The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 23, 2000, Page 4, Image 4

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Since 1901
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Samuel McKewon
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
No more Mohr
Comedian's cancellation
stirs sympathy for UPC
A couple of weeks ago, on a Thursday
night, a large television screen with roughly
100 chairs in front of it sat about 50 feet away
from the Bakery in the Nebraska Union.
It was a University Program Council event,
complete with banners and free Pepsi prod
The season premiere of “Just Shoot Me,”
David Spade’s prime time sitcom, was playing
on the big screen, obviously a promotion for
the comedian's upcoming campus appear
About 10 students were planted in front of
the screen, none really watching the show.
Two Daily Nebraskan staff members, also
two members of the DN’s editorial board,
walked past the scene and looked at one
another before looking at one student, pre
sumably a UPC member, man
We admit to ning the event.
making fun The two made eye contact
of Mohr's with the UPC member, then
appearance, sheepishly looked at the floor.
of UPC's ’ “There’s free pop if you want
./.m- ■ • some,” the UPC member said
f, , ^ with a dejected swing of his
the show arm toward the table full of
and of soda and cups.
almost “Uhhh... no thanks,” one of
every other the pair answered.
UPC event They continued walking, but
on campus, something seemed odd.
And even in TheY weren’t laughing.
thp farp nf They weren’t even smiling.
all that, we bleIn fact’ theV both felt terri‘
still felt bad. y^g same feeling came over
Maybe the DN staff members last
because this Wednesday when they found
time it was out comedian Jay Mohr, UPC’s
out of UPC’s headliner, who was scheduled
control. to perform at UNL Tuesday,
-canceled because of last
minute movie promotions.
We think Jay Mohr is a snake. And for the
first time - actually, the second, after the
scene described above - we feel sorry for
Mohr s movie, Pay it Forward, opened
Oct. 20. We doubt the promotions schedule
was so tight, so stringent, that Mohr couldn’t
have made his appearance as scheduled.
Plus, the movie would already have
opened by the time he'd be at UNL. Ever
heard of pre-release publicity?
We also find it impossible to believe that
Mohr works around his staff’s schedule. In
fact, it’s probably the polar opposite.
We admit to making fun of Mohr’s appear
ance, of UPC's publicizing the show and of
almost every other UPC event on campus.
And even in the face of all that, we still felt
bad. Maybe because this time it was out of
UPC’s control.
For the first time, students were interested
in a UPC event. Tickets - albeit not all of them
- were selling. They were cheap. We at least
knew who Jay Mohr was.
And the show sounded a heck of a lot bet
ter than a storm chaser.
Mohr is making another appearance - for
what it's worth - in the spring.
It doesn't seem fair, but then again, it does
seem a bit typical.
We feel bad.
UPC probably feels bad.
We bet Jay Mohr doesn’t.
Editorial Board
Sarah Baker, Bradley Davis, Josh Funk, Matthew Hansen,
Samuel McKewon, Dane Stickney, Kimberly Sweet
Letters Policy
The Daly Nebraskan welcomes briefs, letters to the editor and guest columns, but does not guar
antee their publicabcxi.Ttie Daily Nebraskan retains the right to edit or r^ect any material submitted.
Submitted material becomes property of the Daly Nebraskan and cannot be returned. Anonymous
submissions wil not be published. Those who submit letters must identify themselves by name,
year in school, major and/or group affiliation, if any.
Submit material to: Daly Nebraskan, 20 Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. Lincoln, NE 68588-0448. E
Editorial Policy
Unsigned editorials are the opinions of the Fall 2000 Daily Nebraskan. They do not necessarily
reflect the views of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, its employees, its student body or the
University of Nebraska Board of Regents. A column is solely the opinion of its author a cartoon is
solely the opinion of its artist The Board of Ftegents acts as publisher of the Daily Nebraskan; poli
cy is set by the Daly Nebraskan Edtorial Board. The UNL Publications Board, established by the
regents, supervises the production of the paper. According to policy set by the regents, responsi
bitty far the edtorial content of the newspaper lies solely in the hands of its employees.
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Neal Obermeyer/DN
Messing with private people
Guyla Mills and supporters of Initiative 416 are
being dishonest with the public when they claim pas
sage of 416 would not change the status quo.
While it is true that the State of Nebraska does not
currently offer any type of licenses to gay and lesbian
couples, what they do not tell you is that the wording
of the amendment is not limited to practices by the
Private business is presently free to compete for
gay and lesbian employees in the open market by
offering domestic partner benefits. Many large corpo
rations in our state (as well as some others that many
would like to attract here) take advantage of these
partnerships as a tool to attract and retain the highest
caliber workers.
Voters should take note of the wording that states:
partnerships “shall not be valid or recognized in
Nebraska.” Clearly, the word "in” was chosen rather
than "by” to block private business from exercising its
right to offer whatever benefit packages it chooses.
Contrary to Ms. Mills rhetoric, this initiative
would be a broad and sweeping change in a state
which so deeply values having a government that
stays out of the affairs of private business.
