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September 22, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-22

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 22, 2000

USE aictimun 34trtild

Drowning out the Olympic spirit with spectacle

v s AL

- ,,,

420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu
Edited and managed by
students at the
'university of Michigan

Eh
Ed

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinio
the Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan
SrppIng up ri
Shortened schedule is positiA

D isclaimer: This is the third column on
the Olympics to appear in this news-
MIKE SPAHN paper in two days. Deal.
Editor in Chief The Olympics is like a gruesome car
accident. I'm tempted not to clarify that
MILY ACHENBAUM analogy, because it
itorial Page Editor seems rather amusing
without explanation, Y
n of the majority of Games is like a car
cartoons do not accident because even
Daily. though the whole r
thing disgusts you,
you can't looksaway.
There's just some-
thing about it that
keeps you gawking,
no matter how much David
you try not to.
The Olympics have Horn
ve step always fascinated me. ftt st
My earliest recollec-
ar students. tions are of the 1988
the Greek system Games in Seoul. The bringing together of
oblem. They under- nations; the competition; the athleticism
eks is too long for and the stories of perseverance and triumph
ed with midterms, all sort of compliment each other and
d to shorten rush to becomes this dramatic amalgamation that
have the selection makes for some damn good TV.
ig the first week of And I've always been suckered in. I grew
up a sports fan and for a while I actually
ing to a sorority or believed that international sports competi-
the first month of tion was an accurate gauge of international
is still too much athletic excellence. Rather, the use of per-
'ear students, short- formance-enhancing drugs, the inconsis-
eriod for rush cer- tencies regarding the participation of
more manageable professionals from country to country, and
can known whet then the "Games" themselves (Badminton?
in earlier and that Ballroom dancing? Synchronized swim-
he opportunity to ming? Are you kidding me?) results in, at
tivities and social best, a skewed measure of athletic prowess.
first two months of But the athletic aspect of the Games is
not foremost among my concerns. During

the opening ceremonies of these Games I
realized for the first time the hypocrisy of
the whole spectacle. The Olympics has the
pretense of being this multicultural summit
that preaches world peace, equality, free-
dom and the like. Cliched images of the
starving child in Southeast Asia holding
hands with the American farm boy pepper
both the calculated imagery surrounding
the Games and, in particular, the ever-
important advertising that makes the whole
thing economically viable. So there I was
watching the opening ceremony and first
let me tell you about these proceedings, in
case you'veynever witnessed them yourself.
The word "spectacle" has never been more
appropriately used as to describe the
Olympic opening ceremony. Pyrotechnics,
dancing Aborigines and extravagant "cul-
tural" costuming are just a beginning to an
exhibition that seemed to go on ad infini-
tum. Words cannot do justice to the lavish-
ness and excessiveness that was the
opening ceremony. All I can think to say
that Mr. and Mrs. Antonio Samarach aren't
going to want to pay little Juan's Master-
Card bill when it comes next month.
I can't begin to imagine how much
money is spent putting on that production.
Pardon my redundancy, but you have to see
it to believe it. The folks at the Internation-
al Olympic Committee justify their exis-
tence by stressing how the Games bring
people together and strengthen the interna-
tional community. And they do, I suppose,
but not nearly as much as if there was more
focus on strengthening communities via
physical realities like food and clean water,
rather than the lofty ideals of the Games.
Ten dancing Aborigines equals dinner for a
month in many villages in third-world
countries.
That Rwanda and Cambodia can send

athletes to the Games is great, but tha
accomplishment shouldn't outweigh, in the
international public perception, each coun-
try's failure to feed its own people, or pro-
mote and maintain civil peace.
Hypocrisy aside, the Olympics still has a
few goodies that really do it for me. Watch-
ing the American flag raised and the
anthem played gives me goose bumps and
that's something that will never die, no
matter how many athletes are sent home foO
jacking their bodies with andro and crea-
tine and the like. The accomplishments are
astounding - athletes, the majority of
whom train legally, continue to set records
and further human physical potential. The
international competition is still there, out-
side of the basketball arena. Some of the
finest sports competition I've ever seen has
been in the pool, on the gymnasium floor
and on the team handball court (watch the
Swedes - they make a sport I know noth-
ing about and can't figure out seem fun an8
exciting. The Swedes need to teach my
biology section).
There is potential in these Games,
despite the stains and blemishes that have
plagued the International Olympic Com-
mittee and the United States Olympic
Committee lately. The Games of the
XXVII Olympiad seem far away and in
many ways that distance is physical as well
as ideological. But stay tuned. Th *
Olympics have the capacity to inspire,
entertain, excite and, if they ever get their
act together, help. Use the appeals - and
there are many - to attract attention, and
then really do some good. Practice whai
you preach, IOC, and re-establish the
ideals on which the Olympic Games were
founded.
- David Horn can be reached via e-mail
at hornd@iumich.edu.

