4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 15, 2001
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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ABOR, MI 48109
A heartbreaking column of staggering genius
CHRIs KULA UNN ANN ARB(R
EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors
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.
n last week's "Guide
to The Michigan
Daily," I detailed the
proper way to read each
section of the paper. Some
perceptive readers noticed
that I spent very little time
mentioning my own col-
"Is he humble?" they
"Does he not desire the bright limelight of
the public eye?" they wondered, hands joined
in a circle, burning incense.
"Is he a superb dancer?" they asked their
The answers, in no particular order other
than the first, second and third answers corre-
sponding to the first, second and third ques-
tions, are: Yes, quite; yes, is drunk on it; and,
lastly, yes, but I prefer "world-class."
You see, dear readers, to explain the subtle
nuances of the column is to describe the magic
of a newborn's first breath. To suspend in time
the shooting star. To put into words what can
never be written. But I will try.
The creative process is different for every
artist, and I am no exception. Sometimes, I am
creative in the "Man, where does he come up
with this stuff?" kind of way, whereas other
times I am creative in the "His clever puns and
non sequiturs inspire in me dual feelings of lust
and rage; I do not know whether to prepare him
a meal of chicken enchiladas or to scald him
with hot butter" kind of way. Such is my art..
My column ideas generally come weeks -
if not months - in advance, so to capture the
spirit of inspiration while it's still fresh, I'm
always working ahead. In fact, as I type these
very words, I'm watching my family string
lights on our Christmas tree. (Why, thank you,
mother, some more eggnog would indeed be
But, on occasion, I have no choice but to
prepare a column on short notice. Say, when a
high-ranking government official is indicted on
charges of embezzlement: I know the entire
University community will be turning to Thurs-
day's column for moral judgment, political
analysis and choice Scott Baio references.
In high-pressure situations like this, the edi-
tors at the Daily are always kind enough to
hand over to me the exclusive use of the Arts
office as a makeshift war-room. Once locked
in, I will "work out" my writing strategies by
overturning desks, undergoing peyote-assisted
Native American purification rituals and letting
loose torrents of obscure Polish profanity for
hours on end.
More than once, young staffers, unaware of
my methods, have tried to intervene, only to be
pulled aside by a senior editor. "Don't," the edi-
tor will say. "He needs to get through this."
When the deadline can be pushed back no
further and every last revision has been made
twice, I finally emerge from the office, sweaty
and bare-chested, bordering on collapse. I find
the entire collected Daily staff waiting in
hushed expectation. I solemnly look each and
every one of them in eyes. The anxiety hurts the
air. I take a deep breath and nod.
"It's going to be all right," I sigh.
The cheers that ring out are deafening, the
"We can eat for another week!" cry the cute
"A round of the finest lager for Kula!" shout
the Sports guys.
But I have already left the building - it's
time to begin work on the column that will run
in six weeks.
I never asked to bear the weight of an entire
student newspaper; I simply wanted to make
people laugh. But when ad prices began to sky-
rocket every Thursday, it quickly became clear0
that the Daily's very livelihood was dependent
upon my ability to convey satire. I assumed nw'
fate the way that any pure-of-heart martyr
would I demanded an absurd pay raise.
My prominent status has also brought ni
into conflict with the Daily's editor-in-chief. At
least once a week, former EIC Mike Spahi
would drag me into his office to try to put me I
my place, a practice that's since been adopted
by his successor, Geoff Gagnon.
"Oh, you think you're bigger than the Daily,
Kula?" they'd typically yell at me. "Where'd
you learn to think like that?"
"You, alright!" I'd respond, "I learned it by
Try as they may, they could never keep a
straight face after I delivered that coup de after-
school grace, which further proves my point:
I'm sorry, I haven't really established a maid
point yet, so please read on, and I'll take care ..
that at this time.
A wise man - Peter Parker, I believe --
once said, "With great power comes grea' @
responsibility." For me, there is no greater
power than the ability to bring laughter into
someone's day, and this is a responsibility,+
gladly and wholeheartedly accept - much like
an absurd pay raise. Thank you.
Chris Kula 's column runs every Thursday. Give
him feedback at www.michigandail .com/forum.
or via e-mail at ckula umich.edu:"
-- . .... Z iT 3
w. \(4 . _ . K .....
No show represents
our generation like
Beverly Hills 90210
To THE DAILY:
Day to day we usually find your news-
paper to be informative and entertaining.
But in terms of the March 12's "tourna-
ment" of the greatest TV shows of all time,
we must say there has been an oversight.
We think it is wonderful to see a fellow
cast member's show such as Saved By the
Bell and to see Silver Spoons was not for-
gotten. But the glaring error in which we
speak of is the one and only Beverly Hills
How can one say there was a show that
better represented our generation than
90210? What else inspired shows such as
Party of Five, Dawson's Creek, and the
other forgotten masterpiece of Melrose
Place? There is no other show on your list
that has four hours of reruns on five days a
week, not to mention encore presentations
on the weekend. There is no show from the
past or none other that will have the domi-
nating impact than BH 90210!
