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The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com I

Page 4 - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Page 4 - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MEGAN MCDONALD
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
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.
A horror story from a lower-class traveler

never a mention of intersectionality.
Nobody attempts to contextualize
the discussion.
Muslims are often denied the right
to be present in the conversation.
We're rarely invited to the table, to the
panel, to the conference. An educated
discussion on Muslim women and
their rights is welcome. What is not
welcome is using the state of Muslim
womenasatooltopropagateneoliberal
ideology. What is not welcome is using
their name to mobilize an ideology
that advocates their inferiority. Who
is Maher championing exactly? Why
are they always talked about but
never present?
By leaving Muslims out of the
conversation you limit their ability to

claim their reality. To quote Edward
Said, you can control the East/Orient
by "making statements about it,
authorizing views of it, describing
it, by teaching it, settling it: in short,
Orientalism as a Western style for
dominating, restructuring, and having
authority over the Orient."
Maher practices neo-orientalism,
a reincarnation of orientalism that
pits Islam against the West. The
ideology is harmful. It compromises
the safety of Muslims in the West
and claims authority over Muslims
everywhere. It creates a hierarchy on
who getsto speak on the topic. Nobody
asked Maher or Harris or Affleck or
Kristof to present their credentials.
Their authority on the topic is never

questioned. Despite the fact that none
of them is actually affected by the
radical Islam they seem to discuss.
Maher never actually presents
any solutions. He operates with a
smugness that says, 'I am superior,
these people are terrible, let me
provide my unsolicited opinion
for ratings.'
Personally, I don't find anything
remotely funny or intelligent about
his show. Then again, maybe I'm just
one of those oppressed Arab, Muslim
women who doesn't understand the
work good liberals like Maher are
doing on my behalf.
- Haya Alfarhan can be
reached at hsf@umich.edu.

Holidays are a great time ina student's
life - family, friends, food, food and
more food. They're also extremely
stressful. Students have
to debate how to split
their time between home-
work and visits to home,
between family members
- especially in divorced
households - and between
time and money wasted
when traveling to the ones
they love. DEVIN
Unfortunately, when EGGERT
it comes to traveling, I'm
pretty cheap.
My horror story begins with a bus company
that I swore to God I would never travel with
again - even at my own inconvenience: the
infamous Greyhound bus. Now, you don't sign
up for the Greyhound without knowing what
you're getting into. (You are Jack Dawson with
a ticket to the lowest floor of a ship that you
hope doesn't get lost in the ocean and delayed
for two days.) I arrived early to the packed
Chicago bus station and went to the bathroom
- I exited as soon as possible because there
were people bathing in the sinks and someone
was throwing up. I showed a worker my ticket.
A pack of people from Ann Arbor followed the
worker and me to the designated waiting area
for our ride.
Our ride was never announced, even after
several inquiries as to when the bus might be
coming. An hour after we were supposed to
board, a worker freaked out, realizing that the
station forgot to announce our bus arrival. A
parent of a University student got the manager,
who suddenly realized the mistake. Yet, instead
of helping the situation, the manager started
flipping out. When I say flipping out, I mean
that the manager said that all 20 of us from Ann
Arbor were liars and that she was going to get
the police. If we moved, security would kick us
out. We found this really strange and scary. We
wondered who she was yelling at, considering our
group was abnormally polite. It seemed like she
was yelling at an imaginary person. Greyhound
security surrounded us for an hour. Two other
girls from the University and I were crying. The
manager kept yelling incoherent directions. We
honestly didn't know what to do. Some adults
were asking why we were being surrounded.
The security said they had no idea and that the
manager just told them to do so. I was shaking. A
lot of people gave up and left the station.
The worker who originally led us to the area
walked by. I called out to him to see what had
happened. He said Greyhound messed up and
they were trying to cover themselves. But, he
refused to tell a higher manager because he
didn't want to lose his job. After two hours of
standing, the manager returned. She said we
stood in the wrong area and that all 20 of us
(now 11because nine people went home) missed
the announcement. It was all our fault. Out of
the goodness of her heart, the Greyhound
manager said we could possibly get on the next
bus ... if we could convince the bus'driver. She
also threw in that it probably wouldn't happen

