“ASIAN STYLE INSPIRES ACTIVISM”: A RUNWAY OF CELEBRATION AND RESISTANCE
By Eileen Chen
MARGARET CHO IS ANGRY—AND YOU SHOULD BE, TOO
By Francesca Theofilou and Riya Subbaiah
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2 THE GEORGETOWN VOICE Contents contact us firstname.lastname@example.org Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University 3700 O St. NW Washington, DC 20057 The opinions expressed in The Georgetown Voice do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty, or students of Georgetown University, unless specifically stated. Columns, advertisements, cartoons, and opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the General Board of The Georgetown Voice. The university subscribes to the principle of responsible freedom of expression of its student editors. All materials copyright The Georgetown Voice, unless otherwise indicated. March 3, 2023 Volume 55 | Issue 11 6 sports Cut your losses, Patrick Ewing LANGSTON LEE AND THOMAS FISCHBECK 7 halftime sports Don't cry because it happened, smile because it's over (hopefully) BEN JAKABCSIN 8 features “Asian Style Inspires Activism”: A runway of celebration and resistance EILEEN CHEN 10 leisure Margaret Cho is angry—and you should be, too FRANCESCA THEOFILOU AND RIYA SUBBAIAH 11 leisure This Is Why is the raging return of rock royalty ADORA ADEYEMI 12 voices The curse of “let’s get a coffee”: How networking has corrupted our friendships OLIVIA POZEN 13 halftime leisure Homer’s Odyssey takes center stage in EPIC NIKKI FARNHAM 14 news American University students call for reform in administrative response to sexual violence ANGELENA BOUGIAMOS AND AMBER XIE 15 editorials The Washington Post’s McPherson Square editorial is a failure in compassionate journalism EDITORIAL BOARD graphic by graham krewinghaus; layout by connor martin
on the cover
“anger on stage” GRACE NURI
The Ewing theory, relitigated NICHOLAS RICCIO
→ WHO REALLY SHOULD REPLACE PATRICK EWING
1. Annabella Hoge
2. Sue Sylvester
3. Ted Lasso
5. Taylor Swift
6. Angela Bassett
7. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey in Mean Girls
8. An army of gummy bears singing "Someone Like You" by Adele
9. The lettuce that outlived Liz Truss
10. Suru from Leo's
→ BRENDAN 'S BALLOONS
An eclectic collection of jokes, puns, doodles, playlists, and news clips from the collective mind of the Voice staff.
→ OLIVIA'S CHERRY BLOSSOM
→ ADVERTISE WITH US!
Advertising with the to communicate to students on campus about your event or business. For more information about advertising with the Voice or to purchase ads, contact our business staff at email@example.com.
→ LISTEN TO PODCASTS
Tune into this week’s Post Pitch to hear about writer Olivia Pozen’s inspiration for her article about the curse of coffee culture by scanning the QR code below:
→ WHERE THE V OICE IS GOING FOR SPRING BREAK
1. San Louis O-piss-bro
2. The Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn
3. Barthelona, Spain
4. Your friend’s third house in Bermuda
6. The Washington Post HQ
7. The COVID-19 floor(s) of the hotel
8. 21 Carriage Dr., Doylestown, PA 18901
9. Your mom’s house
10. Graham’s mom’s house
11. A Dunkin’ Donuts in suburban Massachusetts (with Graham’s mom)
3 MARCH 3, 2023
"annie's furious balloon" by annabella hoge; "brendan's balloons" by connor martin; cherry blossom by olivia li; airplane by lo u jacquin; podcast artwork by olivia li; "reminiscing on a saturday long past" by dane tedder
The Ewing theory, relitigated
There’s nothing worse in sports than being called a loser. Once you’re flagged as someone who can’t win, it follows you like a pungent smell. The stench of purported failure permeates throughout a career. You’re no longer a star, a player, a person; you’re a punchline. The label can linger even after championship success—Peyton Manning, anyone?
The label of “loser” is unfair, often lacking nuance or context. And in all of sports, there is no better example of a label misrepresenting a player than the Ewing theory. The Ewing theory, popularized by former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, is simple: A star athlete that receives a large amount of media attention and fan interest—but, crucially, never leads his teams to any meaningful success—leaves their team. The team then exceeds expectations without the player. The theory, he explains, “was created in the mid-’90s by Dave Cirilli, a friend of mine who was convinced that Patrick Ewing’s teams (both at Georgetown and with New York) inexplicably played better when Ewing was either injured or missing extended stretches because of foul trouble.” Simmons currently hosts a podcast that is top-five in the country in the sports category and has turned the phrase “Ewing theory” into a regular part of the modern sports lexicon. It has forever altered Ewing’s legacy. This is why people think of that 1999 Knicks team as a team that reached the Finals and was better without him.
It was Game 5 of the first-round playoff series between the top-seeded Miami Heat and the eighth-seeded New York Knicks. The series was tied at two games apiece, and because this is 1999, the series was best-of-five. That means an elimination game in Miami. The game is best remembered for shooting guard Allan Houston’s rim-bouncing buzzer-beater to win the series for New York, but Knicks center Ewing’s effort cannot be forgotten.
Ewing entered the 1998-99 season still recovering from surgery to repair a right wrist injury that he suffered the year prior after getting fouled while attempting a dunk. He had landed awkwardly with all of his weight on his shooting hand, suffering torn ligaments, a dislocated
BY NICHOLAS RICCIO
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE HALFTIME SPORTS 4
design by graham krewinghaus; photos from the voice archive
on basketball Twitter is the latest stat about Georgetown’s continued misadventures on the court, whether it’s some new record-long losing streak or a clip of the ball being batted around like a fourth-grade pickup game at recess against
During a recent game against St. John’s, Ewing’s mic’d up address in the huddle to players reflected the disparity between his playing experience and coaching skills. He lit into the players for their effort, saying, “Do y’all wanna play? We’re acting like we don’t. Everything they’re doing—everything tougher than us, more aggressive than us. You’re acting like y’all are still asleep. Wake up!” Ewing, who played through countless injuries and battled in every game, can now only watch from the sidelines and plead for his players to turn up the effort. He knows what it feels like to play through injury. He knows about playing hard when tired. He expects the same from his players, but they aren’t performing the
In his final game as a Knick, the series-ending Game 6 loss to the Pacers in the 2000 Eastern Conference finals, Ewing had a new injury that aimed to sideline the superstar: tendinitis in his right foot. He had gutted through the first two rounds of the playoffs, which included another brutal matchup with the Miami Heat—a slog of a series that stretched out to seven games as the ailing Ewing defeated the younger Mourning once again. Against the Pacers—in front of a raucous home crowd in Madison Square Garden that was buoyed by Ewing’s guarantee of victory the day before in the papers—Ewing labored through 37 minutes on the court, managing one last double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. It wasn’t enough. The Pacers ran the Knicks off their home court, winning 93-80 in a game that was further apart than the final scoreline suggests. Walking off the court, a team
“You’re still the man,” he shouted at Ewing. Ewing responded in the negative, but the
“You’ll still get your ring,” the man said.
