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March 19, 1998 - Image 23

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-03-19

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42B -Te Michigan Daily Weeke Magazine - Thursday, March 19, 1998

,. s .



The Michigan Daily Weekend

[ State of the Arts


Students take quest for thinness to dangei

Last week, I overheard some sports
fanatics discussing the NCAA
Tournament with a certain buzz of
excitement. They were engaged in a
rather intense discussion of the sur-
prises and disappointments
of the teams invited to play
in college basketball's most
prized event.
To me, this conversation,
-despite their excited tone,
really meant nothing. No
offense, guys. I don't know
college hoops very well, nor
is it on my list of priorities
to know anything about it at
all, but their conversation Kristin L
did remind me of one thing Daily Ar
- the Oscars.


I thought that something terrible
had happened - an accident maybe.
Perhaps someone had died.
I ran into my roommate's room, and
saw them glued to the television for
some basketball game. They
informed me that it was the
last minute of a major game,
and that North Carolina was
on the verge of suffering a
major loss that would throw
them out of the tournament.
So, I sat down with them
- I also brought along my
statistics homework - and
W .F> I'll admit, I got a little into
ng the excitement. After all, it
was this highly rated team
Editor against an underdog playing
the game of its life.
When it was over, I didn't really
care. No remorse for the loser; no
need for further discussion. By next
week, I'll probably even forget who
was playing.
But for me, it's different with
Oscar. Come Monday, I'll be glued to
the television without any hesitation,
just like all those basketball fans have
been since March Madness began.
Those answers that I have been wait-
ing to hear for more than a month will
finally be answered. Will "Titanic"
continue to break new records? Or
will it be completely overwhelmed by
its competition?
The way I see it, the Oscars are
about more than just big name movies,

illustrious stars and overpriced public-
ity. There's a sort of respect that movie
fans still bestow upon the event that
parallels nothing of its kind. Most
award shows lately seem to be more
about who makes the most money and
who is the most provocative and sexu-
ally daring, than about originality and
creative excellence.
If you're not catching my parallel
here, let me give you some examples.
This Oscar passion is the same sort of
excitement that basketball fans have
when they fill out one of those nifty
little charts, and then when they fol-
low each team's advancement in the
tournament by writing the name on
the next line in the pattern.
Such events have a certain buzz of
excitement that only true fans follow
- excitement surrounding the issues
of who should win, who will win and
why its somewhat of a tragedy when
those two categories don't match.
But even when it's not about win-
ning or losing, this thrill of someone
else's actual work is what gives us
something in which to put our own
creative effort that just may not make
it to fame and stardom.
Those who aren't fans of either bas-
ketball or Oscar still know the feeling.
It's the same kind of nervousness that
occurs when a music fan attends a live
performance, taking in a musician's
talent firsthand, feeling the music res-
onate through their veins.
It's the same kind of bring-a-tear-to-

See, one month ago, my colleagues
and I were engulfed in a similar sort of
conversation, although not about bas-
ketball or about politics or anything
like that. We couldn't stop talking
'about the 70th Annual Academy
Award nominations, and the surprises
and disappointments we had about
Hollywood's most prized event.
Random comparison, I know. But
work with me here.
On Saturday, I was in my room,
attempting to do some sort of study-
ing, when one of my roommates came
storming upstairs, into my other room-
mate's room. "Can you believe it?,"
she said with anxiety and worry.
"What's going on?"

my-eye sensation that comes with
hearing an author read his or her work
in person - feeling the true emotion
and tone that the literature was intend-
ed to bear, that the reader missed in
his or her own interpretation.
In the arts and entertainment indus-
try, this passion hinges on the creativ-
ity in the dramatic and comedic mas-
terpieces (and also works of trash, I
suppose) that some of the finest tal-
ents of our day have made. It sets the
tone for our era. Films, for instance,
can define or defy a generation, in
ways that few other media can.
Twenty years from now, people will
remember "Titanic," whether or not it
dominates Monday night, as the film
that broke the "Star Wars" box office
record, captured sentimental fools
everywhere and set the new standard
for epics. If there's an upset, people
will remember that film too; if not for
its own excellence, then as the film
that sunk "Titanic."
But for many, Monday will be just
another night.
With all of the geniuses behind the
films that have been released in this
past year coming together for one
night, there will be some mysteriously
wonderful actions converging.
I heard James Cameron, the director
of "Titanic, say in a recent interview
that he hoped that "Titanic" would
make "magic."
And in one sense, it did. Just like
with every film, there is an opportuni-
ty to live in somepne else's world; it's
a chance to put all of our own prob-
lems aside, and experience the world
of fantasy or face another person's
harsh reality.
"Titanic," at least, has been able to

