BUZZSAW Born This Way MAY 2011
Turning the Page How the community saved Buffalo Street Books
In the Beginning An intelligent analysis of Intelligent Design
British Invasion Tracing the roots of our favourite TV programmes
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BUZZSAW Buzzsaw presents...
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
Black, white, beige, chola descent, Lebanese or orient—we all have our origins. It’s time to go back to the beginning. In our modern lives, we are often so wrapped up in the stress of the present and the anxiety of the future that we forget the importance of looking into the past. However, there is no escaping our origins. When and where we were born, as well as to whom we were born, all have a large effect on our lives today. As we grow, the powerful cultural structures around us guide our attitudes and behavior; they are so ingrained in us and are the only ways we can make sense of our world. In the Origins Issue, Buzzsaw aims to explore the roots of various aspects of our society, from pervasive structures to new creations. We explore issues that completely define our society. In “Opposition to Evolution Not Yet Extinct,” Shaun Poust explores the continued resistance against Darwin’s theory of evolution. And in “I Want It All. And I Want It Now,” Abby Sophir discusses the origins of our consumerist culture and asks us to reevaluate our desire to consume. Now, our generation is able to witness the creation of new cultural and social trends. We explore new conceptions that give us an indication of our current place in society, such as jeggings in the article “Stature, Comfort and Camel Toe,” by Sarah Kasulke. We also investigated how new constructions develop while retaining their culture. Moriah Petty, in her article “A Tale of New Cities,” demonstrates how cities that had suffered economic and social turmoil are renewing themselves while staying true to their roots. In other cases, things we are familiar with take on a new identity as they evolve with the times. In “Creepy Classics,” Jenni Zellner shows how recent novels are adding a different twist to literary classics. Sometimes we also tend to overlook the origins of everyday customs. In “Recipe for Change,” Elizabeth Stoltz explores how the origins of our food affect our lifestyle and how the Slow Food movement works to address problems with the food industry and culture. We hope this issue illustrates how important origins are in recognizing where we are in the present and how we can change in the future. It is crucial to always look back and critically evaluate our beginnings; we can never move forward if we don’t understand our past. So baby, remember, a lot went into what you are today— you weren’t just born this way. - The Editors <3
News & Views Upfront Ministry of Cool Prose & Cons Sawdust Layout Art Website SeeSaw
Jacquie Simone Adam Polaski Alyssa Figueroa Carly Sitzer Emily Miles David Lurvey Chris Giblin Lucy Ravich Anika Steppe Emily Miles David Lurvey Andrew Rivard
Danielle West Zoë Epstein Kristiina Korpus Andrew Casler Malti Jones Catherine Fisher
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 Marc Phillips Upfront divider by David Lurvey Ministry of Cool divider by Colleen Cunha Prose & Cons divider by Sam Pinto Sawdust divider by Lucy Ravich
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WRITE US 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 email at:
Photo by: Anika Steppe
Table of Contents News & Views ...............................4 Current events, local news & quasi-educated opinions.
Upfront .........................................14 Selected dis-education of the month.
Ministry.of.Cool............................28 Arts, entertainment and other things cooler than us.
Prose & Cons ...............................39 Short fiction, personal essay and other assorted lies.
Sawdust .......................................42 Threatening the magazineâ€™s credibility since 1856.
check us out at:
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buzzcuts Compiled by Jacquie Simone
Founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger with the creation of the first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“The LensCrafters of big abortion.” -U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., describing Planned Parenthood to a crowd at her Iowa Family Leader speech April 11
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education and information to millions of women, men and young people worldwide. For more than 90 years, Planned Parenthood has promoted a common sense approach to women’s health and wellbeing, based on respect for each individual’s right to make informed, independent decisions about health, sex and family planning.
Percent of Planned Parenthood linked to abortion:
Amount of federal government funding that goes to abortion services:
FUNCTIONS BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
•Providing trusted community health care •Informing and educating the community •Leading the reproductive health and rights movement
STATS Funding Health Center Income
The Facts: • 84 affiliates nationwide • More than 800 health centers • More than 4 million activists and supporters • 1 in 5 American women have used Planned Parenthood at least once • Prevention: 83 percent of services prevent unintended pregnancy
•Advancing global health -PlannedParenthood.com
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Get Up, Stand Up Analyzing declining student activism on IC’s campus By Cassandra Leveille
“Students want to make a difference, and the culture of Ithaca is all about helping and doing so much, even just the college in general,” she said. “Ithaca is giving back. Ithaca is doing so much to help, and the students see that and want to continue that.” Radley also said Ithaca College often recruits students who have already been involved at their high schools and who continue to contribute to campus life while at IC. However, in certain areas, student activism on the Ithaca College campus has waned. There might be many clubs to choose from, but actual membership and attendance in those organizations are declining. Participation in learning communities in the residence halls has also plummeted. The Sustainably Conscious Community in Terrace 2 used to take up an entire building. Over the years, the community has been reduced to a single floor. One reason for declining activism is simply apathy among some students. Class may also play a role here, since generally, wealthier populations tend to be more individualistic. As uppermiddle class students are more isolated, they may not consider their lives as being connected to larger social movements. They may not necessarily see the connections between different structures, and their immediate lives do not seem to be affected by gross injustices anyway. In other cases, students might feel overwhelmed when they learn about social problems. The issues seem so large and the inertia of present social structures so vast that students cannot think of anything they can do. The reality is that often, social movements can be slow. This sometimes-glacial pace can be exhausting. Additionally, students are not always disengaged because of a lack of enthusiasm; rather, they may not be drawing connections to the politics of what they are involved in. Alicia Swords, an assistant professor of sociology at Ithaca College, said Ithaca is not in a movement phase, partially because we lack frameworks to see how social change works today. “In the way that the media presents activism, the images that we often see of activism are of the civil rights movement,” Swords said. “We tend to
mostly hear about the public figures, the great leaders of the movements and the big public demonstrations. We don’t actually hear very much about the behind-the-scenes work.” Because this knowledge is not emphasized in the historical narrative, students may feel alienated if they don’t meet the qualifications to be “leaders.” The overemphasis on priming students to be leaders may dissuade them from playing support roles or prevent them from seeing the importance of the less-glamorous organizational tasks, which ultimately make or break movements. Perhaps a significant roadblock that prevents movements from growing more potent is the lack of intersectionality across student movements. Students are encouraged to have a hand in everything, which may lead to a very fragmented experience where they spread themselves too thin. While many student groups may tackle similar issues, they might not pool their resources to get more collective actions done. Swords noted that this separation prevents people from working across disciplines to combine knowledge production and come to conclusions together. While students may be involved in many organizations, they may not see how issues are related to one another. “There are all these pressures to take on different kinds of volunteer work and wear lots of different hats,” Swords said. “And yet we also don’t look at the ways that they could reinforce each other and overlap, and build coalitions and networks, and come together around an issue or event.” Until the campus community engages in a conversation about how to collaborate and create change on a large scale, students will continue to see declining attendance at service clubs. But students should not restrict themselves to just building houses for homeless people—they should try to build a new activist movement. ____________________________________ Cassandra Leveille is a senior writing major who is thinking about starting a club about clubs. Email her at cleveil1@ ithaca.edu.
News & Views
ike many incoming students, Kirstie Ingmundson got involved with a service club, IC Habitat for Humanity, during her first year of college because she saw it as a way to make a difference. However, only about 10 students plus the officers attend general meetings, and six to seven students attend builds each week. Many service clubs do not draw large numbers for an abundance of reasons. However, this cannot be simply chalked up to apathy among Millennials. As students are questioning conventional strategies of activism, they are struggling to find new ways of creating social change. A February Boston Globe article noted, “Where their boomer parents may have been inclined to put their idealism and energy into protest and rebellion, today’s young men and women are civic-minded, less determined to change the social order, and more inclined to make the world a better place, even if it means doing it one load of laundry at a time.” Nationally, the nature of student activism is changing. It may not necessarily manifest itself in a typical protest culture, such as through creating posters and picketing. More students use social media like Facebook, Twitter, CREDO action and Change.org, to agitate for change instead of engaging in conventional grassroots organizing. In these ways, our generation is involved in doing various kinds of service. However, the bar is set much higher for Ithaca College students since the institution is associated and marketed with liberal politics, including sustainability and LGBT rights. The actual campus might not always live up to these expectations of an activist-minded protest culture. To an outsider, IC’s campus seems involved. IC Link, a website that student organizations use to maintain rosters and send out information about events, lists 267 active organizations. Theresa Radley, assistant director of Student Leadership and Involvement at IC, said that, on the whole, students at IC have the drive and initiative to start their own organizations.
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Restaurant Review : By Ryan Sharpstene ou usually wouldn’t expect to find a fine dining bistro packed inside a typical commercial plaza boasting, among other businesses, a Rent-A-Center and the Tompkins County Department of Motor Vehicles. But if you are planning on dining out one evening at Mira Mediterranean Bistro, that’s what you will find: a cozy, yet contemporary, restaurant found out of place on Third Street. Perfect for a table of two or a group, Mira invites patrons past a small wine bar to a cozy dining area. The interior is a mix of contemporary art deco with Mediterranean flare. A black and white checkered floor balances the solid-color walls. Large mirrors throughout the bistro give sizeenhancing illusions, and art pieces create a geometric and symmetrical feeling. A good friend and I decided to make a date night on a chilly Friday evening, and we were quickly seated in the nearly empty restaurant that had been open for approximately 45 minutes upon our arrival. The bistro offers a perfect evening menu. All of the dishes, from the Eggplant Cassoulet to the Za’atar-crusted Yellowfin Tuna, are reminiscent of Mediterranean cuisine, yet prepared with American flare. With 10 appetizers, more than a dozen entrees and different daily specials, there is something for every taste, w h e t h e r you’re a
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
vegetarian, a seafood lover or just someone craving a New York Strip. Before placing our order, we enjoyed a small dish of fried pita chips, feta cheese and olives. Wishing to try as a much as possible, we ordered the Mediterranean Tapas Plate, $10, as an appetizer. Served within minutes, the plate consisted of braised fennel, marinated meat wrapped in phyllo dough, asparagus-stuffed goat cheese, onion petals, crisp garlic bread and a lemon dipping sauce. The fennel fit well with the chilled lemon sauce. The marinated meat was a perfectly sized small treat—not too dry and not too sauced so the dough sogged. The onion petals were lightly fried with a bread-like seasoning and were sweet without an overpowering, pungent onion taste. The asparagus-stuffed goat cheese paired well on top of the crisp garlic bread, offering a creamy and buttery topping to the extra crisp pieces of bread. As a seafood fan, I decided to order the Pan-Seared Red Snapper, one of the nightly specials, for $18. Served on a bed of lemon orzo and asparagus, the snapper was cooked perfectly— not too flaky, and still rich and moist enough to fall apart in your mouth. The seasoning on top of the fish offered a nice, spicy bite to the otherwise tangy dish. The bed of lemon-flavored orzo was a little too sweet for my taste, but it provided a nice foundation to the meal. The asparagus was cooked perfectly. Our other entrée was the Butternut Squash, Wild Mushrooms and Arugula over Linguine for $14. The dish relied heavily on the natural flavors of the ingredients rather than an assortment of outside spices. The linguine was cooked well, and the wild mushrooms had a nice gamey taste and texture that mixed well with the arugula and cheese atop the dish. The butternut squash
throughout the plate was diced into bite-size cubes. It was fired perfectly: crisp, salty and sweet—almost mistakable for a diced sweet potato. By far, our favorite part of the evening was dessert. Not wanting to choose between the Earl Grey Panna Cotta and the Almond Chocolate Cake, $5 each, we decided to indulge and order both. The Earl Grey Panna Cotta was my favorite. With a softer, creamier texture than crème brulee, this was hands-down one of the best desserts I have ever enjoyed. It had a rich flavor almost hinting at vanilla, topped with raspberries. The Almond Chocolate Cake was also delicious. Cold, soft, with a mix of milk and dark chocolate flavor, the cake was surprisingly flavored with almond extract and contained no actual nuts. The desserts played off one another and tasted even better mixed together. Over the course of the hour in which we ate, the restaurant quickly became filled with older couples and small groups of 20-something-year-olds. While we could have easily stayed and picked at the remaining crumbs of our cake and panna cotta, we both realized the almost-full bistro was a little too cramped for our taste. After retrieving our coats, we paid our bill, which came to just under $70, and made our dash out into the blustery April evening. With exceptional service, an ethnic menu without too much exoticness and a lively ambiance, Mira Mediterranean Bistro is the perfect place for a quiet romantic date or fine dining splurge among friends. And if you’re daring, with Bowl-O-Drome only steps away, you can easily burn off any excess calories from those extra desserts with a round or two of cosmic bowling. Mira Mediterranean Bistro is located at 311 Third St., (607) 272-6472. _____________________________________ Ryan Sharpstene is a sophomore journalism major who proudly endorses eating multiple desserts. Email him at email@example.com.
Photo by Ryan Sharpstene
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Like a Virgin
Did that really need to be broadcasted in front of someone I barely knew? Would the guy look at me any differently? There was more to me than my inexperience. Why did that have to be the first thing people knew about me? I curled up into my shell for the rest of that conversation. Am I ashamed to be a virgin? I’ve grappled with this question since before I graduated high school. Among my group of friends back home, losing your virginity put you in the “lucky” minority. Then I came to college and became part of the “unlucky” minority—people who might as well be wearing nuns’ habits. Okay, I’m exaggerating. However, as the aforementioned story shows, I felt like my friends didn’t take me seriously because of my sexual inexperience. That always pissed me off. Sure, my ninth-grade health teacher thought Look Who’s Talking would tell us everything we needed to know, but I now know enough about the birds and the bees to have an intelligent conversation about it or, more importantly, to laugh at a “that’s-what-shesaid” joke. So, why haven’t I had sex yet? Quite simply, I haven’t found the right person. I’ve come close to sex only once. I had been seeing this guy for about three weeks. When I first met him, he seemed like the type who’d only seen boobs in porn and art books. Turns out, he’d already had sex with two girls. Things got very hot between us very quickly. The night before Halloween, we sneaked away from our friends up to his dorm room. Within two minutes, my dress had been
stripped off and I was lying on his bed. He kissed me. He touched me. I felt as good as I should have, according to any cheesy rom-com. Then I felt something enter me. I panicked, gasped and looked down. It was only his middle finger. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “Nothing,” I replied. “I just didn’t know where your penis ended up.” That did it. He yelled at me for a good five minutes, accusing me of not trusting him when I had no reason not to. Excuse me, but I am not one to completely trust someone I barely know—that’s how you get taken advantage of. The next night, he broke off the relationship. He said he didn’t think we were compatible partners. I did learn one thing from him: Compatibility is frequently measured by your willingness to put out. I’m not trying to turn this into a piece about condom-nation (punny), nor am I taking offers (the answer’s most likely going to be negative). I’m just trying to shed a little light on the students who choose not to have sex. It’s safe to assume much of the student population is having sex. But until someone tells you directly about his or her sex life (or lack thereof), there’s no way to know for sure. Who knows? Perhaps the person you least expect has been around the block a few more times than you have. For those of you who’ve yet to make it around the block at all, don’t feel the need to catch up with the rest. Sex isn’t a race, and I’m in no hurry to cross the finish line. * Names have been changed.
News & Views
y freshman year packing list looked a little like this: Books? Check. Parka? Check. Virginity? Check. OK, nobody was going to see that list anyway. But I packed away my virginity in the same way you’d pack away your stuffed puppy, Chuckles—in a dark, secluded corner of your closet that not even your roommate can get to. It’s an unwritten law of the land: Don’t come to college as a virgin. Screwin’ before move-in (I totally pulled that one out of my ass). With all the stories floating around high school and all the hype about doing it in the back of a limo on prom night (hello, American Pie), it was hard not to see college as one giant fuck fest. Then I came to college myself. Yep, it’s a fuck fest… for the most part. There is, however, a small minority of the student population that—gasp! —hasn’t had sex. The reasons are as different as the people in that population. Yeah, you read that right. Some of us may be ugly or naïve or prudish, or a combination of the three, but most of us are shockingly normal. I never planned on broadcasting my virginity to anyone outside my two closest friends, who were having sex with their respective boyfriends. One night, we were chatting with a guy from our dorm. Inevitably, as in most college conversations, the topic of sex came up. I was laughing along, understanding everything perfectly, when my one friend said casually, “Oh, yeah, everyone here’s had sex… except for C.J. No offense.” Yeah, offense. I was humiliated.
