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April 13, 1995 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-13
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4 - The Michigan Daily - Best of Ann Arbor - Thursday, April 13, 1995

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Life is a highway, and the signs say 'College ends -1 year'

TheMihian aiy1

Better Nate Than Never

stomach rolls over before I even enter
the Union. A good time can be had on
a weekend night without going to a
party or a movie theater.
While classes have become more
interesting ("Business and Government
311" vs. "Social Science Class I Have
No Interest In 101"), I have become
complacent in many of them. Papers
merit only reflection on the topic until
the day before they are due. MIRLYN
is now a source for book references.
not books. More and more classes have
become candidates for skipping.
Grade-point averages no longer need
to be calculated on a daily basis.
Just when life seems to be on
cruise control, you hit a speed bump.
Friends begin talking about intern-
ships, jobs and future plans. Others
are even graduating. A big, yellow
"FREEWAY ENDS - 1 MILE" sign
appears, although it says "COLLEGE
ENDS - 1 YEAR." Then, just when
life seems to be hurtling along like
the bus in "Speed" toward the gap in

the overpass, the phone rings.
t It's my sister. She just got another
letter from the University and she wants
to know if she should live in Martha
Cook or South Quad next year. I ex-
plain to her what Martha Cook is and
she says thanks, she'll check the "South
Quad" box.
This forces me to look in the rear-
view mirror of my Volkswagen Jetta
and reflect on my trip from the famil-
iar, dirt roads of St. Clair, Mich., to the
asphalt-lined, congested streets of Ann
Arbor, a journey my sister is destined
to make this fall.
Upon arrival almost three years
ago, the Ann Arbor culture seemed a
little foreign to this St. Clair native.
While there are no coffee or bagel
shops in St. Clair, there are no coun-
try music stations in Ann Arbor. Con-
versations on Congress and foreign
wars are drowned out by comments
on the weather and the recent perfor-
mance of the high-school football or
basketball team.

Coffee shops and bagel outlets
aside, the many fast-food restaurants
were a welcome contrast to St. Clair's
one: Burger King. And you can't go
into the Whopper palace without next-
door neighbor Loretta asking how my
mom, dad and sister are doing and
whether or not we'll be over to get
some corn this week. You have to go
one city north to get to eat at
McDonald's. Making a "run for the
border" to Taco Bell entails driving two
cities north.
Another discovery that stunned my
freshman eyes was the much-touted
University computing system. The
most recent technological improve-
ment to hit St. Clair was direct-dial
long-distance service. In plain English,
you can now make a long-distance
phone call without the help of an op-
erator. Internet surfing is a hobby less
common among St. Clair High School
students, or "Saints," than among
NUBS hackers.
I was quite impressed when I first

visited the Grad Library to research
some paper or other. The on-line in-
dexes and halls of academic books
and journals stand in stark contrast to
the St. Clair Public Library with its
quasi-alphabetized card catalog and
half-dozen aisles of mostly romance
novels and home-repair manuals.
Even such simple tasks as paying
for groceries at Kroger with an ATM
card cannot be completed back home.
The grocery store's cashiers, many of
whom graduated from high school
with me, have to punch in the price
of each item on the cash register. In
my new home, none of the cashiers
sat behind me in French class. I no
longer know everyone in my class.
When I get my diploma next year, it
won't be with people I have known
since nursery school.
While it's good to get away from
the potholes and mud that comprise
the dirt roads, you also miss the fields
and barns on the side of the road and,
most of all, the people you pass by.

\ I
There comes a point in time when
a person finds his niche, when he has
finally come to terms with his new en-
vironment. I believe I have finally
grown accustomed to college life in
Ann Arbor.
I know how to get to North Cam-
pus (although this usually involves U.S.
23 or Ann Arbor-Saline Road). My

