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January 14, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 14, 2005



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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 pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

''I just hope it's
the Cadillac of all
policies because
that's what major
league baseball
- St. Louis Cardinals manager, Tony
LaRussa, commenting on MLB's new
steroid agreement as reported yesterday by
The Associated Press.

lo Bo5)s MANbATE - olne o. -


Indecent exposure
T here has always been Classy. Janet Jackson: Impressionable viewers expect vio-
a struggle between The suspension is likely due to the fact that Power lence from football, not sexuality. The point is that
free expression and 99 is owned by Clear Channel Communications, expression is situational; mannerisms are fluid in
censorship. which adopted a "zero-tolerance" policy last year varying contexts.
This week proved no dif- against on-air indecency in violation of Federal Com- The problem that arises is the nebulous nature of
ferent, when Philadelphia munications Commission regulations. The record indecency; one person's entertainment can easily be
radio station Power 99 sus- $1.75 million fine against smut king Howard Stern considered lascivious by another. In the end, it is "the
pended radio jockeys Star and ostensibly has everyone since on his toes. powers that be" that will have the final say. Come-
Buc Wild after they made an As a journalist, I find myself always conflicted dian Bill Maher's television show "Politically Incor-
abusive call to an outsourc- with this notion of censorship. The freedom to ver- rect" was cancelled despite soaring ratings, because
ing center in India. In the live clip, which aired last balize conceivably anything is exhilarating, so inher- parent company Disney deemed Maher's post-Sept.
year without complaint, Star exploded at the opera- ently "American." There is as much value and truth 11 comments incendiary. Though it seems that those
tor, calling her "a filthy rat-eater" and threatening to in the rogue opinion as there is in popular sentiment. with the deepest pockets or most political leverage
choke her. I shudder to think of where society would be without are society's keeper, it is actually common citizens
Initially the racist and misogynistic comments the unbridled convictions of people like Frederick like you and me. The reason the government and
went unabated. Only after a Power 99 employee Douglass, Salman Rushdie, or Michael Moore. In major corporations censor is to keep the majority
posted the call on the station's website for the world a way, the filth of an ignorant shock jock is no less of the populace content, because there is no greater
to hear, was the station inundated with complaints. poignant than such thinkers. threat to them than lost votes or consumer dollars.
The station has since suspended Star and Buc for But in a more accurate way, a line of decency We as concerned citizens have a right and respon-
one day and posted a formal apology on its website: that supercedes the so-called right to free expression sibility to play watchdog. In the case of Star and Buc
"The Star & Buc Wild Show prides itself on walk- exists. Or at least it should. Regardless of what the Wild, outraged listeners proved to be the momentum
ing on the edge. On December 15th, we crossed it. First Amendment or any regulations dictate, there for the duo's suspension. In Gulport, Miss. this week,
We know the pain racial slurs cause and apologize are certain levels of dignity that we as human beings a library board abrogated a ban on "Daily Show"
that this comedy segment went too far" Commu- should expect out of each other. There are some comedian Jon Stewart's best-selling satirical book
nity-affairs director Loraine Ballard Morrill said words, ideas, images, etc. that, regardless of one's America, after criticism by local residents and out of
the whistle-blowing employee would also be repri- political alignment, are indecent. Period. state e-mails. We have the power to determine what
manded and given "sensitivity training." Right pun- This is manifested in everyday life. The way we is situationally appropriate and what is not. We need
ishment, wrong target. carry ourselves or speak with a close friend is far to keep a watchful eye; liberal where necessary and
Not surprisingly, this is not the first time that the different from the manner in which we act around stringent otherwise. As author Hubert H. Humphrey
jockeys have been in hot water. The pair was sus- say, a supervisor or our mothers. Why? If we all put it, "The right to be heard does not automatically
pended from New York radio a few years back after have the right to freedom of expression, anything include the right to be taken seriously."
Star made light of the death of singer Aaliyah in a should go. But it doesn't. That is why a distinction is
plane crash, complete with sound effects of a plane made between a breast-baring in an R-rated movie Krishnamurthy can be reached
crashing and a woman screaming. versus a major national sporting event. Memo to at sowmyak@umich.edu
The sun never set on the global village
f the first few years of as best we can on this ball of matter. history. There seem to be a lot of other hypotheses
the 21st century are any Hopefully most people have learned the lessons of that need deep investigation.
indication, it looks like "Guns, Germs and Steel:" initial geographic condi- Until we get out of the feedback loop of nation
it's going to be a hell of a ride. tions of human populations are amplified due to "the states, I'd place all bets on the 21st century heading
Or as Buckminster Fuller was butterfly effect" leading to vastly different societies, toward Pax-Chinese. Despite all attempts from our
fond of saying, "Whether it is cultures and technologies. In other words, let's just all American military, economic and governmental
to be Utopia or Oblivion will accept each other as humans, and recognize the rath- players to perpetuate U.S. supremacy and hegemony,
be a touch-and-go relay race er arbitrary development of diverse cultures, societ- it's just not in the cards for the long run. We can prob-
right up to the final moment." ies, and religions based on initial conditions. Check ably thank the Clinton administration's ridiculous
To anyone with his ears to ones cultural superiority at the door, if you will. faith in neo-liberalism, and the advent of China into
the ground, it's pretty obvious It seems that this hard-fought mental battle of the World Trade Organization as being the catalyst of
that the major organizational structures of human multi-culturalism, edging toward the global main- the Chinese century, if it comes to fruition.
cultures are on the verge of a radical paradigm shift. stream in the '80s and '90s - the waning years of On the other hand, we could be writing a new
The dominance of the autonomous nation state post-modernism - has sadly been tempered by the chapter-heading for future world history primers.
model has started to wane with the rise of transna- so-called "rise of fundamentalism" and its political Instead of the autonomous nation state model, human
tional corporations, global and regional governance consequences in the Muslim world and beyond, and societies might balkanize and re-align a' la "Clash of
bodies, non governmental organizations, rhizomal America's hard shift to the right even before Sept. 11. Civilizations," move toward a world governance fol-
network communities and other structures. The legitimate philosophical challenges to the lowing the footsteps of the League of Nations, World
As our thoughts, prayers and logistic and mon- failures of deconstructing all meta-narratives and Court and the United Nations, or head toward a trib-
etary assistance go out to the victims of the recent the limitations of cultural-relativism, have so far alized world of competing strip malls where individ-
tsunami disaster, I have been reflecting on the big yielded a shift in a global tone that is not optimistic, uals identify with cultural brands, all being overseen
picture in the global village. to say the least. by the WTO and the end of any trade barriers.
Regardless of your religious or spiritual affiliation, But from a systems point of view, is it at all I am fairly positive it will be none of the above but,
the tsunami should be a reminder that all humans surprising that the fall of the Soviet Union and rather, an emergent world order whose properties are
are merely passengers on this spaceship earth. The the rise of the global information economy probably only vaguely visible from our epoch. But
arbitrary devastation of a tumultuous weather event would create some serious shifts and outliers here are three tenants I have been investigating, and
could realistically affect any part of the world. in humans' thinking and actions? However, it I think might serve as good indicators: slow is the
Although many humans are more prone to the appears - and is my deepest hope - that this new fast, waste equals food and atoms equals bits so
regurgitations of our planet based on their geographic hard shift is temporary. everything is designable.
and structural situations, even the richest, most pow- The neo-conservative escapade in Iraq, with its I'll explain these tenants and a few other futurist
erful, and well-built cities of our planet earth cannot flimsy foundation of unfindable weapons of mass- predictions in my final article in two weeks. Until
thoroughly and totally prevent the arbitrary devasta- destruction and drenched in unfounded intelligence then, let the sun never set on the global village.
tion of a massive earthquake, tsunami or other geo- and mindless flag-waving and chest-beating has,
logical event. This seems to indicate to me at least, ironically, ensured that the neo-cons' Project for the Denfeld can be reached
that we are all just a bunch of bipeds trying to get by New American Century is relegated to the dustbin of at zcd@umich.edu.
Tenants' problems require collective action