do this for audiences. Notice the box
office records. For one reason or
another, people are going to see it
twice, three times and even four or
five times, even when they know
exactly what happens. It is this sort of
action that fuels my passion for
Perhaps my intensity for films has
gone slightly to the extreme. For
instance, my parents and I don't seem
to have similar opinions of movies
anymore - they think I am too criti-
cal and too picky, I think they don't
understand true cinematic genius. See
what I mean?
But what it all comes down to is
this passion for something that really
captures our imagination and tickles
our fancy. I may not be the biggest lit-
erature fan in the world, but after
attending the Literary Magazine read-
ing on March 13, I can respect that
some people are. The emotion is all
there. This is the genius that so few
have, and so few can present it to oth-
Yes, the sands of time will pass, and
my love for Oscar afd all its glory
may subside. But for now, I'm content
to live in someone's world for a while,
and it is my pleasure to give those tal-
ents who make it actually seem real
credit for their amazing work.
On Monday, I'll be sitting in front
of a television somewhere, waiting
with anticipation, watching with
intensity and excitement - just like
those basketball fans have been doing
so well. This is the big event. This is
for the whole bowl of cherries. This is
my March Madness.
- Kristin Long can be reached at
klon g@umich.edt.

By Renatt Brodsky
For the Daily
In today's society, being thin is in and
being fat is out.
Maintaining a low weight, counting
calories and exercising constantly seem
to be just as important to some students
as maintaining.a high GPA and making
the dean's list. But food and exercise
simply are supposed to help people live
longer and give them energy. Some stu-
dents, however, take their quest for fit-
ness to a dangerous extreme.
The Michigan Women's Handbook
states that a University study done in
1992 showed that 86.1 percent of first-
year women students engaged in abnor-
mal eating. "It is estimated that over half
of all female college students (nation-
wide) admit to some type of problematic
eating,' the handbook said.
Eating problems come in several dif-
ferent forms. Anorexia and bulimia are
specific eating disorders with a list of
warning signs andsymptom Those stu-
dents whose conditions don't fall into
these categories but who experience
problems with food are referred to as
having "disordered eating,' something
that has become a major problem for
female students at the University.
Michelle Bolek is an LSA student
who has recovered from an eating disor-
der. The co-chair of the MSA Women's
Issues Commission, Bolek said there is a
way out of this viscious cycle: "We are
supposed to be happy with our own
image and stop obsessing over other
people's bodies," she said.
Bolek suffered from an eating disor-
der during high school as well as during
her first year at the University. She said
that looking good became more impor-
tant to her than ever when she arrived in
Ann Arbor, where she found herself liv-
ing with women who were thinner than
she was.
"Living in the dorms stressed me out
because I was forced to eat around oth-
ers, which made me examine what oth-
ers were eating. So for example, if a
skinny girl was only eating a salad with
fat-free dressing for dinner, then that
meant that I had to eat one too," Bolek
Bolek said her eating disorder affected
her grades; she found it extremely hard
to concentrate on reading a chapter
because her mind was constantly
focused on food. She rated the success of



Research shows that women are especially vulnerable to eating disorders.

........... Ca

each day by how many calories she had
"Food became the only control that I
had in my life because at that point every-
thing else just became so out of control,"
she said. "I became very secretive about
my disorder because I didn't want anyone
to know that I had a problem."
Bolek's breaking point was in the mid-
dle of her first year, after one night of
binging and purging during which she
almost passed out. "I realized that I
needed help because I was sick of feel-
ing miserable with how disgusting I felt
and with how bony I looked. I knew that
it was time to make a change,' she said.
Bolek's experience of eating problems
during her first year is not unusual. Lauri
Fortlage, a nutritionist and health educa-
tion coordinator at UHS, said studies
show that eating disorders are linked to
times of transition, and that the average
age of the onset of eating disorders is
close to puberty, or at age 18. At this age
students often leave home to get a job or
go to college.

Making the transition from high
school to college is not easy, and stu-
dents living on their own have added
responsibilities, including buying and
preparing food. When this is coupled
with social pressures, eating habits can
change drastically.
Students who live together in close
quarters tend to pick up one another's
eating habits. Dieting, abnormal eating
and exercise patterns have a widespread
domino effect, Fortlage said.
"Very often I am asked to speak in res-
idence halls and sorority houses in order
to increase awareness and consciousness
about eating disorders," she said.
Fortlage said students with eating dis-
orders "use food as a coping mecha-
nism:' as an escape for whatever seems
to be the most important thing in their
lives. With food always on their minds,
they are irritable and unhappy despite
having the appearance of a good student.
Why do eating disorders primarily
affect women? Kristen Harrison, an
assistant communication studies profes-


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