N ow almost a month into fall
semester, University students are
getting into the full swing of college
life. First-year students are quickly
learning the ropes of campus and try-
ing to decide what sport to play, what
cause to join and or what organiza-
tions to become active in, one of the
most popular choices is rushing a
sorority or fraternity.
In years past, sorority rush has
lasted as long as six weeks. For first-
year students still attempting to get
accustomed to college life, including
.managing classes, homework,
midterms and rush duties, this time
period can be a great struggle. And
considering that after these six con-
suming and worrisome weeks some
rushees won't even get into a Greek
house, it is easy to understand how
rush could be extremely counterpro-

ductive for first-ye
But this year,
recognized this pr
stood that six we(
rush and conflict
and therefore vote
twelve days andl
process start durin
classes.
While committi
fraternity during
living on campus
pressure for first-y
ening the time pe
tainly makes it a
option for students
This way they
sorority they are
way still have tI
explore other act
groups during the
school.

Diagdisruptions
Noisy events should be later in the day

'He's cool, I got him to listen to Rage Against the
Machine.'
- Author and television host Michael Moore, on what he d like students to
know about Green party presidential candidate Ralph Nader

T he University has a long tradition
of making efforts to foster free
speech on campus. Part of that effort
is allowing student organizations and
other groups access to the Diag. The
acceptable use policy for common
areas (available through the Office of
Student Activities and Leadership)
states, however, that those choosing to
use the Diag must not interfere with
the learning environment by creating
n safety hazards, obstructions, exces-
sive noise, etc. Organizations can
only exercise amplified sound
between noon and 1 p.m.,
" If an organization wishes to use
amplified sound on the Diag, the
OSAL's policy forces them to do so at
a time when many people are in class-
es in buildings near the Diag and.
studying in the Graduate Library.
Although one can leave the Graduate
Library and study elsewhere during
this hour, students would have a
rather difficult time taking their noon
to 1 p.m. classes from outside of the
classroom. Obviously, when closing
the window doesn't even let you hear
your professor, Diag noise has inter-
fered with the learning process.
The time has come for a bit of pol-
icy revision. Although an organiza-

tion may use the Diag for little more
than an informal security deposit (and
an $80 fee if it would like power), and
may stay in the Diag from 8 a.m. until
dusk, if it intends to use amplified
noise, its event must take place in the
middle of the day. There is room in
the day to have noisy events take
place later, from 4 to 6 p.m., for
example.
Other noise can be regulated, but
not so arbitrarily. The application
process takes into consideration the
potential for negative consequences of
certain events based on past events of
the same nature. The Office of Stu-
dent Activities and Leadership, how-
ever, finds it difficult to measure the
impact event noise. It has volunteered
to be the place where students can
direct their complaints of noisy Diag
events. The number to call is 763-
5900. Once those who enact the com-
mon area regulations have the
information they need to know noise
impact levels, they can begin work
drafting more modern policy.
The current policies on Diag use
need to be revised. Having classes in
buildings bordering on the Diag.
should not be a detriment to any stu-
dent's opportunity to learn.

Forest fee ipon' f
Lumber companies shouldn't get subsidies

n an attempt to finance the mainte-
nance and infrastructure needs of
America's national forests, Congress
passed a law in 1996 shifting the
financial burden of forest financing
from taxpayers to visitors - in the
form of entry fees. But while these
fees are being extracted from visitors,
logging and mining companies have
their environmentally destructive
efforts subsidized by the federal gov-
ernment. Taxpayer money has
financed the building of roads and
reduced timber fees in a number of
national forests, but people wanting
to bike, walk or picnic on national
forest land are expected to pay entry
fees.
This situation shows a fundamen-
tal level of hypocrisy and is an obvi-
ous misappropriation of financial
resources. It is not fair for visitors to
pay money above and beyond what
they have paid in taxes to subsidize
private companies. These forests
should be open to all people regard-
less of whether they pay fees.
Taxpayers should not have to help
finance timber companies' destruc-
tive and rapacious logging of national

forests.
These fees also demonstrate a fun-
damental level of hypocrisy on the
part of lawmakers because these
forests are strapped for cash, yet a
lucrative game of government subsi-
dies is benefiting lumber and mining
companies alone but leaving forest
visitors with fees. This equates to
millions of dollars of handouts from
the pockets of taxpayers. A better
solution is to waive the visitor's fee
and make the timber and mining
industries pay for their own profit-
taking means.
Next month, Congress is planning
to work out the details of a new law
that could make the usage fees in our
national forests permanent as compo-
nent of the 2001 Interior Appropria-
tions bill.
As the issue has never been offi-
cially debated before, this is a perfect
opportunity for lawmakers to drop
the forest fees. It is also a superb
time for citizens to wake up and
demand that lumber and paper com-
panies stop their government-spon-
sored logging of these national
treasures, the old-growth forests.

