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May 22, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-22

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

The Mc World
we live in
I wanted a Big Mac, so I went to McDonald's.
Living up to my label of "Lazy American Male" I
refused to leave my vehicle and proceeded
through the drive-thru.
I ordered a Big Mac Extra Value Meal - Super
Sized - then I noticed some-
thing. USA Today was on the
Onu at McDonald's. Great -
McNews at McDonald's. I take
pride in my America, where
one can purchase prepackaged,
ready-made fast food and 2
prepackaged, ready-made news
at the same establishment. '
McDonald's food leaves a
bit to be desired. You can eat a
Big Mac, large fry and large GREG
Coke, but it's lacking. The PARKER
same goes for USA Today. You
*n read it from cover to cover - even the Money
section - and you still want more. It's probably
because there is little substance to either commod-
ity. After all, a Big Mac is essentially beef on a bun
with some extraneous sauce and pickles, while
USA Today is graphs, headlines, graphics and a lit-
tle bit of text. In both cases, neither is a substitute
for the real thing. You can't exist only on
McDonald's; likewise, if you want to stay
informed, you have to go further than USA Today.
The main problem with USA Today is its scope
- it is too broad. It is a paper that has no home-
town. Because of this, it covers everything a little
and nothing enough. Extending the analogy,
McDonald's produces the same hamburgers for all
of America, causing Americans to eat the same
burger. But we know that only one hamburger
can't do the job, and neither can one newspaper.
USA Today does a great job doing what it set
out to do - provide maximum information with
minimum participation. But there is a certain give
and take to this relationship, as what the paper
*akes up for in efficiency, it lacks in information.
Gone are the in-depth articles in the style of The
New York Times or The Washington Post.
The problem is, McDonald's is the only source
of food for many Americans, and USA Today is the
only source of information for many Americans.
I'm not saying that America is going to turn into a
misinformed population of angioplasty candidates,
but there is definitely an issue here.
But as much as I complain about McDonald's, as
uch as I complain about USA Today, people love
em both. Even I love McDonald's. But the phe-
nomenon of ready-made food and news is rapidly
extending to all areas of our society at a nauseating
rate, leaving one to wonder about the prospect of a
totally prefabricated future. But can information be
made into prepackaged, ready-made, easily digest-
ed bits? You can mass-produce a hamburger, mak-
ing it easy to eat and easy to make, but you can't do
the same with information. Information is in and of
itself impossible to compress. When one does, in
fact, mass-produce a hamburger, something is lost.
,ke same goes for information, but to a much
eater extent - you lose essential components.
Coupled with other sources, USA Today can
be a valuable aid in navigating the world of cur-
rent events. But by itself, it is sometimes danger-
ous. Current events cannot be summed up with a
paragraph or two and a pretty graph. Yet for
many Americans, this is their only source of
information. And while some may say that these
same people might not read anything else ,if it
wasn't for McNews, all I can say is if this is any
*dication of the trend of America as a whole,
reverting to fast food and fast information, soon
to be followed by a total fast-food-esque, mass-
produced culture, then we're headed down a
sorry path indeed.
- Greg Parker can be reached over
e-mail atglparker@umich.edu.

Wednesday, May 22, 1996 - The Michigan Daily - 5

"If public education is free, then take advantage of it and do
it right the first time."
- Maureen McNulty, spokeswoman for the state Department of Management
and Budget, in support of Gov. John Engler.s proposal to cut
state spending for adult education programs by $120 million

rAMkN ala



'U' contract with Nike
endorses human
rights violations
Critics of the "Buy American" movement
equate it with protectionism, using that word as
a sort of epithet. In particular some academics
display an almost childlike naivete when they
drone on about a global economy where every-
one loves free trade and there are no national
trade barriers. A recent essay written for UPI by
Rosebeth Moss Kanter, a professor at Harvard
Business School, is a classic example of this
outdated Adam Smith schoolroom philosophy.
American companies like Mattel Toys (yes,
that includes all new Barbie Dolls), Nike shoes
and clothing (who have now signed up more
than 150 colleges with the blood money they
earn by paying Chinese workers 82 cents per
hour to build their products which you and I

