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January 18, 1991 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-18
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"For people who don't enjoy going
to bars or frat parties, this is a more
enjoyable way of socializing," the
anonymous source added.
Lawler found nothing unhealthy
about electronic communication.
"I've had long exchanges with people
that I didn't even know, whether they
were a man or a woman. I never know
what race they are, and many times I
don't know how old they are. You're
judged not on what you look like or
how well you dress. I think that's very
healthy for a university
Van Oast feels overuse ofn NTS is
dlangerous. He said it should not be a
substitute for face-to-face
communication. Most users expressed
views that caution must be taken not
to substitute computer socializing for
personal interaction.
Lawler finds MTS communication
to be a good substitute for physical

confrontations if an individual is more
comfortable expressing himself or
herself that way. "Some of these
people under normal circumstances
would be social pariahs." He stressed
the benefits of these people finding a
means to socialize and enjoy
Parnes said he did not create
Confer for the purpose of people
creating a massive social life around
it. "I'm not thrilled that people use
this exclusively as a way of socializing,
but it's better than no socializing at
all," he said.
"I don't think that (the computer)
could ever be a substitute for real
socializing, but it can be something
that enhances socialization," the
anonymous source said.
NTS communication receives
criticism for its lack of face-to-face
interaction since body language
enhances communication. The source
said people thought the telephone
would cause the same problem when
it was first invented. This relatively
new means of communication, he

feels, will just take some getting used
Because of existing stereotypes, a
person who spends a large amount of
time on the computer is visualized by
many as the type of person who could
be a main character in the movie
Revenge of the Nerds. In actuality, the
people who use MTS are just normal
students who have found a way to
meet others and have fun that suits
them personally.
"People tell me if I'm sitting in
front of a computer, I'm being anti-
social. But I think I'm being very
social" the anonymous source said.
One misconception is that the
socializing among MTS users exists
only through the computer. Every
Thursday night someone sponsors
what is called "cards." Each week a
different participant holds card games
in his or her home. People meet, talk,
and play cards. Many people also
meet personally at parties that
individuals or organizers of
conferences hold. This way, people

who talk to each other regularly on
the computer can meet and establish
friendships outside of the computer as
well as on. These people have been
compared to a large, close-knit family
It seems as if the family is going to
continue to grow. The number of
people using electronic
communication grows every year.
"It's as least as revolutionary as
the telephone," stated Lawler, who
uses MITS for foreign communication
as well as local. "I correspond with
someone in Singapore, and I can get a
response instantly."
He explained that communication
can take place anywhere in the world
as long as the computers are
connected to a common network.
"(The University of) Michigan is the
spine of the most important computer
network in the world," Lawler said.
Van Oast uses the computer to
participate in nationwide conferences.
"They are a little more professional.
You get business people, executives,
and professors responding on them."

Parnes thinks the growing interest
in MTS and CONFER is normal. "I
don't think it's an alarming trend.
People tend to concentrate on one or
two things and exploit that for a while
and then run and exploit something
else for a while."
Lawler believes the growth is just
"For the last fifteen years it has
grown every year. There is no
indication that it will stop," he said.
Perhaps more social uses for MTS
will be discovered as it reaches farther
into our culture. It appears more and
more of human interaction will take
place through a computer screen
rather than person to person. One
thingeis for certain, however: you can't
have a party over the computer. And
Weiner, a student faithful to the
tradition of partying, said, "We had a
wild rockin' party at my house last
night, and my computer was nowhere
to be found."

Obligatory Persian Gulf Column

Well, it's happened. The
United States is going to war in
the Persian Gulf. No one, the
president included, seems quite
sure as to why this is so, but the
deadline has passed and it looks
like the Pentagon is primed to
see Saddam Hussein, in Bush's
words, get his ass... well, let's
just say that one of George's
feet is going to be in deep doo-
You might comment that this
all seems a meaningless waste not only of human life, but
of money and time to boot. You'd be right, of course, but
you'd be missing the point as well. The Persian Gulf crisis
defies rational, linear thinking; it might be compared to a
zen loan. The harder you try to reason it through, the less
sure you are as to why it's happening. In the end, it can
only be grasped through meditation, intuition, and a
readiness to drop one's sanity at a moment's notice.
Interested in trying to figure it out? Well, you can start
by forgetting all the official explanations. Don't feel bad
about this; after all, Bush does it all the time. Already the
original rationale for U.S. intervention-to defend Saudi
Arabia, which now seems not to have been a target to
begin with-has been forgotten. That bit about "protect-
ing our way of life" by keeping the price of oil down has
been set aside as well, since (a) most people agree that oil
really isn't worth dying for, and (b) fear of war has already
driven oil prices far higher than Saddam could ever
manage, anyway. The "appeasement" argument starts to
stick in one's mouth when one thinks of the amount of

