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The Chronicle 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




State of Dining deficit unclear, admins say

MSU 79

KY-RIFFIC! Freshman scores 31 to lead Duke to victory

by Sanette Tanaka THE CHRONICLE

by Jeff Scholl THE CHRONICLE

Kyrie Irving may be a freshman, but he played like a seasoned veteran against the toughest competition of Duke’s young season. Irving scored a career-high 31 points to lead No. 1 Duke to an 84-79 victory over No. 6 Michigan State, legitimizing his status as one of the nation’s premier guards in the process. “For a freshman in this environment, against these guards, to have this game... superb,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Irving’s performance. The rookie point guard was instrumental in the win over the Spartans (5-2) only two days after he missed practice due to illness. He propelled the Blue Devils (7-0) to a 38-34 lead at halftime when normally-reliable seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith shot a combined 3-for-12 from the field. Irving hit Duke’s first 3-pointer of the game, giving the team an early 5-0 lead three minutes into the first half. He scored See michigan st. on page 7

nate glencer/The Chronicle

With a career-high 31 points, freshman Kyrie Irving helped Duke overcome the tenacious Spartans in a battle between the two top-ten teams at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night.

The current financial state of Duke Dining is still unknown and cannot be fully determined until next Spring, said Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta. The reduction of the $2.2 million deficit in Dining Services will depend on the outcomes of several measures implemented this year, though major changes will not take place until the Fall of 2012, Moneta said. “I want to stop haphazard, chaotic changes,” he said. “I see the rest of this year and all of next year as the planning period.” Dining created a series of “quick, shortterm solutions” last Spring and put them into effect for the 2010-2011 academic year, said Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst. He added that revenue has increased this year and transactions are up approximately 4 percent as a result of new policy changes and renovations in eateries such as the Tower and Plate & Pitchfork. The increase in the dining plan contract fee from $19.50 to $90 generated the most substantial revenue, cutting the deficit in half, Moneta said. Other changes to cover See dining on page 5

Uni hires Johnson CMA undergoes restructuring as new housing and dining AVP by Joanna Lichter THE CHRONICLE

The University will welcome a new addition to its administration at the end of January. Rick Johnson, currently the director of housing and dining services at Virginia Tech, has been chosen to fill the newly created position of assistant vice president of housing and dining. Johnson will assume his position Jan. 31, administrators announced Wednesday. Johnson will join the administration after serving in his current position at Virginia Tech for 15 years. Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta, who led the search to fill the position, said he will seek Johnson’s input on the current dining changes being discussed, which includes the “contemporization” of board plans, managing dining operations as a whole and managing the current Dining deficit.

Since the cancellation of the merger of the Center for Multicultural Affairs and the International House, the CMA has undergone significant changes in a “rebuilding process.” Although the merger was postponed and ultimately stopped following widespread student outcry, the CMA, formerly known as the Multicultural Center, has restructured its leadership and instituted several new programs. Two new CMA program coordinators have been hired— the first, Carla Rodriguez, started this past month and has met with several student groups. The second coordinator will start in January, interim CMA director David Pittman said. “We are continuing with some of the same programs and services we’ve offered in the past and are looking to new programs and activities based on the experience of the new [hires],” he said. Pittman, who is also associate director of Student Life, said he stepped in last Spring to help the CMA run smoothly when it was short-staffed after the departure of two staff members. Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Moneta said permanent plans for the leadership structure of the CMA have not been completed.

See johnson on page 6

See CMA on page 6

by Samantha Brooks THE CHRONICLE

Study may help in breast cancer prevention, Page 3

Tracy Huang/The Chronicle

Since the University decided not to merge the CMA and the International House, the CMA has hired two new program coordinators.


“I just hope that I’m far more interesting than my choice of soft drink.”

­—Senior Sandeep Prasanna in “I don’t have an accent.” See column page 11

Dan Butin talks about changing the world, Page 3

2 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle

worldandnation onschedule...

Seeing is Not Believing - from Aftershock to Gold Mountain Blues SocPsy 130, 4:30-6p.m. Zhang Ling, author of the novel “Aftershock” will speak.

on the

The Global Credit Crunch: What’s Next for Private Equity and Sovereign Funds? Law School 3401 , 6:30-7:45p.m. A panel of distinguished guests will discuss the global economy.




Duke Jazz Ensemble with Scott Sawyer Baldwin Auditorium, 8-10p.m. This “Notes from Home” concert features NC guitarist Scott Sawyer. Student tickets are 5$.


“While scouts agree that Barnes has the potential to be the top selection in this year’s NBA draft, he has yet to prove he can score consistently at the collegiate level. Although Barnes is scoring 11.8 points per game, scouts cannot be impressed with his 35.2 field goal percentage. Fortunately for Barnes, this season is young and he will have several more opportunities to shine on national television.” — From The Chronicle Sports Blog

Kuni Takahashi /BloomBerg News

In India, Chakde is advertised on public transportation, in television commericals and across the cities on billboards. Chakde is an alternative to a popular form of chewing tobacco called “gutka.” Gutka has spread mouth cancer as India’s workers rely on the product to get through the day. Chakde is similar in texture and taste to gutka but contains no tobacco and freshens the breath.


If I only had a little humility, I would be perfect. — Ted Turner


1823: President James Monroe declares his “Monroe Doctrine”

States to face budgetary Chavez welcomes the challenges as aid lessens homeless after floods WASHINGTON D.C. — States expect “significant challenges” balancing budgets in the next two years, after closing $230 billion in gaps since 2009, as federal stimulus aid drops and tax receipts recover from the recession, a study said. While state spending is set to rise for the current fiscal year compared with 2010, after two straight annual declines, governments will face renewed pressure in 2012, according to the study released Wednesday by the National Governors Association. The budget period begins in July in 46 states. “After two of the most challenging years for state budgets, fiscal 2011 will present a slight improvement” in spending after a 7.3 percent drop in 2010, said the study by the governor’s group and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez Wednesday received 60 people whose homes were destroyed by landslides caused by heavy rains and invited them to stay in the Miraflores presidential palace for a year as they await homes. The self-declared socialist revolutionary called for other public buildings to be used to shelter families from the rains that have left 25 people dead and 5,600 displaced. A further 56,000 people have suffered losses, and harvests have been damaged across the country. “These people shouldn’t leave here until they have their own apartment,” Chavez said on state television. “You won’t leave here for another year.” Chavez said he had ordered an adjacent palace, the vice presidential offices and state television headquarters to receive more families for a few days.

Correction The caption of the Dec. 1 wire photo incorrectly identified the photo as a snapshot of the medical care unit of Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The photo is actually of the inside of a medical C-17 aircraft. The Chronicle regrets the error.

the chronicle


Study looks at breast cancer development

Butin: Service programs are not enough

Eight Crazie nights

by Brandon Levy

by Chinmayi Sharma

Scientists are now one step closer to effective breast cancer prevention after a study performed by researchers at the Duke University Medical Center. The study examined the expression of 60 proteins in precancerous epithelial cells from the breasts of 100 women who were at high risk for breast cancer. Coauthor of the study Dr. Victoria Seewaldt, an oncologist and the director of the prevention program at the Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center, said the study provided insight into the development of breast cancer, which will be helpful in the treatment and prevention of the disease. “If you don’t know what’s broken, you can’t fix it,” she said. “We have to be able to figure out how cells go bad in a woman’s breast before it becomes cancer. [The study] provided good tools to be able to figure out by what mechanisms the cells are becoming cancerous.” Catherine Ibarra-Drendall, who also worked on the study, said the researchers identified three specific networks of protein signaling that would indicate an increased risk of breast cancer. “The specific endpoints that we examined in our proteomic analysis... were chosen to determine the expression patterns of signaling proteins along the EGFR/Akt/mTOR pathway, which is known to play an important role in the development and progression of many cancers, including breast cancer,” Drendall said. Seewaldt said that by identifying proteins that are good targets for breast cancer prevention drugs, the study will aid in the development of techniques for monitoring how a woman might be responding to such drugs. According to the website for the Cen-

in high-risk women that began in 2003. The specific samples involved in the study were collected over a six month period in 2009. The sample included a high proportion of black women, Seewaldt said, because they tend to get very aggressive breast cancer. “Most breast cancer is really curable,”

College students often set out with the goal of changing the world. But for Dan Butin, dean of the school of education at Merrimack College, the academic approach to achieving that goal is ineffective. Butin made this point in front of an audience of about 100 undergraduate students at the Freeman Center for Jewish Life Wednesday. The lecture acknowledged the value of community service programs at universities but offered a realistic perspective on the actual effect of the service students do. “Something like 90 percent of universities believe higher education should be engaged with the community and well over 50 percent go so far as to say community service should be a standard part of college education,” Butin said. “But activism doesn’t just occur in the community. It’s a complex process.” To the surprise of many in the crowd, Butin claimed studies have shown that no institution—whether academic or purely social—has been able to change the world with its service. He said he agrees that institutions make a lot of progress, but they in no way reach the ultimate goals they set for themselves. Butin said top scholars have concluded that the national movement of service learning has stalled. Butin said he believes the cause of this standstill to be a lack of communication between social service groups in various parts of the country with only a “vague conceptualization” of the goals. In the middle of the lecture, Butin responded to the concern that many students do community service to build their resumes, a point that was voiced by a student in the audience. Butin agreed and went on to state his belief that without the “right” motivation, students are less likely to put in the necessary time to carry out effective community service.

See cancer on page 5

See butin on page 6



Courtney Douglas/The Chronicle

The Freeman Center for Jewish Life hosted a menorah lighting ceremony to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah in Krzyzewskiville Wednesday night before the game against Michigan State University. ters for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, outranked only by non-melanoma skin cancer. In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, 191,410 women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,820 died from it. Seewaldt said the study was part of an ongoing examination of breast cancer

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4 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle

