t s o p BER
ME U L O 12 - V
SSU 15 - I
in this issue... wbc, wakarusa, and wuv woes
Editor-in-Chief Ben Resnik Managing Editor of Features Mintaka Angell Managing Editor of Arts & Culture Caitlin Kennedy Managing Editor of Lifestyle Caroline Bologna Features Editors Lizzie Davis Piper French Arts & Culture Editor Dillon O’Carroll Lifestyle Editor Will Fesperman Copy Chief Kyle Giddon Serif Sheriffs Clara Beyer Allison Hamburger Head Illustratrix Madeleine Denman Staff Illustrators Elizabeth Berman Emily Reif Grace Sun Robyn Sundlee Contributing Illustrators Nellie Robinson Cover by Madeleine Denman
naked photo > It’s that time of year again. Meet the newest Posteditors. Yum.
contents 3 upfront bad sex Vulveeta emily postEmily Postbad romance The Editors
4 arts & culture figurin’ festivals Contrubuting Writers
pity the protestors Ben Wofford
my summer of food Alice Preminger sexicon MM
top ten overheard at brown the honest-to-god truth Shane Fischbach
editors’ note Two years ago August, I was writing a letter on a train somewhere between Washington, DC, and Richmond, Virginia. Like any overexcited prefrosh, I’d been reading Morning Mail religiously each morning, and I’d come across an opportunity to write about arts, culture, and music for a thing called Post- Magazine. This was my big chance, I thought: An opportunity to break out of the high school newspaper and English essay life and cover something people actually cared about. Competition was sure to be fierce, so I made sure to write a full page—single spaced—to the Editor-in-Chief explaining why I deserved the much-vaunted position. It turned out that the denizens of the magazine were a little less manic than an incoming freshman in August, so when I got the slot I learned to chill out a little bit. But everybody was just as into what they were doing. A lot’s changed with Post- since then, and even since the spring—tons of new authors, editors, and illustrators, and a new conference room to drink work together—but that sense that, hey, we get to do incredible stuff here, and we get to share it with our friends and the whole Brown campus, hasn’t moved. We’re all still just a bunch of overexcited freshmen at heart, and we’re amazed that we get to share what we do here with you. Here’s to another great year at Post-. We really can’t wait to get started. Post-ily yours,
EMILY POSTetiquette expert Dear Emily, Now that classes have started again, I find myself in a social quandary. Sometimes when walking down the street, I make eye contact with someone with whom I am only vaguely familiar. Since I haven’t interacted with them in a while, I never know what to do. And, now that the whole summer has passed, it’s worse. Also, it doesn’t seem worth the potential awkwardness to stare them down until I make eye contact and can say hi—I usually don’t even know their name. So, after the initial contact, I tend to uncomfortably shuffle along and stare back down at my feet. I can’t think of anything else to do. Am I being rude? Sincerely, Street Pariah Dear S.P., Yes, you are being rude. Why? Are you currently suffering from Bell’s palsy? No. Do you closely resemble Borat? No. Did you brush your teeth this morning? I hope so. Then Emily says it is rude to look at the ground and pretend the other person does not exist. It can be a tad uncomfortable if a person
with whom you are not familiar extends a greeting on the street; Emily agrees that it was totally creepy when that one guy you talked to during a review session last semester smiled at you. Not. He was just being nice. Smile back and stop being such a namby-pamby. A word of caution as to why you should be careful about your acknowledgement awkwardness: Emily herself suffers from “bitchy resting face,” a disorder that people who naturally scowl should be aware of. If you also suffer from “bitchy resting face,” then you should most definitely smile, or everyone on campus will think you’re a haughty priss who is too good for everyone. Trust Emily, she knows. During more than one social event someone has asked Emily why she looks angry all the time, when really, she is just off in her own world thinking about things. The phrase “my face naturally looks like that when I’m not smiling,” is often muttered as an abashed explanation. Don’t suffer from “bitchy resting face.” Start the year out right by being someone people enjoy greeting on the street. Regards, Emily
Dear Vulveeta, While working on an organic farm this summer, I met a guy who’s also into sustainable agriculture and communal living. We spent our mornings hunched over zucchini plants, our nights rolling together in the hay. At the end of our summer together, we decided that our fling was as sustainable as our organic farming techniques. This long-distance thing is new to me, though. After three months of getting down and dirty in a zucchini patch, I’m looking for ways to keep our relationship as spicy as our homegrown peppers. Any suggestions? Sincerely, Depressed Intern Riding her Tractor Dear DIRT, First off, congratulations on riding more than just a tractor this summer. With the blessings of modern technology, you have plenty of opportunities to make each other ee-i-ee-i-OHH. Modern cupids Skype, Snapchat, and FaceTime are the way to go to please your animal instincts. To keep that summer passion alive, I’d stick to farm-related scenarios: farmer and milkmaid (always a classic), fertilizing your crops, maybe even some kinky branding if you’re into that. Just be open to the possibilities, and I’m sure you’ll find a way to make his cock a-doodle-do. Best of luck with your free-range meat. Love, Vulveeta
P.S. Did you know a pig’s orgasm can last up to thirty minutes? Set that as a goal. Dear Vulveeta, I recently started dating a RISD student with a passion for performance art. I myself am not particularly creative or artistic, but I’d like to incorporate her interests into the bedroom. Do you have any suggestions that will help me enhance my performance? Desperately, Pathetic Artist-lover In Need of Training Dear PAINT, Do I ever. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve done the stride of pride across the Main Green covered in purple glitter and leftover acrylic paint from VISA 0010 while holding a reptile from RISD’s weird stuffed animal room, I’d have almost a quarter. If you really want to get in some quality studio time, you’re going to have to commit. I’m not talking dying your hair purple or piercing your tragus. I’m talking couple vajazzling. Dream big! I’m thinking painting Starry Night with your nipples. Reclaim pointillism with your special paintbrush. If you’re really desperate, channel Jack and Rose and paint her like one of your French girls … with edible finger paint. She’ll be begging you to stretch her canvas. Love, Vulveeta
