4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 22, 2001
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((The good news
is that there are many
working on all of
these issues. The bad
news is that there
are many federal
agencies working on
all of these issues."
- Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn)
on the government's response to
bioterrorism as quoted in Newsweek.
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The anachronism of the female perspective
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES
n the Oct. 11 edition
of the Hartford
Courant an Op/Ed
piece with the headline
"What if women ruled the
Tremendous. Sept. 11
has already caused us to
question national security
and civil liberties, race
relations and U.S. foreign policy, religious fer-
vor and the United States Post Office. Why not
add on gender, just for fun?
The essay, written by Mark Boyer, a pro-
fessor of political science and Scott Brown, a
professor of educational psychology at the
University of Connecticut, begins with an
enlightening exposition of a philosophical
truth: "If women ran the world," they inquire,
"would Sept. 11 have been any different? The
short answer is "we'll never know."
But there were still a good 300 words left
to their combined effort, so I ran with the
assumption (correct) that they had it left to the-
orize what kind of Tuesday Sept. 11 would
have been if standard apparel for The Situation
Room did not include ties and shoelaces.
As their only support for their theory that
yes, Sept. 11 probably would have been differ-
ent they write, "Researchers have found that
countries with greater gender equality tend to
use violence less in their foreign policies than
countries with lower levels of equality."
Ah, the vocabulary of the vague.
"Researchers" and "countries" and "tend to
(insert verb here) less." Who can argue with
this kind of concrete evidence, this statistical
hardball, this solid postulate - no wait, axiom
- of the gender dichotomy?
If my name was Maureen Dowd and I
wrote for The New York Times, there would
be a good chance that today, somewhere in
England, Margaret Thatcher would choke on
her tea as she read my column and saw this
conclusion of the "Researchers".
And here's to Madeline Albright and Indira
Gandhi, paragons of compassion in an other-
wise sea of ruthless three-piece suits. Right.
Is it possible that there is a hidden roster of
countries, besides those represented by these
women, that in the last century have used or
threatened calculated violence in their domes-
tic and foreign policy while at the same time
boasting an (if quasi) gender egalitarian nation-
Boyer and Brown go on to argue, "the male
dominated decision-making systems we have
today haven't been doing a great job of resolv-
ing conflicts, so why not look to the intelligent
women in our midst for new insights?"
So OK. Let's spice up political leadership
by counting a few more of those "intelligent
women" (there are some, men, don't be
fooled!). The problem with this sentence is that
the tone and the vocabulary indicate that the
authors feel they are doing women a favor by
pointing out to the public that some females
might actually be good (gasp!) leaders. It is
patronizing to the extreme - and unfortunate
that this sentiment is slumming around in the
upper echelons of academia.
Or from another angle, substitute "black
people" for women in that sentence and you
have blatant paternalism in its most recogniz-
able form. But write "the intelligent women in
our midst" and that's fine.
And at last for Boyer and Brown's grand
finale: "So next time you're in the voting booth
looking for a new perspective, vote for a
woman. Not only might a fresh voice be heard
as a result, but also the male-dominated struc-
tures might start to get the message and look
beyond their walls to the other half of the pop-
ulation that has views on important topics."
In the 1994 film version of Louisa May
Alcott's novel "Little Women," Jo(sephine) is
seated at the dinner table in her New York City
boarding house, privy to a gentlemens' conver-
sation about the possibility of women's suf-
frage. One man argues for, on the basis that
women are more compassionate and sympa-
thetic'to the people's plight and therefore will
make more humane decisions when they vote.
"Let us hear what Miss March has to say,"
(and this is all paraphrased) interrupts another
man, who sees Jo struggling to restrain herself
from making a contribution.
"Women should be given the right to vote,"
she says, "not because they are good or
because they are kind, but because we are peo-
And perhaps the wisdom of a 19th Century
novelist can carry into the 21st Century.
Women should be voted for, not because
they are good or because they are kind, but
because we are people. (And a few of us hap-
pen to be intelligent).
Johanna Hanink can be reached via
Y LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
YV IN PASSING
Schwartz should do
everyone a favor:
Avoid Detroit sports
TO THE DAILY:
As an avid Detroit sports fan I was
enraged at what Jon Schwartz wrote in Tues-
day's Daily ("Red Wings are the only game in
town with poor Detroit sports," 10/16/01). Let
me fill my friend in who has "only been in
the metro Detroit area for a little more than
two years." You are what's wrong with
sports fans everywhere! That column alone
should ban you from the Daily! I'm so happy
that you love the Red Wings only because
they are winning. What happens in the next
five years when the Pistons are winning (in
my opinion, that will start this year)? Are you
gonna write another column about how they
are the only good team in Detroit? You've
seen Tiger Stadium rotting fromiasbestos?
You should only feel privileged to have ever
seen such a landmark! When I was a kid, all
my friends and I talked about was Trammel,
Whitaker and Morris. The Tigers ruled in the
'70s and '80s.
