Page 4A - Wednesday, December 3, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Page 4A - Wednesday, December 3, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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 new age o audio
Final words: To myself the 'U'and my resilient peers
t's gotten to that point in the semester
where I will literally find any excuse
not to do the work I
need to be doing. I desire to
be distracted. I know this
must be true for many, dare
I say most, college students.
We've been bogged down g
by the grind of the semes-
ter; Thanksgiving break was
approaching and has now
passed, so it's a little chal-
lenging to get back into the DEREK
school routine once again. WOLE
To make a long story
short, those factors explain
how I jumped into the
world of the podcast - for the uninformed,
podcasts are essentially prerecorded radio
shows that cover just about everything and
can be directly downloaded to your phone
or computer. Before mid-November, I had
really only known podcasts as that app on
my iPhone that I don't use and a recording
option on Garageband, which I have also
never used. And yet, even with the limited
experience I've had over the past couple
of weeks, I'm not sure I ever want to leave
this brave, new world. Because even though
there are so many great TV shows out there,
there's something special about excellent,
educational and informative audio.
It started with a tweet from one of my
followers about "Serial," the hit real-life
murder mystery show hosted by Sarah
Koenig, a producer of "This American Life."
With nine episodes to this point, "Serial"
chronicles a murder that took place in the
Baltimore area in 1999. Koenig has spent the
last year or so researching the case to try to
determine if Adnan Syed, the ex-boyfriend of
Hae Min Lee, was the one who killed her and
is releasing an episode week-by-week. I'm
sure that description does not do it justice.
I became a hooked listener instantly, so
upon hearing at the end of the ninth episode-
that the show would be taking a two-week
hiatus for Thanksgiving, I was kind of
devastated. It's that good. As of now, it isn't
clear what the end result will be for Syed and I
don't want to spoil it, but it's truly fascinating
and I recommend that everyone take a listen.
I'm counting down until Thursday.
But "Serial" hasn't been the only podcast
show that has piqued my interest. "Startup,"
a show about Alex Blumberg, a former NPR
staffer, beginning his startup company,
Gimlet Media, has been impossible to put
down - or turn off, I guess. He even admits
to the title and premise being "meta."
He's right about that. I also believe
Blumberg might be right about his big gamble
in producing this show and what he really
believes in, that the podcastingworld is going
to explode. He told TechCrunch, "We're on
the dawn of a second golden age of audio."
That's an enormous bet - something Elon
Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, would probably
say. But in order to get there, the rest of the
podcasting content has to be top notch.
"Startup" is professional, well edited, but
also quirky and deeply personal. Blumberg
connects with the listener and tells a story
that has been underreported - the emotional
side of starting a business. Gimlet Media's
other and newer show, "Reply All," has done
the same so far and has been successful with
its shows relating to the Internet.
But that's enough of reviewing shows. I'll
leave that to our Arts section.
What I want to continue with is that there
has been a lot of debate on the Internet as to
whether shows like "Serial" and "Startup"
have changed the game in the podcasting
universe. Some say yes, some say no. After
having invested several hours into listening
to these shows and then reading the articles,
I'm ready to have some skin in the game -
from an opinion standpoint, that is. I find
myself leaning toward yes.
Although it has been around for years,
I find the podcast to be a new, fresh way to
educate myself on important, and even not
so important, issues. It has a different vibe
than radio and there clearly is a demand for
it. "Serial" broke the iTunes podcast down-
load record with over five million by Nov. 18.
In an episode of "Startup," Blumberg made a
call for investments to complete his goal of
raising $1.5 million. He raised $200,000 in a
couple of hours.
There's clearly a market for this high-
quality content. And if these two shows
continue to be successful, then that will
certainly drive others to make great shows,
too, to get a piece of the multi-million dollar
pie. So far, it's an untapped market. There's
some basic economics for you.
This is a future I want to be a part of.
Recently, I've begun to crave well-done
storytelling. The podcast is a premiere
medium for that. Besides, watching TV is
Well, at least until "Better Call Saul"
- Derek Wolfe can be reached
This is my last column for
The Michigan Daily. These
parting words for
myself, for this
University and for
the people who
never cease to
To Myself: Y
Maja, you must
is looming very TOSIC
closely, but all I
can focus on is
how much this
University has tried to break me.
I cannot say that I am leaving as
someone who's happy and pleased. I
am leaving the University angered,
hurt and disheartened. Within
these walls, I have seen the true
workings of our education system.
Despite how broken I am to see
University administrators not take
action where action is due, what
breaks me the most is that I need
this University more than it needs
me. This institution has snared me
so strongly that I rely upon this
problematic system. To them, I am
just another dollar sign that is eas-
ily replaced, but to me they are my
key, my voice, my respect. With-
out this institution, I would not
have this stage from which to be
heard. I would not have the same
doors opening before me. I would
not be as respected and listened
to. Ironically, as much as I despise
aspects of this University, it has
also advanced my privilege. I can-
not lie to myself and say that I am
not grateful. But, I also cannot lie to
myself and say that I am pardoned
from the responsibility of challeng-
ing this institution even when I am
far gone. I am forever tied to this
place; therefore, I am forever tied
to the silence I must break.
