T H E I N D E P E N D E N T D A I LY AT D U K E U N I V E R S I T Y
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTH YEAR, ISSUE 84
Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Feb. 21, 1920 - Jan. 25, 2011
by Nicole Kyle and Chinmayi Sharma THE CHRONICLE
MARGIE TRUWIT/THE CHRONICLE
Mason Plumlee scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in a 74-61 win over rival Maryland.
74 DUKE 61 MARY
Plumlee stars in Maryland by Scott Rich THE CHRONICLE
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — One 3-pointer jumper went in and out. Then a second. Then a third. But for each miss Duke had an answer, as first Mason Plumlee, then Ryan Kelly and finally Seth Curry outhustled his Terrapin opposition on the offensive glass. And then, on the Blue Devils’ fourth straight 3-point shot, an attempt from Kelly found the bottom of the net. In the end, that possession was decided by the Blue Devils’ persistence. Fittingly, so was the game. No. 8 Duke (17-3, 5-1 in the ACC) had to fend off an energized Maryland team, but used strong defense in the second half SEE M.BASKETBALL ON PAGE 6
DSG members discuss building accessibility, Page 3
With the passing of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans, the Duke community has lost one of its most devoted and passionate members. Semans, great-granddaughter of Washington Duke—the University’s namesake—died Wednesday in Duke Hospital at the age of 91. The philanthropist and Trustee emeritus passed away on a campus that will immortalize her memory with the series of standing reminders of all she contributed to it. “She was larger than life, and she loved Duke in a way that was larger than life,” said Semans’ grandson Charles Lucas. “Duke became a part of her life very early on, and she made it not only a part of her life but our lives as well.” Semans served on the Board for 20 years beginning in 1961 and was a former chair of the Charlotte-based Duke Endowment. She worked throughout her life to promote education, the arts and human rights in Duke and Durham, serving as the city’s mayor pro tempore from 1953 to 1955. In the 1960s, Semans also helped found the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, which is the first state-backed arts conservatory in the nation. And though Semans is recognized as a prominent University and local figure, Lucas recalled that as a grandmother, she was similarly known for her selflessness and an extraordinary capacity to love and do good, never missing a birthday or anniversary of those close to her. SEE SEMANS ON PAGE 10 SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
DSG Judiciary rules YTNC violated bylaw by Anna Koelsch THE CHRONICLE
A Duke Student Government Judiciary complaint regarding an alleged breach in Young Trustee selection bylaw was settled after a closed hearing concluded at approximately 3 a.m. Thursday. Senior Ubong Akpaninyie, DSG director of multicultural outreach and affairs and a Young Trustee semifinalist, filed a complaint early Wednesday morning contending that the Young Trustee Nominating Committee violated title three, section five of the Young Trustee bylaw. This section dictates that the YTNC must hold an information session for all Young Trustee semifinalists so the applicants can ask questions of the YTNC chair, and if
both are available, the Duke University Secretary and a current Young Trustee. The complaint followed the YTNC’s selection of three finalists in the race for Young Trustee. The section in question also instructs the YTNC to publish the names of candidates receiving interviews and their applications. By a 7-0 vote, the judiciary found that the YTNC had not properly followed the bylaw, however, the judiciary wrote that the candidate selection process was fair, according to the DSG Judiciary majority opinion provided to The Chronicle. The YTNC’s decision to select seniors SEE COMPLAINT ON PAGE 4
TYLER SEUC/THE CHRONICLE
Ubong Akpaninyie confers with DSG President Pete Schork during a recess in the Judiciary Committee hearing regarding a complaint filed by Akpaninyie.
“If Z keeps up his current trend, he will not graduate middle school until he is 17...” —Priya Bhat in “Learned helplessness.” See column page 9
Kelly, Rivers hit big shots, Page 5
2 | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
Obama opens tour with push for manufacturing jobs
PHOENIX — President Barack Obama got to work selling his State of the Union economic proposals to the public Wednesday, launching a five-state tour that opened with a push in the American heartland to lure manufacturing jobs back from overseas. Making a first stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Obama told workers at the Conveyor Engineering & Manufacturing company that American productivity is rising, and he called on Congress to eliminate tax loopholes that encourage companies to send jobs and profits abroad. During his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Obama said his “blueprint” for a stronger economy begins with manufacturing, a message aimed at the Rust Belt voters who were wooed successfully in his 2008 bid for the White House but who have been among the most dissatisfied with the sluggish economic recovery.
Duke Career & Summer Opportunities Fair Bryan Center, 10a.m.-3p.m. Employers from a wide range of sectors will be present. Duke students looking for internships or employment are welcome to attend.
Grant Writing 101 Duke North, Room 2001, 4-6p.m. During this seminar, grant writer Kevin Weinfurt will provide tips on how to write and organize a convincing R01 research plan.
Steroid shots not stopped Thousands flock Egyptian despite company warnings square year after revolution Doctors are still injecting a steroid made by Bristol-Myers in a way the company warns they shouldn’t, following reports that patients have died or become paralyzed after receiving shots. Used for neck and back pain, Kenalog and Depo-Medrol are the most frequently administered steroids in epidural injections.
CAIRO — On the first anniversary of the start of Egypt’s revolt, hundreds of thousands of people flooded into Cairo’s Tahrir Square and took to streets elsewhere across the country Wednesday in the largest nationwide demonstrations since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
Political Theory Workshop Series Perkins Library 217, 4-5:30p.m. Graduate students are encouraged to attend the workshops related to their major field of study.
Duke in Geneva Summer Information Meeting Languages 109, 6-7p.m. This info session will cover the basics of the six-week summer program in Switzerland.
TODAY IN HISTORY 1788: Australia Day
“The Duke men’s basketball team has three uniform colors—the home white, the away blue and the alternate black jerseys. But the Blue Devils’ repertoire grew to four Wednesday when Nike unveiled a new line of gray jerseys called Nike Hyper Elite Platinum.” — From The Blue Zone bluezone.dukechronicle.com
Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky. — Rabindranath Tagore
Australia Day Australia
Duarte Day Dominican Republic
Foundation Day (Santos) JAHI CHIKWENDIU/THE WASHINGTON POST
Jennifer Tidd calms her autistic five-year old son Quentin. Virginia’s General Assembly passed a bill last year that required insurance coverage for autistic children ages two to six. The money never materialized as the legislation hit a snag when the attorney general determined it contained imprecise language.
Republic Day India
The Maya and 2012
with Latin American scholar Robert Sitler Friday January 27, 2012 Stedman Auditorium on the Duke Center for Living Campus 3475 Erwin Rd. Durham, NC 7:30 – 9:00 pm members $15 non-members $20 students $10 919-309-4600 * www.rhine.org/event FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012 | 3
DUKE STUDENT GOVERNMENT
Global health Senate calls on University to careers expand in become handicap accessible scope for grads by Julia Ni THE CHRONICLE
Although Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, which requires that universities as employers and private entities with public accommodations remove access barriers in cases where renovation is “readily achievable,” Duke was able to exempt some buildings from any major changes, said senior Lauren Blake, chair of the DSG commission of accessibility. “Duke is an amazing place, but there are some students that cannot take advantage of all of the opportunities that Duke has to offer,” Blake said. “It is socially isolating and severely impacting their Duke experiences.” The University did make some minor changes when forced to do so by the Justice Department in 2001, Blake
Despite the relative youth of the Global Health Certificate Program, its students are proving that the field of global health offers a rich array of post-graduate career opportunities. Since 2006, more than 120 students have graduated with a certificate in global health, said Geelea Seaford, assistant director of communications for the Duke Global Health Institute. The certificate program ranks second in popularity among other programs at the University and has seen a steady increase in the number of graduates since its inception. “The goal of the DGHI and the certificate program is to prepare tomorrow’s leaders in global health,” Seaford said. “Because global health is so broad, there are many different careers students can pursue and it gives people many opportunities to engage in service.” Program graduates often go on to work for various nonprofit organizations—such as FACE AIDS and Resources for the Future—or obtain jobs through the government, including with the Department of Health and Human Services, said Brian Seavey, DGHI professional development coordinator. Like many freshmen, Jessica Freifeld, Trinity ’09, did not have a career in mind until she took a class her in her first year at Duke entitled “AIDS and Emerging Diseases.” The class, Freifeld’s first taste of the study of global health, was the spark that ignited her passion for the field, she said. Freifeld, who majored in political science and received the global health certificate, is currently working in communications as a senior associate at Global Health Strategies, a company that focuses on global health advertising.
