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February 20, 1997 - Image 17

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-02-20

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10B hetchigarnDaily Weeken Thursraymebrry 20,1997



The Michigan Da#Weekeng Mag

;i Sound and Fury

Three days a week, I teach a high school
creative writing class. Last Thursday,
when we came to a lesson on dialogue, I
chose Ernest Hemingway as an example.
My students are a sharp bunch, and they'd
all heard of Hemingway before, though
they'd never read him.
I must admit, I was a'little disap-
pointed - but certainly not surprised.
Nobody seems to teach Hemingway
these days.
Hemingway has made a minor resur-
facing this winter. Unfortunately, it's
because of the goopy Sandra Bullock-
Chris O'Donnell film "In Love and
War." Sadly, it might be the closest
thing some people will ever come to
reading Hemingway these days.
After 60 credits in writing and litera-
ture at the University, I've read only one
Hemingway novel for class. I've taken
several specifically "American" litera-
ture classes, and I've read scores of

short stories as assignments - nothing
by Hemingway.
Methinks something anti-Hemingway
is spinning through academia.
Of course, this comes as no surprise to
most people. As literary studies become
increasingly politicized, the tendency is
to shy away from reading the dead, white
males; especially dead, white males who
were often mean, miserable and close to
misogynistic. It's an understandable
trend, but a lamentable one as well.
When I first set foot into a University
classroom, Hemingway held a position in
my heart that bordered on idolatry. To me,
Hemingway represented all that a writer
should be; and though my opinion of him
has tempered considerably, I still feel a
slight twisting pain in my side when I hear
folks mock the great Papa Hem.
And this mocking happens a lot,
especially from other writers. Vladimir
Nabokov, a writer I like very much, said

he read Hemingway in the 1940s -
"Something about bells, balls and bulls,
and (I) loathed it." But it's not just writ-
ers who poke fun and make sport of
Hem. It's my own friends.
While studying in Cambridge a few
summers ago, it seemed I had died and
gone to Heaven: Around every coner,
down every corridor, people were talk-
ing about books. Bliss. That is, until
some brand new acquaintances asked
me to pick my favorite writer.
I cleared my throat.Took a sip of stout
Cracked my knuckles. "Hemingway," I
said. "I guess it's Hemingway."
A few snickers. A chortle.
"Hemingway?" a voice sneered, "It
I sulked in the comer as the crowd
turned it's attention to a Marxist criti-
cism of Aphra Behn or something. I fin-
ished my pint and walked heavily up the
steps to my room.
"What do they know?" I thought.
Hemingway is a good and fine and
clean writer. It is a good and perfect
night and I will fish in the morning. I
will catch many fish and afterward I
can fry them and maybe find a woman
to come with me, a woman like the one

I met in Padua during the war.
It' these reveries that get me into
But in my mind, Hemingway is one
of the most important voices that has
ever howled across America. More
important than the Beats, more impor-
tant than his Lost Generation peers,
more important in many ways than the
first American writers like Emerson
and Dickinson.
In terms of craft, few writers have
made so deep an impression on the liter-
ature of our country. Imagine dialogue
without Hemingway's influence, imag-
ine sparse clean narratives, imagine the
slew of postmodern tales of alienation
and grief. If you doubt the influence of
Hemingway, try to imagine the literary
world had Hemingway never existed.
Imagine writers like Kesey and Carver,
Mailer and McInerney, without

2 1____________

Hemingway's influence.
Admittedly, Hemingway was at his
worst when writing about women. His
female characters are shallow, and the
tone with which he treats them is often
condescending. But rather than see that
as proof of a misogynistic streak, I like
to think of it as a flaw in his craft.
Perhaps he really was just bad when
writing about women. (Though, in some
cases he is good, too, like in "Farewell to
Arms" or perhaps "Garden of Eden.")
"Farewell to Arms" is the only
Hemingway novel that I have been
assigned (the rest I explored on my
own). It was taught by one of my
favorite professors, a well-respected
novelist. In July 2, 1961, when Ernest
Hemingway blew his head off in
Ketchum, Idaho, this professor of mine,
then 18, was in Paris, Hemingway's old
haunt. He went from cafe to tavern to
bar, toasting the memory of Papa, and
he could see scores of other young writ-
ers, toasting and mourning.
These days, you sometimes feel that
a toast to Hemingway should be done
quickly and quietly, if you do it at all.
It seems a shame to me that future
generations of literature students and
young writers may never be exposed to
the magic of Hemingway's stories and
prose style. Instead, they'll be left to
throw popcorn at the screen as Chris
O'Donnell and Sandra Bullock smooch.
- Reach Dean at deanc@umich.edu.

