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October 12, 2000 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-12

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 12, 2000

be S. irbiguu ai3 g

"Oh oh ohhh, she's my focus girl..."

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

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

F orget about the professor, forget about
the syllabus, forget about the discussion
-gentlemen, the key to having a good
class is finding yourself a focus girl.
Wondering what a focus girl is? Well,
chances are you
already know.
In every class
you've ever had,
there's always been
that one young lady
who really catches
your eye, a perfect
angel in your lecture
hell. Sometimes
she's strikingly
beautiful, sometimes
she reminds you of a Chris
different person and
sometimes she's just Kula
got a unique vibe Unsung
about her.n
Whatever the
reason may be, every
time she steps into that classroom, you can't
help but notice. Boys, that's your focus girl
right there, because I'll be damned if you're
not focused on her for the duration of the
Honestly, if I think back to the various
Intro to B.S. classes I took my first year, I
can still remember my focus girl in each
course. I'm sure that my old Linguistics
professor loves the fact that, instead of
dipthongs and voiced fricatives, all I
remember from that class is the blonde girl

in the red jacket.
(And I know I'm not alone on this one.
Find me one guy who's never picked out a
focus girl, and I'll find you a Bette Midler
It's funny. because having a focus girl
borders on pseudo-stalking: You notice
where she usually sits, what she wears, if
she ever dozes off mid-lecture, et cetera.
But what separates you from the jilted ex-
boyfriend ("So ... does she ever talk about
me?") is that girl focusing is a purely recre-
ational activity, like bird watching or admir-
ing a fine piece of art. A fine, shprt-skirted
piece of art.
But God forbid you should ever talk to
your focus girl! No, keeping tabs on her
from across the lecture hall is like following
the Lions: You're not fan enough to actually
go out to the ballpark, but you never fail to
check out the box scores on Monday morn-
If you're anything like me, finding a
focus girl to call your own serves as better
motivation to attend class than,any kind of
pop quiz threat. Actually, it's the best moti-
vation. No matter how tired you are when
your clock radio blares in the morning,
there's always the pleasant thought of seeing
your focus girl to get you out of bed.
In fact, I bet if you conducted a study of
classroom attendance in different concen-
trations, you'd find that Psychology, notori-
ous for its high percentage of perky
sweaters and hip-hugging black pants, has
the most "dedicated" male students on cam-

pus. And take it from me, the English
department isn't far behind (let's just say
that Jane Austen isn't the only wonan
worth studying).
Ah, but before I inspire a flurry of
angry, feminist e-mails (read: "femals"),
accusing me of objectifying women, let me
just turn the tables on any would-be critics.
Ladies, I know how you work it. llight
now, even as you feign disgust at the idep of-
being someone's focus girl, there's a guy
across the classroom whom you've been
checking out since day one. You noticed
when he got his hair cut shorter, you keep
waiting for him to sport that black turtleneck
again and you once giggled and whispered to
your friend, "He's wearing argyle socks!"
He's your focus boy and you know it.
Oh, you girls play the same wicked
game as us guys. You scope out the lecture
hall just like us, and it's not fire exits that
you're searching for. Once you've set your
sights on a focus boy, you come up with the
same kind of nickname, too. For every Indie
Rock Girl or Leather Boots Girl, there's a
Sensitive Poet Boy or Jordan Catallano Boy.
So with all of this cross-lecture gazing
going on, you have to imagine that all of us,
at some point or another, have probably
been focused upon. That means when I
make eye contact with Hipster Glasses Girl,
she very well could be looking at Redhead-
ed Boy.
Or just a redheaded boy.
- Chris Kula can be focused via e-maP
at ckula@umich.edu4