Q&A with Carolyn Titus Carolyn Titus, deputy manager of Durham County, has worked in Durham County for almost three decades, watching as Durham developed. She has served 11 years in her current position in which she has directed economic development efforts and supervised health, human services and public safety agencies within the county government. Set to retire in March, The Chronicle’s Julia Ni spoke with Titus about changes in Durham since first arrived. The Chronicle: What were the toughest challenges Durham faced in the 80s when you started working here? Carolyn Titus: In the 1980s, Durham was primarily a blue-collar town that relied heavily on tobacco and Duke University for its economic system. And throughout the 80s, the tobacco factories, such as Liggett Myers and American Tobacco, started shutting down, and we had to shift our economy from one that was based on manufacturing to one that’s based on technology and medical care. And in the 1980s, due to what a lot of communities were experiencing in that time—which was suburban flight—a lot of the downtown became vacant as citizens preferred to shop at malls and preferred to get professional services in suburban areas. So the downtown became largely a place where the courthouse and government offices were. The offices were primarily occupied by lawyers and banks. There were really very few restaurants and commercial areas. At night, when all of that daytime business went home, the streets were dark and desolate at night. Durham was in the process of change, and I think that change started perhaps with Brightleaf Square. It started to renaissance with the renovation of the tobacco ware-

houses, so there was a strategic effort put into place by the elected officials of the county government and the city government to address those areas within downtown and the surrounding perimeter to revitalize much of the area. So now you see the American Tobacco Complex and the theatre, you see many offices and restaurants in downtown, you see a lot of condos and apartments. Now, Durham is focused on biotechnology, medicine and technology. Between the business and entrepreneurial starts from Duke University and some of our companies that we have strung apart, we were able to recruit leading-edge companies into downtown and throughout the county. We have really, I think, over the last 30 years, revitalized much of Durham, and it is quickly becoming a place that’s recognized for its entrepreneurship and for its talent in its workforce. TC: What improvements in public safety have occurred in Durham? CT: There have been increases in public safety services over the last 30 years. For one thing, we have added greatly to the amount of law enforcement, we have added greatly to the number of programs that citizens who may have problems with mental health, domestic violence and the court system. We have enhanced our human service offerings to try and address the root of causes of violence. Number two, I think that public safety encompasses our fire and EMS service and we have had great enhancements over the last 30 years with both the fire and the EMS service. We are one of the premiere EMS services in the country. We have a great affiliation with Duke University Health System that allows us to be on the cutting edge of emergency medicine, and we partner with the emer-

gency groups in Durham so that a patient’s care is seamless between the ambulance, the emergency room and the hospital. TC: What are the county’s largest achievements? CT: Number one, is the transformation of the economy of Durham. Number two is the revitalization of downtown—the Bulls ballpark, the American Tobacco Complex, the performing arts theatre [and] Brightleaf Square. I think we have nurtured an economy—that’s the third [achievement]. TC: What issues do you feel are not being adequately addressed? What is your outlook on Durham’s future? CT: We may have made less progress on some issues than others, but I think that

Durham is in excellent hands. We have excellent elected officials, we have three great institutions of higher learning—with Duke University, North Carolina Central [University] and Durham Technical Community College—and we have a whole host of citizens who are really involved, and we have a lot of businesses who care very much [about the community]. I feel like the future of Durham is positive and inspiring. TC: Do you forsee any challenges the county may face in the future? CT: I think the challenge for the next few years ahead will be those which many communities are facing, and that’s one of See titus on page 6

Garden of trees

Chelsea Pieroni/The Chronicle

Local organizations decorate holiday trees at the Doris Duke Center in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The trees, which have “A Potager Garden Holiday” theme, will be available for public view until Jan. 4.

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the chronicle


Cancer from page 3

dining from page 1

she said. “The problem is that some of the very aggressive forms of breast cancer are not. The majority gets cured, but there are some [women] that have very bad prognoses, so we’re trying to identify those women ahead of time.” Seewaldt said the next step in this area of research is to repeat the results in another group of woman, something that she and her colleagues are currently working on. The recent study was based on the second set of samples the researchers examined, and now they need to look at a third, larger set. “The basic tenet of all science is that it’s reproducible,” she said. “We need to look at more women and women at other institutions.” Drendall said future studies in this domain will help to identify better treatments for cancer and to match the right treatments with the right patients. “Identification of biomarkers of response or resistance will lead to more proper use of targeted drugs as well as new approaches to rational drug design or combination therapies,” she said. The researchers are in the process of publishing the study’s results in the American Association for Cancer Research journal “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention,” Seewaldt said. Helen Atkins, director of the AACR editorial department, said the journal focuses mostly on prevention rather than treatment of cancer.

the rest of the deficit included eliminating faculty and staff discounts, increasing the commission rate for non-contracted eateries and canceling the refund of unused food points at the end of the year. The contract fee increase, which emerged after one year of negotiations between student leaders and administrators, will continue until at least fiscal year 2013, which runs from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013, Moneta said. “The first year after we have a fully balanced budget, we’ll revisit the issue,” he said. “I’m not a fan [of the fee]... but we can’t eliminate it until we have decreased the full deficit.” Duke Student Government President Mike Lefevre, a senior, initially agreed to a one-year dining plan contract fee increase, adding that he felt “cheated but not altogether surprised” when the fee was extended to subsequent years in September. The original increase was approved under the administration of Kemel Dawkins, the former vice president for campus services who left the University in June. “Clearly, this is a no win for student government,” Lefevre said. “But you will not see the fee increase beyond where we are right now.” Lefevre and other representatives from student organizations, such as the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee, are meeting monthly with administrators to discuss potential changes in dining. Sophomore Chris Brown, Duke Student Government vice president for athletics and campus services, said his top priority in the meetings is to reduce any “extraneous burdens” placed on students.

“There are no quick fixes when it comes to Dining and the Dining deficit, but we’re heading in the right direction,” he said. Moneta added that almost every aspect of Dining is under consideration—including the Merchants on Points program, vendor commission rates and undergraduate board plans—with a goal of increasing traffic to on-campus eateries. A new assistant vice president for housing and dining, Rick Johnson, has also been hired and will start Feb. 1. Several suggestions from last year, such as closing some eateries, did not take place. Additionally, plans for a complete renova-

chronicle graphic by courtney douglas

tion of the West Union Building are on hold because funds are not currently available, Moneta said. He added that he hopes the discussions with student leaders will result in long-term changes for Dining that fall in line with the University’s commitment to sustainability and healthy food options. “I could erase the deficit in a heartbeat by offering all packaged and unhealthy foods,” Moneta said. “I have a fantasy of [Duke Dining] being the healthiest, greenest, most enjoyable food system in America. Ask me how we’re going to get there—ask me again in two years.”

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6 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle

Johnson from page 1 The Office of Student Affairs underwent significant restructuring last year following the dissolution of Department of Campus Services. Student Affairs assumed oversight of Dining Services and Event Management last year, which almost doubled its budget. “When [Eddie] Hull left as the executive director of housing, there were inklings of internal changes that might happen at Duke, so I intentionally left that position vacant for quite some time,” Moneta said. “[Johnson’s position] was predicated on the belief that dining is a critical part of the student residential experience... and one of its core responsibilities is to ensure that the student dining experience is complementary to the student residential experience.” The search for a candidate to fill the new position began three months ago, Moneta said. Director of Dining Services Jim Wulforst, a member of the panel that interviewed Johnson, said that of the final seven candidates, Johnson’s prior experience with both housing and dining made him the most desirable applicant for the job. “Rick has had success in both arenas and has been well recognized in the industry,” Wulforst noted. “That’s what made him stand out—that was probably most important to everybody that interviewed him. He’s clearly passionate about what he could bring to the table, and he’s got a history of success at Virginia Tech, that’s unquestionable.” Indeed, Moneta said he had heard of Johnson’s successful reputation prior to the interview process and had contacted Johnson to inform him of the position’s availability, encouraging him to apply. “I had not met him before this process, but his name came up numerous times from colleagues as I asked, ‘Who are the best people [for the job] in the United States?’” Moneta said. “It was remarkable how often people responded, ‘Have you talked to Rick Johnson?’” Despite Moneta’s optimism for Johnson’s future success, both he and Johnson noted that the position will present difficulties.

butin from page 3 “You can’t master anything in four years, let alone one term,” he said. “There are cultural, technical and political implications in community service, but if the 12 hours a week are for no one but the ambitious student then something is wrong.” Butin added that the one way to address this issue is to incorporate service-learning into an academic program. He said some may be surprised to hear about a community service major or master’s program, but noted that about 40 schools across the country have already implemented these course options. Creating service learning academic tracks is important, Butin said, to encourage students to pursue this as a passion, not a hobby.

Red ribbon, red ribbon

eliza bray/The Chronicle

In celebration of World AIDS Day, students donned red clothes and gathered on the Main West Quadrangle Wednesday to form a human red ribbon. Sponsors of the event also offered free condoms, candy and ribbons on the Bryan Center Plaza. “It’s a brand new position and a brand new challenge,” Johnson said in a press-release. “Grouping these units together is the perfect combination to serve students well. There are great synergies among these areas that we can use to everyone’s advantage.” Moneta noted that the magnitude of the issues Johnson will face is going to be the most difficult aspect of his job. “He’s going to inherit the complexities that I’ve come to appreciate: what it’s like to have 41 different dining venues, 200,000 square feet of housing facilities with some considerable maintenance needs in both operations, a budget deficit in the dining operation... [and] how to bring green thinking into both operations,” Moneta said. “All of those things will be challenges, but every challenge is an opportunity.”

A constant theme in the lecture was that community service is not something one does, but something one is. “It wasn’t just for education students,” said Service Learning Program Coordinator Kristin Wright, who organized the event. “The service learning students just want to be part of the larger conversation at Duke about civic engagement and want to be part of the cheerleading and the raising the questions about service learning and to improve what we do here for both the students and the community.” Sophomore Benton Wise said he appreciated that Butin was candid about his views on service learning and was able to criticize the flaws rather than propagate positive yet unrealistic evaluations of community work. “He’s right, service learning is not the answer to enforcing classroom subjects such as history or math,” Wise said. “It is the question and should be approached academically, like all other societal problems to be answered.” Concluding his lecture, Butin refuted the claim that his views on service learning were pessimistic. “I mean, it’s only pessimistic if you begin with the assumption that your job is to save the world,” Butin said. “It is actually incredibly exciting to think the world is an very complex place and it is my job to figure it out. You can’t solve everything in one semester—it’s a multistep, multi-directional process.”

titus from page 3

sophia palenberg/The Chronicle

Dan Butin, dean of the school of education at Merrimack College, spoke in the Freeman Center for Jewish Life Wednesday on service.

decreasing revenues, particularly for education systems and from the state. Durham is actually in very good shape financially, and it’s largely due to our very conservative fiscal management. We’ve been very cautious about increasing spending when we knew that the economy was shaky. The county is doing very well. The county government is closely tied to the state for providing human services and education. I think the greatest challenge is going to be from the larger economy’s effect on Durham County. TC: Is there anything you’d like to add about the development of the city? CT: I’d just want to add that Duke University has been a major contributor to the positive changes in Durham. Leadership at Duke and the Duke Health System have really reached out to the community and worked in partnership with us and they have, in so many ways, been an excellent partner here in Durham. Without Duke, a lot of the things I’ve mentioned would not have happened.

