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November 05, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-11-05

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 4, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

(We believe it
does not present a
balanced portrayal of
the Reagans for CBS
and its audience."
- CBS, on its decision to pull "The
Reagans, "a miniseries on Ronald
Reagan and his family, as reported
yesterday by The New York Times.



Ann Arbor: A nicer place to be?

Last weekend, I
enjoyed a little
time away from
Ann Arbor when I ven-
tured to my hometown of
Grand Rapids for some
much-needed rest. As
much as I like to visit
family and friends back
home, I still loathe the
city of Grand Rapids itself. It's too conserva-
tive, too white and too boring. Two days
there and I can't wait to get the hell out.
But there was something different
about Grand Rapids on this particular trip.
I saw the city in a new light. While it's
still too conservative, too white and too
boring, and I still can't stand to spend
more than a few days at a time there, I
have a newfound appreciation for the peo-
ple of Grand Rapids. There's a prevailing
sense of niceness and politeness that other
cities of its size lack. Despite a population
of around a million people in the metro-
politan area, Grand Rapids still has a
small-town feel to it. Everyone seems to
know and trust everyone else. The people
of Grand Rapids are a real and unpreten-
tious bunch. They're affable and approach-
able and make you feel instantly
Case in point: My parents just moved into
a new home on the outskirts of town. On Sat-
urday afternoon, a group of neighbors toting
a variety of baked goods stopped by to wel-
come them to the neighborhood. Having now
spent a full year away from Grand Rapids, I

had forgotten that random acts of kindness
were still practiced. It was refreshing to say
the least.
Throughout the course of the weekend I
had several other run-ins with such supremely
nice people. Gas station attendants, waitress-
es, even the bouncers at downtown bars were
polite to an unnatural yet refreshing degree.
On Sunday night, after returning from the
Mecca of nice that is Grand Rapids, I felt dif-
ferently about my adopted home of Ann
Arbor. Sure, I was happy to be back in a
place where there's more to do than watch
sports on TV and hang out in bad to
mediocre bars, but Ann Arbor's overt smug-
ness was bothering me even more than usual.
Strolling through Grand Rapids, I was greet-
ed by smiles and hellos. In Ann Arbor, it's
scowls and cell phones.
My perspective on Ann Arbor has
changed a lot from the time I came here as a
fresh-faced freshman. I had been stifled for
too long by Grand Rapids. Moving to Ann
Arbor that first September, I expected to
shake the dust of my small-town upbringing
and have my eyes opened to the world
around me.
But all I had my eyes opened to was the
fact that Ann Arbor isn't all that it's cracked
up to be. It's too liberal, too expensive and
too phony. It's a small town that masquer-
ades as the ultra-hip center of the universe -
or at least the Midwest. Ann Arbor struts
with the arrogance of New York but lacks the
history, culture and importance to back it up.
Recent times have only lowered my
opinion of Ann Arbor. The city is plagued

by a seemingly perpetual string of burglar-
ies - one of which I had the honor of
experiencing firsthand last year when a
couple of brilliant high schoolers broke
into our house when my housemates and I
were all home - and assaults, some of
them taking place in conspicuous locations
in the hours of the afternoon and early
evening. An ever-growing homeless popu-
lation is treated like dirt and responds with
rudeness and vulgarity (except for the nice
man who hangs out at Nickels Arcade and
under the Arch - God bless you, too, sir).
Housing gets more and more expensive
every year as the already decrepit apart-
ments and houses get older and older.
The worst part of the situation is that the
majority of Ann Arborites are happily oblivi-
ous to the city's inferiority. They pretentious-
ly carry on thinking their city is the second
coming of New York.
But this isn't New York, and it never
will be. Still it could be much better than it
is. The easiest way to improve the city is for
the smug of Ann Arbor to lose their smug-
ness. They need to realize that the city isn't
so perfectly hip and beyond reproach. They
need a dose of Grand Rapids-style friendli-
ness. I long for the day when the people of
Ann Arbor are as polite as Grand Rapidians,
when neighbors stop by just to say hello,
bouncers aren't such dicks and strangers
randomly trade smiles. A single one would
brighten my day.

