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December 02, 1993 - Image 16

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1993-12-02

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - Thursday December 2, 1993

Another search

SECRET
Continued from page 1.
The administration feels searches
for any other position - even top-
level positions that require approval
by the regents - can be conducted in
total secrecy.
This is not the first time the
University has used a subcommittee
to provide legal cover. When hiring
Duderstadt, the regents appointed
themselves an advisory committee,
with Regent Paul Brown as chair-
something that failed to convince
the Court of its "advisory" capac-
ity.
Said Provost Gilbert Whitaker re-
garding the committee currently at
work, "Since the committee is advi-
sory, the meeting[s] are not public as
I understand it."
Not according to Jonathan Rowe,
who represented the Ann Arbor News
in the Duderstadt case.
"The fact that someone calls it an
advisory committee," he said,
"doesn't make it so."
The question is whether the com-
mittee is exercising governmental
authority. If so, then it is subject to the
same responsibility of openness that
the regents themselves would be if
conducting the search.
The Open Meetings Act does al-
low for advisory committees in some
instances. But these committees must
be truly advisory and not decision-
making bodies.
It remains unclear whether the
Search Advisory Committee is cur-
rently exercising such decision-mak-
ing authority. The aprovost says the

Committee will present him with an
unranked slate of candidates. But even
this procedure may be found in viola-
tion of the Open Meetings Act.
By narrowing the list of candi-
dates, the Committee is helping
choose the new dean - something
that, if done by the regents, would
have to be out in the open. The public
simply does not know whether the
Committee is acting unlawfully, be-
cause the Committee and the provost
refuse to allow the public to witness
its proceedings.
And even if the Committee is not
making actual decisions by eliminat-
ing candidates, it is clear that the
provost and the president will. These
represent the same type of secret cuts
in the candidate pool that the Court
ruled illegal in the Duderstadt case. If
the provost or the president wishes to
choose or eliminate a candidate, he
must do so in public to allow citizens
the opportunity to participate in the
process. This is precisely what the
Open Meetings Act was designed to
insure.
The University's reason for en-
gaging in such risky legal dodging no
doubt lies in its commitment to up-
hold the privacy of candidates during
the selection process. That is a legiti-
mate argument, but one the courts
have rejected.
What the courts have said is that
government bodies cannot simply
hand over their authority to bureau-
crats to avoid holding open meetings.
If they do, they can be held account-
able under the law. Based on a great
deal of past experience, the Univer-
sity should know that.

"

Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Steven Tyler, Brad Whitford and Joey Kramer (collectively known as Aerosmith) resent having to do MTV to popularize their music.
i edo MV hn dfns
]Me td blessimg oMThtsmusicians and ans

Beer Of The Month

By KRISTEN KNUDSEN
First, video killed the radio star. Then it turned
around and did the opposite.
Ever since its birth in 1981, MTV has given
life-sustaining career boosts to countless musi-
cians. It has become virtually impossible, in fact,
to compete in the industry without partaking in the
visual side. Even those bands, like Pantera, that
have at one time or another boycotted MTV, have
been unable to deny the importance of videos and
subsequently released theirs on videotape. Other
bands, who have attained popularity without the
help of MTV, have succumbed to the video frenzy
as well, allowing MTV to magnify their success.
The best example of this is Metallica, a band
which despite a mega-cult following in the early
'80s, finally made its first video, for "One," in
1988, and has continued to do so. Metallica have
seen the effects of MTV firsthand - their greatest
success to date has been their 1991 self-titled
album, which debuted at number one on Billboard's
chart and stayed there for a month While the
success of "Metallica" no doubt had to do with its
more mainstream sound, it was MTV that took
that sound beyond the realm of headbangers.
But MTV's influence may be a mixed bless-
ing. By forcing musicians to provide visual im-
ages for their music, MTV keeps listeners from
interpreting songs on their own. How many times
have you heard a song, imagined the characters

involved, and then seen the video? Keeping your
original interpretations gets harder and harder
with every run of that video.
Of course, most musicians aren't willing to
bite the hand that feeds them. But some have made
their complaints public.
Duran Duran, a band that both pioneered vid-
eos in the 1980s and reaped the benefits of such
image promotion, criticize on their current album
that they have been "destroyed by MTV."
A more concrete complaint came from Steven
Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith.
"I'm really bummed out I have to do MTV to
get my music across," Tyler said. "I have to paint
a picture that goes along with my music. (With)
music, the beauty is in the ear of the beholder; you
hear it and you think whatever's going on at that
time and that's what the song is about. Once you
paint a picture and you watch that long enough,
every time you hear the song you think of the
picture you saw, the imagery - and I think that
sucks."
Clearly, some videos do little to shed light on
a song's meaning (Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything
For Love (But I Won't Do That)" comes to mind).
But many do provide meaning for the song. In-
deed, it's rather hard not to think of the long-
haired blonde girl (and her censored finger) when
you hear Aerosmith's "Cryin"' on the radio. Sud-
denly the song is about her.

Even in videos which are less story-oriented,
or all live performance, visual images are paired
with a song. Take Pearl Jam's "Evenflow."
By oftentimes being the first to play a new
song, through its Buzz Clips or exclusive video
rights, MTV has gained immeasurable power. For
this reason, musicians must not only "do MTV,"
as Tyler put it; they must do it well.
Consequently, videos have become forums for
everything from public service announcements
(Soul Asylum's "Runaway Train") to strange and
experimental camera techniques (U2's "Lemon").
The results of these videos attest to MTV's power.
Soul Asylum's video, featuring pictures of run-
aways, led to the return of some of them. The stars
of many videos, like 10-year-old "Bee Girl"
Heather DeLoach, of Blind Melon's "No Rain,"
have become stars themselves. (Aside from hav-
ing a cult following, DeLoach was recently pro-
filed in People Magazine.)
If MTV's power has taken away some of
listeners' interpretations, you have to wonder if it
also compromises the musicians by asking them
to choose one meaning for their song. Further-
more you might wonder why there are three dif-
ferent and completely unrelated videos for U2's
"One" (from "Achtung Baby"). Either the band
struggled and could not decide on one meaning for
their song, or the whole process had become so
tedious that they just didn't care.

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