FEBRUARY 6, 2018
THE INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SINCE 1892
VOL. 129, ISSUE 27
Zingales Fields Questions on Bannon Invite BY JAKE BIDERMAN NEWS REPORTER
Several dozen students attended a town hall with Booth School of Business professor Luigi Zingales on Monday evening to voice their concerns about his decision to invite Steve Bannon to speak on campus. Students were able to ask the professor questions directly or submit them anonymously to be read aloud by fourth-year Student Government (SG) president Calvin Continued on page 2
More Inside... Professor Declines Invitation to Debate Bannon. Page 3.
Professor Luigi Zingales answers questions about his decision to invite Steve Bannon to campus yesterday.
Gov. Candidate Biss Visits
Fallout, Apology for Whip Sheet BY CAROLINE KUBZANSKY AND GRACE HAUCK NEWS REPORTER AND MULTIMEDIA EDITOR
The Law School community convened Monday for an emotional community town hall following backlash to the Edmund Burke Society’s recent whip sheet for an immigration debate, which said that immigrants bring “disease into the body politic.” The conservative parliamentary debate group has indefinitely postponed the debate, titled “Raise the Bar,” citing a “high risk of serious disturbance.” The organizer apologized Monday for the inappropriate language in the document. More than a hundred students, faculty, and staff attended Monday’s town hall. The attendance was so high organizers had to relocate from a Law School classroom to a nearby auditorium. Law Students Association (LSA) President Sean Planchard opened the LSA-hosted meeting with a call to community unity, reminding participants to keep
open minds. “None of us have to be in this room, so we are all united in that we all want to be here,” Planchard said. Planchard noted that the Burke Society—along with the People’s Collective, another parliamentary debate society—was on probation last quarter for violating the alcohol policy for student organizations. Planchard pledged that LSA would dedicate greater attention to regulating students’ posters (a paper version of the whip sheet was posted around the Law School): “Admittedly, we haven’t done a good job with that this year, and that’s something we’re actively considering.” Chairman of the Edmund Burke Society Eric Wessan immediately apologized for his organization’s actions at the beginning of the open discussion. “Before I say anything else, I want to say that I am sorry to anyone who felt attacked or belittled by this whip sheet” Wessan said. “I look around the commuContinued on page 3
...And Online Protesters, Counter-protesters Face Off
BY ANNE NAZZARO
DEPUTY NEWS EDITOR
Daniel Biss speaks to a supporter during his visit to campus. Photo of the Issue by Patrick Yeung.
Daniel Biss, a Democratic candidate for governor of Illinois, made a stop at UChicago on Friday for the first of many college campaign visits. During the event, Biss emphasized the need to challenge the status quo of governmental operations in the state of Illinois, even when the task seems daunting. “There’s a sense of inevitability and there’s a cynicism about it; there’s a view that, ‘oh my gosh, this is just how the modern economy must work,’ and what I’m here to tell you is it doesn’t have to be that way,” he said. Biss also promoted his proposal to provide tuition-free higher education in Illinois in order to provide an equal opportunity for success to young people. “In the modern economy, it’s simply not enough in most cases to be an equal participant if you don’t have some form of post-secondary education,” he said. “We have a moral Continued on page 3
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THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
Events 2/6–2/8 Today 2018 Coase Lecture: The Behavioral Law & Economics of Happiness Room II, Law School, 12:15–1:15 p.m. In order to understand how legal rules will influence behavior, it is thus vital to understand how those rules will affect happiness. Professor John P. Wilson will give the lecture. Lunch will be provided. Teach-In: Reparations, CBA, and the University Trophy Lounge, Bartlett Dining Commons, 6–7:30 p.m. Supporters of the campaign for a community benefits agreement for the Obama Presidential Center and advocates for reparations by the University of Chicago come together to draw a link between their causes. Wednesday
Advocates and opponents of Bannon’s invitation turned out Friday to make their views heard. Read more at chicagomaroon.com.
Envisioning the Future of American Religious Leadership Common Room, Swift Hall, 12–1:15 p.m. Eboo Patel, an advocate for interfaith partnerships, will speak alongside Divinity School Dean Laurie Zoloth and Dean of Students Josh Feigelson. Bring $5 to pay for a vegetarian meal. Thursday Gail Lukasik: White Like Her 57th Street Books, 5500 South Shore Drive, 6–7:30 p.m. An author and academic discusses her discovery that her mother chose to pass as white in the Jim Crow South. See more events and submit your own at chicagomaroon.com/events.
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Several Dozen Students Turned Out for Town Hall Continued from front
Cottrell. The SG Executive Slate co-hosted and moderated the town hall. Zingales opened the town hall by stressing his intention of understanding the altright movement, rather than legitimizing or promoting Bannon’s controversial viewpoints. “There were two souls in the Trump movement,” Zingales said. “There were the billionaire souls and the populist souls, and Bannon represented the populists.” He described Bannon as “able to interpret and understand a feature of the American people that we academics missed” and indicated the importance of holding Bannon accountable for “his flirting with racists.” Zingales referred to his experience growing up in 1970s Italy, during the time of the Red Brigades, a left-wing terrorist group that carried out political murders. “The Red Brigades survived and thrived,”
he recounted, “up until the rest of the political spectrum drew a line and said: ‘It’s one thing to be leftist. It’s another thing to shoot [people].’” The professor also emphasized a difference between extremist beliefs and extremist violence. “There is a line within freedom of speech,” he said. “[A]nd there is a line outside [it]—that is, hate crime and violence. That should not be tolerated.” Several students at the town hall expressed the belief that Bannon falls on the side of hate speech. One student quoted from a deposition in Bannon’s divorce proceedings, in which his wife claimed he made anti-Semitic remarks. “I think [these are] exactly the kind of things that I’m collecting to ask him to respond to,” Zingales replied. “He said that we’re not an economy, we’re a people. What I want to know is, who is in this ‘people’?