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A New Chapter
How a local bookstore went from closing to co-op By Jacquie Simone arch 3, 3 p.m. At Buffalo Street Books, the thick winter air is permeated by the scent of fresh paper and a tangible feeling of grief. Mournful, rich jazz music flows from the speakers as people in dark coats slowly lift books from their shelves, flipping through wistfully as though saying goodbye to old friends. But beneath the sorrow, there is an idea, a possibility that these people could save Ithaca’s last independent new bookstore. Two stern male voices from the office interrupt the tragic scene, as they throw around words like, “corporations,” “money” and “lawyers.” Their tone is rife with frustration, but not at each other. After a few minutes, one of the men leaves the office and slumps over in a chair in the seating area of the Dewitt Mall store. Bob Proehl’s eyes suggest that he has not had much sleep in the three weeks since Gary Weissbrot, the owner of the store, announced they would be closing Gary had bought the store five years ago and hired Bob last year to help out and develop programs, and now it looked like their work had failed. Bob is only 32, but on this dreary day he looks older from exhaustion. He rolls up the sleeves of his loose buttondown shirt, revealing a tattoo of a radio tower on his forearm. He sighs and runs his hands through his blond hair, parted directly down the middle. He says the news of the closing came as a surprise. “Gary announced it like four days after we bought a new car. Like, ‘Thanks, you couldn’t have told me this last week?’” he laughs nervously as he takes a gulp of coffee. “He and I went and had a couple drinks and talked about it, then I went out on my own and had some more drinks, and then I went home and told my wife what was going on.” On the shelf behind him are five antique typewriters, beautiful and romantic but ultimately relics of a bygone time—a time before massive
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
chain bookstores crushed all local shops in their path, and long before people purchased books for e-readers online. The era of local, independent bookstores has come to an end. The store had not experienced a particularly rough year—on the contrary, they sold more college course books than usual this semester. But Gary decided the overall model of the store was unsustainable. As Bob explains, “Something significant had to change.” In the days following the announcement, the store was flooded with people saying how sad they were. “There’s this long wake that goes on,” Bob says. “You know, people come in, and they’re giving you their condolences. Some of those people you haven’t seen shopping in here forever.” He began to feel almost angry that people suddenly seemed to care about the store even though they hadn’t been consistent, loyal customers. He gestures with his hands as he explains that, especially in a city where people proclaim to support independent, local stores, he was frustrated that the community would let this happen. “In a market model, it is not the responsibility of the community to buy books at your store. There’s no duty to do that. … There is an anger, or a sort of resentment that is weirdly directed at the community. And it’s totally inappropriate.” But Bob had been through this before, when his store No Radio Records shut down a few years ago. This time, he wasn’t going down without a fight. He and Gary had previously discussed turning Buffalo Street Books into a nonprofit over the course of a few years, and now Bob began to think about converting it into a co-op instead. A co-op is owned by a group of members who help make decisions and receive some perks, and it is overseen by a general manager. The concept is not new to Ithaca—after all, a branch of the local food co-op GreenStar is right next door. Bob shifted his focus to the idea of a co-op and asked, “What if we don’t look at Ithaca as a market size,
but we look at it as a community?” His idea was simple, but potentially revolutionary: Let people in the community purchase “shares” of Buffalo Street Books for $250, and then they can vote and help make decisions about how the store is run. So Bob wrote up his ideas and sent them to his friends at The Ithaca Post. “Tuesday night I wrote up the proposal, and at 2 a.m., it looks really good, right? You’ve just written for like three hours straight, and it’s totally raving, manifesto-style.” He says that part of his proposal was a challenge to the Ithaca community to take action instead of just talking about how much they love local stores. He explains his tone as, “I’m tired of listening to it. I want to see it. If you want to do something about it, here. This is what we can do.” Bob then discussed the idea with Gary, who expressed his support. Their next step was to circulate the proposal as widely as possible. “You send out a four-page email to 300 people, and you don’t really expect that anybody’s going to take the time to read it.” But the email went out at 2 on a Thursday afternoon, and by the time Bob left the store at 5 p.m. Friday, people had already pledged $20,000. Realizing that his co-op idea was actually feasible, he set a goal of $200,000 to start the business. At this rate, he is cautiously optimistic that they will succeed. He smiles and takes another sip of his coffee. “There’s that chance that you put something out there and you put a challenge out to people, and they pick it up and run further with it than you possibly could have conceived they would have, and they totally shock you with their willingness to be active and to think of themselves as a community and to act on behalf of that.” March 30, 4:30 p.m. Bob Proehl is tired. His voice is slow and labored as he crosses his legs and leans over in his chair, his face looking as worn as the faded carpets beneath. “There’s a lot to be done. A lot of it
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is either out of my hands or over my head.” One might expect a more celebratory tone from him, considering that his idea has saved the store from going out of business. They received an overwhelming response from the community and exceeded their initial goal, but they soon realized they would need more money to thrive as a co-op. They have about $300,000 in shares pledged and have started to actually collect the money. Now, Bob and the other members of the steering committee have temporarily closed the store so they can focus on the legal and financial aspects of the transition from a conventional business to a coop. “It would be nice to think that we hit that goal and balloons come down from the ceiling and there’s confetti and trumpets, but there really hasn’t been that kind of moment for me at least.” They hired an attorney to write the articles of incorporation and, despite New York state’s record for refusing many such requests, their paperwork went through on the first try. That isn’t to say the rest has been as smooth—Bob and the other steering committee members have had to deal with money issues, complete mounds of paperwork and sift through legal jargon. Meanwhile, people have continued to purchase shares of the new coop. He says there has been a mix of backgrounds and professions, including several IC and Cornell professors. Even a few local businesses and small publishers have pledged. Some wealthier community members have pledged matching shares, and in one case, an individual pledged $17,000 worth of shares to help them reach their initial goal. Still, Bob asserts in a weary voice, “We’re not at the relief stage yet.”
Part of the planning stage has been discussions about possible changes to the store. He gestures to an unused wooden desk near him and says he would love to see it transformed into a café space. “We’re thinking tea.” He has also been talking to people at art galleries about displaying local artists’ work at the store, which would further connect the store to the rest of the community. The children’s section is in the process of being renovated as well. These changes will be discussed by the temporary appointed board of directors before any decisions are made. Bob says he owes it to the community to make the store better when it reopens, since the community members are now the owners of the store. “We want to make it clear that that money isn’t being wasted, that we’re really thinking about what we’re doing and what aspects of what we do we can do better.” April 23, 7 p.m. A woman in a cowboy hat taps her feet and strums a guitar as children dance to the music at the grand reopening of Buffalo Street Books. Behind the joyful crowd, Bob Proehl bobs his head and taps his foot, a large grin spreading across his face. This is success. He laughs and says that even though he knows there is still work to be done, he is ecstatic about how everything has turned out. “We’ve had so much support from the community and from the owners, and we need to foster and continue that. We need to keep people as excited as they are right now, which I think will work.” For now, though, he gets a rare chance to celebrate and relax. “Sleep is my next goal.” The reopening of Buffalo Street Books had musical performances by local artists, snacks and many customers. People walked around and chatted about how much they like their Image by Marc Phillips
News & Views
new bookstore—the co-op is certainly owned by the community. In the course of a few weeks, the store went from one owner to 485 people who have completed their share purchase. Almost 200 additional people have pledged and are in the process of paying for their shares. Gary Weissbrot, the former owner and new general manager, is finally able to emerge from his office and talk. “It was remarkable in that everybody’s walking around this bookstore with a smile on their face. And I think everybody was really, really happy that the store’s open, a pride of ownership, proud of this town, because everybody thought, Where else could this kind of thing have happened?” Leigh Keeley, who has worked at the store since Gary bought it five years ago, is busy working the register. In the first day of the new co-op, the store made more than $8,000, including $2,000 in new share purchases. “We all thought we were going to be out of a job, and the store was closing, and it was awful. I mean, pretty depressing. And then this sort of miracle happened.” Other employees, like Jennifer Groff, agree. “I think that gives us a real sense of community, and then also it gives us kind of a responsibility, like we really owe it to everyone to make it work.” The store will continue to evolve, and some legal matters still need to be finalized, but today is a time for celebration. Small changes, like the new tea café in the main room, represent large victories. The brightly painted children’s section has more open space, as kids and their parents lounge on beanbag chairs. Aaron Goldweber, one of the new co-op member-owners, reads to his young child as she plays with a large stuffed polar bear toy. “We just think it’s essential to have a quality, independent new bookstore where we live.” As for Bob, the anger that fueled his initial manifesto has given way to a renewed faith in the people of Ithaca. “Ithaca’s an odd little town, and I think this is certainly within the rhetoric of Ithaca that something like this should succeed. I don’t know that the city always lives up to its best self, but in this instance, they totally did.” ____________________________________ Jacquie Simone is a senior journalism and politics major who is excited to start her summer reading with some co-op-purchased books. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Youth at Risk
New state budget cuts will affect programs for young people By Emily Miles onica Rigucci is a sophomore at Ithaca High School. After receiving job training and interview practice from the Ithaca Youth Bureau Youth Employment Services, Rigguci was offered a job at Cass Park. She was the first of her friends to have a summer job. “I learned so much from the real work experience,” Rigucci said. “And without the help of the Youth Bureau, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to get the job.” Through organization by the Ithaca Youth Bureau and financial support from the state youth services funding, Rigucci’s experience with Summer Youth Employment Services was completely free and, according to Rigucci, entirely beneficial. Yet, upon the approval of the most recent state budget, teenagers like Monica Rigucci might soon lose this opportunity. Youth programming in Tompkins County and across the state is now at risk of limited funding and potential elimination. On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Photo by Emily Miles
also includes cuts to education, detention centers, prisons and youth services and begins a long-term restructuring of Medicaid programs. After weeks of negotiations and political discourse, the new budget is being hailed for passing on schedule for the first time in five years. According to a press release from the state capital, the new budget plans to “transform the future budgeting process” and overhaul a “failing
I just think it’s good public policy to make sure that young people are staying active and engaged in a positive way. But unfortunately, this new budget doesn’t offer that opportunity.
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
-Allen Green, Director of the Tompkins County Youth Bureau
announced the 2011-12 budget, which contains plans to balance a $10 billion deficit by reducing aid to youth services across the state by 50 percent. State funding cuts to youth services will jeopardize the existence of programs and services across the state that are available to more than 2 million children. The largest program put at risk is the New York Youth Bureau, which offers afterschool programs, services for runaway teens, teen pregnancy prevention and job services. The $132.5 billion budget agreement
system.” The budget reduces overall spending by more than 2 percent from the previous year and aims to reach its fiscal goals with no new taxes and no borrowing. It will also cut the 201213 projected budget deficit from $15 billion to about $2 billion. But amid the sweeping changes of the budget proposal, youth advocates are questioning its overall effects. Tompkins County Department of Youth Services is a government organization that exists to support youth in the county by organizing programming and allocating funds to
several youth organizations throughout the community. Amie Hendrix is the newly hired director of the department. “As a new member of the staff, this has been a challenging introduction,” Hendrix said in an interview with Ithaca College’s WICB radio. “But we’ve been preparing to handle it from the beginning.” The details of the cuts will not be revealed until the budget goes into effect in July. Until then, the Department of Youth Services can only guess what programming will be affected. “Our job at this point is to ensure that there is a safety net for those programs at risk and assess where our fund will be needed the most at the point of cuts,” Hendrix said. The Ithaca Youth Bureau is under the umbrella oversight of the Tompkins County Department of Youth Services. Allen Green, the Ithaca Youth Bureau’s director, is now faced with possible limited financial support from the state government. “I just think it’s good public policy to make sure that young people are staying active and engaged in a positive way,” Green said. “But unfortunately, this new budget doesn’t offer that opportunity.” According to the Division of the Budget, the governor’s proposal would eliminate funding to nine youth and family service programs. The loss for central New York’s youth bureaus could range anywhere from $118,000 to more than $460,000.
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will end up costing you a lot more money than if you keep things focused on prevention programming,” Green said. According to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, it costs $210,000 a year to incarcerate each young person. A recent report by the service also indicates that the youth involved in most detention services in New York are from areas lacking in educational structure and support. In contrast, Green said the average cost of a year of youth services for a single young person in Tompkins County is $7,000. While a small cost comparatively, budget cuts will make additional support necessary for the Youth Bureau in order to continue programming. According to Green, the Ithaca Youth Bureau, unlike smaller community centers, has had success with federal grants, participant fees, inter-municipal partnerships and private sponsors and donors. Teens working with Youth Employment Services are currently planning a fundraising initiative to support the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Banana Fest, scheduled for August, aims to fill some of the budget gap for programming. Amena Farley is one of the students helping with planning. “We’re just lucky to have been able to work with the Youth Bureau,” Farley said. “We want to make sure other kids can, too.” Green said that this kind of outside support will allow the bureau to continue functioning without the state funding, but other smaller bureaus may not be as lucky. State funding is now allocated more directly to urban areas with higher rates of juvenile delinquency, leaving rural bureaus at risk. When the funding cuts go into effect in July, Amena Farley, along with 2 million youth and their parents across the state, may be faced with limited community opportunities. “I’m not really sure what I would be doing without the Youth Bureau,” Farley said. “But I definitely wouldn’t be working.” _______________________________________ Emily Miles is a sophomore journalism major who would like to officially propose her own budget. Email her at email@example.com.
1.8% Dept. of Health
5% Higher Education
News & Views
In Ithaca, the local Youth Bureau relies on state funding for 5 to 10 percent of its annual budget. Yet, this amount totals nearly $43,000 in funding. Cuts will drop this funding by half and directly affect 11 community programs. The Youth Employment Services, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the Paul Sheers Memorial Program and the Ithaca Youth Council, among many others, are now all facing extinction. Youth Employment Services is a program that provides job training, networking and employment opportunities for teens, with the hope of allowing young people to contribute to their community and local economy. It receives partial funding from the New York Youth Bureau Summer Youth Employment Program. Suki Tabor, the program coordinator for Youth Employment Services, ensures that funding is available for programming. “One of the biggest things that young people are challenged with today is finding their place in the world,” Tabor said. “And I think jobs are a great way to do that.” Amena Farley is a sophomore at Ithaca High School who has participated with Youth Employment Services for more than a year. She attributes increased responsibility, confidence with interviews and even new school clothes to her work experience. “Even in smaller jobs like Chili Fest, I still learn at lot,” Farley said. “And I’m always busy, too.” Tabor’s largest concern is that a lack of positive engagement in the community will lend to an increase in “less productive activities.” Tabor said that without the support of community programs, youth in Ithaca and the surrounding areas are more likely to participate in illegal activity and enter youth detention services. The program’s previously allotted $15.5 million was restored. Yet, according to Tabor, this amount is not necessarily enough to run sufficient programming. “When you make cuts like this, then there is no support to help the kids turn that cycle around,” Tabor said. Green of the Ithaca Youth Bureau also sees this trend as a potentially dangerous connection with the recent budget cuts. Cuomo has passed a budget that cuts preventative youth services by half, while simultaneously cutting the state’s juvenile facility capacity by 376 beds. “It’s more likely that young people
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Seek the Couth and Purport It Mainstream media fail to adequately investigate the Egyptian revolution By Andrew Casler s a sea of protesters packed streets and city squares, Hosni Mubarak’s presidency crumbled. With the fall of Mubarak, U.S. mainstream media quickly demonstrated hesitancy to explore certain unsightly aspects of the Egyptian revolution. While reporting on Egypt, influences like the political sway of Egypt’s pro-Israeli policies were glossed over. Issues like the United States’ $1.3 billion average annual funding of the Egyptian military were left unexplored. The record-high food prices crippling the working class were forgotten. Covering Egypt’s 55-percent poverty rate was considered poor taste. The incompatibility of extremist Wahabee Islam with Egypt’s predominantly sexually liberated culture were glossed over. And stories about the nation’s powerful neoliberal economic structure were taboo. This bad reporting occurred even as the revolution received more coverage in the course of one week than any story recorded by the Project for Excellence in Journalism in its four years of existence. Democracy Now!’s Senior Producer Sharif Abdel Kouddous reported on the Egyptian revolution differently than other mainstream journalists. While embedded, Kouddous filed comprehensive coverage of the protesters’ goals, reasons for demonstration and the major developments of the movement. But this is not the angle that other prominent journalists covered—the majority of hard news coverage was centered on official government stances and interviews with some of the most powerful officials. Stories dealing directly with the protests relied on bird’s-eye-view camera angles or Egyptians pumping their fists while chanting slogans unintelligible to many American ears. The mainstream media failed at covering the revolution from the very beginning. “The way the mainstream media covered it, they failed,” Kouddous said. “What they initially did—and
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
this is what they always do—is have this false sense of objectivity, which is to report what each side is saying equally as if both are true and not investigating any claims. That’s like stenography, not journalism.” There is an obvious disconnect between reporting on official government narratives coupled with brief soundbites of generally “angry” protesters, and conducting extensive interviews with the protesters, who were the truest embodiment of the revolution. Kouddous said he spoke to doctors, journalists, lawyers, students and peasants. “I spoke to everyone I could find in Tahrir who wanted to talk, and many people did,” he said. “It’s that simple to get the story. You just ask people, ‘Why are you here?’ and they’ll tell you why. They’ll tell you their hopes and frustrations and what they’re calling for and what they think of the U.S. policy.”
