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January 22, 1998 - Image 18

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-22

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The Michigan Daily We end Magazine - Thurs , January 22, 1997

0 a




The Michigan Daily Weeke

'Just Don't Do It!' swooshes 'U'

By Caryn Burtt
Daily Ans Writer
In the w\orld ofadv\ertisinC. Just Do It is
one of the countrv's best known slogans.
With this and similar positi\ C mantras,
Nike has filled the media airwaves N\it
positlive images and encouraging slogans.
One can hardly help but feel a twxinae of
hope or pride when watching such Com-
mercials. But, a substantial number of
nixersitv students and faculty have
recently taken issue with the company
and the realities that may lie behind the
Company and its empo\ering slogans.
The Just Don't Do It Campaign was
born last November through the collabo-
ration of many student groups interested
in the gcinus-on at Nike's oxerseas facto-
"I read an Aienda article on Nike labor
practices. It ticked me oE" said Chad
Baile. a Lraduate student in the School of
Public Health and a member of the Just
Dont Do It Campaign. "I worked prex i-
ousl\ on the Clean Air Act and a boycott

of Shell for environmental abuses and
human rights abuses. Nike shone the light
on how corporations treat people because
evervone knows Nike."
The Just Don't Do It Campaign reports
that Nike manufactures nearly allrof its
shoes and other products in Asia - main-
lv in Indonesia. Vietnam and China.
Philosophy Prof. Eric Lormand said the
Nike wiorkers in these countries are rou-
tinely subject to "boot-camp conditions,
illeCal levels of toxic chemicals, illegal
destitution-level wages and forced over-
time. etc."
One accusation is that Nike workers'
salaries are wcell below subsistence level, a
claim that has created increased tension
betwseen the laborers and the employers.
Bailey has also noted a trend in Nike's
employment practices. "Nike moves
through Asia. They originally set up fac-
tories in Japan. Workers began to com-
mand more. Nike moved to Taiwan and
South Korea. These countries ha1e no
independent labor unions." Bailey said.

In response to Nike's apparent exploita-
tion of workers, Unixersity students have
joined to call attention to Nike's practices.
The campaign demands that Nike pay a
liv ing wage not based on overtime.
Lphold human rights. allow labor unions
and auditing by human rights organiza-
tions. and permit the redress of claims by
workers fired for protesting working con-
On a Web site (lap: 'infvnir.coni'
fiq iq.InIm) Nike states that the compa-
nv uses mostly Asian workers in its shoe
factories. but denies cruel treatment of
those workers. According to the site. "no
w\orker earns less than miniIum wace.
Nike arcues that national economic sit-
uations improve where the company hires
wx orkers.
"To date. Nike accounts. after just two
wears. for tix e percent of all of Vietnams
export earnings. These are undisputed
facts that demonstrate the economic good
this company creates," company officials


O Film Feature
Independent dramas, documentaries shi

NIA RG-* va't'

Anti-Nike campaginer Ellen Wang poses next to a sign.

stated on the Web site.
Nike maintains also that labor unions
are permitted in the countries %kwhere shoes
are manufactured, that independent mon-
itors from audit firms have verified that
human rights are protected in the work
place, and that workers earnx what can at
least be referred to as a "living xwage. In
no country in the world does a minimum
xwage pro ide for (sufficient income )."
Beyond these issues of alleged
exploitation, the Just Don't Do It
Campaign draws on the Universit% s rela-
tionship wxith the company as a xway to
stren nhen the ficht for a human richits
initItav e in countries wx ith Nike factorlies.
The University saned a six-\ear contract
ith Nike in 1994. One of itsi many stipu-
lations is that Nike alone Mill outfit the
Universitv's athletic teams. During the
lenth of this contract. coaches. staff and
team members are expected to Mear onIN
Nike clothin. with the "sxwoosh" isible.
at athletic events.
This relationship betwceen the
University and \ike has irked Bailey,
among others.
''Ie talked to athletes who don't \\ ant
to xwear the swoosh. and the coach tells
them they can't play:- said Bailey. "There
are some cix il liberties implications ... Is
Nike the appropriate representative for the
University of Michigan?"
To address this multifaceted issue. the
Just Don't Do It Campaign has drawn in
members from a va'iety of backgrounds.
The campaign has worked with student
groups such as the Graduate Employees
Organization (GEO). which has
addressed labor rights issues in Nike fac-
tories, and Environmental Action
(ENACT). whose members hay e an inter-
est in environmental justice overseas.

