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March 26, 1997 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-03-26

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8 =' The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 26, 1997

Colborn to share
'Future' at Borders

By: Mary Trombley
Forthe Daily
in 1962, Rachel Carson's "Silent
Spring" prompted public awareness of
th-pote'ntially lethal nature of chemical
fertilizers and pesticides. Last year, a
book modeled on Carson's helped to
aldrt Americans to
the dangers of r
chemical hormone P 1
disruption.
"Our Stolen
Future" is the
chronicle of one
scentist's search

Eventually, she met John Peterson
Meyers, director of the W. Alton Jones
Foundation, who managed to get her a
fellowship to study the problem.
Colborn calls the fellowship "the gift of

a lifetime."
With funding,
REVIEW
Theo Colborn
Tonight at 8 p.m.
Shaman Drum
Free

Colborn finally had
the resources to
look for patterns in
the scientific stud-
ies of others. "The
work I do is analy-
sis and second-
order science,"
Colborn said. She

foranswers to baffling questions about
seemingly unconnected reproductive
irregularities in animal populations
throughout the world.
The book was written by a trio of
experts,cincluding Theo Colborn, a
seniori scientist with the World Wildlife
Fund..
in the early '90s, Colborn was
among the first to connect reports about
unenthusiastic mating among bald
eagles, drastic drops in human sperm
counts and the mysterious decimation
of Mink, herring gull and seal popula-
tions, to hormone disruptions stem-
ming from synthetic chemicals in the
environment.
Colborn discovered that synthetic
chemicals such as PCBs and DDT were
present in the air, water and in animal
body fat across the world. Even in tiny
quantities, these chemicals mimic nat-
ural hormones in the bodies of wildlife,
and they disrupt mating patterns and
fetal development.
Worse yet, she suspected that other
chemicals, besides such known pollu-
tants as DDT, are to blame. These
chemicals are not only used in industry
and farming, but are also contained in
the plastic products Americans use
eveiy day.
14ormone disruption is not as obvi-
ous-an environmental threat as cancer,
because it usually does not kill outright.
The results of hormone disruption may
note appear for years or decades after
exposure. A child exposed in the womb,
for example, may suffer from subtle
consequences, like learning defects,
that are difficult to connect to synthetic
chemnical sources.
"I had collected all this information,
but I felt quite alone and did not know
what to do with it" Colborn said in an
interview with The Michigan Daily last
week.

also brought together scientists from
around the world to confer on the prob-
lem. One result was the Wingspread
Conference, an interdisciplinary gath-
ering of scientists that produced the
Wingspread Statement, the first scien-
tific attempt at consensus on hormone
disruption.
Scientists urged Colborn and
Peterson to spread the word about hor-
mone disruption. "They told us, 'Write
(about) it so people can understand it,"'
Colborn said. However, the two did not
know how to present their findings to
the general public effectively.
Finally, they met Dianne Dumanoski,
a reporter for The Boston Globe, who
was "just thrilled" to tell their story.
"Our Stolen Future" is the result of the
collaboration between Dumanoski,
Colborn and Peterson.
The ensuing controversy has been
overwhelming. Besides a blizzard of
media coverage, the book has sparked
debate and legislation in the United
States Congress. "Our Stolen Future"
even attracted the attention of Vice
President Al Gore, who asked to write
the foreword.
The response from the scientific
community has been a little more mea-
sured, but supportive all the same. "The
reception from scientists has been reas-
suring," Colborn said.
She mentioned that the most gratify-
ing response to the book has come from
"regulatory agencies around the world,
who are calling for more chemical test-
ing."
The book is being translated into 11
languages at the request of public
health officials.
"Our Stolen Future" emphasizes
very basic ecological principles. As
Colborn puts it: "We are part of a
whole. No matter what we do, we affect
someone else."

James (James Spader) and Catherine Ballard (Deborah Unger) share a private moment in David Cronenberg's "Crash."
Stupidity, sex collide on 'Crash' course

xk
i .
t
- ,-

By John Ghose
Daily Arts Writer
"Crash" is the first NC-17 movie
ever to open with four consecutive sex
scenes, yet even with this stately honor
bestowed upon it, this film fails to live
up to its long-awaited expectations.
Based on J.G. Ballard's 1973 novel of
the same title, David Cronenberg's
"Crash" attempts to explore the sexual-
ity of near-death experiences, specifi-
cally the erotic stimulation of car crash-
es.
Although Ballard's topic is an
intriguing one, the premise of
Cronenberg's film seems silly:
Beautiful men and women crash their
cars on purpose, become aroused, then
screw each other amidst the cars'

