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April 17, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-04-17

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4A - Tuesday, April 17, 2412

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Tuesday, April 17, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

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 of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
Imran Syed is the public editor. He can be reached at publiceditor@michigandaily.com.
'11-'12 Edgar Awards
More offensive (and fun) than Rush Limbaugh
Back when J. Edgar Hoover, that infallible defender of our con-
stitutional rights, was playing dictator and spying on Ameri-
cans as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Daily's
editorial page handed out the Edgar Awards annually to individuals
and institutions best embodying his many admirable characteristics.
Of necessity, we revived the tradition in recent years.
And so we present the ninth annual Edgar with the Man bringing me down!"
Awards: " The Hunger Games Edgar for a depress-
- The Call Me Maybe Edgar goes to for- ing, drawn-out, vicious battle to the death goes
mer Republican presidential hopeful Rick to the Republican presidential primary.
Santorum. Now that he's done denouncing With a full cast of outlandish characters, fan-
higher education, evolution, women in the tastic costumes - read: sweatervests - and a
workplace and contraception, Rick should skewed set of ideals, the odds were ever in no
have plenty of time on his hands. Here's our one's favor. And Mitt Romney definitely is more
number - call us maybe? (Disclaimer: Career than Katniss...
No contraception allowed. It's more " The Friday Night Necto Edgar for
fun and holy that way.) / . best drug and alcohol fueled rave goes to
" The Justin Bieber OMG Fan-Girl the night game against Notre Dame
Edgar is awarded to the students who University. Few may remember it after
waited for tickets to Obama's speech. beginning to pregame at 8 a.m., but the
Thousands braved a chilly and totally night game was a Big House highlight.
sober sleepover outside of the Michigan . The Temple Run Edgar forbiggest
Union, then again outside of Al Glick waste of time, energy and a few bucks
Field House to see their favorite pop goes to the Central Student Govern-
star - erm - president. ment elections. This year's MSA, we
" That Third Thing Rick Perry mean, CSG elections were the most
Would Cut from the Federal Govern- competitive in recent memory. Six par-
ment Edgar for forgotten ideas goes to 1 ties vowed to fundamentally change
woman's rights. Roe v. Wade-protected CSG for the better, resulting in a Sorkin-
rights?Planned Parenthood's health care esque end drama. That is, if Aaron Sor-
for low-income women? Who needs em? kin penned a show about student government
" The North Campus Cougar Edgar goes elections that no one beside those involved
to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Elu- cares about.
sive, strong and beautiful. Who run the world? + The Sandra Fluke Edgar for biggest slut
Cougars! Who hopefully isn't going to war with goes to lead GOP presidential candidate
Iran? Cougars! Mitt Romney. Romney will say anything to
" The Pee-Wee Herman Edgar for pub- please anyone. Just ask his campaign adviser,
lic masturbation goes to KONY 2012 creator who likened his policy to an Etch A Sketch -
Jason Russell. Though initial support for his easilyerasable. "I'll put you in a cage on the roof
group's video calling for-action against Joseph of my car... If you're into that..."
Kony, leader of Lord's Resistance Army, made it " The Tornado Edgar for unnecessarily
goviral,thebacklash againstitwasevengreater. causing the entire campus to simultaneously
It turns out the entire Internet ganging up on freak out and get drunk goes to freshman
you can have an effect on your mental health! guard Trey Burke. His and the Michigan bas-
Either that, or large quantities of alcohol... ketball team's will they/won't they was totally
" The Reply-All Edgar for worst use of redolent of Ross and Rachel.
an e-mail option goes to every student who " The Trans-vaginal Ultrasound Edgar
clicked "reply all". Please take us off this list. for unnecessary regulation goes to the keg
We're trying to study. It's, like, really rude. registration law. Michigan lawmakers now
* he KONY 2012 Edgar for armchair require kegs to be registered to one individual,
acti am goes to the Internet masses who handing them all liability. No worries - we'll
stopped the anti-piracy bills PIPA and SOPA drink liquor.
with the click of a mouse! The Patriot Act: " The Finally Edgar goes to the Michigan
"Yawn." Citizens United: "What's that?" PIPA football team. A winningseason and an endto
and SOPA: "You're telling me I can't watch a seven-year defeat record against Ohio State?
Modern Family on MegaVideo? I've had it Go Blue, indeed.
Sympathy, not empathy
Pi Kappa Phi: part of a particular group within society, what's
I applaud your effort to empathize with the most accurate and appropriate way to seek
people with disabilities. Acknowledging the understanding? If you're white and you want to
struggles that these people face in their daily know what it's like to be black, do you listen to
lives is important because with awareness - what black people have to say about their expe-
one might hope - comes the drive to change riences, or do you paint your skin dark brown,

