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January 13, 1994 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-01-13

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Rape is one of the most terrifying
.rimes: because it is violent, because
it is sexual and because it is random.
A single crime like a rape can throw a
community up in arms and send it
searching for someone to blame. But
who can you blame when the rapist is

at large, and when the problem of
rape persists at an alarming rate?
In December, when a University
student was raped outside her South
* Quad dormitory while loading laun-
dry into her car late at night, the
community placed the blame on one
man: Director of University Public
Safety Leo Heatley. Heatley became
the center of a firestorm of criticism.
He was cast as the poster-child of a
seemingly inept police organization
and a stoic, uncaring University. Why?
Because Heatley, searching for any-
thing productive he could say to a
frightened, outraged community, did
what any good cop would do: he told
women to be safe, to act smart and to
protect themselves.
Early criticism of Heatley arose
because of a misquote in the Daily. In
a December 1 story that ran the day
after the rape occurred, the Daily
quoted Heatley as saying, "[The at-
tack could have been prevented] if
she had walked with someone, if she
had called out escort service."
Actually, this wassaid in response
to a question about what women can
do to protect themselves from being
raped. The reporter who took down
the quote later said the words prob-
ably were not exactly as Heatley had
said them, and that the statement,
which was drawn from a half-hour-
long television interview, was prob-
ably taken out of context. The first
clause of the sentence - the victim-
blaming, if you will - was written
and placed in brackets by the
newspaper to clarify Heatley's state-
Regardless, it is clear that
Heatley's intent was not to blame
anybody for what happened, but to
offer safety precautions to help pre-
vent.future rapes. AsubsequentDaily
article made the Department of Pub-
lic Safety's position clear.
Nevertheless, many students were
not interested in understanding
Heatley's intent, nor were they inter-
ested in educating the community
about the merit of his advice; instead,
they seized on Heatley's comments
as political fodder to attack the "rape
culture" that insists on "blaming the
"Maybe if the men of the world
would take responsibility for their
actions and not blame women for
rape," wrote first year students Becky
Hollenbeck and Abby Goodman in a
letter to the Daily, "this could have
been prevented."
At a candlelight vigil and at a Diag
protest against rape before Winter
Break, speakers voiced similar
themes, and launched venomous at-
tacks against the Department of Pub-
lic Safety.and blamed the University
for its failure to insure a safe cam-
In the face this criticism, the Uni-
versity took the only acceptable re-
sponse: it criticized itself even more.
President Duderstadt said the Univer-
sity must investigate "how we could
do better to make the campus safer."
Vice President for Student Affairs
Maureen Hartford called for better
lighting, education and increased es-
cort services, despite the University's
extraordinary efforts to improve cam-
pus lighting and escort services in

: , ,

t seems no calendar year is ever complete without the
annual panoply of requisite "Best of ..." lists from the
previous year. As sure as the Red Sox win a World
Series every 76 years, all this "Best of ..." rigmarole
repeats itself every late December/early January like
clockwork-the same pretentious opinions, the same hokey
predictable pre-Oscar picks, the same tasteless jokes.
Yet 1993 proved itself to be something of an anomaly.
Floods and fires aside, it was a vintage year on all fronts.
Robert James Waller and negahunk Fabio replaced Henry
James and William Faulkner in the American literary canon.
\ :
The Pistons made their first shrewd deal since 1990 in
finding a suitable replacement for Isiah. And duckpin bowl-
ing scores were higher than ever.
But if 1993 deserves any final epithet at all, it was most
certainly the year of the film. Sure, there were more busts
than even Dan Aykroyd could point a finger at, but for every
"Body of Evidence" and "Weekend at Bernie's 2," there was
a virtually limitless treasure chest ofcinematicjewels. Chock
full of vindictive T-Rexes, meticulous butlers, kick-ass fed-
eral marshalls, presidential assassins and crooning mariachis,
last year's winners were as diverse as a chef salad tossed to
ambrosial perfection.
Five films stood head and shoulders above the rest,

Still, each
managed to-
touch a nerve in every
earnest movie-goer. More to
the point, whether or not we enjoyed
our own painful interpretations of these in-
variably misanthropic, cynical pictures is aca-
demic. The simple fact remains that when Robert
Altman, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson,
Robert Duvall, Ben Kingsley, Steven Spielberg,
Harrison Ford or Tommy Lee Jones do their best
work even the most sanctimonious of hearts have
to applaud. Disliking characters or the scenarios
they are confronted with are no longer legitimate
grounds for disliking a picture. Indeed, film is
finally art.
Of the five, "Falling Down" is the darkhorse.
Its somewhat ambivalent critical reception un-
dermined the bipolar chemistry between Duvall
and Michael Douglas. Yes, Douglas' character
may have been a xenophobic lunatic, but skep-
tics wrongly dismissed D-fens' prejudices as
intolerant pride. Such a simple, moralistic reac-
tion hardly befits this searingly provocativejour-
ney into a dilapidated society.
If as nothing else, "Falling Down" will go
down in the annals of motion picture history as
the pre-cursor to Robert Altman's mammoth
epic "Short Cuts." Based on the writings of the
late Raymond Carver, this "Nashville-esque"
visual montage wove 11 distinct subplots into
three-and-a-half hours of perfectly coherent film
making. Replete with an extra-healthy dose of
bare human flesh, Altman vowed that he would
only show female nudity if it was balanced out
with male nudity. Huey Lewis, besides being a

surprisingly strong screen pres-
ence, nipped out "Bad Lieutenant"'s
Harvey Keitel for Best Penis. What
the washed-up pop star lacks in length,
he more than makes up for in sheer
Speaking of sex, 1993 was also some-
thing of an anomaly in regards to the sin that
dare not speak its name. Such perverted flesh-
oriented films as "Body of Evidence," "Boxing
Helena" and "Indecent Proposal" were unani-
mously deplored by critics and audiences alike.
Instead, this year was characterized in part by
Altman's asexual desensitizing of the human
anatomy and also by that quintessentially British
Sexual subtlety championed in large part by
Anthony Hopkins in "The Remains of the Day."
In the way of raw dramatics, the chemistry
between the flamboyant Emma'Thompson and
the figuratively impotent Hopkins was second to
none. "Day"'s self-consciously meticulous in-
sistence upon detail rendered the picture too
engaging to dislike. This was a particularly
banner year for Thompson as well. Her rave
performances in the upbeat "Much Ado About
Nothing" and in the so-so "Peter's Friends,"
coupled with last year's Oscar for "Howard's
End" have established Thompson as the most
divine screen presence since Audrey Hepburn.
The most surprising film released this year
came from Steven Spielberg in the guise of
"Schindler's List." Spielberg, who, thanks to the
largest grossing film in motion picture history
("Jurassic Park"), may have single-handedly out-
netted IBM, finally finds himself in the running
See FILM, Page 8

.. .ry'' '


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