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January 26, 1990 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-26
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Historical revision is a laborious
process. But just as historical
events are dominated by the
powerful, the history which
remembers them is surely written
by the victors.
In this textbook case of an
alteration of history, the motive
and method are unclear but the
outcome is unmistakable: the
revision of historical fact in favor
of the privileged few.
The New York Times has been
using the University of Michigan
as a sort of barometer of change
on university campuses in recent
years. In that vein, the Times last
Monday published a story on
some of the events surrounding
the celebration of Martin Luther
King Jr.'s birthday.
The theme of the article,
written by Chicago bureau
reporter Isabel Wilkerson, was -
surprise!- diversity. It focused
on the expressed goals of the
administration: building a multi-
cultural university, leading the
way into the next century, and so
on - and noted a few successes
in this field.
Among the efforts to reshape
the nature of the university,
Wilkerson noted, was the
proposal for a requirement for all
No place for an
To the editor,
I was outraged to find in your
January 19th Weekend Magac7,zne, on
the page entitled "Ten Years of
Music," the following category
written by Nabeel Zuberi, After
listing his favorite albums, singles,
etc. of the decade, he writes,
"Hopes for the 1990s: No more
designer folk musicians, more
great dance music, the death of
heavy metal, no more Israel,no
more Republic of South Africa,
USA getting out of where it
doesn't belong, the Intifada, the.
end of Mrs. Thatcher, socialism."
Mr. Zuberi has decided that
CVCei in the entertainment section
of theGnewspaper le ust ,ke,

LSA students in the study of race,
ethnicity and racism. After a long
and sometimes bitter struggle, the
proposal was narrowly defeated in
a faculty vote last spring.
The remarkable passage in the
article, however, read like this:
"The administration supported
the proposal, saying that it and
other changes were necessary if
the university was to reflect the
diversity of the population it
Well, historical events may be
open to some interpretation, but
it didn't take much of an effort to
discover that this statement was at
best highly doubtful, at worst just
plain wrong.
The President's phone only
rang once.
"Hi, can I speak to Mr.
"I'm sorry, he's in a meeting
right now. How can we help
Of course any old student can't
just call up President Jim, but if
you claim to be a journalist you
may be lucky enough to be
referred to Executive Director of
University Relations Walter
Harrison, which is what happened
to me.
Anticipating just such a move,
hateful shot at Israel.Can he not
at least keep his cruelly anti-
semitic, contradictory, and
simplistic views confined to the
Opinion page?
I call his writing anti-semitic
because he has decided that
among all the countries of the
world, only Israel doesn't have
the right to exist (South Africa,
I'm sure, is included in the list,
not because Mr. Zuberi is so
concerned about the plight of
Blacks in that country, but rather
so people will equate Apartheid
with Israeli policy). Why not wipe
China off the map for massacring
thousands of its own people? Mr.
Zuberi does not suggest that the
United States be obliterated in
spite of ourkilling 400-2,000y
innocent P anamarnians (the exact

however, I had already dropped
Jim a line on the MTS computer
mail system (anyone can do this
by the way, just send it to James
Duderstadt@UB), which ran in
"So the question is: Did you
support the course
[requirement] then? If
so, what did you do to
support it? Do you
support such a
requirement now? If so,
what are you doing about
it now?"
But before Jim had a
chance to write back,
Walter called. .h
I pointed out to Walter h
that the Times story
didn't cite a source for 0o
the "fact" that the
administration supported the
course, but that the president was
quoted in the next sentence.
Could the information have come
from him?
"I don't think the president
said that," he answered. "It's a
matter for the faculty; it always
has been. It's a curriculum
So did that mean the story was
"The phrase you mentioned
was inaccurate. Otherwise I
thought it was an accurate story."
This was corroborated by Buzz
Alexander, an English professor
and one of the requirement's


outspoken proponents.
"The information-in the
[article] that the Administration
had supported us was the first
time that I had heard of it," he
wrote. "We never heard from the
president of this university that
he supported our proposal, and
we did make an effort to meet
with him about it."
So by the time I got the
president's response to my query,
the next day, it
hardly mattered that
he refused to answer
the question. "To
preserve my sanity
and keep from being
deluged with phone
and E-mail traffic,"
he wrote, he would
have to decline, in
deference to a
' system by which
Daily staffers meet
f with him and ask all
their questions at
The next day I finally got
through to Isabel Wilkerson
herself - at the Chicago office of
the Times- to find out where she
got the idea that the
administration supported the
Actually, she said, no one told
her that "the administration"
supported the proposal. Vice
Provost for Minority Affairs
Charles Moody told her that he
had been in favor of the
But he did not speak for the
administration, he told me: "I
never said or intended my

statement to be the
"It depends on who you
consider the administration to
be," Wilkerson said. "That was
Moody's quote. That was from
him. The sentiments of the
administration are another thing."
But didn't she write "The
administration supported the
"The suggestion was not that
the administration had any
decision-making power," she
stressed. "It's unfortunate that it's
being read that way."
Here at last I began to have an
answer; this was the almost
mystical power of university
public relations propaganda.
Because the administration has
taken an open and public stand in
favor of "diversity," and because
the requirement was obviously
such a necessary part of that
vision, it followed that the
administration would have
supported the proposal.
To Wilkerson, the fact that "the
administration" had in fact
remained ominously silent on the
proposal (which signalled
opposition to some, especially
since the vocal support of
administrators was a crucial factor
in the implementation of similar
requirements at Berkeley,
Wisconsin and Minnesota) was an
insignificant detail.
"The point was just that the
administration appears to be
attempting to support diversity,
by whatever means," she said.
"Appears" is the key word here.

