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February 08, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-08

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 8, 2006

OPINION

ibe fichiain atll

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

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
' ' Of course, I'm
sorry, Mr. Attorney
General, I forgot:
You can't answer any
questions that might
be relevant to this."
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), on Attorney
General Alberto Gonzalez's refusal to answer
several questions at Monday's congressional hear-
ings on the NSA's domestic surveillance program,
as reported yesterday by The Washington Post.

.ALEXANDER HONKALA Liv i);tYxvL'vcwt
K, LTE .AND
z Bc

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.

How to become a senior English major
JEFF CRAVENS JAYHAWK BUEs

0

irst, attend the
University and
declare English
as your major. Take a
creative-writing class
and decide that you are
going to be the next
Hemingway. Remind
your friends that one of
5 Hemingway's first pub-
lished stories was "Up In
Michigan" and that many great writers have come
through Michigan. Here you will want to mention
Arthur Miller, Avery Hopwood and Robert Frost.
Have existential discussions at coffee shops
and parties. Nobody ever does anything in his life
worth remembering but you, and you are going to
be a famous writer. This may be cocky and pre-
mature, but it's good to set your sights high early.
Girls think writers are romantic, and besides, the
people in your writing workshops think your sto-
ries are pretty good.
Apply to the English Honors Program and get
rejected. "You are still young," your advisor will
say, "apply again next year." You are not discour-
aged: All geniuses are told at some point in their
lives that they are not good enough.
Spend six weeks studying through the New
England Literature Program in the woods of
Maine. You will have a lot of time to think, write
and climb mountains. You live like Henry Tho-
reau and try to write like him, although this is
not easy. You especially like his essay on Civil
Disobedience, and you start wondering if there
isn't more to life than being an English major or
a famous writer.
Back in civilization, you find yourself in the
middle of a heated presidential campaign. You

volunteer as an intern for John Kerry. If you can't
be a famous writer immediately, you can at least
help prevent another term of George W. Bush.
Bush wins the election, but you are not dis-
couraged. You are invigorated by your volunteer
work and convinced that now, more than ever, you
must save the world. In addition to your campaign
work, you have begun learning about injustices in
this country - injustices from which you were
sheltered in your middle-America upbringing.
You begin meeting with a bunch of hippy/activist
types in the basement of the Union to plan how
you will save the world.
Continue taking writing classes. They no longer
count toward your major, but you have not forgot-
ten about becoming a writer. One of your goals
before graduation is to win a Hopwood writing
award.
Reapply to the English Honors Program. Get
rejected again. The chair of the program tells you
that you took too many creative-writing courses.
They want to see more experience in substantial
analytical writing.
When you are alone, scribble hateful mes-
sages in capital letters about the Honors Program.
Decide that they only want thesis-writing drones
who will go on to do research on Literature (with a
capital "L") that has nothing to do with the modern
world. You will do no such thing. You tell yourself
that you don't care much about Literature anyway,
and that you have no desire to apply to doctoral
programs in English.
You start writing for The Michigan Daily. Here
you can express your ambitions to write while
addressing socially relevant issues. Furthermore,
you like having your picture in a little box next to
your name every other week. This is good for your
bruised ego.

You write many columns but stop writing as
many short stories. When you get rejected from
the creative-writing subconcentration, you accept
the fact that you may not become the next Ernest
Hemingway. However, the director of the program
and other writing teachers assure you that you were
very close and that you should not be discouraged.
Start facilitating creative-writing workshops
for incarcerated juveniles. You discover that writ-
ing does not have to be a selfish pursuit. In your
workshops, you get no little box next to your
name and no cash prize for your short story. But
you get the satisfaction of sharing something you
love with people in bleak circumstances. You get
their laughter and personal stories and gratitude.
You realize that you have accomplished more than
you would have in the Honors Program or the cre-
ative-writing subconcentration. This realization is
important. You have the feeling that in the future
you will look back on this moment as a turning
point in your life.
It is the last semester of your senior year. You
are glad that you do not have to spend all your
time writing a thesis paper that only a handful
of English Ph.D.'s will ever read. Instead, you
enroll in two writing classes, a philosophy class
to complete your minor and a class that helps
schoolchildren explore writing and nature. Dur-
ing your free time, you write columns for the
Daily and participate in creative workshops
with incarcerated adults and juveniles. You are
happy. And as you wait on applications to be
a teacher for underserved children next year,
you do not worry about rejection. One way or
another, everything will work out.

