Monday, July 9, 2001- The Michigan Daily - 5
-LETTERL~S UUITHE EDITOR
church and state
TO THE DAILY:
In a recent viewpoint ("Church
and state: Separate," 6/18/01) Ryan
*Blay criticized the treatment that
the Supreme Court has given to the
First Amendment of the Constitu-
tion, particularly as it deals with
religion. The main example used is
the recent Supreme Court decision
in favor of allowing a Christian
club to meet on school property
after school hours.
Mr. Blay was highly critical of
the court's decision, and even dared
to say that it has "bowed to reli-
p gious pressure." The court did not
bow to any amount religious pres-
sure. The point of the lawsuit is
that, the Christian group in ques-
tion wished to simply use school
grounds for their meeting place -
like many other extra-curricular
clubs do - and were denied
because of the sole fact that they
belonged to a certain religious
It makes no difference if they
were Christian, Jewish, Hindu or
Wiccan, because the school didn't
want to endorse any religion; they
wanted to endorse only non-reli-
To do this, the school must be
granted the power to distinguish
and therefore decide what counts as
a religious group and what does
not. If this happens, many minor
religions would no longer be con-
sidered valid religions, and their
civil rights would be the next to go.
I am not saying that I support
conservative Christians in every-
thing they do, but I do say that they,
like any other group should
(according to the Constitution) be
granted the same rights as any other
group, religious or secular.
The Constitution was written
with the intention to protect every
citizen of this nation, granting that
citizen religious freedom that can
only be enjoyed if the government
does not make any distinctions
between a religious group and any
other group, religious or otherwise.
THOMAS PARK AMBROSE
Here we go again ...
G ary Condit provides a great
xample of a guy screwed over
by circumstance. What Condit
did wasn't extraordinary in any way -
he was a politician who had an affair
with a particularly ugly woman. At this
point, that sort of revelation is about as
shocking to me as a bad episode of
Once again we have a politician
embarrassed not only by his transgres-
sions, but also by his overwhelming
bad taste. Bill Clinton jokes pop into
mind almost innediately: "You would
think that the leader of the free world
would have his choice of much hotter
The parallels to Clinton don't stop
with the superficial. Two powerful
politicians letting a young intern play
house, two politicians questioned in a
legal setting about their behavior, two
politicians who lied with a straight face
and two politicians forced to hang their
heads and admit their dishonesty. It's
the same plotline, just different charac-
ters and settings.
But the most profoundly irritating
similarity between the two men will
doubtlessly be the backlash. It will only
be a matter of time before we start get-
ting hit with elderly Republicans on
Larry King Live talking about the
decline of American morality. How it's
impossible to have any faith in a politi-
cian with so few scruples. How the
principle of family has become entirely
meaningless in today's society.
These outcries for a return to moral-
ity are as ridiculous now as they were
when Clinton's affair(s) became known.
We aren't living in an era of substantial-
ly lower morals than previous genera-
tions. By cheating on their wives,
Clinton and Condit haven't done any-
thing worse than Kennedy, Eisenhower,
land, Jefferson or
is amoral, but let's
not pretend that
of sexual liaisons
MANISH cians and their
RAIJi mistresses are
;T iNG indicative of some
C (.CHY modern moral
has always been a little cheap, especial-
ly for men in power.
Condit's affair was wrong, but it
wasn't unnatural. What tripped him up
was simple bad luck; the girl he was
running around with wound up miss-
ing. After that, it was a Pandora's Box
that Condit was no better at closing
than Clinton was. What's lost in all this
clamoring for a return to morality is the
need for a return to privacy.
In an age where Prozac patients get
their names sent out over email, where
cameras can watch virtually anything
we do in public, where companies can
place data on your computer to track
what websites you've been looking at
and where credit card transactions can
map your whereabouts, is it really a
surprise that our public figures appear
to be brimming with sin?
It's true that things have changed in
recent times, but those changes have
nothing to do with morality and have
everything to do with information. The
ability to observe in great detail the
lives of others has outpaced the ability
of people to evade scrutiny. Public fig-
ures used to be able to don a wig and
sunglasses and effectively disappear for
a while; modern day celebrities have to
be a lot more cunning.
