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July 21, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-21

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 21, 2003 - 5
New York: city of contradictions

Diversity of thought
is crucial to 'U'
After years of reading the
Daily's ideologically doctrinaire
editorials, it is refreshing to finally
stumble across one that affirms
the right of individuals with differ-
ent perspectives to disagree peace-
ably (Affirmative overreaction,
7/14/03). Too often in the past the
Daily has given tacit endorsements
to those, who in the name of toler-
ance and diversity, show a callous
disregard - in some cases, out-
right hostility - for anyone else's
right to make their views heard.
That Ward Connerly's affir-
mative action initiative provokes
expressions of strong emotions
from supporters and opponents
} makes flaring tempers an
inevitable part of such a campus
visit. However, it does not
excuse the actions of the hypo-
critical zealots that tried to incite
unrest. For those that ostensibly
support a more diverse campus
and the free interchange of ideas
,here is some food for thought:
Diversity comes in more forms
than just skin color, it also
comes from a broad palette of
ideas. Resolving issues as incen-
diary as affirmative action just
don't happen when one side
defines a dialogue as drowning
out the voice of one's opponent.
Coleman right to open
1house after Victor
Dan Adams is "a (man) delu-
sional enough to believe what
(he) wants to believe" in assailing
University President Mary Sue
Coleman's invitation to celebrate
the victory of the principle of
affirmative action at herresi-
dence. In April, the University
sponsored bus trips to Washington
to witness an event central to its
culture, and the nation, much like
the University, has sponsored road
trips to less politically significant,
but still University-centric, athlet-
ic contests like bowl games.
Although everyone does not agree
with the University's athletic poli-
cies, the last official wide-scale
invitation to the President's House
came on a Football Saturday in
the fall of 1997, a victory over
Penn State along Michigan's road
to the National Championship.
Certainly there were those who
disdained then President Lee
Bollinger's invitation by citing
problems with Athletic Depart-
ment practices like student athlete
treatment and merchandising
operations, but the party's intent
was to celebrate a victory for the
} University as a whole. When the
University takes a side in public
affairs, whether political or athlet-

ic, it's important to remember the
namesake of the institution repre-
sents the campus community, dis-
senters and all. The University
defending itself against Gatz and
Grutter at the U.S. Supreme Court
is no different than challenging
Penn State and Purdue at Michi-
gan Stadium. Since the entire
campus community is marked by
the name of the University, cele-
brating a victory of its official
public opinion (ruled a "com-
pelling state interest" in this case)
is permissible. Mr. Adams can
hold a pity party at his apartment
to express his belief, but Dr. Cole-
man can also open the doors of
her house to represent the Univer-
sity's official opinion.
LSA junior
'U not spending
money wisely
After all the belly-aching from
the University administration about
the cuts from the state budget, I
thought our beloved University was
on the brink of starvation. I could
'imagine bureaucrats in Flemming
contemplating cutting heat to the
Hill dorms, President Coleman
renting out the President's house as
a bed and breakfast and Canadian
lumberjacks coming to campus to
clear-cut the Arb.
The only solution to this dire
siruation was to spike tuition and
ask, no, beg the state government
for enough money to heat the poor
freshmen on the hill. It was the
University's only hope to avoid a
hundred years of Ohio State domi-
nance (oh, perish the thought).
But, apparently I don't need to
worry though because I noticed
brand new PCs strewn about in
the Fishbowl like coins in the
Trevi Fountain. Phew, I guess the
government has decided to wisely
spend my tuition and buy flat
screen monitors and new key-
boards in this time of government
shortfalls. I can only imagine the
other ways that the University is
"wisely" spending my tuition
around the University.
Government is after all an
efficient vehicle. They never need
to cinch up their belt rather than
beg another meal from Lansing.
So I guess the crisis is averted.
The bureaucrats in Flemming
have decided to heat the hill
dorms yet another winter and
President Coleman has quit taking
reservations for the fall.
But as soon as anyone starts
talking about the necessity of cut-
ting remember: Our University is
highly efficient, and it wisely
spends its dollars on new flat
screen monitors and keyboards.
Either way,.I am going to keep
an eye out for those Canadian
State chairman,
YoungAmericans for Freedom
LSA senior

