Vol. CXVII, Issue 5
November 23rd - December 6th 2008
Barnardâ€™s Balancing Act: Republicans on Campus
We have to talk to the elephant in the room. And in a responsible way. As a community, we relish in our liberal majority, but not all political discourse is created equal. You’re in a classroom and your professor takes a break from a lecture and goes for political comic relief— what comes out is a sophisticated version of cafeteria humor. These comments by students and professors alike resonate with our campus’ silent majority, but their political implications hit everyone’s ears differently. Republicans exist, even at Barnard, and, especially in the wake of this election, they deserve respect. President Spar, at her fireside chat about the election, asked the question “Does it make anyone uncomfortable that there are no Republicans in the room?” But even she took part in this type of humor in her inaugural keynote address with a
Co-Editors-in-Chief: Managing Editor: Co-Features Editors: Politics & Opinion Editor: Arts & Entertainment Editor: Music Editor: New York City Living Editor:
Alison Hodgson ’10 Allegra Panetto ’09 Viana Siniscalchi ’11 Beth Gordon ’10 Chisato Sakaoto ’10 Nancy Elshami ’10 Amanda Rodhe ’10 AmandaLanceter ’09 Hayley Panasuik ’11
Associate Editors: Ariel Merrick ’09 Daliya Poulose ’12 Delna Weil ’10 Adrienne Zable ’11 Layout Editor: Meagan McElroy ’10 Assistant Art Director: Mabel McClean ‘12 Photo Editor: Julia Martinez ‘09
Art Director: Head Copy Editor:
Emily Stein ’09 Gillian Adler ’10
Front Cover Art
Management Head of Finance: Advertising Manager: Public Relations Coordinator:
Nelly Davcheva ’10 Iffat Kabeer ’11 Tracy Rodrigues ’11
Please note that the opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily reflective of the Bulletin Staff.
quip that evoked a partisan response. “…we are witnessing an unprecedented national election—one that has seen women come closer than ever before to reaching the White House - in one way or another - and one that may see our country’s first African-American president.” The end of her sentence was barely audible; after the italicized comment (that was added to her speech ad hoc) the whole church erupted in laughter. The difficult part of analyzing such a comment is that the comment itself is wholly dependent on atmosphere, tone and, in this case, the audience’s reaction. This ambiguity drives the discomfort that many Republicans on campus feel. It’s not what’s said, but where and how it’s said. As our centerpiece on page 16 uncovers, 43 percent of Barnard students polled feel uncomfortable expressing their personal political views; that percentage is nowhere near the number of students who identify as conservative or moderate. This environment breeds disrespect that affects liberals as much as it does the rest of the student body, and in turn we’re politically polarized. Liberal arts doesn’t always equal liberal.
Diana Windemuth ’11
Emily Stein Alison Hodgson Allegra Panetto Emily Stein
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Drawing by Rebekah Kim
Letter From the Editors
Staf f Events Calendar 4 Ar t of Negotiation 5 Bear Essentials 6 A Chat With Professor Plat t 6 Well-Woman 7 Reverberations 8 Barnard Greenhouse, Heating Up 9 Cooking Column: Un Menu Provençal 10 Minor Latham Madness: Hippoly tos 11 The Study Abroad Sur vival Guide 28 Alumna Let ter 31 Archive Page 4
Politics & Opinion
The Per sistence of Women’s Education An Unprecedented Presidential Elec tion The Obama Ef fec t Resentment Toward Stuy vesant High School
Barnard’s Balancing Ac t
Arts & Entertainment
19 20 21 22
Billy Elliot Leaps Across the Pond and Onto B-Way High School Musical 3 Madness The Politics of Casting Musings of a Pop Culture Junkie
Review: Ani DiFranco, Red Letter Year 24 London Calling: Winehouse Deliver s the Goods Across Seas and Eras 23
18 The Wandering Photographer : Fall Break Edition: Princeton, New Jer sey 25 Fr ugal Foodista: The Sweeter Side to Street Food 26 Changes in Chinatown: Explaining the Gentrification Debate 27 The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 3
Calendar Events: Staff Picks November 30 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Samantha Power (“A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide) will be speaking with Ralph Buultjens. She was an advisor to Barack Obama and is currently a foreign policy correspondent for Time, as well as the founding executive director of the Cart Center for Human Rights Policy (92nd St Y, 92nd Street at Lexington, 7:30 p.m., $27) --Amanda Lanceter, Music Editor December 1 Film screening: “Inheritance.” This documentary focuses on Monika Hertwig, the daughter of Nazi leader Amon Goeth (who was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List) and Holocaust survivor Helen Jonas, who experienced Goeth’s evil firsthand as his maid. Hertwig meets with Jonas at what was Goeth’s home near the Plaszow concentration camp in order to help herself come to terms with the crimes of her father. There will be a post-screening discussion with Hertwig, Jonas, and the film’s director, James Moll. (The Museum of Jewish Heritage: A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, 36 Battery Place, 7 p.m., free with suggested donation, limit 2 tickets per person) --Amanda Lanceter, Music Editor December 1 Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Center: street musicians, food tastings
and a other fun activities will transform the area into a very bright and lively party place. The majority of stores and other businesses in the neighborhood participate in the event (5:30 p.m., begins at Broadway and 63rd Street and goes up to 68th Street and Broadway, free) --Nelly Davcheva, Head of Finance December 2 Come hear your fellow Barnard women read from their work. (Sulzberger Parlor, 7-9 p.m.) --Amanda Lanceter, Music Editor December 3 Kick back before the insanity of finals truly approaches, and check out Vampire Weekend at Terminal 5. Watch these preppy indie rockers and former Columbia students perform music from their LP, which combines West African guitar pop with New England pop punk. (Terminal 5, 610 W. 56th Street, doors open at 7 p.m., $25) --Gillian Adler, Head Copy Editor December 2 Jose Limon Dance Company performs at the Joyce Theater (7:30 p.m., 175 8th Avenue between 18th and 19th street, for tickets and information call 212-691-9740) --Nelly Davcheva, Head of Finance
The Art of Negotiation Tips on pay negotiation from powerful and accomplished women Negotiations take many forms with different circumstances and players yielding different styles and approaches. Successful negotiation, however, almost always has two parts: preparation and the actual negotiation. To prepare, the negotiator must understand clearly what is to be achieved and on whose behalf. Equally important, one must be educated as fully as possible about the other side’s perspective, needs, goals, and culture. Then, during the actual negotiation, one must listen very carefully to hear and understand what the other side needs and/or wants most, and be open-minded about how to help them achieve it, while also, of course, successfully advancing and fulfilling one’s own goals. The best negotiators strike an exquisite balance between persuasive articulation of their side’s case, and working hard to narrow any gap that exists between the two sides’ aims. In other words, the goal is not only to satisfy one’s own interests, but to achieve an outcome that both sides value and that will, therefore, endure and be successful. Ellen V. Futter, BC ’71, former President, Barnard College, President, American Museum of Natural History In a negotiation with someone on the other side of an issue, make sure you’re giving the opposite party “room to back up.” Everyone likes to save face; no one wants the appearance of defeat. You can be in the right of an argument on the merits, but if the only way for someone to agree with you exacts a toll of humiliation, you’ll be in the middle of that push and pull for a very long time. Figure out some givebacks in advance that you can live with. And then dole them out judiciously to sweeten the path to the end. Ann Henstrand, SIPA ’88, ACORD Corporation, Assistant Vice President, Compliance, Government Affairs and Forms
ADVANCE PROGRAM FILING FOR 2009 SPRING SEMESTER: The deadline for filing is Monday, November 24. Please plan to discuss your course selections with your adviser in a timely way. Please do not expect a course that is not on the list of approved courses to satisfy a general education requirement. STUDENTS WHO WILL BE ON STUDY LEAVES IN THE SPRING: Please complete the appropriate study leave forms and submit them to Dean Young by Monday, November 24. If you have not heard from your chosen program or institution by the 24th, you may have an extension of this deadline. Please be sure to secure all other approvals (including Financial Aid clearance) before requesting Dean Young’s signature. These forms can also be printed from our website at www.barnard.edu/dos/study_ abroad. Follow the link to “Before Leaving”. Your Barnard bill cannot be updated until we receive these completed forms. PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION MEETING: If you are planning to study abroad during the Spring 2009 semester, you must attend Dean Young’s mandatory Pre-Departure Meeting on Wednesday, December 10, 5-6:30pm, in Held Auditorium (304 Barnard.) INFLUENZA VACCINATION FOR BARNARD STUDENTS: Get a FREE flu shot from the Health Service before winter break and have a healthy holiday! You may walk-in for a flu shot Tuesdays and Fridays from 9:30am to 11:30am. Students with chronic illnesses are especially encouraged to get a flu shot. Please call us at 212-854-2091 with any questions or to set up an appointment if you are unable to come during flu shot walkin hours. NYC CIVIC ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM: Questions about the curricular and co-curricular offerings from NYCCEP, including “Theorizing Civic Engagement”, a 4-point course offered through Urban Studies that combines a critical analysis of trends in American civic participation with fieldwork placements, as well as events and seminars offered throughout the year, should be directed to Will Simpkins at email@example.com or 212854-4214.
STUDENTS APPLYING TO GRADUATE AND PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS: If you have a recommendation file in the Dean of Studies Office and are applying to graduate or professional schools this year, please be advised that the Dean of Studies Office will be closed from December 24 through January 2. Therefore, if you have any application deadlines in late December or early January, please give your request and the stamped and addressed envelopes to Ms. Katrina Baker (graduate school) or Ms. Paula Hercules (professional school) by December 12 so that we will have time to process them prior to the vacation. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS WITH F-1 VISAS: If you plan to leave the United States during the winter break, please have your I-20 signed before December 19. Dean Kuan Tsu, Dean Starks, and Mr. Mark Farrell are authorized to sign. You will not be permitted to return to the United States if you have a signature which you obtained more than six months ago. OXFORD, ENGLAND: Students interested in studying at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, for the academic year 2009-2010 may obtain applications in 105 Milbank. Completed applications (to be submitted to Dean Young) are due Monday, December 8, 2008, at 4pm. For more information about this and other options for study at Oxford, or in the UK in general, see Dean Young. DAVID L. BOREN NSEP SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION: The on-campus deadline for complete applications for study abroad in Summer 2009, Fall 2009, and Spring 2010 is Monday, December 8, at 4pm. This scholarship is for U.S. citizens to study world regions “critical to U.S. interests.” Language acquisition is a primary goal of the program. All fields of study are eligible. Students studying non-romance languages, even those not taught at Barnard-Columbia, are strongly encouraged to apply. Visit www.borenawards.org. THE BEINECKE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM generously funds graduate school study for highly motivated juniors who are US citizens and on financial aid and who are interested in pursuing graduate school in the humanities, social sciences, or the arts. The College may submit one nominee for consideration. Please call the Dean of Studies Office at 854-2024 to schedule an appointment with Dean Runsdorf as soon as possible. FINAL EXAMINATIONS: Be on the look-out for a message from Dean Blank, which will explain procedures for requesting Incompletes and deferred final examinations. Please understand that exceptions are granted only for compelling circumstances. ROOM FOR STUDY GROUPS: 403 Barnard Hall will be available for study group sessions during the Reading Period and finals (December 9-19, 8am-2am each day). Please reserve the room in the Dean of Studies Office.