editorial musings on love, hickeys, and edible duck embryos
the editors With all the flux that comes with a new academic year—classes, jobs, research, friendships, new Post- editorial boards all needing negotiation amid the ruthlessly typical existential crises of youth—we can take comfort in an enduring truth: Love is weird. And wonderful. And occasionally requires you to shoot someone in the chest with a laser gun. Collected below are some of the Post- editors’ best/worst romantic misadventures for your enjoyment in such a turbulent time. May your next hookup exceed all of these standards. Being in a long-distance relationship means the normal college dating rules don’t really apply. Instead of getting to know your partner’s friends, you become acquainted with a great deal of Megabus drivers. It’s strange to see how people you’re aware of only peripherally—I had this guy last time and he got me there half an hour early, this driver just put the whole bus in time-out because we were talking over the safety instructions, she’s probably a bad egg—affect, and allow, your
most intimate moments. It’s a reminder that your summer escapades are just part of a big, strange, beautiful thing everyone else is sharing. –BR The second guy I ever kissed was a little … overzealous, and after we made out, my entire mouth and surrounding skin were left bruised and hickey’d. For the next three days, I put lots of cover-up on my black and blue mustache, and when that failed, I walked around with a bottle of blue Gatorade to provide an alternate explanation for the discoloration. Still, the bruising hurt a lot, and I spent the next couple of weeks under the impression that making out is supposed to be painful. I didn’t understand—why had no one warned me of this? –CB I once got tremendously drunk and decided I needed to text a cute boy who I’d basically just met. He happens to be Post-’s Copy Chief, Kyle. I didn’t have his number, so I went into my phone, logged into Google
Docs, and found his digits in our Post- contact information spreadsheet. I then texted him, pretending that he had given me his number and that everything that had just happened was totally normal. I said, “Kyle. This is Clara. Hello.” He said “Yoooooo.” I said “Yoooooooo.” And that was it. –CB One spring day near the end of my freshman year, I was far down the Wikipedia wormhole when I stumbled upon Balut (egg), which is “a developing duck embryo that is boiled alive and eaten in the shell.” Naturally, I sent the article to the guy I was hooking up with at the time. I then got a text: “the article wasnt [sic] as funny as you thought.” He later angrily explained that balut is an aphrodisiac. “So?” I said. It turned out he thought I was making fun of his occasional, er, impotence. We quickly broke things off. –WF You could call it my first-ever date, but we were too young to drive, so we just played Sims and watched The Princess Bride. After some unpleasant tickling (sure-fire way to a woman’s heart), he went in for a kiss, but I was so flustered I pushed him away immediately and muttered something charming like, “I’m thirsty. Be right back.” Upstairs, distraught, I yanked the freezer drawer open so hard that the whole thing came out and landed on my foot. I fractured my toe and would be on crutches for weeks, but I was a little bit relieved we didn’t have to do any more kissing. –LD Several weeks back, while a blood-red evening descended on Manhattan, a young woman fell into my arms. (But perhaps I am being too romantic: We had been standing in a particularly rickety subway car when a hiccup in the brakes sent her spiraling in my direction. Flailing, arms wild, like King Kong
swiping at airplanes, she toppled toward me and grabbed the only thing she could find— my wrist. I, too, tumbled to the subway floor. I call it a New York waltz.) –KG My first kiss took place during a game of laser tag, with a boy whose name I thought I knew (I was mistaken). Just beforehand, he had been following me through the dark, scary laser tag maze, shooting me at will. This was perhaps a questionable method of flirtation, in that I felt less turned on than, say, hunted. Eventually, he managed to corner me, whereupon he started trying to make out with me. I kissed him back for maybe ten seconds out of pure shock, then shot him in the chest with my laser tag gun and ran away (I’m nothing if not romantic). –PF The Summer of the Boyfriend Chart started with a bottle of gin, a young adult novel, and casual dating, which had given my friend (we’ll call her Sarah) a guilty conscience. Sarah was dating two boys at once. The boys drove her to the gin; the gin drove her to the Chart. The Chart was a thing of beauty: a chronological, color-coded Excel spreadsheet documenting the relative merits of every male from Sarah’s past. “It’s like they’re all leering at me,” Sarah told me, shuddering, after we had the brilliant idea to include a banner of photographs at the top of the Chart. For those considering the creation of a Boyfriend Chart, I suggest you resist the temptation to use visual aids—and be warned that this exercise will always drive you to drink. –CK My first kiss was with a guy wearing a fedora. The shame lingers to this very day. –MA Illustration by Emily Reif
arts & culture
find your spirit festival
making peace with a theater-free major
contributing writers I originally started attending festivals because I was dating a music journalist (his indie records were much cooler than mine), and I always felt guilty because I never had a good time at these events. Maybe it was the sweat that coated my body at Bonnaroo, or maybe it was all the overeager strangers at Outside Lands. Something was holding me back from my optimum music festival experience. Once I broke up with the indie boyfriend, it seemed inevitable that my relationship with music festivals would also come to a close. But I kept coming back, and this summer, I finally found my spirit festival: the Newport Folk Festival, also known as the dorkiest music festival in existence. (Case in point: NPR is everywhere, selling merch and filming livestreams and generally showering obscure folk artists with love.) If I managed to find my festival, I am confident that anyone and everyone has the potential to have an equally amazing summer music festival experience. It might have to do with the media sponsor. Whatever it is you’re looking for, I hope this spread gives you a sense of what festival is right for you. Happy reading, and here’s to finding a festival home away from home! –Caitlin Kennedy, ’14
bonnaroo: manchester, tn
which stage? what festival am i at again?
