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November 08, 2001 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-08

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, November 8, 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
I was flabbergasted
and amazed. We had
expected this was
going to be a working
meeting, not a
my-way- or- the -highway
meeting."
- Rep. David Obey (D- Wis.) on a session
with President Bush in which the President
threatened to veto any legislation that would
increase anti-terrorismfunding beyond
the $40 billion already allocated.

'(E.tah~tad

/of52.Wa1Kirn5
-{1raG ,ta d fitl
MSA et cc+ o ns.
Pot+ct

0

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.

_.

Now that things suck, maybe pop music won't
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY

is been almost two
months since Sept.
1I - when's the
music going to get
good? Everything I've
been taught in my won-
derful classes here at the
University has led me to
believe that good art
comes from tragedy and
struggle. When those claims are made, it is
generally with something like the Holo-
caust or the Stalinist regime in mind. But
ours is a country that has existed in rela-
tive peace for so long, and has now suf-
fered the first attack on her soil in 60
years. That abrupt and devastating attack
should be enough to jump-start American
music.
In taking a look at this week's Billboard
200 chart, I see crap. With all apologies to
fans of Incubus, Ja Rule, Nickelback, Dave
Matthews Band, Linkin Park and Alicia
Keys, the music that America is listening
these days is trite and irrelevant.
Take a look back at the chart from just
10 years ago. Bands as diverse as Nirvana,
Rush, Public Enemy and R.E.M. were not
only making music, but being listened to by
most Americans who bought albums. And
while the above-mentioned groups are very
different musically, they share the common
attributes of being musically interesting,
pioneering and socially relevant.
Music evolves and devolves in cycles,

similar to and often according to economic
models. Ten years ago the United States
was suffering under the economic depres-
sion of Bush the elder. The job market was
stagnant, or shrinking, inflation was bad,
American troops were fighting in sand
fatigues in the Middle East. Sound famil-
iar? But during this social and political
crisis American music was thriving. The
"alternative" scene emerged from the
Pacific northwest, as bands were labeled,
often appropriately, as the sound of a disil-
lusioned and cynical "Gen-X."
While those labels tend to be unfair and
overbroad, there was certainly something
going on in music that was reacting to the
mistakes of its parents' generation. "What
kind of world are you leaving us?" became
a sort of mantra, as the country suffered
from not only the poor economy, but
threats to the environment that people
were only starting to become fully aware
of. The Smashing Pumpkins sang "despite
all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage."
A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but a fair
Example of where Alternative music was
coming from.
Well, what happened? The economy
was revived in the '90s, and all the twen-
ty-somethings who were bitching about
not being able to find a job and live out
the American dream rode the internet tech-
boom to C.E.O. jobs and early retirement.
But the result was a nation that didn't
concern itself with any issues of sub-

stance. Pop music become unbearably self-
promoting, and we were left with Brittany
Spears doing a commercial for Pepsi, or
Pepsi doing a commercial for Brittany
Spears.
A nation with money in its collective
pocket doesn't care about social issues. A
nation that doesn't send its sons to war
doesn't care about politics or policy. And
that nation leaves musicians with some-
thing to say outside the realm of populari-
ty, and opens the door to N-Sync.
But none of those conditions that we've
become accustomed to necessarily exist
anymore. There aren't jobs, again. There
isn't free commercial spending, again.
America's sons and daughters are wearing
fatigues in the Middle East, again. And
there is a Bush in the White House, again.
So when will the music come around?
This isn't Vietnam, to be sure. And I
don't expect Ja Rule to pick up a guitar and
start strumming "Blowing in the Wind."
But I do expect some degree of shift in
what people are willing and able to listen
to, There is good music being written and
recorded - but no one wants to listen to it
yet.
There is important and relevant music
out there and if history is any indication,
America, as a whole, will hear it soon
enough.

6
0
6

C

David Horn can be reached
via e-mail at hornd@umich.edu.

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

1
t
1
l
1
I
I
j

V VIEWPOINT
Discrimination in the 21st Century
BY PAUL SABA AND AS'AD TARSIN undertaken by Brook, the implied guilt by asso-
ciation, on the Muslim and Arab conlmunities as
Muslim and Arab leaders on this campus and a whole, and Muslim and Arab leaders in partic-
around the country have repeatedly condemned ular, are what really need to be condemned by
all forms of terrorism, and for those who request all leaders nationwide. As Arab and Muslim
an encore ("Muslim leaders must show leader- Americans, we are saddened and frustrated that
ship," 11/2/01, Justin Brook), here it is: we feel our fellow Americans continually asking
Islam unconditionally condemns the killing of us to defend our foundations of morality.
innocent civilians, women and children regardless of No individual's remarks on a personal level,
the perpetrators "religion, ethnicity, race, or political regardless of his or her association with a group,
agenda." This definition is not unique to only reli- can be attributed to that group as a whole. That
gion or ethnicity; it is based on most definitions of a viewpoint to which Brook refers to made no
moral and just society. claim to speak on behalf of Muslims and Arabs
If you wonder if Muslim and Arab commu- or their leadership. It is for these reasons we will
nities condemn an act, just figure out if it falls not yield to Brook's insulting requests that
under this definition. Muslim and Arab leaders demand, in a discriminatory fashion, our com-
in the post-September 11 world are at a loss to munities to declare our humanity again to the
find methods for their humanity not to be end- world simply because he did not believe it the
lessly questioned. Brook's premises on which last time we did.
his article is based are false; neither Christian Since Sept. 11, Muslim and Arab groups
groups nor Jewish groups would be expected to have organized many functions, teach-ins, and
condemn every opinion that is voiced by one lectures on campus, such as this week's Islam
who identifies with their communities. Brook Awareness Week, in which Islam's uncondition-
himself brings up a very interesting example, al condemnation as listed above, is repeatedly
that of the "terrorist murderer Baruch Goldstein, expressed.
who massacred 29 Muslims in Hebron in 1994." Finally, our blanket denunciation encom-
Every year in Israel, a highly attended public passes all forms of terrorism, whether Hamas,
candlelight vigil takes place to remember this the IRA, Al-Qaeda, the Israeli government,
terrorist as a "martyr." The Jewish communities Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, the Mossad, or the
in this country and around the world, many of Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia per-
whom condemned this act of murder in 1994, do petrates it.

