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January 27, 1994 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

A Few Good Wapners
0 The University has almost created
an entire legal system with its State-
ment of Student Rights and Responsi-
bilities, which is under review this
week. It has a judge who weighs evi-
dence; a prosecutor who builds a case;
a jury that determines guilt; and a
defendant who either gets punished or

11t10 X11


iL 3 all o

gets off the hook.
But students, who risk prosecution
under the code, are deprived of the
most enjoyable part of any legal sys-
Oem: the dirty truth. By conducting the
entire trial process in secret and releas-
ing documents so sketchy they make
the CIA look prolific, the University
has not only made its legal system
unfair, but un-fun.
What makes the law so fascinating
is the drama that it entails: the
Menendez brothers murder their par-
ents in cold blood; Lorena Bobbit
strikes back against years of marital
rape by cutting off her husband's pe-
nis. Sure, like many men, I was ex-
tremely uncomfortable watching the
Bobbit case. But I think it is important
for society to have access to this sort of
At the University, we have no such
luck finding courtroom drama. What
little information we do have was aptly
compiled by Michigan Daily reporter
Cope Calati in a news series this week.
We know that at least two Univer-
sity organizations have accused their
treasurers of embezzling thousands of
dollars. But who did it? Perhaps it was
the treasurer of the Men's Glee Club,
who, seeking a better, higher voice,
stole the money for singing lessons
from a virtuoso, who then cut his penis
0 Or, perhaps it was MSA's trea-
surer, Julie Neenan, who stole the
money out of uncontrollable jealousy
at the $5,000 in tuition wavers being
offered to the MSA president and vice
president, and then cut their penises
off. Sadly, we will never know.
We do know that there has been at
least one case of fraternity hazing. A
man pledging an undisclosed frater-
city was bound with duct tape while
wearing only his shorts. But ,which
fraternity was it, and what other juicy
details were hidden behind all of those
ink blots on the case sheet? Were
pledges forced to perform nude danc-
ing while summarizing the contents of
The Wall Street Journal? Did they
have to go an entire week without
watching Rush Limbaugh, and then, in
the ultimate sacrifice for their frater-
Wity brothers, have their penises cut
off? Tragically, we will never know
the whole truth.
"You can't handle the truth," ar-
gues the University. But this is not the
case. Actually, televising all code pro-
ceedings for everyone to see is the best
thing the University could do.
Other campus organizations have
already seen the benefits of television.
SA recently began broadcasting its
meetings on community access televi-
sion. This program should probably be
prefaced with a warning about violent
and insane content. Punches are not
foreign to MSA's chambers, and at
least one constituent actually made a
paranoid speech at a meeting claiming
Ronald McDonald was really a CIA
stooge who was spying on him. I, for
one, would prefer my children play in
he street rather than watch these
people. If University students can
handle this while they eat dinner Tues-
day nights, they can handle anything.
The University argues that most
cases have nothing to do with court-
room drama, and are too dull and pro-



hile the nation
prepares itself
for yet another
s u m m e r ' s
the fo s in charge of booking
Saturday's 17th Ann Arbor Folk Fes-
tival have quietly managed to accu-
mulate an incredible wealth of tal-
ent. Emceed by Cheryl Wheeler, the
festival will feature the diverse
stylings of Michelle Shocked, the
sharp songwriting of guitar-wonder
Richard Thompson, the crazed banjo
of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the
unique country interpretations of
Jimmie Dale Gilmore's, the passion-
ate vocals and playing of David
Broza, the Southwestern poetry of
Tish Hinojosa, the three distinct
voices of Second Opinion, the Celtic
fusion of the House Band, and the
swinging sounds of the Deadbeat
As a founding member of the
legendary English folk-rock band
Fairport Convention, Richard Th-
ompson first displayed his penchant
for the less-than-obvious in his play-
ing. Simultaneously embracing and
eluding tradition, his fretwork in-
spired a generation of players seek-
ing to avoid the already cliched rock
and roll riffs. It was then, too, that
Thompson acquired his reputation
as the musical spokesperson for the
miserable and the downtrodden.
"Take the sun from my heart/Let me
learn to despise," he wrote in 1968.
After breaking from the band, he
and wife Linda Thompson created
one of the criminally overlooked mas-
terpieces of the 1970s, "I Want to
See the Bright Lights Tonight." The
album, which chronicles hope
("When I Get to the Border") and
utter despair ("Withered and Died"),
conflict ("Cavalry Cross") and rev-
elry ("I Want to See the Bright Lights
Tonight"), is held togetherby Linda's
gothic vocals and Richard's probing
guitar. Few songs have offered a
vision of the future as desolate as
"End of the Rainbow," a child's
lullaby in which Richard warns his
sleeping baby, "There's nothing to
grow up for anymore."
A series of only
slightly less-inspired
albums followed
as Richard and
Linda delved

