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8The Daily Tar HeelMonday, Octorv- 1983
(She latlu. Sar litd
91st year of editorial freedom
Kerry DeRochi, Editor
ALISON DAVIS, Managing Editor JEFF HlDAY, Associate Editor
LISA PULLEN, Univmity Editor
Christine Manuel, state and National Editor
Michael Df.Sisti. Sports Editor
BILL RIEDY. News Editor
John Conway, cuy Editor
Karen Fisher, Featum Editor
Jeff Grove, Arts Editor '
CHARLES W. LEDFORD, Photography Editor
When Congress last week approved a bill to make Martin Luther
King's birthday a national holiday, the lawmakers rose above the mud
slinging of ultra-conservatives by rightfully recognizing the slain civil
rights leader. From 1986 on, every third Monday in January will be set
aside to honor a man who fought for equality for all people.
The new holiday did not pass easily through the Senate chamber.
Background information dredged up last week harped on the fact that a
couple of King's close friends were believed to be high-level communists,
the same information that enabled Attorney General Robert Kennedy to
authorize FBI wiretapping of King in 1963. The records of the wiretapped
conversation have been court sealed, not to be opened until 2027.
Sen. Jesse Helms didn't want to wait that long to get into the sealed
documents, which he's convinced would reveal King to be a communist.
He argued against the holiday on the ground that King's communist
associations made him unworthy of such an honor.
It was Robert Kennedy's brother, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Ken
nedy who objected to Helms' arguments, and rightfully so. When King
was wiretapped in 1963, his right to privacy was destroyed. Here was a
man working for civil rights for all people and his private life was under
Helms' fear of communism should not overshadow King's accomplish
ments. He refused to use violence as a way to fight for his cause. Instead,
he used moral persuasion to help settle a lifetime of conflict between
blacks and whites. Helms isn't considering the moral implications behind
the holiday which is that nonviolent action for social and political pro
gress is vital.
Joke's on whom?
Q. Why did God make man before he made woman? A. Because he
didn't want any advice on how to do it.
That's one of the jokes used by psychologists at Antioch University in
: Los Angeles who are trying to match senses of humor with personality
; types. And, although tamer by comparison, it's just like those in a pair of
j obnoxious jokebooks that have grabbed a firm hold on the book-buying
: market both nationally and in Chapel Hill. Truly Tasteless Jokes and
Truly Tasteless Jokes Two have been on The New York Times and
i Washington Post best-seller lists since last spring.
Does such success illuminate a normally dark side of society? Critics
say yes, that the success of the once-taboo volumes is a reflection of de
clining standards. The psychologists say that men who enjoy jokes such
as the one above or women who like similar jokes about men are
said to have "tough poise" personalities, characteristic of aloof people
who believe sexual stereotypes are true. Barbara Tuchman, a Pulitzer
Prize-winning historian, says, "All these terribly tasteless, disgusting books
and films represent a breakdown of decency and of standards of taste."
It may be so, but the jokes in these books have been around for years.
Many of us heard them first from our parents or older siblings. And the
technique of singling out a group and making fun of its characteristics
has been practiced for ages. That doesn't make it right, of course, but
neither does it lend credence to some who charge that the jokebooks are
"a sad testament to the taste of this country."
Q. Is sex dirty? A. Yes, if it's done right. "
The jokes are typically a paragraph or two in length. They use slang
and often are filled with sexual references. They frequently employ ethnic
and racial epithets. Punch lines commonly depict members of minority
groups as shiftless or stupid, as connivers or drunkards. They include
chapters about blacks, Jews, Poles and white Protestants, as well as jokes
about homosexuals, the handicapped and the blind.
Publishers, of course, think that critics are taking the books too
seriously. As Sandy Bodner, a spokesman for Bailatine Books, publisher
of the two best-selling collections, said, " We're not interested in making
any grand statements about American culture, but the books seem to
have struck a chord because they are selling, and we haven't gotten any
letters of protest."
