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February 13, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-02-13

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, February 13, 2006

OPINION

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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
JIam the
Jesus Christ
of politics."
- Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi,
who will be up for election in early April, at
a dinner with party supporters Saturday,
as reported yesterday by CNN.com.

KATIE GARLINGHOUSE H-o U>SE ARREST

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.

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And the show must go on
MARA GAY COMMON SENSE

yr, o rage has
been more
misdirected
and more unproductive
than that of those who
refuse to support this
year's "Vagina Mono-
logues: A Colorful
Production." It is a pet-
ulant, absurd, ignorant
rage, and it threatens
to undermine efforts to stop violence against
women everywhere.
Variations on Eve Ensler's play "The Vagina
Monologues" are performed each February as
part of a worldwide V-Day campaign to raise
awareness about violence against women - all
women. And this year's take on the play will
be no different.
The producers of this year's "The Vagina
Monologues," one of whom happens to be
a friend of mine, set out to compose a cast
almost entirely of women of color because
they felt strongly that women of color have
been underrepresented or misrepresented in
previous productions of the play. Many believe
the play was designed unfairly to begin with,
offering women of color only a few parts,
which tend to be those of victims. The deci-
sion to use a "colorful cast" was made out of
a desire to empower women of color and offer
them a positive voice, not to disenfranchise or
silence white women.
But predictably, the play has been met with
charges of "reverse racism" and discrimination
from all sides of the spectrum. Last week, the
controversy continued as Law student Pierce

Beckham filed a complaint with the Central
Student Judiciary, arguing that the casting
policy violates the University's nondiscrimi-
nation policy and the 14th Amendment. Just
two weeks before the curtain goes up, Beck-
ham apparently wants to see this year's V-Day
celebration stopped.
It is true, of course, that healthy dialogue and
robust debate make this campus a bastion of bet-
ter ideas, and Beckham has every right to make
his case. But as V-Day approaches and tickets
go on sale, the rest of this campus should take
note: The efforts of Beckham and those like him
are not a call for equal rights under the law or a
valiant effort against racial exclusion.
Beckham's endeavors are nothing but the
reactionary cries of an individual too embittered
to understand the significance of a single pro-
duction in a single year that shines the spotlight
on groups of women whose voices have previ-
ously been driven to the margins and silenced.
If he is truly interested in equal rights, I am sure
there is a place for him at Men Against Violence
Against Women, or at the Sexual Assault Pre-
vention and Awareness Center.
One in three women worldwide will be beat-
en or sexually abused in her lifetime. Every
90 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted in
America. Women are 16 times more likely
than men to be the victims of sexual violence.
One woman is battered by her husband every
15 seconds. And according to the National
College Women Sexual Victimization Study,
one in four women will be raped or experience
an attempted rape during her college years.
If we boycott "The Vagina Monologues," we
boycott the empowerment of every woman on

this campus.
Eve Ensler's message is as relevant and
important today as it was in 1998 when the play
was first published. "I bet you're worried. I was
worried. That's why I began this piece. I was
worried about vaginas. I was worried about
what we think about vaginas, and even more
worried that we don't think about them. I was
worried about my own vagina. It needed a con-
text of other vaginas - a community, a culture
of vaginas. There's so much darkness and secre-
cy surrounding them - like the Bermuda Tri-
angle. Nobody ever reports back from there."
If you are worried about vaginas, do not
allow Beckham and others like him to use race
to divert our attention from V-Day and all that
it represents. Over the past seven years, produc-
tions of Ensler's play have generated more than
$25 million dollars to support local, national
and international organizations that support
women, regardless of their race or ethnicity,
religion or sexuality. And the empowerment
of women that V-Day has helped foster simply
cannot be measured.
So go ahead, buy your ticket today. Do it for
the millions of women around the world who
are abused and sexually assaulted each year,
for the women who hold second-class citizen-
ship in the human race. Do it for your mother,
your girlfriend, your sister, your best friend
or for yourself. But buy that ticket, because
on Feb. 19 this campus needs to send a strong
message to Beckham and others like him: The
show will go on until the violence stops.

0
0

Gay can be reached
at maracl@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Send all letters to the editor to
tot hedaily@rnichigandaily. corn.