“I hope so,” Ewing said with a smile. He never did get his championship ring in New York, or anywhere else in the NBA. He didn’t get the storybook ending that would’ve saved him from all the “whatifs” and relitigations of his NBA career, that would’ve saved him from the labels of “loser.” Even so, that shouldn’t make him a punching bag. He was a giant in an era of giants, an ironman back when players didn’t take games off. He is still arguably the greatest player in Knicks history, and a piece of jewelry shouldn’t be required for his greatness on the court to be recognized instead of ridiculed. He was a winner but not a champion. And just because he never won a championship doesn’t mean he’s
Cut your losses, Patrick Ewing
BY LANGSTON LEE AND THOMAS FISCHBECK
When Georgetown hired Patrick Ewing in March 2017, it was supposed to signify a moment of change for a once-great basketball program that found itself mired in mediocrity. Coming off a season that saw the Hoyas go 14-18 under John Thompson III—son of the late, great coach of the same name—Georgetown decided it was time to move in a different direction. What better way to do that than to bring in the man who led the program to its lone NCAA championship as a player in 1984? The prodigal son of Georgetown was returning, and optimism about the program was higher than it had been in quite some time.
Fast forward six years, and it’s hard to find optimism in just about anything having to do with the Georgetown men’s basketball program. Attendance has cratered and there is a crushing air of apathy surrounding the team. More than anything, the program feels directionless, and Hoya fans would kill for the JT3 days. Ewing is destroying the program he once made great, and the time for change is long overdue.
As of March 1, the Hoyas sit 7-24 overall and 2-18 in BIG EAST play. Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted efficiency metrics have the Hoyas ranked 212th out of 363, just between the Eastern Carolina Pirates and the Saint Joseph’s Hawks. Just about the only positives this season have come from a brief respite to their horrible losing streaks, breaking a record-setting 29-game BIG EAST losing streak against DePaul on Jan. 24 and a 22game road skid at Butler on Feb. 19.
The problems of last season, when the Hoyas went 0-19 in conference play, remain despite a roster overhaul. They can’t defend, can’t hold leads, and play a generally uninspiring brand of basketball. Even with the additions of talented transfers like Brandon Murray, Primo Spears, and Jay Heath, and the return of starting big man Qudus Wahab, Georgetown finds itself repeating many of the same mistakes. At some point, fingers must be pointed at the 7-foot-tall constant on the sideline.
It is time for Georgetown to face the reality that the Ewing experiment has run its course. In his six-year coaching tenure, he has reached only one NCAA Tournament and has yet to have
a single winning season in BIG EAST play. His biggest victory has been the 2021 BIG EAST tournament, which while impressive, came off the heels of a disappointing 9-12 regular season. But a four-game hot streak should not be the crowning achievement of a program as storied as Georgetown’s and a figure as great as Patrick Ewing. He has compiled a 75-108 record overall (a .409 winning percentage), and has gone 1349 (.209) over the past two years. The last time a Georgetown player was drafted to the NBA was 2013. In fact, if you ask Aminu Mohammed (Georgetown’s most recent five-star recruit), the program has actually hurt its own players’ draft stocks.
Despite his supposed failings, Thompson made eight NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 years (including a Final Four in 2007), had a winning in-conference record eight times, and a winning percentage of .648. Less than a decade ago, this is what was considered “disappointing” on the Hilltop; today, a single conference win is cause for celebration.
Today’s Hoyas are so far below disappointing they make the JT3 teams look like those coached by his father. They are a national laughing stock, a running joke among college basketball fans and media. Every few weeks, a new record seems to be set: the only winless in-conference season in program history, the first loss to crosstown American University since 1982, the longest losing streak in BIG EAST history, and on and on. The Georgetown brand as we know it is disintegrating by the day.
Ewing’s strongest trait at Georgetown has been his ability to recruit talent, but as losses pile up, recruits don’t even want to come anymore, and when they do, they don’t stay very long. The list of talented Georgetown recruits who have walked through its doors only to exit unceremoniously is extensive, including recent NBA Slam Dunk Champion Mac McClung. This season saw nine new faces on the sideline; that isn’t normal, even in modern college basketball. Anyone with a shred of talent seems to leave the Hilltop the minute greener pastures come calling. Point guard Dante Harris (who was named the Most Outstanding Player during the Hoyas’ BIG
EAST tourney run in 2021) even chose to transfer midseason, choosing not to play at all over spending another semester with the Hoyas, marking the 17th player to transfer out of the program during Ewing’s six-year tenure.
As a reflection of this dismal record, attendance at Capital One has been steadily declining for years. In 2021-22, the average attendance of a Georgetown game was 5,525 in a stadium that fits over 20,000. Fans don’t have the energy to care, and frankly, the people in charge don’t seem to either. Ewing’s return this season was the first time ever that a power conference coach not in his first season has lost every game in conference play and yet was still asked to stay for another go-around. Due to the contract extension he signed in 2021, it would’ve cost a substantial amount to fire him at the end of last year, but that figure will be much lower this time around.
Patrick Ewing will always be known as one of the Hilltop’s most loved and respected alumni, a man whose name is practically synonymous with the concept of basketball at Georgetown. But his time as its coach must come to an end. For most current students, their best memories of Georgetown basketball while on campus are a fluke BIG EAST Tournament run and a clobbering at the hands of Colorado in the NCAA Tournament, and even that came during a time when not many students were on the Hilltop due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are no highs and lows of college basketball to be found in Washington, D.C. , only lows and lower lows. There’s no enthusiasm to be found because there is nothing to be enthusiastic about. To younger Hoyas, Ewing is a symbol of Georgetown’s failures rather than the symbol of success that he once was. They don’t know him as the dominant center who led the Blue and Gray to three NCAA championship games—they know him as the head coach who can’t stop his team from losing or his players from leaving. If Ewing wants to try and preserve the legacy that has captured the hearts and minds of Hoyas fans and alumni for decades, parting ways with the school he loves is the only option. G
6 THE GEORGETOWN VOICE SPORTS design by sabrina shaffer
Don’t cry because it happened, smile because it’s over (hopefully)
BY BEN JAKABCSIN
W elcome to the most hopeful time Georgetown men’s basketball has had in years! Come on down, take a seat. If you’re reading with tears of joy in your eyes, this means that Patrick Ewing has either officially resigned or been relieved of his duties as Georgetown’s men’s basketball head coach. And if you’re just crying, then he hasn’t yet, and we’ll pretend for a moment that our dreams are going to come true. In that spirit of hope, here are my suggestions of the best options to replace Ewing.
The coaches on this list aren’t the only coaches that should be considered; Georgetown would be foolish not to call coaches like Wake Forest’s Steve Forbes, Kansas State’s Jerome Tang, North Carolina State’s Kevin Keatts, Virginia Tech’s Mike Young, and any other big-name coaches who may be either looking to move on from their current school or are at a current compensation level Georgetown should be able to match or exceed. The reason they are not included, though, is because any one of these options should be viewed as a half-court heave due to factors like buyouts or their current programs’ prestige. The following is made up of more attainable targets for the Hoyas.
It cannot be overstated how important the next hire is for our men’s basketball team. This program cannot handle another botched coaching hire after the failure of Ewing. If they mess this one up, they risk sinking into basketball purgatory or worse yet, wherever DePaul is.
For this reason, it makes the most sense for Georgetown to hire a coach with experience, preferably high-major head coaching experience.
So, without further ado, let’s look at my hot board for the next head coach of Georgetown’s men’s basketball.
Record with current team: 39-25 (.609)
Career record: 226-138 (.611)
Current salary: $2 million
Who better to try and turn this ship around than the man responsible for arguably the largest single-season turnaround in modern NCAA history?
Georgetown needs some pixie dust to revive this program to its former glory, and Otz is the wizard who can bring it.
4. Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State
Record with current team: 32-29 (.525)
Career record: 32-29 (.525)
Current salary: estimated $2-3 million
Record with current team: 236-147 (.616)
Career record: 328-216 (.603)
Current salary: $2.2 million
Record with current team: 0-0 (in the words of Lavar Ball, “Undefeated, nevva lost!”)
Career record: 278-133 (.676)
Current salary: without contract
In Cooley and Mack, you have two coaches who have proven a whole lot in terms of winning games in the BIG EAST regular season. Both Mack and Cooley have posted above 60 percent win percentages at Xavier and Providence, and would assuredly give Georgetown a strong chance of righting the ship and getting back to being competitive in the NCAA quickly. But their coaching futures are both up in the air. Despite his long history of success at Xavier, Mack had a sour end at Louisville and may not be quite ready to return to high-major coaching. And Cooley’s lifetime job security at a good-but-not-great program in Providence could prove to be too large a barrier.
Shrewsberry has not only proven to be a great Xs-and-Os mind in the huddle—a contrast to Ewing’s disconnect—but he’s also shown his talent for developing players in just two short years of being a head coach. Make no mistake about it, Shrewsberry is a rising star. Whether it’s at Georgetown or another quality Power-6 program, someone is going to be helping this man get the hell out of not-so-Happy Valley very, very soon.
Tier 2: Deep Threes
5. Chris Holtmann, Ohio State
Record with current team: 12073 (.622)
Career record: 234-158 (.597)
Current salary: $3.08 million
7. Anthony Grant, Dayton
Record with current team:
Career record: 231-181 (.561)
Current salary: $1.5 million
Record with current team: 121-62 (.661)
Career record: 314-172 (.646)
Current salary: $1.83 million
While the above tiers have coaches who are alike in age or experience, this tier is more of a wildcard. From Holtmann’s recruiting prowess, to Kyle Smith’s “Nerdball,” to Anthony Grant’s calm (perhaps bland) demeanor and knowledge of fundamentals, this is a tier where you get a little of everything, and each coach comes with its own unique style. All could come in and immediately raise the floor of Georgetown significantly, while still leaving open the possibility for a high ceiling. None of them, though, can be considered a home run at this time.
Why we shouldn’t be rolling with Rick (Pitino):
Hear me out: I know a lot of people around the Hilltop have been campaigning for the former national champion coach, but if you’re Georgetown, you shouldn’t make this move. First of all, the NCAA doesn’t take National Championship banners for nothing. If you don't believe me, search “Rick Pitino Scandal” on your nearest internet-connected device and you’ll see my point—it’s really a pick your poison with the guy and his scandals. However, the next coach will be ushering in the next era of Hoya basketball, the first real postThompson era. We should not bring in a coach shrouded by off-thecourt cloud problems.
At the end of the day, there are many quality options for the next head coach, so let’s not fret—until we inevitably hire current Harvard head man, and failed high-major coach, Tommy Amaker. In conclusion: clear eyes, full hearts, a good new coach, can’t lose? G
For the full length version of this piece, go to the Georgetown Voice website to check it out. Records in print up to date as of March 1.
7 MARCH 3, 2023 HALFTIME SPORTS
graphic by graham krewinghaus; layout by lou jacquin; photo courtesy of ken jancef, cc-sa 2.0
Tier 1: 4-Point Plays
2. Ed Cooley, Providence & 3. Chris Mack, Rec and Ed League (Possibly)
Kyle Smith, Washington State
Tier 99: The No-nos
1. TJ Otzelberger, Iowa State
“Asian Style Inspires Activism”: A runway of celebration and resistance
BY EILEEN CHEN
Everyday fashion at Georgetown is the dark blue quarter-zip, khaki pants, and collared shirt uniform. It can be expensive, but rarely glamorous or awe-inspiring. But on a regular Saturday night, in a room usually used to host guest lecturers, Georgetown was graced with the artistry and elegance—and glamor, of course— of Asian cultural wear.
On Feb. 25, Georgetown’s Asian American Student Association (AASA) hosted its secondever cultural fashion show, Runway ASIA, in the Copley Formal Lounge. Runway ASIA was organized by Aidan Ng (SFS ’25) and Giselle Rasquinha (CAS ’25), who currently serve as AASA’s Political Advocacy Committee co-chairs. The show aims to fulfill a dual purpose of inspiring Asian activism and celebrating Asian joy by creating a safe and accessible space for creative expression, while also acting as a fundraiser. This year, all proceeds from ticket sales were donated to earthquake relief funds in Turkey and Syria.
“ASIA stands for Asian Style Inspires Activism, because it leads into our fashion show being used as a tool to raise awareness about an issue, but also just the importance of fashion in Asian culture,” Rasquinha said.
Runway ASIA wasn’t structured like your typical runway experience. After walking, models were given the opportunity to speak to the audience, introduce the clothing they were wearing, and share the historical and personal meaning behind it. Also atypical was the complimentary cotton candy—unexpected, but highly appreciated.
A stunning range of cultural wear was showcased, with styles originating from all over Asia. The striking gold dragon on a Vietnamese áo gấm was bold, and the sparkling embellishments of the Indian lehenga were intricately woven. Above all else, the show was touching and welcoming— many, if not all, of the outfits modeled were likely worn prior at family gatherings, danced in at cultural holidays, and inseparably tied to pivotal moments in people’s lives.
When having conversations about what culture is and consists of, the importance of fashion often isn’t explicitly articulated, but it is truly unparalleled. Throughout many Asian cultures, traditional festivities are always inseparable from cultural wear.
The lehenga, for instance, is a timeless example of the beauty and diversity of South Asian culture, and an outfit Rasquinha wore to Georgetown’s
Kartik Mela celebration. In her experience, her cultural clothing is both a bridge to community and a connection to heritage.
“Seeing yourself actively partaking in your culture and seeing so many people around you who are also just as excited to celebrate, the feeling of belonging that comes with that is a very, very special thing,” she said. “It’s one of those rare moments where I can feel authentically Indian and authentically Asian.”
Fundraisers are a conventional way to enact social change, but Runway ASIA is redefining what advocacy is and can be by embracing fashion as its own inherent and unique form of advocacy.
Linh Truong (CAS ’24) is a second-generation Vietnamese American. While not directly involved in the coordination of Runway ASIA, Truong is a creative and designer—and is involved in multiple AAPI causes and content creation. Drawing from her experiences, she sees a direct intersection between fashion and social impact.
“Anything you make and anything you wear, especially in places where it’s not welcome, is a form of protest, is a form of resistance,” Truong said. Similarly, Rasquinha views Runway ASIA as an explicit event of defiance. For most people, fashion doesn’t serve a particularly profound purpose. However, in a place where your identity is in the minority, to freely wear something that is a direct extension of your cultural background is empowering.
“I think oftentimes a lot of people, when they come to America, will do their best to assimilate in any way that they can in order to compensate for the fact that they don’t look like everyone else, that you feel like a minority, visibly,” Rasquinha said. “So I think the idea of putting on a fashion show and being able to proudly wear your culture’s clothing in front of everyone and to take pride in it is something that’s really unique, that I don’t think is done very often in spaces, especially in a [predominantly white institution] like Georgetown.”
Lorenzo Pagdanganan (CAS ’23), who walked in Runway ASIA for a second year, believes that
showcasing cultural wear is its own type of advocacy. “Having an event around cultural wear is a very outspoken way of showing identity and community in a way that you don’t normally see every day, especially at Georgetown, and in and of itself it is activism,” he said.
