What a viral YouTube video means for those struggling to find religion’s role in their lives. PAGE 6
How a former Ram hopes to turn around our once-prestigious football program. PAGE 19
THE OBSERVER www.fordhamobserver.com
FEBRUARY 2, 2012 VOLUME XXXI, ISSUE 1
SOPA Stirs Debate By LAURA CHANG and HARRY HUGGINS News Co-Editors
The Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) community shared their varying views on online piracy and the government’s actions to stop it, after several events in January attempted to stop censorship bills from passing in the United States. After Texas Republican Lamar Smith announced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last October, controversy spread and provoked Internet users to retaliate. Popular sites like Wikipedia and Google hopped on the bandwagon protesting against SOPA, by respectively shutting down for a day and also censoring their logo on the homepage. In another response to online piracy, the Department of Justice shut down the popular file-hosting site, Megaupload, on Jan. 19. Adjunct Professor of Communication and Media Studies Lori Knight is skeptical of the government’s anti-piracy actions. “I’m not quite sure they’re trying to end it,” Knight said. “They’re trying to find a way to police it based on the premise that this is an easy way for a lot of the film and music companies to battle their loss of revenue.” Knight believes the people in Congress might not be the right people to be deciding something as important as Internet censorship. “Half of these guys think the Internet is a bunch of tubes,” Knight said. “We’re so fast with adopting these new technologies that the ethics are lagging, and if the ethics are lagging, then the lawmakers won’t understand it. The lawmakers are assuming that everyone is a criminal, so they’re shutting it down.” see SOPA pg. 2
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
Matthew Maguire is director of Fordham’s theater program and the independent Creation Production Company. His show “Instinct” is currently playing off-Broadway and closes Feb. 4. The show’s director and one of the lead actresses are both members of the Fordham community. He hopes to turn “Instinct” into a pilot for a TV series. His next project is a solo performance called “Wild Man: Adventures in Rome.”
College Dems Hold Voter Registration Drive By HARRY HUGGINS News Co-Editor
This week through Feb. 2, and next month, Fordham College at Lincoln Center’s (FCLC) College Democrats organization will be registering eligible students to vote in time for this spring’s presidential primaries and the general election in November. Eligible students include all those who will be at least 18 years of age at the time of voting, are U.S. citizens and are not registered to vote in another state. Although the organization itself is affiliated with the Democratic Party, they will provide
registration material to any and all interested and eligible students. They will seal the voter registration forms themselves and send them to the proper voting authorities. “You can pick any party, you just check off which one you want,” explained Julien Martinez, FCLC ’13, president of FCLC’s College Democrats. “Not all last year registered as Democrats. We had a few independents and one Libertarian.” After doing a similar registration push for one day last year, Martinez wanted to expand the days this year to ref lect the importance of voting in this year’s elec-
tion. “Students’ voices definitely need to be heard in this election,” Martinez said. “The percentage of voters is terrible in this country. 2008 was the highest in terms of percentages voting, but it needs to be more consistent.” According to the U.S. Census, student-aged voters (those aged 18-24) had the lowest turnouts in New York and in the United States in general in the 2008 presidential election. Martinez thinks that this year will be the year to buck that trend. “We did only one day of registration last year and got 15 people, so our goal this year is to get 10 or 15 registrations every day,” Martinez
said. As of writing, they have met their expectations, registering 11 students on Jan. 30 on their first day of tabling and five students in one hour of tabling on Jan. 31. A majority of those registered were already registered but needed to change their address to their Fordham residency, and many had questions about the age requirements and in what district they would be voting. One student the College Democrats registered is Umma Saima, FCLC ’14. Saima explains her see VOTERS pg. 2
A publication for intellectuals. u PAGE 12
A reflection on life and death. u PAGE 17
Good teachers deserve higher salaries. u PAGE 7
Winter Ball to be Held at Mandarin Oriental By CLINT HOLLOWAY Asst. Features Editor
On Feb. 24, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel will play host to the 2012 Winter Ball. Located just down the street from Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) between Broadway and Columbus, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel is renowned as a highly coveted and ornate destination. A five-star luxury hotel, it has had an eclectic assortment of celebrity guests, from Justin Bieber to President Obama. Later this month, students at FCLC will be able to get a taste of that alluring luxury.
“It’s a very sophisticated, high-end venue,” said Winter Ball committee chair Matthew Ortiz FCLC ’12. “We definitely always try to out-do ourselves and make it as nice of a location as possible.” The Winter Ball offers a break from the increasingly chilly weather, as well as the stress and demands of their academic career. “A lot of students may not get to experience anything much outside of school,” Ortiz said. “They may tend to just go from their class to their dorm, or from their class to their home, and often don’t get a chance to attend a formal event.” As always with big events at
THE STUDENT VOICE OF FORDHAM COLLEGE AT LINCOLN CENTER
FCLC, putting on the Winter Ball requires the collaboration of many of Fordham’s groups. “Winter Ball is co-sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB) and the United Students Government (USG),” Winter Ball Committee Chair Kim Kraft, FCLC ’13, said. “The main planning and execution of the event is done by a seven person committee, with an administrator from the Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) advising us.”
see WINTER BALL pg.13
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Over $1 Million Stolen from Archidocese On Jan. 30, The New York Times reported that Anita Collins, a church bookkeeper, embezzled over $1 million dollars in the past seven years from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. She wore the façade of a religious woman working for the church, but now faces 25 years in prison for grand larceny. Before being hired back in 2003, Collins was arrested for stealing. The Archdiocese now checks criminal records before hiring new employees.
Marijuana Factory Found in Bronx On Jan. 31, police officers confiscated nearly 800 marijuana plants from local apartment at 610 Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx. While the police gave no information about arrests, they did say that investigations will be furthered and that there are most likely plenty more pot factories hidden in plain sight.
Man Shocked to Find His Leg Amputated in Ad According to the New York Times on Jan. 29 Cleo Berry was shocked to see his leg missing in an advertisement that NYC is posting to warn against diabetes. The ad shows how diabetes can lead to the amputation of limbs if one is not careful. While Berry supports the education of people about the dangers of diabetes, he does not agree with the manipulation of an image of an able bodied person to represent a diabetes patient. NATIONAL
Smallest U.S. Deficit Since ‘09 According to the Washington Post on Jan. 31, the federal deficit budget will be the lowest it has been since the Great Recession. Still the federal deficit budget is projected to exceed $1 trillion dollars for the fourth year in a row. Unless voters make serious sacrifices the national debt is expected to increase another $11-15.2 trillion by 2022.
Romney Wins Second Primary in Florida MSNBC reported on Jan. 31 that 46 percent of the Florida Republican primary voters cast their ballot for Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich followed with 32 percent. Romney and his super PAC outspent Gingrich and his super PAC by a margin 4-to1 in the State, using mostly negative advertising. INTERNATIONAL
China Avoids Major Environmental Crisis On Jan. 30, Chinese officials dodged a major environmental crisis by stopping the spread of water contamination. The contamination spread to Hong Kong and Macao. According to the New York Times, a toxic metal known as cadmium leaked into the drinking water from a discontinued mining facility. Many workers are neutralizing the cadmium in the water with other chemicals that will bind to it and cause it to settle at the bottom of rivers.
Mexico in the Midst of a Food Crisis On Jan. 30, Mexico reported that cold weather and drought had left Mexico with extreme difficulties obtaining food and water. Among the more seriously affected communities are tribal areas of the Tarahumara indigenous community in the Sierra Madre and has left many people in poverty. Authorities say they expect the effects to worsten as the conditions continue.
Compiled by: Richard Ramsundar and Rex Sakamoto
AODE’s “Lexy” Leaves Lincoln Center By LAURA CHANG News Co-Editor
The Office of Student Leadership and Community Development (OSLCD) continues to search for a new assistant director of programming for their office. After Alexis “Lexy” Janda’s departure on Jan. 13, her role in OSLCD and as coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drug Education (AODE) at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) remains open. According to the director of OSLCD, Dorothy Wenzel, over 100 applicants are being processed and “it is too soon to know when the search will be complete and when the new assistant director will start.” Janda told the FCLC community about her departure via email during the end of winter break. She said that she accepted a position at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. that began this spring term. She wrote, “Throughout my time at Fordham my career goals and aspirations have evolved and I have developed a desire to focus on Alcohol and Drug Education full time, which is what I will be doing at GWU.” Janda said that leaving Fordham was bittersweet for her because “my position here helped me to realize my passion for AODE and for that I will be forever grateful.” Wenzel said, “OSLCD is currently collecting resumes and conducting a search for a new assistant director for Programming. The search will be competitive.” She said, the new assistant director will take on all of Janda’s previous roles and oversee programming and AODE. Since the position is not filled yet, Wenzel said, “The current OSLCD team has divided up the responsibilities of [Janda’s] position.” Wenzel said that Christina Dickinson, graduate intern for programming, was already a main contact person for programming and she will continue to help club
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
Alexis “Lexy” Janda’s former office in OSLCD remains empty as the search for a replacement continues.
leaders with room reservations and programming questions. “All students are welcome to contact me directly as well with any programming or AODE questions,” Wenzel said. “I will gladly help them.” Janda’s AODE position also advised Ram Smart, the student organization responsible for campus awareness activities that focus on healthy decision making, moderation and social responsibility. Kelsey Garcia, FCLC ’12 and president of Ram Smart, said that Christina Frankovic, graduate intern of Commuter Student Services, has temporarily taken over as adviser for Ram Smart. Garcia said, “[Frankovic] is so helpful and is actually getting us more organized than Lexy did.” She said that although Ram Smart
will have some AODE events like mocktails and forums, it will also have other events that advise people to make healthy choices when it comes to the environment, eating, exercising and spirituality. “However, if students have any questions or concerns regarding AODE, Ram Smart is definitely still happy to help meet those needs,” Garcia said. Hillary Fisk, FCLC ’12 and president of Campus Activities Board (CAB), had weekly meetings with Janda last year and said, “She had very little time to get adjusted to Fordham, but she rose to the occasion and was always a dependable resource.” Fisk said that Janda brought new programming and event ideas for CAB and OSLCD. “However,
alcohol and drug education were her passions so I am happy that she will be able to focus on that interest.” Wenzel mentioned some of the new programming that Janda brought to the FCLC campus and said, “Her time at Fordham made a great contribution to our campus, particularly in rebranding our welcome month as Fall in Love with Fordham, bringing new activities to our Midnight Breakfast and working with students to start Ram Smart, our peer educator club. “She has a great passion for assisting students with making healthy decisions and we are happy that she can pursue her goals of expanding her work in this area,” Wenzel said.
Student Club Helps Register New Voters VOTERS FROM PAGE 1
choice to register as part of a bigger trend. “The whole point of voting is for your voice to be heard,” Saima said, “and now is a very important time to be heard. The government is trying to take more control of our lives, and now is a time to say something about it.” Renee Pawaroo, FCLC ’14 also registered to vote Monday, but for a simpler purpose. “I want to be a good citizen and fulfill my duties,” Pawaroo said. “I never voted before; it’s exciting.” Like many students, Saima is still deliberating her choice for president: “I haven’t considered all the candidates, but I do know who my dad is voting for and all his positive things. But I haven’t compared him to the other candidates yet.”
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
Representatives of College Democrats tabled a voter registration drive on the Lowenstein plaza.
Campus Reacts to Megaupload Shutdown SOPA FROM PAGE 1
Dan Downs, FCLC ’13, who has worked with companies that used Megaupload, agrees with Knight that taking it down was a poor move. “While piracy certainly does exist on those websites, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should legislate an entire sector of web technology, especially when the law is not exactly effectual. Even if we do legislate and attack these sites, for every one you destroy, there will be six or seven more that crop up in its place.”
Although Carl Bhamdeo, FCLC ’13, was not necessarily against or for the takedown of Megaupload, he said, “[It] seemed like a very welltimed and strategic move.” He said that SOPA caused a huge divide between the corporate world and the public because it was so controversial, and it seemed unlikely to pass. “SOPA had good goals, but the disagreement was over its proposed methods.” In addition, Bhamdeo said he would not be surprised if another anti-piracy act will be proposed this
year. “By taking down Megaupload, the government made it clear that piracy is still something that needs to be discussed and, with or without SOPA, they will continue to fight against it,” he said. Some students, like Hillary Fisk, FCLC ’12, believe that government intervention could be a good thing. “I like the idea of protecting intellectual property,” Fisk said. “Piracy is a huge problem. I can’t think of a feasible way to stop it completely, but this could be a great way to start.”
Knight sees hypocrisy in the way the government is pursuing piracy issues. “If shows like CBS News or any of the networks take stories and footage from Syria, someone in Syria uploaded that material from there. [The shows] take that material and if viewers are outraged by it, we upload it on any of the cloud sites. [The proposed laws] would be pursuing the person in Syria who uploaded it.” In Knight’s view, the issue can be dismissed in three words: “It’s complete nonsense.”
GO! Winter Teams Return From Trips
Winter Ball Ticket Sale 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Indoor Plaza (Also on Feb. 3, 5, 6)
Relay for Life Bake Sale 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Indoor Plaza
Lunar New Year Celebration Noon - 230 p.m. Student Lounge MON., FEB. 6
CAB Outing to Pam Real Thai 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Meet at Lowenstein Lobby WED., FEB. 8
LEGO 2012: Screening of “Which Way Home” 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Student Lounge THUR., FEB. 9
Club Day 11 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Indoor Plaza
Senior Week Transitions 2 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Student Lounge MON., FEB 13
For seniors at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), graduation means many things. Some share feelings of nostalgia, others look forward to events leading up to commencement and others share words of wisdom for future graduates of FCLC. The Career Services office and Joseph Creamer, assistant dean for seniors, suggested tips that the class of 2012 should follow. Creamer began meeting with seniors Nov. 2 of last year, and said that he tries to help seniors solidify their schedules for their last semester. Creamer said that he believes being prepared will help future seniors. He said, “If there is a problem with Degreeworks, students tend to let it go, and that is where we run into problems.” Degreeworks is a checklist that students can use to make sure they have earned enough credits and completed all required classes for the Fordham core and
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Student Lounge
COURTESY OF APOLLONIA COLACICCO
The GO! Camden/Philly team were immersed in their community service experience during winter break.
lic, felt that there were not many major challenges but did feel like the team lacked in preparation. “We stood out a lot [in Dominican Republic] so I feel like we didn’t prepare enough in working on how we’d present ourselves.” On the other hand, Apollonia Colacicco, FCLC ’13, who was on the GO! Camden/Philly team, said, “You can prepare as much as you can, but when you go there, it’s really different. You have to be really open and willing to put yourself in an uncomfortable position.” Gianna Sciangula, FCLC ’15, who was also on the GO! Camden/ Philly team, felt that there were no challenges that prevented them from going to their worksites. To Sciangula, the biggest challenge to her was living simply for a week. One of the pillars of GO! is simple living, which means the GO! teams could not have electronic devices, such as laptops and iPods. Only the chaperone and the team leader were allowed to have cell phones. Team members were also only allowed to bring a small amount of money for food.
