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February 12, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-02-12

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 12, 2002


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

Bush is
- An Iranian banner read in English
in Tehran, in reaction to George W.
Bush 'sproclamation of Iran as part
of the "axis of evil" trifectas, as
reported by the Associated Press.

Young LSA female seeks
young engineering, pre-
law, or pre-med male
who plans on graduating
with honors. He must
enjoy long protests in
the diag, occasional
romps in the stacks and
taking road trips in
his spacious and
comfortable luxury car.
Art students,
philosophy majors or
general studies majors
need not apply.
Please send stock
portfolio synopsis and
GPA transcripts.



Send photo


college male
young college

Food for thought

It's hard to say where it
Does it start with a
toddler scrunching up her
round little face, unhappy
with the way this pointy pair
of shoes pinches at her toes?
Does it start when her defini-
tion of "beauty" - hitherto
snowflakes or smiles or any-
thing else that sparkled - shatters in the face of
hot makeup tips from her first Seventeen maga-
zine? When the same black-hearted reptile who
gave Weight Watchers and Baskin Robins adjoin-
ing spaces in the plaza opens a Lane Bryant right
next to Petite Sophisticate at the mall, adding
humiliation to insult and injury? When the kid
down the block calls her "Hunka Chunk" and even
her friends think it's funny?
It's hard to say.,
But where it started quickly becomes unimpor-
tant. There's something intoxicating about the for-
merly snug jeans fighting a losing battle with
gravity, the wide-eyed amazement of former tor-
mentors (and friends), the evaporation of the sec-
ond chin, the lightheaded feeling you get
whenever you stand up. Something that makes you
forget. Something that makes (twice) daily dates
with the bathroom scale seem reasonable and cel-
ery sticks seem like food. You say exactly what
you think at all times, no longer concerned they'll
slap you with a garish fat girl stereotype or flip
their hair at you dismissively. You're not afraid of
the camera, the mirror or the basketball court any-

more. You're not afraid of anything.
Except one thing. OK, two.
One: You have a paralyzing fear of gaining it
all back. God, what if you slipped a little and one
day you woke up and your cute little jeans were
too tight? What then? Before you knew it, you'd
be the size of a hippopotamus again and all your
effort would be for naught. People would refer to
your thinness in the past tense and describe you as
"big" again and shake their heads piteously when-
ever they saw you eating a cookie. Again. A fate
worse than death.
Two: No one must find out. You know you've
been weird about food lately, but everything's
under control. They don't need to know. They'd
be disappointed in you. They'd think you were stu-
pid or crazy. Or weak.
But they have nothing to be concerned about.
You don't look like a zombie, like the "before"
pictures of those girls on daytime talk shows with
titles like "I Was a Teenage Werewaif' who were
98 pounds at 5-foot-9 and who doctors had to
feed intravenously for two years. You're not half
as unfortunate as Calista Flockhart's bones jut-
ting out of her backless dress at the Emmys,
screaming "I have a problem" to an adoring pub-
lic forced to take her word for it when she said it
was natural. You eat. You're fine.
Except you're not fine and you know it.
Calista knows it too, but she's in an even big-
ger pickle than you are. If she unzips her psyche
for all the world (and herself) to see, she risks
falling into the abyss of Celebrities with Pet Caus-
es, home to every famous person who's ever had a

terrible illness or addiction; they'd expect her to
speak publicly about things she had trouble deal-
ing with in the dark. Should she recover, gaining a
merciful 20 or 30 pounds and (eventually) the self-
confidence to share her story with others, she
might lose the next starring role to someone who
keeps her big mouth appropriately shut at the podi-
um as well as at the dinner table.
Hollywood does not want to hear that its ideal
is unattainable; it wants to hear Jennifer Aniston's
"success" story and sell it to insecure women
everywhere for $12.99 with a recipe book and a
bottle of low-carb salad dressing included at no
extra charge.
If it's hard to say where it starts, it's harder
to say where it ends. Sometimes you get lucky
and your friend or your mom won't let you
sink that low; cold bedpans and prickly IV nee-
dles never enter into your daily life. After a
while, your size and your sense of self-worth
stop being inversely proportional. You start to
like yourself a little. You hurl the bathroom
scale out a second floor window. Smile as it
Note the irony.
Laugh at yourself. Cry because some people
aren't so lucky. Teach little girls how to make
paper snowflakes out of fashion magazines.. Add
glitter. Write about it in the second person.
The end may be a long way off, but you've got
to start somewhere.
Aubrey Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.


Michael Moore,librarians and a free speech win

he last few years, it
seems, have been
quiet for provocateur film-
Michael Moore - the Flint
native who gained fame for
- his 1989 documentary
"Roger and Me." Sure, sev-
eral years of economic secu-
rity may have dulled the passions of Moore's
anti-corporate army or dampened the interests of
readers who catapulted Moore's last book,
"Downsize This!" to bestseller status. But if our
current economic slowdown is nothing else, at
least it's a chance for Moore to get back to work
- after all, what's a recession without Michael
Moore blasting government and attacking corpo-
rate America?
This time around he'll do so with a new book
called "Stupid White Men," due in stores a week
from today, where Moore takes aim at the White
House ("a ne'er-do-well rich boy and his elderly
henchmen"), and laments the bygone good-old
days of the 1990s ("When the government was
running at a surplus, pollution was disappearing,
peace was breaking out in the Middle East and
Northern Ireland, and the Bridge to the Twenty-
First Century was strung with high-speed Internet
cable and paved with 401K gold").
Except this time Moore's humor and wit nearly
failed to see the light of day after sensitive publish-
ing executives at HaperCollins threatened to axe
Moore's new book in the wake of the September
tragedies. The same flag-waving disregard for
expression and dissent that prompted White House
spinster Ari Fleischer to warn Americans to "watch
what they say and do" cast a shadow over the book

