BUZZSAW WHOA, TOO FAR NOVEMBER 2010
Coal Crisis Appalachia’s fight against mountaintop removal
Pushing the Poverty Line The trials of living with less
Disney Gone Wild Miley and Co. can’t be tamed
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BUZZSAW Buzzsaw presents...
The Crossing the Line Issue e live in a culture obsessed with drawing lines. That’s largely a result of the idea that lines make things easier. They maintain order. They allow us to see difficult concepts as clear cut, black and white. They create an absolute rule: This is not the same as that. They assign people, places, things and ideas into categories. But when we look further, it’s clear that in many situations, drawing a line is not so simple. That’s why these perceived distinctions are being moved—or, more extremely, dissolved—every day. Kellan Davidson looks at the blurring of the Internet’s private and public spheres in his article “Separation of Web and State,” challenging the government’s right to citizens’ information. Some lines are harder to eliminate. The distinction between rich and poor in the United States has pervaded the country for dozens of years, and, as Lyndsey Lyman illuminates in her piece “Battling the Poverty Line,” is present now more than ever. Society’s traditional classifications of what is and is not appropriate are also being questioned: In our world today, can anything truly “cross the line?” For example, some sexual fetishes can go way too far. Stephanie Black’s article “Horseplay and Foreplay” takes a look at—you guessed it— bestiality. Even stranger, Carly Smith writes about people who have sexual relationships with pillows in “Pillow Talk.” And you thought you were kinky. Some lines should exist, but not all. We must think critically about the lines we draw and the boundaries we decide on as a human race. We must push ourselves to step back, consider the options and decide whether such bold lines are truly necessary.
-The Editors :)
News & Views Upfront Ministry of Cool Prose & Cons Sawdust Layout Art Website SeeSaw Production
Jacquie Simone Adam Polaski Carly Sitzer Emily Miles David Lurvey Chris Giblin Lucy Ravich Anika Steppe Daniel Sitts Emily Miles David Lurvey Andrew Rivard Zachary Anderson, Andy Casler, Lauren Connelly, Zoe Epstein, Clara Goldman, Lauren Hesse, Lena Kuchera, Cameron Kiley, Lyndsey Lyman, Gena Mangiaratti, Meagan McGinnes, Marc Phillips, Quinton Saxby
Jeff Cohen Abby Bertumen Kelly Burdick Bryan Chambala Sam Costello Thom Denick Cole Louison James Sigman
Buzzsaw is published with support from Campus Progress / Center for American Progress (online at CampusProgress.org). Buzzsaw is also funded by the Ithaca College Student Government Association and the Park School of Communications. Our Press is our press. (Binghamton, NY) Buzzsaw uses student-generated art and photography and royalty-free images. Views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the editorial staff or of Ithaca College. Feedback and contributions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Front & back cover by Anika Steppe Center spread by Sam Pinto Upfront divider by Colleen Cunha Ministry of Cool divider by Zachary Anderson Prose & Cons divider by David Lurvey Sawdust divider by Daniel “Granola” Sitts
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Table of Contents News & Views ..................4 Current events, local news & quasi-educated opinions.
Upfront ...........................13 Selected dis-education of the month.
Ministry.of.Cool..............28 Arts, entertainment and other things cooler than us.
Prose & Cons .................40 Short fiction, personal essay and other assorted lies.
Sawdust .........................42 Threatening the magazine’s credibility since 1856.
ON THE COVER
Coal Crisis pg. 11
Pushing the Poverty Line pg. 20 Disney Gone Wild pg. 30
The Internet is for Buzzsaw Check out these web exclusives! >>> “Crystal Ballin,” by Dj Campos: Do you believe that psychics can crossover and communicate with the dead? Examining the plausibility of the Sixth Sense.
>>> “Out of the Closet and Onto Your Screen,” by Alexa D’Angelo: In recent years, society has come along way with the acceptance of gays in the media—so why is it that gay characters are still depicted as stereotypes so often? >>> “Playing for the Other Team,” by Matt Tracy: Only a few years ago, athletics was one of the “last frontier” for LGBT people in the U.S.—one of the few places that out members of sexual minorities had not made a significant impact. Now, with a more accepting younger generation, tolerance in the sports world is expanding. Art by Zachary Anderson
>>> “Mazel Tov! Mi Super Dulce Quinceñera,” by Rachel Konkler: Nothing is better than celebrating the end of your awkward stage! Learn more about how different coming-of-age celebrations for different cultures. Art by Clara Goldman
Our magazine exists to inspire thoughtful debate and open up the channels through which information is shared. Your comments and feedback are all a part of this process. Reach the editors by e-mail at:
>>> “Ithaca is O-fence-ive,” by Tim Bidon & Sarah Ward: The “Ithaca is Fences” campaign, protests Cornell University’s logistical decision to deter suicidal students from jumping into the gorges by fencing them off. But not everyone’s laughing at the joke, positing that in some situations, attempts at humor do, indeed, go too far. >>> “This Article is Banned” by Andrew Lindsay: Some of the most well-known books have been banned—many without a logical reason. However, the same books are also the ones that are often taught in high school. Art by Marc Phillips
check us out at:
>>> “Is this Real Life?,” by Daisy Arriaga: Shows on MTV like Jersey Shore and The Hills have continued to confuse the line between real and reality—to the point that fans can’t even tell what’s real and what’s an act.
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>> 2006 WikiLeaks launched
Compiled by Jacquie Simone
“The broader principles on which our work is based are the defence of freedom of speech and media publishing, the improvement of our common historical record and the support of the rights of all people to create new history.” -WikiLeaks.org
>> January 2007: WikiLeaks grows to 1.2 million documents
By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us.” - Geoff Morrell, Pentagon press secretary
I do have a strong opinion that we should condemn in the most clear terms the disclosure of any information by individuals and or organizations which puts the lives of United States and its partners’ service-members and civilians at risk. -U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton
>> 2008: WikiLeaks wins Economist Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award
>> 2009: WikiLeaks wins Amnesty International human rights reporting award for new media
There’s enormous pressures to harmonize freedom of speech legislation and transparency legislation around the world––within the E.U., between China and the United States. Which way is it going to go? It’s hard to see. - Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder
>> April 2010: Controversial video called “Collateral Murder,” which shows U.S. forces killing Iraqi civilians in 2007, is released
We deplore WikiLeaks for inducing individuals to break the law, leak classified documents and then cavalierly share that secret information with the world, including our enemies.” - Col. Dave Laplan, Pentagon spokesman
>> July 2010: WikiLeaks releases Afghan War Diary, more than 76,900 documents not previously available to the public
>> October 2010: WikiLeaks releases 400,000 documents in the Iraq War Logs
WikiLeaks has leaked information about: BUZZSAW
•Torture and human rights abuses •Iraq War •Afghanistan War
•Congressional reports • Secret trade agreements • Media censorship • Climate change
•U.S. support of paramilitaries •Scientology and other cults •Finance •Guantanamo Bay
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Growing Community As winter approaches, local farmers face challenges By Meagan McGinnes runch. Crunch. Leaves of fire crisp under footsteps. Hills are covered in gold. Brisk air fills lungs like a breath of life. Harvests are plentiful. Autumn is a time of wonder. Playing football or Frisbee on the quad, students of Ithaca College frantically celebrate autumn in all of its glory before winter arrives with its frigid embrace. However, as we students eat our apple and pumpkin everything, we tend not to appreciate the efforts taken to produce these delicious fall treats. Local Ithaca farmers work all spring to prepare and plant crops,
ing ever-present, winter seems closer than ever. Shelley MacDonald, owner of MacDonald Farms, said before the winter strikes she will have to harvest all of her produce from the fields, store all of it and then sell it before it goes bad if she wants to make a profit. “I imagine I’ll be working in the field until December,” MacDonald said. She rushes to help other customers to make as many sales as possible. Her friendly smile masks the worry and stress of the winter season. This same anxiety floods the eyes of local farmer Janet Mandeville of Mandeville Farm. For her, winter also proves to be a challenge. Chinese
munity-supported agriculture. This means locals can buy a share of the farm at the start of the season and receive a share of food each week. This is only one way local farmers assist in creating a sustainable lifestyle, and it helps to ensure that farmers will have steady, upfront profits. Walking around this market of organic food and fresh air, the interaction between the local farmers and their customers is one of true camaraderie. “My favorite part about this job is interacting with the people,” Steve Kettelle of Hendy Hollow Organic Farm said. The buyers are more than just cus-
“It is the understanding of diligent work, of simple things in life and of sincere relationships with customers, that brings these local farmers to life.” cabbage is still in the field. This leafy crop will freeze, and profit will be lost if the weather continues to turn cold too quickly. Mandeville Farm also sells produce to Wegmans. The grocery store recently had a dinner for all the local farmers who sell to them. “That was really nice; it shows they really appreciate you,” Mandeville said. More hardworking hands are needed; however, this requires more funds with which to pay these workers. It is a vicious cycle. MacDonald has her sons and their friends work during this more labor-intensive time in order to beat Mother Nature to the punch. Even in these times of trouble, local farmers put in the effort to give back to the community. In addition to providing healthy produce, some of these farmers donate what they do not sell to local food shelters. Mandeville donates all of her winter squash left over after the selling season. Chris Bickford from Early Morning Farm describes his farm as com-
tomers; some are friends. They joke. They laugh. Local farmers take the time to get to know the regulars they see every week. At the Early Morning Farm stand, a customer even took the time to tell me about the amazing quality of their produce and friendliness of workers. These farmers are an essential part of Ithaca community building. As a new member of the Ithaca community, I will remember not to complain about walking to class or being a little chilly as I watch the snow start to fall outside my dorm window. Local farmers are dealing with many greater concerns, and they are not complaining. They focus now on the diligent work needed to close the season and look ahead to next year’s growing season, all the while smiling through their porthole eyes. _____________________________________ Meagan McGinnes is a freshman journalism major, E-I-E-I-O. E-mail her at email@example.com.
News & Views
all summer to grow and care for them, and all autumn to reap their rewards. Many sell their produce at the Ithaca Farmers Market, where students hurry to indulge before the turn of the season. Yet, we forget that winter’s arrival is not only difficult for students, but also for these farmers. As fall ends, farmers have much to prepare for. It is a perfect autumn day at the farmers market. I take a closer look at the farmers behind the stands. “I love when we start in the greenhouse with the plants and the seeds, just getting everything going, but if I had my choice I’d rather be [working] outside,” said Alison Wiley of Butternut Creek Flower Farm. Hard labor manifests itself as calluses and weathered skin. It is the understanding of diligent work, of simple things in life and of sincere relationships with customers, that brings these local farmers to life. It is clear through these porthole eyes that they have seen both happiness and struggles. With the chill in the air becom-
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Restaurant Review : By Lucy Ravich escending the stairs to Bandwagon Brew Pub for the first time feels a little like going to a secret underground club— that exciting anticipation of not knowing what to expect behind closed doors. The sounds of bustling Latin music from the restaurant filled the air when the doors swung open, foreshadowing a fun and filling dining experience. Bandwagon, which opened in fall 2009 and was formerly a Jamaican restaurant called Yah Mon!, is around the corner from the State Theatre at the end of the Commons strip. It’s isolated from the lively “restaurant row” of North Aurora, making for a tamer and less crowded external environment. Bandwagon, only open for dinner after 7 p.m., offers a casual, innovative dining experience and a great escape from the rowdy college bars on the Commons. The interior of Bandwagon is homey but not cramped. There are about a dozen tables and a bar area in the middle of the space. At full capacity, as it was on a Saturday night, the smallness created a cozy, intimate feeling. Modern Pollock-inspired “splatter” paintings give the traditional brick walls a splash of color and the restaurant a more contemporary feel overall. In the back of the seating area, a glass display window showcases Bandwagon’s beer selection. Bandwagon brews its own beer (right onsite!), with seasonal flavors such as Watermelon Ale
Photo by Anika Steppe
for the summer and Pumpkin Ale for smooth, starchy center, these fries are hard to resist. Three dipping sauces the fall. Bandwagon’s atmosphere is com- served in dainty white bowls accomfortable and inviting. The lights are pany each heaping plate. Ketchup, (or dim but not so dark that you have “catsup”, as stated on the menu) was trouble reading the menu. The fun, a given, but the other two sauces, a worldly tunes were just loud enough creamy, rich malt vinegar aioli and a to enjoy without interfering with din- flavorsome curry dip, add an ethnic flare to classic Amerner table banter. ican fries. The secMy friends and I started Bandwagon Brew Pub ond-favorite starter off with drinks. Making a 114 N. Cayuga Street was the Asian-Latin decision was tough because 607.319.0699 fusion egg rolls. The of the vast drink menu. I www.bandwagonbeer.com tender pulled pork is decided to go for the home $$ balanced by succubrewed Commons Ale, a light lent, slightly crunchy and slightly sweet number cabbage and accomthat worked well with all the eclectic dishes. On a separate drinks- panied by a sweet and tangy, Asianonly visit, I ordered the Bandwagon inspired chili sauce. The crispy, fried flight, which I highly recommend. Five egg roll shell and the tender center generously filled glasses are served on complemented each other beautifully. These dishes were delectable, but a wooden platter, aligned in a lightto-dark gradient of brews. The most not everything wowed my taste buds. noteworthy beer from this selection The Commons Ale and smoked gouda was Bandwagon’s home-brewed Rasp- bread with parsley garlic butter was a berry-Jalapeño. This beer was serious. letdown. The bread was dry, and the Subtle hints of fruity raspberries and a muted beer and cheese flavors did not spicy infusion of jalapeño create a dis- make up for its poor texture. The main tinctive beer experience. Bandwagon entrée, seared Ahi tuna with gingeralso has a variety of specialty cocktails, chile marinade over jasmine rice and including a tasty mojito, with the per- stir-fried local sweet peppers, was defect amount of sweetness and a plenti- cent, but slightly disappointing. The tuna itself was cooked perfectly; it was ful helping of fresh mint leaves. Bandwagon’s food menu is an ec- slightly seared on the outside, and its clectic slew of starters and entrees that flushed pink center was melt-in-yourtake inspiration from many different mouth delicious. However, the sides cuisines. The menu highlights dishes were bland and took away from the featuring local veggies, identifying the fresh, flavorful fish. Whether you stop in for a quick pint, respective farm in the margin. In an eco- and food-conscious environment try the burger and appetizer menu on like Ithaca, this is definitely a clever a Monday night, or go for a full meal, tactic on Bandwagon’s part and a great Bandwagon Brew Pub provides a pleasway to support locally grown produce. ant drinking and dining experience. Mains run from $11 to $20, and a meal The service is quick, and everyone can be made even more economical by is friendly and accommodating. One sharing a couple of big dishes and ap- thing to keep in mind at Bandwagon petizers between friends. Bandwagon is, if asked, “Would you like fries with is half-bar, half-restaurant, and the that?”, the answer is yes—you would menu indicates what dishes are avail- definitely like some fries with that. able until last call at 1 a.m. Don’t wor- _____________________________________ ry about leaving hungry: The portions Lucy Ravich is a senior CMD major who is as spicy as a pint of Raspberryare very generous. Bandwagon’s fries unanimously Jalapeño beer. E-mail her at lravich1@ stole the show. Crisped and salted ithaca.edu. to perfection on the outside, with a
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It’s Complicated: Friends with Benefits By Colleen Cunha
around,” but if that doesn’t happen, odds are the situation is going to end in a mess. Another potentially dangerous situation is when “friends with benefits” destroys a perfectly good friendship. If two people are good friends and are very attracted to each other, they may decide to give it a chance. They think, “Why not satisfy my sexual longings with someone I trust and enjoy being with?” Well, that right there sounds a lot like a relationship, but without the commitment. Something like this could very easily lead to miscommunication between the two people. Their once-great friendship has come to a huge turning point—one that could mean the end for the good relationship they had. In all of these situations, it is entirely possible for the gender roles referenced to be swapped. Anyone in a relationship like this, whether it be a guy and a girl, two guys or two girls, has the potential to get hurt. Then, there’s the 500 Days of Summer complex. This is an example of a situation where the two people in the relationship are not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to what the relationship actually is, as tends to happen with friends with benefits or open relationship situations. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s about two people who are essentially best friends with benefits. The boy falls in love with the girl, but the girl one day leaves him (SPOILER ALERT) and quickly marries someone else. Her uncanny ability to be emotionless in what seemed like a happy relationship with the first boy is almost disturbing. Even so, she
did not feel terribly guilty when she “stopped seeing” the first boy because she met this new man, who was essentially her soul mate. Of course, I know there must be some plus sides to such open relationships, or these situations wouldn’t exist. The easiness of the situations must be some of the allure. Feeling sexually satisfied by someone you like being around and trust is a good thing, and it can get very close to being a real relationship without the (as some would call it) scary label. If both people sincerely want no emotional commitment in a relationship, then friends with benefits may sound like the perfect situation. But don’t emotions eventually come around? If you truly are friends with the person, it’s probably going to be quite difficult to keep that balance of sexual attraction, friendship and a total lack of exclusivity going for a long time. The real thing that makes me, personally, very uneasy about situations like this is how close a “successful” friends-with-benefits situation comes to a real relationship. It’s virtually “going steady” with someone, without the steady part. Is tiptoeing the line between being in a relationship and being friends with benefits healthy? I cannot honestly think of a situation where it would be ideal for both people for a long period of time, but maybe it’s just not for me. ____________________________________ Colleen Cunha is a sophomore cinema and photography major who wants to be friends... without any benefits. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News & Views
ere at Ithaca—or really at almost any college—people are constantly thinking about relationships. One subgroup of people in these giant congregations of hormonal “young adults” are those who call themselves “friends with benefits.” These are an interesting bunch. People in this category essentially believe that they are not in “relationships” with their partners and have no commitment. They are looking for a kind of non-exclusive friendship that also satisfies their sexual longing. This trend often appears during the years of uncertainty and experimentation in high school and college. As someone who has never really seen the appeal in a no-strings-attached relationship—as convenient as it may sound—I wonder how someone could possibly long for a relationship that seems fake and meaningless. Isn’t commitment something humans inherently need? One case to acknowledge is the “open relationship,” which can be quite similar to friends with benefits, but may be a half step closer to a real relationship. The obvious question to the outsider in this situation is, “If you like each other enough to date and hook up, why is this relationship open?!” The most likely answer here is that one person often likes the other more, which can obviously lead to a tricky situation. Maybe she is extremely interested in him, but he wants to be free and available at the same time as having her by his side whenever he calls. Sometimes these arrangements evolve into real relationships when the less committed person “comes
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Protesters’ Perspectives Fighting against abortion in pro-choice Ithaca By Emily Stoner hey wake up early on Saturday mornings, long before their classmates who are still passed out from drinking and partying the night before. They spend hours standing on the sidewalk in the Ithaca cold, singing and praying. The feedback they get from passers-by generally consists of middle fingers and dirty looks. And they acknowledge that they will never know whether their protests are effective.
