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4Q - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, September 11, 2003
NEAL PAis - ANYCOLOUR YOULIKE
Lighting up at the cafe for an Oz-sc
REQUIEM FOR INDIVIDUALISM
Someone very close to me once alleged, "I
don't exist as an individual," implying that to
truly exist, she needed to be a part of some-
thing greater. Of course, a debate ensued quickly
after this provocative utterance was made - I hav-
ing several different philosophical objections to
what I had just heard, my companion fiercely
defending her position with a slew of plausible jus-
tifications (to her credit). The statement stuck with
me for a while. Initially, I was drawn to the meta-
physical implications of my friend's claim, yet as I
considered her words more carefully, I began to
grow slightly sad. That evening, my friend's admis-
sion struck me as one reflective of a certain lack of
reverence for the self.
A few days later, the conversation still fresh
in my mind, my lament was renewed with the
realization that the sentiment my friend had
expressed to me was not all that exceptional;
scores of my peers subscribe to similar notions.
So, I set out to determine why. My relations
with a spectral range of students brougsht me a
little closer to understanding of the problem.
Things started to become apparent as I recog-
nized the point of correlation linking most of
my acquaintances - the insatiable desire to be
associated with some type of cause, whether it
be patriotism or protest. My deduction left me a
I feel quite lonely as I witness the slow
demise of personal identity. It seems that our
new generation of conflict has brought about an
unprecedented level of social polarization. On
any given day, I will see "movements" being
organized; and on every given day I see stu-
dents, impressed by strength in numbers, scurry
toward these promises of personal definition.
For reasons that I can't fully comprehend, peo-
ple seek their identities amidst groups and col-
lectives. Why can't the self suffice?
I am troubled by excessive allegiances; the
forfeiture of one's individual elan in favor of
any form of "membership" perplexes me.
People should want to serve themselves once in
a while. But I hope that my egoism isn't inter-
preted as selfishness. I myself champion pro-
gressive, unprejudiced causes that work for the
well being of others. However, I also passion-
ately condemn blind participation in organized
movements. It has become terribly chic to be an
activist these days and dissent's the hot game in
this town. Disgustingly impressionable students
make the ultimately grave mistakes of hopping
on whatever bandwagon drives by and playing
the game of contrariety without a clear grasp on
the "issues" they claim to support. They do so
without foresight or the fortitude to try and
implement change on their own.
Most contemporary issues are much too com-
plex to rigidly define in terms of "right" and
"wrong," and the consequences of attempting to
do so are great - a rather obvious assertion,
right? Yet no one is catching on. I feel more than
comfortable saying that I have found the over-
whelming majority of campus activists to be
rather ill-advised in their decisions to choose
sides - the root cause of militant partisanship
on campus. And so every day, as I walk to phi-
losophy class, I am forced to observe a raucous
congregation of Diag demonstrators seething
with misplaced idealism - "Students Protesting
for the Sake of Protesting" (SPSP).
Why doesn't the individual matter? Why must
I choose sides? I choose to retain my personal
identity. I don't want to be a part of your amor-
phous movement. I'd rather not hear about
"divesting" (what a ridiculous notion!) from
State X. I'd rather celebrate my own rich cultur-
al heritage than wear your nationalistic para-
phernalia. And I'd rather not negotiate my way
through your childish State Street protests and
counter-protests. There are no problems with
cooperation between individuals, yet move-
ments, as I see them at the University, are inher-
ently exclusionary. There isn't any room for you
at the table if you do not profess an unwavering
commitment to The Cause.
I don't have to be a card-carrying member of
any organization to bring about social change,
nor do I have to restrict myself to one side of
conflict. The harm done in doing so is immeas-
urable: Intolerance is borne from schism. But let
us temporarily detach ourselves from the short-
comings of movements and states and such - a
salute to the individual is in order. Allow me to
refer back to my dear friend's statement - why
did she say what she did? Because, like many
socially conscious students on campus, she feels
the need to associate herself with a several caus-
es in order to feel participant in a "more impor-
tant" scheme. But I think the people who go at it
solo have the most to offer.
