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February 18, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-02-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 18, 2005


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Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



4 4 Those
who survive
will leave Iraq
in ... acts
of urban
- Central Intelligence Director Porter Goss,
testifying to the Senate Intelligence Com-
mittee, as reported yesterday.by Fox News.

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Real men cry


ecently, I have
seen more and
more people cry-
ing. I noticed it last year as
I sat in Angell Hall looking
at the pictures of the 100
Americans killed in one
week of combat. When I
saw the ages of these men
and women - 18, 19, 21
- tears came to my eyes. I
realized that the war was, and is, being fought by
our generation.
And it's not just the war. Many of us have
mourned for the thousands of people killed by the
tsunami and the thousands who died in the after-
math to curable diseases. For the generation of
orphaned children that might have been saved by
an advance warning system. For the people suf-
fering around the world, whose plights we do not
know because they don't have the media appeal of
a tsunami. But for every person that cries or sym-
pathizes, there are many who cold-heartedly say,
"Not me, not my problem."
The things that make us cry reveal something
essentially human about us. Allen Ginsberg, the
renowned beat poet, seemed to agree in this state-
ment: "I (weep) when I write something that I
know is the truth." During a film last semester, I
watched a mother, the victim of social and eco-
nomic inequity in this country, be executed: she
was screaming in anguish, strapped to a body
board, had a black bag forced over her head and
was hanged. As soon as I left the film I burst into
tears. I am not ashamed to admit it, because I
literally had no choice in the matter. What I saw
and felt in that film betrayed my deepest sense of
humanity, and afterwards I knew I would never be

able to support the systematic killing of our fellow
citizens by our government, period.
By now you may think I'm just a big crybaby;
probably you're feeling a little uncomfortable.
That reaction is understandable. Somewhere in
childhood most of us learned to stop crying, espe-
cially us boys, but I am convinced that becoming a
man or woman is directly linked to our emotional
revival. Dry eyes are just a symptom of the real
problem, which is moral numbness and a lack of
compassion in this country.
Last month I went to the first church service
outside of Christmas Eve I'd attended in years.
The minister, Kenneth Phifer, suggested that we
have enough wisdom and compassion as chil-
dren. He read gems from "Everything I Need to
Know I Learned in Kindergarten": share your
possessions, don't take more than you can use,
don't hit people, say you're sorry when you hurt
somebody and hold hands. We all know these
moral virtues, as do our leaders, but why aren't
we acting on them?
Jonathan Kozol argues in "The Night Is Dark And
I Am Far From Home" that schools contribute to our
moral numbness. Children are given watered down,
impersonal accounts of the poor and oppressed.
Atrocities such as slavery, war and genocide are
taught as cold facts, located in a historical context,
explained with statistics. Kozol says, "Numbers can
explicate - but numbers cannot make us cry." We
must show children the hard truths about suffering
and show them opportunities to alleviate it. Perhaps
a few tears will be shed, but maybe then children
would wish to be social workers and not rock stars
or athletes when they grow up.
But schools and rigid ideas of masculinity
are not the only culprits. Here is what I wrote in
my journal about a high school friend I saw this

summer: "He never before wanted to kill some-
one until he met his drill sergeant. Once he got
his ass beat by his drill sergeant. He had to hide
his emotions and now has a problem showing his
emotions or being touched or pointed at. He broke
a kid's finger for pointing at him. He worries what
he might do if provoked drunk, because he's a
deadly weapon now. He already beat up a couple
dudes. This is a guy that used to sing with me, who
got accused by our friends of being effeminate. He
said being in Marines has brought out a different
side of him ... He told me he doesn't necessarily
believe in the Iraq war, but he believes in support-
ing the commander in chief ... He expects to pos-
sibly be called to action in December but as we
spoke he knocked on wood. I did the same."
He got shipped off a month ago.
That our government does this to our men and
women enrages me. That potential teachers and
healers and friends and lovers are being manufac-
tured into emotionless killing machines is tragic.
And yet, if we're going to fight wars, this condi-
tioning is necessary. How else do you convince
humans to kill other humans?
Whether the government, media, schools or our
families are responsible for our emotional numb-
ness, we need to begin reversing the process. Only
when we feel the injustices and suffering of oth-
ers will we be motivated to act. For the real work
comes, and I have done far too little, when all the
tears have dried up.
CORRECTION: In my last column I men-
tioned "James" Brown, but the man I intended to
reference was "John" Brown - the abolitionist.