A Chat With Professor Platt Recently promoted to the Chair of the English Department, Professor Peter Platt continues his faithful teaching at Barnard that began the fall of 1994. Despite his new chairmanship, he still teaches courses such as Shakespeare I and the English Colloquium, a Renaissance studies seminar. When asked about which he prefers, his administrative duties or teaching classes, he replies that “There is no comparison. I love my department and am happy to serve it as Chair. But reading incredibly pleasurable and intellectually stimulating books and talking with students about them is what makes my job so rewarding.” Professor Platt especially favors Virginia Wolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and he exalts her even above Paul Auster and W.G. Sebald, authors whom he also loves. “That book combines pathos and intellect,” Professor Platt comments about Mrs. Dalloway. “It delights, moves, and instructs like no other. And Woolf’s semicolons kill me.” Unfortunately, since Professor Platt no longer has the opportunity to teach Mrs. Dalloway, Michel de Montaigne’s Apology for Raymound Sebond, which he teaches in the English
by Sharon Guan Colloquium class, becomes his next choice for his favorite piece to teach (apart from Shakespeare, of course). Because of Montaigne’s “wonderful sense of humor and keen awareness of both the power and the beauty of human mutability and transience,” he loves teaching any essay by Montaigne. Professor Platt’s poetic responses show why Barnard picked him to head the English Department. As Chair of one of the most popular major here in the College, he approves of the program’s current curriculums. When asked whether or not he plans to implement any changes, Platt replies that “We may expand our on-line lottery to include our colloquia sign-ups, and there may be minor adjustments to our colloquium substitutions. I doubt there will be any major changes this year, however.” Having received his Bachelor of Arts degree at Yale University for English, his Masters Degree at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English, and a “D. Phil,” or more commonly known as a PhD, at Oxford University, Platt considers himself a “one-dimensional guy.” However, apart from his ardor for literature, he reveals his passion for the Chelsea Football Club, a professional English football club in West London. If you’re planning to take Professor Platt’s Shakespeare II class in the spring, be sure to ask him who his favorite player in the Club is. Sharon Guan is a Barnard first-year.
Well-Woman Barnard women! It’s that time again. No matter how many times we’ve been through it, finals period always seems to come as a surprise. Even those with the most ambitious aspirations of calm get dragged down by the general aura of panic that permeates the campus. But never fear – here are a few suggestions from your friendly neighborhood Well-Women on how to take care of yourself during the Finals Frenzy: 1) Avoid the library. Try studying someplace off campus, like Starbucks (though bring your headphones, obviously) or the cafés in Barnes and Noble and Borders stores, since they tend to be fairly quiet and pleasant. The point is, get out in public with the non-finals-studying masses – it’ll remind you that there’s more to life than exams! 2) Give yourself permission to eat a treat. Ideally, you’re going for brain-enhancing protein like lean meat and fish, along with whole grains, fruits and veggies. But if a few M&M’s make you feel better, then just do it. A little comfort food goes a long way. 3) This one’s obvious, but most of us tend to ignore it anyway: SLEEP. Here’s the choice I often give myself when I’ve got a lot to do but am running on empty, sleep-wise: will my paper be better if I sleep for just half an hour to refresh my brain, or will it be better if I try to slog through it and, in my exhaustion, accidentally type “pubic” 18 times instead of “public”? Hmmm. Just think about it.
by Emma Thorne 4) Go see a movie. It’s a good, time-contained break, and it’ll give you a mental escape for a little bit. I’d recommend “Twilight,” since it’ll remind you that some people have even bigger problems than you do: no matter how unprepared for exams you feel, at least you’re not in love with a vampire. Oooh, the drama! 5) Heed the advice of writer Annie Lamott, and take things “bird by bird” – one task at a time (a bit of background: when Lamott’s brother was a young student and struggling to write a daunting paper on birds, his father advised him to just take it “bird by bird.”). Don’t be mentally running through your Physics exam while writing your English essay, because then you end up feeling scattered and overwhelmed. Just go bird by bird. These tips may seem old hat, but they’re all too easy to forget once you get caught up in your finals. So this December, as we head into the last throes of the semester, just keep thinking: What’s the best thing I can do for myself right now? And remember Well-Woman’s message for the month: be kind to yourself. be well.
Emma Thorne is a Barnard senior and Well-Woman peer educator.
Photograph by Deena MItlak
R E V ER BER AT IONS Creative fiction, non-fiction, poetry or prose submitted by Barnard students.
by Rebekah Kim
Photograph by Embry Owen
Barnard Greenhouse, Heating Up
Ever wonder where the plant you’re dissecting for biology comes from? The answer: not very far. If you ever glanced up to the roof of Milbank (which given the construction around it, isn’t so easy), you can witness Barnard’s very own state-ofthe art plant growth facility. The Arthur Ross Greenhouse, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary this past October, is responsible for producing most of the plant specimens necessary for both student labs and professor research. When Arthur Ross Greenhouse was dedicated in October 1998, it replaced a highly antiquated greenhouse built in 1928 which had very poor climate control and deteriorating facilities. The new greenhouse was installed with amazing production capabilities and computer-controlled heating, cooling, ventilation, lighting and watering systems. This technology allows the greenhouse to maintain collections of plants from very different environments ranging from humid rain forest to dry deserts. This diversity is particularly important because it allows lectures and labs to teach and observe various types of biology. Despite its large 3400 square foot size, the greenhouse is fast outgrowing its facility. Colorful and exotic plants and flowers fill the five greenhouse rooms, and spill out to the walkways, lining their corridors. The rooms in the greenhouse now house more than 550 plant species ranging from places such as South Africa to Brazil, just to name a few. Visitors and students from all over the world are thus bound to recognize plants that are indigenous to their hometowns. For those who are horticulturally challenged, all the plants in the greenhouse are labeled with their scientific, common, and family names in addition to their place of origin. It may seem impractical to grow all these plants on campus when they can be bought elsewhere, but the reality is that plants grown in the greenhouse are cheaper, of better quality, and more organic then those available on the market. Many
by Mitzi Steiner of the plant specimens necessary for research, such as large tobacco plants which one Barnard professor is using in a study of the neurology of caterpillar taste buds, are not even available on the market for purchase. Still, preparing the appropriate plants for labs is no small feat. Krystyna Bucharowski, the greenhouse coordinator, is in charge of preparing and delivering almost all of the cuts necessary for labs. She explained that adhering to the lab deadlines isn’t always an easy task. “We pray that the plants come on time,” said Krystyna. In fact, the greenhouse keeps multiple samples of many popularly used plants in order to help guarantee that they will be available for labs at the necessary times. Maintaining the large greenhouse is hard work. On any given day, Barnard students can be found in the greenhouse trimming plants and generally cleaning the facility. While some students working in the greenhouse are on work-study, for many it becomes a labor of love. Krystyna recalls how one Barnard alumna who was wavering on her biology major, decided to stick with the major after working in the greenhouse, and even donated a plant to the facility. Similarly, many of the other unusual plants in the greenhouse are gifts from students and faculty. In the past, the greenhouse has also served as an adoption center of sorts for plants that students and faculty can no longer take care of. When the secretary of former President Shapiro saw that a gift of orchids received by Shapiro had stopped blooming, she donated them to the greenhouse where they now healthily blossom. The greenhouse also serves as a resource for neighbors with plant trouble. “Neighbors come in and ask for help with their plants,” says Krystyna. Students are free to visit the greenhouse on Wednesdays from 1 to 3 p.m. So, as the weather gets colder, head to the greenhouse for a warm treat! Mitzi Steiner is a Barnard first-year.
Drawing by Sonia Tycko
Cooking Column: Un Menu Provençal
A column by Christina Black A Provençal meal from renowned Chef de Cuisine Bruno Ungaro, presented here in the order it should be prepared. The timing is so well planned that the main will be ready as soon as you’ve polished off the appetizer, and dessert perfectly chilled by the end to tempt you. This meal is about leisure: a Provençal way of life. Provençal Lamb Stew Instructions as to the meat: - Go to a reputable butcher - Look for a fatty, cheap cut of meat, cut off the bone for this preparation (leg or shoulder cuts work well) - 1/2 pound per person should suffice For 2-3 pounds of meat: • Trim off the excess, hard layer of fat on the meat (if any). • Cube it into large, bite-size chunks. • Chop 3 carrots, 1 large onion, and one head of garlic, coarsely. • Add the vegetables first to a large pot, cooking it over medium heat with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste until the onions have gone translucent and the carrots have begun to soften. • Add the pieces of lamb to the pot, turning the heat up to high, so that the pieces sear on all sides. • Turn the heat right back down to low, and add an entire bottle of red wine (something from the Côtes du Rhône compliments this recipe the best). • Stir in a heaping tablespoon of black tapenade, and add water (if necessary) so that the meat is completely covered with liquid. • Cover the pot with a lid, turn the heat down to as low as it goes, and cook it "slowly and gently" (Bruno says, "lentement et doucement") for 2-3 hours. • Eat with a crusty baguette to mop up all the meat juices! Mousse au Chocolat: • In a heatproof mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water, melt 250 grams of a dark chocolate bar • Incorporate 100g. of unsalted butter with a spatula • Take the mixture off the stove, then mix in 3 egg yolks • In a separate bowl, beat 6 egg whites with 50g. of icing sugar until the egg whites stiffen (it's much easier if you do this with a hand mixer) • Delicately, incorporate the egg white mixture into the melted chocolate • "Perfume" the mixture with a few drops of Grand Marnier liqueur • Fill small mugs or teacups with the mixture, and let it set for at least an hour in the fridge. With the meat simmering away to tender bliss, and the chocolate mousse chilling into a frozen dream cloud, now focus on the appetizer, which will be ready to eat enjoy just as the smells of the Lamb Provençal start to drive you mad with desire: Chèvre Tartine • In a small bowl, combine 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 log of chèvre (goat's cheese), and a small pot of crème fraiche • Cut a loaf of rustic peasant bread into large slices, and smother each one generously with the chèvre mixture • Decorate each slice with a whole sprig of rosemary (which looks festively like a Christmas tree on a white, snow-like background) • Place the slices of bread into a pre-heated oven at 375˚F for 15 minutes, or until the chèvre starts to bubble and turn golden brown. • Serve the tartine with a salad of thinly sliced endive and a vinaigrette of balsamic vinegar (whisk together 4 Tb. balsamic vinegar, 1/4 c. olive oil, salt and pepper to taste) Christina Black is a Barnard senior and Bulletin Cooking Columnist.
