APRIL 3, 2014 VOLUME XXXIII, ISSUE 5
CSA Airs Commuter Grievances By TYLER MARTINS Arts & Culture Co-Editor
On Thursday, March 13, the Commuter Student Association (CSA) presented the members of the College Council with a list, titled “10 Things Commuter Students Would Like Professors to Know About Us.” The list details certain issues that commuter students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) deal with regularly. “We represent the commuter students of FCLC who, like most of you, commute to Fordham,” the list reads. “Here are a few things we would like to share about ourselves.” The issues are broad, ranging from familial obligations and train troubles to “competing demands on our time.” CSA Treasurer Christina Dellaporte, FCLC’ 15, drafted the list after having been approached after a College Council meeting by Associate Chair of Sociology Jeanne Flavin. “[Flavin] was worried that she doesn’t always understand some of the struggles that commuters have,” Dellaporte said. Flavin suggested that Dellaporte create a list documenting many of the issues that commuters face. “I asked everyone who came [to CSA meetings] to write down a few things that they wish professors would know or something they struggled with about commuting,” Dellaporte said. According to Dellaporte, approximately 20 commuter students attend each CSA meeting. “I read through all of them and there was actually a consensus among some of them and I put this together.” After the list was completed, it was reviewed by the CSA executive board and reviewed by various faculty members, including some in the Office of Student Leadership and Development (OSLCD). “Anything we can do to help any of our students, and in this see COMMUTERS pg. 2
JESSICA HANLEY/THE OBSERVER
The Observer photographers brought their cameras with them and documented the adventures they had over Spring Break.
Glitch in System Causes Housing Overflow By RAMONA VENTURANZA News Co-Editor
Freshmen students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) addressed their issues when registering and signing up to dorm in McMahon Hall for fall 2014. Such problems with the registration process caused students to be put into housing overflow. In early March, students who wanted to dorm in McMahon Hall were required to choose their roommates and register for a room. However, for certain students, the process of registering their selected rooms and roommates was especially difficult and caused many
to be forced into overflow. Director of Residential Life Jenifer Campbell was not available for comment. According to resident Heath Hampton, FCLC ’17, housing overflow is when students are chosen randomly from a large pool of other students, to then be placed in a room to dorm together. “When we’re in overflow, it would be unlikely that we’d get to room with the group of people we want to room with next semester.” Maria Pely, FCLC ’17, said that it was hard to register for a room with a select group of people because there did not seem to be enough rooms available at McMahon. “Registering for housing was
very competitive this semester,” she said. “For my situation with my friends and roommates, there was not enough room for the six of us in a six-person dorm. If there is not a room for my friends and I, then we would be forced into housing overflow.” Anabelle Declement, FCLC ’17, agrees with Pely in how difficult it was to register with her group in a certain room. “I feel like [Residential Life] did not open up a lot of rooms for us to register to dorm.” According to students who signed up to dorm in McMahon, there was a glitch in the computer program, which was used to help students register and sign up for
rooms with their groups. Housing policy only permits groups of four students to sign up for a room that fits solely four individuals. However, the computer program’s glitch allowed groups of four to have access to register for a six-person dorm. “When students were registering, the computer program allowed for some groups of four people to be put into a room of six [people]. Six-person rooms were then initially filled with four people; this caused a lot of the rooms to get filled up quickly. If that happened, then [those students] would get dumped into see HOUSING pg. 2
ARTS & CULTURE
Creative Writing Awards
“Labyrinth of Desire”
SAT Test Changing
Women’s Basketball star talks A-10 win.
FCLC Mainstage premieres April 3.
Changes in the test are a good first step.
Creative Writing Prize Winners
THE STUDENT VOICE OF FORDHAM COLLEGE AT LINCOLN CENTER
News Editors Noha Mahmoud — firstname.lastname@example.org Ramona Venturanza — email@example.com
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
ANGELA LUIS/THE OBSERVER
CSA presented a list of grievances to College Council on Thursday, March 13.
Faculty and Students Weigh In On CSA List COMMUTERS FROM PAGE 1
case in particular, commuter students be more successful is certaintly something I want to support and be a part of,” Keith Eldredge, dean of students at FCLC, said. When presented at College Council, the reception was warm and sparked dialogue among faculty, Dellaporte said. “They kept asking me questions and it started a whole new conversation about other issues. I brought up certain issues for commuters that residents also have to face, and that started up a whole new conversation about how we all need to approach the situation a little differently. “I was just happy that we could get everyone talking,” she said. After the list was presented at College Council, it was distributed electronically to all FCLC faculty by the office of Dean of FCLC Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J.
According to Eldredge, reactions from the faculty were positive. “They appreciated the students taking the time, not only to draft the proposal but to bring it to the council,” Eldredge said. “The faculty members talked about how it resonated with their own experiences and how they would like to make sure that students feel they are getting the best education they can in the classroom, so anything they can do to support that was something they’re interested in.” Faculty members present at College Council were surprised to hear about the issues that commuter students face. “[The list of commuter problems] was really eye opening for me. I never really thought about it before listening to [CSA’s] presentation,” Associate Chair of Communications and Media Studies Gwenyth Jackaway said. “We did not know the extent of
this issue. We know that commuters have special concerns—it was very eye opening. I wish I knew this earlier. I thought that I could do more in my classroom to be more welcoming,” Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies Hector Lindo-Fuentes said. Reactions among commuter students in regards to CSA’s attempts to bring these issues to the attention of faculty have been divided. Some commuter students, like CSA member Matt Miller, FCLC ’15, believe that bringing these issues to professors is important. “We just want professors to be aware and more sensitive to our situation,” Miller said. Mike Macalintal, FCLC’15, echoed the sentiment. “I think showing this list is a great idea; [professors] will get to know more about what commuter students are facing,” Macalintal said. Other commuter students find
the list to be “whiney” and devoid of solutions. “I understand that CSA is the representative of [the commuter community]; I don’t have a problem that they can’t go around to every student,” Marina Elgawly, FCLC’ 16, said. “But CSA’s letter comes off as whiney. ‘Understand that we have many competing demands right now,’ is whiney. Well, welcome to college. When you’re supposed to balance an internship and/or work, plus school, it is expected of you. This is expected; you try to make the most out of it, academically and socially.” “Some of [the complaints], you should have expected as a commuter,” Angel De La Cruz, FCLC ’16, said. “What are they going to do; make my commute shorter? I can understand there being some kind of complaint, if there is some reason for the complaint. I don’t understand where [CSA] is going with this,” he
said. “This isn’t asking for special treatment. It’s asking to be aware with what is going on with us. We didn’t want professors to change formats of classes, or change their teaching style necessarily,” Dellaporte said in response. “We can’t ask them to do that; that’s completely ridiculous.” “It’s important to talk about these issues and how they affect people,” she said. Though commuter students have questioned if the University is working to find solutions to these issues, the Administration doesn’t believe that there are any tangible solutions. “I don’t know if there is anything here to be in control of the college to rectify,” Grimes said. “I can’t make the Metropolitan Transit Authority to run on time. I can’t tell parents how to raise their children.” Additional reporting by Adriana Gallina and Ramona Venturanza.
Students Address Issues With Housing Registration HOUSING FROM PAGE 1
housing overflow.” The computer program’s flexibility allowed Hampton’s group of four to sign up in a dorm exclusively for six people. “When we were signing up for a room, we were supposed to get a group together. [My roommates and I] found a room of four openings, but it was a room of six; my group of four filled up the four spots.” A similar situation happened to Declement, in that the computer program for choosing the rooms in McMahon permitted her group of four to sign up for a room only for six students. “[My roommates and I] received an email back from Residential Life, saying that we filled the housing application incorrectly,” Hampton said. “But according to our knowledge, we followed all the directions [on the computer program] correctly. Other people experienced the same problem as us.” According Pely, she and her roommates were given direction by Residential Life to try again. “Hopefully my group and I will be put in the same room; we wouldn’t want to be put into overflow.” JESSICA HANLEY/THE OBSERVER
Freshmen students experienced problems when signing up for dorms for fall 2014.
THE OBSERVER April 3, 2014
COURTESY CAMPUS ACTIVITIES BOARD
Student clubs use social media to promote meetings and events.
Social Media Helps to Promote Clubs By GUNAR OLSEN Staff Writer
Over the past few years, student clubs at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) have been using social media outlets like Facebook to promote their meetings and events. As a result, club leaders have found it easier to engage with members of the community. Brian Cipollina, FCLC ’14, president of Campus Activities Board (CAB), said of CAB’s Facebook page, “I take so much pride in it. I like to try to be quirky on there and put good pictures.” Cipollina has noticed that posting pictures to Facebook helps to create interest among students. “Anytime we can get pictures of students, that
usually gets the most interaction and reaction. If we’re tabling the plaza for selling tickets, and we take pictures of students buying tickets, and people see their friends in the photos, they’ll often comment or like it,” he said. Not only does Facebook help members get involved, but it also helps club leaders interact with each other. “We don’t ever have a meeting where club presidents get together at this school, so there’s no real conversation about what other clubs are doing. Facebook is really the only way of knowing,” Cipollina said. At a student leadership conference during the summer, Cipollina learned that in certain cases, it is more effective to maintain only one social media outlet. “One of the key points from the social media conver-
sation was not to have so many if you can’t control them all. It’s better to have one main one than to have everything,” he said. Louise Lingat, FCLC ’14, president of United Student Government (USG), stressed the importance of social media for people who do not take classes at Lincoln Center. “FB is a good venue not just for Fordham LC students but also to reach out to reach out to Rose Hill students to get them aware of what’s going on at LC,” she said. “A lot of our likes on FB are from alumni who have served on USG and want to remain updated as to what is happening on USG, which is good for us because having alumni relations is always a positive thing,” Lingat said. Andrew Abbensett, FCLC ’16, a
nominee for two Undergraduate Appreciation Awards in Most Spirited Clubber and Most Active Clubber, agrees: “Facebook is the most seminal way of communicating information to others.” As a member of both In Strength I Stand (ISIS) and Rainbow Alliance, Abbensett praises the openness that Facebook offers: “[ISIS and Rainbow] are much older than our college careers, so you have alumni who are on the Rainbow page and the ISIS page. You realize that information that’s being communicated is coming from so many different angles.” On those Facebook pages, members post articles and continue the discussion that they have in meetings. Social media has helped Abbensett earn the Most Active Clubber
nomination. “A lot of ISIS’s events on Facebook really caught my eye, so that’s why I decided to go to some of the events this year,” he said. “You see pictures of what students are doing through Facebook, and that helped me join choir.” Sandra Lin, FCLC ’15, president of the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), said she uses APAC’s Facebook page to inspire excitement about events and promote Asian culture. “Last semester, we incorporated Asian of the Month,” which, in March, featured Cristeta Comerford, the first woman and first person of Asian descent to be the White House Executive Chef. “That’s gotten a lot of attention. We get a lot of likes from that,” Sandra said.
FCLC Students Register a Week Earlier than RH Campus By NOHA MAHMOUD News Co-Editor
Registration dates have changed once again for students at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) and Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH). FCLC students registered for classes during the first week of April, and FCRH students will be registering the second week of April. However, FCLC students can only start registering for courses at FCRH on April 16. According to Mark Mattson, associate dean of FCLC, the decision to end simultaneous registration was voted on by the College Council at Lincoln Center (LC) due to problems encountered by students last semester and the inability of the system to accommodate a large number of students trying to register at the same time. However, that same day, the College Council at Rose Hill (RH) voted to continue simultaneous registration. “A committee was formed to resolve the discrepancy and come up with a plan on how to register for this semester and going forward,” Mattson said. The decision resulted in having
SARAH HOWARD/THE OBSERVER
FCLC students register for classes earlier than the Rose Hill campus.
the two campuses register separately; this decision does not allow LC students to register for any RH classes until the last day of registration for RH students. “There were also problems in that since there are so many more students at RH than LC, the impact of leveling the playing field was to have a lot of
RH in LC courses than vice versa so there were about 20 closed courses where there were a large number of RH students,” Mattson said, regarding the decision to have LC students register for RH later. Changes have also been made to the my.fordham.edu site where students registering can find a button
that leads them directly to a list of options, including add or drop class option for registration. Feedback by students regarding the registration process has been relatively positive on social media sites in opposition to previous semesters. Fanni Hegedus, FCLC ’15, said “It was definitely a lot easier this time around.” When asked what she thought of the decision to make LC students register for RH courses after RH registers, she said “It’s not fair that they have to wait until the day that RH freshman register. But it wouldn’t be fair if they registered now either.” Saharish Khan, FCLC ’15, also had similar opinions regarding the registration process. “It was actually really easy. I am usually in a rush to sign up for classes, however this year, since I signed up for classes first I really wasn’t in a hurry. Also I noticed my.fordham had a different spot for registration for classes which also made it easy,” Khan said. In agreement with Hegedus and Khan, Mike Macalintal, FCLC ’15 said he had an easier time registering for classes this semester than last. “Last semester was definitely a
lot crazier and incredibly difficult to navigate through in comparison to today. I think a lot of it had to do with just seniority and also being in deep with finding classes that fulfilled my major. However, I do think it was a smart idea for campuses to prioritize registration for the classes that were held at each campus and I’ve noticed that there were, at least from the earlier parts of registration, a little less anxiety than there normally is,” Macalintal said. When asked whether there were plans on trying simultaneous registration again, Mattson said, “Well, going forward the idea is to have Banner be able to temporarily restrict students from registering on the other campus so that we could have simultaneous registration but still for the first week or two have students be able to register only for their home campus. That would be the fairest way to do it. If we open everything up for everybody then we get too many Rose Hill students in Lincoln Center courses and then Lincoln Center students cannot get into them. This version of Banner today cannot do that so I have to personally deregister students who register for courses at RH.”
