Attacks on ‘How to Be Gay’ are bigoted, uninformed

To the Daily:

Thanks for your Monday editorial, How to be dumb
(09/08/03). It points out quite well the struggle for politics and
culture to retain autonomy despite their tense interrelatedness.
However, the editorial also contradicts itself by glibly dismissing
the “popular misconception that one can actually ‘learn’ how to be
gay.” Isn’t that the point of Prof. David Halperin’s course? “Gay”
is not an innate or essential quality, and in this heteronormative
society queers must engage in a process of “learning” how our
desires differ from the perceived mainstream. The New York Times
last month chronicled what they call “metrosexuals,”
self-identified straight men who spend their time grooming a la
“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” another example of “learning.”
Queers aren’t born with the lyrics to Sondheim hardwired in our
brains, after all (or else I totally missed that lavender
bus-in-the-womb). For better or worse, culture is learned, and gay
subculture, with its own normative tendencies, can be studied –
this is a university! – as much for its coherence as for its
contradictions. But the point – bravo – is that some of Michigan’s
legislators enter the discussion with hateful, intolerant
presumptions and few clear ideas of what is going on in the class,
despite Halperin’s and the Daily’s best attempts.

Jason Herlands


Boycott stadium concessions to bring back Entree Plus

To the Daily:

I was glad to see Emily Kraack’s article regarding Entree Plus
in the Big House in yesterday’s paper (Hungry students find
Mcard useless in Big House
, 09/08/03). As one of two Michigan
Student Assembly representatives who worked to get Entree Plus
installed in the Big House in the first place, I was highly
disappointed to notice its absence in the first two weeks of the
season. Blame for this occurrence, however, is to be shared.
Ridiculously high turnover is the reason MSA is to blame. I don’t
often criticize MSA, but winning a popularity contest is hard, and
therefore over half the assembly is replaced every semester. Thus,
new projects are begun and old ones are pushed aside. Of the two
people who worked to initiate Entree Plus in the Big House, I left
the assembly and the other went on to become president, rightfully
shifting her attention elsewhere. In the future, new
representatives need to work harder to maintain and improve the
accomplishments of past assemblies. As far as the other three
parties are concerned, each is partially to blame. Housing is to
blame for charging way too much money for card readers. The
Athletic Department, which uses the readers a handful of times each
year, should not have to pay as much as Wendy’s, which is able to
use the machine daily; cut them some slack. On the other hand, the
Athletic Department/concessionaire (Gladieux) is to blame for
failing to accommodate students. They didn’t lose money last year,
because housing donated the machines for the pilot. What happened
was their revenue did not increase enough to justify the purchase.
Additionally, complaining about installation of data lines is just
plain wrong. Installation is a one-time (sunk) cost continued use
of Entree Plus would only help to “coup losses” that never actually
existed. All you had to do this season was rent card readers and
everyone would have been happy. But why accommodate the students,
they are going to purchase from you anyway, right? Wrong! To
students, I say, “Stop buying concessions!” Purchase dollar waters
before entering the game and you’ll be fine until Michigan has the
game out of reach three hours later. Show the Athletic Department
and Gladieux what losses really are, and I’m sure everyone will be
more than willing to accommodate students in the future.

Rick Mestdagh

LSA junior

Former MSA representative














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