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August 06, 2001 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2001-08-06

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

Monday, August 6, 2001 - The Michigan Daily - 5
Socking it to the Machismo, one Britney Spears at a time
Irite you over the sounds of war. Mind you, 45 pesos is about $4.75, out yourselves.
The first time I heard the explosions, unless the dollar is sagging. Pretty I've found Mexico to be hospitable
thought they were bombs going off cheap. that way. When I ask someone for direc-
- or maybe they were searching for oil Boom. tions, they don't look at me like some
in the hills. Day after day, I thought they Americans also seem to have a prob- foreign goon who's out to rob them.
might be imploding another building. lem with the tip-as-you-go system at all- They invite me to the bar for a cerveza.
Boy, I was mistaken. I'm just surround- you-can-drink bars. I suppose it's partly due to the fact
ed by TNT-happy Mexicans. Instead of using that Mexicans as a whole are a pretty
That's right, faithful readers. I'm in rudimentary math powerless people. They don't have that
Mexico for two months learning how to skills to pay the American ideal of rugged individualism
be an expatriate. And it's a difficulttjob, p P. waiter in incremen- or the pressure of the American Dream
what with having studied with a group tal sums, they give surfacing in the back of their minds.
from Tennessee for the last month. But American patrons a Instead they have an outdated Machismo
now they're gone and I'm finally alone bad name by thing that has given Mexico City one of
with my thoughts. Though many of you rrequesting to speak the highest AIDS rates in the semi-devel-
would say being able to communicate at to the manager. oped world simply because Mexican
a third grade level doesn't make an JOSH And when the man- men are too manly to use condoms.
American alonejust normal. WICKERHAM ager tries explain My response to the Machismo is to
I'm stuck in a culture war of some S"L OF that "that's the way hold hands and kiss my Mexican
kind. As we seal off our borders and is ..y we do it in Mexi- boyfriend on the street, regardless of our
exploit our distant neighbors to the co, they have con- personal well-being. America's response
south with NAFTA-driven corporate niptions and end up not leaving any tip to the Machismo seems to be summed
governance, I never cease to be amazed at all, saying that the service was bad up by Britney Spears. "I'm stronger
at Shaggy's "It wasn't me" pouring out and the waiters were rude. And then than yesterday" might be good for little
of every other Volkswagen on the street. they brag about it the next day. repressed girls to hear, but that whiney
We get "Planet of the Apes." Mexico Boom, boom. brat is not the kind of role-model Mexi-
gets "La Planeta de los Simios " (with What do Mexicans do when a cab co needs. I'd rather the borders be erased
subtitles). They get Catholicism, we get tries to charge them too much? They and culture swapped person to person
Puritanism. Out with the old, in with the bargain. What do Mexicans do when the than through illegally copied American
new. We get whatever shlock the enter- power goes out? They light candles. CDs.
tainment industry markets us - and What do they do when an American Maybe if we began to treat Mexico
Mexico gets it six months later in Span- smokes a cigarette next to them in the as we would have them treat us, Ameri-
ish packaging. Internet Caf6 and he apologizes with the cans could learn to take it easy and
God I hate Americans. They think mindset that they're going to get uptight Mexicans could learn to give up the
they own' the world. Mostly, in fact, like a pregnant American mother? patriarchy. Maybe we could share the
because, economically, they do. Case in "No hay problemas, amigo." prosperity. But there's not much one
point: The way the members of that And what do I do when the power person can do about it. I'm content
group from Tennessee communicated goes out after lighting that cigarette? I humming American music and talking
with cab drivers who wanted to charge rewrite my column. No problem. What Mexican politics like a third grader.
them 45 pesos to take them home after a do I do when the control-s key combina-
night of getting sloshed. They used the tion in Microsoft Word doesn't save, but -Josh Wickerham can be reached viae-
finger and screamed at them in English. underlines? I think you can figure that mail atjwickerh@umich.edu.

I: ETTERS T E E ,aZ .. y

Standardized tests
'reflect acquired
Perusing your summer editorial
("High Standards: 'U' should not use
biased tests in admissions;' 7/30/01), I
noticed a failure to distinguish between
correlation and causation with regard
to minority achievement. Yes, some
minorities, on average, score lower
than whites (while other minorities,
such as Asians and Jews, score better
- a fact you ignore).
Does this prove that the tests them-
selves or racist? No. The true cause of
minority underachievement is two-fold,
and cannot be rectified by any redesign
of the SAT.
First, while as you correctly point
out that the tests do not measure "intel-
ligence," they certainly do measure
acquired knowledge. And given the
wide failure of our government-run
public school system, which minorities
disproportionately attend, many minor-
ity students never get the same access
to the educational tools and conse-
quently learn less during their second-
ary school years. This gets reflected on
the SAT and is even evidenced in your
own editorial. After all, as evidence of
bias you cite a study of the 1988-1989
SAT which concluded that 575 out of
580 questions, including presumably
around 290 math questions, displayed
"white preference." While many could
conceivably agree that the verbal sec-
tion could show a cultural slant, I
doubt anyone could rationally conclude

