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July 26, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2004-07-26

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

" Reader feels like own can of spray paint.
adding to discourse Alumnus
by Daily building Lucky Charms
inspires artistry

The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 26, 2004 - 5
'Let the word go forth"...'

Thank you for promoting the
permanent defacement of our
beautiful city and campus in the
name of "art" (Good Marks,
7/19/04). With as many opportu-
nities for legitimate political and
artistic expression as we are
lucky to have in Ann Arbor, the
city does not need to look to
vandalism to safeguard its "cul-
tural vitality." We are, after all,
in the middle of a city-wide art
fair - with an entire block
devoted to civic outreach.
The next time our local sten-
cil graffiti vandal chooses to
"play a role in making Ann
Arbor an artistically and cultur-
ally diverse, tolerant city," I hope
it is on the surfaces of 420 May-
nard Street. I relish the chance to
partake in a welcome act of
"interactive art" and "argumen-
tative discourse" on the property
of The Michigan Daily with my

I wanted to express my whole-
hearted agreement with the Daily's
editorial in defense of stenciling
graffiti on public property (Good
Marks, 7/19/04). As the Daily wrote,
"Many disapprove of stencil graffiti
because of such overtly political
statements made on our public side-
walks. The beauty of graffiti is that if
someone dislikes the message, that
person is welcome to make his or her
own mark." Indeed. I heartily
encourage Christians to get out their
cross stencils, Muslims their cres-
cents, Republicans their elephants,
Democrats their donkeys, capitalists
their dollar-bill signs, Nazis their
swastikas and Communists their
hammer-and-sickles. I'm sure that
every esthete in town will appreciate
having a sidewalk that looks like a
bowl of Lucky Charms.

When I was
in Wash-
wgton last
week, one of the last
things I saw was the
Kennedy flame at
Arlington National
Cemetery. The
flame is merely a
flame, minor in
comparison to the grand monuments,
which serve as a testament to the lega-
cy of those who have served and sacri-
ficed for this country and its vision at
home and abroad. Nonetheless, it was
a row of quotations inscribed opposite
the flame that I found most moving.
One, specifically, stuck with me:
Now the trumpet summons us again
- not as a call to bear arms, though
arms we need; not as a call to battle,
though embattled we are - but a call to
bear the burden of a long twilight strug-
gle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in
hope, patient in tribulation" - a strug-
gle against the common enemies of man:
tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.
Taken from Kennedy's inaugural
address, this line eloquently symbol-
izes an idealistic and noble internation-
al agenda, far more uplifting and
inspirational than anything currently
coming out of Washington. Today, the
neoconservative revolution has bred an
ideology that embraces similar end
goals, but advocates militaristic means.
The Bush Doctrine, in stark contrast to

anything preceding it, actively
embraces the idea of preemption, an
unprecedented step for any nation in
the modern era.
What is needed is a renewal of the
Kennedy spirit - an international opti-
mism that seeks to use America's posi-
tion and power to foster cooperation,
strong multidimensional alliances and
a global consensus on the virtues of
freedom, liberty and democracy. The
neoconservative policy emanating from
Washington in untenable and unsafe,
while the alternative - withdrawal
from international affairs - will let
pass this opportunity to fundamentally
alter the dynamics of this world.
Neoconservatives have some of it
right - this is a unipolar world, and
the spread of the economic, social and
political freedom is an inherently wor-
thy goal. However, militarism is not the
vehicle for this change. Global aggres-
sion - the liberal use of military
power to topple unfriendly govern-
ments - will only breed resentment
and alienate allies. While the use of
force may vanquish enemies, it will not
create friends. The American position
in the world will be literally enforced;
other nations will not respect our ideals
or our vision. They will fear our ten-
dency to exterminate unfriendly gov-
The current challenge facing Amer-
ica - terrorism - will not be wholly
overcome by force. Terrorism is not an

entity, it is a strategy. Generally, it is
not employed by states, but by rogue
individuals and fringe elements. The
discontent, which fuels terrorism, can-
not be targeted by a cruise missile or
bombed out of existence. While the
war on terror has a legitimate military
component, it can only be truly won by
addressing the root cause. This cannot
be done through the military; overt
aggression will only exacerbate the
problem. Instead, a war of ideas must
be waged. America must form a new
coalition of the willing - willing not
to march to war, but rather willing to
educate and uplift those most at risk of
alienation. In the words of a former
five-star general and president,
"Though force can protect in emer-
gency, only justice, fairness, considera-
tion and cooperation can finally lead
men to the dawn of eternal peace."
While the common enemies of man
persist to this day, America now has more
power than ever to fight them. Through
alliances rooted in common ideologies,
outreach aimed at countering radicalism
and economic development initiatives,
which encourage advancement, the
Kennedy vision can be fulfilled. A return
to liberal internationalism, which encour-
ages the international community to unite
in the defense of freedom and liberty, is
Momin can be reached at