into Sufi mysticism, producing the
magnificent "Pour Down Like Sil-
ver" among others. In 1981, their
marriage on the rocks, the duo re-
corded their final album together:
the harrowing "Shoot Out the
Lights." Though Richard has denied
that the breakup of the marriage had
anything to do with the content of the
record, it is hard to deny the painful
imagery of such songs as "A Man in
Need" ("I packed my bags / Went
down the hill/ Left my dependents /
Lying still") and "Walking on a
Wire." During the 1980s, Richard
steadily embraced a more rock-ori-
ented sound. While the albums sound
spotty in places, the period produced
many of his most concise tunes,
among them "I Still Dream" and
"Waltzing's For Dreamers."
Thompson managed a strong
comeback with 1991's "Rumor and
Sigh." A collection of tales of spurned
lovers ("Why Must I Plead"), the
sodden ("God Loves a Drunk"), the
sexually illiterate ("Read About
Love") and the obsessive record col-
lector ("Don't Sit on My Jimmy
Shands"); "Rumor and Sigh" almost
had a hit in the ultra-catchy "I Feel
So Good" ("... I'm gonna break
somebody's heart tonight"). The
evocative "1952 Vincent Black
Lightning" meanwhile proved that
Thompson still held the crown as
king of the sweeping folk landscape.
On February 8, Capitol Records
will release Thompson's latest, "Mir-
ror Blue." Taking its title from a
poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the
album features the usual blend of
humor ("MGBGT'), self-deprecia-
tion ("Brando Mumble, Mingus
Eyes"), and narrative ("Beeswing").
While it does not resonate as deeply
as "Rumor and Sigh," "Mirror Blue".
does contain some characteristically
amazing writing, as in "The Way
That It Shows," when Thompson
sings "There's a chink in your armour
/ A crack in your defenses / When
your iron will / Gives way to your

has found her own freedom in jump-
ing from genre to genre at will. On
the unauthorized "Texas Campfire
Tapes" she presented herself as a
true folkie (and now refers to the
collection as the "Texas Campfire
Thefts"). Since then, she has com-
pleted a trilogy of albums that began
with the release of the folk-meets-
country blend of "Short Sharp
Shocked," continued with the west-
ern and jazz sounds of "Captain
Swing" and concluded with the
fiddle-based tunes of "Arkansas
Traveller." While the styles on each
album differ, Shocked refers to them
as a trilogy because they clearly point
to the sources of her own music.
Each album is a nod to her influ-
ences. "Some folks say I keep chang-
ing styles. Naw," she once wrote.
"I've tried to show where my musi-
cal sources come from - Texas
songwriters like Guy Clark, uptempo
blues/swing like Bob Wills and Louie
Jordan and homemade jam like I
grew up playing with my dad and
With the trilogy complete,
helped put to bed on "Arkansas
Traveller" by the likes of Doc
Watson and Gatemouth Brown,
Uncle Tupelo, Taj Mahal and
Hothouse Flowers, Shocked
is set for another genre
leap. "I don't know

tor Lemonte Wooten on bass and
Futureman taking the Synth-Axe
Drumitar chores) have explored the
land between jazz, bluegrass, folk
and funk. On their 1990 debut, the
group announced that they were a
force to be reckoned with in the con-
temporary jazz world.
Though most of the attention ends
up focusing on Bela and his remark-
able prowess on the banjo, his
bandmates are equally talented. Vic-
tor Wooten is capable both of keep-
ing up with Bela's extended instru-
mental flights and leading the band
into territory of his own via his two-
handed playing style. Futureman,
meanwhile, whips up a percussive
din on his one-of-a-kind Drumitar
(said to have been brought back to
this time from the year 2050) which
produces rhythms on a body similar
to that of a guitar.
The Flecktones' latest, "Three
Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," is
not as exciting as 1991's "Flight of
the Cosmic Hippo," but their signa-
ture sound still shines through. "Vix
9" bops along in nine/four time and
Branford Marsalis adds a bit of spice
to the traditional Irish sounds of
"Celtic Melody." However, the use
of electronic effects becomes over-
bearing and the stab at rap on "The
Message" falls flat. But through it
all, Fleck remains one of the most
nnera~~v n n nnnnrr

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