To the Daily:
The interests of true Michigan fans are overlooked by University
My family and I have been athletic boosters for Michigan since before the football stadium was able to sell out all home games. I have attended games of four national champion teams from Michigan – hockey, basketball, football and softball. Growing up in Maryland, it was always my dream to follow my family’s legacy and attend this prestigious school. The Athletic Department allows me to continue to feed this passion long after my matriculation.
Two years ago, with the implementation of new seat licensing fees at Michigan Stadium, we were forced to forfeit season tickets, which my family has held since the 1960s. The multi-thousand-dollar cost was simply too great to justify. Before that, our longtime basketball season tickets were moved from nearly courtside to somewhere near the upper level. This was supposed to bring Michigan’s “true fans” closer to the court for better television coverage. So this is what loyalty to the University athletic program earns?
Now, since the implementation of the Big Ten Network, my family is relegated to drive around the suburbs searching for a location that might televise the Michigan football game. Last week, we stopped at no less than four different restaurants hoping for some place that carried the rarefied Big Ten Network. For the season opener, I even resorted to listening to the radio. Athletic Director Bill Martin’s effete attempt on Oct. 16 to persuade me and the myriad of other aggravated football supporters I have encountered on my travels to view the games this season via the absurd medium that is BTN is insulting to say the least.
Martin took away our seats. We dealt with that. Now he is building luxury boxes at the storied Michigan Stadium in order to be “on par” with other Big Ten schools. Never mind that he will be destroying the legacy established by Fielding Yost and Edmund Day just to cater to a cliquish and apathetic few. Now he is attempting to justify a poorly produced and delivered product that monopolizes coverage of a tradition that extends back to the 19th century.
As dedicated as I am as a Michigan alum, I am ashamed at the University for attempting to mask its esurient tendencies with the feeble propaganda of “Everyone else is doing it, why shouldn’t we?”
I thought the Michigan tradition really meant something. I am depressed and discouraged to see that Martin is selling out this legacy.
Hypocrisy and double talk cannot blemish Al Gore’s record
Hypocrisy reared its ugly head in a viewpoint about Al Gore that appeared in the Daily last week (Inconvenient and unworthy, 10/18/2007). The author, Emily Michels, decries the “judgmental tendencies of Americans,” yet makes those very judgments herself. What is worse is that she is tragically misinformed. Gore never claimed to “invent the Internet.” Rather, he took credit for his work as a senator in the 1980s who was instrumental in providing the funding for the scientists who were actually “inventing” the Internet. Michels bitterly complained about the amount of energy that Gore uses, while neglecting to mention that he has long ensured that his personal energy consumption was carbon neutral.
Michels’s argument fails in one fundamental way: The fact remains that Gore has done more than any individual to bring attention to the cause of global warming. Credit has been duly given (and continues to be given) to the scientists behind the research, and Gore is now being justly rewarded for his tireless effort to educate the public. If people would make more of an effort to get in touch with reality as opposed to making judgments based on half-truths and stereotypes, we could bring real change. Until then, we have nowhere to go but backward.
Ban on smoking in public places is not the solution
I am writing in response to Aaron Potek’s letter to the editor that argued smoking should be banned in all indoor bars, restaurants and workplaces in Michigan (Ban on indoor smoking should be expanded to cover all of Michigan, 10/18/2007). His claim is part of a dangerous trend of the government controlling our individual choices and invading our privacy.
I admit that smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke are unhealthy. So is a Wendy’s bacon cheeseburger. Still, I enjoy it and I should be able to make the choice to eat one. That is the beauty of living in a free society. A bar owner can choose to make his bar smoking or non-smoking and I can choose which type of establishment to patronize. If you value clean air, then don’t go to a bar that allows smoking. It is that simple.
Unfortunately, Potek does not think that we as individuals are intelligent enough to make those choices for ourselves. He would rather have the state government make that choice for us by banning smoking in all these places. His claim is paternalistic and insulting to his fellow Michiganders.