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December 09, 1988 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-12-09
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HowardZi nn
Noted historian talks about challenging
mainstream thought and the risks involved
Howard Zinn, professor of political science at Boston University, has
written many books, most notably "SNCC: The New Abolitionists"
(1964) and "A People's History of the United States" (1980). Zinn was
active in the civil rights and anti-war movements during the '60s and '70s
and continues to write extensively and lecture abroad on the uses of his-
tory, U.S.foreign policy, and liberation struggles in the U.S. and around
the world. Zinn, who will be speaking at 4 p.m. Tuesday, December 13,
at Rackham Auditorium, spoke with Daily news staffer Jonathan Scott.
WEEKEND: Judging from A People's History of the United States, the
majority of our history texts have either sanitized certain historical events
in U.S. history or completely left them out. Why?
ZINN: Well, I think the reason for the sanitizing of history - the
omitting of embarrassing facts about the past - is complex because with
the individual who does it, the individual writer of the text books let's
say, who gives you the orthodox view of Columbus' arrival in America,
or the orthodox view of the Constitution or American revolution, or of
John F. Kennedy and so called greatest presidents of our time, the
motivation may be simply safety. That is, we're all professionals in this
world of commerce and profit and economic insecurity, and mostly
unconsciously, I would say, anybody who writes and has a reputation to
uphold, who wants to get something published, who wants a book to be
reviewed well, who wants a book to sell well, that person is in some way
conscious of the fact that to go outside the limits of traditional thinking
is to get into trouble - get into trouble meaning not getting a book
published, not having the critics respond well. So there's this element of
personal safety, personal security created by an economic system which
pushes people to desperation. That is, the personal motive, although the
motive may be and usually is unconscious, in the way that reporters
working for a newspaper will, without thinking about it, not write
anything that goes too strongly against the editorial policy of the
newspaper, cover stories that they know will not be too offensive because
they too have a kind of personal stake in holding their job and not
arousing opposition. So that personal motive then becomes part of a
larger motive that the dominant elements in society have in keeping
things as they are; that is, there is a dominant ideology. If that dominant
culture, that dominant ideology - those ideas which are pervasive in our
growing up - those ideas are intended to basically keep things as they are
with minimum changes. And so if you have ideas that are subversive of
the existing structure, that threaten it, that shake it, well, that isn't going
to go over very well.
In my book A People's History, I start out with a story of Columbus,
and it's a different story than the orthodox history, and it's a story which
is not easy to get published, and certainly not for teachers to propagate in
the classroom because it's a story that goes against what kids have been
taught for a very long time in the schools and what the public at large
believes and that is that white men with good motives came to this coun-
try and discovered this continent and began the process of the establish-
See INTERVIEW, Page 13

Hi, C'est moi.
We only have two days of classes
left. After that there's finals and
then vacation. While at home, I
know I'll be sitting in front of the
"idiot box" catching up on a
semesters worth of Black Enter-
tainment Television videos.
Which brings me to my point -
television has served as a babysitter
for many American children. While
at home you too might sit down
with your younger brothers and
sisters and see what they're watch-
ing, particularly what cartoons and
children's shows their watching. I
sometimes do, and what I see
makes me sick.. The Smurfs,
Thundercats, Strawberry Shortcake,
Rainbow Bright, He-Man and She-
Ra, COPS - the list goes on. To-
day's elementary school TV
generation is being bombarded by
some of the most wishy-washy,
mindless junk known to the air-
waves and are destined to become a
bunch of non-thinking, trivial-
minded zombies.
Aren't you glad that our genera-
tion grew up with a different brand
of TV? We had shows like Thor,
The Man From Atlantis, and Cap-
tain America - shows that taught
history, mythology, and justice re-

spectively. Some people I talk to
claim these shows were too violent,
but I can't see these same principles
manifested in a bunch of whimpy
girls with pink hair riding around
through space on a magic horse.
In elementary school, many kids
(at least in my neighborhood)
proudly wore their Six Million
Dollar Man jumpsuits to school as
often as their mothers would let
Kids today are being short-
changed. Whatever happened to car-
toon heroes with a personality like
Captain America, Iron Man, Spi-
derman, and the Incredible Hulk? I
used to run home from school to
catch the beginnings of these shows
and sing along: "The man from At-
lantis, prince of the deep..." Or
"When Captain America throws his
mighty shield/all those who... (fill
in the blank if you remember the
word) ...and oppose his shield must
Here's one more: "Spiderman ,


Spiderman, does whatever a spider
can/spins a web any size/catches
thieves just like flys/look out/here
comes the Spiderman."
Not only do I think cartoons 10
years ago were better written and
more educational, but kids at that
time also had a host of non-ani-
mated superheroes to watch, like
The Green Hornet and his sidekick
Kato. And who could forget those
Saturday morning episodes of Isis
(if it weren't for that show I
wouldn't be majoring in Archeol-
ogy today - Sike!). Even better
was the teenager, Billy Batson,
who'd say the word SHAZAM and
turn into a crime-fighting 30 year-
Last but not least were my fa-
vorites, The Dynamic Duo - The
Caped Crusasder and the Boy Won-
der. Who am I describing? You
guessed it, Batman and Robin.
Constantly in a jam, always near
death at the hands of the Riddler,
the Joker, the Penguin, or Cat-
woman, those heroes always tri-
umphed and lived to see another
episode. By the way, is Gotham
City a real place?
Our superheroes even permeated
See DURANT, Page 11