Though it was a challenge, Sciangula felt good distancing herself from electronics. “I began to see that helping a child get food to eat was more important than checking my Facebook,” Sciangula said. Wanda Medina, FCLC ’15, a member of GO! Florida, said that she learned how to appreciate the small things in life, like smiling, playing sports and going to the park. “On the trip, we were able to do that and it made me truly appreciate simple living,” said Medina. Aisha Blake, FCLC ’13, leader of GO! Camden/Philly, talked about her experience with working as a team. She said she was “blown away by the capacity of unconditional love between team members and the people at the work place. It allowed the team to become more open and more willing to connect.” To Blake, this was very fulfilling and she considers this GO! trip the best experience of her life. Blake was not the only one deeply affected by her GO! trip. Alexa Frank, FCLC ’12, member of GO! Dominican Republic, believed
this experience went over and beyond what she expected. Frank’s most memorable moment during her GO! experience came on the team’s last day in the Dominican Republic. She said she got close with a three year old boy named Elio. On their last day, the last thing Elio said to Frank was “te amo.” “It was very touching; it’s something I won’t ever forget,” Frank said. Janine Vincente, FCLC ’13, a member of GO! Dominican Republic, said, “We arrived in the country with hopeful and altruistic intentions…and left the Dominican Republic knowing that we’ve made a positive change somewhere in the world.” Vincente was very happy with all the success the team was able to do in ten days. “GO! is probably the best thing about Fordham,” Blake said. On the same note, Mendez said, “It was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. I encourage everyone at Fordham to do Global Outreach. For those who want to lead a team, it’s hard work but it’s extremely rewarding.”
Class of 2012 Prepares for Graduation By REX SAKAMOTO Asst. News Co-Editor
By LOUISE LINGAT AND KATHRENE BINAG Staff Writers
This past winter break, students of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) embarking on Global Outreach (GO!) missions flooded the Dominican Republic, Camden, Philadelphia (Camden/ Philly), and Florida. GO! Dominican Republic was from Jan. 4-13, GO! Camden/Philly was from Jan. 8-14, and GO! Florida was from Jan. 4-15. The students have returned and share their varying experiences. According to the GO! website, the main mission of GO! Dominican Republic was to help in the development, education and health of the children in the Joan Rose Foundation afterschool program in the small town of Esperanza in northwestern Dominican Republic. They also went on field trips to Santiago, Salcedo, the University of Dominican Republic, local markets, and beaches where they immersed themselves in the culture, history and heritage of the Dominican Republic. GO! Dominican Republic students played with the children in the Foundation (who numbered to more than 90), assisted teachers, prepared meals and painted a mural for the Foundation. The GO! trips were very inspiring and life-changing for many of the people that went. Although the teams had a great time, there were some challenges that each team encountered on their trips. Students who went on GO! Florida worked in Immokalee, Florida, in an after school program, a computer training course, a shelter, a soup kitchen and an early beginnings program. They worked with organizations that focus on farm workers’ rights issues, fair wages and food justice. They volunteered with Immokalee Housing and Family Services, Guadalupe House and Friendship House. They also got the opportunity to visit the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. In GO! Camden/Philly, students worked with multiple community-based organizations such as a day center, a community center for people affected with HIV/ AIDS, a wheelchair community, the South Jersey Food Bank, a school and a day shelter. Each night, the students got together to reflect on the day’s activities. Abiezer Mendez, FCLC ’13, leader of GO! Dominican Repub-
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
their majors or minors in order to graduate. Creamer also advises that, “junior students who go and study abroad need to meet with the associate chair of their major and get a substitution form. This should be taken care of before you meet with me.” “Since the add/drop period is now closed, all seniors can do now is work hard till the end of the semester,” Creamer said. Those seniors who were not able to finish their requirements, “will still be allowed to walk and their name will be listed as a candidate as long as they have no more than two summer classes to take,” Creamer assured. While there is a certain feeling of anxiety about post-graduation life, career services is hosting a few events to help seniors connect with potential employers. Additionally, Career Services has been going through a career-counseling model to cater more to all the needs of the students at FCLC. Bernie Stratford,
director of Experiential Education at Fordham, said, “In order to help students tell their story, Fordham has developed a four-year program called ‘Futures.’” The goal of Career Services is to help students “understand and articulate their skills to employers,” Stratford said. “We’re in the assessment business, the preparation business and the hiring business.” Holly Hughes, FCLC ’12 said, “it seems like Career Services is really revamping some of their services… There are some networking dinners that Career Services is putting on that I’m planning on attending.” Career Services will have a spring career and internship fair at Rose Hill on Feb. 15. A preparation workshop will be held the day before in the South Lounge of FCLC. Also, on Mar. 27, there will be a Lincoln Center Virtual Career Fair. Creamer suggested that students also check out the South Lounge and Career Services blog to find job opportunities. Upcoming senior events in-
clude Senior Salute on Apr. 11 and 12 where seniors will receive their cap and gowns. There is also Senior Week that occurs the week before graduation. Although graduation is still a few months away, one senior shared her excitement. Sara Ingle, FCLC ’12, said that graduation will be, “an accomplishment that [she] will be proud of.” Ingle also suggested advice for future seniors and said, “Get things done early. I have three apps to do and I’m starting to realize that I should have gotten started a while ago.” Hughes also said, “I think I learned what I needed to learn here, but life beyond is kind of a mystery.” She said that she advises her underclassmen to “really enjoy their time here and take full advantage of the school. “You only have four years, so make the most of them. I’ve learned as much from the student body as I have from my professors,” Hughes said.
CSA Goes CSI 6:30 p.m. - 8 p.m. Meet in Lowenstein Lobby TUES., FEB 14
Hearts and Kisses 11 a.m. - noon Indoor Plaza WED., FEB 15
Healthy Eating Seminar 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. Student Lounge
Compiled by Rex Sakamoto
Crime TUE., JAN. 17 Between the hours of 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., a faculty member reported that five hundred dollars of cash was missing from his desk in the GSC office in the Lowenstein Building. The money was composed of ten, twenty and one hundred-dollar bills. WED., JAN. 25 At 11 a.m. in McMahon, an elevator became stuck with one student inside. The student immediately contacted the emergency crew and was removed from the elevator with no injury. Around 9:40 p.m. a smoke alarm went off on the 11th floor of McMahon. A student was baking brownies and his oven had begun to fill with smoke. The student was taken out of the room and there were no injuries. .
Compiled by: Richard Ramsundar
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
SOPA INFRINGES ON INTELLECTUAL FREEDOM
he Internet has been our savior in college. It’s the vast information pool where we research for classes and keep up with the news. It’s the virtual hangout where we connect to our campus and friends. But it also serves as a form of escapism, a place where we watch mindless YouTube videos and drown in our favorite bands. The Internet is popular not only because it serves as a resource, but because anyone and everyone can connect and share their ideas, thoughts, music, photos and videos. But this freedom to say and view what we want and browse without restriction might come to an end. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, aimed at preventing websites housed overseas from distributing pirated material. While the United States has strong anticopyrighting laws, regulation abroad is less strict. Under SOPA, search engines in the U.S would have been banned from using services that house pirated material. If the Act was passed, some of our favorite sites like YouTube and Wikipedia could face tight regulation by the government. On Jan. 18, we caught a glimpse of what it might be like to have these freedoms limited.
“The reality is that the legislation surrounding SOPA is highly flawed.” Wikipedia went black and Google’s logo was blocked out. The Internet seemed to garner a voice telling Congress to let it keep it’s freedom. Some media companies like Time Warner and the Motion Picture Association were the strongest advocates of the act. They argued that SOPA could help fix a broken system and discourage illegal activity on the web. Their concern is with protecting and compensating content providers and preventing job losses resulting from online piracy. While those are noble intentions, the reality is that the legislation surrounding SOPA was highly flawed. SOPA’s provisions to block searches are a direct violation of the First Amendment because it condones censorship. Secondly, SOPA went back on the very action it is trying to preven— piracy— as it grants immunity for certain entities that have already violated the Digital Media Copyright Act (DMCA), a law passed
in 1998. This act could have penalized copyright infringement committed by online service providers. Even worse, websites yielding to the DMCA provisions can get penalized because of vague language within the legislation. Finally, SOPA privileged search engines, webhosts and others who self-censor, which can in turn hinder innovation and freedom on the Internet. The flaws of the SOPA bill are reflective of how unequipped those in Congress who drafted this legislation are to regulate online piracy. Yes, they may have years of experience creating the laws by which our society functions, but they do not understand how the Internet functions, nor do they understand the severe repercussions this legislation can have on it. Hyperlinks, shared videos, blogs, status updates—the Internet is based on a foundation of sharing information and ideas. It is how we communicate and stay informed. On Jan. 20, the decision was made to table the bill, forcing lawmakers to rework it. Even still, this is a piece of legislation that we cannot ignore. Whatever provisions made to the Internet may seriously hinder our academic lifestyles. We must keep our laptops up and our eyes wide open.
“Once Upon a Time”: Politics the Fantastical Way You’re More Likely to Find Worthwhile Political Drama on this New Show than CNN RYAN O’TOOLE Staff Writer
Fairytales and storybook characters have been a part of American culture, as well as global culture, for centuries. Why? For one, they captivate us with their themes of adventure, suspense, romance, redemption and hope. They also offer lessons to any generation, a truth which can be seen in the most recent manifestation of fairytales in contemporary culture, ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.” Although “Once Upon A Time” is the perfect example of a modern fairytale, it is also a gripping political drama about the nature of power. Ever since “The West Wing” left TV years ago, I have been in the market for a smart and clever political drama, and ABC has found it. Unfortunately in contemporary American society, we seem to have forgotten what politics is supposed to be, as our nation’s political discourse has devolved into a petty game where politicians try to score points by attacking each other and refusing to compromise, all the while controlled by the outsize influence of corporate money from Wall Street and Super PACs. It seems that the only way candidates try to win these days is to pander to the most extreme citizens while they ignore, and even criticize, the independent middle, where approximately 40 percent of Americans lie. The current Congress has an approval rate of 18 percent, placing it as one of the most hated Congresses in history, if not the most hated. Clearly something in American politics is broken. Some might even lament that our politicians have been, well, cursed. That’s where “Once Upon A Time” comes in. As all fairytales strive to do, this modern tale can offer our politicians some crucial lessons in how to govern and serve the public. The writers of
COURTESY OF ABC
The new show “Once Upon a Time” plays out like Washington politics, paralleling today’s political climate.
the show have brilliantly placed the Evil Queen as the Mayor of Storybrooke, indicating that this program is hoping to send a lesson about the nature of political power. In the show, the Evil Queen places a curse on the fairytale world and sends every single character we know—Prince Charming, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin and countless others—to present-day Maine, where they have forgotten their former identities. The only person who can save the town and break the Queen’s curse is the daughter of Prince Charming and Snow White, Emma, who escaped the curse when she was a child and returns to the town in the
show’s pilot. The Queen, Regina in the modern day, faces opposition only from Emma. Coincidentally, Regina is the adopted mother of Emma’s biological son Henry, a relationship that frames their perpetual battles. The two women offer wildly diverging styles of leadership. Regina controls the town with an iron fist—she installs personal puppets to city jobs, kills or destroys people who disobey her, does not allow for alternate opinions and under her rule, time literally does not move. Meanwhile Emma lives by her word, fights for those who do not have a voice or protection, speaks out against the status quo and
is popularly elected as Sheriff. In contemporary American politics, we see the characters of Regina and Emma. Regina is controlled by only one person in town: Mr. Gold, the rich owner of most town property and formerly Rumpelstiltskin. Likewise in modern America, politicians are controlled not by their constituents but by their wealthy donors and benefactors. The current evil in American politics is that corporations, like the NRA, Big Oil companies or Wall Street, can control politicians and prevent the passage of legislation that the people want and need. Emma is a populist warrior, much like Elizabeth
Warren, who has stood up to huge Wall Street firms and banks to ensure the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Even though Regina and Emma are bitter rivals, they often join together to protect Henry, their shared interest. Maternal love is the force that rises above all others. They are willing to compromise because of the son they both love. It is refreshing to see these two main political opponents portrayed by women, and their roles as mothers are central to the message of the show to American politicians. Today Democrats and Republicans refuse to compromise for the sake of their one shared interest—the American people. Politicians from different ends of the spectrum need to prioritize their country above their party and unite for the good of the United States. Even though I disagree with just about everything Mitch McConnell and John Boehner say, I still respect their views and admit that some of their proposals are good. It is despicable for Rush Limbaugh to want President Obama to fail; sure, Obama and Limbaugh are from different parties, but at the end of the day, we are all Americans and all want this country to succeed. I recognize that people I don’t agree with still love this country; we just disagree about how to solve problems. Our Congressional leaders, politicians and media need to remember this simple but crucial fact. As the 2012 election continues to escalate, all politicians and candidates for public office need to tune into ABC on Sundays at 8 p.m. for a lesson in how to return American politics to its intended state: a government that represents all people equally, places public service above partisanship and takes political power away from corporate executives, lobbyists and super PACs and restores it to the people. Maybe then we the people of the United States might live happily ever after.