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Jump
Scott Plagenhoef
The motion picture studio in Rob-
ert Altman's "The Player" has as its
slogan, "Movies ... now more than
ever." For the purpose of the fictitious
studio the slogan is, of course, self-
absorption; a reassurance' that what
they do is important. Altman's choice
of the slogan is to indicate this ego-
ism which blankets the studio and the
Hollywood industry. Yet the slogan
may not be all that fictitious.
Over the past two years as a film
critic the most frequent criticism I
and most of my fellow writers have
received is that we are too negative;
that we take the films we review too
seriously; that we don't like com-
edies; that film is intended to enter-
tain and, by God, we should just
loosen up.
I love the movies. I find no plea-
sure in having to review a poor film
and even less pleasure in having to
see win. Life is too short to see bad
movies. Frankly, a bad film is even
slightly humiliating to me. It means
that an institution I cherish and be-
lieve in is failing.
Over the course of the past two
decades, the quality of films has de-
clined, and over the course of the past
year or so, the quality of comedies
has as well. Trends come and go and
we are currently entrenched in a
"dumb guy" phase. I find it difficult
to believe that I need to loosen up
because I don't find (take your pick:
Jim Carrey, Pauly Shore, Sinbad,
Chris Farley, Adam Sandler) getting
kicked, punched, hit, bit, in the
cajones amusing even the first time,
let alone when this pie-in-the-face of
the '90s is recycled in these films
over and over.
Film is much more than that.
Film, let alone, music, art, theater, lit-
erature, all of the humanities, are not
simply entertainment. They can be.;
They should be entertaining, but not
at the expense of intelligence. They
have the power to enrich lives in so
many ways than a temporary numb-
ing of the pain. Two facts which I
have previously shared in this columnI
which should combined stand as
proof of the importance of popularI
culture are that, more American
households have television than in-
door plumbing, and that the film in-
dustry is this nation's second leading1
export. This is not simply entertain-

Movies are
ment.
Television is our national window
at ourselves. It is our looking glass.
Film is our reflection to the remain-
der of the world. We have no state
religion. We have no national lan-
guage. There is no prototypical
American. If there is, it is television.
In the most diverse country on the
planet, and geographically one of the
most expansive, television is our
glue. If popular culture is sought only
as entertainment than we can be de-
fined as the country who seeks to be
entertained rather than think. The
country that prefers to watch a war
than reflect upon it. Why question the
means, if it makes for great viewing?
The country that needs to see because
it can't think analytically or ab-
stractly.
Escapism is so cherished in this
country. This attitude is fostered by
the obscene amount of outlets for en-
tertainment we now possess as we
approach the new century. This turn-
ing inward of our concerns and our
energies to only our lives is reflected
even in the rise of conservatism. A
movement if not fueled at least com-
pounded and made cohesive by talk
radio, a branch of popular culture. A
movement that now seeks to elimi-
nate a minority portion of the fund-
ing for the so-called higher arts. They
aren't important they feel. It's a free
market they say.
Ironically as the world becomes
an exponentially smaller place by the
decade, our nation's inward turn re-
flects a stubborn and foolish pride.
Our self-importance may manifest as
a refusal to keep pace with the times.
The world, which has previously only
been connected in two large-scale in-
cidents of destruction, is now begin-
ning to finally become constructively
cohesive. NAFTA, GATT, the United
Nations, the internet and information
superhighway and, yes, the export of
American film and television to
nearly-every corner of the globe are
all involved in the process. We have
the opportunity, mainly because these
connections which are being made at
a grass roots rather than governmen-
tal level, the cultural links being
formed, are done so in spoken or
printed English, to be the leaders of
the advancement into the 21st cen-
tury. An advancement being led by
popular culture.
We choose not to because we are
Americans, dammit, and we are stub-
born. We don't want the United Na-
tions dictating our policies. We don't

our culture ...
want cohesion with non-Christian time
nations. We are the greatest nation on coul
the planet and don't need any one else from
around to alter that. coin
This is at least the conservative They
viewpoint. Yet conservatism is by than
definition, and this according to poin
Webster's, "the tendency to prefer an duc
existing or traditional situation to prog
change." Liberalism is on the other attitu
hand, again according to Noah, "a ... worl
philosophy based on belief in tury,
progress." I recently challenged a A
conservative friend to name one great intot
thinker in history who was in his life- as al