I have always possessed a reductive view of
the individual; I believe that the very highest
order of power may be found in the individual -
not in any assemblage of persons. The individual
should eschew the propaganda of collectives and
reject their labels. Personal identity, arguably the
most vital aspect of human existence is gradual-
ly nullified through obligation to movements.
Cultural identity and personal identity are not
one in the same, nor should they become so.
Ancestry, religion, political affiliation, national
pride - all are legitimate components of identi-
ty, but should never define the individual's sense
of self. My friend - as you read this, I wish that
you will think for yourself, not the good of some
cause or nation. The individual, alone, can do
anything, and the world needs more of them.
- Neal Pais can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Sravya Chirumamilla
Daily Arts Writer
Lounging on the Oriental rugs and
finely embroidered pillows, I slide
out of my sandals. Two attractive
brunettes dressed for a nightclub
and an appealing guy with an easy
smile and impeccable outfit walk
into Caf6 Oz and jump over to the
rugs. Obviously regulars, they are
greeted by co-owner Jaffer Odeh
and the stylishly-dressed waitstaff.
My friends and I decide on the
rose-flavored hookah, pronounced
HOO-kah, from the paper menus.
Anna, our waitress, who sports a
sideswept ponytail and Cafe Oz polo,
takes our order and brings us tall
glasses of water.
While we pore over our menu and
pick up tips about smoking a hookah,
the people seated next to us engage us
in conversation. Because they frequent
the bar, they are able to point out their
favorite flavor, which is the slightly
more expensive double apple - appro-
priately named, since it includes both
red and green apple flavors.
A waiter brings out the large water
pipe, also known as a hubbly-bubbly.
He explains the mechanics, starting
out with the lJle, where the sheesha,
or tobacco, is located. On top of the
lule rests a small piece of charcoal
which lights the nargile, yet another
reference for the hookah.
The liile is connected by a long
tube, the Marpu , to the round bowl,
the Gdvde, where the tobacco is fil-
tered through water. Lastly, the
tobacco is sucked through the
Agizlik, or mouthpiece.
Providing us with a plastic
enclosed mouthpiece that is inserted
into the Agizlik, Waseem leaves us
to enjoy the experience. As I suck on
the small mouthpiece, I notice the
water bubbling in the handpainted
By Elen McGrity
Daily Arts Writer
G6vde. Because the flavor we
choose is relatively light, none of us
cough as we exhaled the smoke. The
rose taste can only be felt while
exhaling and leaves the remnants of
flavor on our lips.
The attractive trio invited us to try
their cappuccino-flavored sheesha with
a milk-filled Govde. As the milk makes
the smoke much thicker, the coffee
taste is very forceful and startling.
Jaffer and his business partner,
Amer Zahr, walk around with metal
charcoal holders and tongs with
which they reignite the charcoal
midway through the experience. The
hour-long process begins when the
waitstaff puts together the parts of
the nirgile and the aroma of the
sheesha wafts through the caf6.
Returning later that night, we seat
ourselves amongst the larger crowd
of patrons. The cafe is open until 4
a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and
the atmosphere turns even more
interesting as midnight approaches.
Fridays feature Jessica, a belly
dancer, who performs tirelessly
starting at 11:30. Patrons are treated
to the enticing dance and energetic
movements as they snack on chai
lattes and meat pies. They can also
enjoy the hummus, which is served
coated in olive oil and with a basket
of pita bread.
The conversation meanders from
the smoking ban in similar New
York bars or the card games which
the mostly student clientele plays at
the next table. The staff allows us to
remain in the establishment and
does not rush to bring the bill, even
as closing time nears.
The owners of Cafe Oz felt the
need for a unique locale where stu-
dents can enjoy a lavish tradition
while also benefiting from the
familiar Jones Soda or Orangina.