Rachel Shmulevich — Opinions Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
rite of passage. Who doesn’t have a story of a Ram Van ride next to a smelly rando, a too-loud talker or a driver who hasn’t quite grasped merging yet? But those stories are an important part of the bi-campus experience that Fordham is so gung-ho about encouraging. So, why then, has Fordham decided to make it just that much more difficult for students to register for classes away from their
Registration should be full of unicorns and rainbows and happiness. home campus? Yes, we did have a problem with simultaneous registration last semester because of the sheer volume of students registering, but the answer shouldn’t be to just completely re-segregate the campus registration dates. As reported by Noha Mahmoud in “FCLC Students Register a Week Earlier than RH Campus” on page 3, Lincoln Center students are not able to register for Rose Hill courses until the final day of Rose
LIKE, WHY ARE WE EVEN REGISTERING AT SEPARATE TIMES? wise man once told us, “Treat every registration like your last registration.” Okay, he didn’t. But like, whatever. We think the saying still applies, and maybe we can be your wise man. Registration is difficult and horrible and terrible (note: we had other words, unprintable words here, but, well, they were unprintable). You have to wake up early and brace yourselves for a 7 a.m. virtual brawl. But it’s also an opportunity for, well, opportunities. New classes full of new people, new material, new knowledge to be acquired. We all know the feeling of meticulously planning the perfect schedule (and let’s be honest, making sure we have at least one day off) only to have every single option fall through. Or checking Rate My Professor for those spicy, spicy chili peppers and those sweet, sweet smiley faces, praying your professors are either hot and/or easy enough to keep you going through the semester. While the rivalry between Lincoln Center and Rose Hill is the stuff of legends (maybe) taking a class at the opposite campus is something of a
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
Hill registration, at risk of the dreaded Dean Mark Mattson deregistration (real email from Dean Mattson: “Last week you recieved an email from me reminding you not to register for Rose Hill courses until April 16. You went ahead and registered for a Rose Hill course. Your registration for the course is now being cancelled”). While the registration process has become a little less Hunger Games, there is now an issue of students being unable to register for necessary and/ or desired classes at the opposite campus because they have filled up. The most logical way to address this, at least in our opinion, would be to fix whatever technical issue made simultaneous registration so difficult last semester and let the free for all commence. Staggered registration dates mean someone is getting the short end of the stick. But simultaneous registration, with capabilities of accommodating all registrating students at once, gets rid of the stick completely. Fordham is all about opportunities and taking advantage of those opportunities. But that won’t be possible unless we can all mingle like at the end of “Mean Girls.”
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THE OBSERVER April 3, 2014
Ban Bossy: Where Critics Miss the Point MARINA RECIO Asst. Opinions Co-Editor
You may have seen a certain video going around your social media feeds this past week with Beyoncé’s determined gaze and a #BanBossy hashtag compelling you to click play. If you took the time to examine said post, you may have also found a ton of criticism in the comments section. Why, you may have wondered, are people criticizing Queen Bey’s latest feminist advocacy efforts? Well, the title gives it away: This is a campaign to (brace yourselves) ban a word—and that word is ‘bossy.’ And as may be expected, many jumped the gun at the first ‘B’ word. I am talking about Sheryl Sandberg’s latest campaign to empower female leaders, this time focusing on the critical stage of girlhood. The Facebook CEO and author of bestseller “Lean In” partnered up with Girl Scouts to produce a campaign that aims to make girls less afraid of being perceived as assertive, a trait often replaced with more negative words like ‘bossy’— as well as other B words—as they grow older. The campaign is based on the premise that nurture, not nature, is to blame for the lack of interest and aptitude in girls to be leaders. This claim is not unsubstantiated; according to Associate Professor of Political Science at Occidental College Caroline Heldman, at 7 years old, boys and girls want to be President in equal numbers, however, by age 15, girls become disproportionately less interested in leadership roles. Although by nature, girls are just as likely to be interested in leading, somewhere between ages 7 and 15, leadership roles and traits become less attractive to girls. Not surprisingly, research reveals that girls are twice as likely to worry
COURTESY BAN BOSSY CAMPAIGN
that leadership roles will make them seem ‘bossy.’ There is certainly a cultural problem in how boys and girls are raised to think about leadership. Girls are discouraged from leading even through the language used when discussing female assertiveness and other traits associated with leadership. A male is a ‘boss’; a female is simply ‘bossy’. A common theme in the criticism of Ban Bossy is the so-called ‘restrictive’ approach of the campaign; many dislike the idea of banning words, even while acknowledging the damaging effect of negative words on children. But the often-cited approach of reclaiming words and taking away their power is irrelevant to this campaign. At the heart of the
“Ban Bossy” movement is a double standard in how male and female leaders are perceived: The main problem is not the use of a certain word, but the fact that there is an array of different terms reserved for female leaders, even though boys and girls that want to lead should be treated equally. A girl should not have to wonder why she’s being called different names than a boy for adopting the same behavior when she is not old enough to even understand what sexism is. In the critical stage of childhood, when personality and disposition are still developing, children should not have to be subject to criticism based on their gender. Criticizing girls before they are old enough to even fully grasp the reason they are being treated in such a way is robbing
them of the opportunity to develop to their full potential. In doing so, we are also robbing our society of a large pool of talent. Most people watching the video campaign will understand that it is not an attempt to literally enforce a ban on a word but a call to be conscious of the language we use around children when referring to girls. Language is incredibly impactful; it not only expresses our worldview but shapes it as well. Of course, “Kindly refrain from using words like ‘bossy’” is not nearly as catchy as “Ban Bossy.” If nothing else, this campaign made headlines and focused the public’s attention on an important issue, something many feminist initiatives have failed to do lately. This is a call to treat women as bosses rather than
as people who are bossy so that we can rid ourselves of our own linguistic double standards that have unintended effects on girls. It is not the sole solution to the problem of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles, but it sure helps to understand and begin to fix the root of the problem. Maybe the critics missed the punch line. It’s not about banning language, it’s about using the power of language to encourage rather than discourage, to promote equality rather than to exacerbate harmful gender distinctions. After all the statistics and not-so-fun facts, the core of the campaign was best captured by the closing line, as said by Beyoncé: “I’m not bossy, I am the boss.”
Hollywood Influence on American Politics Is Not Necessarily A Bad Thing KAMRUN NESA Asst. Opinions Co-Editor & Copy Editor
After conducting a poll in February 2014 about the Academy Awards and Hollywood influence, CBS News released its results on March 2 and concluded that 61 percent of Americans believe that Hollywood has way too much influence on American politics than is appropriate. Of course, the fact that most of that 61 percent is made up of Republicans is telling: the majority of Republicans find it unsettling that stars are using movies as an instrument to raise social and political awareness because movies oftentimes conflict with their own beliefs and agendas. When stars and directors make politically explicit movies or start supporting a political or social cause, people, and sometimes even the government, feel obligated to listen to them and, in some cases, to take action. Whether it’s because the majority of the public believes that Hollywood is stereotypically air-headed and has no authority in being involved in politics or their beliefs are being jeopardized, the truth doesn’t change: they want things to be compartmentalized. In an ideal world, the potatoes and the gravy won’t mix, but in a country in which freedoms of speech and expression are stressed to the point of exhaustion, we can’t expect people to keep quiet about anything. Whether these people’s thoughts are legitimate is a different story. Not everyone in Hollywood has a Harvard degree and is a political
and social activist like Natalie Portman, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be involved in politics. They’re like an extension of the press in that it’s almost inevitable for them to not comment on or create movies to show political inefficacy or bulldoze politics. With movies like Jack Nicholson’s “As Good As it Gets” (1997) advocating health care reform, and recent Oscar Best Picture nominee “The Dallas Buyers Club” coinciding with the proposal of a Congressional bill—“Right to Try”—to legalize more drugs for the terminally ill, it seems as if Hollywood’s influence,
[I]n a country in which freedoms of speech and expression are stressed to the point of exhaustion, we can’t expect people to keep quiet about anything.
whether too much or too little, is conducive to the political and social development of the United States. In fact, Social Science Quarterly published a study in 2013, titled “Moving Pictures? Experimental Evidence of Cinematic Inﬂuence on Political Attitudes” in which an experiment was conducted to see if there is a change in political attitudes after watching movies, particularly popular films, with political and social undertones.
The authors concluded that movies like “JFK”(1991) and “As Good As It Gets” did change the minds of Americans, causing them to either change their party affiliates, stop donating to campaigns or change their votes to candidates who best reflect their—or rather, the movies’—views. These kinds of films often speed up the process of reform because they force the audience watching these movies to open their eyes to issues that have long been repressed. “The Dallas Buyers Club,” for example, shines a light on an issue that has been in existence for a number of decades but has been, and still is, largely disregarded. Ironically, this movie gives more ammunition to the “Right to Try” bill because they both concern allowing terminally ill patients to partake in trials of developing drugs that have not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A bill like that will now probably get a lot more support. In fact, on March 25, The KDVR channel in Colorado reported that a House committee on the Colorado Legislature has already voted and passed on The Dallas Buyer Bill to the full House. It’s certainly not a good habit to develop for people to solely begin to take action or change their political attitude only after being subtly encouraged by celebrities and directors, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. That’s not to say that all Hollywood influence is great for the development of society. According to the Washington Times, the Motion Picture Association of America
JESSICA HANLEY/THE OBSERVER
Famous celebrities hold a lot of influence, and it can be a positive thing when they use it to help gain support for important issues.
(MPAA) has increased its funding to political nonprofit groups between 2009 and 2012 because they were pushing for bills to stop online piracy as well as to protect online intellectual property, a move which could give them too much control over politicians. The pendulum swings both ways though: politicians often resort to entertainment and Hollywood to help them appeal to the public. Movies are a form of escapism for people because they often suspend reality. But when we bring political and social messages onto the screen, it forces people to acknowl-
edge that there’s a problem and that it is urgent and pressing enough for directors, writers and actors to create a movie to spotlight it so the issues become blatantly clear. That forces us to think about whom we have elected to office and sometimes even forces politicians to do something to endear themselves to public opinion. It’s only when these same entertainers ignore the public to directly reach out to politicians by throwing money at them that their influence and power become a problem and detrimental to the growth of the level of transparency in American society.
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
Can We Afford To Erase Israel’s ‘Jewishness’? DYLAN REILLY Staff Writer
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rolls into another year, a fresh round of U.S.-sponsored negotiations are being hammered out between the conflicting sides. The deadline for some kind of framework is the end of April, but support for a two-state solution is waning. A recent poll by the Foreign Policy magazine found that two-thirds of Americans would support a one-state solution with equal rights for Jews and Arabs in the event that the two-state solution (i.e. partition) fails. A two-state solution is initially favored by only a plurality of those polled. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated he would neither recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” nor accept the partition. Accordingly, negotiations over a two-state solution are not expected to end successfully. Adding to the bad faith of these negotiations, the cycle of terrorism, counterterrorism and rocket strikes and retaliation remains unbroken, and as recently as March 22, three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli raid on a West Bank refugee camp in an attempt to apprehend a wanted Hamas operative. I do not believe a two-state solution will be successful, nor do I believe that the maintenance of Israel as a de jure Jewish state will be conducive to the peace process. The IsraeliPalestinian conflict is much more complex than a majority-minority dialectic. I think it would be impossible to create two uniform states out of Israel-Palestine, and their viability as sovereign states is highly questionable. The immediate issue with partition is demography. Israel proper is almost one-fourth Arab, Christian and Muslim. These individuals
ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES VIA MCT
President Mahmoud Abbas, of Palestine, and President Obama.
have full citizenship rights within Israel and send representatives to the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. Israel as a Jewish state, which it is legally, also raises larger questions about Jewish identity. Judaism is a religion and not an ethnicity, although there are ethno-religious groups associated with Judaism (Ashkenazim, Mizrahim, Sephardim and many more). Reducing these diverse groups to “Jews” is doing them a historical disservice in the name of Israel’s religious nationalism. Although most Israelis are fluent in the reconstructed language of Modern Hebrew, many have spoken and continue to speak the languages of their pre-Israeli
ancestors, most notably, Russian and Arabic. More properly, Judaism, like Christianity, is comprised of many branches which are varied in beliefs and practices. The major categories include Reform and Orthodox, as well as the modern emergence of secular Jews, who identify more with a Jewish heritage or culture than religious observance. One sect, the Haredi, sometimes referred to as ultraOrthodox, are known for their high fertility and unemployment rates and are a major concern to Israeli policy-makers. If such drastic distinctions can exist between Jewish Israelis, Israel’s claim to be a unitary Jewish state perhaps needs
reevaluation. Pluralism would not be unique in the region; Lebanon, for example, has a mixture of Christian and Muslim denominations. On the other side, we have the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, two exclaves of the Arab world administered by former Palestinian Authority, which the United Nations (UN) recognizes as the nonmember state of Palestine. Being the inverse of Israel proper, these territories are roughly four-fifths Palestinian Arab and one-fifth Jewish. Most Jews in de jure Palestine live in settlements in the West Bank which are widely considered illegal under international law.
However, many have lived there for generations, and deporting them would be unethical. The violent partition of India and Pakistan (a “Hindu state” and a “Muslim state”) in 1947 should serve as a reminder as to what population exchange is in practice. There is also a substantial Palestinian refugee crisis in neighboring countries that such a move would worsen. The current Israeli government would never accept a partition that would leave their co-religionists under Palestinian rule, and Palestine would not accept the settlements any more if it were independent than it does now. It is also important to note that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip are neither connected nor would one be able to support the other. Non-contiguous countries do exist; Russia is separated from Kaliningrad, but Russia proper is a vast country while the latter is a minor province. However, creating an independent state out of the Palestinian territories would be like Utah and Alabama uniting and declaring their independence from the U.S. Since partition is unfeasible, Israel must find a way to integrate Palestine. The synthesis of an Israel-Palestine state is the most beneficial solution in a religious and ethnically diverse land seeking to minimize future hostility. And, no, integration does not mean colonizing the West Bank. The settlements have greatly antagonized the Palestinians, who have lost substantial amounts of their de facto territory, and there will never be peace so long as this program continues. A one-state solution should respect Palestinian rights to the land of their ancestors and their right to equal legal status in both Israel and Palestine, the latter perhaps having its own autonomous institutions as is common for provinces in many European federal states.