Campus should relax over
wireless Internet issues
To THE DAILY:
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Drop
out of school, take a vow of chastity and repent
because the world must be ending! Didn't you
hear the news? Students at the University don't
have 100-percent wireless Internet coverage! If
that isn't a sign of Armageddon, I don't know
what is.
At least; the storm of angry Daily articles in
the past few days certainly makes it seem that
way. From the front page (Dorms still far from
complete wireless coverage, 02/09/2006; Lack of
plan dooms wireless, 02/08/2006; Tangled wires:
LSA lags behind in wireless coverage, 02/07/2006)
to the editorial page (A low-tech 'U' in a high-
tech world, 02/09/2006) students have been
"demanding" that they have the ability to check
e-mail, instant message, and Facebook in every
single classroom on campus. Some even argue
that the lack of wireless in the classroom pre-
vents them from checking notes. (What hap-
pened to their notebooks?)
Now, I'm no Luddite. I'm majoring in elec-
trical engineering, I work at a computer help
desk and I'm a self-professed computer geek.
So I certainly recognize the potential comput-
ers have as an information-gathering tool. How-
ever, students have been perfectly successful for
hundreds of years with another information-
gathering tool that works even when the power
is out: their hands. Locate yours. Raise it. Ask
a question. You may not be able to call up your
friend at Duke and brag about being on the list
of the top 50 wireless campuses, and you may
not be able to browse Facebook during Linguis-
tics 211, but if asking questions has worked for
centuries, it will work for you.
The University of Michigan is a top pub-
lic university, and your education here won't
become useless if wireless coverage is only at
58 percent. The University should spend the
"millions of dollars" Ron Loveless estimated
that expanding wireless would cost on more
important projects, such as giving students a
break on tuition.
Wireless will eventually be universal, but
until then my advice to all you Chicken Littles
is this: Stand up, walk next door, check your e-
mail there and calm down.
Hans Kuder
Engineering and Music sophomore

that it's like I've just awoken from a 2,000-year
slumber during which a pile of Legos was my
only pillow-bumpy side up. And it's the Daily's
fault. Actually, it's Mark Giannatto's fault. I read
his column. I'm sure you've already noticed this,
and it's probably part of some postmodern edito-
rial vision that I'm not privy to, but Giannatto is
awful.
Giannatto's Coke column (Give me my Coke
back, 02/09/2006) literally makes no sense, as
though he sat at the computer and began vomiting
sentences until reaching his word limit. Giannatto
claims that "nowadays, the student body is much
closer to the center of the political spectrum." Not
quite, G-dawg. Michigan has a whole office of
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender affairs.
If a transgender person even set foot in my
hometown, three rednecks would immediately
begin brawling over who would get to shoot her
or him first, only to be beaten to it by the local
sheriff.
But Giannatto's incoherence shines most
brightly when he argues that because there are so
many important problems in the world, "super-
libs" (They're super-liberal, get it?) should just
"mind their own business." Huh? Did the Dai-
ly's editors even read this stuff before they pub-
lished it? If they did, they should have realized
that Giannatto possesses the insight of uncooked
steak and the prose of a damaged seventh-grader:
"Heretofore, I will call these extremists 'super-
libs."' Heretofore, I will call you an idiot.
Anyway, as a former staffer, I love you, The
Daily. Really. But please, please, take Giannat-
to's keyboard and hurl it into the mouth of an
active volcano.
Adrian Chen
LSA junior
Burma deserves more
attention from students
TO THE DAILY:
"Burma: The Richest of Poor Countries":
This was a headline on my National Geograph-
ic back in 1995. This first encounter with pho-
tos and stories about my family's native country
allowed me to feel a certain connection to my
heritage. However, this was a superficial link;
National Geographic focused on the lush land,
the traditions passed on through the generations
and the golden Burmese pagodas whose value
truly makes Burma the richest of third-world
countries. It was not until later that I understood

tary regime appears to dampen the hope for
a free Burma. Attempts have been futile, and
most notably, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose
own father fought for Burmese democracy
from British rule, has been under house arrest
since 1989, and she is guaranteed freedom from
arrest only if she leaves the country. Burma is a
country filled with breathtaking natural beauty
and with a deep sense of loyalty, respect and
tradition. As long as one more person takes the
time to learn about the struggles the people of
Burma face ahead, we will be one step closer to
democracy.
Cynthia Saw
LSA senior
Female empowerment begins
with a strong handshake
TO THE DAILY:
From a young age, boys are taught to have a
strong, confident handshake. It becomes ingrained
in their minds that their very first impressions
come from this handshake. One must look the
other person in the eye, have a firm grip and
never, ever let his wrist go limp.
I have noticed, however, that the case is differ-
ent for girls. As a woman with a firm handshake, I
find myself in the minority. When I grasp a fellow
female's hand, whether it is in a business or social
situation, she is more likely than not to make a
floppy, unimpressive showing.
As women, we already have enough to over-
come in order to rival the men in our respective
fields; let's not make matters worse by coming off
as insecure and weak before we even get a chance
to speak our minds.
Ladies, please: The next time you find your-
selves in a handshaking situation, be confident.
Think about what you are communicating
through your body language.
Julie Mida
LSA junior
Marvelous students reach
out to a student in need
TO THE DAILY:
Hello, University students - you are
marvelous! When our dear resident, LSA
junior Nimmy George, was struck by a car on
Tuesday, Feb. 7 outside of the Martha Cook
Building, your kindness and caring were over-

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