Protests also occurred at other times throughout the week. Protesters carried signs, sang songs, prayed and gave informational pamphlets to women entering the health clinic. There were generally between four and 20 protesters in attendance each day. According to Martinson, most of the were students from Cornell, though there were several community members who showed up weekly. At a large and diverse university like Cornell, dissenting views on abortion politics
“Me being here, being peaceful, being prayerful, doesn’t
inhibit anybody from making a choice they want to make. But, it sends a message to someone that we’re not willing to let injustice occur in our own neighborhood.” “It’s really a testament of are bound to emerge. In faith to get up early, go out contrast, the smaller and in the cold, for results you’re more homogeneously libnever going to see proberal Ithaca College does not ably,” said Shea Hasenauer, have any pro-choice or proa sophomore industrial and life groups on campus. labor relations major at Cor“Especially in a place like nell University. “And even if Ithaca, before we started you do succeed, if a child is doing this there were probsaved, you’ll probably never ably very few if any proImage by Anika Steppe meet that child.” life activities that were reHasenauer is a member of the Cor- ally publicized at all,” said Sam Pell, nell Coalition for Life, a club that, ac- a sophomore chemistry and classics cording to its website, is “dedicated to major at Cornell, member of the Corprotecting all life, but specifically that nell Coalition for Life and Hasenauer’s of unborn humans, from the threats roommate. “People get these pre-conof abortion and infanticide.” The col- ceived notions about pro-lifers, like lege club is affiliated with 40 Days they’re out to take women’s rights for Life, which, according to Casey away. When they see us peacefully Martinson, director of public affairs standing there, that also makes them at the Ithaca Planned Parenthood, think, ‘Oh, okay, they’re not the reli“is an anti-choice movement that gious fanatics we thought they were.’” does twice-a-year protests in front of Because of these pre-conceived noPlanned Parenthood health centers tions and the area’s liberal, pro-choice across the country.” bias, the pro-life message of 40 Days Between Sept. 22 and Oct. 31, the for Life was difficult to get across in pro-life group 40 Days for Life had set Ithaca. Furthermore, Hasenauer said weekly prayer vigils from 10 a.m. to he feels many people are allied with noon every Saturday outside Planned neither the pro-choice nor pro-life side Parenthood on West State Street. and rarely give abortion much thought.
He has dubbed our generation “the generation of indifference” and said he looked forward to any response, positive or negative, from onlookers. “We like reaction, no matter what kind of reaction it is,” said Maria Magaldi, a sophomore animal science major at Cornell and member of the Cornell Coalition for Life. “It shows you’re making people think about what you’re doing. Even if they’re not immediately agreeing with you, you’re making a difference.” But beyond middle finger salutes from passing cars secure in their steel and glass bravery, protesters were often disappointed and forced to settle with indifference. “A lot of the patients we have coming in here just ignore them,” Martinson said. “I’ve seen examples where women are coming into the health center and they get a pamphlet, and they just are exasperated because they’re here to get birth control and prevent an unintended pregnancy; and yet there are these protesters here that are trying to intimidate or scare them away from doing that.” Some pro-life activists are also against contraception, seeing it as ineffective and trivializing to the true significance and responsibility of sexual intercourse. “We actually feel that contraceptives would increase the number of abortions because they allow people to see sex as just a matter of pleasure, not as something that every time you do it involves a level of responsibility,” Pell said. Hasenauer added, “It gives people this false right where they say, ‘I can partake in sex whenever I want. I have a right to sex without responsibility.’ And that’s the problem.” Pell and Hasenauer believe that reducing contraceptive options and stopping comprehensive sexuality education would bring about a reduction in unwanted pregnancies and thus abortion. In contrast, according to Martin-
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son, “If the people who are protesting abortion were really concerned about women and families, they would be helping us secure funding for preventative health services, for the family planning and the contraceptive use and things like that, comprehensive sexuality education, which generally they are opposed to. The number one organization helping to prevent unintended pregnancies, and therefore helping to prevent abortion, is Planned Parenthood.” Although Pell and Hasenauer do not support contraceptive use and comprehensive sexuality education like Planned Parenthood, they also do not believe that the prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling of 40 Days for Life are the most effective ways of ending abortion. “Your hands are tied behind your back,” Hasenauer said. “40 Days for Life is a defensive measure. You’re standing outside the place, knowing legally that you can do nothing, and just hoping and praying and begging that innocent lives will be spared. So in that respect, there’s no offensive nature with regards to legislation. For the legislation to change, for pre-born rights to be restored, there needs to be a cultural change.” Until this profound cultural shift happens, Hasenauer is convinced abortion will remain legal. However, that will in no way persuade him to take up the more violent methods that protesters have meted out to Planned
Parenthoods nationwide, like bomb threats and assassinations. “If Martin Luther King had resorted to violence, [the Civil Rights Movement] never would have gotten to its destination,” Hasenauer said. “It would have fallen down. … It’s kind of counterintuitive. It’s life or death, but it has to be through peaceful means, or you’re going to do more harm than good.” Fellow protester and community member Nate Gilbert agreed. “Me being here, being peaceful, being prayerful, doesn’t inhibit anybody from making a choice they want to make. But, it sends a message to someone that we’re not willing to let injustice occur in our own neighborhood.” Despite his less-than-optimistic views about the potency of Planned Parenthood protesting, Hasenauer remains committed to his organization’s sidewalk vigils and the pro-life cause. As a devoted Catholic, he is convinced life begins at conception and that “preborn rights” should rank among other social justice movements like the civil rights movement of the 1960s. “I can’t think of anything more worth my time, even though none of the rewards are tangible,” Hasenauer said. “This is today’s Martin Luther King. This is today’s Civil Rights Movement. This is what I need to do.” ____________________________________ Emily Stoner is a senior journalism major who thinks protesting is a choice, too. E-mail her at estoner1@ithaca. edu.
News & Views
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Ain’t No Mountain High Enough How mountaintop removal for coal could destroy Appalachia By Emily Miles
the connection between industry and society. His main aim is to draw attention to “the generational relationships and intricacies of the [Appalachian] society.” “I believe we need to have a clear knowledge of where a community has been in order to help them get to where they need to be,” Cherson explained. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 2,200 square miles of Appalachian forests will be cleared for MTR sites by the year 2012. While sites range from Ohio to Virginia, the practice occurs most commonly in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky, the top two coal-producing states in Appalachia. These two states each use approximately 1,000 tons of explosives per day for surface mining. At current rates, mountaintop removal in the United States will mine more than 1.4 million acres by the end of 2010, an amount of land area that exceeds the size of Delaware. Mountaintop removal has been practiced since the 1960s. Increased demand for coal in the United States, sparked by the 1973 and 1979 petroleum crises, created incentives for a more economical form of coal mining than the traditional underground mining methods involving hundreds of workers. This triggered the first widespread use of MTR. Its prevalence expanded further in the 1990s to retrieve r elatively cleanerburning, lowImage by Zachary Anderson
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sulfur coal, which met the U.S. Clean Air Act’s tightened emissions limits on high-sulfur coal processing. This practice has cut the coal miners’ work force by nearly two-thirds, leading to an upheaval of the economic structure in Appalachian communities. In the heart of Appalachia, where the coal industry wields enormous power over government and public opinion, lifelong resident Maria Gunnoe fights against environmentallydevastating mountaintop removal mining and valley fill operations. In a speech and MTR protest in Washington, D.C., called Appalachia Rising, Gunnoe made a statement of success. “We’re no longer industry victims; we’re industry survivors,” Gunnoe said. Her advocacy has led to the closure of mines in the region and stricter regulations for the industry.Her fight to protect the mountains of Appalachia will continue, as does the United States’ dependence on energy. Just under half of the electricity generated in the United States is produced by coalfired
News & Views
he practice of mountaintop mining, also known as mountaintop removal, has been occurring for decades now, destroying the economies and environments of Appalachia and also the communities lying under the mountains. Washington has shown little response to the apparent consequences of the practice until recently, as a widespread grassroots movement is beginning to attract national media attention and affect federal legislation. Mountaintop removal is a process of extracting coal by entirely stripping the top of a mountain using explosives. Up to 400 feet of soil, plants, wildlife and other material lying above coal is removed. After the coal is extracted, the removed material is put back onto the mountaintop in an attempt to reestablish the preexisting ecosystem. Excess rock and soil, often ridden with toxic byproducts, are moved into neighboring valleys. According to the Rainforest Action Network, coal companies are using 2,500 tons of explosives each day— the equivalent of detonating one Hiroshima bomb a week. Now, as November’s midterm elections have brought several pro-coal, pro-industry legislators—like West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin—into government, it is up to people like Jeremy Cherson to bring change. Cherson, an environmental policy student at American University from Atlanta, Ga., learned of the practice in an environmental sociology class. “I can’t believe they chop off mountains and poison the water and poison the people that live there and keep them in a state of neocolonialism and domination,” Cherson said. “I just couldn’t believe it.” Then, he wrote a 40-page paper on the topic. Cherson intends to spread word of the “disgusting” practice to academics and environmentalists alike through an in-depth analysis of
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power plants. MTR accounted for less than 5 percent of U.S. coal production as of 2001. In some regions, however, the percentage is higher—for example, MTR provided 30 percent of the coal mined in West Virginia in 2006. Historically, the most common method of coal acquisition in the United States was underground mining, which is very labor-intensive. In MTR, through the use of explosives and large machinery, more than two and a half times as much coal can be extracted per worker per hour than in traditional underground mines, thus greatly reducing the need for workers. In Kentucky, for example, the num-
practice. The Environmental Protection Agency made it clear that this method created problems, and in July of 2009, the late Robert F. Kennedy Jr. publically condemned the practice in a Washington Post opinion piece, coining the phrase “Appalachian apocalypse.” Yet, on Oct. 6, legislative patterns in D.C. were reversed. The state of West Virginia sued two federal agencies, seeking not to protect their state, but to reverse regulations set in place to do so. Gov. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, condemned what he called the Obama administration’s “attempts to destroy our coal industry and way of life in West Virginia.”
“Following the intense degradation of water supplies, the central Appalachians are at the top of the list of cancer deaths per capita for the nation.” ber of workers declined more than 60 percent from 1979 to 2006, from 47,190 to 17,959 workers, respectively. In between the years of 1990 and 1997, the coal industry lost approximately 10,000 jobs, as more mechanized underground mining methods became more widely used. The coal industry continues to affirm that surface mining techniques, such as mountaintop removal, are safer for workers than sending miners underground. Proponents argue that in certain geologic areas, MTR and similar forms of surface mining allow the only access to thin seams of coal that traditional underground mining would not be able to access. Statistically speaking, it has become clear to the industry that MTR is currently the most cost-effective method available for extracting coal. However, the environmental consequences include contamination of waterways and public reservoirs with carcinogenic heavy metals. Following the intense degradation of water supplies, the central Appalachians are at the top of the list of cancer deaths per capita for the nation. For the first time in decades, significant legislative progress has been made toward ending mountaintop removal. Soon after coming into office in 2009, the Obama administration adopted stricter regulations on the
Meanwhile, Jeremy Cherson and other activists decided to join the national protest against MTR in September by participating in Appalachia Rising. Appalachia Rising, an event in Washington, D.C., was a national response to the poisoning of America’s water supply and the destruction of Appalachia’s mountains, head water source streams and communities through mountaintop removal coal mining. It follows a long history of social action for a just and sustainable Appalachia, but this was the first to bring such effort to D.C. “It feels great to be out here with so many strong people all fighting the same fight,” Cherson said. The program provided an opportunity to build or join the movement for justice in Appalachia through strategy discussions, workshops, cultural events and sharing knowledge across regional and generational lines. Appalachia Rising was a coalition of nearly 100 grassroots national environment groups, social justice organizations and coalfield residents. The coalition strives to call for the abolition of mountaintop removal coal mining and demand that America’s water be protected from all forms of surface mining. Organizers asked for a donation of $50 for the entire event, but both food and housing were provided free of
cost. Supporters traveled from as far as California to join the movement. Free housing was provided at several churches and community centers in the D.C. area. Local people also volunteered their homes to house visiting supporters. All this support resulted in nearly 3,000 protesters marching on Washington, making stops at the EPA, PNC Bank (the largest monetary contributor to strip mining coal companies) and the White House. One hundred and fourteen protesters were arrested. Declaring the end of MTR with chants demanding, “Up with the mountains, down with the mountain top removal,” protesters gained national attention. For the first time in history, the United States’ focus was turned toward the plight of Appalachians living with MTR. In a statement made by Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune on the day of Appalachia Rising, he claimed, “It’s up to Obama’s EPA to put a halt to any further blasting in Appalachia.” On Oct. 15, the EPA took the first steps. Shawn Garvin, the agency’s Region 3 administrator, along with Lisa Jackson, recommended the withdrawal of the mining permit for America’s largest proposed mountaintop removal coal mine site, the Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, W. Va. For now, change is far off in the horizon. But with only six permits currently denied by the EPA and more than 500 mountains already destroyed, the horizon itself will be changed by the time any regulations are in place. Jeremy Cherson is still working to spread the word in Washington. Maria Gunnoe is still working to close mines in West Virginia. And Appalachia is still waiting for the explosions to stop, the water to clear and the mountains to return to their natural state. But even as the line between industry and government blurs, the power of community is only gaining in strength. _____________________________________ Emily Miles is a sophomore journalism major who always sings “Climb Every Mountain.” E-mail her at emiles1@ ithaca.edu.
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The Remote-Controlled War Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles makes war virtual By Moriah Petty
with significant advantages, but they are currently causing a storm of controversy.
The UAV operating system is nearly identical to an XBox 360 controller. While the military denies acquiring consumer software, video games have undergone such intensive development that replicating their programming is the most practical and financially efficient option. As a result, the operating rooms of UAV bases look similar to a typical gamer’s basement, complete with multiple screens and wired controllers. So who should be chosen to run this vital form of weaponry? Senior military officers? Fighter pilots? How about young adults who have dedicated their adolescence to playing video games? Army recruiters focus heavily on this last demographic, since the recruits already have experience with the operating system and have developed the skills required to operate a UAV’s sensitive technology.