SAT Revamp Is A Good First Step ALEXA McMENAMIN Contributing Writer
As I entered my freshman year of college this past fall, I was startled to realize that the SATs were going to be just as awkward and fraught a topic as they had been during high school. The competition never quite fades away: SAT scores become a marker for your intelligence and for how well you will fare in the rat race of college acceptances I’ve known many friends who felt gutted after receiving scores below the sacred 2400 mark, convinced they would never get into the college of their dreams. Of course, common knowledge states that SAT scores don’t actually say anything about your intelligence. So, the question arises: What exactly do the SATs tell us, if anything at all? David Coleman, the president of College Board, announced in March that by 2016, the current version of the SAT—with math, reading and writing sections and a total possible score of 2400—will be no more. Acknowledging the faults of an often-criticized standardized test, Coleman admitted that the SAT, as well as the ACT, had “become disconnected from the work of our high schools.” The new SAT will decidedly test on less math topics than we were subject to, change the infamously impenetrable vocabulary section to include more words used in college curricula and, most importantly, make the essay optional. Many have argued about the
relevance of the essay since its addition to the test in 2005. Some colleges do not look at them at all, saying that expecting a well-crafted essay in 25 minutes is unrealistic; however, more competitive schools compare them with the essay for the Common Application to determine the originality and authenticity of the personal statement. While the guidelines for the SAT state that the essay is not held to the same standards as, say, a research paper that was crafted over months, many colleges have no interest in reading a rough draft, unless they plan to use it comparatively. Therefore, the relative usefulness of the essay is arguable considering that it can have great weight over one’s overall score. By making the essay optional and the test more decipherable, Coleman hopes to change the culture surrounding the SATs. Perhaps College Board is trying to avoid its decline into irrelevancy by acknowledging the faults of the SAT and staying on trend with current education. However, in making the exam more accessible, there’s a chance it will lose its position as the ‘Holy Grail’ of college application stressors. Already, students have flocked to the ACT, as it provides a simpler, less writing-heavy alternative. But what niche will the SAT be filling now? It could be argued that the success and popularity of the SAT were based around the obsession our culture has had with tackling the impossible. By making the SAT more accessible, it may fade away into the ether. Additionally, one could argue that it’s an insurmountable task to “stay on trend with current
KIRSTIN BUNKLEY/THE OBSERVER
education,” because, as Coleman himself admitted, there is no single type of education that dominates across the board. While the Common Core, which is accepted by 45 states, has attempted to create equanimity in education quality, each public school has its own system and curriculum. A public school, depending a great deal on its tax base, can range from competitive and prestigious to one having a 15 percent graduation rate and mostly incompetent teachers. Furthermore, not all SAT-takers are public school students; I myself attended a private religious school, which took a holistic approach to their curriculum. Would the
SAT truly show where I comparatively factor in? I could have had an entirely different education from someone who statistically ranked higher in academics; yet, here I am at Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC), doing just fine. This flawed view of encouraging a blanket type of academic success and ignoring those who do not meet certain criteria permeates not just the SATs but the entire college application process. I hope that this revamping of the SAT creates a change in how college admissions as a whole are done in the United States. We need a more holistic perspective on the diversity of education throughout
the US. On a basic level, it seems like revamping the SATs removes a competitive element of college admissions; but unfortunately, the entire process is riddled with pitfalls that are nearly impossible to navigate. It’s a luck of the draw more than anything else that earns one admission to competitive schools. Once intelligence and hard work truly become what merit admission to colleges and universities instead of arbitrary SAT scores or the appropriate number of extracurricular activities, there will no longer be a need to evaluate the SATs because we will have moved on from them. Until then, this is as good as it’s going to get.
MARGARET LAMB WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN/FICTION
Curtains drawn throughout the village, mirrors put to bed. The women, sisters, wives and mothers will play pallbearers for a generation...
By MELISA ANIS Graduate Prize Winner
Gareth’s body was still warm when his mother undressed him to be washed. She had done this a thousand times when he was a child and occasionally as a teenager too. His father thought it would be a laugh to get the skinny little boy drunk with the lads. Passed out cold. Coal dust still on his face. He wasn’t the skinny little boy anymore though. Look at him. She was the proud mother of a handsome man. Strong. The three years he had put-in underground sculpted his wiry arms into muscular cutting instruments. His shoulders now like his fathers, broad and a little round. She lifted his right arm and ran the sponge from his shoulder to his wrist. The water fell heavy on the slate floor and the kitchen table held pools of the dirty runoff in its oaken grooves. The flame of the candle danced to the whistling draft from the rattling old windows of her grey stone house. Her mind wondered... Manon had always wanted a big family. She imagined Christmas around a fireplace with a big big tree and square parcels. She imagined a Christmas like the Nobles would have. Loud, succulent and full of charm. Gareth her only son and only child was never one for Christmas, never one for the event. Like his father, he hated the attention, even from his own mother. She put her sons hand to rest on the warm wet sponge. The warm water would loosen up some of the coal dust under his short nails. She turned to get a small blunted knife from the kitchen drawer, and as she came back to face Gareth again, she marveled at the gleaming wet body lying bare on her kitchen table. She would have to bury him in the same ground that killed him. Dead before he came up. Before his time. Next to his father. Her grief blacker than coal, she sang a song for the dead.
IAN MCKENNA/THE OBSERVER
“Ablution” manages to evoke sadness without relying upon the clichés of sentimentality.
The Ugly One By RYAN LAWLESS Undergraduate Prize Winner
When we were 13, Laura invited me as a date to her uncle’s wedding. When she asked I made sure to keep my cool like the spies from my favorite stories, but it was the probably the happiest moment of my life. I pretended it was our own wedding. My parents and I had already been invited since Laura’s family is almost an extension of our own. So being Laura’s date just gave us an excuse to spend the night together. As soon as we got to the Galway Bay Hotel, we ran off to the riverbank with a bag of stale bread—we came prepared. I carefully tore off a small piece and placed it in Laura’s open hand. She threw it as far as she could into the water and it landed in the middle of the swans. Almost instantly, they gobbled it up and left only ripples galloping across the river’s surface. “Don’t feed the ugly one,” she ordered. One swan—the “ugly one”—had a crooked neck and grey messy feathers. It looked like an adult who had woken up for work in the morning before taking a shower and drinking coffee. When the swan bent its neck into the water to eat the bread, it made a nasally honking sound. It was hurt, just like my older brother a few weeks ago. He slipped on his skates during a hockey game. He couldn’t move much in the hospital bed and we had to spoon him mouthfuls of a special soup. Maybe this swan had been in some kind of accident, too. My mom made me wear a suit and I hated it. I had to keep my striped blue shirt tucked in and my jacket squeezed my shoulders: hot and scratchy. Laura looked comfortable in her dress. It was creamy white and laced with flowery designs that wrapped all around her body. The petals opened just below her protruding shoulder blade and dipped down along her back; the root stems rested above her navel. The wind blowing from the river made the dress flow behind her, revealing a pair of shiny black shoes. I wondered if dad had polished them, like my dad polished my own. What I have never understood about Laura is that she’s always serious like an adult. She never smiles and rarely laughs. But it makes her more beautiful. Not in a pretty eyes and hair way, but in a way that makes me try harder to impress her. To make her smile or at least show interest in whatever we’re doing. She’s a dancer and I think she must save all of her emotions for dancing. At her recitals (I’ve only missed one), I can immediately pick her out because she has the biggest smile etched into her face. As she twirls and jumps and leaps, she keeps her radar eyes fixed forward. She glares into the audience, or maybe through them. And she keeps the corners of her small lips curved into a red lipstick arc. “Here, throw the last piece.” “Let’s just throw it together,” she said. A normal person would smile while saying this, but Laura just quickly glanced into my eyes, squinted, and then looked back out onto the water. She cupped her pasty white palm over my own—they were almost the same color, but mine had a slight red flush. The swans circled below us, their hungry orange beaks ready to snap. We counted down from three and moved our palms apart. I traced my pinky finger along the web of veins that pop from her hand. She probably thought it was a mistake because she didn’t react. The bread fell down toward the river and landed on a swan’s back. Another darted over and plucked it off for itself. “Should we find more bread?” “No, let’s go inside,” she answered. She picked her toes up and spun on her heels. If I tried to do that, I’d probably have fallen or would’ve looked clumsy. We moved away from the river and walked back toward the hotel where everyone was talking, dancing, drinking. Laura always walked a few steps ahead of me. I’m not sure if it was on purpose, or if dancing just made her several steps faster. When she walked she kept her back straight, but her eyes pointed downward, as if she were more interested in the ground than in me or anything else. Back inside, music was playing. I recognized the sound of a piano and it was nice. But I didn’t like the man’s singing voice because I didn’t understand any of the words he was saying. They were just mumbled echoes. “This song is in my next recital,” she beamed, “let’s dance.” We squeezed past members of her family and into an open circle toward the edge of the dance floor. She tied her hair into a ponytail, even though it looked like she spent a long time having her hair curled. I knew her mom would probably be mad. I placed my right hand on her waist. She didn’t seem to mind, so I put my left hand on her shoulder. Her shiny black shoes moved two steps right and I followed. Then they moved forward, then backward. Eventually we settled into a pattern that I could follow. Everything around me melted away—I just heard the music. Soon I felt it sinking into me: it swirled around my limbs. The music became a muffled noise and controlled me like a toy car. I looked up at Laura after realizing I had zoned out and was surprised to see her already looking at me. She was smiling.
“The Ugly One” has a strong narrative voice--assured and authoritative, anchored in detail. TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
MARGARET LAMB WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN/FICTION
American Africans By KRIAN SINGH Prize Runner-Up
“SOWETO has gone to the dogs.” “You think everything’s gone to the dogs, uwesilima,” Kabelo said, using his sleeve to wipe the froth out of his beard. “The city, the ANC, the president ¬-” “I named my dog after the president.” “The young people, the old people...” He went on, and nodded over the counter, to where a picture of Miriam Makeba hung between the bottles. There was a 20 Rand note pinned to the frame. She had been the shebeen’s first customer. “The women.” “So that’s where they’ve gone.” Nipho was staring into space, as high as the Hillbrow tower. “They certainly haven’t been coming to me, I know that much.” “The food, the weather, the drink - the Umqombothi.” “Now the drink I have nothing against,” I said, drumming my fingers on the neck of my bottle. “There’s your problem.” The light changed, as sunset tumbled in through the shebeen’s open door, blushing and bruised as a mineworker after a long day. Three teenagers walked in, laughing and slapping their hands together. “We can agree on the young people, at least.” “Look at those sneakers. They’ve been customized more than a car with Durban plates.” “Those Indian kids will pimp their ride. But a bafana will pimp his shoes.” Nipho wheeled around on his stool, squinting like a man trying to spot cheetahs in the savannah. “Biza amaphoyisa – Call the police, these boys are trouble.” “These boys wish they were trouble.” “Why haven’t they taken the stickers off of those caps?” “Never mind the stickers. They need to straighten out their hats.” Kabelo glared at the boys, his eyes as yellow as the n’anga’s rolling bones. “And pull their pants up while they’re at it.” “Unkulunkulu, belts are not supposed to go around your thighs.” “My nigga, my nigga.” One of the boys reached a hand out to the bartender, and slipped a 200 Rand note into his palm as their fingers locked together. “Pour until you kill us, brother.” “Americans?” “No, just a bad impression. The one in the back is Mama Nomsa’s boy: Wandile. He should not be drinking.” Kabelo sat up straight, and made his voice like a father’s again. “Haibo!” You knew you were old when speaking like a father made you sound young. “Wandile!” “That’s Wandile Tha Young God to you, boss,” The boy said, beating his chest once, twice and then a third time as he walked over. It looked like he was limping. “Respect the name.” “Shit, don’t even waste your time. Those old soldiers can’t hear you now. They’re up to their ears in sorghum beer.” The first boy swung his leg up, and for a moment I thought he was going to piss on the bar like a dog. But he just slumped into one of the stools, heavy as a corpse. “Come on, I’m getting thirsty here, brother.” The bartender poured them three glasses of Jack Daniels, and my lips felt dry as I watched the liquor quiver in the neon light. It had been a long time since I could afford that kind of medicine. Sorghum beer made your belly swell, and your breath stink, and it was only for the whiskey that white men ever came into the bar. But these were not white men. These were not foremen from the mines, or tourists from the suburbs that were hiding behind the city’s skirts. These were township boys: boys that I hadn’t seen working since they’re heads were at my chest. Wandile used to pull scrap metal from the dump. And the other two once sold little wire lions to the Americans, as if they themselves had asked the animals to pose. I knew their families. I knew that they should not have this kind of money. Now, the third boy, whose hat was so low that I couldn’t see his eyes, set his knuckles on the counter. He was as black as the labels on the lager, and in his swollen jacket and ragged jeans, he looked like a gorilla. The three of them might have broken out of the Johannesburg zoo, but as they choked down their whiskey and howled, I didn’t think they had the brains between them.
“Soweto is ours tonight.” The first boy stood up, swinging his leg wide as if to piss on the entire township. “Last time I checked: I was the man in these streets.” “Why not the country, Prince? If you’re so hot, why not the whole fucking country, huh?” The other boys snickered over their drinks. “Shit, this nigga wouldn’t even point a finger at Zuma!” “Well, I’d point more than a finger at his new wife: Number six.” The boys clinked their glasses together, and swallowed up their whiskey. “Word is bond; I’d point a lot more than that.” “That woman is old enough to be your mother.” Kabelo had his arms crossed over the counter, and his head hung so low that he was staring out at them as if from inside a cave. “And Zuma was a horny enough bastard to be my father, so what?” “Show some respect. Without men like that, Soweto would still be a cage. You like going out into the city? You like going to those European malls, dressed up like Americans? Then you should be grateful. Twenty years ago, the furthest you could get from this township was by going three kilometers underground, and scratching at the walls for gold.” “Zuma’s no hero,” I said, trying to start up an argument of our own, and shut the boys out. It didn’t work. “We don’t dress American,” The one called Prince said, spreading his arms as wide as Christ. “This is black, my brother. And black is beautiful.” Prince leaned on the bar, and pointed a finger up at the television that was blinking down at us. “Hand me the remote for this thing.” The bartender moved to hide it, but Wandile snatched up the remote as if it were a weapon, and slid it down the counter. Prince cruised through the channels, stopping whenever he found a face he knew: a black face. “See that?” He said, snapping his fingers at the President of the United States. “That’s black.” Click. Click. “That?” Now it was a man in shorts, too tall to stand up straight inside any house in the townships. He and the boy were wearing the same sneakers. “That’s black.” Click. Click. Click. Now a woman, wearing pants that were so tight they folded in her gut, bent over as if to pick up a coin. “Mhm mhm. That...” A man in sunglasses was walking around her, moving his hands like a translator for the deaf, as something like music played. “That’s black.” Click. He turned the television off, and jabbed the remote at me of all people. “So what are you?” “Sibusiso Radebe knows what he is.” Kabelo made a fist, though I could not tell if it was out of anger, or pride. “You’re just a confused kid.” “A Prince.” He and Wandile ground their knuckles together. “Respect the name.” Kabelo shook his head. “Bafana… when’s the last time you saw a black Prince?” The boy turned up his chin, but kept quiet, and the smiles of his friends’ faces began to droop. “All those people you see on the television – all those black people – do you know where they came from? Where their father’s father’s grandfathers came from?” The boys just stood there, dumbly. Kabelo had made schoolchildren out of them. “Africa. They were taken from Africa.” Kabelo stayed seated, but we were all leaning in a little closer, as if around a storyteller on a quiet night, or a fire on a cold one. “And do you know what they see, when they look back to where they came from?” This time, the boys shook their heads. “Death, Famine, Pestilence and War. Africa to them is where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come to graze in the grass.” The man rolled his great, weary shoulders. “What about history, then? Their roots? … Cha.” His tongue clicked. “Looking back, they do not see Great Zimbabwe. They don’t know Shaka Zulu. Instead they are fooled by tourist traps set by the English. Places like Sun City – that big, plastic African palace.” “I bet they saw Zuma dancing through the streets in his leopard-print loincloth,” I said, as my thought bubbles were being smoothened out by the sorghum beer. Still, they ignored me. “You are here, Bafana.” Kabelo pressed his finger into the bar, and twisted it as if snubbing out a fat, black cigar. “You are living it.” The old son of a bitch actually stood up then, while Nipho and I gaped like two men watching a cripple get out of his wheelchair. “You are African.” Kabelo put a hand to the boy’s head as if to bless him, and then took off his cap. “Let them see you.”
