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October 28, 2003 - Image 4

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 28, 2003

OP/ED

Ulbe Stru~n aU

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
(We're going to
have the battle between
the Christian right and
the right Christians."
- The Rev. Al Sharpton, in Sunday's
Democratic presidential debate in Detroit,
when asked about Army Lt. Gen. William
Boykin's remarks casting the U.S. struggle
against terrorism in religious terms.

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COLIN DALY TEICi N-H Ic-A-cN. DALY

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Attn. snobs: I love rock and roll, Hrithik, Jimmy John's
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

spent a good number
of my playtime hours
last summer watch-
ing "reality" television
and Bollywood movies.
Usually back to back: a
little "Paradise Hotel," a
little "Kabhi Khushi Kab-
hie Gham" and a whole
lot of subtitles and cry-
ing. And I am not
ashamed to admit I loved every second of
these viewing experiences. I loved every
cheesy profession of love or loyalty, every
musical number, every kissing-spree montage
(especially the one they showed right after the
hotel whore swore to her longtime boyfriend
that she'd only locked lips with one PH boy -
dramatic irony at its finest), every indoor
close-up of Hrithik Roshan in which his hair
billowed as if caught in a mysterious indoor
breeze or the path of a large stationary fan
placed just off-camera.
Massive structural differences aside, PH
and K3G occupy similar spaces in the enter-
tainment world. Both are products of huge
profit-driven industries and both appeal to
our most basic human interest: the interper-
sonal relationship and the many ways in
which it can go horribly, horribly wrong.
Critics roll their eyes at the strict adherence
of each to its genre's conventions and result-
ing relative predictability, but fans wouldn't
have it any other way.
I suppose there is one other stand-out
similarity between "reality" TV and Bolly-
wood fare, and believe it or not, this is some-

thing they share with science fiction, Star-
bucks, pop music, chain restaurants and mys-
tery novels. Something about their mass
appeal makes people hate them.
I'm not trying to suggest that some people
don't loathe "reality" TV because watching it
for more than 10 seconds at a time makes
them want to reach right through the screen
and throttle the next cast member to say
"playing the game" with a straight face, or
that some people don't scorn Starbucks
because Starbucks coffee tastes remarkably
like freshly burnt rubber. These are valid
complaints. What's missing from them is the
word, "hate." It takes something very special
to elicit active hate from otherwise laid-back
individuals - especially for something as
benign as a TV show or a song or a double
tall mocha - and a quick conversation with
any given hater is all it takes to see what that
special something is: snobbery.
Yes, the true pop-cultural haters are noth-
ing but a bunch of stuck-up sourpusses, a
humorless band of elitists who insist that
nothing good is ever popular, that nothing
popular is ever good. And they are every-
where. You'll find them in every facet of life,
from the literary ("Oh my God, is that a
Stephen King novel? Don't you realize that
William Faulkner exists, you poor slob??) to
the culinary ("Excuse me, did you just say
Jimmy John's sandwiches were delicious?
But they use white bread and pre-sliced
meat! Don't you have taste buds?").
They're expert martyrs, too, perfectly
capable of questioning your taste and
attacking your character in the same breath.

They'll tell you you're not allowed to con-
tinue to like what you once liked if too
many other people now like it. I hate to
keep coming back to Starbucks (mmm ...
burnt rubber), but say you happened to like
Starbucks coffee. If you lived in Seattle in
the '70s and that was the case, fine; it was a
successful local business back then, God
bless it. But no more. Shop there now - i.e.
drink the coffee you have been enjoying for
the past 30 years - and you're a selfish,
corporation-lovin', homogeny-pushin' sell-
out. You lose. If you had any kind of moral
backbone whatsoever, you'd buy coffee
from the little coffee shop across town -
the one that serves the coffee you don't like
- so that others will have a choice.
I think this reasoning is self-evidently
ridiculous. But that is a side issue.
What I suspect is really going on with
our friends the snobs is that they - like the
adolescent tormentors they are trying so
desperately to move past in their minds -
are so helplessly concerned with being the
coolest of the cool that they've forgotten
how to have fun. They'll never be able to
point and laugh at their own silly problems
(the lies they've told and been told, the stu-
pid things they've said in the presence of
witnesses) as re-inacted in prime-time by
"real" people on tropical islands. They'll
never appreciate brain candy. The rest of us
should pity them, but never judge. After all,
there is no accounting for taste.