U

M

coffee " Cafe Espresso Royale
burgers e Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger
french fries * McDonalds
pizza " Cottage Inn Pizza
hot dogs " Red Hot Lovers
wings * Mister Spots
cheap beer * Touchdown Cafe
bar drinks * Ricks
ice cream/frozen yogurt e Stucci's
chipati * Pizza House
sandwiches * Amers
subs * Subway
cookies * Mrs. Peabody's
italian food * Gratzi
middle eastern food * All Baba
chinese food * Dinersty
korean food * Kana
mexican food * Tio's
vegetarian food * Seva
deli * Zingerman's
greasy spoon + Fleetwood Diner
sports bar * Touchdown Cafe
breakfast * Angelo's
lunch *Red Hawk Bar & G ll
dinner * The Earle
take-out * Olnersty
cafe * Rendezvous Cafe
late-night munchies * Taco Bell
place for folks to take you * Gandy Dancer
romantic evening " Sweet Lorraine's
dorm cafeteria e Bursley
best overall restaurant * Cottage Inn
best overall bar * Ashley's

conservative. The cli
d do was Machiavelli. A
Jesus to Luther, Socrate
were progressive for t
y were pointed to the futt
satisfied with the pres
t is: Conservatism has n
ed anything but a fa
ress. It has never fost
ude except empty pride
d seeks to step into the r
will we follow?
knd as the world seeks
the new century popular
ong with free trade, or

now n

Y{ Y
EA; W' .S

recoras Tower
used records " Wazoo
men's clothing * Bivouac
women's clothing " Urban Outfitters
thrift/used clothing " Value Village
bicycle sales/repair " Great Lakes
books * Borders
textbooks " Michigan Book and Supply
used books " Ulrich's
haircut Supercuts
first-run theater " Showcase
video store " Video Watch
liquor/party store " Village Corner
photocopying Kinkos
sporting good " State Street Sports
groceries * Meier
florist " Normandie Flowers
travel agency " Council Travel
magazines " Decker Drugs
michigan items (sweats, mugs, etc.) * Moe's
posters " Union Poster Sale

MSA member " Amy Andriekus
speaker/lecturer in past year " Dhali Lama &
Marcia Brady
computing center " Angell Hall
student group/organization * AIESEC
fraternity to party with " Phi Delta Theta
sorority to party with " Alpha Phi
co-op " Nakumara Co-op
ugliest building " LSA
bathroom * Union
lecture hall " Chem 1800

This
is your
brain.

local band " Bucket
dancing spot e Nectarine
concert in the past year " Sarah McLaughlin
radio station * WIQB
place to go when in an altered state * Arb
best dating stuff
place to meet a mate " Class
pick-up line * "Can I borrow your notes?"
rejection line " "Sorry. I don't like you."
place for first date " State Theater
place for secret rendezvous " Arb
idea for unusual date " Oasis Hot Tub
"date movie" " Pulp Fiction

professor " Don Kubit
course " Com. 290 News Writing
blow-off course e Com. 103 Intro to Com.
residence hall " West Quad
sports team e Men's Hockey
Michigan athlete " Ray Jackson
library * Graduate
place to study " Law
place to work out " CCRB
campus tradition " Naked Mile
cause/issue/movement " Hash Bash
activist group * NOW
protest slogan " "No means NO"

If you're coming home to West Michigan for th
Grand Valley State University provides expande
in Allendale and Grand Rapids, and Centers in
Need more credits? Schedule yourself o
not offered by your college or university? You do
see the opportunity this presents.
You can: Register as a GVSU guest stud
the classes you want because tuition is affordal
versity faculty, not graduate students.
You cannot: Transfer credits your schoc
check with them about credit transfer, then cal
listing and registration information.
It's your summer break. What are you
Talk about a no-brainer
GRANDM.
STATE UNIVn
An affirnative action, equal opportunity institution. Accredited by the No

best of the rest
excuse for late paper e Computer problems
excuse for cutting class a Weather
fad " Corduroys
slang * "Wassup?"
thing about A2 " Freaks
restaurant for the drunk . Taco Bell

SPECIALIZING IN BLACK
HAIR CARE
* Custom Hairstyling * Haircuts
*Spiral Perms " Relaxers

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10% off all chemical treatment
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I

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