Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine -
4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend, etc. Magazine - Thursday, November 29, 2001
SQUIRRELS IN THE MIST
ELITE ENTERTAINMENT EXPOSITIO
S o I'm walking to Hill
Auditorium with my room-
mates Mali and Frannie. It's
yet-another one of those surprisingly
beautiful days. It had looked cold,
and I still hadn't figured out, after a
month of days that looked cold but
weren 't, not to wear a sweater and
my wool coat.
So I'm frying, all hot and dis-
gruntled, when out of the blue a
rabid squirrel dives in front of me,
in some suicidal attempt for atten-
This is all the incentive I need to
start my by-now-banal squirrel dia-
Mali suggests that I make the
whining into a column. And I can't
tell if she's serious or if she just
wants to avoid the inevitable. Fran
nods vehemently reaffirming my
suspicion that the two are conspiring
against me; I think that they think
that a good ole' squirrel-bashing col-
umn will extirpate my angst, clear-
ing my conversational horizon from
stories about rodents who eat nuts.
But I won't be satisfied until I
Come on. Agree with me, here.
Squirrels are the
preacher dude on
the Diag. I'd take
a squirrel over
him any day.) I
know that they
Tell me that
you don't have a
Sarah strange story fea-
Rubin turing a psycho-
jC o haven't lived in
, An Arbor long
Flairenough if you
haven't had at
least one close-encounter-of-the-
The most striking characteristic of
the squirrels on campus is their rela-
tive size. I come from a nearby small
town in Michigan, and our squirrel
population isn't nearly as over-
The squirrels in my town live in
trees. They jump and run on the
phone wires and all of the other typ-
ical squirrel behavior that looks like
it'd be fun to try if I was 3 inches
Here, in Ann Arbor, the squirrels
are always on the ground.
Because they're freaking obese.
You have to do a double-take to see
if it's a cat or a squirrel walking with
you to class. They've lost their aero-
dynamic powers and they're too fat
to ascend, so they stagnate in the
This brings me to my next com-
plaint. People here have managed to
halfway-domesticate the damned
things. They might as well be cats.
They have absolutely no fear of
Watch sometime. Walk up to a
squirrel, yell at it, shake your foot or
something. No response. Yes, lethar-
gy may account for this lack of trep-
idation to some extent, but really it's
that they've been conditioned to
Why do they trust us? Because we
I can shout at one, "Move out of
my way, you!" And it will stare
blankly, waiting for a treat. Like a
dog. Except you bought the dog. The
dog has a name.
Squirrels here do not have names.
They are not pets. Do not be cute
The other say I saw this hippie-
lady and her kid feeding squirrels
"Wonder Bread" in the Arb.
What? WHY ARE YOU DOING
When I was little, I fed ducks.
Ducks are cute. Say it. Duck. Now
say squirrel. See? There's a reason
why we put ducks on baby blankets.
It'll be a small wonder if the kid
doesn't end up in therapy when he's
30. I can imagine his psychiatrist's
reaction when he describes memo-
ries of these mutant squirrels that
were twice his size, chasing after
him for bread.
So don't feed the squirrels; just
because the Ann Arbor hippies do it
doesn't mean that it's socially
acceptable. And don't be one of
those people who think that the
squirrels are interesting and funny.
Some bozos actually sit and watch
as out fatty squirrels haphazardly
attempt to climb trees. These are the
people that cause traffic jams
because they have this pressing need
to slow down their cars and watch
the cop write a ticket for the red
Ferrari. (You know who you are.)
If you must interact with the
squirrels, yell at them. Let them
know their place.
I bet that at this very moment, the
squirrel militia is planning a secret
mutiny. They'll usurp all coffee
shops in the city, knowing that by
simultaneously limiting Ann Arbor's
massive consumerism and expresso
supply, they can successfully dis-
hearten us and drain our energy to
Alright, alright. So, this is Sarah,
signing off. I'm telling you, though,
be warned. Because even if the
squirrels don't actually pose a threat,
then the people who are stupid
enough to humor them definitely do.
- If you have seen the freaky
squirrel mural in South Quad's
basement or are simply a squirrel
fanatic, feel free to share your
reflections with Sarah Rubin at
Good morning, I'm
a corporate whore
You've excelled at Michigan...
