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Editors’ Desk Election Season

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overing Student Government elections is very difficult for AMP. Since we send our stories to print at the end of every month, our March issue is finished before candidates are announced, and our April issue is published after elections are over. Because of this, our involvement has often been minimal. Last year, however, we were able to critique the shortcomings of the election through our post-election UnElection campaign, in which we managed to gather more votes in a fake election than Student Government did in their actual elections. While the UnElection was fun in its own right, it also showcased a lack of student engagement and enthusiasm with Student Government. Unfortunately, we have not observed many signs of improvement this past year. In the eyes of AMP, an organization committed to promoting campus dialogue and facilitating the development of a shared campus culture, the most important function of Student Government is to serve as a communication bridge between the student body and administration. Ideally, Student Government would be in tune with the questions, concerns, problems, and ideas of a broad and representative cross-section of the student body, and would organize and advocate for those ideas before administration. Conversely, public communication from Student Government should provide a way for students to better understand the administrative decisionmaking process at UTD. Student Government can properly fill this role only if it regularly communicates and engages with students of all backgrounds and pursuits. The AMP UnElection was just one example of how little Student Government has done toward this end. For the average student to get more involved with the Student Government process, Student Government must take the initiative to actively connect with students and encourage them to engage. However, a cursory search for what Student Government actually does yields few results. This is by no means saying that Student Government does nothing on campus; a talk with any Student Government Senator quickly reveals the many initiatives they’ve been working on. However, their public presence and communication with

Zachary Boullt - Editor-in-Chief

Nicholas Provenghi - Web Editor

the student body as a whole does little to indicate that. Their online meeting minutes haven’t been published since November of 2016, making it difficult to quickly figure out what Student Government is planning for students. Checking their social media presence also isn’t much help. Scrolling through the past academic year primarily yields posts on a resolution concerning the bathroom bill, the introduction of hammocks to campus, and a few advertisements for sponsored political events leading up to election week. It is unreasonable to expect students to be engaged in a dialogue with Student Government when so little information is digitally accessible. The simple rebuttal to these criticisms is that students can and should meet with Student Government Senators in person to discuss their issues and concerns. However, blaming lack of engagement on students is not an effective solution. Until Student Government effectively demonstrates how it can tangibly assist and inform students, students lack a reason to care. A yearly test of Student Government’s success with student engagement is the election process. In recent years, this test has resulted in an uncontested coronation ceremony, and an election whose abysmal turnout spurred us to mock it. This year we planned to help drum up participation and awareness by running our own presidential candidate, and joining in on the fun. However, a combination of bylaws that restrict presidential eligibility to previous full-term Student Government Senators, and inter-Student Government politics and relationships made it difficult to find a candidate to place under our banner. Regardless of how we end up participating this month, the onus is on Student Government to transform what has consistently been referred to as an apathetic student body. The United States presidential election and turnout at UTD’s election night party demonstrated that students can be motivated to care about their country. They can also care about their school. Whatever happens this election, we hope to see Student Government do more to demonstrate why they are essential to our campus’s future.

Maisha Razzaque - Marketing Director

Matt Carpenter - Managing Editor

Bryar Bennett - Art Director


12

AN UNCERTAIN FUTURE HARRIS CHOWDHARY BY

04 FREEDOM FANDOM 06 08 ABUSE POWER 10 16 DJ SHOWCASE 18 FOOD THOUGHT 20 22 AMERICA FIRST 24 26 ILL-ADVISED BY MORGANNE BLAYLOCK & JOANNA HAUG

BY NICHOLAS PROVENGHI

OF

PERSISTING IN TRUMP’S AMERICA BY EMILY HUFFMAN

BY CARA SANTUCCI

OF

SEVEN FORGOTTEN STORIES BY NICK COLE

WITH YOUSSEF MAHMOUD

FOR

BY BRYAR BENNETT

FINDING MYSELF IN A POSTAPOCALYPTIC HELLSCAPE BY MAISHA RAZZAQUE

WITH SLOAN

THE CONSERVATIVE BIBLE: EXODUS BY NICK CHIAVEL

Editor-in-Chief Zachary Boullt

Managing Editor Matt Carpenter

Art Director Bryar Bennett

Web Editor Nicholas Provenghi

Marketing Director Maisha Razzaque

Staff Designers Anthony Inga Chiamaka Mgboji Jennifer Moravits Shannon Ramirez Katie Risor

Contributors Morganne Blaylock Nick Chiavel Harris Chowdhary Nick Cole Joanna Haug Emily Huffman Sloan

Photographer Christopher Lim

Media Adviser Chad Thomas

Disclaimer Opinions expressed in AMP are those of the editor or of the writer of the article and are not necessarily those of the university administration, the board of Regents of the University of Texas System, or of the operating board of the magazine.

Have an opinion? Think you’re funny? Write for AMP! Contact us at amodestproposal@gmail.com and follow us on social media for more information.


d e s i v d A l l I LIFEST YLE

t n u A h t Wi

o J t n u A Mo and

NA HAUG

K & JOAN

LOC NNE BLAY by MORGA

e in no r a d n a s not aunt e r a uestions. o q J r t u n o u y A r e and d to answ pinions and Aunt Mo ie if l a u q of o ally way actu r, they have a lot This column . Howeve low them l o f o t u to give d e e n ir e want yo h atisfy t aims to s licited advice. unso

How do I address everyone at UTD who tells me I will not have a career/future/ life if I don’t major in STEM and sell my soul to a lab? -Really Tired of Hearing “Political Science is not a Science” Mo: Have a career/future/life not in STEM. That’ll show ‘em! Jo: I struggle with this a lot. I mostly just tell myself that I’m a different kind of smart than those people and that my kind of smart is really valuable in other fields. I also continually make a joke out of the fact that I don’t understand STEM in any capacity. Mo: As a STEM major (mechanical engineering), I find myself sometimes harassing non-STEM majors too... Jo: Do you wanna fight me, Aunt Mo? Mo: It isn’t that I don’t take non-STEM majors seriously, I just feel like I have to be killing myself in school for a reason. Engineers are told that we will have better job prospects and pay if we keep our heads down and constantly study for four years, regardless of how true it is. We just feel bad about our life choices and lash out. Jo: Just think about it, reader, when you’re in law school (if you go to law school?) you’ll be killing yourself in school for your job prospects. Here, we are just completely surrounded by STEM people, but in the end it’ll work out for you too! You will find your place in this world! I believe in you! There’s no telling how far you’ll go! Mo: Don’t let STEM students’ superiority complexes get in your way of being happy.

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I really like my best friend, but I’m afraid that if I tell her how I feel it would ruin our friendship. What should I do? -The Unrequited Engineer Jo: Aunt Mo, any insights? Mo: Your best friend could take it well...or not so well. Jo: Are you getting any signals that your friend might like you too? Mo: You need to evaluate what you might be losing by telling your best friend. Would your best friend feel uncomfortable? Would your friendship be threatened? Jo: I think it really comes down to how you think she would react in either case. Is your friendship strong enough that you would both want to work through this, no matter what the outcome? Mo: How long do you think you would date? Is this a hear-the-wedding-bells kind of crush, or a hooking-up-would-be-fun kind? What’s the best way to passive aggressively tell your roommate they need to be quieter? -Sleep Deprived Mo: I am always the loud and aggressive roommate, so I can’t help you there. Jo: Yeah, I tend to go for outright aggression. Last year I used to bang on the wall and yell “SHUT UP I NEED TO SLEEP” but I’m not sure that it was entirely successful. Mo: Things that my roommates have tried on me include dramatically leaving the room to do homework elsewhere (worked), texting me politely to turn down the volume (worked), or yelling from her opened bedroom door (didn’t work). Jo: I listen to a white noise app literally all the time, so that’s a good way to block out noise if you decide not to use our highly effective methods. My boyfriend doesn’t like Harry Potter, what should I do? -A Grumpy Gryffindor Jo: DUMP HIS ASS. Or relentlessly expose him to Harry Potter so he’s forced to like it. Mo: Uhhhh, Aunt Jo, I have something to confess. Jo: Merlin’s Beard! Tell me this isn’t actually happening. Mo: It isn’t that I don’t like Harry Potter. Jo: Are you Sirius? Mo: But I only read the first two, and was not interested in the rest. I am sorry I didn’t tell you sooner. Jo: I can’t believe this is happening to me right now. I’m writing an advice column with a Muggle.

