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March 11, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-03-11

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 11, 2004

OPINION

4

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANARBOR, MI 48109
o nion .michigandaily .com
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
John Kerry is a
close friend of mine.
We have been
friends for years;
obviously I would
entertain it."
- Republican Sen. John McCain,
not ruling out accepting the
Democratic vice-presidential
nomination, if offered, as quoted
yesterday by the Associated Press.

COLIN DALY THE MICHIGAN DAlY

-__.
r-

N OWT YOU
PROMISE NOT
TO EX ERCISE ~C
OH YES
SIa

OF Pa.LL .U S,K-iEP7T1
(Loo~ooo)
WERE CAUSE 6
4~tLllDlm OESITY
e & iNAtcrtrY
GDLZD
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DON'TEND U
L-IK BI L D

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A short history of gaydom
STEVE COTNER My BACK PAGES

44

G ays did not
always have a
political move-
ment. Socrates, Shake-
speare, Oscar Wilde,
even Andy Warhol
appeared before there
was much activity. But
in 1969 there was an
incident at the
Stonewall Tavern in New York City, when
lesbian and gay street people, Puerto Rican
drag queens and bar gays fought back
against a routine police raid, and this
formed the basis for the gay liberation
movement and the introduction of "queer
theory" (the trailing edge of the New Left
movement) into academic discourse.
Those early violent confrontations in
this country have since turned into disputes
in the legal and intellectual realms, except
for occasional incidents in Texas. Gay mar-
riage, specifically, is today's preoccupation
at a national level and the first such issue to
concern the president since President Clin-
ton's military policies a decade ago. We are
presently swept up in what major media has
deemed "the culture war."
That designation could mean one of
two things: (1) Conservatives are fighting
to maintain culture (shorthand for civiliza-
tion) against the forces that will destroy it,
or (2) the fight is between two contending
cultural forces which may both find a
home within the bounds of civilization, but
which cannot co-exist. Conservatives
would probably take up the first argument,
leftist radicals the second and liberals a
third proposition: Everything can coexist.
The third seems the most likely to cause

problems for society, but it is also the most
historically accurate - we have, in fact,
been a society of coexisting cultures for
many years now.
There are certain points that American
society passes through irreversibly, and
one of them occurred when dance choreog-
rapher Katherine Dunham traveled to Haiti
in 1935, endured a never-spoken-about
seven-day voodoo initiation rite and
returned to New York with secrets of Afro-
Caribbean dance that no one else knew.
The "Dunham technique" entailed moving
the hips and sexual parts to a beat and
swaying the arms in an opposing rhythm.
It was, for Dunham, a return to her cultural
heritage. For America, it was the arrival of
open African sexuality - a holistic view
that did not mark any parts of the body as
off-limits. From that point on, in a very
real sense, you could say that Western
society has been voodoo society too, for
our culture is only the sum of its ideas, and
open sexuality is now one of those.
With homosexuality, the idea of off-lim-
its parts of the body was for a long time
codified as legal fact, as the U.S. Supreme
Court only recently struck down a ban on
sodomy. Norman Mailer described the off-
limits with much restraint in a 1992 article
on the Republican National Convention:
"Was excrement a side-product of nature,
offensive to some, as the Democrats would
doubtless have argued, or was Satan in
everyone's shit?" But that strange question
seems mostly resolved for the courts. The
new question involves the notion of homo-
sexuality itself - whether one can be
defined as a person by the sexual act and
whether one can, operating on that defini-

tion, sustain a monogamous relationship
with another person.
If biological data is what people want,
Bruce Bagemihl's book "Biological Exu-
berance: Animal Homosexuality and Nat-
ural Diversity" observes that at least 450
species exhibit homosexuality, including
lifelong pairs. In the Central Park Zoo,
The New York Times has reported on two
chinstrap penguins, Roy and Silo, who are
completely devoted to one another. At one
point, they were "so desperate to incubate
an egg together that they put a rock in their
nest and sat on it, keeping it warm in the
folds of their abdomens." After their keep-
er gave them a fertilized egg, they sat on it
for 34 days until a chick, Tango, was born,
and this they raised into independence.
But research like this, or even sincere
wedding vows between gay people, will not
persuade some that homosexuality is real,
and that is because Americans are in denial.
They have ignored the sum of ideas that
have flowed into this country over time and
that have invalidated their old puritanical
ways. This is to be expected in the compli-
cated times of late capitalism in an
advanced industrial democracy - it would
be too hard for people to always think of
the forces that affect them. But Americans
are also making policies out of these delu-
sions, and this is where they have hurt peo-
ple throughout history. President Bush's
constitutional amendment would send us
backward, and gay marriage would chart a
new course. There is no middle road this
time. Let's hope we take the right one.