I’m an immigrant with a strong accent, so I probably don’t fit into his definition of ‘people.’” Zingales also addressed a question on whether he would invite someone like Hitler to speak. “Would I have invited Mao [Zedong], for example, to the University?” he asked rhetorically. “Probably yes. Mao killed more people than Hitler and Stalin together, but I would have a conversation with him, yes.” Zingales referenced an Italian interview in which Hitler made anti-Semitic results before his rise to power. “It would have been helpful if more people had seen early on what Hitler was made of.” Zingales welcomed student input for the upcoming Bannon event, and asked for suggestions on how to minimize potential counter-protests and violence. He mentioned the possibility of holding an open call for a student to co-moderate the debate with him.
Professor Declined Invite to Debate Bannon BY EUIRIM CHOI MANAGING EDITOR
University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen was invited to debate former Breitbart Executive Chairman Steve Bannon, according to three sources familiar with the matter. The invitation, extended by Luigi Zingales—the Booth professor who invited Bannon to campus— was turned down. According to the sources, Zingales decided to invite Cohen, a scholar whose research interests include black politics, because he thought that she could make up for his self-admitted ignorance, as a native Italian, of racial issues in America at the debate and more effectively challenge Bannon. Two of the sources claimed they heard Zingales say that Cohen expressed disinterest toward participating in a debate. When asked whether she was invited by Zingales, Cohen did not deny the invite and told The M aroon that she would never participate in such an event. “Let me be clear: I, along with many faculty, staff and students across campus staunchly oppose the invitation to have Steve Bannon speak on campus,” she said. “I would never consider legitimizing such an event with my participation.” In a statement to T he M aroon, Zingales confirmed that he had reached out
to Cohen and other faculty because he felt that it was important to have multiple perspectives represented at the debate. “The topics of globalization and immigration cannot be seen only from an economic perspective,” he said. “For this reason, I feel it is important to have a range of perspectives represented at the event. To this purpose I reached out to Prof. Cohen and many other members of the faculty.” The sources learned about Cohen being invited after attending a breakfast meeting Friday morning between Zingales and eight student representatives of four major campus organizations—J Street, UChicago College Democrats, UChicago Young Democratic Socialists of America, and Student Government (SG)—at a private room in the Quadrangle Club. Dean of Students Michele Rasmussen was also in attendance as a moderator. The meeting, which Zingales said was prompted by a protest in his class earlier this week, lasted more than an hour and involved a talk by the professor followed by a discussion where students had the opportunity to ask him questions. During the meeting, Zingales defended his decision to invite Bannon, saying that the former chief strategist in the Trump White House could speak to the significant segment of Americans who voted for Donald Trump. Zingales also cited his personal expe-
rience with the attempts to suppress free speech that accompanied the rise of radical parties in Italy, his home country, to explain why he strongly believed in Bannon’s right to speak. Zingales also dismissed the prospect of disinvitation, arguing that he thought it would allow Bannon to be seen as a victim. The sources said that students in the room pushed back on Zingales by saying that they mainly opposed Bannon’s invitation because they thought his visit would be harmful to members of the University and local community—not because they questioned his right to speak. The students said that they feared, in particular, that an event on campus featuring Bannon would draw white supremacists and fascists to Hyde Park, leading to violence and disruption. Fourth-year and SG President Calvin Cottrell, who was in attendance, suggested that the Bannon debate be held outside of Hyde Park to make the event less disruptive. He proposed the Gleacher Center, the Booth School’s downtown campus, as an option. In response, Zingales said he could not yet commit to a particular location, as the administration was handling the logistics and security of the event. A longer version of this article can be found online at chicagomaroon.com.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
Burke Society Chairman Apologizes Continued from front
nity and am upset by the harm done. It is bad for the Law School community. It’s bad for dialogue and debate. It is clear this sheet has caused people to feel attacked and belittled, and I am truly sorry. One person told me that some of the arguments made were not merely parody, but mirrored ugly sentiments. Given people’s immediate and visceral reaction to those sentiments, I see that using them was a mistake.” Wessan’s statement was met with applause. Planchard then opened the floor to students and faculty. One law student who did not state her name articulated the pain she felt in response to the Society’s whip sheet. She emphasized that student uproar was about much more than a single controversial advertisement. “This is about the fact that dozens of people attend [Burke Society] meetings, and that these authors have been writing these whip sheets for 29 years,” she said. “I feel [that] this institution has failed me, and I don’t want it to fail others.” This student, among others, thanked Wessan for his public apology. Other students emphasized the unwelcoming culture of the Law School overall, referencing incidents of harassment, cyberbullying, and in-groupism. One student even noted that the town hall stage itself featured mostly white male speakers. Law professor Todd Henderson—the only professor to speak at the event—offered a tempered response. He began by affirming his liberal leanings. “First of all, I voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton,” he said. He then stressed his objection to po-
litical showmanship on both sides of the aisle, reminding students that possessing conservative views can also be isolating. In this case, Henderson felt that student reactions to the satirically-intended whip sheet were humorless. “[The whip sheet was] merely mimicking the orangutan that is our president,” he said, causing the auditorium to erupt in laughter. Some students, however, found this “mere mimicking” highly problematic. One student, who said she identifies as multiracial, added, “Words can be violence within themselves.” In an open letter to Law School Deans Thomas Miles and Shannon Bartlett after the town hall, Planchard derided the administration for an “abdication of leadership” on this issue. “It should not have been LSA that played the organizing role for today’s Town Hall,” Planchard wrote. Reached by phone, Miles told T he M aroon that he will speak on this issue at a forum on Thursday, and he said he was pleased with student and faculty turnout today. He said it was a productive opportunity for students to engage, “and it provided me and the administrators at the Law School an opportunity to listen.” In a formal statement released on Monday, Miles described this past week’s events as “concerning,” explaining that difficult academic discourse thrives best in “environments of inclusion.” “Our commitment to free expression requires that we allow uncivil speech, but it does not require that we celebrate it,” he said. Asked if he condemns the whip sheet, Miles referred T he M aroon to his past comments.
