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January 25, 1994 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-25

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, January 25, 1994

cbeflkigan taiIg

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed
by students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor


,.. 1

Unless otherwise noted unsigned editorials reflect the majority opinion of the Daily editorial board.
All other cartoons, articles and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

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Why I'm the
I maybe the only fan Tonya Harding
has left.
It's not that I've followed her career
many people, I
the first time after
the attack on
Nancy Kerrigan.:
Unlike most<
people, I liked her
the moment I read
about her life
What hap-Jge
pened to Nancy Kerrigan is deplorable,
and I do not intend to condone the
attack against her or anyone connected
with it. Yet the way Harding has been
portrayed in the press has acted as a
social spotlight of sorts, illuminating
many of our deeply entrenched ideals.
The picture spread in Time shows
Harding with her arms outspread, the
powerful muscles in her shoulders con-
trasting with the flesh-colored mesh
and dainty sparkles of her low-cut
skater's outfit. In the opposing photo
Kerrigan cries in pain after her attack.
The article goes on to describe
Harding's tough childhood - the ab-
ject poverty, her mother's six mar-
riages and divorces, her marriage at 19
to a man who physically abused her.
The strongest figure in her life was her
father, who taught her "to hunt and fish
and fix a transmission." As Time put it,
she is "neither politic nor polished,
sociable nor sophisticated. Instead, she
is the bead of raw sweat in a field of
dainty perspirers ... the pool-playing,
drag-racing, trash-talking bad girl of a
sport that thrives on illusion and
politiesse." She was also the first
woman to land a three-and-a-half spin
jump in competition.

last Tonya Harding fan

Although Kerrigan also comesfrom
a working-class background, her par-
ents have always been behind her and
her life has been more stable. Her coach
describes her as "a very dependent
person;" she did not move out of her
parents' home until she was 23. She is
known for chickening out and omitting
jumps in competition.
Yet in this sport of skimpy cos-
tumes and pre-competition trips to the
hairdresser, she possesses a most im-
portant feature: she is beautiful. The
male writer who covered the story for
Newsweek gushed praise for Kerrigan
and seemed on the verge of falling in
love (lust?) with her. People magazine
voted her one of the "50 Most Beautiful
People in the World" last year, and
Time's caption for a shot of Kerrigan's
winning smile is telling: "Pretty as
At least in theory, women's figure
skating is not a beauty contest -it is a
sport. Its participants are athletes who
train endless hours and lift weights to
strengthen the upper body-Harding's
shoulders, strong as a swimmer's, are
testament to that.
In any other sport, Harding would
be the obvious winner. In football, hit-
ting someone to disable them is not
illegal - it is the object of the game.
Strength, grace under pressure, gritty
determination, and raw sweat are what
it takes to succeed as an athlete, not
what gives one a bad reputation. Pool-
playing, drag-racing, and bad-talking
are not out of place but some of the
normal pursuits of an athlete in the off-
At least they are for a male athlete.
Figure skating contains elements of art
and involves hours of dance training,
true, but it has long been acknowl-
edged that men's figure skating is more

dependent on athletic ability.
The emphasis on feminine beauty
is one of the things that gives women's
figure skating its television and show
popularity. Like women's gymnastics,
it is more popular than its male counter-
part because it showcases beautift
women who wear very little. (Wh
one male gymnast was asked why
women's gymnastics was more popu-
lar, he said "One word: leotards.")
And so we have the story of the
strong athlete, pretty yet tough, and the
"dependent" beauty. One gains a repu-
tation for crudeness; the other grows
famous for being a victim, her gor-
geous face twisted with pain like all of
those beautiful women killed in horro
movies. Whether Harding is connected
with the crime against Kerrigan or not,
her sentence was written before the
attack occurred. Her crime is being too
Harding has not avoided many of
the more dangerous feminine pitfalls
- until last week, she was still living
with a man who beat her (and who, if
she is innocent, may have wrecked he
career). Yet with the beautiful andfem
nine Kerrigan as the perfect foil, the
girl who learned how to fix a transmis-
sion became a woman who, as Time
says, "would make an unlikely role
There is no excuse for Harding if
she was involved in the plot against
Kerrigan, and she has been variously
described as gruff and rude. But the
descriptions the media has offered Ce
her and Kerrigan are so thinly veiled in
gender meanings that I can't help but
feel a little bit of sisterhood for the
tough girl from the trailer parks.
So here's to you, Tonya Harding.
Your dreams may have been shattered,
but youwill always have your strength.