Minor Latham Madness: Hippolytos Opens The Theater Season For those lucky enough to catch October’s Hippolytos at Barnard and Columbia’s undergraduate performance space, Minor Latham Playhouse, the show offered a passionate and fitting introduction to this season of Barnard-Columbia theatre, as well as the theatre department in general. While a trend in college and regional productions is to interpret classic plays in a modern context or even produce modern text based on the original narrative, Director Sharon Fogarty, a visiting guest artist who is Co-Artistic Director of Mabou Mines Theatre Company, presented Euripides’ Greek tragedy in a classical interpretation as translated by Robert Bagg. In doing so and by allowing the power of the text to transport the viewer into ancient times with its lyrical chorus laments and poetic language, the play still does not feel dated or inaccessible. Opening with only movement backed by an original choral score recorded by members of the company, flowing and intricate costumes twirled and spun as the actors took to the stage. The cast of 14 demonstrated passionate commitment to a story fraught with the perils of lust and the injustice of the gods’ mandate. Hippolytos tells the story of the downfall of a whole community as the result of Aphrodite’s vengeance for Hippolytos, who is chaste and chooses to revere Artemis instead of her. Aphrodite causes Phaidra, his stepmother, to fall in love with her stepson, therefore compromising Phaidra’s honor and sending her into a lustful and agonizing frenzy. When one of Phaidra’s nurses tells Hippolytos of her secret love for him, Phaidra believes she is a ruined woman and hangs herself. However, upon finding her body and a note from Phaidra, it becomes clear to her husband Theseus that she unjustly blamed Hippolytos for her death. Theseus exiles his son, who is killed en route while leaving, yet not before Artemis frees him of the blame and Theseus acknowledges his vindication. An engaged and appropriately enthusiastic or lamenting chorus was joined by the charming and evil goddesses Aphrodite and Artemis, each played by three women: Cecilia Watt, SEAS’12, Eloise Eonnet, BC’11, and Tatiana Hullender, CC’10, as Aphrodite, and Khadeejah Anne Gray, BC’12, Judy Butterfield, BC’12, and Amanda Rodhe BC’10 as Artemis. Emerald Mitchell, BC’12, and Natalie Glick, BC’09, were strong as Phaidra’s nurses, and often provided comic relief to scenes bursting with fervor and emotion. Much of this fervor and frenzied emotion lay in Lily Feinn’s, BC’10, portrayal of Phaidra. Feinn’s eloquent handle on language and expressive range was among the show’s best aspects, as she physically contorted her body and gave passages with fiery delivery. Jacob Lasser , CC’12, who played Hippolytos with conviction, and Thadeus Harvey, GS, as a comic and commanding Theseus rounded out the leads. Lighting by Lucrecia Briceno was complementary of
by Sophia Mossberg a simple and beautiful set designed by Meganne George, and provided smooth transitions that supported the shows’ relatively quick pacing. Audience member Natasha Gordon, BC’12, appreciated the use of “chanting, dance, and classic narration to bring the play to life.” The theatre department characterizes the work its students do as a creative process that “develops in a dialogue with critical inquiry into the literature, history, culture, and theory of western and nonwestern performance, typically combining coursework in Theatre with study in other fields, such as anthropology, architecture, art history, classics, dance, film, languages, literature, music, and philosophy,” therefore indicating its combinatory nature to be incredibly versatile for a major that is thought to be so specialized. The department’s multifaceted nature rejects the notion that it is an intensely specialized major, opening it to students of all disciplines. The Barnard-Columbia theatre department has a repertoire of historically important and profound plays, and this year is no exception. Past productions include Twelfth Night and Proof, in addition to works by Gertrude Stein and Tennessee Williams. After this production, the season will continue with the staging of the Advanced Directing Class Final Scenes. These scenes will showcase Barnard and Columbia undergraduate individual works. They open at Minor Latham Playhouse on December 8 at 8 p.m., free of charge, and present the opportunity to see student directed work. Also upcoming at Minor Latham Playhouse is Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca’s As Five Years Pass, a surrealist piece about love and loss. The show will play from November 20-22 at 8pm. Most students know of the staged productions that are featured during the year, and yet there is much more happening behind the scenes as creative students engage with other aspects of the department. In addition to performance, students participate in a multitude of theatre-related activities such as playwriting, directing, the study of drama, and theatre history. For the visually inclined, the department offers courses focusing on costume and mask design; these topics are just a few of many that are relative to other disciplines. . Though there are only about 15 thesis majors this year, around 500 hundred students are involved with the theater department annually. Luckily, if you are interested, there is ample time this spring and next fall to participate in theatre productions. There are plenty of ways to get involved in theatre at Barnard, even if your knees shake just speaking in class or if your schedule cannot possibly include another course elective: join the technical crew, or simply become an usher and take in the night’s show. Classes for the spring are up on the catalogue, and auditions for next year’s season will begin in the fall. Sophia Mossberg is a Barnard first-year.
The Study Abroad Survival Guide
Photograph courtesy of Kateri Benjamin
So you picked the perfect program, were accepted, and now all you can think about is preparing for your upcoming semester in France, Argentina, Africa, etc. Should you pack one coat or two? Should you live with a local family or in university housing? It may seem hard to predict what you’ll need most in a place you’ve never been, but don’t panic—this nifty Survival Guide is chock-full of useful advice from recent study abroad grads. Sign-up for a travel-friendly credit card. Look for one that doesn’t charge a pricey international transaction fee. Barnard senior Carly Katz recommends Capital One, which she used for everyday purchases while studying in Seville, Spain last spring. When she needed cash, Carly took out large amounts at once to keep fees to a minimum. Another tip is to “bring two debit cards with you and store them in separate places,” says Julie Nelson, a senior at the College of St. Catherine, “so that if your wallet gets stolen, like mine did, you’ll still have access to cash.” Just remember to tell your bank you’re leaving the country before you go, or they’ll suspend your account. Pick the right living situation. One living option does not fit all. A homestay “is a great way to integrate yourself with the community and practice your second language judgment free,” says Barnard senior and CIEE: Senegal-veteran Anna Lee. She points out that you “can go to your host mom, dad, or siblings about where to buy things and what the prices are, and never underestimate the value of a delicious home-cooked meal.” As long as you don’t mind a return to dependent living, complete with calls home to your host mom of when you’ll be late for dinner, a homestay may be right for you. But if independence is more your style, university housing is your best bet. You often live with other international or native students, and you are free to come and go as you please. Buy a cell phone when you arrive. While it’s sometimes possible to use your American phone abroad, it is infinitely cheaper to buy a pre-paid phone when you get there and add minutes as you need them. “Look for plans that fit with your calling style, like nights and weekend specials, or reduced rates to the U.S. Also, make sure you can use your phone in other countries if you plan on traveling,” advises Julie. To stay in contact with family and friends from home, use an international calling card or download Skype to your computer, which allows you to make calls around the world for free. Pack smart. You will inevitably end up wearing the same thing over and over again, so bring only what you really need. “Whatever you forget, you can either find in your host country or learn to live without. It’s much better to pack lightly and make airport experiences less stressful,” recommends Barnard senior Bethany Schaid, who studied in Israel last semester. Then again, it’s okay to bring some extra clothes: “I severely underpacked for my time abroad by listening exactly to the packing suggestions for my program—I literally had one pair of pants and four skirts for four months,” recalls Anna. You may also want to pack DVDs, family photographs, books, and peanut butter or other favorite snacks not readily available outside the U.S. as a cure for the homesick blues, recommends Barnard senior Jessica Hong, who studied in Madrid last semester.
by Kateri Benjamin Pre-approve all study abroad classes before you go! It is much harder to get classes approved after you come back. This cannot be emphasized enough. Remember that Barnard will only approve liberal arts classes, so don’t pick anything you wouldn’t ordinarily see in the Barnard catalogue. Just in case, bring home all your syllabi and notes so you’ll be prepared for any issues that may arise. Study up! Buy a travel guide and plan out in advance the cities and the countries that you want to visit. Rick Steve’s Travel Guides give you the low-down on what to see, what to skip, when to go, and even provides walking tours you can do yourself to save money. Don’t Miss: Venice, Italy. One day is all you need to understand why so many painters found their muse in this beautiful city built on water. Budget wisely. Save up money before you go, and decide ahead of time how much you want to spend on traveling and day-to-day expenses. The last thing you want to do is run out of money mid-semester: “Some of my friends didn’t seem to budget very well and came home broke or in debt to their parents. Just make sure it’s really worth it if you do spend more than you’d planned,” advises Chelsea Pfiester, a Bradley College senior who studied in Seville, Spain last semester. Make the most of it. Study abroad is truly a once in a lifetime experience, so take advantage of as much as you can. “Don’t just get comfortable with where you are and stop branching out. Explore the entire time you’re there. Try new things. Do as many cultural activities as you can. Take advantage of whatever is around you,” stresses Carly. And just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you can’t get involved in your community. Teach at a local school, find an internship, or volunteer for a good cause. “There are a lot of opportunities abroad that allow you to meet new people and practice your language skills,” says Chelsea. So wherever you go during your study abroad, make an effort every day to explore, laugh, and take chances, because there will never be another time like this one. Kateri Benjamin is a Barnard senior.
POLITICS & OPINION
The Persistence of Women’s Education The list of grievances and criticisms directed towards Barnard students very often makes it difficult to remember the importance of women’s colleges in today’s world. Most of the negative perceptions are not worth discussing, although adverse judgments certainly present unexpected challenges to female students that should at some point be addressed. Some of the exacting remarks, however, are relevant when juxtaposing the coeducational college with today’s women’s colleges. For example, there are the issues of whether it is fair to segregate women from men in education, and whether the barrier of a single-sex educational institution forfeits the ability for women to approach and meet men in a natural setting. In truth, there are a compelling multitude of benefits to gaining an education from a single-sex school. Although the lines become blurred at Barnard, where both women and men are in classes, and where men are allowed to participate in virtually all aspects of student life, single-sex schools lower concerns about what the opposite sex thinks and makes it easier to focus on school and extra-curricular activities. Without the distractions of a coeducational environment, a student is given the chance to explore who one is, to discover what one wants from life, and to determine who one wants to become. Contrary to some thought, the women’s college is still comprised of various personalities, perspectives, and ways of succeeding. One difference between the women’s college and the coed institution observed by the National Survey of Student Engagement 2004 study was related to experiences with diversity; female students commented that their campus environment encouraged diverse interactions and supported an understanding of diversity to a greater extent than women at coed schools. Because women’s colleges tend to express greater sensitivity to matters of sexism and gender concepts, they also demonstrate significant attention to issues of racism and diversity as a whole. The pedagogies implicit in instruction on gender tend to create conditions where females can gain selfunderstanding. At Barnard, in particular, we are taught to call into question idealized and gendered notions of the woman’s role and the way it is affected by societal pressure. While most national findings show that transfer students tend to be less socially and academically engaged in college, transfer students at women’s colleges were proven to show equal engagement to non-transfer students. According to the survey, students at women’s colleges become more frequently involved, on the whole, in higher and more effective educational practices than their counterparts at coeducational schools. In reflection on these studies, perhaps we can suggest that women’s colleges have created an unusual climate where women are encouraged to realize their individual potential and to embrace the larger aspects of campus life. A community of female role models and mentors may encourage student leadership and female participation in extracurricular
by Gillian Adler activities as well as the classroom. Take, for example, a study done by womenscolleges.org demonstrating that graduates of women’s colleges are twice as likely as female graduates from other colleges to enter medical school and receive doctorate degrees in both medicine and natural sciences. An advantage of women’s college may be, then, that higher percentages of females are more encouraged to enroll in fields traditionally dominated by males such as math, science, and engineering.
