4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 18, 2002
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"The worst horror
movie you ve ever
seen - imagine
that 10 times worse.
- The local coroner in the town of Noble,
Georgia, as quoted by the BBC on the sight
of the dozens of decomposed bodies, some
years old, behind the crematorium operated
by Ray Brent Marsh, who told the police that
the incinerator hadn't been working for years.
THOMAS KULJURGIS TENTATIVELY SPEAKING
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Sports, Part I: Question why you care
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES
BC's ratings have in Connecticut their whole lives, and I feel admit it, the tandem-team of intellectual
taken a dive over safe in the assumption that most of their ability and athletic exceptionality that goes
the last few years parents did not hail to these midwest alma into a sport like football is striking.
as the network has man- maters. Sports also have the power to bring
aged to botch the gold- So why do people favor certain sports people together. They serve as a valid cul-
mine Thursday night that teams over others with essentially no foun- tural institution arguably as much (though I
it once had on its hands. dation for their choices? Why was I don't personally agree) as some of the Fine
"I always had rooted brought up to root de facto for whichever Arts. But what I question is why people
for NBC," said a friend team was playing against the Yankees? devote so much brain-space to a reality that
of mine. "It's like AT&T Where does the personal investment in doesn't exist beyond their television sets
- for some reason I always wanted their players I don't know, who live in a city and has no worth beyond the immediacy of
commercials to be better than MCI's." that I don't live in, come from? the combination of game-time and the
Of course, being an intelligent person, The huge emotional interests that peo- playing field. Why is what happens in a
he recognized that these preference-deci- ple place in sports is merely a reflection of rink or on the court more important that
sions were completely arbitrary. But most a hugely pervasive societal feature that one happens on the senate floor or in the
of us can identify with them. For no real very few, unfortunately, seems to find dis- courtroom?
reason, I've always wanted Visa to do bet- turbing (as I do) or even a bit unsettling. It's something I've noticed for a while
ter than American Express. Bad Volkswag- I identify with team loyalty. I have - and everyone else probably has, too.
on advertisements disappoint me, as if I teams that I care about and root for and fol- People whose level of intellectual inquiry
were expecting better things out of a com- low and get angry over. And I think that's or enthusiasm you would normally write
pany in which I have no personal invest- OK - but what's not okay is that as a off as being slim to nil come out of
ment. Internet Explorer and Netscape society we fail to realize that when it nowhere with the boggling amount of eso-
Navigator, for my limited purposes, might comes down to it, sports don't matter. terica they can juggle when it comes to
as well be the same web browser, but given On Feb. 13 the New York Times ran a sports statistics. Batting averages, yards
a choice, I'll always go for the blue 'e' front page article, "Inquiry started on figure rushed, points scored, no matter the team,
swirling in the upper-right corner of my skate judging," about the whole Russia- no matter the decade, people have the
computer screen. Canada figure skating scandal of the millen- capacity to blow you away with sports triv-
And as much as I'll be hated for saying nium. The opening of the trial of Slobodan ia. And information surely does not get
it, it's the same thing with sports. Milosevic managed to make page A8. more trivial.
There's nothing like Michigan football, Now, admittedly, nobody cares about This all used to seem to be one of those
right? The University of Michigan is the figure skating when it's not the winter of clear cut cases of if-only-you-could-use-
most profitable athletic-apparel licenser of every fourth year, just like nobody cares your-powers-for-good.
any college or university in the United about gymnastics when it's not the summer It may be clear-cut. But there's a lot
States. In countries all over the world, peo- of every fourth year. But somehow, a fig- more to it than that simple observation.
ple think that "Michigan" is a brand. ure skating controversy landed a prime And it has to do with corporations, adver-
Shirts, hats, jackets, whatever - the 'M' is piece of real estate on the cover of the tising, media, the government, and diver-
everywhere. "agenda-setting" New York Times and the sion of the masses. In my next column, I'll
I remember from as early as my middle trial of a war criminal seemed to barely lay it all out.
school years that the little boys around me make the paper at all. Until then, sports lovers, feel free to
would be wearing athletic clothing, essen- Sports and athletic ability more general- late me.
tially advertising for teams to which they ly do have their place. Mens sana in corpore
had no connection. Michigan and Notre sano, etc. etc. The Spartan ideal, the Athen- This is the first ofa two-partseries. Johanna
Dame everywhere. All these kids had lived ian gymnasium. And as-much as Ihate to -Haninkcabereached atjhanink@umiehedu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Reader challenges Peters to
make friends with older
classmates, their children
TO THE DAILY:
While I recognize the fact that Jeremy
Peters' column, Under suspicion: You may be on
this list (2/15/02), was intended to be humorous
and entertaining, I found it crude, offensive,
and a misrepresentation of the University.