blatantly rigged, so much so that government tampering was caught on tape. Mubarak’s National Democratic Party won 83 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament. But rigged elections weren’t the only concerns present in Egypt’s collective mind. That same November, global food prices reached record highs, and the next four consecutive months led to ever-higher food prices, which hit the highest rate on record in February 2011. The self-immolation of a Tunisian man brought forth the first Middle Eastern revolution of 2011 and actualized domino theory, as uprisings spread throughout the region. Exactly one month later, an Egyptian man committed suicide by setting himself on fire. This, along with a wildly popular Facebook group dedicated to Kahleed Said, an Egyptian whose fatal beating by police was caught ontape, and the demonstrations of activists who altruistically defied a government known for its brutality, triggered Rebellion the Egyptian revolution. Before exploring the sources of meIn addition to having a government dia bias, it is important to understand whose interests obviously do not just what the U.S. mainstream media hinge on popular support, Egypt has weren’t reporting on. no minimum wage. Moreover, after deThe main causation purveyed by cades of neoliberal economic reform, U.S. mainstream media was the disparity of wealth is so the November 2010 large that half of Egyptian Image by Anika Steppe Egyptian elections, which were
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spending is done by the wealthiest 3 percent of the population. And with 44 percent of the population living under or just near the poverty line, the average Egyptian family of five struggles to live on only $1 per family member per day. The Arab Human Society report of 2009 concluded that Egyptian youths are insecure “in almost all living aspects,” and their lives render them “hardly free” to make their own decisions. Their socio-political environments discourage any meaningful social participation. Egyptian journalist Tarek Osman wrote about this report in 2010: “The abuse of their rights drives them to reject not only the government regime but the entire society in which they feel imprisoned and humiliated.” The new figurehead of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, does not seem likely to change the country’s human rights problem. Mubarak’s replacement is appropriately nicknamed “Suleiman the Torturer.” In The New Yorker, journalist Jane Mayer established that Suleiman is the Egyptian point man on U.S. extraordinary rendition. Suleiman’s backer, the Egyptian military, whose counsel is by and large the main political force in the country, is a literal incarnation of Eisenhower’s forewarned “militaryindustrial complex.” According to The San Francisco Chronicle, the Egyptian military sells everything from bottled water to laptops. Also, The New York Times ran an article titled “Disappearances in Egypt Stoke Concerns About Military’s Vows for Transition,” which implicates the military in the abduction and torture of protesters.
Democracy, Shot in the Head Conflicts of interest are rampant within the story—The Washington Post’s parent company relied on government money for 61 percent of its profit in 2010, and General Electric, which still owns 41 percent of NBC, reported $3.5 billion in North African sales during 2008 and has extensive
lobbying interests with the U.S. government. Despite these, it is unlikely that the first thought of a corporate journalist is to check his or her parent company’s affiliations before filing a story. According to Rendall, blogger Glenn Greenwald and Kouddous, self-censorship is more likely the result of careerism. That is, journalists who unflinchingly support the same endeavors as the U.S. government and the corporate bosses are more likely to get interviews with elite news sources and be promoted within their company. It is important to note that this sort of careerist journalism is the standard, but not the rule. Corporate-owned newspapers still publish articles that challenge the official government narrative. With close research, news about the realities of Egypt can be found deep within the coverage of mainstream outlets. But a culture of passionate and uninformed journalism is indeed the tone purveyed in popular debate. America is far removed from media blackout— instead, the reality is more akin to a whitewashing’s first coat of paint. But with the most influential journalists supporting careerist interests, the need for an informed American citizenry is decidedly neglected. The press, which should be challenging power, is now engrained within the interests of power, whether government or corporate. The media are now acting as the most influential, integrated and powerful purveyor of rhetoric ever to exist. This culture misses a large, valuable aspect of what it means to be an independent journalist. “The best investigative journalists, the most hard-hitting journalists, the journalists that break the biggest stories, and, in general, are better reporters are the ones who challenge power, not the ones who want to have access to it,” Kouddous said. Remembering what he experienced when starting a career in journalism, he reflected on the advice Pulitzer Prize-winning Chris Hedges once gave him. Hedges said: “Never think about your career, just be a reporter. If you start thinking about your career, then you’re over.” ____________________________________ Andrew Casler is a senior journalism major who thinks protests are louder than bombs. Email him at acasler1@ ithaca.edu.
News & Views
Act Dependently and Maximize Harm Pundits have utilized egregious mistruths about the Muslim Brotherhood to unfairly cast Islamic radicalism onto the protests. Neoconservative Op-ed columnists Charles Krauthammer and his colleague David Ignatius even advocated for a military-controlled Egypt. MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews has interrupted reports about U.S. funding of Egypt and then changed the subject. Even newspaper reporters tended to focus on official narratives, largely leaving the underlying causation of this revolution unexplored. A Feb. 9, 2011, news story from The Washington Post focuses on the effects of the uprising and gives ample perspective from the Egyptian gov-
ernment and the influential players in Egypt’s anti-Mubarak movement. Unfortunately, the article loses major points by quoting real protesters only in the last 294 words of the 1,902-word story. Sparse coverage of intelligent discussion by middle-class Egyptian protesters, coupled with Americans irregularly seeing coverage of protesters’ voices, contributed to the fact that Westerners had problems relating to the spirit and implications of this uprising. According to Steve Rendall, media analyst for the progressive media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, media willingness to regurgitate government narratives is nothing new in the mainstream press. Often, it occurs within stories about “national security” issues. He said that they far too often report the views of very powerful people, which inevitably distort bias in favor of the power elite’s perspective. With the goals of the revolution flying directly in the face of American political and economic interests, media presented the uprising with undertones of Muslim bigotry and overwhelmingly questioned the legitimacy of establishing a true democracy in Egypt. Indirect documentation of this can be found in Pew Research Center’s study on the effects of Egyptian protests on the United States. The report found that 15 percent of Americans thought they were “good.” With only 15 percent of Americans supporting Egyptain democracy, this poll epitomizes an extreme break in conventional thinking about democratic reform. Since most Americans have no personal ties to Egypt, it is plausible that the main influence in forming U.S. opinion was the way in which the media framed the story. When looking at the same reporting on democratic movements in Syria or Eastern Europe, where the established governments are unfavorable to U.S. interests, media predominantly reported in favor of democratic demonstrators and revolution.
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UPFR BUZZSAW: The Origins Issue
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And Then A Hero Comes Along... Is courage a learned skill or natural ability? By Karen Muller
response organizations, which would benefit from having leaders with a predisposition for heroic action. Perhaps it is futile to puzzle over the question of whether heroes are born or made. According to the Cornell study, heroes are created from complex combinations of external and internal factors. Unique situations require unique solutions—and for this reason, heroes emerge from the most diverse attitudes and origins. For example, acting Fire Chief Thomas Dorman of the Ithaca Fire Department has worked in the fire service for the past 35 years and has
Image by Chinny Udokwu
served as deputy fire chief for the past 22 years. He explained that one of his major inspirations to become a firefighter was his family—his father and grandfather had both served as firefighters before him. Additionally, he said, “It is a very concrete way to help people and try to make their worst day a little better.” Conversely, Kevin Shepherd of the Boston Fire Department found his place as a hero, although he explains it was “not a life-long dream” of his. He had always enjoyed being outside doing more physical work, but after four years of serving in the Marines, he wound up taking an office job. His decision to become a firefighter came only after his brother mentioned it to
him. Shepherd described making the switch as a “no brainer.” Though both men arrived at the profession from different backgrounds and motivations, they endured similar training exercises in order to prepare them for their roles. The courage demonstrated by those who fill these demanding-but-necessary positions is acquired over time, after much practice and experience in various situations. Dorman described his early training as rigorous: “When I first started, I was amazed at all of the things I had to learn to deal with, all of the situations we encounter. Now, I am still amazed at all of the skills, knowledge and abilities that firefighters must possess to meet all of the challenges.” Shepherd said, “The first time I stood outside of a building fire, I was more than a bit apprehensive. But I had to get over it quickly when my lieutenant hollered at me to get inside. Once inside, I felt a bit more at ease knowing I was with experienced guys and they were right there with me.” These heroes, in addition to all members of emergency response teams and the armed forces, are united by several common experiences. While some feel as though they were born to work in these fields, each of these individuals is shaped into “hero material” through rigorous training exercises and then toughened by actual field experience. Each understands the risks they take every time they cross the line into a dangerous situation to help someone in their time of need. And each finds it personally rewarding enough to continue the work, in spite of the risks. “Not very long ago, a woman came over to us to show off the firefighter emblem tattooed on her shoulder,” Shepherd said. “I thought it was a bit much, but it feels good to be that much appreciated.” ____________________________________ Karen Muller is a freshman IMC major who can be your hero, baby. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
icture yourself standing outside a burning building. Thick black smoke pours out of windows and holes in the roof, and the structure is already partially engulfed in flames. Through the chaos, you can just make out the sound of a human voice shouting for help from the second floor of the building. Ask yourself: Would you risk your life in hopes of saving another, or would you avoid taking action to stay safe? Not everyone is cut out to fill the shoes of a modern-day hero. Today, the term “hero” has many definitions, ranging from heroes of the mask-andcape-wearing variety to those who serve as our personal idols and role models. However, we owe the most to those who risk their own lives in the line of duty—firefighters, law enforcement officers and members of the armed forces. The topic has long been debated: Are real heroes born or made? One 2008 Cornell University study focused on this question by analyzing the common traits of 526 World War II veterans who had experienced “heavy and frequent” combat during their time in service. The study revealed that each of the veterans, who were used as example “heroes” in research due to their courageous actions shared several common characteristics—namely, very high levels of loyalty, leadership and risk-taking. Furthermore, upon analysis of 83 World War II veterans who had been awarded either the Bronze Star, Silver Star, Distinguished Service Cross or Medal of Honor, researchers discovered that heroes generally fell into two distinct categories: “eager heroes” (voluntarily enlisted men) and “reluctant heroes” (drafted soldiers). While one might expect an “eager hero” to be more equipped for dealing with dangerous situations, according to the study, drafted men ranked much higher in terms of selflessness and how well they worked as members of groups. This information is potentially a breakthrough for employers such as rescue teams and emergency
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The economics behind declining U.S. fertility By Samuel Adams
lanning to start a family or have additional children has largely become a question of finances and affordability. The recent recession has prompted unemployment rates to spike, and access to loans has nearly evaporated. These factors are discouraging many American women from having children and influencing America’s decline in fertility rates. More Baby Boomers are retiring, and claims to Social Security and Medicare have surged. Fewer newborns today produce fewer American taxpayers in the coming decades. Declining fertility rates may pose a threat to America’s financial stability. Should American policy makers be concerned with declining fertility rates as they attempt to grapple with the country’s growing debt? Tom Hirschl, a sociology p r o f e s s o r at Cornell University, explained that in America’s early days, children were considered a financial asset. Therefore, the more children a family had, the stronger it would perform financially. As the country became more industrialized, better education and jobs became more attainable and fertility rates began to drop. “Parents began to realize that having a large number of kids was expensive when families began buying more goods and services in a market,” Hirschl noted. One measure of fertility is the total fertility rate: “the number of births that a group of 1,000 women would have over their lifetime based on the birth rates by age in a given year,” according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In 2009, the rate was 2,007.5 births per thousand
BUZZSAW: The Origins Issue
U.S. women; that is, 2.1 children per woman. 2.1 children per mother indicates a sufficient “replacement level,” meaning there is a sufficient number of children born to replace both the mother and father. In theory, a total fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman means the population size will stabilize. The 0.1 children represent the children who do not survive to reach maturity and procreate. While historically, America’s fertility rate may have stabilized and even increased the size of the population, current fertility rates risk not Image by Clara Goldman
providing the sufficient number of tax payers the U.S. federal government will so desperately need in the future. These low fertility rates are a threat to the United States’ ability to finance bigticket items like Social Security and Medicare in the coming years. The National Center for Health
Statistics published a preliminary report that examined the levels of U.S. births in 2009. The report found that the total fertility rate in 2009 dropped 4 percent from the rate in 2008, which, according to the co-author of the report, NCHS statistician and demographer Brady Hamilton, “is the largest decline in the rate since 1973.” Hamilton said, “People make quite a bit of this decline below replacement, but as others point out, we continue to have a large number of people moving into the U.S. to offset this comparatively low fertility.” The United States is the only industrialized nation with a growing population. In fact, Hirschl claimed that French and Spanish cultures are in danger of ebbing due to low fertility rates and replacement levels. “I don’t think pro-fertility measures are working because people’s behavior isn’t amenable to government policy,” he added. Millions of people jump through the red tape of America’s immigration policies each year to access high wages, cheap prices or a college education. Ithaca College economics professor Stephen Younger said that a declining fertility rate could also affect immigration policy, explaining, “Policy makers on both sides of the aisle might agree to future liberalization of immigration policies to cope with the coming wave of Social Security and Medicare claims.” But, he added, many politicians and constituencies resent reforming immigration policy for several reasons. Economically speaking, however, it makes sense to increase the number of people entering our nation’s workforce and paying taxes. After gaining U.S. citizenship, all new immigrant children will be born Americans and therefore
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become future taxpayers. years,” Younger said. Social This increase in population Security was designed when will increase U.S. tax the United States had a much revenues, freeing up funding lower life expectancy rate. for entitlement Raising the programs. m i n i m u m In Younger’s retirement “We have this big opinion, the age ensures concern over a larger work bulge of people that falling U.S. force and more are going to retire fertility rates tax revenue. isn’t necessary. soon—that is a very, While the word A better way to “taxation” may very expensive thing. be a curse predict possible economic effects word in some ... If the number of of a changing political circles, dependents drops population is tax revenue to examine necessary relative to the whole is the population in reducing population, you’ll pyramid, a graph A m e r i c a ’ s showing age looming debt. have fewer families distribution. The A raise in supporting retiring graph of the U.S. retirement age Census population will decrease the seniors.” pyramid for the ratio of workers United States in to dependents. 2010 (see sidebar) shows a Furthermore, liberalizing bulge of people ages 47 to 65, immigration policy will allow the Baby Boomers. for more U.S. births and tax “We have this big bulge of revenues. Reforming Social people that are going to retire Security and Medicare—while soon—that is a very, very these are some of the thorniest expensive thing,” Younger said. of issues among Washington The costs of Social Security and politicians—may be essential to Medicare, already a huge chunk balancing fiscal budgets. of America’s spending, are Fertility rates are not the beprojected to skyrocket as more all, end-all factor in determining Boomers retire. “If the number Uncle Sam’s ability to pay of dependents drops relative future entitlements. Tough to the whole population, you’ll decisions need to be made, but have fewer working families U.S. lawmakers need to exhibit supporting retiring seniors.” strong political will to make it Younger added. easier on future generations The obvious remedy, he to pay off these entitlements added, is to increase the and to make good on their retirement age. “If you work promises. 40 or 45 years out of 70, that’s ____________________________ one thing. But if you work 40 Samuel Adams is a senior IMC or 45 years out of 90, that’s major who proposes Baby Talk something completely different as a new national language. in terms of how much money Email him at samuelcoyeadams@ you’ll make in those 40 or 45 gmail.com.