SEE DSG ON PAGE 4
SEE GLOBAL HEALTH ON PAGE 4
TORI POWERS/THE CHRONICLE
Senate members discussed the lack of handicap-accessible buildings on West Campus in the weekly DSG meeting Wednesday. by Patton Callaway THE CHRONICLE
Duke Student Government addressed the University’s lack of handicap-accessible buildings at its meeting Wednesday. Currently disabled students cannot access certain academic buildings such as the Languages Building and several East and West campus residence halls, said sophomore Fedja Pavlovic, senator for residential life and dining. Pavlovic proposed a resolution calling for a 100 percent accessible West Campus for students with disabilities by 2022. “This is going to be a long struggle to make the administration make a pledge to support the development of a completely accessible campus,” Pavlovic said. “But this should be a priority.”
4 | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
GLOBAL HEALTH from page 3
of interdisciplinary thinking of global health,” Aunon wrote in an email Tuesday. Seaford noted that the fieldwork requirement of the certificate program contributes largely to the program’s popularity. “Students conduct their own research projects and work with local or international organizations and that gives them a chance to apply the skills they learn in the classroom to a realworld setting,” Seaford said. Graduates noted the impact the program had not only on their Duke experience, but also on their life after graduation. “Participating in the certificate program definitely helped change my way of thinking and approaching problems through the opportunities—both in the classroom and in the field—that I was afforded,” Aunon said. Freifeld said the certificate program helped shape her career path by teaching her about both the basics of global health and refining her interests. “I wouldn’t be where I am today and working in this field without the people I met at the DGHI and the certificate program itself,” Freifeld said. “I came away believing in the power of the individual to make a difference in the world.”
“A lot of people only think of global health as fieldwork or program work, but it’s so much more than that,” she said. “My company is a good example of working in the field in a different way.” Some students also get involved in research or community health after graduation, Seavey said. He added that students draw from diverse backgrounds—representing 25 different majors—which is the primary reason for such vocational diversity. “Students major in various fields, but we’ve seen this unchanging desire from them to work in global health and to serve,” Seavey said. Frances Aunon, Trinity ’10, was a cultural anthropology major and is now a research assistant at the DGHI Center for AIDS Research. “Teasing apart seemingly simple scenarios [during the global health-themed Focus program] and grounding them in such practical, human understanding quickly showed the complexity of the issues at hand and demonstrated the importance
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DSG from page 3 said. Blake has collected over 200 signatures supporting a resolution asking for DSG support of this initiative. Students can also help by providing feedback to the disability management system about problems with current accessibility measures, like handicap push plates or elevators. The Senate approved the resolution unanimously. In other business: Duke University Union requested $10,000 from DSG for a Duke Starter program that would allow students in groups of four or more to create an event open to the student body. DUU, DSG and the student body’s popular vote will determine the winning group, which will then receive a maximum of $15,000 to execute the project. DSG President Pete Schork, a senior, updated the Senate about the University’s new medical withdrawal policies after meeting with Lee Baker, dean of academic affairs for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and associate vice provost for undergraduate education. “Our fear was that students might not know that depending on their situation, they may have multiple options,” Schork said. “When those options arise in legitimate and extreme medical circumstances, we want students to meet with their dean and talk through their options.” Schork said he and Baker decided to change the policy’s language to reflect flexibility for students with extreme medical conditions, Schork said. DSG has closed responses to the house model survey from the Fall and results will be released within the next week, Schork said. A total of 1,139 students participated in the survey—a response rate of about 38 percent. DSG approved a resolution by unanimous consent to hold elections for the Young Trustee Feb. 10.
COMPLAINT from page 1
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Kaveh Danesh, Michael Mandl and Olly Wilson as Young Trustee finalists stands. “I am very happy that the judiciary agreed with me and saw the case how I saw it—that the YTNC did not act in agreement with a bylaw,” Akpaninyie said. “I hope this leads to more transparency in the process so that the community can know what occurs during these closed [YTNC] sessions and for better compliance of the Young Trustee bylaw. This portion of the bylaw had not been followed for a couple of years, but my opinion is that compliance and transparency will lead to greater reform of the process.” Akpaninyie said junior Samantha Lachman, chair of the YTNC, did not hold an information session, which contributed to a rushed Young Trustee selection process. “There was a clear violation of the YT bylaw,” Akpaniniyie said. “It was unfair, and I felt it compromised the process for Young Trustee candidates.” Lachman, a columnist for The Chronicle and contributing writer for Towerview, could not be reached for comment. According to the majority opinion, Lachman argued that the selection processes did not need to follow the exact rules laid out by the bylaw because there were only seven students in the entire candidate pool. The bylaw details a primary listed condition that a pool of at least eight candidates exists, and Lachman argued that this condition was not met. She also argued that an information session was held electronically, because her correspondence with candidates included a statement that candidates could contact her if they had any questions. “The committee also argued that the ‘spirit of the bylaws’ had been entirely satisfied by the actions of the YTNC, and therefore the lack of an information session was legally irrelevant,” the judiciary wrote in the majority opinion. The judiciary also wrote that the YTNC does not have the ability to select which bylaws to follow and added that a digital information session was not sufficient because it did not allow candidates to hear each others’ questions and responses. The YTNC was ultimately found to have violated the bylaw and was ordered to write an apology to the seven Young Trustee candidates and issue a verbal apology at the next DSG Senate meeting. The judiciary, however, found that the finalist selection process was fair. “We came to the result that the selection process was fair, but we think things could have been done better and hence asked for an apology,” said senior Matt Straus, chief justice of the DSG Judiciary.
volume 13 issue 16 january 26, 2012
rather loud and quite close
holdin’ on to black metal
Liturgy follows their polarizing Aesthethica with Coffeehouse concert
CENTER CHELSEA PIERONI/THE CHRONICLE
Gina Carano impresses in Soderbergh’s visceral thriller
cloud nothings indie rockers’ 2nd LP a rewarding jump-shift
Recess talks to the Emmynominated choreographer
theSANDBOX. Old men are the best dancers. Contra dancers, I mean. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me explain: contra dancing is a kind of folk dance that involves music played by a live band and a leader who calls out specific moves. (Think square dancing, but without the country twang.) And though you may not have heard of it, contra dancing is actually quite popular in the Triangle area, with community dances held almost every weekend. Still, I had no idea what to expect when I went contra dancing at the Carrboro Century Center last Friday. I was already disturbed that my friends insisted I wear a long peasant skirt. I was even more alarmed when, upon walking into the dance hall, an older man – probably in his sixties – approached me and asked, “First time?” In a spasm of terror, I could not come up with a response. The man took my hand
and dragged me to the center of the dance hall, which was now crowded with an array of college-aged students and senior citizens alike. The attire in the room consisted of an eclectic variety of skirts and knee length socks, and every pattern that has never been in style was well represented, from paisley to tie-dye. Shoes were apparently optional. All of my instincts told me that this – all of this – was just wrong, but I found myself laughing as my partner took my hand, spinning me in all directions. The dance was complex, involving clapping and switching partners and even some improvisation. And it was actually fun. Next weekend, before you decide to join the amorphous throng of alcohol-induced Party Rockers heading to Shooters, maybe you should consider trying something that goes against the norm. Even if you don’t dance, the people-watching alone will be well worth the trip. —Holly Hilliard
[recesseditors] incredibly close to... Ross Green....................................................................unemployment/alcoholism Matt Barnett................................................................................................sainthood Michaela Dwyer...................................................................................performativity Brian Contratto..............................................................................................celibacy Chris Bassil..............................................................................................the speakers Josh Stillman................................................................................physical perfection Phoebe Long..........................................................................................sisterhood!!! Chelsea Pieroni................................................................................................climax
“GORGEOUSLY WROUGHT AND EMOTIONALLY CHARGED!”