because our group was undeserving and had
bad attitudes.
Intears,threeofusgirlsbeggedthebusdriver
of the next bus to let us in. This was a situation
in which none of us was from Chicago, school
was the next day, and we would somehow have
to rent a hotel and figure out how to get to Ann
Arbor if they didn't let us on. The bus driver
was furious. She refused to let 11 of us on the
bus even though there were 11 empty seats. One
of the older gentlemen threw a fit on the phone
to the company. The bus driver let us on after
receiving a command from her radio telling her
that she must let us on the bus.
The bus driver ran off the bus to yell at the
station owners. We all got on. I was the last, left
with four seat options - all of which had the
bus driver's stuff sprawled across them. Since
I was scared of the bus driver and pretty much
every worker of Greyhound, I stayed standing.
The people at the front of the bus sympathized
with how the bus driver was treating us, and
one woman moved her pillow that was block-
ing one of the seats so that I could sit down. I
did. And, I kid you not, when the bus driver
returned she accused me of stealing stuff out of
her purse, which was next to me. It was awful.
The only reason I was allowed to stay was that
the front of the bus vouched for me, and the
woman traded seats with me.
After riding the bus for an hour, the bus
driver said she didn't want to go to Ann Arbor,
so she was going to drop us off in Detroit (three
girls were going to get dropped off in the middle
of Detroit at night). I tried to message some
friends in the area. Meanwhile, a creepy guy
next to me kept saying things about blondes,
college girls and then started singing, "What
am I going to do with three hot college girls
alone at night" over and over. I tried to act like
I was sleeping. I opened my eyes. He was a foot
away staring at me and touching my arm.
The bus driver had a change of heart in
Detroit and decided to drive us to Ann Arbor
after an older man talked to her. For the first
time, I had tears of relief, even though she
dropped us off far from the Ann Arbor stop
because "it wasn't worth driving in." The
creepy guy got off with us even though he was
supposed to go to Flint. He started following us.
Thanks to my self-defense knowledge, I took a
pen (as a weapon). I turned around and told him
in an angrytone that I have a cab coming in the
next minute. And, he was not allowed to follow
me or get in. I kept walking with my thumb on
911. He called out some sexual stuff but whatev-
er, he turned around and walked the other way.
I did make it home to my residence hall safe-
ly. So did everyone from Ann Arbor. I ran into
one of the girls I met at the Greyhound station at
Charley's. We bonded over the terrifying expe-
rience. I guess through all this, my point of this
ghastly story is: 1. Don't ride a Greyhound, 2.
Time trumps money sometimes - even for the
cheap, and 3. Just because Jack Dawson paid for
a lower class ticket doesn't mean he shouldn't
be given humane treatment if the Titanic sinks.
- Devin Eggert can be reached
at deeggert@umich.edu.

The importance of not being a Cool Girl

.i. v

Afew days ago I finally gave in
and saw "Gone Girl."
After weeks of observing
my friends'
reactions of disgust
and amazement
and vows to never,
ever get married,
I decided to see if
I would still have
the same vaguely
nonchalant JULIA
reaction toward ZARINA
that particular
interpretation as
I did when I read
the book a few years ago. I did. To me,
the story has always been a cautionary
tale about modeling yourself around
an unrealistic ideal, of catering to
the expectations of others to a fault
and about the motivations that cause
someone to become a Cool Girl, taken
to theirlogical extreme.
A few often-cited paragraphs from
the book were still the most relevant
part of the story to me; the paragraphs
that instantly turned a piece of fiction
into a relatable, frighteningly caution-
ary tale where calculated, sociopathic
murder previously had not.
"Men always say that as the defining
compliment, don't they? She's a cool
girl. Being the Cool Girl means I-am a
hot, brilliantfunny woman who adores
football,poker, dirty jokes, and burping,
who plays video games, drinks cheap
beer, loves threesomes and anal sex,
and jams hot dogs and hamburgers
into her mouth like she's hosting the
world's biggest culinary gang bang
while somehow maintaining a size 2,
because Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot
and understanding. Cool Girls never get
angry; they only smile in a chagrined,
loving manner and let their men do
whatever they want. Go ahead, shit on
me,I don't mind, I'm the Cool Girl.
"Men actually think this girl exists.
Maybe they're fooled because so many
women are willing to pretend to be this
girl. For a long time Cool Girl offended
me. I used to see men - friends, co-
workers, strangers - giddy over these
awful pretender women, and I'd want to
sit these men down and calmly say: You
are not datinga woman, you are dating
a woman who has watched too many
movies written by socially awkward
men who'd like to believe that this kind
of woman exists and might kiss them."
I've spent a long time thinking
about Cool Girl without ever calling
her by that name. Freshman year,
my friends and boyfriend at the time
discovered the "The League," an FX
show that chronicles the bro-ing out of
a group of middle-aged man-children
whose entire lives revolve around a
fantasy football league. The wife of
one of these men, the main recurring
female character in the cast, is a classic
Cool Girl, respected where other
women are not due to the fact that her
primary interests in the show appear
to be, in no particular order: bro-ing
out, eating meat while bro-ing out,
drinking beer while bro-ing out and
talking about football while looking
hot while bro-ing out. Among my
friends, a new standard for the ideal
woman was instantly set.
I actually enjoy this show for the
most part. I laugh at the jokes. It's

