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March 14, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-03-14

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

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I JEAN TWENGE

Tm ERASABLE PEN

10

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

I I

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

Memories ofpolyester
in a plai4, plaid world

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.
Regterntal shuff
Student interests at stake in board overhaul

After 70 years of the same procedures, the
University Board of Regents is propos-
ing to alter its mode of operation. On the
whole, the suggested changes will make the
board more efficient -- and more important,
increase accessibility. For example, pressing
issues will be discussed at the Thursday por-
tion of the meeting, while routine business and
voting will take place at the Friday meeting.
This will allow concerned students tobe present
during discussion of issues that most affect
them, without sitting through dull, less rel-
evant business transactions.
The eight regents will divide into two com-
mittees, one dealing with financial issues and
the other with policy issues. This is a natural
division, as some regents have expertise in
certain areas. Committees will enable the re-
gents to closely examine issues without bog-
ging down each regent with an information
overload. Currently, regents have to prepare
for meetings by reading inches-thick reports
- preventing them from concentrating prop-
erly on most issues because of the sheer vol-
ume of information. The new system will
enable each issue to receive proper attention
from the board. However, valid concerns
exist about possible violation of the Michi-
gan Open Meetings Act. A quorum of five
regents at a meeting is required to invoke the
law for that gathering. Since each committee
will consist of only four members, the re-
gents could circumvent the act - and keep
the meetings closed. While the University
has assured the public that the committees
are not decision-making bodies, they will

make recommendations to the rest of the
regents based on what is determined in com-
mittee meetings. The regents outside of the
recommending committee may not have as
much information as the committee mem-
bers on a particular issue - meaning that
both committees will have a strong influence
over what is decided at the official meetings.
The committee meetings must adhere to the
spirit of the Open Meetings Act and be open
to the public, as their advice is of great
consequence to students.
Another potential change that will affect
students is the structure of public comments.
The present procedure gives up to 12 students
a maximum of five minutes each to speak to
the silent circle of regents who are roped off
from the audience. While no specific modifi-
cations have been suggested, it is clear that this
format is sorely in need of improvement. Re-
gent Rebecca McGowan (D-Ann Arbor) com-
mented, "I think it's dreadful the way it's done.
... I hate the fact that it appears to be at the
moment the only way the student leadership
can communicate with the regents." Public
comments must take place in a receptive atmo-
sphere, not an intimidating one. Moreover,
creating a student spot on the board is impera-
tive. Student concerns must have a legitimate
voice at meetings.
Although these changes appear to be drab
procedural overhauls, student interests are at
stake. Any changes that are implemented must
be made with the goals of increasing student
access to the board and improving the deci-
sion-making process that affects them.

G4 by can't things always work
T Tout perfectly in a half-hour like
they did on the Brady Bunch?" asked one
character in the grunge movie Reality Bites.
"Because Mr. Brady died of AIDS,"
his friend answers.
Robert Reed did indeed die of AIDS, a
fate and a disease that we would have found
unfathomable as children, coming home
from school to watch the show whose plots
could be neatly summarized in one sen-
tence: Jan gets glasses, Marsha has two
dates, Peter's voice changes, Marsha and
Greg fight over the attic room.
It's this simplicity and optimism that
made the show so popular with kids --
especially us cynical Generation X kids, old
before our time. Everything around us was
chaos, but on Three's Company, the Brady
Bunch, the Jeffersons, One Day at a Time,
the Dukes of Hazzard and Scooby-Doo,
things were simple, just the way we liked
them. Even Schoolhouse Rock managed to
reduce American history and government
to chorus, verse and cartoon.
Going back and watching your favorite
childhood shows is a strange experience.
How could you not have noticed that Mr.
Farley's lapels were the size of New Jersey?
What merit did could you possibly found in
such a predictable, inane show?
When I was seven, my favorite show
was "G-Force" (or "Battle of the Planets")
- the saga of a group of bellbottomed

kids who put on capes, jumped into their
fiery phoenix plane, and went off to save
the world. I hadn't seen the show in nearly
15 years until I came across it on the
Cartoon Network a few weeks ago - the
kids were attempting to rescue Earth from
the scourge of a race of giant flowers that
attacked women (but not men), wrecked
cities and could not be destroyed by bomb-
ing. The show's scientist finally discov-
ered that a drop of his blood could kill the
flowers - they wouldn't attack men be-
cause (dramatic pause) the male Y chro-
mosome was poison to them! So, he said,
what they needed to do was ... drop a "Y
chromosome bomb" on the flowers! (I am
not making this up.)
At 7, I could not have caught the deli-
cious symbolism in such a plot device. I was
probably just glad they won - and I had
the reassurance that every show, every
problem, they would win. At the same
time the reality of masculinity and war
settled somewhere in my TV-crazed brain.
Watching the Brady Bunch Movie is a
similarly strange experience. Here are these
kids whose problems are always trivial,
who see the world through entirely innocent
eyes. The movie is a parody of itself, center-
ing its predictable plot around the Bradys
even as it demonstrates how ridiculous they
are.
Yet the people at school keep falling in
love with the Brady kids. They know