Maja, you cannot let future gen-
erations become just as angered,
hurt and disheartened as they too
graduate from the University of
Michigan. You must do something.
To the University:
It's not you, University of
Michigan. Your conception was
pure, but it's these people who sit
highly in your buildings that have
tarnished you. They have poisoned
your integrity with greed for more
green. They have ruined your value
of education when they overlooked
the way racism an.d sexismenter the
classroom. Perhaps you have never
lived up to your true intentions,
because you were never free of
these people. I hope that one day
you find yourself ablaze in flames
and fury. I wish all your walls come
crashing down, because it was not
you that built them. They were built
by the wrong people. They were
built as shields to protect privilege
and power and notas hosts of multi-
dimensional growth and liberation.
In the midst of your ashes, I hope
that all the voices who value the
true possibility of education will
rebuild your containers stronger
than before. Then, your spirit
will finally flow freely without
oppression and injustice keeping
you down. I dream that you become
what you are meant to be.
To My Resilient Peers:
I will not paint this column
completely in sorrow. My radical
act is to pour what compassion and
love is left within me and to extend
it to you. Despite the hatred we are
taught to have for ourselves and
neighbors, I will not comply.
There are beautiful souls at
this University that wake up each
morning with a purpose. Some
of them go to class and some
skip class. Some study from their
textbooks and some refuse to buy
Some learn through professors and
some learn through the narratives
that surround them. They are all
different in the ways they navigate
and survive at this University.
But, none of them lay still as this
institution tries to bury them. Their
words and actions regardless of
size are acts of resistance. Their
joy and compassion are testaments
to their strength in face of an
institution that fears them. I have
had the honor of meeting several
people that do not put their heads
down when they are told to. That
do not remain silent when they are
silenced. That do not spread hatred
when they are washed within it.
I have grown with some of these
folks and have admired many more
from a distance. Sadly, I know that
there are many hearts that beat to
this same tune that I will never
meet. For you, I write this.
I hope that you will continue
to find your source of darkness no
matter what light surrounds you.
Because, light can be blinding and it
takes a pocket of darkness to read-
just views. I hope you find some-
thing that shakes your core and
moves you to act. I hope that you
live life intentionally and never lose
sight of your passions. I hope that
you are happy and loved. Forever.
- Maja Tosic can be reached
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Student athletes of the world, unite!
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Edvinas Berzanskis, Devin Eggert, David Harris,
Rachel John; Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Michael Paul, Allison Raeck, Melissa Scholke,
Michael Schramm, Matthew Seligman, Mary Kate Winn,
Jenny Wang, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
SIMON RIVERS I
I am Michael Brown
On Nov. 10, University Presi-
dent Mark Schlissel delivered an
honest and therefore controver-
sial assessment of the University's
Athletic Department to the Senate
Advisory Committee on Univer-
sity Affairs. Schlissel noted, among
other things, the historic academic
underperformance of University
athletes, especially high-profile
ones like football players, and the
continuing obstacles to their aca-
demic success. Ina follow-up inter-
view with The Michigan Daily
the next day, Schlissel "clarified"
(i.e. recanted) some of his previ-
ous remarks - but the follow-up
interview and ensuing article failed
to address the message hidden in
Schlissel's initial comments: I'd
like to revisit the line of argument
Schlissel began to articulate on that
Monday and follow it to its logical
and therefore probably controver-
sial conclusion - namely, that the
pairing of university-level academ-
ics and high-profile college athlet-
ics, like Division I NCAA football,
doesn't make sense anymore, espe-
cially not for highly exploited, high-
Speaking to SACUA, Schlis-
sel made important insights into
the economics of college athletics.
The Daily reported that Schlis-
sel "addressed the motivations for
athletic departments to value per-
formance over academic integrity."
He said, "The incentives are really
strong for (athletic ,departments)
to be as successful on the field as
possible, and some of those are in
dollars and others are in perfor-
mance." SACUA member Robert
Ziff, an engineering professor, cor-
roborated Schlissel's argument. The
Daily reported that Ziff "believes
student-athletes have an 'extreme
amount of demands placed on them'
as a result of their status, and that
they're often made to feel that the
'$100 million Athletic Program is
riding on them,' which could con-
tribute to decreased performance
in the classroom and elsewhere."
When one considers the econom-
ic incentives at play for high-profile
student-athletes, the supposedly
problematic result of football play-
ers shirking their schoolwork
should surprise no one. What
Schlissel and Ziff are saying is that
these student-athletes have been
incentivized to focus on success
on the field above and beyond suc-
cess in the classroom, and they're
correct. Not only does their ath-
letic performance influence their
individual chances to play profes-
sionally, but it also influences the
profitability of Michigan football.