Mo: From my limited understanding of Harry Potter that primarily comes from movies, you’re a muggle, too, right? Jo: Did you just come here to insult me? Mo: Good luck, Grumpy Gryffindor.

Center and the Industrial Practice Programs (for ECS students) can help you decide which careers would be best for you. Jo: Also, this is literally what I use my journal for. Journaling is the best.

How do I nicely reject the nerd who asked me out? -Not interested, like at all

How do I remove my UTD goggles? -Worried

Mo: I pretend I am always busy. One time I convinced a boy to push back a possible date for a month. It really helps to have a detailed planner so you can pretend like your days are full. Jo: OK, yeah, I do that too. But there’s a nice way to actually respond! One time, a boy asked me out over email. I think I told him that I liked him as a friend but wasn’t interested in a relationship. That’s a pretty standard answer, right? Mo: Once, over Facebook, I just sent that I was not interested, but it took me a full day to come up with that. Jo: Tell them you’re transferring and then spend the next few years avoiding them. What is the best way to cover up the smell of unwashed clothes? -2 lazy 2 wa$h Jo: Let me tell you about the magic that is Downy spray. This stuff is meant for dewrinkling, which it does beautifully, but it also masks unwanted smells. Mo: I can confirm. This stuff is also magic if you are traveling and need wrinkle free and non-suitcase smelling clothes. Jo: But also, like, please wash your clothes. The world will thank you. I feel like I’m failing at everything I do and I keep making stupid mistakes. How do I know I’m on the right path? -Clueless Wanderer Jo: Did you steal my journal to come up with this question? Mo: If you want to know if you are on the right path you have to ask yourself if you still enjoy what you are doing when everything else fades away. Failure can complicate this, but you just have to keep asking yourself if it’s worth it. Jo: I think it’s really hard to reassure yourself that you’re doing okay when you feel like you’re not doing anything right. It’s helpful to have external reassurance from friends, a therapist, parents, professors, etc., but it’s also good to remind yourself of the little victories. Mo: Just as a plug for resources on campus: The Student Counseling Center and the Galerstein Women’s Center both offer counseling for UTD students. Places like the Career

Jo: Start seeing every human for who they are on the inside, not just who they are on the outside. We are all beautiful in our own way! Mo: Or, take a day trip to SMU. Jo: Or that. How do I increase my confidence when talking to girls? -George Jo: When you find out, you tell me. Trying to talk to literally anyone when you want them to like you is tricky. It’s like a job interview but ALL THE TIME. Mo: Stand up straight! It’ll make you feel and look more confident. Jo: Try to talk about things that you both have an interest in because you’ll both be more enthusiastic and more comfortable. Mo: Ask them questions! It gives you all the benefits of having a conversation without doing any of the work. Jo: A lot of this depends on the context in which you’re talking to them. Mo: Pro tip: Do not randomly compliment them without ever speaking to them before. In my experience it just comes off as creepy. Jo: Remember that they’re people too. They might be nervous too, but the more confident and comfortable you seem, the more confident and comfortable you’ll both feel. People keep coming to me for advice on their life problems and I feel really unqualified to help them out... what do I do?? -Uncle Sam Mo: Start an advice column with your best friend. Jo: Then, tell everyone that you’ll no longer be giving advice through any other medium. Problem solved!

MORGANNE BLAYLOCK & JOANNA HAUG sophomores | mech. eng and sociology Mo and Jo are best friends that enjoy long talks and telling their friends what to do.

march 2017

05


CULTURE

freedom of

fandom Social media gives LGBT fans the unique opportunity to create their own spaces and content to represent them

by nicholas provenghi

O

ne of the most noticeable trends in pop culture for the past 15 years has been the normalization of “geek culture.” While this trend has merited its fair share of think pieces, it has served to drag a little brother of sorts into the mainstream — fandom. Like any good millennial phenomenon, fandom and its growth has been measurably influenced by the internet. Specifically, the internet has allowed fandom to become a unique space for members of the LGBT community.

06

| amputd.com

Since the first fandoms emerged out of 19th century literature, they’ve been hubs for fans to talk and theorize about their favorite books, plays, radio dramas, movies, and TV shows. Having been around for so long and having adapted to new forms of media, fandoms have built up very definite and identifiable cultures around themselves, and each specific fandom has its own recognizable features and stereotypes. For instance, fandoms built up around sports teams are thought to be mostly made up of straight men. This isn’t a blanket statement that can be applied to every sports fan, obviously, but straight males tend to be the dominant voices in those fandoms.


In a general sense, every fandom has a generic “Fan X” that’s representative of the fandom, whether it is based in truth or not. If every fandom has a different membership, then every fandom obviously has a different set of ideals, behaviors, and group makeup; by quite a few measures, the differences between fandoms can be as great as the differences between cultures. This sea of contrast makes studying fandoms as a whole challenging yet interesting. It is difficult to make blanket statements about all fandoms, but in-depth commentary on a few that are similar is possible, yet infrequent. There are fandoms for almost anything, be it literature (Where are the Potterheads and Lord of the Rings fans?), bands and musicians (The Super Bowl probably made some Little Monsters very rowdy), live-action television (Hey there, Supernatural fans! Say hi to the Game of Thrones and Parks and Recreation fans for me), cartoons (I hear that the Crystal Gems really rock…), anime (there might be over 9000 of these fans here at UTD), theater, comics, internet stars, celebrities, and more! If you know at least one person who likes a thing, chances are that thing has a fandom attached to it. The concurrent rise of fandom and internet-enabled social media has tied the two together, for better or worse. Becoming part of a fandom isn’t just enhanced by being online; it’s practically a requirement. News will break on Twitter, and then you’ll have to check the commentary on Tumblr before taking a break to read some… literature… on Archive of Our Own, which you’ll share on the “official” subreddit for whatever work you’ve inadvertently spent all day obsessing over. Now that the internet has been established as the main vehicle for fandom engagement, what does that mean for the state of fandom? The answer to that lies with the way the internet has been used by marginalized communities. There’s been a fair amount of discussion about the power of the internet to give refuge and voice to minority communities already, but how do the ideas behind that intersect with fandom and its unique dynamics? First, it is necessary to identify what exactly makes the internet so appealing to marginalized peoples. For the most part, it’s the interconnectedness offered by the platform; when people who’ve been ostracized by society are given the power to connect freely and (mostly) without fear of being judged, they can create unique spaces for and by themselves. This was first observed with sexual, gender, and racial minorities in the 1990s, and with the advent of social media, has only grown more powerful as a force. And because members of all these groups are still “normal” people, with lives and interests, they become part of fandoms. This intersection is interesting since the dynamics of people groups and fandoms blend together, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Contrary to what one might think, fandoms had a slight head start on intersectionality in that a great deal of heavy lifting in some fandoms was done (and is still done) by women. This positioned fandom to be in direct opposition with maledominated society and to cast a wide net of people and ideas from the get-go. The most telling bit of evidence is probably the apparent overrepresentation of same-sex male couples in fandom works like art and fanfiction. It started with the explosion of works about Captain Kirk and Spock from Star Trek (which was the first fandom to go near-mainstream, but that’s another topic), and has only become more and more common in fandom

