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April 06, 1990 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-04-06
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, f

Thoughts from the front

orch of a little pink
ouse

.a'1

"Ain't that America, home of
the free,
Little pink houses for you and
me..."
-John Cougar
While other countries invade,
America only intervenes. And
men fake orgasms.
The political waters are running
slowly these days. Those In
Control are sitting on their front
porches with six packs of Bass Ale
taking in the first warm evenings
of the year, like All Good
Americans, and who can blame
them? I'm doing the same thing
myself.
Capitalism is winning out all
over the world, and America is

doing the cheerleading. This is
not a good time to be a
communist. All of those sensitive
people who read Das Kapital
every night before bed woke up
one morning to see communism
crumble and fall. It was like
cigarette smokers finding out that
the Marlboro Man had died of
lung cancer.
Revolutions were passe by the
start of the year - many people
were genuinely upset that
America hadn't got in on the
action. The only revolution here
was the Reagan Revolution. That
fittingly ended on videotape, with
The Gipper the apparent victim
of a flawed frontal lobotomy.
Truly a new world order was
emerging. We are now in the
post-Cold War era, where
communists are no longer pinko
bastards, but good agrarian
people. The media would have us
believe that we have new
enemies now - drugs and dictators
chief among them (especially that
Libyan guy with the unspellable
name). America would no longer
serve as the commie-routing
police force of the world.
Then came Panama, inspired
no doubt by the egregious Dan
Quayle, military man and Master
of Bemusement, and enforced by
George Bush, a man who refused
to eat broccoli, even when his
mother insisted.
Reading the media coverage of
the Panama invasion, it would
appear that the operation was a
resounding success, achieving all
of its objectives. But in retrospect,
the operation appears to have
been cynically conceived, brutally
enforced and above all, reported
to the American public through
media who served essentially as
the unofficial propaganda branch
of the military. America
effectively survived the transition
to the post-cold-war era while
maintaining the right to invade
foreign countries to protect
American interests.
Although tensions with Panama
had been high since the
attempted coup in October 1989,
the decision to invade did not

come until Noriega declared
himself 'Maximum Leader', and
announced a state of war with the
United States. Asked what caused
him to make the decision, George
Bush replied that it was the
danger to American citizens, the
murder of a Marine, and the
terrorizing of another lieutenant
and his wife.
Considering that ten years
earlier, the murder of four
American religious workers in El
Salvador by security forces allied
to the US backed government
had resulted in nothing more than
a brief suspension of military aid,
Bush's reasons smack of
hypocrisy.
Media reports suggested that
Bush had bravely decided to take
action in Panama ("America's
born-again swashbuckler",
trumpeted US NEWS &
WORLD REPORT) regardless of
the political fallout. We are
supposed to believe that this was
his decision alone. However,
Bush was keenly aware that the
President is the main beneficiary
of patriotic fervor - when
Americans rally around the flag,
the President's popularity rises.
During the first month of the
Iranian hostage crisis in 1979,
Carter saw his popularity double
from 31% to 62%. Reagan's
popularity rose from 46% to 53%
following the invasion of Grenada
and the death of 241 Marines in
Beirut. Bush could have invaded
Montreal and still seen his
popularity soar - as it happened,
his ratings rose from 70% approval
to 76% after the invasion.
As Mark Hertsgaard mentioned
in Rolling Stone, Noriega was the
perfect media villain. He was
portrayed as a tyrant with strange
religious beliefs, an admirer of
Hitler, a drug smuggler, a
bisexual who perfumed himself
and wore yellow jumpsuits with
matching shoes. He was basically
not a good dinner guest, and
made George Bush look like St.
John of God.
Editorials in the top circulation
newspapers endorsed the
invasion. The New York Times

ran joint headlines compa na the
invasion to the rvolution in
Rumania, and a Time cover story
read "When Tyrants Fall",
comparing Noriega with
Ceaucesceu. Where was the
connection? In Rumania, a brutal
dictator was being overthrown by
the "tide of democracy". As Jay
Leno remarked, the first act of
the newly democratic Romania
was to secretly try the deposed
dictator and execute him. In
Panama, a foreign country was
invading (not 'intervening') in
order to install a puppet
government. Given a choice
between the brutal Noriega and
US-backed Endara, the people
voted for Endara. But surely if
America really had wanted to
install democracy in Panama, free
elections would have taken place
after Noriega had been deposed.
In the minds of the American
public, anti-American sentiment
and Noriega were the same thing.
Endara became the natural
successor.
There has been one startling
omission from the Panama story -
an accurate count of the civilian
deaths. Even by the most
conservative estimates, the US
Army killed as many innocent
Panamanians as the Chinese army
killed in Tiananmen Square last
year. T he outcry over the Chinese
massacre was indignant and
outraged. The outcry over the
Panamanian massacre was
strangely muted. It is time to ask
why.
As suddenly as the Cold War
finished, a new framework
emerged which still clearly
privileged an American view of
the world. Any notions of
objective reporting were
abandoned in Panama, as the
media played the game of
advocate, brushing aside the
stories of the mass murders to
play up the stories of the people
cheering American soldiers on the
streets. Perhaps past military
failures have led journalists to
eagerly paint fighting America in
glowing colors. Perhaps our
blinkers are more firmly in place
than we know.
Those who come to America
seeking a better place may see a
new sign in the immigration halls
soon.
"Welcome to America. Self-
righteousness is a virtue here...we
still kick butt."
by Ronan G. Lynch

