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February 03, 2006 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 3, 2006

OPINION

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GEOFF SILVERSTEIN MITR MAt' -'AND FRIENDs

DONN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily. com

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

A day in the life of a Daily columnist
JESSE SINGAL ,TEM TIHI TIDE

don't want to
write about the
State ofthe Union.
I'm giving myself a few
days off from thinking
about our president, lest
I find myself with high
blood pressure at 22.
Instead, I'm going to
take a turn toward the
personal. Most people
have probably wondered at one point or another:
"What's it like to be a Daily columnist?" (Actu-
ally, they haven't.) Well, as coincidence would
have it, I'm the perfect person to offer an unso-
licited answer to this unasked question. And my
response may be darker than you'd expect.
For we are a strange breed, we columnists.
Misunderstood and hated by most of the student
population, we work at night, typing feverishly
into the wee hours with little hope of our voices
ever making an impact. We try, though - God
do we try. I'd like to break down the heavy steel
barrier between you, the reader, and me, the
writer. I'd like to take you into my world. Here's
a typical day for me, a Friday on which I have a
column coming out.
10:45 a.m. - Wake up with a start. Realize I
dropped $30 at Ashley's last night. Why don't
they have any beers under $5? Remember that
my column is running today; sprint to computer,
turn it on and check e-mail to see if anyone's
written me a praise-filed e-mail yet. No. Not yet.
Back to bed.
11:56 a.m - Wake up again. Check e-mail.
Still no comments about my column. Maybe the
server's down or something. Back to bed.
12:45 p.m. - Wake up for real this time. E-
mail: Still nothing. Strange. Walk to Bruegger's
for a morning coffee and bagel. Some people
in there are reading The Michigan Daily. Gaze
intently at their faces to see if they're reading my
column and liking it. Can't tell. Go in for a closer
look with one girl who seems to be on the edito-
rial page. She looks at me weird. Abort.
1:25p.m. - Walk around the Diag and the two
libraries for awhile, checking to see if anyone's
reading my column. Can't really tell without get-
ting too close. This one girl in the Grad is read-
ing the paper and talking on her cell phone at the
same time. She laughs! But I can't tell if she's
laughing at me or a humorous comment by the
person she's talking to.

1:45 p.m. - Check e-mail from Fishbowl. Still
nothing other than penis enlarging opportunities.
2:16p.m. - Return home. Check e-mail. No e-
mails about my column yet. Google my name to
see if the column's been picked up anywhere else.
Doesn't look like it, but maybe it takes Google a
while to register things like that.
2:49 p.m. - Read latest Maureen Dowd col-
umn. Starting to get the hunch that she doesn't
like Bush.
3:32 p.m. - Call mom. Tell her about girl
laughing at my column or cell phone. She says
she has to go to clean the pool. Weird - we don't
have a pool, plus it's February. Still good to talk
to her, though.
4:00 p.m. - Turn on "The Situation Room."
I wish I had a situation room. Wolf Blitzer is so
regal.
4:16 p.m. - God, I wish I was Wolf Blitzer.
4:45p.m. - Retreat to basement to put finishing
touches on Wolf Blitzer human skin sculpture.
5:12 p.m. - Google my name again. Still no
hits.
6:13 p.m. - Begin work on next column. The
first step is to come up with the headline, which
should be a clever play on a well-known phrase.
Can't decide between "Every Child Left Behind"
and "UnClear Skies Act." Both are really good.
6:19 p.m. - Settle on "UnPatriot Act." Make
mental note to send the finished product to The
Daily Show. Maybe they need a new writer or
something.
7:54 p.m. - Federal agent arrives to ask me
some questions about Blitzer's restraining order
against me. I play dumb, hoping he doesn't check
the basement. How was I supposed to know
restraining orders apply to erotic fan fiction?
8:07p.m. - O'Reilly time! Bill O'Reilly thor-
oughly dresses down some jerk from the Ameri-
can Civil Liberties Union who thinks Bush
shouldn't wiretap without a warrant. American
Civil Liberties Union? More like, UnAmerican
Civil Liberties Union!
8:14 p.m. - Realize I'm now set for my next
two columns. Crack a Fanta to celebrate. Head
to bed early; my roommates haven't mentioned
any parties to me, so I'm going to assume there
aren't any in Ann Arbor tonight. Either way, a
successful day. Tomorrow: back to the library
to see who's reading the Daily and whether they
like me. It's a busy life.
Singal can be reached atjsingal@umich.edu.

