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February 14, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-02-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 14, 1995

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JEAN TWENGE

THE ERASABLE PEN

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

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMEs NASH
Editorial Page Editors

When healthy sex fantasies
turn ominouslyforeboding

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Hash Bash
'U' must abide by judge's latest ruling

Tt's an all-too-familiar scenario: The Na-
J tional Organization for the ReformofMari-
juana Laws (NORML) applies to the Univer-
sity for a permit to hold its annual Hash Bash;
the University hesitates, and then tries to attach
a number of "fees" before issuing the permit;
NORML goes to court and sues for the right to
hold Hash Bash without paying these fees;
Judge Donald Shelton rules that the University
must extend the permit, sans fees.
Once again, Shelton has shot down the
University's attempts to stop Hash Bash by
imposing fees on the event permit. The deci-
sion, issued last month, ends the latest in a
series of legal battles between NORML and
the University. In spirit, the latest ruling ech-
oes another Shelton decision from April 1993.
At that time, the judge barred the University
from attaching "security fees" and pre-paid
clean up costs to an event permit. Ignoring that
precedent, the University tried to charge
NORML a fee of up to $9,000 for holding the
annual hemp fest. University officials should
have knownbetter, since notonly did they defy
the earlierruling, it is clear that the same judge,
faced with an identical situation, would rule in
an identical manner. Spokeswoman Lisa Baker
said she is unsure whether the University will
appeal Shelton's latest ruling. To appeal his
unambiguous decision would be a grave error,
not to mention a waste of legal fees.
The reasoning behind Shelton's decision is
based on the First Amendment right to free
speech extended to U.S. citizens. A part of
Shelton's opinion censures the University for
failing to understand "the basic premise of our
Constitution that a peaceable person exercis-

ing the right to free speech may not be re-
stricted because of... how others may react." In
a statement made last year, Baker declared,
"We don't want to prohibit free speech so long
as people are gathered in an orderly way." If
that is the case, then why is the University
trying once again to stop the Hash Bash, one of
the most visible symbols of First Amendment
rights on this campus? The University's shop-
worn argument that the Hash Bash encourages
violence and disruptions is increasingly hol-
low. Past tumultuous history aside, the last few
bashes were comparatively tame, with few
arrests for disorderly conduct.
At least some of the problems over Hash
Bash are caused by the Diag policy currently in
force. While it is more permissive this year, it
still does not allow for truly free speech. Com-
pounding this problem is an administration
that inconsistently applies the policy. As it is
written, all groups are responsible for cleaning
up after their events, but only in the case of
NORML has the issue of pre-paid fees come
up. It appears that the University is singling out
NORML for special mistreatment because of
the group's message.
Judge Shelton has once again made the
correct decision in ordering the University to
issue an event permit with no monetary strings
attached. If the University tries to force the
issue by defying Shelton's latest ruling, it will
most likely be stung again by an adverse
ruling. An appeals court would likely adhere to
Shelton's precedent by ruling against the Uni-
versity. The University should comply with
the ruling, allowing NORML to express its
First Amendment rights to free speech.

By most accounts, Jake Baker was a
fairly quiet young man who did well in
his classes and had no history of trouble. Yet
he had a secret vice: Sitting alone in front of
the glow of a computer screen, he indulged
in fantasies of sex and sodomy, rape and
torture. Baker's private vice became public
last week when he was suspended by the
University and arrested without bond by
federal authorities. He could face up to five
years in prison.
Baker's case has attracted national atten-
tion, probably because it brings up so many
difficult and important questions. As a soci-
ety we are ambivalent about all of its issues:
pornography, feminism, violence against
women, sadomasochism, free speech and
the new world of the Internet. Baker's sto-
ries were gruesome. Women were tortured,
raped and beaten. Yet in the free-speech-
gone-wild environment of the Internet, such
stuff is commonplace, if not entirely ac-
cepted. Alt.sex.stories, the newsgroup on
which Baker's story appeared, publishes
pornography of all types. Users' servers are
filled with pornographic pictures and mov-
ies depicting everything from healthy erotica
to women bound and gagged with chains.
Baker's story went farther than most, but it
was just that: a story.
Except that linguistics major Baker had
trouble thinking of names for his victims.
There he made his fatal error, using the real
name of a woman who he remembered from
his Japanese class. At that point, according
to the authorities, the story became a threat.
If he had not used her name, he would
probably be a free man.
The use of the name is serious, and
Baker was obviously not thinking clearly
when he made this mistake. But does he
deserve to go to jail for it?