Let me begin by setting the
record straight. The statements of
the previous denizen of this
column notwithstanding, I do not
have practically "no hair at all".
Sure, I don't exactly have a wavy
crown of silky hair (in fact, I don't
even have bangs), but I'm happy
to say I'm not yet in the Ed Asner
My deficiency has long since
ceased to be a psychological
problem for me. It all began in
fifth grade when David Carrigan
yelled to the entire class, "Hey,
Robert's got a bald spot!" If you
look at my school pictures for the
next few years, my forehead
grows steadily. In an era when all
the other guys had those center-
parted, feathered hair styles, this
was somewhat traumatic for me.
As for women, they mysteriously
preferred my mop-headed friends
over me, despite my protestations
that my condition also indicated
an elevated testosterone level.
Apparently, they decided that it's

better to look good than to feel
In college this all changed.
People started hanging out with
me because I was less likely to
get carded at bars and Blue Front.
The time I bought
beer for my R.A.
drove home the
ultimate irony of the
situation. I've never
had to carry afakeID
with me in my life. Of
course, this didn't stop
them from giving me
grief about being "the 1
bald guy." By this
time I was immune to R
it, however. I swore to Earl
get them back by
merciless teasing in
about twenty years, when they
started losing their hair and
having their mid-life crises. They
just laughed. We shall see.
This is not to say that I haven't
thought about every possible cure
for this. Every time my mom





hears about some new miracle
drug or treatment she calls me up.
My dad, who got a crew-cut that
never grew back when he joined
the Marines, tried some drug that
was originally designed to lower
blood pressure but seemed to be a
cure for baldness. He grew new
hair everywhere except on his
head. My friend Henry once gave
me some roll-on from China that
guaranteed to grow hair back if
you applied it every day and
thought positive. I tried it, but I
should have known better -
Henry has less hair than I do.
My favorite is the
Helsinki Formula.
You know, where they
show three clowns in
lab coats looking into
microscopes to prove
.' how scientific it is.
Then they show us a
t;t bunch of before and
after pictures. In the
"before" picture,
some poor jerk is
shown in bad light,
f frowning and
supposedly ravaged
by baldness. In the "after"
picture, said jerk is smiling, the
scene is bright, his hair is combed
different and he is leaning slightly
forward to show us less of his
forehead, which is no smaller than
it was before. Their promise to

turn your scalp into a Chia Pet is
no more than trick photography.
The worst solution for baldness
by far is transplants. Transplants
are much more expensive because
they have to be done by doctors,
who apparently are higher paid
than scientists in Helsinki. The
idea behind transplants is to take
hair from one part of your body
and transfer it to your head.
Although this varies according to
genetics, there is only one place I
know of besides the head where
all men have hair, and I'm not
sure I want part of that hair on my
head. The color doesn't even
When it comes down to it,
though, there are more
advantages to staying bald than in
trying to undo nature. For
instance, wearing a hat does not
automatically signal to everyone
that I haven't taken a shower that
day. Look around your class and
be sure to sit upwind from anyone
who has a full head of hair and is
still wearing a hat. Also, bald men
are more successful romantically,
if only because we take up fewer
precious minutes in the bathroom
drying our hair.
The one affliction that we all
have, however, is a tendency to
comb all the hair on one side of
our head over the bald area and
down to the other. This usually
I This Week:
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occurs as v
looks silly,
wind com<
straight on
hand, thos
thin on tof
to use mot
and stand
up in the a
with bangs
trend, comr
instead of
can only h
known to
of the For(
Noon - I

fred zinn

public) in a matter of a few days
during our invasion of that
Mr. Zuberi's column is
contradictory, because, if he had
any knowledge of Israel, he would
know that much of Israeli society
is socialized: medical care,
educatin, kibbutzim. low can
he in the same sentence support
socialism and call for an end to
Israel's existence?
Finally, Mr. Zuberi's article is
grossly simplistic and cruel,
because he does not even
consider the meaning of his
words. To hope for Israel's
extinction is to hope for the death
of millions of Jews, because the
state of Israel will only disappear
after losing a massive, horrible
war. It scares me to think that this
is what Mr. Zuberi wishes for my
people. The situation in the
Middle East is very complex, and
for him to call for the destruction
of Israel as a solution to the
situation is as horrifying as it is

Perhaps Mr. Zuberi should semitic and abhor racism in all
think much harder about what quarters.
wishing for a country's . I wasn't callingfor the expulsion of
extermination really means. Jewish people from Palestine;
Certainly, he should keep his similarly, when I wrote "no more
hateful and unproductive views Republic of South Africa" and "the
out of the entertainment section end of Mrs. Thatcher" I wasn'tsaying
of the Daily, and the editors of that allAfrikaaners should bepushed
Weekend Magazine and the Editor- into the sea or that the British Prime
in-Chief of the Daily should Minister should die.
exercise better judgement in
deciding what articles are and are W kendwel e
not fit for publication.yorletr There are
Adam Bowman
January 22 t e
Someparts of the "Hopes for the
19.90s" section of the article were A alt ~ eed
inappropriate given their context.
- Eds.
Nabeel Zuberi responds: : :
1. "The end of Israel''meant the
end of Israel as it exists with its tk
present "borders" which include the
occupied territories in the West Bank den
& Gaza Strip. Iapologizefor any Me
misunderstanding and offense caused UB..

b dea
" . ,-
- .

{ G

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