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October 01, 2010 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-10-01

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4 - Friday, October 1, 2010

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

b iChiiigan 4allJ
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu .

E. ROYSTER HARPER AND LAURA BLAKE JONES I
'U' supports Chris Armstrong

JACOB SMILOVITZ
EDITOR IN CHIEF

RACHEL VAN GILDER
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

MATT AARONSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Tracks to the future
Midwest high-speed rail would benefit economy
Train travel is by no means a bustling industry in Michigan.
But plans for a new railway system promise more attrac-
tive transportation by track. The Public Research Interest
Group in Michigan recently published a report that analyzed the
specific benefits of creating a high-speed rail that runs through the
Midwest. The present railway system in Michigan is built more
appropriately for freight trains than for human travelers. But fast-
er and more convenient passenger trains could greatly benefit the
economies of many Midwestern cities and create a more environ-
mentally friendly travel option. State leaders in the Midwest should
continue to cooperate to build the high-speed railway.

Activity over the last few months has brought into
sharp focus the unwavering commitment of the Univer-
sity community to social justice and human rights for
all. Students, staff and faculty have rallied to support the
elected president of the University student body, who has
been viciously targeted by an individual because of his
sexual orientation.
The reaction by the University community has been
exactly what we would expect from the "leaders and
best": overwhelmingly supportive of Chris Armstrong,
president of the Michigan Student Assembly.
Likewise, Armstrong and his fellow MSA members
have reacted to this unwanted attention by holding their
heads high, ignoring the blogger's taunts and carrying on
with their ambitious MSA agenda for the coming year.
We commend them.for their responsible .approach. An
important value of this campus is the free flow of ideas
and opinions. As a community of scholars we simultane-
ously preserve and create knowledge. 4
We ask difficult questions, challenge each others' best
thinking, sometimes change our minds and other times
agree to respectfully disagree. While living and working
together we also strive to create a campus environment
where civility, respect and inclusivity are of paramount
importance. This is a place where individuals' rights to
have their personal identities respected and understood

is as sacred as other constitutionally protected ideals.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. noted in 1963, "Injus-
tice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are
caught in an inescapable network of mutuality... What-
ever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
Freedom of speech and expression do not include
behaviors that target, harass, threaten or defame oth-
ers. As a campus community we must continue to "Stand
Up, Step In and Speak Out" against the repeated vitriolic
attacks on any one of us. Hateful speech can only be effec-
tively countered by different speech.
We applaud those individuals and student organiza-
tions - on our campus and elsewhere - that have taken
the opportunity to counter hateful speech with different
speech and express support for Chris. A unified show of
support demonstrating that acts of bigotry cannot take
root here is an important part of our community response.
We stand united to support all members of the Univer-
sity community, in many different ways, seen and unseen.
As the University's elected Board of Regents said so clear-
ly at its Sept. 16 meeting, "When one member of our com-
munity is targeted, we are all attacked."
E. Royster Harper is the Vice President for
Student Affairs. Laura Blake Jones is the Associate
Vice President and Dean of Students.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should be fewer
than 300 words and must include the writer's full name and University affiliation. Letters are edited
for clarity, length and factual accuracy. All submissions become property of the Daily.
We do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.
Don't submit to sexism

The addition of this railway would cre-
ate 58,000 permanent jobs in operation
and maintenance of the new railway and
15,200 temporary jobs for its construction
and renovation of current railway systems,
according to the report, which was pub-
lished in mid-September. Unlike normal
trains, high-speed railways cater to carry-
ing passengers and operate at much higher
speeds. Its implementation would create
faster travel between eight states in the
Midwest and would include new rail sta-
tions and track improvements throughout
southern Michigan. The American Recov-
ery and Reinvestment Act - more com-
monly referred to as the stimulus package
- provides a $2.7 million grant toward
railway projects in the Midwest.
As a cheaper alternative to flying, high-
speed railways promote financially viable
mass transit. More mass transit advances
environmentally sustainability. More peo-
ple would choose travel by train if they had
a reliable option because of its convenience
and speed. This would greatly reduce the
impact on the environment caused by trav-
el by car. Advancements in public trans-
portation are important in creating a more
sustainable world. Building the planned
accessible high-speed rail would promote
that goal.
The new system would also stimulate
long-lasting economic benefits through-
out the Midwest. Stronger connections
between centers of commerce and across