By The Numbers
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The ratio of children per U.S. woman in 2009 The amount that the U.S. fertility rate dropped from 2008 to 2009, the largest decline since 1973 The number of states that experienced more than a 4 percent decline in fertility from 2007 to 2009
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U.S. Census Bureau 2010
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A Tale of New Cities
How cities can renew themselves while staying true to their origins By Moriah Petty ities are composed of buildings, people, transportation networks, schools, hospitals and children. They are living entities, always growing and changing while developing their own unique culture and identity. Adapting to these changes can be challenging, and a city’s ability to redesign itself to fit the changing business environment can determine its survival. Take Detroit, for example. It originated as a French missionary fortress in the 1700s and by the early 20th century had grown to be one of America’s largest cities by investing in industry. Known as the Motor City, Detroit is home to the headquarters of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler, which design and manufacture our most prevalent mode of transportation. Dominating the American automobile market for much of the 20th century, it became a hub of commerce and industry and expanded rapidly. The mansions and architectural marvels built by the economic elite of the Gilded Age added to the physical power of the city while the working class population constructed equally strong bonds in the labor unions. But current census reports do not look good for Detroit. Violent crime rate is 3.38 times the national average, and the population has dropped 25 percent in the last decade. The auto companies were hit hard by the recession, and Michigan has lost nearly 860,000 jobs since 2000. They are currently ranked as the poorest city in the country. There are some who see these once-great cities as a thing of the past. There is no way to save them now that their manufacturing is out of date and the foundation of the community is becoming obsolete. While these voices dominate the media, others are prepared to work toward a creative solution by making a
BUZZSAW: The Origins Issue
difference in their own communities in a manner that helps the city move forward while remaining true to its origins. Restructuring Higher Education Studies have proven again and again that success depends on education, and there are numerous campaigns in the United States dedicated to supporting students to achieve academically. Yet only one in three students who attend college complete a degree. Katherine von Jan and Courtney Dubin, two women from New York, suspected the problem lie in the structure of the system itself. They formed a nonprofit called Derring-do to take on the challenge of restructuring higher education to suit the needs of students. Derringdo is based in Westchester, N.Y., and Manhattan, but it serves a broader nation-wide audience. Dubin described Derring-do’s mission as “supporting students and designing winning experiences by learning and listening to them and designing from there.” Derring-do engages in ethnographic research in order to shape education to fit its diverse audience. They also investigate what captures the attention of youth by, for example, collaborating with video game designers to discover if learning could become more like a game. Derring-do
philosophy dictates that the potential and skills students already possess should be validated and their education should build upon these experiences. Dubin said, “We are all good at something, and the way our system is designed now is one-size-fits-all.” Derring-do believes their initiatives help college students persist in their education, and the benefits go directly into the community and economy. Dubin explained, “If you make the most of talent and connect them to opportunities in the city through the university, they’re more likely to stay there because they’re more connected to the city beyond the university level.” She believes a skilled and educated populace renews a city with new ideas for enterprise while the inspiration of an entrepreneurial young-adult provides the energy for progress. Urban Design: The Art of Placemaking Downtowns can be so crowded with buildings and cars that the people working and living there are in danger of being forgotten. People need an appropriate space to interact in order to feel comfortable and welcome in a city, a process that Project for Public Spaces calls “placemaking.” PPS is a non-profit planning, design and educational organization based in New York City. When founded in 1975, PPS began working on revitalization projects in New York City, but it now acts as a consultant for community projects across the country, as well as internationally. According to their website, their mission is to help people “create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.” Some cities use the approach of investing in large, intricate sports stadiums or arts centers, but it can be equally effective and certainly more economical to build a
Image by Erika Feldman
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hoodies and bumper stickers declaring the commercial’s tagline. Chrysler, in turn, has donated a portion of these profits to organizations that serve the community, such as the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity and Think Detroit Police Athletic League, which also serves youth. The Detroit Free Press printed an unsigned editorial about the commercial. “There’s an internal, individual aspect to the renaissance of Detroit that’s integral to the economics and politics of making it happen,” the editorial stated. “Detroit doesn’t have an image problem. It has an abundance of real problems. But seeing ourselves in a new and positive way is part of the solution. And if that vision is shared with a mammoth national TV audience, then we had better measure up to it.” The fact remains that while the commercial perhaps did not persuade viewers to purchase the car, it did foster a sense of pride among Detroit’s inhabitants, injecting the community with new energy. It remains to be seen if this is enough, but it is certainly a necessary step toward revitalization. Keeping Roots While Transforming Constructive advice on this subject is found in an article by John Carroll, a Penn State information sciences and technology professor, who stated that when we modify something with a strong sense of history, “we are intervening in a situated practice, altering the social, organizational and technological context which supports that practice and within which that practice emerged.” He is warning us that any change we make to a single part of the complex network that sustains a city can have a widespread impact. While many people want to revitalize American cities and ensure their survival, we must proceed with caution. It is important for these renewal efforts to make changes and improvements but always remember the origins they are building on. Inspiration for renewal comes from recognizing all that was accomplished in the old model and viewing the redesign for future success as a way of protecting that legacy. ____________________________________ Moriah Petty is a freshman journalism major who is reppin’ Twin Cities, Minn.—born and raised. Email her at email@example.com.
public square or park. Olivia Mendoza is a Buffalo resident PPS Vice President Ethan Kent said whose family has a boat and enjoys placemaking can help revitalize a visiting the waterfront, but she city. remarked that the waterfront is “Our work was to bring people back certainly underdeveloped and underdowntown again to areas that had a utilized. However, it is important to negative perception,” he said. “It’s her that the development is not too about activating key areas around commercialized or generic. assets that are there and bringing “I think they’d have to be cautious people to the street and building cities between trying to put in things they around small businesses and public think will be great and things that destinations.” people will actually According to use,” she said. “I “Kent commented that an their philosophy, a wouldn’t want it to carefully envisioned outsider cannot dictate the best utterly change the public square can idea that Buffalo way to physically represent the enhance livability associates with identity of the community. and become an the lake already.” anchor for downtown When informed Our job is more to work with development. When that an outside the community to define and city residents gather organization was for social, cultural consulting on the articulate their own vision.” and political project, Mendoza events, they foster commented that a common bond. The simple presence external support could be beneficial of downtown workers eating lunch, because she doesn’t trust the local families picnicking or dog-owners government to successfully undertake taking their pets out for a walk foster a project of this size. a sense of community and contribute She said, “It’s always been talked to the vibrancy of the city. about, but it’s never been done, and PPS consults on projects across the perhaps having that extra experience country, as well as internationally. behind them to help could be a very The nonprofit has collaborated with good thing.” more than 2,500 communities to work on projects such as the Boston Market Media Campaigns: district, the George Mason college “Imported from Detroit” campus and currently the Buffalo, At first glance, television commercials N.Y., waterfront. While working with do not appear to be a viable source of each unique community, PPS staff urban renewal. However, their ability facilitates the discussion and inspires to access and emotionally affect a ideas, but the vision itself must come large audience gives this medium from the client. significant influence. Kent commented that an outsider An excellent media campaign is cannot dictate the best way to the “Imported from Detroit” Chrysler physically represent the identity of commercial. The full advertisement the community. ran during the Superbowl and features “Our job is more to work with the Detroit-born rapper Eminem. The community to define and articulate featured car drives through Detroit their own vision,” he said. “We presenting the camera with a tour recommend that it is contextual, of the city’s landmarks. An unseen and we recommend hiring local and husky-voiced narrator proclaims designers.” the victories in Detroit history but Construction projects are designed also exposes its imperfections. The to be consistent with the original commercial effectively celebrates architecture and layout of the streets. Detroit’s roots while promoting Since the designs are usually quite progress in the future and announcing simple, volunteers in the community a call to action. Details on how can easily become involved in the progress will be achieved are vague, construction, ensuring a low-cost, but the emotional impact was clear. high-impact project. In the view of The message was so inspiring in PPS, the optimal result of one of their fact that “Imported from Detroit” has projects is to empower a community become the tagline for a new advertising to renew their downtown with a fresh, campaign—this one selling the city welcoming environment to revitalize itself. Those who wish to support the economy and build a local Detroit can purchase merchandise identity. from Chrysler, such as T-shirts,
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Opposition to Evolution Not Yet Extinct Intelligent Design rehashes old criticisms of evolution By Shaun Poust have never understood how, in the 21st century, there could possibly be any debate about whether Darwinian evolution provides the best explanation as to the origin and development of life. How could such an elegant, well-supported theory fail to be universally recognized as valid? How could people persist in believing that a conscious being “designed” life in the face of an evidence-based theory that much more convincingly accounts for life’s complexity? And it’s not as if only a few individuals don’t accept Darwin’s theory. According to a 2005 survey conducted by Jon Miller of Michigan State University, 39 percent of people in the United States overtly reject Darwinian evolution, while 21 percent are uncertain. In sharp contrast to this, the vast majority of scientists are riding the Darwin bus, and given that it forms the foundation of current research in fields such as biology, zoology, genetics, paleontology and anthropology, many of them take it to work. The American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the United States National Academy of Sciences, have declared that Darwinian evolution stands alone as the only well-founded theory of the origin and development of life. According to Brian Alters, education professor at McGill University and Harvard University, “99.9 percent of scientists accept evolution.” In this light, the notion that there is a serious “debate” about evolution—a notion promulgated by our conflictcrazed media—needs to be majorly qualified. Darwinian evolution is controversial only for some nonscientists. When George W. Bush said in 2005, “The jury is still out on evolution,” he was simply wrong.
BUZZSAW: The Origins Issue
What is Evolution? When Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, his was not the only theory of evolution on the market. What made Darwin’s theory unique was not the concept of evolution, which is the idea that change in species over time produces new species, but rather the mechanism that he proposed drives evolution: natural selection.
Natural selection combined two different ideas: 1) at any given moment, more individuals of a given species are produced than can survive, and 2) there is always diversity within species. Darwin reasoned that there would always be some individual members of a species with traits that would make them more likely than their fellows to survive to reproduce in a given environment. Over many generations, Darwin reasoned that this would result in the species becoming more and more like the individuals with the favored traits. Thus, evolution by natural selection. If the diversity and complexity of all life is a result of evolution by natural selection, then, in the words of Darwin himself, “All the organic beings which have ever lived on this Earth have descended from some one primordial form.” The differences in form of one species from another are not the product of design, but merely the result of the interplay of individuals with diverse traits and the environment, the backdrop of which is the brute fact that not all members of a species will survive to reproduce. Darwin showed how order in life—and who can deny, when one considers the structure of a beetle’s exoskeleton or the remarkable fact of intelligent life, that there is
order?—does not necessitate intentional design. Order can arise from disorder. Evolution is, as former Oxford Professor Richard Dawkins put it, the blind watchmaker. A New Species or More of the Same? Since the early 20th century, opposition to evolution in the United States has often come from fundamentalist Christians who believe the account of creation in Genesis accurately describes the origin of life on Earth. Several groups, such as the Creation Research Society in Michigan (founded in 1963) and the Institute for Creation Research (founded in 1970), have sought to extract a scientific theory from Genesis and to bring it into classrooms. However, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1987 case Edwards v. Aguillard that creationism cannot be taught in classrooms because it consists merely of religious doctrines, opposition to evolution has tended to come in the name of an alternative theory called Intelligent Design. According to Michael J. Behe, a biochemist at Lehigh University and one of the Intelligent Design movement’s most prominent proponents, Intelligent Design is the idea that life could not exist as it does, in a variety of complex forms, without the guidance of an intelligent being. Behe’s main argument for Intelligent Design is the existence of what he calls “irreducibly complex structures.” An irreducibly complex structure is a structure with multiple parts that cannot function unless all of the parts are in place. It follows from this, Behe reasons, that the irreducible structure could not have evolved gradually but had to emerge all at once by an act of Intelligent Design—or what some would call an act of creation. “If you take a watch, and you take out a gear from its workings, it stops,” Behe explained. “So it’s irreducibly complex. It needs those parts and a bunch of other parts to work.
Image by Chinny Udokwu
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There are plenty of systems in life where if you take out a gene or a product it stops working.” In his books The Edge of Evolution and Darwin’s Black Box, Behe cites the bacterial flagellum—that little tail on the end of bacterial cells—and the human blood clotting system as examples of irreducibly complex structures. Intelligent Design parts company with creationism in lacking explicit references to God and the Bible. Intelligent Design also diverges from creationism in admitting that evolution may have occurred, insisting only that life had to have been intelligently designed—or created—first. “Intelligent Design is not the opposite of evolution,” Behe said. “It is the opposite of undirected evolution, of unintelligent processes, unintelligent design. ... I don’t think that [life] could have happened by an undirected process.” Dif ferences aside, however, Intelligent Design shares its main idea— an intelligent being made life what it is today—with creationism, and its arguments are hardly new. Historians of science will recall that Behe’s “watch example” is taken straight from William Paley’s 1802 publication Natural Theology, in which the argument is used to prove the existence of God. More damning, however, is the science textbook Of Pandas and People: Once a textbook that included a creationist perspective, instances of the word “creation” were replaced with “Intelligent Design” after the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling in 1987, and all else in the textbook remained exactly the same. This has led credence to those who say that Intelligent Design is, as Dawkins once put it, creationism dressed in a cheap tuxedo. It also served as a key piece of evidence in the first trial in which Intelligent Design was brought to court.
