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March 07, 2005 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 7, 2005


~e ffl~iirgaun* ilu

Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor



Either this
was an ambush, as
I think, or we are
dealing with
imbeciles or
terrorized kids who
shoot at anyone."
- Pierre Scolari, partner of Italian jour-
nalist Giuliana Sgrena, who was shot
at by American troops in Iraq enroute
to the airport on her way back to Rome,
as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

SAM BUTLER f4 o~rj
7~1 I Loor C K lS

Guerrilla librarians
his September, when the item is returned. Despite the appre- they accomplish is fostering resentment.
returning residents hensions of some over this complete reliance on Another example of unnecessary Housing
of East Quad were the honor system, there has yet to be a single meddling in student affairs is the recent efforts
dismayed to find that the reported theft even after several weeks of brisk of officials to eradicate any and all remnants of
dorm's Benzinger Library circulation. BLC volunteers sporting orange originality from East Quad's basement caf6, the
had sold off its collection armbands ("for easy recognition and to repre- Halfway Inn (known colloquially as the Halfass.
of hundreds of CDs and sent the struggle of and commitment to liberat- Up until two years ago, students were encour-
DVDs, converting it from a ing the Benz," according to BLC literature) are aged to decorate the Halfass however they saw fit.
circulating library into a so- maintaining a constant vigil to protect the col- Sadly, the enlightened minds in University Hous-
called Community Learn- lection from sabotage at the hands of malicious ing decided that it would be in the students' best
ing Center. Outraged by the University Housing officials. While the BLC interest to replace the vibrant murals with a bland
decision to unload the library's collection and fed is encouraging the incorporation of less main- shade of white paint and destroy the subdued
up with the general lack of transparency on the stream items, all donations are welcome. ambience by installing soul-suckingly drab fluo-
part of University Housing, several students have The BLC's dealings with University adminis- rescent lighting. After enacting these changes and
banded together to form the Benzinger Library tration have been less than successful. University facing the inevitable torrent of criticism, Hous-
Cooperative to rebuild from scratch the once- Housing is trying to maintain control over the ing benevolently offered to hold a mural-making
mighty collection of media free from the med- library without providing any material assis- contest in which Housing administrators would
dling influence of University administrators. tance to the students' efforts. Atkinson describes select a student to paint a pre-approved mural.
The prolific BLC founder and Residential Director of Community Learning Centers David An alternative proposed by students is to hold,a
College senior Ed Atkinson spoke with me about Pimentel as "a bureaucrat of the most aggravat- mural day in which all residents are encouraged
the organization's goals, saying that "as a co- ing sort" for refusing to relax his iron grip on the to just show up and start painting. According to
operative we are working together to reverse the Benz and relinquish control to students. But in the Atkinson, Housing is not thrilled with this ide,
crippling effects of University Housing's impe- end, fruitless negotiations will have no impact on as "they are dedicated to making East Quad one
rialist policies aimed at destroying our historic future BLC operations. "Generally, we're pretty big corporate break room."
library." They are well on their way to doing fearless," boasts Atkinson. "We're running a Given the current housing crunch, it's not
so. The rock upon which the new collection library, and they can suck it." surprising that University administrators are
is built is a burned CD of Parliament's Great- The efforts of the Benz Library Co-opera- hell-bent on making dorm living such a tortuous
est Hits and an old TV Family Classics tape of tive are indicative of other attempts among East experience that residents striving for a little less
The Waltons (which, according to. official BLC Quad residents to maintain control over their authoritarianism in their lives flee to the stu-
literature, provides "a more wholesome, red- own living space. Cooperative organizations like dent ghetto as quickly as possible. However, the
state experience" that "may cause meaningful the BLC and the East Quad Music Co-opera- stated goal of the upcoming North Quad dorm
connections with others"). Second-hand maga- tive operate under the assumption that a dorm is is to make on-campus housing more appealing
zines ranging from FHM to the Economist have a student's home, and that every resident has the to upperclassmen by providing a more apart-
begun trickling in.The collection's first porno- right to exercise a large degree of influence over ment-style living environment. Of course, no
graphic film, C3P-HOE, has become a peren- it. Housing is adamantly opposed to this idea and amount of amenities can make up for the feel-
nial favorite among Benz patrons. After several is instead striving to make dorm life as stale as ings of ownership and community that come
weeks of accumulation, the Benz now boasts a possible. For example, a vacant office in the East from being able to exercise control over one's
collection of approximately 20 CDs, 40 maga- Quad basement was recently handed over to the surroundings without interference from aboye.
zines, a handful of videos and a small dish of RC student government to convert into an open Or, as Atkinson more fittingly puts it, "We just
complimentary mints. lounge. Students gladly took to moving furniture don't need the grown-ups. We're big boys and
Anyone is allowed to check out material from in and painting the walls graffiti-style until their girls. We can do this."
the new student-run library. All a customer has efforts were brutally halted by the patronizing
to do is write his or her name on the official interference of Housing operatives. These offi-
piece of notebook paper along with the item cials think they're doing students a favor by teach- Mallen can be reached
being checked out, and the name is crossed out ing them to be responsible future renters when all at emmallen@umich.edu.
Diversity in sexuality I hate to see what would have happened if you and benefits that come with marriage (whic is
should be applauded, made a wrong turn and walked into a bad area no longer a religious institution once the go-
not condemned of New York. You would have seen a lot worse: ernment got involved) is completely wroi .
homelessness, drug use, gambling and possibly Stay out of my bedroom and do not judge wk4t
even a shooting. Maybe a map would be good I do, and I'll stay out of yours.
To THE DAILY: next time you go somewhere, so you don't walk Gregory J. Wrigt
In response to Joel Hoard's column (How the into a situation you don't want to be in. Alamn
homosexuals stole my son's innocence, 02/24/2005), I'm not going to go through the Bible and
I am shocked and ashamed that you are a stu- report back the sheer number of scriptures that
dent at one of my alma maters. As a native New Christians have chosen not to enforce over the
Yorker who grew up in Queens, I have seen my years. However, I am going to say that while EX iPSyoUR OPINIOKS
fair share of undesirable activity, but most of it your religious beliefs may dictate to you that
comes from people who visit New York just to you must pray for homosexuals to be forgiven, c N E Y
criticize it. New York is culturally diverse, and it does not entitle you to judge them. "If any EDTORIAL BQARD
that's how we like it. New York provides an one of you is without sin, let him be the first to
amazing opportunity for all that visit and live throw a stone at her" (John 8:7).Mx
there to experience the real world and not the You have the right to raise your children as NDAYW, U AP.
world that many of us try to keep ourselves in. you see fit, that is one of the greatest rights of 429 iAYUARD $T.
I met my first black friend in preschool. I met' this country. You, however, have no right to tell
my first homosexual friend in junior high school the rest of us how to raise our children or what
when my best friend came out to me. It's good activities we can engage in. It is your belief that IN J@MCHIG LY.CoM
that your children were able to experience the homosexuals are sinners, that is your belief. I
diversity of New York. Diversity and understand- do not force my beliefs on you. Liberals and
ing of different cultures is how we can work with conservatives do not (unless they're in public
other countries, cultures and groups. office). Additionally, to deny anyone the rights
Another Freak in the Freak Kingdom



