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September 17, 2009 - Image 4

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4A - Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

I I e WIC46gan wily


Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position oftthe Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views ofttheir authors.
Txt u 8er
State should make texting and driving a secondary offense
Few would disagree that drunk driving is extremely dan-
gerous for both the drunk driver and any surrounding
cars on the road. But while driving under the influence is
a punishable offense, another activity that can be just as danger-
ous has long been regarded as totally acceptable. That activity
is texting. A bill to ban texting while on the road is currently
making its way through Michigan's House of Representatives.
This bill could be worthwhile, but if the state legislature really
wants to curb texting it will be wary of passing a law that broadly
empowers law enforcement and instead concentrate on a media
campaign instructing drivers not to text.
If State Rep. Lee Gonzales's (D-Flint) might have been holding as a phone. This
bill becomes law, Michigan would be the should not be left up to the officer's discre-
19th state to pass legislation that bans tion. The best law would be one that pun-
concurrent texting and driving. The bill ishes texters who are speeding or driving
initially called for texting while driving to erratically by giving them an extra fine or
be a secondary offense. But since then, the points.
bill has been changed to treat it as a pri- But rather than counting on stricter laws
mary offense, meaning that a police officer to curb the problem of texting while driv-
doesn't need a separate reason to pull over ing, state agencies should enact a state-
a driver who is texting. wide media campaign that highlights the
It's good that the legislature has finally dangers and publicizes the new law. Ulti-
taken up this debate. A National Highway mately, it will be the perceived threat of
Traffic Safety Administration study found punishment rather than the actual severity
that drivers using a cell phone are four of the punishment that reduces how much
times more likely to cause an accident. The texting people in the state are doing while
same study cited cell phone drivers as just driving. Just like the state police's highly
as likely to cause accidents as drivers with publicized "Click It or Ticket" program to
a .08 blood alcohol content level (the mini- emphasize the need for seatbelts, spread-
mum BAC for a DUI). And texting is cer- ing awareness is the real key to addressing
tainly more dangerous than just talking on the texting issue.
the phone because it requires a person to Establishing concurrent texting and
actually look at the phone while driving. driving as a secondary offense - and
Though the legislature should act on launching an accompanying publicity pro-
this issue, it would be wise to reconsider gram - is a good way to make Michigan's
the initial bill. Classifying texting as a pri- roads safer. And who knows, the quality
mary offense gives police too much leeway of texts might end up-improving now that
to pull over drivers who may be driving in people will have to pull over to text, they
a safe manner while simply on the phone might actually have the time and patience
or to purposely construe anything a driver not to omit the vowels.

I wouldn't say today with absolute certainty that you
could get to 60, but it would be just as foolish to say
you can't get there either..This is the Senate.'
- Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Connecticut), discussing whether Democrats in the Senate could overcome
a filibuster on the health care bill, as reported yesterday by the New York Times.

Over-glamorizing gays


When it hit theaters this sum-
mer, "Bruno" got the gay
community talking - and
not just about all
of its overt male
nudity. Though
the film was argu-
ably pro-gay,
given its satirical'
take on American
homophobia, many
in the LGBT com-
munity wereM
horrified by its MATTHEW
over-the-top per- GREEN
sonification of gay
stereotypes. And
in truth, despite possibly good inten-
tions, Bruno did occasionally cross the
line. But I'm not convinced that Sacha
Baron Cohen's gay caricature, however
offensive, really had an impact on the
way in which the mainstream straight
population views gay men.
After all, gays are everywhere these
days. In addition to their greater vis-
ibility intoday's more open societygay
in popular film and television. Scads of
sitcoms and feature films expose view-
ers to what being gay is all about. That
is, of course, if being gay means being
fashion-obsessed, effeminate, gos-
sipy and irrepressibly horny. Critics of
"Bruno" are kidding themselves if they
don't see these stereotypes in perhaps
less explicit terms all over film and
Such objectification isn't really
new to show business. In another era,
an audience might have laughed at a
white actor in blackface acting how
white society expected a black man to
act. White people, who may never have
had any meaningful experience with
blacks, gleaned all their knowledge
of black life through these images.
But African Americans had a distinct

