The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 7A
* The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 7A
talks Lebanese mags
"This was a mistrial, Your Honor. The ice crean jury did not include all flavors. Or sprinkles."
' Truth' be told well
By HEATHER POOLE
Daily Arts Writer
Images of overt sexuality on
the covers of magazines like
Cosmopolitan have become the
norm to young Western audi-
ences. Lebanese poet, translator
Joumana Had- JOunalla
dad will discuss
the restrictions Hadded
that social con- Tomorrowat
straints have T0m
placed on Arab 5:0 p.m.
women and Michigan Theater
tation in this week's Penny W.
Haddad's lecture, "Taboos,"
aims to dissolve the assumed cul-
tural and gender roles that shape
the view of Arab women in both
Western and Eastern societies.
Her work has extended through-
out a diverse range of media,
including poetry, journalism and
"Joumana is very much try-
ing to tear down the stereotype
of the Arab woman," said Chris-
stina Hamilton, director of visi-
tor's programs and the Penny W.
Stamps Speaker Series.
"The thing that ... really hit
our radar here (at the University)
was her work with this magazine
she started, JASAD, which is the
Arab word for the 'body,'" Ham-
nded in 2008, JASAD is of the restricted representation
en-controversial cultural of Arab women is partly internal.
ine published in Leba- "She feels that ... the first part
Explicit topics revolving of the problem of the stereotype
I the body and sexuality of Arab women comes from the
parked a heated response West but it also comes from Arab
Arab world. According to women themselves," Hamilton
agazine's website, JASAD said. "And she's trying to combat
s to break cultural taboos that."
ims to reflect the body in Haddad has received numer-
representations ... provid- ous awards, including the Arab
iters, researchers and art- Press Prize in 2006. She is also
ith the freedom that they head of the cultural page in a
lly deserve." daily Lebanese newspaper, An
ounder and editor-in-chief Nahar.
AD, Haddad is a recipient For speakers like Haddad,
h praise and resentment whose work is repressed in other
r work. JASAD's focus on parts of the world, the Penny W.
versial issues has sparked Stamps Speaker Series provides
s protests, including an "a forum for communicating
it by Hizbullah to close around issues of the day," Ham-
JASAD's stand at a Bei- ilton said.
ok fair, according to the "She's bringing the subject up
ian. Haddad's status as a in a forum where it can be dis-
cussed. So it's an opportunity for
people to ... gain another perspec-
tive, gain insight and ... possibly
)w ing wom en make a decision on how they feel
about it," Hamilton added.
a repressive Both Haddad's personal work
and her involvement with JASAD
aspire to release the stereotyped
Arab woman from taboos that
resonate in today's world. What-
leading figure has made ever preconceived notions one
e target of plenty of criti- might have, Haddad's lecture
ncluding hate e-mails. offers a fresh look at how mul-
ough JASAD has experi- tiple views in the Arab world
disapproval by audiences, render the body, women and
d feels that the problem sexuality.
A unique legal drama
that looks at both
sides of the system
By CAROLYN KLARECKI
There's been a television void to
fill since the cancellation of "Law
& Order" was
Admittedly, the The Whole
series had a rep-
utation of being
boring, exciting Wednesdays
only pre-law at10 p.m.
students and ABC
was a well known story of a righ-
teous legal team weaving through
bureaucracy to bring real justice to
their poor clients. Maybe this is a
void that shouldn't be filled at all.
However, ABC's new drama
"The Whole Truth" takes the "Law
& Order" formula and makes it
look like child's play. This new
show understands that even while
in opposition, both sides can work.
with compassion toward finding
justice. Even bad guys have human-
ity and sometimes the likeable guy
loses. "The Whole Truth" presents
the same case from the sides of
both the defense and prosecution
with an impressive objectivity that
stirs sympathy for all.
Laid-back defense attorney
Jimmy Brogan (Rob Morrow,
"Numb3rs") and high-strung pros-
ecutor Kathryn Pearle (Maura
Tierney, "ER") were strong friends
and even stronger competitors
in law school. Now the two find
themselves opposed in court.