since then. A survey conducted in 2016 by the Three Patch Podcast with over 2000 responses showed that, across multiple fandoms, 87% of fans said that they had consumed works that focused on a relationship between two men on either a daily or weekly basis, compared to 28% for heterosexual relationships and 27% for relationships between two women. Modern fandom’s proclivity for these kinds of relationships can be seen as a result of a few different factors. The most direct is the sexuality of fandom members, and the survey asked about that. Out of options that included but weren’t limited to asexual, heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and queer, the most common response was bisexual (34.8%), followed by heterosexual (24.0%) and queer (18.8%). In other words, in the breadth of fandom captured by this survey, more than three-fourths of members aren’t straight. This would cause an obvious bias toward same-sex content, and when combined with media’s bias toward writing male lead characters, explains the huge sexual orientation gap in fan-made content. While the depictions of characters and situations aren’t without problems, many of those are too unwieldy to tackle in this article, as they require unpacking layers of cultural context and social phenomena. However, one problem that absolutely merits attention is the fetishization of same-sex characters. This can be observed in multiple fandoms, but is probably most common amongst the anime fandom, as a result of an abundance of canonical LGBT romances. However, the works themselves, by and large, present overly heteronormative stories that force characters into “male” and “female” roles. And because fandom culture mirrors the culture of the source material, some members of the anime fandom take those dynamics and push them onto other characters, and even onto real people, as a result of seeing it and being exposed to it so much. With that and a few other caveats in mind, it’s important to remember the positive effects of having fan communities made up of mostly LGBT people who are creating LGBT content. One of those is the fact that consuming this kind of content is helping more and more people understand their own sexualities; in the Three Patch Podcast survey, over 75% of fans reported that their activities reading fan fiction had “influenced [their] understanding of [their] own sexual orientation.” And that statistic isn’t surprising, because for all the bad, online fandoms’ heightened influence on LGBT pairings and content serves to normalize it. In communities driven mostly by LGBT people who are creating that kind of content, it’s almost easy to forget that the world at large doesn’t work in the same way. In a way, fandom’s time in the mainstream has put it at a crossroads; it can either continue to be a force for the normalization of LGBT themes and characters and a hub for content creators, or it can keep perpetuating old stereotypes. It’s up to fans to take control of their spaces and make them deserving of another 15 years in the spotlight.

NICHOLAS PROVENGHI sophomore | EMAC An aspiring researcher, Nicholas excels at random trivia, Twitter ranting, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule of five hours per night.

march 2017

07


POLITICS

illustration by Chiamaka Mgboji


D

o you miss Obama yet? Wish we could go back to 2016, live that forsaken year all over again if it meant the country could have a do-over? You’re not alone. In fact, the popular majority of American voters agree! But all bitterness over the Electoral College and the current state of affairs aside, let’s agree that we have a lot of work to do. Donald Trump’s vision for America is not one that I want to see unfold over the next four years, so I’ve compiled some resources to help keep his delusions from becoming reality. Consider this your comprehensive guide to resisting. The first thing to remember about angry dissenters is that we’re capable of getting loud. The Women’s March on D.C., which occurred just after Trump’s inauguration, drew in record-breaking crowds across the world. But although plenty was said about the historic nature of that day, not much has been brought up about following up on the march. In fact, the Women’s March was never intended to be a oneand-done deal — the organizers of the event planned 10 actions to take place during the first 100 days of Trump’s term. The first action, of course, was the march itself. The second action, which took place the first week of February, involved various “huddles” across the country — small groups of like-minded individuals who gathered to discuss ideas for future efforts and send postcards to Congressmen. The entire agenda of actions has not been announced yet, but you can add your email address to a list at womensmarch.com/100 to get notified about local events. Another surefire way to be heard going forward is to take five minutes out of your day to make some calls to your Congressperson. While writing to your local representative is important and often a better way to articulate your specific points of concern, calls can be much more impactful for an important reason — tallies. Staffers keep a tally of calls received regarding specific issues, then report the numbers back to legislators as an indication of how strongly their constituents feel about the issues. The website 5calls.org is a great way to reach out if you have no idea where to start. The site uses your location to provide you with the most relevant contact information, and allows you to choose issues you deem important from a list. If talking on the phone is not your strong suit, the website also provides a script that you can use to make your message come across clearly and ensure your call is tallied. When you call, you may find that the lines are full for whoever you are trying to reach, particularly if a high-stakes vote is about to take place. Don’t get discouraged — leaving a message with your home address will ensure you are still added to the tally. While we’re on the topic, if you’re going to be reaching out to your members of Congress, you ought to know how best to have an impact. How do you, one constituent among millions, get hardheaded conservative politicians to listen to your progressive agenda? One valuable resource to help you with this question is the Indivisible Guide, an online publication that you can download to learn exactly how to organize grassroots efforts to stop the agenda of the Trump administration through Congress. The guide covers how the Tea Party movement effectively blocked attempts at reform by the Obama administration and also lays out how members of Congress think. You’ll learn how to look into their voting record and campaign contributors, as well as other vital information that can advantageous

to know when reaching out to them. You can find the guide at indivisibleguide.com. If you’re someone who likes the idea of taking to the streets, making clever signs, and marching the old-fashioned way, consider attending the March for Science on April 22. The march is planned to let the scientific community voice their concerns about Trump’s questionable stances on the fate of the EPA, conservation, performing and sharing research on climate and public health, and more. As with the Women’s March, the main March for Science will be taking place in Washington, D.C. while several satellite marches happen simultaneously across the country. For more information on the march in Dallas, you can visit dallasmarch.com or follow @ScienceMarchDAL on Twitter. In addition to the political action taking place around the DFW area, there is plenty to take part in right here on campus. A great way to start is by joining one or more of the many political organizations that UTD has to offer. This includes, but is not limited to, College Democrats, UTD Democratic Socialists, and Texas Rising—all organizations with a progressive mindset and goal to fight back against injustices committed by our government. Of course, in the coming four years, the absolute best way to make a difference in policy is to simply go out and vote. This seems like a no-brainer, but according to CNN Politics, voter turnout reached a 20-year low in 2016 — 59% nationally and only 51% statewide. Given that 2016 was a presidential election year, those numbers will only drop for the 2018 midterm elections. Compare those still to odd-year local elections, and our democracy seems pretty pitiful. The problem with local and midterm elections, however, is that they simply don’t get the amount of coverage and hype that we’re used to seeing with presidential elections. As a result, voters often find themselves hopelessly uninformed about their options. This is where the League of Women Voters comes in. The League is a grassroots, nonpartisan organization founded in 1920 to help educate voters and promote democracy. During each election, the League of Women Voters publishes a Voters Guide that includes information about what to bring to the polls and the candidates on the ballot, including candidate responses to questions posed by the League. In addition to the national League, there are local Leagues in all 50 states, and 27 different chapters in Texas alone. There is a local chapter for Dallas, Richardson, and Plano-Collin County for those interested in getting involved. You can find out more about the organization at lwv.org or find a local chapter at lwvtexas.org. We have a long four years ahead of us. That doesn’t mean we have to sit idly by and watch the country divide further — we can’t afford to. Grassroots organization is a powerful thing, and every little bit of action we take helps. This administration is going to do everything in its power to test our strength as a nation. Are you ready to get to work?