God forbid you didn't care about sports
then. Oh, and then came the glory years of the
Bad Boys. But we only won two championships
so I guess we can't give them love because of
that now can we Schwartz? We only judge
teams on how they do at this very moment. And
how bout them Lions. The Lions are the only
team I know where you can go to their game
and if things go bad you can always get drunk
and into a fight with some misguided cheese-
head. Also, how dare you even say anything
about Germane Crowell. You said it yourself,
"I've never put on pads." You're damn right
you never put on pads! So keep your lame opin-
ions to yourself and never say that you would've
did it better had you'd been in the game! I'd bet
you get knocked on your ass right after the snap.
I won't even touch your moronic comment
about the Wings falling below .500 because
that's just being idiotic. I hate fair weather fans
like you! Do us all a favor and don't go to any
sporting event in Detroit, ever! You aren't wor-
thy of watching any Detroit sports team.
Daily's wire services
fail to report on
TO THE DAILY:
I read the Daily regularly for news and
information regarding the U.S. military actions
and humanitarian situation within Afghanistan.
However, I have found that I must also read
other sources on-line, etc. such as CNN in order
to get a more complete coverage. It is not diffi-
cult to see Associated Press articles in the Daily
pertaining to independently unverified civilian
deaths yet surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, I
have yet to see an article pertaining to the
undisputed humanitarian atrocities performed
by the Taliban. I've seen an article about he
accidental bombing of the Red-Cross ware-
house but no where have I seen any articles
reporting actions taken by the Taliban since the
military engagement, including humanitarian
aid workers who have been kicked out of the
country and harassed by the Taliban while
working to help the citizens of Afghanistan.
I hope to see a more complete coverage of
this and all issues in the future.
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
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TIRED OF WAR
George W. Bush's latest statements
reveal his contempt for public opinion. In a
recent interview, he informed reporters that
"people are going to tire of the war on ter-
rorism." Bush assured the reporters that he
would not tire, declaring that, "some people
are going to start to say: 'We're tired, but
President Bush keeps going on.' And when
that happens, I want you to know, I will be
doing it because I think it is the right thing
to do. That's what I'm supposed to do."
While President Bush may be confident
in his actions, he forgets that he is supposed
to carry out the will of the people. When
the public no longer supports a war, the
continuation of that war must be strongly
Bush's declaration that he will continue
military action despite the possible future
wishes of the American populace is cause
for alarm. If the American people demand
an end to the war, Bush must do everything
possible to act accordingly.
While it's clear current public opinion is
generally in favor of this war, for Bush to
ignore future public opinion is an abandon-
ment of his duty and our voice.
GENDER BENDER IN MINNESOTA
The University of Minnesota's Morris
campus elected a male university student as
their Homecoming Queen this year. Nomi-
nated by his rock climbing club, the
Women's Resource Center, and E-Quality
- his LGBT student organization -
Patrick Woods won the election over sever-
al female competitors and reigned as
Homecoming queen with king Ryan Brux
for the two-day Homecoming festivities.
The weekend quickly became "the best and
worst experience" of Woods' life.
As he had not joined the competition to
make a political statement, Woods was sur-
prised at how seriously students took the
event. What started as an interesting twist
on the antiquated tradition of electing roy-
alty over Homecoming festivities turned
sour when Woods began to receive threats
and was boycotted by the men's wrestling
team. Though he received roaring applause
at several of the weekend's festivities,
Woods has said that now he doesn't feel he
can go anywhere and be safe.
Whether or not the students of the Uni-
versity of Minnesota were making a signifi-
cant commentary on gender roles in our
society when they elected Woods their
queen, it's distressing that Woods' reign
was disrupted by bigoted students placing
too much significance on an archaic and
widely-criticized custom. The treats are an
obvious display of ignorance and fear, and
as for the wrestling team, lighten up -
you've got a man in the governor's office.
In Passing views represents the individual
opinions ofDaily editorial
board members, but do not necessarily
represent the views of The Michigan Daily.
Discussing diplomatic hypocrisy hypocritally
BY WAEL HAKMEH
I usually avoid replying to opinions, but
Jeremy Menchik's misinformed "fact"-based
viewpoint pleads for corrections ("Diplomatic
Syria, according to Menchik, should not
have the opportunity to serve on the U.N.
Security Council because it is a "totalitarian
regime of little political or economic impor-
tance." Regardless of the validity of this state-
ment, since when do political and economic
superiority have anything to do with joining
both Palestinian and Israeli human rights orga-
nizations, including the Israeli B'Tselem
(http://www.btselem.org/). Israel is the only
country in the world where a person's race
determines the extent and scope of his political
and social rights. Which other country gives
its citizens racially based identification cards?
An old saying teaches us not to throw stones at
others, especially if your house is made of
Menchik alludes to Syria today being unfit
to be voted onto the U.N. Security Council
because Hafez Assad killed people in the city
every single day (including today) more Pales-
tinians are being slayed at his orders. Don't
take my word, read the news, check out web-
sites of human rights organizations, both
Palestinian and Israeli, and read about his war
crimes trial that has begun in Belgium.
Menchik incorrectly invokes Article 23 of
the UN Charter, but ironically, of'all countries
in the world, it is none other than Israel that
violates the most UN Resolutions. Since
1955, no less than 65 resolutions have been
passed condemning Israel's history of vio-
lence and negligence of previous UN Resolu-