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October 04, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-04

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4A - October 4, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - October 4, 2012 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C 14C idiian ary
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.
on ray the gay away
States should ban harmful 'conversion camps'
Last weekend, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill ban-
ning therapeutic programs aimed at converting the sexual
orientation of homosexual children. Many of these conver-
sion therapies are often sought by parents who suspect gay tenden-
cies in their children. The new law now prohibits any treatment that
asks minors to "change behaviors or gender expressions, or to elim-
inate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward
individuals of the same sex." Such therapies have been found to
have negative effects on children while promoting a culture of intol-
erance. Other states, including Michigan, should follow California's
lead in banning these prejudicial actions.

Major disrespect

OEasy, LS&plAy, B-School
pre-school. We've all heard
jokes and stereotypes about
various majors
before, and
maybe we've
even coined
some of our
own. But as stu-
dents at one of
the world's bestJ
why is it OK for HEMA
us to routinely KARUNA-
put down each K AM
other's concen-
It's no exaggeration that nearly
every major at the University is
highly ranked, and, as a result, no
student truly gets out easy. At one
point or another, everyone pulls
all-nighters in the library, spent
weeks obsessing over every detail
of a paper or been on the verge
of a breakdown while struggling
through a set of problems. And
yet, we hear our own voices rising,
mocking each other almost every
day. Program in the Environment
majors are tree-hugging hippies
who get to go camping for credit.
Screen Arts & Cultures majors just
watch movies for homework. Com-
puter Science majors have no social
skills because they spend all day
locked up coding in their rooms.
Pre-meds are neurotically com-
petitive, doing whatever it takes to
destroy the curve on organic chem-
istry exams.
I'm an Environmental Engineer-
ing major, and one might think
that stereotypes haven't developed
against us yet because the program
is so new. But in the one month since
we've been around, I've heard that
we're the engineering misfits - the
former civil engineers who found
building bridges too difficult.

In fact, we're all just trying to
make it through college and hope-
fully add value to society one day. It
doesn't seem acceptable to say that
one person's degree is worth more
than another's just because of their
major. At such a diverse school, the
focus should be on celebrating the
diversity of not just the students, but
also of their areas of study.
Take the case of Industrial and
Operations Engineering. There
certainly may be students who
elect this major because they
think - because of stereotypes like
"IOEasy" - it must require less
effort than most other engineering
majors. But, there are far more IOEs
who do it because they're genuinely
interested in the subject matter.
And it's no secret that students who
graduate from the University with
IOE degrees have starting salaries
that are much higher than many of
their peers. So it doesn't seem right
to stereotype students of a cer-
tain major simply because of their
shared passion or ambition.
Furthermore, what are we really
trying to prove by making jokes
about each other's majors? Almost
every student at the University is
here because they stood out in high
school. They were "special," and
that's why they ended up at a school
so prestigious. In an attempt to say
that perhaps we're still special,
we're still better, we still stand out,
we cling to the one thing that inher-
ently sets us apart from most of our
fellow students - our major. On
top of that, students pick up double
majors, multiple minors - whatever
it takes to distinguish themselves in
a sea of more than 40,000 students.
The University has asked us all
to "expect respect" through our
actions and words. While it may
initially seem harmless, bashing
someone's major is, ultimately,

a form of disrespect. We're not
achieving anything by telling busi-
ness students that their classes are
unnecessarily easy or engineering
students that theirs are unneces-
sarily hard. By stereotyping, we're
stereotyping ourselves as a bevy of
students with superiority complex-
es. The hallmark Michigan arro-
gance that other schools accuse us
of rears its ugly head each time we
put down someone else's major and,
by extension, flaunt our own.


aside, no one
gets out of
the 'U' easy.

In the next few years, most of us
will leave Ann Arbor with a degree
in hand. And not just any degree,
but a University of Michigan degree
that's respected around the world.
The work it took to get this degree
was byno means "easy,"byno means
"playing," byno means "pre-school."
Regardless of what we studied, we'll
become a part of the largest alumni
network in the world. No matter
where in the world we end up, we'll
proudly bleed maize and blue for
the rest of our lives. What we stud-
ied here will probably matter as far
as what we end up doing - what we
thought of other people's majors, or
what they thought of ours, will mean
nothing. So next time you're inclined
to poke fun at someone's major,
think first.
- Hema Karunakaram can be
reached at khema@umich.edu. Follow
her on Twitter at @Hemakarunakaram.