EMILY HUFFMAN freshman | computer science Emily is interested in politics, comedy, and music. She has an absurd amount of useless classic rock knowledge.

march 2017

09


POLITICS

The increasing use of executive orders is improper and unconstitutional by cara santucci

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onald Trump signed eight executive orders in his first two weeks in office. Eight years ago, in the same time frame, Barack Obama signed nine. Trump’s more controversial efforts — such as his recently struck down order on immigration — have led about half of voting Americans to believe he is moving too fast, according to a Gallup poll. Executive orders have disproportionate power in the American system of government and need to be re-examined on a constitutional basis. Mostly, however, presidents need to be more discerning when it comes to the times an executive order is the proper method of policy implementation. Debate over the proper role of executive orders must necessarily address concerns of separation of powers and original intent. In Federalist 46, James Madison writes, “the accumulation of all power, legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The Constitution reflects Madison’s view, delegating legislative powers to Congress (Article One, Section One) and executive power to the executive branch (Article Two, Section One). Within this framework, an executive order is a presidential directive that dictates how the government should work, interpret or apply laws already granted by Congress or the Constitution. This is where it gets murky. Although the common counterarguments in favor of executive orders generally hinge on the fact that executive orders do not create legislation and therefore do not overstep the separation of powers clause of the Constitution, that argument does not accurately reflect how presidential directives currently and historically have been applied. From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton to Donald Trump, executive orders have appeared more as an amalgam of the two branches, intruding upon legislative authority and overstepping executive authority, thereby rendering the actions unconstitutional. In 2001, the Heritage Foundation released a report entitled “The Use and Abuse of Executive Orders and Other Presidential Directives.” In this report, Todd Gaziano writes that the measure of abuse of executive orders is not merely about the number of orders signed in an administration, but is more about how many “illegal and abusive” orders were signed. For example, Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order on immigration was taken to the federal court system for violating aspects of the Constitution. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously applied a temporary restraining order to the executive order, concluding the government did not show it was likely to win against the states’ claim that the order violated the rights of green card holders — lawful permanent residents — to return to the United States.

The problem with Trump’s executive order, in the eyes of many, is that it functionally circumvents the constitutional policy-making process, wherein orders were originally intended to circumvent deadlocked legislatures. Executive orders have been deployed by presidents since the administration of George Washington. However, they seem to have become both more visible and controversial because of their increased usage in response to a more frequently deadlocked legislature, argues professor Allan Lichtman of American University in a 2015 CQ Researcher article. However, if the executive order is a weapon most useful for alleviating partisan deadlock in Congress, why is Trump currently using the order to create policy when both houses are red? Yet one could even argue that gridlocked legislatures were intentionally written into the framework of the Constitution. The framers did not want government acting unless it had the “clear authority to do so,” argues Roger Pilon, founding director of the The Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. In response to increased use of executive orders, some — including Louis Fisher of The Constitution Project in D.C. — believe including the judicial branch in these decisions may help install checks and balances into a presidential power currently lacking essential discipline of that nature. But this still fails to address the disparity between the modern use of executive orders and their most basic principles. The executive order was designed to give the president the power to interpret a law that has already been created via the constitutionally-dictated legislative process, not to write new laws. The president may try to convince Congress that his policy is worth implementing, but he should not force agencies to adopt his policy by using an executive order to leapfrog the constitutional lawmaking process. A strong presidency is important for American democracy to thrive. However, the unchecked power of the executive order when deployed incorrectly — which it has been — is a dangerous concept. Further, President Trump’s use of the order thus far, especially the recently implemented immigration order, clearly works around the democratic system of moving law through the House and Senate. It is time the executive order be deployed more thoughtfully, and with more respect to the existing system for creating laws that is set out by the Constitution.

CARA SANTUCCI junior | interdisciplinary studies Cara is the Managing Editor of The Mercury. She is fulfilling her dream of being a contributor to all four Student Media organizations.

march 2017

11


CAMPUS

An Uncer

UTD must ensure a future for the defunded CentralTrak program, an essential catalyst in the Dallas arts community


rtain Future by Harris Chowdhary|Photos by Chrstopher Lin

T

ucked in the armpit between I-30 and Dallas’s Fair Park,

program was eventually turned over to the University of Texas at

seeping through Deep Ellum, a former assistant of the

upper echelon pillar of the Dallas art scene. The UT Dallas-Southside

right outside the border of the development process

iconic Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei, an Ecuadorian theorist

who cofounded a curatorial network between global port cities, and an

Italian philosopher with an infectious laugh live within 300 feet of each other. It’s not a mad lib; it’s the reality of CentralTrak, the UTD-run artist residency in Deep Ellum.

In the grand tradition of essentialization, it seems descriptions

like this have become the only way Dallasites know how to describe CentralTrak, if they even describe it at all. The program, in all

its intricacies, is flattened to a plane of identities and bodies, and

made to serve larger narratives about development, diversity, and its

neighborhood. This disservice to the program underscores, perhaps, the reason such a resounding silence has met the news that CentralTrak will lose its lease in July.

Moreover, those pieces of writing that have emerged in the last

few months attempt not only to participate in a conversation about

CentralTrak that truly never started, but additionally seem committed to espousing a simplistic and manichean view of the program, one in

Dallas, a process masterminded by Richard Brettell, a longstanding

Artist Residency, as it was newly christened, was called “Dallas’s first advanced urban laboratory for the arts.”

The artists, beyond the work they created in the space, played an

important role in changing a neighborhood that was, at the time,

understood as so dangerous, violent, and decrepit that, as longtime

UTD Professor and CentralTrak ally Greg Metz remembers, “only

Canadians were crazy enough to own property there,” into one that

now houses the Dallas Police Headquarters, its own boutique hotel, and a flood of unaccompanied high schoolers on a cocktail of party

drugs every other weekend. Karen Weiner’s on-site management and round-the-clock commitment to the program was essential to its

development at this time. The heavyweight talent that Weiner brought in for the first round of residents lived the artist’s dream. Their only

expenses were parking, internet connections, telephone and utility bills, and supplies as they experimented in the kind of petri dish that can only form when open minds and open doors are thrown together.

Eventually, however, the program’s success seemed to be its curse,

which “the University” and “the Artists” are diametrically opposed,

as gentrification entered the next phase of its pathological rampage,

dismantle, and retell the simplistic discourses that have surrounded

presence as a marketing tool, ultimately remodeling the spaces for

in an affront to the true nuance of the situation. I seek to question, CentralTrak in recent months by first explicating on the program’s

history and genealogy, in the hopes that more elaborate, involved, and

engaged conversations emerge from the UTD community and beyond on the fate of this vital program.

As we begin to look at its history, we find that the program precedes

its name. Its ancestor, a residency at Southside-on-Lamar, boasted

almost 90 artists from across the globe, brought to Dallas to live, work, create, install, and teach. Management of this highly experimental

pricing artists out of their spaces while simultaneously using their

young urban professionals. The program’s end in 2005 seemed to close a chapter in Dallas’ artistic community. The lack of an experimental space was felt by many, and the ground was ripe for something new.

After this hiatus, UTD generously reinvigorated the program in

2008, opening a new space in Exposition Park. Through a collaboration with developer David Gibson, the space was renovated to provide

live-work lofts to six mid-career artists and a gallery for exhibitions, performances, lectures, talks, DJ sets, zine fairs, and everything in

march 2017

13


between. When newly recruited scholar and curator Charissa Terranova

and community gathering.

entitled “States of Exception,” bridging the worlds of emergent design

during this time and before that made a lasting mark on the way art is

ushered in a new era in Dallas’ artistic environment. In a D Magazine

and sustainability have long been the enemies of projects like this. Glass

inaugurated the space and the new program with a provocative show criticism and canonic works in philosophical inquiry, the program

interview from the time, Terranova declares that CentralTrak seeks

to “educate the public in a sophisticated way because Dallas has such sophisticated things.” To Terranova, and to many others, the explicit

position that art history, theory, criticism, and other forms of intellectual inquiry have in art is essential, and CentralTrak brought all that and more to the main stage. Through this time, a faculty advisory board

made the bulk of administrative decisions for the program. Made up of

The magazine is one of many projects spun out of CentralTrak

produced, consumed, and understood in North Texas, but consistency now lives in Los Angeles, following the understandable process of

burnout many artists experience. The drain this creates can be felt across town as artists trained in north Texas flee when the process of engaging in a consuming battle with oppressive administrative and societal

structures that refuse to recognize their importance becomes more and more daunting

Nonetheless, over the past few years, CentralTrak continued to

actors, painters, theorists, and others who cared, these faculty provided

produce its greatest successes. One of the most venerable of these was

attempted to bridge the 18 miles between Expo Park and Richardson.

called Chalet Dallas. The Chalet was an orchestrated micro-utopia of

a backbone that informed choices in residents, strategic plans, and

In early 2010, Kate Sheerin took over from Terranova, who stepped

back to continue her scholarly work at the university. Sheerin, though entering with less formal scholarly stature than Terranova, had an

incredible acumen for fundraising. The tradeoff during this epoch,

however, was a more hands-off approach to management. Artists were

left to their own devices and were checked in on only occasionally. The

program chugged along without a hitch, though some argue its vibrance was noticeably absent.