Some of the greatest actors of our time
such as Hilary Swank, David Arquette,
Dean Cain, Lucy Liu and Vincent Young
all began on 90210. Not to mention the
musical acts of GooGoo Dolls, Bare Naked
Ladies and Monica all launched their
careers at the Afterdark! We find this to be
a misrepresentation and we take personal
Michigamua does not
To THE DAILY:
After reading the Daily's editorial "Still
Unresolved: Michigamua cannot enjoy spe-
cial status," (3/13/01) 1 can't help but ques-
tion the line of reasoning that the Editorial
staff is using.
The chief complaint that the editorial
makes about Michigamua is that they have
office space in a University-owned build-
I ~ ,t tI1,
<IIISSRT YoU& OWN D1KCt EuRoMtS MEAT JoKt HERE =
ing. How is this preferential treatment? A
quick glance at the webpage of the Michi-
gan Union yields nearly a half dozen stu-
dent groups that have office space granted
to them, including the Michigan Student
Assembly and the Office of Greek Life. By
the Daily's logic, these groups should also
give up their offices, since the very fact
that they have private offices (with a lock
on the door, nonetheless!) shows that
they're receiving preferential treatment.
Obviously, that's a ridiculous state-
ment. The Michigan Student Assembly and
the Office of Greek Life are two useful
organizations. But, it could be argued, so is
Michigamua. Just because they decide to
stick with a mildly racist 19th Century
name for their organization doesn't mean
that they should be shorted out of having
offices in a University building.
As the Daily states in the editorial,
"Michigamua has the right to do what they
want..." Disagreeing with their name or
practices shouldn't disqualify them - a
University affiliated student group - from
receiving the benefits that are granted to
Writer wants to
know impact of MSA
To THE DAILY:
Please think of this as an open invitation
to inform a rather naive student. Simply put,
how does the Michigan Student Assembly
actually impact the student body? I have been .
at the University since fall 1997 and will be
graduating this April, and unfortunately I am
unaware of what it is that MSA actually does.
In other words, I am curious to know how
MSA has affected me, or the student body at-'
large, during my four years of undergraduate
It is an absolute shame that I am uni'$
volved in almost everything dealing with the
campus, unless one can include cheering on
the football team, and further it is a pity I
merely perceive MSA as a group of individu-.
als handing out colorful pieces of paper oqg
the Diag, taping fliers all about campus, and
designing elaborate chalk drawings on each
and every sidewalk stretching from the MLB
My lasting memory of MSA when all is
said and done, in all likelihood, will pertain
to Hideki Tsutsumi's antics in seeking elec-
tion to MSA. I suppose if I bothered to read
the Daily's articles covering MSA, then- Y
would have somewhat of a notion as to what
MSA stands for and diligently strives to
achieve. Yet, I tend to ignore and skip ovei
articles of this sort in place of other subject
matter, such as crime notes.
To reiterate, this is nothing more than an
inquiry intended to enlighten a rather naiveo
student who has chosen to remain unin-
formed and in the dark during his four years-
at the University.
I apologize for my lack of interest up to
this point, however maybe someone out there.
will do me a favor and elaborate upon,
MSA's overall impact during the past four
ael, Cornel West'
out this flaw in Zahr's question, a fact that
is absent from Wednesday's column.
Regarding Apartheid and Zahr's cony-
parison of the Palestinian tragedy to the
Holocaust, these comments are propaganda..
rather then historically accurate. Zahr talks
about a "Holocaust in Palestine." Thy
Holocaust was a purposeful attempt to
exterminate an ethnic group, hardly the
case in the Middle East where the Israeli
government strives to resolve the conflict
through the peace process, bolstering of the
Palestinian economy and constructing a
modern, democratic Palestinian State
alongside Israel. Meanwhile the Palestinian
Authority has not held an election since
In Amer Za
(3/14/01) he pa
The Daily shout
Dr. Cornel We
Dr. West answ
Zahr and other
used the questi
their nwn view,
painted wrong picture of Isr
does a wonderful job trying to open dia-
OINT logue and discussion, rather than simply
attack like Zahr does in his column. Only
ahr's recent column "Pales- with an evenhanded and balanced perspec-
s from the Holocaust," tive on the current violence can this univer-
sses off half-truths and slan- sity come to terms with opposing
as legitimate commentary. viewpoints and the current violence.
ild have higher standards for Unfortunately, on this campus the sup-
s. porters of Israel find only belligerence and
that the questions posed to rejection when we try to open a dialogue
st went unanswered. In fact, that could lead to' mutual understanding.
vered the question of both Sadly, Israel is in the same position, finding
Palestinian supporters who children's school busses blown up and ruth-
on and answer period as an less lynching of soldiers when they reach
bash Israel and proclaim out their hand in peace. While Sharon,
i rather than resnond to the Barak and Clinton have clearly tried to
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