Blaming Michigan football coach
Brady Hoke - who, by the way,
has actually improved the football
program's academic performance
- and the football players for get-
ting bad grades (which it turns out
they actually aren't) ignores the
real economic incentives motivat-
ing their actions. High-profile stu-
dent-athletes, like the University's
own football and basketball players,
would be idiots not to react to such
great incentives. They're not idiots,
I claim, and so they quite rationally
choose to focus less on academic
performance and more on their ath-
How, then, should we understand
the University's academic standards
for student-athletes as well as the
NCAA guidelines (e.g. capping the
number of hours student-athletes
can practice and compete)? In short,
they're an absurd hindrance to ath-
letic development. These standards
and guidelines try to create incen-
tives to compete with the more
powerful, already existing ones.
A coach telling his player to study
is not as powerful an incentive as,
say, Stephen M. Ross's $100 million
investment in the University Ath-
letic Department, nor as powerful
as a professional athlete's starting
salary. Furthermore, these artifi-
cial, reactionary incentives and the
rules and regulations that embody
them conceal the fact that the term
"student-athlete" is, for many high-
profile student-athletes, a gross
misnomer. Their first and foremost
reason for college enrollment is to
play sports. I suspect - and indeed
there's evidence that suggests -
that many have little genuine inter-
est in earning college degrees, and
that's fine, just as I have little inter-
est in playing college-level sports.
So although I maintain that these
high-profile athletes aren't idiots
when it comes to recognizing and
responding to economic incentives,
they are indeed fools. They are fools
because they believe that they must
abide by these rules and regulations
at all, and maintain a certain GPA
or practice for a certain number of
hours. But more so they are fools
because they believe that they must
accept scholarships instead of genu-
ine salaries. The institution of col-
lege athletics, headed by the NCAA
and its constituent colleges, has
foisted a false consciousness onto
its workers (the student-athletes),
making student-athletes believe
that there is no alternative to their
current work-for-scholarship busi-
ness arrangement. But the truth is
that the student-athletes; particu-
larly the high-profile ones, decide
whether or not the University and
the NCAA, along with their rules
and regulations, have power or not.
In other words, the college athletic
establishment's power depends on
the high-profile student-4thletes
agreeing and consenting to the
establishment's power. Once these
student-athletes realize this funda-
mental fact, their own agency will
be illuminated and they will have a
choice to make. Do they choose to
consent to the NCAA and the Uni-
versity's rules and regulations? Do
student-athletes consent to caps on
how long they can practice and com-
pete? Do they consent to being paid
with scholarships instead of genuine
salaries? Whythe fuck would they?
When people discuss the problem
of high-profile athletes' academic
underperformance, people seldom
ask the question of why these
athletes are students anyway. Do
they want to be, or would they
rather just play sports? People often
don't consider that this problem is
one that we can simply eliminate by
no longer demanding high-profile
conversely, by high-profile athletes
refusing to perform academically
and demanding fair wages for their
work. Why are colleges in the sports
business anyway? Whose interests
does this system serve? High-
profile student-athletes may want
to consider why they're stuck eating
in dining halls while the Board of
Regents eats at The Chop House.
I propose we fully partition
academics and high-profile,
athletics. Indeed, the partition
already partially exists, and our
University president realizes it.
Student-athletes should not expect
that the benefactors of the current
institution of college athletics (the
universities, the NCAA, media
corporations, etc.) will voluntarily
relinquish their power and in turn
fairly compensate student-athletes
for their work. The high-profile
student-athletes should seize the
power themselves, and they can do
so effortlessly by simply refusing
to continue to acknowledge the
pretentious authority of the
University and the NCAA. Student-
athletes of the world, unite! You
have nothing to lose but your meal
plans and your textbooks.
Zak Witus is an LSA junior.
I am tired.
I am weak.
I am crying.
I am angry.
I am dissatisfied.
I am enraged.
I am livid.
But most importantly, Iam Michael Brown.
I am the young Black man, the system is
I am the young Black man, unarmed and
I am the young Black man being profiled
walking down the street.
I am the young man, shot to death by the
I am the young Black man, sick and tired of
being sick and tired..
I am the young Black man, twelve shots the
I am the young Black man, strangled by the
flag you salute.
I am the young Black man, hands up, don't
I am Michael Brown.
Every young Black man is Michael Brown.
I am the young Black man, lying in the
middle of the street for 4.5 hours while the
police try to cover up my murder.
I am the young Black man whose character
has been assassinated by the media.
I am the young Black man whose life
is worth less than it costs to operate a
I am the young Black man whose mother
and father will have to live with the heartache
knowing that their child was killed.
I am the young Black man whose life will
create a revolution.
I am the young Black man whose death will
not be in vain.
I am Michael Brown.
I am Michael Brown, hear our declaration.
I am Michael Brown, let the system break
with our frustration
I am Michael Brown, your words will not
deter my motivation.
I am Michael Brown, letus mobilize a nation.
Michigan in Color is the Daily's opinion
section designated asa space for and by
students of color at the University of Michigan.
Tocontribute your voice or find out more about
MiC, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.