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April 02, 1997 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1997-04-02

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I

4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 2, 1997

bt~e £kIignx ?&ili

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

JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
ERIN MARSH
Editorial Page Editor

NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'Men or women, that doesn't matter. We're
trained as Marines, to rise above any situation
of male-female. All we see Is another Marine.'
- Pvt. Leon Nicholas, in response to Monday's decision to
allow women into the Marines; it is the first US. military
outfit to allow women into combat training with live ammunition

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

JIM LASSER

SHARP 5 TOAST

FROM THE DAILY
Paddong I
Structure shutdown w
Students know that parking in Ann Arbor
is never an easy task - and those who
buck the system usually pay dearly in tick-
ets and fines. Both factors may become
tougher to swallow in the coming months,
as the city shuts down parking structures for
badly needed repairs. The first pending clo-
sure - the South Forest St. structure locat-
ed behind Tower Records - was the focus
of a public meeting held last Thursday.
Residents and business owners potentially
affected by the closing aired views on its
projected effects on the community.
Participants also discussed various propos-
als for funding the repairs.
Currently, options include an increase in
city taxes and a rise in citywide parking fees
and ticket fines. Although neither option is
desirable, the second unfairly enmeshes stu-
dent motorists. Students already pay an
inflated share of the more than $1 million in
parking, fines collected annually in Ann
Arbor. Ticket fines in Ann Arbor are
already excessive - the campus population
cannot afford even higher fees. The city
should not ask students to shoulder the
additional burden.
To raise the current parking rates while
simultaneously shutting down public park-
ing structures is to invite disaster for student
motorists. Finding convenient parking pre-
sents enough of a challenge with a full com-
plement of garages. With fewer options -
and higher prices - commuters' risk of
receiving punitive parking citations will
increase. While the specter of higher taxes
is never friendly, it may be a better way to
fund city improvement projects than simply
upping parking fees and fines again.
Besides the commuter lots at far corners
Parentli
Arbitrary rating
A ccording to leading researchers at four
major universities, the recently institut-
ed television ratings system may not be
effective. The project analyzed .more than
6,000 television programs in the last two
-years and saw no significant increase in tele-
visised violence. However, the study did find
that many children's programs portray vio-
lence without consequences.
The study also showed that children
could actually be attracted to shows that are
rated above their age group and will watch
programs, based on their ratings, that they
might normally ignore. The backfire in
children's viewing habits are just another
reason why television ratings are ineffec-
' tive; parents, not programmers, should be
making these decisions.
The ratings, to which networks voluntar-
ily submitted their programming earlier this
year, are intended to work with the "V-chip,"
a technology that will become standard on
every television sold in the United States

after this year. The chip would filter out
television shows rated above a parent-deter-
mined level, but like the ratings themselves,
V-chips are just another scapegoat for tele-
vision programmers. Ratings give program-
mers a feeling that they are absolved of the
responsibility of addressing the quality and
content of children's programming. As the
study shows, they falsely believe that ratings
keep children from viewing harmful materi-
al; therefore, programmers pass the buck to
parents without having to tell advertisers
that shows will lose viewers.
Parents may feel safe simply letting the
ratings make the decisions about their chil-
dren's viewing habits. Parents should not
make arbitrary decisions according to rat-

problems
ill aggravate shortage
of campus - which require pricey permits
distributed by a lottery - the University
does little to help accommodate the number
of student drivers. Although it is not
involved with the city's parking structure
renovations project, the University could
help alleviate students' parking woes. A lot
on the corner of Hill and State streets stands
empty, as it has since the fiery destruction
of the former Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity
house 18 months ago. Most of the talk sur-
rounding the University-owned site has
centered around building a new, albeit tem-
porary, parking lot. However, the lot would
be another "staff-paid" lot, barring students
during the day when they need campus
parking space the most. If only to signify it
is serious about helping student motorists,
the University should designate the lot open
to students, faculty and staff, allowing
everyone the chance to obtain a permit.
Such a small step will not permanently
solve the crisis, but it would help in the
parking crunch students will find during
city renovations.
A real solution requires a concerted
effort on the parts of both the city and the
University. Among the proposed answers is
construction of new structures. Given the
funding needs for repairs to existing struc-
tures, new construction does not seem fea-
sible at this time, but should remain a prior-
ity in future city budgets.
While city parking structures are in need
of repair, the city should come up with a
funding option than does not punish stu-
dents. Students should be patient during the
closing and appreciate the facelift to parking
facilities, and the University should help out
by increasing access to restricted lots.
sliscretion
rs are ineff'ective