ew York City,
though agri-
barren, blossoms
with literary inspira-
tion. In my harvest
for column ideas, I
have reaped a few,
but one stands out:
New York is a city of contradictions. This
may be a bit obvious, butI believe my
observations have a more salient mean-
ing, both for me and all New Yorkers.
This summer, I am interning at two
organizations: a trade association for mar-
keters and the New York Press. As profes-
sional as each internship sounds, neither is
paid, and such is the case for many of the
interns in the city. The employment of free
or cheap labor, commonly associated with
underpaid immigrants and lower class
workers, has an odd connotation in New
York: wealth. In New York, interning is a
sign of wealth; those who are paid the least
have parents who earn the most.
Beyond my occupational oddity, there
are the regional oddities. Neighborhoods
in the city are loosely arranged by zip
code. In my area code, 10021, decadence
meets elegance on the Upper East Side.
Women clad in Armani tread urban side-
walks in Manolo Blahniks, walking dogs
clad in Louis Vuitton. Quaint cafes serve
overpriced creme caramel as patrons
blithely chatter away. A few blocks
uptown, zip code 10029, a comparative
dystopia exists: East Harlem. Boasting an

average annual household income of
$17,000, the area is certainly better than
most of the world's ghettos, but it pales
in comparison to its downtown neighbor.
Further downtown, the clashes multiply.
Area code 10012 meets 10002 meets
10005. Soho meets the Lower East Side
meets the Financial District. The once
bohemian now post-modern, neo-yuppie
playland of Soho borders the newly-
crowned bohemian, starving-artist playland
of the LES. And still, a few blocks down is
the famed financial district, lying awkward-
ly next to the not-so-pristine Chinatown.
Throughout the city, the clash between
old and new is palpable. Downtown, a 2003
Porsche Cayenne S is parked on a 1903
cobblestone road. Times Square, christened
in 1905 with the erection of Times Tower,
conjures images from Orwell's 1984, a
futuristic conglomeration of mass media,
uber-corporations and restaurant chains.
Showing nostalgia for an older, simpler
time, last year the New Yorker decried the
design of the Westin New York on 42nd St,
calling it tastelessly modern, "vulgar."
Even Central Park - turning 150
this summer - is an odd addition to the
sprawling high-rises and Fifth Avenue
apartments. In a city where commuters
consciously inhale exhaust fumes, sit on
plastic furniture and work in man-
made, architectural wonders, the ver-
dant park is a curious companion.
The city's skyscrapers grow upward and
defy gravity, the unwieldy weight of reason.
For those who have yet to feel the city's
energy, it spurs wonder and ignites curiosity.

Somehow, however ill at ease, it works. The
city lives on with the proverbial heartbeat of
its stressed-out workers.
All of this leads to one conclusion: In
New York, beauty often comes with flaws.
On Lexington Avenue outside Blooming-
dale's, it isn't shocking to see a homeless
person lying destitutely, collapsed from
drunkenness or hunger. Below Canal St, it
is not uncommon to see a dilapidated apart-
ment worth well over $1,500 in rent.
In light of all these perplexities, sea-
soned New Yorkers grow cynical and criti-
cal. They become cynical and try to find the
seamy, hidden layer beneath every supposed
virtue. New Yorkers will read social critique
into a work of art created simply for aesthet-
ics and will make a travesty of every just
law. And those who are not quite cynical
are, at the very least, critical, which
accounts for the city's large media sector.
Everyday, dozens of newspapers and news
networks question both policies and people,
trying to resolve this metropolitan quandary.
, Here, nothing is simple; every story has
two facets. And so, it is hard to not overan-
alyze such a complex environment. It is
hard not to see New York in a national and
global perspective. It is hard, especially
with politics on the mind, not to see every
image in light of economic and social poli-
cy, to eye its complexities at face value. For
a young intern and aspiring journalist, a
pilgrimage to New York offers a chance to
-pardon the platitude - grow.