Biss Talks Free Higher Education Proposal Continued from front
obligation to create access to free higher education for every single person.” Biss addressed those who would say that the state does not have the budget to provide such a service. “We’re being told this in the richest society the world has ever known. We’re also being told that here in Illinois the state is broke. Guys, Illinois is rich. The state government is broke,” he said. “The people who are benefiting realize that if we actually tax them fairly, they won’t have $3.5 billion anymore, they’ll only have $3 billion. Biss arrived at his event after first making an appearance at the protest of Steve Bannon outside Booth that occurred earlier that afternoon. “One of the interesting things about the protest is that we were protesting the fact that Bannon had been invited [to Booth], and the campus police were there to make sure that nobody stood on the steps, because that’s where private property begins,” he said. “So just to recapitulate: Bannon gets invited in, but the protesters are forced off of campus property. So that, I think, tells you something about pretty fascinating about their priorities.” Biss taught at the University as an assistant math professor from 2002 to 2008 before entering politics. “The experience of teaching is standing in front of a room and talking while listening and trying to figure out how to communicate with everybody regardless of their background, and making sure that you’re not leaving certain people out.... I think that’s a really important foundation for someone to be in government,” he said. “I have the really strong view that job number one is to make sure you’re representing the entire public.”
In the Q&A portion of the event, graduate student Claudio Gonzales asked Biss about his opinion on a recent racist, transmisogynistic campaign ad released by Jeanne Ives, a Republican candidate for Illinois governor. Biss had seen the commercial only a few minutes before the event. “I was just overcome by two distinct feelings: The first is that the fact that we’re somehow living in a society in 2018 where it’s not considered unacceptable to engage in explicit racism is a pretty severe step backwards,” he said. “Because I don’t think that ad would’ve been published five years ago by someone running for governor of the Republican party in a state the size of Illinois. I feel really, really concerned about what that says about where they are.” “The second thing I thought was, thank God we’re going to have this conversation now,” Biss continued. “Let’s understand that some very profound disease has been brought out into the open, and let’s do our best to actually cure the disease.” Biss’s talk was preceded by short introductions by student activists, including fourth-year Anna Wood, a coordinator for University of Chicago Student Action, Chris Stamper, a graduate student in the Biological Sciences Division who is involved with Graduate Students United, and thirdyear Anjali Dhillon, an organizer for Fair Budget UChicago. State Representative Will Guzzardi also gave a short introductory speech for Biss, addressing the attack ads about Biss released by the other Democratic candidate for governor, billionaire J.B. Pritzker. “When I saw those ads, I got a big smile on my face,” Guzzardi said. “Because what it said to me is that Daniel is running a hell of a campaign and these guys are scared.”
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK COLLECTION The Moral Theology of Aquinas:
Is It For Individuals?
Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP Theologian of the Pontifical Household a lecture by
Open to 2nd & 4th-year students with a theme-focused collection $1000 award for 2nd-year winner $2000 award for 4th-year winner
DEADLINE March 16, 2018 APPLY lib.uchicago.edu/brooker
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 4:30PM Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture Hall Free and open to the public. Registration is requested at www.lumenchristi.org. Presented by the Lumen Christi Institute. Cosponsored by the Theology Club at the Divinity School and the Hiledgard of Bingen Society. Fr. Wojciech Giertych, OP, is Professor of Moral Theology at the Angelicum in Rome, where he has taught since 1994. In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Giertych the Theologian to the Pontifical Household - a position he currently holds under Pope Francis.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
The Whip Hand The Edmund Burke Society’s Proposed Debate on Immigration Does Not Deserve Sincere Engagement BY OSAMA ALKHAWAJA MAROON CONTRIBUTOR
The Law School is airing the newest episode of Should We Encourage Racists to Insult Minority Communities to Satisfy Our Free Speech Fetish? and this time it’s starring the Edmund Burke Society. For those who don’t know, the Edmund Burke Society is a self-described “conservative debating society,” where conservatives gather to discuss “ideas seriously in an amiable atmosphere.” Most people just know it as the place for racists to convene and mock minority groups with full impunity. The society hosts events every quarter, and their newest so-called debate should give you an idea of where this reputation comes from. The group was planning to discuss immigrants in a debate that has now been indefinitely postponed, and the original flyer advertising the debate is included with this article. In the flyer, the group refers to immigrants as “wretched refuse” and says that “allowing foreign bodies to enter is inviting disease into the body politic.” They complain about policies that “admit a million immigrants every year, diluting national unity” and in the past, they have gleefully referred to Obama as the “Kenyan in-chief.” These are the pressing issues that some of the sharpest legal minds in our county are engaged in. M. Todd Henderson, a tenured professor at the Law School, is actually validating this
event by proudly opening up the discussion. The Law School is often a safe haven for these types of antiquated in-your-face forms of bigotry. A few weeks ago, we gave a platform to a speaker who regularly declares the superiority of “white culture.” The Burke debate first came to the attention of most law students when a Muslim student emailed the flyer to the Law School listserv. She was rightfully angry that a recognized student organization referred to her family as trash and disease. Several emails followed in which students declared their personal indignation at the flyer. I sent a message markedly different than the rest. I personally insulted the leadership of the organization in a quid pro quo level of debasement. He called my family trash. I responded in kind. I may have crossed the line, but I refused to honestly engage with individuals who are unwilling to acknowledge the basic humanity of my people. That’s a line I hardly ever draw. I constantly engage with people I disagree with. In fact, I’ve been criticized for over-engaging and over-indulging. As a Palestinian, I’ve had countless conversations with people who sometimes consider my identity a demographic threat. I’ve given them the benefit of the doubt even when others say they don’t deserve it, because I know most people are genuine. If they espouse hatred, it usually comes from a place of ignorance or fear. That’s why I am willing to dis-
cuss damn near any issue. But the Edmund Burke Society does not deserve this level of respect. That’s what the free speech purists and the respectability police don’t seem to understand: How you frame an issue is arguably more impactful than debating the issue itself. If someone invites me to a debate titled “Are Muslims Terrorists?” this presupposes that it is a valid position to believe that we are. As a Muslim immigrant, this is not an issue of my personal feelings. Normally, I wouldn’t care how a snotty group of privileged white men pleasure themselves within the confines of their ivory tower. Their racism is a toxic flaw that reflects their personal character, but we don’t live in a vacuum. The issue they are purportedly “debating” is one that has real life consequences, and the framing of their debate is part of the reason bigots like Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller have found refuge in the White House. Stokely Carmichael once said, “If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power.” The U.S. government is currently using its power to crackdown on immigrants, emboldened in large part by racist views like the ones espoused by the Edmund Burke Society. That is why I am offended. I am offended that my colleagues, future lawyers, professors, judges, and politicians, find this type of
speech acceptable. I am offended that I have been asked to engage with this type of conduct with anything but complete and utter revulsion. I am writing this in response to the people who expect my community to respectfully engage with these bigots. 99.9 percent of society deserves genuine engagement. My community has taken part and will continue to take part in the civil discourse
and exchange of ideas that comes with living in a diverse society, filled with often conflicting but valid viewpoints. The members of the Edmund Burke Society are part of the .01 percent that deserve neither our respect nor our time. And they definitely do not deserve continued funding and validation from the Law School. Osama Alkhawaja is a firstyear student at the law school.