pay $30 to $150 for) and recently "Lee Jeans"
all have moved to China. There they take
advantage of the massive human rights viola-
tions, forced prison labor and underpaid women
and underage children so they can pocket the
money to buy famous sports stars and now
whole colleges.
None of the worst human rights-violating
countries - Japan, Burma, and especially
China - let our products into their countries,
not to mention the CD and software pirating of
which China has done enough to rob America
of $2.4 billion.
The steady erosion of America's MFG. base
and a cancerous trade deficit is siphoning off
America's wealth and badly needed good jobs!
So when you can - buy American and ask
Roberson and Duderstadt to drop China's most
vicious sports supplier.

For a chabtv
In about two weeks, mem of the U-M class
of 2000 will begin arriving in Ann Arbor for sum-
mer orientation. They will be full of questions
about University life. They may be a little appre-
hensive or slightly anxious, but above all, they will
be excited. "I'm here! Orient me!" their eager
faces will proclaim.
OK, so maybe not. More
likely, they will think the
whole thing is lame and
spend two and a half days
trying to get into Rick's. Or
they will sit in their Easti t
Quad rooms, drinking, play-
ing cards and making fun of
their orientation leaders.
(These activities will actually
give them a more accurate
portrayal of University life ERIN
than anything they'll hear in MARSH
group meetings.)
Hopefully, though, incoming first-year stu-
dents will catch a glimpse of their surrogate
hometown and like what they see. Hopefully,
they will find their way around campus and gain
an appreciation for the rich tradition that makes
going to the University of Michigan so much fun.
It would be easier if the University didn't insist
on constantly "updating" and "improving" cam-
pus. I looked at the e-mail copy of my class
schedule for next fall and saw the unfamiliar
abbreviation "EH" given as a building location.
"What the heck is 'EH'?" I thought as I flippedto
the back of the course schedule booklet to check
the abbreviations. The listing said "EH - East
Hall (formerly East Engineering)."
What?? Fornierr East Engineering? I envi-
sioned future dialogue with friends: "Oh geez, I
gotta run - I have class at East Engin....uh, I
mean East Hall in five minutes:' East and West
Halls -- what fun is that? As a lowly LSA stu-
dent, with several School of Engineering
friends, going to (or at least scheduling) classes
in East or West Engin. was my only defense
against accusations that my classes aren't as dif-
ficult as ones like "Thermodynamics of the
Superconducting Electrical Shishkebob
Chopper." I could always come back with retorts
like, "Yeah, don't kid yourself there, pal, my dis-
cussion for "Top-Down Organizational Mental
Processes in Major League Baseball
Sportscasters" is held in West Engineering."
However, as far as building-name changes go,
I think I speak for many when I say I am deeply
disturbed (wait, I'm not finished) by the renam-
ing of the Undergraduate Library to the Harold T.
Shapiro Library. No more UGLI? What kind of
cutesy nickname can we derive from "Harold T.
Shapiro?" How can generations of University
students be expected to give ip fond -or not-so-
fond - memories of hours spent in the UGLI?
They didn't spend those quality hours of acade-
mic pursuit (or, more likely, Friday-night-date
pursuit) in any "Harold T. Shapiro Library" -no
siree. They wasted those hours in the UGLI.
Even private businesses are changing our
campus's face. My dad used to tell me about a
great classic sandwich and malt shop on North
U., called Drake's. All that remains of Drake's
today are a few souvenir T-shirts and some old
black-and-white photos. In the space Drake's
used to occupy, students now purchase mediocre
bagels instead of malts and reubens.
The history of our campus and town is pret-
ty great. It would be a shame to belittle that
history - or worse yet, lose it - by constant-
ly building new and disposing of the old. Ifa
first-year student asks you to point her or him
in the direction of West Hall this fall, tell her or
him, "Oh, West Engin. - that's across the
Diag, just past the UGLI."
- Erin Marsh can be reached over
e-mail at eemarsh@umichedu.


/ t DO,


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