“...women’s colleges have created an unusual climate where women are encouraged to realize their individual potential and to embrace the larger aspects of campus life” In an environment where all disciplines are headed primarily by strong and accomplished female leaders, women will feel more comfortable with pursuing a wide range of fields. Thus, at women’s colleges, conditions have provided support for female students where they are underrepresented. Studies, according to Barnard’s website, have found that graduates of women’s colleges are more successful in their careers, holding higher positions in the workforce, earning more money, and attaining higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. Graduates of women’s colleges constitute 20% of women in Congress and 30% of a Business Week list of rising women stars in Corporate America, which only represented 2% of all female college graduates. Biologically, women can exhibit maternal characteristics of sympathy, compassion, and sensitivity, perhaps to a greater extent than men, or perhaps not. But that should not result in the narrowing down of women’s hopes and ambitions to a single domestic or traditionally-female sphere created by social, rather than biological, constructions. All education augments the possibility of intellectual and personal freedom, but women’s colleges in particular seem to ensure it for women who might otherwise roam into a less independent mode of living. Without the possibility of stifling a woman’s individuality through constant and sometimes distracting male competition, women can learn to appreciate their own thought first, and then enter the “co-ed” real world with a greater understanding of their abilities and motivations. Gillian Adler is a Barnard junior and the Bulletin head copy editor.
POLITICS & OPINION
An Unprecedented Presidential Election
Drawing by Rebekah Kim
The 2008 Presidential Election was like any other presidential election in the history of the United States in only one way— it took place on the first Tuesday in November, four years after the last presidential election. In every other way, the outcome of this election and the events and circumstances that built up to it are truly unprecedented. Americans knew that this election would result in a historic outcome no matter how the ballots added up when John McCain appointed Sarah Palin, the folksy governor from Alaska, as his running mate. We would elect either the first AfricanAmerican as president or the first woman as vice president. Either way, the executive branch of government would finally escape the outdated traditional hands of power. However, the Democratic Primaries alluded to a historic election year even as such inevitabilities were clear, when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama engaged in a tireless contest for the candidacy. For the first time in history, the Democratic Party could be certain that it would not nominate a white man as their candidate for president.
When television networks, radio stations, and websites announced that Barack Obama was the projected winner of the 2008 Presidential Election around 11 p.m. on November 4, 2008, the American population broke out in celebration from the east coast to the west coast. In New York City, drums sounded in Harlem, reverberating all the way down to 116th Street and beyond. Times Square broke out into cheers reminiscent of those heard every New Years Eve. In Chicago, a sea of people gathered around the stage on which the president-elect would deliver his victory speech to his own hometown.
by Sigourney LaBarre Republicans and Democrats alike had something in common to celebrate, despite the clearly marked loss of John McCain. The United States achieved a universally inspiring landmark by electing a president who would change the face of the Oval Office. For the first time, a black family would rightfully reside in the White House. To add to this wonderful achievement, the victory was uncontestable. Obama won approximately 100 more electoral votes than necessary to win the election. One might call that a landslide. Furthermore, the nature of the election process itself is unprecedented. While many people have many different ideas about what transpired in order for Barack Obama to claim such a huge victory in the election, it is safe to say that the real answer must include many different factors. One of these factors is something that the country has been hoping for throughout the last two elections, at least— a strong turnout of young voters between the ages of 18 and 30 years old. Across the country— literally, in states evenly distributed between the east coast and the west coast— young voters added hours to the lines leading to the polling stations. They added hours to the volunteer efforts made by both campaigns. Mostly, though, they added votes for the Democratic ticket. Exit polls reveal that young voters supported Obama by 34 points, comparing 66 to 32. More young voters turned out than voters over the age of 65 years old. Perhaps these numbers reveal that young citizens have finally realized that they must play the biggest part in rescuing the country if they want a country for themselves to proudly call home. Credit must also be given to those states that swung in the right direction and that made the bold transition from red to blue. Obama won Virginia, Florida and North Carolina in the South, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa in the Midwest and Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico in the West. All nine of these states went to President Bush in the presidential election of 2004. For the first time since 1976, North Carolina gave its electoral votes to a Democratic Candidate. In total, Obama won 28 states and the District of Columbia while McCain won 21 states. These states are undeniable evidence that the entire country – not just those darn northeastern elitists – was ready for Obama and his style of change. The unprecedented nature of this election is a great opportunity for the United States. Already, in the act of being elected, Barack Obama has achieved something – the world can look at America with admiration more than with resentment. However, there is much more work to be done once the Oval Office is released back into responsible hands on January 20, 2009. Until then, the momentum of this wonderful election will continue while America regains its pride and shows the world that we really do practice what we preach once in a while — any American can rise to the top. At the very least, we have taken a huge step in that direction. Sigourney LaBarre is a Barnard sophomore.
POLITICS & OPINION
The Obama Effect The polls have closed, the votes have been counted, and he has made his victory speech. Yet, I still cannot bring myself to believe it: Barack Obama is the 44th President of the United States. I feel tears pressing against the back of my eyes as I write these words. I know the polls predicted an Obama victory, but like many others I held onto cautious optimism. It took Barack Obama 21 months of dogged campaigning to be able to make his victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park last Tuesday night. To be fair he went up against two formidable candidates: Hillary Clinton during the Democratic Primaries and John McCain during the Presidential run. Both candidates had significantly more experience in Washington than Obama, but on Tuesday night the majority of the American public chose the newcomer. I would love to get down to the nitty-gritty of why Barack won, but quite frankly I’m not sure. The newscasters say he won the woman vote, the African-American vote, the Hispanic vote, the young vote, and that he split the male vote. Those are the numbers, but Mr. Obama’s victory seems to be above numerical explanation. He was able to appeal to a wide cross-section of voters despite being painted as un-American, an ally of terrorists, a dreamer, and an inept newcomer. He and his campaign team got down into the trenches and campaigned successfully to convince the majority of Americans that he is the man they should trust to lead the nation as it enters one of its darkest financial hours. Euphoria is the best word to describe the feeling of many Americans and people all over the world today. I cannot vote in America, but I understand that this country’s destiny is inextricably linked to the world’s destiny. To be honest, I am elated that Obama won, but I am not naïve. The United States, and by extension, the world, is in financial turmoil. In addition, America is entangled in two wars in the Middle East. The U.S. made more than a few foes, and isolated some allies during the Bush administration. Barack Obama must right these wrongs. He must respond quickly and efficiently to whatever challenges arise. In short, Mr. Obama must prove to the American people and to the world that they were right in taking a chance on his promises of hope and change.
Certainly, Barack Obama’s policies will differ markedly from those of George Bush. Undoubtedly, he will be helped by a Democratic majority in Congress. I know Obama has big plans for America: health care reform, tax-cuts for the middle-class etc. Nevertheless, the economy, one of the central reasons why Americans elected him and not John McCain, will be front and center. Americans will not escape this crisis unscathed, but an Obama administration must ensure that the current recession does not deteriorate into a depression. It will not be easy. I look forward to the Obama Presidency. He is the fresh, new face of a country that proves over and over again that it is a land of opportunity. Obama’s victory is even more profound when put in the context of history. Over 40 ago the pioneers of the Civil Rights Movement fought so that all Americans despite the color of their skin would know that they too had a right to the American Dream. People of all colors, races, ethnicities and sexual preferences cried as Mr. Obama was declared President. We all might not agree with Mr. Obama’s politics, or like that he was elected President, but it is hard to deny the historical significance of his victory. At a time when most Americans are worried about their nation’s standing in the world, and convinced that the country is headed in the wrong direction, the 2008 Presidential Election proved that America has not lost the capacity to reinvent itself. The United States made an indelible mark on the world when it elected Barack Obama. His candidacy and his victory will set the tone for future political campaigns around the world, and most notably in Europe. Today, despite the number of home foreclosures and the stock market turmoil, Americans can rest assured that the American Dream is alive and well. In fact, it is not going anywhere. I think the real victors that Tuesday night were the American people. After all, they seemed more exuberant than a noticeably calm Barack Obama. The American people proved that the Bradley Effect is senseless dogma. They voted based on issues. Most of all, they turned out in record numbers to ensure that their voices were heard. Shoshannah Richards is a Barnard sophomore.
Drawing by Rebekah Kim
by Shoshannah Richards
POLITICS & OPINION
Photograph by Deena Mitlak
Resentment Toward Stuyvesant High School I went to Stuyvesant High School. At Barnard and Columbia, there are numerous Stuyvesant High School alumni. To most New Yorkers, that is a big deal. Many assume that I must be a genius (I’m not) or that I’m really rich (I’m not) to have attended such a prestigious public high school. While I was still a student there, when strangers would discover where I attend school, they would immediately have high hopes for my future, predicting a successful career in medicine or the finances. To those unfamiliar with Stuy, as it is informally called, an explanation is in order. Stuyvesant High School is one of nine specialized high schools dispersed across the five boroughs. These schools are run by the New York City Department of Education (enrollment is completely free of charge) and they are designed to tailor the needs and aspirations of gifted students. For this reason, eight of the schools (the LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts selects students via audition) use a uniform Specialized High Schools Admission Test to determine placement. The exam, which is comprised of math and verbal (English) sections, is the sole determining factor of a student’s admission. Furthermore, any student from the five boroughs can take the test. About 26,000 eighth graders from around the city take the test annually. But why is there such an attraction to Stuy? The academic curriculum is designed to offer students a rigorous college preparation with intensive math and science classes as well as challenging humanities classes. Stuy also goes beyond academics. There are 32 varsity teams, over 200 clubs, 10 musical ensembles, and various publications including The Spectator, the official newspaper that has been recognized more than once by Columbia’s newspaper of the same name. The facilities are another big reason. Up until the early 90s, Stuyvesant was located in the lower east side. Its new location, a modern-style 10-floor building alongside the Hudson River near downtown’s financial district, cost $148 million to construct. With all these credentials, it was a surprise for me to discover that there are many who envision Stuy as an elitist, prejudiced school that does more harm than good. Recently, a documentary film called “Frontrunners” was released and its focus was on the student government elections that took place during my junior year at Stuy. I was reading a review of the film from The Onion and despite a positive response from the paper, readers’ comments were very different. What was their argument? That Stuyvesant is a public high school but its opportunities and advantages are limited to a select few. They argue that the students who attend it are elitist New Yorkers with families who have long histories of education and success. That students who fail to demonstrate their prowess through a biased entrance exam are doomed to
by Heena Sharma the incompetent and dilapidated schools of the New York City public education system that exist outside of the specialized high schools. These points stopped me in my tracks. I have always been very grateful for Stuy. Without it, I would have gone to my zoned high school in Staten Island that is notable for its crime and gang participation. Being able to have my first full, independent immersion in all things Manhattan changed me in innumerable ways. But the city influence was nothing compared to the new environment I found myself entrenched in: a community of motivated, high-achieving students like myself. Being in a setting where teachers expected more from you as did your peers pushed me to challenge myself and not settle for the mediocre. However, I never thought about Stuy in terms of the students who do not get accepted. Is there unfairness to the selective admissions process? Is it right that students who may be coming from backgrounds where education is not highly prized do not have a chance in gaining admission to Stuy? There has been a history of criticism over the demographics of the school, which has a notable majority of Asian American students (more than 60 percent) followed by Caucasian students (about 30 percent) and only a small minority of Black and Hispanic students (about 5 percent each). It has been said that there is an inherent racial bias in school admissions. The racial demographic of the school was familiar to all Stuy kids, but I had never thought of it as a serious issue that was a telltale sign of the failing urban education system. But would these social problems go away if Stuy did not exist? The solution does not lie in the dissolution of specialized high schools. Instead, there should be efforts towards establishing programs such as MSI (now SHSI), an intensive and free 18-month preparatory program that targets middle schools of large minority populations and those that have a history of very small rates of students getting into specialized high schools. I attended this program and I can honestly say that I would not have gotten into Stuy if it weren’t for this program. Not only do there need to be changes made at the middle school level, but there must also be changes made on a social level. There is a history of a majority of Jewish and, ever since the 1970s, Asian American students at Stuy because, generally speaking, these cultural groups place a strong emphasis on education. And yet, how can kids who live in neighborhoods where gunshots are the norm be expected to have high hopes for their education when they have more pressing needs? Urban social problems are all tied together and one cannot expect them to go away with overnight initiatives. Finally, let me address the claim of Stuy’s severe elitism. Many students, including myself, come from immigrant families that do not necessarily have a long history of well-educated relatives. There are also many who are middle-class for whom Stuy was the only hope of a good high school education. I do not argue that there needs to be vast changes made in the New York City education system and especially within the middle and high schools. But in the meantime, if a student from a struggling socio-economic background can aspire to go to the top universities of the country because of a public high school such as Stuy, what’s so bad about that? Heena Sharma is a Barnard sophomore.