First, he makes barbs toward students who
ask questions in class as if we are not at this
institution to learn. And how can one learn if
he/she does not understand the material? And
usually, if one person has a question, several
other people have that same question but are
afraid or unwilling to ask for fear of attack by
people just like Peters. I think people who ask
questions in lecture should be commended for
being brave and placing themselves on the
This act of commendation should further
be extended to another group of people
Peters chose to attack: People older than the
"typical" age of college students. An educa-
tional system that attacks instead of embraces
all communities is elitist and contributes to
social inequalities. Therefore, all types of
people should be accepted and able to thrive
on this campus. You hear a lot about diversi-
ty on this campus and it should be pointed
out that race is not the only factor in deter-
mining diversity. We should open our arms
to people older than ourselves, to people of
different religions, sexualities, classes, etc.
By exposing the whole campus population to
a more diverse educational environment, we
all learn new perspectives.
Furthermore, "that 45-year-old woman"
who brought her 10-year-old to class probably
didn't have the opportunity to attend college
like the rest of us in her early 20s. Or perhaps
she is going back to college to further her edu-
cation. Regardless, nobody has the right to ask
her or anybody else different than "us" to not
attend classes solely based on one's individual
perceptions. How are you to know and assume
intentions and backgrounds without actually
taking the time to get to know that person?
I challenge Peters to get to know that 45-
year-old woman with the 10-year-old child in
his next class. Maybe you will learn that as stu-
dents we all have a common goal regardless of
are is evident throughout the whole column.
I would however, like to address his com-
ment about being noisy in the residence halls.
As a member of ResStaff, we are asked to
uphold certain community living standards to
insure a safe and comfortable environment for
all on the floor and as a resident, you have that
same right and responsibility to do the same.
So I commend Peters for asking the MPA to
turn her music down, but at the same time, his
complaint about being "busted for partying on
a Friday night" is not valid. Distractions such
as noise and alcohol are disruptive regardless
of when they occur and furthermore, "party-
ing" can and does make others uncomfortable
in that community. Perhaps someone does not
drink or had a family member killed due to an
alcohol-related incident and thus your actions
unknowingly made that person uncomfortable.
In conclusion, I would ask that Peters think
about respecting our fellow students by not
making judgments about any person unless he
has taken the opportunity to acknowledge his
privileges while at the same time taken the
opportunity to get to know the people he criti-
cizes. If he does, then he has truly learned
something; which is our common goal here at
'quasi-jokes' don't make
Peters cool, funny
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Jeremy W.
Peters' column Under suspicion: You may be on
this list (2/15/02). I am a member of the Greek
system, work with WOLV-TV, and have
female friends who Peters would call "heavy-
set" - so I have every reason to be offended
by his column's blatant insults and un-tactful
remarks. However, the real reason that I have
been motivated to write this letter is that Peters
has deeply offended my sense of humor.
As I began to read the column last Friday, I
guessed early on that due to the banal content
and total lack of anything meaningful to say,
Peters' aim must have been humor. But unfor-
tunately, all I could find were shallow, mostly
obvious observations about campus life, mixed
you can feel "above it all" doesn't make you
cool (or funny), either.
In Peters' last paragraph, he attacks the
people who ride the elevator up to the second
floor in the residence halls. Who wouldn't
agree that's stupid? But simply saying as
much would expose the fact that Peters has
nothing original to say with this article, so
instead he takes the opportunity to make an
extremely mean-spirited attack on "heavy-set
girls." I seem to remember this type of
humor - from third grade.
Finally, my favorite on Peters' numbered
list: "Don't think you're a journalist just
because you work for WOLV-TV." I could
spend time explaining how well WOLV-TV
does based on the amount of time that it has
been in existence and the resources it has to
work with. However, there's really no point
because Peters' statement (which he deemed
so clever as to not require any explanation)
implies that he himself is a journalist. To me
this assertion is laughable. In a section of the
paper where other writers have debated the
merits of affirmative action or the war in
Afghanistan, Peters has graced us with a
pathetic attempt at humor which ends up as
nothing more than a list of people on campus
that he dislikes. Now I may be wrong, but it
seems to me that this is Peters' first column in
the Op/Ed section. I sincerely hope that is not
the case, because if he has been slaving away
at the lower levels of the Daily for years, only
to finally get his chance at "prime-time" and
put his name above this trash, I fear for where
his "journalistic" career is headed.
Why did I spend the time to write this let-
ter? Why can't I "take a joke"? A "joke"
requires humor. Without humor, it's just an
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
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faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters should include the
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University affiliation. The Daily will not print any
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