January 26, 2012
he nominations for the 2012 Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday. As always, there were more than a few w puzzling inclusions and exclusions. p Albert Brooks of Drive, for whom a Best Actor nomination was practiccally a foregone conclusion, might be the most entitled to feeling b ssnubbed, but he’s not alone. Micchael Fassbender is probably the llatest victim of the Academy’s penis-envy vengeance; Patton Oswalt n probably never had a chance in p tthe first place, because he’s Patton Oswalt. Lars von Trier’s magnificent O Melancholia was somehow deemed M unworthy of a Best Picture nomination, even though the number of nominees appears to be completely arbitrary; I’m going to pretend that the Academy got that film’s approaching planet confused with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, an extremely average film that, incredibly, managed to find its way onto the ballot (we invite you to read our very own two-star review of that unexceptional piece of cinema over at our Playground blog). I’d use more column space to complain, but this kind of stuff happens every year. I’ve got a soft spot for the Oscars: my mom loves them, and I’ve been watching them with her since I can remember, and it’s one of those really heartwarming mother-son traditions (and not anything like Motherboy) that gives me some psychic atonement for being a cynical a******e the rest of the time. And, as awards shows go, Oscar is a decidedly more meritbased prize than, say, the gilded gramophone. This year, the Grammys decided that Bruno Mars’ Doo-Wops and Hooligans was deserving of being considered for Album of the Year, but that Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted
Fantasy was not, which, if ever there was an appropriate moment for one of Kanye’s awards show freakouts, this is it. That may be some consolation, but it’s not exactly high praise for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Oscars, in fact, have a lot in common with the Republican debates we’ve seen over the past few months: both are amusing and sometimes horrifying mixtures of politics and performance art (though the latter may be in shorter supply without Rick Perry around). There’s little to suggest that the Academy’s voting procedures do anything to guarantee that the most deserving films are even nominated. But even if we happened to create the perfect awards show, the one that really did privilege depth and beauty and creativity and all the other things we want out of music and film— even if we had such a thing, isn’t there something a little absurd about the idea of holding a competition between works of art that have completely divergent purposes? Cinema isn’t the same as sports. It makes sense for Lebron JamesandKevinDuranttocompetefortheNBA championship, because each have the same ultimate goal: to make as many shots on a tenfoot goal as possible while preventing their opponents from doing so as often as possible. The same cannot be said about the The Tree of Life, which seeks to explain the origin and meaning of life itself, and The Help, which seeks to ease white people’s guilt. Justin Vernon, who this year made a wonderful album as Bon Iver and was actually nominated for a Grammy, was once asked about his hypothetical acceptance speech. His response: “Everyone should go home, this is ridiculous. You should not be doing this. We should not be gathering in a big room and looking at each other and pretending this is important.” —Ross Green
- The New York Times
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January 26, 2012
Cloud Nothings ATTACK ON MEMORY CARPARK
DIR. STEVEN SODERBERGH RELATIVITY MEDIA
CLAUDETTE BARIUS/SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
JIRI HANZI/SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
DIR. ANTHONY HEMINGWAY 20TH CENTURY FOX
I’m tempted to forego a review of Red Tails and just publish the screenplay. “My God! These pilots are African!” “They’re giving up glory to save us!” Should I go on? I won’t, for your sake, but just to be clear: the dialogue in this movie sucks. Like, really sucks. For whatever reason, the writers assume their audience possesses a collective IQ of 49 and consequently feel the need to spell out everything occurring on the screen. White soldiers explain that they don’t trust the black pilots; Nazis exist as evil caricatures muttering evil-sounding German phrases; and Terrence Howard all but narrates the story’s themes with a sense of cloying, Oscar-baiting melodrama that verges on comedy. It all comes off as stupid and extremely unnatural. And maybe it would make sense to be so heavy-handed if the plot— Oh wait, the plot. To even use the term implies narrative structure, things like conflict and climax and resolution. So instead we’ll use “loose collection of one-note characters partaking in a series of unrelated events.” You’ve got a lovable but troubled group of black pilots bound and determined to prove themselves to a white army that undervalues them, and…well, that’s it, really. Director Anthony Hemingway constructs the movie like it’s a sequence of episodes in a TV series—which is natural, seeing as his only prior directing experience is in television. It’s as though he shot three separate episodes, each with their own negligible conflicts and subplots, and then slapped them together for a feature. The lack of a cohesive storyline is glaringly obvious, and frankly insulting. The real story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American pilots in the armed forces, who overcame systematized segregation and logged a nearly perfect escort record, is actually immensely compelling. So much could have, and should have, been done with a film to pay homage to them. What they got instead was made-for-TV drivel that makes a mockery of their legacy. Seriously, if you’re looking for a moving account of the real Red Tails, save your $8.50 and read the Wikipedia page. —Josh Stillman
The snow lays thick on the roadside by a small diner in upstate New York. A young man walks in and sits down to talk to a dark-haired young woman in the corner table. She watches him carefully until he tosses coffee in her eyes and assaults her. That’s when she strikes back. The results of the conflict leave the man crumpled on the floor, send the woman speeding through the woods with a newfound friend in a borrowed car and propel the narrative of Haywire forward with muscular tension. The woman who drives this eminently satisfying new film from director Steven Soderbergh is Mallory Kane, an ex-marine now employed in her ex-boyfriend’s private contracting unit of spooks who take care of jobs that the US government would rather not be connected to, jobs that require a proficiency in gunplay, hand-to-hand combat and moving stylishly through European cities. She does her job quickly and efficiently, until she finds herself betrayed and has to set the record straight. Mallory is a woman who makes the first move. She relaxes with wine and gun maintenance. She can wither a coworker’s callous remark with a quick stony glance. As she remarks about playing a wife in a mission with a new co-worker, “I don’t know how to play that. I don’t wear the dress—make Paul wear the dress.” Lead actress Gina Carano brings to the table a short filmography but a long career of mixed-martial arts and kickboxing victories. This experience imbues a hearty and authentic physicality to her realization of Mallory. The fight scenes really crunch; instead of the quick cuts and shaky camera movements that have proliferated in thrillers since Jason Bourne, this film shows you the fights with enough space to observe the intricate tactical flow of punches and kicks, with the systematic destruction of hotel furniture thrown in for good measure. Furthermore, the action advances our understandings of the characters. When Mallory chases a “loose end” through the streets of Barcelona, she doesn’t stop or dodge to avoid an oncoming car—she simply vaults over the hood. Haywire proves particularly rewarding when compared to the usual roles of women in spy movies. Instead of pursuing an existence solely directed at jumping into bed with James Bond, Mallory shows us what a smart, tough and eminently capable female operative looks like. Perhaps her wardrobe throughout the film reveals a bit too much of her curves to fully avoid the Bond-girl aesthetic, but her ability to out-punch, outsmart or generally out-badass a compelling cast of Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Michael Douglas and others may signify Soderbergh’s attempt to nudge the gender politics of the spy genre in the right direction. Let’s hope audiences, and, therefore, Hollywood, take notice. —Julian Spector
