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Latinis not dead yet at'U
Students in the classics department and
RC program use culture to revive Latin
By Lucy Perkins I Daily Arts Writer -

Sailor's delight

Latin has held a steadfast pres-
ence far beyond the reaches of
memory - no technology, war or
revolution could wipe it off the
map. Many would argue it to be a
dead language, its culture no lon-
ger existent or applicable to life
today. But anyone who has dipped
a toe into the classics scene at the
University would strongly dis-
"There has never been a peri-
od - ever - where the language
has not been spoken," said LSA
Prof. Gina Soter, who founded the
Residential College's department.
"It may not have been a first lan-
guage, but the language has a his-
tory from antiquity through the
Middle Ages - through every-
thing - up until the current day."
Within the RC, students and
faculty have created a cozy atmo-
sphere in their own department
that brings Latin to life through
cultural activities outside the
Soter founded the Residential
College's Intensive Latin program
when she joined the University in
2000. She discovered that teach-
ing students to speak the language
(as opposed to just reading and
writing) almost instantaneously
improved their understanding of
Latin. Before Soter came to the
University, Latin existed solely in
LSA, and there, speaking wasn't a
priority. The RC program contin-
ues to challenge that.
"We finally added our fifth
semester readings class, which is
a class that culminates in a Latin
play done in Latin," Soter said.
This 300-level class is limited
to students who have taken Latin
195 and 295 and then passed a
Latin proficiency test. The play

selected this year was written by
Plautus in 200 B.C., and students
designed the costumes and the
set, besides acting in the produc-
"We work with the play and
figure out how we can make
something that was written two
thousand years ago accessible to
people today and keep it in Latin,"
Soter said.
"The problem for many stu-
dents and people is thatthey don't
have any idea what kind of life the
Latin language has had outside of
classroom authors," she added.
Every two years, Soter orga-
nizes a trip to the Vatican in Italy,
during which students in the RC
Latin program have a chance to
communicate with a monsignor
- a native who only speaks Latin.
It is this type of experience that
Soter hopes will help get the lan-
guage off the page and alive inthe
minds of students.
The RC's classical department
is part of a larger group of just
over 150 students who are work-
ing toward classical majors and
minors under the close instruc-
tion of 29 faculty members, with
classes that often have fewer
than ten students. Many of these
students may not have originally
planned to be a part of this small
department when they enrolled at
the University - students in the
field come from concentrations
like classical archaeology and
modern Greek.
According to Soter, many of her
students didn't expect to study
Latin. Some intend to pursue
careers in medicine, law or educa-
tion, but others simply had no idea
what they wanted to study.
"I've had some of the most


LSA Prof. Gina Soter founded the RC Latin program in 2000.

wonderful students come in with
no clue why they want to do it,"
Soter said. "I think it's because
they wanted to do something dif-
This was the case for Chris
Ostro, a 'U' alum who triple
majored in history, comparative
literature and classical language
and literature.
"I didn't expect to go into clas-
sics as a freshman," Ostro said,
"but I thought Latin would be
the hipster language to learn, so
I took it as my language require-
ment and I really liked it."
After reading the Latin poet
Catullus, he was hooked.
"I couldn't believe how relat-
able it was - it was weird that
there was a difference of a two
thousand year period, but I total-
ly got this guy," Ostro said. "It's
insane, I wish I had been intro-
duced to Latin when I was young-
Ostro is now in grad school
with the intent of becoming a late-
ancient historian. But he didn't
get to where he is now without
running into skepticism about
Latihalongthe way.
"It's really weird to be in a field
where you spend half of your time
defending its existence - there's
no other field that is so heavily
scrutinized," Ostro noted.
Ostro hypothesized that con-
tinuous scrutiny and skepticism
form one of the reasons the Clas-
sics department is so strong and
"U of M's department is so
great because you have the older
professors who come from the old
guard of academia - pre-World
War II guys - and then you also
have a lot of younger classics pro-
fessors too," he said.

Though they may come from
completely different places, Latin
professors at the University can
be characterized by dedication.
"Everyone in the classics pro-
gram is wholeheartedly dedicat-
ed to what they're doing, which
gives it an unusual feel," he said.
"It's something that really means
a lot to them, they've sacrificed a
lot and they're giving everything
they can to this field. It creates a
really nice community - every-
one's really supportive."
LSA senior Erich Heiden, who
is majoring in Latin language
and literature and minoring in
European history, was first intro-
duced to classical culture in a high
school Greek mythology class. He
set a goal for himself - to read
Homer in the ancient language -
and decided to pursue itin college.
After taking Greek 101, profes-
sors within the department sug-
gested that Heiden should take
Latin too. Now he plans to become
a Latin high school teacher.
"It's great because it's close-
knit," Heiden said of the program.
"It's cool going to our own library.
and only seeing familiar faces."
The Classics department's
library is open only to students
concentrating in the program,
located on the second floor of
Angell Hall.
The feeling of closeness within
the Latin-learning community
extends outside the classroom as
Heiden is the president, or
"Prytanis," of the honors fraterni-
ty Eta Sigma Phi, which provides
opportunities for students and
faculty to mingle when they're not
in class. Facing dwindling mem-
bership in recent years, Heiden
See LATIN, Page 4B