I admit it.
I, too, was scared of the word
"feminism" before I came to {
college. Women with butch hair
cuts and bitchy attitudes who
only wore black were always 1
among the first image that
popped into my head upon
hearing that word. It was a scary
image. An image I think my
stern-Italian-widowed
grandmother may have looked
like when she was about sixty
years younger.
Anyway, to make a
long story short, I was
eventually titillated by
the sensibility of
sisterhood. Okay, maybe
it wasn't all that ardent
an awakening, but at A
least I came to grips with
my distorted image of
feminism. I finally
realized it:feminists were
people too. # ONNG e
Believe it or not, they
could even be funny
sometimes!
I guess I had to believe
that. You see, these
particular feminists I
recently interviewedC
were beyond funny.
They had to be to get me
up at nine a.m. on a
Saturday morning.
Erika Herzog, a recent
University graduate,
Jeanne Gilliand an LSA
senior, and Matt Madden 0
another LSA senior, were
the three "girlie"'
feminists who came over
for breakfast to discuss
their second publication
of Girlie Mag: A Femzine
for the Broad Minded.'
(Basically, this femzine" is
like a woman's slanted
Mad magazine.)
"The idea for Girlie Mag grew
out of a piece that Laura wrote
last year about the Butthole
Surfers," explained Erika. (Laura
Stapleton wasn't around for the
interview for our breakfast
gathering). Erika, on the other
hand, was the one who brought
the Zingerman bagels, scallioned
cream cheese, herring, and
liverwurst. (Yum!)
To get back on track, Erika
explained how Laura's article
discussed a naked woman dancer
who took the stage at a Butthole's
concert. As it turned out, many of
the so called "alternative"

Girlie Mag: feminist fun for everyt

publications where she submitted voice. But when it came to their
the piece didn't want her article. their femzine, they had a very
(She's a good writer too!) distinct approach about dispelling
In fact, this issue of Girlie Mag misogynistic myths: humor.
contains an incredible piece by Now to get to the magazine
Laura about the feminist itself. Everyone should really
implications of Madonna. But take a look at it. Simply said, its a
these so-called alternative powerful magazine, addressing
publications viewed feminist points that rarely get much
writings in similar way that I once attention and the "girlies" do it in
did before college. a very funny way. And that's not
As a result, Laura, Jeanne, and all.
some other "girlie's" decided to There are also two incredible
make fun of these kind of interviews. Michelle Shocked and
Su Friedrick

like that in a long time. (Even
when I'm all by myself!).
If you buy Girlie Mag , I don't
think you'll be disappointed. It
represents all that
humanity need to
strive for: truth,
justice, liberty and
the pursuit of
happiness. by
byD
Well, maybe not
all that humanity

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give theirc
perspectives
on life, love,
creative
inspiration and,
yes, you
guessed it,
they talk about
feminism. (As
Michelle
hocked say,
Feminist with
' a capital "F")
But lets not
a forget the real
thrust of Girlie
Mag. (Yes, I
choose my
words
9arefully.) As a
woman, as a
man, as a
;human being
living in our
{pre-deemed
"post modern"
world,
everyone will
ppreciate the
witty comics
and wonderful
uns displayed
throughout the
thirty-five
pages.
Its enough to
make you want to be a women's
rights activist. (Scary thought isn't
it.?) Well, the femzine may not
make you want to go out and
combat Operation Rescue, but at
the very least it will make you
laugh. To me, that's the very
beginning to be able to combat
the world of Post-Reagan-Bush-
Panama invasion-Sandra Day
O'Connor, and all the other shit
that comes natural to our country
nowadays.
Well, to let you know how the
rest of our breakfast went that
morning with the three "girlies",
I would have to say I haven't
spent a more wonderful morning

needs to strive for. But at least
you can laugh a little harder about
the ridiculous Camel'cigarette
campaign and women's bodily
functions (i.e menstruation). All
this and more is available by
reading Girlie Mag. And you can
still call yourself a feminist, even
it you don't have a butchy hair
and a bitchy attitude.
1;r

attitudes people have about
gender issues.
"You have to step back and
laugh at things sometimes," said
Jeanne smiling.(I thought she was
really neat because she could gulp
down as much coffee as I. Her
attentive attitude show it too.)
The two women went on to
explain how you have to draw
power from even the bad
situations. They were very aware
of what kind of women's issues
needed to be addressed. We
seriously discussed reproductive
rights, the Montreal massacre,
lesbian issues, civil rights, and the
overall idea of creating a women's
0'

li/A

I I
10 WEEKEND March 30, 1990

10

14

WEEKEND Larch 30, 1990

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