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September 23, 2004 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-23

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8B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 23, 2004

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The Michigan Daily

I

Gaily Arts Mix Tape

DATE/TIME
ENOISE REDUCTION,

DATE/TIME
NOISE REDUCTION

theI rant
iPods: Little white devils

DAN MULLKOFF - WORD.

Election time, school, stress lev-
els running high, and while Green Day
finally caught onto that politics thing,
not everyone is in the mood for school
and election-year antics. Hence, "Silly
Rabbit, Mix Tapes Are For Kids." It is
simply music to have when hanging out
with some friends and procrastinating.
/- Chris Gaerig

1. "brums of Death" - DJ
Shadow
2. "Sodom, South Georgia"
-Iron and Wine
3. "4" - Aphex Twin
4. "Web in Front" - Ar-
chers of Loaf
5. "Get By" - bizzee Rascal
feat. Vanya
6. "TerriblyWrong" - Ev-
ery Time I Iie
7. "II B.S." -Charles
Mingus
8. "Saint Elmo's Fire"
- Brian Eno
9. "The Ruler's Back"
-J'ay-Z
10. "First Breath After
Coma" - Explosion in the
Sky

1. "Get Em High" - Kanye
West
2. "Pussy Foot the ,uke"
Comets on Fire
3. "I Slept with the Bon-
homme at the CBC" - Bro-
ken Social Scene
4. "RE: DEFinition" - Black
Star
5. "Who is it fCarry My
Toy on the Left Cry My
Pain on the Right) - Bjork
6. "Sometimes" - My
Bloody Valentine

By Emily ieu
Daily Arts Writer

S UFFIXGATE

At first there were only a few, and then
they exploded across campus. You know.
You've seen them everywhere. They're
small, white and annoying as hell. No, not
the little frilly butt-cheek-exposing mini-
skirts (although those are pretty damn
annoying too). I'm talking about iPods.
Every day when I walk to class, I can't
go a minute without seeing several people
pass by with their elitist white earphones
lodged tightly in their ears, all isolating
themselves from the rest of the University
community. Basically, iPod owners do a
very good job of fulfilling the usually con-
tradictory slogan of the U.S. Army, "An
Army of One," uniting themselves with
their white earphones and aura of general
snobbishness, and yet ignoring everyone,
including each other.
Once upon a time, iPod owners were
part of a select few, with better taste in
music and therefore impressive song col-
lections on their iPods. When we saw
someone walking along the Diag with

white earphones, we hated these people.
We were envious of them, and we spoke of
iPods as expensive, unattainable things.
However, due to aggressive marketing
and the introduction of the iPod mini,
these little devices quickly grew to iconic
stature, particularly among college stu-
dents. People snap up the machines in
droves, caving in to outrageous prices
simply because iPods are the thing to
own. Instead of serving as storage for
comprehensive music archives of audio-
philes, iPods have suddenly become a
fad. It nauseates me to know that there
are students out there who excitedly show
off their cute little iPods to their friends,
sharing the white earphones to listen to
inane pop songs by Avril Lavigne and
Hoobastank.
But now, a sad confession: I own an
iPod myself. I must admit, they are rather
nice for avoiding solicitors with fliers, sur-
veys and Scripture. But at least my music
doesn't suck. Now leave me alone, or else
I'll stick these earphones into my ears and,
pretend that Les Savy Fav is drowning out'
your voice.

7. "Consequence" - The
Notwist
8. "Sine Wave" - Mogwai
9 "Shame" - The Blood
Brothers
Total Time: 85;

28

MOM"

THE TRUTH IS..
WITB TIIFSF
IH '11-1GIOUTS.
WE eOULON'T
SUCIC IF WE TRIED.

44 (,hy isn't it called a
runathon?" I asked
myself and unin-
terested fellow runners during my
first and only marathon two years
ago.
. "That would be silly," I was
informed. "A marathon is so
named because
Pheidippides ran 26.2 miles from
the city of Marathon to Athens in
490 B.C. to
tell the Athenians that the Greeks
had defeated the Persians."
Perhaps it is also silly to use the
word marathon and the derived
suffix -athon to describe doing
anything for "an abnormal length
of time." Following the 1896
Olympics in Athens, at which the
26.2 mile race was dubbed "the
Marathon," events of all sorts
became -athons, from 1908's
"Murphy Marathon" potato peel-
ing contest to the annual "Stay-
Awake-Athon" at the University of
New Hampshire, with bikeathons,
telethons, and bakeathons.along
the exhausting way. No one is
peeling potatoes, baking, or stay-
ing awake for 26.2 miles, so all
these events have in common with
the city of Marathon, named for its
native marathou plant, is that they
take a long time, as did one event
that began in Marathon 2,500 years
ago.
This shameless misusageathon is
a stirring example of the American
tradition of contriving suffixes and
applying them to any and all words
we can. One could dub it suffix-
gate, so it shares its ending with
virtually every scandal since the
Watergate break-in in 1972. The
media has clung to this newfound
practice of "gating" every scan-
dal that comes about in govern-
ment and society, from France's
Winegate in 1973 (perhaps the first
misusage of -gate in this sense,
this scandal involved wine sellers
attempting to pass off wine from
Southwest France's Midi region