Cloud Nothings storm back on their third LP Attack on Memory with a renewed sound and musical swagger that belies lead member Dylan Baldi’s sole 20 years of existence. A clear departure from their previous effort’s jangly, sprightly garage punk, the band suffuses their instruments with the heavy soul of Black Sabbath and a lyrical tightness intentionally akin to the seminal punk band the Wipers. A dense, depressing tone pervades the album and is evident from the opening track “No Future/No Past.” The lyrics consist of only 11 different words but the repetition of “No future/ No past” evokes a pained presence that expresses a despondent attitude toward impermanence. They then follow up with an even greater departure, the sprawling nine-minute masterpiece, “Wasted Days.” The track interrupts their typical punk economy with a novel four minute instrumental piece comprised of a metallic guitar and creeping drum combo that develops and crescendoes before Baldi screams back to consciousness. Their satisfying forays into melodious instrumental rock is reiterated on “Separation,” a punchy and intense interlude that underscores the lyrical pathos found throughout the album on ironically-titled tracks like “No Sentiment.” An angry but meticulously arranged effort, the song sees Baldi overlay his growling guitar with a series of heated barbs— “Attack on memory/ No easy way out/ No nostalgia/ No sentiment.” For such a young band to change their sound so dramatically is a bold and often costly move. However, by retaining the catchy noise-punk core that initially ingratiated listeners and then permeating it with a metalesque essence, Attack on Memory reinvents and catapults the Cleveland band’s presence into the forefront of any discerning rock fan’s to-watch list. —Derek Saffe
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January 26, 2012
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
Black metal innovators Liturgy to play at Duke Coffeehouse by Dan Fishman THE CHRONICLE
On Feb. 1, the Duke Coffeehouse welcomes Brooklyn black metal band Liturgy for a performance that may well cause James Buchanan Duke to roll in his grave. Without question, the Methodist forefather of Duke University would have qualms with black metal, a genre often associated with the murders and church-burnings of its Norwegian pioneers. But among black metal bands, Liturgy might be least conflicted with Duke’s institutional values. With the band’s cross-disciplinary mindset, Liturgy sheds both the grisly black-and-white face paint and the cult mentality of most black metal bands. Whereas black metal musicians tend to ignore other genres, Liturgy guitarist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix welcomes lessons from post-minimalist rock, medieval chants, even techno and hip-hop. “Liturgy understands the sound of traditional black metal, and they can play it,” said Grayson Currin, music editor of the Independent Weekly and writer for Pitchfork. “But black metal can sometimes be tedious—bands grinding away at one idea for an hour. Liturgy builds tension like a post-rock or math-rock band, and that tension is missing from a lot of black metal.” “It’s not really a matter of trying to bring outside influences into black metal” Hunter-Hendrix said. “I want to make music that incorporates all of the things that I love. Black metal becomes the container in which I express that sound.” Liturgy’s genre-blurring approach is often controversial. Orthodox members of the black metal community call the Brooklyn group pretentious. Others call Liturgy the hipster’s black metal band. But Liturgy’s music has found acclaim in prominent sources. The New York Times has written a piece about the band. Pitchfork gave Aesthethica a glowing review, and SPIN ranked the band’s 2011 album number 24 on their year’s best list. “Blogs are letting college students know about a band and a genre that many would not otherwise access,” said Adelyn Wyngaarden, booking manager of Duke’s Coffeehouse.
The Coffeehouse concert will be without drummer Greg Fox, who left the band in October. Fox had a vital role in Aesthethica—performing Liturgy’s major stylistic innovation, the burst beat—but Hunt-Hendrix expects the band to progress without him. “In the past two records, we pushed Greg Fox to do some awesome stuff—definitely on the outer limits of what a human can do on the drums” Hunt-Hendrix said. “But the burst beat is always something I thought it would be impossible for a living drummer to do. With a burst beat, beat transforms and becomes pitch. Accelerate a beat at a certain frequency and tone becomes introduced. That’s not something any drummer can ever do.” On Feb. 1, and throughout Liturgy’s upcoming tour with headliners Sleigh Bells and Diplo, Liturgy will perform with two guitarists. The lack of a live drummer should change the dynamic of their performance. “This tour will have a totally different arrangement: electronic [drums] and guitar” Hunt-Hendrix said. “There will be material from the last record, but it has been reformatted as a sort of tribute [to Aesthethica].” “It is a really gutsy move to go out on their most high profile tour as a duo,” Currin said. “That’s perfect Liturgy. Metal fans might find it weird. But they are okay saying, ‘Let’s just be this noisy guitar duo.’ Liturgy makes unexpected moves, and it is fun to watch.” Touring with Diplo and Sleigh Bells should allow Liturgy to access audiences even further outside the traditional black metal community. “Playing for an audience outside the black metal community is nothing new for us,” Hunt-Hendrix said. “But we have never performed for people this far outside the black metal community.” At the Coffeehouse, Liturgy will perform for students who have little experience with black metal. “Liturgy is the first black metal band to perform here,” said Wyngaarden. “Other metal bands have played, but black metal is something that Duke has not had an opportunity to see.”
January 26, 2012
& Incredibly McCombs
JOSH STILLMAN/THE CHRONICLE
Review: McCombs’ folk lends itself well to Saxaphaw venue by Brian Contratto THE CHRONICLE
Saxapahaw—emphasis on the first syllable—is one of those towns with an apparently comprehensive single website. The kind a realtor probably made, that advertises its quaint farmer’s markets and “cottages for rent.” The River Mill Village, a complex beautifully converted to commercial and residential use, sticks out from its one-horse town surroundings with an eerie, Lynchian aura—the building looks lifted from the set of Twin Peaks. I used press passes to bribe a driver for the 50 minute trek from Durham this past Friday, to see Cass McCombs. The singer-songwriter had a fairly attention-grabbing year (compared to his relatively obscure stature in years past) with the release of two excellent albums marked by unsettling ambivalence. McCombs takes a while to sink in, but when he does, he sticks like a crooked shank in the gut. The show started about an hour later than originally slated, giving us the chance for ample time in the Eddy Pub, upstairs from the Ballroom. From the outside it looked promising and after an hour mixing among white-haired patrons, middle schoolers in Hot Topic garb and everyone in between, it left an impression as one of the coolest bars I’ve visited in North Carolina. For 45 minutes, we camped out on some benches with our local draughts, transfixed by a three-piece ensemble fronted by a pretty woman singing in Portugese and playing musical saw and accordion, among other instruments. The venue was only filled to one-third its capacity, which made for easy migration to front-and-center. Of course, it’s not a venue easily stumbled upon, at 30 miles from Durham and 17 from Chapel Hill—and several of those down Highway 54, a slightly terrifying venture in the nighttime rain and fog, but
reportedly beautiful in daylight. But its stature’s growing. The Mountain Goats show coming to the Haw River Ballroom a week from Saturday has already sold out, and Megafaun’s April 14 show will likely draw well too, thanks in part to the town’s recent, credit-boosting write-up in the New York Times travel section. Frank Fairfield opened the show with an hour-long solo set of American Folk Anthology-type tracks centered by his excellent banjo picking and distinguished moustache. My fellow concertgoers were unacquainted with McCombs, which was somewhat concerning. It can be hard to enjoy concerts listened to with “worried ears,” the kind of scrutinizing paranoia one gets that a companion listener won’t appreciate one of your favorite artists. McCombs’ music could fall prey to this phenomenon; on record, his music is classical, understated, and full of sardonic poetry and humor that takes more than a few listens to fully understand, let alone appreciate. Fortunately, everything in his arsenal was made more vibrant in the Haw River Ballroom—and what we witnessed was “The Cass McCombs Band,” not a one-man show. The music lulled the crowd into a hypnagogic hush that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but admiration. He pulled most of his material from his pair of 2011 releases and performed highlights like “Robin Egg Blue” and “County Line” fairly faithfully to the recorded versions. Disappointingly, “AIDS in Africa” and “You Saved My Life,” two of his most staggeringly depressive songs, were left out—lying in wait, I’d hoped, for a spellbinding encore that never materialized. The too-soon ending was obviously lost on the McCombs newcomers, but general consensus was that we’d get ourselves back to Saxapahaw on the next promise of the magic mix of singular sound and place.