Cravens can be reached


Holman wrong to priviledge
Horton over the victim
While I understand Josh Holman's
attempt to restore dignity to a talented ath-
lete (Think about what this means to Horton,
02/16/2005), I believe his framing of the
current status of Horton's situation is biased
and vastly disappointing.
Holman's theory that Horton's emotional
turmoil somehow merits a return to the game
invalidates the source of the charges brought
against him. In asserting that "regret" could
restore Horton to his prior role on the team,
Holman endorses the pardoning of high-
profile (and highly valuable) public figures
at the expense of the victim's own suffering
and stress. "His accuser," the acidic name
used to refer to the young woman who has
apparently been a victim of some form of
domestic violence, seems to hold a negligi-

ble role in this "nasty episode." As a member
of the University community, I am appalled
that your comments so inadequately bring
new perspective to this situation. Holman's
opinion is one that glorifies admission of
guilt as noble instead of identifying Horton's
actions as unacceptable. Having a leadership
role on the University's basketball team is
not therapy, it is a privilige.
Kelly Bixby
LSA junior
The Review was unethical
in its GEO coverage
I was walking to my dorm room yesterday
when I saw an eye-catching front page of The
Michigan Review in the dorm lobby. The front
page was a photo of the Rackham Building
with the word exposed printed on top of it in

bright orange. Wondering what the issue was
about, I took the paper and read the article on
the third page, "Exposing GEO."
I was more shocked that never when I
realized that the article named five graduate
school instructors and exposed what they had
said in private e-mails between top graduate
employee organization committees.
For a moment, I could not believe that I
was reading a publication by a group of Uni-
versity students. It looked more like a cheap
tabloid, distributed in revenge against the
GEO committee for not granting the Review
an interview.
The Review accused a GSI of breaching
confidentiality, but that is not the issue here.
Publishing e-mails on a publication that is dis-
tributed widely on campus is a blatant viola-
tion of privacy. I find that issue of The Review
a shame to have in a university like this.
Huey Fang Lim
LSA sophomore

The vagina discrepancy

This Sunday, the much-anticipated produc-
tion of "The Vagina Monologues" returns to
the Power Center stage. Thirty of the Univer-
sity's finest "Vagina Warriors" will perform
Eve Ensler's acclaimed pieces that range in
topic from the mystery of the female orgasm to
reclaiming the taboo word "cunt." The mono-
logues also delve into tougher, more upsetting
issues facing women - such as the reality of
widespread rape, genital mutilation and oppres-
sion. The cast is a diverse group of motivated
students committed to achieving Ensler's mis-
sion: ending violence against women.
The show is just one part of the larger nation-
al Vagina Day campaign started from Ensler's
monologues. During the month of February,
the show will be preformed at over 700 college
campuses and promises to raise between $4 and
$5 million for women's organizations around
the globe. Last year, the University alone raised
roughly $20,000 in ticket sales and donations.
This is clearly not your average show; it is a
movement that has benefited over 1,000 organi-

- the abuser women must continually fight
against. On the contrary, I believe the show
to be deliberately pro-female, a celebration of
female sexuality and a condemnation of sexual
violence. According the U.S. Department of Jus-
tice, one in four American women is sexually
abused between the ages of 14 and 25, and 99
percent of the perpetrators are male. Despite that
glaring reality, Ensler does an admirable job of
creating a balance between the stories of sexual
abuse and the stories sexual discovery and lib-
eration. No more than six of the 13 monologues
in the show can be construed as anti-male.
Another similar complaint is that the mono-
logues focus so heavily on violence and brutal-
ity that the message of female empowerment is
lost. Yet this argument misses the point - the
show's central purpose is to end violence against
women. The show would not have been able to
galvanize thousands of women if it were purely
demoralizing and hateful. It is the feminist ide-
alism radiating from the monologues and the
pledge to end violence that has moved people to
get involved across the country.
One criticism I can sympathize with, and

Ensler takes a more Westernized approach to
this monologue, representing only those women
who feel stifled by the custom.
While this objection is valid, it must be under-
stood that "The Vagina Monologues" simply
cannot be all things to all people. Ensler has cre-
ated an immensely successful production and has
covered a lot of ground along the way. There are
monologues devoted to older women, younger
women, married women, lesbian women, women
of different race and ethnicity, but inevitably, cer-
tain people will be both underrepresented.
In addition to raising an enormous amount of
moneyffor women's organizations, the V-Day
campaign has re-ignited the feminist movement.
It has touched the lives of so many people across
the country - actors and audience members,
men and women, old and young alike. It may
be uncomfortable, particularly if you are male
sex, to purchase a ticket to "The Vagina Mono-
logues." The show is not politically correct, and
it is not mild. However, it is extremely important
to recognize this show is not about the shock
value of the word vagina. Rather, it is a fearless
and unabashed attempt to end sexual abuse and



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