culture during times of oppression to
give them some sense of self, and gay
adolescents have no such heritage
granted to them at birth. This vacancy
leaves them devoid of a model for self-
expression apart from what they see
on television as howa gay man is sup-
posed to act.
I realize now that such hackneyed
expectations were probably the hard-
est part for me in accepting. that I was
gay. My uber-progressive parents,
though probably less than thrilled,
were totally accepting of my sexual-
ity when I toldthem. And everyone in
high school sort of figured that I was
gay, so coming out wasn't exactly a
challenge. My only real problem with
my sexuality was the inadequacy it
made me feel for being a bad dancer
and having merely average fashion
sense. I obsessed over feeling that I
was something other than what gay
guys are supposed to be, and in many
ways, I tried to change myself. It's
ironic, I suppose, that in an attempt to
embrace what I was, I sought only to
emulate others.
But since I've seen through the fal-
lacy that I have to look a certain way
or like certain music to be a respect-
able gay man, I've grown more frus-
trated by the way the entertainment
industry illustrates gays. It seems that
whenever there's a gay character in
a blockbuster movie, he's always the
empathetic best friend or chic shop-
ping buddy of a female protagonist in
some sort of romantic quandary.
In television, it's much of the same.
Even on HBO, which is generally
considered "gay-friendly," the same
skewed archetypes peep through
all over the place. Airing "Angels in
America" and "The Laramie Project"
in addition to adding gay subplots to
virtually every original series has rev-
olutionized the way that gay identity

is addressed in entertainment. But in
shows like "Entourage," "True Blood"
and (most notably) "Sex and the City,"
pigeonholing of the gay male as an
oversexed materialist abounds. It's ter-
rific that each series features gay roles,
but is it so much to ask that a sitcom
highlight a gay character who is not a
decorator, fashionista, or sexaholic?


needs fewer gay
There are, to be sure, examples of
seemingly "normal" gay characters
here and there. ABC's "Brothers and
Sisters" comes to mind for featuring
complex gay roles while avoiding cli-
ches. During its run on HBO, "Six Feet
Under" organically explored the emo-
tions and intricacies of a committed
gay couple. And who could forget the
decidedly un-stereotypical "Broke-
back Mountain"?
But for the most part, Hollywood's
representation of gay men is pretty
two-dimensional. It's time for writ-
ers and producers to incorporate more
multifaceted gay personae into their
shows. "Bruno" was uncomfortable
for audiences because we are so inun-
dated by flamboyant gay depictions in
the media that viewers weren't consis-
tently able to understand the film's big
joke. Adding new gay themes would
add freshness to tired plotlines, and
would help straight and even gay peo-
ple view gay life more favorably.
- Matthew Green can be reached
at greenmat@umich.edu.

Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words and must
include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited for style, length, clarity and
accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily. We do not print anonymous letters.
Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Relationship status: Healthy



Culture of cowbells is
important to Michigan fans

- the unificationc
and his or her cla
"cowbeller" suppt
den, after seizing
familiar beat, the F

TO THE DAILY: the Jungle"?
I am alittle concerned about the future ofnon- We cowbellers t
marching band music being played at the Big for the band to fin
House. Reading Matt Darby's thoughts (Michi- to be completed a
gan Stadium needs to play right music for fans, talking before busi
09/15/2009) and Andy Reid (My pipe(d) dream: minute of "Lose Y
a better Michigan Stadium mixtape, 09/14/2009) cuts off our bells. S
got me thinking about what's important to stu- to accommodate?(
dents and fans at a game. the public addres
When I think of getting pumped up at the sta- than ten seconds,
dium, my thoughts immediately direct toward last Saturday?
the Michigan Marching Band. Whether it's Maybe I am be
the Victors, Temptation and the Hawaiian War caught up in a Mi
Chant (because you can't have one without the averse to change.
other) or Ironman - the band is where it's at. bell. But maybe, y
But we can't count on the band to play straight not something tha
through the game. They need breaks. music.
This is where the student section comes in. Scores of studen
20,000+ students screaming "Go Blue," cheer- and rock out beats
ing on Michigan players and coaches is what ed about. The stat
should be filling the silence. This is what I come I don't think we n
to games for: camaraderie with the entire stu- to pump us up. W
dent body - Ann Arbor, Flint, Dearborn and cowbells and we h
But what happens when the band isn't play- Avery Robinson
ing and the students aren't cheering? Cowbells LSA sophomore

osf a section under one person
anging cowbell. But what is a
osed to do when all of a sud-
the opportunity to play the
PA starts blaring "Welcome to
try to be respectful - waiting
ish, for the National Anthem
nd for the announcer to stop
ting outthe bell. Though a full
ourself" excites the crowd, it
Should we stop the cowbelling
or do we keep going and hope
ss system doesn't play more
as happened multiple times
ing selfish. Maybe I am just
chigan tradition. Maybe I am
Maybe I just love to beat my
ou too find that cowbelling is
at should get lost in recorded
its bring their iron to the game
for their section to get excit-
dium is now much louder and
eed all of this piped-in music
Ve have the band, we have our
ave each other. Go Blue!