that concepts such as addition, subtrac-
tion, and fractions favored whites per
se. What they do favor is learned
knowledge, which our unequal second-
ary schools bestow on whites more fre-
quently than they do minorities.
The second problem you your-
selves alluded to - the expensive prep
courses, whose fees effectively dis-
criminate against low-income students,
again disproportionately minority.
That, like secondary school education,
is a problem of income -not race.
Eliminating the tests in admissions
would severely hann the University's
goal of admitting qualified students
who can do University-level work.
Success in the tests strongly correlates
with success in the first year of college
or graduate school because, as men-
tioned before, the test reflects acquired
-It would also eliminate the only
way the University has to truly "equal-
ize" a diverse pool of applicants who
come from different backgrounds, cur-
riculums and schools. A 3.5 GPA at
one school might not be as impressive
as a 2.8 at a different school, for exam-
ple. The SAT allows the University to
compare the two students on a relative-
ly equal playing field - and accord-
ingly allows it to place less emphasis
on arbitrary determinations about
school quality (which hurt minorities
just as much, if not more, than moder-
ately poorer standardized scores.)
JACOB EM. Osuccx
The letter writer is a student at Columbia
Law School.

Try this at home, kid
Summer is almost over and you're
bored. You have to move out of
your place and store all your stuff
in your ex-roommate's brother's base-
ment and then stay at your parents'
house even though your old bedroom
has now been converted into "the fish
tank room." I understand. August is the
cruelest month. Since this is my last
column, I've decided to come up with
some pull-them-yourself pranks to
make the last days of summer just a lit-
tle easier to take. I've laid out two
pranks for you: Just pick the one you
like best and experiment.
PRANK #1: Haiku Hysteria
Are you looking for an exciting new
career? Well, try filling out job applica-
tions in haiku. This prank is even better
if the application is for your current job
and you're filling it out while you're at
work. It will just be funnier that way.
I'll give you a few sample haikus to get
you started. The application I filled out,
asked me to explain the difference
between a network and a server, so I
came up with:
Network is village / Server is tribal
leader ! Bearing gifts for all
See how easy that was? When they
wanted to know the basic difference
between a Zip disk and a floppy disk I
Floppy disk is cup / Zip disk is a big
pitcher / Both filled with knowledge
Most people have customer service
jobs, right? Well, there's always some
bullshit on the application about provid-
ing great customer service, some ques-
tion like, "What's the secret to great
customer service?" Well here it is:

Smile at strange man. / Do not
vomit on his shoes. / Stop looking at
It didn't take me long to come up
with these little haikus. This prank is
even better when you fill out the
application with
someone else at
your work. You
should probably
make up a fake
identity while
you're at it, unless
you're applying
somewhere that
actually considers
KATIE and sarcasm valu-
MULCRONE able customer
PfA(YlCT.IALY service skill. (And
JOKiN(3 on that note,
Ameritech is
always looking for good folks to man
the phone lines!)
PRANK #2: Fake Notification-of-
STD Phone Call/E-mail
Nothing says, "What the hell?" like
calling up someone you've never had sex
with to tell him/her that you have a sexu-
ally transmitted disease! Just be sure you
haven't slept with them: Your conversa-
tion should go something like this:
"Um, hey, this is Karen. I have to
tell you something."
"Karen who?"
"I have HPV'"
"Who are you?"
"So, yeah, you should get checked
"Is this Karen from my history

"My doctor says it's pretty conta-
"Wait a minute. We never slept
This is a pretty gutsy move, though.
Also, you'll probably start laughing. I
recommend the e-mail approach. Just
send the following e-mail to someone
you've hardly ever been in the same
room with:
Dear Kevin,
My doctor requests that I contact
everyone I've had sexual contact with
in the last six months to inform them
that I've been diagnosed with condylo-
ma acuminata, which is also known as
HPV or genital warts. Untreated genital
warts can eventually spread, grow and
multiply into large clusters. These may
cause a variety of health complications
depending on where they are located.
Symptoms may range from localized
discomfort and pain to bleeding and
difficulty in urination or swallowing.
You should visit your doctor immedi-
ately for an examination. We should
have coffee soon and catch up!
Love, Karen.
You get the idea. It would be even
funnier if you made it a mass e-mail or,
better yet, created a group, like <karen-
std-notify@umich.edu>. That way, your
false suitors can network. Oh, you don't
know how to create an e-mail group?
Directory "bind" / Create new
group, type its name / Add members,
then save.
This is Katie Mulcrone's last columnfor
the Daily. She can be reached via e-mail
at kmulcron@umich.edu.

d T m # 00 a
' L""" .:°"" t

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