The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, September 02, 1986, Image 2

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    Page 2/The Battalion/Tuesday, September 2, 1986
New findings liberate coffee drinkers’ consciencesSei
College has robbed me of
many earthly pleasures. Most
of my hobbies have been
abandoned. I no longer have
the time to paint or read real
Except for a weekly rac-
quetball rivalry with The Bat
talion sports editor Ken Sury
and a rare few minutes with
my out-of-tune and dusty
guitar, I don’t get much
chance to enjoy the finer as
pects of leisure.
Loren Steffy
But college did introduce me to one worldly de
light — coffee. This stimulating black liquid is a
college student’s ambrosia.
I turned to coffee out of desperate need, but 1
have grown to love it. Many late nights I would
stay up, mug in hand, reading textbooks that were
a sure-fire cure for insomnia. Concentration
seemed a little easier with my “caffeinated” com
My infatuation with coffee grew slowly. It prob
ably started before birth. Before he cut down, my
father was a 12-to 15-cup-a-day man.
But for years I avoided the stuff like the Black
Death. Once, just to be daring, my friend and I
made some when his parents were out of town. Be
ing an adult, we decided, tasted terrible.
College, however, meant the need to function in
several jobs, study and not sleep for long periods
of time. Coffee was the only answer.
At first I drank only enough to serve these me
dicinal purposes, pouring in as much sugar and
cream as I could stand without gagging.
But college students are not known for well-
stocked larders, and 1 was no exception. When the
sugar ran out, I learned to drink my coffee with
just cream. Then, the night before finals, the
cream ran out. With a gulp and a wince, I started
down the black road to true coffee appreciation.
I mercilessly consumed the liquid — two cups in
the morning, two cups at night, as many as I could
get at the restaurant where I worked.
When I got my own desk at The Battalion, I
brought my own pot. It sits in the corner, perking
diligently away, filling the newsroom with its sweet
aroma and annoying my fellow workers, who, for
future journalists, are lacking severely in coffee
Then, disaster struck. I learned that a team of
Harvard scientists discovered a link between cof
fee and cancer of the pancreas. 1 was faced with a
horrible dilemma. Did I dare to dance with death
and continue to consume this liquid ecstasy, or
should I part with my beloved beverage in the
name of a healthy pancreas — one of my favorite
bodily organs?
Being of true journalistic stock, my body geneti
cally calibrated to deal with potentially harmful
substances such as Twinkies, pizza and Moon Pies
(it is rumored that these delicacies have so many
preservatives they will not only kill you, but save
on embalming costs as well), I decided to flirt with
fate and keep on perking.
Now the Harvard scientists wisely have reversed
their previous decision. The study always was con
troversial, and its methods often refuted by other
groups, the members’ hands shaking from caf
feine withdrawal.
As long as coffee consumption is kept to less
than five cups a day, there is no increased risk of
cancer. More than five, it’s unclear, but men who
exceeded this limit had nearly 2 1 /2 times the risk of
pancreatic cancer.
It’s a sacrifice, but I think 1 can trim down to
live cups.
The consciences of coffee drinkers everywhere
have been liberated. We are free to sip, slurp or
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guzzle up to five cups a day and still die with a
healthy pancreas.
Personal interests aside, I’m glad the group
from Harvard re-evaluated its study. Obvious bias
exists. Harvard, it’s image far too “distinguished”
to submit to coffee-drinking, is a school of tea-loy
alists. It is, after all, located near Boston, a town
known for its tea parties.
So why did the Harvard researchers change
their mind?
I’ve only visited Harvard briefly, so I’m specu
lating about what goes on behind those ivy-lada
walls, but I imagine the scientists reached thei:
new decision the same way most professionals do
They sat down and talked about it over acupol
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Loren Steffy is a senior journalism major and ibt
Opinion Page editor for The Battalion.
