The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, October 01, 2001, Image 9

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    [onday, October 1, 2001
Page 9
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ast month. Houghton Mifflin Company filed a lawsuit
against a religious organization, Jews for Jesus, for vio
lating copyright and trademark laws. According to
oughton Mifflin, a New York-based childrens’ book publish
er, the group violated the company’s rights
by using the childrens’ storybook charac
ter Curious George in religious materials
without seeking pennission beforehand.
It was inappropriate for Jews for Jesus
to use Curious George, a universally rec
ognized childrens' book character, to sell
ijj( h its religious beliefs. Even worse, Jews for
HENDERSON Jesus violated the laws of this country by
ignoring the copyright and trademark regu-
tions. They should, therefore, take full responsibility for all
igligent actions.
Jews for Jesus, an evangelical group with the purpose of
reading the word that Jesus is the chosen Jewish messiah,
eated a pamphlet entitled, “Are You Curious?” in which
awings of Curious George were used to appeal to children
id young adults.
The pamphlet states, under the likeness of Curious George
;ading a book is the passage, “One day, George opened the
lible where he discovered that Y’shua (Jesus) is the promised
lessiah of Israel.” Aaron Abramson, a member of Jews for
esusand the originator of the Curious George campaign,
elieves Jews for Jesus has done nothing wrong by utilizing
le childrens’ story book character in its materials.
“If you give something out for free, you're within your
i $454/mo,pm jghtstodo it. We’ve been doing this with a million different
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opics. We’ve been doing it for 30 years,” Abramson said.
The fact that Jews for Jesus boasts about using other pop
M:ons or events in their religious campaigns is evidence of the
sterling Up.? ^nchalance of Jews for Jesus concerning the infringement on
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ither’s rights.
Instead of recognizing the illegality of using copyright
naterial, it is viewing the issue of using Curious George
^ Dr '!' n9 ' without Houghton Mifflin’s permission in its pamphlets as
loughton Mifflin’s problem for being lenient with its product
Sat.-' r Fn(6pK )ver the years.
is surprising and a bit ironic that Houghton Mifflin
lacks an ordinary sense of humor and as a literary organiza
tion cannot detect parody. While Curious George is known
for getting in and out of trouble, we’re not looking for
trouble. Our hope is that Houghton Mifflin might look to
Curious George as inspiration to
lighten up, smile and learn to
enjoy life,” said Jews for Jesus
Executive Director David
Houghton Mifflin, a top
publishing company for more
than a century and a half, has
good reason to protest the indecent and
illegal use of one of its characters. It
was wrong for Jews for Jesus to associ
ate a childrens’ book character with a
religious stance because Curious George
was created to relate to everyone. For
one group to use for their goals, without
permission, a childhood character cher
ished by many is unacceptable.
For a company that emphasizes edu
cation, it is only proper that Houghton
Mifflin move to protect the reputation
and symbolism of its most loved and
popular characters.
It could be easy to turn this issue into an
example of religious persecution, but the law
suit between Houghton Mifflin and Jews for
Jesus is based on a violation of rights and
nothing more. It should not be thought of a
religious organization being shunned for its
beliefs but as an organization ignoring the estab
lished rules of corporate society.
For more than 60 years. Curious George has
been the responsibility of Houghton Mifflin.
Luckily, Houghton Mifflin has protected the
integrity of a childrens’ book character that
many growing up have learned
a valuable lesson from — when
you make a mistake, you must
take responsibility for it.
Leigh Henderson is a sophomore
psychology major.
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Parity rules hinder long-term success of professional football
Ihey say that variety is the spice of life. If
this is true, no professional sports league
is spicier than the NFL. Where else can a
former grocery store bag boy
like Kurt Warner or a murder
trial defendant like Ray
Lewis go from complete
obscurity to Super Bowl
MVP stardom?
Nowhere but the NFL.
Two key rule changes insti
tuted in the 1990s mean that,
like Warner and Lewis,
teams now are rising from
obscurity only to end up there again, and, as
a result, many sportswriters and football
purists are longing for the past days of the
NFL dynasty.
Roughly 10 years ago, the powers that be in
the NFL instituted some rulebook changes
under the title of “parity.” Fans of the game
are familiar with these changes — the salary
cap, that limits the amount of money a tea
can spend on its talent, and the scheduling
rules which pit the previous season's winning
teams against their fellow winners.
Ideally, these changes serve as a means of
challenging the strong teams and strengthen
ing the weak. But, in reality, they make it
harder for teams to afford to keep their best
players and punish teams for winning games
by way of harder schedules.
In all the fuss to keep things evenly
matched, the long-term effects to the game
were not considered fully, and, as a result,
the NFL has become the crapshoot that it is
today. Juggernaut dynasties and feather-in-hat
coaching legends are relics of a former era. In
today’s NFL, last year's cellar dweller can
become this year’s one-hit wonder and then
possibly return to the cellar again.
Consider the St. Louis Rams, which went
from last place in their division to become the
Super Bowl champions. But in their 1999-2000
Super Bowl-winning season, only one of it 16
regular-season games was played against an
opponent with a winning record because the
Rams had a weak showing the year before.
And though they won the Super Bowl that
year, the same changes that helped them win
may ultimately have been the beginning of
their demise. The Rams did not even make a
Super Bowl appearance the following season.