At Georgetown and beyond, there is a lack of performance spaces for Asian Americans. Ng, who comes from a theater background, noticed that AAPI underrepresentation persists in creative industries writ large. This lack of representation is a national trend—in the 2016-2017 Broadway season, only five percent of all plays and musicals produced were written by minority playwrights, and none were written by Asian American playwrights—that is reflected at Georgetown.
“If you asked me last year to name three Asian American
performance groups, I wouldn’t be able to name one,” he said.
But complacency doesn’t have to be the norm— when there aren’t spaces that feel welcoming, the answer for Runway ASIA is to create your own.
“There’s just a lot less Asian American representation in those spaces, and a lot of it comes down to members of our community not feeling themselves being seen in those spaces, and being discouraged from pursuing those spaces. And so now that we’re in college, Giselle and I just wanted to create that space where we can be seen,” said Ng.
There is a subtler message around the portrayal of events geared towards AAPI audiences that Runway ASIA also seeks to change—a complex and underlying tension that often goes unmentioned. The show seeks to challenge the societal tendency to perceive the Asian American experience exclusively through the lens of discrimination.
“Community spaces for marginalized groups, and also with that the AAPI community, are
FEATURES 8 THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
design by natalia porras; photos courtesy of akshadha lagisetti
centered a lot on discussions of oppression, discussions of how your identity fits into campus. And I think a lot of the time it focuses on feelings of marginalization,” Rasquinha said.
It can be easy to feel like one’s identity is solely recognized in relation to discrimination— students of underrepresented groups are often only asked to share their stories and perspectives when they relate to acts of injustice. Runway ASIA doesn’t trivialize that gravity. Rather, it’s simply a testament that advocacy doesn’t always have to be heavy or a fight for one’s rights; it can also be celebration.
As many attendees and models noted, joyful spaces like Runway ASIA are priceless and comforting. “The center premise of Runway ASIA is to highlight your culture,” Rasquinha said. “It’s to show how unique and beautiful and important it is. We’re just saying, ‘This is a part of who I am, it’s beautiful, and this is something that I want to show everyone.’”
These creative spaces give AAPI communities a freedom not just to showcase culture, but to reinterpret it. That reinterpretation was present on the runway: While some outfits were formally dressed in accordance with how the clothing was historically worn, others were styled with makeup and accessories to add a modern flair.
Pagdanganan pointed out that while his outfit this year was conventionally more “formal and traditional” than last year’s, he doesn’t see these categorizations as immutable. “Tying cultural aspects and not even just clothing, but
specific cultural things, to tradition is sort of limiting,” he said. “Everyone can have their own connection to traditions in their own way, and then personalize it.”
He chose to personalize and complete his look by accessorizing with delicately handmade Filipino gold jewelry. During the conversation half of the show, Pagdanganan introduced the pieces as traditional filigree jewelry, a craft that is, unfortunately, a dying art. Its prominence is slowly fading in the face of the rising popularity of Western trends and the convenience of massproduced jewelry. Here again, the format of the show lent itself to advocacy. In being handed the mic, Pagdanganan was able to use Runway ASIA as a platform to raise awareness about a lesserknown but irreplaceably meaningful cultural art. By elevating the voices of models, Runway ASIA set itself apart from the rest of the world’s fashion and design spheres. “We want people to be able to use this as an experience to, one, visibly show people parts of their culture that are important to them, but to also talk about what it means to them. This is an opportunity for there to be cultural fashion shows or areas in the fashion world that don’t necessarily fall into appropriation,” Rasquinha said. The fashion world has historically been dominated by Western designers and producers. Western creatives have frequently misused and misrepresented Asian culture in their work, with the profit ending up only in the pockets of the fashion house. From Karlie Kloss’ geisha Vogue cover to Gucci debuting Sikh turbans—flaunted by white models—on the Milan runway, high fashion has an egregiously long criminal record of cultural appropriation.
“Borrowing” aspects of a culture for an aesthetic purpose without properly recognizing and respecting that culture’s history and people is incredibly reductive, many of the attendees noted. One can model a piece of cultural wear without having to ever experience the bigotry and prejudice that marginalized groups endure day after day, because while clothes and costumes can be taken on and off, identity cannot.
To Ng, at the heart of every problematic occurrence is a lack of respect for the people who belong to the
culture that’s being used as “inspiration.” To do justice to the people whose histories and lived experiences they are trying to represent, designers and producers must grapple with some very critical questions.
Ng, himself, posed a few: “If you are putting on a show for and to uplift marginalized voices, are you talking to those marginalized voices about what they want to say? Are you going into the community and forming those relationships and making sure that’s actually what they want? Or are you doing it for yourself?”
For Runway ASIA, it was clear that the best approach was for the models themselves to answer these questions. “We don’t want to speak for anyone’s experiences or the significance behind anyone else’s cultural wear,” Rasquinha said. “We are actively trying our best to put people first, rather than just the commodities that they produce.”
Amy Lum (CAS ’26), modeled a traditional Chinese qipao for Runway ASIA. After her walk, she discussed the origins of the dress and the cultural significance it carries. “While qipaos come in many different colors, mine is in a traditional gold and red, which symbolizes wealth, prosperity, good fortune, and happiness,” she explained. These values, along with the colors themselves, are central tenets of Chinese culture and philosophy. They are also a perfect example of the nuances and histories that are excluded from the conversation when Asian designers are not the ones behind Asian-inspired collections, and there are no voices like Lum’s to share these stories.
To pen your own narrative in a space where you have been long arbitrarily spoken for is exhilarating, many of the attendees highlighted. And if the sheer radiance and variety that filled Copley Formal Lounge is any indication, the Asian diaspora has a capacity to fundamentally revolutionize creative spheres—a capacity that is just waiting to bloom.
“I think it’s really cool to see how a lot of cultures that are celebrated by marginalized communities in the United States contrast deeply with Western and European style, which is often very beige and neutral tones, black and white,” Truong said. “But for me, Asian clothing has always been so vibrant and full of color.”
That intensity of color is luminous and electrifying, each model’s definitive stride down the runway an unsaid but ever so powerful declaration of pride and belonging. Runway ASIA is an ode to traditions, new and old, remembered and reinvented in a heartwarming celebration. G
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE 9 MARCH 3, 2023
"while clothes and costumes can be taken on and off, identity cannot"
Margaret Cho is angry— and you should be, too
BY FRANCESCA THEOFILOU AND RIYA SUBBAIAH
This is how comedian and activist Margaret Cho described the theme of her upcoming tour “Live and Livid,” but also her general state of being, in an interview with the Voice . “If you are looking at the news, if you’re a political progressive, if you’re a feminist, if you’re queer, if you’re a person of color, all of these things, it’s really an affront to our way of life.”
Cho is an Emmy- and GRAMMYnominated performer whose art has always been inseparable from her activism. She’s been a stand-up comic since she was 14, and acted in projects like Fire Island (2022), All-American Girl , and 30 Rock . We spoke with Cho ahead of her upcoming sold-out appearance at the Warner Theater on Friday, March 10, and she discussed the many sources of inspiration—or rather, desperation—that fuel her work.
Her comedy has been steeped in a ragedriven hunger for change since her first performances in her hometown of San Francisco. Even decades later, her passion for activism has only grown; she continues to stoke the fire inside of her through comedy, writing, music—any form of art she can. In “Live and Livid,” she marries this sense of urgency with wit and humor to remind her audience that after their laughter dies down, they should be angry, too.