COURTESY OF KRIAN SINGH
MARGARET LAMB WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN/NONFICTION
The Chapel By EMILY DOSCHER Graduate Prize Winner
The chapel is red with morning light. We squint our eyes against it as we seek out our places among the pews. We are here to pray—so we have been instructed by the large-eyed, thick-legged nun who teaches us. Though we were loud in the hallway, glad for a break from the New Testament and Sister Mary’s slow-blinking explanations of male arousal, we settle into stillness here, in a chapel so small that the normal-sized crucifix feels disproportionately large, even for God. We twist our hair around our fingers and arrange our legs uneasily; we look on as Jesus seems to mumble through rigid, bloodless lips, pleading to the father who has abandoned him. Sister Mary nods to us to begin. I suppose a gunshot would be an odd start to communal prayer. (Or maybe a logical one.) The room closes in with its odor of heat, a commingling of sunlight and radiator that smells like a humid palm. Inspecting the wound in Jesus’s side, I wonder about agony—a son without comfort, a son abandoned—and think that it is a human, rather than a divine, emotion. In all our reading, I have never seen evidence of the father’s agony, though I have often read about human stonings, sacrifices, and trials. How can he who has known agony himself ignore it in another? But the father has not known it, and so he knocks the cup closer to his son’s mouth, splitting his lip, in a silence so cold it should raise clouds of breath. I am not praying exactly, but thinking around the idea of God, feeling for a creator-like shape, like a couch in the dark: an uncomfortable, high-backed thing, handed down from my mother that I have long suspected does not suit me. I am the only one who makes it fifteen minutes without nodding off or checking her nails. “You might be a nun,” Sister Mary tells me as we file out, and raises invisible eyebrows. I do not tell her that I relate to Jesus not as a savior, but as betrayed kin. * Midday this time and the sun is direct, a disk slicing through the room that I squint against as Mrs. Brady flips through my essay. I think about the many uses of light in The Scarlet Letter, the way Mrs. Brady’s eyes flash as she says the word symbolism. It is all light and darkness in Hawthorne, all souls. Here in the chapel, light is simply a thing that makes it hard to see. Mrs. Brady has crossed out a whole page of my essay with a large red X; she has emphasized her displeasure with a long-legged, spiky “NO!” in the margin. I have never been so close to her. Her body seems to shudder with a gutrooted disdain, like hiccups. I’m afraid to look too closely at her face, so I stare directly into the light from the window. She delivers a homily about syntax while I lose all sense of the proportions of the room. I imagine my pupils narrowing into nothing. To my right, Jesus holds himself up by the arms; he looks exhausted. I think of agony, but mainly of shame. * Eighth period and I’ve escaped the creaking wooden floors of the auditorium to come here, where there is a piano and sun-warmed wood. I ignore Jesus supplicating behind me—I do not have time for him today, for his straining chest and forever-pain—and lean back into the quiet for another moment, the back of the chair like a hand on my spine. I am working on something, a melody that’s been building in my mind, a few notes I find myself humming during homeroom as I gaze down at the parking lot. Sometimes, I try to write a song by thinking a word: friendship, I command. Marie. Lindsey. Tom. What is an essence and how is it captured in clefs? Where are the chords that describe my brother or my friend? My fingers make nonsense sounds around a linguistic theme. The real music composes slowly, a series of patterns that spin in and out of each other, maddening and mathematical, surprising me over toast. Today, I sense a breakthrough; I lift my wrists. The ceiling rounds its back. I do not think about altars or agony or the sparkler-spit in my gut, only and then what if? And then? IAN MCKENNA/THE OBSERVER
Emily Doscher’s essay illuminates Catholic girlhood in challenging way. She braids a thirteen or fourteen year-old’s experience in parochial school with some fascinating speculations on Christianity. The voice of the youthful narrator never strays into omniscience or adulthood, yet her observations and conclusions are sophisticatedly direct and disarmingly obvious. What does God feel when His son is killed? What are the ramifications of this abandonment? The philosophical ruminations of youth are eloquently described and the narrator’s attention is whisked away. Doscher offers the reader brief, yet vivid, insight into her narrator’s thought processes.
By CHRISSY PUSZ Prize Runner-Up
You’re a girl or a woman or something like that on the cusp of twenty, two whole decades, and you cannot believe that you haven’t yet gotten yourself in check. You knew to expect superfluous dramatics and aching lows while a teenager because that’s what every young adult novel on the market today suggests. But that’s the problem. You are no different from everyone else. You are one hundred percent average. You go to an average college, not an Ivy League like your best friend, and you secretly envy that her degree will hold more weight in the job market even though you two share the same major. You are a common female of common face and less-than spectacular build unlike the girls with whom you went to high school who went through dates like the underwear they obviously forgot under their grey kilts. You like common things like wedding shows and makeup and really aren’t that interesting to talk to. You have no outstanding talents unlike the great artists and writers and musicians you’ve met and you feel yourself sinking further and further into anonymity and mediocrity. You are not special. And you suppose that is why you cannot get yourself in check. If you had a great future you could look towards that and know that life would improve. But you know that you do not. You will be lucky to get a job, any job, after college and will be even luckier if you can sustain that job. You know that you will sit at home just as you do now and watch as the number of friends you have dwindles continuously into nothing. You love the people you’ve met in college but you know that in five years you won’t even speak to them. They will move on to different jobs and different cities and different lives and they will forget you just as your high school friends have. But that is life and you can pretend you’ll be happy for them and their accomplishments because they all deserve it, don’t they? You like to believe that you’re doing something right because you weren’t one of the girls from high school who had a baby or got married, or both, and was condemned to a life in a mother’s basement pretending domesticity is exciting. But you know that you are probably just as condemned as those girls are. You know that that boy you’re seeing might have to be your way out of yourself and that is the most terrifying realization you’ve made as a teenager. You know that if you’re a good girl and sit on your hands and paint your lips pink someday that boy or a boy might do you the favor of marrying and inseminating you because that’s the only real talent you have isn’t it? You were born with a functioning set of female organs and have the ability to sustain life which actually sounds much more impressive than you think it is. You could be a little housewife who cooks and cleans and bounces babies but how can that be an option when you’ve spent your entire life fighting that? Hasn’t feminism liberated you from needing to enslave yourself to be a respectable adult? And how respectable is domesticity anyway? Because society damn well hates motherhood and you know that. You see that mothers are berated for building careers and berated for devoting themselves to their children. And you wouldn’t respect yourself if you let yourself get married and have children, but
the world would pity you if you were “the maiden aunt”. You’ve really run out of options and you’re not even twenty years old yet which terrifies you. You’re petrified of being alone but you’re just as petrified of being a worthless cog in society. You wish you had been born extraordinary but you weren’t. You’ve got about two years left before you are completely useless and time is running out. So you sit on your bathroom floor and cry because your best friend doesn’t want to see you and your boyfriend and two other friends all went on vacation because it is easier to be sad about loneliness than to be sad about mediocrity. You were number two your whole life, which is a pretty high number, but you can never be number two in the world. So you lie on the floor and laugh at all of the creative ways you could end your life because maybe you could be extraordinary in death? Maybe you could make a great party of your funeral and make people cry and remember you for the good that you didn’t bring to the world. You could be the basket case with the heart of gold. Everyone needs a posthumous hero and maybe you could do that? But you laugh again at yourself because you know the letter you leave behind would have to be equal parts dramatic and poignant and you know you could never reach perfection in that way. Plus, it wouldn’t be right to leave your mother like that because she would be sad and blame herself even though she’s never done anything. It was all you. You were the one who was never good enough. You were the one who wasn’t born gorgeous or talented or exceptional in any way. So you get up from the floor and go to bed because you’re not even special enough to go through with it. You haven’t got the courage. Valor would have made you exceptional. But you can dream big. You can dream of the day it’s safe to die. You can dream of having a lot of money and a pretty apartment. You can dream that your best friend will stop hating you for growing up. You can dream that everyone will one day be sorry for not counting you extraordinary. You hope that sleep will kill you but it does not. You consider talking to someone but you know that that would be useless. You’re not exceptional enough to be depressed or anxious. You’ve survived no tragedy nor fought any demons. You’re not special enough for the pills that would make life a cloud. You laugh because when you asked for pills you lost two and a half friends because one of those friends was special and you were not. She was worthy of pity and love and those delicious delicious pills. But not you. You loved her once but now you resent her for being special, even if just to those people who you once counted as your friends. Soon you will be twenty and your best friend will ask you the same question she asks you every year, “what have you accomplished?” and you will tell her you haven’t accomplished anything and she will tell you to start accomplishing. You hope that you will accomplish one day. Two whole decades and nothing to your name. You are fat and ugly and untalented and are losing friends by the moment. Congratulations. You’re no one.
MARGARET LAMB WRITING TO THE RIGHT-HAND MARGIN/NONFICTION
I’m sorry I wrote about the Bunker By RACHEL PRENSNER Undergraduate Prize Winner
My first forays into nonfiction were Tumblr posts I wrote the summer after my sophomore year of college. The idea was to write things I was willing to show people, unlike the scattered, half-finished short stories I’d attempted since community college, which wandered through scenes and redrafts that were no better than the originals. I always started them with the intention of capturing some moment of epiphany I had while daydreaming on the subway or marring fresh snow walking across campus or resting after a jog, and they were always long on emotion and cutesy details and short on what the fuck I was trying to say. When I blogged about something that I thought might come off us flippant or provocative, I asked myself if it was worth it, and probably erred on the side of caution. I’d gone to a conference with people from church at the beginning of that summer, which had inspired me to value my time at home and show grace towards my family members and humankind in general. I was trying hard not to push the limits, whereas my other college summers I was out late with my friends, smoking as we went for winding drives on back roads or, after we turned 21, heading to the bars downtown. I wrote about religious doubts I was having and adjusting to the environment of a Catholic university after my Evangelical upbringing. I wrote about my theory of how the Christian world fetishized Jane Austen, promoting her novels as models of how respectful Christian young people should go about courtship, which went something along the lines of: “granted, the books are old-fashioned, and some of their norms no longer apply, but they depict a world in which men and women really respect each other and each other’s bodies, which is the only environment in which pure love can bloom, isn’t it?” I could analyze books on my blog, whereas I felt I couldn’t come out and say the messages we’d received about sex and dating were toxic. My high school friend commented on one of my posts: in a similar vein to the jane austen influence, i sprayed a note for a crush with my cologne (sampler, given me by my dad). because duh, that’s what you do when penning a letter to your love...if it’s 1750 or never. As I edged into more personal territory about the family or high school or faith, my parents were uneasy, but intrigued by becoming almost-characters in something published on the internet. Sometimes their friends told them about my posts at church or school events. They asked to see my blog and read through it on the desktop downstairs, posture stiff, peering intently at the screen, not used to reading anything longer than an email on the computer. Towards the end of the summer, inevitably, I wrote about them. They had this hobby which they sometimes called “disaster preparation,” but more commonly “plan B” or “the Bunker.” My dad, and some of his friends spent many of their free weekends during that time designing, securing, and preparing a hideaway where my family could go and be safe in the event of an economic collapse. One weekend my dad drove to the Bunker in our family’s old mini van, its inspection two years lapsed, packed to the gills with junk including an upright piano. On the way, he stopped at the hospital to do rounds. Before he got on the highway, he got pulled over by a cop, who asked for his license and registration. My dad handed him his license. Then he said, “You’re never going to believe this, but a mouse ate the registration.” He handed the cop the tiny scrap that was left of the document, teeth marks around the edges. According to my dad, the cop said, “You’re so far outside the bounds of normal, I don’t know what to do with you.” He loves telling this story. My dad had always had a Swiss Family Robinson, going-where-no-man-has-gone-before kind of mindset. He took us on camp-outs and hikes and thrived on the uncertain and not-according-to-plan, perhaps because of his years working in the ER. He tirelessly ironed out the finer points of the hypothetical community that would form in the event of disaster, even collaborating with a lawyer friend on bylaws, which he referred to as the “Mayflower Compact.” The obsession began when the bailouts were being passed, which he blamed on Obama, and worried would result in utter chaos and “people rioting on the streets.” (Incidentally, he also predicted the Obamacare reforms would cause doctors to riot, though this prediction was based on his insider’s discontent with the system in general, rather than the specific bill.) He talked about how our country’s debt problem was unsustainable, why he and my mom didn’t believe in consumer debt and paid off not the principal, but the entire balance of their credit cards every month. As he drove me to church or a friend’s house, he’d extemporize on the subject, ending with something aphoristic like, “Americans just don’t know restraint.” Neither he nor my mom were ever discreet in talking about the Bunker, but demanded utmost secrecy about where it was located. My dad told me somewhat despondently last weekend that one of the buildings that makes up the Bunker is visible from the road. They’ll have to plant a hedge of trees, he said. The reason for this secrecy, of course, was security, because if the major urban areas were all desolated, dependable food supplies gone, and long-distance transportation near-impossible, then everyone would be looking for something exactly like the Bunker. But that’s not to say this was an apocalyptic project. My dad doesn’t believe the world is ending. That said, “You’re going to be glad it’s there when the time comes, Rachael,” is a common refrain from both my parents. My mom was angry with me when I wrote about the Bunker not, she told me, because I’d written something personal about her on the internet, but because I’d compromised the security of the Bunker in the event of disaster. (To admit she was embarrassed was a concession she would never make). But it seemed there was a part of her that felt exposed when she warned me about selling out the family because I was “scraping the bottom of the barrel” of things to write about. And I sympathized, because the story was not wholly mine to tell. IAN MCKENNA/THE OBSERVER
Rachel Prensner’s essay describes a young girl’s vulnerability and attempts at self-expression in a sympathetic, matter-offact way. She tries to come to terms with parental obsessions. Growing up often involves seeing your parents objectively for the first time. The family she has left is tinged with paranoid survivalist strategies and absolutist thinking. I found this girl intriguing, as she mixes skepticism about religion and human nature with out-of-left-field theories about Jane Austen as a template for Christian romantic love. I thoroughly enjoyed the way her mind worked.
ULLY HIRSCH/ROBERT F. NETTLETON POETRY PRIZES
I Close my Eyes and Imagine Myself as a Blind Lover Do these fingertips have hands that they belong to, or do all warm things belong to each other? Maybe they are not fingers, but young peppers still on the bush. Some sweet tobacco smelling strands of hair fall, dead in the way that dirt is, a collection of treasured dead.
I belong to my humming pulse and the film on my teeth, and to the legs of these ants kissing my wrists.
There are a few sensations on my skin: icy bumps, fingerprints, drops of sweet sap.
But what can I know; still some light seeps through to my eyes.
By WALLIS MONDAY Prize Co-Winner
(In bed at night I pull apart my hips, trying to spread myself outwards, make myself flat like a bear-skin rug in front of the fire place. I stretch myself looking to fill my own space, feel my own pieces.)