Apartheid means even basic
pleasures can be denied
In Johannes
burg one day,
writing frantically
in my hotel room,
I called for room
service, which is
how I met Harry,
the waiter. Harry,
a runner, noticed
my running shoes,
and I suggested Rlchord
we go for a run Cohen
later in the nearby
park. Harry’s face dropped. Blacks, he
said, were forbidden to use the park.
By South African standards, segre
gated parks are a minor nuisance. After
all, we are talking about a country where
blacks cannot vote, where government
policy separates families and where
blacks are forbidden by law to live in
white areas. I was told later that the
parks had been desegregated. Clearly,
though, custom or ignorance of the law
kept Hai ry in his place.
You had to have seen the look on
Harr' s face to appreciate apartheid —
his sad acceptance of the situation and
also the infuriating rage at the injustice
of it Hai ry was condemned to second-
class citizenship by birth. The freedom
of the runner, the ability to go where
your legs will take you, even that was
denied him.
Some members of the U.S. Senate,
Malcolm Wallop in particular, seem not
to understand that. During the Senate
debate over economic sanctions, the
Wyoming Republican characterized the
demand for them as an appeal to “do
mestic racial politics. What we’re
looking at is middle-class, comfortable
win: senators playing up to the black
population of America, the liberal pop
Of course, Wallop has a point. But
surely this Senate veteran has not dis
covered now that politicians occasionally
pander to their constituencies. Does he
think the Senate’s decision to subsidize
grain sales to the Soviet Union had
nothing to do with the plight of farmers
in an election year? Does he think that
the U. S. preoccupation with the plight
of Soviet Jewry — as opposed to, say,
the plight of the Turkish minortity in
Bulgaria — is unrelated to the political
influence of American Jews?
It would be one thing if the demand
for sanctions reflected trivial or illegiti
mate concerns, but they do not. They
are brought home to us precisely be
cause there is an American constituency
that feels them acutely — whose families
have suffered in similar ways. Why
American blacks should be any differ
ent is beyond me. Naturally, they iden
tify with the plight of South Africa’s
blacks. It was not that long ago, after all,
that American blacks were banned from
public parks. Racial, ethnic, religious af
finity is not something new, something
unique to blacks or to any group of
American voters.
To Wallop and some other conserva
tives, it remains a mystery that Ameri
can blacks and their liberal allies feel so
strongly about South Africa, proposing
punitive sanctions, for instance, while
feeling only indifference or repugnance
toward the Soviet Union. After all, that’s
a country with a really reprehensible
human rights record. There is a country
whose history contains a bloody Gulag
stretching beyond the borders of the
imagination. Why South Africa and not
the Soviet Union?
In the preface to his classic memoir,
“Survival In Auschwitz,” the Italian
writer, Primo Levi, suggests an answer:
“Many people, many nations . . . find
themselves holding . . . that every
stranger is the enemy.” Levi is referring
to anti-Semitism, but it applies as well to
the racism of South Africa, where by
virtue of birth, a black remains always
“the stranger,” always “the enemy.”
Even in the Soviet Union, conformity to
the political system assures a normal
life. Most people can choose and even
those who choose “wrong” can later be
“re-educated” and resume a measure of
an ordinary life.
Racism is different. You cannot be re
educated out of your skin. Prison, even
torture, can not change your genetic
pool by which you are prejudged. This
is why Nazi doctrine held that Jews had
to be killed — that their crime was not
what they did, but who they were. Even
religious conversion could not alter the
gene pool.
That is the sort of racism at the core
of the apartheid system. Of course,
apartheid has its ethnic and economic
components — cheap labor, for in
stance. But its essential racism cannot be
We are all many things and when I
was in South Af rica, one of the things I
was was a runner. I delighted in the in
dependence of it, the ability to discover
a strange city all on my own. I knew that
Harry would have liked to share that
joy. I knew, too, the cruelty of apart
heid, but I knew it better because of a
small thing: A man like me said he could
not go where his legs could take him.
Copyright 1986, Washington Post Writers Group
Mail Call
Life savings lost
I was riding in the rain from Reed McDonald to the Pavilion to pay my
fees. Unfortunately, 1 lost an envelope containing my lif e’s savings of around
$1,600. If any Aggie finds it, please contact Tuan I ran at 846:8127. Please
help out an Aggie. This money is for my four years education at Aggie land.
