Wednesday, September 27, 2006

[pun involving "major"]

The front page story of today's Michigan Daily is about the drum major fiasco that took place this summer, where the briefly incumbent Ben Iwrey was replaced by runner-up Iden Baghdadchi. Until now, the public information available on this story consisted of a brief e-mail from Professor Nix saying "Iden Baghdadchi is now the drum major."

Kudos to the Daily for dragging it through the mud. There it is for the world to hear about.

Sure, the Daily has every right to print the article, and I'm obviously not going to disagree with the need for free speech. But this is clearly bad for the program and was run in poor taste. I don't think the public needs to know there was a problem. It's just needless ammo. If an article like this about OSU's drum majors came up, I would take every opportunity to heckle them about it in Columbus this fall. But maybe that's just me.

Nix is all about good public representation of the band. I am positive he is just fuming-mad right now. While some of his reasons seem frivolous (a comment Ben made in 2003? A gesture he made in 2005 along with several dozen other band members, myself included?), it's pretty messed up that the "successful and happy conclusion" that Ben is fighting for would be him tumultuously reinstated as drum major 1/3 of the way through the season with a director and staff that obviously disagree with him. It's too bad he can't see beyond his own interests here.

Trombone section pop superstar Joe "J-Lo" Lohrum offered some reassurance that this might not result in something as debaclous as a midterm re-election:
" sounded like he was asking for reinstatment in the hope that they would settle for a public apology. I don't think he really expects to be put back in as drum major now."

While Ben was apparently unprofessional in his brief role, he seemed to lead the clarinet section with intensity and dedication. But apparently he just thought he could do whatever he wanted, and now it seems he wants to stop at nothing to bring about some justice he proved he doesn't deserve.

But the proof is in the pudding. The bottom-line evaluation of the drum major's performance -- the only thing I, as a lowly citizen no longer in the MMB, can care about -- comes about five minutes before kickoff. Sure, 400 people care how the drum major acts, carries himself, and leads the band during rehearsals. But about 110,000 care how he looks on gameday. Iden has nailed 4 of 4 hatless backbends. Q.E.D.

[edit: other comments about Iden redacted. This is not about him.]


Anonymous said...

Welcome to blogspot. It is a much happier place.

I have not yet seen this article, but I would suggest you are spot on in your assessment of Ben's character after this event. He has done nothing but affirm to Nix and the staff that they made the right choice in Iden.

As far as Iden is concerned, I may be biased as he is a dear friend of mine, but he has done a smashup job as DM. I look forward to the rest of this season in the MMB with great pride and excitement.

~SMT, MMB member

P.S. Your bass-bone playing is sorely missed.

Anonymous said...

On further reviewing the article, I'll have to reserve judgement.

It seems to me that perhaps the Daily mishandled the story, and are trying to make it a bigger deal than it is.

I should give some credit to Ben for trying non-public venues to review the problem. He feels he's been grossly mistreated and the only option left was the Daily.

I'll reserve judgement 'til I hear more from both sides.


Big Ten said...

This blog is terrible!

Just kidding!

I cycle through the Michigan blog list several times daily, so I hope you provide enough content to keep me satisfied.

Jeremy said...

SMT (I can't figure out the initials argh), for the record, I have no problems with Iden as a person. He's a cool guy. I just didn't think, in my prior experiences with him (and this summer), that he would make a good leader. I'm glad to hear he's done a good job.

I miss my bass-bone playing too. But props to Ani and MRod for stepping up and making the switch.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jeremy,

I like the blog.


Anonymous said...

Many of you are all assuming that Ben was behind the article -- he was not. One of his fellow band members tipped off the Daily -- read the postings on When this whole thing went down, the Nix, et al. said absolutely nothing to the people that elected Ben as DM. The person who tipped off The Daily felt that the truth should come out. The Daily ran with the story and the Daily tried to get comments from Nix and the Department -- and they refused. That silence speaks volumes, especially when you consider that they "supported" their decision with knowingly false accusations and long-resolved issues. If Nix wants change the decades-old tradition of demoncratically elected DM's, I suppose that's his prerogative. But he should have been man enough to tell the band, "this year, I'm choosing my own man." But the election didn't turn out his way and he acted like a spoiled child and handled the situation dishonestly. This, and not anything Ben or The Daily did, brough dishonor to the program. We'll see whether he attones or is brought down.

Matthew said...

It's a simple fact that when you're in a legal procedure (like the grievance that has been filed by Ben to the Music School, which Nix is a part of) you shut your mouth about said legal procedure. By saying nothing, Nix said nothing, not volumes. Furthermore, Nix is forbidden to discuss this matter with anyone, let alone to a newspaper, because he must abide by the university policy on grievance procedures. I, personally, am sick and tired of people saying that because Prof. Nix refused to comment on a poorly written article in a sub-par collegiate newspaper that he is somehow guilty of any wrongdoing. I suggest that before you participate in this witch hunt littered with conspiracy theories, that you refresh yourself on university policy and simple common sense decisions when you are responsible for a group with the rich tradition and history that the Michigan Marching Band showcases.