by Elizabeth Kraushar and Sarah Morgan On November 4, Barnard students joined the crowds of Columbia students that filled Broadway sidewalks and streets to cheer for change in Washington. Barack Obama’s campaign message won the support of the majority of Barnard students. The other voices for change stayed silent. Barnard’s own recently inaugurated president, Debora Spar, prompted students to recognize some of the people behind those voices at her first fireside chat. “Does it bother you that no one in this room is a Republican? Or if they are, that they’re being quiet?” she asked. In response, students said they found it “disturbing” that “there is no dialogue” between conservatives and liberals. The liberal students in the room pointed out that there is a “culture of disrespect” for opposing viewpoints. Spars’ question was the impetus for this article’s investigation. Over the course of three days, we distributed a campus-wide survey with questions on the political orientation of Barnard students, those of their friends, and the level of open discussion on campus. Half of the 309 liberal, moderate, conservative and other students who participated in the survey want a more balanced political environment on campus. Liberals showed their strong support. Nearly half of the liberal majority in the survey wrote comments stating the importance of diversity in political discussion. The survey found that over 70 percent of students identify as liberal, 22 percent as moderate, about 4 percent as conservative, and 3 percent independent and other. Political leaning aside, only eight percent of the total number of students surveyed believe there is a balance in campus discussions, political events, and Barnard classrooms. Moderates on campus, identified by the survey as those who would vote either Republican or Democrat depending on the candidate, said they tend to disengage from political discussions because it is difficult to disagree with the liberal majority’s point of view. Some moderates surveyed mentioned their tendency to “stay quiet” because discussions are often tense or emotional rather than intellectual. Most comments from moderates emphasized that their political views vary depending on the issue. “Because some of my views are more conservative than most of the campus’ (specifically being pro-life), I sometimes feel uncomfortable stating my views because I am part of such a small minority on campus. Or, at least I think I am because nobody else voices their opinions either, if they are not pro-choice,” said a student in the survey.
“Because of the strong liberal feelings on campus, sometimes the arguments for the left are oversimplified and we reduce our Republican peers to stereotypes. I would engage students in a more constructive, thoughtful, intelligent dialogue.”
Karyn Heavenrich, ’09, identifies her opinions as more conservative-leaning on economic issues but more liberal-leaning on social issues. Heavenrich actively participates in her classes and considers herself opinionated and outspoken. However, she said she was “not comfortable” when discussing the election with her friends. “It was really hard. I just felt like I was being demonized,” Heavenrich said. “Such an overwhelming sense of there being only one answer undermines the purpose of a liberal arts college.” Another student who similarly identifies as moderate preferred to remain anonymous when discussing her political views. In an interview, she explained her frustration with the political climate both in and out of the classroom. When asked about her experiences discussing politics with her friends, she said: “In order to voice my opinion, I feel like I have to know everything because if not, I feel like I will be attacked.” She also said that even in her dance and psychology classes, “professors assume everyone else is in agreement.”
Drawing by Rebekah Kim
Barnard’s Balancing Act
CENTERPIECE Within the group of moderates who participated in the survey, 65 percent said they want to see improvement in the political discourse at Barnard. In response to a multiple-choice question about whether students feel comfortable discussing their political views openly on campus, 43 percent of all students surveyed indicated they do not always feel comfortable expressing themselves openly. A few students explained in the comment section that this is due to their indifference to politics. Most, however, gave a reason for their discomfort. Many students that wrote comments referred to “partisanship in the classroom”, the tendency to be “insensitive to conservative viewpoints”, the need for “more respect among students” and “diversity” in campus expression. The sentiment is not just among moderates or conservatives. Many liberals on campus believe the lack of political debate and expression is inhibiting for both the liberal majority and minority voices. According to one liberal student, “Because of the strong liberal feelings on campus, sometimes the arguments for the left are oversimplified and we reduce our Republican peers to stereotypes. I would engage students in a more constructive, thoughtful, intelligent dialogue.” Students said they believe a change in Barnard’s political environment is important because “both the student body and the faculty would benefit from a more diverse political climate” and “the hype of a partisan-dominated school could be replaced by an open-minded respect for all political stances.” They expressed their ideas on how to improve the political environment at Barnard. According to suggestions repeatedly mentioned in the surveys, there should be “more debates between students having different political views” and “more discussion forums versus panels, in which professors or professional[s] do most of the speaking.” Other students shared the perspective that political conversations should include “a wider spectrum of ideas” instead of being “generally limited to distinctions between two opposing parties.” Unlike Columbia, Barnard’s campus is free of politically partisan student organizations. Barnard students can choose to affiliate with the Republican, Democrat or Libertarian clubs at Columbia. However, without partisan organizations of their own, Barnard students may be inclined to step away from partisanship for the sake of serious political discussion and debate. And, survey results show that the aspiration for a more balanced campus spans the political spectrum. Student desire for change is present. The student forums for making this a reality are absent. The liberal majority at Barnard should act on the views they expressed in the survey in support of a more balanced political environment. The silent voices on campus should also speak up. Moderates and conservatives need to vocalize their opinions and encourage true intellectual exchange on political issues. Based on their responses, liberals said they are ready listen. The onus is on Barnard students to engage in the intellectual debate that is central to our liberal arts college mission. The administration should, for its part, encourage all student expression, regardless of political leaning. The college’s stated mission is to build a community of “engaged students who participate together in intellectual risk-taking and discovery.” Let’s start talking. Elizabeth Kraushar and Sarah Morgan are Barnard seniors majoring in political science.
Your Voice In response to the question: “What would you change, if anything, about the political environment on Barnard’s campus?” “I would have liked to attend more political student-run events, such as debates between students having different political views.” “Less tension; it’s almost as if it is taboo to bring up politics unless there is some prior indication that you share the same political beliefs.” “I’m liberal, but I feel that we should have balanced discussion about liberal and conservative opinions.”
“Because of the strong liberal feelings on campus, sometimes the arguments for the left are oversimplified and we reduce our Republican peers to stereotypes. I would engage students in a more constructive, thoughtful, intelligent dialogue.” “A more open dialogue between people of different political opinions. My Republican friends get called ‘crazy’.” The political environment “can lead liberals to be insensitive to conservative viewpoints and conservatives to be overly defensive.” “Some conservative students are afraid to voice their views. Sometimes it is a matter of ‘admitting’ to being conservative, which should not be the case in an intellectual community such as a college campus.”
T h e Wa n d e r i n g P h o t o g r a p h e r Fall Break Edition: Princeton, New Jersey by Embry Owen
Cats and other animals abound at Terhune Orchards and similar farms throughout the Princeton area.
A child plays at dusk at Terhune. In Princeton, fall leaves are at their best in late October and early November.
Pumpkins and other fresh produce are sold at Terhune to residents who have adopted the â€œlocal foodsâ€? mindset.