Tuan Tran
Slow down, you move too fast
On behalf of everyone in town, I’d like to welcome back all the students
(particularly the driver of the “Howdy Dammit” pickup that careened past
me on Harvey Road) and make an observation: Life as you know it probably
won’t change much if you arrive at your destination f ive minutes late.
It could change pretty radically if, in your haste, you wreck your vehicle
and break your spine — or mine, as I (or my survivors) will not hesitate to sue
your mom and dad for every penny they have or ever hope to have. So slow
down and have a good semester.
M.L. Creamer
Glad to be here
A few weeks back I was a graduate student. I stalked the corridors of
academe with crumpled backpack and disheveled look, waiting for it all to
come to an end. I looked up to my professors. They seemed to exist on a
hallowed plane well removed from my mundane existence. Separating us was
a gulf of recognition, and it appeared entirely improbable that I, a mere
creature, could bridge it. All of a sudden I found myself on the other side,
but I am still the same mundane self. Naturally, I am not sure I deserved it.
I feel good. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, this is something that
was always expected of me yet ent irely beyond my comprehension.
Sometimes when meeting people outside the University environment I
feel a bit awkward telling them that I am an assistant professor. I carry the
backpack and go everywhere on bicycle, so when I say that I teach, people
often think of me as a graduate stuaent. I usually let that pass, feeling
unprepared for the awe that being a faculty elicits.
T he best thing I like about T exas A&M is the intense Aggie spirit. I enjoy
finding out about the history of A&M. I appreciate traditions; they reflect the
intense pride and an awareness of history which is unique to Texas.
I was told to expect radical conservatism in T exas, along with some
prejudice. As a visitor to this country, I must say that I have personally faced
little prejudice from the average American, and I certainly didn’t expect it in
a university community. I am glad to say that my experience so far has home
this out, alt hough I keep on hearing reports to the contrary.
On the whole, I am glad I made the decision to come to Texas. T he
budget problems don’t bother me much — whatever the level of cuts, the
state funding for this University will remain much higher than the private
university I came from. I am of course, concerned with possible manpower
and salary cuts, but for the time being I am content to leave that battle to the
Another reason why I feel good about this job is because of my parents. I
know I have made them very happy (tinged with a little sadness since I am so
far away). My father, who always wanted to he a professor, is immensely
proud of me. The mind, he says, is man’s greatest wealth, and I have been
honored to be chosen as a caretaker. Every time we talk he enjoins me to live
up to the high expectations of this position, as if he doesn’t really expect me
For his sake and for the sake of all you Aggies out there, I know I can —
and I will.
Amit Mukeyfee
Computer Science
Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words in length. The editorial staff reserves the right
to edit letters for style and length, but will make every effort to maintain the author’s intent.
Each letter must he e the address and telephone number of the writer.
The Battalion
(USPS 045 360)
Member of
Texas Press Association
Southwest Journalism Conference
The Battalion Editorial Board
Cathie Anderson, Editor
Kirsten Dietz, Managing Editor
Loren Steffy, Opinion Page Editor
Frank Smith, City Eclitor
Sue Krenek, News Editor
Ken Sury, Sports Editor
Editorial Policy
The Battalion is a non-profit, sdl-suppoi tinR new spajkt oper
ated as acomniUnitv servic e to Texas A&.-M and Bi v;m-(College Sta
Opinions expressed in l he Battalion arc those of the editorial
board or the author, and do not necessarily rejn esent the o|>inionsi
of Texas A&M administrators, faculty or the Board of Regents. ,
The Battalion also serves as a laboratory newspaper for stuclenlS
in reporting, editing and |>hoU)graphy classes within the Depari- 1
ment of Journalism.
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POS TMAS TER: Send address changes to The Battalion. L , ll)
Reed McDonald. Texas A&M University, College Station 7.V
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