Then, as the endless tide of turnover ebbed back into frame,

CentralTrak’s progress was shifted once more when Sheerin stepped down and then-resident Heyd Fontenot was named director. It

was through this unexpected and untimely change, however, that

CentralTrak found its apex. Under Fontenot’s direction the program took on an entirely new energetic quality. With Fontenot as den-

mother, the space, in its entirety, became seemingly public. Community members felt inspired, engaged, and, most importantly, welcomed in

the gallery, and residents’ creativities were reinvigorated by the pulsing

energy that only supportive and sustained connections can create. Sally

Glass, a two-year resident and UTD graduate student during Fontenot’s

a fabulous collaboration with the Nasher Sculpture Center on a show luxury weaponized for community, installed in the Nasher Sculpture

Center for five months last winter. The social sculpture was positioned

as an attempt to extend the artist’s “utopian idea of community building through carefully orchestrated social gatherings.” A cornerstone of this experience was the listener, an individual who sat in the space during

open hours, listening — that’s it. The artist hoped to bring this original fixture of the exhibit as it was born in Los Angeles, Maneesh Raj

Madahar, to Dallas for the next show, and was afforded this opportunity by the generosity of CentralTrak as it hosted Madahar as an artist-

in-residence during his tenure. This collaboration was exactly what it seemed the program needed: a connection between local spaces and

visiting artists, facilitated by a public university, in order to serve the

greater Dallas community. It seemed that in this moment, CentralTrak’s

purpose may have been solidified, and many thought this signaled a new

era. But, after ten years of astounding success, the sparkle on campus has faded, the twinkle has perhaps lost its buff, and a campus so committed

to demographic growth without strategy has all but forgotten about the residency.

While graduate students in the Arts and Humanities and

tenure remembers “you could go at anytime and somebody would be

ATEC programs have continued to be CentralTrak residents, their

performances, lectures, shows, anything and everything we wanted.” It

community than the UT Dallas one. The faculty body that once

there, somebody would hang out — there were experimental music

was also during this time that CentralTrak seemed to best realize its

goals of bridging intelligent academic and artistic inquiry. Glass is also one of the best examples of this spirit in action.

In 2012, the Dallas-native artist and then-resident started semigloss.,

a print art zine centered around local artistic creation. “There was

just so much work and activity and DIY energy that deserved to be

documented, if not for posterity, then for the furthering of our creative culture.” Her publication, produced in the newfound porosity of the

space and founded on the stability the program provided her rocked the Dallas art scene. People practically sang its praises through the streets,

journalists called the magazine “at once beautifully simple and academic to an obtuse effect,” and I personally was connected to folks who are

now my closest friends because of its tangible commitment to events

14

| amputd.com

involvements outside of class lean far more toward the Dallas art

provided structure, stability, and representation for the incubator met

with less and less regularity until finally new administrative bodies had to be formed to maintain the program’s regular functions. Fontenot

summarizes the issue in stating that “the small staff at CentralTrak and

the artists housed within had such inspiration and energy, but taking the idea to upper administration generally extinguished it.” Understandably, this waning material support and a lapse in critical conversation

about the program’s purpose have put its growth and success on the

backburner, while also creating an environment in which its tenuous future is nothing but a footnote.

Fontenot’s contract was not renewed in October of 2016, his

position was dissolved, and the lease on the space is ending in June of 2017. William Sarradet, a Dallas-born thinker and creative who


was slated to begin a residency in late June reflects on the situation

with a sadness that is all too familiar to creatives working in Dallas.

Sarradet highlights that “the loss of Heyd Fontenot from residence in

to space, a public university-sponsored residency for artists in North Texas is of greater necessity than ever before.

From Drag Queens enacting politics with their bodies to artists

our community is a sobering casualty of this situation as well.” In the

from across the globe obsessively questioning normalcy via everyday

ingredient.

artistic networks and its rapidly advancing urban fabric. Walking

alchemy of creativity, personality proves the most volatile and potent As CentralTrak sits on the cusp between obsolescence and

excellence, it is our duty to reinforce our commitment to the arts, accessible intellectual conversation, and the city of Dallas itself.

Frank Dufour, the interim director of the program, is in the process of preparing an end of mission report which he ultimately hopes

can provide some form of structure within which the program may continue to exist, but he is also worried. “I can plan whatever I

want, but I have no idea what the university will commit,” Dufour

emphasizes. Planning a smooth transition to another idea of an artists’ residency is nearly impossible without a solid footing.

Furthermore, it is imperative that we acknowledge the

particularities of the larger Dallas art ecology when we consider

CentralTrak. Taking into account the enslavement of smaller galleries to a profit-generating art market, the geographic sprawl of Dallas’

population, the malaise with which Texans tend to understand art,

and an emergent movement that seeks to restrict free and fair access

objects, CentralTrak has proven itself essential to Dallas’ evolving through the gleaming halls of UTD’s Edith O’Donnell Arts and

Technology Building, one would find it hard not to run into a piece

of art produced by a CentralTrak resident. While it’s clear that UTD understands the position an academically oriented artistic laboratory

has had in these last 15 years and has continued to make an honorable commitment to its survival, it’s essential that we look towards the

future with a fresh eye, a generous hand, and an approach that centers on community, sophisticated artistic creation, internationally inspired intellectual inquiry, and the good of our city at large.

AMP’s coverage of CentralTrak will continue next month with Part 2.

HARRIS CHOWDHARY sophomore | IPE Harris is a student, artist, and writer based in the corner of his bed that gets the coldest at night. He always brings snacks..

december 2016

15


POLITICS

7

FORGOTTEN news stories

These past few years have been pretty rough, considering the political, economic, and social struggles that the human race has had to face. In light of recent concerns, such as the rise of the alt-right and the repercussions of a confusing presidential election, it comes as no surprise that there were some important stories that were forgotten in the midst of this political fever dream. The seven issues described below should not be forgotten, and must receive more attention if we hope to see meaningful progress. by nick cole

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1. Panama Papers

On May 9th, 2016 it was revealed in a leak from a German news site, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, that many large business owners had been using fake, off-shore companies to evade paying taxes. Essentially, they exploited the exclusion of corporate investments from taxation by fraudulently investing in non-existent businesses. The leak revealed that over 200,000 fake companies were used as “tax havens” and exposed many of the guilty business owners. However, despite the fallout, many companies still continue these practices.

2. Guantanamo Bay

Our Constitution provides rights of due process to us. Guantanamo Bay (also known as Gitmo) rips a gaping hole in them and allows for “suspected terrorists” to be held without being properly prosecuted. These transgressions and others such as torture and harsh living conditions can occur at Gitmo because it is located in Cuba instead of the United States. Obama attempted to close it during his second term, but Congress blocked his efforts, and we’re still stuck with it. It’s unconstitutional, inhumane, and should not be tolerated.

3. "Bring Back Our Girls”

Back in 2013, it was reported that around 200 Nigerian girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram and sold as brides for $12 each. While the organization “Bring Back Our Girls” has been avidly fighting for these victims of Boko Haram and has managed to rescue some, there is still much work to be done to help these girls get home as soon as possible.