,T KNEW 3 S HOULL DHAVE
-PLAYEtP FOOT8A L L ...
L RT E
LETTERS TO TH E EDITOR

Parents should be involved with their chil-
dren's viewing habits and make informed
and conscious decisions on the appropriate
level of programming. As V-chips become
more common, parents must realize that it
is not an infallible technology. Some indus-
trious tot will figure out how to get around
the V-chip, just as children circumvent
other protective barriers.
Moreover, network shows that target
young audiences are often violent.
Networks should address the content of
shows that "fit" a rating for children, but
may contain messages as violent as those in
adult shows. Of the more than 800 children's
cartoons identified to have violent content,
less than 4 percent featured anti-violence
messages. Ratings don't change that fact.
Ratings present other dangers:
Advertisers can use them to chill networks'
free speech. While advertisers have always
held the power of the purse over television,
ratings can make those decisions more ran-
dom and may preclude any serious attempt
to investigate the quality of program content.
Some violent programming on network tele-
vision can actually promote strong anti-vio-
lence messages. NBC's prime-time broad-
cast of Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List,"
for example, raised doubts in executives who
missed the film's valuable lesson to society.
If the Ford Corporation had not come for-
ward to sponsor the broadcast, it might have
never aired on network TV Ratings only
inflate advertisers' disproportionate power
over what the American public views.
Most of the responsibility remains with
parents. If children are drawn to program
content that they are not developmentally
ready to handle, as the study indicated, it is

Residence
hail lounges
are for all
students' use
To THE DAILY:
Recently, it has come to
my attention that residence
hall facilities are no longer
available for use by student
groups outside of each partic-
ular residence hall.
This is quite troubling to
me, an off-campus student
who participates in activities
held by groups such as
Alianza, the Caribbean
People's Club and the Mixed
Initiative. Every year, Alianza
holds a Posada in the
Mosher-Jordan lounge, an
event that will have to be
relocated if this policy does
not change. And where will it
go next year?
Student lounges in resi-
dent halls have always been
available to all students for
functions that benefit all stu-
dents.
Taking away these rooms
forces students to use the
Union and the League, both
of which enforce restrictions
(such as no food from out-
side the Union). It is upset-
ting that the University is not
fully supporting and cooper-
ating with the efforts of stu-
dent groups, especially multi-
cultural student groups, by
denying room space that
should be nothing but acces-
sible.
MELANIE LAWRENCE
LSA SOPHOMORE
Social norms
to blame for
objectification
of women
To THE DAILY:
This is in response to
Greg Stevens' letter to the
editor ("Anti-Playboy letters
make questionable assump-
tions," 3/31/97). He suggest-
ed that being viewed as a
"sexual object" rather than a
"thinking individual" is the
same thing. For a grad stu-
dent, that sure is an ignorant
comment.
I don't blame him for
thinking this way, because
he has sadly been socially
constructed to grow up with
such views, as has this
messed-up society we live
in. Well, let me spell it out
for you, my friends, display-
ing the female body in a
pornographic magazine or
film is definitely destructive
to all women because men
(and even women), no matter
how caring, intelligent, or
pro-women they might be,

that those who feel that way
are simply victims of this
tainted society that values
"free speech" over human
beings.
He also said that all these
"assumptions are question-
able." There is nothing ques-
tionable about the fact that
even today, women are not
taken as seriously as men and
they still don't have the
power men so wrongly abuse
- and this is largely due to
the harmful effects of
pornography which eroticizes
keeping women subordinate
to men.
On the surface it seems
like pornography is all in
"good fun," but I think peo-
ple need to look beyond the
animalistic pleasure they
derive from it and fully com-
prehend the devastating toll
such images ultimately have
on the lives of not only
women, but all of us.
LARA HAMZA
LSA JUNIOR
Arguments
ignore porn's
serious issues
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response
to the list of "questionable
assumptions" that Greg
Stevens presented in his letter
to the editor ("Anti-Playboy
letters make questionable
assumptions," 3/31/97).
Although the arguments
presented in the anti-Playboy
letters may warrant further
debate, the points that
Stevens raised in opposition
to these "questionable
assumptions" are far too
abstract to create a convinc-
ing argument against the
views of the anti-Playboy
authors.
To begin with, Stevens
seems to disagree that "being
viewed as an object can only
possibly be a bad thing." In
the most abstract case,
Stevens' viewpoint may have
merit. However, we are not
considering an abstract case.
In our society, whether an
individual is commonly and
acceptably reduced to being a
sexual "object" depends on
one - and only one -
thing: whether that individual
is female.
Just as there may be some
men who would not have a
problem with being objecti-
fied, there are also some
women who do not have a
problem with being objecti-
fied. The real problem lies in
the fact that, in our society,
all women, regardless of their
personal feelings, are thrown
into the "object" category.
This is made manifest by
Playboy and its sister publi-
cations.
With the "Women of the