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ere's nothing less refreshing than
waking up in the morning and feel-
ing like a whore -realizing that
people consider you a sub-human market-
latest book is a col-
lection of his musi-
cal musings, mus-
ings some consider .
guided or a mistake.
However, it may be
the title "A Whore
Just Like the Rest,"
that is the most
telling piece of writ- Luke
Art is a term thatL
teeters near the
realm of the indeter- Zero
Labeling Art is
unfortunately not as simple as choosing a
CD off the rack to drop $17.99 on.
Instead, when you look down that teem-
ing rack of music, realize that it is all in
some form Art. Regardless of its place in
slick-mainstream culture, or its enshrine-
ment by cardigan wearing emo-kids or its
place in the sweaty armpit of an ex-high
school offensive tackle (yeah, the one that
still wears his high school varsity letter-
men's jacket in a crude proclamation that
he used to "rock") it is all Art.
It is all Art.
From top to bottom everything is pro-
gressing in the world of music, film and
pop culture as it should. It is the natural
order of music and life alike to have a top
and bottom and everything in between.
Music especially is no different. There
will always be someone at the bottoms
feed, flipping burgers at the local BK.
However, corporate god McDonald's
couldn't survive without that man, stand-
ing begrudgingly over a vat of grease,
dropping a tray of french fries in at one
minute intervals. It is all essential on
The top to bottom processing extends
further to include the manner in which
music is created. A band like Boston
would spend years in the studio perfecting
their sound, making each note ring crystal
clear to create the overproduced, oily slick
sound that came to be their trademark, but
the waterline changes on an artist by artist
basis. Minimalist approaches in music
can be called "regressions," however
those regressions often have held and set
standards. Rock critic extraordinaire
Lester Bangs called Lou Reed's 1975
Metal Machine Music, "The greatest
album ever made." Bangs cited the
album's pre-punk sonic digression and
dissected its importance to music as a
whole, as one of the first truly "punk"
albums. Lou Reed's rape of minimalism
turned what conventional thoughts on
"pop" taught about the verse-chorus-
verse-bridge style of music into an
ambling corpse in its final twitches of
post-mortem. Instead of unadventurous
"music" on Metal Machine Music, Reed
replaced instruments with layers upon
layers of feedback and 64 minutes of
screaming electronics. However, the fact
that no conventional music exists on
Metal Machine Music, is an interesting
one. Does Lou Reed's sonic meltdown
merit itself as artistic or simply a ploy to
fulfill a record contract?
Where does a "reviewer" fit into this
seemingly cantankerous equation of the
artist and the marketing of Art as a com-
mercialized product? Are reviewers to
serve as little more than mass-produced
walking, talking buyer's guides for read-
ers? In one part, yes they are. People will
read a CD review and say to themselves,
"that sounds good, maybe I'll buy that."
On a simple whim, the consumers put
their faith in someone they don't know to
aid, and in some drastic cases, make the
decision to buy, for them. For the one part
that a CD review may serve as a buyer's
guide there are ten parts in which it does
Tuesday of each week is my favorite
day, hands down. It's CD Tuesday; every-
thing new hits the shelves, and each CD
that comes out has some form of artistic
merit. Someone considers that record to a
piece of Art. Whether it's Britney herself,
Britney's breasts or Britney's mother,
someone considers Britney to be an artis-
tic work. And it is the express job of a CD
review to challenge the artist merit of any
given CD in the context that the record
I'm not reviewing Creed's new record
Weathered as an excuse to stand on my
proverbial soapbox with my megaphone
and deter the masses from making what I
consider a financial faux pas. That reeks
of futility; I may as well waste my time
handing out religious flyers in the Diag.
Instead, albums are taken for their artist
merit and analyzed as a place in the
greater context, not to serve as a buyer's
guide for the Lemmings of Commercial
Commerce. The new Michael Jackson
CD isn't supposed to be reviewed in terms
of how many units it will ship, or how
"well" the first single is doing on the
Billboard Hot 100. Jacko's Invincible is to
be looked at in the wake of his back cata-
log and his state in music's strata. He is not
the exception, looking at his work contex-
tually isn't the exception - it is the rule.