Campus Council Programming Chair Betsy Klein, a junior who also sat on the interview panel, said she is interested in how Johnson will solve housing issues on campus. Klein said she liked his commitment to incorporating student opinions into his future plans. “I hope to see Rick focus on the major residential issues of deferred maintenance in Craven and Crowell quads as well as improvements to Central Campus,” she wrote in an e-mail Wednesday. “There will be a lot of challenges with the new house model that will require his creativity. I could tell that he cares a lot about the student voice, and I think he will take our opinions into account for every major decision he makes as our new AVP.”

cma from page 1 “The leadership is still something we are working on, it’s not clear what the long-range organizational structure [will be],” Moneta said. “What is clear is that the staff of the [CMA] always will be critical and always will continue.” Zoila Airall, assistant vice president for student affairs, said the CMA’s budget included the addition of the two program coordinators this year. Moneta said no budget cuts were made during the restructuring process. But last year, The Chronicle reported that two positions were eliminated during the restructuring as part of an effort to trim the University’s budget. In the process of the proposed merger, CMA Staff Specialist Juanita Johnson lost her job in January. In a November 2009 interview, she told The Chronicle that both she and former CMA Director Julian Sanchez were dismissed from Duke. Moneta said Wednesday that Sanchez retired. Sanchez could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening. In the past, Sanchez has not commented on his departure from Duke. In a January e-mail, he reflected positively on his experiences at the University. “I am very lucky to have had the best job on campus working on the most important agenda,” he wrote. “One of my dear students reminded me recently that all things happen for a reason. I as a result see the glass half-full.” When the merger was announced last November, Moneta was on a sabbatical in Croatia. As a result, Airall frequently spoke with students and The Chronicle about the merger. Pittman said the CMA is well underway in its reorganization, pointing to a variety of developments, including biweekly conversations about relevant topics, a new website and an updated brochure. He added that more programs will be instituted next semester. In February, officials formed a Study Team on Multicultural and International Distinctions and Intersections composed of students, faculty to provide recommendations to Student Affairs about the roles of the CMA and International House The team recommended that Student Affairs reduce divisions between the organizations and “create an umbrella administrative unit (Crossroads International and Multicultural Center) designed to address intersections, crossroads, and common ground.” Moneta said it is too early to tell how these recommendations will be implemented, but added that administrators from the CMA and International House regularly meet with each other. “I see exactly the thing we hoped would happen taking place,” he said. “In some ways, the structural conversation [in November 2009] distracted from the more important conversation... [of] what are the genuine needs of a community where students fit in with more than one identity.”


volume 13 issue 14 december 2, 2010


Recess reviews Part One of the Harry Potter films’ seventh saga


With his new album, Kanye West makes a bid for immortality


nate glencer/The chronicle

the wall

students transform a wall in Old Perk

page 3

vijay iyer

the self-taught jazz pianist comes to Duke

page 7

bonnie “prince”

folkie Will Oldham and the Cairo Gang storm Reynolds

page 8

Page 2


theSANDBOX. Once upon a time, there was a boy and girl. They both met in Los Angeles, and they fell in love. One day, the girl moved across the country to go to graduate school (at Duke, coincidentally), but they decided to do the long-distance thing. Instead of just drafting an e-mail or even handwriting a letter, the boy decided to write a love letter, in the form of a music video. The boy happens to be roommates with some other boys in a band called the Daylights. With a Canon 5D Mark II camera, $100 and a Sunday afternoon, the video was made. It is rather adorable, featuring clever hand movements, a catchy tune and heartfelt lyrics. But there’s a catch: The boy will not send the digital love letter directly to the girl. Instead, he’ll post it to YouTube, hoping the video will eventually crowd surf its way to Durham. He hopes the video will go viral. So, he tweeted about the video and asked his friends to tweet about the video. And now Katy Perry has tweeted about the

December 2, 2010

editor’s note. video. And the Village Voice and MSN have written about it. And hopefully, eventually, the video will make it’s way to Lex. Reading peoples’ comments about the video has been truly entertaining. There have been gushy reactions—and cynical ones. The skeptics call this a marketing ploy for the band, a scam, “creative theft” (in reference to a scene in the movie Labyrinth). I say, we should just enjoy it. This is a post-modern love story, Daft Punk’s “Digital Love” manifested. Let’s assume the boy really does just miss this girl, plain and simple. It’s more fun that way. Tweet the video. Post it to your Facebook. The jaded, hardened souls can go blog and whine about their unhappiness elsewhere. For now, let’s hope there can be a happily-ever-after for this boy and this girl. (I won’t post the link here—I would rather not interfere with the web-based nature of the love letter experiment at hand, so go watch it online.) —Jessie Tang

[recesseditors] gifts we want from sjc Kevin yaahkaah Lisa Du...............................................................................................chicken. or sex. Jessie Tang...........................................................................defense for life’s bubble Andrew O’Rourke.......................................................................a merry ironukkah Sanette Tanaka........................................................................a trail mix of her own Nate Glencer......................................................................more sports photo creds Lindsey Rupp............................................................................................a watchdog

You can pick out countless lines from hip-hop about rappers’ writing habits. It’s a subject they love to talk about, and unsurprisingly so: Rapping, even more than singing, is a linguistic pursuit, tethered to wordplay and dependent on the use of words in an interesting manner, whether it’s with dexterity, ingenuity or sheer force of meaning. Such qualities make rapping sound a little bit like another writerly pursuit: poetry. And lately, critics have been making noise over whether hip-hop lyrics are, in fact, poetry themselves. The conversation’s been fueled by the recent publishing of two books: Jay-Z’s Decoded, a collection of his lyrics alongside his own explanations and elaborations, and Andrew Bradley and Andrew DuBois’ The Anthology of Rap, a 900-page transcription of 30 years of hip-hop lyrics. The anthology has gotten raves from the likes of Sam Anderson at New York Magazine, who essentially said it opened his eyes to the world of hip-hop. Though I’m all for opening the eyes of the ignorant to rap’s best talent, there’s still something wrong here. Reading Anderson’s piece on the book, you get the feeling that he almost doesn’t realize that these lyrics were initially delivered over beats. Because the question here should not be whether or not rapping is poetry. It is, no question: Poetry is not a narrow framework, and within the written realm of what is called poetry, the variety and range of content is incomprehensibly broad. The great American poet Charles Olson described poetry as such: “A poem is energy transferred from where the poet got it (he will have some several causa-

tions), by way of the poem itself to, all the way over to, the reader.” If this doesn’t describe hip-hop perfectly, then nothing does. Rap is all about the conveying of lyrics to listener, all about the delivery of the artists’ message or emotion, either by stressing the meaning of his words or the technique of his flow. Instead, the real question people should be asking about this new anthology, and rap lyricism in general, is whether dealing with hip-hop on a written, paginated level is inherently reductive. Taking the beat out of the equation, divorcing the words from the tracks they once clung to, irrevocably changes the work, and although there might still be value to derive from the words on a page, the reasoning seems suspect. Why not just direct interested parties directly to the songs themselves? What’s to be gained by reading Rakim’s lyrics—or Nas’, or Ghostface Killah’s, or, in the interest of topicality, Kanye West’s—from reading them off a page, when you can just listen to the songs themselves? It seems the only proper way to do so would be if the rappers transcribed them themselves; otherwise, the author’s intentionality is being compromised in a direct and unnecessary way. In the end, if Sam Anderson and others are really interested in hip-hop, they should go directly to the music. If they are curious about how the words look on a page, they can always transcribe them themselves. But to read the songs directly from a book, without any notion of their original context, cannot be the right way to deal with this art. —Kevin Lincoln


December 2, 2010

Page 3

Led by DUU, students transform Perkins wall by Caitlin Moyles THE CHRONICLE

A new initiative will soon transform the whitewashed walls outside the Gothic Reading Room in Perkins Library into a canvas for collaborative student artistic expression. All students were invited to submit ideas and create original works of art for the 20-foot-6-inch wide and 8-foot7-inch tall creation entitled “Me You and Every One We Know: The Wall.” The painting of the mural, which began Oct. 22, is still a work in progress. “The vision is essentially to add color to space[s] on campus,” said senior Bibi Tran, chair of the Duke University Union Visual Arts Committee. “Walking around campus, a lot of walls that I saw were really, really blank. The buildings are very polished and perfect looking, but... Duke could have more public art, some not-so-perfect selfexpression.” Sponsored by the Visual Arts Committee, Perkins Library and the Vice Provost for the Arts, “The Wall” is part of an ongoing effort to make the arts more visible on campus. “Duke prides itself on being well-rounded, but the visual arts are not as publicly represented as the sports culture or the Greek world,” Tran said. Perkins Library staff were very responsive and enthusiastic to the Visual Arts Committee’s proposal, said Scott Lindroth, vice provost for the arts, who facilitated the collaboration between the three parties. “[Perkins staff] liked very much the idea of people painting in public, of students studying while people work on the mural,” he said. “The Wall” design features vertical rainbow stripes and painted frames dedicated to library-related content, such as a text from a poem or a portrait of a celebrated author. “The mural beautifully accommodates an artistic point of view in terms of its design, but it also allows us to spotlight particular aspects of the library collection,” Lindroth said. And in terms of the library’s overall decor, the exhibit will certainly stand out as something different. “[The mural] is a great opportunity to brighten up the space and make it less sterile,” said Margaret Brown, exhibits coordinator and Special Collections conservator for

Duke University Libraries. “I hope students feel like the library is theirs and that we’re open to helping them make the space more comfortable.” Additionally, Tran said she hoped the mural would connect diverse groups of people through creating art. “In my ideal world, five people would show up for a painting session and become friends,” she said. “I feel like it’s a problem [at Duke] that people don’t break boundaries enough. You learn the most from the people who are most different from you.” Although Tran’s vision of groups of students painting together has not played out as she had hoped—a consequence, she said, of Duke students’ hectic schedules— ”The Wall” may serve as a stepping stone for future art projects in Perkins. Brown said there are plans to renovate Old Perkins three years from now and the space’s informal atmosphere made Old Perkins a prime location for a trial

run. “If we find a specific artist who has a proof or concept, we might be able to move [it] into other areas in the library,” Brown said. Lindroth said he also plans to start working on two murals in the Bryan Center in the Spring. In collaboration with printmaker Bill Fick, a visiting assistant professor of the practice of Visual Arts, the first project will hang eight large canvas tiles on the two-story wall outside Griffith Film Theater. Lindroth added that he plans to enlist campus-wide support in painting the second mural, which would then hang above the Office of Student Activities and Facilities. “I’d love for this to be ongoing, something that really lasts on campus,” he said. “These are real opportunities for students to literally leave their mark on campus in a beautiful and long-standing way.”


IN DURHAM, AT DUKE, A NATION MADE NEW. 2 0 1 0 - 2 0 1 1















GET TICKETS indu ramesh/The Chronicle

“The Wall” as a project is intended to both expose the arts to students on campus and help promote collaboration between artistically oriented individuals.





December 2, 2010

w t k i s r t a



n a t f a s d e

anye’s b ea

Page 4

u t i f ul d

according to recess: ka

College Dropout (2004)

Late Registration (2005)

Rating: B+

No rating

“West doesn’t totally deliver on MTV’s

“[Late Registration] is exactly what a

suggestion that College Dropout is the

sophomore album should be: a chance

most anticipated hip-hop debut since

for the artist to mature, grow and ex-

50 Cent, but this is still one of the best

pand his musical horizons. “

showings in some time.”

