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September 16, 2011 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-16

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8 - Friday, September 16, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

COMMUNITY CULTURE NOTEBOOKa
Love for a local library

By JENNIFER XU
Senior Arts Editor
Recently, our local library was
rocked with a scandal that shook
America to its very core, as they
say in melodramatic news pro-
grams. It almost closed down.
It's funny, but when I think
about the times I spent there,
I don't think about the hours I
exhausted browsing its dusty
shelves for "Sweet Valley High"
books (I was obsessed with the
Wakefield twins back then), or
the hundreds of study sessions
spent in the children's section
cramming for the APs or even
the illicit romances that went
down tucked behind closed
doors (admittedly, some of them
fictional).
I think about how I got into a
car accident there (my first hit-
and-run, if you want to know
the truth), how I turned into
a parking spot, overshot it and
basically grinded into the car
standing adjacent to me, leaving
the incriminating stain of red on
white, like the few drops of blood
that trickled down when Sleep-
ing Beauty pricked her finger on
the spinning wheel and fell into a
deep, deep slumber. I remember
running into the library in pur-
suit of the friend I was supposed
to pick up for ice cream, finding
her in the midst of being asked
to prom via an elaborate staging
of multicolored origami frogs,
dragging both asker and askee
into my illicit vehicle and high-
tailing it the hell out of there. I
didn't drive back to the library on
my own for a long, long time.
I've always associated the
building, its ugly worn brown-
stone with the faded letters
TROY stamped on its exterior,
with freedom. The library was
the first place I drove to when I
got my license at the ripe old age
of 17. I didn't even walk inside
the building when I got there,
just cruised around the park-

ing lot
foundf
some w
repress
and ma
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and breathed in my new- tory of books and DVDs, its
freedom. From this story, capacity to educate the public in
vould say that I led a pretty the most unassuming way pos-
sed, suburban lifestyle - sible - but because of its social
aybe I did - but here's the substance.
My entire childhood is As a kid, you think of the
ed inside its walls. library as this giant fairyland, a
he day before its tentative place where colossal pictures of
late, I walked like a spec- Harry, Ron and Hermione smile
ough every passage, every down on you like benevolent
ay, ignoring the long line saints encouraging you to read.
eaty people settling last When you grow up, you realize
fines and book returns, it's so much more.
membering. The library, more so than any
e is the table where the guy other place, is where you can
utoring in physics inexpli- find the personality of the city,
the collective consciousness of a
community buzzing with activity
and civic pride. John Cusack said
)U r lOW yOU in "High Fidelity" that the kinds
o a lot more of music people like, the kinds
ofmovies people watch - even
're than read. though people say it's not a big
deal in the long run, these things
matter. Well, the cases matter,
too. The mediums all that stuff
:ried to hold my hand in comes in matter.
ddle of a practice problem They matter because they're
ematics. Here is the bench our most public manifestations
I ate chocolate fudge of something that is very, very
r cake while studying for private. When you're standing in
e Olympiad with two of line, checking out your various
orite people in the world. books and movies, there's a cer-
s the place in the parking tain solidarity experienced as you
re the old guy who said he secretly take a peek at the others'
Frank Sinatra imperson- wares. Libraries intimate a kind
ve me his e-mail address of collective sharing. When you
ked to keep in touch. And lose that, it's not something you
ced a few other people, can easily get back.
teenagers, doing the same The library's day of elections
strange smiles gracing was the first day I had ever voted
ices as their hands grazed in my life. "How do I do this?"
a stool, a surface. the woman next to me whispered
not going to go on and on from the makeshift cubicle. "I
he value of print media in have no idea," I mouthed back.
rr-digitized, ADD-addled But this was something I had to
d the necessity for brick- do, something Iowed, both to my
ortar strongholds to house past self and my future.
ils or whatever, because I I stayed up all night waiting
ave anything new to con- for the results. The millage to
on the topic. save the library passed, 12,246
I will say this much: votes to 8,799.
n't every city have a The first thing I did the next
a receptacle to store the morning was drive to the library.
is of a community? Not This time, I didn't get into an
cause of its large reposi- accident.

t

COURTESY OF FOXSEARCHLIGHTS
"All these bands? You've never heard of them. All those books? Those, too."
So over DesChanel

Don't be pulled in
by the adorable face
of Zooey Deschanel
By CAROLYN KLARECKI
Magazine Editor
Of all the terrible shows that
will premiere this fall, it was
"New Girl" that made me audi-
bly groan. The FOX sitcom stars
Zooey Deschanel ("(500) Days
of Summer") as a quirky, eccen-
tric 20-something getting over
a rough breakup with the help
of her new bro pals. It's not that
the show sounds bad. In fact, I
read the script and think it will
likely be one of the more suc-
cessful new series this fall. I
just can't stand Zooey Descha-
nel.
I'm aware that's an unpopu-
lar opinion. But the thing is,
Zooey represents everything I
feel is wrong with Hollywood,
and seeing her porcelain face
on the cover of this week's New
York Magazine has sent me over
the edge.
Deschanel soared to indie
darling heights in weak female
roles: bitchy roommates, crazy
ex-girlfriends and doe-eyed
sweethearts for the lead man
to win over. Then she became
a household name as Summer
Finn in "(500) Days of Summer."
Summer and Zooey are largely
indistinguishable. They both
wear cute, feminine dresses
and love bands you've probably
never heard of. But Summer, as
a character, only exists to make
Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
grow and accept life.
This isn't inherently prob-
lematic. After all, Tom is the
protagonist; every character
only exists to make him grow.