Continued from Page 3B
much water down on the ice and you're
also wasting energy," Daugherty said.
The Zamboni drivers strive to create
perfect ice or "a sheet of glass," as
Knuble described it.
Drivers find that skaters rely on well-
groomed ice. "Oh yeah, especially the
Michigan players. They'll tell you if you
do a bad cut," Knuble said. He added,
"People like nice smooth ice, because if
you don't do a good cut and the ice is
bumpy, the puck is jumping around and
it won't stay flat."
The players are not the only people
who react to the ice quality, as manager
of building operations and Kinesiology
senior Mike Olson remembered.
"Everybody's eyes are on you, so the
last thing you want to do is leave any
uncut snow. People will boo you ..... As
a matter of fact, it happened last year to
a few people. So that is the only scare I
always have."
Young Wolverine fans Pat Welty, Keith
Griffin, and Matt Nenadic affirmed
Olson's fears and beliefs about achieving
good ice quality. "I think we ... should be
able to drive them because (the Zamboni
drivers) all miss spots. They go so slow
and if we would drive them we would be
done with 10 minutes left in the intermis-
sion. Yeah, they could do more fun stuff
during the intermission." Of course, the
thought of 10-year-old Zamboni drivers
may be questionable.
University alumnae Jennifer Jonas
wants to drive the Zamboni for different
reasons. "I've always wanted to drive
the Zamboni at Yost. It's just cool. I
mean just getting the ice ready for the
guys, that's probably the coolest
because they're the best."
Nursing senior Whitney Tonkin
expressed an even greater desire to drive
the Zamboni. "I'd rather have a Zamboni
than a car" she said. Her friend, LSA
senior Marie Belanger, agreed. " That
Zamboni runs better than my car."

If the Zamboni runs better than a car,
Daugherty attributes that to Yost's seri-
ous preventative maintenance that is
conducted by the University's heavy
equipment department. "They're great.
In fact, we give them a special arrange-
ment where we will actually bring one
of their people on-call to a game ... just
so that they're here in case a problem
happens;' Daugherty said.
Daugherty believes all the efforts to
maintain the Zambonis are worthwhile.
"We can sell all the hockey sticks we
want and tickets and popcorn at the
concession stands, but if we don't have
a Zamboni and our ice isn't good, then
we're out of business," he said.
University alumnus Joel Gerring also
believes that the Zamboni plays an impor-
tant role in hockey. "I think Zambonis
exemplify hockey. The Zamboni is like its
own entity It has become its own little
icon because no other sport has some-
thing like that where you actually have to
take time out to actually resurface the
playing area. You don't do that in any
other sport and that's really cool."
As the demand for the machines rises
and improvements continue to be made,
Zamboni company president and inven-
tor's son Richard Zamboni recognizes
the significance of his father's creation.
"I feel it has been extremely important
and certainly had an impact on the skat-
ing world," he said.
The company has plants in
Paramount, Calif. and Brantford,
Ontario, and each produces approxi-
mately 100 Zambonis each year.
Zamboni believes his father worked
really hard and remained a "guiding
light" until his death in 1988.
Zamboni added that his father did not
go out with the idea of revolutionizing
the skating world by creating the
machine, but many believe he did revo-
lutionize it. "You wouldn't have the
sport going like it is today without the
resurfacing machines," Zamboni said.
The Zamboni continues to gain pop-
ularity on and off the ice. There is a

series of Zamboni memorabilia includ-
ing shirts, key chains, and little toy
machines available. The World Wide
Web boasts numerous sites dedicated to
the machines. Cartoonist Charles
Shultz often writes a Zamboni into the
exploits of his "Peanuts" characters.
The band The Gear Daddies wrote "The
Zamboni Song" which was featured on
the movie soundtrack for "D2: The
Mighty Ducks." In addition, a band
calls itself The Zambonis, and sings of
tales such as falling in love with the
hockey referee's daughter.
Zambonis will remain an integral
part of ice sports as they continue their
popularity. Daugherty encourages any-
body who wishes to learn to drive the
Zamboni to intern at Yost. The 13 cur-
rent drivers come from all levels of edu-
cation and all types of majors.
Although Knuble joked that the coolest
part of driving a Zamboni is that, "the
chicks dig it," he and Olson agree that one
great part is the challenge of driving the
machine well. "It's an intriguing machine
that everybody wants to know about, and
to be one of the select few to drive at a
Michigan hockey game is a really memo-
rable experience" Olsen said.




Feb. 21
Mar. 14

Feb. 20
Immigrant Suns
Mar. 13
Lisa Hunter
Audrey Becker




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