4. Tragedies in Aleppo

In the midst of the Syrian Civil War, many cities have been hit hard by bombings and violent clashes between rebels and the government of Bashar al-Assad, impacting thousands of families. Aleppo, Syria, one of the Middle East’s most populous cities, is the most notable case. The city essentially became a wasteland after a series of bombings left many innocent civilians homeless, injured, or even dead. The Syrian Civil War rages on, and the contentious debates concerning refugees from this region should not ignore the abject horrors people from Aleppo and other war-torn cities have faced. When recalling these civilians’ struggles, Americans should recognize that they need somewhere to flee to, and should be more receptive to these people in need.

of many instances of sexual assault–unwanted kissing, groping, and worse–by over a dozen women. Trump’s campaign was quick to dismiss these accusations, claiming that these women just wanted attention or money. When one woman was brave enough to file a lawsuit against him in 2016, many of his more despicable supporters threatened her with violence and even death. This response scared her into dropping the charges, and I honestly can’t blame her. It’s a sad reality that someone with so much power and money can easily wave away serious accusations like this with next to no repercussions.

6. Malaysia Airlines 370

Easily, the most bizarre incident on the list is when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March 2014 without a trace. This baffled citizens and government officials all across the world, and up until very recently a large-scale search for the plane was being conducted. Unfortunately, the search team has deemed the search a lost cause and ceased operations. It may be a very long time until we discover what exactly happened.

7. Flint, Michigan

In 2014, the citizens of Flint, Michigan found the city’s water supply in an unacceptable state. That same year, government officials in Flint made budget cuts, which included changing the source for the city’s water supply. Previously, Flint bought water from Detroit that was sourced straight from Lake Huron. However, due to the budget issue, Flint was switched to using a local river as the public water supply. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, however, did not treat this river with the appropriate care to ensure that the water was potable. Consequently, severe lead poisoning was reported with numerous casualties. As of today, politicians in D.C. still refuse to lend a helping hand, and residents are still left without clean water. While all of these issues remain unresolved, hope should not be lost. We as Americans can help combat most of these problems through protest, donation, community service, or other forms of civic participation. Many different organizations have formed to tackle some of these issues. But we must continually push them into the public consciousness to ensure that further action is taken.

NICK COLE freshman | marketing Nick’s interests include politics, movies, and all things not Republican.

5. Donald Trump's Sexual Assault Allegations Over the past 30 years, Trump has been accused

design: nicholas provenghi

march 2017

17


MUSIC

18

DJ SHOWCASE | amputd.com

in collaboration with RadioUTD


What’s the story behind your show’s title?

This month, AMP interviewed The Jose Martinez Experience’s DJ about his show, his tastes, and his high school orchestra woes.

youssef mahmoud 3-6 p.m.

The origin of The Jose Martinez Experience is actually pretty thursday, funny. During high school I was called into my attendance clerk’s office and my name was read as “Jose Martinez” instead of Youssef Mahmoud.

What’s the overall concept behind your show?

The initial concept was that I was going to play many different forms of electronic music. Originally I wanted to have post-punk, but because of the language restrictions that we have during the morning times and afternoons in general, it became really infeasible to find 3 hours of music every week that would work. So in a way it would be electronic music that is in the perspective of someone who listens to punk music. But as the show has progressed it has almost become a show where every week I just pick a genre and build around it.

How did you first get into post-punk?

It’s funny; I used to listen to a bunch of metal music at first and slowly morphed into it. First I listened to some of the earlier punk bands like Black Flag and stuff like that, and then I moved into some of the more post-hardcore acts. Some of the bigger bands that influenced me are No Means No and The Dismemberment Plan, which was a big band that I listened to in high school and still today; those bands morphed my musical taste.

How do you select which genres to play every week?

Generally what I’m listening to. Usually what makes me enjoy music is the rhythmic and lyrical structure. Because of that I was never really one to stick with one genre in general. Definitely, when I did the first couple of shows I stuck with more electronic-based genres and stuff like that, but one day I wanted to play a punk show because I thought “Well, I could make 3 hours of music once, I just couldn’t do it every week.” So I did that for that one show. That really opened me up to the idea of thinking “I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, why don’t I just share that on the show?” So I did the punk show then I went back to electronic for one week. Then I wanted to do something different, so on my most recent show I played a lot of lo-fi indie music.

What drew you to like eelctronic and punk music and how did that lead to entering other genres?

When I listen to punk music I notice a lot of what I really love about the structure of music. That’s what initially drew me from bands like Black Flag to bands like The Dismemberment Plan and No Means No, because it almost seems like they’re jazz students that make punk music. It kind of felt natural that once I explored many of these bands and I was open to more music I moved into hip hop and more electronic music because I started opening up more to focusing on lyrics and stuff like that. When I used to listen to music I would

just listen to the music base at first, so I didn’t enjoy music like hip-hop because the lyrics didn’t click in my head. As I listened to more and more music that really opened it up to me.

What inspired you to go to RadioUTD and turn your interests into a show?

Before I came to UTD I heard from a friend at KANM radio [Texas A&M’s station]. He had a radio show over there and had a lot of fun with it, and that interested me. I also knew someone who was at RadioUTD, and those two things clicked together and I joined radio.

What is your goal having a show?

I definitely want to open people to new music that they haven’t heard. The main focus of the show is that I really want to have fun with it. In a way I almost wanted to do a talk show because I could really talk about music as much as I listen to it. One of my main goals in the end with that is I just want to share what I listen to with people.

What holes in knowledge that a general listener would have do you try to fill?

At least with the music I play some of it can be abrasive or challenging for someone to listen to. When I talk with my music I like to fill in gaps with the context of the music and stuff like that. There was an artist that I played called Riow Arai. A lot of his music is really different and shifts around a lot. The context I tried to provide with that is he’s an artist from Japan and was around at a time where house music was very big and he wanted to take that further. He tried to get a lot of work done with a very minimal amount of technology. The way I’d try to do that is I’d share a song of his that was more stripped down, but he also messed around with drum loops and stuff like that, and I’d play another song of his that was in that completely different style.

Outside of radio, what shaping effect has your interest in music had on your life?

I almost majored in music and played an instrument. Right now I’m in Computer Science, which is kind of a ways away. During high school I was in orchestra and that opened music up to me because I loved playing an instrument and music in general. But in a way the directors in high school kind of turned me off from that due to members being selected based off of favoritism rather than skill or commitment. But my interests have definitely shifted more into production. I definitely see music as a hobby I would pursue. Music plays a very big role in my life and I wouldn’t have nearly as much enjoyment without it.

design by: nicholas provenghi march 2017

19


FOOD

Food for Thought: THE

GREAT

OUTDOORS I

t can be hard to find new and exciting food when you don’t really live in a new or exciting place. Which is fine, to be honest. While I’m all for variety, the rise of the hipster has led to an alarming rise in stupid food. A quick google will show you everything from kale sausage to detox ice-cream to breakfast served on a shovel; not to mention the straight up bastardization of kimchi and the questionable obsession with kombucha. In 2017, it’s become standard for restaurants to find any many uses for mason jars as the craftiest Pinterest mom (lookin’ at you, Tammy). That being said I’m by no means above the influence. I will INHALE my mason jarred choco-matcha latte and I’m that idiot who pays 9 bucks for an artisan donut, so don’t let my faux pessimism stop you from indulging in the delusional hipster healthpocalypse we’ve brought upon ourselves. We made our overpriced kombucha bed and now we have to lie in it. Alas, a girl can only handle so many veganic deconstructed kale sandwiches before she gets a hankering for a regular one. The Great Outdoors can curb that hankering. If you’re anything like me, you’ve passed it a million times on the way to 75 without much thought. You also may or may not have assumed it was, like, a camping store. Or maybe an outdoor furniture store. Both of which I assume exist. I’m not totally sure how one partakes in ‘the outdoors’, but the point is you didn’t really know what it was. Good news: It’s awesome sandwiches. A whole building dedicated to them. Sub sandwiches as tall as you can stack them, made with everything from chicken salad to bananas. To be honest, Subway made me think I hated subs and the only reason I gave The Great Outdoors a chance initially was because they has a drive-thru, but after my first tuna salad with ‘the works’ I had a to completely reevaluate my stance. Everything changed. For the