Trolling in the Age of Trump Adam Thorp, Editor-in-Chief Hannah Edgar, Deputy Editor-in-Chief Euirim Choi, Managing Editor Stephanie Liu, Managing Editor
Trump Supporters are More Interested in Provocation Than In Meaningful Dialogue.
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Natalie Denby Even in one of the most liberal cities in America, it’s becoming increasingly hard to get by without witnessing a constant onslaught of bizarre and needless political provocation. This is especially true in university settings — recall the posters on this campus attacking student members of SJP, or the flagrantly anti-Semitic posters at UIC. The provocation extends beyond university campuses, however; a few weeks ago, a friend at O’Hare saw a man stand in front of a gate and bellow, “Donald Trump is president! Thank you all, for making America great again!” As you might expect, the man appeared more interested in confrontation than with spreading
the apparently fantastic news. In my own hometown in northern Chicagoland, there’s a house that has been doubling as a belligerent political billboard for over a year. This house hosts a massive (and frankly grotesque) display in its yard, involving a life-size Trump mannequin sitting next to several comparable historical figures (including Lincoln and Washington). If that isn’t quite garish enough, when I last saw it, the display had been fitted with floodlights, just to make sure that you could see it clearly at all hours of night. It started as a very strange, albeit non partisan, Halloween display with Trump, Obama, and the Clintons, but when neighbor-
hood kids began vandalizing the Trump doll in particular, the other presidents vanished and the display adopted a decidedly more confrontational tone. That has everyone thrilled. So thrilled, we wake up to find the entire thing defaced on a pretty regular basis. It’s always fixed promptly, the destroyed mannequins subbed out immediately for new ones, each with an expected lifespan of a few days, at most. That fact is disturbing in itself – the “Trump House” inhabitants evidently have amassed a serious inventory of life-sized presidential mannequins. I don’t know how many Americans can claim to bulk order from specialty mannequin stores often enough to court financial ruination, but I’m guessing the answer would be “not many.” T he ex traord i na r y persistence of the Trump House Continued on page 5
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
“The word ‘Trump’ is a crude weapon for some, and a catch-all rallying cry for others” Continued from page 4 display has led to significant speculation about the motives behind it. For the first few months, we tried to offer the benefit of the doubt. The display was just an eccentric commentary on the state of the world, or some kind of free speech statement. Or maybe there was some sort of sincere ideological conviction behind it, which would make its creators at best politically foolish, but hey, at least they’d be sincerely foolish. But the longer the Trump display stays up, the more obvious it becomes to me that communicating a coherent set of values has little to do with it— that a consistent platform of values has little to do with many of the bizarre confrontations people pick, especially in areas that are overwhelmingly liberal. There’s something particularly telling about choice of venue combined with the utter lack of substance; far-right provocateurs are extremely fond of pulling these combative, extemporaneous stunts in places where they know their audience will be consistently incensed. It’s not simply that these arguments tend to be aimed at unreceptive ears. These provocateurs use the word “Trump” as both a shield and a slur, as with a group of Indiana high school students at a basketball game who chanted things like “Trump, Trump, Trump” and “speak English” at Latino students on the opposing team. That was not an isolated incident. The New York Times reported that the “Trump chant,” often accompanied by a slew of anti-immigrant or racist hate speech, has become increasingly common across the U.S. The word “Trump” is a crude weapon for some, and a catch-all rallying cry for
others, even as it becomes readily apparent that the Trump administration stands for little and accomplishes less. The Trump House display, for instance, remained unaltered at the end of the campaign, when Trump repeatedly backtracked and flip-flopped on a number of issues. It stayed up after the Access Hollywood tapes were leaked. It stayed up after every major legislative failure and through every policy backtrack (a Mexico-funded border wall, the expulsion of all undocumented immigrants, the revival of the coal industry—the list goes on.). All the while, its “message,” if it could be called that, never became anything more than the lawn-display version of an unprovoked middle finger. A true partisan might have wavered at some point in there. The Trump display, however, is less concerned with policy than it is with telling the world that nothing can induce its creators to take it down. As with every provocateur who uses the word “Trump” as a jeer, or who feels sufficiently emboldened by Trump’s election to douse liberal neighborhoods with impromptu, incendiary taunts, the point of the Trump House is twofold: to convey a sense of impunity and to make being in its vicinity profoundly unpleasant for everyone who disagrees with it. What’s become apparent to liberal areas and institutions across the nation is that this sort of behavior represents the next step in the rapid evolution of trolling. It may have once been the case that political trolls hid beneath the relative anonymity of the Internet or within groups of like-minded people. The proliferation of Trump chants and Trump-inspired
hate, usually in person and often aimed at students, however, reflects a departure from that tradition. It’s rooted in the idea that Trump’s election is sufficient license for trolls to graduate from spewing hate online to shouting it in hostile territory. The truly disturbing part is just how many people consider that an enticing opportunity. It’s hardly an encouraging sign that so many view their political preferences as
something closer to a cudgel than a coherent worldview. Although vapid belligerence is clearly not a new phenomenon, its sudden rise marks a deterioration in what we use political expression for, as clashes become an end in themselves rather than a means to communicate actual beliefs. Natalie Denby is a third-year in the College majoring in public policy studies.