when the brass at HarperCollins decided to take
Ari's advice. After 50,000 copies had been printed,
Moore's book, scheduled to hit stores on Oct. 2,
was yanked from the presses and put on hold
because of concern over the timing of its political
humor. This decision was not without justification
given the uncertainty of the moments after the
attack - a point even Moore will concede.
However, few can defend what HaperCollins
is alleged to have done next. Frightened over the
anti-Bush tones the book contained, (Moore
reportedly suggests that the Texas baseball buff
turned president is, among other things, a function-
al illiterate) HaperCollins told Moore to change
nearly 50 percent of the text or risk seeing the
book shelved for good. What's more, the publish-
ing house also demanded that Moore change the
title, the book's cover art and kick in $100,000
from his royalty check to cover the costs of
reprinting. Moore told fans on his website that his
publishers cited changes in the "political climate"
and suggested that the book would be "intellectu-
ally dishonest" if it didn't admit that George Jr.
had done a decent job since September when they
threatened to kill the book.
Moore's breakthrough came in December
when his battle with the publishing powers-that-be
was taken up by an unlikely army. Armed with her
own sense of social justice and access-to several
email groups, Ann Sparanese, a librarian at Engle-
wood Library in New Jersey, took Moore's cause
to the people.
After hearing Moore speak at an event where
the author mentioned that his embattled book was
collecting cobwebs in a HaperCollins warehouse,
Sparanese fired off messages to several groups of
active librarians including the Progressive Librari-
ans Guild.

Formed to fight library status quo, the idea of a
progressive group of librarians doesn't exactly
conjure up images of freedom-fighting activists.
But, in the hearts and minds of publishers who rely
on librarians and the libraries they stock for some
$2 billion of annual revenue, socially minded
librarians are a force to be reckoned with.
So as Sparenese's message started to bounce
across librarian e-mail groups it wasn't long before
industry observers like Publisher's Weekly and
Library Journal jumped on the story. A posting on
Drudge Report and a pair of stories in the New
York Post and on Salon.com quickly followed and
suddenly HaperCollins execs were willing to tone
down their demands. Moore told Salon.com that in
the days after the story was first posted on librari-
an-related websites, an official with HaperCollins
admitted that the publishing house had been bar-
raged with angry messages from irate librarians.
With the word of next week's release of a
completely unchanged and unaltered book,
Moore's battle appears to have been won in a way
the muckraking author and filmmaker couldn't
have scripted better himself. In a season of un-
American, flag-flying censorship, where free
speech and thoughtful debate became the sacrifice
dejour, it's nice to see the triumph of freedom of
expression - a patriotic notion that merits a bit of
flag-waving. If the timid publishers at Harper-
Collins were wary of a public outcry, that's exactly
what they got - in the form of a true patriotic
defense of American ideals from a group of angry
Geofrey Gagnon will be at the Michigan
Theater on March 12 when Michael
Moore rolls into town and can be
reached at ggagnon@umich.edu.


Daily editorial 'way off base' in 501(c)3 evaluation

The Michigan Daily is quite right, though for
all the wrong reasons, in its condemnation of the
Houses of Worship Political Speech Protection
Act (Onward Secular Soldier, 2/7/02).
Churches and 501(c)3 non-profits are
exempt from taxation because they don't
engage in politics. That's the bargain they've
made. Political advocacy or activism is explicit-
ly prohibited for any organization trying to
secure tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 corpora-
tion. We know. We worked for two of them,
one an umbrella organization serving other
rs01 (,'\ vnhntPr rgynitinnc the ether a

When those organizations attempt to lobby the
government, support specific candidates, etc., they
are going outside the scope of the social purpose
for which they were granted exemption. Organiza-
tions created for the purpose of directly influencing
legislative activity or fostering social change are
classified as 501(c)4 corporations by the IRS.
501(c)4 corporations are still non-profits, but they
are advocacy non-profits and they are required to
pay taxes. This is why the National Abortion and
Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL),
for example, has both: The NARAL Foundation is
a 501(c)3 and their lobbying arm, NARAL, is a
501(c)4. Their political speech is not restricted at
all - they simply can't use tax-exempt dollars to
finance it. Neither can we. Donations to 501(c)3s

America? We can't stop him from building his
cross or arguing against abortion rights, but at least
we have the comfort of knowing he isn't doing it
Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.), has pro-
posed this legislation in order to grant houses of
worship the right to endorse candidates for politi-
cal office. It seems that Jones wants to give
churches an increased role in the exercise of gover-
nance, while denying other non-profits that right.
Removing the ban on activism by tax-exempt
organizations privileges them at our expense.
Frankly, we'd rather keep church and state sepa-
rate. If they want to have a say in our governance,
let them pay taxes, like any 501(c)4 organization.
As an aside, the Daily is way off base in its


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