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
Republican Campaign Strategies: All About Family Ties showing how they’re qualified to run a country, not how they’re qualified to run a family. Mitt Romney likes to show off his children at his campaign rallies. It’s not hard to find the five strapping J. Crew models, aka. his five sons, standing behind him onstage. Between their polos and dazzling white smiles, I imagine they’d successfully intimidate any world leader set on taking down the U.S. Nobody wants to cross a Lacoste model.
COLLEEN THORNHILL Opinions Editor
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Every day my roommate turns on CNN to check the latest news regarding the Republican primaries. Or debates. Or whatever it is team red has going on. She’s a political science major, and as such, it’s her job to stay up-to-date with political news. I rely on this roommate for the latest developments involving the Bloomberg office, the White House and worldly affairs. Politics is a mystery to me, and she is my bridge to that world. However, with politics taking over the news for quite some time now, thanks to all these primaries and debates, even I have begun to take note. Unlike my politicallyminded roommate, I don’t actually follow these debates for political reasons. In all honesty, I don’t really like anyone in politics. I think they all have some fishy, ulterior, self-serving motive. But it’s hard to ignore politics when those annoying albeit entertaining political campaign ads interrupt my evening with Alex Trebek and “Jeopardy.” The more I see these campaign commercials, the more laughable I find them. It’s rare to find an ad that actually expounds upon a candidate’s qualifications for office. The majority of ads play out more like Hallmark commercials. I’m surprised the voiceovers on them don’t rhyme and end in “Sincerely, Your Next President.” I want my next president to be someone who can handle war, the economy and basically everything else that’s thrown at him. If he can handle marriage and kids, well, kudos, but I’m not impressed. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn’t about to confront you at a PTA meeting. My favorite ad so far has been Rick Santorum’s. In it, he plays football with his sons and holds his special needs daughter on his lap on his front porch. Great, so the guy thinks he’s Tom Brady, but how is that relevant? I’ll admit I think it’s strange when someone dislikes football, but then again, I grew up in a home where the Monday Night
If he can handle marriage and kids, well, kudos, but...Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn’t about to confront you at a PTA meeting.
COURTESY OF MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN
Mitt Romney is just one of a few politicians who seem more focused on tugging heartstrings than politics.
Football song was something of a bedtime lullaby. I really don’t care one bit if my president knows the difference between a touchdown and field goal. So when I see Santorum throwing the pigskin around with his boys, my first thought isn’t, “He’d make a great president,” it’s, “I wonder if he’s an AFC or an NFC fan.” Such information is hardly relevant to knowing how to run a country. Next up, why does Santorum single out his special needs daughter in the video? I can’t help but question his motives. Is her presence
supposed to make him more qualified to be president? Everyone criticized Sarah Palin for joining as John McCain’s running mate because she, too, has a special needs child. But with Santorum, it somehow shows he has family values. Yet millions of people have special needs children. You don’t see them using their children to get ahead in the world. Santorum’s ad should be setting him apart in other, politically significant ways. The point of campaigning is to win the support of voters. In order to win support, politicians should be
My favorite, though, is Newt Gingrich. I hail from South Carolina, the state that just voted for Gingrich in its primary. Oh, I got such a kick out of watching Newt and his lovely wife saunter about town. I like how Newt’s (we’re on a first-name basis) ads tell us about his belief in family values. Well, maybe by family values he means multiple families. He’s on his third wife I believe. Maybe he’s just spreading the love. If I want a family man to run for president, I’d just elect my Dad. But I don’t want a family man (my apologies, Pops). I want a skilled politician, capable of making life or death decisions in minutes and who doesn’t make the United States look laughable. Show me a candidate who’s willing to run for president without hiding behind his family’s Christmas card, and I might just elect him (or her!). Otherwise, I’m going to have to side with Ron Paul, who reminds me of my high school history teacher. And that’s probably not a good reason to elect my country’s future leader.
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February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Viral Video Questions Faithfulness of the Religious POINT
Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus
Religion Strengthens One’s Relationship With Jesus
MICHELLE PRADO Contributing Writer
A round of applause to the YouTube poet Jefferson Bethke who has said what many want to say but never do. One of the hottest topics on YouTube (and on my Facebook newsfeed) is this Christian who claims to love Jesus but hate religion, or in his own words, “resent it.” How can a person hate religion and love Jesus? I asked myself the same question, but after thinking about it, I understand and support him all the way. Judging from his video, Bethke hates the rituals, the strict rules and perhaps the monotony of religion. He prefers to think of God as someone he can have a relationship with, and Bethke is brilliant for expressing that to the world. He does not just say words and talk about how he feels or how God makes him feel but uses the Bible to back up his statements. As a Christian, I often encounter people who can talk about Jesus and know he was crucified but can’t even tell me who wanted Jesus crucified. Bethke can and that makes him stand out because he does not just say he loves Jesus, he knows enough about Him to justify His love. In my case, to really love Jesus I had to stray away from religion. I once was a Christian following a religious recipe which, while not used by everyone, was especially demanding. I had one hour of Bible a day, half an hour of prayer, two hours of Bible study with a church leader twice a week and last but not least, three two-hour services a week. Again this is not the typical Christian routine but it was mine, and as I was doing all that I found out I really
did not love Jesus. Of course I would COLLEEN THORNHILL say I did love Him, but I was tired of Opinions Editor Him, because I felt that to love Jesus I had to always be doing something for my church and never doing things I wanted to do. It was not until I realized I did not need to be in a church In recent weeks, a new YouTube video constantly and following all these has taken the Internet by storm. Uploaded rituals that I started to really say I on Jan. 10, the video “Why I Hate Religion, love Jesus and But Love Jemean it. sus” has gotBethke says ten more than in his spoken 17 million word, “Reliviews. In the gion is man video, spoken after God, and word poet JefChristianity ferson Bethke is God after explains his man.” One belief that of the things religion gets I take away in the way of anything from one’s relationthis video ship with is this line. Jesus and When I heard ultimately Bethke say it, leaves the the first thing relationship I thought of strained and was John 3:16, less personal. the verse that Bethke’s tells us God video is an loves us so unfair genmuch He gave eralization His Son for of religion. us. We did not He claims it’s give anything, all a “façade” but the fact and somethat God gave thing that His Son lets “blinds” you. me know that That’s funny, Christianity because I is about God find the more COURTESY OF BBAL1989/YOUTUBE going after us. I embrace We sometimes YouTube poet Jefferson Bethke favors faith over religion. my Catholic don’t even religion, the think about it, or even worse we don’t more I see. Suddenly I see how selfish I appreciate it. So, dear YouTube poet, am because I didn’t feel like taking an thank you. I’m waiting for part two. hour out of my day to celebrate Mass when
Jesus took 33 years trying to help us see the light. Suddenly I feel self-righteous for thinking I didn’t need to be reminded of how much Jesus sacrificed for me. Yet Bethke claims it is religion that makes us self-righteous. If anything, however, it humbles me. I don’t go to confession because I want to brag about it. Telling people how much I’ve sinned isn’t exactly my idea of a good time. It also isn’t something I’d consider a “chore” either. The feeling of absolution after going to confession is about the greatest in the world. It’s a reassurance of God’s love. Sure, I can just pray and say sorry on my own time, but the visual sign of the priest blessing you is a smart move on religion’s part—it’s a lot more reassuring than the blank silence I get in my head. While I agree religion can sometimes be a struggle, I don’t think Bethke understands the point. He calls it “behavior modification” and “a long list of chores,” but in doing so, Bethke misses the purpose of religion: It’s meant to strengthen one’s faith, not weaken it. Religion isn’t an “infection,” as Bethke claims. It enriches my faith rather than distracts from it. Kudos to Bethke if his relationship with Jesus is so strong he doesn’t need religion, but he’s a rarity. Most of us need a little back up every now and again. When I go to church on Sundays, it’s not because I think I’ll go to hell if I don’t. I go to church on Sundays because, believe it or not, religion isn’t just between me and God. It’s also between me and an entire community of believers. Healing on one’s own is no easy feat. If it were, we wouldn’t need friends or our families by our sides in difficult times. We all like structure in our lives, and religion gives structure to our relationship with God. I love Jesus just as much as Bethke does, but religion helps me strengthen that relationship, even when I falter. It isn’t a burden; it’s a guiding hand.
Race Doesn’t Define My Identity, Yet the U.S. Census Allows It To SOGAND AFKARI Staff Writer
Unlike Latinos, I don’t belong to an exponentially growing community in the United States. Unlike Latinos, the 2010 U.S. Census did not concentrate on my ethnic identity and place of origin. A question on the Census asks, “Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?” As a Middle Eastern American, I wish I could have received such courtesy. Regardless of this lack of attention, the next question on the Census suddenly forced Latinos reluctantly into obscurity alongside me. The recent New York Times article “For Many Latinos, Racial Identity is More Culture Than Color (Race)” by Mirya Navaroo explores the U.S. Census’ contradictory identification of Latinos by ethnicity and then by race. Race, unlike ethnicity, is an illegitimate social construct and a codified categorization of people based on skin color and only limited geographical sites. In response to being asked for my race, what am I, a Middle Eastern, supposed to say? Alongside 18 million Latinos, I filled in the “other” circle for the race question in the 2010 Census because I, too, am socially conditioned to attribute myself to racial anonymity. I grew up in a homogenous community in Connecticut and my family and I were never treated or identified as being “white/Caucasian.” We were regularly “othered” by our community for our Persian heritage and
Islamic spirituality. I am proud and intimately involved with my Middle Eastern ancestry. As a result, I became determined never to succumb to abandoning my heritage in order to assimilate into the white Anglo-Saxon Protestant majority of hometown. When it came to state tests, the SATs and the national census, defining myself as “white/Caucasian” was incongruent with how others and how I perceived myself. Through Fordham’s own Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice, I participated in an anti-racism workshop with The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond, where I learned about the etymology and the history of the concept of “race.” I was informed about how the Virginian settlers first implemented the category of “white” in 1609 as an obvious way of highlighting differences between themselves and the indigenous natives. Soon race became a prevailing discourse in the wake of the Scientific Revolution (16th-17th century). Thinkers like the Comte de Buffon and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach then famously expounded upon it by defining the races as Caucasoid, Negroid, Australoid, Mongoloid and Indigenous Others and their corresponding colors (White, Black, Brown, Yellow and Red). During this workshop I realized that the entire region of the Middle East and North Africa (which according to contemporary academic standards consists of approximately 20 countries) was conspicuously disregarded. My ancestors and I were
COURTESY OF U.S. CENSUS
When confronted with the question of race, some citizens are forced to categorize themselves as “other” on the U.S. Census.
completely overlooked. We were never placed in any of Blumenbach’s traditional categories of race. Historically my people were forced into racial anonymity. This observation only augmented my understanding of the illegitimacy of race. The 2010 Census, in addition to listing several of Blumenbach’s traditional races (white, black), lists nationalities and ethnicities ranging from Japanese to Samoan to Native Hawaiian under the question: “What
is Person 1’s race?” As a Middle Eastern-American this infuriated me. The United States is a force behind two insurgencies and a player in multiple soft wars in the Middle East, and yet they can’t even present us with a measly circle in the national census? Regardless of what the Census is designed to do, I will not be forced to choose between obscurity and ascribing myself to a group I share no similarities with. The U.S. government can bomb the Middle East and
my region of ancestry, but they can’t formally recognize my Middle Eastern ethnicity? During my Global Outreach trip to the Dominican Republic (DR), I learned theirs is an ethnically tripartite society (indigenous base with African and European additions). My team and I learned that in DR the government does not formally recognize race. Professor Lynne Guitar of the Pontífica Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra, who gave us a lecture of colonial history, explained in turn that this lack of race identification enables the government to overlook the conspicuous discrimination against Haitians. This assertion by Guitar made me appreciate America’s systemic use of race as a dominant category of identity, but only to a degree. At least the use of race is a tool for identifying and combating bigotry. However, this only helps those who are recognized as a race by the U.S. Census. What about my fellow Middle Eastern Americans who are pushed into obscurity? The U.S. Census is a reflection of how institutions throughout our country codify race and perpetuate its dominance as a form of identification. Consequently, this issue transcends the Latino community. I do not want to be continually “othered.” My community and ethnicity is not attributed to a race. I am proudly of Middle Eastern ancestry and I will not let a political institution or a class peer force racial anonymity upon me. As a result, I demand that the U.S. Census recognize my identity and others outside of race.