Nolan Gaskill
music education
Tolerating'no comment'
I’m disappointed by the October 19,2000, DN edi
torial “Secret's Out.” The editorial discusses Dan
Sindelar’s unwillingness to comment on an article in
the Rolling Stone magazine.
It also addresses his unwillingness to discuss the
matter with the DN editorial staff.
Mr. Sindelar’s silence is characterized in the edito
rial using words like "cowardice," "abomination,”
"slap in the face,” “maddening,” “ludicrous,” "quite
simply wrong,” “cruel,” "sad,” “vicious” and "hatred.”
As I read the editorial, I see that Mr. Sindelar is not
criticized for saying negative things about Mr. Grigsby,
Mr. Luttich, the Rolling Stone magazine or even the
DN. The criticism is directed at Sindelar for declining
to promote the position taken by the editorial board of
the DN. For this, Sindelar is labeled “intolerant”
Intolerance is the refusal to allow other people to
express or, as in this case, decline to express their
opinion. For one party (the DN editorial board) to
demand that the other (Sindelar) abandon his or her
opinion and promote a position is totalitarianism and
intolerance. This is what the DN editorialist has done.
The DN editorial board is not living by its own
code of ethics regarding tolerance. And the editor
owes an apology to Mr. Sindelar for the inappropriate
name calling.
Gene Wiggins
Lincoln, Neb.
Constitutional controversy
“Is it not the glory of the
people of America, that
whilst they have paid a
decent regard to the opin
ions of former times and
other nations, they have not
suffered a blind veneration
for antiquity, for custom, or
for names, to overrules sug- Jeremy
gestions of their own good Patrick
sense, the knowledge of their
own situation, and the les
sons of their own experience?”
-Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist it 14
Currently, there is considerable controversy
among legal scholars (and presidential candi
dates) over the proper method of interpreting the
Liberals tend to favor a “living, breathing”
Constitution arguing that its provisions should be
construed in light of several factors, including
language, history, purpose and applicability to
modern life. Conservatives argue for “original
ism” or “strict constructionism;” Constitutional
provisions should be construed only according to
plain meaning and drafters' intent.
The debate seems abstract and academic, but
the consequences are very real. Supporters of a
“living, breathing" Constitution believe in a fun
damental right of privacy, near-absolute protec
tion for free speech, strong separation between
church and state and expansive due process for
persons accused of crimes. Originalists usually
take opposite positions on these issues.
In effect, current controversies over abortion,
homosexuality, school prayer, gun control, the
death penalty and more all turn on how one
approaches the Constitution’s meaning.
The originalist position is inviting; it offers the
promise of objectivity and consistency - society
would be protected against the subjective morali
ty of whoever happens to be on the Supreme
Court. Otherwise, originalists believe, the Court
becomes a group of unelected platonic
guardians, imposing their morality.
Noble talk of protection from tyranny sounds
nice, but unrealistic: Whatever method of inter
pretation justices choose, they still have the same
power to impose their will, subject only to consti
tutional amendment, impeachment or death.
The irony of originalism, for all its talk of
objectivity, plain meaning and intent, is that it's
nowhere to be found in the Constitution. Indeed,
the framers would have been terribly arrogant if
they had believed that they were setting forth
eternal truths for all time.
They intentionally wrote the Bill of Rights in
broad terms (“reasonable searches," "due
process,” etc.) because they knew future judges
would face situations they had not foreseen and
need to be equipped with tools to protect individ
ual rights.
The framers knew that by the time an
oppressed minority had convinced a super
majority of states to pass a Constitutional amend
ment, it might be too late.
This is why they wrote the Ninth Amendment,
which states the people retain rights not explicit
ly set forth in the Constitution. Originalists
believe that the Ninth Amendment is (in Robert
Bork’s words) an “ink-blot on the Constitution.”
As legal scholar Edward Lazarus said, it is “far
from obvious why the Constitution, replete with
clauses of indefinite content, designed with the
evident purpose of applying to unseen and
unforeseeable changes in the structure of
American society, should be interpreted exclu
sively by reference to the vision of persons dead
for more than 200 years.”
Originalism suffers from severe practical
problems as well: If the Constitution should be
interpreted by framers’ intent, whose intent are
we speaking of? The actual drafters? The state leg
islatures that ratified it? The people who elected
those legislatures?
How do we even know what their intent was?
Records of the time are incomplete: two people
often disagreed (as they do now) about the very
meaning of a provision they both supported, and
the most vociferous and frequently recorded
views may be that of persons in the minority on
an issue.
iiymg iu nguie uui wuai peupie wiiu uvcu iwu
centuries ago thought, or would have thought
about an issue they were never faced with, is pure
speculation. Judges have trouble simply judging;
we should not ask them to be expert historians
and mind-readers as well.
Originalism proponents are really working
backwards: They know what positions they have
on controversial issues and are seeking a process
to justify those issues.
Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and
William H. Rehnquist, leading proponents of
originalism, are not exactly liberal in their private
lives and have frequently used the doctrine in
inconsistent ways.
As Lazarus puts it, recent events have
“demonstrated to the public what had long since
been evident to students of Court history: that
originalism is potentially every bit as malleable as
other methods of interpretation."