Behe being among them, the judge ruled that Intelligent Design invokes supernatural causation, is substantially the same as creation science, and has no criticisms of evolution that have not been answered by the scientific community. Kenneth Miller, an evolutionary biologist and Brown University professor who testified at the trial, said in a 2006 lecture that at the Dover trial, “We saw Intelligent Design collapse as a theory.” For Miller, the lack of peerreviewed scientific research makes Intelligent Design frankly unscientific. “The reason I think [Intelligent Design] doesn’t belong in our schools is that no one, not even its most fervent advocates, have been able to produce any legitimate scientific evidence in favor of this form of special Intelligent Design creationism,” Miller said. “It
to set a nation-wide precedent, but the harsh verdict of Kitzmiller v. Dover indicates the environments of courts and in laboratories are ones for which Intelligent Design is poorly adapted. Science and Society A while ago, I spoke about the evolution/Intelligent Design debate with Arlene Zielinski, one of the assistant superintendants at my alma mater, Pennridge High School in Perkasie, Penn. My high school has had students and parents propose teaching alternatives to evolution in the past, although the school board has accepted none of these proposals. Zielinski reminds us that the problems with teaching evolution come from the fact that science competes with other belief systems for the same resource— minds. “It’s a question of what’s learned versus what is actually operational in a belief system,” Zielinski said. “The school is not the only game in town. Equally continuous for many of the people living here is their religious education. That is also a source of teaching, as is the home. … Family is a very powerful influence.” As Zielinski recognizes, the debate over evolution is not only within science; it is also a debate between science and its other—that is, between science and society—and this includes, among other things, religion and family. What is necessary is dialogue between scientists and non-scientists. Although the terms of such a dialogue would admittedly be difficult to determine, it is not for that reason any less necessary a task. Science acting without relation to the general public risks irrelevance. The general public acting without relation to science risks confusion. Kenneth Miller believes that scientists need to be proactive in engaging in such dialogue: “All too many people persist in the fiction that there are missing links in human evolution that evolution is just a story as to where we came rather than a scientific theory that we use in an operational sense in a laboratory every day. Part of the problem comes from an aversion that a lot of people have to popularizing science.” _____________________________________ Shaun Poust is a junior journalism major who is also your distant relative. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Intelligent Design is not the opposite of evolution. It is the opposite of undirected evolution, of unintelligent processes, unintelligent design. ... I don’t think that [life] could have happened by an undirected process. isn’t fair to students to take an idea that hasn’t won any scientific support and pretend that it is a perfectly legitimate scientific theory—that I would regard as dangerous.” Miller also does not buy Behe’s examples of irreducibly complex structures, and he argues in the same 2006 lecture mentioned above that just because we lack an explanation of how a specific thing evolved does not mean it could not have evolved; Miller even disputes that we lack such explanations, offering some of his own in the lecture. In the trial, Behe himself admitted that there are no articles in peerreviewed scientific journals defending Intelligent Design and that Intelligent Design has not been laboratory tested. Behe did not comment specifically on the judge’s decision, saying he sees his role in research, not advertising a cause. But he did say this, which sets him in strict opposition to Miller: “I do not think that the National Academy of Sciences should have a veto power over what my kids learn at school … even if the scientific community is unanimously in agreement about something.” It will take a Supreme Court ruling
Evolution and Intelligent Design Compete in Court In the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District Case, a group of parents sued their local school district for using the Of Pandas and People textbook. After hearing testimonies from a number of scientists both for and against Intelligent Design,
- Michael J. Behe
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I Want It All. And I Want It Now. When “wants” became “needs” in American consumerist culture By Abby Sophir n a country of iPhones, fancy cars and designer clothes, it’s difficult to deny Americans’ obsession with consumer goods. One could even argue consumerism has joined “freedom” and “opportunity” as a definitive American characteristic. But this hasn’t always been the case. According to Ithaca College associate professor of history Vivian Conger, consumerism can be traced back to 17th-century England. Beginning at this time, technological advancements allowed manufacturers to profit from producing large quantities of goods that wealthy people could afford. “It began as a way for elites to mark their status,” Conger said. “In the 17th century, they didn’t have classes—they had status. Elites would have this stuff on display in their homes, which suggested they had money and could buy things.” Consumerism was a way of marking people’s status in society based on the goods they owned and the clothes they wore. People’s images became determined by their accumulation of material items. “We tend to buy things, do things, acquire things that define who we are,” Michael McCall, professor of marketing and law at Ithaca College, said. “You dress in a particular way because you wish to communicate something about yourself. You might go to
BUZZSAW; The Origins Issue
certain restaurants, shop at certain places, buy a home in a certain neighborhood to reflect your lifestyle and socioeconomic status. You are constantly attempting to manage your self-image and how you want others to see you, and the way you do that is by buying stuff.” When the British colonized America, they brought with them this consumer culture. Colonial newspapers advertised the latest goods, just arrived from England—glassware,
furniture, clothing. The purchases of these goods elevated one’s position in society. “Status is power,” Conger said. “You are perceived as being better than others. You are listened to. You’re respected. There is a presumption that you have the skills and knowledge that go with acquiring goods.” As elites obtained more and more goods, the middle class aimed to catch up. Merchandise became increasingly affordable, allowing the bourgeois to partake in consumerism. “People in the middle class buy into consumer culture,” Conger said. “It’s a sense of marking you out. Before the American Revolution, it was about elites marking themselves. After the Revolution, the middle class began marking themselves out from the lower class.” In the 1930s, with the onset of the Great Depression, consumer culture was put on hold. As businesses closed down, families shifted their focus from status to survival. While World War II served as a catalyst for economic recovery, and manufacturing companies were producing at record rates, they were not producing consumer goods. “During World War II, basically all of our nation’s manufacturing efforts and production efforts were geared to supporting WWII,” McCall said. Facing the challenge of converting an overheated war economy into a peacetime economy, economist Victor Lebow proposed a solution in his paper, “Price Competition in Image by Sam Pinto
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1955.” He wrote, “Our enormously Now, amid rising concern about productive economy ... demands that dependence on foreign energy we make consumption our way of life, and resource depletion, political that we convert the buying and use motivations for anti-consumerism of goods into rituals, that we seek have been replaced by environmental our spiritual satisfaction, our ego motivations. satisfaction, in consumption. ... We “Anti-consumerism becomes almost need things consumed, burned up, as big a mark as consumerism,” replaced and discarded at an ever- Conger said. “People take a lot of accelerating rate.” pride in not buying into the consumer And that’s exactly what happened. culture.” According to The Story of Stuff, a 20While many Americans demonstrate minute animation that illustrates the their concern for the environment life cycle of material goods in by recycling and buying “green” our consumerist products, most people society, 99 percent of are unwilling to make the stuff we harvest, substantial changes to mine, process and consumption habits. transport is trashed According to The Story within six months. The of Stuff, the United average U.S. citizen States makes up only now consumes twice 5 percent of the world’s as much as they did population, but we’re 50 years ago. consuming 30 percent “Once the technology of the world’s resources gets out and you start and creating 30 percent providing these sorts of the world’s waste. If of options, you can’t everybody consumed really close it down,” at U.S. rates, we would McCall said. “It’s like need three to five the advance of cable. planets. Once cable came out - Vivian Conger, associate Clearly, this pattern and you experienced it, professor of history at Ithaca cannot continue without it was hard to go back serious environmental College to the three channels consequences. But that you already had.” after acknowledging the Wants become needs over time problem, what can we do? Yes, one as marketers work to create an can forgo buying a new car, designer obscure line between the two. In jeans and the latest Apple product, addition, companies deliberately but even this does not address the design products with limited useful root of the problem. time, a technique known as “planned Consumer culture, the idea that obsolescence.” This forces consumers material goods are equivalent to to regularly replace their belongings. status, has become seemingly Under these circumstances, it seems inherent in our country. With the as though we are in a perpetual spiral current mindset, people are not of production. People will continue to willing to sacrifice their goods and demand new goods, and businesses therefore their position in society. with happily provide them. However, However, what if the accumulation a resistance movement parallels a rise of goods were no longer equivalent to of consumer culture. status? What if simplicity was given “There was an anti-consumerism more worth? culture right after the Revolution,” Lebow proposed that we seek Conger said. “Americans saw ourselves satisfaction in consumption. I as better than the British, and part propose that we find satisfaction in of our identity was not to consume simplicity and collectively changing what Britain was consuming. Britain our consumer mentality. was the land of the aristocracy, and ____________________________________ the U.S. was the land of the common Abby Sophir is a freshman TV-R major folk or agrarian folk. Luxury took on a who refuses to buy a Longchamp bag. very negative tone.” Email her at email@example.com.
is power.You “areStatus perceived as being
better than others.You are listened to. You’re respected.There is a presumption that you have the skills and knowledge that go with acquiring goods.
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BUZZSAW; The Origins Issue
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Recipe for Change Tracing the origins of your dinner plate with the Slow Food movement
hat d id today? you eat f on a m Could yo or lunch your s u pin a po andwi p where th ch wa the c e turk int s rais hickp ed or ey in eas i were wh n gr meal o own? Did your hum ere y mus n the friend go, or ou devour s to e y njoy y did you sit our our m with eal?
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Image by Sam Pinto
If it were up to Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food Movement, your meal would have consisted of meat from locally raised turkeys or chickpeas grown just a few miles down the road. He would have expected that you leisurely savored your homegrown, freshly prepared meal and lingered over easy conversation with close friends. Here in Ithaca, making this culinary dream a reality is not as difficult as you might think. Now that you’ve attempted to trace the origin of the food on your plate, let’s trace the origin of the Slow Food movement. Initially sparked as a reaction to the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome’s Piazza di Spagna 25 years ago, Italian journalist Carlo Petrini was impassioned to bring pleasure back to the eating experience. To Petrini, this McDonald’s represented more than just cheap, greasy burgers—it represented global homogenization, a threat to Italian culture and the loss of a local, communal and enjoyable
dining experience. Under this rallying The Ithaca Farmers’ Market, a cry, Petrini and his fellow foodies and premier supporter of buying local, culture aficionados petitioned to bring proudly states, “You won’t find bananas the joy back to preparing and eating or pineapples in our climate!” In fact, traditional foods. The Slow Food 100 percent of the foods and goods movement was born. sold at the Ithaca Farmers’ Market are Today, the Slow Food manifesto produced within 30 miles of Ithaca. extends far beyond the dinner plate. Bandwagon Brewpub is one of the According to Slow Food USA, the several restaurants in Ithaca that philosophy behind the movement rely on locally produced ingredients. unites food consumption with Bandwagon’s owner and chef, Will global “social, ethical, lifestyle, Olson, explained, “It’s fun in the political, environmental and summer when there are three markets spiritual elements.” Its supporters open in Ithaca. I figure out how to work are actively engaged in influencing the fresh produce into what we serve, free trade policies, protecting biological which allows us to be more creative on and ecological diversity and preserving our menu.” Bandwagon’s seasonally culturally relevant, traditional foods changing menu reflects its support of that honor heritage. By fostering a locally grown food. unity between plate and planet, Slow Not only is eating locally better Food advocates believe that food for your body, but it’s better for the should be good, clean and fair. That is, environment, too. Because local we should enjoy farmers aren’t as eating the foods concerned with issues This local food we eat not only like packing, shelf life and economy brings people shipping, they can focus because they taste good but more on growing fresh, into town. When you go seasonable because they were produce. cultivated and Regional Access is downtown, basically evdistributed in an one local company that erything is locally owned, recognizes the benefits environmentally and ethically of environmental and we are a part of sustainability sound manner. in food production and A major tenet that.That’s a boost distribution. This familyof the Slow Food to our economy. owned company provides movement is the New York state with locally support of locally - Jay Reville, Regional Access grown natural foods. cultivated foods. Regional Access’ Jay Reville By eating locally, you’ll naturally adopt a seasonal diet. In other words, said, “All that we offer starts as organic, you’ll be eating the foods nature which definitely sets a higher bar for intended you to eat. For example, if how crops are raised in the fields. you were to dine solely on foods grown Our farms are very diverse; we don’t in Ithaca, tropical fruits wouldn’t be purchase crops that are mono-cropped and have acres and acres of just corn. a part of your diet. Everything at Regional Access is done
BUZZSAW; The Origins Issue
Seesaw Presents: While doing keg stands on a Saturday night, you might not be pondering the subtleties of beer brewing. But, for “The Origins Issue,” Seesaw descended into the moist, dark back room of Ithaca’s Bandwagon Brewpub to capture the entire beer-making process. The Bandwagon
team toiled over their new, massive brewing tanks filled with malted barley from Germany to make more than 80 gallons of their Raspberry Jalapeño beer for the Tap N.Y. Beer festival in Hunter, N.Y. But beware: This video is going to make you thirsty for a homemade brew.
“The Birth of a Beer”
Check it out at: www.buzzsawmag.org/see-saw
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Students Cook Up a Movement By Adam Polaski The Slow Food movement is all about focusing on the local— something that Ithaca College students didn’t want to be left out of. That’s why a group of students started IC Slow Food this semester, challenging the campus to think about the origins Towers dining hall features of the food they consume. Last semester, sophomore organic food. Georgie Morley, a freshman TV-R environmental studies majors Emily Shaw and Amber Zadrozny took a major and member of the organization, “Power of Plants” class, where they also detailed plans for the group watched Food, Inc., the 2008 Academy to take part in local communityAward-nominated documentary that supported agriculture, receiving local, exposed the social and environmental seasonal produce each week. The club and the movement are injustices of the industrialized food not just about the system in the United States.Shaw said the environment; they documentary are also explicitly further exposed tied to human her to the labor, animal rights problems in our and personal food industry. health and diet “After seeing choices. For that film, our example, the entire class was organization like, ‘This is not has a budding OK,’” Shaw said. alliance with the “Our food system Labor Initiative in is not OK. We’re Photo courtesy of IC Slow Food Promoting Solidarity, eating this, and we’re allowed to be served this food that a labor rights group on campus. The has chemicals, and the people involved two groups decided to cosponsor an are not paid right, and they’re exposed Eat-In, a picnic featuring local food to these chemicals daily...” She trailed from restaurants like Moosewood and off with exhaustion, overwhelmed by Waffle Frolic to celebrate human and the number of problems linked to the environmental interdependency with regard to sustainability, on Thursday, current food system. Shaw and Zadrozny turned that May 5. The club also hosts weekly passionate frustration into something productive by founding IC Slow Food at community dinners to share recipes, the beginning of 2011. Shaw serves as reflect on the importance of eating president of the organization, although local and get excited about ways she sees the organization as more of a to further integrate the Slow Food mentality into the IC community. communal effort to change. “I’m always encouraged by the Next semester IC Slow Food will set its sights on addressing the kind of food amount of enthusiasm that people have served to students in the dining hall. for the cause,” Morley said, reflecting They plan on delivering a proposal to on her involvement with the club. “It’s IC President Tom Rochon with ways to not just about food. Food is the basis make dining hall food more local and of life, so if we can get this right, we organic. Currently, Shaw said, only the can work toward greater change.”
on a human scale, which makes the largest and best ecological impact.” Furthermore, local foods have a smaller carbon footprint, as foods that are grown locally don’t need to be shipped across the country. The proximity of farm to plate results in fresher, tastier foods. Bandwagon’s Olson explained, “As a cook, I feel that the less distance the food has to travel from where it’s produced to where it’s consumed, the better. The faster you can get veggies out of the ground and into someone’s mouth, the fresher and better it will taste.” In addition to increasing the quality of food available, foods produced and distributed locally also help the local economy. Both Reville and Olson agree that local foods and goods are key to supporting local businesses. “Regional Access brings a higher quality of food to Ithaca because restaurants know they have a dependable source of artisan foods from right here in New York,” Reville said. “It creates a higher standard that people in Ithaca now expect. This local food economy brings people into town. When you go downtown, basically everything is locally owned, and we are a part of that. That’s a boost to our economy.” Ithaca is nationally renowned for its food culture, and local foods play a major role in creating this famous reputation. Restaurants, markets, businesses and foodies across the nation, and especially in Ithaca, have embraced the Slow Food manifesto. Olson added, “Personally, I support local farms because it keeps the money in town. I feel that using local ingredients adds to the value of food we serve. Our customers know they are supporting local businesses by supporting ours.” Embracing the mission of the Slow Food movement is more than just changing the way you eat; it’s a lifestyle. Reville is honored to be a part of Ithaca’s local food system. “I’m proud to be a part of keeping this thing going,” he said. “It’s so humble, and it takes twice as much effort to do what we do, but we’re very personal and so not corporate. Wow. … I’m just happy that it’s still possible to do business this way. It’s so amazing to be a part of that.” ____________________________________ Elizabeth Stoltz is a sophomore IMC major who can’t get enough locally grown sweet corn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
Ministry of Cool
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Stature, Comfort and Camel Toe: The Physical Properties of Jeggings in Relation to their Cultural Significance By Sarah Kasulke omen are always looking for pants that flatter their figure. At least that’s what I’m told. Usually, I am looking for pants that cost under $20, but that’s why I write for a magazine named after a powertool and not Vanity Fair. It stands to reason I had to do a significant amount of research before I could complete “The Physical Properties of Jeggings In Relation To Their Cultural Significance Stature, Comfort And Camel Toe.” Back in ancient times, as early as 2009, jeggings were invented as sportswear. Specifically, they were designed for jogging. This was probably so the jogger could invoke murmurs of, “Is she really running in those jeans? They’re so tight!” from the mom-jean-clad passers-by. By their very nature, jeggings accentuate three parts of a woman’s lower body: the ass, the legs and, in several cases, the labia. Normal jeans, at best, only sometimes show off every possible curve on a lady. Jeggings accentuate
curves people don’t even realize exist. Arguably, these curves are better left hidden, instead of burnt into one’s cerebrum. Some fashion paleontologists, like the Draco Malfoy look-alike cashier I spoke to at an H&M store, suspect they’re a “classier” alternative to sweatpants, and it’s more about comfort than form-fitting. “I hear they’re super comfortable. Personally, I don’t like them.” He paused to hand me my receipt and added, “I look like I have skinny chicken legs in them. I can help the next customer in line.” Despite the guys-in-girls skinnyjeans menswear trend, apparently jeggings cross the gender line. But the sneaky legwear has caught on like a polyester wildfire among females. Soon everyone and their slutty sister were wearing what, to the untrained eye, appeared to be incredibly tight jeans. This appearance may confuse the casual observer, causing them to think that said jeggings-wearing female has located the best possible
Ministry of Cool
pair of jeans for her body type. In some circles, a fashion find like that promotes you to chieftain, or head witch doctor or something. I don’t know, I never get invited to those parties. But these are not perfect jeans: They’re jeggings. Sneaky, sneaky jeggings. I asked a panel of Jeggings Experts (that is, women I accosted in the dining hall) their opinions on the pants and received some groundbreaking scientific theory in return. Not all jeggings are created equal, it seems. One girl explained, “There’s a couple of brands that look exactly like jeans—I’ve been fooled myself.” This jeggings observer brings up nothing new—they look like jeans, stick like spandex and feel like heaven. Par for the course. The revelation came when she continued, “There are ones that are like leggings with denim color—which are not good jeggings.” This news nearly gave me a coronary. Different kinds of jeggings! Of course! There was the link between the sassy Aryan from H&M’s disdain for them and some girls’ utter refusal to wear anything else. A variety of jeggings types is the key—more specifically, which ones are comfortable versus which ones are socially acceptable (in terms of apparent quality of material, clarity of labia outline, cankle exposure, etc.). Therefore, I have compiled a series of charts and examples to illustrate and explain the jeggings paradigm. Use it, memorize it, chastise random women in poorly chosen legwear with it. Now to move on to my next line of research: the resurgence of overalls. Godspeed. ____________________________________ Sarah Kasulke is a sophomore TV-R major, and Ashley Tisdale is wearing her jeans and jackin’ her swag. Email her at email@example.com.