According to a report by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the requirements for being added to the list of targets are two verifiable human sources and substantial additional evidence, generally through overhead surveillance that can generate “pattern of life” evidence. An analysis of public reports by the New America Foundation indicated 82 U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan since 2006 have resulted in the deaths of between 750 and 1,000 people. Up to 320 of those may have been civilians. These numbers are mainly speculation, because the Pakistani government bans reporters from tribal lands,
Image by Erin Blaney
irplanes cross the sky overhead so often that few Americans take the time to notice them. But next time you hear the rumble of an engine from high above, consider this—there is a good chance no one is inside. It could be an automated plane that has the ability to fly, record visual images and perform combat operations without a human being inside. The eerie nature of this concept has earned these planes the name Predator drones, but they are technically called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or simply UAVs. Operated by joystick from bases inside the United States, UAVs have the ability to traverse the globe while their pilot remains safely at home. The planes fly over enemy territory on reconnaissance spy missions to collect visual evidence of militant activity, but they also drop bombs on targeted locations and individuals. One base is, in fact, located in Syracuse, NY, where planes fly out of Hancock Field daily to travel the 7,000-plus miles to destinations in the Middle East. The first UAV mission sent to attack a specific target was in 2002, when the C.I.A. used a Predator drone to kill six Al-Qaeda members in Yemen. The American government recognized the value of this technology and steadily increased funding to UAV operations to the point that today, there are multiple drones in the air at any given moment. Peter Ryden, an air traffic control student at the University of North Dakota, provided a concise description of UAVs and why they are such a hot item, saying, “Drone technology is all about stealth, but more importantly, saving lives. UAVs are used for the missions, which are too deadly for cockpit-piloted planes. This means families [of fighter pilots] have to deal with crash deaths less frequently. Also, UAVs are cheaper than regular planes to operate, so the efficiency is an enormous benefit to our nation’s economic welfare.” UAVs certainly seem to come
where most of the attacks occur. While the United States is not officially at war with Pakistan, drone strikes fall under the broad domain of the War on Terror. The CIA collects information on suspected Al Qaeda leaders, then informs the Pakistani government on any drone missions targeting these individuals. Since the CIA, not the military, runs the operations, it is questionable whether they follow legal regulations for international conflict. The only statistic provided in government reports to the public is that 20 senior terrorist and militant leaders have been eliminated in successful UAV attacks. When the Obama administration inherited the American military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, they chose UAV drones as the principle tool to accomplish this goal. The role of fighter pilots, which was so critical to 20th century warfare, is becoming insignificant in the 21st century, as the military now trains more soldiers to operate UAVs than to become pilots. The United States is currently the most active employer of drones, but nations with enough military funding and access to sophisticated technology are rushing to implement drone programs. Forty nations, including
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Great Britain, France, China, Russia, Israel, India, Turkey and Iran, currently possess UAV technology capable of firing missiles. The global phenomenon is similar to the Space Race, where nations compete to be the first to invent the most sophisticated drones possible and keep up with the trend that is defining modern warfare. Ruden compared the invention of drones to the invention of video chat. “Business men and women can stay in their home city and still conduct business overseas without taking long trips,” he said. “This is exactly the scenario UAVs have allowed for military aviation.”
The numerous advantages of UAVs have earned them popularity around the world. The U.S. has employed them to protect soldiers and remove the chaos, death, messiness and risk of war. However, their clinical nature also presents a danger. As war becomes more convenient and easy to win based on your access to technology, the line between reality and virtual reality blurs. War now looks and feels like a video game. How do we remember that the people on the screen are real human beings, not graphics? This fear is called the “finger-press war factor.” War is dehumanized when killing the enemy is as easy as pressing a button, and it becomes impersonal when your victim is 10,000 miles away. The War on Terror is heading toward its 10th year, but once Americans can be isolated from the combat, it could go on endlessly, as there would be no incentive to stop. Another term for this phenomenon is the “Playstation mentality,” a phrase created by Philip Alston, the United Nations reporter on extrajudicial executions. Alston recognizes that the rapid proliferation of UAVs has already had serious global consequences, yet there has been little international
response. From his position on the UN Human Rights Council, Alston is attempting to demonstrate that using UAVs for targeted killings violates international humanitarian law and undermines global constraints on the use of military force. On Oct. 22, Alston wrote a report to the General Assembly with an appeal to “address the legal, political, ethical and moral implications of the development of lethal robotic technologies.” The United States maintains that UAVs do not break any laws or violate ethical codes because the drone attacks are a legitimate response to terrorist threats. The attacks are still self-defense, just anticipatory or pre-emptive self-defense. In fact, the military responded to fears of the Playstation mentality by declaring that unmanned weaponry actually makes war safer due to the “hover feature.” Drones have the ability to hover unseen, far above a target, tracking it until they reach an appropriate location to drop the bombs, ideally, far from civilians or military bases. Government officials claim that drones have a 20-1 ratio of militant to civilian casualties. On the other hand, The New American Foundation reports a 2-1 ratio for the drone strikes. The Long War Journal, a publication dedicated to the War on Terror, came up with a statistic in the middle: 9-1.
UAVs and Psychology
The issues discussed in debates on UAVs include economic practicality, safety and convenience, national prestige, war ethics and violent video games. However, one of the most important factors to examine is human nature. After all, it is humans who declare war on each other even if drones commit the acts of violence. Linda Smaller, a psychologist employed by the St. Paul Public School District, applied her expertise in human behavior to this issue. She proposed
an alternate view that UAVs have the potential to limit our tendencies to go to war rather than facilitate an increase in global violence. Smaller reasoned that humans perpetrate violence in intimate situations on purpose. Even most civilian crimes are committed by people who know their victims intimately, as in cases of domestic violence. Making war less personal by increasing the space between the two sides could actually make humans less interested in war because the environment plays a key role in our motivation to commit acts of violence. Smaller said, “What causes violence to occur usually is affiliation. We are part of something larger than ourselves, aligned with others such as in a gang or an army. The loyalty factor to our fellow soldier is used, with significant bonding occurring because of ‘being in the foxhole together’ in dangerous situations with adrenaline flowing and shared goals. I am not sure that could be created in the same way by pushing a button.” The numbers show that the use of UAVs does not appear to be slowing down. The use of predator drones for warfare, in fact, is becoming more prevalent around the world. As technology develops, so too does technology used for warfare. However, the use of UAVs presents unique dilemmas; it brings on a new, virtual layer that challenges the line of what is real. Regarding warfare, this is especially dangerous. If the United States and other countries continue to rely heavily on predator drones in attacks, they must do so within the boundaries of international ethical codes. Otherwise, war becomes a game: too simplistic, too intangible and too difficult to end. ____________________________________ Moriah Petty is a freshman TV-R major who proposes that we use drones to drop cupcakes all over the world. Email her at email@example.com.
Key Excerpts from the United Nations’ “Study on Targeted Killings,” May 2010
>>> “The greater concern with drones is that because they make it easier to kill without risk to a State’s forces, policy makers and commanders will be tempted to interpret the legal limitations on who can be killed, and under what circumstances, too expansively.”
>>> “The refusal by States who conduct targeted killings to provide transparency about their policies violates the international legal framework that limits the unlawful use of lethal force against individuals ... A lack of disclosure gives States a virtual and impermissible license to kill.”
“Drone killing of anyone other than the target (family members or others in the vicinity, for example) would be an arbitrary deprivation of life under human rights law and could result in State responsibility and individual criminal liability.”
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Walking into Trouble Dissecting the months-long saga of the American hikers in Iran By Abby Sophir iolation: failure to stop behind the white line at a stop sign. Consequence: You are issued a ticket. In many instances, boundaries are clear-cut, marked with bold letters and blatant lines. If violated, loud buzzers are sounded and consequences are paid, no questions asked. In contrast, the border between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran is ill-defined, marked only by rugged, mountainous terrain. Prominent ”Leaving Iraq” or “Welcome to Iran” signs are nowhere to be found. Without comprehensive research, one may not even know that they have transcended into the neighboring country. But while the driver in the aforementioned event has little chance of getting out of the ticket, these latter circumstances leave room for extensive debate when it comes to consequences. In July 2009, three young U.S. Hikers—Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd—were visiting Almed Awa, a waterfall and tourist attraction located in Iraq, very close to the Iraq-Iran border. Iranian officials supposedly found the hikers in their territory and imprisoned them, accusing the young Americans of espionage, despite a lack of evidence. Shortly after the incident, U.S. media pounced on the story, with headlines that stated “American hikers detained in Iran.” Within days, a Facebook page, “Free the Hikers,” had been “liked” over 23,000 times. The American public immediately rallied behind the hikers, denouncing Iranian actions and accusing officials of human rights violations. But the question arises: Who ultimately “crossed the line?” Who overstepped their boundaries given the situation: the American hikers or the Iranian officials? On Sept. 4, 2010, after 410 days in solitary confinement, Shourd was released; Bauer and Fattal remain in Iranian custody waiting for their November trial. The “Free the Hikers” official webpage states, “Shane,
Sarah and Josh are innocent of any crime, and, as Amnesty International reports, their extended pre-trial detention is a violation of Iranian and international law.” It is true that the hikers are being held without any evidence of crossing into Iranian territory or intentions of spying. It is true that they are living in solitary confinement, with no outside contact and have been allowed to telephone their families only once since their arrest 16 months ago. However, these unfortunate consequences, which many people view as a call for action, are the direct result of the naïveté and the poor decision-making of the hikers. “Hikers, and all travelers for that matter, have a responsibility to know the environment to which they desire to travel,” said Megan-Mack Nicholson, recreation and leadership studies instructor at Ithaca College and an avid hiker. “By using the word ‘environment,’ I intend it to encompass the political, physical, cultural and religious realms of the area. Traveling into an area known to have political unrest, therein or nearby, demands even further investigation and precautions in order to avoid conflict or mishap.” Though recent relevations by WikiLeaks show that the group was seized by Iranian authorities who trespassed onto Iraqi soil, experienced hikers such as Shourd, Bauer and Fattal should have known better than to approach the Iranian border, and they probably should have avoided the conflicted area altogether. They went into Iraqi Kurdistan knowing that the boundaries were not clearly delineated, choosing to take a “recreational hike” on the edge of a country the United States is at war with. Of the millions of hiking destinations in the world, the fact that the American hikers chose that area raises suspicion of an ulterior motive for the hike. According to the WikiLeaks release, the U.S. military not only knew of the hikers’ presence in the region
Image by Lena Kuchera
but warned them in advance about straying over the border into Iran. The end of the document reads, “The lack of coordination on the part of these hikers, particularly after being forewarned, indicates an intent to agitate and create publicity regarding international policies on Iran.” Would the United States have not done the same as Iran in a similar situation? Although human rights violations are evident, the hikers would not be in this position had they not acted irresponsibly. “Americans often forget that they aren’t allowed to operate as they do in America while in other nations,” said Nicholson. “It is our duty as travelers to respect and abide by said laws of where we go, and as the saying goes… ‘While in Rome, do as the Romans do.’” In order to earn global respect, we as Americans must be more conscious of where we set our feet and be willing to accept the consequences of any lines we may be crossing in the process. ____________________________________ Abby Sophir is a freshman TV-R major who has been known to get lost from time to time. E-mail her at asophir1@ ithaca.edu.
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Standing Up for the Underdog What advocacy groups are doing about animal abuse By Kristy Zehn
profit. “We’re very elated,” Baker said. “This is a huge victory for the dogs.” Prop B requires annual physical exams; access to outdoor space; proper housing, food, water and veterinary care for ill or injured animals. It also regulates the number of breeding dogs that an owner can have, as well as how often a dog can be bred. Missouri is known as the puppy mill capital of the nation, as most puppies in the country are bred in Missouri’s estimated 3,000 mills. The state’s Animal Care Facilities Act was initially passed in 1992 and requires commercial dog breeders with four or more breeding dogs to obtain a license annually. The state can refuse or revoke the license of anyone who does not follow federal or state regulations on the standards of care for animals. However, the standards of care under the federal regulations are minimal. They only require cages to be at least six inches longer than the dog itself. Loopholes in the law also allow dog owners to provide water for their dogs only once every eight hours, whether it is blistering hot or freezing cold outside. Similar to factory farms, puppy mills are powered by greed, and the animals and the conditions they live in are neglected. Baker feels Prop B will make a substantial difference by eliminating most breeding facilities that exist only for profit. “It’s a very optimistic message being sent that citizens are not tolerating cruelty to animals,” Baker said. He feels the passing of Prop B will have reverberating effects all over the country.
Suffolk County, N.Y. is also progressing to protect animals. Legislators recently passed the first nationwide public animal abuser registry. Any adult convicted of animal abuse will have to pay a $50 fee and submit their address, a photograph and any aliases. Those who fail to register can face up to a year in jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. Although at face value the animal abuse registry seems to only protect animals, it can also protect humans. Many studies have shown that those who abuse animals also abuse people. The HSUS launched the First Strike Campaign in 1997 in order to raise professional and public awareness on the links between animal and human abuse. Prop B and the registry are great steps in protecting companion animals; however, action still needs to be taken to protect farm animals and wildlife. Factory farm abuse is considered the most pervasive realm of animal abuse because it is so ingrained in the law and industry and allowed to continue, according to Stephanie Feldstein, Change.org editor for animal welfare and wildlife community. Even if there were no correlation between animal abuse and domestic violence, it is still important to protect all animals. They are innocent, living creatures, and their lives will always be intertwined with those of humans. Major legislation can take a long time to develop and get passed, so it is important to begin with personal choices and local politics to make a tangible difference. ____________________________________ Kristy Zhen is a sophomore journalism major who hates that some animals out there have it really ruff. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
judge in Collier County, Fla., barred Tina Ciancaglini from owning any more horses after 34 malnourished animals were removed from her failed horse rescue ranch this past September, according to Naples Daily News. She called herself an animal lover, but county officials called her an animal hoarder for keeping horses on her estate even though she knew she could no longer provide an adequate amount of food for them. Although Ciancaglini initially had sincere intentions of taking care of her horses, ultimately her actions were deemed abusive. Hoarding, bestiality, neglect and animal fighting are all forms of animal abuse. Animal abuse not only harms companion animals, like the kittens that are killed by women in high heels in “crush videos,” but also farm animals and wildlife. Chickens are crammed into battery cages on factory farms, and prairie dogs are poisoned. Nonprofit organizations, such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), exist in order to help shelter and relocate abused animals and promote their protection. However, animals are still mistreated every day. According to Pet-Abuse.com, in 2009 there were 840 reported cases of animal abuse, a number that likely underestimates the number of animals actually abused. Abusing an animal is a crime in all 50 states. A number of reasons why animal abuse still occurs today include the lack of laws that sufficiently provide basic needs for animals, enforcement of these laws and strong penalties for those who commit these crimes. “You need better enforcement, but you also need better regulation, and that’s what we are trying to do here in Missouri,” said Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. On Election Day in Missouri, the public voted and passed the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, known as Proposition B, which provides regulations and standards for dog breeding facilities that operate for
Image by Anthony Tocchio
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Separation of Web and State How and why Uncle Sammy’s creeping on your Facebook. By Kellan Davidson he flow of information is often one of the most important aspects of war; it is also arguable that war is one of the most important aspects of communications within the United States. The Internet itself, the single most valuable human communications tool in the world, began in earnest as a U.S. military project called ARPANET, a military initiative during the Cold War to complicate weapons communications to ensure their security. The purpose of ARPANET was to decentralize communications into a network so that transmissions could not be traced, intercepted or disabled as easily as the circuit-tocircuit connections that had, up until that point, been the standard. Now, wartime needs have once again shaped the flow of information— only now, the focus has shifted from protecting information to prying protected information out. The Internet has come a long way since its humble beginnings with ARPANET. The Internet is now not only a mass medium, with its reach starting to overtake television and telephone, but it is rapidly becoming the mass medium. With encryption, peer-to-peer messaging and file sharing, the dispersion of the web has become a thorn in the side of governments everywhere. “Technology has had this astonishingly disruptive impact on the world, and they haven’t even come to grips in the slightest way with it,” said Ken Birman, professor of computer science at Cornell University. It is for this reason that the decentralization, the idea on which the Internet was developed in the first place, is now the federal government’s public enemy No. 1. The federal government announced a proposal in late September to request that companies that provide end-to-end encrypted communications, like Research In Motion (owners of Blackberry), Skype and Facebook, build backdoors into their services so the government can
access their information. Under the 1994 Communications Assistance to Law Enforcement Act, the FBI is claiming that this is technically not an expansion of their jurisdiction. The law states that communications companies must adapt to serve the federal government, which they describe as only an update to permissions already attained under the Patriot Act that passed in 2001. “We’re not talking expanding authority,” said Valeri E. Caproni, general counsel for the FBI. “We’re talking about preserving our ability to execute our existing authority in order to protect the public safety and national security.”