Continued from Page 5
so it is sure to be a riot.
A couple days later on Dec.16
one of the most awaited films of
the year will open. In Rain Man,
Dustin Hoffman plays an idiot sa-
vant, and it has been rumored that
this role was geared to win him at
least a nomination, if not another
gold statue to put next to the one
he won for Kramer vs. Kramer.
Tom Cruise plays Hoffman's
brother and guardian who tries to
trick him out of the inheritance he
just received from their father. With
a story like this, the film could go
either way, but fortunately it is in
the capable hands of Barry Levin-
son, who did Diner and Tin Men.
Both these films center around the
relationships between men, which
is clearly Levinson's strength. Un-
der his guidance, Hoffman probably
will get his nomination and maybe
Levinson will too. This may be the
holiday hit, playing on the emo-
tions of the season.
Oliver (Platoon, Wall Street)
Stone, whose films always seem to
pull in an award or two, releases his
latest on Wed. Dec. 21. Talk Radio
is about a controversial talk show
host who is targeted by a group of
right-wing political extremists
called the Order. No, this has noth-
ing to do with Morton Downey, Jr.
It is, however, based on a play, and

Eric Bogosian -who wrote and
starred in the stage version - has
the lead here. Stone feels that the
story of Talk Radio "is a very hard,
austere subject - and although
there is humor, it's black humor,
which I like." Odds are the public
and critics will like it too.
If you are in the mood for a bit of
anachronism, there is 1969, a film
about life at the time most of us
were just learning to walk. Keifer
Sutherland and Robert Downey, Jr.
star as the two youngsters who
must choose their own paths in a
country that is still involved in the
Vietnam War. Bruce Dern, who
seems to have never left the '60s
himself, plays Sutherland's father
and the object of the son's revolt
against authority.
One of the most promising of the
upcoming films is Working Girl.
With a cast of Harrison Ford,
Sigourney Weaver, and Melanie
Griffith (Something Wild), there is
enough acting talent alone to carry
the movie. Ford trades in his whip
for a business suit, Weaver says
goodbye to the gorillas, and Griffith
settles into a desk in this comedy
set in the world of big business.
Director Mike Nichols (The Gradu-
ate) adds his own name and talent
to this Who's Who in the movie
business list. The quartet may turn
out a product greater than the sum
of its parts, but even if they just
follow the normal rules of addition,

it'll be a "four-star" film.
That's what'll be new in the the-
aters while you're away. Is there
anything left to come back to then,
besides more classes? Of course! In
January, the Michigan premiere of
University Graduate Lawrence (The
Big Chill) Kasdan's new film, The
Accidental Tourist, will be right
here in Ann Arbor. Kasdan again
teams up with William Hurt and
Kathleen Turner as he did in Body
Heat, and adds Geena Davis (The
Fly) to the cast. This is an adapta-
tion of the Ann Tyler novel of the
same name about a guidebook
writer (Hurt) who becomes attached
to a frantic pet-trainer (Davis) after
his wife (Turner) leaves him.
And if you decide not to go out
and see a film during vacation, at
least stay home and watch It's A
Wonderful Life again (in B&W of
course), since it'll be flooding the
airwaves, as well as causing floods
of happy tears all over the country.
And have a wonderful holiday! A
-0 lk

A little dab'll do ya, Steve.
12" ME
with Pepper
Voted Best P
"The Michigan Daily'



665600 995

If the opposite of pro is con, then
the opposite of prgress is
Slow down. You don't even
know where you're going.
You're absolutely correct.
Where's God?
God is within you.
If God is within you why are you
here in this dingy, old library
trying to be something great? If
you just sit for one minute by a
river and open your heart you
will understand everything you
need. Where are we going? Who's
really happy? What do we really
need? Life is so simple if we
learn to let go and BE.
God bless you all,
A former student
It's scary what this school can do
to you
Yeah. I'd better make a lot of
money when I get out of this
learning institution
- The Grad

~ "I

'-& )

Continued from Page 5
film techniques -especially in a
love scene between Gibson and
Pfeiffer - but this is only frosting
on a stale cake. Towne tries for art
and winds up with boredom, some-
thing that happens often in the


motion picture world.
Finally, why is this film called
Tequila Sunrise? I couldn't figure
it out, but I would have liked one
to pick me up after this depression.
TEQUILA SUNRISE is now play-
ing at the State Theater and Show-
case Cinemas.


This Year's Final Exe
from Warner/Elektra/Al



The Ark Presents
in Concert
"Son of the Really Big Show"
in The Michigan Theatre
Saturday, December 17, 8:00 PM
Advance Tickets at the Michigan Union Ticket Office
and all Ticketmaster Outlets or
Phone 763-TKTS with VISA or Mastercard

R. E. M.

Edie Brickell
& New Bohemians
Shooting Rubberbands
At The Stars

mlk + The M!ChaflC5
Living Years


is IT Too LATE
No? "\

M-Sat 9:30-9:30 /
Sun 12-8
523E LbertyAnn Arbor



WEEK.EIWDJEQE F -,9", 9,68_,

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