Wednesday, May 14, 1997 - The Michigan Daily - 5
wouldn't take this as the day of doom. I'm the best in
the world and if I lose, it's a question of my mistake."
-Reigning world chess champion Garry Kasparov,
after losing a game to IBM's Deep Blue computer
IETTERS TO THE ErOr
Your story about Fiona
se's winning of the Truman
holarship in the Daily ("Rose
ceives honor,' 5/7/97) is inac-
rate in two respects. First, I
d not nominate Rose - a
lection committee decides
hor to endorse. As the facul-
representative, I am responsi-
e r convening the commit-
e gning the forms and tak-
g responsibility for the com-
ittee's decisions; but 1 don't
n this scholarship competi-
on, or any other, in the casual
yle the article may have sug-
sted. Also, the committee
ndorsed three candidates, two
om Michigan - Rose and
aren Cunningham - and one
rUtah - Amy Block.
lock was a semi-finalist, a
igh distinction in itself. All
ree are excellent students and
edicated to public service.
My remarks about the cyni-
ism with which I view this
rocess were a response to
uestions that seemed to me to
ply that Honors favors its
wn students or candidates the
ittee members already
Students not in Honors
ave been endorsed and have
von - Richard Constable in
992, for example. My attitudes
re cynical in that I have seen
andidates do well because the
ommittee did not notice their
weaknesses. I look for candi-
lates I think are likely to do
well in the competition and
these are not always those I
myself most respect. Personally,
though, I have great respect for
Rose; I have found her to be
hard-working, thoughtful, hon-
est and courageous.
LSA HONORS PROGRAM
Story of dorm
TO THE DAILY:
I read the Daily every day
and quite frankly, I am extreme-
ly disappointed in the April 21
issue. I have never read a more
disjointed and inappropriate
article as I have today ("Fire
erupts in South Quad"). I under-
stand that alcohol possessed by
minors is illegal. But the fact
remains that a keg in a room
has nothing to do with an elec-
trical fire that destroyed most of
the two victims' property.
Instead of focusing on the fire
itself, what happened, and what
the consequences were, the
writer chose to focus on the
possession of alcohol and a
party that may or may not have
occurred. It seemed as though
the writer was trying to make
these two victims look irrespon-
sible and use that as a reason
for the fire. The writer com-
pletely side-stepped the fact that
two fellow University students
lost their room and most of their
possessions in an electrical fire
that could have happened to
anyone. If examined closely, it
can be seen that there is no tran-
sition or connection between the
sixth and seventh paragraphs -
the writer jumps from the
amount of damage done to the
room to the existence of a keg.
The two halves of the article do
not make sense because they are
dealing with two separate
issues. The article is a clear
example of bad journalism; I
feel that the Daily owes the
community, Aaron Shea and
Steve Frasier an apology.
LSA FIRST YEAR STUDENT
TO THE DAILY:
Ronald Holzhacker's com-
plaint about the ROTC
("Students want ROTC out of
the Arb," 4/11/97) make me
sick. I would feel uncomfort-
able knowing that someone
like Holzhacker is in the Arb
-- therefore, he should not be
permitted to utilize it, right?
Rights and comforts are not
the same. I feel that Holzhacker
needs to develop a little more
tolerance for others and their
activities. Like other forms of
prejudices, his is probably
based on ignorance.
Enough with the best, here's the worst ofAnn Arbor
A nnArbor's a great place to live. Every year, Walking in to the consultant's area in Angell Hall
A students vote to select the "Best of Ann is usually an exercise in futility - even if you
Arbor" to celebrate the highlights of this town, aren't ignored, anyone responding to your ques-
But Ann Arbor is also a little weird and, let's face tion will either reply with "I don't know," or "Let
it, there are just some things that sometimes me ask someone else," who undoubtedly won't
make you feel like you've lipped into a parallel know either.
universe. And so I present what I view to be the Person most likely to inspire a cult following:
worst of Ann Arbor. ProfRalph Williams.
Worst City Institutions: Streets and That is, if he doesn't already have one.
Transportation and the Parking Williams' students break down into two
Bureau categories: Those who think he's the great-
What is with all these confusing - est thing since Pez dispensers and the rest
roads? It seems like driving anywhere of us who just don't get it. I am sure that
in this town involves driving down Williams is as brilliant as he's cracked up
three one-way streets that go in the to be but quite honestly, I don't understand
opposite direction of your destination, what the big deal is. After the tenth time
Then you drive around the block for he screams "Yea, Nay," during one lecture,
half an hour in search of the one elu- . t-> I start reading back issues of TV Guide
sive parking space that turns out to be JACK cover to cover.
too small for any car bigger than a SCMILLACI The devotion his biggest fans feel
Volkswagon Bug anyway. JACK IN toward him is nothing short of idol wor-
Of course, the city's Downtown THE PULPIT ship. I know many of these "followers."