Free G.O.O.D. Fridays tracks a stellar series by Ross Green THE CHRONICLE

For rap aficionados, Twitter enthusiasts and those with more than a passing interest in pop culture, Christmas came early this year—last Tuesday, to be precise, when Kanye’s newest masterwork My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy dropped to a chorus of five-star reviews and general acclaim. In fact, West and his G.O.O.D Music family have accelerated the whole holiday season; not content with the one-off gratification of an album release, Yeezy has been releasing a new track every Friday since a remixed version of “Power,” featuring a new Jay-Z verse and the obligatory Snap! sample, dropped Aug. 20. In total, the so-called Good Fridays series spanned 14 tracks and almost 30 collaborators, a grandiose companion offering worthy of the main event. In terms of sheer numbers, ’Ye’s Fridays aren’t particularly astonishing, especially when compared to the pre-album mixtape deluges of Gucci Mane or the guest-verse glut-

tony of Lil Wayne. West doesn’t do mixtapes— but then again, no one really does what Kanye does, either. Looser and less fussed over than the painstakingly elaborate MBDTF, the Fridays tracks are nonetheless an incredibly diverse collection homemade in large part by West himself. Although all these tracks are filtered through West’s inimitably eclectic tastes, he is often content to curate, giving his impressive supporting cast room to breathe. And while the quality of collaboration is high, some guests acquit themselves better than others. Among frequent contributors, Clipse’s Pusha T (five appearances) is the standout, his icy, economical condescension the ideal foil to West’s emotive bravado—though he saves his best for MBDTF’s “Runaway.” Mentor Jay-Z has his good Fridays—in a big-brother mode he now warmly embraces with West on the official “Power” remix, and at home over a Curtis Mayfield sample on “The Joy,” a possible early entry to next year’s Kanye/Jay Watch the Throne

collaboration. Hov has his not-so-good Fridays, too. For example, he’s thoroughly outclassed on the freak-funk MBDTF posse cut “Monster” by Kanye and others. Kid Cudi contributes an uncharacteristically nimble verse on the string-laden “Christian Dior Denim Flow,” which would have been right at home next to “Roses” on Late Registration. More frequent entrants Cyhi Da Prynce and Big Sean are sometimes forgettable, yet sometimes promising—Cyhi, far more charismatic here than at any point on his Royal Flush mixtape, gets his best work in at Big Sean’s expense on “Take One For the Team”—and generally neither betray West’s taste. And Nicki Minaj is a twisted, schizo tour de force on “Monster,” piling accents on top of absurdist wordplay like she’s trying to beat Wayne in a race to the asylum. Mr. West, though, is the undisputed star of this bizarre, talented circus. He doesn’t possess the natural, virtuosic flow of a Raekwon, but his manic desire for approval yields some

pretty fantastic results. Unlike which Kanye is consumed by bad b even worse press, Fridays is the so Yeezy’s cultured, globe-trotting sw on my Van Gogh/ I don’t hear s** on the “Power” remix. That’s an o hood, given just how deeply Kanye perception, but the image of ’Ye name-dropping models and stunt waii studio is potent nonetheless what?” he asks in “Take One For t figured out I’m not a nice guy.” Maybe not; the nursery-rhym tions and soul-food modesties of “ ness,” the last time anyone wou scribed Kanye as “a nice guy,” are the affluent complaints of “Take O Team.” But so what? He’s more compelling than ever, a pop icon with a world-beating entourage at What more could we ask for?


December 2, 2010

kanye west my beautiful dark twisted fantasy def jam


Make no mistake: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a bid for immortality, and nothing less. After all, no one would ever accuse Kanye West of being demure. Not after the pugilistic, old-school aping, soul-sampling College Dropout and Late Registration; not after the intoxicated technoid-braggadocio of Graduation; and certainly not after the beautifully pathological oversharing of 808s and Heartbreak. Apparently, Kanye has done some strange things in public, too, but there is music to be talked about; let the cable-channel awards shows corrode in the past, where they belong. Looking back at those five albums now, it isn’t hard to see that they were all building up to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The record is, unquestionably, Kanye’s masterpiece to date: a fusion of his retro tastes, ranging from Motown to Wu-Tang to Nas to Jay-Z, with his tireless probing into the future. This includes both the roster and community of rappers that he’s come to cultivate as well as his constant, almost childlike search for new sounds. MBDTF certainly sounds new. Though the album is not perfect, the instrumentals come about as close as one can get. The word that seems to hang over the piece in its entirety is “symphonic;” every move sounds deliberate, every trilled vocal sample and every shimmering synth. It’s this way right from the start, beginning with “Dark Fantasy.” Ascending at first on the swelled voices of what sounds like a choir, the song soon drops into a piano-strings-and-handclap trot that is frequently halted, restarted and generally mussed up. The song has a sense of orchestral movement that is rare in hip-hop, which often, even at its best, sees producers crafting a great beat and coasting on it for three and a half minutes. Such ebb and movement is characteristic of the al-

bum as a whole. Despite a running time of 68 minutes, Kanye never rests on a single sound, not once; constantly the songs shift between rappers, styles and thematics. A few of the tracks are huge: “All of the Lights” is anchored by a pummeling match of horns and drums, the percussion coming in a flurry beneath the choruses and sinking out during the verses; “Lost in the World” pairs Bon Iver’s aggressively Auto-tuned crooning with fragmentary drum machines, quilted backing vocals and maracas constant as rain. Other tracks put the rapping more center-stage, which is just as welcome. Throughout My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye fixates on a handful of different concepts: religion, fame, women, drugs and race. Songs shift in focus and oscillate in tone, but nearly every one has some combination of those ingredients. God in particular is a frequent subject, almost surprisingly so. Two of the songs, “Hell of a Life” and “Devil in a New Dress,” confront this straight from the titles, and Kanye’s verse on “Lost in the World” opens with the line, “You’re my devil, you’re my angel/You’re my heaven, you’re my hell.” And in a spectacular marrying of concepts, and probably the best line on the record, “Hell of a Life” is buoyed by Yeezy robotically wailing, “Have you lost your mind?/Tell me where you think we’ve crossed the line/No more drugs for me/P***y and religion is all I need.” Kanye’s flow is much like it’s always been. For such an overtly wealth-obsessed guy, his style is surprisingly bluecollar. Short on verbal and technical theatrics—he fits plenty of those into his beats—and long on rhyming the ends of the verses, he raps in a clear, affected sneer, delivering his emphases like punch lines. He hews closely to his instrumentals, and the workmanlike flow serves as a serviceable vehicle for what he wants to say. And he’s got plenty to say. Trying to dig out all the record’s lyrical highlights would be like picking rocks from the soil, but there are some cringe-worthy moments as well. Then he’ll drop a line like, “I treat the cash the way the government treats AIDS/I won’t be satisfied ‘til all my

Page 5

n****** get it, get it?” and everyone forgets, which has always been the saving grace of any successfully verbose individual. Speaking of which, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy owes much of its verbosity—and greatness—to other individuals, too, as West surrounds himself with a murderer’s row of rap greats and his own up-and-comers alike. On “Gorgeous,” Wu-Tang vet Raekwon delivers an impossibly intricate verse, and his Clan-mate the RZA both produces and shouts furiously on various tracks. Clipse alum and Kanye favorite Pusha T, characterized by his crystal-clear, knife-sharp enunciation, out-raps his host on “Runaway” and complements him nicely on posse cut “So Appalled.” Also on this song, newcomer Cyhi Da Prynce shows up the underwhelming Jay-Z by boasting, “If God had a iPod, I’d be on his playlist.” And with possibly the album’s best verse, Rick Ross floats down into “Devil in a New Dress” after a long, guitar-augmented jazz interlude—characterized by a hauntingly lovely vocal sample—and destroys the track, his voice dripping with equal parts dented hubris and strangely tender nostalgia. All of this is brilliant, and it’s all cocooned around the album’s trinity of tent poles: the Kanye showcase “Power,” the athletic and dexterous cascade of verses on “Monster” and probably the year’s best song, “Runaway,” which is simultaneously heartbreaking in its delicacy, virtuosic in its articulation and searing in its performances. And the sum is greater than its parts. What My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy does is overwhelm, inundate and amaze. It is a prodigious collection of beats, an all-star team of artists and a stunningly cognizant confrontation of contemporary themes and issues. It is the album as art, a cohesive whole, a nod to the past and a prototype for the future. Kanye, for all his flaws, is a creator, and this piece is beautiful, imperfect and all the better for it. —Kevin Lincoln

anye through the years

MBDTF, on breakups and oundtrack to wagger: “I’m **,” he insists obvious falsee cares about e and friends ting in a Has. “You know the Team.” “I

me interpola“Family Busiuld have deanathema to One For the creative and in rare form his disposal.

Graduation (2007)

808s & Heartbreak (2008)

Rating: 3 stars

Rating: 4 stars

“At one point on Graduation, Kanye claims that he’s

“The singing is, in a mysterious and inex-

‘doing pretty good as far as geniuses go.’ Kanye needs

plicable way, enjoyable... Sure, it’s getting late

to realize that with such a bold declaration comes the

in the year and the temperature is dropping,

responsibility to avoid mediocrity at all costs, a require-

but you’d have to be frozen to a polar bear to

ment that Graduation just barely fulfills.”

have a more frigid winter than Kanye.”


Page 6

film reviews >>

love and other drugs

dir. edward zwick twentieth century fox


Almost every interview that Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway have given to promote their new movie, Love and Other Drugs, has revolved around a single question: “So, how was filming the nude scenes?” And while the sex scenes are certainly abundant, they are also useful—they obscure its overused plot devices and saccharine scenes that we’ve come to expect from romcoms. The story is based on Jamie Reidy’s book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, which chronicles Reidy’s years working for Pfizer during the rise (pun definitely intended) of the male enhance-

recess ment drug. In the movie, Reidy is present as Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal), a lovable sleazeball who uses his charisma and bravado to hawk pharmaceuticals. He then meets Maggie Murdoch (Hathaway), a free-spirited artist who is in stage one of Parkinson’s disease. Their initial relationship is based on short, commitment-free trysts, but this is soon replaced by a deeper romantic connection. Trouble comes, however, when Maggie’s disease proves to take a heavier toll on their relationship than expected. The film falls short in all the typical places, including its recycled characters: Jamie’s charm proves fruitless on Maggie, as she sees the insecure boy beneath his confident exterior. Of course, she will help him realize his potential while simultaneously dropping her own guard. There is the dramatic chase and the ending scene

that will tap-dance on your heartstrings. Despite such a trite plot, the movie is still enjoyable, with brilliant performances by both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway. The many, many sex scenes play out like the actual chemistry between two incredibly good-looking people, not between two actors. Hathaway, in particular, gives an authentic, unlikely face to Parkinson’s and drives most of the movie. Overall, Love and Other Drugs relies too heavily on the talent of its actors, but it’s satisfying enough for the genre. The focus on Parkinson’s is especially refreshing, as opposed to a farcical premise that plagues most contemporary romantic comedies. If, however, you want to see a story line worthy of these two co-stars, rent Brokeback Mountain, in which, if you recall, they also get naked. —Katie Zaborsky


dir. nathan greno & byron howard walt disney studios


harry potter and the deathly hallows, part 1 dir. david yates warner bros. pictures


The end is nigh, my friends, and wonderfully so. That Harry Potter movie that actually lives up to the book—the one you’ve seen in the Mirror of Erised for the past 10 years—is finally here. Well, the first half of it, at least. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 focuses once again on Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) as they pursue Horcruxes, Hallows and that flighty temptress, adventure. The trio ventures forth into a world of “magick moste evile,” discovering Lord Voldemort’s (Ralph Fiennes, who deserves a Best Supporting Actor nod for this role at some point or another) hidden secrets, harrowing encounters with death and the heart of their friendship. Although past movies have felt like

drinking the Draught of the Living Dead, this installment is by far the best in the series, putting the audience under its Imperius Curse from minute one. The film mixes big-budget action with dramatic subtlety, beautifully blending explosions and effects with the best dialogue thus far. Not only does the panoramic, Oscar-worthy cinematography go wand-in-hand with the scope of the hero’s journey, but the film also transfigures the trivial into the substantial. Director David Yates captures the propaganda books in Umbridge’s drawer, Ron’s eternally screeching radio and Hermione’s torture with all the pizzazz and depravity of Rita Skeeter’s Quick-Quotes Quill. Although it can’t help but feel like the prelude to a bigger movie, Part I still stuns the viewer with everything from superb acting from the entire cast to a N.E.W.T.-level animation sequence—my second favorite “change” from the book, behind the dancing scene in the tent. It is a fantastic, frenetic and frightening film that will charm and disarm you faster than Harry himself. —Brendan Szulik

