4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, October 8, 2003
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Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of
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necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
'( Even if you're
should not vote for
- The Rev. Jesse Jackson, urging voters to
support Gov. Gray Davis at a campaign
stop in Oakland, Caif, as reported
Sunday by the Alameda Times-Star.
STEVE COTNER AND JOEL HOARD OPERATION PUSYCAT
Rush Limbaugh and the modern-day freak show
JOEL HOARD COLD LAMPIN'
SPN, easily the most
on television, was an
important part of my life
when I was a youngster. If
ever I found myself bored
or in need of a sports fix, I
could turn to ESPN. I grew
up on Chris Berman, Craig
Kilborn, Keith Olbermann
and Dan Patrick, often watching the same edi-
tion of "SportsCenter" three or more times a
day. It was funny and entertaining, but at the
same time professional and informative - call
it a perfect blend.
To this day, I still begin every morning with
SportsCenter. While the new class of anchors
and commentators isn't quite as talented or
engaging as those of yesteryear, there's still
something familiar and comfortable about
But I was a little worried when the network
announced that Rush Limbaugh would be join-
ing the crew of ESPN's football preview show
"Sunday NFL Countdown." Certainly Rush
knows his football, and his politics are irrele-
vant. Rush's problem lies in the fact that he
can't keep his political opinions to himself.
Watching Rush Limbaugh on "Sunday NFL
Countdown" was like watching someone play
Russian roulette (more on that later) - it was
only a matter of time before Rush said some-
thing insanely stupid and the gun went off.
The end came sooner than even I expected,
when last week Limbaugh said, while com-
menting on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback
Donovan McNabb, "I think what we've had
here is a little social concern in the NFL. The
media has been very desirous that a black quar-
terback do well. There is a little hope invested in
McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the per-
formance of this team that he didn't deserve."
You didn't really expect Rush to play nice and
simply talk football, did you? Facing discontent
among his "Countdown" cohorts, Limbaugh
resigned his position at ESPN shortly after mak-
ing the comment.
I watched Limbaugh on ESPN for the same
reason I watch George W. Bush's speeches: to
see him screw up. Of course he'll have nothing
insightful to say, so I just lay in wait for that
It's unfortunate that my beloved ESPN had
to be the vehicle for such perverse pleasure, but
not even ESPN can escape the vicious cycle cre-
ated by reality TV; we as an audience delight in
the misery and endangerment of others. This
mentality gave rise to the Jerry Springers and
"Fear Factors" of the world, providing a never-
ending stream of suffering and peril to revel in.
Until recently, the particular brands of mis-
ery and endangerment that we so enjoy have
been comparatively insubstantial. The situations
presented on "Springer" and "Fear Factor" are
wholly concocted for entertainment purposes.
But with the application of the reality TV
audience's mentality to events that are really
real, a terrifying new type of audience is born.
The line between reality and "reality" becomes
obscured. It's easy to watch and laugh as some
toothless wonder embarrasses himself on "The
Jerry Springer Show" - the worst that can hap-
pen to him is he gets scratched by his catty ex-
wife. But Rush Limbaugh's career could very
well be over in light of recent events. It all
sounds so hilarious until you remember that an
actual person's well-being is at stake.
Even some perceptive enough to grasp the
reality of the situation want to see Rush in even
more pain. ESPN com Page 2 columnist Ralph
Wiley wrote upon Limbaugh's firing, "I didn't
want Rush to quit. I wanted him to stand in
there and be forced to take it for the full 12
rounds. See how bad it would get - like when
your friend keeps double-or-nothing raising
against your pat straight flush."
With real people like Limbaugh inadvertent-
ly stealing the spotlight, entertainers are forced
to take their performances to absurd heights just
to get a rise out of today's audiences. Last Sun-
day night, Britain's Channel Four showed self-
described "psychological illusionist" Derren
Brown playing a game of Russian roulette. A
randomly selected person loaded one bullet into
a revolver, which Brown then put to his head.
He squeezed the trigger four times before
removing the gun from his head and firing a live
round into a nearby wall.
Meanwhile back in the United States, "Hell
on Earth," a small-time industrial rock band
planned to have a terminally ill fan commit sui-
cide onstage during the band's show in St.
Petersburg, Fla. When the St. Petersburg City
Council stepped in to prevent the show from
going on, band member Billy Tourtelot issued a
statement saying, "This is about standing up for
what you believe in, and I am a strong supporter
of physician-assisted suicide." How bohemian.
Publicity stunts or not, these two events
illustrate the perverse heights to which modern-
day freaks are willing to go. Bearded ladies and
sword swallowers just can't cut it anymore.
Pretty soon, if people aren't actually dying, we
won't be watching.