The Cost of Change
So, if Big Brother has been watching all along, doesn’t this just mean he’s simply watching in more places? If it’s only to catch the bad guys, what’s the big deal? There are several snags in this deal. First, the thousands of companies that provide distributed peer-to-peer messaging, like Skype, would have to wholly redesign their network to appease this mandate. Messages on Skype are not sent through a central hub that routes them and can just be tapped into—they are sent from one computer to another and are encrypted end-to-end so that only the recipient can read transmissions. There is no gadget that Skype can install to give the government access to these transmissions, so they would have to revamp their network into something that is altogether less flexible, adaptable and secure. A company as large as Skype would be able to afford this change, but start-up businesses in Internet communication may suffer. Small
companies would be forced to allocate the time, energy and resources of their engineers toward building these backdoors and therefore have less focus on developing security, timeliness and ingenuity of their products. The future of Internet business in the U.S. could be severely stunted.
Hackers Blaze the Trail
When these backdoors are implemented, there is also no promise that they will be used strictly by law enforcement. This year, a Google employee was fired for breaching internal privacy policies by accessing the Gmail and Gchat services belonging to several teens. With no promise of end-to-end encryption and backdoors that must be readily available, messages and services may be subject to more than just the prying eyes of government officials.
Images by Jess Hock
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“The issue isn’t whether or not the government should have a right to [wiretap] because they’ve had the right to do wiretapping... for a long time,” said Birman. “The real worry is that they’ll do it ineptly, and then your random hacker will be able to break in. A lot of people don’t think they can get the [new wiretaps] right. Electronic voting has been horrendous, so people point to things like that and say, ‘If they can’t get that right, how could they possibly get this much more complicated thing right?’” Exploitation of wiretaps by persons entirely outside of the business structure of a given communications company or the government has happened before. In 2005, the cell phones of more than 100 members of the Greek government were tapped by unknown sources. Among those tapped were the ministers of foreign affairs, justice and defense, along with the prime minister himself. VodaFone, the service provider for the tapped phones, had built the devices with the help of hardware producer Ericsson to be wiretap-capable, turned on only for those countries that requested it. Greece had not requested the service but still suffered the consequences of tap-readiness at its highest echelons of power.
Who Watches the Watchmen?
Patriot Act 2.0
The logic is this: Enemies of the United States of America can use encrypted messaging to coordinate attacks on this nation. It is a valid point. However, the fact of the matter is a large-scale tapping like this cannot be done cleanly and will severely hurt American society as we know it.
On a commercial level, in an economy that is already floundering, we may cripple our abilities to grow and adapt a stable and secure infrastructure on the ever-evolving Internet, where much of our intellectual capital as a nation is currently invested. On a personal level, many of us have already consented to corporations intervening in our daily lives, simply by checking the boxes below the endless amounts of privacy statements all over the web. Our interests, values and beliefs are already traded as a commodity on the web en masse, so on a personal level, perhaps this doesn’t frighten people anymore. “One can argue there is no privacy anymore and there never will be again, which is really alarming, if you think about it,” Birman said. Through this action the government can hold the keys to the final frontier of human interaction. The ability for the government to monitor our personal correspondences puts our freedoms of speech and expression in jeopardy. One must question what we have as human beings independent of a governing body if we trust them with our voices. Many people still have faith in the old adage of “truth, justice and the American way,” but one must also take into account a separate adage: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” ____________________________________ Kellan Davidson is a senior journalism major who would appreciate it if you’d stand behind the virtual line, Mr. Government. E-mail him at kdavids2@ ithaca.edu.
Wiretapping has been a point of incredible importance to totalitarian countries that are afflicted by dissention, thanks to the anonymity of encrypted data transmission. Already, the countries of the United Arab Emirates attempted to ban RIM and their Blackberry devices for failing to consent to the government accessing their networks. These companies can afford to decline these demands, as the cost to redesign their networks may outweigh the value of selling their service in that area. The U.S., as one of the largest consumers of social media and messaging in the world, would likely set the benchmark for these capabilities. Companies would be forced to buy into the idea of wiretapping for fear of losing the lucrative American market. It stands to reason that these same companies would allow other nations to use the wiretapping capabilities to their own ends because the technological legwork would already have been done. The United States
would therefore be a silent partner in the suppressing of international democracy by way of taking away the voices of those who fight for it. Before adapting the jurisdiction of this act, one must also look at how the government has used it in the past to see whether or not we truly want them to have more access. The National Security Agency built surveillance rooms in the headquarters of major communications companies that were granted immunity for cooperating with the government. These rooms cataloged millions of e-mail messages, including many communications to and from Americans in the U.S. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows the government to build these rooms, provides a loophole for the federal government to access these American correspondences without getting a court order. The act states that these messages can be accessed if the American-to-American correspondences account for no more than 30 percent of results received while performing searches that target people who are “reasonably believed” to be outside of the United States. This loophole was grossly exploited with very little oversight. According to The New York Times, in 2005 the agency “routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants.” Millions of innocent Americans were spied on by the NSA; even the e-mails of former president Bill Clinton were subject to meddling eyes. The NSA claimed that these were completely incidental interceptions and that the organization was moving toward limiting them. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, disputed this point when he said, “Some actions are so flagrant that they can’t be accidental.” These actions are meant to protect Americans, true, but it cannot be ignored that dubious uses have occurred on the end of law enforcement.
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Battling the Poverty Line The modern paradox of life without a living wage By Lyndsey Lyman he federal government said that a single person living alone is in poverty with an income of $10,830 a year or lower. That’s about $30 per day. The line for a family of three is $18, 310 a year—about $50 a day for food, groceries, bills, clothing, rent or mortgage and transportation. It’s obvious that even people living above this line are struggling financially, to the point where some may wonder why the Federal Poverty Guideline, the income level at which a family is considered to be living in poverty, is so low. James Brown, the president of the United Way of Tompkins County, said defining the contours of poverty is never cut-and-dry. Even if you’re considered to be above the federal poverty line, you’re still not in the clear. “You may be at the poverty level for a family of two or a family of four— you may meet that number—but the reality of what it costs to live a safe and secure life with the necessary resources may still be beyond your means,” Brown said. “The poverty level, the way it’s defined, is somewhat artificial.” Brown said that even people living with twice the poverty income are still considered to be at risk for poverty. This means that person is one “major incident”—a car breaking down, a child getting sick—away from slipping below the line.
The Local Level
How widespread is poverty in the Ithaca area? John Ward, director of homeless services at the Tompkins County American Red Cross, said Red Cross’ shelter serves 20 to 30 clients— with a total of 390 overnight stays per month. The Friendship Center, which is open daily and provides meals and services to anyone in need, sees about 55 to 65 people each day, Ward said. The Jungle is Ithaca’s controversial “tent city” on the west side of town, which received a lot of media attention last year because of its location on
private and city property. The Jungle also has an increased number of inhabitants recently, according to Brown. In addition, Brown said, more people are struggling to find not just housing, but food. “We know that there’s been a tremendous increase in requests for food from the food pantries, and that’s across the county,” Brown said. “What the providers in the food pantries have seen is that people who have never sought assistance with food to make ends meet for their families— people who have, in the past, been contributors—are now there for the first time.”
The Housing Bidding War
Regardless, housing is still a major issue for those struggling financially in Ithaca. According to Ithaca College junior Rebecca Coffman, who is currently working on a documentary on poverty in Ithaca, one cause of the housing struggle is over-enrollment by Ithaca College and Cornell University. Both institutions have been enrolling more students than they can house on their respective campuses in the last few years, and the institutions have subsequently given incentives to students to move off campus, Coffman said. This has caused an increase in rent by some landlords, who know many students are willing to pay more than community members for their housing, and many apartments and houses in the area are then moved out of community members’ price ranges. They’re forced to live in the outlying areas of Ithaca, such as Dryden and Lansing, and commute to the city for work. In fact, COMPASS II 2.0, United Way of Tompkins County’s report on community assets and needs, state that 43.8 percent of respondents say public transportation is inadequate. This poses a lot of issues for people who can’t afford a car and must rely on public transportation, which isn’t always on schedule or available during the necessary time of day,
such as after the late shift. Brown said the problem is more complex than a simple increase of price by landlords. “I think it’s a complicated issue,” Brown said. While he said many issues affect the housing situation in Ithaca, including “the age of the housing stock,” there are many to consider. Still, he says, college students living off campus is one of the many factors. “You can’t deny just a clear observation that increased demand as a result of students living in the community will have an impact on prices and, to some extent, the availability of quality apartments and homes,” he said. Brown also noted that college students and community members
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alike can be priced out of different types of housing due to this demand.
for a lot of government assistance programs.
Solving the Unsolvable
The Virtues of Independence
The Workers’ Center carries a running list of their Certified Living Wage employers, of which there are currently 62 in Tompkins County. One of these employers is Buffalo Street Books, owned by Gary Weissbrot, who is very passionate about paying his employees the living wage. Weissbrot said “big box” bookstore employees receiving welfare or living without healthcare while working full time is “shocking, considering the profit margin these places make. Their argument—that this is the way they keep prices down—is bunk. They keep prices low by taking advantage of people. My belief, and this goes for my store, is if the people working here can’t make a living wage, then the store is not making enough money and should close. Simple as that.” Weissbrot said he also likes the Workers’ Center effort with the Living Wage Campaign because he isn’t always as aware of inflation as he would like to be, so he uses the biannual announcement of the updated living wage as a benchmark to make sure he’s staying on track. Ithaca College writing professor Fred A. Wilcox grew up in poverty in the Midwest and lived homeless for six years in New York City as a young adult. He said people need to have an open discussion about the vast disparity between socioeconomic classes in order to truly solve the poverty issue in Ithaca and in America in general. However, he doesn’t think it is likely to take place any time soon. “Are we going to have that discussion? No,” Wilcox said. “We have a lot of nice, liberal, caring, well-minded people who—and I don’t blame them—are going to say, ‘I don’t want to talk about that, because if we do, we’re going to have to ask some fundamental questions about this town and city that I love so much or this country that I love so much; that is, why do I have it all, when other people have nothing?’” ___________________________________ Lyndsey Lyman is a sophomore culture and communication major with a crush on living wage employers. E-mail her at email@example.com.
At what point does activism become terrorism? By Kacey Deamer
he Federal Bureau of Investigation defines ecoterrorism as the “use of violence of a criminal nature against innocent victims or property by an environmentallyoriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.” In 1980, the group Earth First! took activism to a new level when members would spike trees—the practice of hammering a nail into a tree set to be cut down, which can severely wound loggers. When Earth First! became more mainstream, some members grew frustrated and branched off, forming a new group to engage in more violent, direct action to fight against environmental degradation. They became the most well-known group linked to eco-terror in the U.S., the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). ELF has taken a variety of criminal actions since its founding; however publicity of these events was minor until the late 1990s. From arson to bombings, ELF has really packed a punch in its efforts to protect the environment from injustices. ELF continued to terrorize the nation with more arson and bombing events through 2006. The organization has been eerily quiet these past four years. Perhaps they realized that extremism is not a solution to the world’s problem. Perhaps they simply lost their backing. Perhaps they realized that a line had been crossed. As the battle for the planet’s future continues, it is likely that ELF will rejoin the fight. The members’ mentality is something that cannot be altered by an FBI investigation or negative publicity. In an interview with National Geographic, Leslie James Pickering, a spokesperson for ELF, discussed the organization’s efforts. He said, “[We’re] defending the natural elements of the Earth that we all need to survive. Without these, we all die, we all perish. I’m representing a group that is fighting in self-defense, for preservation of our species, all species of life on Earth.” ___________________________________ Kacey Deameris a sophomore journalism major. E-mail her at kdeamer1@ ithaca.edu.
With all of these issues facing people living in or very close to poverty, it’s difficult to know where to start in helping community members rise back above that line. The Tompkins County Workers’ Center’s Living Wage Campaign is one place to begin. The Living Wage Campaign is one of the Workers’ Center’s biggest initiatives to help all county residents, including employers and employees. The living wage differs from place to place around the country depending on costs of housing, food and other essentials. To determine the wage for Tompkins County, a committee of Workers’ Center employees work together with the Alternatives Federal Credit Union to develop a bi-yearly Living Wage Study, which shows the minimum wage necessary in Tompkins County for a full-time worker. Linda Holzbaur, Tompkins County Workers’ Center community organizer, said earning a living wage is essential. “We at the Tompkins County Workers’ Center believe that all workers should be able to adequately support themselves,” she said. “You can’t do that on $7.25 an hour and no benefits.” The living wage benefits not just the employees, but the rest of society as well, Holzbaur said. There are hidden costs to the low prices consumers see at larger corporations. Many “big box” employees who earn minimum wage are qualified to receive food stamps, Medicaid and other government assistance. While the Workers’ Center supports these programs, they also see them as unnecessary, if everyone were able to earn a living wage. “We’re certainly not against those programs because we believe that we’re a rich enough country that everybody should be living at a certain basic level where they have access to good food, and they have access to health care,” Holzbaur said. “However, when we are patronizing a ‘big box’ store that’s only paying people minimum wage, we’re making up for those cheap prices by paying in other areas.” By not covering up the hidden costs of running a business, consumers can pay for the full cost upfront, which could ideally eliminate the need
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Protesters Without Borders
The politics of line-crossing at the School of the Americas By Gena Mangiaratti arrying a cross with the the September 11 terrorist attacks. With him when he crossed was his name of a murdered Latin American woman, wife, Helene, but this was her first time Jack Gilroy of Endwell, being arrested for it and therefore did NY was among a crowd not serve prison time. Gilroy describes of about 1,700 that, in his wife as a “lady who would never go November 2000, carried a protest through a yellow traffic light,” but she past the gates of the Fort Benning decided to take action after learning Military Reservation, the site of the about the SOA. Gilroy is a member of the controversial United States Army’s School of the Americas (SOA), defying Binghamton chapter of the SOA laws that prevent political expression Watch, an independent organization based in Washington, D.C. that aims on military bases. The SOA, now called the Western toward closing the school through Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation If you were to walk down the (WHINSEC), is a training street, saw a burning building, facility for Latin American soldiers located in Fort saw people screaming, Benning, GA that has going to die, you would do it. come under controversy after hundreds of human This is how we look upon events rights violations in Latin that we support. America were found to be committed by its - Jack Gilroy, Protester graduates. Every November, thousands of peaceful protests and spreading protesters travel to Fort Benning to awareness. Now 75, he has attended hold vigil at the gates in protest of every vigil since 1995 except for 2001, the school’s continued funding and when he was in prison. He said he crossed the line partly existence. SOA graduates include General Robert Viola and General for personal reasons—a way of not Leopoldo Galtieri, the two dictators sitting back while paying tax dollars in power during Argentina’s “Dirty that support the institution. The War” in the 1970s and 80s; Augusto second reason he crossed the line, Pinochet, Chilean dictator responsible he said, was to attract the media for the kidnapping, torture, and attention needed to raise awareness “disappearances” of over 2,000 of the atrocities linked to the school. Chilean citizens from 1973-1990; and He compared crossing the line at the Robert D’Aubuisson, the leader of El SOA to trespassing in order to rescue Salvador’s death squads during the people from a burning building. “If you were to walk down the street, civil war from 1979-1992. The school had gained increased saw a burning building, saw people attention in 1996, when the Pentagon screaming, going to die, you would do released training manuals used in it,” he said. “This is how we look upon SOA courses from 1982 to 1991 events that we support.” Before Sept. 11, 2001, the gates that included instruction in torture to Fort Benning were open, allowing methods. The protesters who crossed onto thousands of protesters to cross onto the base were arrested and filed onto the base at once. After the attacks, several buses. Gilroy, who had been the gates were closed, dramatically arrested for crossing onto the base reducing the numbers of those who two years before, was among 26 who carry the protest onto the reservation, were being arrested for the second but some have found other ways to time. For his second offense, he was cross onto the base, such as climbing charged with a criminal misdemeanor over the fence or crawling under it. and sentenced to six months in In 2007, eleven protesters, including prison, his sentence beginning in one Binghamton SOA Watch member, May 2001. He was in prison during were arrested for crossing onto the
base and served in prison for different lengths of time. The SOA had closed in December 2000, and the next month, WHINSEC opened in the same building. Critics of the school continue to express skepticism about its regard for human rights. In 2007, an amendment to cut the funding for WHINSEC was defeated in Congress by a vote of 203 to 214. Since the name of the school was changed, the Binghamton SOA Watch, which by the late 1990s had begun transporting busloads of people down to the protest, has not brought as many people to the vigils, Gilroy noted. The different name, he suspects, has made it more difficult for people to remember the school. “Our feeling is you don’t forget about the thousands of murders that were perpetrated with US tax dollars,” he said. Gilroy feels that the main success of the protests has been drawing young people to the movement. He recalls a protest a few years when his wife asked him to take a look around. Initially just seeing a lot of people, he said he then realized that she was referring to the amount of collegeand high school-aged students in attendance. Aly Dixon, an Ithaca College senior, attended the annual protest in 2009. It being her first protest, she said what shook her the most was hearing the stories of Latin Americans who had lived through some of the atrocities associated with SOA graduates. She said she understands the need to cross onto the base, but as a student said she could never do it knowing she could be put in jail. “If you’re going to this rally and participating in a peaceful way, you’re still kind of being passive because you’re not actively resisting this institution that is perpetuating all these violent crimes,” she said. “For a lot of people that do cross, it’s like saying, ‘We’re not just going to stand at your boundaries.’” ____________________________________ Gena Mangiaratti is a sophomore journalism major with a penchant for toeing the line. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Gangster Life’s Not the Life For Me A look at the history of gang culture By Andrew Lindsay n the West Coast, in South Central LA, where, according to a RAND study, children are more likely to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder than kids in Baghdad, a young man with his “family” drives a car past a block marked with blue stars and pitchforks. Inside, they hold their automatic weapons, some snarling, “Six poppin’, five droppin’,” and others shouting, “Six in the sky, five must die.” Only a couple of their fellow gang members were shot and killed in a drive-by shooting. The six they mention in their dark warnings refer to the six-pointed star, often drawn on walls as the Star of David, turned into a marking for the Crips’ territory. This is more common in Midwest gangs than Californian gangs, according to Alex Alonso, co-author of Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities. Often, these symbols appear beside numerical figures, which refer to which set or unit of a gang has made that mark. While it all sounds like one big puzzle, in reality, there’s nothing cryptic or secretive about it. Everyone in Los Angeles knows what’s meant by the three-digit number that denotes which set of a gang it belongs to. And everyone knows why “kick back” is written and spelled “kicc bkacc” on the wall. If you are a Crip, a C, then you are a Blood Killer, or a BK. Conversely, if you are a Blood, a B, then you are also a Crip Killer, a CK. Words with the opposing gang’s letter (B or C) must be immediately followed by a K. The Crip rationale is that words with a “ck” must be changed. Otherwise you are inferring that you kill both gangs alike—hence, “kicc bkack.” This same kind of symbolism is also related to the numbers five (Bloods) and six (Crips). Alonso goes on to explain, via email, that in California, the gangs are tied to the communities in which
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and New Jersey, eventually becoming the United Blood Nation. They are now the largest gang in New York City, with a membership of more than 5,000, as opposed to the 1,000-plus Crips there. On the walls of Harlem, Brooklyn and many other neighborhoods, five-pointed stars are spray-painted alongside numbers and other messages that seem like a code; but, to the police investigating the recent acts of brutality there, they offer an explanation. The previous night, a youth had slashed a man across the face with a scalpel. The victim was rushed to the hospital to receive stitches; the police already knew he would need more than 150. This is Blood territory, and one of the initiation processes is to give someone—a complete stranger, a neutral, a fifty-fifty, as it’s called— “a buck fifty,” a slang term meaning a wound that needs more than 150 stitches. The scar is meant to act as a testament to the viciousness of the gang. This could have happened to anyone—to the officer’s spouses, to their children—simply for daring to be in the wrong neighborhood, for not knowing how to read the signs. After all, Alonso reiterated, “Everyone knows this, even the cops.” ____________________________________ Andrew Lindsay is a sophomore writing major who keeps a blue flag hanging out the back side. But only on the left side, yeah, that’s the Crip side. E-mail him at email@example.com.
