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January 26, 1998 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1998-01-26

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, January 26, 1998

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420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 JOSH WHITE
Editor in Chief
Edited andumanaged by ERIN MARSH
students at the .Editorial Page Editor
University of Michigan
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.
A division within
Editorial staff disapproves of tobacco ads

If anyone can bring hope and democracy
to Cuba, it will be the pope.'
-Alex Montaner, a Cuban American living in Detroit
/ a l
0 0

The Michigan Daily's staff is divided
into two parts: the editorial staff,
which is comprise of all writers and editors,
and the business staff, which mainly con-
sists of managers and advertising execu-
tives. These two groups have no control
over what the other side does. Each depart-
ment has its own agenda and goals, and
each works to maintain those beliefs. Last
Friday, when an inserted advertisement for
Copenhagen chewing tobacco appeared in
every copy of the Daily, the editorial side of
the paper was shocked and embarrassed,
because this flyer directly contradicts its
long-standing anti-tobacco industry policy.
The editorial side of the Daily has held
the belief that tobacco is a dangerous, life-
threatening industry in which the University
should not invest money. In addition, the
writers and editors disagree with the poli-
tics and methods used by tobacco compa-
nies that deny the malignant qualities of
their product and target their marketing at
young audiences. This philosophical belief
has, for years, led the editors of the paper to
protest the University's affiliation and
investment in tobacco companies.
The job of the business side of the Daily
is to make the money needed to print and
distribute 16,500 free copies of the paper,
five times a week. Making money - gen-
erally through selling ads - is what the
business department holds most important.
Selling ads is very much as integral a part
of The Michigan Daily as the articles. Just
as the editors and writers are allowed to
voice their opinions through the Daily's edi-
torial page, the business staff is allowed to
see all customers equally -as dollars.
This particular case becomes especially
tough, however, due to the nature of the ad.
When a normal print advertisement falls on a

page with articles, the editorial side has more
power to control its impact. In the Fall term,
an ad for Rooster Snuff ran for several days,
yet every day the ad ran, articles concerning
the dangers of tobacco ran next to it. With this
arrangement, the different ideologies of the
paper were clear. With an insert, there is no
way for the editorial side to comment on the
material, so the hypocrisy of the Daily goes
unaddressed. To make matters worse, the
insert includes an offer for a free can of the
tobacco product. Not only is this a plug for
tobacco, but it is an enticement for non-chew-
ers to start harming their bodies.
Hypocrisy is a highly undesirable quality
in a newspaper. The editors and writers of the
Daily are upset that their strong anti-tobacco
stance was essentially nullified by the busi-
ness staff of the paper. Advertisements for
Rooster Snuff will run this Thursday and
every Thursday during February. It is not that
the business staff is unaware of the editorial
staff's opinions; it is a matter of money and
the fact that the U.S. Tobacco Company was
willing to buy so much advertising space.
As a representative of the University's
student body, the Daily works to defend
what is good for that population and to pro-
vide it with information. But the business
staff's stubbornness in running the tobacco
advertisement is contradictory to that mis-
sion. This matter should ideally be settled
between the heads of the staffs, but the two
sides of the paper are deadlocked at a dis-
agreement on policy and ethics. It is a
shame that an institution that prides itself
on expressing the feelings of the
University's student body must come head
to head, inside its own walls, on such an
issue - but the Daily's editorial staff feels
too strongly on the issue to simply let it

Microsoft should not dominate Internet market

M icrosoft's operating systems are
pre-installed on nearly every IBM-
compatible computer sold today. By
insisting that its operating system,
Windows 95, include the Microsoft
Internet Explorer, the company has
squeezed out its competitors and threat-
ened to destroy Netscape, the current
leading vendor of Internet browsing soft-
ware. The federal government should curb
Microsoft's unfair business practices that
drive rival producers out of the market
because genuine competition is necessary
to produce technological improvements.
Additionally, the government ought to
make sure that Microsoft's actions result
in improved technology and customer sat-
isfaction, despite Microsoft executives'
arguments that the government should not
interfere in their operating systems'
The U.S. Justice Department did just
that when it charged the software giant
with using unfair marketing practices
against smaller companies in the Internet
browser industry. Although Netscape, a
pioneer in Web-related software, has had a
considerable edge on the browser software
market since the Internet's beginning,
Microsoft threatened to ruin Netscape, and
all other Web software companies, by
incorporating its Internet Explorer browser
program in Windows 95. This prompted the
government to bring an anti-trust suit
against the company in federal district

