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41

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

9

CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
The Daily is always seeking letters to the editor
and viewpoints from its readers. Letters should be
fewer than 300 words while viewpoints should be
between 550 and 850 words. Send the writer's
full name and University affiliation to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com.
MAURA LEVINE
Feminist in Spain

KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF

ERIC FERGUSON
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

ELLIOT ALPERN
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views oftheir authors.
Students sligte
Congressional inaction on loan rate hike cannot continue
Student loan debt is a huge problem in this country - a one trillion dol-
lar problem, in fact. This problem was compounded Monday, when
Congress' inaction led to increases on government-funded student
loan interest rates. The interest rate for Stafford unsubsidized student loans
doubled from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. While the interest rate hike won't
affect current loans, it will affect the seven million people who are pre-
dicted to take government-funded student loans this year - which include
Stafford unsubsidized loans, Stafford subsidized loans and Parent Loan for
Undergraduate Students loans. Considering the already outrageous amount
of student loan debt accumulated by the public and the necessity for higher
education, the last thing Congress should do is allow interest rates to rise.

In 2007, subsidized interest rates
were to be gradually reduced from
6.8 to 3.4 percent over a course of
four years by the College Cost
Reduction Access Act. The act
expired in 2011, but was extended
by one year in a House of Repre-
sentatives compromise and then for
another year in 2012 after former
Massachusetts governor Mitt Rom-
ney and President Barack Obama
lobbied for it. This brought the act's
expiration date to July 1st, when
the interest rate reverted back to its
original 2007 rate of 6.8 percent.
Unsurprisingly, any chance of
Congressional action before the
interest rate hike was thwarted by
arguments between Democrats
and Republicans. Democrats origi-
nally wanted to keep the subsidized

interest rates the same for another
two years - a proposal that died
in the Senate - but since then they
have introduced another plan that
would tie interest rates to that of a
three-month Treasury note. This
is similar in principle to House
Republicans' Smarter Solutions for
Students Act, which would peg the
interest rates for all Stafford and
PLUS loans to the 10-year Treasury
note. Thus, interest rates would
vary from year to year in both plans.
However, neither one of these
plans does enough for students. Both
would virtually guarantee higher
interest rates across the board in
the long run. Moreover, the Depart-
ment of Education is currently rak-
ing in huge profits off of student
loans - $50.6 billion this year alone

- as a result of student loan inter-
est rates being considerably higher
than that of the money borrowed
to finance the loans. This is unac-
ceptable. Many Americans have no
option other than taking out loans
if they want to be able to afford a
college education, and no financial
argument justifies turning a quick
profit off of people who are trying to
enrich their lives by going to college.
Congress has to act quickly if
they want to take back this week's
addition to the student debt crisis,
as students return to classes for
the 2013-14 academic year in two
months. Regardless, their chronic
inability to act before a deadline
has come and gone is no excuse
for making higher education even
more difficult to afford.

Editor's note: This piece origi-
nally appeared on The Podium as
"Maura's Study A-Blog: A femi-
nist in Spain."
Before I arrived I imagined
that Spain would be something
like Italy, where I've heard that
men catcall to women on the
street constantly. One thing
about Barcelona that I can't
seem to get over, however, is the
degree to which this behavior
exists. Blatantly put, it's amazing
the way that women are treated
like pieces of meat. Perhaps my
state of mind is hyperaware of
perceiving this right now, seeing
as I'm reading a slightly misogy-
nistic book ("Fifty Shades of
Gray"), but part of me can't get
over the amount of over-the-top
approaches that women get here.
At first I thought it was just
because we're tourists and thus
likely targets, but I see local
womenbeingharassed too - and
on a daily basis! At home it's a
rarity for men to be obnoxious or
creepy in public unless you're out
drinking somewhere and thus
the behavior is "expected." Here
this type of behavior from men
is the norm: on the metro, on the
street and in public spaces. The
other day we saw a local woman
being so heavily harassed in our
metro car that she had to stand
up and move to another car. She
did so confidently and silently,
which was the- proper way to
handle the situation, but no
sooner had she left then the two
men started to heckle us. We fol-
lowed suit and changed metro
cars. The men were carrying on
after us, bothering the entire car
full of people.
This wasn't an isolated inci-
dent. We often have to change
sides of the street or alter our
route goingsomewhere simply to
avoid unwanted catcalls. Some-
timeswe've approached in asitu-
ation where men walk up behind
us suddenly, follow us or won't

stop talking to us. At first we
were taken aback and somewhat
scared, but now it has gotten to
the point where it's just annoy-
ing. We can handle the situation
by telling them in Spanish not
to bother us or just by ignoring
them and walking away confi-
dently.
This rant may sound comi-
cal to some, self-serving to oth-
ers or downright whiny, but in
reality I am trying to uncover a
deep-seated cultural predica-
ment. Why is it allowable for
women to be treated in this
manner? Why do men get to live
their lives without this constant
"annoyance" and blatant harass-
ment each day on the street?
It's embarrassing and shameful
to be put on the spot by strange
men that you have no desire to
have any kind of contact with.
In America we have laws against
harassing people so that they
don't have to feel this way. Even
so, America has its fair share
of harassment on a day-to-day
basis. Men and women alike are
victims every day.
The root of this issue is com-
mon courtesy and respect.
Harassment is fostered in a com-
munity without reverence for
personal space. Everyone should
be able to live in the way they
want to - wearing what they
want and walking where they
want - without being pestered.
This isn't meant as a comment
on how Europe lacks a respect
for personal space, but rather a
comment on how important it is
to remember that a little respect
goes a long way. While cultures
differ and the norm of what is
"disrespectful" fluctuates from
country to country, a line can
be drawn. Women should be
treated with the utmost respect
wherever they choose to travel.
Maura Levine can be reached
at mteval@umich.edu.