they're square, they know they're a little
weird, yet they're so attractive and happy
that the grungers can't resist them. There
are messages here too - of the impor-
tance of appearance, the seductiveness of
shallow words, the attraction of "normal,"
bland American values and living.
Deep in our cynical hearts, our child-
hood shows are life as we sometimes wish
it would be. Scooby-Doo, for instance, is an
amazingly boring show - a slow-paced
cartoon where the characters always wear
the same clothes and solve the same mys-
tery over and over again. "Scooby and
Shaggy must have been on drugs," one
friend of mine says, "Cuz they always had
the munchies, and they kept seeing things."
But in our childhood world, Scooby and
Shaggy were just wimps who were scared
of a ghost we knew wasn't there -a ghost
who was just some mean old person who
wanted money or power.
Our fears are no longer quite so simple.
We may go back and laugh at our childhood
shows, wondering how they could have
possibly been entertaining. Then we turn on
90210 and immerse ourselves in the prob-
lems of beautiful people, or Star Trek to
immerse ourselves in the technological prob-
lems of smart people in the near-perfect
future of humankind. Somewhere, deep in
the television screen, we still wish for that
world where the sun is always shining and
the Astroturf lawn neverneeds to be mowed.

0

.. ........ ... - I'll -

JIM LAssER

'

SHARP AS TOAST

NOTABLE QUOTABLE

Buck stops here
Clinton should prevent IRA fund-raising

Last week, President Clinton authorized a
three-month entry visa to Gerry Adams,
leader of Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein politi-
cal party. Clinton also invited Adams to a St.
Patrick's Day reception at the White House
and - distressingly - allowed the Sinn Fein
leader to solicit funds in the United States.
While there is no disagreement in allowing
Adams to enter the United States and meet
with President Clinton, it is a dangerous mis-
take to allow him to fund-raise in this country.
Sinn Fein is the political wing of the Irish
Republican Army (IRA), an internationally
infamous terrorist group. During the past year,
Sinn Fein has been involved in peace negotia-
tions with Britain in an attempt to bring some
stability to Northern Ireland. The party was
influential in making the IRA declare the cease-
fire that helped bring about the negotiations. In
this capacity, Gerry Adams, as leader of Sinn
Fein, has been an important figure in the peace
process in Northern Ireland and his meeting
with President Clinton acknowledges that.
Adams is slowly being accepted as an official
representative of Catholic interests in North-
ern Ireland.
However, one fact remains: Gerry Adams

has close ties to the IRA and money collected
for Sinn Fein has found its way to the terrorist
group in the past. The IRA has yet to disarm
itself and yet to renounce violence. It is danger-
ous and nearsighted to allow Adams to raise
money in the United States - money that
could find its way to a group that is involved in
assassinations, drug dealing, arms trafficking
and the bombing of innocent civilians. There is
little question about the IRA's terrorist creden-
tials or Sinn Fein's connection to them.
As a rule of principle, President Clinton
must do all he can to prevent terrorism, in this
nation or in countries around the globe. Re-
cent events have made former terrorists like
Gerry Adams and Yasser Arafat into legiti-
mate peace representatives. However, this
new reach for peace does not absolve them of
their pasts.
Clinton should help the peace process in
Northern Ireland and other places by lending
an ear. However, there is no reason to allow
Adams to raise money in the United States.
This country has always maintained a strong
position against terrorism and it is a grave
mistake for President Clinton to tiptoe around
that stance.