Jean can be reachedat

Granhoim should read dead German economist

used to walk to
school when I was
in elementary
school. The older kids
in the neighborhood
would watch the
younger kids and make
sure we got there okay.
My first couple of
years, there was a
group of girls in the neighborhood who
filled that role. They also used to baby-sit
for my brother and me on the weekends.
Since that time,' they've all graduated
from college and have started their first real
jobs. They're nice and smart, and they'll
add a lot to any community in which they
decide to live. But from my perspective as
someone who was born and raised in
Michigan and has most of his family and
friends in the state, there's a problem:
Almost all of those girls have left the state.
They've taken their educations, their knowl-
edge and their talents with them.
Many of Michigan's young residents
are doing the same. Why live in Michi-
gan when you can move to Chicago, the
East Coast or someplace with better
weather? There's not really much here
for people who have just graduated from
college. Detroit, the biggest city, is a
mess; it has lost more people than any
other major city in the country over the
past two years. In the state in general,
there's not much of a nightlife, not much
to do in general and most importantly,
there's not that many jobs.
It's something that many policymakers

say they are aware of, but not much of any-
thing has happened. Enter Michigan's
bright, energetic, attractive and progressive
new governor, Jennifer Granhoim, who has
spent time in vibrant areas such as San
Francisco and Boston. She replaces an
older, duller, seemingly more out-of-touch,
conservative white male, John Engler. It
seemed to me as if she understood Michi-
gan's brain drain crisis and how the state
could not continue to rely on the auto indus-
try. To me, she seemed likea national star in
a world of second-rate state politicians.
Granholm recently gave a speech on
Mackinac Island wearing sunglasses,
where she discussed the importance of
making Michigan a more "hip" state. The
conservative businessmen who were in her
audience ate it up. Maybe I would be able
to stay put in my home state after all.
But thus far, Granholm has not backed
up this talk with substance. A good exam-
ple of this is her failure to appreciate the
significance of the Michigan Life Sci-
ences Corridor. The idea of the corridor is
to combine the efforts of the state's top
universities and attract new private sector
businesses in the field to create a vibrant
region that would gain national promi-
nence. Understanding the connection
between Granholm's stated desire to cre-
ate a more "hip" state and the corridor's
aim of creating a more vibrant state does
not take that much brainpower.
Last week, Federal Reserve Chairman
Alan Greenspan told Congressional com-
mittees that manufacturing will not be
vital to the U.S. economy in the future.

While this angered some members of Con-
gress and may rightfully frighten workers
in states such as union-heavy Michigan, it
was a positive economic statement - it's
true. I've taken enough economics at the
University to know that the integrating
system known as globalization will add
jobs to the U.S. economy, but they will not
be in manufacturing. They will be in areas
such as the life sciences. In order to main-
tain a healthy economy, it is important that
new types of businesses be free to pop up,
and that means that older industries such
as the auto industry cannot be allowed to
suffocate these saplings.
The state promised the corridor $50
million a year for 20 years. At first, it
was delivering, but recently, the amount
of funding has become so small that it
is almost irrelevant.
The reason that the state of Michigan
became such a powerful and exciting place
in the first half of the 20th century is that it
led in the sectors, such as automobile man-
ufacturing, that were cutting-edge at the
time, but they are no longer. The state
needs a replacement, and the best option is
to take this corridor and run with it.
Granholm should listen to University Pres-
ident Mary Sue Coleman and pour money
into the corridor, while working to attract
new, innovative businesses. That, not wear-
ing sunglasses on an island that still hasn't
experienced the auto boom, is how to start
revitalizing Michigan.
Pesick can be reached at

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