4A - Monday, March 16, 2009
4 MdaMrU20The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
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ROBERT SOAVE COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All othersigned articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A box office hit
New 'U' film office will bring benefits to students, economy
onsidering the quality of Rob Schneider's past movies, the
fact that he's filming his latest in Ann Arbor probably won't
add anything to campus's cultural prestige. Thankfully,
better quality movies may be coming to campus. That's because
the University just recently announced the creation of a film office
to assist studios interested in making movies on campus. With the
state economy floundering, the Ann Arbor bubble can only remain
intact for so long. Encouraging filmmakers to choose Ann Arbor is
a great way to stimulate the local economy. In addition to this, the
film office should also work with studios to create more opportuni-
ties for students who want to be involved with these films.
I suspect that the Republican party would love to see
me travel through the Amazon ... and maybe get lost.
- President Barack Obama, commenting on a suggestion that he begin a tour of
Brazil with a trip to the rainforest, as reported on Saturday by Reuters.
CHRIS KOSLOWSKI IOUT T PA STURE E-MAIL CHRIS AT CSKOSLOW@UMICH.EDU
wouldliste to u if w wereDon't took at e eifethat.
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Rewriting the books
The University has been swamped with
requests for filming on campus following
the passage of the Michigan Motion Picture
Incentive Program last spring. This pro-
gram offers a 40 percent tax credit to large
filmmaking projects in Michigan, allowing
studios to cut back on cast, crew and other
production costs. Since this incentive went
into effect, there has been a spike in filming
around the state, including in Ann Arbor,
and plans for Michigan-based studios have
already been proposed. The University's
new office, while not a profitable endeavor,
hopes to streamline the process for film-
makers to shoot on campus.
The most beneficial part of encourag-
ing film 'production in Ann Arbor is the
economic boon a large movie production
would bring to the community. The local
support system that comes with the arrival
of a large film crew stimulates local busi-
nesses. Unless these crews plan on living
in tents and eating canned food, increased
patronage at local bars, restaurants and
hotels will result from the arrival of film
crews in the city.
But the University's new film office
should make an effort not only to help
filmmakers obtain access to University
locations for shooting, but also to encour-
age the hiring of arts majors seeking a
career in the film industry. Not only does
this help retain Michigan students in need
of.jobs, but it also keeps breathing life into
Ann Arbor's cultural identity - one that
already includes the Ann Arbor Film Festi-
val - by keeping young, talented artists of
various kinds in the city despite economic
woes statewide. Motivated filmmakers,
artists and performers have the chance
to take advantage of the opportunities at
The effort to bring in filmmakers should
also be considered an investment in the
University's exposure. Film crews find out
how great the University community is and
audiences across the country get a glimpse
of what it means to go to school here.
University officials are making the
right move to help establish Ann Arbor as
a hot spot for movie material. While not
every movie made in Ann Arbor will be an
award-winning masterpiece, the increased
presence of the film industry in the city
is an encouraging bright spot for those
who wish to use the creative talents they
learned at the University without leaving
W hen I saw a small, unfa- modern trends, the straight-up phat
miliar textbook lying on publisher rocked the illest research, and,
the coffee table at home like, kicked it with some student inter-
a couple of weeks views and what not.
ago, I didn't think How very dope.
too much of it. My The publisher's research indicat-
mother is a sociol- ed that students feel textbooks are
ogy professor and "boring," "outdated" and "irrelevant
honestly, I've seen to me." But throw in some Beyonce,
too many editions "Juno" and Kanye, and boom - rele-
of too many soci- vance city. The publisher is just trying
ology texts lying to understand its consumers and give
around the house. them whatthey want. What could ever
But this book was IMRAN be wrongwith that?
different. SYED Well, plenty - not the least of which
I can describe it is that a college education simply must
to you, but to really not devolve to the studied consum-
know what I'm talk- erization of cable news or designer
ing about, go to amazon.com and look handbags. Dictating what you already
it up: "SOC" by Jon Witt. With a flashy understand kind of defeats the pur-
cover that's more "Teen Vogue" than pose of an education, no? Simply put,
any textbook in your school bag, the as a college student, I felt insulted by
book even had those little blurbs that the assumptions at work in the cre-
magazine covers have about the sto- ation of "SOC."
