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March 09, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-03-09

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4 - Friday, March 9, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

74C MIdiig0an Bal,6l
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
The greatest generation?
It's not narcissism - if we really are the best
In the latest study flushed from the ivory tower of academia,
psychologists concluded that college students are more nar-
cissistic than ever before. Apparently, this is an alarming
consequence for society because narcissists "favor self-promotion
over helping others." But so what if we college students do spend
most of our time talking about ourselves and flaunting our exten-
sive accomplishments: It's not narcissism if we really are better
than everyone else. '


He's a beautiful man."
- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama
in an interview last night on ABC's "Nightline."
As if instantaneous Global had to add a Dick Che
Climate Change caused by three neytook-alike and a paek
You know what movie was gigantic lad-based ice hurr. T woes.
great canes descending simulaneously
TheDoy After Tomorrow from the North wasn't scary a vet tol.x'
* * x ', Aprans
--- - ---------

No one to the rescue

The study defined narcissists merely as
those who agree with the most obvious
of statements like, "If I ruled the world, it
would be a better place." First of all, who
would disagree? And besides, the study
failed to recognize the true achievements
of college-aged adults - triumphs unparal-
leled by any preceding generation.
Led by five over-the-hill psychology pro-
fessors from across the country, the study
failed to account for the fact that even
from an early age, others recognized and
cultivated our generation's capacity for
greatness. The many celebrated exploits
of current college student date back well
into the 1980s, to that magical first memory
most of us have. sensory-motor skills bare-
ly at hand, we heard for the first time the
indisputable declaration that we are spe-
cial. First it was our mom, then our grand-
parents and then a big yellow bird even had
to agree we were truly unique - on TV.
The late Mr. Rogers, among others, was
a pioneer in recognizing our preeminent
achievement. Almost on a daily basis, Rog-
ers would invite us to move into his highly
selective neighborhood. Rogers, a grown-
up, had his pick of any person in America
to be his neighbor, yet he chose not to go
after your Kim Basingers, Jean-Claude
Van Dammes or Joe Carters. He went on
national television to appeal to us young
aspiring minds. He and others told us every
time they saw us that, whatever it was, we
could do it. We were that special.
Then we headed off to school, where our
greatness wasted no time in coming to light.
Snagging the first of many student-of-the-
month awards that first semester, we went
on to build a solid academic portfolio, with
uncountable certificates of merit, certifi-
cates of recognition, certificates of achieve-
ment and more than a couple of smiley faces
on returned tests.
Recently, we illustrious minds moved
out of Mr. Roger's neighborhood and onto
college campuses. Nothing could have pre-

pared the world for the whirlwind of prog-
ress we wrought. The level of change we
have effected is truly remarkable, worthy
of the great reformers of all time. One of
thousands of examples, the Facebook group
"David Beckham> Superman" setthe record
straight on a common misconception that
catalyzes many of the world's most explo-
sive conflicts, baffling even the most quali-
fied of international relations theorists.
Some argue that our innovative means of
changing the world one Facebook group at
a time is meaningless, insincere and lazy.
Clearly these haters haven't gotten wind
of the selfless sacrifices of the good men
and women behind "For Every 1,000 that
join this group I will donate $1 for Darfur."
With over 400,000 members, the group has
thrown about as much cash at the world's
most shamefully overlooked atrocity as the
U.S. government.
The feats of the current college generation
just keep coming. Last year, we were finally
recognized by a major national publication,
as we should have been a decade ago. Pick-
ing up a December issue of Time magazine
we were humbled - though hardly shocked
- to see we had been named Person of the
Year. Considering out groundbreaking work
in lip-synching songs onYouTube, and writ-
ing ourselves in as the current James Bond
on Wikipedia, the award was well deserved.
By misconstruing our factual, tangible
greatness as somehow narcissistic, the
reportignores this recent crowning achieve-
ment from Time, which officially notes that
every single college student is indeed just
as awesome as Mahatma Gandhi, Franklin
Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr.
The study's attemptEto aggrandize the self-
esteem of the older demographic by mar-
ginalizing our achievement and serving to
sooth the social rejection felt by the associ-
ate professors who conducted this so-called
research is truly alarming. Never has aca-
demia committed a more serious offense.
Right, Mr. Rogers?