While the location is closer to the
Cafe Oz is a good place to kick back and hit the hookah.
bourgeois Main Street than Central
Campus, it is a welcome respite
after a long week.
Cafe Oz is located at 210 S.
Fifth St. Open Wed. & Thurs. 6
p.m. - 2 a.m., Fri. & Sat. 6 p.m.
- 4 a.m., Sun. 4 p.m. - mid-
night, closed Mon. & Tues.
Jessica the belly dancer hits the
floor Fridays at 11:30
s to avoid
Always keep your shisba in tht
refrigerator in an airtight container
Your shisha will last well overk
year if stored properly.
Combining different flavors o
shisha can be very satisfying. Tr:
banana and strawberry, or lemoi
Some prefer to use liquids othe
than water on the hookah base
Don't be afraid to experiment wit]
Hey, fellas, are any of you disappointed in what God gave
you? Its okay. Girls are forgiving - most of the time. But we
absolutely won't tolerate sloppy threads. Mother Nature cannot
be tampered with, but the right clothes can really "show me
what you're working with." How you dress says a lot, especial-
ly on a large college campus where the majority of girls have
no idea who you are. Whether you're on a fraternity's dance
floor, walking across the Diag or chugging a beer at Rick's, a
girl's first "snapshot" of you includes what you're wearing -
and, sorry to say, we will judge you on it. The wrong duds can
eliminate you faster than you'd like us to forget the Ashton
Kutcher craze. While I can't vouch for every girl out there, let's
just say you've been warned.
The Dryclean-only Fleece Is that what all Northface
and Patagonia fleeces say on their tag, because you guys
sure act like it. So many of my guy friends have their sig-.
nature fleece (which is kind of cute), but then they are
wearing it every single time I see them. While most college
guys are more washer challenged than average, you don't
have to be pathetic enough to throw it in the load once a
week. Got that? No girl wants to snuggle with you and your
sweat-into-all-week fleece (and yes, we can still smell that
it's dirty even if you've just sprayed cologne). Even if it is
convenient and doubles as a block against the Michigan
cold, a little variety is always appreciated. Try a sweater,
button-down polo or long sl'eve t-shirt.
Brandon Walsh Hair This hard-bodied boy may have been
the heartthrob of 90210, but NEWSFLASH it is not the 90s
anymore. Brandon's hair seemed to have super glue holding it
up a full two inches during all ten years the show aired. And
Dylan's hair wasn't far behind. Guys, if you're gonna use gel,
use it responsibly. Follow the bottle and use only a dime-sized
amount, guiding it through your hair gently so it stays in place.
And please, don't make only the front strands flip up. A little
flip is tolerable, but don't make your hair defy gravity - even
if Brenda and Kelly did appreciate it.
Magic Eye Prints Abercrombie and other outfitters of the
same ilk have started advertising shirts with - yikes - pais-
ley prints. But don't be tempted to snag this trend. Take advice
from the hot Abercrombie models: they're nearly commando in
every shot, so they obviously don't like the shirts either. The
same goes for any shirt with a busy pattern, a metallic sheen or
a tie dyed design. Those signal a nerd, a washed-up player or a
guy who is colorblind.
The Tuck We are not on the set of "Leave It to Beaver."
Please, pretty please, leave your cotton polos, button-downs
and t-shirts out of your pants (we'll get there later even without
your shirt tails leading the way). And try this flattering trick:
leave the top and bottom two buttons undone. This leaves us
with a glimpse of the muscle-hugging white tee you have on
under it and creates a nice color contrast on top.
24/7 Hat Hair I know you all love your sports teams, but
do you guys have to wear a hat every single moment of the day?
To me, a hat says, "I'm hiding something." I can't see your love-
ly locks, and I can't see your eyes either. Girls don't want a
sweaty Tigers bill ramming into their foreheads. Hats are espe-
cially not recommended when taking a girl out to dinner.