Cravens can be reached
atjjcrave@umich.edu

VIEWPOINT
Free speech doesn't merit violence

By MARK KUEHN
Often, newspapers and magazines are reluc-
tant to publish opinion pieces that are viewed as
"hateful" or stereotypical. Last week, a fringe-
conservative Norwegian newspaper published
12 cartoons - originally published in a Dan-
ish newspaper last September - including a
depiction of the Prophet Muhammad wearing a
turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse.
Though the cartoons are lowball and gen-
erally unfunny, the extremist sector of the
Muslim community reacted with fervor.
Throughout the Middle East, riots broke out.
Demonstrators burned Norwegian flags, shout-
ed "Death to Denmark" and called for deporta-
tion of Scandinavian citizens. In Syria, rioters
stormed the Danish and Norwegian embassies
and burned them to the ground.
Failing to realize that most of the civi-
lized world generally holds free speech as an
inalienable right separate from government
influence, radical Islamic officials are vehe-
mently calling on Scandinavian authorities to
apologize for the newspaper's decision to print
the cartoons. This fagade is merely an attempt
to turn the spotlight away from their countries'
lack of social freedoms. Extremist Muslims
have jumped on the opportunity to point the
finger elsewhere while continuing to oppress
free speech in their own countries.
No matter how offensive the cartoons

may be, hurt feelings are a terrible metric
for restricting free speech. Laws against hate
speech do nothing more than allow potentially
malignant ideas to be turned inward, brewing
only within the confines of certain groups.
Freedom of speech allows these ideas to be
challenged and scrutinized out in the open
against competing ideas. Society will freely
discredit or discard ideas that are illogical,
irrational or abominable.
Freedom of speech covers uncivil speech.
However, that does not mean one should
ignore social sensitivity to actively provoke
Muslims. The Scandinavian newspapers may
have crossed the line of civility by choosing to
print the cartoons. However, it is well within
their right to do so. They can say what they
please, but they must expect criticism in return.
Violence, on the other hand, is not a warranted
response to any degree of hateful speech.
Freedom of speech also entails that insti-
tutions can freely be criticized, checking the
power they hold over their followers. Radical
Islam must open its doors to scrutiny in order
to avoid becoming an insular culture, paranoid
of insults and attacks from beyond. The car-
toons were distasteful, but the violent response
by extremists shows just how close the radi-
cal Muslim community is to becoming utterly
xenophobic.
As a side effect, freedom of speech often
means that certain groups will be general-

ized and stereotyped based upon the deplor-
able actions of a minority. In the post-Sept. 11
world, nonviolent Muslims are often grouped
with their radical counterparts. These groups
must do everything in their power to condemn
their extremist peers. Muslim communities
have every right to take offense towards the
cartoons. However, violence cannot be con-
doned as a justified response.
Islamic governments also must condemn
the riots and learn how to deal with criticism
peacefully if they ever hope to be accepted into
the global community as respectable regimes.
While Lebanon has done so, other Islamic
governments continue to alienate nonviolent
Muslims and further push the terrorist stereo-
type by refusing to condemn this violence.
The Danish and Norwegian newspapers had
every right to publish the distasteful cartoons.
In support of freedom of speech, French, Ger-
man and Belgian newspapers republished the
cartoons soon after the violence began. If those
who rioted in response to the cartoons want to
have a modern relationship with the rest of the
world, they'll need to learn how to deal ratio-
nally with criticism and minor offenses. It's
fine to be angry and even to demand an apol-
ogy (from the right people). But to riot, burn.
etc. because of a cartoon is mere lunacy.
Kuehn is an LSA junior and member of the
Daily's editorial board.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Send all letters to the editor to
tothedaily michigandaily.com.

Michigamua can stay, but
only with name change
TO THE DAILY:
I am a member of the Little Traverse Bay
Bands of Odawa Indians, and I believe the
true "Michigamua dispute" rests in the name
of that organization. In Looking to the future
by learning from the past (02/02/2006), two
Michigamua members make it clear that
their group is no longer taking part in mock-
ing Native American rituals and is fight-
ing to separate itself from a troubled past.
This troubled past is on full display in Proud
Michigamua member responds to group's critics

I stand behind the Native American Stu-
dent Association in Michigamua has troubled
past (02/02/2006) when its members ask
Michigamua to change their name. NASA
is not asking for a complete abolition of the
group. The word "Michigamua" is a Native
American term, and therefore the organiza-
tion cannot completely separate itself from
its troubled past as long its members call
the group Michigamua. It is contradictory
for them to say that they have completely
changed their ways and yet maintain the use
of a Native American word. Until the name
is changed, Michigamua will continue to
encounter disputes.

U' fails when families give
little financial support
To THE DAILY:
I am upset about the University's decision to
consider absentee parents' income in incom-
ing students' financial aid packages (Absentee
parents to factor into aid package, 02/07/2006).
Pam Fowler's statement, "We firmly believe
that parents divorce one another but not their
children. Therefore, an expectation of sup-
port is reasonable," is the most insensitive,
out-of-touch statement I have heard from this
University. Students like me have struggled
throughout the years even to get child support

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

I

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