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April 04, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-04-04

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 4, 2002

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
I dig him,
like his politics
.style"
-- Former Michigan quarterback and Super
Bowl MVP Tom Brady on President Bush,
during a White House ceremony in honor
of the New England Patriots. The quote
appeared in the Drudge Report yesterday.

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SAM BUTLER THIE SOAPBOX

The French outlook on sex and the public
YAEL KOHEN jE NE SAIS UI

rench culture is
more than just food
and wine ... there is
also sex.
Before I get started I
would like to clarify that
most cultures (at least the
Western ones) are obsessed
with sex; the French are just
more open about it.
First of all, the French never cut out the
nude or sex scenes from movies.airing on regu-
lar television. In fact they don't cut those things
out of their commercials, either. Many French
commercials use sex and nudity to sell some of
the most unsexy products out there.
My personal favorite is a commercial for
dishwashing gloves, a rather dull product with a
not-so-dull ad. It begins with a man searching
through his medicine cabinet for a condom. Of
course he can't find one, so instead he decides
to use the finger of the very durable dishwash-
ing glove for protection.
Another commercial takes place at the
beach where a woman strips down to her scanty
panties - yes, just panties - letting the
ocean's waves splash against her bare bosom -
yes bare. Obviously, this commercial is for
shower gel, but who would've guessed?
I would like to add that there are also com-
mercials with exposed men: Let's take Nescafe
Instant Cappuccino for example. The actor is
selling cappuccino while hanging out in his
bath towel, when suddenly it drops and luckily
the already made cappuccino is strategically
covering his private parts while he assures the
viewer that he has "nothing to hide." I'm
reminded of the scene in Austin Powers when

the meat, bread and fruit cover Austin's pri-
vates. But in the States I had to see this scene in
a theater where I paid for it, not to mention that
it was protected by ratings.
The beach is another place where people
.have "nothing to hide." The French are
famous foreatheir topless beaches - a big no-
no in the states where many people (and the
law) consider it to be indecent exposure.
Well, I guess it is indecent exposure if you
think of it that way but it seems to me that the
only people gawking are the American boys
and girls who then find the need to take a pic-
ture. But there are the American girls who
eventually put aside their cultural inhibitions
and sunbathe a la francaise.
When in Rome ...
However, there is still one thing that sticks
out, no matter how open-minded we are - the
extremely high level of PDA (public displays of
affection), on the street, in cafes, on the metro,
on the bus, really just about everywhere. They
have no shame in being overtly touchy with
their significant other.
And the French do not link morality and
righteousness to someone's sexual exploits. Take
the French movie "The Brotherhood of the
Wolf," which was done in American blockbuster
style, but with a very un-American role of sex.
The story takes place in 18th century France
when women were either marriageable or pros-
titutes. The main character - our hero - is in
love with the young virgin maiden but that
doesn't stop him from getting pleasure in the
brothel by a prostitute who eventually saves his
life. His sidekick, the noble and wise character,
also takes pleasure at the brothel.
Now, if Americans had made this movie,

this aspect would be very different. Our hero
would remain loyal to the woman he loves and
our wise and noble sidekick would then give us
some speech about love and intimacy - maybe
adding in a tale of love long lost.
You can see where American Puritan her-
itage still exists even if we are more open than
we were before. We associate morality, nobility
and wisdom with sex: Just look at how the Clin-
ton-Lewinsky scandal was viewed. Clinton was
pegged "immoral" leaving many to think that
he was unfit to be president.
The French know that their public figures
have affairs. But what do they care?
In the United States, conventional ideas of
marriage persist. In the U.S. there is an increase
of young people waiting to have sex until
they're married while in France more and more
people are opting not to get married at all.
Americans still have very traditional notions
of the sexual world. We live in a paradox where
movies and TV tell us to be more open, while
Republicans lobby to turn sex education into
lessons of abstinence instead of accepting the
fact that people are going to have sex before
marriage.
I would like to clarify here, that I am not
advocating casual sex or the end of marriage. If
people want to wait until they're married that's
their personal choice. Nor am I saying that the
French don't have monogamous relationships.
But as society they have ahealthier, less
antiquated and more realistic way of looking
at sex.
Yael Kohen is a Daily columnist writing
from Aix-en-Provence, France. She can
be reached atyaeljkohen@hotmail.com.

