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Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
C,2 Cigan 4at
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

Thursday, July 24, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 9'

Bad behavior"

FILM COLUMN
Greatest Hindi film?

IAN DILLINGHAM
EDITOR IN CHIEF

AARICA MARSH
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

STEPHANIE SHENOUDA
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations representsolely the views of their authors.
Minimizing maternal deaths
Poverty must be addressed to lower deaths related to pregnancy
n early July, it was announced that Detroit's maternal death
rate is three times the national average. Between 2008 and 2011,
the Department of Community Health reported that 26 Detroit
women died as a direct result of pregnancy or childbirth. Fortunately,
two months earlier, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan alongside Wayne
State University, Henry Ford Health System, the Detroit Medical
Center and several other partners launched the "Make Your Date"
campaign to help expectant mothers in need. While it's extremely
important that the campaign continue to grow and assist mothers in
need, Duggan and Republican Gov. Rick Snyder must also address
the root cause of the drastic maternal death rate: poverty.

This past March Sigma Alpha
Epsilon's Supreme Council
decided to eliminate the
fraternity's pledge
programs entirely.
"As an
organization, we
have been plagued
with too much
bad behavior,
which resulted
in loss of lives, ZAK
negative press and WITUS
lawsuits," Bradley
M. Cohen, the
Eminent Supreme Archon, President
of SAE's national organization, said in
a YouTube video. "In order to survive,
we must change not only some of our
practices, but our culture."
SAE isn't the only fraternity
organization that might want to listen
to Cohen's advice. Though SAE is a
particularly deadly fraternity (nine
people have died in events connected
with SAE since 2006), overall "there
have been more than 60 fraternity-
related deaths in the U.S. since 2005,"
according to Bloomberg News. In
today's Greek Life, the "bad behavior"
no longer seems to be rare or
anomalous, but instead disturbingly
normal and common. What's more,
as anyone even remotely involved
on college campuses probably
knows, the troubling examples and
results of "bad behavior" don't just
include death, negative press or
lawsuits, but violence, hazing, sexual
assault (including rape), among
other misconduct.
Eventually we might ask whether
today's fraternity system produces
this "bad behavior" because it's
intrinsically flawed, or whether the
"bad behavior" is just the fault of a few
bad individuals.
Most fraternities and universities
answer that it's the latter case. In a
statement, SAE's national fraternity
organization said that members
who violate its rules "are in no way
representative of the fraternity."
Though, according to the New York
Times, "Numerous studies show that
members of Greek organizations
drink more heavily than other
students, and alcohol abuse is strongly
tied to other forms of misconduct. But
(once again) in interviews at multiple
campuses, fraternity members said
their reputations was tainted by the.
bad acts of others."
Patricia Telles-Irvin, Northwestern
University's vice president for student
affairs, said, "We have to be very
careful before we blame the Greeks."
Telles-Irvin doesn't claim that
"the Greeks" are innocent, but she
believes that it's because "they're so

visible that they get easily targeted."
Dartmouth college President and
former University provost Philip J.
Hanlon appears to hold a similar
view. In response to sexual assault
at Dartmouth and what he calls "a
culture where dangerous drinking
has become the rule," Hanlon didn't
single out fraternities, despite the
fraternities at his school largely
dominating social life and recently
facing intense criticism.
. But why not single out fraternities?
If they're so visibly a part of the
problem, then why not blame them?
Of course fraternities don't deserve
all the blame, and further restricting
Greek Life probably won't definitively
end death, sexual assault and so on, on
college campuses, but it will end some.
By denouncing individual
fraternities and individual members,
the larger fraternity institution tries
to protect itself from ridicule and
thereby survive. This happened when
Theta Xi's national organization
tried to isolate the blame to the one
University chapter member who
posted a racist Facebook party invite;
when Alpha Epsilon Pi's national
organization ousted University senior
Andrew Koffsky from his chapter
presidency after he publicly admitted
to hazing allegations; and when
Arizona State University suspended
Tau Kappa Epsilon's chapter for
several violations.
If fraternity and University officials
were not to scandalize the bad
behavior but instead acknowledge
that they lead a corrupt system and
institution, they would risk their
own destruction, thereby rendering
their acknowledgement an act of
suicide. Therefore, because we cannot
reasonably expect them to be so
self-critical, we must ask whether
the scandalizing response of the
fraternity institution is legitimate
and based on facts, or merely based on
private interest.
My intuition is that the fraternity
system creates "bad behavior" not on
accident, but as the normal byproduct
of being secretive institutions with
problematic ideas of manliness that
praise alcoholism and womanizing
while having unjust immunity from
policing. But, we shouldn't simply
follow my intuition or anybody else's.
We should continue to research the
question of the legitimacy of Greek
Life and the scandalizing claims of its
officials while remaining open to the
anti-establishment explanation that
"bad behavior" might just be a normal
aspect of frat life.
- Zak Witus can be reached
at zakwitus@umich.edu.