first time since high school I didn’t hear that faint whistling through the hole in my heart left by Subway. I only heard the disgusting sounds of me devouring a tuna salad sub. It was like magic. The Great Outdoors carries about 28 different sandwiches, not including the endless combinations you can create yourself and their ‘Great Awakenings’ breakfast subs. Subs come on your choice of fresh baked bread with the option of a handful of freebie toppings as well as ‘the works’, their signature combination of lettuce, red onion, tomatoes, wine vinegar, salad oil, oregano, parmesan, and salt. Mayo, mustard, dressing, blue cheese, sesame Thai, ranch, mushrooms, olives, cucumber, pepper, pickles, sunflower seeds, and sprouts are all free. So is that satisfied feeling you get after you finish it, which is my favorite part. After you manage to finish the heaping pile of sandwich that I know you created, they also offer a whole mess of malts, floats, ice cream, cheesecake, brownies, and cookies made fresh in house. I’m not a big fan of the outside and I’m only just now getting back into sandwiches, but The Great Outdoors lives up to its name. Everything I’ve had so far tastes like something my mom would have

brought me and my friends after an afternoon of doing whatever kids do in the backyard. The restaurant itself brings back that feeling with wooden benches and a wall of windows, letting the evening sun create the illusion of a campground picnic. The food is refreshing and filling, and while you walk away full I never feel like I have a weight sitting in my stomach and I’ve never had a sandwich that didn’t taste remarkably fresh. As it starts to warm up, there’s not a doubt in my mind I’ll be frequenting the drive through for my usual tuna salad and honey malt. Subway hurt me, but I think I’ve learned to love again. I’m ready to start living again…with regular sub sandwiches and maybe only a novelty donut on special occasions.

BRYAR BENNETT senior | EMAC When she’s not designing this specific magazine, she’s on the hunt for delicious noms.

march 2017

21


SATIRE

Finding Myself in a Post-Apocalyptic Hellscape (an excerpt)

by maisha razzaque | design: shannon ramirez

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I

don’t normally promote books, but I came upon one recently that struck me as something worth a read. It is a narrative by one named Elizabeth Pendergrass, and it recounts her travels after the Nuclear War of 2018. Instead of fixating on the droll suffering in the aftermath, she delves into something far more complex. Coming from one of the few wealthy families who were protected during the war, she had a unique perspective on the tragedy of being the unaffected minority. To give you a better understanding of the self-aware mastery of this novel, here is an excerpt from her book: I would like to start by saying that I am fortunate, but it is to my detriment. I write for the posterity of the events that followed the nuclear winter of 2018. The world around me crumbled, and while I did not perish like 46% of the world’s population, I suffered from something else entirely. The surviving members of the human race emerged into a world torn apart with nothing to their names and bouts of radiation poisoning, but I was whisked away with a few other members of our wellto-do community. We were safely stowed away in a large bunker with our most valuable possessions. To be frank, other than the slight inconvenience here and there, we remained virtually unaffected by the end of the world. That is not to say that my trials and tribulations should be overlooked. You see, in this post-apocalyptic wasteland, those who suffered came out stronger. They pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and reclaimed their place in the world. Poverty and harsh physical plight gave these “less fortunate” survivors a sense of purpose and dignity–an aesthetic, if you will. That left me, unscathed, unmarked, and grasping for an identity in a new world. Who was I? Where was my sense of purpose and dignity? Where the hell was my aesthetic? This is when I decided to take reigns of my own fate and mark my place in this newly formed hellscape. With the government overlords gone and the slow ascent of anarchy permeating our society, I was free to truly find myself, and get in touch with who I really was. The first step to my transformative endeavor was an act of artistic rebellion. It took three days and two nights to make the trip to what was formerly known as the Grand Canyon. These days, the 277-mile-depth of the once great natural landmark teems with radioactive waste from the war. As I travelled closer and closer to the pit, I passed by several camps of people. Some of them, I noticed had extra limbs or distorted facial figures. I was told by a guide that these people were the first to suffer from the radiation. Looking at them, I couldn’t help but think about how lucky they were. What I would have given to have as rich and eventful a story. History will look back with adoration at those who braved physical hardship. I couldn’t let history remember me as nothing. I made my way to the very edge of the once-beloved Grand Canyon, peered out into the vast depths of radioactive sludge, and recited my favorite Ernest Hemingway poem.

Some came in chains/Unrepentant but tired. Too tired but to stumble Thinking and hating were finished/ Thinking and fighting were finished Retreating and hoping were finished. Cures thus a long campaign/Making death easy. To be quite honest, I don’t know the meaning behind this poem. But knowing Hemingway, I’m sure it was a fitting tribute. After such a striking act of dissent, I had to focus on my own state of self next. The aftermath of the nuclear winter left farms across the continent barren wastelands with little to no signs of life. When I saw an abandoned cornfield during my travels east, I was filled with a newfound wonder. Where others may have seen death and destruction, I saw a chance to begin anew. I positioned myself in the middle of the field, and took in my surroundings. Save for the mutated crows, there was no other living thing in sight. I closed my eyes and crossed my legs and began to meditate. The arid expanse of hopelessness cleansed my soul–I think. I meditated for eight minutes, and probably would have been there longer if the crows hadn’t begun to gather around me under the impression that I had died. Understandably, I had to chase them off, which interrupted my meditation. Nevertheless, I felt renewed. I continued my journey by embarking on a pilgrimage to what was once the capital city of the land. Upon entering the city, I noticed the air was rife with the ghosts of suffering and violence. There, amidst littered streets and charred remains of the landscape, the embalmed corpse of Our Gracious Dictator was displayed in a glass coffin for us all to see. It was meant to be a sobering display. This was the man who brought upon the nuclear winter, and the locals–who had taken to urinating on the coffin at least twice a day–did not seem to like him one bit. I took this opportunity to pose with the coffin, and asked a stranger passing by to take a couple of pictures. I noticed his scowling face, and realized I was being insensitive. Therefore, I invited him to be included in the picture. Inexplicably, this made him angrier. I had not intended to anger a local, but it would not be beneficial to my goals if I were to assume blame for small things such as this. The story doesn’t end here. If what you have read so far has titillated you, I encourage you to purchase Ms. Pendergrass’s book Soothing The Soul After The Nuclear Apocalypse. It contains the aforementioned experiences in this essay along with others. For example, she talks about the time she fought a twelve-year-old feral child for a share of the last chicken to exist on planet earth, and how that helped her identify personal strengths such as light weight-lifting and a healthy sense of entitlement. I could go on and on about how poignantly delightful Pendergrass’s book is, but I think it’s best described this: a triumph for mankind.

MAISHA RAZZAQUE junior | cognitive science In her spare time Maisha listens to podcasts, writes, and concocts absurd conspiracy theories about celebrity breakups. design: shannon ramirez march 2017