state lines would promote increased tour-
ism and business. There will be greater
opportunities for business growth and
networking. And increased travel is help-
ful to local businesses - restaurants,
hotels and other local stores benefit from
an larger customer base. The high-speed
rail will give the Midwest the chance to
show united trade and industry growth
and will push the region into becoming a
more powerful economic entity.
The railway project can remedy the Mid-
west's current lack of economic strength -
which has been particularly damaging in
Michigan - by replacing thousands ofjobs
that have been lost. Thousands of work-
ers are necessary to build and renovate
railways and a significantly larger num-
ber of employees are needed in its long-
term operation and maintenance. This
new industry will aid in Michigan's effort
to diversify its economy. And the benefits
should come at alow cost since the federal
government has already allocated funds
for the high-speed rail system in the stim-
ulus package.-
More efficient railways will improve
the environment and economies through-
out the Midwest, especially in Michigan.
The railway will bring jobs to Michigan
and comes at a reasonable cost backed by
federal resources. Organizations and state
leaders involved in planning the railway
should take advantage of federal funding
and make this railway a reality.

Last week, well-known mega-
church leader Bishop Eddie
Long was accused of sexu-
ally abusing four
young male con- :.
gregants. The
muscle-bound,
gold chain-wear-
ing Long is marked
by his homopho-
bia, opulence and '
maybe his less
well-known ideas
regarding mod- VANESSA
ern relationships
between men and RYCHLINSI
women.
I was recently
trolling through a gossip rag site
which pointed out that the pastor has
written an insightful book on this
last topic, called "What Men Want,
What Women Need." To share sev-
eral gems from the first few pages,
what the "animalistic" man actually
wants is "sex and control" in addition
to a woman who is "the world's best
lover" and "the best cook in town."
This mythical creature ought to be
subservient and bent on "[caring] for
the little boy lingering in the hulking
shell" of her man and supplement his
life by allowing him to continue on
his "destiny."
I really hopeI don't have to spell out
all the things that are wrong with this.
Unfortunately, views like this one
seem to be getting increasing face-
time in American popular culture and
society. In our world, women pursue
higher education and have prospects
of forming careers in any field they
choose. They have access to birth con-
trol and the morning-after pill and
abortion is legal. Due to these areas of
economic and sexual freedom, there is
a definite backlash and a cry for more
"traditional" roles for women.
TLC has two reality television
shows that depict extreme versions of

such roles. One is "19 Kids and Count-
ing," the other is "Sister Wives," which
just aired on Sunday. It's difficult to
decide which is more abhorrent. The
first follows Jim Bob and Michelle
Duggar, who have nineteen children
because they believe in leaving their
fertility in "God's hands." However
earnest these beliefs may be, the facts
are damning for Jim Bob - every sin-
gle child has a name that starts with J
and almost every pregnancy is spaced
by only a year or so. It's pretty gross
that this man has achieved notoriety
and is making a living off the fact that
he can't leave his wife alone.
If at all possible, "Sister Wives,"
starring polygamist Kody Brown and
his three wives, is worse. The show
asks America to "Rethink Marriage"
and follows Brown, the wives and
their thirteen children as they deal
with everyday life and Kody's deci-
sion to "marry" a fourth (younger and
slimmer) woman. After watching an
interview on the Today show as well
as clips of the first episode, it's nothard
to imagine that Brown, with his shoul-
der-length blonde hair and quasi-good
looks, probably manipulated these
wide-eyed women by promising a com-
munity, family and, let's not forget the
biggest prize of all, one quarter of him-
self. It's also clear that Brown is enjoy-
ing his proverbial cake just because he
can - and that these women sacrifice
for him to do so. The fact that either
of these situations is portrayed by a
major network at all is disgusting and
its completely degrading that they are
thought of as entertainment.
There's a lot of trash TVthese days,
but anyone who supports the con-
tinuation of female equality should
take particular offense to these two
patriarchal caveman dramas. TLC
markets its reality programs by
exploiting the obvious differences
of a group before saying, "Look at
their lives, they're just like you." This

pseudo-heartwarming approach may
work for "Little People, Big World,"
but frankly for "19 Kids" and espe-
cially for "Sister Wives," it's an unac-
ceptable, tacky lie and the network
knows it. Depicting an American
man and his modern-day harem as a
nice, happy family is vomit-inducing.
These people are not normal, this is
not okay and most of us will hopefully
never be able to relate.
There is nothing wrong with big
Women shouldn't
be put down in the
name of tradition.
families or even traditional marriage
roles. Many young women today elect
to become housewives and home-
makers rather than having a career.
However, it's toxic when these roles
are expected - or even demanded
- and couched in terms of duty to
or inferiority. In a country in which
women have the opportunities to
have just as fast-paced careers as men
and in which they can and do bring
home the main paycheck, it's sicken-
ing that there is still this attempt to
keep women deferential and obedi-
ent in the name of tradition or ethics.
Women's proper place is wherever we
discover it and our aspirations aren't
limited to talent in the kitchen or in
the bedroom. Long, Duggar, Brown
and men like them cannot handle
these facts and so twist the lives of
others to satisfy a pathetic need to
feel superior. Guess what, boys: Real
women don't bow down to your ego.
-Vanessa Rychlinski can be
reached at vanrych@umich.edu.