Live from
Detroit
IMRAN SYED
DEMAGO(.1U ES DEBUNKED
ou can pick
them out
from across
the room more often
than not. They tend to
be loud, self-assured
- or at least seem-
ingly so - and used
to being in the right.
Their intelligence
knows no bounds and
neither does their arrogance. Overwhelm-
ingly rich and overwhelmingly insolent,
they make up a larger proportion of the
University and social discourse at large
than we'd like to believe. They are the
Detroit bashers: normally too busy shop-
ping at Bloomingdale's, servicing the Benz
or managing the ole portfolio to care, but
horribly overworked come February 2006.
They say, "Detroit's too cold; we can't have
the Super Bowl there" - the frozen tundra of
southeast Michigan being all the more deadly
inside heated Ford Field. "Detroit's too dirty;
no one wants to walk those streets" - never
mind the stench of milled paper that report-
edly enveloped last year's host, Jacksonville.
"Detroit's too run-down; who wants to see
gutted buildings and burnt relics" - even if
the downtown is now immaculate, and busi-
nesses sparkle with the aura of yuppiedom, if
you're not too busy scrutinizing.
I admit, Detroit is not a world-class city,
not even close. Much more needs to be done
than building a few expensive lofts down-
town or erecting a gaudy welcome arch for
visitors coming from the airport. There are
many reasons to decry Detroit but, unfor-
tunately, few people who criticize the city
know what they're talking about. Most
have spent little time here - chief among
them late-night hack, never-was "comedi-
an" Jimmy Kimmel - and others are all
too happy to just venture in for a night of
gambling or a Red Wings game, praying
profusely at the sight of a single boarded
building.
I don't claim street-cred - I only lived
in the city for a few years and, admittedly,
in unusually well-kept areas. I do, howev-
er, claim to know the city well enough to
say that it's the subject mostly of baseless
and unwitting bouts of defamation. The
saddest part is that these things come up
only at the city's brightest moments, like
the Pistons championship runs, the Major
League Baseball All-Star game and now
the Super Bowl.
There's really no point in me sitting here
and writing about all the reasons why the
bashers are wrong. (Every city has a dark
side, decay is an unavoidable consequence
of industry, Detroit's actually not any worse
than parts of Philadelphia, Los Angeles or
Boston, there have been noticeable improve-
ments over the past decade, etc.) Everyone
knows these things to be true. Indeed, the
bashing is more a form of entertainment than
a display of genuine concern.
It's not the outsiders - New Yorkers,
Chicagoans etc. - that warrant the great-
est ire, because it's not their business to
know this city anyway. But the good subur-
banites should know better. Be their opu-
lence from Troy, Grosse Pointe or Novi,
metro Detroiters bear the brunt of this
wrath because of their impossibly naive
superiority complex.
True, Detroit was the fourth-poorest
big city in America in 2004, and Oak-
land County consistently ranks among
the nation's richest, but where did all that
wealth come from? The cold, hard truth,
my affluent northern neighbors, is that all