MATT PETERSON contributing writer My odyssey to Tennessee’s annual music and arts festival started in New Jersey. The moment I crossed the George Washington Bridge on my 900-mile drive down to Manchester, I began to see cars stuffed to the brim with camping gear, “Bonnaroo Bound” scribbled in bright colors on their back windshields. Flashing my wristband to other drivers felt like giving an invisible fist bump to my fellow festival-goers. Our shared excitement was palpable—and mounting—as we approached Manchester. Entering the festival, I was greeted by a giant inflatable arch, which signaled my entrance into the whimsical land of Bonnaroo. I eagerly made my way to Centeroo (the main festival grounds), where I encountered all kinds of people: cordial, convivial, out of their minds. The layout of the festival only added to Bonnaroo’s
strangeness. The two main stages were called Which Stage and What Stage, while the three smaller concert venues were This Tent, That Tent, and The Other Tent. I’m not sure whether the difficulty I had meeting up with people at these landmarks speaks to whether I was adjectivally challenged, incapacitated, or both during my time on The Farm. Despite being a stranger in a strange land, I found myself pleasantly enveloped in a unique Bonnaroovian brand of Southern hospitality. This helped foster a community among festival-goers, but it also inspired intimate sets from many artists. Although the crowd greeted headliner Paul McCartney’s arrival on the What Stage with waves of insanity, you could hear a pin drop during the anecdotes he told in between songs.
These intimate moments made Bonnaroo seem like a place where all people could participate fully, discarding inhibitions and embracing their wildest, most-authentic selves. From the guy in the orange body suit to the couple dressed as ketchup and mustard (always crying out for their long-lost relish), every festival-goer played an important role in Bonnaroo’s collective weirdness. Even that infamous carrier of the Nicolas Cage cut out. As my friends and I traversed stages between major acts, we often noticed tribelike bands of people roughing it along the main thoroughfare, where vendors advertised their overpriced food and goods along the road. We agreed that this sight conjured
visions of a feudal town, and later we even found ourselves referring to the water stations dispersed throughout Centeroo as “wells.” Equally medieval was Bonnaroo’s waste disposal system—those portapotty hubs lent new meaning to the word cesspit. But in the end, not showering for five days and surviving on little more than Clif Bars, oatmeal, baked beans, and apples was well worth the experience of inhabiting Bonnaroo’s mythical premises.
outside lands: san francisco, ca getting inside outside lands
CHARLIE the misfit toy It was early Sunday morning on the final day of my twentieth year on earth, the final day of Outside Lands Music Festival. No early birthday gift had been awarded to me in the form of a ticket. My application for a press pass had been denied. (A summary of the response I received to the application: “You can’t get one. Don’t ask why.” Fuckers.) As I paced through San Francisco streets, frantic plans raced through my brain. I knew there would be scalpers lurking outside the festival gates, but I also knew that I couldn’t afford to shell out more than fifty dollars for a ticket. I could already envision a scalper’s response to my offer: “The Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining tonight. One hundred dollars. Take it or leave it.” Getting into Outside Lands was going to be like pulling teeth. Or so I thought. As it turned out, I was blessed by the power of strangers … As I walked down Haight Street—a San Francisco landmark, which garnered fame as a hippie mecca in the late ’60s—I felt something different in the air. I had walked down the street many times before (usually in search of marijuana) but today the street felt new to me. Although the environment seemed promising, I started to question my luck when I asked to bum
a cigarette from a balding, middle-aged man with reddish brown eyes. I realized that quickly that he was the devil incarnate, as he lit my bummed cig with a white lighter, which is no bueno for anyone who knows about white lighters ... I put the cig out on a lamp post without even taking a drag. No weed, no nicotine, and not even a sip of alcohol—my day was off to a rough start. My next encounter was with a young man named Phil, who was walking fast and talking faster, hopped up on either molly or coke. Phil wore a snapback adorned with a dollar sign and a black tee tight enough to reveal a Philadelphia Phillies tattoo on his left bicep. He used the terms “hella” and “bruh” hella often, in true Bay Area fashion, as in, “Let’s go to the concert, bruh. Should be hella sick.” Phil and I disappeared into crowds of flannel-clad hipsters, all making their way towards the festival. We strode past massive redwood trees, which blocked out any shred of sunlight that might have shown through the San Francisco fog. In all this haze, I almost forgot the reality of my situation: I was ticketless, an interloper, not a part of the crowd at all. Phil approached a man with a smile and a wave. The two men spoke to each other
in hushed tones as I stood back, not paying attention. (This was obviously a business deal where I was not welcome, and I knew better than to intrude.) Eventually, Phil returned, and he explained that Tre was his drug dealer from Hunter’s Point. Tre was working for the festival, and he promised that he could get us in—if we waited an hour and gave him a little cash. When the time arrived, we were surprised to see the massive huddle around our man Tre. This time, the devil had been reincarnated as twenty-five preppy posers. They all appeared to be between eighteen and twenty years old, and even the best hippie regalia couldn’t erase the stench of their uptown privilege. Tan and tall with their pink Polo dress shirts and Macklemore haircuts, the bros irked me the most. They had money to blow, which is why ticket prices were so inflated. Tre was like a modern-day prophet, flanked by hordes of followers. Phil and I were his poor, forgotten apostles. I immediately saw the writing on the wall— not everyone was going to get in. As others promised to give Tre money at a later time, I slipped him a twenty. “That’s more
