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February 10, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-02-10

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 10, 2004



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opinion.michigandaily . com

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

" Cable thrives on
repetition and ...
exhaustive analysis, which
has to constantly be
freshened. If there's a
powerful piece of video to
fuel it, it's going to be
repeated even more."
-CBS News President Andrew Heyward
explaining why the media overplayed Howard
Dean's scream after the
Iowa caucuses, as reported by
the Associated Press.



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You probably think this column's about you, don't you?

The Internet is
destroying our
capacity for confronta-
tion. Once upon a time,
we were tough - we
held our own in dodge-
ball and full-contact
foursquare - but no
more. We have spent too
many years in electronic
worlds where there are no immediate conse-
quences for the things we say and do, and it has
turned us into a bunch of solipsistic, passive-
aggressive brats.
E-mail is a good example. You would
scarcely believe some of the terrible, terrible
things people have said to me about my writ-
ing, my intelligence, my character, my moti-
vations, my soul - assessments all based
entirely on the columns I've written for the
Daily - via this beast. Things that would
have horrified their mothers and that I know
they wouldn't have said if they thought they
might meet me someday. E-mail turns the
cowardly arrogant and the arrogant shrill, and
it saves all of them from having to own up to
what they've said.
Another example: There was a big article in
The New York Times Sunday Magazine this
week about computer-virus writers and how
most of them never actually send their viruses to
anyone. Apparently there's a huge online com-
munity of virus writers, and they post the source
codes to their data-devouring, server-crashing
concoctions in public webspace where any idiot
can (and does) copy and circulate them. The
virus writers shrug off any damage their viruses

do, saying that, well, it isn't their fault some
idiot turned the viruses loose.
It's a handy excuse, and more and more
young people are co-opting it. It's not a girl's
fault if, for instance, a guy cheats on his girl-
friend (twice) with her and this girl writes about
it in her LiveJournal and a friend of a friend of a
friend of the girlfriend's reads it, and by the end
of the day, the girlfriend shows up at the guy's
house with a printed copy of the entry and stuffs
it down his cheating throat. Right?
Venues that make passive-aggressive
hijinks so easy and so much fun are bound to
lull us into some nasty habits, and unfortu-
nately those habits may creep into our flesh-
and-blood lives if we're not careful.
Like this: My roommate and I live in a base-
ment apartment, and, though we have never met
the people who live directly above us, we hate
them. Hate. They are loud, and not in a lovable
music-blaring, hard-partying sort of way. No, if
the racket we endure is any indication, the peo-
ple upstairs awake every morning promptly at
5:00 a.m., at which point they pound the floor
(a.k.a. my bedroom ceiling) with sledgeham-
mers for several minutes. And roughly every 45
minutes after that for the rest of the day, they
drop pots and pans and bricks and marbles and
canned goods and medicine balls and small
appliances on the floor, just to make sure no one
is catching a quick nap down here.
It drives us crazy, but we never complain.
Maybe one of us knocked on the ceiling once.
Now, the indoor stairwell leading down to
our apartment is extremely dark. There are two
light "fixtures" (a term I use very loosely here)
- one at the top of the stairs, in front of our
neighbors' door, and one at the bottom, in front

of ours. We recently changed our bulb, but
when we got home the other day, it was out and
the other one was working for the first time in
weeks. We could have shrugged and concluded
that maybe light bulbs didn't last quite as long
as we'd thought. We could have knocked on the
door at the top of the stairs and said Excuse us,
but yesterday your light wasn't working and
ours was and today your light is working and
ours isn't, and we were just wondering whether
it was a very well timed coincidence or a case of
you stealing our light bulb and thinking we
wouldn't notice.
But no. We are 21st century college stu-
dents. We had a plan. We would switch the
light bulbs back late at night while the lead-
footed indoor-hopscotch players upstairs
were sleeping soundly, dreaming of loud,
heavy things. And we were going to leave a
copy of today's Daily - open to this page,
on which there would be a column exposing
them as the loud, despicable thieving hooli-
gans that they are - in plain view on the
stairs. Brilliant, I know. We almost did it,
too, but just as we were about to exchange
the worthless old bulb from the bottom of the
stairs for the shiny new one at the top of the
stairs, we realized that the worthless one was
too big to fit in the upper fixture, meaning it
couldn't possibly'have been there in the first
place. Oops.
It's a sheepish feeling I'm glad for, one I
wholly deserve, and one I hope doesn't vanish
entirely from the public conscience as dodgeball
is banned and journals go live.
Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.