"Gangs of grainy cell phone ringers, a nar-
rator tugs us back in time to the
Wasseypur" a start of this sprawling, generation-
spanningcrime epic.
Tarantino-esque Though leaving it off at 'crime
epic' would be like calling "The
crime s aga Godfather" trilogy 'those videos
with the Italian people shooting
By AKSHAY SETH each other.' "Wasseypur" unfurls
Daily Film Columnist like a continually-expanding
patchwork quilt, balancing scores
"Gangs of Wasseypur" starts of characters, each with their
with the opening credits of a pop- own unique backstories, to paint
ular Indian soap opera. Everyone a stinging portrait of the way cor-
looks happy. The main character, ruption feeds off cycles of poverty.
billed as "the perfect daughter- It races over hours of content at
in-law" to a wealthy household, an unyielding speed, demanding
beckons viewers through her life, its audience keep pace as it breaks
smiling in response to weepy intro countless unspoken censorship
music while making pit stops on barriers along the way. Grisly dis-
the way to point out her support- plays of violence, coupled with
ing cast. They wave and namaste even more forward depictions of
at us in return. As the music sexuality are strewn at every cor-
wavers, slows, the camera dollies ner of the script, yet what props
away to reveal the glowing tele- the film up is a steady arc for the
vision screen we've been watch- masculinity exhibited by the three
ing. A family crowds around it. clashing clans squabbling for con-
But the small, battered-looking trol.
TV seems too far away. Isolated The first of those clans and
in the bottom-left corner of the the one which becomes our guide
frame, our faceless family stares at through this expansive portrait of
it, absorbed - eyes locked toward the Indian mafia are the Khans,
the top-right. descended from Shahid Khan, a
It's a brain-numbing pause of 1940s era gangster who was chased
detachment dedicated to the sort out of Wasseypur by his competi-
of brain-numbing entertainment tion, Sultana Daku. Shahid, then
Bollywood, an industry churn- forced to earn an honest living as
ing out nearly daily installments a coal miner in nearby Dhanbad,
of these 30-minute dramas - the is eventually killed at the hands
one referenced in the opening of his employer Ramadhir Singh,
scene withered away for a grand who overhears Khan's plans to
total of 1833 episodes in its eight seize the wealth he has recently
year run - gets so much hate for acquired from the departing Brit-
producing. Which is why what ish. As the years roll by, Khan's
comes moments after that apa- son, Sardar swears vengeance for
thetic first scene resonates like a his father's murder, knowingly
crackling "fuck you" to the entire sparking a blood-feud that molds
Bollywood establishment, shap- decades of conflict between the
ing the following 320 minutes in Khans, Singhs and eventually the
the form of a middle finger aimed Sultanas, who are thrust back
squarely at the formulaic, tepid into the fray after Sardar returns
filmmaking that has plagued Indi- to Wasseypur. It sounds like "The
an cinema for so long. Real Housewives of Orange Coun-
Ahailofbullets streaksthrough ty" meets "Game of Thrones" level
the room, blows up the TV along shit because it is. And it's never
with every shitty soap character blemished by an apology or a stray
inside and sets up the extended moment of hesitation. We trudge
tracking shot which launches us through the violence without ever
into the film, following a gang glancing over our shoulders, and
of gunmen in their attempts to the film is better because of the
surround and assassinate an confidence in its transitions.
unnamed family in Wasseypur, Director Anurag Kashyap
India. As the classic Hindi song embellishes countless stories
"Khalnayak" (roughly translat- - mostly stemming from innu-
ing to "badass motherfucker with merable references to classic Hol-
a pimp-ass hat") blares through lywood gangster flicks - with