Throughout our conversation, Cho expressed her rage at the unjust ways in which “people are dying” in our country while emphasizing that these issues did not occur spontaneously. Homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia—all of these phenomena are rooted deep within the systems the United States was founded upon, and Cho is determined to work to dismantle them all.
Despite wearing many hats in the entertainment space, Cho defines herself first and foremost as a comedian: “I like that label because it encompasses it all.” She added that comedy is a powerful tool in political activism; with the heaviness of the issues we are discussing these days, Cho likes that comedy allows us to confront them meaningfully and still find joy.
“I think that comedy is a good way to talk about social issues and politics because it disarms people right away,” she elaborated. “We understand the language of jokes and laughter.”
Cho’s newest set expresses her rage at the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade , as well as the school curriculum debate. She calls
out those unwilling to confront America’s racist history: “[It was] never taught in the first place.” Passion poured out of her as she detailed the ways in which our country has systemically and repeatedly failed those living in its margins.
A queer woman herself, Cho expressed disgust at the treatment of other queer and trans people, and revealed particular concern with the way that queerness is portrayed in media. Cho rejected the claim that any piece of media could be evil or satanic in nature: “No, it’s dance music, it’s pop music, rock and roll has always had that sort of edge.” She also mused about the role of religion in policing queerness, especially in an America marked by religious diversity. She emphasized the historical use of Christianity as justification to villainize and marginalize queer and trans people.
“If the United States is formed on religious freedom, we need to actually have it,” Cho said. “Jesus is king? No, there’s no monarchy.”
Cho’s sillier side came out when we started our interview by asking her one of the Voice ’s signature icebreakers: Would you rather that fruit had bones, or meat had seeds? Her response? She would love it if fruit had bones so that she could eat it like a popsicle with tahin (yum!). When we asked her what defines a jort versus a jean, she declared once and for all that jorts are not about the length of the cutoff but rather about the width of the pant leg. “You could even say it’s also how much of the leg that we see underneath,” she added. “If it’s a wide-leg pant, you will see more of the leg in the motion.” Her ability to take just about anything and enthusiastically run with it is trademark, and what makes her comedy so special.
A larger-than-life actor, comedian and performer, Cho is also deeply human. Throughout our conversation, she switched gears with ease, but she was especially comfortable when discussing her deep love of animals. Cho is a proud mother of three cats. Two of them are pink female Sphinxes, named Sarong (“heart” in Korean) and Sacra, who is hard of hearing. She also has a fierce werewolf cat named Uju (“universe” in Korean). “[Uju] is the only male that I will tolerate in this house,” she said.
Cho is living the lifestyle of her dreams: taking care of pets and hundreds—yes, hundreds—of plants while touring the country without any intention of “settling down.” Through openly expressing the joy she finds in her home life, Cho rejects societal pressures often placed on women to conform to a heteronormative family structure, sending the message that there is more than one way to find fulfillment.
So what’s next for this multi-talented artist? When she’s not busy binging The Glory 2, a sequel to the K-drama she absolutely loves, on Netflix or recording for her upcoming podcast, Cho is looking forward to more producing, acting, animation, and voice work. In all aspects of her career, Cho comes back to the fundamental idea of channeling her advocacy through words, and believes her audience has the power to do the same in their everyday lives. “Language is what makes up who we are, and so we need to lean on it,” she said. “The idea of being able to identify yourself and use language to do so is so important.”
What we know for sure: Cho is fired up and ready to take on challenging issues, one joke at a time.G
10 THE GEORGETOWN VOICE LEISURE
“If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”
illustration by jina zhao; layout by lou jacquin
BY ADORA ADEYEMI
“It’s been 5.5 years since we released our last album. What did we miss?”
To answer the question Paramore posed on Feb. 9, the night before the release of their newest album: a lot. Since May 2017, when the band last dropped a full-length project, the world has certainly experienced some hardship— and so has Paramore. The album’s liner notes list several intense, oddly specific emotions (e.g. “Disbelief At The Inconsistencies of The American-English Language”) with the promise that if you have experienced any of them in the last few years, the album is for you. This Is Why (2023) is the explosive yet polished result of six years’ worth of pent-up emotion.
The rock group—made up of vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro—may have kept themselves busy during their hiatus, but they were never quite out of the spotlight. With a slew of individual projects from its members and a sharp resurgence of poppunk among Gen-Z artists, the band’s relevance never dwindled. So they were greeted with open arms and high hopes by loyal and new fans alike when they announced their return with cover art for an upcoming album. The art puts this trio front and center, comically smushed up against our screens. This pressure—both literal and metaphorical—translates directly into the music from the album’s first song.
The titular track is placed right at the start with a strong message for its listeners. With soft vocals but blunt lyrics, Williams opens “This Is Why” with a warning for her expectant audience: “If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it.” We quickly realize the song isn’t meant to ease listeners back into Paramore’s world, nor apologize for their disappearance. Instead, it’s a reminder of their defiant decision to take a break.
The song works on multiple levels: It’s relatable for listeners, yet deeply personal to its artists. People can connect with it as an anthem highlighting pandemic life with lyrics like “This is why I don’t leave the house / You say the coast is clear but you won’t catch me out.” The song also expresses emotions felt by a band that’s shaped the pop-rock world for nearly 20 years. Within that time, the group has faced its fair share of problems: sexist scrutiny towards the band’s frontwoman; criticism for shifts in its sound, which ranges from grunge to ’80s synth-pop; even internal disagreements resulting in changes in the band’s lineup (This Is Why represents their first album to feature the
they’ve found the confidence to sing to the world, “You’re either with us or you can keep it to yourself.”
If we consider the album’s opening message of shutting out the world to be its thesis, then the rest
of powerful white men who evade accountability. Williams knows that while he manages to outrun the consequences of his actions, the “Big Man” is a “smooth operator in a shit-stained suit.” The harshness of her words is balanced with sarcasm, giving the song a relaxed feel. Meanwhile, “You First” takes an angsty approach as the upbeat song unpacks the dilemma of acknowledging your faults but still taking the time to call out others’. Williams is aware that “karma’s going to come for all of us” but still hopes it “comes for you first.”
The tension that comes from this dichotomy of internal and external blame seeps into the album’s production. From raging punk-rock to reserved acoustics, the styles vary widely from track to track. But the album’s instrumentation remains precise, creating the band’s most mature sound. With York’s simple guitar melodies and Farro’s sharp drumming, the general ethos seems to be that less is more, creating several moments of earworm material. Fan-favorite “Figure 8” is the height of the album’s production prowess. The repetitive synth arpeggio at its center carries a sense of incompleteness that keeps it looping endlessly in your head. This pairs neatly with lyrics about being caught in the cycle of a toxic relationship.
Paramore leave the house? Tracks like “The News” and “Running Out of Time” continue the opener’s theme of exhaustion with the outside world, while also detailing the self-loathing and detachment it induces. With hard-hitting drums and harsh guitars, “The News” encapsulates the helplessness of witnessing the world’s horrors through a screen. Feeling useless because she can only contribute from her home, Williams expresses “a war behind her mind”; the song attempts to convey that same jarring feeling. It’s relentless in the best way, with its screeching chorus underscoring that you can “shut your eyes but it won’t go away.” If each listen makes you feel like bashing your head against the wall, then its mission is accomplished.