The problem comes in when
every sensitive guy in glasses
wants to be with a girl just
like Zooey/Summer and every
girl who was ever described as
"quirky," even once, wants to
be her. It's then that the brood-
ing boys in skinny jeans expect
the cute woman reading Oscar
Wilde in the local coffee shop
to "fix" them, and the wannabe
dream girls who wear vintage
feel they have to keep their
quirkiness at a constant high,
while also being spontaneous
and unpredictable.
What's more, many feminists
have argued that Zooey's love
of sugar and spice and every-
thing nice fetishizes girlish-
ness and leads to infantilization
of women in media, making it
harder for real women to be
taken seriously. For men, Zoo-
ey's female ideal is perfection.
But I am not perfect. My mere
existence isn't going to give any
man an epiphany, and I actu-
ally hate cupcakes, thank you
very much. Many of my bad first
dates could've been rectified
had my dates known this.
Beyond glorifying and
romanticizing a weak female
mentality, Zooey epitomizes
the star system, the method of
filmmaking where the star's
name becomes the most impor-
tant facet of a production. I'm
sure she's not stomping around
sets ordering drastic creative
changes just because she can,
but she does have a noticeable
effect on people - particularly
critics.
During the Television Crit-
ics Association's summer press
tour, a two-week conference
during which all the major TV
and cable networks present
their shows and host Q & A ses-
sions with the critics, Zooey

Sos n y

owned her audience. Critics
are notoriously not very nice,
and they don't clap much. But
they were filled with nothing
but adoration during the "New
Girl" panel. All professional-
ism died as many of the mean-
est critics in Hollywood raved
about how sweet Zooey is.
One critic even dared to
ask the hard-hitting question,
"When did you realize how
adorable you were?" It was
talked about for days. I wanted 0,
to vomit.
"New Girl" is a great script,
but I fear no one will notice the
writing hidden behind those
large fringe bangs and big blue
eyes. No one sees story - they
just see Zooey.
She's not exactly untouch-
able. Take one look at her IMDb
page and you'll see she's not
God's gift to acting, as the world
treats her. I'll give her "(500)
Days of Summer" and "Our
Idiot Brother," but then we're
left with "Yes Man," "Surf's
Up," "The Happening" and
"Your Highness" - hardly Sun-
dance fodder.
She's not without petty
squabbles. She got in a heated
fight with Los Angeles Times
columnist Patt Morrison after
he reported on Zooey's wor-
ries about how the royal couple
would view downtown Los
Angeles. She's also suing Steve
Madden for $2 million over an
endorsement deal. But these
qualms go largely unnoticed,
because she's Zooey Deschanel
and she can do no wrong.
While everyone goes gaga
for "New Girl," I'll be watching
alone, waiting for society to get
over their giant collective crush
on Zooey Deschanel and accept
reality: Girls like that don't
exist. And that's OK.
our more "civilized" European
cousins engage in such behav-
iors as booing and whistling
when they are displeased. In
2006, superstar tenor Roberto
Alagna was booed at La Scala
following his opening aria
in "Aida." Enraged, the divo
stormed off the stage and had to
be replaced by an un-costumed
understudy.
Did Alagna deserve it? Proba-
bly not, but the situation proves
refusingto clap maynotbe quite
the faux pas that it appears.
With a new theater season
here, it's time American audi-
ences start to recognize their
rights as patrons, including the
right to get one's money's worth.
If the performers don't come
through with their end of the
deal, then it's not your place to
pretend like they did.When itall
boils down, the decision to clap
means staying honest to oneself:
Are you clapping because you
actually enjoyed it, or are you
clapping because everyone else
is? Remember that the next time
you make a move to "put your
hands together."

CLAPPING
From Page 7
the singer's voice cracked and
he was flat the entire evening,
then sit on your hands during
the curtain call.
Audiences, however, have
it in their heads that it's polite
to clap - that they're supposed
to give a big hand, no matter
how poor the performance. But
professional theater isn't some
fourth-grade pageant during
which you applaud to make the
kids feel good. These perform-
ers are being paid to do their
jobs correctly, and it's your
money they're getting. Ifa doc-
tor gives the wfong diagnosis,
you sure as hell won't give him a
pat on the back. So why give an
underserved ovation to a less-
than-satisfactory performance?
The same goes for the now-
meaningless standing ova-
tion. What should be reserved
for only the most illuminating
and virtuosic performances is
wasted over and over again on
the likes of community theater.

Take, for instance, the time a
friend and I went to see a high
school performance of "Les
Miserables." After the final cur-
tain, while the rest of the audi-
ence rose to their feet, my friend
and I remained seated. A scan-
dalized audience member in the
row behind us made sure we
heard her when she remarked
to her companion, "Some people
are so rude!" That she found it
such an offense in the first place
reveals how deeply rooted this
philosophy is in our society.
We must keep in mind that
the act of bowing is one of
humility - the performer hum-
bly comes forward to receive
the audience's appreciation
through a bow, as if to say, "I
don't deserve this." The irony is,
many performers don't deserve
it, making the whole process a
sham.
I'm sure there will be those
who deem me a boorish, toma-
to-flinging philistine. These
critics may be surprised to learn
that in Europe - especially in
Italy - honesty reigns supreme
during curtain calls. In fact,

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