they grew up. The gang lines differ by ethnicity, not by geography. Concrete structures, like freeways, form geographical borders, and everyone knows whose territory is whose. The borders are strict for black and Hispanic gangs, but not so much for Asian, White or motorcycle gangs, he said. “Everyone knows, even the cops,” Alonso wrote. The rise of gangs stemmed from a combination of the race riots, the Black Power movement and the Black Panther movement. As portrayed in the film Crips and Bloods: Made in America, after the assassinations and jailing of the dominant civil rights leaders, the anger and violence of the youths turned from the states onto themselves. Violence escalated, and they stopped fist-fighting, instead turning to shooting. The violence now takes a toll that spans five generations of urban soldiers of about 15,000 lives a year, which is five times as many lives as the conflict in Northern Ireland. The toll has reached such a gross number due, in large part, to the rivalry between the Crips and rival gangs, specifically their enemy, the Bloods. Originally, when the first Bloods were founded in California, they were named after what black soldiers in the Vietnam War called each other. They were founded as a reactionary group to the Crips, who had gained a large following. At the time, the Bloods were outnumbered three to one. In order to compensate, they became extremely violent, which only served to exponentially escalate things. Infamous for their barbaric violence, the name became so notorious that Omar Portee, or OG (Original Gangster) Mack, borrowed it when he allegedly formed the Universal Blood Nation in Rikers Island prison, which became the east coast chapter of the Bloods. It spread through New York
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The Blurry Line of Consent How alcohol complicates the conversation about sexual assault By Amy Obarski
tâ€™s Friday afternoon, and you have just completed what you think is the most hellish week of your college career. You had three tests, two papers and a bullshit assignment that your sociology professor required you to submit via Blackboard. You are ready to let loose. So you arrange your plans for the night, which include pre-gaming at a friendâ€™s room before heading off to a house party on Aurora, and get ready for some fun.
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All seems to be going well at the house party, and you are managing your drinks as you usually do, but you decide to let yourself have another couple of shots. Why not? This week sucked, and you need to unwind. As you set your glass down, you see that someone has been flirtatiously eyeing you from across the room. You think they sit next to you in art history, but you’re not sure. You return the friendly glance and ask some friends who the stranger is. Your best friend tells you the name and relationship status of the individual, and you
on myths about sexual violence, the definition of rape is “Oral, vaginal or anal penetration obtained through force, threat of force or the inability to provide consent. Sexual assault is more encompassing, including acts ranging from non-consensual touching, kissing to completed rape.” Society’s stigmas regarding these crimes only perpetuate harmful misconceptions. Many blame the victims for the way they look, dress or present themselves. If they are drinking alcohol, many people ponder, isn’t it their decision to let their guard down? Wrong, said Kali Fallon Make sure your partner gives conof Ithaca PAVE. “Sexual assault sent. There needs to be some exis never the change of consent, because then victim’s fault,” she said. both people are on the same page and A n o t h e r misconception no one is being taken advantage of. is that only There needs to be that communication. strangers in alleyways commit
think, “Why not? What the hell?” And that is all you remember. Fast forward to the next morning. You awake in the bed of a sleeping stranger, not knowing what happened or how you even got there. You quickly look around for evidence, and you see that your clothes are strewn across the floor. An empty can of FourLoko, which you don’t remember downing, is on the nightstand. Your looker from last night wakes, and you ask, “We didn’t… you know… do it?” All you see is a smile on the stranger’s face. This situation is parodied all too often in the media. Sure, it’s funny when Ross and Rachel have another unexpected roll in the hay or when Will wakes up with Grace after having too many martinis, but in real life, this scenario is anything but comical. The Basics of Acquaintance Rape What needs to be presented first and foremost is this: Consent cannot legally be given if alcohol or drugs are involved from either party. “People don’t realize how much communication sex takes, and when you’re drunk, you give signals, vague signals,” said Ithaca College senior Heather Mueller, president of the IC chapter of SAFER (Students Active for Ending Rape). According to PAVE (Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment), an organization that tries to educate the local and campus communities
sexual assault. False. Lis Maurer, the program director of the Center for LGBT Education, Outreach & Services, stated that most victims who come to her with issues of sexual abuse know their assailant. “Every once in a long while, there is a different situation, but the vast majority is with someone they know,” she said. Many also think that sexual assault happens exclusively to women in the straight community. However, this is an issue just as pertinent for men and members of the LGBT community. In fact, according to the Advocacy Center of Ithaca, an organization that runs a support line and provides resources to victims, 10 to 20 percent of men (of all sexual orientations) will be sexually violated in their lifetime. It is far from uncommon to hear of members of the LGBT community being sexually assaulted by “dates,” and it has been surveyed that transgender people are more likely to be sexually violated by a partner. Statistically, 90 percent of sexual assault victims know their assailant. This is known as acquaintance sexual assault. According
to IC’s Student Code of Conduct, “The acquaintance may be a date or friend of the victim or someone the victim knows only casually. The same criminal laws and penalties apply to both acquaintance rape and stranger rape.” Drunk Decisions, Sober Consequences The IC Student Code of Conduct goes on to say, “Frequently, the students involved in these assaults have been drinking or using drugs. An intoxicated victim may be unable by law to give consent to sexual intercourse.” Lyn Staack, the youth educator and LGBT coordinator from the Advocacy Center of Ithaca, affirms this, saying, “a higher percentage of our sexual assault clients are college-aged, and in a majority of those calls, either the victim or the offender, or both, had been drinking alcohol.” Another major issue comes into play when victims are brave enough to confront their assailants. Commonly, when a victim addresses his or her attacker, the perpetrator passes it off as trivial. We were both drunk. It doesn’t count when alcohol is involved. I thought you wanted it. One sees it as consensual, the other as rape. Who, then, is to be believed? The one who believes it to be rape has a right to call fire. No one should ever feel sexually uncomfortable, and the one who feels violated has many options to pursue and investigate if what actually happened was sexual assault. According to Maurer, there is no time limit for a victim to seek help or legal assistance. It doesn’t matter if the assault happened last night or a year ago; the victim is not bound by time to file a report. The Psychological Scars But why is denial from the other party such a common response? Ultimately, society has decided that the need for consent becomes null and void when alcohol is involved. Red cup/ blue cup parties, where the red cups, given to girls, contain a lot more alcohol, or even roofies, to make them easier sexual targets, only
Image by Sam Pinto
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perpetuate this ideology. “I feel like [denial] is the common thing, just of people I know and stories I’ve heard,” said Mueller. “I don’t think they want to admit they did something wrong. You don’t want to admit you’ve done something wrong, but you [the initiator] did.” To make this idea of consent more clear, Mueller also emphasized, “Make sure your partner gives consent. It doesn’t have to be verbal but there needs to be some exchange of consent. Alcohol makes it even blurrier. And it’s different in every situation, which is why there needs to be that communication.” Ithaca College is small, and for many reasons that can be a good thing. But it becomes especially challenging for victims when they are forced to see their attackers on a weekly or daily basis. Megan Wright, a student at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY, experienced how painful the daily reminder can be. After being raped by multiple assailants, she reported the crime to the college, which did nothing to punish the attackers. She was forced to see her violators every
day, and, after falling into a deep depression, committed suicide. The psychological ramifications for sexual assault are great. According to RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network), victims of sexual assault are four times more likely to commit suicide. A Culture of Apologists Fallon said, “Rather than focusing on a victim’s drinking, as a campus we should focus on why a perpetrator’s behavior is generally excused by our culture when alcohol is involved.” Many of the perpetrators walk away unscathed. As much as 75 to 90 percent of total disciplinary actions doled out by schools that report statistics to the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women amounted to minor sanctions like apology letters or counseling. Universities that don’t choose to expel rapists from campus operate under the assumption that these students won’t assault again, which is dangerous. We live in a time when an attacker can go online and look up the recipe for a date rape drink in a matter of seconds. According to the Department
of Justice, only 60 percent of rapes are ever reported. “Victims fear they won’t be believed, especially when alcohol is involved,” said Fallon. We think that when we hear about them on Intercom or in the media, that that is only when they happen. But people need to be clear on this so-called blurry line of consent. If you plan on having sex with someone and either one of you is consuming alcohol, then communicate and confirm that both parties are on the same track. Feeding someone drinks so that he or she will sleep with you is the same as manipulating someone to have sex by means of physical force. College is supposed to be a time of fun and exploration. This article is in no way saying, “Don’t drink alcohol because you might be sexually assaulted.” Rather it is making a plea for students to be smart, know where they are going, what they will be doing and with whom they will be partying. ____________________________________ Amy Obarski is a sophomore cinema and photography major. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are plenty of options for people who find themselves on all ends of the spectrum regarding sexual assault. If you believe you have wronged someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, seek counseling help immediately. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, there are many resources available.
>>> 911rape.org is an organization for rape survivors with information on acquaintance rape, drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA), how to help a friend and more. There are also survivor stories and information on the impact of rape for support and strength. >>> PAVE Ithaca strives to empower victims to “shatter the silence of sexual violence.” The organization is designed not only for survivors, but for everyone to get involved against sexual violence. PAVE is inclusive to all communities.
>>> The Advocacy Center in Ithaca helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault through free services, including crisis intervention, support groups and shelter at their safe house. The center also accompanies victims to outside services, like a hospital, court proceedings or social services. >>> Ithaca College’s Center for LGBT Education, Outreach and Services provides an office staffed with a professional program director, a resource room with LGBT student mentors and allies, and essential information on LGBT issues. The center can cater to LGBT students’ worries about sexual assault and related issues.
>>> The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network provides information on federal and state policies on sexual assault. The network also operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline with free, confidential, 24/7 access to one of more than 1,100 rape treatment hotlines in the caller’s area. Victims can also go to the Network’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline if they feel more comfortable seeking services online.
>>> SAFER-Ithaca is an on-campus group that works to make students active against sexual assault in order to create a safer campus. Their website dispels societal myths about rape and fights the notion of Rape Culture.
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Ministry of Cool
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Remix Revolution Indie and R&B music come together to make sweet beats By Matt Kelly
The first indie hip-hop collaboration to gain mainstream attention was probably when Jay-Z and Linkin Park released “Numb/Encore” and followed it up with Collision Course (2004). Like almost everything else he does, Jay-Z was the first to make the indie/hip-hop collaboration
At first glance, hip-hop and indie collaborations don’t seem like a successful partnership. Let’s face it, skinny jeans and thrift store hoodies usually don’t associate with baggy pants and “ice.”
“cool.” Since then, titans of both the rap and indie music industries have been more open to crossing over. The Roots have been one of the most active in seeking out help from indie rock, including collaborations with Monsters of Folk, harp goddess Joanna Newsom, and My Morning Jacket. Vampire Weekend has also been big on crossing over, sampling M.I.A. on their latest album and becoming a huge favorite of rapper Kid Cudi. Rap icons Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne have also joined in on the act by cutting tracks with Bon Iver and Weezer, respectively. Yet with all this new foundlove between indie and hip hop, isn’t there some fundamental duplicity going one here? Hasn’t part of being indie been resenting the mainstream sound and the popular music? Hasn’t part of being part of hip-hop culture been to resent the more fortunate and affluent (let’s face it, very few indie rockers come from the slums)? According to Jay-Z, hip-hop’s new reverence for independent music is
essential for the continuing survival of the genre. Last year, he told MTV, “What the indie-rock movement is doing right now is very inspiring. It felt like us in the beginning... and the music that they’re making and the connection they’re making to people is really inspiring. So, I hope that they have a run where they push hip-hop back a little bit, so it will force hip-hop to fight to make better music...because that’s what rap did to rock. When rock was the dominant force in music, rap came and said, ‘Y’all got to sit down for a second, this is our time.’ And we’ve had a stranglehold on music since then, so I hope indie-rock pushes rap back a bit, because it will force people to make great music for the sake of making great music.” As Jay-Z puts it, great music is great regardless of what genre it comes from. The hip-hop industry has clearly been suffering from a lack of creativity lately, as evidenced by the constant duets and sampling of other songs instead of coming up with original beats and melodies. Jay-Z has always been fairly ahead of the curve, which has allowed him to stay on top for so many years, and he’s very aware of where the music industry is heading. This is why he’s right on about indie and hip-hop looking toward each other for new inspiration. Fundamentally, they share many of the same characteristics and it makes more sense for them to band together rather than let old stigmas get in the way of making fresh original songs. Let’s embrace the future. ____________________________________ Matt Kelly is a freshman sports media major who could really use a wish right now, a wish right now, a wish right now. E-mail him at mkelly10@ ithaca.edu.