Unruly mobs
stifle debate
on Prop. 187
To the Daily:
I was thoroughly appalled at
the behavior of my fellow stu-
dents at the discussion on Propo-
sition 187 at Rackham on March
8. I went to the discussion in the
hopes that I would be able to
make my own informed decision
about Prop 187. However, I was
preempted by thugs in the audi-
ence who took it upon themselves
to let "mob rule" dictate by con-
stantly yelling over speech that
they disagreed with, to the point
where the audience was not able
to hear the speaker at all. The
other common practice was for
audience members to step up to
the microphone, ostensibly to ask
the panel a question, but instead
took the opportunity to spout off
about their own political views at
the expense of allowing the panel
intelligent discourse about the
issues at hand.
More often than not, a panel
speaker would also be interrupted
by an audience member at the
microphone and when the panel
speaker would attempt to con-
tinue speaking, someone would
yell "Free Speech!" apparently
to imply that the audience had
free speech rights, but not the
panel member.
There was also an inherent

event. But hypocrisy abounds,
and I would remind the student
body that fascism was for the
forceful suppression of speech,
ideas and individual thought;
the audience perpetrated this im-
morality at-the discussion -- at
a supposed liberal university.
Steve Schaller
Rackham graduate student
Writer unfairly,
criticizes MSA
candidate
To the Daily:
I had to write after reading
Ian Lester rip into Fiona Rose's
statement that Flint and Sam are
two white males ("Candidates
Enlightened," 3/9/95). After
reading the opening love-fest
with which Ian started his letter,
he probably would never be-
lieve that journalists at the Daily
could ever take statements out
of context.
Ian attempts to accuse Fiona
of being "prejudiced" and "nar-
row-minded" because she hap-
pened to point out that she was a
woman and the Daily decided
not to print any of herother views
(although Ian seems to know
them anyway, since he bets "dol-
lar to a dozen" that "she has no
problems" with Flint's platform).
He also tries to state that Flint and
Sam can understand something
regardless of what they look like.

Mcard not an
advantage to
students
To the Daily:
When I first heard about
Mcard, I thought it was a good
idea. I figured there really
couldn't be much, if anything,
wrong with expanded purchas-
ing power. The idea is to let stu-
dents have an Entr6e Plus-type
debit account at "off-campus"
stores such as McDonald's and
Ulrich's. It seems good for two
reasons: the expanded usage of
the debit system and the end of
what is basically an unfair mo-
nopoly by Union merchants,
Michigan Union Bookstore, etc.
Then, the card was unveiled
recently; the details were re-
leased, and my feeling toward
Mcard reversed 180 degrees.
The original idea that I held is
still a good one, but Mcard
doesn't carry it out.
The only people at an advan-
tage with Mcard vs. Entr6e Plus
are those with First of America
checking accounts, and even
they have a big problem. Unless
you have a checking account,
you use CashStripe. This means
you go to a machine, insert the
card, insert money (up to $50),
and you're on your way with the
money on the card instead of in
your pocket.
It's much like the copy card
system at the University librar-

count. Finally, Mcard is at least
an advantage to these people.
WRONG. BankStripe can't be
used at any fast-food restaurants
such as Taco Bell or Wendy's.
I hope that all University stu-
dents carefully consider Mcard
before leaping on this band-
wagon. Yes, the idea.is good,
but, as students, we should not
participate in Mcard. Make sure
the University knows that what
they have done isn't enough of
an improvement on the existing
system. Don't let the flashy new
Mcard pass off as something it
is not, an advantage to us.
Thomas C. Huber
LSA sophomore
Greenberg
neglected duty

Making amends with Major

If any consolation can be found in the
diplomatic mess arising from President
Clinton's red-carpet treatment of Gerry
Adams, it is this:
Britain has renewed pressure on Sinn Fein
and the Irish Republican Army to "decom-
mission" their weapons. And Clinton, stung
by the diplomatic fallout from his invitation,
appears willing to join forces with British
Prime Minister John Major to pressure the
IRA. Britain demands a total decommission-
ing of weapons as a prerequisite to negotia-
tions with Sinn Fein.

permitting the Adams to raise funds here.
Major has urged the Irish republicans to
scrap the arms they used to fight British rule
in Northern Ireland during the long civil war.
The prime minister wrote a letter to Clinton
in which he urged the president to apply
pressure to Adams to disarm. Major's pro-
posal is a needed step to mend the wounds
between Britain and the United States.
It is unfortunate that the first overtures in
the wake of Clinton's invitation have origi-
nated in London. Clinton blundered badly by
slighting Britain and coddling a leader affili-

To the Daily:
I would like to respond to
Craig Greenberg's letter (3/13/
95). The recalling of his chair-
manship was not in any way
politically motivated. Mr.
Greenberg in his history as chair
NEVER, called a meeting,
people showed interest but were
never included. One of the most
important campus issues is on
hiatus because everyone knows
the regents will not address the
issue anytime soon. We also
have two seniors (Greenberg
and Julie Neenan) who although
have put an admirable amount
of energy have involved no one

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