wreckage.
"Crash"'s plot is about as exhilarating
as a BBC documentary on dog shows.
Even the sex is bad. Call me a prude, but
I could not find the eroticism behind
bloodied, crippled people having anal sex
on the median of a busy highway, their
wrecked cars smoking a few feet away.
But hey - whatever floats your boat.
After rolling the computerized
graphics of the opening credits,
"Crash" starts ambitiously. But it soon
flounders, and it remains floundering
for the bulk of the movie.
The opening scene of a woman's naked
breast pressing against the hull of a twin-
engine plane suggests an intriguing study
on the intertwining of man and technolo-
gy, but this hope remains unfulfilled.
In an electrifying car crash sequence
after the disappointing four sex scenes,
we meet the anti-hero, James Ballard
(James Spader), and his anti-heroine,
Dr. Helen Remington (Holly Hunter).
With the help of 60 stunt drivers,
Cronenberg creates an intense head-on
collision between James and Dr.
Remington that kills her husband, intro-
duces the two main characters and
jump-starts whatever plot exists.
The two meet again in the hospital,
where they also meet Vaughan - a rene-
gade scientist who is obsessed with the
erotic power of man colliding with metal,
as evidenced by his head-to-toe scars.
Vaughan introduces the two victims to his
erotic netherworld of staged car crashes

and reckless photojournalism. Then he
leads them through a ridiculously surreal
odyssey of screwing and crashing.
Cronenberg's meditations on the
erotic force of near-death experiences,
masochism and experimentation are
admirable, but it's difficult to relate to
his medium of
demonstration - R
automobiles.
Characters in
"Crash" run their
hands over the dents
of a car's body, and At Briarwo
over the scars of
Vaughan's body, with equal arousal. When
I rub my palms over the dented surface of
a car door, I don't think of sex; I think of
Bo my mechanic and skyrocketing insur-
ance rates. I mean, what can possibly be
less sexual than a dented Mazda?
Part of the problem lies in the com-
monplace of cars. These vehicles are
not technology to most of us; they are
simply a way of life. Driving a car is as
routine as flushing the toilet, so when
Vaughan uses things like the flow of
traffic as metaphors for sexual nuances,
it is difficult not to snicker. Traffic is
about as sexy as a parking ticket.
Nevertheless, "Crash" does have its
moments - well, moment. The first
crash sequence is so undeniably authen-
tic that the audience can sense the quick-
ening pulses driving the characters of
"Crash" into heat. For these people, a car
collision is a jolting life force they crave

od

- the ultimate sexual turn-on. But foD
the average moviegoer, the survival of a
car crash, or the near-car crash, is what
arouses them, not its destructive quali-
ties. Couples hug and kiss after a close
call, celebrating their luck, but the men
and women of "Crash" are actually dis-
appointed when
V I E W they survive, as if
death itself, not the
Crash dodging of death, is
the ultimat*
orgasm.
, Showcase and State The concept of
death as the ulti-
mate orgasm, however, is not complete-
ly unheard of. In fact, the actual ideol-
ogy of "Crash" (specifically Ballard's
original book) is quite ingenious, albeit
disturbing. What is silly and unsuccess-
ful is Cronenberg's translation from lit-
erature to visual art. Considering that
auto accidents are the topic, one would
assume that the visual movie actually
lends itself to violence better than the
novel. Here, this clearly is not the case.
In the final scene, James Ballard
chases his wife driving Vaughan's rav-
aged convertible throughout a Los
Angeles highway. In novel form, this
scene may have illustrated how cars
moving in patterns suggest flirtation,
foreplay and climax (the actual crash).
On film, however, much of Ballard'*
mysticism is lost, leaving an imagina-
tion-drained audience that sees two
grown adults playing bumper cars.

Rosanna Arquette In "Crash."

Coopers and Lybrand L.L.P.

GET A HEAD START

Coopers and Lybrand L.L.P., an international professional service organization,
is holding a presentation at the
Michigan Union Parker Room
7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
March 27, 1997
We are looking for May 1998 Graduates in the fields of Economics, Accounting,
and General Business that are highly-motivated, creative problem-solvers, and
have the ability to learn quickly. The positions available are in the Business
Assurance practice for Fall 1998.
As a member of this line of business, you will utilize leading-edge technology to
plan and implement the most efficient and effective audit. Our clients expect us
to act as key business advisors who bring value to their organizations by helping
identify and assess risks and opportunities. Your assignments will be tailored in
a way that allows you to develop substantive accounting, audit and business
skills.
If this sounds like the position for you, please join us for the informational pre-
sentation and refreshments on March 27th. Also, please forward.your resume
fin

I Ix'

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