N estled in the back
corner of Kerrytown
Market and Shops and
surrounded by a bevy of high-,
end bodegas, a craft store sd a
Korean burger joint, you'll find
Seafood Mar-
ket. I'd heard
during my
stay in Ann
Arbor, but LILA.
didn't get a KALICK
chance to
travel down
there until just recently when I
dragged a friend along with me
for lunch.
Typically, Michigan is not
thought of asa seafood destina-
tion. Though the state slogan
"Great Lakes, Great Times"
serves asa perfect Facebook
album title for incoming fresh-
men, one can't reasonably expect
a favorite oceanic occupant to
magically materialize in a fresh-
water lake near here.
Monahan's goes to great
lengths, however, to ensure its
selection goes beyond the limits
of regionalism. Along with its
assortment of freshwater clas-
sics like Lake Superior whitefish,
smelt and walleye, daily ship-
ments of Maryland soft-shell
crabs, New England cod, Maine
shrimp and many other seafood
staples from around the county
make it a worthy competitor of
its many maritime-located peers.
In its 2004 "100 Special Issue,"
Saveur Magazine named Mona-
han's one of its top markets.
Moreover, Monahan's friendly
and knowledgeable staff will
guide any wayward seafarer or
shy neophyte in the right direc-
tion. Their suggestions put me
right on course for one of the
best lunches I've had in Ann
Steppingup to the turquoise-
colored lunch counter, you'll be
greeted warmly by one of the
market's fishmongers and a mas-'
sive hanging swordfish. That and
a large buoy ball hanging from
a black net are just a few of the
touches that add to the wharf-
like ambiance of the eatery. The
service was no-fuss. We ordered
at the counter and sat down.
Within ten minutes the food was
ready and brought to our table -
no tip expected.
The space is more market-like
than a formal restaurant, mean-
ing seating options are sparse.
The counter has a couple of high
chairs, but perhaps more cozy
are the square-shaped tables
with seating for two around the
corner. They are covered with
white paper, crayons available if
you love to doodle while you wait
to down a delish meal.

On the menu are the main-
stays: mussels steamed in white
wine and garlic sauce, fried cala-
marl and fish and chip, as tel
as some more daringecombina-
lions fordhose who aren't afraid
of fishiness. I have a roommate
who cringes every time she sees
any form of marine life. Perhaps
Cajun shrimp salad, bluefish teri-
yaki and hand-shucked oysters
aren't for everyone.
However, if you're not a wimp
about fish, the bestipart of the
menu - hands down - is the
option to "pick a fresh fish." The
staff shows you to a large glass
display case stuffed with the
day's selections. The fish avail-
able vary by season. Price is
based on the market value.
Choose from an array of
sauces to cook yours in - tartar,
grenobloise (caper sauce, for
non-French speakers), remou-
lade (another tartar-like sauce
usually flavored with curry
powder or pickles), teriyaki,
mustard-mayo, mustard-dill-
mayo, aioli, sweet and spicy Thai
and San Remo butter (sun-dried
tomatoes, white wine, basil and
chives). I mixed the Spanish
mackerel our serversuggested
with this last sun-dried sauce.
My friend chose the Atlantic
salmon burger, served on a bun
with red onion, lettuce, tomato
and a dill sauce. She added avo-
cado to it. The salmon was sur-
prisingly succulent - at $6.95, it
was a steal for its freshness. And
they only charged her 45 cents
for the avocado extra.
Finding Nemo
and eating him.
The mackerel was the greatest
part of our meal. Two perfectly
seasoned pieces with a fresh
lemon slice stared salaciously up
at me from my plate. Sarah stole
abite.and yelled, "Holymack-
e . nge'ingthatnxtc
A portion of hand-cut Cajun
fries, a worthy side for your
seafood, is big enough for two to
share. Something about Cajun
spices can warm up any cold
winter's day. Salt and vinegar,
ketchup and hot sauce sitting
just above each table alongthe
blue barrier are readily available
whenever you want them.
Monahan's is atrue delight.
It's worth a brisk walk from
Central Campus into the heart
of historic Kerrytown for lunch.
The peppy atmosphere, fast and
friendly service and fabulous fish
are sure to brighten your day.
Kalick has a hot crustacean hand
under the sea. Toget her Myspae,
e-mail her at lkalick@umich.edu.