than half,” I told him. “Get me inside, and you’ll have the other ten.” When we finally reached the last possible entrance, the last leg of the festival, Tre turned to the crowd and admitted that he could only get four people in. Fortune smiled on us, Tre appreciated our sincerity, and being our Moses, helped our fight against the devils surrounding us. Tre led us inconspicuously through the gate, all the while smiling and waving at the surrounding policemen and volunteers. And just like that, we were inside Outside Lands. If you want to read the full version of Charlie’s misadventures at Outside Lands, go to www.post.browndailyherald.com Illustration by Nellie Robinson
arts & culture
foo fest: providence, ri
a comprehensive list of summer music festivals
tales of the foo
ANNY LI contributing writer A strange creature descends upon Empire Street each year on the second Saturday of August. Year after year, this beast—the Foo—unleashes mad ruckus and revelry as it lumbers through our city’s downtown streets. For the people of Providence, acquaintance with the Foo is a rite of passage. For me—a summer intern at AS220, the nonprofit responsible for putting on the festival—it was the culmination of a summer spent learning about Providence’s thriving underground arts scene. On Foo day, I arrived downtown at the chipper break of dawn. One o’clock arrived before we knew it, and immediately Foo-ers began to stream inside the festival gates. It’s a marvel how Foo manages to squeeze into one block, but it’s larger than it appears, snaking in and out the surrounding premises. The Mini Maker Faire, for example, is held in the Pell Chafee building. As the festival began, I snuck away from my duties to explore this madcap community of makers, hackers, and scientists. From there, I wandered to the flea market housed within
AS220’s Black Box theater, where I examined old VHS tapes and handmade prints. Nearby, at the Anarchist Bookfair, I paged through wares peddled by local bookstores, small presses, and radical collectives. Soon, however, a reverberating bass drew me back out to the street, where ZuKrewe, AS220’s Youth hip-hop performance troupe, performed on the Outdoor Stage. Throughout the afternoon, Foo delivered carnivalesque, family-friendly fun. But when night visited Empire Street, it morphed into a whole different beast. Rockers and drag queens, freaks and fools united beneath orange street lamps. Xander Marro, Foo 2013’s artist-in-residence, watched from the sidelines as her designs came to life. Her wooden bird puppets took flight through the smoky haze and hypnotic lights. Crushed cans of ‘Gansett littered the sidewalks—when in Rhode Island, do as the Rhodies do. I retreated to the Indoor Stage, where a crowd yelled alongside political punk/ sax-rockers Downtown Boys. I had never
considered myself a punk appreciator, but something in their unapologetic insistence made the blood roil in my veins. I took a breather and returned outside to catch the final set of the night: SSION, queer pop punk artist and the 2013 headliner. Although the whole day had been packed with local acts, audience members didn’t seem to mind SSION’s out-of-towner status—his beats tapped into our primal urge to dance. People flung their bodies against one another, and SSION invited the crowd to join him onstage. The audience happily obliged until security announced that the platform was breaking under their collective weight. At 1 a.m., Bert Crenca, founder and artistic director of AS220, bid the crowd a brief but emphatic good night. The stragglers trailed out, and staff started cleaning. The streets were empty, but a sense of community lingered, distinctively Providence. Foo Fest retreated back into the recesses of Empire Street, hibernating until August 2014.
governor’s ball: randall’s island, ny mudfest 2013
CAROLINE BOLOGNA managing editor of lifestyle
At the beginning of my first official summer in New York City, I bought a Saturday ticket to Governor’s Ball, or what I will forever remember as Mudfest 2013. On Friday night, the first day of the festival, the city was struck by a terrifying monsoon (read: a big loud scary thunderstorm that made me want my mommy). The Kings of Leon and Pretty Lights shows were canceled, and the rainsoaked festival goers were forced to leave early. Luckily, the next day’s forecast predicted clear and sunny skies, so I didn’t need to break out my $3 poncho from Duane Reade. Still, I knew that Randall’s Island was bound to be muddy, and I opted to wear my old pair of Rainbows, figuring I wouldn’t care if they were ruined. Big mistake. While it’s true that it was a good idea
to wear shoes I didn’t care about, my flipflops were entirely unsuited for the festival’s treacherously muddy terrain. The island was full-blown mud city. With every step I attempted to take, my shoes got stuck, and the force that was necessary to free myself from the muddy death grip also caused me to lose my balance, so I almost toppled over several times. Put simply, my mobility was severely limited. It didn’t take me long to realize that the shoes had to go. Taking them off was so liberating—I could move again! But what was I going to do with my old muddy Rainbows? They wouldn’t fit in my tiny bag, and ditching them completely meant I would have to take the subway home barefoot, which was not an option. So, I hid them in a bush and hoped for the best. The hours that followed were a
fantastically muddy mess, but I had an amazing time seeing Azealia Banks, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, Kendrick Lamar, Kings of Leon (rescheduled for Saturday, yay!), Alt-J, Icona Pop (for the obligatory “I Don’t Care” dance freakout), and a little bit of Guns N’ Roses and Nas. At the end of the night, I located the bush where I had stashed my Rainbows and was pleased to find them still there. That night, millions of New Yorkers were perplexed to see droves of twentysomethings, myself among them, dragging their mud-caked legs into subways all over the city. When I finally made it back to my apartment, I threw my shoes away and headed straight for the shower. Mud can be liberating. But it’s also very dirty.