crude and immature in a way that I
don't even pretend to be above. The
anxiety that this show caused me at
the time was related to the fact that
suddenly, there was a very clear-cut
model of what I needed to be in order
to be respected, admired, wanted and
cool - and I couldn't have been more
opposite.I donotreallyenjoywatching
football for days. I take, serious issue
with misogynistic attitudes. When
people treat me poorly, they definitely
hear about it. I'm a vegetarian. I am,
at my essence, not a Cool Girl. I never
have been.
Suddenly, however, at 19 years
old, being a Cool Girl seemed very
important. Like almost everyone in
college around me, I was insecure and
trying to make a name for myself by
adopting an identity that set me apart
from what I perceived to be boring
and typical. I was a feminine girl and
identified as a feminist, whichmeant I
was like all the other girls. By denying
these qualities I was somehow
different and above the rest. I chugged
beer and approached relationships like
they were the world championships
of trying to out-sociopath the
other person. I always cared less. I
memorized football trivia. I was "less
of a girl than most boys." I laughed at
sexist jokes. I was cool.
Being in college and being in your
twenties is a life lived in extremes.
It's a phase that results from recently
being turned loose in a world that
expects you to become a fully formed,
fully functional, independent human
being. You and everyone around you
try on values and majors and styles
and defining personal characteristics
in the pursuit of something that fits.
You're pre-med one year and an
English major the next. Your social
views evolve rapidly. Faking it until
you make it takes on a whole new
meaning in job interviews, student
clubs and social circles. Your identity
in public is often a mirrored reflection
of the characteristics that you believe
to wholly define the certain kind of
person you would like to be.
Identityin college can often resem-
ble a prototype of a future existence.
Its like high fashion on a runway, an
extreme version of something that
gets distilled and diluted by design-
ers who know how to adapt a vision
to something appropriate for daily life
before it is widely applied to clothes
we see in the stores. Being in your
twenties and assumingan identitycan
be like going straight from the runway
to the streets - a phase where we try
to make life duplicate art, rather than
imitate aspects of it.
The issue with this, of course, is
that art is not a fully representative,
fully dimensional portrayal of the
world around us. Irealized thatI spent
a lot of time reflecting the values that
I wanted to be associated with, rather
than internalizing them, processing
them and then embodying them as
something integral to myself and my
own personality.
The full result of this realization
has been that I'm finally done. It's been
a longtime coming, but I'm done with
Cool Girl. Cool Girl is a trope. Cool Girl
in her full, silver-screen glory is an
affected personality put on out of inse-

curity and a need to be seen as some-
thing different than the rest. Cool Girl
measures her self-worth by the men
who say they love her because she's not
like other girls, even when she knows
they have shallow love for an equally
shallow faade.
Living as Cool Girl is a kind of
performance art, and like any other
artistic representation of a real thing,
there are elements left out of the public
presentation. Behind the scenes, when
the rest of the cast goes home and the
camera crew packs up for the night,
Cool Girl cries when she is treated like
shit. Cool Girl is not effortlessly a size
two - for each joke about shotgunning
a pizza, there are days spent skipping
dinner and despising the way she
looks. Cool Girl might not actually
think those sexist jokes are funny, but
she laughs because she dislikes the
idea of immediately being categorized
and discredited as "oversensitive" or
"an angry feminist" even more.
For both the men who think they
want her and the women who think
they want to be her, so much of the
appeal of the Cool Girl comes from
the thrill of chasing an ideal. In a
recent article, Tracy Moore of Jezebel
concludes that men "who have never
examined such tropes will willingly
join this thrilling chase ... because it is
so unlike the cultural narrative (they)
are taught to expect - that every
woman around is tryingto ensnareyou
longbeforeyouarereadytobesnared."
If having a clingy girlfriend spells
the end of bros everywhere, Cool Girl
laughs in the face of death. She is dis-
tant and hot and possesses an absurd
ability that can only come from some
deep denial of human nature to shut
down anything remotely resembling
an emotion.
Cool Girl lets you do whatever you
want and take everything and give
nothing and has no needs of her own
because she is not a real person. She is
never unreasonable. She is mysterious.
She is one-dimensional. Because she is
literally not a real person.
Eventually, this performance
gets tiring. Eventually, Cool Girl
would prefer to be treated as a living,
breathing, feeling human and not as
a rare and prized commodity. Being
a Cool Girl forever means denying
feminism as avaluable bond, viewing
relationships as a contest with a clear
winner and seeing emotions as an
inherent weakness. In short,it means
missing out on some of the best
elements of real life. In the immortal
words of Lester Bangs, "the only true
currency in this bankrupt world is
what you share with someone else
when you're uncool."
I'mdonewith CoolGirlbecause I'm
ready to grow up and become a real
person, with faults and complexities
and an identity that I develop, rather
than adapt. I'm ready to be around
people who think critically about
who they are. Rejecting an unrealistic
ideal - whatever that may be - is a
critical step in becoming the person
you will be for the rest of your life. I'm
realizing in the process that, for all my
"un-coolness," I really like who thatis.
- Julia Zarina can be reached
at jumilton@umich.edu.

