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July 05, 2011 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2011-07-05

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com


"@BarackObama has just
passed. Nearly 45 minutes ago,
he was shot twice in the lower
pelvic area and in the neck;
shooter unknown. Bled out "
- A post on the Fox News twitter feed
after being hacked late Sunday night.
Afarewell to Newt

It was easier Studio
Good luckfinding than you would
a replacement, tnk,MrBeck
Jerry ti

Machiavellian malls

Newt Loken, truly the father of
Michigan men's gymnastics, was
the kind of person you thought
would live forever. So when he
died last Tuesday, June 28, a little
part of me died too.
But Newt was never one to stay
sad for long, and he was very clear
that any memorial for him was to be
a celebration. And there were many
things about Newt to celebrate.
His presence always lit up the
gym. I loved Mondays during the
season, when Newt would come by
to tell all the gymnasts how much
he'd enjoyed the competition on
Saturday. The boys would just
glow as Newt complimented them.
The award for best individual
performance at each home meet
is named for Newt. Until this past
season, Newt was always there to
present the certificate at the end
of the competition. For Wolver-
ines, winning a Newt Loken ranks
near the top in career highlights.
For over 60 years, Newt didn't
miss a home meet. He'd come into
Cliff Keen Arena with little fan-
fare, accompanied by Bob Wil-
loughby, a member of that original
1948 team. Despite the incognito
entrance, there would be a line
of people - gymnasts, gymnas-
tics alumni, parents, opposing
coaches, judges and dedicated
fans - waiting to say hi and have a
minute with the legendary coach.
And Newt didn't forget peo-
ple. Mention any former team-
mate and he'd have a story to tell
about that guy. Then he'd tell you
everything you could ever want
to know about his family. I loved
listening to those stories. I could
sit transfixed for hours, at the gym
and later in the quiet of the Daily
library, as Newt spun his tales.

He had a gift for charming peo-
ple, making just the right gesture.
When my beloved dog Angel died,
the next day Newt left a bouquet
of flowers at the Daily for me. In
every e-mail exchange we had
after I graduated from Michigan,
he'd ask about both of my parents
- and never forget good wishes to
my new dog, Juno.
I did tons of interviews with
people about Newt, either for a
feature article or for his biography.
No one could ever keep a smile off
their face when they spoke of him.
He was more than a coach - he
was a second father and a trea-
sured friend to so many people.
Former gymnast Jim Hayslett
attributed nearly every good thing
in his life to Newt's influence,
including his becoming a dentist.
Nobody beat Newt when it came
to communication. If you were a
part of Michigan men's gymnas-
tics Newt was in touch with you.
Newt wasn't a person who
faded from people's lives, and
I think that's what we'll be sad
about. We can't be sad for Newt -
he had such a long, full, wonderful
life. But now those chatty e-mails
and letters will stop. And we'll
only have our warm memories of
this amazing man.
Newt was known for his wise
and witty sayings - he even made
them into a little book for his
grandchildren. And one in par-
ticular encapsulates him:
"Those who bring sunshine to
others cannot keep it from them-
No one brought more sunshine
to the world than Newt.
Colt Rosensweig is a
former sports editor.

I went home the other day and
did some casual shopping with
my mom
at Twelve
Oaks Mall in
Novi. I don't
know why'
the location
is necessary;
all malls
are essen- NICK
tially the BRINGARDNER
same. Their
purpose is
to sell, no matter what the prod-
uct is. After hundreds of years of
studying the psychology of retail
salesmanship, it seemsretail stores
have found effective, albeit brash,
ways to sell products. It's all about
the presentation.
I walked into Banana Republic
to browse and, just as Mom expert-
ly taught me, went straight to the
clearance rack, avoiding all the
pretty displays of new arrivals (the
full price stuff) arranged in order
to pique my interest. But the cun-
ning of retail pervaded the entire
store; even the fitting room is
deceiving. Iwent in to try on a shirt
and found I liked the wayI looked.
The lighting from the front and
not overhead illuminated my eyes
like a model in a photo shoot. It
would appear that was intentional,
as manipulating the fitting room
lighting is an important opportu-
nity for retail stores to close a sale.
And if it's flattering enough, a per-
son might end up buying the item
in question. So I tried on the shirt
and batted my eyes at my narcissis-
tic reflection, never realizing that
Banana Republic had just implant-

ed the desire to buy the t-shirt into
my feeble mind.
The concept of retailsales seems
to be based almost solely on illu-
sion. When trying on clothes, or
even after I have purchased them
and taken them home, the ques-
tion I always have is this: Why
can't a shirt on me look the way it
looked on the damn mannequin?
Real human beings can't feasibly
pin up a garment in the back to get
the desired fitted look - at least not
without looking like a jackass. And
what about those models present-
ing the clothes in those pictures
above the shelves? There's no way
I'mgoingto looklike that. Associa-
tion with those faces and bodies is
what attracts the buyer. It makes
themthink theycanlookthatgood.
Ostensibly, the purpose of adver-
tising is to show the clothes being
worn; their style, function and
even the lifestyle associated with
the clothes. But it's just illusion.
Mannequin displays and model
pictures aren't always realistic. In
the end, people end up comparing
themselves to these images, and
that can lead to unhealthy choices.
After going to a few shops and
suffering through places like Pot-
tery Barn and Sephora, Mom and
I headed out. I thought we were
home free, but one more obstacle
stood between us and the exit. The
makeup and perfume section was a
dizzying labyrinth of bright lights,
colorful displays and borderline
creepy counter attendants with
smiles plastered onto their overly
painted faces. Immediately my
mind turned to cartoon silliness.
There is a parody of the perfume
section in an episode of Sponge-

bob Squarepants - work with me
here - that is hilarious and almost
identical to reality. Spongebob
and Patrick try to escape from the
Flying Dutchman's ship through
the perfume section. There is a
sequence of hands appearing out
of nowhere offering samples, slow
motion puffs and the two charac-
ters gagging and choking. A gas
mask would have been useful for
passing through that section. I
Retail sales are
based solely
on illusion.
wonder, how can that combination
of smells be at all enticing? And
the glitz and glamour and special
attention of the makeup counter
disappear once you leave. When
women get home with the makeup,
they usually revert back to a more
sensible look because they can't
recreate what they saw at the mall.
On my way out, I saw possibly
the most heinous item in the entire
mall - bedazzled Uggs. What is
this world coming to? Everything
inside me was screaming in pro-
test of the shoes, but I couldn't
look away. "They're just so shiny,"
I repeated as I brought them to the
register. Only after I came home
did I realize that I didn't actually
want them.
Nick Bringardner can be
reached at njbring@gmail.com.

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