Their undeniable respect for
each other juxtaposed with their
driving desire to win the case is
an unexplored dynamic in legal
shows. Throughout the pilot, they
call each other to brag about their
new evidence, and after the sen-
tencing they meet up for drinks
and a heartfelt moment. Perhaps
romance will develop in later epi-
sodes or seasons, but for now, it's
a pure, unspoiled professional
The narrative straddles the
two sides of the case in a way that
exposes the inner workings of the
law firm and the defense attorney
office. The writing is done with
such skill that it's truly unclear
whether the defendant is guilty.
The defense's witness reveals
information that helps the pros-
ecution and the prosecution's wit-
ness does the same for the defense.
Enough substantial evidence is
produced for both sides, and just
when you think you figured it out,
another clue throws you off. Rather
than frustrating, it's an enjoyable
challenge, and the series promises
to always reveal the true wrong-
doer before the credits roll. "The
Whole Truth" keeps you guessing
until the very end in the most won-
derful of ways.
The writing is surprisingly fresh
for a procedural. Cheesy one-liners
about justice are substituted with
snarky, realistic dialogue. "Don't
say, 'Roger that,' " an annoyed
Pearle says as she scolds her assis-
tant district attorney. Perhaps she's
just as sick of corny catchphrases as
Still, "The Whole Truth" isn't
as "Law & Order" had the iconic
"dun dun" at every scene transition
(as though the change wouldn't
be clear without it), "The Whole
Truth" patronizingly informs what
side it's showing by zooming in on
the lawyer in slow-mo, transition-
ing to black and white and using
all-caps subtitles of "the defense"
or "the prosecution." Every time
this device is used, the show stoops
to the level of its predecessors. But
no procedural is perfect, and there
are many worse things "The Whole
Truth" could have been guilty of.
If you've been searching for
another "Law & Order," give "The
Whole Truth" a try, and even if
you aren't a law student or a par-
ent, you might enjoy a legitimately
realistic take on the courtroom
Danielle Evans reads
on themes of identity
"To Ice Cream!"
By BRAD SANDERS
Representing those who can't
speak for themselves, Danielle
Evans, a professor of fiction at
versity, will read D .l
as part of the Zell
Visiting Writing Evans
night, she will ursday at
read select stories 5:10 p.m.
from her collec- Helmut Stern
tion "Before You
Suffocate Your Own Fool Self."
Her collection's title comes from
a line in "The Bridge Poem" by
Donna Kate Rushin.
"There's a section in the poem
about translations, the idea of
being in constant negotiation, that
speaks to a lot of characters in
the book," Evans said in an inter-
view with the Daily. "It deals with
people who don't often get to tell
stories on their own terms, and
(is) directed at characters who are
making bad decisions where you
wish you could say something to
A good deal of Evans's work
deals with race and its effects on
an individual's or group's percep-
tion of themselves and their roles
"I write a lot about people who
are a part of a contemporary racial
identity. We don't talk a lot about
racial families that have gone
through post-integration after
immigration," Evans explained.
"That's something I explore, what
it means to sort of know and to
think through the very individual
ways that people understand those
Evans also writes about human
sexuality and relationships, and
how they differ between genera-
"I think about generational
issues, like growing up where
divorce is more normal and what
that means with people interpret-
ing their own adult relationships,"
Evans said. "One of the things I was
really frustrated about in the fic-
tion I've read is people were blind-
ed by love or devotion or something
that made them not think things
through. I was interested in writ-
ing about women who thought
things through but did the wrong
Some of Evans's stories have
come from real-life dialogue that
she has observed. Evans said she
art of prose.
tends to build off of a certain idea
or predict the outcome of a conver-
"Some lines you may have over-
heard and thought, 'That's
interesting to say, who would
say that,' and build a charac-
ter around that," Evans said.
"Some people come up with
the perfect comeback three
hours after the conversa-
tion is over, and as a fiction
writer you can look at those
moments and say, 'What if I
said the right thing or knew
the right answer?"'