Approach to recent health
hazards seems half-hazard,
'U' should rethink policies
As a student, a parent and a registered
nurse, I read the front page of the Feb. 6
edition from varying point of view. I am
referring specifically to the adjacent sto-
ries about the flu outbreak in Markley Hall
and the sewage backup in Pierpont Com-
mons (Flu outbreak spreads and Restau-
rant stays open despite sewage backup,
As a registered nurse and as a parent of
an undergraduate - who does not live in
Markley - I felt that the reaction of the
Housing Office, Health Services and Occu-
pational and Environment Health was
appropriate for the situation in the resi-
dence hall.
However, I was quite frankly appalled to
read of the decision, apparently with the sup-
port of OSEH, to allow the Earl of Sandwich
in Pierpont Commons to remain open in the
wake of a sewage spill.
The concern and response to the situation in
the residence hall should have carried over to the
incident in Pierpont Commons. The description
of handwashing and restricted contact in the res-
idence halls is an appropriate response to the
spreading gastrointestinal virus. However, the
bacteria commonly found in sewage can cause
many of the symptoms being experienced by
students with the flu, and in some cases, can be
more dangerous.
To set up handwashing stations in residence
halls and then allow food preparation to be car-
ried out by employees who have cleaned up a
sewage spill is contradictory at best, and danger-
ous at worst. I would suggest that OSEH review
its procedures with all employees and act more
responsibly and conservatively in future
responses to risks to food safety and the health
of patrons of the Catering Department.
School of Nursing
Coverage of racial profiling
commendable, but contained
some inaccuracies
Thank you for your coverage on the recent
release of the Ann Arbor Police Depnartment

stopped was inconsequential. In addition, I
challenged the absence of gender data that
council had sought.
As the sole council member to challenge
these findings at the meeting, I must empha-
size that the Daily's editorial on this matter
was simply wrong as a matter of fact.
Ann Arbor City Council Fifth ward
Hockey fans entitled to
freedom of speech at Yost
As a fourth-year ticket holder, "cowbell guy"
and longtime fan of Michigan hockey, I feel sick
to my stomach every time I read a letter about
how the fans at Yost Ice Arena need to clean up
their act and censor their words (Time for 'U'
community to rethink hockey cheer, 02/09/04).
Yost fans have been counted by numerous pub-
lications some of the most intense and support-
ive in the country. As a group, we have a long
tradition upon which to draw, which is one of
the reasons there is such an intense atmosphere
during the game. For as bad as some would say
it is now, it used to be worse. A few years ago,
our students used to individually pick fights with
the opposing teams' fans, which was classless
behavior, and thankfully snuffed out by Red and
the athletic director. Now, however, some "fans"
are also calling for the group censorship of the
whole crowd because of a few vulgarities. Does
anybody actually think what we say is worse
than what you will run into by flipping the chan-
nels on the television? I would rather bring my
little brother to a hockey game than have let him
see Justin and Janet practically having sex live
on network television.
If you would rather not support your team by
chanting along with the students, then don't,
that's your choice. But don't try to ruin the fun
of a few college students by criticizing their
behavior long after you have graduated and for-
gotten what it's like to be in college.
And in case you were wondering, we added
"We love you Red" to the end of the cheer
because we want him to know that our cheering
is not out of disrespect for him, but because we
want to support Michigan hockey with every-
thing we have.
Engineering senior
Daily's endocrsement of
Fria i artv 1 ci ivwtia

out for our interest? They seemed to have been
bought not on any actual substance but because
of some perception of that congenial Southern
charisma. I tell you he's selling snake oil! He
may not be negative in his tactics, but that's
because he is an opportunist with no real mes-
sage. What makes you think a first-term senator
has the experience that we need to win more
decisive battles in Washington when he doesn't
even support the common interest when he has
had the opportunity?
The Daily mentions that he doesn't come
from a particular unique background, but he
does. He amassed a fortune as a trial lawyer
- the profession that is in large part respon-
sible for why we do not have affordable
health care in this country, the rate of mal-
practice insurance.
My father supported Bush in 2000 and
has vowed to vote for any Democrat but
Edwards. I attest that any of the five others
candidates are a better choice, especially
Howard Dean, who has inspired a genera-
tion to believe that we actually have the
power to make a difference, not that it's up
to some smooth-talking sugar daddy to
make it all better.
You should know better!
Panel's speaker does not
promote a positive attitude
Last Friday, the Daily covered Students for
Choice's panel discussion on reproductive rights
(Speaker pushes for abortion activism,
One of the main speakers at this event was
Laszlo Sogor, medical director of Planned Par-
enthood in Cleveland.
During his talk, Sogor described some
instances when he would consider it necessary
to perform a partial-birth abortion procedure.
One case he presented was that of a baby with
an extra chromosome 13, a condition similar to
Down Syndrome, according to Sogor. This
chromosomal disorder causes developmental
disability. Or, as Sogor put it, "the brain activity
ain't there." He explained further, that after the
baby is born, "it cries like a cat for about 15
hours and then dies."
The callousness of his words hit me hard -
I have a brother and a sister with Down Syn-


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