the social structures that make life more dif- perm your hair and go out in public to try and
ficult for some people. But as a person with elicit the same sorts of social stigmas? Not the
a disability, I find it deeply problematic that second one, certainly. That would be offensive,
someone would think that by beingblindfolded, of course.
wearing earplugs or having his arms tied down, When I hear people say that they empathize
he would understand the challenges of having or "know what it's like" to have a disability, I
a disability. feel my experiences invalidated. Their attempts
When I read the remarks of Jill Rice, who at empathy come down to simplification - since
coordinates services for deaf and blind students there is no way that another person could feel
at the University, I was both shocked and hurt. what I feel every day of my life, they reduce
But even more than that, I felt as though I was my existence to a particular experience. That
being seen as the "other." Daily reporter K.C. is why I would prefer sympathy to empathy:
Wassman quotes Rice as saying, "I think it's a While the latter is not feasible, the former is. To
good experience to see how somebody might think that it's possible to empathize is to mini-
feel (being disabled) ... We are all only tempo- mize the experience.
rarily able. You never know when a car wreck That being said, I don't want to discourage
is goingto mess you or I up." Her intentions are all future attempts at understanding. Activities
admirable, but to me, the effect of her words designed to teach people about the experiences
was off-putting. of a particular group do not need to be problem-
You see, five-and-a-half years ago I was in atic. But in order for them not to be, the groups
a car wreck that, as Rice would say, "messed in question must be a part of it. Participants in
me up." I spent 10 days in a coma, and though this exercise should debrief by discussing the
I survived against the odds, I was left with experience with people who have lived with
a permanent cognitive disability known as real disabilities in order to learn about what
Traumatic Brain Injury. The main effects of aspects the activity were at all similar to the
TBI are impaired short-term memory, diffi- authentic experience, and what impressions
culty focusing, inflated stress levels and mental may have been false. And also, those who have
fatigue. Despite these challenges, I do not con- the disabilities ought to be consulted in design-
sider myself"messedup."When usinglanguage ing the activity as well - otherwise, it risks
around disability, it's important to think about missing the truth entirely.
what implications these words might have. Inclusiveness is key to empathy. Without it,
Aside from the way the event was reported, conclusions about how a certain group lives
I think that the most disturbing aspect of this will be both inaccurate and disrespectful. Next
program is the fact that - as far as I can tell - time you wonder what it islike to live with a dis-
people with disabilities were not a direct part ability, I invite you to talk to someone who has
of it. If you're trying to learn what someone's one. I will happily answer your questions.
life is like, how do you normally find out? Par-
ticularly, if you want to learn what it's like to be Anna Clements is an LSA senior.



