100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

September 07, 2004 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-09-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.


4A - TheMichiganDaily-_Tuesday,_September_7,_2004 1

OPINION

(The £iip ig

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief

JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials
reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other pieces do not necessar-
ily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
'W' stands
for wrong: wrong
choices, wrong
direction."
- Presidential candidate Senator John
Kerry, at multiple campaign stops in
Pennsylvania, as reported yesterday
by The Washington Post.

Co''-LIN DALY 1<NV> ,w

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

War porn
STEVE COTNER RED ALERT

ast week I was
speaking to David
Enders, who has
covered the Iraq war on
the ground for the past
year, and he said this
about the events at Abu
Ghraib: "We knew about
the Abu Ghraib torture
eight months before it hit
major American media
sources. We'd collected
widely corroborated testimony from all parts
of the country, we'd seen evidence of torture,
we'd seen evidence of electrocution, we'd seen
evidence of beatings, we heard the stories of
people forced to stand naked, rape each other,
all this bullshit. And it didn't make headlines
until there was actual porn to go with it."
Yes, he said porn. And it made me wonder,
for how much news and entertainment could
we say this? The answer is simple: If it is not
wholly critical, if it does not speak to the bru-
tality that happens every day in that country,
and if it does not look Iraqis in the eye, ask
what they are thinking and what they want,
then it's nothing but war porn.
It can be soft, like a reporter describing
bombs arcing across the sky as the "terrible
beauty" of war. Or it can be hardcore, like the
U.S. Army using $8 million in taxes to devel-
op "America's Army," an online shoot-em-up
videogame where killing civilians is perfect-
ly alright. The army was also behind "Full
Spectrum Warrior" for Xbox, which simu-
lates combat in the fictional "Tazikhstan" (not
Tajikistan), so that players can kill foreigners
of no particular nationality. And let's not for-
get those Army ads where teens morph into
video game characters and launch "Let's Roll"
mortar shells. Ah, the discoveries of youth.
But real porn involves a plot, albeit a total-
ly ludicrous one. So we wrote a few scripts
- WMDs, Democracy by Gunpoint, They're
Terrorists Too - and then just tore them up.
There were a few photo-ops along the way,
like Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech
on that ship, which was positioned for "the
best TV angle for Bush's speech, with the vast
sea as his background instead of the very vis-

ible San Diego coastline," according to the
Associated Press. And don't forget Saddam's
statue falling over, which was attended by a
couple hundred Iraqis corralled by the United
States and guarded by tanks, while the entire
block around them stood vacant. More than
10 million people on five continents orga-
nized themselves and marched against this
war on Feb. 15, 2003, and all we could do was
find a handful of Iraqis to wave the flags we
were handing out.
War is much more than a script though. It is
the destruction of a place and a people. Pulitzer
Prize winner Mike Sallah reported the atroci-
ties of the Vietnam War, as did John Kerry
when he spoke to the U.S. Senate in 1971,
reporting on 150 soldiers who "told the stories
of times that they had personally raped, cut off
the ears, cut off heads, taped wires from por-
table telephones to human genitals and turned
up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies,
randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in
the fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot
cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks
and generally ravaged the countryside of South
Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of
war and the normal and very particular rav-
aging which is done by the applied bombing
power of this country."
Today we have the normal ravages as well as
Abu Ghraib and incidents like it all over Iraq.
We have soldiers electrocuting Iraqis' genitals,
blindfolding them, beating them naked. We
have troops shooting Iraqi civilians for target
practice as they drive by, like buffalo from the
train as the settlers made their way west. How
can a person live with all this violence? On our
end we're lucky; the news scores the action with
patriotic music, so we know it's alright. On the
soldiers' end, the scoring is less about brass and
tympani, more about death metal. Just think
of the soldier interviewed in Michael Moore's
"Fahrenheit 9/11" who listens to The Blood-
hound Gang sing "Burn motherfucker, burn"
while destroying people with his tank. Who can
blame him? He's in the shit.
But this is what porn does: it diverts you
from real people and numbs you with a maga-
zine or a video screen or a pair of headphones.
It removes a person from reality by insulat-