And St. Louis is, by no means, the only
team to feel the effects of parity. The NFL's
The NFL’s television ratings
have been on a steady decline.
push for mediocrity has hit every team in the
league. In fact, every NFL team but four has
made a playoff appearance in the past five sea
sons, yet only one team, the Denver Broncos,
has won the big game more than once in that
same span. As one sportswriter put it, “nobody is
truly awful... and for sure nobody is truly good.”
Whether parity — the NFL's version of com
munism — is actually hurting the game or not
is still a hot topic, but no one is denying the
change. If television ratings are any indication
of how the viewing public is taking to parity,
then nobody seems to like it. The NFL’s televi
sion ratings have been on a steady decline.
Perhaps this should not come as a surprise
to anyone. When compared to other sports’ rat-
ings-grabbing championship games, fans seem
to prefer the allure of dynasties. This is true in
the NBA where the two-time champion Lakers
are a shoe-in to make it three and all of
America seems to be behind them. The same
goes for Major League Baseball, in which the
New York Yankees are favored to win the
World Series year in and year out.
Football, in its purist form, is meant to be
played without restrictions like the salary cap
and scheduling rules. NFL commissioner Paul
Tagliabue can either consider rethinking parity
or continue to watch his once dominant
league’s TV ratings continue to decline.
George Deutsch is a junior
journalism major.
willing to pat ] fCARTOON OF THE DAY
The Battalion encourages letters to the editor. Letters must
be 300 words or less and include the author's name, class and
phone number.
The opinion editor reserves the right to edit letters for length,
style and accuracy. Letters may be submitted in person at 014
Reed McDonald with a valid student ID. Letters also may be
mailed to;
The Battalion — Mail Call
014 Reed McDonald • MS 1111
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX
Fax: (979) 845-2647
Mail Call:
Submissions made to old accounts will not be
published. Attachments are not accepted.
Surplus should benefit students
In response to Amanda Smith’s Sept. 28 article.
Last spring, along with many other students on
this campus, I voted for a fee increase that would
improve the bus^system on this campus for this year
and years to come. Because of the $50 increase, I
can now ride any bus, anywhere, anytime that I want.
While this is something I am grateful for, I am not
grateful that money I have paid in other fees is now
a "surplus" to be used by the University as it sees
fit. According to Smith, there are more than $1 mil
lion "up for grabs" left over from student fees paid
in the last academic year.
This money previously was given to Bus Ops, but
as my newly paid $50 now funds those operations,
the allotment from my student fees now is openly
available. The confusing thing is that Dr. Bowen is
considering adding additional fees (an "excellence
fee," whatever that means) to my bill to cover some
deficit that the University has.
Here's a novel idea. Why not use this surplus
money to alleviate that deficit instead of charging
me more? Better yet, why not cut me a check for
that surplus? After all, it is my money, right? I am in
no way saying we pay too much for school here. I
feel we get way more for our dollar than most
schools in this nation.
A surplus that stems from student paid fees
should be used to benefit the students, either by
preventing future fee increases, helping to alleviate
the parking problems, giving us a break on fees next
semester or a rebate from our fees for this semester.
Albert Atkins
Class of 2001
Southerland should
be commended
1 cannot put into words how proud I am of Dr.
Southerland, our vice president for Student
Affairs. My heart warms whenever I hear his
name announced at large gatherings like the
last football game. He was received with a
deafening cheer and "whoops!" a plenty. Let
me give an example of his tremendous leader
ship of late.
Instead of going along with the recent trend
of lowering student fees and making school
more affordable for all of us, Southerland has
decided to give the surplus from the Student
Services Fee to a new retreat center for stu
dent leaders.
Before I go on, 1 should say that I believe
with all my heart that the surplus is by over
sight only and not design. Surely, our leaders
did not foresee that the fee was redundant at
the time.
I for one am extremely excited about the
prospects of driving by such a pretty retreat
center. I am sure it will look just as nice on the
inside as it does on the outside.
Michael Emery
Class 2001
Organized religion not all bad
In response to Rich Bray's Sept. 28 column.
The author stated that organized religion "has
been a burden to society rather than a help."
1 m Ml HM *4 ■ H
Imagine just for a moment a society with no sem
blances of organized religion.
He also remarked that organized faiths "have
been competing with each other to prove that
their religion is the one true religion." Such
generalizations lack support.
My fellow Christians and I believe that we are
running a race alongside mankind rather than
against mankind. The author also informed his
readers "that religion does nothing to stop
An argument would be wasted on a state
ment as ridiculous as this. The most disturbing
section of the author's article proposed the
following question: "If Jesus has such a low
regard for non-believers, why should his fol
How could anyone who knows Jesus Christ
ask such a question. It only serves to deni
grate the ultimate sacrifice made on
mankind's behalf. Jesus Christ gave equal
portions of His life to those that would love
Him as well as those that would turn from
As if blasphemy was not sufficient, the
author went on to say, "Hopefully the near
future will allow us to come to the point where
organized religion will no longer be necessary,"
adding that "the time for individuals to be
molded by the views of the churches they grew
up in has come to a close."
Humbly, I ask this author is to make such a
bold declaration. I will close by asking God to
stir the hearts of his children.
Justin Estes
Class of 2005