December 2, 2010

Disney’s Tangled—the 50th film in its Animated Classics series—flies out of the frying pan and into the hearts of all. Based on the household classic fairy tale, Rapunzel, Tangled unravels the story of a young princess trapped in a secluded tower deep in a forest. Anxious for answers about her past, Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) asks her adopted mother, the manipulative Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy), for permission to leave the lonely tower. After Mother Gothel adamently refuses, a criminal, Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi), sneaks into the secluded building to avoid arrest. After a brief and rather painful introduction, the two embark on a whirlwind adventure to uncover Rapunzel’s past as well as some other uncharted discoveries. With a smart spin-off of a familiar tale and toe-tappingly memorable tunes, this

movie is reminiscent of the Disney Renaissance era. Parts of Tangled feature suspenseful action sequences that keep audience members anxiously inquiring how the lead characters escape impossible situations. Tangled also introduces a new type of Disney villain: Mother Gothel, voiced by Donna Murphy, mothers and affectionately spoils her adopted daughter. But selfish intentions underlie her matronly affection; Rapunzel must keep her lengthy, enchanted locks in order to preserve Mother Gothel’s youth. Once Rapunzel defies her, Mother Gothel plans an ingenious plot to get her daughter and beauty back. The relationship Mother Gothel established with her so-called daughter stirs conversation and thought. Tangled meshes the timeless theatrical landscape trademarked by Disney with 21st-century animation and writing. With unexpected plot twists and extensive action sequences, Tangled is a hair-raising experience fit for royalty of all ages. —Ashley Copeland


December 2, 2010

Page 7

Jazz pianist Vijay Iyer brings Trio to Duke by Andrew Walker THE CHRONICLE

Vijay Iyer is living proof that contemporary jazz isn’t static. Iyer, a self-taught pianist and composer, combines a profound understanding of the jazz tradition and its history with a tireless creative energy to bring the genre headfirst into the 21st century. Iyer will perform Friday at Duke with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore—giving Duke students and Durham residents the chance to see one of the most innovative groups working in jazz today, said Director of Duke Performances Aaron Greenwald. “This feels like a totally contemporary jazz trio,” Greenwald said. “Jazz spends a lot of time trying to figure out its history and how musicians ought to relate to that history, and this trio has captured that balance in an especially compelling fashion. You don’t have to be a jazz fan to be moved or blown away by what will be happening on stage.” Prior to the concert, Iyer will give a talk with Jonathan Mattingly, associate professor of mathematics and statistical science, entitled “On Math and Music.” The conversation will cover certain mathematical concepts that exist in Indian music and visual arts as well as his own compositions, Iyer said. Indeed, Iyer’s playing draws on a range of vocabularies, from mathematical structures and South Indian Karnatak music to electronic compositions and contemporary pop. “If most jazz pianists’ playing reflects a certain history that runs through stride and bebop and the jazz of Ornette Coleman in the 1970s, Vijay’s music is informed by a trajectory that embraces all of those things but also includes different types of experimental music and these different classical traditions,” Greenwald said.

Throughout the past fifteen years, Iyer has built up an impressive body of work with musicians of different backgrounds. His 2004 collaboration with poet Mike Ladd, the song cycle In What Language?, inhabits a world between jazz and hip-hop and stands as a striking document of the postSept. 11 political landscape. Iyer has similarly channeled disparate influences into improvisational music alongside alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and as part of the experimental collective Fieldwork. Recently, Iyer has charted new territory with Crump and Gilmore. The group’s latest release, Historicity, has been heralded as a paragon for the future of the jazz trio. The album topped virtually every end-of-the-year list in its category: The New York Times, NPR, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times all selected it as the most important jazz record of 2009. “I have to keep it in perspective,” Iyer said of the nearuniversal critical acclaim. “I can’t get too attached to that kind of thing. Above all, it gives me more opportunities to push the music a little farther, especially in the course of playing, because that’s where the discovery happens.” Historicity showcases the trio’s dynamism and versatility, juxtaposing sophisticated original compositions with inspired covers of Stevie Wonder and Andrew Hill tunes. Perhaps the most striking choice of source material is M.I.A.’s “Galang,” which the group reimagines as a dark groove driven by powerful hits in the bass and the left hand of the piano. The title track, one of Iyer’s own contributions, relies on an intricate rhythmic fabric that evolves spontaneously in time and timbre as the musicians propose alternating melodic and harmonic ideas. “With Historicity, the trio has become a force,” Greenwald said. “When I last saw them, they were playing with

special to The Chronicle

Vijay Iyer, a self-taught jazz pianist and composer, will perform and give a talk as part of Duke Performances’ fall programming. The Vijay Iyer Trio’s most recent album, Historicity, topped the year-end lists of publications like The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

Nutcracker Carolina Ballet

Dec 4–5 at UNC’s Memorial Hall

Order tickets online or at the Box Office, (919) 843-3333 M–F 10am – 6pm

each other in a fashion that I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen among improvising musicians before. There was tautness to the enterprise that was thrilling.” On top of his considerable success as a jazz musician, Iyer has carved out a parallel career as an interdisciplinary scholar. He earned a Ph.D. in technology and the arts at the University of California, Berkeley, and wrote a dissertation exploring rhythmic perception and cognition in various musical traditions of the African diaspora. He has contributed research in fields as diverse as consciousness studies and jazz musicology and currently serves on the faculty at New York University, the New School and the School for Improvisational Music. Iyer said he does not see a clear dividing line between his musical and academic work. “I don’t really try to keep them separate,” he said. “I do draw a lot of inspiration from some of the ideas in my thesis. How music works, what it does for and to people—it’s all part of the mix for me.” The Vijay Iyer trio will perform Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. in the Reynolds Industries Theater. Tickets are available at


Page 8

December 2, 2010

The writing on the wall.

special to The Chronicle

Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, is a highly regarded folk artist whose work has been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash. He’s touring behind his most recent album, The Wonder Show of the World.

Folk artist Bonnie “Prince” Billy plays Duke with Cairo Gang by Jeff Shi


For nearly two decades, Will Oldham has produced his unique brand of folk music. Though he has rotated through backing bands and multiple monikers repeatedly, his music has always been thematically enigmatic and descriptively ineffable. This Saturday, he brings his talents to Reynolds Theater, in support of his 2010 release The Wonder Show of the World, performing as his longtime pseudonym Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Both this weekend’s show and the album pair Oldham with the talents of Emmett Kelly’s Cairo Gang. Director of Duke Performances Aaron Greenwald was particularly keen on convincing Oldham to stop by Durham on his brief East Coast tour, which includes a mere half-dozen venues across the Southeast and New York City. It’s no wonder—his haunting music resonates with “In Durham, at Duke, a Nation Made New,” this season’s theme. “Oldham seemed like a perfect fit in this category—not only is his recent work musically stripped down, but the lyrics are spare, profound and sometimes coy—traits you’ll find in ready supply in the ballads of Mississippi John Hurt, Clarence Ashley and the Carter Family, amongst others,” Greenwald wrote in an e-mail. The show is also part of the “Liars, Thieves & Big Shot Ramblers” series of Duke Performances. It seems an accurate characterization for an artist that has never been interested in the typical folk and country scene. Instead, he has forged his own path of self-invention, and has remained both dedicated to and focused on his personal vision and muse. Indeed, Oldham’s music has defied easy classification for most of his career, with its personal, introspective lyrics and often subtle instrumentation. The highlight, though, has always been his delicate voice, which Greenwald described as “a good, clear Appalachian-style falsetto that he’s learned to use effectively over the years.” His lyrics have covered a disparate range of themes and subjects: They have often remained symbolically obscure, yet perhaps are all the more compelling for it. Adding to his mysterious image is Oldham’s penchant for adopting varied stage names over the years, in response to personal and stylistic changes. His main persona, in recent years, has been that of Bonnie “Prince” Billy, under which he released the critically

acclaimed record I See A Darkness in 1999. His contemporary take on a distinctively American genre and style has been well-respected by other artists over the years. Most notably, Johnny Cash recorded a cover of the 1999 album’s title track. Oldham wrote in an e-mail that the show will highlight both his new record with the Cairo Gang and old Bonnie “Prince” Billy favorites. He will be backed by a five-piece band representing the Cairo Gang, led by Kelly and including talented members from varied other acts. The musician cited both Emmett Kelly’s creative drive and positive dynamics while working together as compelling reasons for forging a collaborative album with the latter’s Cairo Gang. “He’s got an intense fluency with music, and an ability to translate language into music and back again, which helps us cut to the chase and get to where we want to go with the song or the performance,” Oldham said of his recording partner. “[He] challenges me rhythmically and melodically as a singer, and helps me to become a better singer, which at the end of the day is one of my driving forces in life.” The final product, The Wonder Show of the World, was characteristically soft-spoken, yet deliberate in its quiet intensity, as with many of his recordings in recent years, and the record was released to critical success. The most intriguing aspect of Saturday’s show might just be opener the Babblers, about which Oldham has been vague and tight-lipped. Even Aaron Greenwald has remained curiously reticent, merely suggesting that “folks will want to turn up at 8 p.m.—the opener is an integral part of the show.” Though he gave no solid answers as to the identity of this unidentified opener, he did invite attendees and media alike to turn to the Internet for possible theories. Either way, this weekend’s performance will be a “folk” experience like no other from Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Cairo Gang. “Folks attending the show on Saturday [will] see a great, iconoclastic and enigmatic American songwriter and performer,” Greenwald said. “The whole thing ought to be a total pleasure—it’s one of the shows I’m most looking forward to on the season.” Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and the Cairo Gang is performing Saturday at 8 p.m. in Reynolds Theater. The Babblers will open the show. Tickets are $38, 32 and $5 for students. For more information, visit

indu ramesh/The Chronicle

A student studies in front of “The Wall,” a piece that incorporates the work of students to create a mural in Perkins Library. The project is led by the Duke University Union, in the interest of increasing the visibility of the arts on campus.

nicki minaj pink friday universal


Perhaps it’s her larger-than-life personality that fans have grown to expect from the self-proclaimed Barbie. It could be the exhilarated rapping that led Rolling Stone to dub her the new queen of hip-hop. Whatever the case is, Nicki Minaj seems to appeal to everyone. Her debut album, Pink Friday, tries to speak to every demographic but just seems like it has an identity crisis. The disc features an incoherent blend of ballads, hardcore rap and dance tracks. The bipolar nature of the album seems like the first meeting of rapper Nicki Minaj, alter ego Roman Zolanski and Onika Miraj— Minaj’s birth name. Chart-topping single “Your Love” as well as the mid-album cut “Save Me” offer satisfaction for the R&B lover while “I’m The Best” allows Minaj to return to her mixtape roots. The second song, “Ro-

man’s Revenge,” is arguably the best on the album—a diss track with a solid beat, it receives much of its energy from an Eminem feature. Other notable songs include her second single, “Right Thru Me,” in which the enchanting rhythm can’t save the song from elementary lyrics like “You let me win/You let me ride/You let me rock/You let me slide.” “Did It on ’Em” suffers from an ever-present hype man in the background that sounds like a remix done by a DJ that you downloaded illegally. “Check It Out” seems misplaced and forces a strange and unwelcome break from the Brooklyn-born rapper who isn’t afraid of anything. In fact, it seems like the only tracks worth listening to on Pink Friday are the ones where Minaj is singing in some form. Minaj displays more of a talent for singing than she does for wordplay, and her debut album makes her seem like more of a lady-in-waiting than a queen. —Ariel Smallwood