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
Bloomberg’s Proposal Benefits Deserving Teachers SARA AZOULAY
Photo Editor & Asst. Opinions Editor
The day that I figured out Britney Spears made more money than my fourth grade teacher was a sad day for me. Although I like Britney Spears, I just suddenly pictured Mrs. Spitvak smiling down upon me and my fellow students, trying desperately to get us excited about math. The amount of work and dedication that woman put into teaching us was far greater than any dedication Britney put into dancing around in her school girl outfit. Mrs. Spitvak might not have pulled off a mini-skirt quite as well as Britney, but she was a great teacher who deserved more than the salary given to her. It was then I realized the incredible inequality that teachers face in America. My point is not to undermine celebrities but to emphasis how ridiculous it is that teachers aren’t paid what they are truly worth. According to a recent Harvard study, “The Long Term Impact of Teachers,” students who have high-valued teachers (those who consistently improve their students’ learning abilities) are more likely to extend their education further—such as attend college and then go on to earn higher incomes. The study specifically highlights how important it is for a child to have a good teacher, starting as early as the fourth grade. The outcome of the study isn’t surprising to me; great teachers help
influence the children of the future. They have the ability to change any flaw in society starting from the bottom up. They are ultimately the true job creators of this nation. Education in this country has been unraveling for a couple of years, and it’s now at a level that many call embarrassing. It’s an appropriate time to take a step back and re-evaluate our educational system. (It surprises me that the Republican campaigns have yet to touch on their plans to help national education.) Mayor Bloomberg recently focused on New York education during his State of the City address. There are several problems with the city’s public education, such as overcrowded classrooms and the quality of the education public students receive. He listed several different proposals to enhance education in the city. Putting aside all other views I have on Bloomberg as a mayor, I support his initiative for a merit-pay system. He proposes awarding top teachers with $20,000 pay increases and offering to pay off student loans up to $25,000 for top college graduates who choose to teach in city schools. This proposal does come with many down sides though: one of them being that he has to cut out the teachers that are deemed “not effective.” It has obviously been criticized by the United Federation of Teachers. According to the New York Times article “Mayor Takes on Teachers’ Union in School Plan,” the Union’s president, Michael Mulgrew, said that the mayor was living in a “fan-
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
Students suffer and lose interest in their studies if teachers have no incentive to make their classes worthwhile.
tasy education world,” and ultimately believed that such proposals would never be approved. Governor Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, was very excited to work with Bloomberg on these initiatives. Bloomberg seems to be responding directly to the study shown in Harvard by weeding out
the poor teachers so there are more “high-valued” teachers. There is an uncertainty that comes with a plan that wills to fire plenty of teachers. How will they appropriately evaluate the teachers? I agree that there are different teachers with different teaching methods and
students respond differently to each individual teacher. One kid might find his fourth grade teacher engaging and intelligent while another kid in the class struggles to catch up with what she’s saying. There is, however, a point he has in evaluating teachers. Teaching should be a competitive career option to get into. There is a foolish saying that goes “those who can’t do, teach.” This saying is absolutely false in every sense, but the teachers who are not passionate about their career maybe have reason to be evaluated. I once had a chemistry teacher in high school who obviously hated her job and told us everyday how much she hated teaching. I didn’t learn anything in that class. The Harvard study shows that great teachers are able to get their students more involved in education. The merit-pay system he’s proposing should be applauded. Maybe some people think that the $20,000 bonus is something that will give teachers more of an initiative to work harder and provide better test scores. I believe that the bonus just rewards teachers who are simply providing children with a future and a good education. They deserve a higher salary and they always have. Initiatives like this pave the way for more talk about education and social values in this country. So maybe instead of Britney Spears having a gross amount of income, teachers will earn the money they deserve as they continue to improve the children and future of America.
Tumblr Beats Facebook Timeline ALEXA PIPIA Staff Writer
Tumblr is a blogging website that also functions as a social network where people follow blogs and interact through messaging and chatting. Tumblr users can post pictures, quotes, songs, videos, basically anything they can find on the internet. Although lesser known, Tumblr is 10 times better than that other social networking site, Facebook. I recently deleted my Facebook account. Here’s the reason why: I wanted to connect with people in real life again. I wanted to stop using it as a crutch in order to get to know someone. Yes, on the outside, we would all like to believe that Facebook is a way to connect with friends, but I’m pretty sure you don’t speak to those 700 people on a daily basis, or even a monthly basis. People use Facebook to stalk, simple as that. It basically forces you to put all your personal information out there in for others to know without having to ask. All the profiles have the same layout and individuality is nonexistent. You can argue and say the new timeline introduced by Facebook is a step in the right direction for individualizing Facebook, but I feel it’s only improving the site’s stalking abilities. To be able to jump to a certain year in someone’s life just to see what their life was like is disturbing. My memory is good enough to remember significant events without Facebook’s help. I wasted too much time on the site and reaped no benefits. It was unnecessary for me to share minute details about my life, like what the weather was that day, “OMG! It’s snowing!” With the timelines feature, friends who view your profile will be able to get to the information faster. So even though Mark Zuckerberg would like you to believe that the new timeline is a better way of telling your life story, it still doesn’t encourage individuality. Facebook is giving their users less and less control but exposing them more and more. Meanwhile, on Tumblr, there are numerous ways to express my individuality through my blog. There are thousands of themes that can be used, and I control all the content that is put on my page. If
I don’t want to expose my relationship status, I don’t have to feel obligated. Users can share their interests and inspire other users with their internet discoveries. Facebook is a stalking tool; Tumblr is a creative outlet. Some, however, disagree. The rapper Drake recently stated, “I’m really scared for my generation, you know. The thing that scares me the most is Tumblr. I hate what Tumblr has become. Instead of kids going out and making their own moments, they’re just taking these images and living vicariously through other people’s moments. It just kills me. Then you’ll meet them and they’re just the biggest turkey in the world. They don’t actually embody any of those things. They just emulate...It scares me.” I guess that makes me a turkey, because I am Tumblr’s biggest fan. I think what has gotten Drake scared is the “reblog” option on tumblr. When a person posts something, his or her followers have the option to press reblog and post it to their own blog. I see how Drake would feel that’s unoriginal, because you’re able to take someone else’s work and claim it as your own; you admire it, but you’re not going out there and creating it yourself. What Drake doesn’t realize is even though the kids using Tumblr may not be taking the pictures or making the moments on their blog, they’re expressing an interest. They’re more vulnerable because their blogs are built strictly on their personal interests. Tumblr is for inspiration, not for emulation. It’s for personal pleasure, rather than satisfying the curious minds of your “friends.” Who’s to say someone who posts a photo of a beach will never vacation in Bali? Or write a novel because they were inspired by a J.D. Salinger quote? Just because Tumblr bloggers don’t originally provide the material on their blogs most of the time doesn’t mean they’re unoriginal. No two blogs are alike, because the interests and minds of no two people are alike. Each blog is a collage of interests. Tumblr is focused on the representation of an individual, not the exposure. What Drake needs to realize is that Tumblr is just the tip of the iceberg of selfexpression; it’s a stepping stone for what its users aspire to create or do. I’d rather people become inspired by what I post on my Tumblr rather than stalk photos my friends tagged me in from Friday night.
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Arts & Culture
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Oscar Predictions: Will Win/Should Win By KATIE LOCKHART Arts & Culture Co-Editor
This year’s Oscar nominations were full of snubs, including Shailene Woodley for Best Supporting Actress in “The Descendents,” surprises like the Best Picture nomination for “The Tree of Life” and out of the blue nominations like Demian Bichirw for Best Actor in “A Better Life.” I’ll be giving my opinion of who will win the golden statue and who should win.
AL SEIB/LOS ANGELES TIMES/MCT, JAY L. CLENDENIN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/MCT, ALLEN J. SCHABEN/LOS ANGELES TIMES/MCT, KIRK MCKOY/LOS ANGELES TIMES/MCT
George Clooney (far left), Christopher Plummer (top middle), Melissa McCarthy (bottom middle), Meryl Streep (far right)—all nominated for Oscars.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Will Win: The Artist Should Win: The Artist The black and white silent film may have deterred some audiences for fear of boredom, but it was more enjoyable than any film this year. “The Artist” was a delightful story of love lost and found and lost and found again for a silent film star losing his fame (Jean Dujardin) and a talented up-and-coming “talkie actress” (Berenice Bejo). It was a beautifully inventive, unique and mesmerizing homage to old Hollywood all without words or color, quite an accomplishment for modern Hollywood.
Will Win: Michael Hazanavicius Should Win: Michael Hazanavicius Best Picture winner and Best Director winner go together like peanut butter and jelly; rarely is there one without the other. In the history of the the Academy Awards there has only been three directors who have not won Oscar while their films have, the most recent being “Driving Miss Daisy.” I’m not saying that “The Artist” director Hazanavicius doesn’t deserve the Oscar (he does). His style is fantastic and his lively, animated scenes will bring a smile to your face.
Will Win: George Clooney Should Win: Michael Fassbender Although Fassbender isn’t even nominated, I thought his performance as a sex addict in “Shame” was the most dramatic, touching and provocative of the year. The Academy tends to be conservative in their nominations and the film’s NC-17 rating and Fassbender’s numerous full frontal, graphic sex scenes probably didn’t win them over. So instead, Clooney, a lifelong bachelor, will probably win the Oscar for a very convincing and heartfelt performance as a dad struggling to raise his daughters after his wife goes into a coma.
Will Win: Meryl Streep Should Win: Meryl Streep This is Streep’s 17th, I repeat, 17th Oscar nomination, more than any other actor ever, that in itself is enough reason to give her the award. Any film with Meryl as the leading lady is the Academy’s wet dream and for good reason. If Streep’s performance as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher can put the name of a, let’s just say it, boring film like “The Iron Lady,” on the Oscar ballot, there is nothing that woman cannot do.
Will Win: Christopher Plummer Should Win: Christopher Plummer Although this esteemed Hollywood icon may not be a household name to some, he is certainly worthy of not only the nomination, but the award. Some may know him from his recent performance as Henrik in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” but he is nominated for his role as Ewan McGregor’s dad Hal in “Beginners.” Critics are hailing his heartbreaking performance as an elderly gay man with terminal cancer and his past Oscar snubs might give this 80 year old Hollywood veteran the push he needs.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Will Win: Octavia Spencer Should Win: Melissa McCarthy This could be a toss up between the two “Help” ladies, but Spencer, a longtime minor presence on the big screen, recently won for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes, setting the tone for the Oscars, whereas her co-star wasn’t even nominated. Her role as housemaid Minny Jackson embodies a sassy, strong, wise woman, which is pretty much Oscar gold. But no one can deny that McCarthy deserved it for her hilarious portrayal as Megan in “Bridesmaids,” where her most notable scene involved shitting in an upscale store sink. It’s too bad she probably won’t win, I was really looking forward to some waterworks.
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Arts & Culture
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
Recently Downsized, American Folk Art Museum Displays Outsider Art at Lincoln Center By BRIAN BRUEGGE Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
The past few years have been rough for the American Folk Art Museum. Financial struggles forced the museum to shut down its main branch, located next door to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) last year, and forced them to rethink their role as a cultural institution in New York City. Though the main branch of the building was sold to the MoMA last year, the American Folk Art Museum continues to display selections from its extensive collection at its Lincoln Center branch—located at the corner of 66th Street and Broadway. This has allowed some of the artwork to continue to be available to the public, while the museum searches for new avenues through which to expand and display its collection. Though this process is far from over, the museum is far more optimistic than it has been in some time. The museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a new exhibit, “Jubiliation/Rumination—Life: Real and Imagined,” a fantastic sample of the museum’s collection of folk art. Stacy Hollander, curator for the exhibition, sees the exhibit as a both a celebration of the survival of the museum and as a moment to reflect on its history. “The jubilation is [a celebration] because the museum has come through this period and survived, but also a rumination because it’s a time to contemplate what we’ve just gone through and reflect on the museum’s history,” Hollander explained. The exhibit features artwork from a range of time periods and media, yet everything on display shares the bond of having been created by a self-taught artist outside the realm of the traditional art world. You won’t find any work by a household name artist here, but the lack of recognizable names allows the viewer to see each piece as equally relevant. Even the oldest artwork on display has a freshness that is not lost when juxtaposed with more recent works in the same space. The gallery is filled with drawings, paintings, sculptures, quilts, photographs and miscellaneous objects. The range of styles, media and themes is as diverse as the artists who created these works. Each artist was an otherwise ordinary person who became driven to create for any of a number of reasons. For some, this motive was religious,
COURTESY OF AMERICAN FOLK ART MUSEUM
The American Folk Art Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary with their latest exhibit, “Jubilation/Ruminationw—Life: Real and Imagined.”
others sought fame and recognition and many simply needed an outlet for artistic expression. Eugene Von Breunchenhein, a former baker and florist, exemplifies this spirit of the everyman artist. On display are several portraits, both photographed and painted, of his wife Marie, a favorite subject. The images he captures are surreal, nostalgic and at times appear forced. While Marie poses semi-nude in exotic scenery and attire, her expression remains blank and emotionless. It is Von Breunchenhein’s enthusiasm for his work, which can be intuited even though he remains behind the camera, that makes these portraits so magnetic. Von Breunchenhein was a latecomer to the art world, but he put his whole spirit
into his diverse body of work. When he ended his former career and took up artistic pursuits, he placed a sign in his basement studio: “Create and be recognized.” Much of the work on display was never recognized in its time, as is the case with the curious bottle-cap sculptures of Clarence and Grace Woosley. The couple began creating large rabbitlike figures in the 1960s by joining together the caps of discarded soda bottles. It was not until their works went for auction that the work was widely discovered. Other highlights of the exhibit include a series of Coney Island scenes, each painted by different artists, revealing different perceptions of the famous beachfront. In another section
of the exhibit, an enormous model of a neo-classical skyscraper dominates the center floor. The model, titled “Encyclopedic Palace of the World,” represents artist Marino Auriti’s vision for a museum that would display all of humanities greatest accomplishments in a single building. “I would like the visitor to come in and be drawn into the visual and emotional journey of the exhibit,” Hollander said. “I want them to come away with a sense of the significance of what we do because there really is no other museum that does what we do.” The collection on display here is so diverse that any visitor is bound to find something that they feel an emotional connection to. There is a deeply personal aspect to all the work
on display, whether it is a hand drawn self-portrait, a sculpture made from found objects or a painting. Once this personal connection is experienced, it is not easily forgotten. IF YOU GO WHEN:
Jan. 17 - Sept. 2
HOURS: Tuesday-Saturday: noon -
7:30 p.m.; Sunday: noon to 6 p.m.; Closed Mondays. WHERE: American Folk Art Museum: 2 Lincoln Square (at 66th and Columbus) PRICE: Free, though donations are encouraged. MORE INFO: www.folkartmuseum.org
Restaurant Week in New York City: A Taste of the Sweet Life By JACKSON GALAN Contributing Writer
If you’re a connoisseur of fine cuisine, then you already know about Restaurant Week. You already know that this is a week of 20 days and 320+ participating restaurants. You already know how to pronounce “prix fixe.” And if you’re that particular breed of connoisseur who really doesn’t have the money to eat at fancy restaurants, you already know that Restaurant Week is the most wonderful time of the year. Lunch is $24.07, dinner, $35. Not peanuts, sure, but if you’re eating somewhere with a Michelin star, it’s a steal. The real question, then, is “Where do I eat?” Go to nycgo.com/restaurantweek, the promotion’s operational home base, where you’ll find a comprehensive list of participants and a handy tool that lets you filter them through a number of criteria. Most people seem to pick by how much the restaurant charges on a regular week. Restaurants with a price ranking of $$$$ got booked up much faster than the $$$ joints. You might also consider the food. You can filter by cuisine category—Greek, Seafood, New American, etc.—and
by the meals offered (some restaurants exclusively serve lunch or dinner). Use the neighborhood filter to help you pick a restaurant based on how far you want to travel. Most importantly, nycgo.com interfaces with Opentable.com, allowing you to see if the restaurant has any room on the date and time you desire. Use this filter first. Actually, there’s another, more ultimately decisive filter: your date(s). It’s a good idea to bring someone or three someones so that you may sample more of the restaurant’s offerings. The drawback is that you must now agree on a restaurant. My own set of filters lands me a table for two at Le Cercle Rouge, a Tribeca brasserie worth three dollar signs, around 8 o’clock on a Friday night. The place is lively and large. Up front, a bar (Formula 1 helmets on the top shelf); in the rear, a private room; and in the center, an emblematic red circle booth. A bleach-white tree canopies the dining area. The very French maitre d’ asks for the spelling of my very American first name. The waiter explains the prix fixe menu. The diner may choose one of three appetizers, one of three en-
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
trees, and one of two desserts. This format is typical of the Restaurant Week prix fixe menu. There is also the issue of the wine list. Long and containing words with several accent marks, many
inexperienced college students would find the task of selecting the appropriate wine from such a list a daunting task. Not I. “Bring me your cheapest bottle, sir,” I say. As young people without full-time employ-
ment, we students are out of place in these restaurants. Act accordingly. The appetizers arrive. I taste duck liver paté for the first time and enjoy it. The soup du jour is spicy and fishy, inexplicably served with a side of garlic butter. I overhear the suit-wearing foursome in the adjacent circle booth discussing their lucrative careers and various club memberships, typical patrons at this caliber of restaurant. Then the entrees arrive. The hanger steak is sweet, tasty, tough. Its side of fries is expertly seasoned. The duck medallions come fairly rare and chewy and I think of how the peking variety at virtually any Chinese restaurant is incomparably better. The wine is finished by the time dessert comes, but I can tell you with utter certainty that the chocolate mousse at Cercle Rouge is the world’s best, sorry mom. I polish off the glass and sigh with content. Such a night is a fractal of the Restaurant Week experience; not every option is a winner (see: the entree), but they all look good (see: this issue’s photo feature), and there’s always a chance you’ll strike mousse.
