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ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN OQUIST
being a poet
The sisterhood of the stall
It was Sunday evening at the
Fishbowl and LSA sophomore
Bethany Rockwall needed to use
Rockwall turned left from the
computer lab toward the infa-
mously unkempt women's rest-
room in Mason Hall. Inside the
restroom, she surveyed the rows
of stalls, trying to find one that
wasn't a primordial disaster.
Rockwall's search took her to the
end of the row, where she settled
on a stall that was clean but impos-
sible to lock.
There is where she found it -
the "Go Blue Girly Confessions..."
"Go Blue Girly Confessions..."
is the name someone scrawled
above a couple square feet of graf-
fiti that features hundreds of con-
fessions and responses written by
a devout following of anonymous
bathroom-goers. The wall, with its
frequent updates of new secrets,
acts as a sort of peer counseling
system with what could be a faster
response time than the Universi-
ty's Counseling And Psychological
The stall's end-of-the-row posi-
tion and door that stands ajar makes
it an unlikely choice, except in the
situation encountered byRockwall, darker set of guilty confessions
where every other stall is a war written discreetly to the side in
zone. But after women discover the small, cramped letters.
stall, many will use no other. "I miss bulimia," reads the first
"From now on I only use this note.
stall!" reads one of many endorse- "I know! I miss anorexia but I
ments written on the wall. Rock- hate what it did 2 me."
wall, who admitted to spending "I miss cutting. Ahh - high
a few extra minutes studying the school addictions."
wall's contents, said she would "Be strong, women!" the last
show the stall special preference note reads.
from now on. And since it's at the on another area of the wall, dis-
end of the row and it doesn't lock, cussion takes a turn toward medi-
"It's probably going to remain the cal matters. A large square borders
clean one," she said. a survey that asks, "Have you got-
The wall's content, in a similar ten the HPV/cervical cancer vac-
vein of PostSecret, ranges from cine?" Fourteen respondents have
admissions of guilty pleasures - gotten the vaccine, 10 haven't but
"I'm having an existentialist crisis intend to and 11 don't plan to. Two
over a Coach bag" - to acknowl- others responded under the added
edgement of inner-demons - category "Too expensive!"
"There is life after depression. I Nearby, another contributor
have found it." poses a question to her fellow
The vast majority of entries women about the pros and cons
refer to incidents of unrequited of the after-the-fact birth control
or unfeasible love, some elicit- Plan B. "What do you think of Plan
ing sympathetic responses and B? I just had it and it fucked up my
advice. cycle really bad."
"He cheated on me twice and "What is Plan B?" a reader
lied to me about it for a year but responded. "I like the pill."
I'm still not over him," one series Throughout the wall's con-
of notes begins. tents, one reaction repeatedly
"You need to move on. Not worth appears. Note after note extols
your time.You're better than that!!" the wall's existence, if not for
one response reads. therapeutic services provided,
"No. Take your time. You will than at least for its entertain-
heal when you're ready," another ment value.
response counters. A note penciled in elegant
Standing in contrast to the cursive best sums up the com-
plethora of romantic angst is a munal sentiment: "Thank you all
for writing on this - it leaves me
much enjoyment reading people's
thoughts and smart-ass comments
while I have to take a dump - you
know - it does get sorta boring
just sitting there."
- JESSICA VOSGERCHIAN
Where the unacceptable
Saturday at Michigan Stadium
wasn't one of those golden autumn
afternoons that composers write
fight songs about. The temperature
was in the low-40s at kickoff and
the drizzle was softly persistent,
but the crowd in the student section
was electric, especially closer to the
field, where it's mostly seniors who
hadn't seen a victory against Ohio
State in their previous three years
on campus. When star running
back Mike Hart was announced,
the cheering swelled to a crescen-
do. One might have felt proud to be
part of a Michigan community that
supports its members, a 110,000-
person family that comes together
eight autumn Saturdays a year to
cheer on its team.