resources it would take for the U.S. to intervene against
every aggressor in the world, not to mention the question
of whether or not any country has the right, resources be
damned, to do so.
And the only thing that worries me when I hear the
"nuclear weapons" line of attack is the question of how,
within the space of a week, Iraqi scientists managed to
move from being at least ten years away from a nuclear
capability to possibly already having one. My own personal
theory is that they have a time machine, but that seems as
far-fetched as the notion that a war with Iraq will be over
in just two days, so I'll set it aside for now.
There are, of course, more sensible explanations for the
American presence, marked as such by the fact that the
administration is not offering them. Take the sudden
revitalization of the military-industrial complex, for
example. Only half a year ago, there was talk of radically
cutting the defense budget and putting the money into
domestic projects-or, better still, returning it to the
taxpayers it was stolen from to begin with. Now, our
defense contractors are living high on the hog again. Might
the U.S. have intervened to save one of the most lucrative
troughs that powerful special interests have? And then
there's something always dear to George Bush's heart:
domestic oil production, which stands to gain from the
hike in overseas prices. And there's always the matter of
the Pentagon's long-standing desire to have military bases
in Saudi Arabia. If the bases stay there when the reservists
go home, that's one item on the military's wish list they'll
have gotten.
Any and all of these might help explain why our
government is sending men and women to die defending
slave-owning monarchs, but they still don't come close to

solving our little puzzle. Oh, no
makes too little sense for any e:
work. When you really think ab
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the r
theories fail on the most basic 1
Why? Let's take a look at wl
pushing really is. Bluntly put, it
people-civilians, Iraqi conscril
who bear no responsibility for t
while, the alternative policy pu
to impose "sanctions"-that is,
Iraq to the point that they over
make him uncomfortable enou
United Nations says. That is th
debate. Go to war or let sanctio
people directly or kill innocent
Any explanation like those a
the world could degenerate to
push either of these policies, le
"just" or the second as "humar
being able to understand what'
without having to give up my r
the Iraqis nor the Americans w
unless a good many people on
given up their reason. None of
alone the frontlines-will be al
going on without putting ourse
prohibits fully comprehending
So George Bush talks about
Dan Quayle claims that anyone
effort is in the Iraqi camp, and
between kowtowing to the exe
an alternative policy of human
the background, there's that e%
"New World Order," a phrase
even if I didn't know what it n
I'd be scared to death if I w

than words.'
"I'm trying to make a clear
statement: Don't speak about the
Black existence if you are not
willing to jump on the line with
me. Do you see what I'm saying?
Be my friend; I'm struggling.
There's a struggle. Someone on
the other side wants to shoot me.
Be my friend. Help me get him.
That's the key.
"The key is right now you can
call me a racist, and I say, 'Okay,
be my friend,"' Professor X said as
he stared at me for effect. "I'll do
it like this. Be my friend, white
boy. Show me, I'm struggling...
It's me and you here and
somebody wants to kill me. Help
me get him. Words aren't going to
help it. Do you understand?"
"I understand completely, and
this is really educational. That's
why I'm glad I came here," I said.
"Really educational," Professor
X chuckled. "Don't give me any
of that shit. You can stand on the
corner of Nostrand and Fulton,
streets in Brooklyn-you know
where that is. That's a close
opportunity. Now come on now."
"All right, all right," I
responded. "In any case, how far
should a white person go to prove
his or her sincerity to Blacks? In
1%3, in Philadelphia,
Mississippi, Schwerner and
Goodman, two whites, lost their
lives for the (civil rights) cause
and people like Stokely
Carmichael (a Black Panther)
disparaged their memory by
calling them 'honkies.' These
people gave up their lives."
"Also, Stokely Carmichael
was making a note that there
were many other Blacks that
were being lynched in the same
situation, and it took two of these
people to make such a large
extravaganza," X replied.
"But before that, there were