Two weeks ago, journalist and writer Hunter S.
Thompson, made famous to our generation when
he was played by Johnny Depp in the Terry Gil-
liam film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," shot
himself in the head. Hunter's unmistakable style,
coined "gonzo journalism," a term as inexplicable
in origin as it was in practice, involved the journal-
ist as an integral part of the story.
Hunter selflessly put himself on the line for the
causes of idealism back when idealism was cool,
before Nixon screwed every idealist and ushered
in a wave of cynicism, which became an aura of
cynicism, and is now, in this foul Year of our Lord
2005, an American feeling - a second nature. I
feel like Hunter gave up, not only on himself (all
idolatry aside, his writings were just as sharp and
politically relevant today as they were when they
exposed Nixon), but also on America. His writ-
ing meant he. still cared. His suicide means, to

Any political or cultural critic here in The Michi-
gan Daily, or anywhere on political news channels
or even in Congress, must feel, more often than
not, that they are being equated with nothing more
than crying infants.
Hunter was not a liberal or, a conservative.
Nowhere in his writings will you find a critique
of the welfare state, a discussion of affirmative
action, a plan to raise or lower taxes. If I might
borrow from him briefly, he was too weird for that
boardroom bullshit. Though he wrote endlessly
about politics, he was not political, because he
was always writing about the American Dream.
If Hunter believed Clinton or Carter or Reagan or
whoever was making a living by fucking with the
American Dream, Hunter would just as quickly
have said, well, fuck them.
Though, admittedly, his cohorts, or rather, his
escorts, for the chase of this Dream - gambling,
drugs and alcohol - were not typical, they were
at least different, often refreshing, never boring,

today, especially at our age, that you want some-
thing called the American Dream, they will think
that you're still in junior high, writing the 8th grade
essay that might get you in front of the school
board for recognition or win you a $200 scholar-
ship. They think you are a fool and a child.
I don't think he had any concept of what the
American Dream is, but that wasn't the important
part. I don't think it is material. I think it is a sense
of patriotism that doesn't involve permanent head-
nodding under an administration where perrm-
nent head-nodding is absolutely necessary, or you
will be ignored. I think it is a sense of leadersip
that represents the skepticism of power, not the
wielding of it. It might just be a healthy lawn anda
white picket fence, or it might be what those ima-
es mean - a sense of contentment and belonging,
without threats.
There should be nothing childish about the
American Dream; there should be nothing child-
ish about feeling dissatisfied with any politician,

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