Floating above the crowd,
though, were two inflatable objects
that ruined the illusion of the
camaraderie of sport. They were
4-foot penises, which the students
buoyed above their heads like phal-
lic crowd-surfers. And written on
one of them was TRESSEL LIKES
Jim Tressel is the sweater-vested
coach of Ohio State who is rumored
- at least according to the kind of
T-shirts sold on football Saturdays
whose idea of humor is switching
the F in fuck with the B in Buckeyes
- to do things like wear Ugg boots
and drink wine coolers. There is no
evidence that he is gay. He is mar-
ried to a woman named Ellen, and
together they have four children:
Zak, Carlee, Eric and Whitney.
The veracity of the inflatable
penises' claim, though, isn't the
dislike for their archrivals' leader,
whose record against Michigan's
Lloyd Carr stood at 5-1 before the
game and 6-1 afterward. Such com-
petitiveness is healthy and expected.
What is interesting is how the
studentsectionchose to express that
dislike. Chanting "You suck" after
the opposing team fails to convert
on third down is one thing. Using
homophobic symbols is another.
Is there any other place at this
supposedly progressive school
where it is so acceptable to use such
blatantly prejudiced speech? And is
there any other cultural group that
is so easy to openly smear without
reprocussions than gay, lesbian,
transgender and bisexual people?
What if the penises had had rac-
ist language? Would the student in
row 19 of section 31 have been more
hesitant to thrust it into the face of
the Ohio State fan in front of him
again and again?
And why is it that we give up all
our values and beliefs at this uni-
versity when it comes to sports?
Things did not get much better
as the gamewenton. Michigantook
a 3-0 lead before falling behind 7-3
in the second quarter. A 62-yard
touchdown run early in the second
half by Chris Wells put the Buck-
eyes up by 11.
In the fourth quarter, when
quarterback Chad Henne fumbled
the snap on third down, one stu-
dent could not hold in his anger any
"You're a faggot, Henne," he
The final score was 14-3. The fans
shuffled out of the stadium, wet and
disappointed for the wrong reason.
- KARL STAMPFL
Ron Paul House
Hanging out with fans of the
GOP's kookiest candidate
You're probably seen the Ron
Paul House. It's the old building
on North Main Street on the way
to the highway with a big "Ron
Paul Revolution" flag. Aside from
flag, the exterior looks more like a
house in small-town New England,
possibly along a rural highway in
But stepping into the worn-
down building transports you
to a scene that almost feels as if
you're back in the radical, politi-
cally active 1960s - the sort of
scene that's been long dead in Ann
Arbor. Graffiti covers the walls,
the room is littered with political
posters and pamphlets, Bob Mar-
ley is playing and there are two
of the most comfortable looking
couches you have ever seen.
Before this reverie can fully
take over, however, you'll probably
notice the new-looking metallic
water cooler/refrigerator unit in
the middle of the room, or at least
the computer station right next to
the front door. You're still in 2007.
When you walk in, you'll likely
be greeted by University alum
Adam de Angeli, the technology
coordinator for the Ron Paul cam-
paign in the state of Michigan. De
Angeli will prove a sort of a beard-
ed guide for your journey through
the world of Ron Paul.
De Angeli, who coordinates
most efforts to elect Ron Paul in
Aaron McCollough, a University English lecturer who has published three books of
poetry, discusses a career path that all parents hope their child won't pursue
- As told to Lisa Haidostian
There's generally no such thing as royalties in poetry. You don't get a dime from the books you publish, even if someone actually
buys a copy. If your heart is set on being a professional poet, either score a lecturing job or get used to Ramen.
The most common way for new poets to get their work published is by entering in poetry contests. They
cost money and are usually only won by people already established in the poetry community. Good luck.
If no one will publish your poetry, self-publishing websites like Lulucom exist to guide you
through every step of the way. Of course, that doesn't mean anyone will read it.
If you want to be a poet, skip out on the creative writing major and instead hit the
library and submerge yourself in your favorite kind of poetry. If you don't read
a lot of other people's poetry, you won't write good stuff of your own.
Facebook.com, Myspace, blogs and various websites all contribute to a burgeoning
sense of camaraderie within the poetry community. Sometimes poets message each
other on Facebook in search of a free couch to crash on when they travel.
Poetry isn't important in today's culture, but the fact that it's useless and people still continue
to write it makes it important, in that weird paradoxical, poetic sort of way.
Almost all poets are self-involved and narcissistic. If you're not, you might want to work on that.