A leading advocate of reparative thera-
pies is activist David Pickup, who credits
such practices with curing his own youth-
ful homosexual leanings. Pickup and others
often refer to a UCLA study conducted in the
1970s by doctoral student George Rekers. The
subject was Kirk Murphy, a slightly effemi-
nate 5-year-old boy. After subjecting Mur-
phy to experiments involving emotional and
physical punishments, Rekers concluded that
he was "cured" and published his findings in
a scientific journal. Rekers became regarded
as an expert in reparative therapies and even
today his research is cited in academic writ-
ings. Following the reparative treatment,
Murphy's mother recalled that, "it left Kirk
just totally stricken with the belief that he
was broken." In 2003, after years of living
"under a pall," Murphy committed suicide.
Concerned by his affection for dolls, Mur-
phy's parents forced him to attend the conver-
sion therapy program. At 5 years old, Murphy
was understandably compliant and unable to
voice his own thoughts. Similarly, most minors
are more or less subject to the whims of their
parents. California's ban provides protection
for underage children unable to defend them-
selves, while still allowing adults the freedom
to attend such therapy sessions voluntarily.
Pickup argues that the ban denies treat-
ment to children who may desire it. Regard-

less of his concern, there are questions about
the efficacy of the therapies themselves.
Reparative therapists have admitted that
while many "patients have succeeded in
reducing their homosexual attraction and in
enhancing heterosexual desire ... total 'cures'
are rare." Furthermore, a large portion of the
medical field agrees with the American Psy-
chological Association that "there has been
no scientifically adequate research to show
that therapy aimed at changing sexual orien-
tation is safe or effective."
In addition to their inefficacy, the APA says
conversion therapies may even "increase the
likelihood or severity of depression, anxi-
ety and self-destructive behavior." Unlike
other religious institutions such as private
schools, the sole purpose of a conversion cen-
ter is to cleanse the patient of homosexual-
ity. This not only causes direct harm to those
involved, but also spreads a visible message of
prejudice. Exodus International, for example,
is a religious organization with ministries
scattered across the country - including one
in Traverse City,-Mich. - dedicated to pro-
viding treatments to eradicate "homosexual
impulses and desires." The presence of these
clinics is a shameful indication of ignorance
and intolerance. Michigan, along with all
other states, should emulate the precedent
set by California.

@Obamney Just because your Celebrity
you can agree on anything.
" " #relationship fail
Not presidential material


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
A nation lost

Last week I was in a terrible mood. I was
following the reaction in Pakistan to the
provocative video, "Innocence of Muslims"
that ridicules the last prophet of Islam and
I was utterly dejected, buried beneath the
news stories depicting the chaos in my home-
town of Karachi. To make matters worse, my
father sent me a troubling e-mail. Our e-mail
exchanges typically consist of him asking me
about life in college, and me asking about the
situation at home and with the family. But for
the first time since I've been in college, the
tone was one of gloom. The first sentence per-
fectly set the tone - "yesterday was a bad day
for Pakistan's prestige, if there is any left."
As if my father's words weren't enough, I
went through the website of Pakistan's most
popular English newspaper and found that my
favorite writer, Nadeem F. Paracha, had writ-
ten a new piece titled "... And the abyss stared
back." Reading this sent me plummeting into
a temporary depression. He started his article
with, "it's official: We are not a nation.We are a
mob," and ended with, "We as a nation have for
long been staring into the abyss. But what many
ofus believe is avisionofsome kind ofa Muslim
reawakening is in actuality just the abyss star-
ing right back." The country went into a frenzy
bordering lunacy. The government completely
lost control of law and order in its main cities
and let mobs run amok.
A holiday was announced on Friday, Sept.
21 named Youm-i-Ishq-i-Rasool (Love for the
Prophet Day). Personally, I feel it's a ridicu-
lous public holiday to have. However, what
was supposed to be a day of expressing love
for the Prophet turned predictably violent.
Extremist outfits in the country used this as

an opportunity to flex their political muscle
and let indoctrinated sheep loose onto the
streets to set Karachi and other major cit-
ies ablaze. Cinemas were burned, protesters
fought with the police, many lives were lost
and many more people were injured. Prop-
erty was destroyed and set on fire.
According to The Express Tribune, a local
newspaper, the cost due to property damage
and frozen economic activity is estimated
at Rs 76 billion ($0.8 billion). I don't under-
stand the purpose of all this madness. Reli-
gious extremists promote their anti-West
propaganda, blaming the United States for a
video we clearly had nothing to do with. But
extremists tend to be immune to logic.
In his article, Paracha points out the dis-
turbing reality in Pakistan with a little his-
tory lesson. He points out how, for decades
since the birth of the nation, the writing has
been on the wall. Pakistan has been slipping
into the "abyss" of religious extremism, noth-
ing has been done to prevent it and each suc-
cessive government, democratic and military
alike, is a catalyst to the growing problem.
To me, the worst part about this disaster
is that it wasn't a turning point where Paki-
stanis at large realize that we strayed terri-
bly off the path. The crisis was not a wake-up
call (as if Pakistan really needs any more of
those). Friday, Sept. 21 was a day in Pakistan's
history that marks a point of no return. That
dreaded day that nobody wanted to admit
we've reached, where there is truly no hope.
Extremism has prevailed over mindfulness
and rationality. The country is lost.
Sharik Bashir is an LSA sophomore.