By ANDREW MCCLURE
DailyArtsWriter
You should pity A-list celeb-
rities. Both the squeaky clean
Hugh Jackmans and the freshly
libidinous Miley
Cyruses have A-
gone through
some real shit The Bing
in their rise to P
renown. Think
- the nonstop no At Rave20
privacy, the need
for sex appeal A24
and the fight to
stay relevant. In the zeitgeist of
hyper-speed this and dick-pic

that, one element defines this
age: distractions. The checkout
counter rag shelf is microcosmic
to something no stubborn per-
son will ever admit: your lifestyle
thieves from the rich and the
famous. Now, originality ceases
to exist as your "different" shoes
are most certainly influenced by
some slab of pop culture. This is
where Sofia Coppola's "The Bling
Ring" wins - intellectuals can
condemn materialism ad nause-
am, but deep down, we all want
the same thing: Louis Vuitton
shades.
Coppola ("Lost in Transla-
tion") likes to texture her beloved

characters. As such, their rich
flaws and insecurities arrive at
the forefront. In "The Virgin
Suicides," a God-fearing mother
brainwashes her five pubes-
cent daughters to a fault with an
overbearing moral compass. In
her later Oscar-winning "Lost
in Translation," she profiles two
strangers who, by appearances
alone, should be happy. Not so.
In any case, Coppola uncomfort-
ably unfolds each character into
almost a caricature. "The Bling
Ring" and its plot drivers hop in
a coupe teeming with excessive
vanity, faux smiles and off-the-
radar emotional IQs. What up,

bitchez?
Welcome to somewhere in
SoCal, comprised of people who
would actually call their home-
town something like "SoCal."
An opening scene with the ever-
funny Leslie Mann playing mom
of Nicki (Emma Watson, "Harry
Potter") nicely captures what
we're dealing with: a.m. adder-
all doses, obligatory pre-school
prayer, and off they go, still hun-
gover from the night before. On
the other side of the tracks, we
have Marc (Israel Broussard),
the new kinda-closet-gay dude
secretly hooked on high fashion
to veil his "ugliness." The glue of
the story, Rebecca (Katie Chang,
"CUTEeGRL"), befriends Marc
and tucks him into her circle of
friends, played by Taissa Farmi-
ga, Claire Pfister and the afore-
mentioned Watson. Embrace the
VIP, Marc.
Thingsgetmovingwhen Rebec-
ca, the gang's rainmaker, brags
about her occasional, almost-rec-
reational car and house thievery.
Someone's out of town? Oppor-
tunity. Unlocked doors and keys
under doormats allow Rebecca,
and soon her entire Team Bitch,
to grow benumbed to potential
for consequence. They're so good,
why stop? Frequent hobby turns
addiction when Google-able
celeb addresses and TMZ updates
formulate the best time to rob.
Rebecca's infectious mania over
Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hil-
ton's goodies peaks as her most
common line becomes "It's fine,"
whenever Marc suggests they
roll out before LAPD skids into
the gated driveway. There seems
to be no principle of diminishing
returns: the more, the better.
People gravitate toward and
admire rainmakers. They pos-
sess the obsessiveness, clever-
ness and skill in moving others
that a Mozart or Ben Franklin
would use for innovation. Rebec-
ca is no exception. She allures
us not because of her fucked-up
obsession, but rather her tenac-
ity - the way she characterizes
robbing Rachel Bilson's house as,

"I want some Chanel," complete
with a puppy-dog expression.
We believe her obsession and,'""
frankly, love her inexplicable
happiness. She deftly plays the
key ingredient without robbing
scenes from her cohorts.
Watson and Farmiga make a
pair we've all seen somewhere
in life: the attached-at-the-hip,
brutally honest, fairly daft bes-
ties. Butterfly sunglasses and
henna tramp-stamps augment
their inherent bitchiness, which
is really just a defense mecha-
nism for their lostness and
laughability.
The polarized lensing ping-
pongs back and forth between
glacial tracking close-ups and
amphetamine-induced Facebook
photo montages. It breathes in
sync with the medium-depth-.
script.
Coppolla's
latest examines
the TMZ
,generation.
At the end of the day, though,
do these characters matter?
They're hugely important in a
way Regina George in "Mean
Girls" or Vanessa Hudgens in
"Spring Breakers" weren't.
They're a mirror reflection of
what we millennials pride our-
selves on: believing an experi-
ence didn't happen unless the
www sees it. Plus, they transpar-
ently disclose their derived style
guide instead of sheepishly hid-
ing behind a facade of indepen-
dence.
We're all sick of the tired
argument that celebrities aren't
real people. Full disclosure:
They're much realer than the
aimless projections of people
who try to embody them. You
want that life? Get your own TV
show, princess.

Hermione lust stole all ot our shit.
'Bling Ring' shines
with take on fame

DON'T BE A PUNK!
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