ing them with representations of reality. The
soldier blowing up people while listening to
headphones is not really blowing up people.
He is not even a soldier. He is the army ad
itself, the video game, the movie. Everything
is tricolor light from a cathode ray tube.
Explosions are subwoofer blasts. Bits of peo-
ple are digital bits.
Soldiers no longer need marijuana, as they
did in Vietnam, to elevate themselves out of the
horrific scene in front of them. The conditioned
response to consumer technology does this
much better, and without the risk of introspec-
tion. They are button pushers and trigger pullers
navigating an array of image and sound. But the
soldiers storming houses with cameras on their
helmets are nothing like videogame characters
or action-film producers. They are porn stars
with point-of-view camcorders.
Erotic porn is almost always the male eye
on the female "Other." The woman is impaled,
gagged, slapped, spat on, anything to remind
her that she is nothing but a woman. If she
speaks, it is only to say what she can do for the
man. In war porn, it is the American eye on the
foreign Other. Iraqi children are handed guns
by reporters and told to pose with them. Young
girls are shown smiling at the strong American
men. And in this porn, it is all of them - men,
women, and children - who cannot speak. Ah
Iraqi man-on-the-street has never been heard in
this country. When his marketplace is bombed,
we hear from our own generals, not from the
woman who has lost her husband (our Defense
of Marriage Act does not extend to Iraqis).
The Iraqi citizen is impaled, gagged, slapped,
spat on. The banners he hangs are torn down,
his throat stomped on, his doors kicked in, his
house turned over. George Bush dons a flight
suit with a crotch full of timber, and Iraqi men
are stacked naked in a pyramid, raped, forced
to rape each other. These are the money shots.
Unspeakable acts in rooms with blank walls.
We watch. The war goes on.
Corner can be reached at
cotners@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
When women vote, women win

BY JENNIFER NATHAN
As the United States and United Nations
have helped Iraq and Afghanistan form new
governments, they have taken steps to ensure
that women will be proportionally represent-
ed. Meanwhile, here at home, the total num-
ber of women in the federal legislature barely
hits 14 percent of Congress. While women in
America have made enormous strides over the
last century in higher education and expand-
ing job opportunities, we still live in a coun-
try where the men make the rules. How do we
level the playing field? First, let's vote.
Remember 2000? Remember those 537
votes that determined who would be our
president? Well guess what: On election day
four years ago, six million women stayed
home. And since then, we have watched
the administration turn back the clock on
our rights as women, at home and abroad.
We have seen the loss of millions of dollars
of funding for family planning and educa-
tion for women overseas. We have seen
limitations on the ability of women serv-
ing our country in the military to receive

medical abortions. We have seen hundreds
of thousands of women across the coun-
try fall deeper and deeper into poverty as
unemployment rates skyrocket and welfare
funding remains stagnant. And we have seen
our government redefine comprehensive sex
education as "abstinence only," limiting the
ability of young women to even learn that
they have options.
Without delving into party politics, we
as women need to ask ourselves: does this
administration represent our values? We
need to think long and hard about what will
be at stake in the next four years. One retire-
ment on the U.S. Supreme Court means that
our right to control our own bodies could be
gone in an instant. Title IX - which grants
us equal rights and protection in areas
including but not limited to high school and
college athletics - could well be eliminated
by those who define female athletic pro-
grams as "special rights for women." On an
economic level, we live in a country where
a woman with a college degree makes less
money on average than a man who dropped
out of high school. We need an administra-

tion that will focus on the issues of equal
pay, equal education, health insurance for
all (including coverage of contraceptives),
and the promise of a living wage. We believe
in national security and appropriate defense
spending, but we cannot continue to sacri-
fice every domestic initiative that may allow
women to continue to make the hard-earned
gains that we deserve.
When women vote, women win. It's a slo-
gan that you will likely see in various forms
throughout the next two months. While I
encourage every woman to take it literally -
to run for office, to get into that "Old Boys"'
network and shake things up-you can start
by casting your ballot on Nov. 2. Too many
women fought for our right to vote, only to
die before we achieved it. We owe it to them
to exercise this crucial right, at this crucial
time. In the upcoming November election,
our lives and the lives of our sisters world-
wide depend on it.
Nathan is the vice president of the Michigan
Student Assembly and an LSA senior.

I I

TO OUR READERS:
WELCOME BACK TO ANN
ARBOR AND ANOTHER YEAR OF
CLASS. AS THE LECTURE HALLS
AND STREETS ONCE AGAIN FILL
WITH STUDENTS, THE DAILY EDI-
TORIAL BOARD WILL BE HERE,
REPRESENTING YOU EVERY DAY ON
THIS PAGE.

LETTERS POLICY
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
year or other University affiliation.aThe Daily
will not print any letter containing statements
that cannot be verified.

INTERESTED IN SHARING YOUR
VIEWS IN AN IMPORTANT
ELECTION YEAR?
DAILY OPINION MAY BE JUST
THE PLACE FOR YOU.
COME TO OUR EDITORIAL

inavu ui~inv. SLULKIR i~i

..................................
...................................

I I

dbi

Back to Top

© 2017 Regents of the University of Michigan