Dangerous discourse

Afew weeks ago, a video of Ben Affleck
and Bill Maher debating radical Islam
went viral. After watching it the first
time, I knew that I had
to write about it. Not
because I thought it was
particularly interesting,
but because I'm still unable,
to comprehend how it even
happened in the first place. =
So let's set the scene:
The video is a clip
of Maher's show, "Real HAYA
Time with Bill Maher." It ALFARHAN
features Maher himself,
along with Affleck, author
Sam Harris, MSNBC political analyst Michael
Steele and NewYork Times columnist Nicholas
Kristof It opens with Maher saying that
liberals have failed themselves because they've
been unable to protect liberal principles, like
freedom of speech, freedom to practice any
religion, etc.
Pause.
The debate begins by framing a discussion
on Islam, specifically radical Islam in the
Middle East, by centering it on American
liberalism. The panel, who are all presumably
experts on the topic, is made up of five non-
Muslim men.
Play.
Sam Harris picks up right after Maher,
saying, "We have been sold this meme of
Islamophobia, where every criticism of the
doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry
toward Muslims as people." Ben Affleck, yes,
that Ben Affleck, attempts to counter, saying,
"So you're saying Islamophobia is not a real
thing?" Maher smugly answers, "It's not a real

thing when we do it."
Pause.
The name of the game is positioning. Maher
and Harris dominate the debate because it
centers on the United States and operates under
the assumption that the West is the authority
responsible for combating the primitivity of
Islam. It presumes that Maher and co., who do
not have any actual connection to this issue,
have authority on the subject, and as such they
know better by default. Fortunately, they prove
the opposite every time they opentheir mouths.
Play.
Harris interjects, "We have to be able to
criticize bad ideas. Islam at this moment is the
motherload of bad ideas." Kristof rebuts by
saying, "The picture you're painting is to some
extent true but is hugely incomplete." They go
back and forth until Bill Maher declares, "Let's
get down to who has the real answer here. A
billion people you say, all these billion people
don't hold these pernicious beliefs? That's just
not true, Ben."
Pause.
Yes, let's talk about bad ideas. A bad idea is
making generalizations about a billion people.
There are certain buzzwords that are invoked
when Islam is covered; they generally begin
with Muslim women, followed by LGBTQ,
followed by apostasy, followed by the mother of
all buzzwords: jihad.
Herein lies the root of my discomfort. Maher
is not the only member of the mainstream
media that invokes this type of discourse
when it comes to Islam. This discourse
operates under the presumption that the
Muslim world is homogenous. It denies the
simple idea that Muslims live complex lives.
The examples are never nuanced; there is

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Devin Eggert, David Harris, Rachel John, Jacob Karafa, Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan
McDonald, Victoria Noble, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm, Matthew
Seligman, Linh Vu, Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Jenny Wang, Derek Wolfe

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@MICHIGANDAILY.COM

An apology on behalf
of Michigan Football
TO THE DAILY:
Foryears,the University community
has beentold to "Give it. Get It. Expect
Respect." Football players are not
exempt.
What happened at Spartan Stadium
on Saturday was unacceptable. Never
mind the team's performance. Planting
a sharp object into the grass atan away
game before the game and refusing to
shake hands with the opposing team
after a loss are just plain wrong, and
more so because Michigan State is a

rival. The football program represents
the University'of Michigan, both the
institution and the people associated
with it. The massive showof disrespect
on Saturday is ablack eye for us all.
When I was in East Lansing this
past weekend, Spartan fans treated
me with nothing but kindness (and a
lot of harmless teasing). Even when I
was at that school down south, inside
the stadium for the rivalry game a
few years ago, the Buckeye fans were
pretty nice. Yes, every school has
a few fans who are complete jerks,
and maybe I was just lucky in avoid-
ing them, but it may be time that the
team took a few hints from its rivals'

better fans.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke said
he was "not fully aware" of what
happened. Be more aware and hold
the team accountable for its actions.
That's the head coach's job!
I know you're better than this,
Michigan Football. On behalf of
many, many Michigan fans, I apolo-
gize for the team's actions. It would
be extremely disappointing if an
apology from Coach Hoke does not
follow soon.
Charles Zhou
Second-Year Master's Student in the
School ofPublic Health

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