"Environmental Action \ as xxorkinu
on the issues concurrently, and so the tmxo
groups found some common ground"
said ENACT facilitator Joel IHotvi1an. an
LSA and SNRE junior.
There are approximately 70 members
in the Just Don't Do It Campaign. ux hich
has been highly visible on campus since
its formation two months ago. The
group's biggest event so far wxas the Nike
Teach-In. which took place in Nox ember.
Its main purpose was to inform udents
about Nike's treatment of its workers and
about the University's contract x\kith Nike.
Kim ioshi a human rights inxestieautor
kith Gilbal Exchance. a fair tmde orca-
nization, as the keynote speaker i
e\ eut.
Tihe Teach-In had particular \alule to
me because it \\as a chance to 11o" on!x
teach students about Nike's huMian rts
t iolations in Asia. but also to bei a di
cni",on of how citizens and conumer
can change these ty pes of pactice .
I ioffiman said.
'W'e xvill continue to reach out to oth-
ers students and staff of the Unix ersitw
and take our case straight to the athletic
department. the administration and the
{niversity Board of Rcgents }' ProL
Lormand said.
The Just Don't Do It Campaign has
contacted Tom Goss and xxill meet xxith
him and University President Lee
Bollincer sometime this semester.
Lormand also said he believes that the
Campaign has made much progress.
"For a brand-newx group witi basically
no resources except our oxn ii n its and
elbow-grease. confronting the crimes of a
giant corporation ... we've managed to
reach the consciences of quite a lot of
people:' Lormand said.

The Associated Press
PARK CITY, Utah - Snow. Sleet.
Sun. Ice. Rain. Hail. More snow. Maybe
it's not quite a litany oflbiblical plagues,
but the weather for this year's Sundanee
Film Festival has added that extra cle-
ment of unpredictability that helps this
mecca for independents remember its
That reminder is apropos because
Sundance 1998, xxith its fleet of
.Mereedes NI-Class vans as "official
vehicles" and a catalog as fat and lossy
as an issue of Architectural Digest,
exudes the prosperity and success that
goes with being the most important of
American film festivals.
With that importance goes an
avalanche of humanity. Attendance is
expected to hit 13,000. up 7 percent
from last year, and the festival has
added officially designated "crowd liai-
son personnel at its theaters to help
with the crush.
Harder to deal vvwith is what the Park
Record newxspaper calls "the
mevitable parking and traffic quag-
mires.' An added complication this
year is the arrival of paid parking on
Main Street, much disliked by resi-
dents and marked on local radio sta-
tion KPCW by episodes of "Park
City's owin soap opera. 'As the Meter'
Turns.' xwhich talks of 'Don't Park
on Me" protest signs, the plight of the
city 's "spaceless people and the
spectacle of women in red miniskirts
offering sex for parking.
Though no one film has been the talk
of the festival. as Sundance approaches
its midpoint the consensus is that the
competition entries are more interesting
and varied than last year's feckless crop.
There are fewer films about unhappy
teenagers confused about their sexuali-
tx. and more focus on the comings and
gongs of gay men, lesbians, immi-
crants. mob hit men. Natix e Americans
and blacks.
Also noticeable is the literary quality
of sonic of- the dramatic entrants.
"Smoke Signals." based on Sherman
Alexie's short story collection "The
Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in
Heaven." benefits greatly from Alexie s
tart sense of humor. And the cro\d-
pleasing "Slam." about a crisis in the
life of an impoverished black poet,
couldn't have existed without the vivid
poetry performances of its stars. Saul
Williams and Sonja Sohn.
As alwas at Sundance. the docu-
mentary film selection causes as much
if not more talk as the dramatic fea-
tures. if only because the chance to see
16 xaried documentaries in one place is
almost unheard of in this anti-factual
day and age.
Surprisingly. given Sundance's love
of the offbeat. the competition's most
conventional documentarv. "Frank
Lloyd Wright." is one of the festival's
most satisfying. Directed by Ken
Burns and Lynn Novick in the style
Burns took nationxide in his PBS
"Civil War" series, this Geoffrey
Ward-written biographical portrait of
America's greatest architect has the
unbeatable combination of exceptional
interview material and beautiful archi-