Orientation homesick blues

The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all of its readers. Letters
from University students, faculty, staff and administrators will be given
priority over others. Letters should include the writer's name, college
and school year or other University affiliation. The Daily will not print
any letter containing statements that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approximately 300 words. The Michigan
Daily reserves the right to edit for length, clarity and accuracy. Longer
"viewpoints" may be arranged with an editor. Letters will be run accord-
ing to order received and the amount of space available.
Letters should be sent through e-mail to tothedaily@michigandaily.com
or mailed to the Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached via e-
mail at editpage.editors@umich.edu. Letters e-mailed to the Daily will be
given priority over those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.
B A-lw'so Ovi 0eC~
Cords, Co ,
" "> EAGUE
. 6

Freshman Orien-
tation is an
experience we'd
all surely love to for-
get. Living for three
days in a room with
two people I'll proba-
bly never see again,
going on a long and
arduous campus tour
for the eighth time and getting up at seven
in the morning so that I can learn how to
use the library are all parts of my life I'd
prefer to block out. However, it is impossi-
ble to do so with swarms of the yellow-
folder-toting youth roving around Ann
Arbor all summer. Orientation does noth-
ing to actually orient one to real college
life, and at best serves as a surreal escape
from anything resembling reality.
Orientees are always easy to pick out.
By day, they're distinguishable by their
signature brightly-colored name tags. By
night, they're the only people traipsing
about Ann Arbor in groups of 17. These
kids are afraid to do anything alone. They
are told right away that the focus of orien-
tation is to make new friends by any
means necessary. The result is the forma-
tion of massive groups of incoming fresh-
men that have known one another for only
a couple hours. They all understand that
traveling in groups of less than five or
(God forbid) alone will result in being a
social outcast throughout the entire four-
year college stint. Being in these groups
does little to yield actual friendships, let
alone any kind of meaningful conversa-
tion. The orientees latch onto one another,

hoping that safety in numbers will protect
them from becoming pariahs at age 18.
I'm under the impression that many
incoming freshmen lack the practical skills
needed if one is to live somewhat indepen-
dently of one's parents. For example, I
work at the deli bar in the cafeteria of East
Quad, where orientation kids stay. This bar
contains all kinds of delicious sandwich
ingredients. However, it is strictly forbid-
den to use these ingredients on hamburg-
ers, as there are hamburger toppings in the
dining room and a sign explicitly stating
just that right in front of the deli bar. I
strategically placed this sign directly in
front of the ingredients, blocking them
from those who would dare use them on
their hamburgers. This was apparently too
much to handle. One girl read the sign
carefully, gazed longingly at the forbidden
sliced cheese behind it, then woefully at her
cheeseless hamburger, then at the cheese
again, then at the sign. She consulted
another girl as to what course of action she
should take. This girl then read the sign,
looked at the cheese, looked at her burger,
back to the cheese, back to the sign. A third
girl did the same. Somewhere in the dis-
tance, a cell phone rang. The three finally
decided that the most reasonable thing to
do would be to move the sign out of the
way in order to take the cheese. These are
the future leaders of the free world.
Orientees seize the Diag at night, as it
is the only Ann Arbor landmark they are
even remotely familiar with. It is a place
that defines college, and they'll be damned
if they don't squeeze as much college into
their three days here as they can. A com-

mon fixture on the Diag at night is a young
male orientee with an acoustic guitar sur-
rounded by his 17 person cluster. The girls
fawn over his off-key renditions of Goo
Goo Dolls and Dave Matthews songs,
occasionally trying to sing along when
their swooning subsides enough. This is
what college is: sensitive boys with
acoustic guitars playing heartfelt covers
under the shadows of ridiculously aristo-
cratic buildings. He's the type of guy who
will one day be the frat brother whose hair
is a little bit longer and a bit more tousled
(deliberately and painstakingly tousled, but
tousled nonetheless), who has Bob Marley
posters on his wall, who unbuttons his polo
shirt an extra button, who occasionally
smokes the cheapest weed he can find in
order to maintain his rebellious image.
"He's different from the others, the naive
girls will say. "He likes Phish." This specta-
cle on the Diag does not last, however, as
the musician's repertoire is exhausted after
five songs.
Orientation gives a false impression of
college life to a group of kids still deeply
rooted in high school. Nobody starts col-
lege in the fall prepared for anything
except being registered for a few 100-level
classes they didn't really want to take in
the first place. Orientation is a bizarre
limbo somewhere between high school
and the imaginary, unattainable ideal of
college life. The rough descent back into
reality comes in the fall.
Mallen can be reachedat

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