When consumers read reviews of any-
thing (films, television shows, video
games, music) and go out and purchase a
copy of said item on the merit of some-
one's word who they don't even know,
they relegate the role of the reviewer to lit-
tle more than an unpaid marketing whore.
And in that commercialized look at
music, Art ceases to be Art, and becomes
a commercial product geared at consump-
I woke up this morning and realized I
was just a whore, a whore just like the rest
of them. But, since I'm getting the CDs
for free, and you're dropping the money,
who's really the whore?
-Luke Smith can be reached at
1. Scarecrow, Garth Brooks -
...Insert your own fatjoke here, we're tired.
2. Britney, Britney Spears - Her
boobs liked it.
3. Laundry Service, Shakira -She's
busy cleaning the sheets of her young
4. Invincible, Micheal Jackson
Invincible? Tito could kick his ass back tc
the Stone Age.
M liii 5. A Day Without Rain, Enya -
Back to number five? We're not speaking
BMG/Jive to any of you ever again
So hot ... snarkiness waning... 6. Escape, Enrique Iglesies -
Weekend box office
Figures in millions of dollars.
1. Harry Potter and the
Sorcerer's Stone (57.5) Riding a
broom without a cup make you a better
man than I.
2. Monsters Inc. (24.1) "Little
Monsters," now that was a movie.
Frank Whaley rules.
3. Spy Game (21.7) More fun than
Twister with a fork.
4. Black Knight (15.4) Martin
made $15 mil and I can't sell my bike
for $30. God is dead.
WHAT'S NEWS IN
5. Shallow Hal (8.5) JUNIOR
Western Bacon Chee.
6. Out Cold (4.5) Both "Ski Patrol'
and "Ski School" are rolling over in
7. Domestic Disturbance (4.0
Bastard makes his wife go on "Fea
Factor!" That ain't Scientologyrific
8. Heist (3.1) The only top ten filn
that actually has a screenplay.
9. Life as a House (2.1) Darts
10. The One (2.0) Yeah, th
LAST one. Hahaha. Oh, my sides.
ROwLING MAY BECOME BILLION-
AIRE - The Internet Movie Database
reports that Philip Beresford, writer
of the Sunday Times of London annu-
al Rich List, predicts that J.K.
Rowling will become the first billion-
aire writer. The author of the highly
successful "Harry Potter" series is
worth an estimated S100 million.
Rowling will be receiving one percent
of the gross from the "Potter" films
and five percent from the revenue
from the sale of toys.
FILMING TO RESUME AFTER DEL
TORO/JONES FIGHT - Filming for
Paramount Pictures "The Hunted"
fTHE GRAPES OF WRATH
From the novel by John Steinbeck
Adapted by Frank Galati
Directed by Darryl V. Jones
From the dust bowl of Oklahoma to the sands of California, a
sweeping epic of the American experience including music of the period.
December 6 - 8 at 8pm - December 9 at 2pm
Power Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets are $20 & $15 - Students $7 with ID
League Ticket Office 734-764-2538
UM School of Music Dept. of Theatre & Drama
photo by Walker Evans from the FSA/OWI collection at the Library of Congress.
will resume on Jan. 7 in Portlan<
Ore., after shutting down while sta
Benicio Del Toro nursed a broke
wrist. Del Toro was injured whil
filming a fight scene with co-sta
Tommy Lee Jones. Zap2it.cor
reports that insurance will cover th
entire delay and that the Williar
Friedkin ("The Exorcist") film wi
be released in Oct. 2002. The filr
centers on Del Toro as an assassi
hunted by tracker Jones.
COEN'S "MAN" FILMED IN
COLOR - The Coen brothers latest
film "The Man Who Wasn't There"
is now being played around the
country in black and white, but USI
films had the brothers film have an
alternative print in color, according
to Entertainment Weekly. The studio
was afraid that the black and white
film would not sell in the foreign
video market. In order to get the
movie made, the brothers agreed, bi
with the stipulation that all theatrica
prints would only be black and
"STARSKY AND HuTCu" UPDATI
TO FEATURE SNOOP DOGG AS
HUGGY BEAR - Snoop Dogg is
slated to star in the film version of
the '70s TV series. The film will be
directed by Todd Phillips ("Road
Doctors don't give me no respect.