However, toward the album’s midpoint, the focus shifts from examining one’s own shortcomings to pointing out others’ faults. In “Big Man, Little Dignity,” Williams diminishes the power of a charming but dishonest man—a figure symbolic
But at times this precision works to the band’s disadvantage. Paramore’s power of reinvention has kept listeners on their toes, steadying the band through the rise and fall (and rise again) of pop-punk. But much of this album lacks the bite its projects usually carry. The “verse, prechorus, chorus, repeat” structure shouldn’t feel so restrictive, but as we approach the album’s end, I can already anticipate each track’s movement. This makes “Liar” and “Crave” the weakest moments in the album, with weak hooks.
But I’m still happy to say that despite moments of formulaic repetition, This Is Why is a success for the band, debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200. With its intimate nature and cohesive sound, the album has found a large audience and pleased longtime fans.
So what comes after a comeback? Right now, Paramore is relishing its album rollout as the band prepares to hit the road for the next leg of the tour (I’m counting down the days till I see them at home in Atlanta). As an album that so many can relate to after the last few years, it looks like This Is Why might give us all a reason to leave the house. G
11 MARCH 3, 2023 design by madeleine ott
VOICE’S CHOICES: The News, Running Out of Time, Figure 8
“let’s get a coffee”:
The curse of “let’s get a coffee”: How networking has corrupted our friendships
BY OLIVIA POZEN
When I went home for winter break, I was deeply excited to take time to relax. At Georgetown, we’re constantly dialed in: working to obtain highly coveted straight As while managing commitments to preprofessional clubs, internships, and the next big startup. It’s not necessarily our fault—we’re only attempting to stay afloat in a competitive university culture. I looked to winter break as an opportunity to escape the pressure to forge connections and instead reunite with my mattress topper-less bed, family, and hometown friends.
Upon arriving home, I swiftly received swaths of texts from high school peers, all containing the same essential message: “We should get a coffee/ dinner/brunch and catch up!” At first, I was happy to oblige, enthusiastically making plans to reunite. Yet, as the break progressed, I found myself less eager to schedule such plans, especially as I watched myself blow my monthly budget on brief “catch-up” sessions. I dutifully repeated the same anecdotes on each occasion: “Surprise! I switched my major again,” and “I really love D.C., but I hate that Georgetown doesn’t have a Metro stop.” I felt my eyes glaze over as acquaintances listed off the names of friends that I would promptly forget when I left. Networking culture and its inherently draining format had unwillingly seeped into how I carried myself through conversations and interactions with others.
“Networking” has long been a corporate buzzword. We picture Wall Street men in pinstripe suits, handshaking their way through conferences filled with meaningless small talk. At Georgetown, however, networking is more subtle, quietly imposing its influence on Hoyas. It looks like joining a club with a vast alumni network, scheduling dinner plans with a family friend that runs a law firm or forming a less-thangenuine connection with a professor. And this phenomenon extends beyond the Hilltop; Duke University even touts a networking program titled FLUNCH (a portmanteau of “faculty” and “lunch”) designed to “encourage studentfaculty interaction outside the classroom.” With every club, every FLUNCH, and every dinner, we become further immersed—someone else’s connections become your connections. Our
brains become wired to hang out simply to build that acquaintance for a future, more selfish gain.
The ability to network has become a necessity for entering the workforce; CNBC reported in 2019 that between 50 and 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. Universities encourage high school students to build LinkedIn profiles to boost their chances of employment and college admission. College students are pressed to pursue their future career paths as early as freshman year. At Georgetown, many of the most popular clubs are preprofessional or consulting clubs— resume-stuffers that also boast some of the most competitive applications on campus.
And now, networking culture has seeped its way into our personal lives. Though we don’t always plan coffee chats with “opportunistic” intentions, we subconsciously follow the routine that networking requires. We schedule plans out of obligation, a sense of personal duty that we feel to keep others in the loop of our lives, potentially for something bigger down the line. We are content with spending more money than we intended because the inherent configuration of a meal, stationed directly across from one another, necessitates the “catch-up” format that we have been conditioned to believe facilitates connection. In short, we carry out our conversations with individuals close to us in the same way we might interact with a boss or a potential employer. The design of a coffee chat reduces our one-on-one interactions to bouts of bland, repeated, small talk about, say, your major or the D.C. Metro system—we catch up, then swiftly move on with our lives.
Ultimately, we have lost track of what it means to spend valuable time with other people. Networking culture governs the way that we make plans, spend money, and converse; its format is designed to keep potential close friends at arm’s length by limiting interactions to annual catch-ups and coffee. If we break from this culture, we can form new, authentic friendships with our acquaintances and even strengthen our existing ones.
Straying from this networking model of friendship, I look to excursions to museums, cooking nights, trips to flea markets, and movie
watch parties as some of the most fulfilling times I’ve spent with friends. It is during these moments I’ve also discovered exciting commonalities and experienced the most side-stitching laughs with companions. College students have become too embarrassed or too obsessed with forward progress to simply “hang out” at home. Yet, the inauthentic alternative of coffee and meals can’t be our sole means of catching up or maintaining connections. Activity-based experiences, or even quiet leisure time—sans the pressure of sitting directly in front of someone, constantly filling dead air with words—can make friendships feel easier.
Shared memories often become sources of hearty conversation and common interest, quashing the anxiety that comes with the false need to find an ambiguous thing in common with peers. We’ve all experienced friendships where you and another individual just seem to “click” regardless of immediately shared interests. Though the networking culture argues otherwise, these friendships can exist meaningfully without frequent chit-chat.
Of course, not all of our friendships are defined by networking culture, nor is it inherently harmful to maintain relationships or want to “catch up” with individuals toward the edge of our friend peripheries. We’re friends with people because they make us feel full—because we feel comfortable and content when we spend time with them. Coffee chats aren’t necessarily bad, and if that feels like the best means of preserving a friendship or connection you care about, then go for it! Yet I believe that we can develop our relationships into bona fide friendships if we examine the way we interact with them more critically and strive to spend our time together more authentically.
Living within a one-mile radius of a Compass Coffee, a Blue Bottle, and an L.A. Burdick, I certainly understand the appeal and convenience of a GCal’d coffee chat. But I encourage you to be spontaneous, to get out there—invite someone to check out that new market you’ve seen online, or text a new friend from class—and break from networking culture when you can. Relationships can be more natural and meaningful when we strive to build them on more than just a pair of six-dollar coffees. G
VOICES THE GEORGETOWN VOICE design by olivia li
Homer's Odyssey takes center stage in EPIC
BY NIKKI FARNHAM
Greek mythology is, quite literally, timeless. Dating back to Ancient Greece, the stories’ motifs are historically present in media, from Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” to the 1950 French film Orpheus. Even today, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians has been monumental in establishing the myth as gospel for Gen Z, with the series’s initial release in 2005 redefining middle-grade fantasy. Madeline Miller’s popular novels—The Song of Achilles (2011) and Circe (2018)—similarly encapsulate the tragedy and poeticism of Greek mythology. Broadway musical Hadestown (2016) brought the story of Orpheus and Eurydice to the stage, and songs like Gang of Youths’ “Achilles Come Down” (2017) draw lyrical symbolism from Greek characters. Centuries-old myths have taken the 21st century by storm, with no signs of slowing down.