Recess Interviews: dancer/ choreographer Jeffrey Page by Michaela Dwyer THE CHRONICLE
Jeffrey Page is an Emmy-nominated choreographer whose work, which blends African, hip-hop, funk, soul and jazz dance styles has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance?, The Beyoncé Experience Tour and the MTV’s Video Music Awards, among other television programs. This month, Page will visit Duke to create a new piece for the African Dance Repertory class, which will be performed at Choreolab, the Dance Program’s mainstage spring production, on April 21 and 22. Recess’ Michaela Dwyer chatted with Page, hoping to hone in on his choreographic approach, which actress, dancer, choreographer and Fame star Debbie Allen called “so pure and so authentic.”
Recess: How did you first get involved with dance, and why? Jeffrey Page: I grew up in it. I’m a child of the hip-hop era. I grew up listening to the likes of M.C. Hammer and Salt ‘n’ Pepa and…my mother playing Marvin Gaye…you can’t help but dance [to that music]. I remember when I was about 10, I saw a placard on the street that [advertised] tryouts for a pop dance troupe. I was the only boy in the group. I went from baseball and football and basketball practice to dance class. It became this relentless urge for me to dance and it just got stronger and stronger, and then I learned that I could actually make a career out of it. R: In addition to dance, you’re involved in theater, music and film. Do you find you ‘turn off’ other disciplines
January 26, 2012
to work in some fields, or do the influences blend through all of your work? JP: I guess the way my brain works is I don’t see them as different—I see them as dance. As human beings, we have so many shades of coloring. I see extreme beauty in ballet and modern, I see power in jazz and hip-hop, and I don’t think that any of those styles is any lesser than another. For me, it’s just about language and what word I want to use to express my feelings at this particular point in time. One particular texture will hit the spot moreso than another when you’re talking about emotion and feeling. It’s not categories of ‘greater than’ or ‘lesser than’…the decision is moreso do I wanna use a little cinnamon, or a little sage or clove or basil. That’s how I think of it. The more seasonings and herbs I have to work with, the deeper and more complex my overall piece will be. I’m always hoping to learn what other people and cultures see as beautiful…I wanna understand it and see it as beautiful too. If one person does, it must be. R: You’ve been to West Africa several times to conduct anthropological research. Could you speak a little bit about how those projects have informed your movement? JP: I think that [my involvement in traveling and research] would be absolutely irrelevant if I didn’t have a basis of hip-hop and soul…walking down the street in Harlem and seeing a girl jump double-dutch at recess, hearing the rhythms… …it makes me want to research African culture and idioms and music, dance and folklore in a vigorous way. I have this philosophy that tradition is nothing without evolution. I was at a naming ceremony [while in Africa] and there was a saxophone playing…I thought, ‘what is that doing here?’ I learned that [the masters of ceremony] were inspired by John Coltrane in A Love Supreme and they thought his composition was this divine piece that motivated the spirit of God…[with experiences like this] you start to see how tradition is pushed by evolution. R: You’ve worked with a lot of glitzy programs: So You Think You Can Dance, Beyonce’s tour, MTV’s VMAs. Do you find you have to adapt your movement in certain ways to these programs—do certain stipulations of these more commercial ventures change the way you think about and formulate choreography, or your artistic philosophy in general? JP: Art is something that is self-imposed. As an artist, you have something you feel is beautiful—this selfish drive to show everyone else, or you really don’t care, you just wanna get it out of your system. Art isn’t necessarily for show. Entertainment is different. I create something based on what the audience will need. I think that without the entertainers, like Beyoncé, in the world—how would audiences be able to laugh, to cry? I don’t think you approach entertainment with the mindset of an artist. When I’m entertaining, I’m absolutely selfless. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with my viewers. It’s been a few years since I’ve been able to focus on my art. That’s why I’m really looking forward to coming to Duke and creating art. I spend my time in other people’s heads so much that I miss being inside of my own head. But I think that there is a beauty and high craft in both [art and entertainment].
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
>> BLUE ZONE
THURSDAY January 26, 2012
Learn more about Nike’s Hyper Elite Platinum jerseys made for the Blue Devils. Read Mike Krzyzewski’s message to the Cameron Crazies from Maryland.
Go-to scorers emerge at Comcast Center Plumlee, Kelly and Rivers rise to the occasion during key moments in the second half by Jacob Levitt THE CHRONICLE
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — On a night Maryland honored former head coach Gary Williams and his Terrapin teams of the past, Austin Rivers did his best impression of J.J. Redick, glowering at the crowd after a finger roll in the second half. Unlike Redick’s outstanding nights against the Terrapins, however, Rivers’ did not lead to eye-popping statistics. But every time Maryland made a play to bring the crowd back into the game Game in the second half, Rivers responded in Sometimes it was with a shot, but Analysis kind. other times it was a deflection or a rebound. Rivers’ five boards were second only to Mason Plumlee’s 12. Rivers’ performance in the second half was particularly notable given his first-half struggles. At the break, Rivers was 1-for-6 from the field, and his two assists were offset by three turnovers. In the second half, Rivers shot 4-for-6 from the field and avoided costly mistakes. “I thought it was a big game for Austin,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Austin had a tough first half, but in the second half he gave us a lead with a couple drives.” All of his points, and his second-half assist, came in a seven-minute stretch during which the game was decided. During Duke’s 19-9 run during that period, Rivers either scored or assisted on 10 of the team’s points. “[Rivers] got some easy layups, and that helped him be a better playmaker,” Seth Curry said. “He was able to find some big men rolling to the rim, and when he’s playing like that he’s real tough to guard.” Although Rivers carried the team through a crucial sec-
“I thought it was a big game for Austin.... In the second half he gave us a lead with a couple drives.” — head coach Mike Krzyzewski ond-half stretch, the Blue Devils relied on Ryan Kelly to get them out of a hole in the first half. With just a little more than 13 minutes remaining in the first half, Maryland held an 18-10 lead, its biggest of the game. But Ryan Kelly made several huge plays, drawing Terrapin center Alex Len’s second foul and then hitting two free throws. He hit a 3-pointer on the next possession and contributed seven points to a 9-4 run. “I just have to be aggressive,” Kelly said. “At times I don’t think I’ve been as aggressive as I needed to be this year, especially leading up to Florida State.” Those points would be his only scores of the half, but, combined with a series of three blocks in 90 seconds, gave Duke momentum and prevented the Terrapin faithful from reaching a fever pitch. That ability to dominate games—even briefly—is crucial for a Duke team that has been looking for a go-to player in the clutch. Tonight, Kelly put in an extraordinary bid to be the player that picks up the Blue Devils when they most need a play. As Krzyzewski pointed out after the game, the season is more than halfway done and Duke needs its leaders to be at their best every game. Wednesday, both Rivers and Kelly showed that they have the potential to be the leaders the Blue Devils have searched for all season.
MARGIE TRUWIT/THE CHRONICLE
Mason Plumlee was dominant against the Terrapins, controlling the interior en route to a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds.
6 | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
M. BASKETBALL from page 1 to secure a 74-61 win Wednesday night. The Terrapins (12-7, 2-3) and their crowd were raucous as the Comcast Center floor was christened “Gary Williams Court” during a pregame ceremony, but neither could sustain that emotion through a full 40 minutes. “We started playing better defense in the last 10 minutes of the first half… but they knocked us back again,” Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We were like a veteran team for a lot of tonight’s game.” Duke struggled defensively against a team Krzyzewski deemed “more athletic” then his from the start. Maryland claimed an eight-point lead seven minutes into the contest on the backs of frontcourt teammates James Padgett and Ashton Pankey, both of whom benefitted from a pick-androll game that flummoxed the Blue Devils. The Terrapin lead never exceeded that margin, though, thanks to a career performance from Mason Plumlee. The junior was the focal point of the Blue Devil offense from the start, scoring six of Duke’s first eight points with an array of post moves and showing an assertiveness he lacked in Saturday’s loss to Florida State. “The coaches showed a lot of confidence in me,” Plumlee said. “They knew I struggled last game, so they came to me early and often. That shows a lot of confidence in you and shows that they need you. That helped me out a lot.” Plumlee finished the game with 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting, including a perfect 5-for-5 performance from the free throw line, while adding 12 rebounds and four assists. Twelve of his points came in the first 20 minutes, helping Duke to a 16-9 run that gave it a three-point halftime lead.
