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February 08, 1989 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-02-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 10- The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 8, 1989

Some Girls' vagueness
denies final judgement

China, Inc.: How to
Do Business with the
Chinese'
By Roderick MacLeod
Bantam Books
$19.95/Hardcover
"Mr. Wong," you say, leaning
back in your chair. "This is how I
see things: you want my widgets, I
want your yuan. And it just so hap-
pens I have 1,000,000 American
widgets sitting in my backyard.
Good widgets, by most counts. But
you know, I've got some friends
South of the Border who are just
itchin' to have 'em, and they're
willing to pay my company - let
me be honest at this juncture, Mr.
Wong - buco dolores."
"Is there anything else?" Wong
asks through an interpreter.
"Yes," you say, extending your
wrist, tapping your Seiko three
times. "My plane leaves in 15 min-
utes.

Now. What are the odds Wong is
going to buy your widgets? Accord-
ing to Roderick MacLeod, an
American businessperson who spent
four years in China starting up a
business and now comes back to tell
about it in China, Inc., they are nil.
"(Wong) thought he was getting
hustled," MacLeod explains.
For any businessperson dreaming
of conquering Eastern frontiers,
China, Inc. is a dream come true -
an opportunity to eavesdrop at a
high-power cocktail party and listen
to the voice of experience.
MacLeod's voice sounds much like
the tired father's who tells his stories
of deals-gone-sour with the hope his
children can "skip a generation of
mistakes and misunderstandings."
MacLeod works hard at it; he
chronicles ten of his business fail-
ures in China and analyzes in
painstaking fashion what went
wrong and how others can prevent
similar failures.
MacLeod's writing is strongest

- and China, Inc. the most
interesting - when the author
punctuates his business advice
through stories which give insight
into the culture of the country itself.
"The Chinese go to a lot of trouble
to make you feel welcome,"
MacLeod writes. "The young inter-
preter had come to get us in a com-
pany car (there weren't any private
ones in China at the time), and three
men had stood waiting for us in the
bitter cold, as if our visit were the
main event in their lives."
More problematic is MacLeod's
analysis of the ten business cases.
Namely, he attempts to analyze both
the American and Chinese perspec-
tives of the business deal all by
himself. The absence of a Chinese
presence is conspicuous - we miss
their cocktail parties, t h e i r
thoughts on Americans. MacLeod's
subject needs a more objective
treatment, and in this particular case,
it can only be achieved through ob-
taining two (equally pig-headed)
views of how business should be
conducted.
Good enough. A student of hu-
man nature, MacLeod is part busi-
ness, part professor, part psycholo-
gist - in short, everything one per-
son can be on the subject. Yet a
nagging sense of incompleteness
persists. "This is not a roadmap for
success in.East," MacLeod says of
his book in the introduction. Per-
haps because until one sits across
the table from Wong a few times,
one really can't appreciate the differ-
ences between Here and There.
Nine out of ten marketing majors
agree: you can't sell your product if
you don't understand the culture.
China, Inc. is a fine introductory
course in the country's business and
life, though, and its basic lesson is
meant both for the professional
businessperson and scrupulous lover:
the fastest way to the pocketbook is
through the heart of the mind. Un-
derstand your client.
- John Shea

BY TONY SILBER
Motion pictures can be annoying as hell some-
times. When you leave the theater not knowing
whether you liked it, hated it, or why. When you're
not sure what to tell your friends about it or tell
yourself. Some Girls is such a film. The film gives
no lasting feeling to cling to, no final judgement
which will satisfy anyone, and as a result, I am
confused and uncertain about it.
Some Girls has a simple plot, but that is where
simplicity ends. Everything else in the film is
vague. Patrick Dempsey (Can't Buy Me Love) stars
as Michael, the normal college student off to Quebec
to visit his girlfriend, Gabriella (Jennifer Connelly)
and her family for Christmas. But what he discovers
is a family that makes the Munsters look like the
Joneses. Bizarre and weird are too subtle for this
family.
The film presents some crazy characters worthy
of mention. The father is a writer who only works
in the nude while he listens to old French operas.
The mother is a spooky recluse who is obsessed
with catching her daughters with men in their beds.
The grandmother is a sentimental lunatic who con-
tinually escapes from the sanitarium where she
lives. The only outsider besides Michael is Nick
(Lance Edwards), who is fed up with the family's
weirdness and vows to get out. The problem with
these fascinating characters is that there is no way
all of their eccentricities can work together in a sin-
gle story.
Some Girls suffers from some of its benefits and
benefits from some of its problems. The focus of
the film involves Michael's perceptions of and
interactions with the individual members of the
family, especially the grandmother, strangely

