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September 24, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 24, 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.

In my view, she's not
funny enough to be a
spoof. She just sucks."
- Dr. Glen O. Gabbard, professor of
psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine,
on the addition of the character Dr.
Wendy Kobler to HBO's The Sopranos.
Gabbard criticized the character
in a piece in yesterday's Slate.

k " " " ~~a\
1 -
-- - ...

Mismarketing the world of sportswriting

Anew feature on
the Athletic
website, MgoBlueAuc-
tion, offers Michigan fans
the chance to bid on
"Once In A Lifetime"
products. Not a bad idea
in my mind - if someone
wants to pay a week's
salary to tailgate with the department bigwigs, I
say take the sucker's money and give him a bit
more 'kraut on his hotdog.
Honestly, I think the auctions can be a
great idea. I think it's good to offer fans road
trips or a chance to meet Michigan legends or
visit areas of the athletic campus generally
off-limits. And signed paraphernalia is
always a big seller.
But as someone who wants to be a sports-
writer for life, I'm a bit upset about the "Sports-
writer for the Day" lot, which, last time I
checked, was going for an absurd $740.
I'll admit, sportswriting is one of the coolest
jobs I can possibly conceive of. My office on
Saturdays is Michigan Stadium - enough said.
But what too many people don't understand,
obviously including Michigan's marketing
department, is that sportswriting is a job. A day
in the life of a sportswriter is competitive,
stressful and busy. You're nervous about what
the writer next to you has, what Markus Curry
might have said to some other guy about why
he didn't play, your impending deadline, your
completely illegible shorthand and the fact that
with about 10 minutes until your story has to be
in, you've just finished typing in the byline.
And let's not forget about the fact that your
salary is about in line with a new employee at
your neighborhood McDonald's and your
hours are far less stable.
Sure there are perks, and I wouldn't trade it
for anything in the world, but I'm not sure how

I feel about dressing up the sportswriting job
and offering a dumbed-down version to the
highest bidder, while presenting the opportuni-
ty as an "actual" day on the job. This can't help
the job's stereotypes - whoever ponies up the
most money will undoubtedly go home that
night and tell his wife, kids or butler that
sportswriting is the easiest job imaginable.
After all, he'll say, the game was fun and excit-
ing, the food was decent and (you're not going
to believe this one) Lloyd Carr spoke at a press
conference. Greatest day ever.
Of course, I'm not so devoid of self-
esteem that I need to go on whining that my
job isn't respected enough. It's frustrating that
people view what we do as play instead of
work, but I can deal with that. And there are
plenty of jobs that offer chances to "Be Some-
one Important For a Day." The difference, of
course, between being the athletic director for
a day and taking your try at sportswriting is
that when the marketing department auctioned
off the chance to follow Athletic Director Bill
Martin for one day at the office, they didn't
choose a day when he would have to meet
with the University Board of Regents, or an
afternoon when he would have to fire a coach.
Likewise, sports teams don't hold fantasy
camps directly in the middle of a title chase -
they take place during the offseason.
But this sportswriting gig is going to be for
the Penn State football game, one of the seven
most important days on the football writer's
calendar this year. This isn't the spring game,
which is covered by mostly hungover writers
who realize that they're not writing about any-
thing particularly important, this is one of the
biggest games of the season.
Clearly, the excitement of this offer is not
the chance to be a sportswriter for a day. It's
not the pre-game tour of the press box
("There's the field, there's a phone, there's a
hotdog - that's it, see you after the game").

Rather, it's an opportunity to pay a lot of
money for a good seat with a great view. So
why not bill it as such?
The Athletic Department has long been
guilty .of overcommercializing what should be
a working press box. Since the mystique of
Michigan Stadium does not allow for luxury
boxes to be built, several VIP seats are located
on the press level, in close proximity to the
working writers. NCAA rules stipulate that
there can be no cheering in a press box, but I've
never seen anyone walk over and ask a big
donor to the department to stop vocally sup-
porting the team. To me, this is no different
than the Athletic Department putting its waiting
room in a corner of a conference room, where
visitors waiting to meet with a coach would sit
in the middle of an important meeting. Sound
ridiculous? I agree. These days, you can't get
into the student section without an MCard, but
the press box is open to anyone and his brother.
But these are hard times - the Athletic
Department has to make a buck 'somehow.
Likewise, the Daily's budget can use some
help. Maybe we should sell one of our season
passes to the highest bidder. I'm sure the Free
Press and the News could also use some extra
green. Or maybe we should auction off a
chance to be "Marketing Director For The
Day," when for a nice sum of money, a fan can
follow around Marketing Director ,Tom
Brooks, wear all the different combinations of
Michigan apparel conceivable and come into
close contact with many Michigan athletes.
I'm sure that Mr. Brooks would argue that
his job consists of much more than that. I respect
him enough to know how hard he works, how
thankless his job is and how much he'd hate it if
we billed his job as mentioned above.
So how do you think we feel?
Jon Schwartz can be reached