Problems with online registration still loom

W ith registration for winter term
looming in the not-too-distant
future, many students are dreading
the many pitfalls that go along with
the new and "improved" Wolverine
Access. While the majority of stu-
dents registered for classes by phone
last year, this year
they must rely on the Wolverine
Wolverine Access -
Website in order to IS not yet
get into their desired par. Stude
Although in theory unab to
this eliminates long, transcript;
tedious calls to them
CRISP lady, students mny woi
who attempted to whether i
than ge their sched-
ules through Wolver- system cs
ine Access this year winter red
have found that it
often takes longer than phone reg is-
tration. Not only is the new site often
too busy to allow students to enter it,
many also find it confusing once they
do enter. The site also still seems to
have many technical problems that
are causing a collective frustration
among students.
The Registrars' Office has alleviat-
ed many of these problems since the
beginning of the year, yet seniors and
other students who need their tran-
scripts are now finding it impossible
to print them from the site. Many
deadlines for graduate schools - as
well as internships and study abroad


programs - are approaching, and
transcripts are vital to the application
This setback has many students
wondering when they will be able to
take full advantage of the new system.
The system's projected benefits are
listed in the frequently
Access asked questions por-
tion of the site, yet
up to when portions of
nts are Wolverine Access are
print not operational, this
negates any claims
; and that the site has more
advantages than the
ler very reliable CRISP
1a system.
- -- @ Most students did
ri handle not have any problems
istration. with the old Wolver-
ine Access, but the
Office of the Registrar still hastime
to prove that the system is up to par.
Many wonder whether the site will
have the capacity to handle the entire
student body's registration needs this
winter without shutting down as it
did this fall.
These problems must be addressed
before the Winter semester registra-
tion onslaught that brought the sys-
tem to a grinding halt a month ago.
The site may look nicer and eventual-
ly become more user friendly; howev-
er, most students are more concerned
with present problems than future

'Complacency is dangerous. And Coming Out Day
has become a celebration,
but It has to remain a call to action.'
- Beth Harrison Prado, Graduate Student in
Sociology and the School of Social Work.

Miideast turmoil
Civil debate of issues would benefit campus

T he ambivalence surrounding the
crisis in the Middle East is noth-
ing new; yet, the most recent flurry
of turmoil throughout these past few
weeks has been difficult to ignore.
With more than 100 people dead and
U.N. negotiations shaky, University
students find themselves choosing
sides. The tension fueled by decades
of historical and religious conflict
continues to escalate as both Pro-
Israeli and Pro-Palestinian students
organize public protests in an effort
to educate students unfamiliar with
the recent chaos in the Middle East.
Rather than allow this tension to
come to an explosive head, the Uni-
versity should organize a public
forum that provides .for a comprehen-
sive understanding of both sides of
the conflict. The objective of such a
debate would be twofold: primarily,
to raise awareness of the violence
committed in this area of the world
and to also offer students an opportu-
nity to unite and ameliorate this cata-
Because of the University's ample
amount of resources - including
space - providing such a means for
discussion on campus should be easy.
In addition, the fact that so many stu-
dents feel so passionately about the
violence ensures participation in the

proposed event.
To be effective, however, this
forum must be conducted in a peace-
ful and diplomatic manner. Nothing
can be accomplished if students
resort to name-calling or yelling out
viewpoints. In order to better under-
stand the events that have transpired,
students are going to have to focus on
the issues at hand. Of course, many
of these issues will be seen in light of
all the history surrounding this con-
flict, yet simply bringing up the past
in an effort to win a point will not
help cap the increasing death toll in
this sensitive region.
The point of this exchange, then,
is not simply to gain insight into dif-
ferent viewpoints; just talking and
arguing. about who is right or who
deserves what is futile.
If enough awareness is raised,
however, perhaps people will become
motivated into action. Ideally, this
forum could result in some sort of
cohesive and therefore more effective
resolution to help stop the increasing-
ly serious state of af airs in the Mid-
dle East. Students do not have to
agree with every statement debated,
yet some mutual concessions could
also help to alleviate the growing ten-
sion between involved parties on this