lollapalooza: chicago, il
losing my music festival virginity
July Newport Folk Festival: Newport, RI (Folk) Gathering of the Vibes: Bridgeport, CT (Grateful Dead-themed) August Foo Fest: Providence, RI
June Governor’s Ball: Randall’s Island, NYC The Roots Picnic: Philadelphia, PA Firefly Music Festival: Dover, DE July Camp Bisco: Mariaville, NY (Electronic) Fingerlakes GrassRoots Festival of Music and Dance: Trumansburg, NY August Electric Zoo: Randall’s Island, NYC
May Austin City Psych Fest: Austin, TX Savage Weekend Fest: Chapel Hill, NC (Noise) June Wakarusa: Ozark, AR Bonnaroo: Manchester, TN Free Press Summer Festival: Houston, TX July Forecastle Festival: Louisville, KY MusicFest ‘N Sugar Grove: Sugar Grove, NC (Bluegrass) August Satchmo Summer Fest: New Orleans, LA (Jazz)
May Movement Electronic Music Festival: Rochester Hills, MI Soundset: Shakopee, MN (Hip-hop) Summer Camp: Chillicothe, IL June Electric Forest: Rothbury, MI Lollapalooza: Chicago, IL Pitchfork Music Festival: Chicago, IL Summerfest: Milwaukee, WI August WE Fest: Detroit Lakes, MN (Country)
JOSÉ SAMUEL CLAIR contributing writer When I bought my tickets for Lollapalooza, I never imagined I would come out of my first music festival with so many bruises. Yet there I was, getting slammed repeatedly into the metal frames at the front of a Cage the Elephant concert. This was not the way I had envisioned losing my festival virginity, particularly because I had fought my way to the front of that specific stage to have my soul melted by the croonings of City and Colour—not to have my limbs bruised by a crowd-surfing Matthew Shultz. As the music grew louder and the crowd more violent, I thought about my journey to the festival: driving to LAX, landing at
Midway three days before the festival (because my Southwest flight was cheaper that way), and crashing at a friend’s condo (because hotels cost money). Lolla was a hot, sweaty mess—and if I’d known that ahead of time, my introverted self might not have attended, which would have been a huge mistake. If you’ve never attended a music festival before, I highly recommend that Lolla be your first. You will get bruised and stepped on; you will become intimately acquainted with the body odor of your fellow festival goers and the scent of your own sweat; you will spend more money than you ever in-
tended. On your tenth trip to the water station, however, you’ll ask the hot, intellectual guy behind you what he’s reading. Standing around an empty stage, waiting for the next performer, the two of you will have interesting conversations with a group of strangers. As the Chicago skies dim and rain begins to pour, you will bond over shared physical discomfort and a love for Dallas Green. Maybe you will exchange numbers and strike up a friendship outside of the festival. Maybe you will never see each other again. Either way, you will be very glad to have lost your festival virginity.
May Sasquatch: Quincy, WA June Electric Daisy Carnival: Las Vegas, NV Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Telluride, CO July High Sierra Music Festival: Quincy, CA August Pickathon: Portland, OR Outside Lands: San Francisco, CA Bumbershoot: Seattle, WA Burning Man: Black Rock Desert, NV Rock the Bells: Los Angeles, CA as well as other cities (Hip-hop)
pity the protestors
featuring the WBC in: the tax code! Jews for Jesus! Rob Lowe!
When a right-wing lawyer named Jay Sekulow found himself facing down Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 1986, he was in the middle of defending an unusual client, Jews For Jesus, from an unusual adversary: airline executives. In Airport Commissioners v. Jews for Jesus, the evangelical group was suing LAX for banning their leafleting activities in the airport pavilion, making the argument that the ban violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment. Rather than seize the majesty of the high court to hawk the greatest Jew-walks-into-an-airport joke of all time, Justice O’Connor took the more prudent route and posed a question: What could the public possibly gain from Jews for Jesus leaflets? The answer, Sekulow revealed, was nothing. “One of the purposes of [a] public forum,” he responded, was to afford “groups that may have less popular messages” their only chance to speak. Somehow that was enough for O’Connor, who authored the 9-0 decision favoring Jews for Jesus. Sekulow’s victory revolutionized the Evangelical Movement—a church’s public message was now more a matter of speech than the protection of “free exercise of religion.” But another way to understand the magnitude of Jews for Jesus is to talk to the Brown students who stood at the corner of Waterman and Prospect Street this summer, chanting, singing and shouting down the Westboro Baptist Church, who had come to Providence to protest Governor Chafee’s April signing of marriage equality. Westboro is the Kansas-based “church” known for its public protests—picketing anything from military funerals to the Holocaust Museum in order to advance their apocalyptic message, bearing incendiary signs that range from the outrageous (“God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for 9/11”), to the second-grade-playground (“Fags Eat Poop”), to rejected B-list porno titles (“Your Pastor is a Whore” and “Semper Fi Fags”). Such protests became the subject of Westboro’s 2011 Supreme Court appeal for the right to protest military funerals, known as Snyder v. Phelps, and using the Jews for Jesus “public forum” argument, they won. The Snyder case became widely featured, including a segment on Nightly News with Brian Williams. This year alone, the church has been featured in primetime on ABC, CBS and NBC, including The Today Show.
