Daily should leave Order of Angell to its secrecy
To the Daily:
I am extremely tired of reading articles about Michigamua/Order of Angell. Why does the Daily have such an ax to grind regarding this society that it feels the need to report on it week-after-week-after-week? It’s supposed to be a secret society – I say, let it remain secret!
It was only interesting to read about the group’s controversial history for a week, maybe two, when I was a freshman. Now I’m a junior and I can’t think of any other topic, except for maybe Proposal 2, that’s been so thoroughly reported on in this paper. At least Proposal 2 mattered.
I don’t care to know when some campus group tries to get publicity by taking on the Order of the Angell and disallows its members from participation in some kind of student caucus. I don’t care what the status of its historical office space in the Michigan Union is. I especially don’t care to read the opinion of any more students or faculty members who claim that it remains a racist organization, when it is so achingly clear that it is not.
Let the members of this group be. Let them get around to doing whatever it is they actually do. I do not care about the details, so please do not report on Michigamua any more.
Ex-terrorist event was unproductive on all sides
To the Daily:
I went to last Tuesday’s event featuring three ex-terrorists expecting an objective, intellectual discussion about the causes of faith-based hatred and extremism. Instead, I found myself surrounded by individuals from both extremes of the political spectrum, with each side wearing its own brand of blinders.
On the one side, we had the propagandistic language in Young Americans for Freedom Vice President Ryan Fantuzzi’s introduction. I once taught high school students a unit about the persuasive mechanisms that propagandists often use, and within the course of Fantuzzi’s short talk I counted almost all of them (no small accomplishment). These mechanisms included labeling protesters as “local apathetics” and “liberals,” generalizing that “people who support peace and freedom” desire seats being occupied by protesters (as though these terms hold universally agreed-upon meanings) and emotional appeals like inciting anger and attempting to keep alive the fear of Muslim extremism. They also included associating protesters to the militant group Hezbollah because of their yellow shirts, the use of symbols to convey identity, and best of all, the use of the bandwagon mechanism in the opening recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Similarly, the speakers’ broad generalizations of the Muslim faith, heavy reliance on anecdotes and adoption of a neoconservative-inspired Christian fundamentalism placed them squarely on the far right, along with the event’s organizers.
On the other side, protesters, while generally quiet and peaceful, displayed an unwillingness to let the presenters communicate freely, asking attendees to leave before hearing the speakers’ messages. The heckling, although rare, was particularly obnoxious and discredited the group’s mostly mature handling of the event. Particularly disturbing were shouts and signs decrying Zionism – the irony being that discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in black-and-white terms is as ridiculous and shortsighted as labeling all Muslims as terrorists.
What I went to this event for is something I still desire: a well-reasoned and unbiased conversation about the growing problem of religious fundamentalism.
The letter writer is a former editor of the Eastern Michigan University Echo