enough. Confusion abounds in these sequences and
the story lines jump out of direction into a foreign
sense of surrealism. The acting is very good, which
presents the problem of evaluating these portrayals
in the context of ridiculous situations.
What's at the core of Some Girls ? Does it have a
core? Is it a terrible film that I'm looking too deep
into, or a brilliant film whose message is escaping
me? The film does not offer answers to these ques-
tions, which must be considered a drawback. It is
not an intellectual film, nor is it a teen film. Direc-
tor Michael Hoffman is doing something here, but I
can't tell whether it's good or bad. One clue is the
executive producer - of all people, Robert Redford,
whose latest film was The Milagro Beanfield War,
an unusual film itself.
There are some genuinely fine scenes in the film
as well as unnecessary scenes. The episode where
Michael and Nick are rushing the dying Granny to
the hospital is the highlight of the film. It is a
gripping and emotional sequence which is produced
beautifully. But another scene in which Michael
drinks a bottle of red wine in a bathtub and reflects
on his own confusion about the family slows the
flow of the film and offers nothing new to his char-
acter.
Some Girls intrigued me, bewildered me, and
made me really think about it. It offers fine acting
and an offbeat set of characters and circumstances. It
poses some integral questions, but does not answer
them. The film is not boring, predictable, or in any
way conventional. It is weird and wacky and should
be approached with this in mind. Let the viewer de-
cide, because this reviewer can't.
SOME GIRLS is now showing at the Briarwood
Theaters in Ann Arbor.

ichi gan Daily
Mass Meeting
Monday, February 13th, 7:00 pm

0

NEWS
OPINION
ARTS,
SPORTS
GRAPHICS

The Daily is
seekinc new
staff members.
No previous
experience
gv>;r eauired.

Studeniti"
Publications
Building
420 Maynard

The Michigan Daily is an affirmative action employer.

I I

Syd Barrett
Opel
Harvest/EMI (U.K.)
I wanted to find Syd Barrett, so I
bought a book that could help me.
It's a collection of most of his lyrics
and a bunch of articles on, and inter-
views with him. Barrett, the leg-
endary founder of Pink Floyd, left
that band his hallucinogenic aura, re-
leased two solo albums, and more or
less has been mysteriously vacant
from the public eye since 1970.
Sure, Syd had lots of problems, but
why the Salinger stunt? Well, this
book probably has the answers.
However, one thing blocks me and
millions of other Syd Barrett fans

from receiving these answers: all of
the interviews, articles, and discogra-
phies are in Italian.
It was great looking at the pic-
tures and singing Syd's songs in
both English and Italian - for a
while. Then I needed more. Luckily,
that rad English guy Phil Smee, who
brought us Beyond the Wildwood: A
Tribute to Syd Barrett , has delved
into the Abbey Road studios archives
and brought out a bevy of unreleased
Syd Barrett material.
Many of the songs on Opel are
alternate takes from The Madcap
Laughs and Barrett . The emphasis
of this album, however, is on new
tracks never (legally) heard before.
Two new songs, the whimsical

MICHIGANENSIAN
93 years of U-M history and college memories.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD STUDENTS'
THEIR YEARBOOK!

TO COME TO THE AID OF

-- ; A

The
Ed
Duties
in an

Michiganensian is looking for energetic, creative, and well-organized
people to be editors of the all-new 1990 yearbook.
itors needed for sports, organizations, greeks, academics, retrospect,
and Michigan life sections.
include assigning photos and stories, editing articles, designing layouts
attractive and coherent manner, and working extensively on Macintosh
computer.
Layout and managing editors needed as well.
Paid Positions.
There will be a mass meeting for all interested on
ruary 12 at 1:00 pm in the Michiganensian office, 420 Maynard.
For more info, call 764-0561.

R-R-R-Ring
"Hi! I'm Karen Brown, your AT&T Student Campus
Manager here at The University of Michigan. I want to
tell you how AT&T can help you cut down on your long
distance bills without cutting down on your calls-the
best time to reach me is between 3-5 p.m., Monday and
Wednesday, and 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday, and
Friday. But you can call anytime-747-9581."

"Swan Lee" and the unique "Lanky
(Part One)," date from Syd's initial
solo recording session in 1968.
"Lanky" starts off with some wild
bongos, then a whole bunch of other
instruments start up, creating this
wild menagerie of sound. No words,
just an instrumental freakout that
makes Floyd's "Interstellar Over-
drive" look really boring.
Most of the other newly-released
songs are from the Barrett sessions,
but they have been left in their raw
form, without any additional instru-
mentation from producer David
Gilmour. Gilmour's production in no
way deteriorated the quality of Bar-
rett's songs; it's just that these alter-
nate, prototypical forms show that
although Barrett is obviously un-0
hinged, his eccentricity lies in the
disjointed nature of his lyrics and de-
livery. That madcap nature is not
necessarily reflected in the beautiful,
acoustic music that accompanies his
singing - "Lanky" and the Soft
Machine-backed "Octopus" excepted.
Often the two post-Floyd Barrett
albums pierce emotionally, consider-.
ing the mental state of the singer.
The same, piercing effect occurs of-
ten on Opel , most poignantly on the
title song. Here Syd first sets some
scene rather obliquely - all that "On.
a distant shore.. ." stuff. After three
stanzas of scene setting, Syd pauses
in his singing, so all we hear is his
acoustic guitar, the sole instrument;
here as on many of his other songs.
Then Syd, determined to come clean
with what he's singing about, slowly*
expels, "I'm trying to find you!/I'm
living, I'm giving to find you!"
I wish we could actually find Syd
Barrett. Until the enigmas surround-
ing him are solved (or, perhaps,
translated), I'll just have to continue
this quest to find him through his
music. Perhaps that's best.
-Greg Baise

Feb

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