Keep going!
I see a light
at the end of
he tunnel
e neyae i
Where the real danger is

By now, cuts to public educa-
tion aren't a shocker. In fact,
lic universities or
K-12 schools, by
this point almost
everything has
been on the bud-
getary chopping
block - multiple HARSHA
times, especially NAHATA
in Michigan, as
of late.
You can only say one thing over
and over again until it gets tiring.
Every time there are cuts to educa-
tion, it's the same cycle of opposi-
tion. Arguments are made about
valuing teachers, building a solid
foundation for future generations
and becoming globally competitive
in the job market. But it's all in vain,
because in spite of all the rhetoric,
cuts to education are still passed
year after year after year.
It's a simple'fact: Cutting edu-
cational funding isn't good. Some-
where deep down, I'm sure everyone
- politicians included - knows
this. It's one of those no-hrainers.
Regardless of how you feel about
government involvement in public
education, it's easy to logically see
how taking money away from edu-
cating the next generation might
not be the best idea. Yet, education
is always the first to go. Not because
it's the least useful, but because it's
the easiest target, the simplest way
to enact short-term relief without
having to face immediate political
consequences. But it'll add up. It
already has.
As I mentioned, the arguments
against education cuts are over-
worn. They've been repeated to
the point where saying them again
seems pointless. Still, I'm going to
make the argument one more time.

This time I'll say it with a different ues to be a low priority - regardless
spin in the hopes that maybe it'll of how competitive a field is - the
persuade someone to value educa- quality of the applicant pool will
tion a little bit more. continue to decline.
In addition to negative impli-
cations for the future economic
growth and the competitiveness of It's It
our labor force, a recent report by
an independent task force sponsored
by the Council on Foreign Rela- n't good
tions found that educational dis- cut education
crepancies would have a significant e
effect on national security. In fact,
the report goes as far as calling the
U.S. educational system a "national The United States is currently the
security crisis." Former Secretary of leader when it comes to maintaining
State Condoleezza Rice was one of a military and diplomatic presence
the co-chairs on this task force. around the world. But if we continue
The main idea of the report is that to deemphasize education, we will
if the education system stays as is - soon lose this position. We need a
an educational foundation severely comprehensive focus on subjects
lacking science, history and foreign such as history and foreign language
languages - it willbe difficult to find proficiency (and no, a four-semester
competent applicants for high-profile graduation requirement doesn't
national security agencies such as the count). We need to emphasize criti-
CIA, the Defense Department and cal thinking and analysis over simple
the State Department. For example, memorization. We need to prioritize
the State Department is currently education in our budgets. The pres-
having trouble finding students tigious institutions and sectors we
who speak necessary foreign lan- have didn't gain their reputations
guages proficiently. Generals in overnight and won't keep them if we
the armed forces have expressed don't work to keep them.
concern over their recruits' abil- That's where the real danger is.
ity to read complicated training Discounting education or making
manuals for high-tech equipment. higher education so inaccessible to
And a reportby the XVIII Airborne such a large amount of the popula-
Corps in Iraq concluded that very tion will create an unskilled popu-
few intelligence personnel were lation in the future. The issue isn't
able to synthesize different pieces even how this will affect people's
of information to reach a conclu- ability to find a job and sustain
sion. When the matters at stake are themselves, but rather how this will
huge national security or diploma- affectour abilityto sustain ourselves
cy issues, this information is unset- as a nation.
tling, to say the least. The rest of the world is moving,
Some may argue that this and it's moving fast. If we don't
shouldn't even be an issue, that move with it, not only will we get
these agencies are so competitive left behind, but we may endanger
and have such a large number of ourselves in the process.
applicants that they should have no
problem choosing the best and the -Harsha Nahata can be
brightest. But if education contin- reached at nhatata@umich.edu.

