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September 09, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-09

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MMOM

4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 9, 2003

OP/ED

IIfpe M&r i

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

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

LouIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
Editorial Page Editors

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 believe in
my dogs.
They are heroes."
- Dog trainer Russell Lee Ebersole,
convicted and sentenced to six-and-a-half
years in jail in .June for selling
faulty bomb-sniffing dogs to the
government, defending his dogs, as
reported by The Associated Press.

Palestine, how bout you
Are you ready for some
FOOTBALL?

STEVE COTNER AND JOEL HOARD OPERATION PUSSYCAT

Hey Laura, I have one
thing to say you...
ARE YOU READY
FOR SOME FOOTBALL!
?I put it to you, Britney..
ARE YOU READY FOR
SOME FOOTBALL!
"Honestly, I think we should
just trust our president in
every decision that he
makes and we should just
support that, you know, and
be faithful in what happens."

Throwing the book at Honest Jack
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

Beware of profes-
sors who assign
their own books.
Be more than ware. Be
vigilant. Avoid these
people as fiercely as you
might avoid a boy you
used to date if you saw
him walking in your
general direction on
your way home from a
three-hour bluebook and you'd neither slept,
nor showered, nor changed your clothing in
the preceding 72 hours, even if it means
ducking conspicuously behind a flagpole or a
sorority girl or crinkling papers noisily into
your backpack as you prepare to walk out of
class the moment the phrase "my book"
escapes the professor's lips.
Think of a professor who assigns her
own book the way you'd think of a used
car salesman who calls himself "Honest
Jack." It is entirely possible that the profes-
sor's book is the most groundbreaking
and/or comprehensive scholarly piece in
Field X and it is entirely possible that Hon-
est Jack sells quality used cars at low, low
prices. But for the same reason you'd be
disinclined to trust a man so eager to let
you know how honest he is that he'd capi-
talize the word and proudly display it in
front of his first name, it's probably wise
to think twice before entrusting your
instruction in Field X to someone who tells
you she wrote the book on it.
Because probably (cold and cynical as
this may sound) all Honest Jack wants is

your money and all the professor wants is
300 students who will spike her book sales
and dutifully ingest and regurgitate her every
theory. Authentically honest people - be
they used car salesmen or construction work-
ers or professional manicurists - very rarely
identify themselves as such unless provoked.
Professors who write truly monumental
books often don't bother with them in the
classroom, choosing instead to expose stu-
dents to the work of those who inspired the
monumental books in question.
Some of you precious overachievers are
scratching your heads. "But wait," you are
saying, "If I'm taking a class on the develop-
ment of the cotton gin and Eli Whitney is my
professor, why should he assign anything but
his own work?"
First of all, if you're taking a class with
Eli Whitney - who is, by most reasonable
accounts, dead - you've probably got
more important things to worry about than
his textbook choice. But I see your point.
You're right. Sometimes, your professor
will be the foremost authority on the mater-
ial he or she teaches.
But usually not. Usually, like Honest
Jack, Professor Inmybooklsay has something
to prove. She dances on the fine line between
paralyzing self-doubt (left over from that
time in third grade when Mr. Morris, the
social studies teacher, called her stupid when
she couldn't remember who Eli Whitney
was) and snide arrogance (nourished by the
knowledge that since the Eli Whitney inci-
dent, she has earned three whole graduate
degrees --take that, Mr. M.).

Even worse, once a professor's own
work becomes central to her class, the
usual level of student brown-nosing sky-
rockets to a new, almost perverse high. No
matter how dismissively the professor
chuckles and says, "Of course you don't
have to agree with me" the week before the
each paper is due, the damage has already
been done. When a teacher thinks highly
enough of herself to devote some or all of
her teaching time to her own book, pupils
censor themselves accordingly - in dis-
cussion, in papers, on exams. When Honest
Jack gazes honestly into your eyes and tells
you what you really need to make this
dependable old hatchback run smoothly is
a $200 cap for your oil, you tell him he's
full of shit. But if you're like most people,
you're probably not going to be so candid
with your highly paid, well-respected, mul-
tiple-degree-holding professor. But you
should be. Everyone should be. Don't
honor her syllabus with your presence or
your tuition dollars. It's not worth it.
Teaching shouldn't be about the teacher. A
publishing contract and a biography on a book
jacket do not a genius make. If the book's real-
ly that amazing, you'll read it eventually, hope-
fully without all the pressure not to wound its
author's ego. Selling used cars shouldn't be
about honesty. At least not explicitly. If Honest
Jack is as virtuous as his name suggests, he
won't sell you so much as a spare hubcap 'til
he's sure you've shopped around.