Confederate flag a
symbol of heritage
for Southerners
TO THE DAILY:
Any two people can look upon the
same flag and evoke two different mean-
ings, but is it right for one person to force
their interpretation upon the other? No! I
was not born in the south, but I did live in
Birmingham. Alabama for six years, and
have an intimate knowledge of the type of
person who chooses to fly the Stars and
Bars. The Daily s editorial " Take it
Down," 9/21/00) does a grave injustice to
the character of the individuals who gaze
fondly upon the Navy Jack of the Confed-
eracy.
I, like many "Yankeesv" was astounded
by the differences in culture when one
crosses into Dixie. One obvious fact that
most Yanks never come to terms with is
that they cannot judge the culture of the
south by their own standards. "The brave
men, living and dead, who struggled (at
Gettysburg), have consecrated (the battle-
field) far above our poor power to add or
detract," in much the same way the great
great grandfathers of living Southerners
consecrated that flag.
They fought not to preserve slavery but
to separate from the Union to prevent the
loss of their culture to the oerwhelming
tide of northertsitluence. Thesar swas a
test of a state's right vs. the authority of
the Union to control the states. And
although the South lost the war, their cul-
ture endured thanks to a price paid in
blood by the men who fought and died
under that flag.
The Stars and Bars mean much more to
modern Rebels than was claimed in the
Daily's editorial. These people are not
racists, but tolerant, open-minded individ-
uals with great loyalty to their respective
states and culture. The editors of the Daily,
however, are quick to stereotype the entire
south as racist because of a symbol they
believe in; a symbol that means much
more outside of Northern ethnocentric cul-
ture.
Don't look now, but its y'all who are
prejudging.
BRIAN NOURY
LSA SOPHOMORE
Article on fish
contained several
mistakes
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing to address Jane Krull's
Sept. 18th article titled "Students mourn
losses of short-lived pet fish." We have
found the article to contain some misinfor-
mation.
First, the article says that this is the
first year the Residence Halls Association
has allowed fish. The decision to allow
fish is entirely up to the University Hous-
ing administration and RHA only proposed
the measure.
Second, the article goes on to say,
"Although many other schools allow
'underwater breathing animals' such as
turtles and salamanders, the University
does not plan to follow suit in the near
future." We would also like to point out
that neither turtles nor salamanders

breathe underwater for a sustained period
and are therefore not allowed in the resi-
dence halls. The schools you are referring
to allow for animals that can breathe
underwater for "more than five minutes."
Also, many people appear to be having
problems keeping their goldfish alive.
Unlike suggested in the article, absolutely
nothing is wrong with Ann Arbor water.
Like most cities in the United States. Ann
Arbor chlorinates and fluoridates its water
(for your protection). Unless you let the
water sit for at least a day it will be toxic
to fish.
After a day, however, the toxins will
have dissipated and the fish are more like-
ly to survive. We would also like to remind
everyone that each and every goldfish
needs at least two gallons of water to
itself. The aquariums should also be
placed out of direct sunlight and not near
any heaters.
Finally, RiA believes that some safety
hazards should be looked at as well. We
recommend that everyone should not place
his or her fish aquariums near any electri-
cal equipment, or anything else of value.
The aquariums should be placed in a logi-
cal position where they will be steady and
not able to be knocked over easily. If these
guidelines are followed then fish should be
able to live longer and you can live a more
happy and fulfilled life.
TIM WINSLOW
VICE PRESIDENT FOR RECORDS, RHA
Today's drivers
feeling 'weak and
just a tad uncool'
TO THE DAILY:
While I enjoyed Gautam Baski's Week-
end piece ("Automatics battle stick shifts
in ultimate auto matchup," 9/21/00) on
manual versus automatic transmissions, he
overlooked the newest player in the field:
shift-if-you-want automatics like the Auto-
Stick.
The buying public has gone crazy for
transmissions that, while they imitate a
manual, offer none of the benefits Baski
described.

It seems that we, as a nation, forgo@
how to use a clutch, so, feeling weak and
just a tad uncool, we turned the automatic
into a product inferior to the manual it ear-
tier replaced. This is first-class irony that
can only be beaten by BMW's "SUV that
drives like a car."
JASON DAvIS-MARTIN
ALUMNUS
Both recent letters
about Napster were
incorrect
TO THE DAILY:
Brooke Sweet's Sept. 15th letter to ih@
Daily ("Napster use violates constitution")
said that Napster violates the constitution,
and a letter by Douglas Barns ("Napster
letter was incorrect" 9/19/00) followed this
up by stating that it doesn't violate the
constitution and the constitution doesn't
say anything about copyright laws. Both
were incorrect.
Article I section 8 of the constitution
says that congress has the power "To pro-
mote the progresshof science and useful
arts, by securing for limited times t0
authors and inventors the exclusive right to
their respective writings and discoveries"
How Congress goes about doing this is
essentially up to them as long as it does
not infringe upon our First Amendment
rights (which is one purpose of the fair use
clause).
The real issue with Napster is whether
they are responsible for what individuals
do on their network, assuming there ar
legitimate purposes for their service. Man
independent musicians distribute MP3
copies of their music. The professors of
my EECS 280 class are posting MP3
copies of the audio of our lectures.
The courts should have no right to pre-
vent these legal uses of Napster, and the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act specifi-
cally exempts ISP's from liability for ille-
gal actions by their users.
BRETT ALLE
LSA JUNIOR

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