Enter EPIC, the musical retelling of Homer’s Odyssey—arguably the most significant poem in Greek history—that has gone TikTok-viral over the past few months. Written and composed by Jorge “Jay” Rivera-Herrans, the musical is being released on streaming platforms in nine sagas, each an EP of four to five thematically connected songs. Rivera-Herrans manages to capture the revered 3,000-year-old Greek epic in a format that is both poignant and digestible.
The first concept album, The Troy Saga, introduces Odysseus (Rivera-Herrans) as he returns home to Ithaca after the decade-long Trojan War. Ultimately, the EP’s biggest strength is the personable feeling that permeates every song.
Much of the lyrical narrative is spent characterizing Odysseus during the early stages of his journey; it’s essential that the audience can empathize with him beyond his title as king of Ithaca.
Rivera-Herrans’ voice emanates both power and vulnerability: Odysseus’ belt wavers ever so slightly when the
character is burdened with difficult decisions, and rings in a commanding tone during battle sequences.
Orchestral strings enhance this dramatic effect. The first track, “The Horse and the Infant,” opens with electric bass layered atop a ticking clock, crafting an immediate sense of urgency and the grandiosity of the Greek epics. Drums, backing vocals, and crackling thunder might place the listener on a battlefield, but orchestral undertones are responsible for the swelling emotion in each song. Even in the album’s less aurally intense tracks (“Full Speed Ahead,” “Open Arms”), harp and acoustic guitar create a laid-back, transcendent tone.
“Horse” establishes Odysseus as a revered warrior, backed by the assertiveness of RiveraHerrans’ robust vocals and the music’s energetic tone. “Just A Man,” however, pivots drastically. Here, we become familiar with Odysseus’ vulnerable side as he is faced with the impossible choice between killing an infant and losing his family. He sings, “I’m just a man who’s fighting for his life / Deep down I would trade the world to see my son and wife.” Even if we cannot see ourselves in Odysseus’ position, we can certainly understand what it means to be selfish in the name of love.
The final track, “Warrior of the Mind,” presents Odysseus as a man clever enough to warrant Athena’s patronage. By separating Odysseus’ key traits into different songs, RiveraHerrans has ensured that we are gradually introduced to the protagonist’s technicolor character as the musical progresses. It’s more effective than dedicating solely one song to characterization and allows Odysseus to unfold with intimate familiarity. The result is a story that is equally plot- and character-driven.
In contrast to its predecessor, The Cyclops Saga goes dark with a more electric tone. The sound is reflective of the chronicle’s change in mood, particularly during the battle with Polyphemus, the infamous cyclops. But where The Troy Saga shines, Rivera-Herrans’ second album lets listeners down with the opening number. “Polyphemus” epitomizes the biggest pitfall of both albums—static dialogue over an engaging refrain. In trying to maintain the integrity of a nuanced plot, Rivera-Herrans sacrifices the flow of a dynamic melody by making simple instrumentation a backing track to lacking prose. This may be explained
by EPIC’s video game roots—Rivera-Herrans has cited anime and video games as inspiration for the EPs. In that regard, “Polyphemus” is more like a cut scene used purely to advance the plot. But this is a musical concept album, and the opening number would have been stronger if it was as bountiful as its companions.
The rest of the album is where The Cyclops Saga redeems itself. “Survive” integrates an accelerated tempo and electric instrumentation, manipulating the backing track of “Horse” to mimic the vigor of a battle cry. “Remember Them” takes listeners deeper into the EP’s emerging theme of sacrifice on the battlefield; it’s the darkest track on the album, a blend of rock and theater with electric guitar riffs and low notes. Despite the lyrics conveying a palpable sense of vengeance, our hero sets a limit on the bloodshed, choosing mercy in a world where killing is the easy way out. The musical emphasis on this decision, which comprises over a third of the song, fleshes out Odysseus’ very human struggle with morality.
I love the EPIC musical thus far. I think it’s clever, refreshing, and nicely executed. But it’s only the latest addition to a long line of mythology-inspired media, which raises the question—why does it feel novel if it’s a retelling of an epic thousands of years old?
Greek myths, at their core, embody the intimately moral questions and mortal elements of the human experience played out by impossible, larger-than-life characters: heroes with a fractured moral compass and an unyielding sense of martyrdom, gods and goddesses equally likely to shake the skies and squabble among themselves, and nymphs who tricked humans and monsters that devoured them. Greek mythology has taught us about hatred and love, loss and acceptance, life and death. While these myths no longer help explain the world around us as they did for the ancient Greeks, their lessons remain ever-salient. They take what we fear about being human—mortality, failure, legacy—and throw it back in our faces, softening the blow with mystical creatures and surreal imagery. That’s why Greek mythology persists, and that’s what EPIC embodies most. G
illustration by lukas soloman, layout by rory myers
13 MARCH 3, 2023
American University students call for reform in administrative response to sexual violence
BY ANGELENA BOUGIAMAS AND AMBER XIE
Content warning: This article discusses details of on-campus sexual assault.
Around 50 students, staff, and faculty gathered on Feb. 22 to protest the American University (AU) administration’s insufficient action on addressing sexual assaults on the university’s campus, renewing the campuswide protests from last fall. Student survivors gathered outside the School of International Service to speak out on their personal experiences with sexual assault and the subsequent lack of institutional support they received.
The initial push for reform began after an unidentified individual sexually assaulted a student on the all-girls floor of Leonard Hall on Oct. 31. Ten days later, over 500 hundred students participated in a walkout organized by AU seniors Lillian Frame and Emily Minster and the university’s It’s On Us chapter.
“I know survivors who have been failed by the Title IX system again and again. I’ve been hearing stories of survivors who’ve been failed in ways that I don’t even think are legal by our Title IX and failed by admin,” Julia Comino, a sophomore, student activist, and survivor at the protest, said.
Following the first walkout, student organizers created a list of demands to reform AU’s sexual assault policies, including implementing a Survivor’s Bill of Rights modeled after that of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and improving AU’s mandatory Title IX and consent training. The demands, which garnered over 1,400 signatures from students, alumni, staff, and faculty, were sent to administrators in November.
Nearly four months later, protesters report that none of the five demands have been met, and the students are back to demand action.
At the February protest, students shared how the university handled Title IX cases, highlighting their slow responses.
Mari Santos requested a room change after she was sexually harassed and stalked
by a student living on her floor. Santos received limited communication about her case's status. The situation caused her to experience insomnia and anxiety.
“I met with my community director, Title IX, and the dean of students, where I had to repeat my story over and over again only to hear, ‘I’m sorry this happened to you, there are resources to help you, but we cannot [follow through] with a no-contact order because he has not physically assaulted you,’” Santos said.
Marissa Sasso, another protester, also experienced a lack of communication from the university. After being assaulted just 36 hours after arriving at AU as a freshman, Sasso says the administration did little to investigate the assault or to place a no-contact order. She described the entire process as “dehumanizing.”
“The no-contact order was never placed. I never received any paperwork,” Sasso said. “The coordinator told me that the investigation process would be finished before the semester was over since we were only about two weeks into the semester before I agreed to proceed with an investigation. That was a lie.” In the end, the administration concluded the investigation without bringing any consequences against Sasso’s assaulter.
Following the October assault in Leonard Hall and subsequent walkout, AU’s administration created the Community Working Group on Preventing and Responding to Sexual Harassment and Violence to discuss changes to AU’s sexual assault prevention and response policies. They also responded by putting up resource stickers in a portion of bathroom stalls and beginning conversations among administrators.