ARTS Melnikov Performs Virtuosic Rendition of Shostakovich Fugues BY RENA SLAVIN ARTS STAFF
Last Sunday afternoon, virtuoso Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov performed at Mandel Hall for an extraordinary performance of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. Melnikov is a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Lev Naumov, nicknamed “Godfather of Russian piano school.” Naumov himself was a student of Heinrich Neuhaus, another pillar of the Russian piano school, giving Melnikov enviable musical lineage. Since first recording this Shostakovich cycle in 2010, it has become a sort of trademark piece. Without denying him the versatility which he has earned and proven with many other great works, it must be recognized that his interpretation of 24 Preludes and Fugues is truly nonpareil. The structure of Shostakovich’s work—one of prelude-fugue pairs in all 24 keys—is a reference to Bach’s Well-Tem-
pered Clavier, which has been dubbed everything from “the pianist’s daily bread” to “the pianist’s Old Testament” (relative to Beethoven’s 32 Piano Sonatas’ “New Testament”). In the centuries since its completion, the Well-Tempered Clavier has influenced many composers, with Shostakovich’s cycle being one of the greatest, though it is quite rarely performed. It is easy to play piano (quietly), but very difficult to make that piano sound beautiful. Throughout the evening, Melnikov displayed the versatility of his piano approach, his exquisite tone quality captivating the hall. Throughout 24 Preludes and Fugues, he consistently surprised the listeners with the variety of color that can be achieved while still remaining within the realm of piano; playful as in the G major and A-flat major fugues, melancholic as in the E minor prelude, and somber as in the C minor prelude, to name a few. The passages of continual motion in the A minor prelude and the B-flat major prelude were executed perfectly, but what was
truly remarkable in these sections was the tone. Never once did the running notes seem mechanical, nor were they floating (not necessarily a bad effect, but probably inappropriate for this style). Instead, Melnikov found a perfect balance between precision and tenderness. If a criticism must be made, then it would be an understandable and potentially inevitable one. The structure of a fugue involves contrapuntal (two or more independent voices) works based upon a main subject. This subject is introduced at the beginning of the work and remains interwoven throughout. With three or more voices, at least one of the hands is playing more than one melodic line at any given instance, making it incredibly difficult to bring out a specific voice. At a few points in the 24 Preludes and Fugues, the main lines were perhaps a little harsh. This is, however, the lesser of two evils; had all the voices been played at the same volume, the counterpoint would have been unintelligible.
Melnikov’s approach to piano is truly stunning, and it is likely what sets him apart from other artists. The concert came to a close with the D minor prelude-fugue pair: a tremendous ending whose scope could rival that of orchestral finales. For the first time, Melnikov broke his solemn, nearly rigid posture, and used his frame to produce an even greater sound. The maestoso climax of the 24th fugue is all the more satisfying when it is preceded by the entirety of Shostakovich’s brilliant cycle. These preludes and fugues are rarely programmed, and it is even less common to hear the entire cycle in concert, not least because of the massive mental and physical stamina that is required to last the nearly three hour-long performance time. In his performance, Melnikov displayed his exceptional technique and profound artistic mastery of Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues.
Hyde Park Art Center Has Global Reach BY ZOE BEAN ASSOCIATE ARTS EDITOR
The Hyde Park Art Center, just a short distance from the main campus, cannot rightfully be called a gallery, museum, or studio. Its unique function as a gathering space for artists and the community means that it truly is an art center, complete with a constant rotation of exhibits by local and international artists. The Art Center also holds art classes, residency programs,
free public events, and professional development opportunities. Currently, eight exhibitions are on display, ranging from ongoing wall paintings inspired by Greek mythology to a national forest installation that explores our relationship with the ecosystem. Mining Basin (Hauts-de-France) is a collection of photographs by sociologist and UChicago alum David Schalliol (A . M. ’04). The exhibition was commissioned as part of a residency exchange between the Hyde Park Art
Center and the F rench Centre Regional de la Photographie. The photographs are large high-resolution odes to Hauts-de-France, a northern region of France deeply affected by the mining industry. There is no trace of the French archetype here—no charming boulevards or pleasing European cityscapes—yet the work reads as more intimate a love letter to France than any of the above. Some photographs capture the landscape, such as one of a verdant grassy slope with an old wagonnet and
some street signs, framed by a looming industrial building in the background. Others capture the people of Hauts-deFrance, such as one eye-catching portrait of a young man’s face splattered with mud. Schalliol’s vivid photography invites the viewer closer. Upon a second, third, or fourth look, the gritty details that could be overlooked from a cursory glance begin to emerge from the austere subject matter. A large gallery space and secContinued on page 6
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
“Every exhibition featured at the...Art Center raises questions about community, politics, and sense of self” Continued from page 5
ond-story catwalk are currently occupied by the Edward Hines National Forest. The wooden beams and biopolymer paint of the installation create a structure that feels otherworldly. Delicate gauzy polymer shapes evoke an extraterrestrial scene, while the ramshackle beams through which they interweave seem more like a hastily
Courtesy of the Hyde Park Art Center Polymer and beam structure by Sara Black and Raewyn Martyn