Arts & Culture
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
MONTHLY MUSIC REVIEW
January Album Release Grab Bag By MIKE MADDEN Arts & Culture Co-Editor
COURTESY OF THE NEW INQUIRY
“The New Inquiry” meets at their secret bookstore, Brazenhead Books, where they hold their salons.
Turning a New Page For Young Writers By OLIVIA PERDOCH Asst. Arts & Culture Co-Editor
The popularity of blogging and the infinite amount of venues for sharing ideas online has made it easier than ever before for people to “publish” their writing. Despite some obvious advantages, the overabundance of material is making it increasingly difficult to find new publications with well-written, informative and thought-provoking pieces. A group of young intellectuals, most only a few years out of college have had trouble finding jobs in publishing. In turn, this young group of intellectuals have taken it upon themselves to create an outlet for exceptional written work and they call it The New Inquiry. Formed three years ago by current Editor-in-Chief Rachel Rosenfelt and two friends, The New Inquiry is an online journal that publishes new, long-form, non-fiction essays and reviews on art, culture, film, literature, current events, controversies and more. So what makes The New Inquiry stand out among the thousands of other online journals? According to Willie Osterweil, film editor for The New Inquiry, it is the talented staff and the high quality of the content they create. “We do get a fair amount of attention, but it’s mostly because we get great writers,” he said. “And because we get great writers, great writers want to write for us. We don’t schmooze as much as some of the other publications. What’s most important to us is the writing.” The journal is also unique in that its book reviews are primarily on works from small and independent publishers. “We like to support small practices as much as we can,” Osterweil explained. “By doing that, we support a lot of communities that don’t otherwise get a lot of coverage.” The variety of topics covered by The New Inquiry is vast, ranging from a review of Hungarian novelist, László Krasznahorkai’s book, “Satantango,” to a commentary on Tim Tebow’s recent media attention. The pieces, written by intelli-
gent, well-educated and opinionated young writers are insightful and witty, which is evident just by looking at the titles of past works. A review of David Cronenberg’s film “A Dangerous Method,” for example, is titled “Keira Knightley’s Vagina.” An essay about Facebook’s new ‘timeline’ layout is called “You and Mark Aren’t Friends.” The New Inquiry also functions as a salon where writers and thinkers can go to meet other young intellectuals to discuss ideas and perform readings. Osterweil described it as “a space for intellectual dialogue and cultural criticism.” Like many online publications today, The New Inquiry was “just a Tumblr” when it began. But it is making a name for itself, and was recently featured in an article in the New York Times. Osterweil said, The New Inquiry is becoming recognized as a journal for good writers, and this recognition has helped writers get jobs at larger publications.” There is even more evidence of it’s continuing success and acclaim. The homepage features comments from renowned writers Jonathan Lethem, Todd Gitlin and Douglas Rushkoff, praising the journal. Gitlin describes The New Inquiry as, “an elegant and quietly urgent canvass of critical honor and cultural intelligence.” Rushkoff’s comment declares that it is “…not print’s replacement, but very possibly its salvation.” Writers wishing to have their work published by The New Inquiry can submit pitches or already finished pieces to the “Submissions” section of the website. Osterweil predicts that The New Inquiry will continue to evolve, and hopes that it can set the precedent for future online publications of its kind. “Even though print is dying, people aren’t stopping reading or thinking or writing,” he said. “I think that new opportunities are going to look different and I think some of them will look more like The New Inquiry.”
FIRST AID KIT/WICHITA
First Aid Kit
“The Lions Roar” released Jan. 15
“America Give Up” released Jan. 17
“Attack on Memory” released Jan. 24
The Swedes have a nice little musical enclave up there in the Great White European North. The amount of talent that has come out of Scandinavia in recent years rivals the United States, and there are still more acts that have gone unnoticed. However in 2008, it was two sisters’ cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” performed in the middle of the Swedish woods, complete with flannel, unkempt hair and an eerie echo of the forest that attracted fans via a YouTube video, going viral in an instant. The sisters Klara and Johanna Soderburg aka First Aid Kit, capitalize on the breakthrough success of 2008’s “The Big Black and Blue” with their new album, “The Lion’s Roar,” a poignant dedication to American folk music that at times fails to grab the listener like “Black and Blue” did, but still manages to craft gorgeous melodies through vocals and craftsmanship. “The Lion’s Roar” is darker and gloomier than their previous work, giving the duo a medieval, European folk sound that is rooted in strong storytelling through song. Their production has been built up as well, dipping their feet into the techniques and sounds employed by their contemporaries, especially Fleet Foxes. Pastoral flutes, the delicate striking of a harp here and there, mixed with the harmonies they are known for are sometimes imitated exactly as you would hear a B-side to the Foxes’ latest, “Helplessness Blues.” The songs are gorgeous, eloquent and serious; certainly more mature songwriting has taken place with this album than their previous projects but many of the songs don’t jolt the listener as much as say “The Big Black and Blue” did. It’s plain as day who their inspiration is, and frankly, it’s a bit overbearing at times. Songs like “Dance to Another Tune,” “Blue,” and “I Found a Way” save the album from being just another attempt at the generic folk revival, but these Swedes have much more to offer in the future than just meatballs.
One simply cannot put a finger on Howler’s “America Give Up.” In fact, if your finger could, it would probably f lip you off for even trying to pinpoint a central starting spot on this album. “America Give Up” is a proverbial 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in the image of a colorful bowl of M&Ms; it’s a pain in the ass to get through at first, but when you stand back and look at the whole picture, that’s a damn tasty looking bowl of M&Ms. The Minneapolis band may look like they just finished taking their senior yearbook pictures but the craftsmanship put into “America Give Up” is nothing short of special and downright fun to listen to. Howler banks off the formula of pouty powerpop mixed with the brashness of fuzzed-out punk if it happened to exist circa 1965. There’s an element of beach party bingo in this album with most songs backed by clangy guitars and a hallowed out, driven sound that matches The Buzzcocks with the sarcasm of The Cramps. Howler plays off the power-pop tradition of keeping songs under or around the three minute mark, but there is so much noise that the need for a large swab Q-tip to gently wipe the blood from your shattered eardrums is greatly required for songs like “Too Much Blood” and “Beach Sluts.” And I say that with the best of intentions; for a band so young using only the minimal array of effects matched with the simplistic chord changes of punk, one can tell the amount of fun thrown into the album. Despite the fuzzed out sound, a clear and open path has been laid out for them in 2012.
Dylan Baldi aka Cloud Nothings, is one pissed off 20 year-old. It’s not the angsty early nineties anymore, but that’s how Baldi treats his songs on Cloud Nothings latest album, “Attack on Memory.” Produced by Steve Albini, the album certainly channels the teenage angst of 1992 when music was being turned into a moving image shit fest that was the music video. The Smashing Pumpkins was the band to daydream to with your friends while Nirvana ushered in a new incentive for being misunderstood and unheard in the Bush Senior years. Unlike Cloud Nothings’ care-free innocence albums of the past, “Attack On Memory” launches the guitar neck into a the speaker of an amp where it belongs. The songs for this album take on a even whinier tone than Cloud Nothings’ selftitled album in 2011, but they’re tolerable. The amount of screaming versus singing is quite surprising and satisfying. At 33 minutes long, the album is scrawny, but packs a punch to the face of the school bully at lunch time. One thing that grabbed me on this album in particular was the guitar work; dueling lines that swell around each other and cooperate but don’t overpower. The mark of Nirvana producer Albini is unmistakable on “Attack On Memory”: loud drums, emphasis on vocals and swirling guitar that keeps poking fun at the hairs standing up in your Dad’s ear as its blasted in your home bedroom. In an interview with Pitchfork, Baldi recalls Albini playing Scrabble on Facebook while updating his food blog while the band sat in and recorded their parts. If that was the case, get the man all the Scrabble opponents and French recipes he can handle.
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Arts & Culture
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
PHOTO FEATURE To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the delicious tradition of New York Restaurant Week, Observer photographers dined out at various restaurants including Greek cuisine at Kefi and seafood fare at Atlantic Grill.
KATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER
KATHERINE FOTINOS/THE OBSERVER
MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
JACKSON GALAN/THE OBSERVER
THE OBSERVER Febrary 2, 2012
Arts & Culture
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CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
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AYER CHAN/THE OBSERVER
HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
CHARLIE PUENTE/THE OBSERVER
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Winter Ball Offers FCLC Students a Unique Experience WINTERBALL FROM PAGE 1
Although this is a night of entertainment that appears effortlessly extravagant, it is the result of hard work and dedication from the Winter Ball committee. “We first had to find a venue that is within our budget and would appeal to the students,” Kraft said
“ New York City is so
expensive as it is, so [Winter Ball] provides a more affordable opportunity to have a good, fancy night out.”
MATTHEW ORTIZ, FCLC ‘12
“Then we had to figure out the theme, giveaway and menu, work with the DJ and other vendors.” Despite the lavish setting, the Winter Ball promises to be a completely age-appropriate event for undergraduates. “Seeing as most undergraduates are underage, we’ll be having a ‘mocktail’ hour where attendees can get non-alcoholic drinks,” Ortiz said. “There’s also a full-course dinner and dancing for most of the night.” Tickets, which are available for purchase from Feb. 1 through Feb. 3 for Fordham students, and Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 for visitors, have proven to be a consistently hot commodity. “We always sell out of tickets,” Ortiz said. “Usually we also have a waiting list.”
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
This year’s Winter Ball will be at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, just a block away from the Fordham College at Lincoln Center campus.
This year, tickets are priced at $65 for Fordham students and $85 for visitors, a relatively modest investment for an evening of elegant entertainment in the city. “New York City is so expensive as it is,” Ortiz said. “So [Winter Ball] provides a more affordable opportunity to have a good, fancy night out.” Considering the excitement and
enthusiasm that FCLC students have about this year’s Winter Ball, it is not difficult to see why the event is consistently successful. “I haven’t gotten dressed up and been to a dance since my high school prom,” Tiia Fischer, FCLC ’14, said. “So it’ll be fun to go with all of my roommates.” Although the event offers an escape from the students’ every-
day routine and normal lives, it is just as much an opportunity for the students of Lincoln Center to come together and celebrate their camaraderie. “Normally, as college students we don’t have a chance to get really fancy and go to an exquisite ballroom and have an incredible three course meal that would normally cost us hundreds of dollars,” Kraft
said. “To have it be mainly a Lincoln Center event just makes it all the more special, as we are able to enjoy this night with our classmates and friends.” With the exceedingly impressive array of food and activities all taking place in a marvelously glitzy location, the 2012 Winter Ball is sure to prove a satisfyingly sumptuous night for all who attend.
