The facts don’t back up columnist’s claims about the effect of culture

To the Daily:

I am disappointed with columnist Jared Goldberg’s statement that “it is culture and the arts that bring and keep jobs in a state” (The art of economic revival, 02/22/07). How can he make such a claim without backing it up with facts? The truth is that the facts do not support his claim. Goldberg points to New York and California as “states with well-established and unique art cultures.” By his logic, they should have spectacular job growth, but this is not so. Based on the FDIC’s 2006 statistics, job growth in New York last year was only 0.96 percent, well below the U.S. average of 1.53 percent.

California did have a job growth rate of 1.97 percent, but what were the states with the largest job growths? Ranked in order: Nevada, Arizona, Indiana and Utah. California was 22nd on the list and New York 40th. In general, the job growth rate in the Southwest and West far outpaced that of Illinois and every East Coast state, even though those states have more cultural institutions. In other words, the states with lower taxes and less public support of the arts had more job growth.

Patrick Zabawa
Engineering sophomore

With obscenity, Walgreen Center play fails to live up to its potential

To the Daily:

The play “Shopping & F**king” performed last week at the Walgreen Drama Center has an important message for faculty and students alike. However, it is a pity that the promising talents of the young people involved were not better utilized. Deleting much of the excessive profanity would strengthen rather than detract from the plot. Clearly, faculty advice was missing or ignored by those involved.

Edward Domino
Professor of Pharmacology

Shakespeare not to blame for poor student writing, students are

To the Daily:

Karl Stampfl’s Statement essay (Why you probably can’t write well, 02/21/2007) was, ironically, a great example of why students write poorly. To indict Shakespeare as the cause of students’ lackluster writing skills is an insult to English majors, faculty and the entire English curriculum. Stampfl’s argument, based on the idea that instructors present Shakespearean literature as a model for student writing, unfairly misinterprets why Shakespeare is taught. Plays like “Hamlet” and “King Lear” are essential for literary criticism, analysis and discourse. If students can read Shakespeare’s works, understand them and respond to them intelligently, they are (hopefully) exercising their ability “to write simply and directly.” An essay like Stampfl’s encourages students to write off these works as “indecipherable,” which ultimately contributes to students’ apathetic attitude concerning writing.

If students want to develop their writing skills, perhaps they should stop saying things like “I hate Shakespeare.” With a more proactive attitude toward literature, they might find themselves easily engaged with it. But then these are probably the same students who are text messaging or sleeping in class. When students are disinterested, they write poorly. And as for the complaint about course novels being “difficult to understand,” this is college. Shakespeare’s works are taught because they’re difficult to understand, unlike Harry Potter.

Kyle Marcum
LSA junior

Everyone can learn from Daily’s brush with plagiarism

To the Daily:

I was extremely distressed to read of the recent bout of plagiarism afflicting The Michigan Daily (From the editor, 2/21/2007). Not only am I a self-proclaimed writer, but I’m also an avid reader who relies on the Daily’s stories and staff writers for current news and a fresh perspective on the world. I trust the Daily to deliver factual, well-researched and relevant articles. However, learning that a writer took credit for the work of others did not cause me to lose respect for the Daily. Rather, it made me question the morale and ethical codes that young writers operate under today.

I personally do not remember any of the writer’s articles, any neither did I read the original pieces. Regardless, I was appalled. It is difficult enough for a printed news source to survive in today’s world of the vanishing newspaper – accusations and convictions of plagiarism are the last thing a newspaper needs.

The University undoubtedly provides a challenging environment, demanding much from its students. No one disputes that a student at the University will receive one of the highest educations possible or that the road to commencement is an easy one. It is easy to make excuses for one’s pitfalls or lapses in judgment. However, my underlying point is this: if the staff writer was too busy to write her own, original articles, why did she sign on for a position at the Daily to begin with?

I am glad that her time at the Daily has been terminated, and an official apology to the readers has been issued. At the same time, I am disappointed that a writer has fallen. In the grand scheme of things, this instance of plagiarism will not have a great affect on media and news coverage. But in our little bubble of Ann Arbor, its influence may be more widespread than anyone can know. I only hope that students can learn from this example and make it a point to protect the integrity of the school they call home.

Allie White
LSA freshman

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