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October 07, 1993 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-10-07

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When courtesy fails
By officially forbidding discrimi-
nation against any group excepthomo-
exuals, the University Board of Re-
gents was effectively discriminating
against them. Soundly recognizing this,
the regents voted (7-1) last month to
change the University's anti-discrimi-
nation bylaw.
But the reasons some regents may


have voted to make the change -and
the reason they took so long to do it-
may not have been so sound.
Regents Laurence Deitch (D-
Bloomfield Hills) and Rebecca
McGowan (D-Ann Arbor), the board's
*ewest members, adroitly marshaled
support among regents through a series
of one-on-one meetings and confer-
ence calls this spring and summer. They
found little resistance, and almost unani-
mous approval among deans, adminis-
trators and University President James
"There was not a lot of arm-twist-
ing involved here," said McGowan.
With such existing support, critics
ight ask, why did this change not
come sooner?
Deitch and McGowan replaced two
of the board's conservative members,
providing a critical shift in ideology
and attitude. Their action, in the con-
text of growing national awareness
about gay and lesbian rights, provided
the spark for change.
Additionally, they made an astute
,*olitical choice, opting to redraft the
bylaw altogether and leave sticky is-
sues like affirmative action and ben-
efits to the administration.
Deitch posited another, more trou-
blingtheory: that previous boards have
avoided the issue of homosexuality
partly out of professional courtesy for
Regent Deane Baker (R-Ann Arbor)
-the board's most stalwart opponent
f homosexual rights.
Ithink a desire to avoid contention
and confrontation [on the board of re-
gents] may have slowed down the
change [in the bylaw]," he said.
"Yes, there was professional cour-
tesy toward Regent Baker," agreed
Regent Shirley McFee (R-Battle
If this is so, the board made a ter-
rible mistake. It is wrong to delay ac-
&on on a clear moral issue out ofpoliti-
cal convenience or personal favor.
Other reasons for late action are
deeply imbeded in the culture of how
regentsvote. The board strivesforcon-
sensus, and regents sometimes try to
avoid airing political divisions in pub-
That is why even a majority on the
board would not have tried to tackle the
*esistance put up by conservative Re-
gents Baker, Nielsen and Smith in years
past. Regent McFee, for her part, says
she would have voted for the change
two years ago.
"The board," said Regent Philip
Power (D-Ann Arbor), "doesn't like to
make fundamental changes in its by-
laws by a vote of five to three."
That is not to say gay rights advo-
cates necessarily held a majority.
Wormer RegentTom Roach points out
that previously, "no regent was even
willing to make the motion to amend
Two years ago, seven regents voted
to maintain the "traditional" guidelines
for family housing and deny single-sex
couples access to University housing.
Either a lot of people changed their
minds in the last two years, or some of
hem were notvoting their consciences.
Duderstadt's role raises another
question. All accounts are that he has
long-favored the bylaw change. If so, it
does not appear he was willing to in-
vest much political capital on the issue
with his bosses. Regent McFee says

Yee0- awlCountry music goes Pop

Illustration by JORDAN ATLAS

BoSeger released "Against
The Wind" today, instead of
in 1980, he might be a coun
try star.
So says Rob Sunseri, manager at
downtown Where House Records, any-
But those familiar with today's
country music might be inclined to
The country stars of yesteryear, like
Willie Nelson and Hank Williams, have
been dethroned by such newcomers as
Garth Brooks and Clint Black.
And the music of yesterday's stars
-that sad song, down home southern
twang - has been replaced by a new
sound, slickly produced and more than
a little like that old time rock 'n' roll.
"Country has broadened into a
pop kind of thing; Garth Brooks
and Mary-Chapin
Carpenter aren't
really 'country'
- that's why
they sell,"
Sunseri said.
"It's not the
old twangy kindof
It's not Willie
Again." It's not
T a m m y
B y