obody taught us how to love
one another. Nobody taught
us a book on how to ... control
our emotions or our
anger." Hip-hop
artist Chris Brown
made this con-
nection between
healthy relation-
ship teaching and
domestic violence _
prevention shortly
after he received a
slap on the wrist for ROSE
beating and threat- AFRIYIE
friend Rihanna last
February. It's rare
to find common ground with someone
you wouldn't spit on if they were on
fire. But while Chris was attempting
to abdicate his responsibility, he was
making a valid point: an integral part
of curbing violence involves teaching
healthy relationships.
Where to begin? Well, let's lay out
the key questions. Howviolent do some
relationships really get? Where do col-
lege students fall in this and whyPAnd
the crown jewel: in what ways can we
foster healthy relationships?
Wolverines, we have a problem. You
know we are living in some scary times
when a 20-something is beaten to
deathbyher ex-man so badlybthat they
need to run the serial number on her
breastimplants to identify her, accord-
ing to an article in the Los Angeles
Times on Aug. 25. It's one thing if you
can explain away the heightened vio-
lence among young people by faulting
celebrity eccentricity or just another
hyper-macho man in the running to
be the next Ike Turner. But college
students, in significant numbers, are
just as guilty of being perpetrators of
violence in relationships. A 2008 study
in the Archives of Pediatric Medicine
reported that 17 percent of college stu-
dents had been violent toward lovers
or peers and 40 percent experienced
emotional, sexual or physical violence.
What gives? Researchers in the
study say the support systems of col-

lege students suffer when they make
the transition into college. Further,
young folk may be running amok
because they aren't under the thumb
of parental units anymore. And then
there's the reason young folks do any-
thing on campus: social validation.
That's right, the 25.6 percent rate of
campus violence found in the study
is linked to the perennial need to be
accepted by peers for the reputation
of, in short, being a jerk.
So, let's turn the tide and get to this
healthy relationships stuff. Adoles-
cent Health Working Group, an orga-
nization I worked with this summer,
compiled these major tenets of healthy
relationships: pleasure, autonomy,
consent, equality and respect.
Pleasure. This may sound basic,
but it's less commonly thought about
than it may seem. Time spent with.
your partner should be enjoyable and
make you feel like you are a better
person. I'm not just talking about the
monthly orgasm tally either. Your con-
versations, date nights and having sex
should feel good to you significantly
more than it rakes your nerves.
Autonomy. You and your part-
ner need space in your togetherness.
This involves anything ranging from
instilling separate activities to sepa-
rate friendship networks. But the
catch is, you shouldn't have to fight to
get a weekend alone. And your all-boys
vacation shouldn't feel like a threat
to your relationship. You both should
feel as comfortable together as you are
apart. Check your clinginess.
Consent. First off, your commit-
ment doesn't translate to an all-access
pass to booty. Like the airport, consent
means there are routine check-ins
when you first arrive and along the
way. Desires should be discussed and
both parties should be clear on what is
okay and what is not okay sexually. As
a gentle suggestion, conversation on
sex should include protection methods
and contingency plans in the event of
contraceptive failure.
Equality. Ah, my favorite. The key
aspect of this concept is that decisions

impacting the relationship are made
together. This can involve discussions
on how date night is spent to thinking
about household labor divisions in the
future. Equality also means that there
are some things that won't be 50/50.
But you discuss those things and com-
pensate each other elsewhere if neces-
The top five ways
to maintain a
strong union.


C U - ' S

Respect. I'll cut to the things Are-
tha hasn't touched on. Your partner
should respect your culture, bound-
aries and opinions. By culture, this
could be race-related or geographical.
If you are a geek from Boston with a
cute accent, your partner should value
that and not make ita constant punch
line. Boundaries are crucial, too. You
should have an expectation that if
you tell your partner you are too busy
cramming, that they hold off texting
you mug shots of their nether region.
On the opinion front: your politics
should get in the way of the feelings of
the person in front of you. No matter
the subject, you should be able to dis-
agree agreeably.
As these healthy relationship tidbits
are fundamentally about communi-
cation overall, I'll leave you with the
words of India.Arie.While her lyrics in
"Talk to Her" refer to women, all gen-
ders need apply. "Whenyoutalktoher,
talk to her like you'd want somebody to
talk to your mama... Cause everything
you do or say, you got to live with it
everyday. She's somebody's baby. She's
somebody's sister. She's somebody's
- Rose Afriyie is the Daily's sex
and relationships columnist. She can
be reached at sariyie@umich.edu.


Nina Amilineni, Emad Ansari, Emily Barton, Harun Buljina, Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty,
Emma Jeszke, Raghu Kainkaryam, Sutha K Kanagasingam, Erika Mayer, Edward McPhee,
Asa Smith, Brittany Smith, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Laura Veith

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