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April 13, 2001 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-13

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4- The Michigan Daily - Friday, April 13, 2001

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily letters(&umich. edu

The 'unpleasant and frightening' end of the year
PETER CUNNIFFE LOST IN THE GAME

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority ofthe
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

ow that the most
soul-devouringly
painful of my term
papers is written, I'm
standing on the verge of
graduation and I'm about to
put the four-month long
argument about why kids
in Ann Arbor can't change
anything in Israel (other-
wise known as my cursed last semester at the
Daily) behind me, I have only one big issue left
to ponder.
Should I strip down and run through the
streets of Ann Arbor next Tuesday?
The Naked Mile - or "Ann Arbor-intema-
tional Pervert Fest" if you prefer - really
sounds like a lot of fun. I imagine running
around naked with a whole lot of other naked
people is a wholly worthwhile experience that's
relatively hard to come by.
But there are some drawbacks. Basically, the
aforementioned perverts congregating in town,
including those who really seem to freak people
out, the ones with cameras. That has to be
expected someplace there's guaranteed to be a
lot of nudity and yes, some people's pictures are
going to be posted on websites for those semi-
perverts who skip the trip to Ann Arbor, content
with dark, grainy pictures of bouncing body
parts in the comfort of their own homes. I
understand this year's run will even be shown
live on the Internet.
But is that really a good reason not to run?

Its not like you've done porno. People in
Naked Mile pictures are just running around
having a good time and if asked, can easily
explain it as some hannless college fun. No one
of much importance will ever know anyway.
Maybe if you're running for president and pic-
tures of you pop up, that would be bad. But, like
most emotionally stable people, I have no inten-
tion of ever being a politician and even if I did,
what exactly would I have done wrong? Its not
like I was snorting coke or driving drunk or hav-
ing a bunch of retarded people killed.
There'll probably be a lot of drunk people
around too, which will probably lead to some
unfortunate scrapes, but drunkenness is the only
way most people will ever be naked in front of
large crowds. But that's how it goes. They can't
help that this prudish, shame indoctrinating soci-
ety forces you to get plastered to try anything
out of the ordinary.
There are certain other risks to drunkenness
at the Naked Mile. The last time I watched it
was two years ago from a third floor apartment
in University Towers. A girl at that gathering
decided to go smoke in a stairwell at the same
time a rather intoxicated individual a few floors
up decided the big gap down the center of the
stairwell was a good place to relieve himself.
I've been told some people actually enjoy
being peed on, however, judging from this girl's
reaction, I now find that hard to believe. But I
digress.
The much ballyhooed possibility of sexual
assault also seems overblown. If you've got half

a brain you're not running around naked and.
alone, you've got some other people watching
your back, so to speak. As for the possibility of
being arrested, its unlikely and you need to take
a few chances in life anyway.
And even if you are, don't believe Vice
President E. Royster Harper, you will not be put
on a sex offender list for running the Naked .
Mile (providing you haven't been caught run-
ning around naked too many times in the past),.
A public defender with an extra chromosome
can get you out of that one, let alone the lawyers
I'm sure most people on this campus can get a
hold of.
What's really wrong with the Naked Mile is
that it's not just a University event any longer,
it's crowded with losers from all over the place.
Why anyone would expend more effort than
a five minute walk to just watch this thing is
hard to understand. There are lots of places you
can drink and see naked people, usually much
more "entertaining" naked people as well.
The Naked Mile would be infinitely better if
only students were involved, as runners or spec-
tators and maybe there are ways to get back to
that. We should just randomly change the time.
of the run. We could do it at noon on the last
day of classes. Or how about today?
Well, barring any spontaneous outbreaks of
stripping before then, I'll see you Tuesday.

This is Peter Cunnifle'sfinal column
for the semester. Give him feedback at
www.michigandaily.com/forum or
via email at pcunnil@umich.edu

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'Right wing' not the
same as bigotry
To THE DAILY:
In Jodi Masley's viewpoint in Wednesday's
Daily ("Drop the Charges Against Ryan Hugh-
es," 4/11/01), a viewpoint with which I funda-
mentally agree, Masley made some remarks
that betray a profound confusion about the
nature of American politics. Specifically, she
uses the phrase "right wing" three different
times in reference to the anti-gay protesters at
the lesbian/gay Kiss-In. To refresh everyone's
memory:
"Hughes is accused of vandalism and
assault for allegedly spray-painting the picket
sign and the face of a far right-wing anti-gay
bigot who openly advocates the assault and
murder of lesbians and gay men."
"Apparently, (the Department of Public
Safety) and the University administration
believe that right wing advocates of genocide
against lesbians and gay men are welcome on
campus and must have their 'free speech' rights
protected at all costs."
"The University administration must not be
the protector of violent, right-wing organiza-
tions."
I consider myself a member of the "right
wing" - I am a Republican. I am not a bigot. I
am a supporter of the gay community and of
gay rights. I see Masley's specific mention of
the alleged politics of the anti-gay bigots as an
implication that their "right wing"-ness some-
how makes them worse than they already are
- as if to say, "Well, a violent, bigoted, geno-
cidal organization is bad, but a republican, vio-
lent, bigoted, genocidal organization is really
bad." And of course, identifying that you
believe that the bigots were Republicans serves
simply to demonize good, intelligent members
of America's "right wing" such as myself (sure-
ly, a belief in small government cannot - by
any leap of logic or faith - translate to a belief
that "God hates fags"). This issue wouldn't be
so frustrating if I did not see examples of it
every day in the University community.
In the three quotes above, if the phrase
"right wing" is removed (as it should be, since
I've demonstrated that the protesters' political
affiliation is immaterial to their obvious big-
otry), Masley's statements would still carry the
same weight. Masley is right, the University
administration must not be the protector of vio-
lent organizations. And an anti-gay bigot is an
anti-gay bigot, regardless of whom he voted for
in the last election.
Consider, if you will, that the oppressive,
communist, human-rights-abusing officials in
the Chinese or Cuban governments could, by
American political standards, be described as
"extreme left wing." Now, imagine that in
every newspaper article or editorial, those offi-
cials - those very bad people - were referred
to consistently as "left wing" in addition to their
other horrifying prefixes. Would that be fair?
Or, more importantly, accurate?
I urge Masley to consider these issues in the
future, instead of relying on catch phrases such
as "right wing" to describe anything she deem
repugnant.
AVRAM DERROw
LSA senior
Daily: Stop catering
to certain groups