Redmond, Wash.-based corporation in con-
tempt of court unless it agreed to make
alternative software packages available to
computer manufacturers. After numerous
evasion attempts, such as offering comput-
er manufacturers outdated operating sys-
tems or even faulty products, Microsoft has
just announced it will offer two viable
options. Producers may choose to have the
Internet Explorer fully installed with a hid-
den icon or without certain files critical to
the program's operation. With the second
option, users would have to retrieve those
files from another location. Microsoft has
appealed the judge's order, claiming that
uniting its Internet Explorer and operating
system is an important step to full integra-
tion of Internet service and the operating
But Microsoft's compliance prompted
Netscape to announce it would give its
browser away and release the program's
source code. The latter of the two actions
will allow software companies and comput-
er hobbyists to manufacture compatible
products, known as plug-ins, or customize
Netscape's software to satisfy special pref-
erences. This result of the government's
anti-trust suit against Microsoft will benefit
Microsoft's effort to install its Internet
Explorer in all operating systems, despite
the program's adequate technological
design, threatened to dominate the Internet
browser market. Although Microsoft may
"l -.to .4-.. ...n t-T. 4-r,- e-tin nitc ,,r, _ -

'Bare Bones'
is offensive
As students at this
"enlightened" University, we
do not think that the comic
strip "Bare Bones" is a posi-
tive contribution to our stu-
dent newspaper.
First, it is not funny.
Second, it is extremely
offensive to anyone who val-
ues gender equality and
opposes stereotypes.
As our University is
recovering from several inci-
dents of sexual violence, we
feel that this comic strip per-
petuates a culture in which
strong, powerful women are
trivialized and silenced.
The University prides itself
on valuing diversity, yet the
Daily, the voice of our campus,
is supporting a tasteless, sexist
and homophobic comic strip.
The Daily should take the ini-
tiative to stop running "Bare
Bones," a comic that makes a
statement that is counteractive
to everything the University
should be trying to promote.
ITD cannot
afford to
staff all sites
I'd like to reply to the
recent letter from Kenny
Harris requesting the reinstate-
ment of computing consultants
at the NUBS Computing Site
("lTD should reinstate consul-
tants" 1/20/98). As manager
of the sites, I recognize that
the consulting function is a
valued service to many stu-
dents. But budget constraints
have forced us to make some
tough choices. The cost of
providing one-on-one assis-
tance competes with other
costs related to running the
sites, such as equipment
replacements, software
upgrades, networking infra-
structure and repair services.
We try to strike a balance so
that the sites remain as techni-
cally high-functioning and as
user-friendly as possible.
While consulting services
are being reduced, we are also
exploring ways of enabling
students to be more self-suffi-
cient in assisting themselves.
One of our priorities has been
to make the environment more
stable than it has been in the
past, thereby reducing the
number of times a user needs
to seek assistance because
something doesn't work.
We've also nut many of our

Users can dial647-4837"and
press option 'l' to report a
problem at a site. This will
allow us to. respond to trouble
calls as quickly as possible.
For next year, we expect to
continue balancing limited
resources, while striving to
keep the sites as useful for the
campus community as possi-
ble. We've been discussing pri-
orities and limitations with a
student advisory group and
will continue to rely on them
for feedback as we go forward.
I appreciate suggestions and
reactions - even when we
can't fulfill everyone's expec-
tations, it helps to know what
the needs and concerns are.
Weight room
conditions are
Fall semester was my first
semester here at the University
and I was anticipating a huge
school with large classes and
gigantic lecture halls. But aca-
demics are only one compo-
nent of my experience here at
U of M. I have enjoyed
weightlifting to keep in shape
for the past three years of my
life. So I expected that a large
university such as U of M
would have state-of-the-art
athletic facilities.
So, as I jogged to the
Central Campus Recreation
Building for the first time last
semester, I was anticipating a
quick, intensive workout in the
weight room. But when I
entered the weight room, I
couldn't believe my eyes. It
were as if the entire University
had been packed into a closet.
There were so many people
that it took me a couple of
minutes to get to the machine
I wanted to use. I thought to
myself w"There must be anoth-
er, larger weight room here,
This is ridiculous."
Unfortunately, there wasn't.
It took me about two hours
to do a workout that normally
takes about one hour. The +
biggest problem is that there is
absolutely no room to move
about in the weight room. The
weight room at my former
high school is three times as
large as the University's, and
there were only 1,200 kids at
my former high school, com-
pared to the 35,000 students
here. The University needs to
offer their students more than a
closet in the basement of the
CCRB. I've seen the weight
rooms for the sports teams
here and they are honestly the
most spectacular weight rooms
I've ever seen. I understand
that the sports teams give the
University a claim to fame,