ries inside. Sure, instead of "20 bright I don't need gimmicks to read my
beauty ideas to try" or "Spring fash- textbooks, and I definitely don't need
ion at every price!" this cover had bits Diddy or iPhone references every
like "Sociology is a verb," but exciting other page to stay engaged. I know
nonetheless. Right? publishing is a business and selling is
Falling for the gimmick, I began the game, but we'd all be better off if
flipping thropgh the book. Introduc- education didn't go the way of a Mr.
ing the author was a fill-in-the-blanks Alan's "$29-or-two-for-$50" sale.
questionnaire with scribbly answers, The central question is simple. Is
similar to the American Express mag- education something we bring down
azine ads featuring celebs like Jerry to our level, or should we work up to
Seinfeld. Every so often, features like its level? If education is about the bet-
"Pop Soc" and "At the Movies" crop terment of individuals, then surely the
up, just in case you can't understand, latter is the smarter choice. The phi-
for example, the concept of "The Indi- losophy at work in "SOC," however, is
vidual and Society" without a Harry clearly the former, because publish-
Potter reference. Capping it all off was ers have incentives to advertise their
a back cover inviting students to check products as responsive to students'
out the author's blog. needs. Professors and students must
Dude's got a blog! not falter in our duty to decide which
Why would a publisher feel the need products improve the educational
to make a textbook that resembles a experience and which ones are simply
magazine? Luckily, the book's inside ploys to feign responsiveness for the
flap had the answer, which I'll relay sake of better book sales.
by Iaraphrasing it in the language the There's an old book in my basement
publisher clearly supposes students'. that I took from my elementary school
are always using: Being totally hip to years ago when the book was about
to be thrown out. Printed in 1937,
"Where Our Ways of Living 'Come
From" is a sociology text of sorts. In
the introduction, it says it provides a
new approach to grade school social
studies that eliminates older materi-
als that' students found meaningless.
shouldn't need to
be 'pimped out'.
Flipping through the old book, I
found that the thinking that went into
it isn't so different from "SOC." The
authors of "Our Ways of Living" also
tried to target their audience better by
making the book more appealing and
The difference is that they did it by
rewriting the material, by broadening
the perspectives presented and by sug-
gesting and tying in classroom activi-
ties. "SOC" doesn't seem to do any of
those: It's simply a repackaging of the
same textual material with snazzy
celeb photos and multiple uses of the
Nevertheless, "SOC" may still be as
competently written a textbook as any
that I've recycled for my mother. It's
simply that I worry about the philoso-
phy behind its creation. While we ben-
efit from the personalization of many
things, I'm not sure Twitterizing edu-
cation is going to work out so well for
any of us.
And, in case you're interested, I too
am still trying to figure out how sociol-
ogy is a verb.
- Imran Syed was the Daily's
editorial page editor in 2007. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari;Emily Barton, Elise Baun, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca,
Satyajeet Deshmukh, Brian Flaherty, Emmarie Huetteman, Emma Jeszke,
Sutha K Kanagasingam, Shannon Kellman, Jeremy Levy, Edward McPhee, Matthew Shutler,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder
E IT R SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
Diesel -not the answer to turbocharging, downsizing and homogeneous
charge compression ignition, gasoline engines
promise to approach diesel efficiency while
Detroitsproblems emitting less nitrogen oxides and being light-
er-weight, which in turn allows for lighter car
TO THE DAILY: structures.
Ben Caleca makes several strong points in Caleca's other comparisons with Europe are
his column (Detroit, go Diesel, 03/13/09). The absolutely on target. We should focus on active
one in the title, however, is not one of them. safety - that is, preventing cars from crashing.
Five years ago, I would have agreed to "go The answer is largely technological (intelligent
diesel." But now it is clear that diesel is at the sensors and control systems), but mainly social
end of its lifeline for light-duty vehicles. The (comprehensive driver training).
fact is that innovation in diesel is going toward In addition to on-the-road skills, main-
improving emissions instead of making for- tenance and eco-driving, driver's educa-
ward leaps in fuel efficiency. Diesel efficiency tion should educate new drivers about the
is peaking, so to speak. true cost to the environment in producing
Gasoline engines are also on their way vehicles and in burning fossil fuels, and then
out - we are on to the electrified car, hope- demonstrate practical, local ways to avoid
fully without the diversion of a hydrogen the use of cars in most everyday situations.