Ministry of Cool
or years, the indie music scene has been an extremely exclusive affair. To be considered an “indie” band, musicians have always had to be careful not to appear to be “selling out” by making music that’s too popular or losing their credibility by “giving in to the man.” So what happens when being “indie” suddenly becomes cool in the eyes of the general public? Do you stay true to your roots, or do you embrace the newfound popularity and take advantage of it? Recently, there’s been a wave of indie rockers teaming up with charttopping hip-hop artists to make some killer collaborations. Rappers and hip-hop veterans are now looking outside of the genre for inspiration, and indie rockers are finally lightening up a little bit as they emerge from their hipster caves. At first glance, hip-hop and indie collaborations don’t seem like a successful partnership. Let’s face it, skinny jeans and thrift store hoodies usually don’t associate with baggy pants and “ice.” However, rap and rock have a long history together dating back to the late ’80s with pairings like The Cult and Rick Rubin, Run DMC and Aerosmith (remixing “Walk This Way”), and Public Enemy and Anthrax. In an interview with Live4Ever, singer Ian Astbury from The Cult explained, “You have to understand that there was a lot of camaraderie between the Hip Hop and Rock community; we were all underdogs coming up at the same time.” Both genres were formed out of anger and resentment toward societal values and corporate influence, and the best bands from each scene are the ones who can sound passionate and effortless at the same time. The Beastie Boys embraced hiphop while still remaining a hipster favorite. Alternative bands like De La Soul and OutKast were making hiphop records while keeping a sort of indie mentality as they refuse to conform to the exploding hip-hop scene.
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Snow White and the Seven Whores Is Disney the launchpad for scandalous celebrities? By Francesca Toscano pon turning on the Disney Channel, viewers are flooded with clichéd jokes, racially-ambiguous stars, predictable plots and that undeniable warm, fuzzy feeling that forces audiences of all ages to channel their inner tweens. However, what does Disney become when the cameras are off? As of late, naked pictures in tabloids and scandalous reports on E! of various Disney stars have infected the entire corporation’s reputation. The quintessential “hot mess” Britney Spears began her career as a member of Disney’s Mickey Mouse Club, performing alongside fellow blonde bombshell Christina Aguilera. Following was Lindsay Lohan, who entertained families worldwide in the 1998 Disney classic The Parent Trap. Currently, Lindsay is more famous for her presence in gossip blogs than her roles on-screen. Today’s Disney Channel harlots are far from devoid of the slutty stereotypes. Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical, known for wholesome lyrics and corny choreography, tarnished that image when nude photos intended for studly co-star Zac Efron were leaked online. The risqué pictures were not forgotten after a trite apology and a couple of tacky sequels. The dynasty of Disney stars gone bad would not be
complete without mentioning the current torch holder: Miley Cyrus. Hannah Montana, Miley’s alter-ego on her hit show, was the image of purity—so pure that Cyrus’ downfall became unavoidable. Scandalous photos of a then-pre-pubescent Cyrus merely sparked her steady downfall, which began an endless media frenzy. As Cyrus removed herself artistically from her other personality, she attempted to adopt a more mature vocal style. What Cyrus forgot, however, is that maturity is not a synonym for skankiness. She claims the Bible is her favorite book, but it was her pole dance at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards that stood out more. A recent discovery that has shaken Disney fans worldwide is that of Demi Lovato, a star that until now had seemed to avoid the downhill spiral of many similar teen stars. Known for her optimistic, effervescent personality on Sonny With a Chance and the Camp Rock franchise, Demi partook in a physical altercation involving one of the back-up dancers, and was admitted to a rehabilitation facility for an eating disorder and self-inflicted injuries. Lovato’s father, Patrick Lovato, predicted his daughter’s problems, stating, “There are a lot of pressures. That is one of the things I worried about when she signed with Disney.” A trend is a p p a r e n t among all these shameful celebs, one that happens far too often to simply be a coincidence. Evolutionary psychology may be at fault, as explained by psychologist Dale Glaebach. Evolutionary psychology is the belief that when one is forced to succumb to societal norms, it is human nature to rebel. Perhaps the
constant smiles and never-ending innocence that have become a Disney staple are the same things that are creatively restricting the stars. Unfortunately, the departure from Disney stardom is often not received well by young fans. Fifth grader Juliette Frank is a perfect example of the tween demographic for television networks. Frank is an avid Disney Channel watcher who, a few years ago, was bopping along to “Best of Both Worlds,” the Hannah Montana title sequence. However, when asked if she is currently a fan of Cyrus, she said bluntly, “No.” When asked to expand on that response, she continued, “Now that I know more about her... it makes me see her differently.” Fortunately, Disney’s ability to separate itself from its stars allows it to remain a respectable childhood staple. “I feel comfortable allowing my daughter to watch Disney Channel because as a parent, it is my responsibility to teach her what is acting and what is reality,” said Dana Frank, Juliette’s mother. “Disney is a business like any business, and their job is to provide good family entertainment that is appropriate for young children. They have no control over what happens to these actors when they leave their studio.” Disney has maintained its image as a family-friendly corporation for decades, but is it possible that a few teens could forever damage its reputation? It is difficult to say for sure, as the countless animated Disney films on VHS in my closet are a testimony to my devotion to the corporation. However, if this slutty plague continues to infect future generations of Disney stars, those VHS’s may be the only remains of a once kid-friendly empire. ____________________________________ Francesca Toscano is a freshman IMC major who lives to party in the USA. Email her at email@example.com.
Images by Marissa Osowsky
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The Filmmaker’s Contract Biopics often blur the line of fiction and reality By A. Maureen Tant
brutality and deception on the part of American government in El Salvador, but the characters in it were real. The movie is a little more than two hours long (The Social Network is the same length), but during that time a tedious, brilliant runthrough of the abuses suffered by journalist Richard Boyle is shown. Boyle is no saint, but in the scope of the film world, he’s a hero. Though he may have been morally corrupt on a grand scale, he was on the right side. Zuckerberg is almost an inverse figure—he’s forgivable (in Sorkin and Fincher’s movie at least) on an individual level, but irredeemable in his inability to understand how his actions affected the rest of the world. Sorkin knows what he’s doing. Filmmakers are not legally bound to present their subjects sympathetically. At his best, a filmmaker is an artist, and at his worst he’s an entertainer and businessman. One function of art is to present opinions and inspire debates about those ideas, an expectation The Social Network certainly met. Documentarians aren’t neccesarily journalists, and only in the United States is neutrality valued in that medium. “Saying a documentary is meant to be objective gives you away as a member of the white, privileged elite,” said Patricia Zimmerman, professor of cinema, photography and media arts at Ithaca College. “Nowhere else in the world do people believe documentaries and news sources should be objective. In Singapore, anchors are very opinionated and have arguments during broadcasts.” Zuckerberg made his statements about the inaccuracies in the film not long after donating $100 million to the Newark, N.J. public school system—a notoriously troubled district. (The state lost a $400 million education grant earlier this year due to a clerical error, according to New
Image by Sam Pinto
Image by Sam Pinto
York Times.) There has been talk that Zuckerberg’s motivations for donating might not have been totally pure, but as Aaron Sorkin said, “Your only response should be ‘thank you,’”— an appropriate reaction, considering how many filters we already have for evaluating Zuckerberg’s character, most of which were engendered in The Social Network. “I think it’s just such a big disconnect from the way that the people who make movies think about what we do in Silicon Valley, building stuff,” Zuckerberg said at a recent conference, “They just can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things.” Zuckerberg’s desire to build isn’t so different from Sorkin or Fincher’s creative processes—rather than building a website, they built the character “Mark Zuckerberg,” and in doing so shaped perceptions of his persona. ____________________________________ A. Maureen Tant is a freshman cinema and photography major who wants to make a biopic about Debra Messing. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ministry of Cool
uch ado has been made about screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher’s depiction of Facebook founders Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin and Napster founder Sean Parker in this year’s The Social Network. Moviegoers expected to find Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal an unforgivable character, a reason to shut down your Facebook profile, or evidence of something more malicious, perhaps criminal. Instead, the film is forgiving. Only Parker (Justin Timberlake) is two-dimensional—he’s the movie’s vehicle for corruption, and represents inclusion in an elite world, one Zuckerberg longs to inhabit. The film points to goals of inclusion as Zuckerberg’s motivation for starting the website, and behaving so badly toward his friends. A few weeks ago, Disney released a biopic of its own: Secretariat, a film about Penny Chenery Tweedy. After Penny’s father dies, she takes over his horse-breeding empire despite opposition from her brother and husband. During her tenure, she oversees the training of Secretariat, who became the country’s greatest racehorse. The events in the movie take place across four years—the tediousness that screenwriters Mike Rich and William Nack present those events makes the movie feel around four years long. The trick in presenting such a long narrative—and a true one at that—is to pick out the most dramatic moments and sew them together reality-TV style, so we get a picture of the strain on Penny’s marriage, the stress her heavy workload put on her kids, and the difficulties she faced in dealing with so many condescending men, even if that diminishes the story’s resemblance to the truth. This is by no mean’s a new genre. In 1986, Oliver Stone’s movie Salvador was meant to show audience the
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Zooming Across the Finish Line
Why not all stereotypes about NASCAR fans are true By Quinton Saxby on’t let Ithaca’s cosmopolitan allure fool you. This territory belongs to NASCAR fans. Professor Stephen Mosher, Ithaca College professor of sport management and media, explains, “Ithaca is in the middle of NASCAR country.” NASCAR is well-established as a part of the culture of Ithaca—if not within the city itself, then certainly in the surrounding region. Go anywhere other than the Commons, and you will encounter a contingency of fans that are well-aware of the history and the significance of NASCAR as a sport.
Of course, the sport (and indeed it is a sport, regardless of the opinion of detractors) has aspects of a remnant of a time past, and Mosher believes it is a dying tradition. The NASCAR culture may be the last vestiges of the Wild West, and its slow decline could be part of a larger trend of the state of modern-day American sports. Professor Mosher knows that sports have always been an expenditure dependent on the whim of the populace. “Sports are nothing but discretionary money,” he said. But regardless of the economic climate, NASCAR’s appeal is still broadbased and pervasive. The commercialization of NASCAR is a relatively new phenomenon that is a product of external economic forces. These forces encroach on the rustic, rebellious appeal of America’s singleminded obsession with fast cars. “The businessmen are trying to make a dollar off it,” Mosher said. “NASCAR was never just about making money. It was about making money in a thrilling, illegal way.” As Mosher said, the present state of NASCAR has as much to do with American mythology as with a distinctly American obsession with stock cars. NASCAR attracts a large contingency of rebels and technicians that other sports don’t quite have. Modern stock car racing offers excitement that can’t be found at a baseball game. Going to a race is a unique experience. Professor Mosher argues that it is an event that cannot be matched. “It was the loudest experience I’ve ever been to. It’s like living through
NASCAR was never just about making money. It was about making money in a thrilling, illegal way.
- Stephen Mosher Mosher knows that NASCAR’s history is part of its appeal, he said, “Getting involved in NASCAR brings us outsiders into a mythology that has embedded itself in the psyche of a large portion of the American population. NASCAR’s history emerged from folk-tales and reality. Moonshine runners would put their cars together to evade the police.” And what could be more rebellious than driving fast cars? NASCAR is more American and laden with testosterone than anything encountered in football, baseball or virtually any other sport. Mosher states it plainly: “NASCAR’s fast, and it’s loud.” Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s caricature of all that is stereotypical of the NASCAR aesthetic, might have a similar ideal.
an earthquake for two hours. It doesn’t televise well but it is frightening.” Senior Matt Magnani, a sports media major, emphasizes that there are indeed stereotypes, but that he has not had too many encounters of people who feed into them and completely shun NASCAR. Instead, he admits that there is definitely value in this American tradition, although he might have some difficulty in seeing it. “I’ve heard from people’s experience that actually going to NASCAR is a whole lot of fun, and the atmosphere makes it more of a sport because personally I can’t stand watching cars just going around aimlessly in a circle,” he said. Its prevalence on television has had both positive and negative effects. “It’s attracted a lot of ignorant fans,” Mosher said, but he does qualify this by acknowledging the depth of technical knowledge exhibited by NASCAR fans. “For the hardcore NASCAR fans, they already have that knowledge,” Mosher said. “They know stuff beyond ‘Why the hell isn’t my blinker working?’ They love their cars and they treat them with the respect they deserve.” Such an attitude shows that the ignorance might be on the other end of the argument. NASCAR fans and NASCAR drivers have tradition and technical knowledge, something certainly lacking in a modern day, liberal and politically correct atmosphere. Senior Corey Jeffers, computer information systems major, thinks that it is not surprising that NASCAR is popular in the region and that its popularity may be merited. “When I was younger, I thought about how stupid it was, but later on I found out they were using rocket fuel,” Jeffers said.
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Image by Lauren Connelly
CAR will bring to you. As with any sport, there is an aspect of devotion that some may find unappealing. With NASCAR comes a culture of advertising and heroworship, and NASCAR advertising is pervasive; we are more than likely to find NASCAR logos pasted on the latest beef jerky packaging, among other distinctly American products. Go anywhere other than Wegmans and you’ll find it. Mosher argues, “Go to Tops. You’ll see No. 3 and No. 8.” The stereotypes are based on perceptions that NASCAR is a distinctly rural and masculine phenomenon. From the outside, others may judge, but Mosher warns those too good for the sport to be careful. “People sit in judgment of NASCAR because of the stereotypes that come
with it,” he said. “Go to Watkins Glen. You’re going to encounter Bubba and he’ll be drinking his Bud Light or his Miller Light, all of that is true, but if you start talking to him about the pitch of the rod, all of a sudden he’s speaking in Greek or advanced calculus. Bubba knows more than you do,” Mosher said. NASCAR might just be the most advanced and intricate American sport tradition that is out there. As voiced by Mosher, “It’s rocket science.” ___________________________________ Quinton Saxby is a senior English major who loves to watch Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. Email him at email@example.com.