Development Authority is working on A friend of mine recently got invited to
the parking problem and will have some signifi- his house for a discussion of Dante's "Inferno"
cant improvements real soon now. In the mean- and was so excited, I thought he was going to lose
time, you can park three blocks from where you it right there. You couldn't wipe the smile off his
need to be and when you return, there's a $15 face for a week.
ticket stuck under your windshield wiper because Strangest Campus Monuments: Bell and
your meter expired two minutes ago. clock towers.
Most unreliable University service: The The University seems to have an obsession
Information Technology Division with putting these gigantic phallic symbols all
"I'm sorry, folks, the network is down in over campus. The Burton Memorial Tower juts
Angell Hall" I stared, my mouth agape, as the up in the middle of Central Campus - the per-
ITD consultant relayed the news. Everyone has feet cover photo for postcards and University
an ITD horror story - how many times have you pamphlets. The Lurie Bell Tower, finished last
been three sentences away from finishing a paper year, seems to legitimize North Campus - even
when your Mac suddenly crashed and burned, though it will serve as little more than an eyesore
setting you back an hour? Or how often do you until they stick a clock on it.
have a paper due in five minutes and can't print - Jack Schillaci is busy tying to find a park-
it because your ITD account just ran out? ing space near the bell tower, but you can
Then there are the "helpful" ITD consultants. still e-mail him at email@example.com.
Movies spell disaster for societal values
Let's time-travel into the future for a moment. learn a lot about our social values. Usually, only
The year is 2075. Playing at a multiplex the- the expendable people die, so we can keep on
ater near you- "No Warning: The Oklahoma City calmly watching the movie. In "Jurassic Park," the
Bombing" Does this sound sick to you? Is it a eco-conscious scientists and precocious kids sur-
gross insult to the victims? Is it another example vive the rampaging dinosaurs, but the greedy
of profit-driven capitalizing on tragedy? Keep it in lawyers don't make it. The eccentric entrepreneur,
mind when you're buying tickets for the upcoming who was left for dead in the book, is allowed to
"Titanic" movie or Broadway musical. survive in the movie because he's por-
There's a disturbing trend in contem- trayed as a likable, grandfatherly figure.
porary entertainment: the disaster "Independence Day" takes the prize
movie. These usually involve some r:~ in this category - most of the coun-
kind of natural phenomenon (torna- try's population is zapped by aliens -
does, volcanoes or giant angry snakes) but it's okay, because the cute dog is
or a technology-gone-wrong scenario able to outrun a fire.
(bombs on buses, plane crashes or It all makes you wonder where our pri-
giant, angry and intelligent aliens). oities are. What's even worse, though,
The plots are simple: a varied group are disaster movies based on actual
of people meet with disaster and some events. The Oklahoma City bombing was
of them survive. The attractive male LIZ LUCAS a national tragedy of an unprecedented
and female leads generally fall in love COUNTY kind, the largest-scale terrorist attack in
(no doubt their threatened existence EEDACK U.S. history. We were horrified. We sud-
has awakened their urge to procreate). denly felt vulnerable. People who had
There are also assorted kids or animals and a absolutely no connection to the bombing were
wisecracking sidekick. emotionally affected - I can't even begin to imag-
In many cases, "disaster" adequately sums up ine how the victims' families felt.
the critics' views on these films. But that was two years ago. If the "Titanic"
But these movies-are more than multimillion phenomenon holds true again, 80 years from
dollar trash. They often provide a new perspec- now things will change. There won't be any sur-
tive on contemporary values. vivors left, or if there are, they'll be so old they
Societies' entertainment choices have always won't matter. It'll be great drama. Andrew Lloyd
exposed a dark underside of their outward ratio- Webber's and Steven Spielberg's artistic heirs
nality. The Romans, for example, had one of the will love it. Or if TV gets to it first, the Neilsens
most organized and complex societies in history. will go through the roof.
But for fun, they would go to gladiator fights or So what does all this say about our society?
sit back and watch people being eaten by lions. I'm not sure. But I don't think I'll like it when
We usually think American society is the epit- I've figured it out.
ome of progress and civilization. But for fun, we In "A Prayer for Owen Meany," John Irving
watch movies about people being killed in said, "Television gives good disaster." Movies do
strange and horrible ways. it even better.
Of course, this doesn't always happen. - Liz Lucas can be reached over
Sometimes peoplesurvive, and in that case, we can e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EvEIVCt HIrEe _
AeMlt tior A