While the Michigan Student Assembly's propos-
al to improve tenant-landlord relations by adding a
housing lawyer to Student Legal Services is a small
step in the right direction, the pragmatist in me is
skeptical, and the idealist in me is unimpressed.
MSA is to be commended for its efforts, but it is
naive to think hiring one lawyer to deal with the
housing issues of 35,000-plus students will make
even a dent in the University's embarrassingly large
housing problem. The proposed Housing Legal
Reform Project attempts to deal with the issue on
an individual basis, as opposed to confronting the

on a daily basis.
The bigger problem with the proposal, however,
lies in the fact that it tackles the University's hous-
ing issue on an individual level. This issue is collec-
tive, affecting every University student at one time
or another. MSA is taking a narrow approach to a
broad problem, which at best will benefit a small
percentage of students affected.
Not to mention utilizing this potential lawyer
will mean a student must take on a class action law-
suit - a far more elaborate procedure than walk-
ing into Student Legal Services and asking for help
with a minor-in-possession charge. I find it hard to
believe that many students will willingly involve

is clear that MSA has the best of intentions, but if
not executed correctly, even a solid idea can fail in
the face of bad planning. For example, the Hous-
ing Review website, a site created by MSA for stu-
dents to exchange information regarding housing,
is a great way for landlords to be held accountable
for their actions by tenets. A good idea in theory
- but hardly any students use the resource. The
site has received very few hits this past semester
due to a lack of advertisement and promotion on
the part of MSA.
If the student body is serious about taking on
the housing issue, let's do it right way. MSA needs
to take a larger action than simply hiring a single

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