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July 24, 2000 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-07-24

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Monday, July 24, 2000 - The Michigan Daily - 5


Criticism of
*two parties
In his July 17th column
("Voting with your heart ver-
sus voting with your brain"),
Peter CUnniffe makes at least
*hree good points: that both
the Republican and
Democratic parties contain a
spectrum of individuals and
positions, that a single issue
does not completely define
most political parties and that
the constitutionally estab-
lished election framework
tends to devolve into a two-
party system. It's a shame that
after making these reasonable
statements that he chooses to
use oversimplification to
attempt to discredit criticism
of the established two-party
hegemony and to dissuade
people from acting in a way
which can inject new life into
the political debate.
Are thse Republican and
Democrat parties identical on
everything? Of course not.
They are, however, frighten-
ingly similar on a variety of
issues and in the aggregate in
their actions (while individual
members may dissent). Trade
policy. foreign relations, cor-
porate subsidies, genuine
campaign finance reform.
and environmental protection
are just a few.
By progressive groups
banding together with a third
*political candidate, such as
Ralph Nader, we're showing
that these issues are important
to us, and that we do not find
the very similar recent track
records of either party, in the
aggregate. to provide an
acceptable choice.
wrong for
- Peter Cunniffe is wrong
about what those involved in
the leftward "resurgence of
social activism" should con-
sider when looking at the two
major political parties.
Certainly there are differences
between the Democrats and
Republicans but that doesn't
mean that either party repre-
sents what these activists
want. In fact, the nearly eight
years of Clinton have shown
quite logically that the way for
the left to get its ideas consid-
ered is not by electing a pro-

death penalty, pro-militariza-
tion of the police, pro-war and
sanctions president who val-
ues the rights of capital over
those of workers the world
over and whose judicial
appointees have a relatively
conservative record. Rather it
takes hard work and persistent
activism which often means
going up against liberals like
Clinton, Gore and the UM
Furthermore, how is the
left to gain support by tying
itself to the liberal end of the
Democratic Party? Ctnniffe
himself points out and is sup-
ported by a number of public
opinion polls, that only a
small percentage of the peo-
ple in this country call them-
selves liberals. This doesn't
mean that the majority of peo-
ple have rejected leftism, as
there has been no significant
"left" worthy of thaf ame for
many years. What it does say
is that that most people reject
the inherently lukewarm
nature of liberalism.
None of this is to say that
Ralph Nader is a perfect can-
didate or even necessarily
deserves the support of the
left. But he is right that yout
can't spoil what is already
'M illionaire'
not news
Last weeks lead story,
headlined "Alum wins 51 mil.
on TV game show," shows a
sad entrenchment in phenom-
enology. ABC - a division
of Disney - has successfully
turned a (somewhat degener-
ate and abecedarian) televi-
sion quiz show into one of the
most reported news stories of
the summer. The media has
thus become a principal sub-
ject of the media, at the
expense of substantive news.
The Daily's reinforcement
of this marketing device
shows an utter lack of respect
for the readers, as well as par-
ticularly imprudent decision
making in terms of choosing
what qualifies as news.
The Daily should stick to
doing what it can do best -
reporting campus and local
news. Goodmans alumni sta-
tus is not enough tojustify the
placement of this 'story'
above all else, with a photo-
graph of a television, no less,
to remind us of what we are
talking about.

Ending my love affair with Lady Nicotine
I ve convinced myself that writ- the likes of Phillip Morris. Or I lighting t
ing this column will be difficult. was the smoking man from The X- my concr
Not because of time constraints or Files. I could nod nonchalantly and prefer, m3
brain failure (although, like Joan exhale a caustic cloud of smoke These
Diddion, I sometimes sit down to instead of ing my p
write and the words don't come, so offering some into conv
I imagine that I've somehow suf- kind of friend- ;I f like the s
fered a small stroke or inhaled too ly advice or page in
many pesticides, however falla- editorial reply. Merit-sm
ciouwor misplaced these anxieties And, yes, life as br
are in reality). No, I seem to think let's not forget ., board. T
I'll have a hard time because I usu- the rhetoric. were dr
ally run away from a half-filled I'd get because
page at least once every half-hour angry: "I'm addiction
to rekindle the divine fire. not going to I event
Actually, it isn't that dramatic: I open myself JOSH babbling
just sneak off to smoke cigarettes. up to a hoity- WICKERHAM Leonard,
And since quitting, I've developed toity puritani- tater at 7
a case of smoker's nostalgia. cal health smoking
With cigarettes, could run for a campaign! When ar
few minutes solace from term Take your you sure
papers, stressfitl classes or newspa- mounting panoply of cancer stats spare ch
per deadlines. Smoking always and peddle them to someone who. you offer
provided a new perspective. Five isn't currently supporting a num- sees the
minutes of swimming in nicotine ber of tobacco companies!" an attack
euphoria always led to me to some I'd get defensive: "Maybe I'm I knov
kind of epiphany. Those cancer braver than you, more foolhardy, a any of it.
sticks offered much-needed stabili- little wasteful, somewhat insecure, blowing
ty. able to justify the cost - or maybe for smok
Smoking was an image, like a I'm just choking down the only But then
carcinogenic veneer of manliness thing that gives me a grip!" a crutch
or some such msalarkey pushed by I'd quote Sartre: "It is otnly in Trth I