built treehouse or half-constructed structure. Without an explanation, the “forest” feels strange yet aesthetically pleasing, but the accompanying pamphlet raises questions about the politics of ecology. Chicago-based artist Sara Black and New Zealand–based artist Raewyn Martyn created the installation from lumber and cellulose infected by the Diplodia pinea fungus, an artifact from outdated lumber practices that spread the virus across the globe through the trade of infected nursery plants. The installation is modeled after a National Forest in that it ponders past, present, and future land use. Bill Walker: Urban Griot, curated by Juarez Hawkins, features rare works by the prolific South Side artist, famous for his Wall of Respect mural Courtesy of Hyde Park Art Center that inspired countless others. This exhibition features his works on paper, “Le Wagonnet” from Mining Basin (Hauts-de-France) by David Schalliol vibrant illustrations rich with symbolism of the problems faced by Chicago In addition to these exhibitions, the functions as the door to the school and during the ’70s and ’80s —problems Hyde Park A rt Center also features studios. Embedded and Wall of Now that strikingly resonate with today’s a film by French filmmaker Justine are two colorful murals, one inside and political turmoil. The drawings are Pluvinage from the same residence ex- one splashed across the exterior of the weighty; Walker used bold primary change as Mining Basin, which depicts A rt Center itself. Every exhibition colors to highlight Chicago’s many di- the stories of a diverse group of Chi- featured at the Hyde Park Art Center vides: cultural, racial, and religious. cago women with the common thread raises questions about community, polHis choice of texture and text, specif- of resilience. In a stairwell, visitors itics, and sense of self, but no two are ically in the series titled For Blacks can find Kay Rosen’s Don’t Look Back, entirely alike. Come for the adjoining Only is striking; one could stand in minimalist wall paintings that read café Bridgeport Coffee, and stay for the front of an illustration for hours and “Orpheus” and “Eurydice” in shocking art. only begin to unravel the layers of lime-green and white. Immergence is meaning. a repurposed vending machine that
Gary Oldman Shines in Churchill Biopic Darkest Hour BY WLADIMIR SARMIENTO MAROON CONTRIBUTOR
Twenty minutes or so into Darkest Hour, something strange happens. It’s not the plot, since everything there is standard biopic fare with the main character fighting to overcome those who doubt him. It’s not the cinematography, which is as impressive as is expected for an Oscar contender in 2018. No, what happens is that the lead actor exits the movie. And Winston Churchill takes his place. Gary Oldman, who “plays” Churchill (although I suspect becomes might be the better verb here), has long been hailed as one of the most versatile actors today. He can disappear into wild and subdued supporting characters alike, playing Sirius Black in one movie and Dracula in another without making you doubt for a second that he was born to play both roles. The lead role in Darkest Hour, then, seems custom-made for him. Oldman, no stranger to excruciatingly long make-up sessions, submitted to five hours a day in the make-up chair to transform into the iconic British prime minister. A notoriously dedicated method actor, Oldman allegedly gave himself nicotine poisoning after smoking $20,0 0 0 worth of cigars during the shooting of the film. But even those familiar with the actor’s skills in transformative acting could not have expected the level of immersion he provides to the role. I guess he just got tired of never winning Oscars (he was nominated for his role in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in 2012), because in Darkest Hour he gives one of the best performances of his long career. Twenty minutes in, a switch went off in my brain; I could no longer see Gary Oldman on screen, only the larg-
er-than-life person he was portraying. And larger-than-life the portrayal was. It was impossible not to feel a deep sense of British pride when Churchill delivered his famous speeches to Parliament, urging the country to continue fighting against the Nazis even though all hope seemed lost. His interactions with his war council felt accurate to everything anyone has ever heard about the legendary man, effortlessly switching between cracking jokes and angry berating. True to his versatility, Oldman also brilliantly captured the softer side of Churchill, particularly in his interactions with his wife ( K ristin Scott Thomas from The English Patient, Only God Forgives). These subdued aspects of the character are crucial and heightened the impression that one is actually watching Winston Churchill rather than an accurate caricature. There is a scene that takes place on the London Underground which is a particularly good example of this; he sits among the passengers, shaking hands, kissing babies and asking ordinary Brits how they felt about the war. It captures the spirit of the character so fully that it almost makes one forget the scene almost certainly never happened in real life. However, herein lies the very problem that prevents this movie from being truly amazing. The whole film feels like a platform on which to showcase Oldman’s acting talent, and nothing more. Sadly, Darkest Hour failed to create much meaningful interpersonal drama for most of the characters, offering up a somewhat dry plot. To see this, one need to look no further than Churchill’s secretary (Lily James). She is set up as an important part of the plot’s development early on but is quickly reduced to not much more than a passive set of
eyes through which the audience can witness Churchill’s genius. Her character barely evolves throughout the film, remaining the loyal woman on the powerful man’s side, without much depth. The film seemingly tries to tell us that she was instrumental in writing some of the famous historical speeches in the film, but we don’t see enough indication of this in the plot itself or in the way she is treated by the characters around her. Then, there’s the problem of the film’s conclusion. It resolves the political drama with what comes down to the magical power of the main character’s oration. Churchill may have possessed that magical oration, for all we know, but having all of his opponents
instantly change their minds after one good speech does not make for a satisfying conclusion to the film. The script would have undoubtedly benefited from extending the runtime by some 10 minutes to show more nuance and complexity in Churchill’s conflict resolution. Near the end of the film, one of the members of Churchill’s war council says that “he weaponized the English language.” Ultimately, I wish the screenwriters had weaponized the English language to make the story about something more than Churchill’s aptitude at writing speeches. As it stands, the movie feels like a somewhat empty shell envisioned for the sole purpose of finally earning Gary Oldman a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actor.