The Westboro press brigade raises a difficult contradiction: if a national hate group gains almost all of its power from publicity, why should we even be talking about them? Isn’t it true that, in a media-controversy complex where fame for being famous still breeds relevance, each new Post- article is a tiny addendum of power, each TV spot an additional drop in an IV bag of publicity funneling straight into Westboro’s veins? So how should we react to Westboro: rally the troops and fight, point and laugh, ignore them altogether? To solve this puzzle, we all need to stop, sit down, and take a long, hard look at Rob Lowe. Also—bear with me here—the tax code. Brunonians might not care much about the Supreme Court precedent that planted Westboro on the south side of Waterman Street in July. And most of us probably haven’t read many court cases outlining the parameters of religious tax exemption, much less understand what bearing they have on Westboro’s antics. But the church’s carefully phrased signs and perfectly timed protests indicate that they know exactly what they’re doing. The IRS categorizes religious groups as 501c(3) nonprofits, which are completely tax exempt. The catch: Because 501c(3) nonprofit organizations can’t engage in political activity—such as advocating for candidates, policies or platforms—churches can’t either, or they lose their tax-exempt status. The 1972 case US v. Christian Echoes National Ministry made no bones about it: “A religious organization” “aimed at influencing legislation” will lose its exemption, period. If you’re wondering how Westboro’s exemption could be remotely legal, you’re not alone. Over 675,000 Americans have signed petitions at the White House’s www. change.gov demanding the removal of Westboro’s tax-exempt status, often citing the church’s website, which features numerous political-ish ephemera—references to the national debt, marriage equality cases, and a must-listen homemade remake of Maroon 5’s “This Love” (“You were so high you did not recognize, the fire burning in God’s eyes…”). But examine the church a little more closely, and you’ll see that Westboro isn’t really advocating anything, either on their website or during their protests. And the church is usually a little late to the party—
if their mission is to avert our damnation, wouldn’t their efforts have been better aimed at preventing the State House vote on same-sex marriage in April? But they didn’t protest beforehand—in fact, they can’t, without risking their tax exemption under the Christian Echoes case. Westboro has never knowingly participated in the political process. Forced to steer clear of proactive advocacy, the church is left only to protest the outcomes. Is that a meaningful difference? This sounds like a conundrum perfect for Rob Lowe—pre-plastic surgery, Sam Seaborn Rob Lowe. After September 11, the cult TV series The West Wing ran an hour-long special in which a terrorist attack leaves the marquee cast stranded in the White House basement with a visiting high school class. The episode strikes gold in a scene that relates to Westboro: into the basement saunters Sam Seaborn, freshly tan and looking especially svelte. “What about terrorism are you struck by most?” asks a student. “Its 100% failure rate,” replies Sam. “Not only do terrorists always fail at what they’re after, they pretty much always succeed in strengthening whatever it is they’re against.” Maybe that’s the way we ought to think about Westboro. Should we protest Westboro, or ignore it? Why not take Sam’s advice and celebrate it for that very same failure rate? Legally bound to protest only after the fact, Westboro may be the only organization in the country that travels vast distances with the sole intention of drawing attention to its own failure. One imagines the Westboro leadership sitting on their hands in Topeka, staring at a map and waiting for marriage equality’s next victory to strike so that they can load up the bus. And when Westboro does arrive, it’s only confirmation that love has won the day. Long after the legislators have been lobbied, the rallies have been held, the bill has been signed, and the confetti has fallen, there will always be Westboro, the final step in the life cycle of victorious social change. Their presence seals the victory and makes it official— in the most literal sense, the church is a living, breathing reminder of the 100% failure rate of hate. If you think that Westboro is a serious threat, then the suggestion that we should all be cool with Westboro is patently of-
fensive. And the notion that funeral pickets create palpable, legal damage is more than valid—that was the lower court’s original ruling in Snyder, before being overturned. But maybe the heart of the tax exemption argument isn’t about what they, but about what we do: If we really feel threatened by Westboro, we’re probably not looking closely enough at who they are. Is Westboro physically violent? No. Can they change public opinion? Only if by “change” you mean “help the other side win”—support for gay marriage is steadily rising, and Westboro is often described as the “most hated group in America” across the political spectrum (pretty much what you’d expect from a group that makes it a priority to protest military funerals). And can they change the outcome of policy in any way? So long as they keep their tax exemption, the answer is, thankfully, no. But taking away that exemption would amount to social acquiescence: “We’ve heard your message, and want to invite you to into the political process. Come on in!” Westboro is legally locked into harmlessness—maybe the one nonviolent hate group we can use as an up-close teaching tool about hate (children regularly attend counter-protests). So why not celebrate that? The next time Westboro makes their way to College Hill, maybe we shouldn’t fear them, but welcome what they represent: not only a failure of their own cause, but a breathing reminder of how their vitriol continues to fade. As Jews for Jesus and Snyder serve to remind, sometimes the very act of protests means, by definition, that we have nothing to gain from the message. But what Justice O’Connor might have added is that we have everything to gain from the process. We can walk straight past the Jews for Jesus pamphleteers; we can clean up the confetti with gusto. Their actions are a (thankfully) harmless chance to show that when their message takes flight, it invariably plummets with a reassuring thud. So maybe we should take Sam Seaborn’s advice and treat Westboro pickets like those Jews for Jesus leaflets or, more to the point, like confetti—harmless, worthless trash, left on the asphalt, a fleeting memory of yesterday’s victory. May there be many more. Illustration by Emily Reif
my summer of food (and why you don’t have to be jealous) ALICE PREMINGER food columnist My job this summer was cake and ice cream. But actually. As part of my work for a student-published guide to New York City, I was the steward of the weekly (eventually devolving into a bi- and then mono-monthly) “best of ” food column entitled “Foodie Tuesday” (editor’s idea, not mine). This entailed trawling through Yelp, New York Magazine, and Serious Eats, asking friends for recommendations, polling natives, and tracing my own encounters to compile a “long list” of various “best of ” eatables (ideally the most sugary, fatty, carb-laden and delicious items I could think of ). I sampled each and every one, ranking the top o’ the heap. So, basically, I spent my summer eating. And, just as any reasonable human might expect, It. Was. Awesome. Well, mostly. Regrettably, when they use that stupendously optimistic expression “there are no free lunches,” they have a point. Apart from the literalness of the statement—the job was unpaid, and $14 bowls of ramen really add up—devoting one’s summer to gustatory pursuits is actually not “just desserts.” To be fair, some of this must be attributed to the nature of the column as a weekly gig. There is little as meddlesome as having a nutritive theme imposed on each week of your life. Seriously. An entire week’s agenda could be dictated by tracing the whereabouts of a particularly celebrated and elusive specimen of noodle, which invariably turned out to be in the outer reaches of Queens. The con-