It's not the old country we all know and
It's the chorus-heavy pop of songs
like "Frinds in Low Places," the emo-
tional kick of Reba McEntire's and
Linda Davis' heart wrenching duet
"Does He Love You," the bouncy,
ropin' the wind daydreams of Toby
Keith's "Should've Been a Cowboy."
It's Mary-Chapin Carpenter's funny,
yet all-too-true lyrics: "Sometimes
you're the windshield; sometimes
you're the bug."
With the pop of the early '80s (Duran
Duran, Wham!, Blondie) disintegrat-
ing into adult contemporary, rap, gnuge
and who knows what else, country has
been able to step in and fill the middle
of the road with its new, yet vaguely
familiar, brand of melodic tunes. So
when new country star Lorrie
Morgan sings Journey's
rock hit "Faithfully" on
her 1991 "Something
In Red" album, the
result is perfectly
isn't the
leastbit out
of place
x amidst Morgan's
o t h e r

"country" songs.
Country's new stars are young, and
thus are able to mirror the concerns of
a younger generation in terms of sounds
and subject matter.
Patty Loveless, for example, gives
her cheating boyfriend hell in "Blame
it on Your Heart" with a younger
person's take-no-crap attitude. When
Trisha Yearwood sings "She'sin Love
With the Boy," she defends puppy love
in a rebellious response to any parent
who has ever tried to crush it.
Simply put, country music isn't
what it used to be.
"There has been an influx of artists
that have youth appeal," said Barry
Mardit, Director of Program Opera-
tions at Detroit'sWWWW(W4)106.7
FM, the third most-listened to country
music station nationwide.
"People who have never liked coun-
try before found something they like
about it."
Indeed, W4's average audiencenow
consists of 18 to 49-year-olds who have
picked up on country's new vibe.
"Years ago, radio stations stopped
saying 'western' (of 'country
and western'). We're not
country; we're 'HotNew
Country.' That's de-
signed to show that there
is a difference," Mardit

Another popular Detroit radio sta-
tion, WYCD 99.5 FM, has aptly called
itself and the new music "Young Coun-
And younger people are listening to
You may, for example, hear more
and more country music blasting from
cars driven by teenagers. You'll hear it
playing at the mall. On TV. At campus
You'll see country music displays
at your local record store. Country stars
on the covers of major magazines.
Country singers on David Letterman's
ultra-hip show.
Horror of horrors, someone you
know will suddenly start liking country
music. Don't look now. It might be
Because, except for the characteris-
tic stories they tell, much of today's
country music leaves almost no trace
of the old country style.
For this reason, Garth Brooks was
America's top-selling artist of 1992
acrossallformats. Moreover, Billy Ray
Cyrus' "Some Gave All" was the fast-
est-rising debut album by any artist
in history. Its two-week ascent to
number one on the Billboard's Top
200 chart eclipsed previous record
holders the Beatles (1963) and Paul
McCartney (1970). Not only that, but
the album's 17-week hold of the top

spot is also the longest in history for a
debut artist.
The Country Music Association,
the industry's trade organization, also
reports that 25 percent of the albums on
Billboard's Top 200 sales chart are
now, in fact, by country artists.
In addition, since 1990, country,
music has gained over 10 million new
weekly listeners, which marks the great-
est increase in share for any format
during that time.
What few realize is that of these
billions of new country radio listeners,
36.7 percent are now young adults, age
"It used to be pretty much your
audience is 30s and up; you're not
gonna cater to a younger audience.
That's not the case anymore," said
country singer Ronna Reeves, whose
current single "He's My Weakness," is
climbing the country charts andcontin-
ues as a regular musical backdrop on
"One Life To Live."
Reeves, who has performed incoun-
try bands since she was 11, grew up
with not only country influences but
with hard rock like Led Zeppelin and
Queen. She said that the various influ-
ences of today's country stars might
account for the new country-pop hy-
"The genre's much more open
See COUNTRY, Page 3

The Daily's picks for new country fans:
1. "Unanswered Prayers" - Garth Brooks. From the 1990 album "No
Fences." It's uplifting. It's deep. Just listen to it. Please.
2. "She's In Love With The Boy"-TrishaYearwood. From her 1991 self-
titled album. Catchy tune. Cute song.
3. "I Feel Lucky" - Mary-Chapin Carpenter. From her current album
"Come On Come On." Mixes blues with country. A one-of-a-kind result for
country's female vocalist of the year.
4. "Something In Red" -Lorrie Morgan. From the 1991 album of the same
title. Tells the story of a lifetime within the simple framework of the clothes
worn during each time. A gem of a ballad. A must-see video.
5 "nDee He Love vVn"...eba McEntire and Lind aavi .From Reha'



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