and piety are
I am writing in response to
the letter "U.S. piety not a
result of insecurities"
(1/21/98). The author makes
the interesting proposal that
the United States is presently
economically successful
because Americans (inexplica-
bly) are both self-reliant and
seek comfort in God when the
going gets rough. le also
makes some interesting claims
about individual identity, reli-
gion and government in
Europe. I feel there is definite-
ly another perspective.
The contradiction of self-
reliance and "seeking com-
fort" in a deity should be
apparent, if not at least curi-
ous, to most people.
Religion, particularly the
strain of Christianity that is
held however loosely by
many people in the United
States, is not conducive to
ideas of self-reliance or indi-
viduality. At its root, it asks
individuals to give up their
own desires and moral scale
in favor of a preset one. It is
much easier to go to work
and take part in mainstream
society if you have an
absolute voice dictating right
and wrong to you. It is much
more difficult to go through
each day deciding the differ-
ence between right and
wrong and the course of your
actions based upon your own
feelings. Without accepting a
voice of absolute authority, a
person becomes truly self-
reliant. Perhaps if more peo-
ple dared to follow their own
feelings, we wouldn't be
headed toward our impending
doom of a poisoned Earth.
As far as the state of our
European friends are con-
cerned, they generally are
homogeneously religious per
nation, as a strong connection
between church and state
makes it all the easier to get
people to do as they are told.
I believe everyone should
take a look at our own gov-
ernment and recent attempts
to limit individual freedom.
Europe is also much more
receptive to individuality as
the quality of art easily
shows. American reliance on
mass media culture definitely
does not encourage individu-
ality. For the most part, we
drive the same cars to the
same movies and eat the
same poisonous fast food on
our way home to the same
suburban subdivisions and
pre-fabricated existences,
In a world such as we
have created, a world that
was certainly desired and

Intelligence in
cinema: the
sinking ship
'm assuming that, like almost
everyone in the country, you've
seen James Cameron's highly disap-
pointing "Titanic" at least once and
that, like almost everyone in America,
von just loved it.
Well, , too, have seen the Golden
Globe Award-win-
ning film- I was
even entertained
by it for the most
part -but I'm not
like you.
Ater I perse- '
vered through the
f ifteen -m in ute
affair, I discovered
that I'm almost
completely aloneRJOSHUA
in my dislike of RICH
the movie. On TRIVIAL
leaving the the- PURSUITS
ater, it was so painfully obvious to me
that "Titanic" was at best mediocre -
its unreal love story a complete write-
off, the dialogue abysmal - that I
have been shocked to hear people
singing its nearly universal praise in
the weeks since. (For better or worse,
it is a virtual lock to win the Best
Picture Academy Award in March.)
For me, the film's problems begin
early: There is the moment when
Leonardo DiCaprio stands at the bow
and, for no apparent reason, shouts,
"I'm the king of the world!" It's
Cameron's way of getting us to smile.
Later on, in a rosy-hued scene in
which DiCaprio and lover Kate
Winslet embrace, we hear the narra-
tor's intrusive voice-over saying some-
thing like, "That was the last time the
Titanic ever saw the sun." It's
Cameron's way of getting us to be
fuzzy and sentimental.
Then, as the vessel begins its pro-
tracted demise, we repeatedly see the
cliche: violins playing as the ship goes
down. I guess simply hearing the
strings wouldn't have been enough. It's
Cameron's way of getting us to cry.
What this director clearly hasn't
learned is that his audience can smile,
cry or get sentimental without all the
artificial campiness. In "Titanic," we
are never given the opportunity to feel
real emotion. This blockbuster is the
perfect example of a new trend preva-
lent in shopping mall multiplexes
across the nation: paint-by-number
filmmaking, in which directors ran-
domly use silly provocative moments
to force some gravity into their works
of "art." (Funny how we've ceased
thinking of movies as art.)
In the case of "Titanic," it is particu-
larly tragic that Cameron 'has sacri-
ficed some of the most impressive spe-
cial effects ever for his shallow love
story. The last hour and a half of his
film ranks up with the botched-drug-
deal scene at the end of Paul Thomas
Anderson's "Boogie Nights" and the
chilling interrogation scene in Curtis
Hanson's "L.A. Confidential," as three
of the most remarkable movie
sequences of 1997.
The latter two succeed, however,
because they don't wear their emotions
on their sleeves. We are terrified
enough by the persistent hypnotic fire-
crackers and rock music blaring in
"Boogie Nights" and the hollow
"crack, crack, crack" of a six-shot
revolver being re-cocked in an act of
Russian Roulette in "L.A.
Confidential" that we don't need some

dope telling us how to feel.
Imagine hearing: "That was the last
time Dirk Diggler ever saw a vagina."
How nauseating!
I've complained about this sort of
thing a lot over the years and I've been
accused of being a snob, of being pes-
simistic, brutal, suicidal and, most
recently, "persnickety" But I don't see
why. Why should I go to the movies
and expect anything less than perfec-
tion from a wealthy, award-winning,
professional filmmaker like James
Cameron? Problems are problems are
problems. A movie needs to do more
than simply entertain me to be "good."
When Cameron pedantically mean-
ders through a banal, uninteresting, '
detrimentally predictable love affair in
order to reach a climax that is not only
inevitable but already mapped out to
his audience, I feel slighted.
Ultimately, viewers are the ones who
are really ripped-off, relegated to a
career of film-going that involves little
participation and purely sensual expe-
riences, of first-class directors offering
up third-rate grub.
And this cycle isn't about to change,4
especially now that studios have
learned to give audiences exactly what
we seem to want - what we cantol-
eruw. (God forbid motion pictures
should be deep and challenging.) I've
hcred ne&ne comnlin that "IA.



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