By WALLIS MONDAY Prize Co-Winner
There are a few sensations there: sweat, maybe, senseless toddlers on the bus who reach out for my arm, not knowing my sensations are contagious.
COURTESY OF WALLIS MONDAY
I can forget about everything but myself I washed the rest of your blood out of my hand towel this morning and it felt like just one ounce of maternal feeling, some sort of warning and I gave my feet the kindest bath, a warm thanks for carrying me across asphalt. I pick pieces of glass off of my bathroom floor: in the future I will take care of nobody.
By WALLIS MONDAY Prize Co-Winner
They were both black all over with short soft fur and they were bigger than blue skies when my grandfather would pick me up and walk me towards them, saying mind them now, go ahead, touch, all slow and steady and five feet off the ground. Because cattle are wary of things as small as what I was, my big brown eyes might make their big brown eyes nervous as though I were a coyote and not a child with overalls and a bowl cut.
I don’t know if you have ever chewed on a long sweet length of straw, but somehow still your body reminds me of tough calloused feet walking on gravel. By WALLIS MONDAY Prize Co-Winner
COURTESY OF WALLIS MONDAY
1. Moonlight Night
TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
These are poems one can easily inhabit. The metaphors are rich and residual. “Maybe they are not fingers, but young peppers still on the bush” But it is the directness and the aesthetic effect that gives Mindlessness its immediacy and beckons us to enter the poems, to witness what is vivid and private.
By KAREN LODER Prize Runner-Up
I’d say let’s go but we’re already in a Shining! silver crystal universe with silver crystal stars. Maybe there’s a better place where the planets have faces. What if ancient gods are aliens? They flew away, far away back to where they came from.
New moons are always disappointing because Missing! who asked for a new one anyway? Sometimes it’s better to remember old moons than to create new ones. Things we’ve enjoyed in the past cannot turn out bad and promises are broken.
My cigarette is a short-lived star. Shining! It burns quickly and rushes towards my face. The fire would have spread when I threw it on tinder if it weren’t for the cigarette chemicals. Yuck chemicals! But beer is a chemical. The conversation ends.
I’m afraid of the future! I’ve said it! Say it too! Missing! Who knows maybe space will loose humanity and the silver crystal universe will gradient back to black. I hope the phases of the moon aren’t cyclic battles of good and evil. Would you really want to hear the same song played forever?
Silver crystal future on Earth because it’s special. Remember? Why is the moon there anyway? Do you love us moon? Together we make quite the pair in a ballroom. Dancing like no one is watching. Because no one is. Remember.
They say the sun shines like the future but Ouch! It hurts too much to look! Is the future really constructed by destruction to cause pain? Not necessarily pain. Beer is a chemical. And the moon has two sides. It changes remember?
If the Earth and moon collided they would surely kiss! We should become two moons: one silver, one black two silver? no black? Half silver half black? half black half silver? Checkered or striped?
If the Earth and moon collided they would surely kiss! We should become two moons: one silver, one black two silver no black? Half silver half black half black half silver? Checkered or striped? A swirl!
ULLY HIRSCH/ROBERT F. NETTLETON POETRY PRIZES
Unsaid By TRISHA TOBIAS Prize Co-Winner
I. You are bubble gum And spring rain. You are violet, Indigo, Cobalt, Swirled ‘til all I see Is the path I painted to you. I abandoned my brush; I fled my creation. The colors bleed and spread. II. I forced your hands into the wet earth, Let it stick to your skin. Your parents scolded you for making a mess. I let you take the fall. I slept in peace; You begged God to cleanse you. III. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Time watches us play our game. The rules are simple: Believe you are infinite, That the universe sees you, That you are relevant. Convince yourself there is time to waste Here in bed with me. Pretend you have any power at all. IV. You were never enough. V. Your name clings to my lips Drips like syrup Don’t speak; let it hang. You are not ready. I will never be.
Six Words By TRISHA TOBIAS Prize Co-Winner
Dusk fell on us too soon. Followed your dreams; led us nowhere. But your voice slept beside me. You didn’t want to be found. Burnt matches, frozen fingers, missed glances. Silence tells me everything worth telling. I am free; I rescue myself.
STEPHANIE TWYFORD BALDWIN/COURTESY OFTRISHA TOBIAS
I am ocean, sweat, and soul. Watch my silhouette escape your gaze. Dawn breathes and our past expires.
Sometimes By TRISHA TOBIAS Prize Co-Winner
Sometimes, I remember the rhythm of your words, and the song exhausts me. Sometimes, I stay awake until the horizon fires to life, then curse the light for touching my skin.
Tobias shows the ambition of wanting each line in the poem to be a meaningful, satisfying morsel. What is accomplished is authority. When the persona says “I abandon my brush; / I fled my creation” or “Dawn breathes and our past expires,” we know it is true. In the poem sometimes we move from economy to lovely poetic prose where lines are epic: “Sometimes, I fight myself. The heart rages, falls to fragments, cries for notice. I shut it up.”
Sometimes, I fight myself. The heart rages, falls to fragments, cries for notice. I shut it up. Sometimes, I light the firecracker, watch it sail through the sky, see it burst into myriad shades of crimson and gold, wait for someone to realize that I’m a firecracker soaring to a final destination too. Sometimes, I write their name, erase it, write it, erase it, write it, erase it, blow the paper away and swear to never abandon my keyboard again. Sometimes, I hold my own hand. Sometimes, I forget the rhythm of your words, and the silence exhausts me.
ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS
Growing Up with Monet
By MARIE LA VIÑA Prize Runner-Up
By MARIE LA VIÑA Prize Runner-Up
The myth goes thus: Zeus released two eagles at opposite ends of the world and they met at Delphi. And what mind doesn’t keen to the sound of a beautiful lie at least once in a while? When we were younger, didn’t we believe in these ruins? Now with the oracular magic of stones laid bare by sunlight, the question still begs to be asked,
Then it comes back to me, what my teacher said. He was going blind when he painted them, wearing specially-tinted glasses.
no longer expects an answer. Since oracular always meant the mediator would be cast in doubt, meant precisely she could be mistaken, her words written in water, light and unsettling as wind. And possibilities were never possible until they occurred in real time. Beyond event, all else is speculation. Besides the gods were deaf, Delphi, and mute. Today I sit in your ruins, amidst a history of asking, and there are no voices. In any case, I haven’t come for answers but simply to see, to wait for what happens, blind to its coming until it comes. But to the ghosts, or the memory of them, whose eyes believed,
You think it is written, but it isn’t?
To Johanne in Haiti By MARIE LA VIÑA Prize Runner-Up
“Lightning streaks across the sky as lava flows from a volcano on Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull glacier.” —Reuters, April 17, 2010 “Three years after Haiti was devastated by a powerful 7.0 magnitude earthquake, many residents are still suffering from the impact.” —Reuters, Jan. 12, 2013
and backyards. Eyes behind eyes that do the real seeing. A shy but marvelous iris at the epicenter of sleep.
from which we drink. The eye is an aperture embedded in a body. At twenty, all I had learned of the world fit these definitions. Dream is an act by which the mind takes a stroll around the neighborhood as the body sleeps. Betrayal, a thorn concealed by petals. Suffering, the length of this thorn and its sharpness. Vanity, that by which a bird measures the sky with its body. Courage, the attempt of this bird.
Three years later, the volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull, “island mountain glacier” ash floats over you like snow on windy wings in reimagined broadcasts of Aprils past. Something TV static sings of, spliced together on a newsreel, defies geography. As I left Manila for New York three years ago, someone was on his way to Havana in the novel at my bedside. When news, novels, nightmares drew from a single well, daily I drank and dreamed of laughter—but whose?— mingling grief and forgetfulness. If it echoed, maybe the earth was listening. Who else could hear? I put the world on mute for years at a time. As dogs tamed by hunger whimpered, didn’t birds skirt the makeshift stakes of your campsite? Nearby the boats quivered in the twisted harbor. Water made moonlight ripple. I was out there. The North Atlantic between us. When you were roofless, I was windowless in Kings County. Have never been to Haiti, may never go. Johanne, I’ve been sleeping in a warm bed all these years. Do the stars keep you up at night?
Something inside me was shaken. I began to suspect there are worlds apart from ours, with wormhole-portals scattered through our attics
Some things I learned while young: to make a statement true, add an unremarkable if. Explicate the assumptions; assumptions fill the wells
whose ears believed in the future, in the erratic voice of wind, how could I say, Wait. Be calm.
TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
Now and then I forget the awe I felt, at six, upon discovering Monet’s water lilies in a book.
Forgiveness, the notion by which the blind do not envy us our eyes. The eye is an aperture embedded in a body, and the body expires. Monet, like the whippoorwill in a rhyme I called whimperwill, from the age of six, I have searched for your nymphéas in life and have found the world in its vastness—such immensity—radiant and gorgeous and lacking.
TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
By MARIE LA VIÑA Prize Runner-Up
She wore the ring like talisman, like amulet. He heard her smiling clearly as the alphabet. He couldn’t give her reasons, only rhetoric. She wrapped her arms around him like a tourniquet. She couldn’t write him love poems, only limericks. He couldn’t give her answers, only asterisks.
BERNICE KILDUFF WHITE & JOHN J. WHITE CREATIVE WRITING PRIZE
Periplaneta Japonica By X.M. GRIFFITHS Prize Winner
The only possible explanation is that it crawled out of the dirt of my running shoes after a walk through the mud in the High Line. Of course I am limiting myself. It could have come through the air ducts. A scientifically minded child in one of the neighboring apartments may have lost his dear pet. However it happened, I had to accept the fact that I was harboring a roach in my home. Not just any roach. Periplaneta Japonica. I know this the same way I know that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a former KGB operative in East Berlin or that Kerry Washington wore a crop top while pregnant to the SAG Awards: it appeared on my Yahoo! Homepage. The invasive species was recently discovered in New York. Its unique structure supposedly allowed it to survive our harsh city winters in the outdoors. Seeing it on my kitchen counter sent a nostalgic tingle down my spine. We always had cockroaches. Periplaneta Americana. I was born into a house with them so how could I be at all responsible for their existence? Despite this, my mother always berated my filthy living habits as the reason for their incessant propagation. In my teens we moved to Westchester. A quaint but overpriced one-story with an expansive basement. Best of all it was wholesomely, wonderfully roach free. At least until we moved in. It was our mistake to move with roach infested furniture, harboring unhatched eggs. I say “our mistake,” but again I was only thirteen so how could it be my responsibility to choose which furniture should literally be thrown to the curb? I was reminded of the times a certain cousin would prank call us on the telephone asking to speak to “Roach”. “ “There is no one named Roach here,” I would say. Giggling she responded, “You have so many there you can’t let me speak to just one?” I promptly hung up. Another roach, another memory. I am in the seventh grade pulling a book from my opened bag. A few seconds later a fat juicy roach, Eurycotis Floridana, walks across the conjoined desks set up in tables of four. The exact source was indeterminate for the teacher and other students but of course I knew la cucaracha had sought refuge in my bag only to choose this most opportune moment to embarrass me in front of my current crush, Felicia. No. On second thought her name was Sarah or something like that. I picked up a magazine, a high brow British film monthly I contributed to every now and then just to keep up my reputation as a critic, or more accurately, conceal the fact that I was a hack. I raised it over the placid roach ready to crush it using David Cronenberg’s forehead. Reconsidering my stance I allowed it to walk over the magazine cover and held it cautiously. Could I make it all the way to the lobby and outside without someone noticing what I was carrying? Could I set it free by opening a window and casting it to the wind? Japonica? I was by no mean an expert on Latin or scientific classifications, despite owning numerous unopened texts on both subjects, but even I could tell what it meant. Yes, it fit perfectly well in the home of a clandestine Japanophile along with the bookshelves lined with the works of Soseki or the traditional hand carved bamboo door leading to the bedroom with screens made of the finest rice paper. Imported—all the way from San Francisco. I had recently come back from a tour of Asia yet this was the most exciting and unexpected thing to happen in my life in quite some time. Who could I talk to about this? I was on good terms with a well-educated and cultivated group of high minded acquaintances as well as low-life, blue-collared, philistine friends with whom I unabashedly indulged in hard drugs and other forms of so called “degenerate behavior”. Where in this cross section of camaraderie could I find a compatible soul to have an intelligent conversation about roaches without fear of revulsion? How would such a conversation go? “So I have decided to adopt a roach.” “Great, what kind?” “Periplaneta Japonica?” “Real nice, I didn’t even think you could get those in this country.” And so on.
I set the magazine down and closed my eyes so I could not see where the roach went. When I opened them it was nowhere in sight. My next encounter with the roach was weeks later when I pulled the latest hyper-violent and over sexualized Swedish hardback thriller from my library. There it was, nestled between the upper bindings. It looked particularly moist and contemplative. A viscous secretion oozing along its rear dorsal surface, a defensive response meaning it felt threatened. However at home or uneasy it may have been, its presence there was completely unacceptable. I violently shook to book open holding it by the front hardbound flap. The roach splashed through the air before landing on the Canadian Oak hardwood floor with a hollow thud befitting its mass. It scurried away with renewed animation before disappearing under the radiator. Another night, another girl. We, Homo Sapiens, took a cab back from the dinner party, thrown in the honor of some hotshot socialite retiring from his pure sinecure post in the city government. I had no right to be there with the pressed and preened and glistening glitterati— after all my apartment was infested with roaches. I wish I remembered that fact before deciding to bring her back to my place. It could have saved a life, but it was the furthest thing from my mind as she cycled between sucking my tongue and biting my lower lip. This was not a random hookup. I knew her, or she knew me rather. She ran alongside me on my jogs through the High Line when I wanted to avoid running into my other paramours around my neighborhood. “I can’t wait until you see my new tattoo,” she said, coming up for air a few steps away from my apartment door. “I think you’ll have fun finding where it is.” “I can’t wait to make you breakfast in the morning,” I responded airlessly. I plunged my tongue back into the abyss of her mouth before she had a chance to grasp the inappropriateness of my utterance. It was a force of habit. I was clueless when it came to talking dirty and was so selfish in the act of making love that I could not guarantee anyone’s satisfaction but my own. The sentiment seemed to be that that was alright because I would make up for with breakfast. My French Toast, Belgian Waffles, and Spanish Omelets were more enticing than anything I could offer in the bedroom. We stripped to our undergarments in the master bedroom. I could already tell where her tattoo was. A garish emblem of Brazilian pride couched under her left bosom. I must admit it was a bold choice for a redhead that spoke Portuguese with a Boston accent. I kissed the spot tenderly then bit it hungrily. She let out an enchanted squeal before pushing me away onto my king sized mattress covered in Egyptian cotton sheets, thread count 1500. “I’ll be right back,” she said turning. She walked into the master bathroom with her high heels still on. I closed my eyes as she closed the door. A few seconds later she let out another squeal, this one of pure terror. I heard a lot of banging and the sound of my assorted toiletries crashing to the floor. The entire fracas lasted perhaps ten seconds. I sat up as she opened the door, a transformed disheveled mess. She now only had one shoe on. She held the other in her hand, the sole facing outward where I saw the crushed vertebrae of my beloved pest. In a wailing voice she tried to explain herself, “I’m sorry I just saw it came out of nowhere and I panicked. I didn’t mean to overreact.” I tried to act surprised and apologize for having a roach in my home. It felt like apologizing to the driver that ran over my dog. “Gee mister, I sure am sorry Sparky always ran into the road like that. I hope you didn’t bang up your car too much.” Another minute, another awkward silence. She tried to resume our physical relations. I did the best I could given the circumstances but the feeling was gone. I could not believe my friend, posthumously christened Yamato, met his end to an overpriced pair of Italian stilettos. Needless to say after that night I never spoke to Heather again. Or was it Cindy? Wait I think her name was Courtney, definitely Courtney. No Samantha…
FRONT COVER PHOTO TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER FRONT AND BACK COVER DESIGN TAYLER BENNETT/THE OBSERVER
ULLY HIRSCH/ROBERT F. NETTLETON POETRY PRIZES
Seconds From Supernova BY RAVEN DILTZ Undergraduate Prize Winner
Maybe you are a star two seconds from supernova Some beautiful explosion a moment from detonation And I can see the sparks trailing from your fuse So I curl up closer, anticipate the warmth. You throw light over me like a blanket and mistake it for my own. I have never been part of such a lovely deception. At night I search for your heartbeat in my sleep, Press my ear against my pillow until I find my own rushing in bursts against capillary walls. Blood is blue until oxygen touches it, cold. But with enough oxygen, everything burns and you are a breath of fresh air. Maybe when you touch me, I am not shivering because it is cold.