Aida Ali, Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Ashley Griesshammer, Jesse Klein,
Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Harsha Panduranga, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Seth Soderborg, Caroline Syms, Andrew Weiner
Eastern promises unmet

The ancient wonders, the cul-
ture,the well-receivedboner
kebab jokes - merely dis-
ing the airport,
we knew that our
Turkish sabbati-
cal was beyond
a sandwich with
a hard-on. This
was our search 1
for meaning, MELANIE
our sojourn for KRUVELIS
truth. And so
we walked off to
look for the Eastern world.
Or, at least that's one way to justify
another spring break without expos-
ing yourself on camera.
You're really not supposed to
spend your journey feeling sick and
sorry inyour hostel. This is rule num-
ber one. Rule number two: Go outside
and do things that other white people
haven't done.
In retrospect, hiking may not have
been the best choice.
At any rate, the oriental rugs, the
threadbare couches, the faint scent of
patchouli and old meat -just enough
to remind you of Mom - really did
seem right. Tucked between the
scraggly intergalactic land turds
("historical rock formations") and
the abandoned cave monasteries,
the little den we carved out felt like
the answer. And yes, maybe draw-
ing our conclusions from a drug hut
was a bit tasteless, even ignorant. But
then the sun begins to set, and you
all - namely, us and ten Turkish men
- pass that bottle of wine and laugh
for reasons that don't transcend lan-
guage barriers, and you kind of feel
like this has to be the meaning you
came here to find.
According to the guidebook,
things began quite normally. At the
end of our block stood a small stone

house where we take off our clothes
and get sweaty for lots of money.
Right. Post-sauna, we were escorted
to the massage room, an aesthetically
pleasing fall-out shelter lined with
midget sinks. This was where Turk-
ish Susan Boyle waddled over to me,
and, without warning, heaves a bed-
pan full of water over my head. I sit,
soaked and stupefied. Meanwhile,
my companion, with the gentle mas-
seuse, was calmly laid on the stone
floor and slowly drizzled with water.
But my dearest Susan had her
own plans. Before I can clear the
water from my eyes, she's pelting
me with a pillowcase full of liquid
dish soap. And then she starts tak-
ing my top off. And flips me over on
the stone. And without even asking
for my name or if I prefer big spoon
or little spoon, she flops her hands
right over my lady lumps and mash-
es them into oblivion.
"Excuse me, was that, um, includ-
ed in the price?"
Shortly after the sloppy nipple
tweak, however, this first hypothesis
was scraped. The score - God and
tubby masseuse:1. Science and white
chicks: 0.
And our second hypothesis was
born: Perhaps the chubby scuttle-
turned-mating ritual shows what
happens when the Eastern egg meets
the Western sperm. You go in not
knowing a lick of Turkish, not under-
standing a morsel of their everyday
life and you think you'll be fine. And
then your boobs are turned into soup
and an extra 50 lira flies down the
midget drain.
We still can't figure it out, to be
honest. But really, how could we
have known? My parents always
skipped the hammams on our road
trips through the awe-inspiring
Buckeye countryside. "The Turkish
bathhouses can wait, Melanie - my

God, are you saying you don't want
to stop at every single Waffle House
between here and Akron?"
The score -
Tubby masseuse: 1
White chicks: 0
Actually Mom, that's exactly what
I'm saying. But, sometimes all the
protesting in the world doesn't get
you out of smothered hash browns
and the subsequent diarrhea. Or, the
least seductive water-boarding in all
of human history.
But somewhere between 45
hours worth of bus rides, misplaced
blonde-haired fame - "Lady Gaga!"
- sleeping in tree houses and caves,
deciphering directions in a language
that quite honestly looks like the
alphabet regurgitated - between all
the hustle and bustle, eureka! We had
it! We had nothing! After two weeks
of meeting, seeing, loving, hating and
smelling oh, so terrible, we arrived
back in Spain with nothing but dusty
bags and existential woes. "How was
your spring break?" "IDK, I'm wait-
ing for my analyst to decide."
But you know, maybe that's all W
right. Or, at least, so goes hypothesis
three, the laziest one yet - shut up
about the human condition already.
It's spring break, you lummox, and
for once just enjoy it for what it is.
'Cause if you spend all your time
looking for meaning, you might just
miss the view from the bus window.
And hey, that was a really neat-look-
ing gas station back there, wasn't it?
-Melanie Kruvelis can be
reached at melkruv@umich.edu.


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