The publishers are correct in saying that, no, the books do not reflect
an overall immoral culture. However, before any of us laughs at the next
joke, perhaps we should consider what makes that joke funny. Inequali
ties and prejudice certainly continue to exist today. And that's nothing to
The Daily Tar Heel
Editorial Writers: Frank Bruni, Charles Ellmaker and Kelly Simmons
Assistant Managing Editors: Joel Broadway, Tracy Hilton and Michael Toole
Assistant News Editor Melissa Moore
News: Tracy Adams, Dick Anderson, Angela Booze, J. Bonasia, Diana Bosniack, Keith Brad
sher, Amy Brannen, Lisa Brantley, Hope Buffington, Tom Cordon, Kathie Collins, Kate
Cooper, Teresa Cox, Lynn Davis, Dennis Dowdy, Chris Edwards, Kathy Farley, Steve
Ferguson, Genie French, Kim Gilley, Marymelda Hall, Andy Hodges, Sue Kuhn, Thad
Ogburn, Beth O'Kelley, Janet Olson, Rosemary Osborne, Heidi Owen, Beth Ownley, Cindy
Parker, Donna Pazdan, Ben Perkowski, Frank Proctor, Linda Queen, Sarah Raper, Mary
Alice Resch, Cindi Ross, Katherine Schultz, Sharon Sheridan, Deborah Simpkins, Jodi Smith,
Sally Smith, Lisa Stewart, Mark Stinneford, Carrie Szymeczek, Liz Saylor, Amy Tanner,
Doug Tate, Wayne Thompson, Vance Trefethen, Chuck Wallington, Melanie Wells, Scott
Wharton, Lynda Wolf, Rebekah Wright, Jim Zook, Kyle Marshall, assistant state and na
tional editor, and Stuart Tonkinson, assistant university editor.
Sports: Frank Kennedy, Kurt Rosenberg and Eddie Wooten, assistant sports editors.' Glenna
Burress, Kimball Crossley, Pete Fields, John Hackney, Lonnie McCullough, Robyn Nor
wood, Michael Persinger, Julie Peters, Glen Peterson, Lee Roberts, Mike Schoor, Scott Smith,
Mike Waters, David Wells and Bob. Young.
Features: Dawn Brazell, Clarice Bickford, Tom Camacho, Toni Carter, Margaret Claiborne,
Cindy Dunlevy, Charles Gibbs, Tom Grey, Kathy Hopper, Dana Jackson, Charles Karnes,
Joel Katzenstein, Dianna Massie, Kathy Norcrpss, Jane Osment, Clinton Weaver and Mike
Truell, assistant features editor.
Arts: Steve Carr, Ivy Hilliard, Jo Ellen Meekins, Gigi Sonner, Sheryl Thomas and David
Schmidt, assistant arts editor.
Graphic Arts: Jamie Francis, Lori Heeman, Ryke Longest, Jeff Neuville, Zane Saunders and
Lori Thomas, photographers
Business: Anne Fulcher, business manager; Tammy Martin, accounts receivable clerk; Dawn
Welch, circulationdistribution manager; William Austin, assistant circulationdistribution
manager; Patti Pittman, classified advertising manager; Julie Jones, assistant classified adver
tising manager; Debbie McCurdy, secretaryreceptionist.
Advertising: Paula Brewer, advertising manager; Mike Tabor, advertising coordinator; Laura
Austin, Kevin Freidhcim, Patricia Gorry, Terry Lee, Doug Robinson, Amy Schuli and Anneli
Zeck ad representatives.
Composition: UNC-CH Printing Department
Printing: Hinton Press, Inc. of Mebane.
evenge of passion
By JEFF HlDAY
Saturday night, it being the last free night before the
end of Fall Break a "vacation" for catching up on
school work found me at home. I had to study. I
had to catch up. Only one night left.
Sifting through the pile of textbooks I was suppos
ed to read over the break, I picked out a novel and
dusted it off. It was supposed to be the easiest one we
had to read in this particular class. I stretched out on
my bed and settled in.
Thirty minutes and three pages later, I decided it
was time for a break. So I walked into my sister's
bedroom, turned on the TV and flipped around until
I found the Cable News Network. I got comfortable.
Fifteen minutes and 30 news stories later, CNN
trumpeted an upcoming interview with Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger, supposedly his first television in
terview in 12 years.
Fd about dozed off, but then Burger was on the
screen talking about how he does not believe the
public's need for revenge against criminals is "totally
That perked my ears, as I knew this was the sort of
thing that would send my boss here, Kerry, through
the ceiling. So I sat up.
"There was a time," Burger was saying, "when I
shared the view that retribution, which some call
revenge, was totally wrong. Fm not so sure."
I'm not either. But even as I expected a more
straight answer from the chief justice of the United
States, I was nevertheless heartened by Burger's flexi
bility, his display of very human nature.
Conviction of the heart, and of the mind, is a
characteristic valued highly by society. It is con
sidered a strong, virtuous trait. For a man with
power, a leader, it can be dangerous to display a lack
That's what Burger is doing when he says he's not
"so sure" about an issue considered by many to be
clear-cut, one that separates, in many eyes, the con
servatives from the liberals, the Americans from the
Commies and Pinkos, the men from the boys. But
the chief justice, of course, cannot be expected to
come up with all the answers none of us can. He
and his associates are asked every day to answer ques
tions of great or far-reaching consequences. Still, the
justices can do no more than the rest of us, simply to
consider and weigh carefully the issue at hand.