as wine from Bordeaux. Why,
I never...!) to Irangate (a.k.a.
Contragate) and Monicagate
(a.k.a. zippergate). Presumably,
only fortunate timing (i.e. dying
before Nixon was elected presi-
dent) saved Warren G. Harding
from constantly hearing about the
Teapot Dome Gate scandal during
his term. These contrived terms are
not metaphors thoughtfully relat-
ing present events to Watergate;
indeed, most recipients of -gate
share nothing with Nixon's scandal
but the involvement of an elected
official.
The media seems to add -gate to
every scandal in order to cheaply
evoke Watergate, the series of
events which gave Americans such
a distrust of government that the
emotional reaction associated with
that scandal can be transferred to
whatever the scandal du jour may
be, creating public interest and
selling newspapers. Not as harm-
ful as William Randolph Hearst's
Mainegate, but uncreative nonethe-
less.
Lest we forget the classic
Christmas-gift-for-old-women
T-shirt slogans chocoholic and
shopoholic. Presumably these are
people dependent on "chocohol"
and "shopohol" respectively, what-
ever those may be.
Not to say that there is no place
for Bollywood-style clever misus-
age of invented suffixes. Clinton's
Whitewatergate would have been
a cleverer term had Nixon been
African-American (but one could
use the phrase "...had Nixon been
African-American" to qualify far
more interesting ideas than that).
And I would have enjoyed
hearing the media refer to Strom
Thurmond's recent
posthumous scandal as daughter-
gate, but it didn't seem to catch on.
Strom, I might add, had witnessed
the media's savvy at misusing
suffixes firsthand after a North
Carolina newspaper writer nick-

named Thurmond's States' Rights
Democratic Party the Dixiecrats
in 1948 (Alan Burns of Clemson's
Strom Thurmond Institute informed
me that the term was not used by
Strom or his supporters until after
the 1948 election, if at all). The
intent of the term Dixiecrat was to
carry the meaning of Democrat and
along with it most of the ideals of
the Democratic Party to the fac-
tion through the suffix -crat. But
nothing in -crat implies "govern-
ment of the people," and it could
just as easily have carried other
connotations, from aristocrat to
plutocrat. -crat (can you start a
sentence with a hyphen?) merely
means "a supporter of a specified
form of government," so literally, a
Dixiecrat would support a govern-
ment of the American South. As
long as we're coining terms for
Strom's party, Segregationcrat and
Racistcrat come to mind.
It seems the retiring Sen. Zell
Miller (D-Ga.) may be the last sur-
viving Dixiecrat, but I would also
call attention to a close relative
of the group, the states'-rights-
supporting and Republican-siding
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), whom
I would call a Bible-Beltcrat.
But if adding -stock can magi-
cally transform a word into a

music festival, can adding -aquic
dick turn it into a drunk-driving
manslaughter scandal, thanks to
Ted Kennedy's incident? Can
the 1993 ambush in Mogadishu,
Somalia, spawn words like
Fallujadishu to describe recent
events? It wouldn't seem any
more absurd.
Who is to blame for suffixgate'
Partially the media, for exploit-
ing the public's emotions in orde:
to turn a profit; partially carnival
barker-esque entrepreneurs, for
drawing crowds to their businesse
with absurd names like Washeteri
and Elvis-a-rama; but largely,
the American public, for allow-
ing itself to be manipulated and
wrung of its hard-earned dollars
through such spurious means. T2
multitude must demand creativity
in order to receive rich, thought-
out rhetoric from the media and
others. Perhaps then, contrived
suffixes will be confined to
clever gems, and we'll hear more
Ypsituckys and fewer Enrongates
Dan is quite thefan of strang
off-the-wall trivia that will serve hi
no purpose in the future. Ifyou shay
this love, e-mail him your stories
mul/koff{ umich.ed

U

PENNSTATE

PENN STATE DICKINSON
SCHOOL of LAW
OFFICE OF ADMISSIONS
M'eet the
Dickinson recruiter
LAW DAY
Michigan Union Building
September 27, 2004
11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

I

s

- Visit our web site at www.dsl.psu.edu
Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal
opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. UEd. DL (

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