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September 12, 2013 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-09-12

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2B - Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

2B - Thursday, September12, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Artists as activists

W ashington D.C.has
had a significant
impact on our lan-
guage over the pastfew years,
from the reinvention of old words
(such as
United" and
the concept of
a "person") to
the creation
of new ones
like "enemy
combatants." JOHN
Its latest BOHN
linguistic H
endeavor will
be to reinvent
the notion of a "trade agreement"
this fall.
Currently in D.C., the final
drafts of what will become the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
are being written. The TPP is a
massive new "free trade" agree-
ment being negotiated by the Unit-
ed States and 11 other countries
around the Pacific Rim, totalingat
40 percent of the global economy.
President Barack Obama has given
600 corporations official "trade
advisor" status, while Congress
and the public have been left in
the dark. What we, the public, do
know comes from leaks. Congress
fares not much better. Remember
those protocols by which a mem-
ber of Congress could learn about
PRISM? Same deal. They have a
few hours to look at select docu-
ments without any means of note-
taking and then are not allowed to
tell others what they have learned.
More aboutcorporate rights
than about trade, the TPP,
referred to as the son of SOPA,
will reach into Internet policy
and extend the criminalization
of certain activities. It will affect
food labeling, turning those such
as "locally grown," "renewable/
recyclable" or "sweat-free" into
acts of discrimination and barriers
to "free trade." It will extend drug
patents for the major pharma-
ceutical companies, which would
delay the production of cheap,

generic medications. It will also
raise transnational corporations
to the status of sovereign nations
in international tribunals, allow-
ing them to sue governments
whose policies (environmental,
work-place safety) have affected
their projected profits, an act
already begun under past free-
trade agreements. See: "Met-
alclad Corps. v. United Mexican
States." Already, countries and
their taxpayers have paid $365
million to corporations in this
way. The list goes on.
I am writing today to the art-
ists of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti
because I believe this to be ter-
rible poetry. And I think you
might agree. I am writing today
because we are on the eve of this
bill's passing, and while there is
still time to act, we need to act
fast. President Obama will look to
Congress to grant him Fast Track
sometime this fall, which would
allow him sole authorship of the
bill. To deny him this opportunity
would allow our Congress mem-
bers a say in that process.
Let us, as good artists, teach
our struggling writers over at
the Washington School of Poetry
about the healthy benefits of
workshopping your writing.
If you are starting an art
studio, music composition class
or creative writing workshop, I
challenge you to use that time
and space to explore and expose
the implications of the TPP. Due
to its scale, the TPP's effects will
stretch across a multitude of nar-
Where are the stories about
threatened small farms? Where
is the dance about genetically
modified food? Where is the
satirical play about the corpo-
rate lawyers who settle disputes
between nations and corpora-
tions? Where are the paintings
of the broken faces and broken
homes of the dispossessed?
Where are photos of abandoned
factories? Where is the poetry
that reclaims our exploited

language? Where are the songs
commemoratingthe success of
past struggles? Let this art cul-
minate in a rotating gallery and
performance space where voices
are heard. Let our art fill online
galleries and the mailrooms of
our elected representatives. Let's
builda coalition of artists and
Do not let Washington monop-
olize the telling of this story. The
voices of those most affected will
not be lost, but neither will they
be replaced. Our art, as best as it
can, will serve as a humble proxy.
The Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti
area can only do so much in this
endeavor, but let us start a wave
of protest art that spreads across
the country. The scale of Wash-
ington's literature is immense.
Ours must be equally immense.
We are not alone in doing so.
We take our inspiration from
groups like the Beehive Collec-
tive and affirm our solidarity
with an international struggle
well underway by farmers in
Japan, human-rights groups in
Malaysia, protesters in Australia
and here in the United States.
For those looking to further
inform their art, campaigns such
as "Expose the TPP" and "Topple
the TPP" run by United Students
for Fair Trade (USFT) have
begun the process of inform-
ing the public and can be found
online. Sept.23 will begin the
national week of action, and the
University's chapter of USFT,
with meetings Mondays at 8 p.m.
in B810 East Quad, will have
events to look out for.
"Poets are the unacknowl-
edged legislators of the world,"
Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote near-
ly 200 years ago.
I am not here today to agree. I
ask that Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti
artists demand their acknowledg-
ment this fall.
Bohn is demanding
acknowledgement. To join,
e-mail jobohn@umich.edu.