the wealth this area has built grew out of
Detroit. Be it Motown, the sports teams or
the auto industry, Detroit made every one
of its rich suburbs.
But enough down that road. Let's get
back to the Super Bowl. The whole nation
seems to be holding its collective breath,
waiting for good old Detroit to screw
something up. But for once, city and state
officials are working feverishly to make
sure everything goes according to plan.
Despise him though I do, I support Kwame
100 percent at the moment. Hate to disap-
point all you critics out there, but Detroit
won't screw this up. It can't.
Detroit is not neutral ground for this game
either, and the reason is one Jerome Bet-
tis. Born and raised on the west side, "The
Bus" is the city's hero at the moment. This is
Steeler town for the week, officially declared
so by the mayor. Black and yellow jerseys
flash everywhere, while the ugly teal ones,
strangely enough, are only seen at Starbucks.
The Bus has rolled in for what could be his
final stop; how fitting that it'll be the Super
Bowl in his hometown. Jerome, you carry
more than just your 255 lbs. of fat on your
sore, aging feet - you also carry the hopes
of a harassed city, not to mention its deprived
football fans.
Like it or not, Detroit is ready. After
weeks of warm temperatures, there's
enough of a dip to make "Winterfest" a
Super Bowl attraction no other city could
match. The NFL Experience is under way

4

0

6

VIEWPOINT
An open letter to the Daily

BY THE STUDENT RELATIONS ADVISORY
COMMITTEE
The Student Relations Advisory Committee
is made up of representative University student
organizations, administrative staff and faculty
of diverse backgrounds and viewpoints from
across campus. The SRAC's mandate is to
offer consultation to offices and individuals that
provide services to University students, to see
that policies affecting students are drafted and
administered fairly and to ensure that students'
emotional and social wellbeing and academic
performance are being safe-guarded within the
campus environment.
It is in this capacity that we express our disap-
pointment and objection to The Michigan Daily's
publication of two cartoons on its editorial page
last semester (The Bean Archives, 11/28/2006;
Fetid Chumbucket, 12/08/2006) that were dis-
turbing to a significant number of students, fac-
ulty and staff at the University. Our objection,
conveyed as constructive criticism, is focused
on editorial principle, professional modeling and
editorial responsibility for the actual impact of
the cartoons' publication. While respecting the
editorial freedom of the Michigan Daily staff, we
see the Daily, given its status as the student news-
paper and its accessibility to the broader public,
as bearing a special responsibility. We write in
the hope that your editorial policy will be care-
fully rethought and improved so as to more effec-
tively fulfill your goals.
The substance of our objections is as follows:
1) We strongly disagree with your editorial
judgment and actual practice, based on what is
customary for the mainstream press. While the
First Amendment does protect free speech, that
does not mean that newspaper editors are obli-

teenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Yet
the cartoons you chose to publish can be con-
strued as targeting specific groups for ridicule,
thereby encouraging a social atmosphere that
translates for many into a "racially hostile" learn-
ing environment, as defined by the U.S. Depart-
ment of Education Office for Civil Rights. In our
view, the targeted caricature of specific student
"types" and of an institutional policy favor-
ing diversity constitutes a potential violation of
Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964,
inspired by the Fourteenth Amendment, which
protects individuals from discrimination on the
basis of race, color, national origin, religion and
sex. It is to be expected that the Daily, the main
student newspaper at a major public university,
would uphold the tenets of federal and state
law and recommended precepts.
3) After witnessing the campus reaction to the
publication of the first cartoon on Nov. 28, you
chose to publish an equally inflammatory car-
toon on Dec. 8th, which carried the controversy
beyond the parameters of the campus to the local
WDIV-TV Channel 4 evening and late-evening
news on that same day, implying to those watch-
ing within the broadcast area that this sort of
message is tacitly endorsed and disseminated by
our most widely read campus newspaper.
While we appreciate the Daily's commitment
to upholding the First Amendment, that does not
mean it should not develop editorial standards of
publication. On the contrary, we would hope that
the Daily, which has expressed open support for
the University's proactive efforts to attract, retain
and build a diverse campus community, would
attempt to cast its editorial net as broadly as pos-
sible so that a wide range of viewpoints on pre-
cisely the issue of diversity could be expressed.
It is easy to hide behind the First Amendment,

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Kevin Bunkley,
Gabrielle D'Angelo, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared
Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Manley, Kirsty McNa-
mara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, Katherine Seid, Brian Slade, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng.

I

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