The sun sets on the 200 acres of orchards.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Billy Elliot Leaps Across the Pond and Onto Broadway Shrek, The Little Mermaid, Young Frankenstein, Xanadu, Legally Blonde. These musicals, all of which opened between 2007 and 2008, are but a small sampling of the result of Broadway’s latest vogue: bringing silver screen sensations to the Great White Way. Since 2001, almost 40 percent of the Tony-nominated shows for Best Musical have been based on films. With these statistics, it’s no wonder that the 2001 movie Billy Elliot, with three Oscar nods and an incredible 13 BAFTA nominations and three wins, would fall victim to the new trend. And now the smash-hit West End musical has made the leap across the Atlantic to Broadway. The story revolves around a community in Northern England during the 1984 miners’ strike. Amidst the violent clashes between the striking miners and London policemen, the children in the fictional Easington continue their lives as usual: the boys go to boxing, and the girls go to ballet. Billy, who is “crap at boxing” according to his classmates, ends up in a ballet class taught by Mrs. Wilkinson, where he finds not only a hidden talent, but the maternal figure he so craves. Unsurprisingly, Billy’s father, his brother, and the other miners, who cling to their masculinity and traditions, struggle to accept his desire to dance. The success of the show hinges mostly on the performances of the three talented young actors who play Billy Elliot on alternating nights. David Alvarez drives the show with his unwavering energy. The audience’s desire to see Billy succeed is nearly palpable as he dances in anger at his father’s bigotry and then as he auditions for the Royal Ballet School. Indeed, one of the most compelling scenes has Billy dancing with his older self to “Swan Lake.” As he flies, literally and figuratively, across the stage, David Alvarez’s grace is breathtaking; even if the show had no other redeeming qualities, it would be worth seeing for this one duet. With such a powerful performance at only 14 years old, Alvarez— and presumably Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, who also play Billy— deserves all of the accolades he will receive. Haydn Gwynne as Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s mentor and surrogate mother, flawlessly balances the line between pride and sadness in Billy’s triumph; as he succeeds, she fulfills her potential as a teacher but is forced to face her own shortcomings in comparison. Gwynne originated the role in the West End production in 2006 and conveys the same complexity of character in New York—not only through her acting, but through her singing and dancing as well—that earned her a nomination for an Olivier Award in London. Like Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy’s father, played by Gregory Jbara, must contend with two warring emotions. The versatile Jbara, last seen in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, another movie-to-
by Elesse Eddy musical adaptation, perfectly portrays Mr. Elliot’s simultaneous reluctance to let his son behave outside of his gender role and relief that Billy has an opportunity to escape from working in the dying coal industry. Billy Elliott has a unique advantage over other films adapted into musicals: its original director, Stephen Daldry, choreographer, Peter Darling, and screenwriter, Lee Hall stayed on to direct, choreograph, and write the book and lyrics for the musical. In place of the British pop soundtrack of the movie, Elton John’s score, despite having only a few memorable tunes, still manages to be fresh and provides a good backdrop for the dancing. While the musical stays true to its origins, the change of medium lends more depth to Billy’s story. In the movie, hundreds of extras were used to demonstrate the large size of the strike, but in the musical, only a handful of people are needed. In the first and last songs, “The Stars Look Down” and “Once We Were Kings” respectively, the brotherhood of the miners is demonstrated both visually, using the set to create small spaces in which the actors huddle together, and aurally, with the chorus projecting loudly, helped along by their microphones. Throughout the show, Billy is contrasted with the rest of the community. In the first act, his desire to dance is pitted against the masculinity of the miners, and in the second act, he triumphs while the failure of the strike becomes more and more imminent. These differences can be shown much more easily through song and dance than through speech alone. Clever choreography, too, is an advantage of staging rather than filming Billy Elliot. In “Solidarity,” while the girls and Billy are practicing ballet with Mrs. Wilkinson, the miners and policemen are having a scuffle; however, the two events are presented together in the same space so that the adults are dancing with the children, emphasizing that the strike has an effect on the entire town, not just the miners. Billy Elliot was truly meant to be a musical. When it opened in London, it was nominated for nine Olivier Awards and took home three. Moving it to New York, the creative team had to decide how much to Americanize the show, to change parts that Broadway audiences might not understand. Fortunately for us, it has been kept almost entirely intact, although the Geordie accents have thankfully been toned down a bit. Billy Elliot comes highly recommended; it’s a refreshing addition to the drab musicals on Broadway today, and a show not to be missed! As Mrs. Wilkinson tells her students, “All you really have to do is shine.” And shine it does. Elesse Eddy is a Barnard senior.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
High School Musical 3 Madness A lot of people remember watching High School Musical when it premiered on the Disney Channel on January 20, 2006. It was geared toward high school students, but featured catchy dance songs that were only previously acceptable in children’s movies. Even though it might not sound good on paper, High School Musical was an instant hit, and it quickly became the most successful movie the Disney Channel ever produced. Now it has turned into a phenomenon. A sequel, High School Musical 2, released in 2007, followed the first movie. With the second installment came the Disney Channel’s monopoly of merchandise: High School Musical: The Concert, High School Musical on Stage, High School Musical: The Ice Tour, the High School Musical book series, High School Musical video games, and even a High School Musical reality series entitled High School Musical: Get in the Picture. Where does the madness stop? The most recent addition to the High School Musical craze is a feature film, High School Musical 3: Senior Year, which was released in theatres on October 24, 2008. Kenny Ortega returns as director and choreographer, as do all six primary actors. In its first 3 days, High School Musical 3: Senior Year grossed $42 million in North America and an additional $40 million overseas, breaking the record for the largest opening weekend for a movie musical. The latest installment follows high school seniors Troy Bolton (played by Zac Efron) and Gabriella Montez (played by Vanessa Hudgens) as they struggle with the idea of being separated from one another as college approaches. Along with the rest of the high school, they stage a spring musical to address their experiences and talk about their hopes and fears about the future. But despite the monetary success of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, it faced a number of poor reviews from avid HSM fans around campus. “I absolutely loved the first two HSM movies,” said Sasha Munn, BC ’12. “This was absolutely atrocious and far below the bar they had set with the two previous made-for-TV movies. I was seriously tempted to ask for my money back.” She has a point. The songs in the third film sounded very much like the songs from the previous two movies, and many scenes felt like shot-for-shot/line-for-line remakes, with little or no spoken dialogue. However, many HSM fans think that the third chapter in the story is perfect, uplifting fun, and just as enjoyable as the first two movies. “It’s a dose of harmless good cheer,” said Toni Matthews, CC ’12. “We should all thank Zac Efron for his personal charm and suave dance moves.” It is undeniable that High School Musical has created worldwide madness. But why is it such a huge success? The
by Claire Stern most obvious answer is the music. Several of the upbeat hit singles on the soundtracks have climbed the Billboard charts to No. 1. It has also found a strong following within the “tween set,” the 9- to 14-year-olds, because they admire the teenage heroes that break through cliques. But there are plenty of high school and college students out there too, who love HSM. Lucas Grabeel, who plays Ryan Evans in the film, believes its popularity is based in its simple, feel-good formula: “It just works. That’s the only explanation I can come up with. It’s great for pop culture because it’s got a little cheese, it’s got a classic story line that we all know, it’s got great characters and good music all thrown in together.” And let’s face it, who can resist a little cheese? Claire Stern is a Barnard first-year.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
The Politics of Casting In the Saturday Night Live skit of the vice presidential debate (you know, the one you couldn’t stop youtubing when election anxiety was at its highest) Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifil said, “We would like to remind our audience that due to the historically low expectations for Governor Palin, were she simply to do an adequate job tonight, and at no point cry, faint, run out of the building or vomit, you should consider the debate a tie.” Excuse the political tone of this opening reference, but you should know that I am not simply trying to take another jab at the once would-be veep. Instead I
“...this phenomena exists in “stunt casting”, where big name movie stars are recruited for lowkey theatre roles in order to beef up a production’s visibility” am attempting to point out, in my own, post-November-4 way, that the idea of not screwing up as tantamount to success is relevant across a number of domains. Specifically, this phenomena exists in “stunt casting,” where big name movie stars are recruited for low-key theatre roles in order to beef up a production’s visibility. Call it good marketing. Call it a managing strategy or PR or whatever. The fact of the matter is that there are people, lots of people, who will gladly
pay 60 bucks a pop to sit in a theater and ogle someone they’ve only seen on the big screen or on tabloid covers. One of the most recent incidences of stunt casting is taking place at Schoenfeld Theatre where Arthur Miller’s All My Sons is currently being staged. Hint: it involves a certain female half of the pair known as TomKat. That’s right. Katie Holmes, of Oprah Winfrey-couch-jumping/Scientology fame, is playing a starring role in an Arthur Miller play. At first glance, this may seem tacky. After all, who in that audience is not going to be sitting there thinking “Oh my gosh, I wonder where Tom is. I wonder if he locks her in the basement between performances. Is Suri backstage? Is Suri sitting in the row in front of me?!” If anyone were to tell you that’s not what they were thinking, they would be lying. Truth be told, stunt casting always comes as a bit of a distraction, pushing more attention onto the lives of the actors than on the show itself. Consider the successful London, and now Broadway, run of Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe. Naked Daniel Radcliffe. Here I am as guilty as the rest of them. I was there on opening night, ticket in hand, waiting to see a play that I would otherwise have absolutely no interest in. Naked dudes running around and blinding horses? Um, thanks but no. So what was I doing there? The answer is simple: pure horror and fascination. I wanted to snicker behind my hand and make Harry Potter jokes with my friend. Basically I wanted to see the kid screw up. And, frankly, that’s often what the appeal of stunt casting is. You take these celebrities, whose live surrounded by the glow of the flash bulb and whose every move is made into a scandal, and put them in a position where we can see them fall flat on their faces. We can see them attempt to be
by Cecilia Vinesse serious artists and then we can say “You should have stayed in your Hollywood mansion, honey!” Okay, maybe not all of us are so cynical. But even if we don’t want this to happen, we still want to see if it will happen and to hold our breaths and hope that they’ll actually pull it off. I am not of the latter variety: I’ll take a good celebrity flub up any day. So imagine my dismay when I perused reviews of All My Sons and found them fairly positive. Reception was certainly strong for the leads, played by John Lithgow and Dianne Wiest, but even Miss Holmes was not the target of any serious critical lashing. Consider this review by Linda Winer of Newsday: “Katie Holmes - whose Broadway debut is the supposed news of the production - is earnest and pretty, like a talented girl in a school play. But she doesn’t seriously hurt anything as that girl who used to live next door.” Not a rave, for sure. But still, it is far from the failure of Greek proportions that I was anticipating. Then again, why should she, or any movie star for that matter, totally and utterly fail? After all, these people did go into the acting business for a reason. They must have some artistic integrity, right? Maybe that’s a little optimistic, but still. At the very least, I think what we are seeing is the Palin effect. There’s so much hype built up around a single person that they begin to seem like a disaster waiting to happen. As long as they can keep their cool and not go into a mad rampage while performing, they can build a fairly sturdy, or at least not negative, reputation. A stunt, but a fair cast. That should not, however, mean they get to be vice president.
Cecilia Vinesse is a Barnard senior.
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Musings of a Pop Culture Junkie:
Does the Makeover Show Need Some Making Under? A column by Amanda Lanceter The makeover show has certainly become a staple of more than one television network. The love of reality television, combined with the attraction to human interest stories (and perhaps even a bit of schadenfreude), makes it a highly appealing genre. Sure, it’s been around for years, through segments on talk shows in addition to shows dedicated solely to it. But how much is too much? It seems as though there are more and more of these shows popping up, potentially creating an overload. TLC’s What Not to Wear has been around for a while, and it still deservedly attracts plenty of viewers. Funny, slightly bitchy (but with love), knowledgeable hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly are able to transform those flagrantly violating the most basic of style laws into fashionistas, teaching them about how to develop a personal style that is flattering and appropriate. I also have to admit that I live vicariously through the participants: I would love to have someone hand me $5000 and tell me that I could shop for a new wardrobe in the stores full of beautiful, overpriced clothing that I longingly pass by. (A side note: Am I playing into gender stereotypes by loving shopping to the point where I enjoy shows where I watch other people shop? Yes, but it is possible to still be an intelligent feminist and enjoy these supposedly “frivolous” things. Everyone needs diversions in life, and just because some women choose ones that are seen as typically “female” things does not make them shallow). What makes What Not to Wear great is the amount that the viewer gets out of it as well, learning tips on finding the right styles, proportions, and shapes of clothing. I think my mother might kill me if she hears me utter the words, “You know, Mom, you should really get rid of those tapered pants, they do nothing but emphasize the hips,” one more time. Thanks, Clinton and Stacy. Bravo also deserves credit for its all-around makeover show for men, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (though, not surprisingly, its main audience did not include very many straight guys). Referred to by its stars as a “make better” show, it demonstrated how style can be reflected in a tasteful way in all aspects of life, beyond clothing and personal appearance, an interesting angle that sets it apart from other shows of the genre. Bravo has once again resurrected the makeover show with Tim Gunn’s Guide to Style, banking on the celebrity status of this Project Runway mentor. Now revamped and in its second season, the show shares its basic formula with What Not to Wear, educating women about proper fit and appropriateness of their wardrobes. Lifetime’s How to Look Good Naked, hosted by Queer Eye alum Carson Kressley, teaches women about how to gain self-confidence and positive body image, partially through fashion. But it somehow falls flat and doesn’t seem as thorough as What Not to Wear. While not entirely the same, and certainly with different personalities than those on their TLC counterpart, is it really necessary to have two more fash-
ion makeover shows on television? And that’s not even the last of this genre. There are other shows that took it a step farther, like Extreme Makeover, which promoted plastic surgery in addition to a simple wardrobe revamp. Perhaps it can be seen as the forerunner of shows like Dr. 90210, which focuses solely on plastic surgery (though not really a makeover show in the traditional sense, as it is more a reality show that follows the lives of plastic surgeons). The Extreme Makeover concept was later expanded to include Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a show that takes the interior design element of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Trading Spaces, a TLC home makeover show, a step further and builds deserving families entirely new houses from scratch. This is, in a way, like the plastic surgery of design shows; instead of some new furniture or paint, everything is taken apart and reconstructed into something totally new. While the stories can be touching, the idea of having “extreme” makeovers makes me wonder – when did a simple makeover become not good enough? Though these shows first aired several years ago, they reflect the trend that’s happening now in television programming. The continuing popularity of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition suggests that’s what people want – redecorating isn’t “extreme,” but building a house is—and if it’s not extreme, it’s not exciting enough. Perhaps the plastic surgery element of the Extreme Makeover is what led to its downfall, though with the popularity of Dr. 90210, maybe the public will be ready again for such a show in the near future. It may have been too extreme in the past, but what happens when people grow tired of watching someone get a haircut and some new makeup? Many have capitalized on the popularity of these shows recently by releasing books. Tim Gunn wrote his Guide to Style, and his Runway costar Nina Garcia published two new books on style. Clinton Kelly just released Freakin’ Fabulous, his makeover book that is like Queer Eye in the sense that it extends beyond style to food, decorating, speaking properly, and even behaving properly (but all with the same fun, snarky attitude viewers love him for on his show). TLC has tried to milk co-host Stacy London’s popularity by giving her two of her own talk shows, which also featured fashion segments, but both were unsuccessful. TLC has another makeover show, Ten Years Younger, yet that has never garnered the same popularity or appeal as What Not To Wear. Maybe it’s a sign that enough is enough when it comes to these makeover shows. The ones I’ve mentioned are just a few of many, and it’s unlikely that television can handle any more. But the enduring popularity of the genre in general says something about our own desires – perhaps we like the narrative arc of these shows, the transformation from ugly duckling to swan. Personal growth is an appealing trope, one that appears in other media as well, and it is unlikely that it will ever be completely absent from the things we watch. Amanda Lanceter is a Barnard senior and Bulletin Music Editor.
