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October 19, 2000 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-10-19

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10OB*The Michigan Daily - &kend, etc. Magazine - Thoday, October 19, 2000




The Michigan Daily - Weekend, et


etc \Afeekend, etc. Column
This past Saturday I found some
peculiar implications hidden in the
pre-game show before the football
When the marching band stormed
onto the field, eVervone around me
stood up and started clapping. IS
nexver seen one of these showxs
before, so I wasn't quite sure how to
rc.t. Yct somehow I lelt compelled
to stand up with ce\rvone else
3esides. I couldn't see around all the
people standing in front of me
3e hmid tlie mercurial °charue of a
flashy drum nmajor. twirli n and hurl -
inc a baton and bounding about, the
marching band flooded the field in a
sea of jubilant drums, euphoric


F a.scism on t~fed

Hisioryrepeats itself successfully in new(

euphoniums and triumphant trum-
pets, all molding into a majestic,
mountainous block "M," the charge
of "The Victors" wailing all the
while. It was breathtaking! My God,
all the bio lights, big city Broadway
snazz of the explosive musical cele-
bration "Blast!'" had invaded the
field. The "'" stood before niv eves.
burnine its imace into my brain.
A> the fi cht son« neared its cho-
rus. I looked out
over the undula-
tion of the mas-
sixe stadium
crowd. Aisle
after aisle of
martial marching
musicians and
flourishing flag
flailers high-
stepped across
the field while
John Uhl thousands of
Uhl Get people, and I was
one of them,
NothIng cried "1aWihail
to Michigan!"
and Like It v e h e m e n t Ilv
thrusting our
fists into the air.
Wait a minute.
Let's break this down a bit. OK,
we've got aisles of parading
marchers, flags, patriotic early 20th
Century brass music and thousands
of people thrusting their arms in the
air to the cry of "hail!" Was I at a
sports event or a rally for National
The similarity between the pre-
game show and Nazi propaganda
films by Leni Rienfenstahl is dis-
turbingly striking. Rienfenstahl
directed documentaries like
"Triumph of the Will" (a Nuremberg
rally) and "Olympia" (the 1936

diplomatic flower1
Cruisers pulled
straight from a Z.
Top video. cars
seem to be spend-
inc less time wait-
in' in shoxx rooms
and more time on
the roads scream-
inc '4ook at me!
Look at me!''
AutomotixC inte-
riors are not onl\
packed wx ith mod-
ern conx eniences
like TVs. cell-
phones and nax -
cation sxstems.
but their exteriors
tape of music1

holders to the PT

Michigan fans "hail, hail" to the football
Berlin Olympics), inserting images
of architectural might, pictures of
swelling supportive crowds and ani-
mated Nazi party symbols to sway
viewers. During the pre-game show,
a giant block "M" walked onto the
=field-To the ctrers of thousands of
people in Michigan Stadium, the
grandest athletic field in all of col-
lege football. For Christ's sake, we
practically seig-heiled to "The
Victors," chanting "hail, hail!" while
saluting. It took all my might to keep
from clicking my heels together.
Coincidence, or am I just para-
I'm probably just paranoid. It's
unlikely that these similarities,
although disturbing. were arranged
on purpose. "The Victors" has been
our fight song since well before
WWII started and the saluting has
doubtlessly been part of the ritual for
nearly as lone.
Moreover the pre-game activities
proved to be rather effective. By the
time kickoff came. I was super duperj

team at last week's Indiana game.
fired up. I was ready to maim or.
yes, even kill on behalf of the guys in
the winged helmets.
"John, we need you to bust Randle
El's leg at halftime, we're only up by
45 points. We need to hit the century
markjL .'rnmDaJhun and chance
of jumping Ohio State int ie 'BCS
"Sure thing, Coach Carr. Do you
need me to threaten or injure any of
his family members while I'm at it?
it would be my pleasure.".
On one hand, it makes perfect
sense for this pre-game fanfare to
rouse such school pride fervor. Film
students often study Rienfenstahl's
documentaries for their use of sub-
liminal editing techniques. On the
other, it's sort of unnerving to think
that Nazi culture might have had
some influence on a popular
American sporting event.
At 1eact i!' only a ame.
- Of )OuIre wiorI e that John is a
Nazi, You can e-mail him at
juhi/ umich. eda.

are like a mixed
from the '80's:

There's a buzz going around these
davs about new cars on the road.
From the mew Beetles with their

., . ..... , v .., . .. ti.... .....

.....J L,,.. L... t.. v .. .

