-
ween racism and the political
ideology of Zionism.
One of the tenets of racism is
separation predicated upon im-
mutable characteristics. While
the notion of a Jewish State does
not call for separate treatment,
even if it did, the source of that
distinction would be unrelated to
racial characteristics. The only
benefit that Jews enjoy is the
Law of Return which provides for
immediate citizenship upon en-
try to the country. That is no
more radical, in terms of a
secular democracy, than the
adoption of the date of the birth of
Christ as national holiday.
Furthermore, the State of
Israel has always guaranteed
equal political rights to her Arab
citizens e.g. the right to vote in
Parlimentary elections. The
population of the West Bank is

willingness to address the other
party as a human being who is
equally.interested in coexisting.
Both parties to this conflict have
been guilty of substituting labels
for real human problems. Maybe
it's time the author of the
previous letter works toward a
solution instead of perpetuating
the conflict. Meanwhile, we are
encouraged by the recent
positions of the Jordanian and
Israeli leaders in moving towards
direct negotiations.
-Steven Lupovith
David Medow
November 20
BLOOM COUNTY

To the Daily:
Good journalism begins with
the ability to ask good questions.
Unfortunately some times the
Daily fails on this account. An
example of this problem was the
recent inquiring photographer
question, "why do you hate Ohio
State?"
To ask this questions presup-
poses that one does indeed hate
Ohio State. Only one of those
asked had the common sense to
challenge this presumption. I
don't believe that journalism
must be objective to be good, but
I do think that consistency is im-
portant. The Daily claims to
strive for objectivity. In pursuit
of this goal it even tries to bar its
reporters from participating in
political events, even if the repor-
ter is not reporting on them. The
Daily's claims of objectivity
sound hollow in the face of such a
leading question.

One might argue that I've
missed the point, that the
question was funny, a joke meant
in good clean fun. While hate of-
ten starts as something meant to
be funny it is not good clean fun
In asking "why do you hate..."
the Daily promotes hate. This
time it is our team hates your
team, and it's part of a game. But
what happens when it becomes
our race, our creed, or our coun-
try hates you and yours? The
game becomes racism, political
oppression, and war, or in' the
case of the United States and the
Soviet Union the game become
an arms race that threatens ou
entire planet. There is a connec-
tion between "why do you hate
Ohio State" and "why do you hate
the Russians."
-Gala Kile
November 21
by Berke Breathed

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