Ministry of Cool
And as for its place as a sport? “In every sport, there is a lot of repetition.” Jeffers was also quick to note that Ithaca’s values may veer to the more conservative end of the spectrum, and therefore finding a large population of big NASCAR fans is not too surprising. The stereotypes might still be in attendance at a race, but Mosher warns the cosmopolitan and more liberal-minded to be cautious in passing judgment. NASCAR is advanced engineering, and fans will certainly be sure to let you know. NASCAR does have a rural and down-to-earth allure, but such a connotation does not necessarily bring about the stereotypes that a quick glimpse at the culture of NAS-
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From serious fan to fetish, some sexual fantasies go too far By Carly Smith apan, the home of everything from giant robots to maid cafes, only occasionally shocks people outside its borders these days. Many people believe Japan is simply the home of wacky things. But sometimes a facet of Japanese culture becomes just too weird. A handful, of the pr edominately adult Japanese men, claim to be in relationships with body pillows, known as dakimakura, meaning “to embrace” and “pillow.” The large pillows are covered in pillowcases with drawings of young girls from Japanese anime, often in revealing clothing. Only a miniscule portion of the Japanese admit to having this private hobby, and even fewer display it in public. Lisa Katayama, blogger of Japanese pop culture, wrote an article for the New York Times documenting the feelings of a few people engaged in the hobby. The first, a man who calls himself Nisan, or “big brother” in Japanese, is one of the very few who carries his pillow with him. Others keep their hobby a secret, often turning to their pillow girlfriends for emotional support. These people are a subset of otaku culture. The word “otaku,” originally being the honorific word for “home,” has a deeply negative connotation in Japan. When most people think of the Japanese fan of anime or video games, they often think of the stereotypical otaku, a single adult man living in his
personal shrine of collector’s figurines, posters of young girls and the socially unacceptable body pillow. However, the stereotype cannot possibly define all fans nor can it be applied to the rest of Japan. The Japanese strictly view otaku as obsessive fans who spend all of their time with a specific hobby. This is mostly applied to infatuated anime fans. Momo, a vendor at a Japanese c o n v e n t i o n who spoke with Katayama, sells pillowcases for the dakimakura and pictures of anime characters in erotic poses. The eroticism of inanimate objects is not unique to Japan. BBC America made a documentary called Love Me, Love My Doll, which follows a group of men and their RealDolls. The dolls are life-sized and made of silicone, steel and PVC for comfort and posing. Most of the models cost at least $6,500. R e a l D o l l creator Matt McMullen said he did not initially c r e a t e them for sexual
Image by Anika Steppe
purposes. “I am very flattered that my dolls have such an emotional place in certain people’s lives,” he said in the documentary. “Those are the ones that I feel the best about, you know, that I’ve actually changed their life for the better.” Katayama’s article briefly discusses the sexualization of the pillows. Love Me, Love My Doll does illustrate how some people who have the realistic dolls use them as a source of companionship, though a portion of the documentary follows one man who focuses on the appearance of his eight dolls and admits to using them only for sex. Those who have RealDolls and also those who have dakimakura have not all given up on real relationships. Many use them as a source of comfort when they are lonely. Feeling as though they are not attractive enough for a woman or cannot maturely handle a relationship, they turn to inanimate objects. In this way, America and Japan are not so different. What sets Japan apart from the rest is its emphasis on young girls. Douglas Tucker, a forensic psychiatrist at University of California, San Francisco, spoke with Salon writer Meghan Laslocky in her article “Just Like a Woman” on the use of RealDolls. Tucker did not find anything unhealthy with arousal caused by the dolls, but he did caution against pedophiles using a young-looking doll because it would reinforce his fantasies. But unlike a RealDoll, the body pillows stress child love. The closet otaku may seem strange and over the line, but rather than using the strange things from Japan for shock value and for proof of their “backwardness,” people should realize the love of inanimate objects is evident in every country. ____________________________________ Carly Smith is a sophomore journalism major who drools on her pillow, not over her pillow. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There’s a Thin, Thin Line
Why being dangerously thin is never in style By Jenni Zellner
the age or BMI requirements are able to skirt the rules and make an appearance in larger shows. Yet efforts to change the waifish image of the fashion industry are underway. The Knesset Bill in Israel is currently in the works, which would also exclude models with BMIs under 18.5, as well as force the fashion industry to indicate if photographs of models have been photo-shopped or retouched. In addition, model Crystal Renn, who was first featured in Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring collection in 2005, has been making headlines as being one of the first “plus-sized models” to make regular appearances on the runway. Although some critics point out that Renn, a size ten, is not by normal standards a “plus-sized” model, considering that designer sample sizes are anywhere from a zero to a size two, Renn is a powerful anomaly. In addition to Renn, other healthier looking models are making appearances on the runway, namely in a collection shown by Giles Deacon in Paris, which featured Victoria Secret models. Deacon’s show sparked a trend, and as a result Victoria’s Secret models and other models known for more curvaceous figures have been featured in shows in both London and Milan. It is clear that while thin models still occupy much of the runway, the standard desirable model is slowly changing. How will these new bills affect the fashion industry? For one they will start to incorporate more realistic images of women, which will subsequently alter what designers present on the runway, and what is therefore “in style.” By promoting styles designed for multiple body types, the concept of fashion will become more accessible of women and less exclusive. Fashion accessibility will also change the image of the fashion industry as an elitist culture that does not cater to all women, and will furthermore encourage women to ob-
serve fashion as a form of expression rather than a set of unattainable restrictions. Fashion is an element of culture that is engrained in any society, and if its affect on people are negative, than it becomes a dangerous hindrance rather than an art form. ____________________________________ Jenni Zellner is a sophomore English major who thinks this is a weighty issue. E-mail her at jzellne1@ithaca. edu.
Ministry of Cool
he fashion industry has notoriously embraced thinness to the extent that the models they select to wear their designs must meet certain physical requirements. But when do those requirements cross the line? While healthier looking women are slowly starting to emerge in ads and on runways, scarily thin models are still considered to be the norm in the fashion world, and some designers still continue to abide by strict physical requirements. Because of this, models resort to extreme measures to meet the standard, which many times result in chronic illness or death. Furthermore, because designers are enforcing these standards to match the clothing they produce, these expectations of women become apparent through their designs, which in turn affect every day women and girls. The question is, when will this perception of beauty become archaic? When will designers and the public who supports the thinner side of beauty realize that thinness is just as unhealthy as obesity? At Brazil Fashion Week in 2005, models featured in the runway shows died shortly thereafter due to malnutrition or heart failure related to eating disorders. Model Luisel Ramos died at the mere age of 22 during a fashion show due to heart failure, followed by Ana Carolina Reston, 21, a very well known Brazilian model, who died from complications due to anorexia. Their deaths subsequently caused outrage in the fashion industry, resulting in a bill passed in Madrid, in which models could not participate in runway shows if they were under the age of 16 or had a BMI, or body mass index below 18.5. Reston , who stood at 5 feet and 8 inches, was estimated to have weighed 88 pounds at the time of her death, putting her BMI at roughly 13.5. Despite Madrid’s ban on underweight models however, fashion capitals such as New York, Milan and Paris have yet to enact similar bans. As a result, lesser-known models, who may not meet
Image by Clara Goldman
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Horseplay and Foreplay How much is too much when sharing personal information? By Stephanie Black eople like to talk. Whether or not they like to admit it, everyone loves spilling the juicy details of their personal lives, either privately with their friends or publicly on the Internet or other media. There are, of course, certain guidelines that are to be adhered to when dishing out this “sensitive” information, including whether you would want to know about it and its level of relative grotesqueness. But what happens when people take the telling too far? It all started on Facebook. While scrolling through my cluttered minifeed, I happened to stumble upon a curious-looking YouTube video posted on a grade-school friend’s wall. “Couple Unites Over Horsing Around” was its questionable yet incredibly intriguing title. Needless to say, I couldn’t resist. Wow. In no possible way could I have prepared myself for the testimonial that lay ahead. Left with the overwhelming feeling of total shock after viewing the atrocious clip, I quickly deleted my entire web history. Resisting the urge to burn my laptop, desk and eyes, I tried without much success to forget what had just been branded into my brain—a seemingly normal couple openly boasting about their love for each other—and their ministallion. The woman warmly reflects about oral sex and intercourse with the animal, while the man chuckles passionately about the joy he gets from allowing the mini-stallion to penetrate him. Many students have had their days ruined by this mini documentary about the hardly accepted lifestyle practice of copulation with animals. As a proud ally of those who choose to lead sexually alternative
lifestyles, I do not often find myself questioning the moral aspects of the physical limits of love—between humans. However, when the relative innocence of beasts is taken advantage of for the sake of human physical gratification, that’s where my understanding stops. There does exist a natural curiosity for sex and pleasure within every human that pushes the boundaries of normal, but when some of the more outlandish and potentially harmful fantasies are manifested, where does society draw the line? Zoophilia, sex between humans and animals, is surprisingly common, though in popular society it is frowned upon. Laws of all kinds have been passed in the courts of countries all across the globe. Not surprisingly, the act of zoophilia is illegal in most regions. In the United States, 30 states have laws making the act illegal. In some, it is considered a misdemeanor, but the remainders of the 30 have bestiality constituted as a felony. Montana, North Carolina and Arkansas have laws on the subject that are currently in flux, and the other 17 states do not have any specific legislation outlawing the act. There are several countries, mainly in Europe, where bestiality is completely legal. Among those that “accept” the act are Belgium, Denmark, Germany,
Hungary, Switzerland and Sweden. Bestiality is also legal in Mexico. It turns out that often times the sex is perpetrated by the animal, not necessarily the person involved. However, that doesn’t go to say that the human receivers aren’t enjoying themselves. It should be noted that in most countries, zoophilia and bestiality are considered animal abuse. In the countries where zoophilia is legal, it is under the conditions that “no harm has come to the animal.” Okay, great—how are we supposed to judge if the animal is harmed or not? It’s not like they are capable of having pillow-talk afterwards. In the controversial YouTube video, the couple explains that they know their mini-stallion enjoys the sexual experience with them because he makes “grunting noises and blows in their ear.” That sounds a little speculative on their behalf, seeing as animals make grunting and blowing noises even when they are not having sex. Having sex is a normal part of life. Almost everyone does it, so it’s not a big deal- unless you brag about it to an extent that makes people uncomfortable. This isn’t an issue of what is right and wrong, but an issue of what is OK and not OK to talk about. It’s totally cool that people talk about their sex lives, but there is always a line that shouldn’t be crossed. This video… well, let’s just say the line was definitely ignored. ____________________ Stephanie Black is a freshman drama major who thinks you should just say neigh to fucking horses. E-mail her at sblack1@ ithaca.edu. Image by Zachary Anderson
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Fashion Over Fairness
Counterfeit items cross the line of fairness and labor By Cady Lang
goods much in the same manner as a Tupperware consultant or Avon lady, are merely another vehicle for counterfeit goods. Any wary consumer with gumption would be aware that designer goods would rarely sell for the relatively low price that a purse party consultant charges. It’s also important to note that designers often destroy extra products that they will not be selling retail or sending to certified outlet stores, which would make it impossible to purchase an authentic designer item via a purse party or backroom. Additionally, counterfeits can pose serious safety issues for the consumers themselves. Since selling counterfeit goods is illegal, items are often sold in the backs of vans, isolated basements or abandoned buildings. When police raid these establishments, customers can find themselves trapped in buildings for hours, without electricity or means of escape. For people who buy counterfeit personal products like fake designer perfumes, the consequences of their decision to buy counterfeit products could make them sick. Faux designer perfumes have been found to have bacteria-laden ingredients like antifreeze and urine. Since perfume is absorbed through the body’s largest organ, skin, consumers could suffer serious consequences. Is it really worth it to purchase counterfeit goods when they endanger not only the workers who made them but also the consumers? Being trendy or fashionably elite should not come at the expense of another’s wellbeing, or, for that matter, your own. No trend, no knock-off pair of jeans, no counterfeit “it” bag is worth exploiting someone; you should only shop for what you can afford to buy (meaning that it’s impractical to want to buy a pair of Louboutin stilettos if a pair of Steve Madden ones are going to break the bank). It’s better to shop within your price range than support unethical production practices and
have the appearance of a designer item. There are plenty of options for still being fashion-forward and ethical. One of the best ways to get name brand items on a budget is to shop at consignment, vintage or thrift shops. In Ithaca, Trader K’s has a great se-
Is it really worth it to purchase counterfeit goods when they endanger not only the workers who made them but also the consumers? lection of previously-owned designer jeans that are sold for a fraction of the price. Using common sense is probably the easiest and most practical way to avoid buying fakes; if a price for a “brand new” designer item is too good to be true, it probably is. If a location is not an official, affiliated retailer (for ec=xample, it if it’s in the backroom of a seedy shop in Chinatown), then you should probably avoid purchasing “designer” items from there. Finally, re-evaluating your interpretation of fashion can be the simplest way to ensure that your style is ethical. Fashion is more than just one’s physical appearance or material goods—it’s a means of self-expression. Choosing to support child labor or unethical production practices in order to keep up an image cramps everyone’s style. ____________________________________ Cady Lang is a freshman journalism major who doesn’t have to fake it to make it. E-mail her at clang1@ithaca. edu.
Ministry of Cool
trip to the city usually involves some kind of shopping. With hundreds of vendors on the streets selling dirt-cheap, “are-they-real?” pashmina scarves and Dolce & Gabbana imitation sunglasses, a bargain waits around every corner. For more adventurous fashionistas, the underground black market of designer purse counterfeiters hide in the backrooms of often-seedy shops in Chinatown, concealed from police scrutiny and confiscations. However, these so-called “good deals” question whether it’s worth it to have a faux designer purse or other articles of clothing and accessories at the expense of human rights. Counterfeit products not only rob designers of intellectual property but are also connected to heinous activities like drug trafficking, terrorism and child labor. Harper’s Bazaar’s “Fakes Are Never in Fashion” campaign (which exposes criminal activities connected to the sale of luxury goods) reports that 10 percent of all goods purchased worldwide every year are fakes, a percentage that translates to a whopping $600 billion in sales every year worldwide. One of the contributors to the Fakes Are Never in Fashion campaign, Dana Thomas, wrote a sobering book, Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, about the horrendous situations that stem from the counterfeit production; in it, she describes an assembly plant in Thailand, where she relates “seeing six or seven little children, all under 10 years old, sitting on the floor, assembling counterfeit leather handbags. The owner had broken the children’s legs and tied the lower leg to the thigh so the bones wouldn’t mend. [They] did it because the children said they wanted to go outside and play.” However, counterfeit goods are not just limited to sketchy backrooms; ever-popular “purse parties,” where consultants sell “overstock” designer
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RAW FROM THE SAW The Social Network COLUMBIA PICTURES, 2010
By Quinton Saxby
David Fincher has a knack for defining generations. He defines yet another with his new movie about Facebook, and he does it with style and gravity. Only Fincher could have pulled off a movie about social networks without falling into the traps of overstatement or cliché. His film The Social Network is based on Ben Mezrich’s controversial expose The Accidental Billionaires. The book is a “fictionalized account” of the rise of Facebook, constructed from interviews with Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg’s former friend Eduardo Saverin, co-founder and financier of the dorm-room project. David Fincher’s magnum opus has style, nuance and entertainment value. Every joke bites, every conversation has depth and wit. His film is mature in its writing, presentation and vision. Zombieland’s Jesse Eisenberg gives a jaw-dropping performance as the billionaire who interrupts high-stakes corporate meetings wearing slippers and a robe. Somehow he can embody the perfect geek archetype, finding a way to portray the aggressive awkwardness of the self-conscious and socially destructive genius. His performance emphasizes the fact that it is easier to be an asshole entrepreneur than a nice one. Aaron Sorkin’s absorbing screenplay follows the Facebook story
from its creation to its influential and exponential growth in popularity. In a parallel narrative, it outlines the legal squabbles and back-stabbing that come with the territory of Internet empires. Facebook’s unpredictable rise to its multi-billion dollar status on Wall Street also threatens to shut Saverin, Zuckerberg’s confidante, out of the fortune. The Social Network also hints that Mark Zuckerberg has one-uped an entire generation, making billions from a fairly simple concept. The film acts not only as an observation, but as an indictment, of Zuckerberg and his unflinching vision. Eduardo Saverin, Facebook’s co-founder, probably won’t be friend requesting Zuckerberg anytime soon. The film is experimental, aggressive and engaging. It’s difficult but alluring to be in the presence of a man with a single-minded obsession, and Mark Zuckerberg is not a personality you would hope to encounter every day. Yet Jesse Eisenberg portrays him with acute attention to detail, and it is impossible not to believe every moment of his performance. It is apt that a Facebook movie comes down to being about the changing definitions of friendship. Mark Zuckerberg, according to this account at least, has his own ideas about the concept that might be quite shocking to viewers.
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Mark Ronson Record Collection
By Quinton Saxby
Mark Ronson has had some pretty remarkable talent gravitate toward his studio in the past few years. Real musical talent knows how to find him. Before this latest album Record Collection was released in September, he had already produced Amy Winehouse with her retro-soul image and style and given Lily Allen many of her hits in England. Now, with this new album, the depth and breadth of talent he has managed to pack onto one disc is quite awe-inspiring. Ronson has any and all talent appear on this genre-breaking album: Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, MNDR, D’Angelo, Andrew Wyatt and Rose Eleanor Dougall. There are many more. The collection of artists he has managed to get into the same studio is impressive to say the least, but what is even more impressive is that in listening to the album, there is no hint of it being an enterprise of more than 30 musicians. It has coherency and maturity. Mark Ronson seems to be one of those producers who cannot get over his own perfectionist tendencies, and we the listeners are the ones to benefit. Every
Paranormal Activity 2 By Francesca Toscano
Paramount Pictures, 2010
in the air, I had to stifle my laugh. The baby floated in thin air for a few seconds, and then was peacefully returned to its crib. Even my fellow theatergoers who were screaming a mere few seconds before responded in a unanimous “WTF?” Finally, as the movie concluded, the action began to unfold. The sound of people screaming and necks snapping woke me from my blank gaze, but instead of being frightened, I was elated that there was finally some violence. I cheered as the lead characters were flung downstairs and brutally attacked, but before the fear could finally be aroused in me, the credits started rolling. I am far from a horror junkie and would much rather snuggle to a romantic comedy than fear for my life during a horror flick. However, Paranormal Activity 2 could not even frighten the least of horror-tolerable moviegoers. Although illogical towards the end, maybe the praise that the films are realistic is justifiable: Real life is not very exciting.