Hoard can be reached
Electronic concrete-reinforced fences
HUSSAIN RAHIM NARCOLEPTIC INSOMNIA
srael must not feel Iran, Pakistan or even Saudi Arabia be next? Palestinians' struggle for their freedom and
constrained in The simplicity of a two-nation solution that more innocent Palestinians die than
defending the becomes a multinational dispute when other innocent Jews in Israel."
homeland." nations can cite self-defense as an interest in the I later realized the sad truth that this fact
This was the Bush region. Israel's actions can and will be labeled doesn't even matter. The manner is which the
response to Israel's attack as those of a dangerous and paranoid Zionist suicide attacks occur are much more power-
on Syria for the alleged government by captious Muslim extremists. ful than the casualty numbers will ever be.
harboring and encourage- . What is does more embarrassingly than The power of images and ideas are much
ment of terrorist training anything else is put the Bush administration more vivid and easily overwhelm statistics. It
camps. Couple this phrase in the last place it wants to be, out in the doesn't say "These people are serious, let's
with veiled condemnation open where it has to make definitive policy bargain with them." It says "Even their lead-
and apparent threats from America to reduce declarations and risk contradicting a ership helps with these attacks; these are ani-
the three-year $9 billion loan guarantees for beloved and powerful ally. Upon escalating mals not to be trusted." The reality of the
Israel's continued construction of a glorified international warfare in the region how does situation and the disparity between the two
wall/security barrier separating the West Bank America say it only wants to root out terror- powers must be acknowledged over the
from mainland Israel and you have one ism when whole nations are pulled into con- ideals. Equal media representation is a cute
ambiguous message from the United States on flict, and how effectively can it help with idea, but the reality is the Palestinians must
its stand in this conflict. forces already spread paper thin between behave in all the eyes of all; the Jews, the
Continuing in a well-worn cycle of unpro- two wars? media, America, and the world for them to be
voked futile action and reckless excessive reac- Also called to the front is a pathetic seen as people to bargain with.
tion, a suicide bomber killed 19 in a cafe before Palestinian leadership and culture of vio- While frivolously expanding the scope ene-
Yom Kippur commenced and Israel in turn lence that needs to be addressed before any mies in this conflict, the government may have
bombed Syria to help Syria recognize Israel's real changes are to be made. The crux of the to expand the size of its wall to envelop all
sovereignty. How much of the reaction was due issue is that suicide bombings don't look sides of their country from new threats. Israel
to the coincidence with the religious holiday or pretty in the newspaper, nor do they engen- has proved throughout history that it is thor-
just unfettered animosity towards Syria is hard der any feelings of sympathy to the Palestin- oughly capable of defending itself from its
to determine, but the result is an unnecessarily ian cause. Arousing ire from Palestinians are detractor but there is no need to refresh the his-
increased complication in the situation in the emotional pieces in the paper about David tory books. How do you build a wall to keep
Middle East. Many Arab countries ostensibly Applebaum, the head of a hospital emer- out your neighbors when some of them live in
contribute to the funding and training of terror- gency room for suicide bomb victims. He your house and some of your people live in
ist groups that do their damage in Israel, but by and his engaged daughter were killed by the theirs? Relax, don't feel constrained, build a
directly attacking one tangible nation out of same bombs he dedicated his profession to wall or two, but make them long.
many, the vacuum effect is increased as this healing. I was once told that "Nat Turner
action potentially draws additional countries didn't invalidate the struggle for black free- Hussain can be reached
into open conflict with the Palestinians. Would dom nor does a suicide attack invalidate the at email@example.com.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Democratic voters best
served by voting Democrat,
not for Green party
To THE DAILY:
Aubrey Henretty's column, Forget 'awful'
Democratic Party: Vote Stewart/Vedder in '04
(10/07/03) is a godsend to Republicans. The
Democratic Party sucks? If you are a Repub-
lican speaking those words, that is perfectly
fine with me: To each his own. But, to call
yourself a liberal and then waste your vote
on the Green Party is absolutely disgusting.
more years with Dubya.
Diversity more than skin
deep; revisions of Honors
To THE DAILY:
In light of the recent criticisms of the
LSA Honors Program's lack of diversity
(Honors program criticized for shortage of diver-
sity, 10/03/03), I would like to ask who we
most, if not all of them, are from the same
comfortable socio-economic class that I am
from. So besides the color of skin, what
diversity are we promoting? While there is
nothing wrong with helping ourselves, let us
not constantly pat ourselves on our backs,
believing that our diverse admission policies
are a reflection of our liberal benevolence.
According to the Daily's staff editorial
With honors (10/06/03), the underrepresenta-
tion of minorities is a product of the Honors
Program's "reliance on standardized test
scores and high school grade point aver-
ages," which, "often works to the disadvan-
tage of minority students." Did I read
correctly - the LSA Honors Program
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