tectural photography put at the service
of an astonishina life.
Also attracting notice is the very dif-
ferent HBO-sponsored "Frat House." A
first-time-eve look behind the scenes
of fraternity hazing by Todd Phillips
and Andrew Gurland, who had to agree
to be hazed themselves to get access,
"Frat House's" subtitle could well be
"'Men Are Idiots." Both fascinating and
repulsive, the fraternity antics depicted
make the protagonists of last year's "In
the Company of len" look like com-
mitted feminists.
Since predicting what the festixal
juries will eventually decide is difficult,
the festival's midpoint seems like a
good time to hand out some honorary
Sundance awards in categories..that are
too-often ignored. For instance:
Most Memorable Line Off-
Screen: "The great thing about making
a first film is that every mistake you
make becomes your style." ("The
;Misadventures of NMargaret" director
Brian Skeet quoting Pedro Almodovar)
* Most Memorable Line On
Screen: "Beautiful xwomen are for men
xwithout imagination." (Eianuele
Crialese, wx riter-director of "Once We
Were Stranger ")
E Best Alternati e Festival: As
reported (very much tongue in check)
by The Park City ar something called
Sleazedance, "a combination of exhibi-
tionism and porn." was set to open with
features like "Exe's by Two" and
"Jeremiah's Johnson." Denied a proper
venue, Sleazedance xxwill show its films
in a "lime-green Volksxxagen Vznagon
with the tassels on the headlights;'
* Most Useful Giveana-: A tie
between the box of Animal Crackers
distributed by "Animals" and the dis-
posable hand warmers given out by
"Some Nudity Required."'
* Most Useless Giveaway: "This
Clicky Thing:" a tiny plastic box that
makes a clicking sound on demand.
from media publishing house 2014.
0 Most Humane Gesture: The staff

at the Egyptian theater took pity on an
audience that had waited an hour for
projection difficulties to be resolved
and handed out free sticks of Twizzlers
red licorice all around.
U Biggest Confusion: When direc-
tor-dramatic juror Paul Schrader needed
medical assistance at a local restaurant
(he's fine now), an employee was over-
heard in phone conversation with the
paramedics. "It's Paul Schrader, the guy
who wrote 'Taxi Drier." Pause. "No,
he's not a taxi driver, that's what he
Though the award for most serendip-
itous pre-production events always has
a lot of contenders, the winner this year
looks to be "Central Station;' Walter
Salles' affecting and emotional look at a
young boy's search for his father in the
itterior of Brazil.
Salles heard about a Sundance
screenplay competition just three days
before the deadline and had no choice
but to submit "Central Station's" script
in the original Portuguese. It was the
only one of 2,000-plus entrants,
including one from China, that was
sent in untranslated. but the script
ended up one of six winners of the
"300,000 award.
Serendipity struck again when Salles
was searching for a child to play his 10-
year-old protagonist. "We had done a
thousand tests over one year trying to
find the proper boy, we had several
finalists, but none of them were really
satisfying," the director relates.
"Then on a rainy day, I went out to
the Rio airport to meet someone. The
plane was late because of the weather
and while I xas having breakfast at the
restaurant I felt a hand grabbing me. It
wxas an airport shoeshine boy who said
business was bad because of the
xeather and could I give him money
for half a hamburger: he had enough
for the other half. His name was
Vinicius de Oliveira, and though he'd
never been inside a mox ie theater. he
got the part."

"The Full Monty" (top
films at the 1997 Sul

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