McQuinn's column
exemplifies elitism
In her column in Tuesday's Daily ("A
weekend in East Lansing makes me appreciate
A'" 10/10 00), Erin McQuinn expressed great
pride for the University's Ann Arbor campus
after spending a weekend in East Lansing, the
home of Michigan State.
I, too, am proud to be of the Maize and
Blue. I have worked very, very hard to have
the opportunity to attend a school of this cal-
iber and I consider myself incredibly fortunate.
Many individuals don't have the chance to go
college, much less the opportunity to attend an
outstanding university such as this one.
But hold on a moment - didn't McQuinn
say that she's lucky to attend the University
because, God forbid, if she had gone to Michi-
gan State she'd be forced to attend a school
where the girls are "plain" and the boys are
"skinny"? Didn't Erin suggest that the value of
this school isn't found in the quality of educa-
tion, but in the abundance of "stretchy shirts"
and "Prada bags"?
Please! As an outsider who recently moved
to Ann Arbor, the only real disappointment
that I have faced at this school so far is that so
many bright and creative minds are reduced to
directing far too much attention to haughty
appearances. The overwhelming elitism that
pervades the undergraduate student body at
times can be very disturbing. What if a student
can't afford Prada? Sure, I shop at Sears. I fre-
quent thrift stores. I have to. But even if I was
walking around with Daddy's money in my
pocket. I doubt that I would chose to wear
clothes that don't express who I am. That's me;
I'm not a walking advertisement for every
tedious trend of the moment. I wear what I
Besides, jean jackets and hoop earrings
and girls in goopy make-up at every corner in
Ann Arbor can become very exhausting very
quickly. And the more time a girl spends in the
bathroom - or the more time a boy spends at
the gym - leaves them less time to actually
explore more exciting and interesting pursuits
and develop a knack for intriguing conversa-
tion. I know many girls that would certainly
prefer a hip, soulful skinny boy over one of the
University's dull frat boy beefcakes.
Not to mention that all this swank unifor-
mity sucks the personality and originality out
of an otherwise appealing town. How about
abandoning the monotony and embracing a lit-
tle diversity? How about trying to understand
that not everyone can afford, or even wants, to
look like a designer's high-class whore?
Hey, I'd rather go to the University than
attend Michigan State. That's why I chose to
enroll here. But it's certainly not because of
the pretentious, burly boys or because the
"girls are better looking." I go to the Universi-
ty because I know that the degree will earn
respect and that it will give me opportunities
for a more fulfilling life after college. The
University social community would be far
more rewarding, however, if students would
leave their Prada bags - or at least all the pre-
tension that goes with them - at "high
school" where they belong.
Mrnijin enldnt

critical fashion trends -.they are down-
right offensive. Has it ever crossed her
mind, given her superior education, that
there is a reason why some people shop at
K-mart and Sears as opposed to Bivouac
and Urban Outfitters?
I'm sorry to hear that she felt so out of
place in East Lansing due to all of the "ter-
ribly plain girls," the notable absence of big
hoop earrings and the lame fraternity party.
That must have been really tough. A few
more things: The only thing offensive
about a "wife beater" is that name. Also,
McQuinn couldn't be more wrong about
University students not rioting after win-
ning sporting events. She should educate
herself on what happened when we won the
NCAA. championship in 1989. Witnessing
the destructive behavior of my peers that
night and reading her column Tuesday are
the two times I can pinpoint feeling truly
embarrassed to be associated with the Uni-
There are many more holes to poke in
this article, but frankly, I have no more
time to spend reflecting on this waste of
ink. I have an important meeting this after-
noon in E. Lansing, where I'm working
with some faculty members on research
related to adolescent development. Now
that I think of it, this article might hold
some value as a case study in arrested
development and egocentrism.
Victim of 'Simpsons'
tragedy should take
up fencing, chess
A great tragedy occurred at approxi-
mately 6:30p.m. last week, Monday. We
were shocked to read that letter writer
Robert Maskin was forced to watch the
television show "Friends" on UPN, since
"The Simpsons" was pulled off the air
("Students Should Defend Simpson's,"
10/9/00). How could such a catastrophic
event occur at a University that is supposed
to be an "institute of higher learning"?
Whoever has forced this poor soul to be
subjected to such debauchery should have
their eyelids pried open and placed in front
of a screen showing an endless verse of
Phoebe singing "Smelly Cat."
There are many activities that Maskin
could participate in, if he is so bored that
he is forced to watch wretched television
shows. A few of these are the Fencing
Team, the Chess Club and Students for
Legalization of Medicinal Marijuana. Be