23


SATIRE

America

First 24

| amputd.com


“OK, I’d just like some more cream,” America said, pointing to his coffee, infuriating Chris the barista. “You asked for it black,” Chris said angrily. “Yeah,” America replied “and I don’t mind black. I enjoy it black. I drink a lot of black coffees. I just want some more cream.” Chris poured creamer until the coffee was nearly white. “Perfect,” America said. As America strutted down the halls of the UN meet, his muscles bulged through his business suit, which was most likely made by a different country. His blue eyes and blonde hair perfectly complemented his ego, which made him taller in his mind than anyone else. His very presence scared other countries because he was prone to attacking people on a whim, especially if they had valuable possessions. In fact, this wasn’t actually the true America. The true America was a black-haired, dark-skinned, peaceful man whom the new America suddenly replaced one day. More accurately, there had been several Americas. There had been a Mexican one, a French one, and even a Spanish one. But all of them had been replaced by this white America with the help of his British father. As America walked down the halls, most of the other countries avoided him. America then stopped in his tracks as he noticed his friends walking towards him: the tall, serious-faced Russia, and the smaller yet even more serious China. “America. How are you today?” China asked. Immediately, America remembered that nearly everything he owned, he bought from China at inhuman prices. America tensed up, thinking to himself, “Just count to ten and pretend he’s not there. Don’t get nervous because you owe him a lot of money. Don’t think about how much you enjoy his food. Don’t think about how you would go belly-up if anything happened to him. Don’t think. Yeah, that’s nice. Don’t think about the facts.” “I’m quite fine, China,” America replied, “How’re the kids?” “I’m too busy for children!” China responded. “Comrades, please, enough of your bickering,” Russia interjected, “we must unite in times like this. Now America, what have you done lately?” America looked down and smiled at his nearly white coffee. “I stopped talking to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen because they’re scary.” China and Russia looked confused, like two businessmen who had just discovered protestors at their ethically dubious sweatshop for indentured, orphan baby seals. “Well,” Russia responded, “the meeting is about to get underway. Come, friends.” The three then walked down the hall like nuclear supermodels. They were unstoppable. The countries all took their respective seats at the table. Immediately, the tension in the room mounted as Mexico walked in. “Rapist,” America immediately shouted, “take his food and his holidays and get him out of my sight! Also take his trade commodities and cheaply made goods! But still include him on the Christmas card mailing list because I don’t want to seem like a bad guy. But rapist! Godless rapist drug-dealer man!” “Que dijistes?!” Mexico was enraged. “America, I have put up with your insults for years. Nearly every interaction we have ends with some slight against me or with you dragging up that one time I hopped over your fence to get my wallet, which had accidently fallen through.” “So you admit you hopped it!” America proclaimed. “But calling me Godless,” Mexico continued “is the last straw! I hereby announce trade sanctions between me and America. I refuse to

be disrespected like this anymore.” “So,” America rebutted, “I’m not allowed to criticize?! Well, that’s just dandy. Sensitive and drug-dealing. Isn’t that, like, an oxymoron? Anyway, too bad you’re alone here. Nobody else has a problem with me, right guys?” He looked around the now silent room. Russia was the first to speak up. “Comrade America,” he began,” perhaps you do come off a bit like a… dick.” “I do not! I’m nice to everyone,” argued America. “Oh really,” entered Syria, “what about when you didn’t let me stay at your place after my flat had an ISIS infestation and needed to be fumigated? Or when I came down with a case of Assad?” “I actually thought those were all drugs.” “Or,” Syria continued, “what about when you physically beat every brown country you could find after September 11?” “Justified.” “And don’t even get me started on what you did to the Africans.” “That was a long time ago and I shouldn’t be judged by that! I know better now!” “You should’ve known better back then! America, honestly, you’re just a bully,” Syria decidedly finished. “You know what?! Fine! You’re all terrorists and bigots and rapists and thieves and… and… damn, what’s the word for it? It’s when you umm… un-alive someone…? Oh! Killers,” screamed America. “Fine! Say hello to my big friend!” He pulled out a briefcase and unlocked it, but before he could slam his hand down on the button, he was stopped by Russia’s yelling. “America, if you do this, you’ll force my hand!” Russia had pulled out a briefcase of his own, which had a smaller briefcase inside, which had a smaller briefcase inside, which had a smaller briefcase inside, which had a smaller briefcase inside… which held a palm-sized briefcase inside, which contained a red button. France, scared by Russia, brought out her briefcase, and China, fearing response from France, brought out his briefcase. Soon everyone who had one had brought out their briefcases, neutralizing each other like a Mexican Standoff, except it’s international and instead of guns, everyone’s got world-enders. America looked distraught. Cuba — who had been sitting in the corner minding his own business, and had come without a briefcase — made the mistake of sneezing. “NUCLEAR ATTACK!” yelled America. Buttons were pushed. Silence swept the room. After everyone had committed to death, they all turned towards America. “You’ve doomed us,” Mexico stated. Before the nuclear fire had completely annihilated every living molecule in that room, one last proclamation was heard. “That’s just an alternative fact.”

SLOAN freshman | biochemistry Baby Sloan was kicked by his WWE-loving father into a shelf of poetry, manga, political memoirs, and nudie magazines. His brain damage influenced his writing.

march 2017

25


SATIRE

The Conservative Bible:

Exodus by Nick Chiavel

26

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ow these are the children of immigrants, who came into America, the most favored nation of the LORD, and were greeted with limitless opportunity and the immortal promise of the American Dream. And the children of immigrants were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new president over America, which knew not the fathers of immigrants but only their lazy, conceited children. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of immigrants are more and mightier than we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them corporate taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for President rich and prosperous treasure cities, New York and Los Angeles. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And the true Americans were grieved because of the children of immigrants. And the Americans made the ungrateful children of immigrants to serve with rigor, in order that they may one day reach the ladder of opportunity: And they made their lives bitter with limited economic mobility, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor. And it came to pass in process of time that God heard the groaning of the true Americans, and God remembered his covenant with Washington, with Lincoln, and with Reagan. And God looked upon the children of immigrants, and God had disdain unto them. For the children of immigrants practiced not the culture nor customs of America, and they brought with them to the land of the LORD foreign tongues and false deities. There was among the children of immigrants a rabble-rouser by the name of Moisés; he petitioned President to give special privilege to the children of immigrants and permit them to leech off of the tax dollars of patriotic and hard-working Americans. And President said, Who is Moisés, that I should obey his voice to let immigrants stay in the LORD’s holy country? I know not Moisés; neither will I let immigrants stay. So President commanded the corporate taskmasters to increase the labors of the children of immigrants, for if they had the time and the energy to violently protest in the streets and petition for government handouts, then they were clearly not working hard enough to receive opportunity. And the children of immigrants, being apart from the heritage and traditions of the Americans, were neither rugged nor individualistic enough to be contributing members of society. And the children of immigrants were taking advantage of the generosity of the Americans, who, as always, were doing the work of the LORD. So the LORD God spoke to President and commanded him to drive the children of immigrants from America. And the Lord spake unto President, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of America, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become oil; and that there may be beautiful, rich crude throughout all the land of America, both in vessels of bedrock, and in vessels of

N

shale. And President did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Moisés, and in the sight of the immigrants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to oil. And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the immigrants could not drink of the water of the river; and there was oil throughout all the land of America. And the Americans, who drank imported water, harnessed the bountiful supply of oil to fuel the engines of capitalist industry, while the children of immigrants, tree-huggers ignorant of the virtues of cheap energy, knew not what to do. Yet still the immigrants stayed. And the Lord spake unto President, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the gun stores, over the gun shows, and over the military surplus, and cause assault rifles to come up upon the land of America. And the gun stores shall bring forth assault rifles abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs, but not into the houses of the immigrants. And President stretched out his hand over America; and the assault rifles came up, and covered the land of America, yet still the immigrants stayed. And the Lord said unto President, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the contraceptives and abortion clinics of the land, that throughout all the land of America there might be a right to life. And so it occurred, yet still the immigrants stayed. Next, the LORD commanded President to establish voter ID laws across the land of Egypt to protect the sacrosanct rite of democratic elections from subversion, especially by the children of immigrants. Yet still the immigrants stayed. Over the next days, President, acting under the instructions of the LORD, abolished unions, eliminated Medicare and Medicaid, granted broad personal belief exemptions from mandatory vaccination, defunded all free and reduced price lunch programs, and instituted English as the national language of the land of America, removing all other languages from all government documents. Yet still the immigrants stayed. And the Lord said unto President, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Moisés, and upon the children of immigrants; afterwards they will leave. And President said to Moisés, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will law enforcement go out into the midst of America: And all the firstborn of the children of immigrants shall be detained, from the first born of the CEO that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the housekeeper and all the firstborn of beasts. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of America, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the true Americans shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Americans and the immigrants. And Moisés gathered up all of the children of immigrants and, finally heeding the will of God, led them in self-deportation.

NICK CHIAVEL sophomore | chemistry After taking a gap year to study industrial pesticide manufacturing, Nick now runs a local organic farm in his free time.

march 2017

27


BY KATIE RISOR

Busted.

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AMP (March 2017)  
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