"scam" economy. But gasoline engines are fast
improving' in fuel efficiency by implementing Eric Sauck
diesel-like technology. With direct injection, Engineeringsenior
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As the Michigan Student Assembly examines its own future on campus, the Daily would
like students to voice their opinions on what should be a part of its agenda.
E-MAIL YOUR IDEAS TO ROBERT SOAVE AT RSOAVE@UMICH.EDU
ALLIE WILLS iV ngWP o l tNT
Finding toler ance through faith
E-MAIL JASON AT MAHAKIAJ@UMICH.EDU
De to the current economic criss
t ay ocut dieon sm'etings?
Got any ideas
n so muc
HA HA HA
drink less?hNaha Good one, man!
but no seriously
d efieytxt book
"6 / '
I have always been Christian and religious. I can't
remember a time when I'didn't believe in God. I grew up
in a conservative Presbyterian church that had a "love the
sinner, hate the sin" attitude toward homosexuality, so
when I came out to myself as queer at 16, 1 was devastated.
At first, I considered celibacy, which was my church's only
answer to homosexuality. I would have done it if I had
been sure it was what God wanted, but something nagged
at my brain. How could it be a sin? Who was I hurting?
Why would God have made me queer if I was supposed to
spend my whole life fighting it? I considered fighting it for
a while and then started looking for other options.
I found out that a lot of denominations, my own includ-
ed, have groups of churches that accept lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender and queer people without asking
us to change. I visited all different kinds of churches:
Methodist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ and Pres-
byterian. I began to believe that homosexuality was not
a sin - that God loves and accepts people regardless of
their sexuality. Jesus, after all, said nothing about homo-
sexuality and spenthis time with all sorts of people on the
fringes of society.
Still, I had considered getting ordained for a long time,
and if that was what God was asking of me, I wanted a
church in which I could get ordained without having to
be celibate. This narrowed my search down to the Epis-
copal, Unitarian Universalist and Metropolitan Commu-
nity Churches. I tried a local Episcopal Church and fell in
love almost instantly. Sexuality was talked about openly,
I was allowed to be a Sunday school teacher and the priest
herself wss in a committed, same-sex relationship. I was
confirmed into the Episcopal Church in June of 2009 and
it felt like coming home.
Coming to college, I was afraid I wouldn't find a reli-
gious community that accepted me the way my first
church had. By the grace of God, I found two: Canterbury
House and St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church. The first
time I met St. Clare's parishioners was at an Oasis Even-
song, a service held once a month by and for LGBT people
and our allies. They encouraged me to visita service at St.
Clare's, and sure enough, it me feel at home the moment I
walked through the door.
At Canterbury House, the Episcopal student ministry,
I found another terrific community. The music is wild,
the preaching is radical and you will be welcomed into
the community no matter where you are in life. In it I
have found a Christian community of LGBT people and
our allies. I've gained countless Christian friends, some
LGBT and others straight.
Robin Williams once joked that the best thing about
the Episcopal Church is that, whatever you believe, you
are sure to find someone there who will agree with you.
In some ways, he's right - certainly not everyone in the
Episcopal Church believes LGBT people should be accept-
ed into the life of the-church, and we are still struggling
over whether LGBT people should be bishops. I love the
fact that we can disagree civilly (most of the time), but I
wish everyone could see what I see - LGBT Christians
pray, laugh, cry, worship, work and raise families in the
church just like everyone else.
LGBT people are an integral part of the church. We
have a powerful presence in the life of the church and we
belong in its sacred space as much as anyone else. Cer-
tainly, we have come a long way, but there's still much
more to do. Although it won't be easy, I truly believe that
LGBT people in all faiths have the responsibility of work-
ing to advance our cause in organized religion. We too are
faithful people, and we too deserve the chance to be wel-
comed into our religions the way we are. It's bound to be
an uphill battle, but I know we'll get there.
Allie Wills is an LSA sophomore.
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