t was a Thursday night like any
other. I was walking back home
with a friend of mine at 3 a.m.
when I saw someone chasing a guy.
He tackled him and threw punches at
him. My friend dismissed it as "a bunch
of drunk kids" and wanted to just get
The victim's
friend was just
standing there, not
doing anything to r4
help. The assaulter's{
friends were just 4
standing there too,
making no attempt
to stop the drunken RAJIV
assault. All the while PRABAKAR
the assaulter was
pounding away and the victim was just
lying there too drunk and dazed to do
And there I was - the only guy who
seemed to be concerned. But all I could
muster was a meager "Stop fighting on
the road."
It was only about 10 seconds of
watching the guy get his face pounded,
I realized someone had to do some-
thing. No one budged. I finally told
everyone to back away from the vic-
tim, something I probably should have
done much earlier. It was only as I got
closer that I realized that this wasn't
just some silly fight; the guy's nose
was broken, his was lip busted and his
jacket was soaked with blood. If I'd
just walked in immediately instead of
standing there gawking, he wouldn't
have been injured half as badly.
So there we were: me, my friend, the

victim's "friend" and the victim, who
couldn't even stand on his own. We
had to get him to the hospital but had
no means of doing so. I told my friend
to wave down any cab that passed by,
but he seemed very reluctant to even
try. Some guys walked by us, inquired
about what happened and then just
walked away.
A girl driving a car pulled up at the
intersection and just stared at us for a
while. When I noticed her, I told her
the guy was injured badly and that we
needed to get him to the hospital. She
seemed very hesitant to drive him the
two blocks to the hospital. She prom-
ised to call a cab and come back in a few
minutes - I never saw her again.
Finally, we saw a beacon of hope: a
Department of Public Safety car. We
waved frantically and were relieved
when it pulled over. We explained the
situation, and when the officer saw the
victim's bloody face, the first thing he
did was to order him to back away from
the car and sit on the pavement. He
then decided thatinstead of drivingthe
victim down to the hospital, he would
wait for an ambulance. The poor guy
probably woke up the nextday with not
just a broken nose but also a $500 bill
for the two-minute ambulance ride up
the block. For an organization whose
name implies its primary role is to safe-
guard the public, DPS certainly had a
lackadaisical response to an injured
Satisfied there was nothing else
we could do, my friend and I started
walking home. I started talking about
how the perpetrator had just severely

injured someone over a simple verbal
altercation. My friend responded by
blaming the victim's drunkeness and
assumed the assaulter had a good rea-
son for beating him up.
It's amazing how a simple 10-min-
ute incident can reflect on society as a
whole. You have the perpetrator who
hurts the victim. You have the perpe-
trator's friends who make no attempt
to stop him. Then you have the victim,
who is too weak to help himself, and
the victim's friend, who simply stands
Being a good
samaritan is out
of style.
by. You have the observer who doesn't
want to get involved, criticizes any
attempted aid and is quick to blame the
victim and defend the perpetrator.
You have the average Joes who are
full of concern and curiosity but of
little actual help. You have those with
the power to make a difference, but
more worried about their own inter-
ests. You have the jaded establishment
that is slow to act and almost further ~
compounds the victim's problems. And
finally, you have the good Samaritan
who does too little, too late.
Things aren't looking good for us,
Rajiv Prabhakar can be
reached at rajivp@umich.edu.