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In the last election, the Defend Affirmative
Action Party received a few hundred votes
more than the FRAT party - a clear indication
that their fringe ideas are losing what little toe-
hold they already have on campus.
Yet more often than not, the Daily prints
their pleas and cries in large areas that could be
given to other groups that would like to be
heard. When DAAP candidates were disquali-
fied from the election, who published their
complaints? Every time there is a major deci-
sion, who is heard? Two students in particular
- Jessica Curtin and Agnes Aleobua - claim
to be speaking for the campus (Channel 4 and
The Detroit News actually said this once), but
they really aren't. They are speaking for a few
students on campus who want it known that
collectively, they can scream louder than the
rest of us can. Obviously, I understand that the
Daily is a bastion for liberal thought. Fighting
this would be like banging one's head against
the wall. The unfortunate part is that the Daily
makes itself a tool for specific groups on cam-
pus by allowing itself to be a medium for the
dissemination of ideas that have been con-
sciously discarded by the logical public.
If the Daily really wants to be held as a
credible paper by clear-minded individuals
(regardless of their political views), it will most
certainly have to at least begin acknowledging
that there are those on campus who think differ-
ently than it does. By constantly presenting
only one side of the argument, the Daily turns
itself off to those individuals who want to read
a newspaper -not an opinion flyer.
Remember that in the land of the blind, the
one-eyed man is king. Because there are no
other daily student-run newspapers on campus,
the Daily has indeed established itself as the
king of the blind.
CHRIs GEORGANDELLIS
LSA senior
Aibright willbring
'prestige' to 'U'
To THE DAILY:
After reading a few of Amer Zahr's
polemics ("Sorry Ms. Albright, I Am For
Real,"04/11/01), it is clear that he cannot write
a sentence without diminishing from the total
sum of human knowledge.
Two things are present in all of his rants: A
vicious smear campaign against an individual
that does not hold Zahr's extremist views and
attacks on Israel. His latest victim was former
Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who
recently joined the William Davidson Institute.
Zahr accuses her of having an abysmal history
in foreign policy and human rights.
Ahrih hs c iidieda th e Shoolof

Horowitz's ad not
about free speech

-a

To THE DAILY:
Congratulations on the Daily's classy
handling of David Horowitz's self-promo-
tion campaign. Regardless of whether or
not one concurs with him (and I'll admit I
vehemently disagree with his viewpoint),
we all should be aware that Horowitz here
deliberately muddies the concept of free'
speech. The student body of a public acade-
mic institution serves as the publisher of its
newspaper. The students' representatives,
the editorial board, make content choices.
An outside source may attempt to purchasem:
advertising space, but ultimately it is the
decision of the editorial board whether or
not to run it. A student newspaper is not a
public forum of the same sort as, say, the
Diag. The Daily should make its decisions
based on what is best for its readers - the 0
tuition-paying students of the University.
As a former Daily contributor, a Univer-
sity alumnus and a former high school
newspaper adviser, I would have supported
the Daily had it chosen to run the ad, but I
take considerable pride in the fact that it did
not fall for Horowitz's gambit.
Maintaining editorial authority over
your own publication is not political cor-
rectness or censorship - it's acting out the
intentions of the First Amendment.
Horowitz's fallaciously argued, self-cen-
tered rebuttal to the Daily's decision speaks
for itself. It's great that the Daily allowed
him to respond and then balanced his
screed with a cogently written, student-
authored counterpoint, but ultimately
remember: Horowitz certainly has the right
to express his views, but The Michigan
Daily, nor any student newspaper, is under
no obligation to publish them.
BRIAN ARMBRUST
Alumnus
Naked Mile's spirit
should live on
To THE DAILY:
Am I the only one who thinks the slow
killing of the Naked Mile by the administra-
tion is unfortunate? I understand the adminis-
tration's goals of promoting safety, but at*
what cost? They dish out thousands for flyers
and advertisements telling you not to run. I
understand the risks and by no means should
we permit groping and other fors of sexual
assault to be tolerated.

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