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October 02, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-02

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

OP/ED

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

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

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

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
(( Everybody's so
frightened and fearful
....They probably
had no signs or symp-
toms. Some of them
think they're going to
die."
- Thelma King Thiel, chief executive of
Hepatitis Foundation International, as quot-
ed in an AP story on the reactions of blood
donors notified that their blood has been
rejected by the American Red Cross because
of HIV, hepatatitis or other contamination.

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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.

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Let the speculation begin - again
GEOFFREY GAGNON G-Oi.OGY

resident Lee
Bollinger called the
University his "first
love" when he was hired.
These days though, its
no secret that despite his
love for the University, dif-
ferent challenges may be in
$.; Bollinger's future as specu-
«;;: lation surrounding his can-
didacy for the Columbia
University presidency has been renewed.
A report that surfaced in the Columbia Spec-
tator tells of sources close to the search process
confirming that the sought-after president has
met twice with Columbia's presidential search
committee. The meetings are reported to have
occurred in one instance on a date when
Bollinger was confumed to have been in New
York and in another case on a day when his
whereabouts were unconfirmed.
The speculation is poised to start a guessing
game rife with unnamed sources, secret conver-
sations and blurry black and white photos, a
drama complete with old Ivy prestige and acad-
emic ambition - the type of thing that's not
been seen since last spring.
When Harvard whittled its list of the power-
ful and elite from a collection of names that
included Al Gore to a select group of potential
presidents last winter, followers here in Ann
Arbor were delighted to see Bollinger included
among the roster. But as the search proceeded
behind closed doors, speculation and anticipa-
tion boiled over in an orgy of rumors and stories
that played out in the media and the classroom
alike.

With the Harvard search in progress, ordi-
narily big news in Ann Arbor was met with a
somewhat dulled sense of importance. Despite a
basketball coach on the chopping block, the
multi-million dollar Life Science Initiative
beginning to take shape and the admissions law-
suits barreling to the front of public conscious-
ness, the campus found itself wrapped up in the
whispers that came from Cambridge board-
rooms. With new challenges and initiatives here
in Ann Arbor, we watched reporters track our
president from secret meetings in New York.
It was tough not to feel in some way like the
guy who watches his prom date scan the room
for a better dance partner. But it was also easy to
understand that this was Harvard we were talk-
ing about here. Harvard - the Michigan of the
East after all, as John F. Kennedy put it during
his address from the Union steps in 1960.
And so when Bollinger was passed over, the
campus breathed a sigh of relief - not only for
the news that we were keeping Bollinger, but
for finally being through with the rumors and
questions. But even as Bollinger reaffirmed his
commitment to Michigan, keen observers with
an eye on Columbia prepped us for the moment
we meet now.
And it's no surprise that those observers
tell us what we already know: That the thing
Bollinger couldn't bring to Harvard -
namely a crimson credential - he more
than supplies in this situation as he and his
wife are both alums and their daughter is
currently attending law school there. It's no
secret that Bollinger would be a great fit at
Columbia - we knew these things even
before Bollinger arrived here. In seemingly

prophetic tones, Regent Laurence Dietch told
The Michigan Daily what he thought of
Bollinger in 1996: "If we do not hire him, he
will eventually be the president of Berkeley or
Dartmouth or Harvard."
What's clear is that Bollinger is not scouring
the want ads looking for a jobs and a ticket out
of Ann Arbor. So in some ways it's unfortunate
that of the handful of bona fide contenders that
could draw Bollinger from Ann Arbor, the two
biggest in everybody's mind - Harvard and
Columbia - come knocking virtually at once.
If we learned anything from the spectator
event that developed last spring, we know that
this process must be quick, it mustn't distract
from the work being done at either school and it
must be as public in nature as possible.
The Columbia Spectator hinted in yester-
day's issue that the search committee may have
accelerated its process or has already made a
decision and is waiting to announce it. In either
case, the committee and Bollinger should look
to last spring's very public, very prolonged
search that did little more for Michigan than cast
a cloud of questions over a campus very weary
of a possible leadership void.
These days the stakes may be even higher.
The admissions lawsuits head to the Sixth Cir-
cuit Court of Appeals in a few weeks and the
vacancy left by departed Provost Nancy Cantor
at the University's number two position both
serve as ominous reminders that we now need
leadership and resolution - not questions,
rumors and a lingering debate.
Geoffrev Gagnon can be reached
via e-mailatggagnon@umich.edu.