So what is the correct method of interpreta
tion? I don’t think there is a correct method.
Judges applying the Constitution must bring with
them the same tools used in making and applying
law in other contexts, such as history, precedent,
language, intent and practical effects.
Ultimately, judges must exercise what Justice
Sandra Day O’Connor calls “reasoned judgment.”
As radical as it may sound, at some point we sim
ply have to trust judges to do the best they can
and apply the law with both reference toward
democratic principles and respect for individual
Handcuffing judges with the chains of history
may produce a peculiar kind of consistency, but
only at the cost of liberty. I hold tremendous
respect for the drafters and ratifiers of our
Constitution. But I have my own passions,
desires, hopes and dreams - and I will not let
them be destroyed by the ghosts of dead men.
Standing at
a crossroad
with God
I stood at a lit
eral crossroad
last week. I had
just come from
the north section
of the Nebraska
uinun aim was
stopped just past Simon
the drinking Rjnj^nuth
fountain by my
state of uncer- "B—l™
Far to my left was the Colonial Room;
in front of me were stairs leading up one
story to an empty hallway with offices
and a men’s bathroom. I had been invited
by a friend from acting class to go to a
Bible study club and it started in five, no,
four and a half minutes.
Bible. Study. Club. It should be so
simple I read my Bible I study, and I gen
erally enjoy clubs, so why shouldn’t I go?
What was stopping me from making die
leap and turning left? I was almost
unaware of my own feet as they began to
shuffle forward, laden with hesitation. I
went up the stairs, my footsteps echoing
off the whitewashed, tomblike walls.
I ascended slowly as visions from my
high school life came to me in droves,
bombarding me with old friends,
acquaintances and feelings of ambiguity.
Years had passed since I’d been to to a
student-oriented Bible study dub. Why?
I turned around and went up the sec
ond flight of stairs. I cast my gaze down
ward to my New Balance running shoes,
hand-me-downs from my Unde Peter.
I attended an earty-moming group on
Wednesdays when I was a freshman at
Lincoln Northeast. We met at my church
for a half hour, during which we had
doughnuts, juice and ‘fellowship,” while
studying scripture.
The doughnuts made me sick by sec
ond period every single week. We had a
good time, but nothing was ever gained,
just a sense of familiarity with each other.
I continued to give and receive nothing
but casual glances from the other study
goers in the hallways duringschooL
I hadn’t ever received a pair of new
name-brand shoes; always the store
brand or from “the box” in the doset
Attendance dwindled. The youth
director stopped coming.
I gained the top level, turned right
and proceeded into the bathroom. One
woman walked past me, and my “Hi” was
met with a casual glance.
I tried FCA for a little while, just like
everyone else in high school I didn’t stick
with it, though. I prayed and worshipped
God outside of class many times and in
many ways and here was a way for me to
do so, at least in small part, duringschooL
Was I that unconfident in my faith
that I needed once-a-month reaffirma
tion from a club at my secular high
school? Maybe. I noticed several faces
from my classes in that club. The same
faces that told stories on Monday.
I laid my pad of art paper against the
wall and stepped up to the urinal. I like
my shoes but they are getting worn out I
should buy new ones.
CMmpuo uui/c; uocu iricn
mgs on posters taped to the walls and in
the bathrooms, and though I considered
going many times, I never did. I knew sev
eral people who did, though, and from the
stories they told me, I could not distin
guish Campus Life as a Christian club
from a bunch of people that hung out
once a week. I knew those who led it and
who were most involved, and I knew they
would be friends with me on Monday
nights but not Tuesday mornings.
They were all good people, but we just
weren’tfriends. A stranger may be a friend
you haven’t met, but sometimes friends
you have met are strangers at heart
My unde said he washed these shoes
before he gave them to me. I should wash
them again. They’re getting dirty.
Directly above the sink was a mirror
and I stared at myself staring back at me,
while my hands lathered the green,
foamy soap that’s so common in public
restrooms. “It’s all so contrived,” I mused,
frustrated and anxious. “Everyone in
these Christian groups seem so friendly,
but it’s a forced friendliness. They don't
mean to come across that way, but their
actions belie their intentions.”
My reflection nodded, understand
ing and urging me to continue. “It's like
this,” I said. "I don’t pray with big words:
heavenly father, wondrous, eternal bless
ings, your holy scripture. I want to study
the bible with others, but I always feel like
I have to prove my faith. I never know the
Bible quotations and I feel odd holding
hands when I pray. But I do pray. Often
and by myself with just me and God.”
My reflection lifted the comer of his
mouth to match the sparkle in its eye. “I
know,” it said back to me. “Just go and see
what happens. Maybe things were never
like how you saw diem, or maybe these
people are genuinely interested in you, or
maybe you’re right. God won't leave you
if you don’t go to a Bible study. Buthe may
try to lead you.”
I dried my hands and picked up the
pad of paper. My shoes looked just right,
dirty enough to be used but cool enough
to be almost trendy. Confident, I opened
the bathroom door and stepped into the