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December 02, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-12-02

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 2, 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
When you have
the highest ranking law
enforcement official in
the country saying
either you're with me or
against me ... that rubs
people the wrong way."
- American Civil Liberties Union
executive director Anthony Romero, on
the post-Sept. 11 rise in ACLU membership, as
quoted by the Associated Press.

SAM BUTLER ThE SOAXPBOX
kToh44T ZjL)s/ bdowetcifc#9 e
1 i does 1'4- work?
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115 weeks, three dead birds and a bungled sundae
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TIMES

he scene replayed
itself over and
over again my
freshman year: Allegra
and I lay sprawled on the
floor of her dorm room in
South Quad, in sweat-
shirts and sweatpants or
our infamous fleece
"sacks" - ingenious
inventions of apparel that few males have
seemed to be capable of appreciating. This was
the assumed position from which we'd regular-
ly count down the days until we could escape
the S'quad and go home for Thanksgiving; I
remember that when that count first began, it
stood at a staggering and dismal 11 weeks.
But now it's been 115 weeks since the
first of many splays on the floor in a room
with its window facing East Madison - a
window that, when I sometimes pass South
Quad late at night, I still look out for to see if
the light in 6433 might be on.
One-hundred-fifteen weeks changes a lot,
and "going home" for Thanksgiving is now a
phrase with a far different semantic gloss
than used to read when I was a freshman.
When this column goes out to press and the
Dailys hit the stacks on Monday morning,
I'll still be here in Connecticut where there's
six inches of snow and I can see Moses (a
horse) from my old bedroom window. In the
interest of a sense of shame, I will not men-
tion the (active) rooster or the pair of "Hary
Coos," Scottish Highland Cattle, next door.
One-hundred-fifteen weeks later there's a
computer and a pile of boxes in my old bed-
room, but there hasn't been a bed here for at
least 26. 115 weeks later I haven't seen some

of my closest friends from high school in
more than 52. One-hundred-fifteen weeks
later, running into a quasi-ex-flame from
1999 doesn't provide the social aggravation
- and hence, of course, the excitement -
that it did in November 2000.
The first Thanksgiving home unfairly car-
ries too many expectations, to recapture 18
years of friendships can't depend on one
dead, stuffed bird. Two years ago I took four
planes in five days, traveling for 12 hours
between layovers and delays on the Wednes-
day before just to make it home. I swore to
my mother that I was never coming home for
Thanksgiving again, and a year and another
tedious layover later, I was back.
But each year it's become clearer that the
greater Storrs area is not the social metropo-
lis that, waxing nostalgic, I've sometimes
remembered it to be. The focus of the scene
is a little restaurant called Kathy John's,
open 'til 11 p.m. in the peak of the summer
and to 10 p.m. all other months, where at
every opportunity the rookie alumni of my
high school congregate to eat ice cream and
tip poorly. Two years ago, when I'd finally
recovered from the orneriness that air travel
never fails to bestow, sitting in a four-person
booth with seven or eight other people I'd
known since fourth grade was the most com-
fortable feeling in the world.
So last Wednesday night my friend Elena,
the one person in the world who still consis-
tently shortens my nickname, Hanne, to
Hans, drove us to KJ's where we waded in
the senior-year-of-high-school memory of
stomaching the "bell-ringer," a towering sun-
dae worth a half gallon of ice cream and a
veritable tub of toppings, bananas and

whipped cream. The event had ended like a
scene from a movie - people cheering and
whooping. We were so full as we neared the
end that we finished the last melted scoops
through bendy-straws - one of those memo-
ries where, with each telling, the fish gets a
little bit bigger.
But this year the slippery slope of the
downfall of teen-hood made itself unignor-
ably manifest. When Elena and I arrived, the
restaurant was, to be sure, filled with familiar
faces. The problem was that I could barely
attach a single name to face - the tables
were filled with people I recognized from the
halls of high school my senior year, the
"freshman" who were now driving cars and
picking up the checks for their girlfriends.
Later that night, the kids just a year
younger than us spilled in en masse, but gone
to grad school and jobs - even "careers" -
were the people we'd always remembered. It
had been out with the old, and our "genera-
tion" of the kids of the tri-town area had
become, well, the old.
The final nail in the coffin of childhood
anamnesis: my usual raspberry sundae with
chocolate-raspberry ice cream came back to
me as a hot fudge sundae with black raspber-
ry ice cream.
One-hundred-fifteen weeks later, I'm
ready to lie on the floor in my sack and wail
my-threnody again; this is the life-change the
health teachers should really be warning the
sixth graders about.
Johanna Hanink can be found in
Stucchi's, hoping she's still young enough
to get her usual, and afterward will be
reachable atjhanink@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Chirumamilla's viewpoint
'highlights her ignorance'
about Indian culture
TO THE DAILY:
I knew from the first sentence of the
viewpoint Indian culture more than dancing
girls, rap beats, 11/27/02, that I would not
come away liking what I would read. But,
that is a part of life - you have to take the
good criticism with the bad, and I was pre-
pared to hear the negative criticism.
However, I came away with feelings of
pure anger and frustration. As an Indian
American Student Association Executive
Board member, I am appalled that the Daily
would allow something like this to be print-
ed. When IASA voted on the issue of boy-
cotting the Daily, we heard both from Jon
Schwartz and a representative from the boy-
cott. It was only after listening to both view-
points and a two-hour debate that we voted
on our position. Now, I'm not in any way
saying that because IASA does not support
the boycott, that the Daily in turn should
only publish positive sentiments about us.
I'm saying that the writer, Sravya Chiru-
mamilla, never even asked IASA anything
about the show, and honestly came off look-
ing like an uninformed idiot.
There are some points in the article that
personally anger me, so I'm going to address
each one of them:
1. Chirumamilla's statement that the
dances were "colorful, while unfortunately
homogenous." This is such an insult to the
Culture Show Core, the choreographers and
the dancers. If Chirumamilla knew anything
about Indian dancing (since she claims to be
the one beacon of Indian tradition in a cam-
pus filled with superficial Desis), she would
notice the amazing amount of variety in our
show. I personally have been taking Indian
dance for the past 12 years, and how Chiru-
mamilla can compare any of the dances to
each other is beyond me. How is the South
Indian "Sangamam" dance anything like the
gypsy "Ghagra" dance? How was the
bhangra anything at all like the raas? And
how can you say that the dances were
homogenous when we premiered the "Bam-
boo" dance, whichhas never been performed
at an IASA Show before? I take offense to
this comment because we worked extremely
hard to show the many facets of India. The
introduction to each dance was in more than
five different languages. Her statement sim-