There she is again
realized Saturday and its pageantry; it's jealousy. I'm jealous day and eating nothing but string cheese.
evening that I've of the contestants. I no longer care if peo- At this rate, I should be ready for my bikini
been going about ple look at me and think, "she's smart," sometime in early 2004. Forget the scholar-
this Miss America thing "she's funny," blah, blah, blah, things I ship money; I'll pay my own damn way
all wrong. I used to once naively considered important. No, I through school if I have to sell my spleen
think it was my duty as want heads to turn when I walk into a on the black market. All I want is a tiny
a female newspaper room, to be ogled, hollered at, idolized and waist, a dozen roses and a tiara. Is that so
columnist and former crowned queen. Dress me up. Powder my much to ask?
sullen adolescent to nose. Direct me to the nearest pedestal and And my IQ continues to plummet.
blast the Miss America I'll hop right up in my diamond-studded When it's all over, Miss Illinois and I
Organization for all the right reasons. I four-inch heels and sizzling red evening burst into tears for very different reasons.
wanted to talk about beauty standards and gown. Ta-da. , She cries because she's superwoman; she
eating disorders, stereotypes and illusions, . This is what the Miss America Pageant is talented and smart and drop dead gor-
including wry summaries such as "OK, does to me. My priorities get all out of geous and now she's got a $75,000 schol-
we'll give you a scholarship, but first we're whack. When host Wayne Brady blithely arship to show for it. She's been through
going to parade you around in stage makeup remarks that the contestants are very anx- hell and now she can finally go home and
and high heels and a swimsuit and if you ious to get through the night because none eat that prime rib and chocolate cake. I cry
fail out of that round, there's no way you're of them have eaten since June, I almost because I can't take three steps in four-
making it to the finals. But seriously, um, laugh. Pretty dresses mean more to me inch heels and because I have just decided
education and betterment of the world are than platforms, besides which the word this is a bigger problem than the pile of
the most important things. Really." "platforms" makes me think of clunky untouched homework spilling over the
These complaints are starting to sound shoes and not political agendas. Thirty sec- edge of my desk.
hollow, even to me; nobody with half a brain onds seems like a perfectly reasonable I'm supposed to know better than this. I
or a functional pair of eyes ever doubted that amount of time in which to answer a com- have talked the talk and worn the cargo
good looks mattered to Miss America judges plicated question about solutions to eco- pants, but I still turn green at the very men-
at least as much as brainpower. Everyone has nomic inequality or youth violence. Too tion of Miss America. I want to be beautiful,
heard these arguments before; they're exactly much, in fact. I'm bored. Is it time for the too. Not beautiful like brilliant with a great
what you'd expect to hear from any smug talent competition yet? personality; beautiful like her. I want to
college student with a far-reaching forum at I'm not a very interesting person for breeze through complex social issues in 30
her disposal. those three hours. I certainly wouldn't want seconds or less so I can go sing and dance.
I don't want to write that column again. to talk to me. Graduate school? What? I'm and eat cake.
Because on a very basic level, it's not my not thinking that far ahead; I can't see past
social conscience or my cynicism that make my soft stomach and utilitarian wardrobe. Aubrey Henretty can be reached
me despise the Miss America Organization Starting tomorrow, I'm running six miles a atahenrett@umich.edu.
Campaign for divestment is not anti-Semitic

The idea of divestment from Israel is not
anti-Semitic because it is aimed at ending the
occupation, a brutal condition that is dehu-
manizing all Semites (Palestinians and
Israelis). Occupation is the deadly disease
that has been claiming lives of both peoples
and infecting the health of the Israeli civil
society. Israel continues to be the most politi-
cally charged and polarized nation in the
region. To the admission of many Israeli

Aliyah how she feels about our divestment
campaign. She replied, "I support your
work." Later in the day as she was address-
ing a crowd of mostly Jewish community
members the question of divestment was put
to her again and she responded with much
enthusiasm, "you do it".
The goal of divestment is to render non-
functional the military machinery (the Israeli
army) that creates the unbearable state of
utter disrespect for Palestinian and Israeli dig-
nity and life. Divestment can prove effective

dred other types of bombs that destroy human
lives, devastate the environment and tear down
foundations of democracy in Israel. Let us
defend our own humanity and that of the
Palestinians and Israelis. Let us divest from the
brutality of occupation at once.
I am neither an Arab nor a Jew. But I
lived the horrors of occupation for two years
in Ramallah. The situation has worsened
many times over since then (1992). Today,
Palestinians are marching the streets of
Ramallah and Gaza in defiance of Israeli cur-


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