Cotner can be reached at
cotners@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

4

Detroit revitalization
should include Michigan
Central Station
TO THE DAILY:
I took great interest in reading Don't Rush
Renaissance (03/09/04) concerning the pro-
posed renovation of the Michigan Central Sta-
tion for use as the new Detroit Police
Department headquarters, but feel several
important facets of the issue have been omit-
ted. Regardless of whether the city picks the
MCS or not for the project, a new DPD head-
quarters is needed. The current location is out-
dated and far too small to give the DPD the
facilities it needs to serve the citizens of Detroit
to its fullest potential. Currently, the MCS is
unused, vandalized and left open to the ele-
ments. This is a blatant misuse of a prominent
building in the city's history, not the proposed
renovation and revitalization of the structure.
Renovation of the MCS is good for the sur-
rounding businesses and spurs further develop-
ment of the historic Corktown and southwest
Detroit area, giving a much-needed boost to an
area on the verge of revitalization. The symbol-
ic importance of a newly renovated MCS can-
not be quantified in statistics, facts or figures.
The station today is a testament to the unfor-
tunate downturn of the city, but in the future can
serve as an indicator of the new Detroit that is
slowly emerging through similar projects like
the current renovation of the Book-Cadillac
Hotel. It takes large-scale projects like these to
encourage the future redevelopment of other
historic structures within the city. It is essential
this opportunity to rehabilitate an important link
in Detroit's history not be overlooked. The time
for renaissance is now, before the bulldozers and
demolition crews further destroy the architectur-
al heritage of Detroit's past.
ARAM SARKISIAN
The letter writer will be a freshman in the fall
Anti-Arab advertisement
is unfair propaganda
TO THE DAILY:
I was appalled today when I turned to
Page 11 of the March 10 Daily and found an
entire page dedicated to anti-Arab propagan-
da. Did you even bother to read it before you

eradicate homosexuals and Africans, and urg-
ing everyone to support President Bush's
constitutional amendment to "protect the
sanctity" of their own beliefs? It is exactly
this kind of propaganda that inflames every-
one and incites more hatred.
ADI PESHKESS
Rackham
Real education not just
about getting a job, but
leading the right life
TO THE DAILY:
Wednesday's letter to the editor about gen-
eral studies was quite disappointing (General
Studies is too broad to be marketable, 03/10/04). I
am not a general studies major, but I have
looked at the requirements and realize that the
program is no joke. For every student who has
not read these requirements, I suggest you take
some time and see for yourself that it can be
quite a challenging field.
Another thing that bothers me about many
students whom I meet on campus or attending
other universities is that they all want that big
job, but don't think about how it will affect peo-
ple. We have so many resources at this school
that all students have opportunities far greater
than most people on this planet. It is my opinion
that if a person is at a university, especially of
this caliber, he should be interested in the means
of his education and not the ends. It is unfortu-
nate that our society makes us want a job with a
large salary so we can pay off all of our college
debts. Maybe if we chose to live simpler lives
- no car, no satellite TV, no new clothes every
week, eliminating useless "stuff," etc. - our
debts would not be so large.
I will not end my letter with a snappy or
sarcastic line aimed to hurt the people reading
this. In closing, all I wish to say is that you can
make whatever course of studies challenging,
rewarding, and beneficial to society and your-
self - if you think, not just go through the
motions.
EVAN W. THOMAS
LSA junior
LSA majors designed to
teach people to think
TO~ 'T14 fAnTV!

Since the title of the said major is non-descript,
we do not know if these credits are fulfilled
with courses such as modern dance and under-
water basket weaving, physics, chemistry and
philosophy or even all of the above.
Degrees from LSA, unlike those obtained
through the College of Engineering or the
School of Education, are not designed to pre-
pare students for a given profession. Instead, as
stated in the LSA bulletin for 2004, degrees
from this institution are to signify to employers
that graduates have "develop(ed) their ability to
think, to respond to ideas and to test hypothe-
ses." These are skills that all graduating seniors,
despite college or school of enrollment and
degree granted, should have cultivated by the
time that they receive their diploma. It is unfor-
tunate to see the large numbers of future alumni
seeing their skills and talents go unrecognized in
today's economy. Those who are unlucky
enough to face an uncertain job outlook imme-
diately following graduation should not be told
that their chosen degree alone is the reason why
they are not hired.
AMELIA AUSTIN DESCHAMPS
LSA senior
Broad education provided
by general studies equips
students well
TO THE DAILY:
While I agree with Douglass Douma's point
(General studies is too broad to be marketable,
03/10/04) that the student in the recent job hunt
story (Frustrated in the job hunt, 03/08/04) has
limited career options based on her general
studies major, I do not think that students in a
more science-related major have "worked hard-
er" and deserve to "be more frustrated in the job
search" than those of other concentrations.
Every major here at the University requires a
significant amount of work and effort from each
student. Just because student are LSA majors
does not mean that they have not worked as hard
or do not deserve a job as much as students in
the School of Engineering.
I agree that to find a certain job you
must develop specific skills, and those with
a broad educational background do not
have specialized experience. However, that
does not disqualify them from having the
necessary skills in order to perform tasks,
or even the ability to think for themselves. I
scnt f+T~nnmn 'c.nffttnira tat if Yfl'rfl not n

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