The truth about the RIAA

When was the last time you felt sorry for
companies that rake in hundreds of millions
of dollars in profit each year by leeching onto
artistic talent and suckling from the profits of
other more innovative companies?
Well, this is exactly what companies like
EMI and the Universal Music Group are doing
behind theveilofthe RecordingindustryAsso-
ciation of America's self-righteous crusade to
protect copyright laws. Even my colleagues on
the Daily's editorial board seem to have bought
into the rhetoric. Wednesday's editorial (Fac-
ing the music, 03/07/2007) ignored the truth
that the RIAA's efforts are narrowly aimed at
protecting the wallets of music executives at
the expense of students. Artists and the intel-
lectual property are simply an afterthought.
Last fiscal year, EMI - one of the Big Four
album distributors that control nearly 95 per-
cent of music distribution - recorded a net
profit of $169 million. This fiscal year, anoth-
er "Big Four" member, the Universal Music
Group, is expected to bring in record profits
from its deal with Microsoft.
The music industry's demise at the hands
of illegal downloading is a myth. By lobbying
Congress to create broad "fair use" laws and
maintaining their monopoly on the market,
these companies are striking it rich despite
what their rhetoric of victimization may lead
you to believe.
Ifthese industry moguls are really interested
in fairness, they should look at the people they
represent. Most artists only receive 15 percent
of the commercial price of sold CDs. More dis-
turbingly, artists only make that 15 percent on
85 percent of total sales because of an archaic
clause from the days when about 10 percent
of records would break during shipping. The
reality is that artists make their money on tour
and through merchandizing; industry groups
make their money from albums. Downloading
threatens the mainstream, commercial artists
and promotes local bands and record compa-
nies. The Big Four just can't have that.
Regardless of these facts, many still contend
that by pursuing litigation, the RIAA is sim-
ply protecting its copyrights. There is nothing
wrongwith that, but the new campaign against
students is specifically designed to skirt legal
solutions on the constitutionality of file shar-
ing. Let me explain.
Since the 2005 Supreme Court decision in
MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., in which
the recording industry scored a partial victory

against file-sharing sites, little has changed
in the volume of downloading copyrighted
music. Instead, file-sharing sites have moved
offshore or avoided the law with user agree-
ments that shift the responsibility to users.
The RIAA must now target individual users,
fighting privacy law and internet providers
just to receive damages. Originally the music
industry's strategy revolved around blanket-
ing users with excessive lawsuits designed to
scare them into compliance. This new strat-
egy has backfired in cases like UMG v. Lindor,
in which a Brooklyn federal court is hearing a
challenge to the $750 per song damages sought
by the RIAA.
With so much not going its way, the RIAA is
turning to an easier target - college students.
Because they lack the finances to challenge
the RIAA in court, students are more likely to
settle, and the RIAA can receive its inflated
damages while skirting the hard constitu-
tional challenges and avoiding the complex
laws that deal with internet service provid-
ers. If new cases reach the Supreme Court, it is
unlikely that the music industry will substan-
tially redefine the fair use precedent set in the
1984 in Sony Corp. ofAmerica v. Universal Stu-
dios, which protected VCR recording as a fair
extension of intellectual property use.
If the music industry is serious about ending
illegal downloading, it should pursue the high-
profile cases that will help define the law. Until
that happens, the public willibe uncertain what
these laws mean and people will break them.
The RIAA should also be pushing the compa-
nies itrepresents to develop an encoding system
that promotes the law. Free downloading sites
like Ruckus aren't a viable solution because the
encoding system is flawed. Students can use
programs like TuneBite to convert the self-
terminating mp4 files from Ruckus into mp3
files that don't terminate and are illegal. Col-
lege students are a step ahead of a billion-dollar
industry - something is wrong about that.
None of these arguments are a justification
for illegal downloading. But the RIAA's cam-
paign against students is not perpetuating jus-
tice - it is a greedy action designed to avoid
the comprehensive legal solution that intellec-
tual property law needs. We can't let the law
stand in the way of advocating justice and stu-
dent concerns.
Gary Graca is an LSA freshman and
an associate editorial page editor.