The Chronicle


THURSDAY December 2, 2010

Mason quietly shows defensive skill by Chris Cusack THE CHRONICLE

On a night dominated by the play of a freshman, it was yet another underclassman that quietly had a defining performance in his young Duke career: Mason Plumlee. After breaking out on the offensive end last week against Marquette, Mason Plumlee’s biggest step forward against the Spartans was on defense, where he finished with zero fouls and a career Game five steals. And his Analysis high team-best 10 rebounds were almost a third of the Blue Devils’ total and came mostly on the offensive glass. The 6-foot-10 sophomore continued to see his playing time increase Wednesday, and he was able to almost single-handedly shut down the rotating Michigan State frontcourt of Draymond Green, Garrick Sherman, Delvon Roe and Adreian Payne. Besides Green, who finished with 16 points—ten of which came with under a minute remaining—the Spartan big men combined for a paltry 18 points. “Kyrie may have been sensational, but quietly Mason was right there,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Mason had to play 35 minutes with the foul trouble we had and they keep alternating bigs.... He was outstanding.” Although Mason Plumlee has improved in leaps and bounds throughout the nonconference season, his older brother continued to regress against Michigan State, riddled by foul trouble from the start. Miles racked up his third foul midway through the first half and played just eight total minutes. The Spartans posted rallies both times Krzyzewski played the elder Plumlee for extended stints, first to take the lead in the opening period, and second to close a 10-point deficit to just two points in the second half. Ryan Kelly’s night doesn’t look impressive in the stat book after racking up just one basket and a single rebound in 17 minutes of play, but he provided good defense around the inside and off-screen help around the perimeter. “They need a couple of bigs to get better.... Last year they had that magical chemistry,” Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo said. “They’ve got some growing up to do. There were times where they could have put us away.” But for the first time all season, Duke proved it could beat an elite team without high-level play from its established star, who struggled to find his rhythm. Kyle Singler shot just 2-of-9 in the first half while trying lawson kurtz and nate glencer/The Chronicle

See analysis on page 8


TOP: Nolan Smith scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half; BOTTOM: Mason Plumlee had 10 rebounds.


Duke travels to Wisconsin for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge tonight Coverage from Dukes’s win: Interviews with fans, a podcast, photos, and more



Kyrie Irving had his national coming out party against Michigan State Wednesday, scoring 31 points, shooting 67 percent and dominating his competition, Kalin Lucas.

Duke’s shooting was soso in the first half, but the team turned it on the second, shooting 55.6 percent and pulling away from the Spartans.


michigan st. from page 1 13 of the Blue Devils’ first 25 points and racked up two three-point plays in the process, maintaining Duke’s narrow lead as the two teams traded baskets for most of the opening period. The first three-point play came when Irving stole the ball from Delvon Roe and streaked down the court for an easy layup, getting hammered in the process and converting the ensuing free throw. Then, on the very next Duke possession, Irving pulled up from just behind the foul line, absorbed a Keith Appling foul as he released the ball, making the shot and the free throw to complete the three-point play and give the Blue Devils a 20-17 lead. When the Spartans managed to tie the game at 25 three minutes later, the freshman nudged Duke in front once again by sinking a 3-pointer from the right wing after Kyle Singler whipped a pass to him from the top of the arc. “My shots were falling early. I was in rhythm every time I shot the ball, so I felt as though I got a lot of good looks,” Irving said. Numerous fouls by both squads created a sluggish pace at the beginning of the second half. The teams combined for 10 fouls in the first five minutes of the period, and the Spartans were in the bonus with 14:51 still remaining on the clock. “It was a man’s game tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “Every possession was just so hardfought. We had to fight like crazy to win.” Michigan State’s physical man-to-man defense and the Spartans’ ability to quickly get players back down the court after missed baskets prevented Duke from running its uptempo offense and dominating in transition. The Blue Devils managed only six fast break points on the night and botched a handful of alley-oop attempts to Mason Plumlee. “We got ahead of ourselves on some of the fast breaks and probably lost about 10 points,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s how you learn. We still have a lot to learn.” Even though Duke was stymied in transition, the Blue Devils never trailed in the second half. The Spartans cut their 10-point deficit to two when Durrell Summers buried a 3-pointer from the corner with 14:46 to go, but Duke built its lead back up to double digits in the span of five minutes thanks to clutch play from a senior leader. Singler, who missed nine of his first 11 shots, broke out of his cold streak by knocking down two 3-pointers in just over a minute. His second bucket from downtown made the score 61-49 with 9:23 left—the Blue Devils’ biggest lead of the game. Not to be outdone, Irving executed a flawless up-and-under layup in traffic with under five minutes remaining, and from there the game’s result was never in doubt. Forward Draymond Green did his best to close the gap, scoring 10 consecutive points for Michigan State in the game’s final minute, but clutch free throws from Duke put the Spartans away. Irving, however, provided the most impressive play of the contest’s waning minutes all by himself. With 1:47 remaining, he weaved around three Michigan State defenders, darted into the lane and rose to the rim for a wide open lay-in. “Kyrie was huge for us, on both ends of the court,” Singler said. “He took care of business, and when things got tough, he made big plays for us. He had a great performance.”

8 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle

women’s basketball

Duke hits the road again to face Wisconsin by Stuart Price THE CHRONICLE

Duke’s challenging road schedule continues tonight in Madison, Wis. at 8:30 p.m. After a decisive victory over James Madison, the Blue Devils look to attack a struggling Wisconsin team and prove they are the cream of the crop in the ACC. While the Badgers (2-5) enter Wisconsin tonight’s matchup riding a five-game vs. losing streak, their No. 5 home stadium may Duke act as an equalizer against No. 5 Duke THURSDAY, 8:30 p.m. (7-0). Last year, when Madison, Wisconsin the Duke men’s team ventured into the Kohl Center during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, they left thoroughly disappointed after a 73-69 defeat. Tonight, the student cheering section, which refers to itself as the “Grateful Red,” will again be prepared to make life difficult for the Blue Devils. Nonetheless, head coach Joanne P. McCallie remains confident that her team— led by seniors Jasmine Thomas, Krystal Thomas and Karima Christmas—will be up for the challenge. “Our schedule has been brutal,” McCal-

analysis from page 7 to find his way around a lightning-quick Michigan State backcourt. Despite his overall struggles, his two 3-pointers, broken up only by two foul shots from Irving, spurred the Blue Devils on an 8-2 run that extended the lead to 12 at the midway point MORE of the second ONLINE half. “I didn’t What did the stalwart think Kyle [Sinfew think about wait- gler] had a great game, but he ing in line for days? sports.chronicleblogs. made some great plays for us,” com Krzyzewski said. “He didn’t have a bad game, but he didn’t have a great game. That’s what a good player does.” The crowded backcourt picture may

lie said. “[Playing against] James Madison was a great experience…and they had a pretty big crowd. We just look forward to the opportunity to play Wisconsin.” Duke’s seniors will need to continue their steady play in order for the Blue Devils to leave the Kohl Center victorious. The trio currently account for 47 percent of the team’s scoring and 42 percent of the team’s total minutes played. Jasmine Thomas in particular has paced the offensive, amassing 15.1 points and 4.4 assists per game. When asked about her seniors, McCallie spoke highly of their “excellent play” and “growth and leadership.” Their presence has undoubtedly had a significant impact on Duke’s five freshmen, particularly dual guard/forward Haley Peters, who is scoring 8.7 points per game, and guards Chelsea Gray and Chloe Wells. All three freshmen have made an immediate impact in the Blue Devil rotation, and Wells is coming off a 15-point performance against James Madison. “[The freshmen] have been outstanding,” McCallie said. “I love their competitiveness….They just have to keep working to get better.” While Duke will look to continue to improve the chemistry between its veterans and young talents, it cannot overlook Wisconsin. The Badgers boast their own

trio of senior play-makers. Guard Alyssa a product of the team’s efforts. Karel, who has 13.8 points per game, is “We’ve got to focus on each other and complemented by forward Tara Steinbau- continue to learn from one another,” Mcer and forward Lin Zastrow, who pour in Callie said. “[Tonight] is a great opportu11.6 and 10 points a game, respectively. nity to continue [our development].” They will challenge a Blue Devil defense that has held opponents to an average of 55.6 points. December 2’s article, “Duke releases schedule,” incorNonetheless, McCallie mainrectly stated the number of games in the baseball tains that Duke must focus on team’s season. It should have said there are 56 its continuing development and games next year. The Chronicle regrets the error. that solid performances will be

have become slightly less cloudy as well, as Seth Curry proved unable to stop either Korie Lucious or Kalin Lucas on the perimeter. The sophomore transfer appears to be losing the battle with Andre Dawkins as the first guard off the bench since Dawkins continues to shoot the ball lights out. Even Dawkins struggled by his recent standards against Michigan State, though. He posted his worst shooting percentage—40 percent

on 2-of-5 shooting—of the past five games, a number Krzyzewski and staff can still surely live with. In the end, only eight Duke players saw court time, including two for under 10 minutes, compared to 11 players who saw the floor for Michigan State. Both of Duke’s closest games—the other being the 82-77 win over Marquette—have only seen eight Blue Devils record multiple minutes

caroline rodriguez/Chronicle file photo

Chloe Wells and the Blue Devils travel to play Wisconsin in its raucous Kohl Center tonight at 8:30 p.m.


of playing time. With the continued poor play of Miles Plumlee, the rotation might shrink even further. For now, though, there is one known fact about this team: Mason Plumlee is playing unexpectedly great basketball. “Kyrie was just great,” Krzyzewski said. “But Mason was right up there and [if] we don’t have him playing tonight the way he did, we don’t win.”

No. 1 Duke 84, No. 6 Mi. State 79 No. 6 Michigan State (5-2) No. 1 Duke (7-0) Mi. State min fg 3-pt ft r a Roe 19 2-3 0-0 1-3 3 0 Green 26 6-11 3-5 1-2 6 1 Sherman 21 4-7 0-0 0-2 5 0 Lucas 36 5-13 1-3 3-4 3 2 Summers 28 5-11 1-2 0-0 4 0 Payne 9 2-2 0-0 1-2 6 1 Appling 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 Thornton 16 0-3 0-0 0-0 4 2 Kebler 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 Nix 8 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 1 Lucious 28 7-12 9-17 2-2 2 8 TEAM 2 Totals 200 31-63 9-17 8-15 37 16 Blocks — Green (3), Sherman (2), Kebler, Lucious FG % — 1st Half: 50, 2nd Half: 48.6, Game: 49.2

34 38 to 4 5 1 2 0 2 0 1 0 2 3

45 46 s 0 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1

79 84 pts 5 16 8 14 11 5 0 0 0 0 20


7 79

Duke min fg 3-pt ft r a Ma. Plumlee 35 3-7 0-0 4-8 10 0 Singler 39 5-14 2-6 3-4 7 1 Kelly 17 1-2 0-1 0-0 1 2 Irving 36 8-12 2-3 13-16 6 4 Smith 30 4-7 2-3 7-10 2 5 Dawkins 28 2-5 1-3 0-0 3 1 Mi. Plumlee 8 2-5 0-0 0-0 1 0 Curry 7 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 TEAM 1 Totals 200 25-53 7-16 27-38 31 13 Blocks — Irving (2), Kelly, Mi. Plumlee FG % — 1st Half: 42.9, 2nd Half: 55.6, Game: 47.2

to 5 1 0 3 4 0 1 1

s 5 1 1 2 1 1 0 0

pts 10 15 2 31 17 5 4 0

15 11 84 lawson kurtz/The Chronicle

Senior captain Kyle Singler had an off night, but still managed to score 15 points while grabbing seven boards. He also played lockdown defense on the Spartans.

