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September 07, 2004 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 9A

ALEX

WOLSKY

Between good and evil

've learned a lot from comic books
over the years, but the most impor-
tant lesson learned is that it rarely
matters who's on your side; what mat-
ters is who is against you. You don't
need a friend or a lover, you need a qual-
ity nemesis and an archenemy. These
are the two most important characters
in the life of any successful human, and
knowledge of this dichotomy is espe-
cially useful because we measure our-
selves against our nemeses and we long
to destroy our archenemies. They're the
catalysts for everything.
The difference between your neme-
sis and your archenemy is that you kind
of like your nemesis, despite the fact
that you despise him. If your nemesis
invited you over to his house to watch
baseball, you'd accept the offer. If he
was critically injured, you'd show up at
the hospital, and if it was bad enough,
you'd privately shed a tear. You'd never
come over to watch sports with your
archenemy, unless you were attempting
to spike his water while he's in the bath-
room, plotting your own demise. If you
were to perish, your archenemy would
dance upon your grave, and then he'd
burn down your house and rob your
grandparents.
If this distinction seems confusing,
just ask your girlfriend or any other
woman to explain it to you in detail;
women have always intuitively grasped
the nemesis/archenemy dichotomy.
Whether this is from hours upon hours
of studying the weathered pages of
"Adam Strange" or not, the fact remains
that every woman I've ever known has
had at least one close friend whose
sole purpose in life was to criticize her
actions, compete for the attention of
men and drive her insane; very often,
this is a woman's best friend. Women
intrinsically understand human dynam-
ics, and this makes them unstoppable.
Unfortunately, the average man is less
likely to foster such rivalries, which
explains why men are mostly average.
Males are better at hating things that
can't hate them back, like dogs or soc-
cer. Most men, given the choice, would
connect themselves to nothing. But,
greatness can not develop in a vacuum,
and great men know this.
In the classic 1980s TV show "Dal-
las," J. R. Ewing was at war with nem-

esis/brother Bobby for 12 seasons (13
if you count the year Victoria Principal
dreamt he was dead), but Cliff Barnes
was the true archenemy of Southfork.
Jack White turned Von Bondies singer
Jason Stollsteimer's face into a punch-
ing bag, but Stollsteimer barely even
deserves nemesis stature; White's arch-
enemy is Ryan Adams. The Joker was
Batman's nemesis, but - ironically
- his archenemy was Superman, since
Superman made Batman seem entirely
mortal and generally useless. Nobody
likes to admit this, but Batman hated
Superman; Superman is the reason Bat-
man became an alcoholic.*
I know there are those who've never
read a comic book before and are really
having a hard time believing that it's
necessary, or even wise, to consciously
create adversaries. President Bush has
been doing it for the past three years,
creating a handful of "nemeses by
default" in hopes of making himself
great in the process. This fall, when
he seeks re-election, John Kerry will
become Bush's newest "nemesis by
default" although his true nemesis will
always be John McCain. Unfortunately
for Bush, Kerry doesn't have a shot at
becoming his archenemy; that designa-
tion is static. Bush's archenemy is Bill
Clinton because Clinton beat up Bush's
dad in 1992. George W. Bush will never
face the man he hates most; this is why
George W. Bush will never achieve
greatness.
During your four years at college,
you'll hear people tell you "it's not what
you know, it's who you know" and it'll
always be hard to rebuke them, but
those who say this don't realize that life
is - almost without exception - an
absolute meritocracy, and everyone
who succeeds completely deserves it.**
They want you to believe the way to
power is all about cultivating allies, so
they spend all their time trying to make
friends and influence people. And this
is why they fail. In this golden age of
enmity, friends are for suckers. What
you need is a pair of well-chosen foes.
Just ask Superman.
* This is purely speculative.
** Except forthe Florida Marlins.
Alex is still waitingfor his Super-
man. Email him at wolsky@umich.edu.

Courtesy of Jive
You missed
a spot on
her hair.