In hindsight, I'm certain that the
similarity between Clinton and Condit
that will end up having the most pro-
found impact will be the example that
they set. Not the example of bad men
who had to face the truth, but of men
out of touch with their times. Clinton
and Condit will both serve as warnings
to an upcoming generation of politi-
cians, who will learn to cover their
tracks and be prepared for absolutely
anything. Their individual stories, how-
ever similar they may be, are not as
important as the end result: They both
I have no doubt that we will one day
return to an age of innocence, when
those in the spotlight can be looked up
to as heroes. But that return won't be a
result of some rebirth of values; it will
come when celebrities figure out the
modern-day equivalent to a wig and
- Manish Raii owns a pair ofsunglass-
es, but he does not own a wig. He can be
reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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THE BOONDOCKS BY AARON MCGRUDER
Taking the Popov Challenge
You've probably seen the ads really sure. I drank some more and
for the Pepsi challenge: Two still couldn't tell. One drink seemed
out of three people prefer the sweeter but that could just mean
taste of Pepsi in a blind taste test. more vermouth.
(This makes sense to me, because "Are you sure you mixed these
Pepsi has way more sugar than exactly the same?"
Coke.) I thought it might be fun to He was sure.
have my own Pepsi challenge, with It came to the
vodka. point where I had
My friend Bert had a chemistry to make a deci-
professor who challenged anyone in sion. "I don't
the class to buy a bottle of know. The blue
Stolichanaya vodka and a bottle of one I guess. It
the cheap stuff and then do a isn't so harsh on
detailed chemical analysis of each. my throat."
The professor insisted there was no I picked the
chemical difference between the Popov. Damn. I
two. One guy in the class took him KATIE always suspected
up on it ... and lost the bet. There MULCRONE myself of bad
was no difference. ACKCAV taste. My assis-
"Many people will argue that J KIN tant suggested
expensive vodka tastes better or that I try just the
smoother. However, vodka shouldn't vodka rather than a martini and I
have a flavor to begin with ... " The suggested (somewhat indelicately)
facts according to the martini book I that he try just the vodka because I'd
got for my birthday. Well, there was had quite enough to drink. I pulled
nothing to do but try it out myself, the two bottles out of the freezer and
The Popov challenge, if you will. poured him a shot of Stoli and a
My lovely assistant and I headed shot of Popov. "They definitely taste
down to the party store and bought a different. This one's sweeter. I kind
bottle of Stoli and a bottle of Popov. of like this one better." At least he
As the guy behind the counter has bad taste too.
checked our IDs he joked that he We needed to find someone with
would have let it go if we were just better taste. Luckily my housemate
buying the Stoli. Hmm. I guess came home at that point. She didn't
Popov is the fuel of choice for want to drink but her boyfriend was
underagers. up to the Popov challenge. He took a
We wanted to be very scientific little sip of each. "This one's Stoli
about our vodka challenge. My and this one's Popov." He was right.
assistant mixed up two martinis and "The Popov is a lot smoother but
put a red cocktail skewer in the first it'll make you sick."
and a blue one in the second. I tried So I guess it's a good thing if it
the red. Hmm. I tried the blue. Not burns your throat more. Who knew?
But what's the difference, really?
Expensive vodkas are filtered more.
So if you drank, say, six shots of
Popov one night and six shots of
Stoli the next night you would theo-
retically be less hung over the sec-
ond morning. I wasn't willing to try
this out. The other difference
between the vodkas? Well, the Stoli
comes in a nicer bottle. Popov
comes in a state-of-the-art unbreak-
able plastic bottle.
Even though my assistant and I
had failed the Popov challenge mis-
erably, we decided we weren't ready
to give up yet.
Luckily, Jim came home just
then and agreed to give it a shot.
(Yes, that was on purpose.) My
assistant slid two icy slugs of vodka
across the coffee table. "This one
tastes kind of oily." Hmm. Jim liked
the second one better: "It's straight
to the point."
Before my assistant had a chance
to reveal each vodka's true identity I
loudly insisted that I be given anoth-
er chance. I tried some vodka from
the first glass, then drank some
Coke, then sampled the vodka from
the second glass.
"I like the Coke the best. Coke
wins the Popov challenge." In the
end, I picked the same glass Jim did.
And we both picked the Popov. So,
it looks like three out of four people
in my house prefer Popov to Stoli.
Ah, but I was the only one dumb
enough to pick the Popov twice.
Katie Mulcrones column ninser
other Monday. She can be reached re-
5 ( , i. t
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