Reminiscent of new age, retro and
even a little bit of funk. Once sepa-
rated. form and functionality are now
as close together as two lovers locked
in a tango.
A leader in this pack of new car-
makers has been Chrysler. From the
voluptuous Dodge Viper RT/ 10 and
Plymouth Prowler roadsters to the
affordable and innovative PT Cruiser,
Chrysler concept cars have really
come alive in recent years. What sep-
arates this former "baby of the Bitu
Three"' car manufact urer's triumphs
on the showroom floor from others
has a lot more to do with public per-
ception than with quality, craftsman-
ship or dependabilitv. Upon their
release. the Viper, Prowler and PT
C ruiser concept cars all evoked a
sense of nostalgia, elegance and
supremacy lacking in contemporary
designs. While many car companies
xvere looking to the f'uture for innov-
ati e ideas. Chrysler wiselv looked to
successful sty les from the past bet-
ting history would repeat itself. They
were right,
The whole concept car revolution

began on Jan. 4, 1989. While most of
us were in grade school thinking
Motlev Crue was the most masculine
thine out there. Chrvsler unveiled its
Dodge Viper RT/I( roadster to the
unsuspecting public at the Detroit
Auto Show. oozing more testosterone
than anything else in history.
From a company not then known
for aspiring originality, this car was
just a tempting first taste of far more
to come. After unxeiling the novel
Viper. Chrysler used Japanese car-
maker londa's dexelopment process-
es as a blueprint for making the super
car. xhich had to be designed and
built completely from scratch. The
lessons learned in the three years
from the concept stage to the street
would pay off for Chrysler through
the '90's in their rapid succession of
"cab forward" vehicles, Rarn trucks
and advanced minivan designs.
The Viper was Chrysler's modern
interpretation of racer Carol Shelby's
awesome 1967 A/C Cobra. Like its
predecessor, the Viper first appeared
with thunderous side-exhausts, few
safety features, no top and no air con-
ditioning. It offered the driver noth-
ing short of a rough, noisy and unfor-
cixine ride. But that didn't matter.
TIhe Viper screamed S-E-X. Its
aggressive appearance and gratuitous
V-10 engine was intended to evoke
memories of high performance
Ferrari and GT racers from the
19 50's and '60's.
Subsequent Chrvsler concepts that
thrived in the Viper's footsteps fol-
lowied the same recipe for success. As
the Viper borrowed fromt the Cobra of
years past, both - the Plymouth
Prowler and the PT Cruiser stole
design cues from street rods of the
early part of the 20th Century. The
retro appearance of a Prowler is
almost displaced from a page out of
the "Roaring Twenties" in "The Great
Gatsbv." Practicality takes a distant
second to style, for the Prowler is
mo're meant for a prom queen in a

- Ifvou want to take Gautam for a I
spin in Your Viper, write him quickly'
at ghbaksi umiich.eda. The Prowler revived the styl

parade than for any worthiness on the
streets of Ann Arbor. But from its
open front-end suspension to its lus-
trous aluminum wheels, it is a gen-
uine slice of American automotive
history rarely seen on the modern
. As a compromise, the PT Cruiser
valiantly brings the past together with
amenities of the future. As eclectical-
I y put together as a duck-billed platy-
pus, the PT is one part early 20th
Ccntury front-end with one part
minian station wagon, all wrapped
up in a practical, modern car.
The success of all three vehicles,
combininc blast-from-the-past
styling with a little modern innova-
tion, proves that a Prowler or a PT
Cruiser on the road today owes its
wheels to the success of the ambi-
tious Viper project nearly a decade
earlier. But the Viper has lived on in
the public's hearts as an addition to
the heritage of this country; a re-born
classic worthy of mention next to
names like Levi's jeans, Fender gui-
tars and Budweiser beer. Perhaps, one.
day, the Prowler and PT Cruiser will,

Urban Education
Most Important Social Issue
Harold 0. Levy
Chancellor, New York City Public Schools
October 19, 2000
5:00 pm
Shorling Auditorium
610 East University, Room 1202
I larold O. Levy chaired the Commission on
School Facilities and Maintet atnce Reform,
which produced a 1995 report on the
state of decay of New York City's pUblic
school buildings. and was apponited to
the New York State Board of Regents
in 1 997. Earlier th-is year, hie was
appointed Chancellor of the New York
Citv PUblic Scliools. Before serving as
Cancellor, Le vy was vice-presidem for
global compliance at Citigroup
Sponsored by the Teluride House, the University of Michigan School of Education
E Jand the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

U. of Michigan $35 pista
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