ie Libitgan ailg
Roses Are Read
The Lloyd Carr Experiment at Michi-
gan is 4-0 right now, so talk of hiring
former Colorado football coach Bill
McCartney to lead the Wolverines has
died down for the moment. That is a
relief, because hiring McCartney might
bethe worst move the University's Ath-
letic Department could ever make.
Like it or not, the head football coach
is the most visible University employee
to the rest of the country. When the
coach is of highly questionable charac-
ter- as McCartney has proven to be -
people question the character of the
the hiring of McCartney would be a
sell-out, not only of the values the Ath-
letic Department claims to hold but of
the very ideals the University of Michi-
gan itself purports to represent.
The reasons some want McCartney
are clear: Michigan's performance
slipped the past twoyears; there is no
permanent head coach; McCartney
turned a losing Colorado program into
A national champion; McCartney is a
former Michigan assistant; McCartney
is currently without a job, having re-
signed his position with the Buffaloes
after last season.
But what else is Bill McCartney?
ie is a man whose team saw 24
players arrested from 1986 to 1989, a
trend which basically continued until
Considering the alarming number of
Wolverines who have had troubles with
the law in the past three years, hiring a
coach with such a spotty history would
be perplexing at best. Michigan has
long yearned to be home of ideal stu-
dent-athletes, players who have
extroardinary success on the field and
are model citizens off it. Hiring
McCartney would, in effect, be giving
up on that philosophy.
McCartney is a founding member of
Promise Keepers, a national organiza-
tion made up ofpeople of the Christian
faith. In that capacity, McCartney has
traveled around the country spreading
religion, which is fine, but also spread-
ing homophobia, which is not.
McCartney has made it clear that he has
no tolerance for homosexuality. He has
called gays "stark raving mad" and "an
abomination against almighty God," and
worse, he has made those types of com-
nents wearing Colorado team clothing
at football press conferences.
Such reprehensible behavior is not
only unacceptable for someone who
serves as a leader of men and an ambas-
sador for the University; it is against
University bylaw 14.06, which forbids
discrimination against homosexuals by
any of the school's employees.
McCartney also has a habit of hold-
ing team prayers after practice. The
prayers are not mandatory, but still,
they are not appropriate at a public
university. Would it be OK to hold
voluntary prayers at the end of every
Economics lecture? A number of
McCartney's players have complained
that those who share the coach's reli-
gious beliefs are more likely to see
significant playing time in games.
McCartney has denied the charge.
While the coach is busy preaching to
the world about how everyone should
live life his way, he apparently never
gave the speech in his own lockerroom.
Some fans want to hire McCartney
for the simple fact that he wins football
games. Those fans have forgotten what
collegiate athletics are all about, what
Michigan says it is all about.
The Wolverines have not been up to
Michigan standards on the field the past
two years. Bill McCartney is as likely
as anyone to bring them back to glory.
But at what price?
Lloyd Carr is 4-0 as Michigan's in-
terim football coach. If the Wolverines
are successful for the rest of the season
- i.e., if they go to the Rose Bowl -
Carr will inevitably have the "interim"
wiped off his title.
If thev are not so successful - and
.J. O'Rourke could be a college professor, if he
weren't already otherwise employed. Not only does
he constantly churn out well-thought-out and elo-
quently argued books and have his work published in highly-
respected periodicals, but he also has a knack for explaining
the issues of our day in a language we all understand.
Take economics, for instance: "Supply versus demand equals
your Mastercard bill." Or various Congressional foibles: "I
don't understand the balanced budget amendment. Isn't it like
trying to stop smoking by hiding cigarettes from yourself? I
don't understand term limits. Do we want a dog who knows
where all the bones are buried, or do we want a dog who will
dig up the whole yard?"
And hell, the man's been here enough not only to mention
Ann Arbor a whole bunch of times in his latest book, but to call
The author In 1970.
it "one of America's most serious and orderly towns."
So what the heck, let's give the man tenure, just so we can
keep him an eye on him. After all, those who enjoy his writing
would agree just so they could get some first-hand P.J. So would
the rest of the world, as the writer would be prevented from
going to their neck of the woods and wreaking literary havoc. As
he is prone to doing.
Rolling Stone's Foreign Affairs Desk Chief brings his act to
Border's tonight in support of his latest wise-cracking, hard-
drinking, liberal-bashing and above all page-turning-opus, "Age
and Guile, Beat Youth, Innocence and a Bad Haircut: 25 Years
of P.J. O'Rourke."
"Too much college, not enough town," he says of the latest
stop on his two-month book tour. And he's been here often
enough in the past, given that both Car and Driver and Automo-
bile magazines are headquartered here.
Book tours, he tells me, are just horrible. Not any one part of
them is bad, "but it's just tha constant accumulation of it, and all
the travel that comes with it, is just completely exhausting.
"On the other hand, I think it's important to do - you have
to sell what you make. You have to back up your product."
In his latest effort, our author presents more than just the usual
biting political satire, spicing the mix with personal anecdotes
and clippings from his first 25 years of writing. Biting memoir,
if you will.
Why the variation this time around?
"Part of it is crass commercial motive: I had stuff left over and
it was time to put it into a book," he admitted. "But the occasion
was 25 years of doing this for a living, so I wanted to span the
whole quarter-century there." He characterizes that part of the
book as "a memoir concrete, as it were, without getting too
much into the autobiography garbage."
The occasional college lecture is about as close as O'Rourke
wants to get to academia these days (aside from reading in
college towns). "I didn't like school that much," he confides. "I
don't think I'd like teaching it, either."
But if he were to teach Intro to Ascerbic Political Commen-
tary in the winter, would he make us students buy his books for
"Oh sure, man," he laughs. "I mean, it's not like the pay is
great - how else are you going to make a buck?"
Good thing he's in a business that pays. Which is not to say
that he thinks himself particularly famous or anything like that.
"Writers are not famous because not enough people read," he
says, but continues, "I'm fairly well known for a writer, I
suppose, becasue I've got one of those names that are easy to
"A writer's level of fame is not something that intrudes upon
your life. I mean, you'd have to spend all your time hanging out
in strictly literary circles to think that you were famous as a
writer." More visible forms of fame, as far as he can tell, "tend
to get pesky after a while."
"It kind of depends on how fragile and pathetic the ego is,"
O'Rourke tells his enthralled audience of one. "Some people
just thrive on it, if you need constant reassurance."
See O'ROURKE, page 4
Author canies torch of cynicism for generation
By Matthew Bhnz
Daily Arts Writer
There is a description of a little
known man in the pages preceding
P.J. O'Rourke's most recent collec-
tion of stories ("A Forgotten Hero
ofthe TrojanWar"named Thersites)
to whom, it seems, Mr. O'Rourke
would like to consider himself simi-
lar: "Awed by no shame, by no
respect controll'd,In scandal busy,
in reproaches bold;/With witty mal-
ice studious to defame;/Scorn all
his joy, and laughter all his aim."
Thersites is perhaps the first ever
recorded cynic and bearer of acer-
bic wit on to the social and political
scene: "... chief he gloried with
licentious style/ To lash the great
and monarchs to revile."
Age and Guile Beat
Youth, Innocence, and a
By P.J. O'Rourke
The Atlantic Monthly Press, hard
sludge, one would find O'Rourke'sbundle
floating on the top. He has a way of
somehow cutting through hackneyed
rhetoric by offering up more of the same.
He would seem to despise the title of
Washington insider. Rather, the forceful-
ness of his writing comes from his ability
to appear as though he's writing from the