Force BY RAVEN DILTZ Undergraduate Prize Winner
You are the sound a subway makes, the way it sucks all the air from underground and then gives it back, Doppler dappled wheels tipping on tracks, brakes squealing. Blowing my hair into my eyes, drowning out the sound of street performers, you are a noisy kind of silence. You are the explosion above my head on the Fourth of July, the way I go breathless waiting for the echo of something beautiful. You are lifting my hands into the air, trying to catch a piece of gold dust, even if it smells like smoke. You are the undertow, sunburn on the back of my neck and knowing the danger, knowing that I do not swim strong enough, but wanting to slide with it anyway, wanting the depth to become irrelevant. I hear you at concerts and sometimes if I play my music too loud, the rumble of bass pounding against the space I breathe into, until my lungs stop fighting, until my heart is the sound of a reverb and I can’t think around the noise. You are New York City and fireworks and oceans and music. You are a force to be reckoned with. I am a pigeon, a sparrow, a seagull, an indoor bird. You are the west wind. I tilt my wings and let you blow me away.
TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
Raven Diltz, Seconds from Supernova (five poems) Seconds from Supernova explores a universe of emotions. The success of the poems is in the attention to detail, which brings these images to life. The poet uses light as a connecting thread to great effect. “You throw light over me like a blanket and mistake it for my own”; “(Because I wouldn’t know how to drape you over me without bending us both out of shape)”; “But I have never been a pale slice of a tree, an empty round exploding” and plays with interjections and conjunctions to create a dubious and disarming mood.
ACADEMY OF AMERICAN POETS
tort’oise (-tis), cat,
a man is talking to a bird in bird words as the people on the corner by the diner where I eat conventional eggs keep their pace and do not hear
with my khaki husband who deemed it insufficient considering the paint and the work all the work that went into sheltering chickens
the invisible bird trill company! company! hi!
we could not agree about killing them I compromised by naming them all the same name
this is the scant overlap in the language of birds and men and only some men the ones who wear tattered khaki the eggs I eat are salt and cholesterol that coats the mouth the yolk is not shocking orange like the backyard eggs my chickens began to lay the day I left I palmed the first return cracked it carefully revealed the firm core before scrambling peppering and sharing
a chicken is not particular they were calm despite the cats that jangled their latch as though they were not attached to themselves either they could not tell each other apart unless a caterpillar happened between them then frenzy
when I die whittle my bones to toy soldiers for my friends to count lucky let their children stage battles with me and break the tiny arms made of my arms should a polished bit of tibia shaped as a gunman become trapped in a curio cabinet I want you to smash it the tortoise shell comb tagged under museum glass like evidence is a shame
from a distant coast I heard of their demise and recalled their fine buff feathers
the exoskeleton carved to cup a human skull
company! company! hi!
adorns nothing does not sweep hair from a cheek
the invisible bird and the man who loves her keep talking
you cannot steal time like you steal knives like you use a jam jar for water toilet paper for your nose set them on the sill, your window curtained with someone else’s monogrammed towel makes me think there is more than one way to skin a cat, as folksy folks might say—my tongue is loosed and your body is a door out and in and out of here (our heap of city shoes notwithstanding) where here is not quite New York but the placeless momentum against which we are smashed
a tortoise is better alive but now that it’s done I want to warm the shell in my palm or secure a French knot primly if I were curator I would wear it to the grocery and say it was made of plastic I would wonder at the violence of turning one perfect thing into another
Car’ōlīna par’akeet, silent trees that might be sycamores temper the dance hall blare until green wings— impossible parrots a pair unaware of the man at Brooklyn College who will guide us to their nests at no cost he says we may offer seed but may not wear orange which upsets the birds mysterious but not exotic to this coast pet store simulacra the new indigenous parrots for whom Carolina parakeets left a hauntable space to perch in the dead child’s bed and wear her face
By SHEA BORESI Graduate Prize Winner
sil’verback, in a glass box marmosets chirp alarm as a child’s voice ascends seven eight nine ready or not I can see you behind the bandicoot but he means behind the cardboard headstone in the extinct species graveyard how cute says the mother she snaps her children before the sign the middle one with his cheeks full of pretzels like a ground squirrel, strawberry blonde youngest dressed as a princess as reapers circle with smeared faces after the zoo’s costume parade in his enclosure the silverback averts his tired gaze as each child in turn places her smile in the missing space where the head of the great cutout bird would be so the wings appear to be their wings
IAN MCKENNA/THE OBSERVER
Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture Co-Editors Ludovica Martella — email@example.com Andrew Milne — firstname.lastname@example.org Tyler Martins — email@example.com April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
When Abroad, Benefit from the Art By LUDOVICA MARTELLA Arts & Culture Co-Editor
This is the time of the year when Fordham students who have applied to study abroad programs during the upcoming fall semester get-if they haven’t already,-a response from the International Study Abroad Program office (ISAP). Sure, it is easy to learn about the culture of a different country in New York City, but it is by visiting the country itself, and walking the streets of a foreign city we’ve never visited before, that we get a real understanding of the culture in question. For those of you who applied to study abroad in Madrid, and for those who are simply interested in Spanish culture, there are many cultural sites in the Spanish capital that have an incredible number of well-known masterpieces. Throughout the centuries, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish royals bought artworks from Italian, Spanish, German, French and Flemish artists, making Spain the European country with the third largest collection of art today. Some of these can be found in the main art institutions in Madrid, like the Museo Nacional Del Prado (El Prado), El Museo de arte ThyssenBornemisza, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and the Colegío de Bellas Artes. Respectively, the first three are easy to compare with the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), the Modern Museum of Art (MoMA) and the Guggenheim Museum, while the Colegío de Bellas Artes can recall a very modern version of the The National Arts Club (located in Gramercy Park) in a structure similar to the Neue Gallerie (located on 5th Avenue and 86th Street). As students, the cost of certain museums in New York can be a little discouraging. Even if some offer reduced fares for students and pay-what-you-wish options, a visit to a museum can be quite expensive (a visit to the MoMA for students is still $14). Depending on the institution, most of the cultural jewels in the Spanish capital offer more reasonable student options than the ones in NYC. Many of these, like El Prado, offer free entrance to students who show an official school ID even
though they don’t show it on the list of prices at the entrance. El Prado is one of the museums that offers this option: There is no entry fee for students with a valid ID. The museum almost rivals the MET in its vast size. Locals will advise you that if you plan to visit it all, you should divide your trip into at least two days. As New Yorkers, we could probably squeeze it into one—we’re no strangers to hoofing it. The museum, like the majority of Madrid institutions, stays open until late in the evening, so you will not feel rushed by a grumbling security guard to clear the galleries at the ridiculously early time of 4:45 p.m., as occurs for most museums in NYC during week days. El Prado is open until 8:00 p.m. on week days and until 7:00 p.m. on weekends. The style of the artworks at El Prado is very similar to the style at the MET. They mostly range from ancient art, including a collection of Greek and Roman statues—of which, the MET admittedly has more variety, to Cubist works. There is, in fact, very little modern art. Some of the most famous works include the “Annunciation” by Beato Angelico (circa 1438 ), “Las Meninas (The Maids of Honours)” by Diego Valazquez (1656), “The Garden of Earthly Delights” by Hieronymus Bosch (circa 1490), “David with the Head of Goliath” by Caravaggio (1599) and “Third of May 1808” (1814) by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, to whom the museum dedicated a statue at its opening and an entire permanent section on the third floor. El Prado is very pleasant to visit; however, be aware that the only policy that is very different from the MET is that taking photos is prohibited in every section of the museum. The Reina Sofía is home to one of the most well-known Spanish works of art: “Guernica” by Pablo Picasso (1937), which portrays the bombing of the village of Guernica in northern Spain in order to stress the atrocity of the tragedies of the Spanish Civil War of 1957. Since then, the painting has become a symbol of peace and anti-war movements. The Reina Sofía is similar to El Prado in terms of policies: it is free to students and is open until 9:00 p.m. during the week. However, the Reina is more similar to the MoMA than
LUDOVICA MARTELLA/THE OBSERVER
The park outside of the Museo Del Prado (El Prado) and the façade of the Iglesia de San Jeronimo el Real.
El Prado. It features only modern art and contemporary art mostly by Spanish artists. In this museum, you can bring your camera because photography is allowed in all the sections, except in the exhibit of the “Guernica.” The Reina Sofía shows many works by Picasso and also by the surrealist Salvador Dalí, and offers excellent services such as free entrance museum library and a gorgeous central garden. El Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza is one of the best museums to visit in terms of size and quality: It takes only two to three hours. This museum can easily be related to the Guggenheim Museum because of the type of works featured in it: it has a vast variety of classical works as well as works of modern art, those by abstract artists like Wassily Kandinsky, an artist greatly featured in the permanent session of the Guggenheim. The collection of this third Spanish museum was once the private collection of Baron ThyssenBornemisza and according to the New York Times, the second largest private collection in the world, after
the British Royal Collection in London. The museum presents different prices depending on its sections, but a student-reduced fare is available, though it varies according to specific section. In this museum, it is possible to admire works by some of the most important Flemish and Dutch painters like Jan van Eyck and Albrecht Dürer, and French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by artists like Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas and Vincent van Gogh, as well as Cubist works by Picasso. El Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen-Bornemisza are situated on or near the Paseo del Prado street—which recalls the New Yorks’ Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue— the three museums are in fact called the “Golden Triangle of Art”. The Círculo de Bellas Artes is close to the area but is not part of the Triangle. This institution is a little less known than the other ones; in fact, it is usually not very crowded. The Círculo features seven floors where contemporary artists can show their own works of art, as it is possible in New York at the National
Arts Club (located in Gramercy). The design of the building follows almost a Renaissance theme, with sculptures of the goddess Minerva cavorting with other Greco-Roman deities. Entrance for students is only € 3 (approximately $4.14). This is a reasonable price considering the many facility areas that this institutes hides. Some of these include a library, a dance hall and the Sala de Columnas (Hall of Columns) function room, all worth visiting. Last but not least is, the Círculo’s terrace, accessible only with a specific elevator. Once the elevator doors open, you will find yourself breathless in front of a view of central Madrid. This experience will truly complete your visit after watching the temporary art installations in the building. The terrace offers a wide space with two bars, where it is possible to sit down and enjoy some food and drinks as you watch the sun going down (the best time to go). When going abroad or when visiting a new city, look around, live it. Many are the things to discover beyond the map.
The Comma Interrobang You Have Diabetes By MARK LEE Literary Co-Editor Presuming that you yourself are not diabetic, at 7 years old, you only know so much about diabetes. You know it’s bad, and that the old guy on television, who assures everyone that financial coverage for their diabetes test strips is available, is an ugly man. No 7-year-old aspires to be the diabetes test-strip guy. In addition to those two diabetes-related facts, at 7 years old, you might now know that frequent urination is a symptom of diabetes because your mom just told your brother that his friend who goes to the bathroom a bunch of times might have diabetes. Your mother likely made this comment offhand, unaware of the scars
it would leave on your psyche. She probably had no idea that, for the next 14 years of your life,every single time you used the bathroom twice in one hour, you would assume you had diabetes. She couldn’t have realized that you would eventually be an 11-year-old sitting through the last 10 minutes of “Van Helsing,” having to pee again and bargaining with God, making promises to be good if only he would take away the diabetes that you are absolutely positive you developed sometime during the Frankenstein scene. There’s just no way she could know that you would bring this quirk up biweekly with people ranging from strangers to close friends,
laughing about it uncomfortably before you slip off to the bathroom. She couldn’t have known, you couldn’t have known, and god knows your brother’s friend couldn’t have known that his stupid bathroom habits would impact your life forever. I guess what I’m saying is that moms are dangerous, and you should have bothered to find out if your brother’s friend actually had diabetes. But just keep getting tested every six months for the rest of your life, and never watch “Van Helsing” within 24 hours of ingesting a liquid.
See how fun The Comma is? firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts & Culture
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
KARA JAGDEO/THE OBSERVER
From left to right: Michele Ang as Finea, Shea Kelly as Laura, Aishling Pembroke as Florela, Harry Dreyfuss as Camacho and Evan Brechtel as Alejandro in “The Labyrinth of Desire.”
‘The Labyrinth of Desire’ Opens in Pope Auditorium By JOHN GUERIN Staff Writer
“The Labyrinth of Desire,” the last production of the Fordham Theatre Program season, opens Thursday, April 3 in the Pope Auditorium at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). Adapted from Lope de Vega’s “La prueba de los ingenios” by Caridad Svich, the play pokes at the mystery behind love and sexual desire. Written in the 1600s, “La prueba de los ingenios” (Spanish for “The
Test of Wits”) explores themes very much ahead of its time, including gender norms, sexual attraction and the creation of one’s identity. Svich has recently adapted and translated Vega’s play for a new audience, keeping these themes alive through updated dialogue and characters. “The Labyrinth of Desire” is a comedy that follows an array of characters trying to find true love and chasing sexual desires in a small village. Evan Bretchel, FCLC ’16, plays Alejandro, an ambitious
social climber who leaves his fiancé Florela (Aishling Pembroke, FCLC ’14) to compete with other suitors for Laura (Shea Kelly, FCLC ’14), the richest and most beautiful woman in the village. What ensues is a mix of secret identities, comedic twists and interesting turns. “The biggest challenge has been adjusting to the space. I’m an actor [who] likes to have a barrier to hide behind, but this production is all over the place,” Bretchel said. “The Pope Auditorium has never been used this way before;
we use the space in a very unique way,” Jessi Hill, the show’s director, said. Hill has directed two White Box studio productions before at Fordham, but this is her first time directing for a mainstage show. “I hope the production inspires people to look at the theater in a different way,” she added. “Expect to have a great time exploring how mysterious human desire and attraction is,” Bretchel said. “It’s going to be a blast.”