sequences this had on my social life were profound. After a while people get suspicious when you’re consistently unable to hang out because “Oh, you know, I need to go eat bagels in Flushing. It’s for work. Don’t worry about it.” Adding insult to injury was the fact that half the time the “establishments” that I ditched the invitations for didn’t actually exist. There’s nothing like standing dumbfounded in front of the boarded-up warehouse that was supposed to be a bakery, knowing you could have been splashing about some white-sanded beach in the Hamptons. But there were more complications. As the procrastination-inclined have probably already realized, it turns out a week is not a very long time. And, unlike squeezing a semester’s worth of reading into finals week, cramming 18 burgers into four days is actually impossible. There are limits to the extent to which you can reduce yourself to an ice-cream eating machine (I know. It came as a surprise to me too). It is possible to get tired of grilled cheese. Or bagels. Or burgers. Seriously. There are only so many butter and cheese induced stomachaches you can endure before the very idea of another artisanal sandwich makes you queasy – I don’t care how aged the cheddar. But alas, you still have two days and six sandwiches you “must try,” so I guess that means I’ll stock up on Prilosec. And then sometimes the editors would make “requests.” Eating frozen yogurt five
times a day sucks no matter how you slice it, but hey, it was my idea so I kind of did it to myself. But you’re asking me to write a column on fucking fried rice? I don’t even like fried rice, but you’re my editor, and they’re my loyal fans, so I guess I have no choice (I totally did, but I have a chronic fear of disappointing). Needless to say, there was some resentment there. But this is all forgivable. The only truly tragic consequence of my summer job: Because the events in a given week became inextricable with whatever I was writing about, there are a few foods that have been ruined forever. That fight with that friend? That happened during smoothie week. The time someone insulted me during a writing workshop? Chai lattes. And I believe I was hunting around Williamsburg looking for a specific salted caramel apple tart while a certain boy was in the process of breaking my heart. Pie has been cursed forever after. And that’s a pretty rough attribution to such an innocent and delicious pastry. But whatever. At least no one ever made me stand in line for cronuts.
Bouchon Bakery (ish) Grilled Cheese Two slices Pain au lait (if you can’t find pain au lait, brioche will do just fine) One ounce Gruyere One ounce fontina Significant amount (at least 1 tbs) butter plus enough to grease pan Tomato soup (if you’re into that kind of thing) Grease frying pan with butter. Turn on low heat until butter coats the bottom of the pan. Generously butter both sides of pain au lait (or brioche, if you must). Grate Fontina and Gruyere onto bread, and assemble into sandwich form. Place sandwich in pan and cook each side for about 3–4 minutes until golden brown.
Illustration by Grace Sun
sexual (dys)function 101
n. the upsetting scenario in which your back-to-school sexual fervor conflicts with your intimacy issues
Welcome back to College Hill. It’s finally September—the month of new faces, outlandish parties, and potential hookups. The sun rises early and sets late, classes are just beginning, and textbooks and yearlong baggage have yet to weigh us down. We should be tearing each other’s clothes off. But with each new year comes fresh stress, anxiety, and even depression. Many of us are realizing we have no desire for sex. It’s no coincidence that low sex drive is a common symptom of sadness. We’ve all heard of the guy who just doesn’t climax or the girl who has never had an orgasm. Most of us just assume that some people just have naturally low libidos. We don’t consider that maybe medication is to blame. So let’s talk about drugs. The most common treatment for depression are drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. A low level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain is linked to depression. SSRIs combat this by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin. Changing the balance of serotonin seems to boost mood. But it’s not so simple. Higher levels of
serotonin can also decrease levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine—which contributes to sexual pleasure—and the male hormone testosterone, which both women and men need for sexual desire. Although boosting serotonin and curbing dopamine blunts bad moods, it also diminishes libido. The truth is, about 1 in 10 Americans take antidepressants to deal with depression. However, according to a study by the Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto, between 30% and 70% of these people experience sexual dysfunction. In men, “sexual dysfunction” means erectile dysfunction. It women it means vaginal dryness and decreased sensation. In both sexes it diminishes libido and may make achieving orgasm impossible. When getting off (pun intended) medication is not an option, something has to be done. Here are some things that psychiatrists suggest to combat sexual dysfunction: Switch medication or lower dose: There are many different types of SSRI drugs. Ask your doctor about switching to another similar medication with fewer sexual side effects. You can also ask about experimenting with a lower dose.
Use a combination of medication: Adding Wellbutrin (a dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) to an SSRI is a common treatment for sexual dysfunction. Some doctors even suggest adding low doses of Viagra, which has been proven to help both men and women. Change the time you take medication: Try taking medication directly after the time you usually have sex, instead of before. Extend Foreplay: Masturbate before having sex with your partner or engage in an extra-long foreplay session—kissing, touching, and oral stimulation—before any penetration. You may believe you aren’t able to achieve orgasm, but it may just take significantly longer than it did before. Take a “Drug Vacation”: After checking with your doctor, you can try discontinuing medication after a morning dose on Thursday and not taking it again until Sunday. You’ll experience increased libido just in time for Thirsty Thursday. All of this seems like a lot of work, and some people quit SSRIs the moment they have a delayed orgasm. However, many doctors encourage patients it wait it out. It may take some time before sexual response returns to normal.
All in all, it may also take a change in perspective. At first you might believe you’re unable to achieve orgasm, but you may just be experiencing a delayed or less intense orgasm. You may have to change the way you masturbate and have sex. And that leads us to even more difficult questions: Should you tell your sexual partners if you are on antidepressants? Perhaps warn them of any delayed or absent orgasms? It’s hardly the hottest thing to say, “oh by the way, I’m on a high dose of Prozac,” before you take off someone’s clothes. But if you cannot orgasm—and if you’re a guy it’s oh-so-much harder to fake—you might want to explain your situation to your partner so she doesn’t blame herself. The worst thing to do is fake orgasms. Most women have faked a few during a hookup, but faking orgasms in a relationships only leads to months or possibly years of faked orgasms. Although most of us would like to climax during sex, intimacy and arousal are still possible without actual orgasms. Just remember it gets better. Hang in there and don’t stop your medication until you talk with a doctor.