“I think he was really determined,” Krzyzewski said of Plumlee. “The last couple games he came up to us and said, ‘I’m not playing well. I need to play better.’ When guys do that, usually something good happens.” But Plumlee’s dominance was not enough to put away the persistent Terrapins, who kept the Duke lead to single digits for the vast majority of the second half. When Kelly, who finished the night with 14 points of his own on 5-of-7 shooting, made a jumper to put the Blue Devils up nine with 8:48 to go, all signs pointed to a closing Duke run. But out of a timeout, Terrell Stoglin, who led Maryland with 16 points, made a free throw, followed by a Pankey offensive rebound. The ball went out to Nick Faust, whose 3-pointer from the corner bounced high off the nearside rim before swishing through the net. Down the stretch, though, the Blue Devils were able to make the necessary hustle plays to close out the game. With just over five minutes to go, Plumlee missed a running hook, but immediately reversed direction and dove for his offensive rebound, drawing a foul in the process. That hustle led to an eventual layup for Plumlee to put Duke back up eight. “Mason was spectacular tonight, but I thought his best play was when he got that loose ball,” Krzyzewski said. Then, just over a minute later, Austin Rivers put up a floater that missed badly. But the freshman dived after his own miss and tapped it out to Curry, allowing the Blue Devils to burn through another 35-second shot clock. “We were getting all the loose balls,” Kelly said. “We’re becoming a team that’s willing to put our body on the line.” In an environment that seemed ripe for a court-storming upset, Duke needed every basket from Plumlee and every loose ball to stem the tide of emotion inside the Comcast Center. Persistence, it seems, paid off in the end.
MARGIE TRUWIT/THE CHRONICLE
Overcoming a poor first half, Austin Rivers spurred the Blue Devils to a key second-half run that kept the surging Terrapins at bay.
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Students of all majors are invited to an information meeting for the summer Duke in Geneva program on Thursday, January 26 at 6 pm, in Languages 109. This program offers credit in Philosophy, Political Science, Public Policy, and MMS. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Application deadline: February 1. See the Global Education Office for Undergraduates website at studybroad. duke.edu for more details.
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RESEARCH STUDIES PARTICIPANTS ARE NEEDED for studies of visual and hearing function using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These studies are conducted at the Brain Imaging and Analysis Center (BIAC) at Duke University Medical Center. Participants should be 18 years or older and should have no history of brain injury or disease. Most studies last between 1-2 hours, and participants are paid approximately $20/hr. Please contact the BIAC volunteer coordinator at 6819344 or email@example.com. edu for additional information. You can also visit our website at www.biac.duke.edu.
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THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012 | 7
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The Independent Daily at Duke University
8 | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
Mudville gets a life For more than a decade, To be sure, we should apDuke students have done the proach these statistics with impossible: maintained our caution. There are good famed obsession with men’s reasons attendance might basketball while strengthen- flag. Some of this season’s ing our academic commit- biggest games have hapments yearpened in Madeditorial by-year. But as ison Square student attenGarden and dance at men’s games has not in Cameron, which fallen for the fifth season in bodes well for ticket sales a row—undergraduate atten- but not for student attendance now averages 650 per dance. And the myth that game, only slightly more than student seats in Cameron half of student section capac- are hard to get is self-perity—we must reckon with the petuating: When students possibility that Duke is los- don’t show up, athletics ing its unique character as a staff sells more student top-ten university with a team seats and, when students worthy of a genuine sports do show up, they come to school. If student interest in find student seats sold to athletics is genuinely waning, paying customers. we need to re-evaluate why Students subsidize Uniwe spend so much academic versity athletics—the Univermoney on big-time sports. sity central fund forked over
Welcome Fratstars of the future. —“yesnomaybe” commenting on the story “IFC extends 382 bids to 247 rushees.” See more at www.dukechronicle.com.
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$14.3 million to athletics last year—partly so they can enjoy big-time college sports. If students find games unappealing for structural reasons—the weaker schedule, the canned cheers on the scoreboard and the now infamous noise meter—athletics needs to step up. They can start by introducing a more exciting home schedule, instead of holding some of the biggest games in Madison Square Garden, as they did with Michigan State. At the same time, these numbers do point to a deeper trend—student attendance at home games has continued to decline even after Duke won the national championship in 2010. Starting in 2010, DukeEngage surpassed basketball as prospective students’ primary reason for applying
to the University. Indeed, as the University has become increasingly selective in admissions, it follows that fewer students feel they can spare precious time and energy on attending games. Whereas standing in the cold for hours to get into a game used to be a point of pride for Duke fans, for many, it is now too high a price to pay. Why forgo homework and club meetings when the game can be streamed straight to your laptop? If Duke students feel that athletics is a genuinely integral part of what Duke is, then subsidizing athletic expenses makes sense. Indeed, student interest is a necessary justification for a subsidy that inevitably detracts from the University’s academic prowess. But this also means that
trailing student interests calls for a decreased athletics subsidy. If Duke cares less about athletics, that’s fine: We have plenty else to spend time and money and on. Even the Duke Atheltics’ 2008 strategic acknowledged that a $15 million subsidy—double what it was in 2008—should be short-lived: “Increasing the yearly subsidy from central funds to $15 million—while a viable shortterm solution—is undesirable in the long term.” Let’s see what happens to student interest when the Blue Devils have an exciting home schedule (in Durham, not New York). But if the Crazies are a dying breed, so be it. Sam Davis, a line monitor, recused himself from this editorial.
Elizabeth Warren for president
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’m bored with the 2012 election already. taught law at Harvard for almost 20 years and has Even as Republicans keep on saying hilari- published nationally best-selling books. She’s been ously insensitive or downright offensive things honored with Harvard teaching awards (plural) and (Romney calls $374,000 in speaking by the Massachusetts Women’s Bar fees “not much,” Santorum would Association. In short, she’s a badass. counsel his daughter to keep the Of course, the entire premise of child even if she were raped, Gingthis column is nonsensical. I realrich just keeps on being Gingrich), ize I’m enthusing about a potential I find myself not that entertained. presidential candidate who hasn’t Republican debate drinking games even won her Senate seat or served have lost their appeal; taking a shot in Congress. And yet, why not? for every mention of Reagan or We elected President Obama besamantha ObamaCare gets boring. cause he was “change we could beEven the events that would be big lieve in.” He’s done some incredible lachman surprises have somehow lost their what’s our age again? things. I like the withdrawal from punch. Santorum actually won Iowa, Iraq, the passage of the Patient ProGingrich pulls off an upset in South tection and Affordable Care Act, the Carolina—big deal. Perhaps news has a shorter repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the Lily-Ledbetter shelf-life as a result of 24-hour media saturation. Fair Pay, Matthew Shepard and Dodd-Frank Acts, the Increasingly, The New York Times, The Huffing- end of the use of water-boarding and the approval of ton Post and Politico simultaneously report the same-sex partner benefits for federal employees. same information. These are all promising developments, but there’s I’ve had a political crush for a while, but it’s time still a lot that Obama needs to accomplish. There reI got explicit: I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren. main big things to be done in his (fingers-crossed, The irony is that she almost wasn’t a candidate please let the nominee be Gingrich) second term. for any political office. Warren, the architect and But in the interim, can’t a woman daydream a little? advisor of the Consumer Financial Protection BuNate Silver of The New York Times’ FiveThirreau, was passed over by Obama to lead the agency tyEight blog took the words out of my mouth on Jan. she conceptualized. The Bureau was the product 19 when he tweeted “Can we make Elizabeth Warren of 2010’s Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform vs. Scott Brown be the presidential race and let these legislation. Its purpose is to prevent financial in- dudes and Obama run for senate?” Just this past stitutions from taking advantage of and deceiving Tuesday, Warren and Brown agreed to an anti-Super consumers. Democrats feared that Republicans in PAC pledge (you may have heard of Super PACs— Congress would block her nomination—a strong they’re what Colbert has been satirizing of late). advocate for ordinary Americans could never lead Warren and Brown have chosen to reject the the bureau that Republicans and financial institu- “corporations are people” concept articulated by tions didn’t want to exist. Romney and legitimized by the Supreme Court’s Obama chose Warren as the Interim Director, Citizens United decision. The two candidates have but he ultimately nominated Richard Cordray to made a deal that for every third-party (e.g. Super lead the agency. When Republicans made it clear PAC) ad buy, half of the money will be donated they would still block Cordray’s nomination, Presi- to the opposing candidate’s charity of choice. It’s dent Obama got him in as a recess appointment. intended to disincentivise third-party ads in MasSo, after much encouragement, Warren decided sachusetts…. We’ll see what happens. to run for the Senate seat formerly held by Ted KenElizabeth Warren would be an incredible presinedy and currently held by Senator Scott Brown. dential candidate: She’s brilliant, well spoken and I get chills when I read Warren’s biography, has inspired real financial changes by fighting for and let me explain why. Americans. She has the fundraising capabilities Republicans are painting her as an “elitist,” but (her Jan. 19 “money bomb” raised more than a she’s not one whatsoever. Yes, she is a Harvard Law million in a single day) and a compelling personal professor, but she worked her way to this position history. She is change we can believe in, and I want based on sheer brainpower and determination. it, now. Go creep videos of her on YouTube (she Born in Oklahoma to a janitor and Sunday school was on “The Daily Show” on Tuesday) and sign up teacher, she waited tables and won a debate schol- for her campaign’s emails. I promise you’ll develarship to attend college. op the same political crush. To me, the most inspiring part of the whole story is that she put herself through Rutgers Law as a Samantha Lachman is a Trinity junior. Her column new mother (she had her first child at 22). She has runs every other Thursday.