Kervordan should
speak at next
To the Daily:
The January 19th edition of the
Daily carried a front page article on
Rackham sophomore Dennis Denno
and his quest to have Dr. Jack
Kervorkian speak at our Spring
Commencement. I agree with him
100 percent and applaud his efforts at
making this proposition a reality.
It seems that in this day and age,
there are few national heroes for
college students to admire. There are
few people who stand up for their
what is morally right regardless of
the personal consequences. But there
is one man who is fighting for human
rights today right here in Michigan
... and that is who I would like to see
at our commencement.
Dr. Kervorkian is willing to go to
jail because he believes that human
beings have the right (and deserve
the respect and decency) to choose to
end their own lives in time of
terminal illness coupled with great
pain. He believes that a cancer
patient with maybe one painful
month left to live would be allowed
to choose an honorable death over
anguish, suffering, and hundreds of
thousands of dollars in moot medical
costs. Kervorkian is no criminal, he
is the closest thing to a "hero"

their own warped morality on others
rather than respect individual rights.
Kervorkian says, "No!" because he
believes that individuals (not the
state) are the sole proprietors of their
own bodies, to maintain as they, not
the courts, see fit.
By supporting Jack Kervorkian,
Dennis is taking a stand for
individual human rights. If he
succeeds in bringing him to the
University, Dennis will help us show
the courts that one of America's
finest institutions stands behind
Kervorkian, and human rights as
LSA senior

health care." W
"Poor women have the right to an
"Students have the right to a
college education and a decent job." *
"HIV victims have the right to
public funding for AIDS research."
As if these things grew on trees!
The American Constitution gave
a nation of people, for the first time
in history, the opportunity to pursue@
all of these desirables, not to have
them provided to some individuals at
the expense of other individuals via
force. Every woman has the right to
the opportunity to pay for an
abortion, not for the government to
grant her an abortion by forcing other
Americans to fund it through taxes.
We have the right to the opportunity
to obtain health care, not to force
doctors to heal while paying them
money forcibly extracted from other
citizens. The same concept applies to
all of the afore mentioned "rights."
Some students (and professors)
here advocate forcing some
individuals to work for other
individuals, as though some people
should be merely the means to other
people's ends. The next time they
have an idea for a brilliant
government-funded remedy, ask "at
whose expense will this be enacted?"
"By what means?" If people answer
these questions honestly and they
truly respect every individuals rights,
then they will insert their plans in the
trah instead of the TDaily

Pornography is a necessary evil...

Pornography is a necessary evil for
all lovers of the First Amendment.
In a rehash of the old debate, author
Catherine MacKinnon and journalist
Carlin Romano went head-to-head in
an argument between feminism and
MacKinnon;in hernew book"Only
Words," states that pornography is
equal to rape, adding that "saying it, is
to do it."
In 1992, MacKinnon was instru-
mental in the Canadian Supreme Court
ruling stating that while freedom of
expression is granted under the Cana-

In a perfect world, women would not be lowered
to the status of sex objects. Unfortunately,
protecting free speech Is not always a
comfortable stance to take.

Oh, and hIhave one
other thing to say...
To the Daily:
Every morning on my way to
class, I prepare for a daily bout with
nausea. No, I am not pregnant - it's
just that I read the Daily editorial
Every morning the Daily is
riddled with complaints about our
society coupled with demands that
the government do something about
it. This stems from a skewed
philosophy many people share
pertaining to the inalienable rights of
human beings. Here are some
nr'snrrnla "

It was a seemingly huge win for
women, although the ruling caused an
outbreak of censorship affecting mate-
rial fromhard-core porn to such serious
writers as David Leavitt. And with
pornography safely tucked away, it is
still unclear whether women are pro-

a portrait of the author as a victim, but
to take her entirely seriously.
Blunt and baiting controversy,
Romano went on to criticize
MacKinnon's blatant disregard for free
Once again, the distinction between

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