-the
podium

Erika Mayer warns that it's probably not such a good
idea to hook up with your foxy neighbor in the dorms.
Go to michigandaily.com/blogs/The Podium.

MICHELLE DEWITT I
Mich. should prize creativity

It's notvery often that I'm proud of my home-
town. That may sound harsh, but announcing
that I was born and raised in Grand Rapids,
Michigan isn't the kind of thing that draws a lot
of excitement. But this sleepy, conservative city
in western Michigan has recently drawn excite-
ment for something other than being sleepy and
conservative. ArtPrize - a two and a half week
art competition in Grand Rapids - has returned
to downtown for its second year.
For those who may be unfamiliar, Grand
Rapids is about 150 miles west of Ann Arbor,
has a population of just over 190,000 people
and is where I grew up - not that you probably
care about that last part. I'm specifically from
a small, affluent suburb called Ada, but if you
went to my high school you probably referred
to it as "the bubble." It's the kind of place that's
out of touch with the rest of the world and soci-
ety at large. It's neither fashionable nor trendy,
neither edgy nor exciting. But ArtPrize is seek-
ing to change all that - at least as far as the art
world is concerned.
ArtPrize is a unique competition in the sense
that it's open to any artist in the world that can
find a physical space. Anyone in downtown
Grand Rapids can create a venue to display the
art. And anyone who attends the event is able to
vote for his or her favorite piece. This event is a
model of what Michigan should strive to be.
The inspiringthoughtbehind ArtPrize is that
"art is important," as quoted by Art Showcase
magazine in its September/October 2010 issue.
This is the basic premise that drove Rick DeVos,
a Grand Rapids social entrepreneur, to start
ArtPrize in 2009. The goal is to create a dia-
logue about something important and relevant
to society, and that is what is going on between
September 22 and October 10 in downtown
Grand Rapids.

Arguably, Michigan has been in a well-recog-
nized slump for decades. Events and trends like
ArtPrize are what will help to get us out of it.
The state should pursue similar ideas to bring
innovative and progressive minds to Michigan.
This event has brought thousands of people into
Grand Rapids. They're talking to local people,
eating at local restaurants and taking in a side of
Michigan that hasn't been seen lately. Instead of
headlines about job losses and a failing automo-
tive industry, the news is only positive because
of the constructive impact ArtPrize is having on
the area.
The influx of people into the area is a huge
boost for the economy. A USA Today article
about the event highlights the ability of Art-
Prize and similar events to revitalize urban
economies. Grand Rapids, and the state as a
whole, needs to capitalize on this positive con-
tribution and allow other sectors of our econo-
my to benefit.
It must be noted that ArtPrize wouldn't be
possible without the generosity and philanthro-
py of Grand Rapids families and leaders. These
are the types of things that Michigan philan-
thropic organizations need to be contributing to
- events that will help to revitalize our state's
economy and the livelihood of our citizens. If
nothing else, ArtPrize has brought so much of
the city together in enormous support of the
event, because aside from all of its societal ben-
efits, ArtPrize is actually a lot of fun.
I would encourage anyone looking to head
out of Ann Arbor for a little bit (The football
game is in Indiana this weekend. Just saying.) to
venture over to Grand Rapids and support this
local event. An emphasis on the strength of our
communities is important now more than ever.
Michelle DeWitt is a senior editorial page editor.

JEFF ZUSCHLAG

E-MAIL JEFF AT JEFFDZ@UMICH.EDU *

JESUS
WILL 1 I
SAVE US

t.
Er
K
1
.:.. ,..

Ok, maybe this
"Shoelace" craze
has gotten a little
out of hand.
W 1
DENARD
WILL
SAVE US

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Aida Ali, Jordan Birnholtz, Adrianna Bojrab, Will Butler, Eaghan Davis, Michelle DeWitt,
Ashley Griesshammer, Will Grundler, Jeremy Levy, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Tnmaso Pavone, Leah Potkgn, Asa Smith, Laura Veith

--III

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