individual quirks that harken to
an almost Tarantino-esque treat-
ment of character. Early along, in
the film's very first act, the final
mission is written in blood, but
as in "Reservoir Dogs" or "Jackie
Brown," we only climb on for the
five-hour-long ride because every-
thing that happens in between is
doused in self-referential hilar-
ity: The murderous, blade-chew-
ing psychopath who perpetually
speaks with alisp; the fact that Sar-
dar's second oldest son, Kashyap's
Michael Corleone, is a pothead;
the flirting (ft. random goat). The
number of times the word "penis"
is screamed at random passersby.
Still, despite an undeniably
hilarious sequence of vignettes to
tie the story together, the film's
heart pulses with the rise and
eventual demise of the Khan clan.
In doing so, the movie adopts a
somewhat beaten stance about the
perils of heedless greed - the con-
stant need to one-up the competi-
tion even if the outcome is chaos.
But the more intriguing bit is how
Kashyap threads the movement of
time using pop culture references
to each passing decade's Bolly-
wood hits. And in doing so, he
again forces us to confront the role
this far-reaching media can play
in the violence unfolding in small,
education-lacking towns like Was-
seypur. The bloated, unrealistic
portrayals of masculinity these
films adopt can be seen influencing
the characters' displays of ferocity,
with Kashyap taking special care
to use various Hindi movie songs
in scoringthe aftermath of or lead
up to a fatal conflict.
"Wasseypur" solidifies itself as
arguably the greatest Hindi film
I'll ever see because it forces us to
look directly at the bloody after-
math. The mini-Indian history
lessons are narrated detachedly
and presented in black-and-white
news format to give matter-of-
fact information about the stark
realities in the small mining vil-
lages of northern India. Guns are
eventually imported from neigh-
boring towns. The money-making
schemes become more complex.
The Internet makes a cameo. But
the real intrigue lies with the
realization that Bollywood can be
seen filling in the human side, and
as "Wasseypur" makes clear, fuck
the soap operas, because the mes-
sage has to change.

Detroit's maternal death
rate is grossly inflated with
58.7 deaths per 100,000
babies. While this number
is highly unacceptable, it's
not surprising given the
linkpercent of the city's
population live below the
poverty line, which is only
made worse by a lack of
education and deteriorated
living conditions. Women
in poverty are less likely to
receive consistent medical care
throughout pregnancy, putting
a large number of Detroit's
expectant mothers at risk.
This situation contributes to a
maternal death rate in the city
that's higher than countries
such as Libya, Uruguay
and Vietnam.
While health care before and
duringpregnancyisimportant,
Dr. Sonia Hassan - a dean for

maternal, perinatal and child
healthcare - insists that good
health prior to pregnancy is
vital for "cutting down the
risk of obesity, hypertension,
diabetes." Preventing these
conditions is strongly rooted
in a healthy diet and exercise,
solutions that many Detroit
residents do not have access
to. The expense of healthy
eating can be difficult for
many to afford, so women in
lower socioeconomic groups
struggle to pay for the lifestyle
that decreases the likelihood
of maternal deaths.
"Make Your Date" is
vehementlyworkingto"ensure
that every pregnant woman in
every neighborhood knows
that our great city is stepping
up to provide support and
ensure she delivers a healthy,
happy baby." The campaign

along with several provisions
in the Affordable Care Act help
provide preventive service
coverage to women with no
cost-sharing. Women are
provided with services such
as pap smears, mammograms,
vaccinations, colonoscopies,
contraception and screening
without needing to pay a
portion of the cost.
Providing a wide array
of fully-covered services
will help women, yet more
must be done to provide
healthy opportunities for
women in these conditions.
Implementing initiatives
to decrease the root of the
problem - Detroit's high
poverty levels - alongside
thoroughly educating the
public will help thousands of
pregnant women in Detroit
deliver their babies safely.

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