“This guy has a fucked up pericardium.” “This phe.” “Damn it, dude, why are always the hottest babes... Zionists?” “Are they gonna sing? I think they’re gonna sing!” (at the orientation archsings) “I miss my flip phone so much.” “No you don’t. You just say that to sound hipster.” “I have like, a weird reverence for Megalodon.”
weekendfive Triple Threat Concert with the Higher Keys, the Ursa Minors, and the Jabberwocks Salomon Auditorium, Friday, 8 p.m. $2 Huge Face, Littlefoot, and Wilder Maker LP Release at Machines With Magnets 400 Main St, Pawtucket, RI, Saturday, 9 p.m. $8 Sigma Chi Presents: Risky Business Olney House, Saturday, 10 p.m. Free The Grapes of Wrath at Trinity Repertory Company, FridaySunday, 7:30 p.m. $22 Smut Night at AS220 95 Empire Black Box, Saturday, 7 p.m. $5-$15 sliding scale
things we missed about brown
1. The John Street Masturbator 2. Brown-Secure 3. Freshmen in section 4. The steady, reliable weather 5. Keeney contact highs 6. The John Street Masturbator’s copycat? 7. Hat Dog 8. Arches 9. Directing traffic outside J. Walter Wilson 10. Baked scrod
the honest-to-god truth
my (approx. 6,000-year-)old kentucky home
SHANE FISCHBACH contributing writer There are two main reasons you might visit the Creation Museum in the town of Petersburg, Kentucky. The first is that your church has been given a mega-discount (this seemed to apply to most of the visitors). The second is that on the last day of a trip to Cincinnati, you discover that the Harriet Beecher Stowe house, your first-choice museum, is closed on Sundays. My family was of the second denomination. The Creation Museum was designed by Answers in Genesis (AiG), a group committed to a literal interpretation of the first book of the Bible. The group’s founder, Ken Ham, seemed to appreciate something very basic about humans: We tend to believe things we see. In his view, the biblical narrative of creation needed to be transcribed from written to visual form, and in a way that appeals to the middle-American taste for the flashy. The enterprise is actually laudable from a PR standpoint: Ancient skeletons, breathtaking botanical gardens, and a petting zoo all give the impression that you are visiting a real natural history museum. Everything about the Creation Museum is solid: the dinosaur statue that welcomes you to the campus, the bodybuilder security guards (slightly less welcoming), the admittedly young-looking “rock formations” that carve out the entrance hall, and, most importantly, the employees’ faith in the biblical narrative. The only thing that wasn’t steadfast last May was my commitment to visiting the museum. As we turned onto Bullittsburg Church Road, I started to have serious reservations. What if there are police dogs specially trained to sniff out my atheist antigens? The thought of being discovered by crusading canines was not inspiring. All trepidations aside, we paid our admissions fees in an entrance hall
decorated with dragon paraphernalia, including Chinese-style banners and dragon-related trivia. It wasn’t until we reached the Dragon Hall bookstore that my instinct was confirmed: In addition to favoring a word-by-word understanding of the biblical Creation story, the museum was also committed to an ostentatious display of dragons. (In fact, the dragons—and human descriptions of them—represented incontrovertible evidence that humans had lived alongside dragons and their close cousins, the dinosaurs). After passing robotic animations of a jungle-dwelling Mandy Moore look-alike sharing a moment with her friendly neighborhood T. rex, we passed two green reptiles that were “doing it,” or something that very closely approximated “it.” I later learned that this Original Sin exhibit was unintentional. We decided to take a break from the shenanigans, including, but not limited to, a life-sized Noah’s Ark, a “Culture in Crisis” room that attributes all human depravity to the abandonment of Scripture, and a Flood Geology Room with baby-blabber posing as real science. “Men in White” was showing in the Special Effects Theater. The movie began with an impressionable young woman, Wendy, who gazes up at the stars and wonders if there’s more to life than what heartless and hollow evolutionary theory would have her believe. The protagonists are the quirky young angels Gabe and Mike, who convince Wendy that the only way to live a meaningful life is to renounce all physical fact that conflicts with the biblical narrative. Clearly, the museum designers had encountered some faulty data indicating that people are more likely to believe you when they are wet and shaking; in fact, the vibrating seats and squirt guns made it that much harder to countenance a
benign and empathic Creator. Apart from the museum’s lascivious reptiles, large policemen, bizarre infatuation with dragons, and overall disregard for the human cerebral cortex, its message was actually quite clear: the earth is fewer than 6,000 years old, and the overwhelming evidence in favor of billions of years of life on earth is, well, wrong. Its logic has multiple, contradictory components: The first approach is to dishonestly yet relentlessly poke holes in radioisotope dating, a scientific technique used to determine the age of fossils. The second approach is on display in “The Dig Site,” where two scientists examine the same fossil but arrive at different conclusions about the fossil’s age. This is simply because they have different (but, of course, equally valid), starting points: One believes the biblical creation story, the other does not. That is, the Creation Museum employs false equivalence and downright dishonesty to avoid any substantive discussion of the physical evidence for a world that is billions of years old: stratified geological layers, anatomical similarities, geographic distribution, or genetic analysis. When Leonardo da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” I don’t think the Creationist argument is what he had in mind. In a way, visiting the museum is kind of like watching kindergartners play “house”: you know it’s not real, but it’s adorable, so you let them play their game. And yet, as we drove away from the complex, I was left uneasy by Creationism’s incredible tunnel vision. All doors for further inquiry are now forever closed. The underlying message—that everything there is to know about our world’s creation can be found in the first two chapters of Genesis—is deficient in excitement, imagination, and above all, the unknowns inherent in creation.