EDITOR’S NOTE The Chronicle is accepting remembrances of Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans. Please send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday, Jan. 29, at 2 p.m. Remembrances will be published Monday, Jan. 30.
have a student, we will call him “Z,” who is 14 years old and about to fail the sixth grade for the third time. He is one of the few students with perfect attendance this school year, and he stays after school every day to help his teachers clean their rooms for the next day. Yet, Z’s school routine is one dominated by defeat. He comes to class and puts his head down, refuses to do work and spends the few minpriya bhat utes he is awake coming up life as ms. b. with a wide variety of excuses to leave class: “I need to go to the bathroom. I need to get a drink of water. I need to wash my hands. I need to go see the guidance counselor. I need to call my mom. I need to go to the nurse.” The list goes on. As a result of his lack of motivation in class, he is the first and only one of my students to achieve an F in my class for the first semester, and a glance at his report card shows that his behavior in his other classes has resulted in similar poor grades. If Z keeps up his current trend, he will not graduate middle school until he is 17, and, if he does not drop out before then, will not graduate high school until he is 21. In education, we would call Z’s behavior characteristic of a victim of learned helplessness, a theory developed from a psychological experiment performed in the late 1960s. In the original experiment, researchers repeatedly treated a dog with an unavoidable negative stimulus. The dog eventually learned that fighting the stimulus was hopeless, so even when an opportunity to escape the stimuli presented itself, the dog’s “learned helplessness” prevented it from taking any action. Z views school in the same manner as the dog in the experiment. Frequently faced with material he believes is over his head, Z has stopped trying in all of his classes. He still comes to school and socializes with his friends, but he believes the possibility of him learning is so slim that he has given up altogether in school. If you do not try, you cannot be upset at your bad grades, right? Scarily for me, Z was only one of 47 students in my class with a D or an F last semester. To say that a little less than half of my students were, in essence, failing my class, meant that, for the entirety of first semester, I had a large portion of my students leaving my class every day feeling like a failure. Having students come to class and consistently fail the material I put in front of them often had me leaving my job feeling like a failure as well. What does it take to motivate a student who has been told for almost their entire life that they cannot excel in school? In my thus-far brief tenure as a teacher (which, as my roommate reminds me, has been 100 days as of yesterday), giving out mass amounts of Chester’s Hot Fries is the closest I have come to a solution. While I ultimately do not have any fail-safe means of motivating my students to invest themselves in sixth grade math, what I can say is that, for those students that you can wrest out of their bindings of helplessness, hold on tight. I have another student, whom we will call “C,” who started off the year by throwing tantrums every day in my classroom when I asked him to participate. He would wander into class—always 10 minutes late—put his head down, and pretend not to hear me when I asked him about his lack of effort. On occasions when he was not ignoring my existence, C would become violent toward my attempts to engage him in the lesson. My principal frequently reminds me that middle school students are much bigger than they used to be, a fact that C always reminded me of when he tried to chuck his desk at me for making him do work. Despite our rough start, somewhere along the way, C connected to something that was going on in my class, and 100 school days and many tantrums later, C now makes a point of running into my classroom, always out of breath and two minutes early to give me a hug and a smile about how excited he is to be in my class and learn math that day. I cannot ensure that all of my students will become the success stories that C has become, but I will take it day-by-day, relentless failure by relentless failure. Ultimately, if I were to allow my own failures as their teacher continually tear me down, the way interacting with school has torn down the motivation of my learned-helplessness students, then I would be complicit in the destruction of their futures. Priya Bhat, Trinity ’11, is currently teaching sixth grade math with Teach for America in St. Louis, Mo.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012 | 9
The econometrics of Rwandan pear blossoms
enius glinted off every sentence she wrote. A we should take anyone’s words at face value. Apparently sophomore in my first class at Duke University white males at Duke once devoted to econ and engineerin the Spring of 1991, she sat in my office three ing in high school mostly cling to their calculators, dehours each week, both wrists wrapped in spite this claim that “the average student bandages; we rarely spoke of that. She finds engineering the most challengtim tyson read to me from her stories; I read to her ing field, followed by economics.” Lessfrom Zora Neale Hurston. A natural-born average students might diagnose lack of guest column English major, she majored in econ, for curiosity or fear of the unfamiliar. But to which she cared not a fig. Her tyrannical explain would require individual inquiry; father refused to pay tuition for any major but econ. we would have to check our assumptions, not just boxes Hospital gauze hid the wounds of her war with him. on a questionnaire. Neither God in Her Divine Wisdom I thought about her as I read the study by Peter Ar- nor our destiny as a species would make us all engineers cidiacono and Kenneth Spenner, who insist that black or economists; to major in econ when poetry holds your students at Duke remain less well-prepared than their heart defines failure, not success. Is it possible that black white counterparts. Evidence that black students catch students, each one unique, on the whole come from culup quickly is mistaken, they say; the mirage of their tural and intellectual traditions different than—not less progress reflects that blacks select “less demanding” than—most white students at Duke? majors at far higher rates than whites. Econ majors in my seminars complain of the stagBlack undergrads here are fodder for this attack on gering amounts of reading. And the paucity of “right affirmative action and liberal arts. “What Happens After answers” in history, literature and theology intimidates Enrollment” is a political tract disguised as scholarly in- many, though they catch up quickly. Once they stop quiry. Arcidiacono speculates disingenuously that all the inhaling the economist’s elixir—the hokum that crazy attention might be “because others are using the study in humanity is a profit-maximizing choice-machine—peoa lawsuit against racial preferences in admissions.” How ple often blossom in sunlight. can “others” use his unpublished work without him? I have watched fire seize the minds of erstwhile engiHow can a Duke professor be “very surprised” that the neers, causing bad grades—in economics. They just can’t newspapers follow a racially-loaded U.S. Supreme Court “value-maximize” anymore, not when drunk on James case? History, anyone? Who appointed him to weigh the Baldwin and James Brown. If you want a “more challengmerits of black folks being allowed into the room? ing” major, get entangled in Ellison’s “blues impulse” No one disputes the academic freedom of these pro- and trace the dust tracks from Bethlehem to Rwanda; fessors to engage in politics around their own points of “finger the jagged grain” of humanity, sharp with our view; Duke’s treasure, the late Dr. John Hope Franklin, “myriad subtleties.” Sit on the steps of Atlanta University whose legacy Arcidiacono treads upon, provided re- with Du Bois, shotgun cradled on his lap, and wait for search for Thurgood Marshall in the Brown v. Board the mob; let Eliot’s “The Journey of the Magi” behold of Education case. But there is no constitutional right Armstrong’s genius of jazz; wander with Hughes among to R-E-S-P-E-C-T, as Aretha might put it. Black Student “the people of the night,” who “will give even a snake/a Alliance members who question “the research’s intent, break.” How then to stumble home to mute econometmethodology, analysis