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XXXDAY, MONTH XX, 2010 | 9

Diversions Shoe Chris Cassatt and Gary Brookins

Dilbert Scott Adams

Doonesbury Garry Trudeau

The Chronicle why we don’t heart the chron boys: they’re dirty:��������������������������������������������������������������������� twei, nina they’re bad spellers:������������������������������������������������������������� dorupp they’re always late:������������������������������������������������������������������ tullia they’re forgetful:���������������������������������������������������������������������� clee? they’re whiners:������������������������������������������������ andyk, jeffs, cusack they don’t play nice:��������������������� teach me how to douglas, nate they’re lazy:�����������������������������������������������������������������������������xpena they’re alcoholics:����������������������������������������������������������������������alem Barb Starbuck needs a man, not a boy:����������������������������������� Barb

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The Independent Daily at Duke University

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10 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle commentaries

Course materials want to be free Within the last decade, ties, in an effort to allow free the advent of websites fea- and equal access to informaturing university course ma- tion, according to the MIT terials has expanded acces- OpenCourseWare website. sibility to information once The success of the website proprietary to schools. in polishing the MIT brand is These webobvious, and sites are bewe applaud the editorial coming widely Consortium’s popular as they provide videos commitment to free and acand tutorials on a variety of cessible information. This subjects at no cost. Several uni- program, however, is not someversities have joined this move- thing Duke should emulate. ment, with the Massachusetts The purpose of a university Institute of Technology at the education is to create a comforefront. MIT’s OpenCourse- munity of scholars who learn Ware Program has created a from each other. While these site that houses material for online courses give people 2,000 courses and allows any- outside of universities a chance one to watch lectures or take to encounter more in-depth exams for free. In 2008, more knowledge, we do not believe than 250 universities joined to it provides a great advantage to form the OpenCourseWare students within the University. Consortium, an aggregate of As a liberal arts university courses from these universi- Duke is distinct in its emphasis


Excellent analysis. On the mark once again.

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Capture could be used to feature their talks on a central website. The site would also contain talks by visiting dignitaries and lecturers who speak at the University. The site would feature highlights of what Duke professors are researching and would bring attention to their efforts. This would be a more effective way to demonstrate Duke’s academic excellence to prospective students and allow professor to promote their work in the interest of earning grants. Additionally, we do not believe the advent of online courses will be detrimental to the purpose and position of universities. As long as a demand for a learning community in which to immerse oneself exists, so will the uni-

versity. As such, it could be advantageous to join other universities, such as Yale which has created an admirable model on the Open Yale Courses website, in creating a website to share course materials. MIT’s OpenCourseWare and the OpenCourseWare Consortium already occupies a niche in the online information database world, and Duke would do well to go its own way. Duke should concentrate on highlighting its talent in an accessible online setting. A database of interesting talks from professors and visitors would help students find subjects that interest them, and give those outside the University a taste of what Duke has to offer.


—“OptimistAlum” commenting on the column “The Blue Devils went 3-9? I’m still optimistic.” See more at

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on seminars and discussionled classes, which cannot be replicated in an online setting. Even if the online materials were used as a way to familiarize students with pre-requisite information for a course, as Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, has suggested, they could not replace the experience of a classroom. Therefore, such a project should not be a priority at Duke. Nevertheless, we still believe the Internet holds potential for showcasing professors and courses at Duke. The website could resemble a forum like Ted Talks, rather than the encyclopedic database of course materials MIT offers. If professors were willing to deliver their favorite lectures on camera, Duke-

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G&P deans should work on parking crunch In the past few weeks, we all have heard about the immediate and pressing dilemmas facing Parking and Transportation Services, particularly in regards to parking and bussing around West Campus. The increased demand from higher numbers of students has happened concurrently with a decrease in services, a decline stemming from a decision by the University administration to protect provost-area academic funding during the economic decline and instead make cuts in Central Services—one area being the heavily subsidized PTS. I think this move was the right one, but it does mean that we need to examine even more closely how we can make do with our limited resources. With that in mind, I urge the graduate and professional school deans, who have the most leverage in these negotiations, to take an even greater interest in addressing some of these problems. I have two suggestions: First, G&P deans should fight for more parking allocations and attention for their students with PTS and Central Services. As they are well aware, income from professional schools, especially the Medical School, make up a large portion of the funds allocated to Central Services. Deans and student leaders alike should fight to make sure that our needs are adequately addressed, given that we are paying for and subsidizing these services. Consider that freshmen on a purportedly residential campus, which has everything one needs within walking distance and is largely closed to the graduate population, are given a parking allocation for their cars to sit idle in a lot. Postgraduate students and employees, on the other hand, have to fight for parking and find bussing to their workplaces on a daily basis. These commuters often have to compromise with their families on where they can live, and it is often elsewhere in the Triangle. This imbalance is, quite frankly, insulting to those who cannot live close to work, and G&P deans are the best advocates for righting this inequity. My second suggestion is that G&P deans should commit to presenting alternative transportation options and local housing to their newly admitted students this Spring. There are plenty of housing options available near campus for which there are easy and affordable ways to get to campus without relying on a car. PTS and the administration have already stated that there will be no foreseeable increases in parking spaces. The elimination of parking spaces along Anderson and Towerview, heavily used by G&P students, are signs of things to come. If enrollment continues to increase, the only way to create a sustainable model is for more students to take advantage of alternative transportation.

There are already several University sponsored options available—the LaSalle Loop, Bull City Connector, Duke Bikes—and as these become more popular more and more will pop up. G&P deans and their staff members should encourage their new students to take advantage of these options before they settle down, instilling in them from the start that Duke is a culture committed to environmental and logistical sustainability. In contrast to the undergraduate program, concentrated effort on the part of all our postgraduate programs together is needed to avoid overlooking our overlapping needs. The most consistent request of GPSC over the past few months from G&P students across the board has been for help in solving students’ parking woes. It is my hope that, particularly in this area, G&P deans will be able to work together and make sure that our disparate voices are all heard in unison. Daniel Griffin President, Graduate and Professional Student Council Ph.D. Candidate, Classical Studies Chronicle coverage of DSG ignores reality I have become increasingly disappointed by your journalists’ biased coverage of Duke Student Government. In the Nov. 18 article “Gender forum leads to student action plan,” The Chronicle seems to ignore the reality of the “Gender Summit” and refrains from taking a critical stance (except when it comes time to reprimand some fraternities for not attending). What the newspaper missed is that DSG gave less than a weeks notice for the summit. Notably, my IFC chapter was absent Tuesday because we had a chapter meeting scheduled at that time where we had our own gender dialogue facilitated by the resources of the Greek Women’s Initiative. Although DSG will attempt to make the results of the summit look like the “voice of the students,” in reality, it’s the voice of 60 students (mostly campus organization elites) accumulated over three days. While a gender dialogue hosted by Delta Sigma Phi and Pi Beta Phi with help from the Center for Race Relations had 80-plus students on only one night, the laughably named “summit” had an average attendance of 20 people per night, which is hardly worthy of front-page news (especially considering DSG has the resources of personally e-mailing more than 6,400 undergrads, that’s less than 1 percent attendance!). All I ask is that in the future, The Chronicle be more critical and informed about DSG so as to more accurately compare its work to the success of other campus initiatives. Isaac Mizrahi Trinity ’12

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We are all Wikileaks


ikileaks’ latest release of confidential government documents reminds us once again that the spectacle of the private/secret becoming public is always… a spectacle, at least. Good thing we know by now how to parse an embarrassing scene without getting more worked up than is necessary. It’s impossible to say just what long-term impact the leaked confidential State Department cables will have on US foreign relations. The early chatter, at least, has been loud and predictable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered connor southard generic assurances that America’s “partnerdead poet ships” would “withstand this challenge.” Sticking with his default position on all news items concerning the United States, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that the leaked cables were part of an organized American plot. Russia’s Vladimir Putin—who was characterized in one leaked cable as Batman to President Dmitri Medvedev’s Robin—made Khrushchev-esque threats of nuclear escalation. Some of the leaked material—like the Batman and Robin comment or the observation that Muammar Qaddafi enjoys the company of a “voluptuous” nurse—is simply funny. Some revelations are more worrisome. For instance, it appears that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is even less secure than a casual observer might have guessed. But the real stunner is the revelation that a July 2009 State Department directive issued in Hillary Clinton’s name ordered spying on top UN officials, including Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and envoys from our Security Council allies, France and the United Kingdom. That news reveals a major violation of both international law and diplomatic good faith. So, buried in mounds of info that either confirms reasonable suspicions or simply provides curious anecdotes about the practice of American diplomacy, there’s a revelation of something the government should truly be ashamed of. It’s the espionage revelation—American diplomats, not intelligence officers, spying on top UN officials in their own diplomatically neutral offices— that really tells us something disturbing that we couldn’t reasonably have guessed. It’s actually a big deal. As it is, the leaks are hardly the Pentagon Papers. It’s unsettling to once again be told that Iran and North Korea are difficult to understand and deal with, and it’s disheartening to see just how muddled the efforts to close Guantanamo have been, but the leaks do not shake American diplomacy to its core. Even if Wikileaks had brought to light over 200,000 confidential cables and all of them showed US officials wiring home for jars of mustard and sending in NCAA tournament brackets, Julian Assange’s organization would still probably have made the news. They’d have managed to breach security and embarrass the US government, if for no other reason than to create a spectacle. This time, Wikileaks did manage to bring some important news to light. Unfortunately, the sheer scale of the spectacle they have created means it’s likely that those pointing fingers in the coming weeks and months will be doing too much salacious grandstanding and not enough clear-headed analysis of the material before them. Instead of focusing on addressing the glaring espionage issue, there will no doubt be chiming from both abroad and within the United States that the leaks are proof positive of any number of broader strategic and moral failures. When the private becomes public, the sheer spectacle—the promise of that magic word, “scandal”—encourages emotional reactions rather than analytic ones. Few things are as invigorating as basking in the Scarlet Letter glow of someone else’s embarrassment and taking humiliation as an excuse to pile condemnations on condemnations. That kind of moralizing—the kind that draws broad, freewheeling conclusions based on a moment of disgrace—doesn’t actually accomplish much. It encourages petty self-righteousness and discourages productive, logical dialogue. In the case of the latest round of Wikileaks, the problem is that the hyperbole that promises to surround the totality of the documents threatens to overwhelm efforts to solve the few substantive problems that have been brought to light. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. The State Department will have to answer for its bad-faith spying, but no U.S. official can really be held responsible for Kim Jong-Il’s insanity or Pakistan’s internal political problems. Oh, and if you haven’t guessed already, there’s a Duke analogy in all of this Wikileaks stuff. If we learned nothing else this semester, we came to better understand the nature of spectacles that are supposed to be scandals. We know that, try as hard as you might to indict an entire student body/campus culture/the trees on West Campus based on a few media-friendly embarrassments, you won’t achieve much with that kind of grandiosity. Specific problems, whether on our campus or in the Moscow consulate, demand specific reactions. There’s no upside to making puritanical declarations that vague entities such as “campus culture” or “gender relations” or “American foreign policy” have completely gone to the devil. Make whatever moral indictments you want, but pick your targets carefully and make sure you don’t over-exaggerate the wider significance of your points. Unlike Kim Jong-Il, Duke students have the capacity to be sane and realistic about solving our problems and those of our University. Connor Southard is a Trinity junior. He is studying in New York for the semester. His column runs every Thursday.