There she is ... Miss Ideologue
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

told myself I'd never
do it again. I always
felt so worthless after-
ward, so empty. Some-
times it made me violent.
Sometimes it made me cry.
I knew normal people
didn't react to it like this;
thankfully, I managed to
stop before it got out of
hand. For years, I avoided it, but it never went
away. My vice lived on through superficial
conversations and glittery television commer-
cials. She was everywhere. I was weak.
I fell off the wagon last Saturday at 8 p.m.
eastern standard time.
With motives ranging from curiosity to
masochism to desperate hope that it actually
would be a celebration of intelligence and
community involvement this year, I gritted my
teeth and watched the 2002 Miss America
pageant. I was eating ice cream at the time.
Full-fat ice cream. Right out of the container.
Which is hard to do while gritting one's teeth.
But I'm just that good.
I knew I was in for a fun time when this
year's pageant host (Tony Danza of "Who's the
Boss" fame) launched into a speech about the
scope of Miss America competitions nation-
wide. After explaining how many women were
eliminated in each of the preliminary rounds, he
concluded that for every woman on stage that
evening, "2000 other women ... can finally eat
whatever they want." I felt ill. The audience
laughed. Ha, ha. Those silly college girls and
their compulsive dieting. How charming. And

me without my laxatives.
While the Miss America Organization
boasts of being the nation's largest provider of
scholarships to women,. Miss America is not,
nor has it ever been, a battle of wits. The con-
testants are smart, talented, socially conscious
women, but these are not the attributes that ulti-
mately got them into the finals. The Miss
America Organization insists that its primary
objectives are "educational advancement,
achievement and public service," yet it requires
contestants to parade around on stage in swim-
suits and high heels with glow-stick raver
music blaring in the background. Its website
emphasizes its "rich scholastic tradition," yet
whole segments of the show are devoted to
elaborate song-and-dance numbers with the
contestants in matching white dresses.
But the idea of beauty pageants is dated; it
would be impossible to retain the kind of popu-
larity Miss America has without a bit of
euphemistic language. Since changing the name
of something (e.g. Butt Doctor vs. Proctologist)
always makes it seem more appealing, the Miss
America people have decided to re-name some
of the pageant's - er, "telecast's" - more
politically incorrect components.
The swimsuit competition is now called
"Lifestyle and Fitness." But you still have to do
the swimsuit thing. The talent competition is
dubbed "Artistic Expression" because the latter
sounds less like something you might also find
at a dog show than the former. Though the
evening wear competition has become "Pres-
ence and Poise," evening wear still required.
Miss America does not promote "profes-

sional advancement" for women; it restricts
us. Even the euphemisms don't hide it. "Artis-
tic Expression" is reduced to that which can
be performed in front of a live audience
between commercial breaks. If a woman
expresses herself artistically by writing com-
puter programs or short stories or by painting
beautiful pictures, she's out of luck. Similarly,
the judges aren't interested in her "lifestyle"
or "fitness." The five miles she jogs every day
mean nothing to them unless she has a cute lit-
tle stomach and a stellar pair of legs. Insinuat-
ing that a woman's "presence" and/or "poise"
is dependent upon her choice of fancy dress is
insulting and further discourages contestants
from acting outside the box.
These three categories make up 70 percent
of a contestant's preliminary score.
Some people think I don't like beauty
pageants because I was a fat kid. Because I can't
take more than three steps in a pair of high
heels. Because I can't carry a tune in a basket.
Because I'm shaped, more or less, like a cereal
box. Maybe they're right; maybe I'm just bitter
because I want a piece of that scholarship
money. Maybe I wouldn't be so critical if I
could wear that tiara for a day.
I'd like to think not. If becoming Miss
America means advancing in life, I'd rather stay
right where I am. I can be poised in parachute
pants. I don't have to wear heels or hairspray to
the beach. I reserve the right to eat ice cream.
Full-fat ice cream. Right out of the container.

Aubrey Henretty can be reached
via e-mail at ahenrett@umich.edu.

A

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Zahr uses column 'as
a base' for launching
'anti-Israel rhetoric'
TO THE DAILY:
First, I must point out that week in and week
out, Mr. Zahr somehow manages to include
some anti-Israel blurb in his column ("You are
either with us or with the terrorists?" 10/1/01).
Most recently, he mentions The United States'
support for Israel as a seed of Arab/Muslim dis-
gust. When describing Israel, Zahr uses very
harsh and extreme language. In doing so, he
skews the reality of the situation and presents an

mit the atrocities Zahr mentions. True theUnit-
ed States supported Iraq in the 1980s. But it
was Iraq, not the United States, that killed thou-
sands of Kurdish men, women and children
with nerve gas. If Arabs and Muslims should
not forget, as Zahr advises, American support
for Iraq, why have they already forgotten who
was actually responsible? It just seems hypo-
critical to criticize the United States for having
relations with repressive regimes such as Egypt
and Saudi Arabia, while totally ignoring the
repressive regimes themselves. Why not speak
out against those regimes, rather than using the
United States as a scapegoat?
Lastly, the leaders of many Middle East-
ern countries are notoriously corrupt and
brutal, and subsequently find it easier to

Zahr attacks America,
American culture
To THE DAILY:
It astonishes me how many articles I read in
this newspaper that take a stringent left wing
view about the United States and it's surround-
ing neighbors. All I ever hear is "Democracy
sucks," and "We're doing it all wrong" ... etc.
Does the Daily ever wonder why there are
over 7,000 Jews on campus and it rarely gets
one to respond to any of its writers' Pro
Palestinian viewpoints? Maybe it's because
they couldn't care less, and the garbage
columns the Daily produces shouldn't even

W:1

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