Ministry of Cool
The first Paranormal Activity movie was a horror phenomenon, cited as the first “realistic” horror film to be released in the last few years. When the sequel premiered, similar praise followed. However, I found that Paranormal Activity 2 was exactly like the original: boring, safe and painfully unrealistic. Paranormal Activity 2 is more of a prequel than a sequel, giving exposition to the original instead of following a plot line of its own. The basic plot of the films is a series of ghosts and spirits attempting to attack certain members of a family, as dictated by an ancient legend. However, viewers spend the first hour and 15 minutes of the movie watching ghosts move various items inconspicuously around the house. I wake up every day thinking I left my room keys on my desk but find them on my MicroFridge, and I have never once considered supernatural activity. Suddenly, the movie took a turn for the “scary” when the paranormal creatures began messing with the lives of the residents. As the audience screamed when a baby levitated
bleep, every synth effect, every drum machine hit is premeditated and part of Ronson’s larger musical vision. Ronson has a knack for allowing the talent he gets into the studio to call the shots. In effect, he knows how to give his musicians space, both creative and musical. Thus, we get inspired performances, such as D’Angelo’s in “Glass Mountain Trust” and MNDR’s in “BANG BANG BANG.” Ronson is in the back, working on the turntable, always behind the scenes. Ronson is not afraid to delve into different styles and different genres. He does hip-hop, electro, dance, and he does it all while still maintaining an accessible pop vibe. And who can say it doesn’t succeed? Ronson has realized his musical vision with some of the best talent the music industry has to offer. He knows how to produce potential as well as established talent, no matter an artist’s preference of style or rhythm. He has it all on this album. His is a distinct musical taste that is worthy of a place in your own record collection.
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Prose & Cons
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Skinning By Anthony Zaun-Lokos
Prose & Cons
peeling back layers old rotten seasoned skin scraping away old membrane in place for the new the untold story secret center core prize not worth keeping a pestilence, burden whatâ€™s left of the vertebrae just bare naked-ass bones splitting to pieces shattering like pots and pans in the museum to display works of this crazed happy man filling his gluttonous wallet knives splintering the grounds on which he walks waiting. sitting still then running in place sitting and waiting for the check to arrive in the mail or the time he has to nail his next great work to the wall in lieu of places he fears and desires most for people viewing misery and glooming the mysterious ways that was grouped there in that place there in that way the blood and the veins split open and put on display for everyone to see or no one at all for one doesnâ€™t comprehend two converse but get nowhere threeâ€™s crowd labeled unknowing and undeserving of the time, leaves changing, falling, decomposing into the composition of the millennia millions of years spent trying but not working moving but not forward back to the places where you, me, I, and everyone just does not get it.
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T S DU
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Roommate Almost Starves After Line is Drawn Across Dorm Room By Marc Phillips
Smith’s pleas for reason were not met with mercy by Gelwitz, who reportedly assured Smith that crossing the line would result in a “massive-ass lawsuit from [his] rich lawyer uncle.” Two hours later, Smith was found lying in the fetal position on his twin extra-long bed. Smith’s flip phone and black-rimmed glasses lay next to him. Gelwitz sat at his desk, happily typing away on his laptop. That night, Gelwitz left his dorm around 11 p.m. to join his friends at a party in the Circles. Smith sat upright on his bed, finally realizing he was confined to the space equivalent to a handicapped bathroom stall. Tuesday morning, Smith checked his e-mails—all angry messages from his professors. “I can’t go to class, and I’m running out of Vitamin Water bottles to pee into,” Smith said in a response e-mail to one of his annoyed professors. By Wednesday, Smith was lethargic and almost done eating his supply of Cheez-Its and Cup O’ Noodles, which he had to eat raw due to his lack of
microwave access. Friday night, a week later, Smith was found lying across his bed and delirious. Gelwitz showed some concern, but still did not lift the masking tape border. “I mean, he may smell and never leave the room, but now he actually can’t leave the room. This will also ruin my chance for having an empty room this weekend so I can bang a bunch of hot chicks, and I tend to do that a lot, obvi,” he said, seeking a high five. Smith withered away on his bed, staring listlessly at Gelwitz. “Ugh, fine,” Gelwitz said as he bent down to pull up the masking tape. A few minutes later he called his family’s lawyer and had returned things to the status quo. “I would thank my roommate if I could move,” whispered Smith. ____________________________________ Marc Phillips is a sophomore IMC major who finds that “do not cross” tape is more effective than masking tape. Email him at email@example.com.
teve Gelwitz, a freshman who lives on the third floor of Tallcott Hall, hails from a ritzy northern New Jersey suburb. Always a dominant force, Gelwitz finds himself the leader of his friends. “One time at sleep-away camp years ago, I led our bunk to victory during the week eight color war. No big deal,” Gelwitz said, asserting his dominance. When it comes to his more skittish roommate, Andrew Smith, Gelwitz finds himself enraged. “He’s all like, ‘Ahh! You scared me,’ or ‘Please don’t hurt me,’” Gelwitz said. “It’s just unacceptable. Andrew is from some hick-ass town in Upstate New York, so clearly I’m better than he is. Also, he smells.” The enraged roommate went on to describe how Smith always invites his weird Humans vs. Zombies friends over, never changes his smelly bed sheets and will leave old D.P. Dough calzone crusts on the shelf above his bed. The worst thing Gelwitz ever found was a pile of Smith’s crusty socks that had arguably crossed over onto Gelwitz’s side of the room. Though this was Smith’s only real offense he had committed, it was already the last straw for Gelwitz. On Friday afternoon, Gelwitz took a roll of masking tape and drew a line down the center of their dorm room. “I’m just dividing up our assets!” said Gelwitz, a business administration major. “I came back to the room around 4 p.m., and thought, ‘What the Hell?!’” said Smith, a student in the exploratory program. Gelwitz arrived back to the room around 5 p.m. and explained to Smith how he drew a line and had his family’s lawyer draft an Order For Protection against Smith. “Oh, and I annexed the doorway, so you’re pretty much stuck here,” Gelwitz added.
Image by Sam Pinto
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Scientists Determine Timeline of “Too Soon” Jokes Scientific Guide to What's "Too Soon"
By Mariana Graces 120
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80 % Recognized
Shooting Columbine Tragedies
Harbor in 1941 and Michael Jackson’s death in 2009. The fame of the involved people inversely affects the length of time before jokes about deaths or crimes can be deemed humorous by the general public. This is why scientists have deemed jokes about Billy Mays, Steve Irwin and Greg Giraldo funnier in far less time than the murder of an upstanding local PTA mom, an example they used as their control variable. This was verified by Gilbert Gottfried’s twitter, in which he joked only hours after the fellow comedian’s death, “If Greg Giraldo is cremated, will that be the Greg Giraldo Roast?” Noble, respected public figures are to receive a longer grace period before cruel jokes about their death, such as Princess Diana or John Lennon. Another key factor involves the obscurity of a tragedy. If, for example, a Nova Scotian references the Halifax explosion of 1917 in a joke, it would likely not be funny because only a small number of people know of the boat explosion and after-
Peloponnesian War Atrocities
Irish Potato Famine
Massacre at Civil War Battle of Antietam
Chart by Chris Giblin 0 JFK Assasination
cientists and mathematicians were elated earlier this week when a new breakthrough brought them closer than ever to developing a comprehensive formula to determine when jokes about tragedies turn from “too soon” to funny. Though some say the formula is not quite perfect, several scientists have compared reaching this stage to approaching the theoretical temperature of absolute zero. The Associated Press met with researchers and confirmed that jokes about Julius Caesar’s murder are now officially proven as funny, or they at least have the potential to be. After the press conference, on his show, Conan O’Brien pulled out a dusty cue card from The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien that read “Et tu, Jay?” Crowd member Donald Landry corroborated that the joke was, in fact, “Nowhere near ‘too soon.’” According to their extensive calculations and focus groups with comedians, easily offended people and everyone in between, researchers determined that the waiting period is dependent on such variables as how many lives were lost, the circumstances of the disaster, the notability of the people involved and, as many comedians have always assumed, whether there has been a bad movie made about the tragedy. It has long been common knowledge within the Humor Sciences field that if a bad movie has been made about the tragedy in question, it’s safe to joke about. Such trage- dies include the distant but not forgotten disasters of the Titanic in 1912, Pearl
Battle of Civil War Antietam
math that killed more than 2,000 people. In this case, too much time has passed for enough people to recognize the reference and deem jokes about the tragic event as humorous. Researchers admit that while their equation is nearly flawless, with about a .00000012 percent margin of error, they are proudest of their “Too-soonometer,” a handheld sensitivity instrument that is triggered and emits a loud heckle whenever unfunny issues or events are discussed within five feet of it. The meter is an easy litmus test for things that researchers are usually already sure about, including issues like genocide, 9/11, rape and massacres. Researchers are still debating in journals and labs across the nation the appropriateness of jokes concerning Heath Ledger and death by auto-erotic asphyxiation. “I only hope that our results can be used to better stand-up comics’ reputations,” said Kyle Richardson, one of the lead reasearchers in the study. “And perhaps save the average class clown from looking like a fool by making a Holocaust joke.” ____________________________________ Mariana Graces is a sophomore journalism major who knows a great Heath Ledger joke but will keep it to herself, for now. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image by Andrew Rivard
11/8/10 2:28:59 AM
Kids Agree, Mom is “Like Hitler” For Taking Away Cell Phone and Internet Privileges for Remainder of Week By Lauren Mateer
This is the first time she has been compared to Hitler, who led the Nazi Party in the systematic murder of approximately six million Jews, among other things. The progression of Gabby and Jake’s rationale can be easily attributed to the concept of “Godwin’s Law,” which states that the longer an argument goes on, the more likely it becomes that someone will compare his or her opponent to the Nazis.
Having made the comparison after only 20 minutes of screaming back and forth with their mother, Gabby and Jake performed a relatively quick example of Godwin’s Law. A corollary to the law states that whichever party makes the Nazi reference automatically loses the fight. When asked about this, Gabby denied that her mother had won the argument. “She’s still wrong,” she said. “It’s not my fault she’s like an insane fascist. She just hates democracy and fun.” It is hard to say whether or not Ms. Watson’s punishment choice was justified, but even with the vitriol directed at her, she does not regret her actions. “Jesus Christ, it’s only five days,” she said. She also found a way to make some peace with her children’s angry words. “At least they show an interest in history,” she added. Jake Watson could not be reached for comment, having run to his room after a temper tantrum. Sources say he was inconsolable after having Internet privileges taken away in the middle of possibly setting a personal record in Mini Putt 2. _________________________ Lauren Mateer is a sophomore journalism major who wonders why all moms are totally lame. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Image by Marc Phillips
n response to an unexpected punishment, 16-year-old Gabby Watson reported Tuesday that her mother had gone way too far in grounding her and her 14year-old brother Jake from using their cell phones and computers for the rest of the week. “It’s like, totally unfair,” Gabby said of her mother’s decision. “She’s like Hitler. Now I know how Anne Frank felt.” Jackie Watson, her mother, explained that the reason behind the punishment was due to Gabby and Jake’s repeated failure to do their chores. “I think it’s a reasonable request,” she said. “And losing the computer and cell phone until Saturday is a reasonable punishment. I mean, when I got punished at their age, my parents would ground me and make me read encyclopedias in my room until further notice.” Watson expressed disappointment that her children would compare her to Hitler, though she said this is not the first time Gabby and Jake have equated her to an evil fascist leader. According to her, she has also been referred to as “Mussolini,” the Italian leader who turned his country into a police state, after Gabby was grounded for breaking curfew, as well as “Kim Jong-Il,” North Korea’s dictator who has kept much of North Korea in a slave state, when Jake had to stay home from a party as punishment for talking back.
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Dog Has No Idea What the Hell Is Hurting Its Neck By Anne Gould Northgraves ear Labby, OMG HI HI HI HI We’ve never met before we’re not even meeting now but I’m so excited I’m running around and around and around and ar—oh, oww oww oww oww oww oww Now I’m sad and hurt and angry Oh that’s right that’s why I’m writing to you You have to help me, something so weird is happening I just don’t get it I don’t get it at all I oww oww oww oww I did it again. I love being outside I’ve always loved being outside don’t you love being outside being outside is the best My humans used to let me outside and I would run and run and run and run and it was the best playing this Family Time game They would run after me shouting with me saying things really loud but I couldn’t really hear them ‘cause I was running so fast trying to catch those big metal things that can run so much faster than me—OR CAN THEY?—how do I know if I don’t try to catch them Anyway it was the best of times They would pay so much attention to me we would run around all the other human places for hours and hours and hours and after a while they would take shifts and not everyone would be out together but someone was always out with me and if I got real close to the house again everyone would come back out again and play again Oh it was the best I could do whatever I wanted. But something’s changed now and I don’t know what It’s so weird really really weird— ANOTHER DOG! Let’s play together yay yay yay yay—owww oww oww oww oww there it goes! This is what I need your help with Now whenever I try
to leave my humans’ territory and play with friends or play the Family Time game or mark a new tree with my pee I get this huge painful pain in my neck and I don’t know what’s happening It doesn’t happen when my humans take me on a walk but it happens when they let me out or when they open the door and try to close it before I get out like they’re pretending they don’t want me to be outside It only happens when I get near the hard gray stuff at the edge of the grass or near the fences or near the bushes that I used to love to bury things under. I’ve tried hard, Labby, I really have I dug a real deep deep hole The deepest hole you’ve ever seen I’ve gotten pretty far but then the pain happens again even underground so I don’t think it’s a bee—I hope it isn’t I hate bees I tried to eat one once but it wouldn’t stay still and then I finally caught it in my mouth but it made my mouth hurt real bad—it feels different from the bee It only hurts for a minute then it stops which feels great great great great Oh so great I
think I’ll be OK so I try to jump the fence but midair the pain starts again and I fall—BUT I found that old fluffy chew toy the humans tried to take away before I buried it real good and deep and hidden and now the white fluffy meat on its insides tastes like yummy dirt It’s oh so good yum yum yum even though it feels weird when I poop after but it’s worth it it’s so so good. It stinks it stinks so much but I could have gotten my humans’ attention by picking at those pretty little trees on the paths—they’re the worst they hardly taste like anything and you can eat them in two seconds they’re not filling at all not filling like a cat would be Oh yeah that’s what I was talking about—But I cannot stand that bad cat. The humans next door have this stupid fat ugly cat It’s so stupid and ugly and I know if I could just get over the line I could get it ‘cause it couldn’t outrun me—I can almost outrun those metal monsters!—It used to have to stay inside its house like a scaredycat—haha, CAT hahaha I get it—but now it just sits outside one foot over the barrier STARING at me with its evil eyes, licking itself and spitting up gross hairballs onto my yard and I can’t do anything about it But I need to because I need to show the other dogs and my humans who’s boss and get that evil cat. What can I do, Labby, what can I do? Look, a chipmunk! I’ve got it I’ve got it—ooowwwwwwwwww! ____________________________ Anne Gould Northgraves is a senior cinema and photography major who is a longtime tailwagger, first-time barker. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image by Zachary Anderson
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Buzzsaw Asks Why... Ithaca College Implements New Technology So Innapropriately? Over my few years at Ithaca College, new pieces of technological equipment have sprung up here and there throughout the campus, and admittedly, some of it has changed the institution for the better. The implementation of free wireless Internet in residence halls at the beginning of last year was a welcome step forward, and it’s nice to have a “quick print” computer in the Friends computer lab so I don’t have to scream at someone not to log off when I have two minutes to print something before class. However, even these changes themselves can be spun as criticisms to IC’s adoption and implementation of new technologies in a proper and timely manner. Frankly, up until free wireless came to dorms last year, the college was well behind most schools on providing Internet to its students, requiring them to plug in with an Ethernet cable while charging $60 to $70
per semester for a decent connection (I was personally too cheap and went for the excruciatingly slow free version). Also, the log-in process for the older computers in the library, Friends and elsewhere takes five to 20 minutes because student information needs to be verified by a ludicrously slow-moving server. My question is, why do we need to log in at all? Maybe we can keep a few log-in computers for privacy-obsessed students, but I personally don’t care that much if I accidentally leave up my essay for everyone to see. The area in which IC seems to have made the most technological progress is in the realm of flat screen TV installation. Something that was once quite the novelty when I was a freshman has now become the IC way of life—CNN, SportCenter highlights and Powerpoint slideshows are everywhere. And when it comes to the slideshows, it’s not just about informing students about
upcoming events or shamelessly selling the college to visiting high school students—they have also invaded our menus in the pub. Since when is it necessary to read a list of food options on a sleek, widescreen TV? Doesn’t a list on a board suffice, or is that just too archaic? This is all not to mention that it is less convenient, since one often has to wait through three Powerpoint slides to see the full extent of menu options. I’m not Amish, really. I just think IC can easily take different tactics to make the campus’ technological progress provide more of a direct benefit to the institution’s students and faculty. To do that, the school simply needs to pay attention to the needs of those students and faculty rather than focusing on what might make the campus look sharper or glossier on the surface. -Chris Giblin
by Marc Phillips
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