hundreds of cars that were being
pulled over and were being buried,f
and nobody has found them until"
many years later and they were
finding bones. These people didn'tl
die in their old age. That's where
Stokely Carmichael was coming
from, in anger. See what I'm1
saying? The word 'honky': if you
are real about what I've just saidx
and understand it, can the word 1
'honky' really interfere with your
understanding? Anger. I don't ;
blame him. One of them was
probably his cousin," he said, 1
pointing to LSA senior Kirk
Taylor. "He doesn't even know it.
His great cousin or somebody,
dead. No identity, they're finding
I asked him about his opinion
of Spike Lee and whether or not
he agreed with Lee's contention
that Academy Award
nominations were granted to
Driving Miss Daisy and Glory
because whites felt more
comfortable dealing about race
relations when Blacks were in a
subservient position.
"I say all of it is bullshit
because Sidney Poitier got an
Academy Award thousands of
years ago and what did it mean? If
that is going to be the epitome of
the Black statement that Spike
Lee is going to make, then we're
in trouble. I don't want no
fucking Academy Award. I want
crack out of my neighborhood-
now. And I want some finances
that can put some brothers to
work to clean the neighborhood
with the consideration of who
he's got to clean. Hear what I'm
saying? That's what Spike Lee
can do. Spike Lee can go into a
community (where) there are
some young brothers who are
walking around who don't know
what to do and are hurt about
their brothers' being on crack
that can use a job. And he can
give him a job helping another
brother who's got crack in his
system clean himself. And we've

got one saved and another one I
earning. See what I'm saying? I
The reality is that there is drugsI
in our fucking neighborhood. 1
Fuck the fantasy. I'm saying that
whatever my art, whatever it is +
I'm going to benefit from, you
know, like 'Buy my house, my
new car'-whatever it is-if I'm
making it like that, I've got to
give some of it back to reality."
LSA junior Desmond Howard,+
asked Professor X, "Why does
your word do so much, like
bringing me out here at 3:30 a.m.,
when our professors can't seem to
do a damn thing close to that?"
"You know why? Because it
hits close to home," X professed..
"What you're hearing is
something that you know and all
you needed to do was hear
someone else say it. You want to
secure it; you want to get closer to
it. See, what I'm saying is that
they (motions to me) look at that
as informing someone on their
existence. I'm only speaking for
you and actually confirming to
you that we are all feeling the
same way. Some of us can't speak
it because it doesn't have to do
with speaking. Some of us can't
think it because it doesn't have
anything to do with being able to
calculate that thought. But you
can feel it. You can feel it. You
know you can feel racism
without it saying racist. You do
know that there is a new state of
Ku Klux Klanners. We know it.
We know it because instinctively
we can't miss it.
"But you can't say 'Hey, come
on man, aren't you a racist, man,
tell me the truth. He'll go,
'Heyyy, you know I'm in fooling
with you all, all the time. Yes, one
of my best friends is Black. I used
to go with a Black girl.' Come on,
come on. Come on. I want you
(looks at me) to take that back to
3rd Bass. You take that back to
yourfriends, Pete Nice and Serch."
"First of all, they're not my
friends," I replied, weary of his

emphasis. "What do you think, I
call them up every day, I hang ;
out with them all the time-like ,
they're my homeboys?"
"I just had me some stuffed
cabbage," X said, reciprocating
my use of a term from his culture.
"And I just love bagels and lox."
"You know what? I want to
see a copy of this article when it
comes out. Will you send it to me,
Mike?" Professor X asked of
Kuumba's Mike Henry as we
approached the end of our
"I'llsend it to you," I said.
"I don't know, we've created a
bond, you know," X replied. "So
I'd like to keep him (Henry)
working in the interest of me, like
he's going to keep me working in
the interest of him. You know-
the Jewish way. You know how
that goes."
I decided to let that one slide.
Later I asked him what area of
Brooklyn he lived in.
"Every area that was a Jewish
area before," he exclaimed. "I miss
the damn delicatessens-the real
ones. Not the Korean ones."
"I still have a bunch of Jewish
cousins who live on Ocean
Parkway, a very Jewish area," I
returned the uncomfortable
"That's where I live now. I
live not too far from quite a few
"And how do you get along
with these people?"
"You got some young kids that
are coming up, sneaking up
around the back, and they're
saying, 'What's up, homeboy?'
You got to see this. There's one on
my block, he's a little Jewish guy,
and he blows me away. He sits
down and he talks about rap
music and he knows everybody. He
knows verses and everything.
And then all of a sudden, he'll say,
'Oops, my grandfather, the rabbi,
is around. I've got to go; he's
coming around the corner.'