IF YOU GO
The Labyrinth of Desire WHEN: April 3-5 and April 9-11. All
shows are at 8 p.m.
WHERE: Pope Auditorium (113 West
60th Street) PRICE: General Admission: $15 Fordham Alumni and Faculty: $10 Students and Senior Citizens: $5 RSVP: Via phone: (212) 636-6340 or via email: email@example.com
Princess of Darkness: Barrett Wilbert Weed of ‘Heathers’ By ANDREW MILNE Arts & Culture Co-Editor
Beginning on Monday, March 31, New World Stages, just around the corner from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), will be home to the New York City premiere of the musical “Heathers,” based on the 1988 cult classic film “Heathers,” which starred Winona Ryder, Christian Slater and Shannen Doherty, has a new lead for its off-Broadway run: Barrett Wilbert Weed. Though this is her first leading role in a major production, Weed is no stranger to exploring the horrors of high school and the beauty of dark characters. “This production was the flukiest thing in the world. Our creative team and our directors tend to work really fast, especially when they’re casting. I just happened to be there at the right time,” Weed said, chronicling her initial involvement in the show. “They collectively had an aneurysm and decided to keep me for this production. I’ve been thanking my lucky stars every day.” “Heathers” tells the story of a clique of cruel teenage girls, who run their high school until several murder plots get in the way. Weed plays Veronica, the newcomer to the “Heathers” clan and heroine of the show. Veronica faces both the “Heathers” and her internal demons with her mysterious boyfriend.“I still can’t believe that I’m the person who gets to originate Veronica. Every time I say it out loud, I still can’t believe it,” Weed said. Both the character of Veronica and the film “Heathers” have a
COURTESY CHAD BATKA
Barrett Wilbert Weed stars as Veronica in the musical “Heathers.”
fierce cult following, which has proven a draw to the box office and a challenge to the performers. “There really is an expectation to find a happy medium between doing a full-blown impression of Winona [Ryder] and creating a more fully-fleshed out character that
can live in a musical. In a movie, you have the luxury of not always saying how you feel or looking how you feel inside. In musicals, you don’t leave anything to the imagination, because that can be very confusing,” Weed said, explaining the difficulties of taking on a
beloved story. Weed also pointed out the difficulties of having “everything externalized and creating a character that not only includes the beautiful, wood-nymphy magic of Winona Ryder but that also includes a lot of strength,” she said. “I think we’ve accomplished it.” “Heathers” owes some of its popularity to the originality of the subject matter; at the time, the stories of teen killings were less familiar than today, Weed said. “This movie was the first movie of its kind that didn’t have a fluffy, happy kind of ending movie. Now they do, but people at the time weren’t executing huge, grandiose murder fantasies on their classmates. No one was really talking about how horrible, horrible, savage high school is,” Weed said. While it’s probably been the most challenging role of her life, Weed also said it’s incredibly fun. “I think the hardest part of it is accepting in your brain that you can do it, that you’re capable of being onstage and singing and screaming and crying and fighting while jumping off platforms and doing everything else that happens in the show,” Weed said. Weed is present for nearly all of that strenuous activity, being offstage for only a minute and a half, excluding intermission. In order to keep up this active lifestyle, Weed has cut out drinking and nearly all sugar, except for the red vines her character eats onstage, much to Weed’s chagrin. “Red Vines taste like strawberry plastic. They’re not good, but you gotta stay true to the time period,” Weed said. “I always joke with Ryan” Weed said, referring to her castmate
Ryan McCarten, who plays her onstage boyfriend, “that we have a nickname for our friendship, as well as our imaginary stage couple: ‘Prince and Princess of Darkness.’” While her first Broadway show was the more lighthearted “Lysistrata Jones,” (a show about cheerleaders who withhold sex to motivate their basketball team, an adaptation of the Greek comedy), she truly cut her teeth as “Nadia,” the perpetually overlooked and deeply damaged Catholic schoolgirl in “Bare,” after graduating from Elon University in 2011. “She’s a very special girl; I love Nadia,” Weed said. “Winona Ryder was one of the first people to kind of develop a sort of dark but beautiful, strange princess character, and those are the kind of parts I play, because of how I look but also because I have kind of a low voice, and it’s who I am,” Weed said. For Weed, playing the “underdog” gives her great joy. “It’s actually a lot more fun and a lot more rewarding than being the glossy, perfect person in any project,” Weed said. “Real people have brains and dark urges and no one is a squeaky-clean, pure person.” Ironically, though she tends to play “characters that remind people of vampires.” Weed’s advice to budding performers is to seize the day. “You have to get out of bed every morning. There can’t be days where you lay in bed all day. You have to just want things more than the people around you. That’s what made me.” Weed seems to think that her hard work is paying off, because as far as her big break goes, “this might be it.”
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
SPRING BREAK ADVENTURES
SARAH HOWARD/THE OBSERVER
KIRSTIN BUNKLEY/THE OBSERVER
“The Korean War Memorial in D.C. shows the statues of the soldiers as if they were in movement, but frozen in that place forever.”
”In San Francisco, people often do Air Yoga in the parks while enjoying the Californian weather.”
JESSICA HANLEY/THE OBSERVER
“Right after I took this photo at the Santa Monica Pier, I saw a dolphin jump out of the water far out in the ocean which was also a lovely sight.”
TYLER MARTINS/THE OBSERVER
“Who needs the beaches of Mexico when you can just read in Central Park?”
SARAH HOWARD/THE OBSERVER
“Fog is a problem for certain people, but I think of it as one of the perks of San Francisco.”
THE OBSERVER April 3, 2014
SPRING BREAK ADVENTURES
ANGELA LUIS/THE OBSERVER
“The beach in the District of Miraflores in Lima, Peru, is a part of an extended coast along a highway called La Costa Verde.”
JESSICA HANLEY/THE OBSERVER
“The Santa Monica Pier was pretty windy that day, my friend and I almost had a Marilyn Monroe moment.”
KIRSTIN BUNKLEY/THE OBSERVER
“Pictured here is one of my favorite memorials, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial with the Washington Monument peaking out in the background.”
ISABELLE GARREAUD/THE OBSERVER
“At the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC, I got to see men in kilts playing the bagpipes.”
ANGELA LUIS/THE OBSERVER
“Small entertainment acts are performed at red lights in Lima, Peru, and the tips are then collected at the car windows.”
Features Co-Editors Paulina Tam —firstname.lastname@example.org Brigitte Ayaz —email@example.com
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
I PITY THE JEWEL
Spring has Arrived and Solved All Our Problems JEWEL GALBRAITH Staff Writer
The Polar Vortex, also known as November-March 2014, also known as “The Winter of our Discontent” (© William Shakespeare), is now over. After five months of the coldest, snowiest, windiest winter in recent memory, there is finally some good news to share: The sun is out, everything is wonderful, we are all happy, and nothing bad will ever happen again. That’s right: With the arrival of temperatures in the mid-50s, all of humanity’s problems, large and small, have melted into puddles of warm summer rain and vanilla ice cream. As temperatures continue to climb into the 60s and even, dare I say, the high 60s, don’t forget that there are a good deal of existential troubles we no longer have to worry about. Such as: The Search for Personal Identity Who am I? What was I put on this earth to do? These are questions that can send a person into a black hole of doubt and confusion, especially when she is trapped inside her apartment, afraid to set foot outdoors for fear
IAN MCKENNA/THE OBSERVER
Spring has sprung! Go sit in a field or something (if you remember what a field looks like after this winter).
that the harsh winds will force her to peel off yet another layer of her chapped skin like a molting snake. As we get closer to the month of May, though, the answers to these questions are becoming more and more clear to me. Who am I? Based on what I can forsee of the future, I’m a freewheeling barbecue-goer with an infinite collection of jean shorts and a big patch of grass to lay down in. What was I put on this earth to do? Well, I was put on this earth to max and relax. These are universal
truths that spring has revealed to me. These are the personal realities that, thanks to the longawaited season change, I can now understand. Loneliness The topic of human relationships is another one that dredges up feelings of fear and despair. You can’t help but wonder: Is each of us alone in this world, condemned to live and die without ever fully understanding another human and without another hu-
man ever fully understanding us? Not if the ten-day forecast on Weather.com has anything to say about it. More like, is each of us condemned to brew enough iced coffee to share with all the new friends we met while riding our adult-sized scooters around the Central Park boathouse? Is each of us condemned to catch fun-sized candy tossed by our fellow Americans from confetticovered floats during a Labor Day parade? Is each of us condemned to walk down the street smiling at children eating ice cream cones, while we simultaneously eat our own ice cream cones and smile to ourselves? Hey, maybe we are. I’m not complaining. Lack of Purpose Finding purpose is often one of the most difficult endeavors a person takes on in her lifetime. How do you decide on your passion? And how do you turn it into a project that can sustain you for decades to come? Now that the last traces of snow have melted, this one’s a no-brainer: take to the woods and live off the land, foraging for berries by day and singing songs around a bonfire by night, breathing the sweet country air and enjoying the company of fireflies and chipmunks. The time for sad, cold, wintry 9 to 5 jobs has
ended and will never, ever come back. So go find that passion . Hint: it’s called “sleeping among a pack of docile baby deer under the stars every night for the rest of your life.” Increasing Commodification and Homogenization of Culture Sometimes, when we are being bombarded by Dunkin Donuts digital billboards and sponsored tweets from Skechers and SiriusXM, the world starts to feel a bit less genuine. Fortunately, we recently have gained the option of hoppin’ in the ocean and swimmin’ that feeling of glossy inauthenticity away. Just grab a bathing suit and head for the coast. The dolphins don’t have anything to sell you. You don’t have to watch a 20-second ad before you dive off a cliff, through a waterfall, and into the clear blue water that surrounds a Bahamian coral reef. These are the kinds of things you can do now in place of installing popup blockers on your web browser. This is what life after March looks like—it looks like dolphins. The Eventual Heat Death of the Universe Not a troubling prospect. HEAT IS GREAT.
THE OBSERVER April 3, 2014
A Healthy Trend? Jump on the Juicing Bandwagon By SHAHEEN TOKHI Contributing Writer
What do actors Blake Lively, Colin Farrell and Owen Wilson, television personality Nicole Richie and New York Yankees Mark Teixeira all have in common? They all take part in the one many fads that has crazed Hollywood: juicing. This involves blending or pressing raw fruits and vegetables into juices that either replace or compliment daily meals. For Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) students, the opportunity to try out juicing is just down the street at Jamba Juice (located inside Whole Foods) at the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. Assistant Manager and Master Blender Anthony Milien has a few theories as to how juicing has become so popular in our generation. “Everyone’s trying to become health conscious and juices are just one of the steps to getting there,” Milien said. As a master blender, Milien knows just what to put into a juice to best tailor it to each client’s personal needs. “We can make you any drink that you want. As far as a plan or a program, that’s up to your research. If you need nutrition guidance or you need help with that, we have master blenders. They specialize in nutrition and they can tell you what you need to do and how you need to do it,” Milien said. If a client expresses a lack of specific vitamins and nutrients, a master blender can tell you exactly the kind of juice that you need to get you back on track. And with master blenders always on hand at Jamba Juice, getting healthy just got easier. Weight loss in his clients who are juice cleansing is never a sur-
prise to Milien. “The whole concept is for healthy living. Some people do it for that reason, but know that juicing isn’t the only way to lose weight,” Milien said. Milien warned that a strict juice cleanse isn’t the only way to detox. “The best way to cleanse is a juice called wheatgrass. It flushes out everything: all the toxins throughout your arteries and your bloodstream. [Wheatgrass is] a natural detoxifier. Doing a detox with other chemicals that are unnatural is like paying a debt with a debt. Wheatgrass is the best thing, ” Milien said. Sometimes juice cleansing can bring on fatigue, headaches and
Juicing isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about helping to promote a healthier lifestyle. stomach pains. Milien believes that the best way to avoid these symptoms is to ease into the juicing experience. “Your body has memory. You can send your body through shock by just going straight into juice [cleansing]. You have to take it slow because you’re used to eating, and your body is used to feeding itself, and you’re used to getting full. When you juice, you don’t get that fulfillment, so your body goes through shock. And that’s when your body says, ‘Where’s the steak? Where’s the potatoes?,” Milien said. For those curious about calorie count, when it comes to juicing,
don’t sweat it. “I really wouldn’t look at the calorie content when you’re juicing if you’re juicing healthy stuff like the greens and vegetables,” Milien said. A master blender can also provide you with the nutritional value for all of their juices, and steer the health conscious away from juices and smoothies that are higher in added sugar or calories. Jamba Juice also has a “Make It Light” option for all of its smoothies, which have onethird less calories, carbs and sugar than the original beverage. Among their most popular drinks, you can find wheatgrass, strawberry whirl and berry upbeat. Some clients’ favorite ingredients are kale, orange juice, carrots and beets. Kale is especially popular since it contains Vitamin A, C, K and E and is also high in iron and calcium. Vitamin C promotes a healthy immune system and healthy skin. Vitamin C also supports cardiovascular health, prenatal health problems and prevents eye disease. Vitamin A helps cell growth, maintaining good vision and a healthy immune system. Vitamin K helps the blood clot to prevent excessive bleeding when injured. Vitamin E helps promote healthy skin and hair and removes free radicals that could damage cell structure. Juicing isn’t just about losing weight. It’s about helping to promote a healthier lifestyle. “When you’re juicing, you’re trying to restore your health, so load up [on natural vitamins in juices], take care of your body; you only get one,” Milien said. The purpose of juicing is to help put you on the road to a better, healthier lifestyle. “We have a part of the puzzle for you, but you have to put the work in,” Milien said.
ISABELLE GARREAUD/THE OBSERVER
Dare to take the plunge and juice?
Write for The Observer so that this isn’t here next time.
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
WORD OF MOUTH
ROSANNA CORRADO/THE OBSERVER
Are you a fan of sandwiches that are not only delicious but nourishing? City Sandwich has light and tasty vegetarian options that will keep and leave you feeling rejuvenated for spring.