LSA-SG is working to improve
readiness of international GSIs
This letter is in response to this week's Statement
cover story (Why complaining about your GSI's accent
is a waste of time [and racist], 03/07/2007). I feel these
complaints are a widespread problem that affect stu-
dents not only at the University, but also at other uni-
versities across the country.
As a representative on LSA-Student Government, I am
currently heading a project to improve GSI consistency
across classes to address the problem of students hav-
ing a difficult time understanding international GSIs. I
have been working closely with various LSA deans as
well as the English Language Institute to improve the
current situation.
The proposals we are working on include: improving
the follow-up program in the ELI after GSIs have passed
the English Proficiency Test, getting the ELI to ensure
GSIs are culturally prepared to teach in American class-
rooms, instituting an LSA-wide policy for the mid-term
and final evaluations for international GSIs and imple-
menting additional Graduate Student Mentors. We have
also suggested a "Take your GSIs out to Pizza" program,
which would improve interaction between GSIs and
students beyond traditional office hours.
I agree with the writer that students need to be more
accepting of GSIs from different cultures and look past
language barriers to improve the educational experi-
ence. As representatives of students ina diverse Univer-
sity community, LSA-SG is working to ensure that all
students have the opportunity to get the most diverse
education possible. We welcome all suggestions and
comments from the general student body.
Nick Tan
LSA freshman
'U' must be on students' side in
their dispute with the RIAA
I was shocked the Daily took the position it did in its
Wednesday editorial (Facing the music, 03/07/2007).
The editorial board advocated that the University move
to a free means of downloading music like that provided
at other universities. However, these services are not so
free. I think we can all agree right off the bat that the
University would incur significant costs in implement-
ing such a service.
Most likely, University Housing in particular would
bear the burden, given that students off-campus don't
have the benefit of the campus Internet network. I find
it hard to believe that University Housing, an entity
well-known for high and questionable pricing (see: meal
credits), would simply swallow such costs. Instead, they
would most likely be passed on to all students, even
those that don't care to listen to the music provided by
this "free" service.
Ruckus Network's service might be free, but it comes
with strings attached. It is Windows-only, which does
not suit the needs of Mac and Linux users. The music
files are in a protected format, which means that you
may not be able to listen to them after college, when you

are no longer eligible for the Ruckus free service.
Finally, you might recall the "If this group reaches
100,000, my girlfriend will have a threesome" Face-
book group from earlier this year, started by none other
than Brody Ruckus (a fictional persona). Why should we
trust a group that uses such subversive, underhanded
marketing tactics?
The University has no obligation to prop up the
recording industry's failing business model. It could,
however, take steps to reduce students' vulnerability to
lawsuits. The University should side with students, not
a group of corporations bent on suing customers.
Scott Wolchok
Engineering senior
Lack of apology to 'comfort
women' must be taken in context
While I commend the topic, Whitney Dibo's column
on Japanese "comfort women" during World War II
lacks historical perspective (A long overdue apology,
03/08/2007). More than two hundred thousand women
were forced into this slavery, which is obviously appall-
ing. But an equal number or more were killed in the Nan-
king Massacre, and the Japanese government has not
apologized for that either. Neither has it apologized for
"Unit 731," a secret medical unit that researched biologi-
cal warfare through human experimentation. Further-
more, when the Soviet Army tore its way across Germany,
its soldiers raped more than 2,500,000 women. These
women have not received any reparations or apologies.
As a result of the Holocaust 9 million Jews, gentile
Poles, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, gay people and
handicapped people were tortured and murdered. The
fact that 200,000 women were sold into sexual slavery
is tragic, but to call the story of comfort women "one of
the saddest, most shameful chapters in modernhistory"
is to disregard many others.
James Kunz
LSA junior
Viewpoint writer should confront
his biases and false perceptions
Without a doubt, the campus group called the F-Word
seems to be upsetting the right people. It is upsetting the
kind of people who think, "no one supports rape besides
rapists," the kind of people who ignore the context of a
patriarchal culture. These are the kinds of people who
should feel threatened by feminism.
I hope James Dickson's offensive viewpoint (Don't
be afraid to challenge feminism, 03/06/2007) is the first
step in his coming to terms with his biases and false
perceptions. As he said, "college is a time when we learn 0
how to think. " Regardless, I know his article did more
to make me sympathetic to the F-Word and understand
the need for an organization like it on campus than any-
thing the organization itself could have done.
Peter Shapiro
LSA senior

Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell,
Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek



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