In a Freakonomics podcast from
November 2010, Steven Levitt,
along with other highly respected
economists, asserted that the U.S.
president has no control over the
economy. The president exercises
limited control over social issues -
he can't technically propose laws,
and he can't even vote on them.
The U.S. Constitution was written
to keep the executive branch from
being too powerful. This, in combi-
nation with the checks and balanc-
es system, was intended to prevent
tyranny. By extension, it gives the
president very little control, which
is a problem that's amplified by a
divided Congress.
According to an article from USA
Today, this term's Congress has
been the least productive since 1947.
They've passed onlyf61laws, whereas
every Congress before - with the
exception of Congress in 1995 - has
passed at least 125 laws. In the face
of this much opposition, there's little
the president can do.
Based on this evidence, the most
important role for the president is
to be the face of the country or of an
issue. When the president makes a
statement, it's immediately deemed
the most important statement made
about the issue in question. When
President Barack Obama and Vice
President Joe Biden came out (pun
intended) in favor of gay marriage, it
was seen as a huge victory for mar-
riage equality, even though Obama
cannot and has not proposed legisla-
tion supporting gay rights. In other
words, when the White House really
gets behind an issue, it immediately
gets pushed to the top of the public's
to-do list.
The president's role is one of
marketing and negotiating. Both
skills require the ability to speak
eloquently and diplomatically on
sensitive issues. When the president
says something, how he says it car-
ries significant weight. The presi-
dent must think before he speaks
and represent the country well
when he does, which simply isn't
the case with Mitt Romney in light
of numerous media gaffes.
This was underscored most
recently with his now-infamous

quote, "There are 47 percent of the
people who will vote for the presi-
dent no matter what. All right, there
are 47 percent who are with him,
who are dependent upon govern-
ment, who believe that they are vic-
tims ... And they will vote for this
president no matter what...These are
people who pay no income tax." And
that's only the tip of the iceberg.
In this speech, Romney alien-
ated hard working Americans in
the lower-middle class while trying
to appeal to his peers in the whit-
est, richest sector of society. How
this statement is viewed by other
countries and organizations would
be more important if Romney were
president. With Romney as the face
of our nation, this statement could
be taken to mean that America as a
whole only cares about the opinions
of the super-rich.
In London, Romney asserted that
with the 2012 Olympics, "It's hard to
know just how well it will turn out.
There are a few things that were dis-
concerting." He accused London of
being unequipped to host the games
a day before they were to start. Brit-
ain is one of the U.S.'s biggest allies
and it's tactless of Romney to have
angered its capital's residents in the
public forum. The would-be presi-
dent has to be more cognizant of the
force his words carry.
Romney also has had issues with
jumping the gun. He tends to speak
publicly on issues before he's aware
of all the facts. After the attacks on
U.S. ambassadors in Libya, Rom-
ney made a statement before Presi-
dent Obama had announced the
deaths. He criticized the Obama
administration for "stand[ing] by
a statement sympathizing with
those who breached our embassy in
Egypt, instead of condemning their
actions" and equated the move with
"an apology for America's values."
This was a matter of national secu-
rity in which only those close to the
administration knew all the facts.
It's irresponsible to make such a
statement without knowing all the
details. Romney has a rash, reac-
tive personality and responds too
quickly, without thought. The Libya
attacks are an example of the high-

ly sensitive issues he'll be dealing
with on a daily basis if he's elected
president. As President Obama said,
"Governor Romney seems to have a
tendency to shoot first and aim later.
And as president, one of the things
I've learned is you can't do that."
I'm not saying everything Rom-
ney says is stupid, nor am I saying a
Democrat has never said something
stupid. After all, it was Joe Biden
who once said, "'Jobs is a three-
letter word." Obama explained that
as small-town Americans "get bit-
ter, they cling to guns or religion or
antipathy to people who aren't like
them or anti-immigrant sentiment
or anti-trade sentiment as a way
to explain their frustrations." But
these examples are fewer and farther
between - Obama's statement comes
from last election. It also has less
global impact. Mitt Romney has been
in the public eye less than a year and
has already said things that are both
offensive and incorrect, or phrased in
the most terrible way possible.
Romney is a smart, extremely
successful man with degrees from
Harvard University, but this doesn't
mean he's able to express himself
eloquently. He's rash with his words
and thus makes speeches filled with
falsehoods, insults and tactlessness.
The president is the face of our
country. That's his or her most pow-
erful role. It took Mitt Romney one
trip to get the entire nation of Britain
to dislike him, and he didn't start a
war - he simply opened his mouth.
At this point in American history
we can't make enemies of any nation
militarily, economically or socially.
We need countries to work with us
to get through though these hard
economic times. The president needs
to be able to inspire not only their
own people, but also the citizens and
leaders of other countries. The presi-
dent's constitutional power is limit-
ed. The wayhe can get things done is
by convincing others through words
and influence. Regardless of his
platform, Mitt Romney's continual
media gaffes prove he can't be that
type of president.
Jesse Klein is an
assistant editorial page editor.

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