"Retribution has got to be a factor," Burger went
on to say. "When a terrible crime is committed in a
community, there is a feeling of outrage on the part
of decent people. That must have some outlet."
So true, but so un-liberal. I could see the bleeding
hearts cringing in horror.
communities today, especially the smaller, more
closely knit ones, would be above rounding up a
deadly posse and meting out their own justice to, say,
a sexual molester. Their revenge, although highly il
legal, might still win public approval because of its
"admirable" intentions: elimination of a threat to
We just can't ignore emotions. If you have a
younger brother or sister, you undoubtedly know
how difficult it is to be "mature" when the kid inter
rupts your long-distance call to a girlfriend; kicks,
slaps and bites you; and otherwise does everything
possible to be a pest and get your attention. Mom
says you should bring the kid up to your level and not
let him bring you down to his level.
It's an issue considered by many to be clear-cut, one that
separates the conservatives from the liberals, the Americans from
the Commies and Pinkos, the men from the boys.
Burger, 75, is generally regarded as a conservative
judge. Even so, columnist James J. Kilpatrick has
highlighted facets of Burger that bely the justice's
right-wing image. "If by 'conservative' we mean so
meone who prefers the old and tried to the new and
untried, Burger is practically a Bolshevik."
His commentary on punishment and retribution
certainly is reasonable. The "outlet" Burger speaks
of has been created by dictates of human nature. In
the old days, when cowboys caught a rustler or a
murderer, their outlet was the lynching tree. Not only
was it for the cowboys a fulfilling release of anger
and hatred, but in addition it served as an effective
deterrent to would-be rustlers and murderers.
Today we might consider that sort of punishment
barbaric, besides being illegal. But we are not above
taking the law into our own hands. Few American
Careful extrapolation from the big brother-little
sister situation will produce a scenario that similarly
typifies societal reaction to a close-to-home, violent
Burger addressed the problem. He doesn't provide
the definitive answer, but he has reached a most rea
sonable and helpful conclusion. While revenge cannot
"realistically" be ruled out, the chief justice said, "it
should not be the dominant factor. The dominant fac
tor should be what is good for society as a whole, and
what's good for society as a whole must take into ac
count the particular."
JeffHiday, a junior journalism and history major
from Charlotte, is associate editor of The Daily Tar
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Without BSM, no cultural outlet
To the editor:
In the letter titled "Why BSM
priority?" (DTH, Oct. 14) Robert Bates
and John Downing speak of the irony that
the Black Student Movement attempts to
segregate itself from the "University com
munity in sheltered meeting locations and
closed environments." Obviously Bates
and Downing know little about the organi
zation. The BSM is not working toward segre
gation but works to ensure that the pre
sence and" culture of blacks shall always
exist on this campus. Without the BSM,
the concerns and interests of most of those
students who belong to the organization
(and most black students here) would not
be met. The choral groups, the dance
groups and the dramatic oral rjerforrning
arts groups in this university community
exclude black content. Without the BSM,
such cultural materials would be unavail
able to black students on this campus.
Thus, the BSM is not segregating itself, it
is responding to a culturally and
academically segregated situation which
always has existed at UNC.
To clear the air of misconceptions, the
membership of the BSM is open to all
UNC students, faculty and actaiinistrators.
As for meetings, they are held in Upen
do Lounge on the first floor of Chase. I in
vite Bates and Downing as well as the rest
of the "University community" to come
to a BSM meeting or visit a rehearsal or
performance of one of the BSM sub
groups: Opeyo Dancers, Ebony Readers
or Gospel Choir.
You may find that there is something to
be learned in the black cultural experience.
And then, too, maybe you will be able to
understand that the BSM should be given
space, not "priority" in the new South
Bates and Downing, in their call for
"equality," are other examples of those
whites on this campus who would prefer,
that blacks have absolutely nothing.
To the editor:
I am writing in response to Mr. "I-hate-Flashdance-fashion"
("Sick of tacky
shirts," DTH, Oct. 14). Where does
Balram get off moaning about how
"tacky" the latest fashion is? I don't like
getting up for my 8 o'clock classes, but
I don't moan about it. If he is such an
authority on what looks good and what is
acceptable to wear, then maybe his future
lies at the New York Institute of Fashions
Anyone can tell you that cut-offs are a
fad, and fads are what make the fashion
industry alive and innovative. Fortunately
for Balram, cut shirts, like miniskirts, will
eventually wear themselves out. In the
meantime, Balram should keep his conser
vative train of thought to himself. In addi
tion, he should take a more careful look
around, because there are some very good
looking people wearing his so-called
"cheap and tacky" styles.