A Man on a Mission: Jean Butel Talks About His Two Years in France BY IAN MCKENNA Asst. Online Editor
Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) certainly prides itself on the amount of opportunities it offers its students for service trips. The opportunities offered by the Dorothy Day Center for Service and Justice are close by, and the trips sponsored by the Global Outreach Program, sometimes international, last about a week. What requires additional dedication is taking a two-year leave of absence on a mission trip to France. That’s what Jean Butel, FCLC ’14, did. And now he is back. Butel, who originally left for France on a Mormon mission in July 2009 and returned in November 2011, has finally come back to Fordham for the spring 2012 semester. While he was born into the Mormon religion and his father had made a mission to New Caledonia, Butel never felt pressured to make ine himself. “My parents were always supportive of one very important principle: Make your own decisions and be sincere about what you do,” Butel said. “I really had to make my own decision. “I think they wanted to be sure that that was something that I really wanted because it’s a big commitment to do full time for two years,” Butel said. Butel’s mission, called the France-Paris Mission, covered “half of France, Luxembourg, and the French-speaking part of Belgium. So, it’s a pretty big mission,” Butel said. Elaborating on the specifics of his mission Butel said, “My
mission was to present the foundational principles of the church to people who are interested in hearing about it, learning about it, and also to people who wanted to become members of the church and enjoy that kind of lifestyle.” While the term “conversion” often carries negative connotations, this is not what Butel and his peers were doing. “Nobody can convert someone else. It is a personal thing when you yourself make changes to your life that you believe are in accordance with what God wants you to do,” Butel said. Missionaries, like Butel, guide and support individuals as well as answer any questions they might have about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We don’t walk people through the doors. They walk themselves through the doors and we are just there to help them along the way,” Butel said. While many were open to Butel’s message, he does admit to meeting some unfriendly people. “France and Belgium, especially France, are very wary of religion because of their history, and rightfully so. They had a lot of bad experiences with religion,” Butel said. “There were a lot of people who thought I was crazy. I met a lot of people, unfortunately, who I am sure are very nice otherwise, but who were sometimes a little bit aggressive, to say the least. But I think that is something to be expected. Like I said, missionaries kind of cut a stereotypical figure and it’s just awkward to go up to somebody and say, ‘Hey! You
want to talk about God?’ I mean, we didn’t quite do it that way but in essence that’s what we were doing.” Even after several negative meetings, Butel explained he “never resented it because [he] just knew that they didn’t really quite understand what [he] was doing there and if [he] had a chance to really explain, then [he was] sure peoples’ reactions would be a lot softer.” Butel said that his negative experiences with some people has given him insight on how he treats others. “You are walking down the street and someone hands you a pamphlet and you just sort of shake your head and keep walking. And it is not the most polite thing to do, but we all tend to do it.” But after two long years of work that he loved, Butel is back at FCLC, and he said it “feels good.” In the service-oriented nature of our school, FCLC has “been very accommodating towards my situation. I don’t know anybody else who takes a twoyear leave of absence and comes back. And from the beginning they said, ‘Don’t worry about it; if you want to come back, come back.’ And when it was time for me to send my re-admission application, it went very smoothly and I was grateful because it was one less thing to worry about,” Butel said. “I feel that this is where I need to be in this stage of my life,” Butel said about his return to school, “but, honestly, if I could do it again, and if it was right to do it again, I would do it in a heartbeat. I loved it.”
LUCY SUTTON/THE OBSERVER
Jean Butel, FCLC ’14, returns to Fordham after his Mormon mission.
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Freshman Year is Not Always Easy to Stomach By JEWEL GALBRAITH Contributing Writer
I threw up on the Ram Van. I will come right out and say that because I just finished being a first semester freshman, and that’s what happens first semester freshman year. You move to a new city. All your friends are hundreds of miles away, buying different textbooks and wearing different college sweatshirts and mobile uploading different pictures of themselves playing beer pong. You’re alone in a place where no one will cook you macaroni and cheese. It’s new, it’s exhilarating, it’s intimidating, and sometimes you throw up. On the Ram Van. And, sometimes you accidentally go to Brooklyn by yourself. I did. In fact, I had my first Brooklyn experience and my first Ram Van vomit experience on the very same Friday afternoon last September, back when I was living at Rose Hill. Though I had just arrived at school, I already thought of myself as a true New Yorker, a qualification I based primarily on nothing. But despite the fact that I had no mental map of Manhattan whatsoever, I managed to get on the D train and make it to the Village to take a dance class on that ill-omened Friday. And I would have made it back to campus, too, if the campus had been in Brooklyn. But I was not so lucky. My outbound voyage had consisted of boarding the train at Fordham Road and, after several stops, exiting the train at West 4th. Based on that success, I convinced myself that I, Lord of the Subway, knew what I was doing. I could almost hear the chorus of “Empire State of Mind” rise up behind me as I left the dance studio after class and boarded the D to get back home. Thanks to my nonchalant New Yorker attitude, I only started
I hung my head and pushed past the front doors of Lowenstein to buy my Ram Van ticket to Rose Hill. I had been trampled. I had been humbled. I had been hazed by the city of New York.
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY HUGGINS/THE OBSERVER
Throwing up into a bag on the Ram Van is a nightmare, but imagine if you did not have a bag.
sweating semi-profusely when I realized that the train had stopped at ten consecutive stations that I didn’t recognize. I noticed that it was getting dark outside. My panic mounted as the train continued and eventually, I was left alone in the car with a woman who was singing aloud to her iPod and sporting what is commonly known as a “tramp stamp,” as well as what is commonly known as a “giant face tattoo.” It took me around 30 adrenalinecharged minutes to realize that I was, as a savvy city-goer might say, nowhere near Manhattan. I
abandoned ship at the first possible opportunity and, by some subway miracle, boarded another train in the uptown direction. As soon as it hit 59th Street, I rushed out into the evening crowd with my hair mussed, my bag open and my eyes darting back and forth in panic. I pushed past businesspeople in suits and camera-toting tourists who stared while I ran, foaming at the mouth, toward the safety of Lincoln Center. It was 9 p.m. and I was finally at Fordham. I hung my head and pushed past the front doors of Lowenstein to buy my Ram Van ticket
to Rose Hill. I had been trampled. I had been humbled. I had been hazed by the city of New York. I could finally sit down in the van and laughed at my Brooklyn-induced misery. That’s when I started feeling nauseous. You already know what happened next. I took a deep breath and tried to steady my stomach as every surreal scrap of that nightmarish day came rushing back: the disgusting salad I had eaten alone on Christopher Street; the kindly, foreign food cart vendor who had charmed
me into buying a giant waffle; the broken boards and flickering lightbulbs of the 62nd Street/New Utrecht Avenue station, my full-out sprint in the rain from Columbus Circle to Fordham. I couldn’t hold it all down. My valiant struggle ended with a pathetic,“I think I have food poisoning,” muttered to the girl sitting to my left in the front row of the packed van. Soon I was back in the Bronx holding a shopping bag full of all the contents of my stomach and a majority of my dignity. The fateful day had finally ended, and now the fateful first semester has ended, too. These days, I have a better handle on the city. But I’m ready to accept that some of the trips I take over the next four years might turn out to be the confusing, fear-inducing and sometimes sticky experiences that I got used to first semester. Freshmen know what I’m talking about: even though we’re busy embarking on the next leg of our journey into the real world, we’re really just brand new adults in the middle of a big city, and we might still throw up sometimes. It’ll be just another inevitable part of these exciting four years. My best advice is to be ready with a bag.
WORD OF MOUTH
Bruised and Burned: My Encounter with New York’s Meanest Curry By DARRYL YU Features Co-Editor
It was like nothing that I had experienced before. Covered in sweat from head to toe, I felt like my entire body was on fire. I had finally met my culinary foe and its name was the phaal curry. Having many Indian friends while growing up in Hong Kong, I had always been exposed to the culinary joys of Indian food. Ranging from the simple papadum (a type of cracker bread) to the intense vindaloo (a type of Indian curry), I had felt that I could just about handle any type of Indian food. However, that all changed when I encountered the food at Brick Lane Curry House (BLCH). Nestled in the hip and swanky East Village of New York City, this modern day Indian restaurant does not only offer a huge array of dishes but also offers a unique spiciness challenge that is definitely not for the light of heart. Featured in an episode of the popular Travel Channel show “Man v. Food,” BLCH was the ideal place to test my tolerance for spicy food. As I entered BLCH’s main wooden doors, I could already sense the thick smell of chili peppers wafting through the air. Quickly glancing over the menu, I soon came across BLCH’s phaal challenge. Considered to be the hottest dish available in Indian restaurants, phaal is a tomatobased thick curry with lots of ground standard chili peppers. The rules of the phaal challenge were simple. I was given 30 minutes to completely finish the dish (this means finishing all the meat and the sauce) and my reward would be a free beer and a certificate saying that I had successfully com-
The phaal, a dark brown dish covered in large chili peppers, was not to be underestimated. pleted the challenge. Accompanying me on this mission was my friend, Dave. Dave was also curious to see how spicy the phaal could be. Looking forward to the phaal, we were both disappointed when we found out that we couldn’t share the dish for the contest. Not wanting to order two phaal dishes each, Dave and I decided to forgo the actual official challenge but instead try and do our own personal challenge of finishing the dish at our own pace. On top of ordering some beef phaal, we decided to order other foods. One of the dishes we ordered was the butter chicken masala. In the dish, the chicken was marinated in yogurt and various spices until it was very tender. Placed in a sauce with butter, tomato puree and various spices, the masala had a very nice delicate exotic taste to it and contained no traces of spiciness. I would totally recommend it to someone trying Indian food for the first time as it would give them a chance to try something uniquely Indian while at the same time spare them from the intense spices most Indian foods offer. Another dish we ordered was the goat dopiaza. Literally meaning “two onions,” this type of curry is heavily reliant on the flavor of onions for its great taste and even tends to have more onions than meat in its dishes. Arriving shortly after our masala, the
DARRYL YU/THE OBSERVER
my naan bread into the phaal sauce and finally decided to take a bite. I was instantly met with nothing. Was this a trick? Was phaal really not that spicy at all? How could this be? Dave and I started to joke about the phaal and even considered ordering another one for the challenge. But then I suddenly felt something strange, the lingering heat I initially felt in my mouth started to build up and in an instant my entire mouth felt like it was on fire. The buildup was so fast that my body didn’t have time to comprehend that my mouth was in pain. My tongue became so sensitive to the heat that even taking a bite out of the tame butter chicken masala was a struggle. Water really didn’t do much to quell the heat, so I decided to save it for later. Concerned for our well-being, our Indian waiter kept on reminding us that we could always opt out and try their Lassi (a popular yogurt based drink perfect for quelling spicy food), but Dave and I decided we could continue without it. In the end, Dave and I left BLCH with cleared sinuses and, most importantly, a whole new respect for the spices of Indian food. The phaal was definitely one of the hottest things I tried and I tip my hat to anybody who can complete the real phaal challenge.
Brick Lane Curry House offers a challenge to lovers of spicy food.
dopiaza was a great alternative to the butter chicken. I personally love the taste of onions so the dish was great for me. The goat meat was nothing special, but at least it was soft and easy to chew. Like the butter chicken masala, I would suggest this to people new to Indian food. However, make sure to ask them if they like the taste of onions, as it is quite strong in the
curry. Although these two dishes were enjoyable, they were nothing compared to the intensity of the beef phaal. The phaal, a dark brown dish covered in large chili peppers, was not to be underestimated. As it was prepared at our table I could already smell the thick aroma of spices. After much deliberation I dipped
IF YOU GO
Brick L ane Curry House
$$ $ out of $$$$$ Where: Sixth St., between 1 st and 2nd Ave. Darryl’s Recommendation: Butter Chicken
Masala, phaal (for the spice experts)
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
Have Awareness Causes Become Flooded by Trivial Campaigns? By CAITLIN O’KANE Staff Writer
Our calendars are already scattered with silly holidays like Ground Hog Day and Arbor Day, but there are many “holidays” that go unrecognized—and perhaps, in some cases, with good reason. Bean Day just passed last month and Create a Vacuum Day is coming up, but does anyone celebrate or even know about these silly “holidays”? Has the importance and validity of February’s Black History Month or October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month been tarnished by titles like Canned Food Month and Sarcastic Month? The list of silly observances is so extensive; it’s a wonder if anyone has heard of half of them. Not many people know that January is National Thank You Month, a seemingly important thing to celebrate, but did anyone bother celebrating? Sara Donovan, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’14, said “No, I’ve never heard of it,” yet, to celebrate the month of gratefulness she decided she’d “verbally say [thank you] to people who do good by me…and try to earn my own ‘thank yous’!” While saying thanks is an important thing to celebrate, Elle Radan, FCLC ’13 said “We should always be thankful, it shouldn’t matter what month it is.” Similarly, Diana Betancour, FCLC ’13, agreed that “it shouldn’t be about the month that teaches us”
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER
All of the obscure awareness campaigns are hard to keep track of, and silly holidays can obscure the importance of others.
about things like black history. She added, “It is good to have a month to focus on a narrative,” as long as important observances aren’t obscured by silly ones like National Thank You Month. Still, there are some silly holidays obscuring the importance of others. National Freedom Day, a little known holiday, falls every Feb. 1, however, most people only know
about the next day’s holiday— Groundhog Day. James Bartholomew, FCLC ’15, said that most of these silly days are “tongue in cheek” and just for fun. In regards to these tongue in cheek celebrations, Katie Leva, FCLC ’14, said, “It’s good for holidays like Black History Month to be at the forefront, but I think it’s also fun to have another reason to celebrate during
The Aches and Pains of a Kindergarten Heart By MARIO WEDDELL Features Co-Editor & Asst. Photo Editor
When I met my first girlfriend, I was four years old. I use the word “met” because I really had nothing to do with us becoming a couple. She claimed me on the first day of preschool; I was just an innocent bystander. The boys were on one side of the room; I was sitting on the floor, building Lincoln Log cabins with my best friend in the whole world, Sam, whom I had met an hour previous. He liked dinosaurs, too. While we were playing, the girls were sitting in a circle on the other side of the room, being mysterious. We were oblivious as the girls discussed classroom romances, an indicator of the love-life dynamic in the years to come—dopey men, unaware of the important conversations that take place amongst women who give them too much credit anyway. Clueless, an instinctual urge told me to continue stacking blocks and banging sticks together, as my cave ancestors had done in their day, when I heard the question from across the room: “Who’s your boyfriend?” Sensing danger, but not fully comprehending its power, I lifted my head in time to see a blond-haired girl aim her index finger straight at me, like she was choosing a puppy in an animal shelter. The other girls turned to assess our newly formed relationship. I stared stupidly back at them, and they giggled. The more mature girls nodded their approval, and turned away. Her name was Maura. She was 35 pounds of finger-painting, freezetagging charm, and I accepted her challenge. I would sit next to her when we made Mother’s Day cards. I would lend her my favorite crayon. I would be her friend that was a boy. Whatever that meant. I would not take her crackers. Unfortunately, my first girlfriend was also accompanied by my first love triangle, completed by a 40-pound terror named Tyler.
the month.” Although silly holidays are fun, Leva also said “If I hear about a random one, I’ll participate in it, but there’s not one I’ll set out to do.” Most people agree that things like National Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day are irrelevant and justly overlooked, but let’s hope that they also agree on the important holidays. With February being Black History
Month and Women’s History Month on the horizon, hopefully people will take time to observe and will be instilled with knowledge that will last year round. As long as the silly holidays do not tarnish the importance of these educational ones, they can stick around just for fun. And for all those peanut butter lovers now wondering when their national day is, it’s coming up on March 1.