in this new series, three daily arts writers
in varying states of mind visit the same
place and write about their experiences.
this week's destination: g
Under the Lights



I'm going to be completely honest: I have no idea what's happening. 4
Normally, under slightly less high circumstances, I slowly but surely drift
in and out of the game. Seeing it, but not really paying attention until the
guy beside me with the maize mohawk starts yelling, "GO BLUE!" But
now ... Look I don't even really remember who's who. So, the game. Look.
We're winning. It's really light, which is disorienting because the sky is
DARK. I also feel like now is as good a time as any to talk about how
fast all the football players run. I mean, they are FAST. OK, look, we just
scored 17 points and now it's HALF TIME and BEYONCE JUST SAID
SHE WISHES US LUCK what is this life tho. I mean, what's the point,
NOTHING CAN DEFEAT US. I feel slightly disoriented, but the march-
ingband is killing it. I can tell because I'm singing along to "Countdown,"
and they don't miss a BEAT. Way to keep up with the drunk masses, guys!
OK, we are back and the game starts off kind of tense. I'm lying because
I feel goooood and I don't really feel any tension except some sexual ten-
sion between maize mohawk and an innocent bag of popcorn. OH SHIT
they just got like 10 points. They beat us in the last quarter but WE WON
THE WAR. Victors valiant, holla back.
The last thing I remember was, "Meet in Section 30! Section 30 - don't
forget." Too bad it seems like every other friend group has done the same
thing - the line doubles around so that it faces away from the stadium.
Bleary-eyed, I curse the ticket policy.
My heart is still pounding from before. Stepping beyond the ticket
checkers, I thought I was safe - somehow convinced myself to sneak in
a couple of shooters. But a policeman cordoned me off with an arm and
looked at my pockets. "Whatcha got there?" he asked, pointing. I'd had
a serious bout of paranoia, but was with it enough to pull out my water
bottle and wallet. "They want you to buy water here," he said, snatching
it from my hand. "Oh, sorry, I understand, thanks so much!" I answered,
moving along. Close shave.
"Dude - let's just walk across the horseshoe." Before I know it, my
two friends are cutting the gap, and it's get left with the squares or hop
on board. Wordlessly, I slip away from my remaining friends to follow.
We all sort of clot around a spot near the front. "Oh, hey, is that Kyle
over there?" We stand. I feel eyes on my back, but maybe that's the buzz.
"Nevermind, that's not Kyle. But now that we're here..."
The game is a blur. We're never losing, the touchdowns are raining,
but all I can think is: Cottonmouth. Bathroom. Feet tired. Water ... I could
gofor some water. Eventually I'm completely, and we're shuffling back up
the stairs, euphoric in our delirium. We won. Thank God.
The stadium smelled terrible. Everyone smelled like beer. Everyone
smelled like sweat. Random joints were smoked. Which made everyone smell
like weed. But that's OK; it was Notre Dame.Nothingelse mattered that day.It
didn'tmatter that my legswere about to collapse. All that mattered was 41-30.
It didn't matter that Gardner threw an interception touchdown after a split
second series of horrible calls. All that mattered was that he returned it with
another touchdown.
It didn't matter that it was general admissions, and I was stuck in row 90.
Or that I could never hear the band because everyone was screamingso loud.
It didn't matter that all my friends were slowly becoming miserable, hung-
over zombies as the game progressed, and refused to sing anymore of the
Victors because their heads hurt. Some were drunk and some were high and
some were both. Their crazy dance moves didn't matter. Their embarrassing
decrees of how drunk they "really" were didn't matter. They were drunk and
there was no looking back. And, in retrospect, it didn't even matter that the
person in front of me was basically eight-feet tall. All that mattered was that
it was Notre Dame. I was there. It was Under The Lights Part II. And we beat


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