The story itself probably does not vio-
late obscenity laws, according to Joan
Lowenstein, a communications lecturer who
teaches a class on First Amendment Law.
"You can buy this same kind of stuff in
Hustler," she said. Yet the gruesome acts of
violence Baker's story portrays strikes many
people as sick, and many others as frighten-
ing and dangerous. Where does free speech
end and pathology and threats begin?
Baker was suspended because he was
viewed as a threat to the University commu-
nity. But was he?
"I'm into SF (science fiction),
roleplaying, anime, & computers," Baker
says in his X-500 description, sounding like
any other University student with slightly
geeky tendencies. His stories seem to be the
classic case of the young man without much
experience with women who lets out his
frustration and fear of rejection through
violent fantasies. In their stories, they are
powerful; in real life, they are quiet guys
who spend their time calculating maximum
skill points for role-playing games. On the
other hand, one could argue that fantasy
leads to action - that sooner or later, Baker
would have acted on one of his stories.
Supposedly many mass murderers start out
by fantasizing.
But Baker's story, twisted as it is, was
intended as a sexual fantasy. Sexual fanta-
sies come in all shapes and sizes, and sado-
masochism is not uncommon. Many people
fantasize about sexual acts which they would
never want to try in real life. There are
women, for example, who have rape fanta-
sies. This does not mean the woman wants
to be raped - in the fantasy, she controls
what happens and enjoys the imagined lack
of control.
Real-life sex is not immune to these

impulses either. Although many people be-
lieve that pain and humiliation are not part
of healthy sexuality, other perfectly normal
adults indulge in sadomasochism with their
partners. "The sexuality of most male hu-
man beings contains an element of aggres-
siveness - a desire to subjugate," Freud
wrote in his Essays on Sexuality.
Like it or not, the human sexual drive has
strong ties to the aggressive impulse, and
having power or not having power can be a
turn-on. The explicitly feminist Ms. Maga-
zine once published a number of letters
from liberated women who admitted that
they liked to be spanked during sex. As long
as both parties are consenting, sadomasoch-
ism can be an exciting and healthy part of
sex. Baker's story goes beyond garden-vari-
ety S & M, but our ambivalence about
deviant sexual practices in general is evi-
dent in this case.
Baker's story was a fantasy, so he didn't
need anyone's consent but his own. How-
ever, the useofareal woman's name changed
this: She was not a consenting party in this
fictional account. Yet it was fictional and
not real ... and the debate continues on and
on in circles.
Cases like this almost always become
personal. From that vantage point, I can
come to only two conclusions. First, if the
details of Baker's story and correspondence
are enough to land him in jail, I'd be obliged
as an upstanding citizen to turn in about half
of my friends. Second, if I saw my own
name attached to such a violent and fright-
ening story, I would be upset, angry and
scared. As both a feminist and a defender of
free speech and sexual freedom, I can only
come away from the case more confused
than before, wondering if these questions
will ever be answered.

01

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11

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01

Activism gone awry
Just what are Rutgers students protesting?

Jim LA SSER SRAR AS TOAST
00 0
0e
0ULJ o
r0
ailt ( r

NoTABLE QUOTABLE
"It's time to get
off our duffs, get
on our feet and
fight for the
values we believe
In."
- Mark Brewer, newly
elected head of the
Michigan Democratic
Party, on the party's
efforts to reinvigorate
itself

The recent uprisings at Rutgers University
demonstrate the double-edged sword of
student activism on college campuses. In this
particular case, it shows how student demon-
strations can promote student awareness of
campus affairs. All too often, major issues on
campus that affect students are easily swept
under the carpet of student apathy --students
may collectively disagree with something that
occurs on campus but fail to do anything about
it for lack of incentive.
Unfortunately, the demonstrations at
Rutgers also represent how students can react
too swiftly to a hot-button issue such as racism
without carefully examining all the facts.
Rutgers President Francis Lawrence made a
jumbled statement during a speech in Novem-
ber essentially saying that minorities lack the
genetic and hereditary backgrounds to score
well on standardized tests. The statement does
not fall in line with the content of the rest of his
speech and is clearly taken out of context.
Furthermore, as the governing board ofRutgers
has duly noted, Lawrence has an outstanding
track record on minority recruitment to the
university. Lawrence has also made every ef-
fort to repudiate his statement and apologize to
all those involved.
Unfortunately, all sense of reason has been
lost in the student demonstrations. The yelling
and screaming for Lawrence's resignation have
crossed the line from open debate and dis-
course to quasi-riots. These actions have nearly