THAT'S MY ROBERT
R.KELLY DROPS TWO MEDIOCRE ALBUMS ON HIS FANBASE

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Arts Writer

Having already rolled rape and child pornog-
raphy charges off his sultry, sexy back, as well
as survive the always risky double album (1998's
R.), R.Kelly tries something
even more daring - pack- R.Kelly
aging two separate albums,
unrelated in subject matter or Happy People/
style - into one release. U Saved Me
Happy People is all about Jive
giddy, jumpy love. Women,
parties and his boys get affectionate jams in the
mood of Chocolate Factory's "Step In The Name
of Love." The first disc lacks any of the thrust-
ing, sweaty sex songs of his previous work like
"Bump N' Grind" or the oft-overlooked "Feelin'

On Yo Booty." It's all family-friendly material
here. You won't even catch him mentioning spe-
cific body parts on "Ladies' Night (Treat Her Like
Heaven)." It's about as dry as a mixer in the old-
folks home.
If Happy People is the saccharine, Saturday-
night joy of the club, U Saved Me is the earnest
Sunday morning prayer. The side opens with Rob-
ert locked in a feverous three-way phone call with
his "sister" and "prayer partner" (Kelly Price and
gospel star Kim Burrell, respectively), singing
back and forth on the topic of Jesus's eternal love
and if R.Kelly falls within the Lord's good graces.
Not surprisingly, the women believe he does and
Robert finds peace. Kelly spends the rest of his
time giving thanks to God for guidance through
never-explicitly named troubles.
Even though it is more monotonous, it's harder
to rag on U Saved Me than Happy People. The
intersections of art and religion have recently

taken too many beatings. For every Sufjan Ste-
vens there's been a Mel Gibson. Kelly tried his
best to make his personal love for Jesus fly but it
just didn't work.
R.Kelly's fatal slip is the attempt to separate
these two parts of the soul molecule. He drains
the heat from sex, women and the church because
all these parts need each other to function. Soul
flourishes because the music is the intersection of
love of sex and love of spirit. Marvin Gaye, Otis
Redding, Al Green and Nina Simone have been
trying to reconcile the head, the heart and the
crotch for decades. There is no denying R.Kelly is
a genius (writer, composer, singer, producer) and
perhaps the only R&B singer in America capable
of finding sublime love, passion and earthy sex in
everything around him. He may have tried to bring
himself together (Church + redemption + women
+ good times = R.Kelly), but by disintegrating the
essence of soul music, he tears us apart.

I I

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Last Fall & Winter Semesters....

NBC hot for 'Hawaii'

By Doug W dmert
Daily TV/New Media Editor

In TV today, the words "detective
drama" have become synonymous
with high ratings. The programs can be
seen on television almost every night,

yet viewers never
seem to tire of
them. "N.C.I.S."
always gets good
Nielsen numbers,
and the "C.S.I."
franchise is ready

Hawaii
Wednesdays
at pm.
NBC

gei, "Crossing Jordan") will say and do
anything, but their rash judgments get
them in trouble. They mesh together
better than Declan and Harrison, and
fortunately, the show keeps the two sets
of detectives apart, creating the allure
of two separate shows.
The best aspect of "Hawaii" is the
way the island and the culture become
part of the crimes themselves. Beautiful
scenery and an emphasis on production
value gives the show, with its wide-
screen presentation, a more cinematic
feel. And, despite no female characters
(aside from a forgettable police officer
who serves as Declan's love interest),
"Hawaii" is a well-developed program
that doesn't forget to be unique. It's not
exactly paradise, but for viewers look-
ing for an interesting hour of television,
with the possibility of seeing some hula
dancers, it does its job.

More than 1,300 tons
of Paner recycled
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of o~dnqtdto
chqtty

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More ti
of ContC

More than 54 tons
of Pood Waste
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108 tons
rs recycled

to debut its third installment in a few
weeks. Hoping to capitalize on this
popularity is NBC, which says "Aloha"
to "Hawaii," its new program set in
paradise, if one's idea of paradise is the
crime-laden island of Oahu.
Solving these mysteries are two pairs
of sleuths at the Honolulu Metro Police
Department. The duos are a welcome
change, as it keeps the characters fresh
and the stories more abundant than on
other detective shows that use only one.
Detectives John Declan and Sean Har-
rison are the standard "overwhelmed
newcomer and savvy veteran" team.
They don't have the greatest chemistry,
but make up for it by being solid charac-
ters on their own. Declan(Sharif Atkins,
"ER") is the brash Chicago native who
has trouble adapting to beach life, while
Harrison (Michael Biehn, "The Termi-
nator") has past history with some of
the island's notorious troublemakers.
The second set of partners is of the
"two good-looking, cocky guys" vari-
ety. Christopher Gains (Ed Balfour,
"24") and Danny Edwards (Ivan Ser-

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