sure that we will uphold Maskin's right to
participate in worthwhile activities! If any-
one wants to join us we'll be protesting in
the Diag at 6:14 a.m., Saturday morning.
U.S. policy makers
should take a cue
from Canada
I recently viewed the PBS Frontline special
on the United States' War on Drugs. Careful
hours were spent describing what's been done
so far, and then the last portion was specifically
devoted to the future of drug policy. While
much of the casual drug use that the War on
Drugs intended to stop has declined, it's becom-
ing quite clear that the government's involve-
ment, more specifically their practice of
prohibition, is not the source of this decline. In
fact, the program logically showed how the,
existing practice, with billions of dollars put
into law enforcement rather than treatment, has
not deterred the five million "hard core" drug
users that spend some 60 percent of the money
spent on drugs in the United States.
The reason I'm writing to the Daily is an-
editorial I read in the Calgary Herald. Canadi-
ans seem to be a bit more proactive with the
issue of drug policy, declaring the prohibition of
all marijuana unconstitutional. This will allow
patients with AIDS, cancer and many chronic
pains the only medicine that reduces pain and
brings back appetite without the toxic side.
effects of more addictive, clinically approved
pain killers. In light of all of this movement in
the Canadian government, Dan Gardner took
his editorial power and called out to the citizens
with, "We Must Choose To Legalize Drugs'
The full text of the article is available at the
Media Awareness Project's Website(http://map-
inc.org/drugnews/v00/n1500/a09.html). He
details both tracks for further drug.policy in any,,
country: Prohibition or legalization. I encourage
anyone who isn't familiar with the situation to
start here for a quick dose of reality.
Prohibition has been tried in the U.S. for 20
years with little or no reduction in either drug
related crime or the overall value of the drug
economy. Perhaps it's time to deal with this like:
the social problem it is rather than locking up
our citizens because they've done somethings
the state doesn't like. As the voice of "editorial
freedom" on this campus, how do the editors ofd
the Daily stand on what some call an issue of
fundamental liberty?

Twoscoe Pece Cu*ps
Anniversary brings renewed commitment

J n the wee hours of the night of
October 14, 1960, then-presidential
candidate John F. Kennedy stood on the
steps of the Michigan Union and
addressed a dedicated group of Univer-
sity students who had gathered for a
late-night rally.
The memory of JFK's
speech may have faded Th e a
slightly in the years fol- h
lowing, but one idea left anniverSi
an indelible impact on cel 'ebrat
the nation and this cam-
pus: The importance of Students
student service. Less opportun
than five months later,
the newly elected Presi- learn mop
dent Kennedy signed an involved.
executive order estab-
lishing the Peace Corps, formally
implementing the ideas he first uttered
in Ann Arbor.
Tomorrow, nearly 40 years to the day
since Kennedy introduced the idea to


volunteer opportunity unparalleled by
any other group, affording recent col-
lege graduates the chance to experience
firsthand the cultures of countries
unlike our own in exchange for two
years of service in the local communi-
Currently, 63 Uni-
e Corp, versity alumni are
involved in the pro-
ry gram, but this number
)n offers could be much higher.
The Peace Corps is an
a perfect opportunity for twen-
ty to ty-somethin s and
older to put their stu-
e and get dent loans and career
plans on hold and
experience life in the
world community. It is an organization
designed for the college age group,
with programs that mobilize the student
generation and afford participants an
irreplaceable experience. -

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