University students" and,
without regard for the views
of the majority of the mem-
bers of this group, portrays
this collective group as being
sexual objects while inten-
tionally downplaying their
intellectual capabilities and
achievements.
Thus, although Stevens
lists a number of assumptions
that may indeed be "ques-
tionable," his viewpoints are
only able to be considered in
a vacuum. All in all, Stevens'
letter does not directly
address the specific and seri-
ous issues at hand.
KAREN JASKIE
LSA SENIOR
Spending
caps are not
constitutional
TO THE DAILY:
Supported by MSA
President Fiona Rose along
with a majority of the
Michigan Student Assembly,
a proposal was passed on
Wednesday, March 26, to
limit campaign spending for
MSA at $500. This proposal
is clearly in violation of the
U.S. Constitution.
Contrary to the belief of
many of the members of the
assembly, this proposal does
infringe upon candidates'
First Amendment rights. The
problem with this rule is that
it limits the candidates'
spending, regardless from
where the money came. It
would be perfectly fine'if
MSA passed a proposal to
limited campaign contribu-
tions, but to place a limit on
the total amount of money
any candidate can spend on a
campaign out of his or her
own pocket is completely
absurd.
Candidates, and especially
non-incumbent candidates,
for MSA or any office should
be allowed to spend as much
of their own money as they
want in order to get elected
or get their ideas and name
out into the public. We all
saw H. Ross Perot and Steve
Forbes spend millions of
their own dollars in their
desire to get elected presi-
dent. So why should MSA be
any different?
By placing restrictions on
the total amount of money a
candidate can spend, MSA
has violated the rights grant-
ed to every citizen, including
MSA candidates, under
Amendment I of the U.S.
Constitution. This is not just
my opinion, either. A similar
law was also declared uncon-
stitutional by the United
States Supreme Court in
1976. In Buckley v. Valeo
[424 U.S.1 (1976)], the
Supreme Court, in a per curi-
an opinion, wrote, "Limiting

Soulless music
for a soulless
generation
T here is a school of thought in the
world of music criticism that
states that there is no "good" or "bad"
music. The idea is that music is always
in a process of change and revision
and that new music is merely differeit.
There also used to be a theory
medicine that the
way to cure insan-
ity was to drill a
hole in the middle
of the patient's
forehead and let
out the Evil
Spirits.
Bullshit is bull-
shit, in any disci-
pline.
So it is with a
certain amount of Aa JAMES
warped glee that I MLE
tell you that the MILLER ON
coldest, most viru- TAP
lent, hate-filled part of my heart is
reserved for the popular music of my
college years. That is to say, techno
and Brit-pop.
Techno is a kind of electronically
generated music. It features lo*
rapid, droning drum and bass loops
with arrhythmic samples and instru-
mental figures played over top of
them. The music is usually playedin
large empty buildings at dance parties
known as "raves.' It's music to slaugh-
ter cattle to. Listen to it for two or
three minutes and you can actually feel
yourself getting dumber.
There was a time when you could
criticize rotten music by saying thin
like, "They don't know how to p
their instruments," or "That guy can't
sing.' Techno has circumvented this
line of attack by eliminating the
human element from music entirely.
It's all generated electronically,
because, I think, no human being
could bring himself to create music
that hideous without mechanical help.
It's not enough that we have become
totally dependent on computers for
communication, information, co
merce and other nuts and bolts of daily
life, but now we've perverted art with
an ugly smear of silicon, forsaking
Bird, Hendrix and the Drifters for
William Gibson, Plastic Man and the
slow homicide of our humanity.
Like any cultural movement, one can
judge it by looking al its followers aid
true believers. Gack, what a crowd.
The males of the species are typically
pierced beyond recognition, have s4g
logo-festooned clothing and green
Airwalks. They will be sucking ona
clove or Marlboro Light and look asif
they haven't eaten anything but Pixie
Stix for the last six to eight weeks. The
females tend to be much worse. Tight
stretch pants, big, black clog-type
shoes, dark (read: dyed) straight hair
and tiny, baby doll print T-shirts so
ugly that they have to be made in da
factories to keep the workers fiW
going insane. Their faces will be
marked by glitter and a vacant expres-
sion that comes from living to take
cheap drugs with sketchy people and
get felt up in an empty furniture ware-
house in Grosse Pointe.
Brit-pop is a tougher nut to crack,
because on the surface there's nothing
really wrong with it. It's just as gutless
and bland as pop music has always
been, from Vic Damone to Blur.
what is truly amazing about Brit-p
is just that: how empty it really is. At

least techno has an entire culture being
dragged behind it. Brit-pop has noth-
ing. No life, no energy, no fire and no
talent. It is the same sniveling, sneer-
ing British pantywaists over and over
again.
Now that I think about it, this is the
perfect music for our generation. It's
hollow, soulless and unoriginal. Oa,
Elastica, Bush; they're all images, cre-
ations of MTV's marketing depart-
ment. They exist to sell records, fill
stadium seats and look pretty on
album covers. The making of the
music is secondary. They play guitar
like high school kids and sing with
thin, flat voices. And yet, people flock
to them and revel in their every snotty
word. They listen to them bitch about
how hard it is to be a celebrity and t
paid obscene amounts of money
make dull, pedestrian music. They
look at poor Gavin Rossdale or the tor-
tured Gallagher brothers and wonder
what kind of complex geniuses they
must be to trash hotel rooms, take
street drugs and screw supermodels.
Which is a shame if you consider the
debt the United States owes to British
artists like Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce,
Robert Plant, John Mayall, andk
mighty Beatles. Looking at this 1 g
and distinguished tradition, it makes it
all the more awful to look at this gag-
gle of poncy hairdressers who couldn't
hold Jimmy Page's jock selling mil-
lions of records.

I

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