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January 20, 2000 - Image 22

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-01-20

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68 - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, January 20, 2000

v.. . .r ,... ...0 ... .. --- r .. --

w

The Michigan Daily 'Weekend, etc. 11
A TEMPEST IN A T-SHIRT

INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE NORTH
AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Atib
Fourteen semi-trailers are required to carry the 75,000-
plus yards of carpet used for the exhibits and aisles at the
NAIAS. If the carpet was made into a twofoot-wide run-
ner, it would be 66 miles long. With the average home
using 125 yards, the carpet used at the NAIAS would
cover the equivalent of 600 houses.
Equipment needed to setup the show includes more than
1,000 semi-trucks, 14 million pounds of freight, 75 fork-
lifts, 18 45-foot booms, 20 scissor lifts and 12 miles of
electric wires.
In the three weeks it takes to prepare the NAIAS for the
media and public, 600 carpenters, 300 teamsters and rig-
gers and 150 electricians work on the show setup.
It takes many other personnel to prepare the auto show
including: 75 stagehands, 200 janitorial workers, 500-
700 catering personnel, 65 vehicle polishers, 135 car
porters, 87 full-time Cobo Center staff members and 20
additional part-time Cobo Center staff members.

It was an innocent house party. A
few people were smoking on the
porch. Others surrounded the half-
barrel with arms extended, holding
plastic cups, hoping for the keg king
to take pity on.them next, while the
rest of the crowd meandered
throughout the house, up the stairs,
down to the basement before spilling
out onto the front yard.
Ben and I were sitting on the porch
railing, sipping from translucent
plastic cups of Labatts, watching the
people milling in and out between
us.
"It's amazing all the grief that
those caused," Ben said.
"What?" I said.
"See that guy over there," Ben
said, pointing his index finger from
the half-filled cup of beer by his
face. "The one in the blue shirt?"
"The guy in the "Freshman Girls"
shirt?" I said.
"Yeah, the controversy that fol-
lowed those shirts is idiotic."
"Idiotic?"
"Not the shirts themselves. All
right, so they're mildly amusing. But
the way they became so controversial
is downright hilarious, because the
whole thing backfired on the self-
righteous."
"I know about the controversy and
the protests, and I read the article in
the Daily. I mean it was a frat thing
anyway, wasn't it? Since when do
frat boys have the right to be self-
righteous?"
"No, no, no, no. You, like the rest
of the University, don't know the
whole story. Here, let me tell you
what happened. I got an e-mail in
late August from a couple of my
friends who are fraternity brothers,
saying they were selling these T-
shirts for $10 a piece. They were
blue and on the back it said,
"FRESHMAN GIRLS, get 'em while
they're skinny." I laughed when I saw
it, but I thought there was no way
these was going to take off."
"Yeah, so much for your foresight.
I heard those two kids made a
killing"
"You have no idea. But the funny
thing is nobody cared about the
shirts, besides a few guys in this fra-
ternity. Then while walking from a
football game a couple of the femi-

nists on campus saw them wearing
the shirts. They wrote a letter to the
editor about how offended they were,
and how shirts like these only
enforce negative stereotypes towards
women, while promoting diseases
like bulimia, anorexia and depres-
sion."
"Well, they do. That and the rest of
the media."
"But the thing is the feminists had
the right idea, they went about it all
wrong. First off, they had the logo on
the shirt wrong. They said it was
'thin' when it was 'skinny.' Then

they said that it
was a fraternity
shirt and pro-
ceeded to lam-
baste the entire
Greek system
for it."
"Wasn't it a
fraternity shirt,
though?"
"No, not at
all. The two
guys were inac-
tive members
of a fraternity
living outside
their house.
That fraternity
had nothing to
do with it,

Jon Zemke
St. Michael
:peaking

"Nah, she was cool about it,
because she knows I'm not a pig. But
we disagree about a few points. Then
again, what do I expect, I am dating
a feminist," Ben said.
"Such as?" I said.
"He's certain that they protested it
wrong," Lauryn said. "Come on,
what do you expect. Women are sick
of they way the media portrays how
they 'should be,' so they stood up for
themselves."
"And the way they did it only
made the situation worse," Ben said.
"They wrote a letter and stood up for
themselves. Good, they should do
that. But then when someone
responded to it they had to respond
to that and then everybody had to get
the last word in. This huge issue
erupted over a cheap T-shirt, and
everyone got defensive. Guys who
normally wouldn't have thought of
buying this shirt did so just to piss
their persecutors off."
"Women weren't persecuting
guys," Lauryn said. "All they did
was speak up for themselves, and so
what if they bruised a few male
egos."
"That's the point, bruising those
male egos wasn't the smart way to
go. College guys feel threatened
enough when it comes to an issue
like this. Throw in a protest, a Daily
editorial speaking out against these
shirts, along with defending them-
selves every time the issue comes up,
and, of course, the shirt is going to
be in high demand. Guys are going
to buy and wear it just to piss off the
feminists that are giving them all this
grief."
"But wait, you just said these Pnvs
were being persecuted," Lauryn
said.
"It's true. The two feminists who
organized the protest, and the entire
charges against these shirts, were in
one of my classes. I was berated by
them every week, and I agreed with
their stance, just not their methods.
They just assumed that I was in a fra-
ternity, and practically began yelling
at me, giving me lectures on how bad
the shirts and the Greek system was.
They even demanded that I tell them
the names of the guys who made
them."
"Well, that wasn't..."

"Right? Of course it wasn
n't do anything. I wasn't
one. Hell, I even agreed with
a point. But all of those let
editorial, the protest so close
er? The next thing you know
guys are on the front page
Daily, sitting back, lookin
with the shirt for the whole
see. The next thing you knox
body wanted one.
"They licensed the shirt an
selling them all over. A f
mine said the first time he
was when he was in India'
football game. Dozens of
were asking me to hook 1
with one, and the guys wh
them laughed all the way to t
So, in the end this part of th-
male population that 01
might have sympathized v
unfair portrayal of women
wearing one more piece o
degrading them."
"If you're so opposed to
the issue was handled, wh

David Katz/DAILY

- Source, North American Internation Auto Show

except that a couple of the brothers
bought a few. The feminists said, in a
campus-wide publication, that Greek
letters where imprinted on the front.
The shirt said, 'Michigan Welcome
Week."'
"But still, the fact remains the
shirts were made by a couple of frat
boys."
"So... Quit stereotyping. The opin-
ions or actions of a couple of broth-
ers doesn't represent the way the rest
of the fraternity, let alone the Greek
system, thinks. Everybody ran away
with the stereotype. The next thing I
knew I had my back against the wall,
defending my fraternity for some-
thing it had nothing to do with."
"It's not like they didn't get what
they had coming to them," Lauryn
said, sitting down next to Ben on the
railing.
"Your girlfriend must have given
you a lot of drama about those
shirts," I said.

I
I};

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