resulted in violent attempts to disrupt univer-
sity meetings on the issue of Lawrence's per-
ceived racism.
The rush to judgment by student groups to
label Lawrence as a symbol of racism and
oppression are clearly misguided and have not
taken his exemplary academic record toward
minorities on campus into account. Any at-
tempts at reconciliation by leaders or individu-
als have caused further problems with students
and faculty being labeled "sellouts" to the
"racist cause."
The demonstrations at Rutgers must be
stopped by the organizers themselves. The
emotional issue of racism is far deeper and
much more complex than one statement taken
out of context can reveal. What the students
who chose to disrupt the recent Rutgers-Mas-
sachusetts basketball game fail to realize is
that their tactics of harassment and disruption
are doing nothing to serve their greater pur-
pose of subverting racism on campus. Rather,
they are serving to destroy a man who has
already paid for his mistake.
Student groups across the country should
take notice of this sad case at Rutgers and learn
from it: Emotional demonstrations that seek
only to destroy one man do nothing to solve the
problem of racism itself. The governing board
of Rutgers is to be commended for recognizing
Lawrence's record and standing behind him.
In the best interest of the university, student
groups should do the same.

p

LETTERS

'U' actions in
Baker case
deplorable
To the Daily:
Something's rotten in the
state of this University. Many
of us have recognized for years
that the so-called code is a thinly
disguised attempt on the part of
the current administration to
extend its powers to non-aca-
demic aspects of students' lives
under the guise of giving stu-
dents more voice by allowing
them to prosecute (persecute?)
each other.
Now we see, to paraphrase
Monty Python, the power-mad-
ness inherent in the system. A
University student has the te-
merity to post a sado-masochis-
tic sex fantasy on the Internet.
He compounds his folly (and
opens his judgment to serious
question) by using the name of
another Michigan student (re-
grettably, a female: Would we
be seeing quite this response
from the administration had he
chosen another male? Is it po-
litically correct to interfere in a
homosexual fantasy, even if it
involves rape and torture? If

provisions of his own code: In
humiliating fashion the Kampus
Kops grab Baker as he is leaving
class and inform him that he is
suspended. The justification for
this presidential intervention:
According to Mary Lou Antieau,
Duderstadt invoked powers
granted him by the regents to
deal with a "psychological emer-
gency."
This is almost too rich. The
two months that passed between
the post and the suspension with-
out Baker doing anything other
than spewing his socially "un-
usual" sexual imagination in a
public place suggest that he is
hardly in a state of emotional
emergency. It appears he has
never contacted the female stu-
dent in question. Indeed, she
would be blithely unaware that
her name had been used in the
story, had the administration
perhaps exercised more com-
mon sense than it did political
expediency.
Without debating the wis-
dom or taste Baker exercised in
making his Internet entry, I sug-
gest that neither foolishness nor
vulgar taste are crimes, that Mr.
Baker has not received due pro-
cess under the code because the

'U' overreacts
to Baker post
To the Daily:
I have followed the story of a
University of Michigan student
who is on the verge of being
expelled from the University for
posting an article which was a
description of a sado-masochis-
tic fantasy involving a fellow stu-
dent on an Internet newsgroup.
I have not read the article in
question, the subject not being
my cup of tea, but Iam perplexed
and disappointed by the Univer-
sity response to it. It is my under-
standing that the student in ques-
tion had not made and is not
accused of having made any
overfly threatening acts. His only
guilt is that of writing down and
publicly expressing a fantasy.
It is a matter of historical fact
that the Internet newsgroups have
been largely self-policing, with
people freely expressing views
and other people commenting on
those views in public forums or
privately, through electronic
mail. This free and frank ex-
change of opinion is what has
been attracting public and lead-
ing to the phenomenal growth of
the Internet. Actions such as your

ever pressure in can to bear in thi.
case so that the right to express
oneself freely is not infringed
now or in the future.
Oleg Rovner
Poway, Calif.
Honor Marley
To the Daily:
Last Monday, Feb. 6,.was th
birthday of a "Legend.". In pas
years, the Daily has printed a
tribute to Bob Marley on his birth-
day. I was very dissappointed by
the lack of one this year -Bob
Marley 50th birthday.
Bob Marley is not just a dead
pop music star. He is not Jim
Morrison, not Janis Joplin, and
not Jimi Hendrix , he is morO
than these people. Although these
musicians and rebels helped to
define a period in history and
rock music, Bob Marley's legacy
transcends time and music. He
was a poet and a messenger. He
wasthe voice for all the oppressed
of the world, and his lyrics con-
tinue to hold meaning today. The
words, not the music, are at th*
base of Bob Marley's songs. The
catchy beats and melodies of his
music were his way of getting
people to listen to his mesage.
Until his death in 1981 he

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