Image by Sarah Kasulke
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5/2/11 12:25:12 AM
Creepy Classics The art of zombie-fying works of literature By Jenni Zellner he works of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters are among the most beloved classics that have been taught in literature courses for centuries. While many students are still reading Pride and Prejudice, others are reading new novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Jane Bites Back, which involve the same timeless characters, but with a new twist: horror. These new versions incorporate elements of the fantastic to modernize or bring excitement to the novels. But do these modern re-interpretations of classic works improve society’s perception of the classics, or do they make an older work more accessible to modern audiences? In an age where technology and instant gratification reign, what effect will these re-tellings have on classic literature? The notion of the mash-up is a popular phenomenon in today’s society. The idea behind the mashup seems to be: Why not mix the old with the new and create something innovative? But while this concept may work for music and film, its entrance into the world of literature is a decidedly new frontier. Jason Rekulak, associate publisher and creative director at Quirk Books, thinks literature is fair game. However, he is certain that the “mash-up” won’t become a literary genre. “I think [mash-ups] only work with a novel that everyone really really likes,” he said, “Many other publishers have tried to do this sort of thing without the same kind of success because people just don’t love those books as much as they love Pride and Prejudice. As for what this means for literature, I think I’m still going to prefer my books the old-fashioned way.” Rekulak is responsible for the creation of P&P & Zombies and is affiliated with other Jane Austen “mash-ups” such as Sense and
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
Sensibility and Seamonsters. With so many mash-ups, spin-offs, prequels and sequels, literature seems to often pay homage to Austen and her novels. But do these novels detract from the originals? Rekulak doesn’t think so. “I don’t think they could have any detrimental effects,” he said. “The novel is still there and always will be there, so I don’t really think so. The novels … will always be more popular than our mash-up version.” Margaret Sullivan, founder of AustenBlog, a website for all things Jane Austen, agrees with Rekulak. “If it stops them from reading Austen, they wouldn’t have read her stuff in the first place,” she said. However, she added that Jane Austen isn’t for everyone. “Austen’s work won’t be to everyone’s taste—and that’s okay.” Sullivan is actually more open to Austen re-workings than one might expect from a die-hard fan. “I have no objection to [spin-offs] on general principles. ... I think the idea of P&P & Zombies is very funny,” she said. “I found the premise wasn’t robust enough to carry the whole book, however, and I haven’t been able to summon any interest in the prequel and sequel.” According to Sullivan, many fans of Austen have similar opinions, although Sullivan does indicate a surge of negative reactions. “What really disturbed me was the backlash, especially when the first monster mash-up came out, from people who don’t like Jane Austen or are tired of all the recent films. [ T h e y ] l a s h e d out about how much
they hate Jane Austen, how zombies improved it, Jane Austen deserved it, Janeites [Austen lovers] deserved it. Any Janeites who objected to the backlash (as distinct from the books themselves, mind you) were labeled humorless purists,” she said. But all humor aside, what do these “mash-ups” mean in the academic world? Could these novels start to sneak into classrooms in place of the real thing? Michael Stuprich, an English professor at Ithaca College who teaches Austen’s works, doesn’t think so, but he also doesn’t think they will have a negative impact on the original works in the long run. “I don’t think these works have a detrimental effect on the original novel at all,” he said. “People are still able to identify the real Pride and Prejudice. I think readers see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as being cute, maybe? I’ve looked at a couple of them and think they’re really poorly written, but I can’t imagine they would affect someone’s judgment to what’s a classic and what’s a rip-off.” So while these new Austen works may not be replacing the original, they are still prevalent in the literature community. While one would speculate that these literary tributes cause readers to embrace the “more exciting” versions of Austen’s work, it is clear that this is not the case. Therefore, as technology continues to pervade even the most formal subjects, it becomes the job of the musician, the filmmaker or reader to decide what is innovation and what is too much. In the end, it is important to be progressive and keep up with technology, but take caution that valuable elements of our culture don’t get left behind. _________________________ Jenni Zellner is a sophomore English major who wants to write Dracula and Vampires. Oh wait... Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Image by Kennis Ku
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5/2/11 12:25:18 AM
Q&A: Kelli Burns Author of Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster our Fascination with Popular Culture By Carly Sitzer n 1968, Andy Warhol predicted, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” But in the current age of social media, viral marketing and an entire world of online culture, Scottish musician Momus has altered Warhol’s prediction, saying, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 people.” Unless, of course, you’re Rebecca Black, in which case you’re famous for not only an entire 3 minutes and 48 seconds, but also an impressive 127 million people (and still counting). In any case, YouTube has served as a launch pad for many artists’ careers. Kelli Burns, assistant professor in the School of Mass Communication at the University of South Florida and author of Celeb 2.0: How Social Media Foster our Fascination with Popular Culture, sat down with Buzzsaw to talk about the role of YouTube in starting careers. ______________
B: Do you think that Internet celebrities should be treated in the same realm
B: I think that back in the day (and sadly, this is far back in the day) talent was obviously the No. 1 priority to be “famous” in Hollywood. In the world of YouTube and the Internet, what do you think is the most important factor? KB: In the entertainment industry, what matters is whether you can sell movies, albums or television shows. Your talent might be the key, but looks are important, too. It probably was not Britney Spears’s singing talent that got her where she is today. Keanu Reeves, an actor of questionable talent, has had a successful movie career. Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian landed on television because of their personal escapades. We have made celebrities out of reality show contestants. Online, it’s about whatever you can do to get you a lot of YouTube views. If so, you
might be marketable outside the realm of the Internet. B: What do you think [Rebecca Black’]’s story says about our society, and what message do you think it sends to people, especially younger people, about wanting to break into the world of stardom and celebrity? KB: The message this situation sends about our society is that certain people, because they have attracted attention, will be lifted above others despite their talent. All those truly talented singers and musicians using YouTube to gain attention might be missing their shot at stardom because of her. It is still too early to know what Rebecca Black has to offer that will extend her celebrity status. The other message of this case is that people will use the shield of anonymity provided by the Internet to be unbelievably cruel with their feedback. In this case, she is a young woman, and it is particularly disturbing to see others being so hurtful. Rebecca Black tells us that fame does not require talent and that whatever it takes to achieve this fame, whether dangerous stunts or embarrassing bad singing and all potentially cruel feedback, is worth it. B: What advice would you give to someone who is looking for fame and starting online? KB: If you aspire to use social media to become a celebrity, you are not alone. Although your chances of gaining recognition online might be better than with more mainstream methods, you still might not get any attention. You cannot just upload a video to YouTube and expect that you will start racking up views. You have to promote yourself using Facebook, Twitter or a web site. You need to stay committed and upload videos on a regular basis. Be a part of the online community. Respond to people who comment on your videos. Drive people to a website at the end of your videos. In the end, you have to offer something worthy of attention. That might be talent, looks, intelligence, personality or attitude. People want to be entertained when they are online, and another video is always a click away.
Ministry of Cool
Buzzsaw: Do you think that YouTube and other social media making fame so readily available for anyone has lowered the standard of what it takes to be a “celebrity”? Kelli Burns: The entertainment industry must be selective because there is a limited number of television shows, movies and albums that can be produced. What social media do is provide more outlets for people to achieve fame. To some extent, the standards are lower because people are not always celebrated for their talent. Sometimes they do one funny stunt and may or may not be able to parlay their Internet fame into something else. Sometimes they receive attention for their lack of talent. At the same time, social media can bring some really talented people to the forefront who never would have had a chance to make it in Hollywood.
as “real” or old-fashioned celebrities? Is there any value of differentiating between the two? KB: I believe we still have a line between an Internet celebrity and someone who has taken a more traditional path. Yet, there have been many cases of people who have crossed over very successfully. Justin Bieber, for example, first received attention on YouTube. We don’t think of him as an Internet celebrity today. We used to call the Internet “new media.” We don’t say that any longer. The line between traditional and social media is blurring. People who can be successful in one venue will cross over to the other. We have also seen traditional media celebrities moving into online. Will Ferrell did this successfully with FunnyorDie.com. Several television actors have starred in web series or videos. We also have Internet celebrities who are very content to stay within that realm. There is a lot of money thrown around online today.
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5/2/11 12:25:19 AM
Who’s Your Daddy?
A look at how your roots drive your sexual attraction By JJ Weintraub hether it’s rebelling against parents by dating “dangerous” guys or an inappropriate reference to “daddy” in a sexual situation, the media have taken the “daddy issue” and turned it into a social norm of both comedic and fallacious commentaries by women. The joke is propelled by popular characters, like when Barney from How I Met Your Mother refers to women with daddy issues as “bimbos”
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
Throughout the 1960s and early ‘70s, many television programs featured mothers who had died, leaving their children to be raised by the fathers. This generated much research on the role of the father and what his relationship to his children should be. Though the research has died out in the past decade or two, it continues to be a topic of intrigue. Cyndy Scheibe, professor of psychology and media literacy at Ithaca College, explained that we are
Simple Rules or The Nanny, the father is overprotective of his daughters and looser with his sons. Is this the way dad is naturally supposed to act? Or have the cultural and societal influences from the media strongly affected the role of the father? Jung’s theory holds strong not only throughout popular media, but in the arts as well. Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy” is an angry and heartfelt poem about the sheer emotional abandonment of her father after
It becomes increasingly clear that both fathers and daughters are at the root of the problem. But where did all of this originate? or when Phoebe from Friends makes Ross uncomfortable when she calls him “daddy” in a sexual manner. It becomes increasingly clear that both fathers and daughters are at the root of the problem. But where did all of this originate? Sigmund Freud had many controversial theories that generally make the public very uncomfortable; however, this out-of-the-box psychologist’s ideas have withstood the test of time. One of the most dubious assertions is the Electra Complex, proposed by Carl Jung, who derived the idea from Neo-Freudian psychology. The complex is characterized as a young girl’s psychosexual rivalry with her mother for her father’s affections. The daughter competes for her father’s affection with her mother, which Jung says is a completely normal and non-incestual inclination with sexual undertones. The complex is generally exterminated through natural development, but if five necessary stages are not resolved, the theory indicates that the girl may remain in “father-fixation”—in other words, she may develop “daddy issues,” the term the media have come to adopt.
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dependent on the media for social cues. “We learn social scripts from what we see in the media, and television is the most dominant form of media,” she said. Children ages eight to 10 watch an average of four and a half hours of television per day, so it’s no wonder that these adolescents are very influenced by the content of the programs. A big question to ask is: What sense do we get about the parent-child interaction? In many programs, such as 8
his death when she was still quite young. Due to her unresolved Electra Complex, Sylvia blames her father for his wrongdoings and draws multiple parallels between him and her exhusband. Though this theory has shaken the core of citizens around the world, it does not seem to be completely disproved. It recurs again and again in aspects of human interest. In no way is this a new phenomenon. In most Disney movies, the mother is absent, usually dead, and the father is clueless or domineering. What kind of lessons does this teach children about the “normal” family dynamic? In 1974, former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson said, “All television is educational. The question is what does it teach.” Keeping this insightful thought process in mind, one can clearly pull similarities between the psychological and social perspective. Though more recently a cultural phenomenon, the “daddy issue” has a very real innate existence in the human makeup. __________________________________ JJ Weintraub is a sophomore psychology major who likes it when you call her Big Papa. Email her at email@example.com.
Image by David Lurvey
5/2/11 12:25:20 AM
I Got It From My Momma The genetic factor that may determine promiscuity By Lindsey Ahern
behavior. The desire to cheat or have multiple partners originates in the brain’s pleasure and reward center, where the “rush” of dopamine motivates those who are vulnerable, according to researchers at Binghamton University. Ryan,* a senior at Ithaca College said, “I think I act the way I act toward women because of the college setting. If I met the right girl, I definitely wouldn’t cheat on her. I only ‘cheat’ because I don’t take a lot of the girls here too seriously.” Justin Garcia, a doctoral fellow in the laboratory of evolutionary anthropology and health at SUNY Binghamton, did a study on the students at SUNY Binghamton by having 181 student volunteers take an anonymous survey on their sexual history and behavior. The questions asked how many partners they had and if they have ever cheated. He also tested their DNA by having them rinse with a special mouthwash that genotyped the DRD4 gene. Garcia said, “University students were a great population for this study, as we know that ‘hook-up’ culture is a predominant sexual script for emerging adults on college campuses, so a majority of students experience both committed romantic and uncommitted sexual encounters.” The gene is believed to have variations, and people who have longer alleles of it are more prone to participate in one-night stands and promiscuity. It is also inheritable.
However, not everyone believes that promiscuity is rooted in our DNA. Some believe it has to do with personal choice and how they control their impulses. And not everyone who has the gene will be a cheater in relationships. The study also indicates that thrill and sex Image by drive can function Anika Steppe separately from love. It has more to do with how you feel about the person rather than just impulse“ “I think the DRD4 gene variant contributes to the behavior, but it does not determine it,” BesetteSymons said. “As I mentioned earlier, there are many other factors that have been correlated with one’s decision to cheat and infidelity statistics. Some of them may have a unique or independent influence on the decision, such as religious beliefs, quality and length of relationship, or parental involvement.” *Names have been changed to protect anonymity. ___________________________________ Lindsey Ahern is a sophomore journalism major who likes to shake what her mama gave her. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ministry of Cool
et’s admit it: We’ve all at one point in time found ourselves jamming out to “Promiscuous Girl” by Nelly Furtado. How can you not love it, with lyrics like, “Promiscuous girl, wherever you are, I’m all alone and it’s you that I want. Promiscuous boy, you already know that I’m all yours. What are you waiting for?” But have you ever wondered when it became acceptable for women to act this way? Some believe it’s the media’s fault (isn’t it always?), but researchers at Binghamton University have discovered that it could have to do with the genes. All people have a gene that makes them more prone to being a thrill-seeker and more vulnerable to promiscuity, but only about half of people act on it. We are all born with a DRD4 gene, which is a certain variant of the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism. This gene is also responsible for alcohol use, gambling addictions, drug use, overeating, political liberalism, ADHD and impulsiveness. Brandy Bessette-Symons, a psychology professor at Ithaca College, said, “Having the gene variant may increase the likelihood of cheating (a correlational relationship), but it certainly should not be considered the ‘cause’ of such actions.” The gene is believed to have evolved between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago as humans were moving out of Africa. Jessica,* a junior at Ithaca College said, “I’ve cheated on every boyfriend I’ve had. It’s not that they aren’t good enough for me, I just can’t help myself sometimes. I’ve never heard of this gene, and maybe it’s the reason I am more likely to cheat.” The DRD4 gene can influence the brain’s chemistry and people’s
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5/2/11 12:25:22 AM
Whose Show is it Anyway? Britain’s television remakes across the pond By Mariana Garces hen British exports come to mind, we often think of tea and great music (read: Spice Girls), a mix of the traditional and trendy. Many things we’ve borrowed or learned from the British have led to revolutions, whether in music, food or government, but you may be unaware of how much else we’ve borrowed and adapted from our British blokes across the way. It started with early adaptations of British shows, which became known as Sanford and Son, All in the Family and Three’s Company to us in the States. Now, American television is brimming with British hand-medowns, especially in reality TV. Most of our guilty pleasures have British roots, like American Idol, What Not to Wear, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Whose Line is it Anyway, Wife Swap and, every mom’s favorite, Antiques Roadshow. Though British viewers are generally very accepting of our original programming, the U.S. insists on remakes. That’s the American way. If you’re still not familiar with the image of a stapler suspended in a Jell-O mold, congratulations on surviving under your well-isolated rock. The Office was originally a show written by and starring comedian Ricky Gervais. A sitcom that started in 2001, it only ran for two seasons in the U.K. Except there season are called “series” and there it’s normal for extremely successful shows to only last two or three seasons. The Office was soon picked up by the U.S. in 2005 and plans to continue on to an eighth season even after losing the contract with the loveably ignorant boss Michael Scott, played by Steve Carrell. Since its modest start the U.S. version of The Office has now set the bar for future adaptations. In fact, the style and premise o f the show made it so relatable to anyone
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
who has ever had a shitty job, that the show has been adapted in France, Germany, Brazil, Canada, Chile and Israel, with Chinese and Swedish version in the works. Maybe comedy isn’t your thing though. Maybe you’re into shows about teens who take too many drugs, have serious social and mental issues and deal with them by having copious amounts of sex. There’s an adaptation for that. Skins, which started in the U.K. in 2007, began its own tradition of casting amateur actors and using young writers. The show follows 8 main characters through their last two years of sixth form (or junior college) in Bristol, England, and every two seasons the show starts over with a completely new ensemble cast. You might think with a cast that changes every two seasons, viewers wouldn’t get as attached. Almost the opposite is true. Fans from all countries stirred up a fury on social media sites when word of a U.S. version was in the works. Even Skins fans in the U.S. find ways to watch the U.K. version illegally online and fight endlessly over which “generation” was the best (second, duh). While the original U.K. Skins is on its fifth season this year, the American version was just picked up by MTV in January. All eyes were on the show, not only to compare the extremely successful original, but because of the controversy it was stirring up. About a dozen advertisers pulled out when the Parents Television Council attempted to file charges of child pornography due to the raciness in the show, calling it “the most dangerous show for teens.” Yeah, because calling something “the most dangerous” has always been an effective technique to deter teens. Though MTV went out of its comfort zone to put another
teen drama on its lineup instead of another show about Jersey, it seemed as if it wasn’t quite sure how to make the show uniquely American. Filmed in Toronto, the show attempted to keep the same racy language, drugs and sex content, but the execution came out awkward. They swapped the male gay character for a lesbian character, kept some names of the original cast and switched others at random. The poor acting didn’t help when American writers kept the original British slang in some parts of the script. With half of the sex, some of the drugs and censored cursing, old and new fans were left unfulfilled and angry. The friendship between the U.K. and America has been a successfully symbiotic one in the last century. Maybe if we’re lucky, Americans can continue to trade our ridiculous pop culture and doughnuts for great British TV and more singers like Adele. Just remember to feign interest in The Royal Wedding. So with these examples—one successful and one falling flat—here are some steps for adapting a show to the U.S. successfully. 1. Work on the template. Don’t try to copy word for word and scene for scene. This is a recipe for disaster. 2. Think about your audience. Yeah, we’re Americans, but we’re not dumb. Deliver clever, complex content, and you’ll be surprised at the cult following that emerges. 3. Most importantly: Own it. If you’re going to put it on American TV, make it American. Think about how the show would fit in with our class and race differences, our dialect and accents, and our history as a culture. The Office embraced Scranton and all its mediocrity, but in the process discovered a wealth of hilarious, multifaceted characters. ____________________________________ Mariana Garces is a sophomore journalism major who likes to watch Skins while drinking a cuppa tea. Email her at email@example.com.