“Coming together in dialogue, identifying challenges, listening to multiple perspectives, considering solutions, and creating a shared plan of action will be our focus,” AU President Sylvia Burwell said in a campuswide email in November, explaining the working group’s purpose.
So far, the working group has aimed to ensure that survivor resources from the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services are up-to-date and readily available to students, according to AU’s student newspaper, the Eagle. University administration has also sought advice from external sexual violence prevention organizations like It’s On Us. Solutions generated by the working group will eventually be submitted to the university’s board of trustees in April for approval.
But those at the protest say the university frequently substitutes meaningful action and student engagement with performative statements and ineffective working groups.
“We won’t accept just words when actions are necessary,” Shed Silman, a teaching and learning specialist at AU’s Center for Teaching, Research & Learning and on-campus staff union representative at the protest, said.
At a recent working group meeting, student organizers applied pressure on the administration. “We told them that we were sitting in a room of people who could take action,” Comino said. “We told them that we need action.”
Unsatisfied with the administration’s response to their demands, students have taken it upon themselves to pioneer change on campus. In addition to organizing protests, students have spent the last three months penning over 153 love letters to survivors, coordinating over 166 campus organizations to send a student-made resource guide detailing survivor support systems, and “handdelivering” 17 survivor stories to administration, according to Comino.
Hundreds of students, faculty, and staff have turned out to help these efforts, but students are frustrated by the need for their involvement for meaningful change to occur at all. “I’m a student who’s juggling multiple jobs, classes, multiple organizations that I’m heavily involved in,” Comino said. “We don’t have the bandwidth, but we make room. Admin said that they don't have the bandwidth to deal with this issue, [but] that’s wrong and negligent.”
“For every survivor there is a perpetrator and for every perpetrator, there are dozens of people covering for them. Change the culture, call them out, listen to survivors [and] don’t fail to be a support system,” Comino said. “Change can’t wait because we are the change.” G
Georgetown and D.C. Confidential Resources: Health Education Services (HES): firstname.lastname@example.org
Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS): (202) 687-6985; after hours, call (833) 960-3006 to reach Fonemed, a telehealth service; individuals may ask for the on-call CAPS clinician
Title IX Online Reporting Form: https://sexualassault. georgetown.edu/report/.
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NEWS 14 THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
McPherson Square editorial is a failure in compassionate journalism
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
On Feb. 15, D.C.’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services (DMHHS) conducted an encampment “cleanup” at McPherson Square, where about 74 people experiencing homelessness resided in tents. Crews tore down tents and threw away belongings, and MPD arrested two residents who refused to leave. D.C.’s policy of encampment sweeps should be recognized for what they are: attempts to displace and criminalize those experiencing homelessness.
The media response to the clearing of McPherson Square—chiefly a Feb. 10 Washington Post editorial advocating for closure—perpetuates common myths around encampments and homelessness. Using DMHHS’s claim that the eviction was intended for “public safety,” the editorial’s flawed arguments discount the voices of McPherson’s residents and prioritize D.C.’s housed population. The cleanup is an example of D.C.’s continued harmful policies towards encampments, and the editorial’s approval makes the Post complicit.
As justification for their position, the Post cites five reasons they support the McPherson encampment cleanup: it’s in the best interest of the residents, now is as good a time as any, the square needs to be reclaimed as a park, it puts nearby neighborhood residents at risk, and the encampment holds symbolic significance in its proximity to the White House.
The encampment cleanup, however, did not increase safety, support, or connection to housing for most of its 74 residents. Following the cleanup, almost two-thirds of McPherson Square’s residents remain without housing, with only two matched through the permanent housing process.
Though DMHHS’s primary goal should be helping people transition into safe and permanent housing, case managers only spent two weeks in social services engagement with encampment residents—a process that usually takes months. The cleanup was initially scheduled for April, but DMHHS mayor Wayne Turnage advocated for McPherson’s closure to be moved up due to safety concerns. The accelerated timeline meant that not only were few matched with housing, but approximately 20 residents were never approached or did not accept support.
Even for those who could be reached by case managers, not all proposed solutions actually improve their standards of living. Some residents chose to live in McPherson Square due to factors like the risk of assault and COVID-19 transmission within traditional homeless shelters; for many, living in an encampment is preferable to alternative options. The Post notes three residents died over the past six months due to exposure or drug use, but closing McPherson—where residents can be reached by medical and housing representatives— creates a “whack-a-mole” system where residents are displaced to other encampments without permanent housing.
The Post waves away arguments against clearing the encampment with the assertion that there is “no optimal time [...] to eradicate a tent encampment.” So, they argue, the city may as well do it now.
The Post’s line of thinking neglects the realities encampment residents face. Adverse weather conditions, like the sub-freezing February cold, create additional dangers for those experiencing homelessness. While the Post recognizes that some times are worse than others—the editorial calls the eased encampment enforcement during the pandemic a “smart and human decision”— the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness have not disappeared since 2020. There remains a deficit of affordable units, long waitlists for permanent housing, a shortage of case managers, and higher COVID-19 transmission rates within shelters.
But the fact remains that McPherson didn’t need to be closed at all. The Post argues that McPherson needs to be reclaimed as a park, but America’s history of public urban parks speaks to design choices made to benefit wealthy, white visitors. The prioritization of a park over McPherson’s residents is not just a class issue, but a racial justice one—over 85 percent of D.C.’s population experiencing homelessness is Black. Expanded police presence often makes public parks hostile environments that exclude lowerincome populations and people of color.
Even if the benefits of park space were shared equally, the lives of those experiencing homelessness remain far more important. Without serious, sustained work to ensure encampment residents find suitable permanent supportive housing, as well as policies to fight the economic insecurity
and institutional barriers that cause homelessness, encampment sweeps only threaten lives. Justifying the clearing of McPherson Square based on park space is impossible when human lives are at stake.
In arguing that the presence of the encampment puts residents of the surrounding area at risk of harassment, the Post reinforces dangerous assumptions and prioritizes the security of predominantly white D.C. residents. Of course, the Post’s allegations about passersby of the McPherson Square encampment experiencing harassment are concerning—though the editorial cites no statistics to confirm the reports. But real safety comes from ensuring encampment residents receive the services and support they need, which doesn’t happen through encampment removal and arrests of residents. The narrative that the McPherson encampment is a hazard to public safety plays into perceptions of people experiencing homelessness as inherently dangerous, reinforcing racist stereotypes that further marginalization.
Finally, the Post’s point that clearing McPherson Square is symbolically important due to its proximity to the White House is no argument for removing it—and, in fact, could be seen as a better argument for allowing it to remain. The destruction of real lives in favor of manicuring a false appearance so close to the seat of national power carries with it, contrary to the Post’s assertion, a far more concerning symbolism.
The Post’s editorial is not just wrong—it’s harmful. The misuse of its platform to support dangerous policies represents a failure of compassionate journalism, which ought to be a primary responsibility of reporters. Mainstream news sources like the Post hold sway over public opinion and policymaking, and their publication of articles that deprioritize the voices and experiences of those experiencing homelessness has tangible impacts.
No, it was not time to clear out the McPherson Square encampment, nor would it ever be— particularly without any real framework to protect residents. D.C. should reconsider the ways it approaches encampments, and the Post should evaluate how its dialogue perpetuates flawed, racist, and cold-blooded arguments against the city’s most vulnerable. G
15 MARCH 3, 2023 design by dane tedder