I kept in mind that sometimes
one has to brush aside niceties and
directly say what is on one's mind
in order to communicate
something meaningful and make
it stick; as X says, they're only
words. And though many people I
know would really have taken
umbrage at some of the jibes, I
didn't hold them against him. It
made me think-whether his
assessments were fair or not-of
the many times minorities must
feel slighted even when their
tormentors claim it was
One such instance evidenced
itself when the group talked
about the media's mangling of its
term "vanglorious." It had been
repeatedly mistaken for
"vainglorious" and the group felt
particularly slighted, as if the
reporter felt they weren't
intelligent enough to know the
"Maybe the guy was just a
dumb-ass and screwed up," I said
as I explored another possibility
for the misunderstanding. "You
know, I don't think there is such
a word 'vanglorious."'
"Yeah, but 40 times,"
Architect Paradise, a member of
X-Clan responded, estimating the
number of times the word has
been misinterpreted-suggesting
more than a mere oversight.
As it was time to terminate the
interview, I was glad I had stayed
and kept my composure.
"I want to thank you for
giving me the opportunity to get
even closer to some people in Ann
Arbor," X professed. "I want to
thank you for that. I just hope
that you watch yourself this time
because I think that there are
some young people around here
who are not as unconscious as
you may think. Usually we get
ourselves caught up in the wrong
things at the wrong time, but
sometimes the wrong things can
be done real good at the right

Skydive Tecumseh: Toture and
Self-abuse You Can Pay For

- -Some of you may have seen
bumper stickers saying
the cars of people who have
experienced the adventure of
jumping out of an airplane in
Tecumseh, Michigan. The
original stickers actually read
TECUMSE H," but most car
bumpers weren't big enough. If
anyone reading this has ever
thought about doing something as totally idiotic as this,
then let me tell you my story.
One thing I remember about when I first told people I
was going skydiving is that everybody had a horror story.
My boss, Wally, for example: "Yeah, I've seen two deaths
personally, but I actually didn't see the first one. I just
heard the thump." Thanks for sharing that, Wally. My
personal reason for going skydiving was that it was some-
thing that I wanted to do before I died, or perhaps just
before I died.
It never strikes you that sky-diving is a truly stupid act
until they hand you about two thousand waivers to sign
when you first arrive. At this point, you must face the fact
that you have lost your ability for any sound and rational
thought. Once you have accepted your own immense
stupidity, you're all set to go..

The first jump costs $90 because it includes six hours of
ground instruction before going up. This isn't bad, consid-
ering some places charge up to $250 for the first jump. In
my opinion, the six hours alone are worth the trip to
Tecumseh because you are instructed by a fellow named
Harold Lange: Master Sergeant Airborne, twenty years in
the service, sixty-two years old, and can kill anyone with
one arm tied behind his back while whistling Dixie. I
thought guys like Harold only exist on the big screen. You
must excuse Harold for certain things about his personal-
ity, such as his bawdy jokes. This course is NOT recom-
mended for the faint of heart.
Harold is also under the delusion that Tecumseh,
Michigan is spelled F-O-R-T B-E-N-N-I-N-G, G-E-O-
R-G-I-A. I guess you can never cure twenty years of
military exposure. During those six hours of on-the-ground
training, Harold will roar many tidbits of information at
you such as: "Many of you will be making two jumps
today-your first and your last." Or, "Once you let go of
the plane and you realize your chute didn't open, don't
panic, just pull your reserve, and if that doesn't open, well,
you're having one bad day." Of course, Harold will also be
quick to remind you that the fall won't kill you: the
sudden stop will.
The only truly horrifying part of the entire day occurs
between the time you get on the plane to the time your
chute opens. When it's finally your turn to jump, you.sit
next to the pilot and then your jumpmaster opens the door
because 1) you have to jump and this is the only way out of

the plane, and 2) he wants to se
across the opening at 90 m.p.h.
at ground 3200 feet below, thin
refund. When it comes to heigh
USDA prime cut weenie, but I
jumpedlater, accuse me of beir
I didn't jump out of an airplane
for a noble cause: peer pressure
If you are not the first of the
to jump, you will hear a thump
first one takes the plunge. Fror
you know that this is not the ju
actually a bag connected to the
parachute. But you will undoub
because most of your sane mini
and the remaining portion is all
control. Of course there is alwa
you release from the plane, the
and the plane may get stuck an
Rambo. In case of such an ever
your hands on your head as a si
cut you away-as if at that mor
might want something else, lik
you can use your reserve chute
I remembered this after my
affirmed my belief in about 31
very peaceful and I became vel
thoughts like: "You look like a
helmet-radio malfunctioned ar
at 3000 feet where I could ask
farmer's field a quarter of a mil
afraid that Harold was going to
incompetent. The two lungs I
pretty fresh and I figured Haro
he let me live because I promi
and blue butt back and do it ni

.. w - - -- . - i

JANUARY 18, 1991






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