Courtesy of Jack English/Focus Features Gary Oldman presents a nuanced portrayal of the lionesque British prime minister without falling into the caricatures that his larger-than-life presence invites.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
Meghan Babbe Steals the (Talk) Show at Second City BY DEBLINA MUKHERJEE MAROON CONTRIBUTOR
My junior year of high school, a friend of mine made my teacher reschedule a test in our Government and Politics class because we and another friend were going to see the show Maury taped live. Maury is probably best known for the eponymous host’s catchphrase, “You’re not the father!” which he shouts when the results of the DNA test are revealed. The audience, unfailingly, is shocked that the man in question is not the father. We had a great time. So it greatly disappointed me to discover that Chicago does not have quite the same TV tape–viewing culture as New York. The Windy City, as I am discovering, prefers its entertainment in the live variety. Identity Heist Starring Meghan Babbe, performed at the Second City, finds its niche somewhere
between Chicago and New York, with a live show modeled after an ’80s late-night show taping. The Second City has a pretty grand tradition of one-person productions. Membership is a rite of passage for the people who will be on Saturday Night Live in five years, a sign of talent deep in the comedy trenches, close to being whisked up to the major leagues. Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch did a show at the Second City back in the ’90s called Dratch and Fey and it was instrumental in getting them on to SNL. Meghan Babbe does not fall short of that mantle in Identity Heist. Babbe, who cut her comedic chops at the Second City and Reductress, is an honest host and the linchpin on which the production turns. While the show’s premise—a talk show set in the alternative ’60s, in which President Jackie Kennedy has ushered in an era of unprec-
edented female dominance—seems a little zany at first, Babbe’s exciting setting and punchy dialogue with her Andy Richter– type co-host, grounds the show and lets its comic genius shine. She’s almost Samantha Bee–like. Aside from the obvious similarity of being women hosting late-night shows, they both have a similarly feminist undertone, and a kind of oh-how-the-tables-have-turned sense of humor about their uncharacteristic power. “People are going to lose their jobs if this guest is not found,” she says to her pretty-boy secretary with barely concealed frustration. “People are going to have to go back to their jobs as retirement home lifeguards.” But while Bee shines when she skewers politicians and bureaucratic incompetence, Babbe’s true bread and butter is in her interviews. That is to say, her guests are what tru-
ly make Babbe’s show. Babbe’s secretary playing the guest he lost had good lines (“I like sticker art and grout work”) as does the British-accented Rachel More (“Sorry about the colonies”). Babbe’s straight-woman personality is the perfect Letterman-like counterweight to all the absurdity she sits across from at her desk. She offers sound advice (“You know what they call the last-ranked person in medical school? Doctor”) that her guests play effortlessly off of (“Yes, we’ve all made it”). And lest these spoilers deter you from going, the guests change every week so seeing this show is a who’s who among up-and-coming Chicago comedians. Overall, the show is kind of like the hitand-run of comedy. The jokes are primed and delivered in a way that’ll keep you discovering new humor the entire ride home. And if that doesn’t sound enticing, go to the show anyway! It changes every week.
EXHIBIT [A]rts TUESDAY The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race Seminary Co-Op, 6 p.m., Free. Iranian-American sociologist Neda Maghbouleh will discuss her latest book about racial politics as an Iranian-American, alongside Ph.D. student and writer Alex Shams. FRIDAY MODA Ticket Sales
UChicago Arts Box Office, 12 p.m. Don’t miss your chance to secure tickets for UChicago’s annual fashion show, which features student designers and models. Objectionable: A Courtroom Farce Logan 501, 7:30 p.m., $5. Watch UChicago Commedia dell’Arte as they put on their quarterly show. This winter’s show is titled Objectionable: A Courtroom Farce and will be complete with their defining mix of masks and improvisation. UT God of Carnage Logan Center Theater East. 7:30 p.m., $6
advance, $8 at door. University Theater will kick off their production of God of Carnage, Yasmina Reza’s Tony Award-winning play about the escalation of a playground fight. The 58th Annual UChicago Folk Festival Various locations, Friday 8 p.m.–Saturday 10 p.m., $11 student. This year’s folk festival presents a lineup of musicians playing old-time bluegrass, electric blues, western swing, and more, as well as a full day of free music and dance work-
shops on Saturday. For an exact schedule of events, visit uofcfolk.org. SATURDAY Art Institute University Partner Day Art Institute of Chicago, 1–5 p.m., Free. UChicago Arts Pass and UCIJAM present Art Institute University Partner Day, a free afternoon at the Art Institute featuring faculty art tours, panel discussions, and student art talks, alongside peers from other Chicagoland colleges.
SPORTS Maroons Continue to Make Strides MEN’S BASKETBALL
BY ANNA ROSE SPORTS STAFF
The track and field teams’ performances this past weekend at the two-day Windy City Indoor Invitational were definitely one for the books. With the men’s team placing second out of 12 teams and the women’s team stealing first out of 10 teams, the Maroons are making a name for themselves. The men won four individual event titles, and the women won five. The men’s event winners included third-year Ben Chaimberg in the 800-meter, fi rst-year Kiyan Tavangar in the 3,000-meter, fourth-year Nathan Downey in the pole vault, and second-year Alexander Scott in the shot put. The women’s event winners included second-years Lucy Kenig-Ziesler in the 5,000-meter, Robin Peter in the 60-meter hurdles, Mary Martin in the long jump, and Isabel Garon in the pole vault. The meet also consisted of a pentathlon, an athletic event that includes shot put, long jump, high jump, 60-meter hurdles, and the 800-meter run. Second-year Laura Darcey competed in the pentathlon for the Maroons, sweeping all five events, placing fi rst, and fi nishing more than 400 points ahead of the second-place finisher from Hope College. Darcey commented on her excitement this past weekend and on her pride in her team’s performance. “I think that the team had a really solid weekend, perform-
ing well over all of the events,” Darcey said. “We’re improving week by week, and it’s really exciting to watch. The most exciting part of the weekend for me was watching Robin Peter in the 60-meter hurdles. She ran an incredible time and is knocking on the door of what she did last year.” Darcey also commented on her personal performance after leading her team to a fi rst-place win. “I’m happy with how I performed this weekend. I know where there is room to improve, and hopefully I can build on my performance and score higher in the national meet. My personal goal is to gain confidence in the 800. I ran a solid time, but to be a contender in the national meet, I need to be running faster,” Darcey said. The team’s trajectory moving forward is certainly pointed upward. With more important meets in view, the Maroons are practicing and preparing. The Maroons aim to work on improving a little bit each day. “The team’s goal this season continues to be the conference,” Darcey said. “Each week, performances have been getting better. We are all working towards the common goal of taking the title in every meet and ultimately at the end of the season.” On February 10, the track and field teams will travel to UW–Whitewater to compete in the Midwest Invite, where they hope to continue paving their way to a conference title.