Coppola's secret masterpiece

Daily Arts Writer
Francis Ford Coppola is a
prominent member of the New
Hollywood elite, best known for
his coup de grace, the "Godfather"
trilogy. However, an extensive
body of work that includes "Rum-
ble Fish," "Apocalypse Now" and
the acquisition of a Napa Valley
winery hides an overlooked gem:
"The Conversation." This 1970s
thriller features a twist ending
that puts M. Night Shyamalan's
two-bit ruses to shame and con-
fronts us with moral dilemmas
that would make Dr. Franken-
stein soil himself in shock.
Harry Caul (Gene Hackman,
"The French Connection") is one
of the most respected surveil-
lance experts in the business, and
he reaps tidy sums by selling his
talents as a quasi-private inves-
tigator. In service to the high-
est bidder, he exposes dishonest
business relationships, political
pitfalls and cheating spouses.
But when he suspects a client of
plotting a murderous crime of
passion, he's forced to reevaluate
his job, his lifestyle and his entire
code of ethics.
Coppola conveys the precari-
ous morality of Caul's job in sever-
al ways. In terms of the narrative,
Caul's paranoia cripples his abil-
ity to nurture any social life. His
colleagues and lover know noth-
ing about him, and he hates being
questioned about anything for

fear thathe's being taped. And his la's genius is in his ability to excite
justification for his line of work is his audiences without breakneck
weaker than his nerves: "It's none chase scenes, cheap gore, bawdy
of my business what the clients do humor or big guns. He cleverly
with the tapes," he says. manipulates us with intermittent
The cinematography empha- rises and falls that never culmi-
sizes this paranoia, with slow, nate to release us from the thrall
sweeping camera shots that of impending danger.
closely resemble the motion of Movies with pervasive con-
a security camera, and expan- flicts desensitize us and are fated
sive spaces that - in the vein of to the task of outdoing them-
Stanley Kubrick - communi- selves over and over again to
cate Caul's alienation. Though hold our interest. But imagine an
the narrative's slothful progres- investigation inwhich alone man
sion may recall the overwrought searches an entire hotel room -
wedding scene from "The God- bathroom, bed sheets and bal-
father," the combination of deft cony - for signs of a murder, but
finds nothing. Just as he's about
to leave, he decides to take one
last look in the toilet. After he
Thrills and flushes it and watches the water
chills with spiral down, it wells back up fero-
ciously, this time a soupy mixture
every flush. of blood and rags. Scary shit.
"The Conversation" beats Hol-
lywood genre films at their own
game of thrills and chills, and
camerawork and Caul's terrified it's classier than the lot of them.
demeanor makes the tension too It's got the cheap fun of a run-
palpable to bear. There's always of-the-mill thriller, but it'd be
the sneaking suspicion that a hid- better described as that thriller's
den assailant lurks in every drab Cuban-smoking, caviar-eating
room and around every sharp twin brother. But in spite of his
corner, waiting to jump out and sophistication, Coppola doesn't
stab our nervous protagonist. pretend to concern himself with
If fancy camerawork and fashionable political points, so
Hackman's stellar performance there's no sermonizing.
aren't enough to pique a viewer's In fact, the film may have never
interest, there's also a startling been preserved in the National
climax and an unfortunate psy- Film Registry had it not been
chotic breakdown to whet our for an incredible coincidence:
appetite for melodrama. Coppo- The suryeillance equipment

used in "The Conversation" hap-
pens to be the exact same setup
the Nixon administration used
during the Watergate scandal.
According to Coppola, the fact
that the film was released only
six months after the scandal went
public bore no political implica-
tions, since filming ended well
before the White House's indis-
cretions. Coincidence or not, it'd
be hard to find the same degree
of authenticity in other spy flicks.
But even in light of the cor-
relation between Coppola and
Watergate, the theme of surveil-
lance is far more important now
than it was in the '70s. Maybe a
bit of sermonizing is warrant-
ed, at least in retrospect. For
example, the U.K. operates one
camera for every 14 citizens, and
a third party study in 2002 esti-
mated that the citizens of the
sovereign state are subject to the
watchful lenses of approximately
4,200,000 cameras. Similar cam-
era trials have long been debated
as a form of crime prevention in
the U.S. in light of the U.K. pro-
gram's success.
In "The Conversation," the
tables are turned on Caul when
he discovers that his own meth-
ods are being used to monitor
his apartment. It's been nearly
40 years since the film's release,
and spy equipment is more tech-
nologically advanced than ever.
It's enough to make you wonder
whether our impression of securi-
ty may be a double-edged sword.


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