and conclusion, in addition to its ric formulas? Sometimes these renegades light out for validity,” display a generosity and deliberation far ex- territory unseen. If only we built higher walls around ceeding those of this study. Duke, we might bar such fools that learn and lose their Arcidiacono and Spenner dress their Little Lord way; resolute youth could scale the heights of economics Frankenstein in academic robes, an unconvincing cos- without leaving their own intellectual cul-de-sac, unimtume. In their bizarre econometrics, our black students, paired by poetics—or by education. failing to choose the “more challenging” majors, bear Not long ago, I saw her walking her dog near East the blame for the lack of minority “representation” in Campus. No more bandages; her little family and her economics, engineering and the natural sciences. Oth- part-time teaching job leave a light on her face never er explanations abound, possibly the company. But the seen on that sophomore. Inspired by Hurston’s heroauthors’ pretense of caring is undercut by their crusade ine, Janie, she finally told her father to go to hell. He to reduce the numbers of black students at the elite in- groused about it, but she’d finally majored in English— stitutions where research careers begin. Stingy polem- double-majored in econ to shut him up. She couldn’t ics, yes; good scholarship, not so much. remember much econ, she said, but she still reads Their pamphlet expounds on “racial difference” “Their Eyes Were Watching God” every spring when without contemplating what “race” might be. Nor do the pear trees blossom. the authors consider the very nature of these decisions. Their inquiry into the deeply personal choices Tim Tyson, Senior Research Scholar, Center for Documenof black students fails to ask one black student, not that tary Studies
Online only today: “Procrastination: the everlasting affliction” roshni jain muddled and befuddled
Read @ www.dukechronicle.com
10 | THURSDAY, JANUARY 26, 2012
SEMANS from page 1 Lucas, Law ’90 and chair of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, said it was Semans who inspired him to come to Duke and become involved in the school. “Her enthusiasm, her love and her passion were so contagious it just made you want to be like her,” Lucas said. “If I can come close to her in any aspect of my life, my life will have been a success.” Known as a friend to nearly everyone she met, Lucas noted his grandmother’s unyielding compassion and commitment to her work, family and the improvement the human condition. “Every life she touched was changed,” he said. “She will not only be missed by her family, who she had a very close relationship with, but she’ll be missed by everyone touched by her legacy.” ‘Our principal link’ Semans enrolled in Duke’s Woman’s College at 15 years old and graduated in 1939. The mother of seven was married
twice—first in 1938 to Josiah Trent, a Duke medical student and eventual chief of Duke Hospital’s division of thoracic surgery. Five years after Trent’s death in 1948, she married Dr. James Semans. The daughter of Mary Duke Biddle and granddaughter of tobacco-giant Benjamin N. Duke, Semans supported the University through her mother’s organization, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, and the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation, among other initiatives. Semans also helped establish the Benjamin N. Duke Scholarship in honor of her grandfather. “She was our principal link to Duke’s founding generation, and she continued her family’s tradition of benevolence throughout her life,” wrote President Richard Brodhead in an email to the University Wednesday. Board of Trustees Chair Richard Wagoner said Semans was a wonderful friend to all facets of the Duke community, particularly in her work with Duke Medicine, the city of Durham and the arts. Wagoner, the former CEO of General Motors Corp. and Trinity ’75, also noted Semans’ commitment to diversity and the promotion of equal opportunity.
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“Mary was not only our ‘real life’ connection to Duke’s amazing history, [but] more important, she was a great contributor to today’s and tomorrow’s Duke,” Wagoner wrote in an email Wednesday. “And Mary did all this with a Duke mentality: a can-do attitude, a zest for life, a willingness to take on tough challenges—all while thoroughly enjoying life and having a little fun.” Semans supported initiatives across the University, including the Josiah Charles Trent Collection of the History of Medicine, the Mary Duke Biddle Scholarship and a variety of other altruistic endeavors. “Her passion and personal involvement in the everyday life of Duke Medicine has been a source of inspiration to everyone,” said Dr. Victor Dzau, chancellor for health affairs and CEO for Duke University Health System, in a release Wednesday. “She spoke often of the importance of humanity in the practice of medicine and effectively modeled her conviction through personal actions.” Although Semans invested much of her time aiding Duke’s medical education, she maintained a passion for the arts. Semans and Dr. Semans played pivotal roles in the inception of the Duke University Museum, established in 1969, which evolved into the Nasher Museum of Art in 2005. “We will miss her very much,” said Director of the Nasher Museum Kimerly Rorschach. “This is a very sad time because as an institution we literally would not be here without her.” The couple was very passionate about the arts and wanted to introduce a culture of creativity to Duke campus, where they thought it had been lacking, she added. “She always said that the arts were an integral part of life as they provide fulfillment and a means for communication,” Rorschach said. “It was important to her mother. She was raised in an atmosphere where arts were valued. It brings communities together, celebrates life and gives voice to feelings.” A Cameron Crazie As enduring as her dedication to Duke was her love for its basketball team. Lucas said Semans rarely missed a game each spring, attending games in Cameron Indoor Stadium up until last year. And when she chose to watch the games on television instead, his grandmother would switch on every TV in her house, so she could walk from room to room without missing a single play. “She absolutely could not stand it when they lost,” Lucas said. “She would go quiet and then she would want to talk about the whole game—about how they played defense... she would want to talk it all through and get it out of her system.” Lucas also noted Semans’ relationship with close friend and colleague, men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who came to Duke in 1982—the same year Semans was named a Trustee emeritus to the Board. “Those first couple of years were kind of rough, but she was a believer in [Krzyzewski] from the very beginning and made it very clear that she thought [former athletic director] Tom Butters needed to give him a chance. They had a long and fast friendship.” Semans even watched the Blue Devils’ game against Florida State Saturday, though she was, needless to say, disappointed, Lucas said. “She loved the basketball team so much—she was religious about it,” he said. Preserving a legacy Of all his grandmother’s notable work, Lucas said she would want her commitment to philanthropy to be a lasting lesson to the community. Semans’ work exemplified the notion that philanthropy is about more than donating resources—it is also about the motivations behind it. “She believed that philanthropy is not just about giving money away,” he said. “She would say you have to be passionate about the philanthropy that you are involved in.” Lucas also noted how important it was to his grandmother that the work of the Duke Endowment continue. The Duke Endowment grants gifts to universities throughout the South including Davidson College and Johnson C. Smith University. The Duke Endowment also supports rural United Methodist churches, children’s education and health care. Duke’s leaders agree that Semans’ spirit and passion for life will live on. “Mary Semans was more than the sum of her accomplishments,” Brodhead said. “She had a care for others and a belief in human possibility that made every encounter an inspiring event. All who experienced her grace, warmth, enthusiasm and can-do spirit will remember her for years to come.” Wagoner noted that the Duke community will miss Semans’ greatly but said that the example she has set will be remembered forever. A funeral service for Semans will be held Monday in the Duke Chapel at 2 p.m.