THE CHICAGO MAROON - FEBRUARY 6, 2018
SPORTS Bounce Back for Maroons MEN’S BASKETBALL
BY THOMAS GORDON SPORTS STAFF
The Maroon men’s basketball team had a packed weekend with a repeat of last week’s games. This constituted a Friday night match against No. 15 ranked Emory and a Sunday matinee against Rochester. Considering their last tightly-played game against the Emory Eagles in which they only lost by five points, the Maroons were hoping to be able to pull off the upset at Ratner. In a closely contested first half, both teams completed runs to trade leads. The Maroons came out on top at the end of the half with a slim two-point margin. The Eagles started off the second half 10–2 to claim control of the game. UChicago put up a fight to come back within three points with five minutes remaining, but they could not keep up the momentum, and Emory took charge for the rest of the game. The Maroons ended up losing by the same margin as last week, with another tight five-point loss to the Eagles. Unfortunately, UChicago was unable to get over the hump to pull off the upset. The biggest edge for Emory in the game was that Emory’s bench outscored the Maroons’ bench by 17 points. The balanced scoring output by the Eagles was enough to put them on top as the final buzzer sounded. Luckily, the Maroons had another game last weekend to put their tough loss behind them. The Sunday matinee against Rochester was the perfect opportunity for the team to regain their confidence, considering UChicago won the earlier matchup at Rochester by seven points. Similarly to the Emory match, the Maroons and the YellowJackets had a tight start during the first half, with both teams
Third-year Justin Jackson rises up to make a basket. tied at 16 with seven minutes left in the half. This is when UChicago took charge of the half to go into the break with a healthy 10-point lead. The momentum carried over through the start of the second half, with the Maroons scorching the nets with their hot shooting. The team claimed a 19-point lead with just over five minutes left. That is when the YellowJackets made UChicago
start to sweat as they put together a 25–9 run to close the lead down to three points with only 18 seconds remaining. The Maroons’ free throw shooting came in clutch to win the game by a score of 90–83, claiming another seven-point win over Rochester and sweeping the season series for the first time since 2015. Justin Jackson, a third-year guard,
was happy with his team’s resilience in overcoming their earlier loss. “Friday was a tough loss considering we had Emory down the stretch, but we regrouped Saturday at practice and got a good team win Sunday vs. Rochester,” Jackson said. Overall, it was a competitive weekend for the team, which should give the Maroons momentum into next weekend.
Strong Weekend for South Siders WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
BY DIESTEFAO LOMA SPORTS STAFF
With a 72– 63 victory over Emory University and an 80–70 victory over the University of Rochester this past weekend, the University of Chicago women’s basketball team remains atop the UAA standings, recording their 16th straight win. The Maroons started off by setting the tone in their first match, leading the Eagles 18–14 after the first quarter. By halftime, the Maroons extended the lead to 36–29, with third-year Olariche Obi having secured another double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in that short span of time. In the third quarter, the Emory Eagles were determined to erase this deficit and went on a small run in which they outscored the Maroons 19–15 during that
quarter, leading to a score of 51–48 in the Maroons’ favor. As the fourth quarter unfolded, the Eagles mounted a comeback, and their lowest deficit was by two points, 57–55, with less than seven minutes remaining. UChicago responded with Obi scoring as the shot clock went down. A critical steal led to fourth-year Elizabeth Nye scoring a three-pointer to extend UChicago’s lead to seven. Second-year Taylor Lake closed the game after blocking a layup attempt and following up with scoring two free throws. Despite struggling from the field, shooting only 32.8 percent (64–21), the Maroons maintained pressure in order to force 22 turnovers from Emory. Obi finished with 21 points and 18 rebounds, and second-year Mia Farrell scored 12 points. The matchup against Rochester was highlighted by Lake’s 25 points and seven rebounds. From the start, the YellowJack-
Women’s Basketball Men’s Basketball Tennis
Friday Friday Friday
Opponent NYU NYU Denison
half of conference play is to take every game as an opportunity to better ourselves and find out how good of a team we really can be. It’s exciting to know that we still make mistakes even in the best of games and have so much room to continue to grow and improve throughout the rest of the season.” She added, “Having talented teammates is the sole reason we are having so much success. No matter what team you’re on during practice, you are still going against the best and competing at a high level. By pushing each other during practice, it makes it easy to carry that intensity over into games. That’s definitely something special about our team: It’s that you can’t just shut down one player because we have a whole 12 more players just as talented and able to contribute just as much.” The Maroons will face off against NYU on February 9 at 6 p.m.
ets presented a tough challenge for the Maroons, due to their ability to dominate rebounds with ease. This would not deter Lake, who led the offense in terms of aggression and pressure. By the end of the first quarter, the Maroons led 24–20. With the start of the third quarter, Rochester closed in with the score at 44– 43. It was a close game until the fourth, where UChicago shined. They went on an 8–0 run, with the offense continuing to go to the free throw line with ease. Second-year Miranda Burt closed the game by scoring back-to-back layups. Burt finished with 11 points, with Farrell scoring 16, and Obi tallying her 11th double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. When asked about the motivation to perform well, Lake said, “After the success we’ve had in the first half of the UAA, we’ve gotten glimpses of how good of a team we can really be. I think that our main motivation going into the second
TIME 6 p.m. 8 p.m. 7 p.m.
SPORT Wrestling Men’s Basketball Women’s Basketball Women’s T & F Men’s T & F
SCORE BOARD W/L Opponent W W W W W
Augustana Rochester Rochester Wheaton Wheaton
Score 27–21 90–83 80–70 1 of 10 2 of 12