Evans takes an improvisa-
tional approach to choosing
e. "It's about what you feel
like reading that day. There's
days where l love one story,
and days where I love anoth-
er, and some where I feel
like reading something more
funny or something more
9 serious," Evans explained.
"Sometimes I think about
audience - you read some-
thing different in aabar than
in an auditorium. I think
(about) what will be the best
for this crowd and context."
By LILA KALICK might hold an audience.
Daily Arts Writer Belushi's portrayal of a morose
Morelli proves mediocre as well.
CBS's thought process in mak- In the show, he's separated from
ing "The Defenders" is probably his wife and intent on having her
centered on the followed by a private eye whose
idea that every- investigative work yields photos
one loves a good of her on the back of some guy's
legal drama and motorcycle. He freaks out. This
no one can resist foray into his emotional side is
a show set in Defenders juxtaposed with his performance
Las Vegas. So Wednesday in the courtroom - a sloppy roll-
they figured, ercoaster ride that makes him
"Let's just throw atO p.m. appear more the maverick of the
these two things two attorneys. In the end, the
together and it'll tangent with his wife, which was
be great." The result was one epic probably intended to make him
nosedive of a show. more complex, is so shallow it
Lost trying to ascertain when seems gratuitous.
the plot of "The Defenders" will The pilot at least paid some
pick up, viewers can't be blamed attention to cinematography and
for having trouble remembering costume design. The glitz and
the names of the show's two main glamour of the strip at night are
characters, Nick Morelli and well contrasted with shots of the
Pete Kaczmarek. Played respec- hot and dry landscape of the des-
tively by Jim Belushi ("Accord- ert day. Belushi's horrendously
ing to Jim") and Jerry O'Connell loud tie choices complement his
("Crossing Jordan"), Morelli and Vegas persona in the courtroom
Kaczmarek are two colorful Las and allow him to deliver a few
Vegas attorneys who supposedly poorly written lady-luck jokes
"go all in when it comes to repre- with at least a little bit of gusto.
senting their clients." The firm's secretary (Tanya
Well, Belushi and O'Connell Fischer, "Law & Order") has the
certainly didn't go all in when craziest, most distracting makeup
preparing for these roles. Their and outfits, bringing new mean-
chemistry is at best forced most ing to the term "business casual."
of the time. O'Connell's comedic Lisa Tyler (Jurnee Smollett,
timing is completely off, not sur- "Friday Night Lights"), a new
prising considering he hasn't had addition to the firm, adds a strong
a stellar performance since his female element. However, allega-
breakout role in "Stand by Me." tions that she stripped her way
His secret sexual relationship through law school fail to be fully
with an attorney from another investigated and instead seem
firm (whom he supposedly hates) like an unimportant detail.
isn't believable enough for him We spend so much time dealing
to fit into the archetype of the with all these quirky characters
perpetual bachelor whose steam in the pilot that we barely notice
the legal drama. The show's first
case is a murder in which a young
man who had already landed a
plea bargain of three years of jail
time for involuntary manslaugh-
ter decides to throw caution to
the wind and prove his innocence.
The whole truth and nothing
but the truth - the legal jargon
incorporated in the court scenes
is either so dumbed down it's an
insult to the legal profession, or
so inaccessible to the audience
that you have to zone out the
words to keep your head in the
Minutes before the decision
from the jury, Morelli and Kac-
zmarek grab a drink. "I feel like
I'm going all in on a pair of tens,"
didn't pay off
well for CBS.
Morelli says, ruefully hanging his
head over the bar.
We of course can predict that
they are going to win the case,
but still have to suffer through
Morelli's speech to the jury fea-
turing one incredibly painful and
seemingly everlasting shot of him
leaning on the banister (making
him uncomfortably close to the
jury and the camera itself).
All this discomfort aside, it's
clear that CBS's gamble just
didn't pay off. "The Defenders" is
not sexy, not funny and not smart.
Verdict: Skip it.
Thursday, Sept. 30th
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Visit michigandaily.com for the Daily's
review of the show's second season.