Punish W. G. thieves
To the editor:
I doubt that I shall be applauded for
my belief that the theft of Woollen and
Fetzer gym T-shirts is an honor of
fense and should be treated as such. I
am not amused, as most students seem
to be, by the fact that it is so incredibly
common to see students wearing the
gray W.G. and F.G. T-shirts around
Any clothing store would press
charges for theft of this sort, for the
simple reason that it costs a great deal
of money to allow this practice to con
tinue. The same principle is true at
UNC, except in this case the taxpayers
of North Carolina bear the cost.
However important the economic ra
tionale for a crackdown on T-shirt
theft may be, the most important
reason is moral obligation. In addition
to the University's commitment to
education, it also shares a responsibility
for its students' development of an
ethical perspective. When the Universi
ty does nothing about theft as epidemic
as the gym T-shirt problem, it is silently
condoning it and therefore reneging on
its responsibility to the students.
For these reasons, 1 suggest that
students caught wearing W.G. and
F.G. T-shirts and sweatshirts be turned
in to the honor committee and severe
punishment be exacted.
G. Patrick Fields
An interesting education
By DOUGLAS LANDA U
America a land of opportunity and intellectual
freedom is rich in educational resources. Institutions of
higher education abound. Our universities with their
solemn buildings, their competitive admission policies and
their glossy brochures seem to offer each potential student
an environment conducive to learning. Supposedly,
academics reign supreme in our sacred havens of higher
Each year, numerous serious students enter the college
experience with similar expectations. As such a student, I
contend that each student is inevitably in for a rude
awakening. Many find college a place of higher recreation
(as opposed to higher education) due to an environment
that is filled with distractions.
Many of today's campuses resemble fully equipped re
creational facilities. In a typical dorm, the television offers
instant gratification and an escape from the workload and
added responsibility of college life. Music, from acid rock
to classical, can be heard emanating from various rooms
in what seems to be an endless barrage of musical tastes.
Our stomachs are cared for by businesses who often cater
to college students by offering free delivery. AN simple
telephone call and signature on a check is all that is re
quired to satisfy a pang of hunger. Consistent with the
fact that humans are gregarious animals, parties are not
difficult to find, for they often occur. The non-stop
revelry, the pounding music and the freely flowing beer
serve to release college tensions. Somehow, just as one is
getting prepared to work, some fellow student offers
temptation in the form of playing tennis or taking a swim
at the pool. Although these examples are generalizations,
they are representative of typical college distractions that
tend to create a struggle between the academic and recrea
tional aspects of college life.
Granted that the college environment is filled with
distractions, it is important to evaluate what causes many
students to yield to these distractions. Academic pressure
to perform, coupled with the adjustment to the added
responsibilities of college life, is certainly a valid claim that
is common to virtually all new students. College work
often requires focusing one's energies at a higher level of
concentration. This high level can be easily disrupted, and
it is often difficult to regain that level of concentration
Q. A keg or a can:
Which represents overindulgent
depends on the individual.
again without a strong mental effort. And so, it is time for
a "study break." A study break often takes the form of a
recreational activity. The 1978 edition of The Random
House Dictionary defines recreation as "a pastime, sport,
or exercise as a means to refresh" one's body or mind."
Therefore, recreation can be viewed as fuel for the mind
that will enable a student to resume his studying with
renewed intensity. Yet there can still exist a struggle be
tween the academic and recreational aspects of college
life. Overindulgence in recreational activity can be
detrimental. The key appears to be moderation.
Admittedly, there are some students who seem to over
indulge in recreational activity and still manage to keep a
good academic standing. Perhaps these students possess a
great deal of natural ability, or maybe these students just
spend their time at study more efficiendy than most. It is
more likely, however, that since we are all individuals, the
line between moderation and overindulgence differs from
person to person. What may be too much recreation for
one person may be too little for another. Therefore, I con
tend that recreation can be advantageous to the person
who participates within his or her personal boundaries of
College officials are aware that recreation is an essential
part of the college experience. They know that recreation (
can have a positive effect when the privilege is not abused. '
This is why recreation is made accessible to students. Col
lege academics and recreational activity do not have to
work against each other. Together, they can improve a
student's work performance and make his free time more
enjoyable and satisfying. If the college's role is to shape
individuals into well-rounded, well-adjusted adults, then
recreation is a means to that end in that it gives each stu
dent the responsibility of budgeting time, choosing
priorities and learning the value of moderation.
Douglas Landau is a freshman business major from
West Hempstead, N.Y.