Image by Georgie Morley
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5/2/11 12:25:26 AM
How a Star is Born
Image by Erika Feldman
Parents who promote pageants to make stars By Francesca Toscano
conduct.” Bocciolatt personally attributes her parents to her success but insists that they have only been supportive throughout the process. “While my mom initially encouraged me to compete in my first pageant because of the performing opportunity and potential to win scholarship money, I was immediately bitten by the ‘pageant bug.’ … My parents have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and motivating.” She added, “The assumption that ‘pageant parents’ are pushy and aggressive comes, among other limited resources, from a reality television show that is not necessarily credible ... In many ways, ‘pageant parents’ are just like soccer moms and dads.” Beauty pageant children are not the only kids under this scrutiny. Child actors, both for film and stage, are often thrust into the business by their overbearing parents. On I Know My Kid’s a Star, a 2008 reality television show that lasted merely one season, 10 parents and their children attempted to showcase their child’s talent in order to win $50,000 and a one-year contract with a Hollywood agent. However, instead of displaying their children’s talent, the show focused on just how extreme stage parents can become. The show did not continue for another season because instead of being entertained, a large majority of viewers were disgusted by the cutthroat and aggressive nature of these parents. Jamie Sporn, a performer and dance teacher at Ramapo High School in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has seen the wrath of pushy parents as the result of casting choices in Ramapo High School’s intensely competitive theater program. She said, “I actually had a parent that threatened to have me fired as a result of a casting choice.”
Sporn notes that although some kids do not agree with their parents’ actions, others have fueled their pushy parents’ choice. “Some kids are embarrassed by the behavior of their parents. Others pretend to be embarrassed, but then go home and complain bitterly about casting injustice!” After years of experience with overbearing adults and their children, Sporn has realized that this form of parenting can eventually take a negative toll on the child. “Ultimately, I believe students are held back by pushy parents and are less likely to be prepared for the disappointment in life.” Although reality television paints a picture of pushy parenting for child pageant contestants and actors, it is difficult to decipher whether or not stage parents are as prevalent as the media make them seem. Although the presence of this assertive style of parenting has become unavoidably known, pageant girls such as Morgan Bocciolatt prove that parents can be supportive and helpful when their children decide to enter these fiercely competitive fields. In reality, even the pushiest of stage parents believe their poor actions will ultimately benefit their children. Perhaps seeing how corrupt the parents on television are will be a wake-up call for these adults. ___________________________________ Francesca Toscano is a freshman IMC major who will be singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for her talent. Email her at ftoscan1@ ithaca.edu.
Ministry of Cool
t is natural for parents to want the best for their children. As a result, supportive parents are expected to allow their children’s talents to develop and blossom. However, when do children go from being kids to clients? Stage parents have been a prevalent part of performing for decades, and their comical-yet-undeniablyupsetting antics have been recently exploited through reality television. On shows like Toddlers in Tiaras and I Know My Kid’s a Star, America has been able to observe just how destructive and even delusional stage parents can be. Still, reality television tends to be a lens into the most exaggerated aspects of situations, so it is difficult to tell whether these perceptions are skewed or accurate. Toddlers in Tiaras is a reality show that follows child beauty pageant contestants and their families. The show has been running for five seasons, but controversy has been swirling around the show since its inception. As bossy and dramatic tots are covered in makeup and stuffed into gaudy dresses, audiences are appalled by how seemingly innocent children end up resembling full-grown adults. What is more monstrous, however, are the parents who support these children. Although the children are often barely of speaking age, they insist that their kids demanded to be in the pageant circuit. Also, these parents often become slaves to their children’s demands, which forced the toddlers to transform into little monsters. However, according to Ithaca College senior and Miss Thousand Islands 2011 Morgan Bocciolatt, this perception of pageantry is false. She said, “Toddlers in Tiaras definitely puts a negative spin on pageants in general. Viewers see the parents’ and children’s behavior through a lens that is not meant to showcase pageants, but rather to highlight the worst aspects of competitive
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5/2/11 12:25:28 AM
BUZZSAW The Origins Issue
IFC Films; Directed by: Abbas Kiarostami
Certified Copy, 2011
RAW FROM THE SAW
By David Lurvey
I fucking love Abbas Kiarostami. In the era of remakes, endless sequels, comic book adaptations, Michael Bay and James Cameron, he is a breath of fresh air to those viewers craving a more emotionally and intellectually stimulating experience at the movie theater. Kiarostami tells the story of an art critic, James (played by William Shimell) who is in Italy for the release of his latest book. Attending a book reading is a gallery owner, Elle, played masterfully by Juliette Binoche (Caché, The English Patient). She is forced to leave early by her hungry, impatient son but leaves her phone number for James so they can meet up later. When James comes to her gallery the next day, a strange tale of love, perception and the nature of what is real begins as they take a drive through a small Tuscan town. James’ new book is on the idea of authenticity and forgery in the art world, and how this affects people’s perception of the work is their initial topic of discussion. The two of them clash on this subject so their talk soon strays but often comes back to the same idea. It becomes the critical theme for interpreting the film as a whole. When the two are mistaken for husband and wife, they begin to role-play the possibility. They bicker and argue like the couple they might have been. This leads them down a road of interactions that delve into their philosophies
of life and love, then to a stunning final scene that brings together loose ends in a way that left me in awe of the power of film as an art form. The question of the authentic and the fake is forgotten in this relationship—just like it is forgotten in art—turning to the more important question of how a viewer responds. And just like that, in a meta-movie moment, we are asked to question the nature of these characters playing characters. We can then realize that what really matters is not that the portrayals are real, but how we respond to them. Because they are never real, but just a degree away. This is the kind of movie that inspires me to make films. This film is beautifully crafted. Each character is important, sometimes in the subtlest of ways. Kiarostami’s sense of pacing is unmatched. In his first feature film made outside of his home country of Iran, he manages to stick to his roots. Incredibly long, nearly static shots and an entire film driven by dialogue and character have become key parts of Kiarostami’s auteur—and one that is utterly refreshing to me as a viewer sick of everything feeling the need to always go-go-go. Kiarostami has the sense to take a step back, to take a drive, to challenge an audience. I have a tremendous amount of respect for that. I’ve never left a film so confused yet so incredibly satisfied.
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Silverwood Films, 2010 By Francesca Toscano
Watching a marriage crumble is rarely sought after for entertainment purposes. But Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance, beautifully balances this delicate subject with an intricate storyline and incredible performances by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. After premiering at the 26th Sundance Film Festival, Blue Valentine received countless accolades, most significantly Williams’ Academy Award nomination for best actress. After hearing all of the buzz surrounding the film, I was eager to see it in theaters in January. After experiencing this rewarding and moving movie, I encourage everyone to purchase the DVD when it is released on May 10, 2011. Blue Valentine follows the lives of couple Dean Pereira (Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Williams) as their marriage begins to slowly disintegrate. Dispersed throughout the film are flashbacks of the beginning of their courtship, countering the emptiness of the current state of their relationship with the endearing nature of their initial meeting. Within a flashback, it is revealed that Heller is pregnant with a past boyfriend’s child, and Pereira commits himself to helping her raise the child. The audience cannot help but adore the couple in
their younger state, which only makes watching their marriage crumble that much harder. Gosling and Williams’ acting was possibly the most impressive aspect of this film, as both actors’ subtle yet powerful choices were captivating. Specifically, Williams’ portrayal of the troubled Cindy was both haunting and awe-inspiring. In one scene, Williams is actually given an abortion on screen, and while the audience cannot see the act being performed, they can see her face as well as hear the doctor talking her through the process. Williams’ fear and anguish was so believable and disturbing that I am still chilled by the thought of the scene to this day. She exhibited possibly some of the most incredible acting I have ever seen, and even if dramatic romance movies do not interest you, I suggest you see the film solely for her performance. When looking for a fun rom-com with the girls or a charming first date movie, Blue Valentine is surely not the best choice of film. However, if you want to be genuinely affected by a moving, and poignant work and witness first-class acting, Blue Valentine is perhaps one of the most emotional and stirring films about struggling relationships to be released in a long time.
A I A: Dream Loss/Alien Observer My first experience with Liz Harris (a solo artist from Portland who goes by Grouper) was two years ago when I saw her open for a soldout Animal Collective show at First Avenue’s Main Room. A fitting pairing on paper, but an odd one to experience in person, with droves of Merriweather Post Pavilion fans waiting/hoping to get their dance on. The atmospheric looping and soft reverb proved too subdued for many. The response was quietly appreciative, but most people seemed disappointed that the opener didn’t get them moving. I’ll admit I was mostly in the same boat, but still interested in what she was doing and thought the big space may have been to blame. But given Animal Collective’s live show reputation, we shouldn’t have been surprised that they’d bring with them an opener like this. Nonetheless, it was a very enjoyable show, and Grouper had made an impression on me despite the not-so-ideal viewing conditions. A few months ago, I got Grouper’s 2008 album, Dragging A Dead Dear Up A Hill, and was immediately hooked. What was missing in that live show hit hard in the seclusion of my
room, where the sounds washed over me like soul-cleansing waves. It got the most plays on my iPod during this cold spring. Needless to say, I was excited that Harris would be releasing more music and even more so when I found out it would be a double album. A I A: Dream Loss and A I A: Alien Observer are two albums that could stand alone, but blend nicely together and continue the ambient drones she is known for. Dream Loss is much noisier with each song coming out of a fuzz of reverb and morphing into beautiful shoegaze sound explorations. Alien Observer has a more melodic, atmospheric feel, like if Sigur Rós got really sad all of a sudden. The title track from this LP is probably the most accessible. In it, Harris sings, “Gonna take a spaceship, fly back to the stars, alien observer in a world that isn’t ours.” Harris’ introspective echoes throughout A I A leave us in an ambient space of thoughtful distances, putting us in a place of beautiful solitude. Harris is the alien observer flying softly through space, and we’re along for the ride. Oh, and everyone is welcome to come—I’d highly recommend it.
Ministry of Cool
By David Lurvey
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& e os
s n o
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Image by Kennis Ku
Ashes. by Alyssa Figueroa I see your smile in the sunshine Her eyes are these seeds And this tree trunk is my spine His whispers are those bees Orange tulips, purple butterflies, huge blue skies—look at the clouds’ cries And they are sprinkling me! And then I splash in the ocean as I rest on the waves Like leaves softly floating in the air Green grass; laying looking up at the bright lights—who needs Times Square? It is all right here.
Prose & Cons
It is all right here; as your heart slows down with the night. Slowly, slowly, I release its beat. Settle down, as my soul goes Up into the air, Down into the soil, All around in the flowers, And in the morning birds’ song, And I feel at home, again. Where I began.
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The Birth of Gills By Bart Comegys
The Birth of Gills (The Astronaut Sons, Strangled by their Fathers in Preparation) i. The Ausable River, 2010 There have been times lately when I’ve imagined drowning, and where it would happen best, all the places the old men in my life tried to teach me to swim. But it never worked, never took, and instead all I could imagine was swallowing an ocean, all the waters that connect to one another, swallowing salt and sea life: pods, schools, every variety of deadly unloving jellyfish, the skeletons of sailors trailing seaweed after them in death, coral clumps, the fooling lures of angler fish. All this I imagined within me, replacing the air in my feeble lungs; I imagined it surrounding me as my father and grandfather, stoutest limbs on my family tree, led me out too deep and pulled me under into the blackgreen where I knew I would die; and it remained behind as I crashed upward and crawled back choking upon the ashen beach, coughing and spluttering like the first ancient unfish that birthed my oldest ancestor.
ii. Tawasentha Park, 1998 On blinding concrete around the public pool there are children running, defying signs, the warning cries of adults: parents, lifeguards, coaches; none wish for the fall that will break their innocents open. I am among these innocent half-people, waddling in bare feet at the edge of bright, clear blue. I am eight, it is summer, and my parents leave me here, pay for me to fall into cold and wet, hoping I will discover some new affinity for the dark and thudding play on my eardrums, the scent turned solid below the surface pressing up into my nose (burning chlorine in the nose and eyes; this is how you learn).
BUZZSAW: The Origins Issue
But I have not yet fallen, and I stare into blue, avoiding the eyes that will look at my dry skin and see the truth it betrays, the essential cowardice, when there come slapping footfalls on the concrete and a thin pale hand waving in my face—a boy from my class that year named Rice. He is red hair over a white potbelly in swim trunks, pleased to see me in this new place of learning, a new chance to prove himself above me, and as he will later skirt the surface with his clumsy but confident strokes, I know I will be floating lower, a test case for new lifeguards, bloating, stuck in glass or any other liquid moving so slowly it will trap—display—any living thing within it. I see him in the future, above me as I don’t even struggle, filling up at the bottom; he will be pleased with his next and greatest success—survival turned into simple tiered academia.
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But the swim school hasn’t started yet, and he just smiles as I blink and stare in the stupid June light. He slaps my hand for the summer and jumps into the water. I don’t follow like he thought I would. iii. Fern Lake, 1992 Vision ringed by trees— towering, scraping pines!— I am in the wet embrace of the water I love: light and easy, shallow but enough to hold me, make me as light and easy as— the sandy bottom sometimes scrapes me knees; swimcrawling through watery wet lake— makes me as light and easy as the mistake or accident, malfunction of body mechanic, and I am choking coughing not above or below but breathing in the thin surface— the trees, my parents, leaning over. iv. Altamont, 1999 On the floor again of the old kitchen after another summer spent thrashing for nothing in public pools under the strained patience of paid instructors, my father has me waiting for his plan.