Hoard can be reached

The All Me Club: No you's allowed


The Christians are
angry again. The
consecration of
Rev. V. Gene Robinson as
the next bishop of New
Hampshire makes him the
first openly gay prelate in
the Episcopal Church
U.S.A. This action, a sur-
prise to no one, set the
foundation for a split
within the American church as well as Angli-
can churches abroad. International bishops
have declared a state of "impaired commu-
nion" with the Episcopal Church, but stopped
short of declaring a full schism. Well that's
good to know, because it's more like an offi-
cial angry period, akin to a "time-out,"
whereas the African archbishops have gone
absolutely ape shit and threatened to sever all
ties. With such declarations as "The devil has
clearly entered the church," and "It comes
directly from the pit of hell," it is safe to
assume that these individuals are not terribly
fond of gays. To understand this reaction, it
should be known that homosexuality is
regarded as an imported evil from the west
and everyone from religious leaders to the
local villagers share this view.
The Anglican Church in the global south
is a little more unlikely to cut all ties with the
Anglican Communion due to the fact that its
connection with the American Episcopalians
gives it a good deal of its legitimacy and
financial backing. The power of the bottom

line is pretty clear here.
What I'm trying to figure is what Robin-
son should have done. He is someone who
has an obvious love of God and his religion,
so I could only imagine that he would put
himself through this out of intense devotion
to his cause. What seems apparent to me is
that his comfort and ease with himself and
his lifestyle serve as the antithesis to the
tenets of deep repression and guilt that are
dear to organized religion. Would it be better
if homosexuals declared themselves as evil
and stayed away from the Anglican Church,
or are they to curl an aspect of their being
into a knot, pack it away and skip through
life to keep in line with what engenders
mainstream acceptance? It seems to me that
if he said nothing, acknowledged his lover as
his roommate and vowed celibacy, there
would no threat of the fragmentation of the
Episcopal Church. And what confuses me
even more is the notion of people being so
attracted to groups that don't want them. I
couldn't help but to think of a great line from
Groucho Marx, "I don't care to belong to a
club that accepts people like me as mem-
bers." It never rang more true.
The firm adherence to the catechism of
the Anglican beliefs by the African laity, or
any intense declarations of black Christianity
always cause me to muse over the origin of
the introductions of blacks and Christianity.
Slavery. All imperialistic, all forced and all
unnatural yet they stand as its most literal
interpreters and staunch advocates. I see a lot

of the same things in the Asian Christian
community. A similar pattern applies in the
divergent identity combinations of gay
Republicans or women attempting to join
country clubs.
There must be something inherently
endearing and polarizing about group exclu-
sion. It often increases the frequency and
intensity of displays of unwavering belief in
an attempt to prove worthiness to the status
quo by those very groups that are excluded.
A woman from Robinson's own state was
quoted as saying, "We must not proceed with
this terrible and unbiblical mistake ... it will
break God's heart." And you just wouldn't
want to do that now, would you? The desire
to participate in such a group will remain
unfathomable to me.
The only positive I can possibly muster
from all this is that throughout history, forced
entry and assimilation into any historically
prejudiced institution help serve as the cata-
lyst for social change and the advancement of
progressive ideals in society. I just have too
much pride to try. It all just looks like the
backyard treehouse with the sign saying "No
Girls Allowed" with a backward G. So what
do you do if you're a girl? Frequently they'll
try like hell to get in instead of making their
own club, while everyone exchanges the
secret password. Me? I don't want to play,
I'll be by the swings.
Rahim can be reached
at hrahim@umich.edu.


Piskor overly critical,
suburbia offers advantages
for parents and children
Jess Piskor apparently wonders why
activism takes place on college campuses,
then goes away when people grow older
(You are responsible for your parents' apathy,
11/04/03). When he grows up, he will
There's a reason things are the way
they are. There's a reason why minorities
are politically active, trying to get to
where some whites are today. The truth is.

ter lives simply makes Piskor look ignorant.
DAAP/BAMN use of
classtime inappropriate
As I sat in my English 411 classroom this
afternoon I was outraged to have the first five to
ten minutes of my class taken up by a
spokesperson for Defend Affirmative Action
Party and The Coalition to Defend Affirmative
Action By Any Means Necessary. She touted
the upcoming march for the "New Civil Rights
, , .,, m I-

DAAP/BAMN ever wants to become a respect-
ed political force, I suggest that they use cam-
paign tactics that don't infringe on our
classtime. I can't think of anything less effec-
tive, except maybe asking college students to
boycott beer.
LSA senior
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from
all of its readers. Letters from University stu-
dents, faculty, staff and administrators will
be given priority over others. Letters should
include the writer's name, college and school


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