Review: Ani DiFranco, Red Letter Year
After two years without an original album release, Red Letter Year is Ani DiFranco’s highly anticipated answer to her fans who have been anxiously waiting to hear from the controversial songstress. Following the birth of her first child in January of 2007, DiFranco’s message is clear. “I’m having a good time,” she sings in the affirmative ballad “Smiling Underneath.” The studio album took over two years to finish, leaving the artist plenty of time to revisit her musical roots and improve her musical skills. DiFranco says, “My guitar and my voice have never sounded better,” in a press release, adding, “When I listen to my new record, I hear a really relaxed me, which I think has been absent in a lot of my recorded work.” Red Letter Year indeed showcases a more polished compilation of songs, along with the notable absence of DiFranco’s signature staccato style (as heard on one of her most well known songs, “Both Hands,” released in 1989). In fact, most of the songs on the album do not rely on DiFranco’s guitar playing at all, but instead embody a fuller sound in which the guitar is balanced by a bass, and sometimes even a string quartet as in the song “Alla This.” The singer also demonstrates her commitment to musical innovation in the song “Red Letter Reprise” by working with the New Orleans-based Rebirth Brass Band, creating a layered sound, rich with cultural character. The lyrics of her new song reflect the maturity of the
by Rebecca Spalding musician and her growth as an artist. DiFranco has always used her lyrics as an arena to make political statements, but in “Red Letter Year,” these references seem to be less overt and more sophisticated than in previous albums. Often DiFranco adds personal spin to her political statements such as in the song “Landing Gear” (about giving birth to her daughter), in which she sings, “I am as exhausted as a drowning polar bear.” The best testament to DiFranco’s maturity as an artist is her song “The Atom,” in which she explores nuclear technology with sophisticated lyrics and a powerful, full-bodied sound emanating from a string quartet to match the gravity of the situation about which she sings. The string’s harmonious accompaniment of lyrics such as “Let the earth inherit the meek/ Let the divinity of nature speak” demonstrates the sophistication of her political message as well as her musical maturity. Ultimately, Red Letter Year is a polished and relaxed side of Ani DiFranco that has rarely been seen in her past studio albums. Returning fans will still love her relevant political messages and new fans will appreciate the full and haunting harmonies. Red Letter Year is one of the most accessible DiFranco albums to date and will surely introduce Ani DiFranco’s legendary style to new legions of fans. Rebecca Spalding is Barnard first-year.
London Calling: Winehouse Delivers the Goods Across Seas and Eras
Lately, it seems that anyone innocently hoping to get her daily entertainment fix is subjected to news stories and gruesome pictures (yes, gruesome is the right word) documenting the latest antics of soul singer Amy Winehouse. The topics range from her jailbird husband to her drug habits to her frequent brawls (a.k.a. acting notably off her rocker in public). But if one can get beyond the cringe-worthy tabloid pictures and scandalous escapades, it becomes clear that Amy Winehouse managed to record a genius album, ripe with throwbacks to the sweet simplicity of sixties Motown and modern spins dipping into neo-soul and hip hop (with help from esteemed producer Mark Ronson and a fantastic horn section). The raw quality of vocals and lyrical candor that lends itself to Winehouse’s gritty combination of jazz, soul, and hip-hop is coupled with a shrewd ear for rhythm and language. The prestigious Ivor Novello songwriting award is not the mistake of a deaf or illiterate panel; Winehouse’s lyrics couple images of destitution of the soul with witty puns and wordplay, similar to the way a playwright offers comic relief to the narrative, often requiring a second listen. Add a voice that transcends comparison, and a classic album of our generation emerges. The giants of the music industry agree, as do the Grammy Awards; even Cambridge University used her lyrics in an English literature exam given last spring. Back to Black lends a unique voice both lyrically and musically to the music scene.
by Sophia Mossberg Enjoying a Winehouse album antics, perhaps even condone them as requires lending a blind ear toward her the means to an economic upswing for first album, Frank, and then spending the industry? And most importantly, to a good couple of hours with her second, what extent does personal controversy Back to Black. Frank is musically matter in the context of appreciating a scattered and vocally a trip down a brilliant album? Not much, according different, less seasoned set of pipes (not to the five Grammy awards Winehouse that I’m promoting crack as a vocal tool). picked up this year in the midst of Then I recommend going even further allegations, and the dichotomy of talent into history and listening to her covers and personal struggle remains, just as of sixties classics “Cupid” and “To Know it has traditionally regarding the greats Him Is to Love Him,” which are true to listed above. Let’s give her time, or rather, the sound of the era and still manage if she gives herself time and narrowly to bring a modern grit to the record avoids a Hendrix or Joplin-like fate, we (or…digital file). Delve into her ballads might witness a quite extraordinary body and the title track of Back to Black, and of work compile itself. her candid revelations about youth and So, while her drunken appearances passion ensure you won’t just find club and pitfalls provide for excellent hooks with filler. commentary on the decline of the Though it seems that for young modern celebrity, I believe there is much entertainment today, going to rehab is at stake in the development of music as just another stop after the daily Starbucks raw and brilliantly delivered as Back To and sushi run, it is interesting to look Black. If all you’ve heard is “Rehab” on back across the decades and realize that a the radio a hundred times, if you’re literally every generation and every genre willing to plunge into some riveting have brilliant artists who are dragged neo-soul and classic tunes, or if you just down by drugs and drink; in fact, the want to know what the heck is inside that addict artist is now a cliché. Specifically beehive (beat you to the crack joke!), in soul, jazz, and hip hop, legends like then I offer a short list of songs that Donny Hathaway, Dinah Washington, deserve to replay on your speakers. “Me Ray Charles, Whitney Houston, Mary and Mr. Jones” is truly a throwback to J. Blige, Natalie Cole, and Etta James girl groups like the Shangri-Las, though struggled with similar demons, and yet Winehouse’s plucky lyrics are all her were not subject to the same frenzied own. “Some Unholy War (Down Tempo)” media scrutiny that Winehouse is in is my favorite of all, as the stripped down Europe and in America. It is interesting version is riveting musically and lyrically to think about the progression of and full of emotion (and of proclamations celebrity culture in mainstream daily about “my man”, who you will become life, and if it is even possible to describe very familiar with, by the way). Next, the present state as progression, as we download “Valerie”, a song originally on are bombarded at every street corner Mark Ronson’s album version that boats with big-budget images of celebrities a fantastic horn section and a chorus that gone awry. With Ray Charles, too, comes might force “I said, ‘no, no, no,’” out of a story destined for tabloid heaven, if only your head. “You Know I’m No Good” and it were lived half a century later, and yet “Love Is a Losing Game”, a ballad that it seems that he is primarily remembered summons to mind Otis Redding in its for his arousing vocal delivery rather rawness, are other standouts. Trust me: than an unfortunate mid-career for a good 15 minutes (and perhaps a few addiction. Is this association a product dollars), these are worth it. of saner times? Does the unrelenting media frenzy encourage ridiculous Sophia Mossberg is a Barnard first-year.