“I don’t have an accent.”


hat do you drink? even when we fall under a “monolithic” label like No, I’m not interested in your bar General American. habits. I’m asking about the fizzy pop in It’s just the same with those accents that are asyour can at lunch. The sugar-rush sociated with very broadly painted soda you drink to stay up late. The geographic regions (“Southern”), caramel-colored coke in your cup. ethnicities (“African-American”) Which one is it? or classes (“redneck”). To ascribe a According to linguistic surveys, certain linguistic destiny to swaths of the name of your soft drink is deterpeople based on one aspect of their mined by your geographic origins. identity is foolish: we all know people People in the Northeast and the who break the mold of stereotypes. West call it “soda”; people across the sandeep prasanna Everyone’s accent is formed by mulMidwest largely know it as “pop”; tiple experiences and sources. And and Southerners call it “coke,” no hooked on phonetics like other traits, it can be intimate matter the brand. and treasured. The emergence of a mass-market American imWhen we enter a world in which our accent is unage in the last few decades has reduced regional usual, though, how do we react? With exaggeration differences like these. With mainstream newscasters or with assimilation? When I was abroad in Australia, and sitcom stars speaking in essentially the same dia- I swung wildly between the two. Sometimes I would lect and accent, successive generations concerned find myself emphasizing my accent, amplifying my with embodying a normative American identity “R” pronunciation and stubbornly using American have readily adopted linguistic traits that were once vocabulary; other days, I’d yearn to fit in, studying confined to certain regions in the central Midwest. the bizarre intricacies of Australian vowel producThey created a General American standard that tion. In New York City, a speech coach market has now defines “average” in this country. This dialect of emerged for those desperate to part ways with their English is so unconsciously “normal” in the U.S. that distinctive accent, complaining that their “tawking” speakers of General American identify themselves colors their professional and social relationships. in a vacuum of identity: “I don’t have an accent.” So how is the great experimental melting pot But General American isn’t a monolith; it’s a of Duke’s campus affecting our peers’ perforheterogeneous amalgam of related accents. Don’t mance of language? believe me? Try these simple tests. When the General American dialect is taken as Pronounce these words: “Mary,” “merry” and a homogeneous, normative identity, some react by “marry.” Are they all the same? You are seemingly emphasizing their “heterodox” accent. Others can’t in the majority, at least in America. The Mary-merry- hear the difference. Still others assimilate. Universimarry merger is associated with rhotic dialects—that ties pride themselves on diversity—but in truth, to is, those that pronounce the written “R” at the ends be associated with a regional linguistic idiom can of words or before consonants. General American is be crippling because it forms a lens through which a rhotic form of English. others perceive you, often to the exclusion of other But I grew up near coastal New Jersey, and al- aspects of your identity. though I didn’t speak with the non-rhotic Jersey Those who fall under the General American Shore—excuse me, Jersey Shwa—accent, my school- normative umbrella are privileged in this country teachers and my friends’ parents did. I was sur- to be evaluated first on non-linguistic traits. Many, if rounded by it. Speakers of non-rhotic accents usu- not most, other speakers are not. This discrepancy ally pronounce the three words differently—and so is antithetical to a mission of diversity. do I. Although neither my friends nor I speak with a Maybe my examples of linguistic heterogeneJersey accent, this anomaly has stuck with us. ity are just fun quizzes, but maybe they’re a little Here’s another: “cot” and “caught.” If they more, too. Perhaps even a small understanding of are indistinguishable, you’re in the same boat as the diversity within a so-seen monolith of identity about 40% of Americans and nearly all Canadi- like General American gets us somewhere toward ans. According to linguists, you’re probably from an appreciation of larger, non-standard deviathe Midwest, New England or farther north. Most tions from the norm. other Americans pronounce the two slightly difIt’s interesting, after all, to see how some of the ferently. The cot-caught merger is associated with last vestiges of regional linguistic idioms—minor a large shift in vowel pronunciation that occurred pronunciation differences among General Ameriaround the Great Lakes—a transformation that can speakers—are humorous, whereas bigger diagave us, among other things, the much-maligned lectal differences can be personal and professional folksiness of one Sarah Palin. handicaps. Okay, one more: how do you pronounce the I do have an accent—we all do. I just hope that ubiquitous suffix “–ing”? Many people drop the ve- I’m far more interesting than my choice of soft lar closure “ng” and say “–in.” Others, like my Penn- drink. (Soda.) sylvanian roommate, pronounce it “een,” stretching out the vowel. Sometimes it’s situational: you’re Sandeep Prasanna is a Trinity senior and a Program II “chillin,” but other times you’re “relaxing.” major studying the dynamics of language. This is his last It can be stunning to see how different we are, column of the semester.

Think you can write a better column? E-mail for Spring columnist applications.

12 | THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2010 the chronicle



by Lori Montgomery

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Deficit panel members appear surprisingly open to compromise

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Members of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission expressed a surprising willingness Wednesday to compromise on issues that have long divided Republicans and Democrats, including raising taxes and cutting Social Security. Confronted with a deficit-reduction plan loaded with political dynamite, members from both parties set aside ideological orthodoxy at least briefly, sparking hope that their work could ignite a serious effort to reduce government debt and spare the nation from a European-style fiscal crisis. While only seven of the 18 members endorsed the package outright, others staked out positions that could change the terms of the well-worn Washington debate over taxes and spending. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., one of the panel’s most influential liberals, embraced a proposal to raise the retirement age to 69 in 2075, calling it “not radical” and “acceptable to me”—a rebuke to the progressive groups, labor organizations and advocates for the elderly that have criticized the idea. Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a leader of the GOP’s conservative wing, said he could live with a proposal to cut military spending and increase overall federal tax collections as long as income tax rates were lowered, spending cuts were enforced and Democrats agreed to re-examine the growth of spending envisioned under the recent health-care law. And Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, one of the Republican Party’s most respected voices on budget matters, came close to signing on to the package, saying, “This problem is so real, Tom Coburn can’t have everything he wants.” “This plan is a plan. The people who have worked on it have tried to build a consensus. I have heartaches with tons of it,” he said. “But I know we have to go forward.... This is just a down payment on the real, difficult sacrifices that everybody in this country is going to have to make.” Despite the tone of conciliation, commission cochairmen Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson conceded that it will be tough to assemble the 14 votes they need to issue official recommendations when the panel votes Friday. A host of interest groups have already vowed to bury the plan in Congress if it begins to gain traction. Only one member of the panel, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said she would vote against the package, arguing that it does too little to protect the middle class against an economic system that seems rigged to benefit the wealthy. But Durbin also seemed to be leaning toward a no vote. Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who was absent Wednesday, is not enthusiastic about the commission’s approach. And the three House Republicans—Reps. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Dave Camp of Michigan, and Hensarling—are all expected to reject the package, primarily because of its implicit embrace of Obama’s health-care overhaul. Still, the commission has already attracted more attention and received more respect than nearly anyone predicted. When Obama created it nearly 10 months ago, Republicans dismissed it as a gimmick designed to give the appearance of addressing record deficits in the run-up to the midterm elections. Even many Democrats regarded it as a sham. “You think about where this started. A lot of people said we wouldn’t get six votes,” said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who with Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., came up with the commission concept. Of a dozen lawmakers on the panel, Conrad and Gregg were the only ones to offer immediate support for the deficit-reduction proposals, though Rep. John Spratt Jr., D-S.C., said he is also leaning toward a yes vote.

The White House continued to reserve judgment on the commission’s work, which is intended to help shape the president’s next budget request, due in February. “The president looks forward to reviewing their work at the conclusion of their votes,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, and he will “evaluate their proposals and their votes as we move forward and put together a budget of our own for next year.” There was no immediate reaction from top leaders in Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who called an earlier plan “simply unacceptable.” Key officials were more focused Wednesday on policies that would worsen the nation’s budget picture. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House budget director Jacob Lew met twice with a bipartisan group of lawmakers to try reach an agreement on extending tax cuts that are scheduled to expire Dec. 31. House Democrats plan to stage a vote Thursday on preserving the cuts on income under $250,000 a year; keeping them would increase deficits by more than $2 trillion over the next decade. GOP leaders assailed the scheduled vote as a political stunt aimed at disrupting the legislative agenda in the final weeks of the session. In addition to dealing with the tax cuts, Congress must approve legislation to fund the government into next year. Democrats also want to extend unemployment benefits, which expired Nov. 30, and Obama is eager for the Senate to ratify the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia. The fiscal commission’s report was conceived to be part of the last-minute workload. But Bowles and Simpson acknowledged that Congress will not consider their work at least until next year. Their final blueprint for rebalancing the federal budget hews closely to the plan they released before Thanksgiving. Like the original, it offers a prescription for reducing deficits by nearly $4 trillion by the end of the decade, in large part by slashing domestic and military spending. The plan also recommends raising taxes by nearly $1 trillion by 2020, primarily by eliminating or reducing cherished breaks such as the deduction for home mortgage interest; the tax-free treatment of employerpaid health insurance; and preferred rates for capital gains and dividends. It also calls for a 15-cent-per-gallon increase in the federal gas tax. The top income tax rate for individuals and corporations would be lowered to 29 percent or less from 35 percent. And the report recommends a legislative trigger that would raise taxes automatically unless an overhaul was approved by 2013. Future retirees would face significant sacrifices, including higher Medicare premiums and a later retirement age. The early retirement age would rise to 64 from 62. In deference to liberal concerns, Bowles and Simpson have strengthened protections for workers in physically demanding jobs who might find it difficult to delay retirement, recommending that the Social Security Administration develop an exemption for up to 20 percent of new retirees. The report, titled “The Moment of Truth,” makes an array of other changes designed to lure the support of commission members, including $50 billion in specific spending cuts championed by Coburn and endorsement of a payroll tax holiday to spur job creation, promoted by Durbin. The final package would balance the budget more quickly than the original, wiping out annual deficits by 2035. And although the nation’s soaring debt would continue to rise in the short term, the plan would bring it down to a more manageable 40 percent of gross domestic product over the next 25 years. Staff writer Shailagh Murray contributed to this report.

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December 2, 2010 issue  

December 2, 2010 issue of The Chronicle