but irresponsible. We would have to skip
over so many important events, and there is
no way to look at the situation objectively.
The show is supposed to celebrate the
diversity and also the unity in India. Bring-
ing up the subject of Kashmir does not cele-
brate unity in any way. Also, the clips we
showed are events that are less known
about Indian history.
Almost everyone on this campus knows
at least something about Kashmir, but how
many people know about the Bhopal
tragedy? Or the earthquake in Gujarat? We
were trying to educate people on subjects
they didn't know about already.
3. The DaimlerChrysler video. Chiru-
mamilla, extremely irresponsibly, made it
seem like IASA created the video. We
didn't. We didn't even know it was as long
as it was. But what choice did we have? We
are paying for a show that 4,000 people
come to see. That is the largest cultural show
on campus. I the Daily to try to put on a cul-
ture show of this scale, and see if you can do
it without getting sponsorships.
Chirumamilla's comment that the mes-
sage in the first commercial was "all other
cultures have made contributions (read: sold
out), why can't Indians?"
That is reading a bit too much into the
commercial. The commercial is simply say-
ing that America's culture is a fusion of the
various cultures of the world. IASA was not
trying to give the audience some kind of
message through these ads. On a further
note, I can't understand how Chirumamilla
is even a Daily staffer when she then uses
this point to go off on a tangent about rap
music. Honestly, considering that The Daily
is one of the best college newspapers in the
country, and Chirumamilla's viewpoint was
an example of incredibly bad writing.
JUHI KAVEESHVAR
LSA sophomore
Divisions among Indians,
Indian Americans imply
too much culture not 'cool'
TO THE DAILY:
I couldn't have championed more Sravya
Chirumamilla's recent viewpoint on Indian
culture (Indian culture more than dancing girls,
rap beats, 11/27/02). In complete consonance
with her views, I believe that the University's
Indian American Student Association of the is

too many times.
I am proudly American and I am proudly
Indian, but I am vehemently ashamed to
acknowledge that a group representing my eth-
nic identity has stigmatized Indian students to
such a disparaging extent. The fact that Indian-
born students on this campus felt so uncom-
fortable and alienated from their Indian
American counterparts that an Indian Student
Association was formed, quite frankly makes
me sick. Though no one is so audacious as to
openly admit that the fissure of IASA and ISA
was predominantly because of an inane'cultural
hierarchy established by Indian American stu-
dents, the truth is that beyond the euphemistic
explanations rooted in a difference of organiza-
tional and political ideology, IASA was glad to
have these so-called "FOBs" off its back and
out of its prestigious association. The dichoto-
mous division of Indians and Indian Americans
on this campus implies to me, "It's cool to be
Indian, but don't be too Indian. It's cool to be
Indian, just as long as you don't have an accent
when you talk. It's cool to be Indian, but only
to a certain extent." An organization that
implicitly bolsters such beliefs, in my eyes, is
not worthy of all the praise it attributes itself.
Being a part of several multi-cultural orga-
nizations, I find that a rift of such a nature is
almost exclusive to the Indian American com-
munity. I don't see the shame or embarrass-
ment in the eyes of my Latino friends as they
openly converse in Spanish with recently
arrived Latino, immigrant students. I don't see
the immense culturally-based division among
my Italian American friends and Italians from
Europe. But what I do see is the group of deri-
sive Indian women walking their way to an
Alpha Iota Omicron party, making contemptu-
ous remarks about the "FOBS" they see on the
way. Giggling away, they mock their English,
the way they dress, and their mannerisms in
general. Trumping the several similarities they
have with physical attributes, Indian Ameri-
cans perceive themselves, in comparison to
Indians, as "holier than thou." And if our com-
munity is so gripped with such superficial
things as to ignore that these students are in the
same place that most of our parents and grand-
parents were not too long ago, then that leaves
little aspiration for the future.
Being Indian American is not about placing
one facet of our identity above the other; it's
not about nodding your head to Redman as he
ardently raps away to "that Arabic chick;" and
it's certainly not about being embarrassed to
acknowledge that we share so much in com-
mon with these so-called "FOBs."
IASA can bask in it's gloating and what it

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