The Frugal Foodista Graphic by Allegra Panetto
A column by Ava Friedmann
The Sweeter Side to Street Food We’re all used to inhaling those tempting smells as we walk past countless food carts in the city. That sweet caramelized sugar scent invades the air around Nuts for Nuts carts. Hot dogs, shwarma, and pretzels call out to us with their almost comforting aromas. Lucky for us, there’s a new reason to cave into those street food cravings. Four different sweet food trucks are the latest addition to the food vendor family, driving up and down NYC blocks calling out to our sweet tooth. These food trucks all recently competed in the 2008 Vendy Awards, honoring the best food vendors in the biz, and if you have the fortune of passing one, you’ll find it difficult to not indulge in these one of a kind street sweets. Treats Truck www.treatstruck.com Treats Truck successfully lives up to their tag-line: “Not too fancy, always delicious.” At this sweet pit stop, you can find a wide selection of the comforting desserts you grew up with at home. The only difference – there’s no such thing as a bad batch. Each dessert, while traditional, is executed perfectly. From chocolate chips cookies to crispy squares, there is no going wrong. Oatmeal Jammies feature moist oatmeal cookies with a dollop of jam in the center giving it an extra dose of fruity sweetness. Sandwich cookies, ranging in flavors from peanut butter to caramel crème, transport you back to that homey local bake shop. Their brownies are decadent with a perfect fudgy consistency that begs for a glass of milk. It’s no wonder Treats Truck won the People’s Choice Award for Best Dessert Truck at the Vendy Award’s this year! And with prices ranging from 50 cents to $3, there’s no need to hold back. Dessert Truck www.desserttruck.com Dessert Truck offers sweet bites on a different end of the spectrum. Opened by a pastry chef that previously worked at New York’s acclaimed Le Cirque, Dessert Truck offers desserts worthy of a 5-star restaurant. At only $5 a pop, desserts range from the more expected crème brulee to a more inventive take on molten chocolate cake that uses olive oil, sea salt, and pistachios. They are known for their chocolate bread pudding, and rightfully so, with its thick, rich texture accompanied by a light, vanilla crème anglaise. On a seasonal note, Dessert Truck currently offers pumpkin custard garnished with caramelized
pecans and perfectly burnt, homemade marshmallows. Its killer hot chocolate is a dessert unto itself or a perfect accompaniment to any of their affordable, high-end creations. Wafels and Dinges www.wafelsanddinges.com Wafels and Dinges is a one-of-kind food truck serving the best of the sweet stuff from Belgium…waffles! The truck’s Belgian owner has perfected the art of the waffle and added a few personal touches. Wafels and Dinges offers two kinds of waffles for $4 each, the Brussels waffle and the liege waffle. We’re more familiar with the Brussels waffle, its crunchy outside and airy inside just waiting to be eaten. The liege waffle, “Belgium’s best kept secret,” according to the truck’s owner, is dense and chewy with hidden corners of caramelized sugar that make eating one that much more delicious. While these waffles are good enough to be eaten plain, they’re not truly complete without a dinge, or topping. From strawberries to whipped cream to nutella, there is really no going wrong for only $1 extra. Be sure to call the Wafels & Dinges hotline because not only will you find out the trucks location, but more importantly you’ll be told the password of the day that will get you a free dinge! Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream www.vanleeuwenicecream.com The Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck is incomparable to any ice cream truck out there. It does not sing childish music as it drives down the street and has no sign of packaged ice cream bars. Instead, the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck boasts fresh, artisan ice cream made from the finest ingredients. Their mantra, “Fresh. Local. Pure. Simple.” is reflected in each batch of ice cream using fresh milk from upstate New York and some of the most exceptional flavors to enhance their ice cream base. Their chocolate ice cream, rich and not overly sweet, uses chocolate from a small French company that processes their cocoa naturally. Their pistachio ice cream is earthy and natural featuring pistachios harvested on the slopes of Sicily. Between traditional flavors such as vanilla or strawberry to more exotic ones like ginger and red currant, you are guaranteed a transformational ice cream experience that won’t have you buying Good Humor bars anymore, even if prices do start at $3.50. Ava Friedmann is a Barnard senior and Bulletin Food Critic. .
Changes in Chinatown: Explaining the Gentrification Debate We are all very familiar with the topic of gentrification and the debates it spurs. We have heard about, seen, and possibly participated in the protests against Columbia University’s expansion into Harlem. If this example tells us anything about gentrification, it would be that the end goal is inevitable. No community in New York City has been able to completely resist gentrification, the insertion of more affluent businesses and buyers into low-income areas. Chinatown, however, is refusing to give up. Many long-time residents of Chinatown feel that the progress made over the years to diminish racism and alleviate poverty is being entirely reversed by its gentrification. As rents continue to rise, some Chinatown residents are forced to move to Brooklyn or Queens, while others have nowhere to go due to the language barrier or the sheer comfort of living in a community that shares their culture. Those who remain in Chinatown find themselves cramped into small apartments along with anywhere from ten to twenty other residents. But changes are already slowly taking place. Groups like the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative and the Chinatown Partnership have attempted to launch BIDs, or business improvement districts in the area. Business improvement districts are created by business and property owners in order to improve commercial districts. They work by assessing all property owners in the district an additional three percent to five percent property tax, and then use these funds for privatized sanitation services—such as street cleaning and graffiti removal—security and other activities that owners would like to bring to the neighborhood, such as cultural programming. This proposal has triggered much activism within the community. Residents and small business owners are angered that a property tax increase would be considered since it pushes small business owners out of business and out of Chinatown altogether. In response to these pressing issues, groups such as the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side aim to mobilize these small business owners. “They can
by Shazeeda Bhola see the future without looking at the crystal ball. And they are going. These men are the first men to be sacrificed. They pack themselves into apartments; the way things were in 1890. We are going backwards,” Stephen Wong, a community activist and organizer for the Coalition, said in an interview with The Villager. While the businesses that desire to move into the area argue that no plans are definite amid the protesting, residents are not falling for it. The major player in this revamping of Chinatown is the aforementioned Chinatown Partnership, which has claimed that they are only in the preliminary stages of considering BIDs and are still in the process of discussing the issues with small business owners. However, they are also quoted as saying in The Villager that the petitions created by the community organizations, including the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side, is “extremely premature and almost paranoid.” Furthermore, the Partnership’s website (chinatownpartnership.org) contains enough information about local development, testimonials, and the motto “Rejuvenate Reconnect Reinvent” to make it clear that Chinatown is changing. The way the Chinatown Partnership paints the situation makes the gentrification sound positive in all aspects. But what is to be done about the thousands of residents and small business owners who will be moved out of Chinatown or pushed further into poverty? The decision is a very difficult one because, as the Chinatown Partnership declares, the district is cleaner and more attractive to visitors, and therefore it brings in more money to area; and even though they promise to “preserve the neighborhood’s unique culture while ensuring its vitality in the future,” it is hard to imagine what will become of the people who have made up the Chinatown community for so many years. In a New York Times article, Josephine Lee, an organizer with the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, expressed this sentiment best when she said, “It’s not that we don’t want development in this community, we want development of people who work here and live here.” Shazeeda Bhola is a Barnard sophomore.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is reaching the ripe old age of 82 this year. In its long life, it has touched the lives of several generations, as Americans from every corner of the country tune in each fall. Eloise Owens, BC ’12, recounts, “Every Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition for my family to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together.” Thanksgiving for me was marked by two staples, my mom’s hot apple cider and the televised Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The soothing taste and sweet aroma of the cider fused with the music and excitement of the parade to create a complete sensory experience. The parade coverage on television was always exciting, but there was something incongruent about the bundled crowds juxtaposed with the sunshine through my Arizona windows. This year, the chance to watch the 82nd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in person is no longer insurmountable; we can be amongst the bundled crowds, not just watch them on a television screen. The festivities begin the day before at 3pm with public parade preparations. On 77th and 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus, you can catch a backstage sneak peek of the balloons inflating before they hit the runway on Thursday morning. Thanksgiving elves will be tirelessly working through the evening until 10pm. Feet begin to march at nine in the morning on Thursday, but viewers come to stake their claims as early as 6:30am. The parade travels the same route that it has for over sixty years. It begins on 77th street and Central Park West, down to Columbus Circle, turns onto Broadway, veers left on 34th street, passes Macy’s, and reaches the finish line at 7th Avenue. There are many viewing points along the parade route, but to maximize your experience, parade officials recommend watching the parade on Central Park West between 61st and 72nd. They also ask that spectators leave their folding chairs at home because they are not crowd-friendly. Do bring lots of warm clothing and layers. Excitement levels may be high, but temperatures will be low. Hopefully the three and a half million people in the crowds will generate a significant amount of body heat. Find a good spot to stand in, but don’t get too comfortable. Soon, you will be on your feet, interacting with the festive procession coming your way. There will be a fusion of classic items and new additions dancing the two and a half miles downtown. The parade is comprised of balloons, bands, floats,
by Julianna Storch clowns and performers. New balloons include Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, Horton the elephant from Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who, and a smurf to celebrate the Smurf’s fiftieth anniversary. Rolling by will also be new floats such as the Winter Wonderland recreation of Central Park inhabited by Kermit the Frog and Camp Broadway, singing “I Believe in Santa Clause.” Miley Cyrus will be taking the stage along the new float for her new animated movie, Bolt, singing “I Thought I Lost You.” Other highlights will be a variety of clowns in all shapes, sizes, and themes entertaining the spectators, as well as marching bands from across the country. On November 27, take advantage of living in New York City, and take part in this long-standing American tradition. “I wake up every Thanksgiving morning to watch the parade. It is one of those things that concretizes Thanksgiving for me,” says Jordana Kaminetsky, BC ’12. But even if you cannot make it out, curl up with some hot apple cider and tune in to the television coverage on NBC, which is, after all, how it began for most of us. Julianna Storch is a Barnard first-year.
FEATURES ALUMNA LETTER
JOY HORNER GREENBERG ’71
The moment I became convinced that America was in the midst of a revolution from which there would be no turning back was during an address by H. Rap Brown at Columbia in the spring of ’68. When he concluded with Eldridge Cleaver’s memorable line, you are either part of the solution or part of the problem, my metamorphosis from politically conservative freshman to liberal was galvanized. Yet, revolution was not the only thing on my mind that year: My parents divorced, my beloved grandmother died, and my father became ill with terminal heart disease. Ill-equipped to deal with such catastrophic losses, I abandoned faith in all institutions, including academia. While I did manage to graduate (thanks largely to Barnard’s assistance), I was an uninspired—and uninspiring, I’m sure—student, contributing the bare minimum of work needed to get by. As a result, I left New York armed mainly with an anti-authoritarian outlook. For me, being part of Cleaver and Brown’s “solution” meant abandoning all disciplines, including that of self. I buried the “baby” with the bath water. Life intervened, and 40 years later the “baby” is resurfacing: I’m in school once more, attempting a Ph.D. program in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute, having learned that without a modicum of discipline very little of anything can be accomplished, especially writing. Moreover, without a thiasos—a like-minded community—the problems of the world are difficult, if not impossible, to solve. And writers, whose discipline requires solitude, need a thiasos. This time around in school, I hope to get it right; or, rather, I hope to get myself right. For, as I’ve learned through my studies, attending to self is essential before any global healing can be accomplished. Part of getting myself “right” has to do with the process of aging. Let’s face it—at 59, my opportunity for effecting change is running out. But I refuse to accept Jack Newfield’s characterization of us counter-culturists as “mighthave-beens”: I will not go gently into that good night. Beyond my confrontation with mortality, I now find myself driven to
excel academically as I never was before. Much of that has to do with the synchronicity of events that led me to grad school. My quest began at the end of 2004, when, following the death of my husband nine years earlier, I sold our Central Coast California home of 17 years, sent the last two of our three
“I am not alone, especially among my Barnard classmates, in my mission to find meaning through significant selftransformation.” sons off to college, and moved to Silverstrand, a sliver of sand wedged between Port Hueneme and the Pacific Ocean. Once there I became immersed in the stories of the intertidal zone, leading me to explore why humans lack an environmental ethic and how this might be remedied. As I set to work writing down my thoughts, I quickly realized I needed help. Online searching led me to Pacifica, where I found support and encouragement for what has morphed into my dissertation topic: Mythology of Place as Environmental Ethics. My main challenge now (besides figuring out how to pay for my doctorate) is how to respond to people who ask me why I am doing this. Most are puzzled that I would choose to go into greater debt to acquire a degree that doesn’t seem to have any marketability. Yet, I am inclined to believe that I am not alone, especially among my Barnard classmates, in my mission to find meaning through significant self-transformation. It is a theory I hope to explore further as our class’s 40th reunion approaches. I expect to find many of us who still seek to be part of the solution.
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featured artist: Julia Parkin
printed on recycled paper by Corcoran Printing
This is the November 23 - December 6 2008 issue of the Barnard Bulletin, Barnard College's student-run magazine.