Images by David Lurvey and Anika Steppe
Stripped to swim trunks indoors, I stand crossing my arms and shiver at the thought of my body suspended, newly eternal in the timeless cold and dark, never needing to draw breath again. The cold tap is running and my father stands at the sink; the refusal to admit defeat has hardened him, stiffened the limbs supporting his weight against the cracking countertop. Prose & Cons
The tap stops and on the linoleum below he places a cooler, deep and blue, filled with clean cold water. My face has learned to reject the wet and now as we kneel there my father promises to fix me. He holds me under and I pray for gills.
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Oncoming 3-D Porn Goes Too Far For Most Casual Viewers Penetrating images get too close for comfort By Miles Eckardt
ith the 3-D fad already waning in mainstream cinema, proponents of the technology have been investigating a new market: pornography. According to Marge Hileman, lead developer for Three Dimensional Porn Inc., “consumers will be able to immerse themselves in the act of watching others have sex better than ever before.” Hileman has also been toying with the idea of a text-in service to decide what the actors will do next for live stream porn, as well as a scripted role for the viewer to feel more involved. While this is good news for Hileman and 3DP, average customers and porno veterans are voicing their concerns. 3-D porn is all too real for some viewers. “A huge portion of porn viewers are male teenagers,” one vocal 14-year-old viewer said. “Being virgins, some of us are not used to the third dimension. We can’t relate to something so close to real sex. I mean, porn is just like real sex, right?” For a slightly older perspective, we reached out to some Ithaca College porn viewers. A male freshman who wishes to remain anonymous finds the accessories of 3-D porn most troubling. “My porn experience would really suffer if I had to wear those glasses,” he said. “That’s just what I need, one more thing to clumsily hide when my roommate walks in on me. And what if I forget to take them off? Everyone would know I just stroked it.” Indeed, the practicality of 3-D porn is a large hurdle, but the movement is suffering on the artistic front as well. Even figureheads of the porn industry are voicing their concerns. “3-D is a gimmick, and every director
knows i t , ” rising Image by Zachary Anderson porn director dimensional, old-fashioned Trex Maddoxxx said. “I’d rather take American girl-on-girl action.” a more artistic path, like Christopher “The idea of having ropes shoot Nolan does in his films. Spend the at me from my computer screen is money shooting in IMAX, and give the not appealing. In fact, I likely won’t viewer a product that will blow them be able to masturbate for days just away. You know what I mean.” thinking of it.” The gimmickry of three-dimensional “Actually, 3-D porn may be a good movies often involves long objects thing. I think the prospect of paying appearing to protrude through the extra for porn would make me wake screen, projectiles being hurled at up and pursue real three-dimensional the audience, and added detail to the sex more fervently.” characters and actions on screen. The “Why stop at three dimensions? prospect of applying these ideas to Disney World has capitalized on shows porn is both appalling and intriguing which add the sensation of odors and to many viewers. touch to presentations. Jets of air Regardless, producers hold the real are blasted at the necks of audience power in porn, and it appears 3-D is members, perfume wafts down from here to stay. theatre rafters, and occasionally We’ll leave you with a few more costumed characters parade the anonymous quotes from around aisles. Why not incorporate these campus, which represent what many ideas into viewing pornography?” men and a few women are thinking: ____________________________________ “I don’t even like to see my own Miles Eckardt is a sophomore legal dick. Frankly, that’s something they studies major who honestly prefers should try to eliminate in porn, not Blu-ray. Email him at meckard1@ thrust it in your face. Give me two- ithaca.edu.
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Native American Tribe Stubbornly Defends Their Homeland Sacred land infringes on councilwoman’s right to retail By Catherine Fisher We’d prefer not to have corporate chains on our sacred burial grounds,” Chief Editon said. In the quiet isolation that is upstate New York, the Gapajo tribe prepare for their monthly lunar harvest in the Hopkinton Valley. As they finish up a full day’s toil, Councilwoman Leanne McMann throws a hissy fit in town hall. McMann walked into her office early Monday morning and was notified that her recent petition to build an outlet mall on the outskirts of town was rejected. The mayor discovered the structure encroached on the local tribe’s sacred burial ground. The councilwoman was outraged. “It’s just not fair!” screamed McMann as she kicked over a casino pamphlet. “I got the permit, the funding, even mapped out the blueprints myself. Pocahontas never would have done this to John Smith.” The Gapajo tribe, who used to occupy all of what is now St. Lawrence County, now peacefully reside in their self-sustaining reservation, where they have lived for hundreds of years. The three-mile patch of natural land starts right past the “sketchy part of town” and extends down to the Exxon Gas Station by the interstate. The
The Origins Issue
majority of the reserve is dedicated to a sacred burial ground, which is integral to their culture. The tribe rejected the councilwoman’s proposal, deeming the prospect of having their ancestors dwell under a Payless and an Outback Steakhouse culturally insensitive. McMann was at a loss for how “The Shops on the Reserve” could be accused of such ignorance. “We even mapped in a Ten Thousand Villages,” she said. “What more do these savages want from me?” We were fortunate enough to get in contact with Chief Editon, a member of the Gapajo tribe who enlightened us on the current debacle. “My ancestors were born and raised on this land,” he said. “It would be an abomination to have it tarnished with asphalt and cigarettes.” Editon says the tribe had a meeting with the councilwoman upon hearing of her plans, hoping to direct her elsewhere, suggesting that she relocate toward the local Cherokee reserve because “they’re used to being moved around.” “I was willing to cut her some slack when she showed up with a translator, but I knew things weren’t going to go well when she slapped a bottle of Admiral Nelson on the table, just to get us loosened up,” he said.
“We gave them Thanksgiving,” McMann said. “The least they can do is give us a Banana Republic.” Hopkinton, or the “boonies,” as some people like to call it, is the typical northern New York town. It is a minimum half hour drive to any sort of mall or movie theatre. And with the increasing price of gas, the need to be in style has been getting pushed further and further down the priority list. “I’m sorry, but not all of us can be happy in feathered headdresses,” McMann said. Editon, who was dressed in a plaid shirt with Nike Kicks, had no response. With the summer coming and McMann’s seasonal clothes becoming more and more outdated, rumors have it that the councilwoman has started campaigning around town, claiming the tribe is putting curses on the local women as revenge for the petition. “It’s true, you know, I saw it on the Discovery Channel,” McMann said. “What else do they do during their rituals? Why, just last week at Book Club, it was Carey’s turn to discuss the book, Another White Woman’s Romance Novel, but it was missing. And let me tell you something, Carey never loses a book. She used to be a librarian.” Tomorrow the councilwoman will find an invitation to the Gapajo sponsored Green Corn Festival featuring live music, food, and a clothes drive. Wanishi. __________________ Catherine Fisher is a sophomore cinema and photography major who lost all her money at the Gapajo casino. Email her at cfisher2@ ithaca.edu.
Image by Anika Steppe
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Local White Middle School Claims He is an OG: Original Gangster By Marc Phillips
dumb people from my school don’t, like, respect me, I’ll pop a cap in their ass. See if I care. I don’t. One time Consuela dropped me off at school, and she threw up a gang sign before leaving. She’s so hood.” Wheatley’s two best friends only agreed to be interviewed anonymously, both claiming their parents did not want others knowing they were thugs. “I didn’t ask to be born into money,” Alex* said. “I’d rather be straight from the hood, yo. Billy helps me forget that I’m the son of a plastic surgeon.” “We get mad chicks,” Robert* said. “Billy taught me how to grind with a girl without my bling getting in the way.” During the day, Wheatley tries his best to initiate rap battles in the school’s cafeteria. “Yo mothafuckas—let’s get this battle crunked!” declared the pintsized gangster at lunch last Thursday. No response was elicited from the lilywhite audience. “Betta move ova/I’ll crush you with a Range Rova’/Get on my level/They call me da Flakes Devil,” Wheatley free-verse rapped. Popular girl Victoria Miller then reportedly kicked off her Ugg boots and stood on her lunch table. “You’re the biggest loser ever,” the 13-yearold girl yelled. The cafeteria erupted in laughter. “Oh you think you’re so cool/you go to this school/Well your mom cheats on your dad/I would think you’d be mad,” an unfazed Wheatley rapped back. Soon thereafter, school administrators grabbed Wheatley by the collar of his shirt and dragged him to the front office. “His rap battles are usually weak, but this one was especially poor,” 12year-old Peter James said. “Last month was his best; he rhymed ‘Country Club Killa’ with ‘Ben Stiller.’” After school, Wheatley and his friends tend to loiter around Franklin Crossings Shopping Center to harass shoppers at the grocery store and the local sushi restaurant. “Bitches be crazy. I keep it real classy. I swear,” said Wheatley as he
pounded his chest in the popular “Thug Love” fashion. “I’m like, embarrassed for my little brother,” said Wheatley’s 18-year-old sister Christine. “Whenever my girls want to chill, they never want to come over to my house. Billy thinks he’s their age and tries to hit on them. As if.” “Those are some fine-ass mami’s,” Wheatley said in his best gangster accent. “They’re just playin’ hard to get. They can’t resist this charm.” Wheatley opened up a folder of saved iChat conversations on his MacBook Pro. “Yo, I gotta get my cyberbully on, you know? See this conversation? I threatened to club this kid’s kneecaps if he didn’t do my social studies homework,” Wheatley said with a laugh. While textbook “Original Gangsters” were known for their street violence, love affairs and hate crimes, Wheatley keeps it real in his own way. He steals stop signs, annoys girls on Formspring and breaks his neighbors’ mailboxes with a metal baseball bat. Wheatley’s obsession with gangsters and violence might be a result of his affinity for gang movies and programs. DVDs in his collection include American Gangster, Scarface, Gang Wars and The Sopranos. Psychologist Adam R. Banks believes these gangster movies represent what Adam wants. “As white and suburban Franklin Lakes may be, Wheatley will try his hardest to emulate what he sees,” Banks said. For now, Wheatley will go back to terrorizing his schoolyard with infantile threats that he perceives as gangster. “Are you done yet? I have to go hit some idiot with a sock full of Legos.” _______________________________________ Marc Phillips is a sophomore IMC major who is more OG than that Ice-T song. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
illy Preston Wheatley III, age 12, says he’s a “hard motherfucker.” “Yeah, I try not to brag, but I run shit at FAMS,” said Wheatley of his involvement at Franklin Avenue Middle School in Franklin Lakes, N.J. Wheatley stands five feet tall, has platinum blonde hair and deep blue eyes. “I don’t really care what you say, because I’m 10 times more gangster than Tupac,” Wheatley said. “I mean, look where he ended up.” Franklin Lakes is no stranger to outlandish residents—this affluent North Jersey suburb is the filming location for Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey. In 2007, MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 also recorded a borough resident’s six-figure birthday party. Now, in 2011, Wheatley is stealing the spotlight with his groundbreaking announcement. “I’m an ‘OG,’” Wheatley said as he showed off his walk-in-closet full of Southpole and Enyce clothing. “Our housekeeper Consuela is ironing my favorite Ed Hardy shirt for tomorrow.” At FAMS, Wheatley is no stranger to disciplinary measures. Although the school’s administrators declined several attempts for an interview, Wheatley was more than willing to discuss his rap sheet. “Yeah, this dumb bitch was talking too much in math class, so I threw a textbook at her. See if I care. I don’t,” he said. “Yesterday, I covered my Language Arts’ teacher’s car in graffiti. He deserved it.” Billy’s father, William Jr., is on the board of directors at Goldman Sachs in New York City. A secretary responded to the interview query by saying the behavior is not acceptable and that his mother and/or Consuela would deal with it. “I don’t really know where his ghetto attitude comes from,” said his mother, Lisa, in between her weekly nail appointment and tennis game. “Frankly, none of his therapists have been able to get to the root of the cause.” “When [FAMS students] see me rollin’ up in the morning, I can sense their fear,” Wheatley said. “If these
Image by Garen Whitmore
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Infant Being Groomed to Run for Public Office in a Few Years Natural born leader shows potential from confines of his crib By Brianna Pennella his past April gave way to a new hope for America, and it had nothing to do with Obama. Oscar Albert Jr. is the newest face of strength, power and freedom. An avid supporter of being changed at least three to four times a day, there is no doubt newborn Oscar is a go-getter who will be taking charge in no time. This little leader is a real natural. His cries command attention and grip a room with his enthusiasm, a trait he shares with all of our most celebrated politicians. His refusal to sleep unless all of his toys are present shows his unwavering stance on equality. “He knows that whether it’s a bear, turtle, giraffe or bunny, all of his toys are essentially the same and should be treated as such,” his proud mother said. Aside from this, he identifies with the working class man, sporting Bob the Builder apparel and tool-themed utensils to show solidarity with worker efforts. It is safe to assume that Oscar would be deeply inspired by his predecessors in his fight for peace and unity if he were aware of what history is. He even bares a striking resemblance to Gandhi, only with rosier cheeks and a less emaciated body. Earlier this week, it was reported that Oscar sat up for the first time on his own, showing the world that he will take nothing lying down, not even
The Origins Issue
his naps. “He’s upright in the crib fast asleep right now,” his father said. “You just can’t keep him down.” Even the community is taking note of this tiny titan to be. Local day cares and nanny services are eagerly lining up for a chance to interview Oscar. His parents have sat down with 23 potential care services since his birth. Oscar is extremely personable, allowing other mothers to hold, hug and play with him. As for the fathers, he provides them with a strong grip on the index finger to show he means business. The true show of his natural talents as a leader is in how easily he can rally his peers. When in the company
of other babies, all it takes is one cry or toss of his rattle to set the others off. “It’s amazing to see how quickly they take to him. It’s like when he cries, he’s crying for babies everywhere,” said longtime family friend and frequent babysitter Stacey Martin. According to the mayor, Oscar’s official birth certificate will be on display from now until the 2048 presidential election to ensure that there is no doubt of his citizenship. ____________________________________ Brianna Pennella is a freshman TV-R major who personally thinks Oscar is too progressive for America. Email her at email@example.com.
Image by Clara Goldman
Check out our awesome blogs @ www.BUZZSAWMAG.org *Including ongoing coverage of Ithaca College’s April 28 announcement that it would pay all employees a living wage, beginning Sept. 1.
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Buzzsaw Asks Why... Ithaca College cares more about the appearance of sustainability than sustainability itself There is no denying that it has become trendy, popular and stylish to put off an environmentalist vibe, especially in communities like Ithaca, where a strong portion of the affluent population is liberal and hopes to effect some positive change in the world. The administration and student body of IC is very much a part of this section of society, and rest assured, it is better than blatant apathy. Students, workers and supportive faculty members were recently able to pressure Sodexo to provide a living wage to all full-time workers, showing it is a place in which students can make a change for the better through hard work and dedication. Still, the campus remains far from perfect. The composting situation at the Pub in Campus Center is an example of a misguided attempt at branding the college as sustainable when
simpler, more old-fashioned tactics would actually be more beneficial to the environment. Next time you’re there, take note of all the signs preaching information on how to know which garbage can to toss your waste into (we’ve all seen visiting families confused by this), pretty much patronizing people into realizing how much the administration cares about the environment. The college prides itself on providing compostable plates and utensils at the Pub, which sounds fine, but the problem is the utensils take several months to even begin breaking down. Just because they aren’t plastic doesn’t mean they’re good for the environment, and other environmentally conscious schools, such as the University of Vermont, have shifted away from these utensils to utilize the usual metal cutlery and plastic plates that can be washed and
reused for a number of years before they begin to deteriorate. Buzzsaw simply proposes that the Pub begin offering the same reusable cutlery found in the dining halls for students eating meals within the Pub area. This would be far more effective than the current method of first trusting students, faculty and visitors to find the proper trash receptacle, then have the cutlery take up space in a compost heap for months on end. The college needs to remember the ecofriendly mantra Reduce, Reuse, then Recycle—reusing cutlery is far more sustainable than using it once, even if it is some fancy, barely compostable material. So IC administration, have some common sense and stop making everyone feel like they care less about the environment than you do. You’re just good at putting off the concept of caring about it. -Chris Giblin
Comic by Malti Jones
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The Origins Issue
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The Origins Issue, May 2011, from Buzzsaw magazine