Someone needed to
valorize the working
class heroes
TO THE DAILY:
Thanks to Manish Raiji ("America's
New Love Affair," 11/7/01) from econ
students everywhere for showing that our
major does have some pizazz. Only Raiji
could put Alan Greenspan, Vera Wang and
the sexy early '90s Diet Coke guy in the
same column and pull it off. The glamor-
ization of the true working class was well
framed. I hope that the people buying
those $800 overalls get the irony.
JENNIFER BIXLEY
LSA sophomore
MSA could be run
by poo-flinging
monkeys
TO THE DAILY:
Ever since I arrived at the University in
1999, I always had the opinion that the
Michigan Student Assembly was simply a
springboard for tomorrow's Dan Quayle's
and George W's. After attending an MSA
meeting last night, I realized -that I was
only partly correct. I stood outside of the
crowded MSA room while the procedings
were going on, and was shocked, no let me
say disgusted, at what I saw. As brave
women stood in front of these "representa-
tives" speaking out against sexual violence
on campus and the need for MSA to take
action on this issue, I was horrified to see
people rolling their eyes, snickering, pass-
ing notes and then pointing at people seat-
ed on the Defend Affirmative Action Party
side of the room and then snickering
again. These same people snickered as
people spoke out against the chalking
attacks against DAAP representative Jessi-
ca Curtin.
The focal point of this arrogance
seemed to be a Young Republican kid,
who not only acted as if the meeting were
taking up his precious stock assessment
time, but was actually reading what
appeared to be a Forbes magazine. Seated
next to this compassionate conservative
was a sorority poster-girl, in full uniform I
may add, who seemed to have a smirk/gri-
mace pasted across her face the entire
time. Not to mention that she was knitting

But back to my original point, the only
people who even remotely seemed to be
actually interested in bettering the Univer-
sity, or even simply doing anything about
sexualized violence, were the DAAP and
friends, who actually seemed to give a
darn about people on this campus, imagine
that! Whereas much of the rest of MSA
could have been replaced with doped-up
lab monkeys, secretely whisked away from
the dark halls of a hospital and dressed in
human clothing to "represent" the student
population. And you know what? No one
would have noticed! Except that maybe
the monkeys would fling poo instead of
condescending looks.

Readers respond to
'Under the Flak'

LSA senior

So in conclusion, my fine friends at the
University, when you vote this coming
election, please, don't do as we all did in
high school and vote for the cool kid, or
the really pretty girl you know. And just W
as important, don't allow people who sim-
ply want to pad their cushy resumes
exploit you and your vote, reject these
people. If you feel strongly about an issue,
please vote in support of that issue, but if
you don't, don't allow yourself to be used
by people who care nothing for you or
your university community.
Reject resume representatives!
BENJAMIN OSBORNE

War should
continue through
Ramadan
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing this letter in response to
Waj Syed's column in the Daily entitled
"Sensitive insensitivity" (11/07/01).
Apparently, Syed believes that the
United States is being insensitive to Mus-
lims in the Middle East, with particular
disregard for the holy month of Ramadan.
While Syed blithely glosses over this fact
in his column, Muslims have repeatedly
pursued their own wars during Ramadan
throughout history, and have violated
other non-Muslim holy periods (e.g. the
Yom Kippur War). Is Syed suggesting
that Americans be stupid and disregard
the Middle East's own clear duplicity on
this matter? The war declared on the
United States will be 24/7/365, and the
swathe of any religion cannot hide this
reality.
It is regrettable that the people of Pak-
istan have little voice in their government,
and have become infected with the
"Blame America" rhetoric currently per-
vading the Middle East, but their
past/present political realities are not the
fault of the West. Would any citizen of
the United States ever whine that social
and political problems within our borders
are the fault of Middle Eastern countries?
The position of the United States is
not borne of arrogant insensitivity, but
realism: The protection of our homeland

with this: 'Snuffing out the lives of 5,000
people for no good reason, then gloating
about it.
KENNETH LONGO
The letter writer is a post-doctoral fellow
in the physiology department.
Foreign media not
inherently superior
to U.S. press
TO THE DAILY:
Waj Syed's on-going series, "Under
the Flak," goes far to illuminate the
increasingly obvious hypocrisy of our
media-inflated "war against terrorism" and
America's endless fascination with itself.
Syed brings a needed prospective to a dia-
logue that is long overdue in millennial
American life and indeed supplies Daily
readers with the most significant copy
since the illustrious James Miller.
Nonetheless, Syed cannot both criticize
the alarming importance of a media-fed
public opinion to Bush administration
war-makers while simultaneously using
opinion polls and the sound bites of for-
eign celebrities and journalists to empha-
size the potency, of his own opposing
views. There is no doubt that the boys at
CNN and Fox News control, with mari-
onette precision, the steady stream of
News McNuggets that whet the American
appetite for easily explainable phenomena.
However, A1-Jazeera and other journalists
and opinion-makers in Islamabad and the
rest of the Muslim world share the same

M

not repeatedly denounce the yearly vigil held by
members of their communities, nor should we
expect them to.
Discriminatory attacks, such as the one

Saba is president of the Arab-American
Anti-Discrimination Committee and Tarsin is
president of Muslim Students Association.

1

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