VIEWPOINT
The real victim of the Ed Martin 'scandal'

BY CHRIS FARAMi
Chris Webber denies everything.
The former Michigan star basketball player
was recently accused of accepting hundreds of
thousands of dollars from former Michigan
booster Ed Martin. Since then, it seems like
everyone - from students, alumni and sports
writers to the local paperboy himself - have
been calling for Webber's head, saying that the
University must distance itself as far as possible
from its horrible, tawdry past in order to prevent
further abuses by the program and to prevent big
NCAA sanctions.
A sports columnist for the Ann Arbor News
went as far as to say that Webber should be
banned from the University altogether, the ban-
ners won by Webber and the Fab Five torn down,
whole seasons forfeited.
And then, lo and behold, Webber had to come
along and deny everything. He says it didn't hap-
pen. He never took a dime.
Well, I'm gonna be brutally honest. I'm angry.
Really angry. No, no, I'm more than angry. I'm
seriously pissed off about this whole situation.
But maybe not for the reason you would think.
You see, I wish Webber had taken the money
- not because I think he's a bad person or want
his name "tarnished," but for the exact opposite
reason. I think he deserved it. In fact, if he really
didn't get any of the alleged $280,000, I think the
University should send him a big, fat check in the
mail making up for every last dollar. Heck, in that
case, the University would still be getting a pretty
good deal, considering inflation and everything.
Think about it. How much money did Webber
and the Fab Five earn for the University while
they were here playing basketball? How much
money do all Michigan athletes - particularly in

basketball and football - bring in for the Univer-
sity every single year?
Sure, you got your most basic sources of rev-
enue. The most obvious is tickets to the games.
Then you got the money from all the TV deals,
shoe contracts for the coaches, apparel and equip-
ment deals with Nike.
Then, of course, you've got merchandis-
ing. Did you know that Michigan is basically
a brand name overseas? Half the time, they
don't evenknow what they're wearing repre-
sents a school. They think the block "M" is
just another trademark (which, technically, it
is), like the Nike Swoosh.
Oh, and I'm not done yet. We've still just
covered the most obvious stuff. You also have to
consider donations and endowments from alum-
ni - and don't think that's not related to sports.
Win a national title, make a big splash at the
NCAAs -that all amounts to big money for the
University in terms of donations from alumni
gushing with school spirit.
Even tuition money has a lot to do with ath-
letics. I'm serious. How many people do you
know who came to Michigan because they love
the sports here? Sure, there's the academics and
all that, but man, I grew up watching the
Wolverines on TV - there's no way I could go
anywhere but Michigan.
All that stuff - all of that - would not be
possible without the athletes here at Michigan.
And what do we give them in return? An educa-
tion. And a small living stipend. Now, I know
what we've all been taught to believe: An educa-
tion is priceless. But let's be honest here. In-state
tuition amounts to a few thousand dollars a year.
Out-of-state tuition is another story, but I don't see
Lloyd Carr or Tommy Amaker agreeing to coach
at Michigan for a small living stipend, along with
a guarantee that they can enroll in any classes they

might be interested in taking.
I'm sure by now I've managed to offend a
lot of people out there. The purists. The
purists argue that players should go out every
game and give 110 percent because they love
the game. Let's be serious here for just a
moment. If the game was so pure, each fan
wouldn't have to pay over $50 a pop for a
decent ticket. Coaches wouldn't be making
more money than most teachers at the Univer-
sity put together.
If you want purity, then let's go for it. But let's
go all the way. I say we give up on money com-
pletely. Doctors? Let them perform surgery for the
love of performing surgery. After all, that's why
they got into medicine, right? Because they like to
heal people!'They don't need our money at all!
See, the only time this whole purity thing
works is in the hands of a major, manipulative
corporation like the NCAA. They spew a lot of
garbage about the purity of the game and we all
buy into it. And in the process, the NCAA and
universities all over the country make a killing
every single year in one of the best, most finan-
cially lopsided deals of all time.
And why? Because we foolishly believe that
players should be happy with what they get. They
should be happy they receive the honor to repre-
sent our fine academic institutions. They should
be happy with much less than they truly deserve.
So, Chris Webber, if you're out there, and you
did take the money, I salute you. You got not only
what you deserved but what we, as a University,
owe you. And if you didn't get the money - and
most athletes in today's system do not - then I
hate to tell you this, but you got screwed.

6
0

Farah is a Near Eastern Studies
Rackham student.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Suicide bombers a product
of an environment beyond
our understanding;
To THE DAILY:
I read with interest the responses to
Amer Zahr's column She was from Deisheh,
Palestine, (4/1/02), but to my great dismay
there seems to be a common thread of
denial of reality from all three people who

actions. However, let's be real about the sit-
uation for a moment, rather than simply
spewing political rhetoric for the benefit of
an audience.
Most likely none of us have ever had the
experience of a Palestinian who has lived
under illegal Israeli occupation for the last
35 years. This experience includes having
personal property confiscated by an illegal
invading force, watching your town be
reduced to rubble, being moved to a refugee
camp where you live in a squalid tent while
vnn wntA henvily armed Tsraeli "settlers"

Yesterday in that city the Israeli govern-
ment showed its biggest act of "mercy" to
date: For two hours it lifted the curfew so
that citizens could scramble to find their
dead in the overcrowded morgues and give
bury them. The bereaved families dug a
mass grave in the dirt parking lot next to a
hospital and buried their families there
because it was all they had time to do.
I think that before we pretend that we
don't understand how an oppressed person
can go crazy and do an admittedly immoral
thina ui ehAld consider the lives of Pales-

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