Think Summer, Think Fordham • Internship opportunities • Advanced and core classes in every discipline • Live on campus • Enjoy summer in the city
Session I: 29 May–28 June Session II: 3 July–7 August
COURTESY OF JIM WEDDELL
Believe it or not, this could have been the face of a married man.
Tyler hated me with every inch of his bony body, and expressed his love for Maura by punishing me for the next two years of my preschool life. For a young boy unable to adequately express his emotions, it was still very clear how he felt. In lieu of saying, “I am jealous,” he opted to push me off the top of the slide. Instead of holding Maura’s hand as they shared a fluorescent-lit snack over a bottle of juice, he held my hair as he ran through the playground. It didn’t help that the teachers thought Maura and I were adorable, and Tyler just didn’t like that “Maura and Mario” looked better on a wedding invitation. He pushed me into chairs whenever he could. He broke my crayons, and I silently accepted his abuse as something that just came with the territory of an unsolicited romance. One day though, I snapped. Tyler was following me around at recess, poking the back of my head. I asked him to stop. He didn’t stop, so I turned around and punched him in the stomach. It made me sad; I was never a fighter. But the teacher who was supposed to keep order in the playground was ecstatic, and told the story to my dad that afternoon, com-
plete with Mike Tyson references and Notre Dame Fighting Irish poses. Tyler never bothered me after that. I assume Maura and I continued to be happy, but I don’t remember much about us after the day our triangle became a straight line. Time passed, and Maura faded. Oops. I don’t mean that she died. I mean that we went to different elementary schools and forgot about each other. But sometimes I look back and think, what if you only get one soul mate? There aren’t many people you can sit with while eating glue, and what if my one shot became just another victim of public school district zoning laws? I fantasize about meeting her 10 years from now. I’ll be in the park, sitting on a blanket and reading a book. A blonde woman will walk up to me and say, “Mario? Is it really you? Oh my God, it is! I almost didn’t recognize you without your bowl haircut.” Then she’ll sit down and slip her hand into mine, and it will be like nothing changed. We’ll curl up in a blanket and watch the sunset. She’ll reach into her purse and pull out a small bottle, and we’ll take turns eating the Elmer’s glue.
Learn more at
fordham.edu/summer or call (888) 411-GRAD
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Non-Apple Tablets Join iPad 2 at the Top By ALEXANDER ARMERO Contributing Writer
From the subways of New York to the classrooms of Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC), tablet computers are appearing in every setting imaginable. Tablets have been available to consumers for almost a decade, but only recently have these portable touch-screen devices seen a massive surge in popularity. Although this sudden demand for tablets seems to have been fueled by a variety of factors, it wasn’t until the 2010 release of the Apple iPad that tablet computers really took off. Like the iPhone, Apple’s iPad redefined the platform with its elegant design, iTunes compatibility, the App Store and a simple, efficient interface. Since then, dozens of tablets have emerged that embrace the high standards set by the iPad. With such a saturated market, it can be difficult to identify the best product. So if you’re shopping around for a new tablet device, hopefully the following brief comparison of a few top models will shed some light on which device is right for you.
APPLE IPAD 2 Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the one and only iPad. This device revolutionized tablet computing with easy iTunes synching, a straightforward interface and Apple’s sexy design. Overall this is a very solid product that is good at just about everything. “I love everything about it,” Nicole Hellman, FCLC ’12, said. “I haven’t found anything about it I hate yet.” However, though most other iPad owners share similar sentiments, the iPad isn’t the only high-quality tablet on the market anymore. So if you can get over the hype, you might be interested in one of many equally powerful devices sold for a fraction of the cost. Of course, many people are more than willing to pay the extra premium because after all, it is an Apple product.
PROS: Very easy to use. App Store and iTunes. It’s the iPad...
CONS: Very expensive. Requires iTunes to sync with a computer. App development is more difficult and requires a license.
SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB If you’re interested in buying a great tablet computer without paying extra for the Apple brand name, then the Samsung Galaxy Tab is an extremely viable option. This tablet has all the same functionality as the iPad 2 for just a fraction of the cost. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is powered by the Android operating system, giving you access to the Android Market and all the wonderful applications it has to offer. Samsung Galaxy owner, Ana Velasco, FCLC ’13, agreed. “The Galaxy’s smaller size makes it way more convenient than an iPad. Plus, now that Android has gotten so big, the market is just as good as [Apple’s] App Store.” The Samsung Galaxy does come in a variety of shapes and sizes. So whether you’re looking for a full sized tablet or you want something a little more convenient, there is a Galaxy tablet for you.
PROS: Less expensive than the iPad but just as capable. Runs the Android operating system. App development is easier and free.
CONS: Slightly more complex to sync with a computer. Not an iPad.
ASUS TRANSFORMER PRIME Another option for those indifferent to the publicity and prestige of the iPad is the Asus Transformer Prime. Like the Samsung Galaxy, this tablet also runs on the Android platform—giving you access to all the features and functionality that it includes. The Transformer Prime is also just about the fastest tablet computer available, even rivaling some lower end PCs in speed. Those with a slightly higher budget should definitely consider the docking station that essentially converts the Asus Transformer Prime into a laptop. “The Transformer was fantastic,” commented Tony Pulickal, FCRH ’13, a student and technology consultant at Rose Hill. “I love the battery life, the screen size, and the docking station which extends the battery life and makes it perfect for note-taking and composing emails.” So for the efficient, tech savvy student interested in buying a tablet, the Asus Transformer Prime is another smart non-iPad choice.
PROS: Most powerful Android tablet available. Micro SD slot and mini HDMI port. Docking station extends the battery life. App development is easier and free.
CONS: Currently no 3G support. Can get pricey when combined with docking station. Not an iPad.
COURTESY OF APPLE/SAMSUNG/ASUS
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
UNTITLED By SARA AZOULAY Photo Editor & Asst. Opinions Editor
I faintly recall a day on the train when there was a big commotion in my subway car, three performances being held right before me. There was a man playing the guitar, singing a silly little love song. He was to my right and he had a sweet smile, earnestly holding out his hat for a dollar or two, or at the very least a quarter. To my left, a group of young boys danced and flipped to a boom box. The two shows—the love song performer and rambunctious dancing boys—didn’t coincide and they didn’t want to interrupt the other. You see, they both had a job to do, money to earn with their odd talents. Then there was a man. An old man in a psychotic state and a thick beard. He was shouting at a few individuals on the train. Obscene, offensive, repulsive things. He was in the middle of the two performances. He didn’t hold out his hand to anyone for money. He didn’t want your money, he wanted your time, he wanted you to listen, he wanted to be seen, to be heard, to be known, to be in existence… He shouted, “We’re all going to die one day. We’re all going to die one day.” His performance was the most believable out of the three. As I stood there in the middle of the chaos, I started to laugh. This was a sight to see, this was unique and here I was in the middle of it all. Getting to witness all of them. This was a laugh of awe. This was a laugh of gratitude. When I heard the news, when I heard that a young girl I once knew and once laughed with was hit by a car, when I heard that her life was over, just like that… Well, I flashed back to the old crazy man on the subway car. I flashed back to that day on the train and I whispered with him this time, “We’re all going to die. We’re all going to die.” And then, I sang with the lonely love song performer. I danced with the young boys. I rode that subway car all over New York. I rode that subway car to my dreams and never looked back. I cried and cried because well, We’re all going to die, So it’s important that we all live.
Note: In loving memory of Erica Halpern, Mandana Shojaeifard and all the young people who’ve left before their dreams could be fulfilled.
THESE KNEES By MARIO WEDDELL Features Co-Editor & Asst. Photo Editor
I guess with all the time I spend Looking past your eyes and that I really should just vocalize Whatever’s on my mind The facts, poured fast, Like whiskey straight But I hate those pauses when It seems I’m caught Trying to find a way to phrase Every thought where the causes Aren’t pure but Born out of a desire to wind The truth in a way so we’ll both Just nod at the effects and Then I’ll say, “Does that make sense?” And you’ll empathize And that’s how it will end Since I was mostly looking up Or anywhere putting all together Furtive, disguised thoughts Until I settle on the last honest sentence Tethered out of lies but revealing enough Of the general feeling Just muffled out of context I’m reeling, tough and restless Absorbing the place, intently The floor, the wall, the ceiling, my hands But never your face or gaze Or you’d understand and catch me Get me in a chokehold My downfall is your clever Way of leaning in to see If I blink and get so tense I draw the curtains on the meaning And you sense the way I think Because I have such vocal eyes That as I stall you’ll realize I’ve said nothing at all
And besides I’ve always felt That people like the way I write More than my speaking anyway Because when I talk I scramble For the least decisive word But written words And accidents Are thought to not occur So this way I seem honest Pure and more sincere Prolific with confessions A frank and open man Terrific and so brave And damn it all I’m sure you will Demand in conversation What the hell’s the meaning So really all I have to say is Patience, Gosh, The poem’s nothing specific
And you said something While you laughed the way At times you do with me I love how he’s so funny So as it is expected I replied with spiteful haste Something to the effect of He’s stupid and I hate him Too serious and decisive And totally unhesitant Now I am reflecting Those words that I directed To somewhere I felt threatened Were mostly meant for me And my boyish insecurities Dirty and defensive On scraped and stupid knees
But still my flaws They fling themselves Off my fingers to the page And I curse them as they dive Survive, stare at me and sing You’re jealous, you’re naïve You’re a little boy in mud Believing you’re untouchable Collected with your toys But when you’re scared Your blood goes hot At things you’ve not expected Like a new kid on the block Getting some attention And unthreatened you Seem kind enough But when you are endangered You’re critical, embittered Angry, harsh and cynical Your smile gets so hard to find With venom in your bite
MARIO WEDDELL/THE OBSERVER
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Off the Mark: Inconsistency Plagues the Basketball Team By RANDY NARINE Sports Editor
Though the Fordham Rams men’s basketball team has made great strides in rebuilding a program that had two wins a mere two seasons ago, the team is still struggling to find consistency. Under Head Coach Tom Pecora, the team has increased its win total in each of the past two seasons. The team won seven games last season and has already eclipsed that number with nine wins this year. The team is 9-11 and has played extremely well at home with a record of 8-2. Despite the great record, the team has failed to make any impact on the road. The Rams are 1-9 away from the Bronx and as a result have a 2-5 conference record. “We have all the characteristics of a young team because we’re inconsistent,” Pecora said. “The difference between a veteran team and a young team is consistent effort and being able to do the things you need to night in and night out to win.” When asked about the team’s lack of wins on the road, guard Branden Frazier, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’14, said, “A lot of us are looking for leadership from our seniors and when we see them play bad we don’t really know what to do. We’re not scoring a lot and not getting rebounds and that’s something we do at home.” While the consistency hasn’t been there from most of the younger players, the team’s veterans have really stepped up this season. Forward Chris Gaston, FCRH ’13, currently leads the team in points per game (15.7) and rebounds per game (10.3). Kervin Bristol, FCRH ’12 has added toughness in the paint averaging the second most rebound per game (7.5) on the team. Rebounding has been a big
COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS
Despite having an impressive homecourt record of 8-2, the Rams have been horrible on the road with a 1-9 record.
focus under Pecora and the team is a very respectable 42nd in the nation in rebounding. Though most coaches would be content with this kind of output, Pecora feels this isn’t good enough. “We have to become a better rebounding team,” Pecora said. “We’re not getting the rebounding effort we need from our backcourt. Kervin [Bristol] and Chris [Gaston] have been rebounding the heck out of the ball but our three guards have got to rebound more if we’re going to continue to play small.”
Frazier has led the guard play this season by leading the team in assists per game (3.7) and is currently second in points per game (12.8). Gaston said Frazier is the X-factor that this team needs to play well to win. “We feed off of Braden because he has the most assists and gets everyone involved,” Gaston said. “He passes, he scores points and he plays with himself by not turning over the ball.” Frazier said of his performance this season, “I’m doing well. Coach is putting me at the
point and I’m getting more comfortable game by game. I’m trying to be a leader and a coach on the f loor.” Of all the team’s wins this season, the most important came at home against #22 Harvard University. The Rams beat Harvard 60-54, snapping a 54-game losing streak to ranked opponents. Fordham’s first win over a ranked team since 1978 showed that this program is heading in the right direction. “It was a big win and we learned a lot,” Gaston said. “We’re
just not a mediocre team. We can beat teams as long as we play hard and up to our ability.” Pecora is happy with the programs direction but doesn’t want this to be a long rebuilding process. “We’re not that far away from being a team that can be in the top echeleon of this league,” Pecora said. “I’m not patient; I don’t want to wait until next year for our chemistry to click. I don’t want to wait until next year for our guys to understand their roles better. I want to win now.”
New York Red Bulls Draft Fordham Star Goalie Ryan Meara By FAITH HEAPHY Editor-in-Chief
Despite great team success and accolades over the past 10 years, the Fordham soccer team hadn’t had the crowning achievement of having a player drafted to the big times— Major League Soccer (MLS). That all changed on Jan. 12 when Rams goalie Ryan Meara was drafted with the 31st pick of the second round by the New York Red Bulls. “There was a draft tracker thing following me on the computer and I knew there was a chance they might pick me,” said Meara, who was at home with his family when he heard the news. “And then my agent called me a minute or two before it came up on the screen and said, ‘Congratulations, you’re a Red Bull.’ We went crazy at my house.” Meara, the Rams tough goalkeeper who’s been playing soccer since he was eight, had been on MLS scout radar this past season, and the national recognition the Rams received in the fall heightened his appeal to recruiters. The soccer team finished with a share of the Atlantic 10 regular season championship, with Meara earning the prestigious title of Defensive Player of the Year. Meara had an 11-6-1 record and finished as the school’s all time leader in shutouts (31). “It’s always been a dream of mine to play professionally after college,” Meara said. “Probably by my junior year I realized that I might have a chance.”