Spring Cleaning: Meat is Out, Veggies Are In ROSANNA CORRADO Staff Writer
Spring is finally here. While I enjoy winter and the delicious food associated with it—like warm French onion soup, pot roasts and steaming cups of thick hot chocolate—spring is a welcome change. Cravings for heavy comfort food are gone; they have been replaced with cravings for a lighter, healthier fare that is fitting with the refreshing new season. I confess: I often write about restaurants doing classic comfort food. Whether it is greasy burgers, fried dumplings or pulled pork sliders, I love them all. However, for spring, I found myself searching for lighter food featuring local and organic produce and was light on meat. City Sandwich is not your average sandwich shop. First of all, it has an extremely talented and health-oriented chef at the helm named Chef
Michael Guerrieri. Born in Naples and trained as a chef in Portugal, Guerrieri combines his Italian heritage with his passion for Portuguese food by creating delicious sandwiches. The big color-coded menu on the wall immediately captures your attention when you first walk into City Sandwich. One of the sales assistants saw that I was a little overwhelmed by all of the choices and walked me through the menu. City Sandwich serves three types of sandwiches: breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches that feature meat and vegetarian sandwiches. All of the sandwiches are made on special Portuguese sandwich bread the chef created himself with the help of a baker. The inside of the rolls are hollowed out, which results in a crispy golden crust and slightly chewy innards that do not overwhelm the sandwich with heavy dough. While the meat sandwiches sounded very appetizing, I was on a mission to find the perfect vegetarian sandwich. There are
currently twelve vegetarian sandwiches on the menu. Some contain fish, like the Lucy ($11.95), which features steamed shrimp, watercress, chopped onions, tomato and honey basil yogurt sauce. At City Sandwich, yogurt sauces are common; the chef has shunned mayonnaise and other traditional condiment choices, opting to moisten sandwiches with olive oil and creative yogurt sauces. The clerk told me that the most popular vegetarian sandwiches on the menu are the Diane ($9.50), the Christina ($9.50) and the Cornelia ($8.95). The Diane is comprised of grilled radicchio and onions, roasted tomatoes and zucchini, goat cheese, sweet balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The Christina also sounds appetizing; it is the chef’s take on eggplant parmesan and features fresh basil and roasted tomatoes. However, I chose the Cornelia and after tasting my sandwich, concluded it was a solid choice. The Cornelia has roasted seasonal vegetables, currently featuring carrots, collard greens and zucchini,
large chunks of roasted tomatoes and onion, fresh rosemary and olive oil. For an additional charge, you can also add mozzarella or goat cheese to your sandwich, which of course I did. The mozzarella was perfectly melted over an array of brightly colored vegetables. There were long pieces of sweet roasted carrots and chunks of green zucchini. The tomatoes were roasted to perfection and coated the other vegetables in its pleasantly salty sauce. The roasted onions added a hint of sweetness that balanced the salty flavor of the tomatoes. Meanwhile, a coating of olive oil kept the inside of the bread moist while the outside crust had a nice snap to it. When you first bite into the sandwich, the bread crust shatters and gives way to gooey mozzarella and a plethora of vegetables. Overall, the sandwich was satisfying and healthy at the same time. City Sandwich also has a small selection of homemade soups, including spring/summer specials that will be on the menu starting June.
These will include a chilled gaspaccio of diced raw vegetables, tomatoes, a chilled cucumber and chickpea soup with cilantro and lemon. Soups are $4.25 alone and $2.75 when added to the purchase of a sandwich. Customers also have the choice to turn sandwiches into salads, in which case,the filling will be tossed with mixed greens or wilted spinach. Other healthy options include making your sandwich open. This is when only the bottom half of the bread is used. I recommend City Sandwich as a delicious spring lunch spot; the ingredients are fresh, and the sandwiches are a healthy and light way to welcome the change in seasons. IF YOU GO
City Sandwich Price: $$ Where: 649 Ninth Ave. New York , NY 10036
Sports Editor Jennifer Khedaroo — firstname.lastname@example.org
April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
Eight Teams Will Battle for One Prestigious Champions League Title attack even deadlier than Lionel Messi alone. Atletico Madrid has also improved, with Diego Costa scoring goals like a machine. This is a very even matchup. Barcelona is the slight favorite because of their experience in the Champions League. However, Atletico is accustomed to playing against Barcelona and will have nothing to lose. There is a 55 percent chance that Barcelona will defeat Atletico Madrid due to their experience and star power.
By CONRAD ZAJKOWSKI Asst. Sports Editor
With the end of the Champions League quarter-final draw, we are now one step closer to finding out which team will become the champions of Europe. Each of the four upcoming matchups will be a difficult test for the remaining teams. Here are some of my predictions for which team will make the semifinals for football’s most valuable trophy. Bayern Munich vs. Manchester United Both Bayern Munich and Manchester United are historically successful. However, there are opposite expectations for the both of them. Bayern Munich won the competition last year. Now the team has improved even more with their new manager Pep Guardiola. They have been expected to win the competition from the get-go and so far, they have been living up to those expectations. Bayern Munich has not shown any signs of wear and tear in their domestic competitions. Manchester United’s season, on the other hand, can be compared to the sinking of the Titanic. For the past two decades, Manchester United was a ridiculously dominant team in England under the legendary Coach Sir Alex Ferguson. Now the team is a shell of its former self. They currently sit in seventh place and are unlikely to place in the top four to make the Champions League next season. However, they are still in the competition this year, which means they can pull off an upset with the quality of players they have. I would predict that there’s a 75 percent (or greater) chance of Bay-
COURTESY OF JAN SOLO VIA FLICKR
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid are one of the teams competing for the 2014 Champions League.
ern Munich toppling Manchester United. Bayern Munich’s performances so far have been consistent and dominant while Manchester United is just a fraction of what they once were. Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund Although Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are meeting for the second consecutive year, the circumstances are completely different. After selling one of their main players, Mario Gotze, Borussia Dortmund isn’t as strong as last
year. Making matters worse, Borussia Dortmund’s main striker, Robert Lewandowski, will miss the first game between the two sides. It’s a blow to Borussia since he previously scored four goals against Madrid in just one game. Real Madrid has improved since last year. Although they have sold Mesuit Ozil and Sami Khedira is injured, Real Madrid did break the world transfer fee by signing Gareth Bale for 91 million euros. And Bale has not disappointed so far. He has found a way to work with Cristiano Ronaldo to form a terrifying attack.
There is a 65 percent chance that Real Madrid will beat Borussia Dortmund. Borussia has gotten weaker while Madrid is possibly in its best form in the last couple of years. Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid Spanish rivals, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, are fighting to win the La Liga title and are just a few points away from each other. The two teams have already played each other once this season, which ended in a draw. Barcelona has added Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior to their team, making their
Chelsea vs. Paris Saint Germaine Chelsea and Paris Saint Germaine are yet another leveled matchup. Both are favorites in winning their domestic titles in England and France. Although they have never played against one another, it is fair to say that both teams are able to beat the other. Chelsea has the better defense between the two sides. However, Paris Saint Germaine has a much better attack with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edison Cavani. Taking these factors into consideration, it seems that Paris Saint Germaine has the edge, especially since they are more dangerous on the attack. There is a 55 percent chance that Paris Saint Germaine will defeat Chelsea. This matchup is tough to call though. Chelsea does have the successful Jose Mourinho as their coach, and is a veteran team with players who have all had of experience in the Champions League. So it’s clear to see why some view them as the favorites. But in the end, it all comes down to what happens on the pitch for 90 minutes because in all sports, anything can happen.
The New York Giants Are Finally Learning to Let Go By DYLAN PENZA Staff Writer
The New York Giants recently cutting ties with Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks may enrage fans right now, but the transactions might be best for the team’s long term goal of another Super Bowl ring. I really don’t want to like these deals. Justin Tuck, two time NFL champion, former defensive captain and this writer’s favorite player, has been given a fate worse than death. That being two years on the Raiders. Hakeem Nicks, one of the team’s star receivers when healthy, has been signed to the Colts for about $4 million, which, to most NFL teams, is essentially nothing. Both of these players could have been re-signed by the Giants, but weren’t. Even though the irrationally enamored fan in me wants to scream about the Giants letting Tuck end up in Oakland or, for that price, letting Nicks end up anywhere but back in New York, the rational part of me thinks these were savvy moves. If the Giants can be described under the ownership tenure of John Mara in one word, it would be loyal. When Mara continued to have faith in Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning as they struggled to not be mediocre, many fans were upset about the owner’s unwillingness to make drastic, franchise altering moves. He chose to instead believe in his curmudgeon of a head coach and quarterback who always looks like a newborn trying to understand calculus. Two championships later, Mara’s faith has been completely vindicated. However, unlike other successful teams like the Patriots, the Giants have tended to allow members of the
COURTESY OF HEATH BRANDON VIA FLICKR
The New York Giants have decided to not re-sign Justin Tuck, and it’s not a moment too soon.
organization to stay on long enough over the last few years to stop being assets and start being liabilities. While Mara hwas correct in trusting in Coughlin and Manning, his loyalty to General Manager Jerry Reese seems perplexing. Truthfully, Reese has built two championship teams but his track record has been spotty at best in terms of scouting and player evaluation in the draft and free agency. For every Victor Cruz or Ahmad Bradshaw he has discovered in a late
round or as an undrafted free agent, there’s been a Ramses Barden taken with an early draft pick. For every Antonio Pierce signed in free agency, he has splurged money on almost comically bad deals for a Rocky Bernard or a Brandon Myers. Even worse, Reese’s inability to draft for need seems to continually leave the roster thin at key positions such as linebacker or tight end. Much like the general manager who put them on the roster, many players have been allowed to con-
tinue being on the Giants regardless of their inability to produce on the field. Players such as Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas have managed to stay on the Giants for long terms even though one player has a gruesome injury history and the other couldn’t defend the sloth from Ice Age on a post-route, let alone Calvin Johnson or Josh Gordon. The resigning of players such as Aaron Ross and Brandon Jacobs seem to only stem from the fact that they have worn a Giants uniform for
Mara, especially when other, better players were on the market. Surprisingly, the Giants organization has begun to cut loose from less desirable personnel, which leads us back to Tuck and Nicks. The precedent seems to have started with the “retirement” of Kevin Gilbride. Tom Coughlin’s longtime offensive coordinator has since been replaced by Ben McAdoo, a younger coach who apparently plans to invigorate the stagnant offensive playbook that has plagued Eli and his receivers. The Giants have only begun to replace members of the organization with hungrier, more innovative contributors. We as a fanbase tend to overvalue the players of our favorite team. In my eyes, Justin Tuck will always be the player who terrorized Tom Brady during Super Bowl XLII, but objectively he’s a player who was ineffective for two years and then decided to regain his dominant form in a contract year. Hakeem Nicks will always be the superstar wide receiver one of my friends from high school “proposed” during pregame, but he had been rattled by injuries, looked like a shell of himself last season and was not even the best pass catcher on his team anymore. Objectively, it was the most prudent decision for the Giants to move on, and as the signings of players like Rashard Jennings and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the future might be brighter than we as a fanbase think. Justin Tuck and Hakeem Nicks will always have a place in the hearts of Big Blue fans, but the Giants finally learning to progress instead of staying stagnant will only improve the franchise for years to come.
THE OBSERVER April 3, 2014
COURTESY OF ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE
Emily Tapio’s playoff run has helped the women’s basketball team will their first ever Atlantic 10 Championship.
Tapio is the Breakout Star for Women’s Basketball By JENNIFER KHEDAROO Sports Editor
A broken ankle in the 2012-13 season forced Emily Tapio, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’15, off the court for three months. The following year, she missed the first 10 games of the regular season, once more due to the injury bug. For the first time since joining the Fordham women’s basketball team, Tapio has completed a season with a clean bill of health. And the native of Brewster, N.Y. has had quite the year. As the Atlantic 10 (A-10) championship winning team stood in front of their supporters in Richmond, Va., Tapio was celebrating both the team’s success and her own personal health strides. “I am blessed this year to be able to have played a whole season. It felt great to be able to contribute in any way that I could to help the team become a winning team,” Tapio
said. “Injuries are part of the sport, and they have only made me stronger mentally.” Her strong mentality helped to spark a late-season burst of offense. Throughout the three-game A-10 Championship tournament, Tapio scored 24 points, had eight assists and averaged 6.1 rebounds per game. Tapio and her teammates were especially motivated by their competition in all three games. Fordham played Duquesne University, St. Bonaventure University and the University of Dayton. All three teams had previously beaten Fordham during the regular season. “It was basically a revenge tour for us,” Tapio said. “We just kept saying ‘take this team, take this team that beat us.’ We went into it with that mindset, wanting to get something back that we didn’t get in the season.” Besides her offense, Tapio kept a strong defensive presence in the A10
final against the University of Dayton. She helped to hold off Dayton’s star forward Ally Marlott from scoring most of the game. Tapio’s success this season stems from bridging gaps that she saw forming on both the offensive and defensive sides. “I really just filled in where other people were struggling a little bit over the season,” she said. “So if anyone was struggling with shots or anything, I would step up and help them whenever I can.” Team captains Abigail Corning, FCRH ’14, and Erin Rooney, FCRH ’14, led the team in scoring all season long. But Tapio likes to play the supporting role in order to give the team more balance. Throughout the season, Tapio managed 9.8 points per game, 6.2 rebounds per game and an average of 2.7 assists per game. This all occurred in an average of 28.1 minutes played per game. “Personally, for me, I just wanted to get the
team to where we needed to be in the playoffs,” she said. And her team-first mentality will be much needed next year, after Corning and Rooney both graduate. “I have some really big shoes to fill from Erin and Abigail. But they left us with a really good core and an example of what to do. You don’t have to lead just by being captain. I’ll do whatever,” Tapio said. However, if she were given the option to become the next captain of the team, she would be honored. For now, Tapio is taking it all in. She participated in the team’s immediate celebration after returning to Rose Hill from Richmond. “We were met by a group of students outside the gym when we returned,” she said. “After we rang the victory bell, we had a reception in Dagger Johns. Our team has been celebrating ever since.” The ongoing celebration includes
the team going to the salon and getting their nails done, as a means of relaxation. Unfortunately, shortly after winning the A-10 Championship, Fordham competed in the first round of the NCAA tournament and lost to the University of California, 64-63. But Tapio still appreciates the chance to play in the national tournament at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “Baylor is amazing, and their facilities were awesome. So, getting to play on a court like that, and getting to play against an experienced Cal team really tests ourselves as a team,” she said. “It’s a classic March Madness game for us. We lost by one point and I wouldn’t change anything about the game at all. It was a great experience, and we know we could advance in the future.”
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April 3, 2014 THE OBSERVER
Fitting a class into your summer schedule. That’s the magis.
Whether you need a few more courses to graduate on time, or you want to fulfill your General Education Program, Saint Joseph’s offers a variety of courses over the summer for visiting students. Classes are offered on campus and online. Register today! Visit sju.edu/summer for schedules, registration and more.
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