his cigarette that I realize
ete possibilities, or, if you
y desire to smoke."
mechanisms for defend-
oor plant ally would pop
ersation without warning,
Marlboro Man on the next
Rolling Stone or those
oking go-getters enjoying
omide on a freeway bill-
be smokers' faux truisms
illed into my routine
of my need to justify the
took faith in the excessive
of literary critics. John
a former book regurgi-
The New York Times says
is a form of socialism.
pedestrian bums a smoke,
as hell don't ask for his
ange to cover the cost -
him a cigarette. Leonard
fight against smoking as
on the leftist agenda.
, it's hardly reasonable,
These arguments are just
smoke. Any justification
king is just as ludicrous.
, tobacco has always been
for the iconoclast.
be told, in the year and a

half that I smoked, I could notcry,
even once. Whether this was a real
physical side effect or just a psy-
chological blockade enabled by my
love-hate relationship with tobacco
as some kind of emotion-blocking
placebo, what kind of companion
denies her comrade the right to his
No friend of mine.
But I somehow miss my old ally.
I miss her as a junkie misses his
heroin. My ailing lung cells still
call out for the plant that kills a
third of its acquaintances.
Big Tobacco's weapons, the
heavily marketed, nicotine-laced
addiction sticks are mighty foes,
but they can be bested with
willpower, nicotine patches, gum
and smoking cessation classes (I
hope). And I - always one step
away from a pitiful nicotine fit, but
no longer a segregated pariah -
have authored a tell-all story like
some sobbing grandparent, recant-
ing to anyone and everyone who
will listen.
So listen: it's not worth it.
-Josh 1ickerham still loves
Marv Jane and can be reached at
jwickerh jcumich.edu.

Art Fair: Its all about the Benjamins

tGfhose locals who don't like
the art fair are a bunch of
curmudgeons," I heard someone
say the other day.
Now don't get me wrong. I have
been called many things - to
specify, many unflattering things-
in my lifetime. But few times have
I had to resort to a dictionary.
After dusting off ye olde
Webster's, I was able to decipher
what this person, comically bereft
of colloquialism, was getting at.
I am a grouch, a spoil-sport,
because the Ann Arbor Art Fair,
the jewel in Culture Town's crown,
does not inspire goose bumps and
pangs of pride every time I make
my way through the cattle-pens
that are State, Liberty and Main
Far be it from me to poo-poo
Ann Arbor's end-of-July junket,
but as one who resides within the
city's one-way confines, this col-
umn space seems appropriate
enough to address a few miscon-
ceptions about this city's other
defining staple.
The Art Fair is often perceived
as a sort of flea-market festival
that can be found in any Michigan
town from here to Marquette dur-
ing the summer, except much
more souped-up. Instead of cheap
jewelry and . bitchin' airbrushed
shirts, we get expensive art and
designer wear. Undeniably, the art
is good - so good, in fact, that the
price range on most of it far
exceeds anything a poor student
could hope to afford.
There was one colorful piece in
particular which caught my eye
until I got close enough to read the
S200-price tag. Oh. Guess that old
ripped Taxi Driver poster will have
to do for one more year in the liv-
ing room.
Enter the yuppies. Their raging

appetites for main street restau-
rants and impulse buying keep the
fair fueled year after year.
Not to bash our parents, but the
youthful exuberance always so
closely asso-
ciated with
Ann Arbor is
not wel-
comed here.
For the y
majority of
the summer
student popu-
lation, the
more appro-
priate title is RYAN
"Ann Arbor: MOLONEY
outdoor artA
Too often
art, in all of its expansive genres, is
viewed as one of the frills of good

is money.
To begin with, a true artist
decides to live life in direct con-
flict with the so-called "delegative
elite" in order to live out his true-
life destiny. As he sees it, to create
for himself. No wonder a J.D.
Salinger chooses life in seclusion
- he's already laid out all the
cards right in front of us. It's in the
pages and in the work that he
defines himself.
What a deep connection
berspen the artist and his tangible
visi'dn. And yet, most of the artists
sat there last week, sandwiched in
between each other as cell phone-
totin,' polo-wearin' boomers casu-
ally strolled past with an occasion-
al wavering glance. This is the cul-
mination of all that creation? A
bourgeoisie meat market?
The art should fit within every-

one's means. Simply selling a
piece of yourself to those with the
most money, that's - well, I don't
want to say what that is.
Let's be clear; this is a business
ventre on the part of most of
those involved. Why pass it off as
anything but? Perhaps the best
advertising in this day and age
consists of using false pretenses.
These days, the type of culture
you get to enjoy - like watches or
cars - depends on how much you
can spend.
I did make a purchase at this
year's fair. I bought a Stone Cold
Steve Austin shirt - middle fin-
ger and all - on sale for $3.81.
Well, that's all the culture I need;
or all I can afford anyway.
- Rvan Molonev can be
reached via e-mail at

living, or
for educa-
tion,' if you
vill. Because
many of us
think "brains
e q u a ls
bucks,' the
select are
seen as the
only ones
who can
fully appreci-
ate the com-
plexities of a
the rest of us
look at a pic-
ture and say.
"I like the
colors and
stuff." As
with every-
thing else,
the issue here


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