The MLS pick is even more significant to Meara, who comes from Yonkers, N.Y., because he grew up a Red Bulls fan, even attending games when he was younger. Meara called being chosen by his hometown team “a dream come true.” Meara attended Fordham Preparatory School for high school where he played for their soccer team. In 2008, Meara started his college soccer career with Fordham. He chose Fordham because he knew it would be a place where he would have a good chance of playing right away and because he wanted to train with head soccer coach, Jim McElderry. McElderry remembers when Meara started with the Rams at 17 years old. “He’s matured a lot as a leader on the team,” McElderry said. “When he started, we wanted to see him be a little more vocal as a goalie and be able to direct guys around, especially the guys who were older than him.” The goalie’s solid command of the 18-yard box and deft ability to handle the soccer ball without giving up many rebounds distinguished this defensive player from his peers. For the past two seasons, Meara was also team captain. “He really became a leader not only during games but also off the field,” said McElderry, who praised Meara’s dedication and consistency. “I relied on him to organize things—he got the group together. He was almost an extension of the coaching staff by time he was a se-
nior.” This past season, the Rams proved they were a team that was tough to beat, winning against two top-25 teams, Xavier and Charlotte. Meara attributes some of the team’s success to a higher standard of play, elevated expectations and better recruits. As the Rams have disciplined themselves to excel on the college level, Meara will learn to do the same at a professional one. The Red Bulls season lasts around 10 months, in comparison the college one that lasts five. Meara will also, undoubtedly, be up against tougher competition. “It’s a big step up from college,” Meara said. “Everything is faster and these guys are bigger and stronger. Some of them have been playing professionally for five, 10, 15 years. It will be a big adjustment at first.” Currently, Meara is training with the NY Red Bulls in New Jersey as the rest of the team is being sorted out. In February, he’ll train in Cancun, and then fly to Arizona. While he was set to graduate in May with a degree in Business Administration, Meara has had to put that on hold. He said he’s working with the dean to try to finish his classes online. “I don’t think there’s a better guy to represent Fordham as he goes into the professional ranks,” McElderry said. “I couldn’t be happier for him.”
COURTESY OF RYAN MEARA
Ryan Meara FCRH ’12 hopes to carry his Fordham success to his professional career.
THE OBSERVER February 2, 2012
Field Goal: Murray Wins Punt Performer of the Year By MAX WOLLNER Staff Writer
After a forgettable football season, Fordham Rams punter Patrick Murray, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’13, now has good reason to always remember it as he was named to the 2011 NCAA AllAmerica team, while also netting the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Punt Performer of the Year honors. This season, Murray punted 49 times for 2,160 yards for an average of 44.1 yards a punt, tops in the Patriot League and third best in the NCAA FCS. This comes as no suprise, as Murray has led the Patriot League in this statistic since 2009. 16 of Murray’s punts traveled more than 50 yards, including a 73-yarder which tied his career high and is second best in school history. In addition to his end of season accolades, Murray was recognized as the Punt Performer of the Week three times this season by the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA). It is clear 2011 was the best season of Murray’s career, but he was just as consistent in his previous two seasons. Murray’s 44.1 per punt average is the fourth best single season average in Fordham history and his 41.4 career punting average is second on the school’s all-time list. Furthermore, his 5,585 yards ranks sixth all-time. Murray has had a career wor-
COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS
Patrick Murray, FCRH ’13, was named NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Punt Performer of the
thy of recognition at Fordham, but his high school career was just as impressive. Murray attended Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey where he excelled in many sports including, baseball, wrestling, soccer and Gaelic football, but his primary sport was football. Murray joined the junior varsity team his freshman year in hopes of becoming a running back or a wide receiver, but he wasn’t as fast as some of the other players. The coaching staff
relegated him to the role of punter and kicker. “I didn’t mind the role,” Murray said. “I used what I knew from soccer to grow as the team’s punter.” Murray helped team to an undefeated season and then joined the varsity squad in 2006. While on varsity, Murray only knew success as the team won three consecutive state championships. Murray was just as successful off the field, making the honor roll all four years of
Rams Hire New Football Coach By MICHAEL MCMAHON Staff Writer
After a dismal season in which the Ram’s football team finished 1-10, the team has taken the first step in trying to right the ship by hiring former Rams quarterback Joe Moorhead, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’96. At the end of the season it was more than apparent that the team needs this kind of serious change to get back on the right track. The team did not win a game in the Patriot League, were shut out twice and winless since week two. A team that had known a prolific passing attack just two years earlier under quarterback John Skelton, FCRH ’10, was now searching for a new identity. “There’s not many coaches who have an opportunity to be a head coach at the collegiate level, much less at their alma mater,” Moorhead said. “To have the opportunity to come back to Fordham, to take on the challenge of bringing the program to new heights is something I very much look forward to.” When asked about his goals for the football team going forward, Moorhead made his number one objective clear saying, “Our top priority is to qualify for the playoffs and win a championship.” Coach Moorhead is fifth all-time in passing yardage in Fordham Rams history, but his credentials extend well beyond his years as a starting college quarterback. From 2004-2008, he was an assistant coach at Akron, taking on duties such as wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator, quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator during his tenure. He has spent the last three years as quarterbacks coach at UConn, serving as the offensive coordinator for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Of course, there is a great challenge to face when handed an offense that was known for futility for most of the season. “Right now, we’re still in the process of evaluating personnel,” Moorhead said. “We just started workouts, and are more in the phase of evaluating from an athletic standpoint. Once signing day comes and goes, we can begin formulating a plan.” This is not to say however, that the coach doesn’t know what kind of team he wants. “We intend to continue to be a nohuddle team,” Moorhead said. “We want to develop an explosive, up-tempo offense.” In addition to being “excited about the roster,” Moorhead has said that, go-
high school. When it came time to choose college, Murray decided to go to the University of Delaware, but soon transferred to Fordham his freshman year. “As a finance major, I came to Fordham mostly for academics,” Murray said. “It’s extremely renowned for business and liberal arts, so it was an easy choice.” For Murray, the transition to the college game was not difficult.
He handled all the kicking duties for the Rams his first year and was backed by a strong supporting team. “Upon making the team I felt right at home with these guys,” Murray said. “We’re a big family that’s great to be a part of.” However, after four years of success, Murray finally saw what it was like to be at the bottom on a Rams team that finished 1-10. The team never hit its stride and finished the season a nine-game losing streak. “I’m extremely upset and embarrassed about this season,” Murray said. “The amount of talent we have on this team is tremendous and it wasn’t reflected in our record.” In order to improve next season, Fordham revamped their coaching staff including the hiring of new Head Coach Joe Moorhead. Moorhead’s hire has brought new excitement to a team that was very lackluster. “I love the new hire,” Murray said. “He told us that we’re not going to lose a game this year. He told us that we aren’t a rebuilding team, we’re a “now” team. The coaching staff is just so full of energy and everyone wants to succeed.” The coaching change comes just in time for Murray and the Rams. Next season will be Murray’s last with the Rams, and he thinks he will be heading out on a high note. “I’m excited for next season, I don’t plan to lose a game,” Murray said. “If everything goes well next season I think we can make it to the FCS championship.”
As Women’s Swimming Atlantic 10 Championship Approaches, Rams Are Ready By JOSEPH SPARACIO Asst. Sports Co-Editor
COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS
Can Coach Moorhead help the Rams?
ing forward, there will be “a clean slate,” wherein “everyone has an opportunity to prove themselves.” As for the quarterback position, Moorhead acknowledged those already on the roster with in-game experience and said, “We’re going to give them an opportunity.” In the face of all these challenges, the new coach made it clear that this is not a rebuilding project. “I talked to the players about it being a one-year plan, not a fiveyear plan,” Moorhead said. “We are going to strive to win games this season. There are so many things to take place before the first game. The kids are excited and upbeat, and we’re going to come out and play it one game at a time.” As one of his first major moves as head coach, Moorhead has begun to make sure the team he takes into the coming season is a complete one by hiring his defensive coordinator. Tem Lukabu, formerly a coach at Rutgers, and himself a linebacker and captain of the 2003 National Runner-up Colgate team, should prove to be an asset on the other side of the ball. Talking about his defense, Moorhead said, “We aim to be aggressive and attack. We want to shut down the run and challenge receivers to get open.” Fordham football can breathe a sigh of relief with 2011 in the rearview mirror. The Rams will now be approaching 2012 with a plan, plenty of familiarity in the Patriot League, and a team looking to, above all else, attack.
As the season winds to a close, the Fordham women’s swim team is poised to make another strong run at the Atlantic 10 (A-10) championship. Last year, the Rams had an impressive season, taking second in the A-10 championship and finishing in one of the top two spots for the third straight year. The team lost to Richmond University, by a narrow margin of 755 points to 578 points in last year’s championship. Despite the loss, Fordham put up great numbers in the championship setting nine school records, while eight members earned either First or Second Team All-Atlantic 10 honors. This season success will be measured by nothing less than a title. Rams Head Coach Steve Potsklan said, “The team’s focus is towards the top of the conference and winning the title this year.” The Rams are well on their way to achieving this goal, as they are in prime position with a record of 6-1. Many of the members from last year’s squad are returning, including Courtney Collyer, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’12, and Brienne Ryan, FCRH ’13, both of whom had very impressive runs in last year’s championship. Also, the team has already had three members, Andrea Krok, FCRH ’12, Collyer and Ryan named A-10 players of the week during the season. The only blemish on this season’s team has been their loss to Williams College, a meet that they lost by a mere four points. Potsklan has been happy with Rams’ performance this season and said, “The team is performing ahead of where they were last
COURTESY OF FORDHAM SPORTS
Winning the A-10 Championship in 2010, the Rams hope for the same success this year.
year. People are getting faster individually and the team, as a whole, is out-performing even the previous year’s group.” Richmond was the preseason number one pick, so the Rams are looking for vengeance in an exciting rematch. There have been many highlights this season that will be remembered before the championship even begins. The girls had a stellar performance against Boston University on Nov. 12, a meet in which Ryan and Collyer paved the way by dominating their events, en route to a sound defeat of the Terriers, 158-125. Potsklan also highlighted the team’s performance at the three-day Bucknell Invitational in November, in which they ranked second against five other teams during the first two days and an even better second against six other teams on the final day of competition. During a long season, it is often hard to mentally prepare for the championship
that fast approaches, and it can be equally difficult to keep team morale, yet Fordham has found the solution to this. The Rams recently returned from their yearly training trip, a trip that helps the girls get physically and mentally prepared for the end of the season. This trip that the girls work individually to fund helps keep morale high and allows the girls to feed off each other’s energy as the season ends. This year’s trip to St. Croix helped to foster a positive atmosphere that the girls hope to carry with them into the A-10 championship. When asked about what he looks for in his team as they head down the home stretch, Potsklan noted that the Rams need “to make the most of what we have” and that the girls must “swim to improve and swim to get faster.” If the team can keep their spirits high and maintain their fast swimming, the Rams have a good chance to race to the top of the A-10.
February 2, 2012 THE OBSERVER
Bulking Up: Regimen to Help Pack on Muscle By JASPER CHANG Asst. Sports Co-Editor
At the beginning of the year, many of us made resolutions to lose weight. But not all of us are interested in shedding pounds, rather some of us want to gain weight by packing on some muscle! Two ways to building muscle mass is through compound exercises, which involve the use of multiple body parts into one coherent movement, and a meal plan that keeps your body fueled and ready to go. Below is a workout aimed at building muscle.
Interval Runs: 1 minute on, 2 off minutes, for a total of 6 repetitions. Run at 75 percent to 90 percent of your maximum speed for 1 minute and lightly jog or walk for 2 minutes.
Power Cleans to Shoulder-Press (4 sets of 6 reps) With knees bent, power clean (bring hands from waist to shoulder) to a shoulder press. Involves a flick and a catch of the bar. Do not arch your back. Barbell Upright Rows (4 sets of 8 reps) Holding the barbell at the waist, lift to your chin. Dumbbell Shoulder Press (4 sets of 8 reps) In a sitting or standing position, push dumbbells from shoulder to overhead position. Front Squats (4 sets of 6 reps)
Situate barbell on your chest with hands holding it in place and squat. Dumbbell Lunges (4 sets of 8 reps) Place one foot forward and with dumbbells held on each side, bend your front leg in a lunge position. Frog Jumps (4 sets of 10 reps) Bend your legs in a 90 degree position and jump up. Repeat. Hands may be at side or overhead.
Toe-touches: Stand straight and bend downward, with your hands touching your toes. Shoulder stretch: Wave your arms forward and backward as if you were swimming (this is meant to increase the flexibility and the movement in your shoulders).
GENERAL MEAL PLAN
The main idea for a good meal plan is to eat “relatively healthy.” This means focusing on eating fresh, clean food, while allowing yourself to eat some junk food, in moderation, such a single serving of ice cream or French fries. In order to pack on muscle, there is a necessary requirement of calories that eating healthy cannot solely provide. In order to accommodate everyone’s food preference, I will provide a general guideline for meal plans. Please note that caloric requirements per person will vary depending upon age, height, weight, and sex. Make sure to look at the nutritional information or make an educated guess of
how much you’re eating to gauge your progress.
Breakfast 400-600 Calories 5-15 grams of fiber 40-60 grams of carbohydrates 35-50 grams of protein 10-15 grams of fat Example: 1 cup of oatmeal with peanut butter and sliced bananas, 1 cup of orange juice and 4 hardboiled eggs. Eat 1 egg yolk.
Brunch 100-300 calories Example: Greek yogurt, cold cereal with milk, an apple, or a handful of nuts.
Lunch 700-1000 calories 10-15 grams of fiber 40-70 grams of carbohydrates 60-70 grams of protein 25-40 grams of fat Example: ½ pound cheeseburger, 1 small serving of fries, a salad, and 1 cup of water
Dinner 600-800 calories 10-15 grams of fiber 40-60 grams of carbohydrates 50-60 grams of protein 20-35 grams of fat Example: Grilled chicken with a serving of rice, vegetables and soup, 1.5 servings of chocolate.
SARA AZOULAY/THE OBSERVER Compounding meals and exercising give you enough fuel to bulk up.
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