I

Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Attacks on 'How to Be Gay'
are bigoted, uninformed
To THE DAILY:
Thanks for your Monday editorial, How
to be dumb (09/08/03). It points out quite
well the struggle for politics and culture to
retain autonomy despite their tense interre-
latedness. However, the editorial also con-
tradicts itself by glibly dismissing the
"popular misconception that one can actu-
ally 'learn' how to be gay." Isn't that the
point of Prof. David Halperin's course?
"Gay" is not an innate or essential quality,
and in this heteronormative society queers
must engage in a process of "learning" how
our desires differ from the perceived main-
stream. The New York Times last month
chronicled what they call "metrosexuals,"
self-identified straight men who spend their
time grooming A la "Queer Eye for the
Straight Guy," another example of "learn-
ing." Queers aren't born with the lyrics to
Sondheim hardwired in our brains, after all
(or else I totally missed that lavender bus-
in-the-womb). For better or worse, culture
is learned, and gay subculture, with its own
normative tendencies, can be studied -
this is a university! - as much for its
coherence as for its contradictions. But the
point - bravo - is that some of Michi-
gan's legislators enter the discussion with
hateful, intolerant presumptions and few
clear ideas of what is going on in the class,

despite Halperin's and the Daily's best
attempts.
JASON HERLANDS
Rackham
Boycotstadium concessions
to bring back Entree Plus
TO THE DAILY:
I was glad to see Emily Kraack's article
regarding Entree Plus in the Big House in yes-
terday's paper (Hungry students find Mcard use-
less in Big House, 09/08/03). As one of two
Michigan Student Assembly representatives
who worked to get Entree Plus installed in the
Big House in the first place, I was highly disap-
pointed'to notice its absence in the first two
weeks of the season. Blame for this occurrence,
however, is to be shared. Ridiculously high
turnover is the reason MSA is to blame. I don't
often criticize MSA, but winning a popularity
contest is hard, and therefore over half the
assembly is replaced every semester. Thus, new
projects are begun and old ones are pushed
aside. Of the two people who worked to initiate
Entree Plus in the Big House, I left the assembly
and the other went on to become president,
rightfully shifting her attention elsewhere. In the
future, new representatives need to work harder
to maintain and improve the accomplishments
of past assemblies. As far as the other three par-
ties are concerned, each is partially to blame.
Housing is to blame for charging way too much
money for card readers. The Athletic Depart-
ment, which uses the readers a handful of times

each year, should not have to pay as much as
Wendy's, which is able to use the machine
daily; cut them some slack. On the other hand,
the Athletic Department/concessionaire (Glad-
ieux) is to blame for failing to accommodate stu-
dents. They didn't lose money last year, because
housing donated the machines for the pilot. What
happened was their revenue did not increase
enough to justify the purchase. Additionally,
complaining about installation of data lines is
just plain wrong. Installation is a one-time
(sunk) cost continued use of Entree Plus would
only help to "coup losses" that never actually
existed. All you had to do this season was rent
card readers and everyone would have been
happy. But why accommodate the students, they
are going to purchase from you anyway, right?
Wrong! To students, I say, "Stop buying conces-
sions!" Purchase dollar waters before the enter-
ing the stadium and you'll be fine until
Michigan has the game out of reach three hours
later. Show the Athletic Department and Glad-
ieux what losses really are, and I'm sure every-
one will be more than willing to accommodate
students in the future.
RICK MESTDAGH
LSA junior
Former MSA representative
COME TO THE DAILY'S MASS
MEETINGS AT 7 P.M. TONIGHT
AND SEPT. 18.

40

VIEWPOINT
A'neocon'replies

0

BY DAVID HOROWITZ
A wit once said that it's every man's right
to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.
Ari Paul, the author of an incoherent and
illiterate diatribe (What the hell is a neocon?,
09/03/03) in The Michigan Daily is one such
individual.
Paul's column ("Attila the Hun, Genghis
Khan, Paul Wolfowitz" - get it?) purports to
be about how the dread neocons are driving
the war on terror in behalf of Zionism. Here
are just a few of his inanities and errors.
According to Paul, neocons are "all Jew-
ish." False. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett

have been marching for the civil rights of
black Americans since 1948, before Paul
(and probably his parents) were born. I am
today active in the inner city as a supporter
of black organizations like Operation
Hope, for whom I raised $500,000 dollars
last year. I am in the process of organizing
an inner-city summit which I will also
finance to draw resources to communities
that are poor, Hispanic and black. Virtually
every panelist at the conference will be
Hispanic or black. I am primarily responsi-
ble for the election of Shannon Reeves, the
president of the Oakland, Calif. branch of
the National Association for the Advance-
ment of Colored People to be secretary of

Israel when the left was rallying for the Pales-
tinians." This is false and also malicious. Irving
Kristol was a famous conservative in the 1950s.
Norman Podhoretz, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Richard
Perle and other neoconservatives left the Demo-
cratic Party in the mid-'70s as a result of first
the McGovern campaign and then the failure of
their political leader, Democratic Sen. Henry
"Scoop" Jackson, to get the presidential nomi-
nation in 1976. The issue that caused their break
was the Cold War and the Carter Democrats'
failure to stay the course.
The issue of Israel moved some neoconser-
vatives - like Podhoretz - to the conserva-
tive side to be sure. But to write a piece whose
central claim is that neoconservatives are Jew-
ish natinaiskts Aout to control American nolicv

! ' t ur.i n 1 wiar 1re ti dtI Ine.nther there : 'tt nb+trues udern r resenit

J

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