I

Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Hanink oversimplifies lack of
African Nobel laureates
TO THE DAILY:
I am writing in response to Johanna
Hanink's column (Nobel neglects black
Africans, 10/27/03) regarding the lack of
black African Nobel Prize winners. There
are several incorrect assertions put forth
within her article. First, Hanink seems upset
that this problem has existed since the
award's beginnings in 1901. However, she
fails to realize that for a good portion of the
20th century, many African cultures had no
written language to speak of. The fact that
the Nobel Prize committee subsequently had
less African writers of international standing
to choose from is not entirely its fault. Sec-
ondly, there are authors who represent the
situation of post colonialism quite well who
have won the award. V.S. Naipaul is per-
haps the most eminent of these authors, but
his recent Nobel Prize seems to strike
Hanink as worthless, merely because he is
not a black African. Lastly, there is the issue
of the Nobel Prize committee's selections in
general. There have been some questionable
selections in recent years, to say the least.
The lack of black African winners, then, is
not the result of some conspiracy perpetuat-
ed by a racist, Anglocentric Nobel commit-
tee. Many authors have been overlooked by
the imperfect Nobel regime, not just black
Africans.
Yes, there is a dearth of black African
Nobel prize winners in literature. But there is
much more to the issue than meets Hanink's
eyes, especially given her admitted "minimal
research."
DUSTIN ZACKS
LSA senior
Reader proposes a pact
with football coach Carr
TO THE DAILY:
I have been a frequent and vocal critic of
Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr. I feel
that Carr is oftentimes too conservative in his
play calling, does not motivate his players as
consistently as he should and has underpre-
pared his team for critical moments. There
are a litany of examples which I could cite
concerning each of these charges: In this
year's loss against Iowa, there was a point

was an impressive display of coaching ability
and deft preparation. Defensive coordinator
Jim Herman devised a devastating defensive
scheme, the Michigan offense was balanced
and sufficiently daring when needed and the
special teams were excellent. There are, of
course, coordinators and subordinate coaches
who helped to improve the Wolverines, yet it
is always the head coach who is ultimately
responsible for his team's failures and thus
should also get credit for its successes. I was
proud to be a Michigan man on Saturday and
was pleased by the coaching effort that trans-
lated into fine play.
However, I was unfortunately not born
yesterday, and thus have an enduring memo-
ry of many Michigan teams whose sensation-
al play certain weeks only made ensuing
letdowns that much more difficult to accept.
So, I would like to propose a pact into
which Carr and I can enter. Lloyd, I will relent
in my criticism and give you the benefit of the
doubt more often if you prepare your team well
enough to avoid yet another meltdown fueled
by arrogance and too many press clippings.
The pact will go into effect now and can be
reevaluated around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. I am
one of those who feels that this current Wolver-
ines squad is too talented to have lost twice
already, yet I suppose that I will give you a
chance to prove that it is not your ineptitude
that has gotten the team to this point of lowered
expectations and lost opportunities. Please
don't make me regret this choice.
JOSEPH LITMAN
Alum
Photo and article exemplify
problems with public health
To THE DAILY:
While it may be unconventional to sub-
mit a letter to the editor referring to a pho-
tograph, I could not let my response to All
in a day's work (10/21/03) go unspoken.
The photographer's capture of a University
Health Service paramedic's smug expres-
sion while his cohorts attended to "resusci-
tating a homeless man" (in caption) deeply
disturbed me. I don't want to blame the
paramedic, though. Perhaps it was simply
a stroke of bad luck that a passing smirk
and a camera shutter snapped simultane-
ously. Despite three other paramedics
crouched around the victim, his apparent
calmness mirrors apathy. Can the reader
construe that injustice exists among emer-

ing availability, affordability and safety
with public health. This case illustrates
how low-income housing options are often
a contentious point between real estate
sales and government. We entrench the
idea of second-class citizenry while sacri-
ficing the well-being of others. Homeless-
ness commands sensitivity. Equal access
and a sense of medical urgency should be
bestowed upon all, smirks or not.
As an aside relating back to the picture,
it's quite peculiar how the arrows on the
street sign behind the paramedic's head could
be interpreted as devil's horns: a subliminal
insinuation?
AMY PETERSON
School of Public Health
Ann Arbor residents should
vote 'yes' on Proposal B
To THE DAILY:
Ann Arbor voters should pass Proposal
B on Nov. 4, which among other things,
will authorize funds to preserve and pro-
tect the parkland in and around the city of
Ann Arbor.
Ann Arbor isn't now, never has been nor
ever should be a city like other major urban
centers. New York, for example, is known for
its sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers, shops,
restaurants and businesses. It is not known for
its beautiful green fields and diversity of plant
species. Ann Arbor, however, isn't New York.
Ann Arbor is a different kind of city that
prides itself on its preservation of green space,
beautiful flowers, and diversity of all kinds.
This proposal will both continue and protect
this tradition for future generations.
For the past three years as a student at
the University, I have enjoyed running
through Nichols Arboretum. This preserva-
tion, only a minute walk from campus, is
possibly the most stunning area in Ann
Arbor. I enjoy running there because it is
away from all the traffic, away from all the
students and their cigarette smoke, away
from all the noise and away from school; it
is simply a place with both splendid sights,
and serene quiet. This is my main reason for
supporting the proposal, but what about the
things that reside in this city that don't have
the liberty to vote like I do?
This proposal will also protect things far
more important than my Sunday afternoon
run through the Arb. It will first of all do the
city's part in preserving the diversity of
nlatcinthe i Tnited State~c.While neonle may

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