0 4 . 0 3 . 1 4
Cz e c hi ngi n
I ns i de : Pa r e nt s , Pr a g ue , a ndPa i nt i ng
04.03.14 VOL. XLV, NO. 21
The Indy is looking into relocating to Prague.
Cover Design by ANNA PAPP
Inside: Parents, Prague, and Painting
CONTENTS FORUM 3 Picky Parents 4 Czech, Mate NEWS 5 Finding Acceptance ARTS 6 Scribbles to Pollack/Marvel-ing at Change 7 Royally Normal 8 Bigger Than Spotify 9 Oper-Awesome SPORTS 10 Breaking Hearts 11 Bring Straus to the House
As Harvard College's weekly undergraduate newsmagazine, the Harvard Independent provides in-depth, critical coverage of issues and events of interest to the Harvard College community. The Independent has no political affiliation, instead offering diverse commentary on news, arts, sports, and student life. For publication information and general inquiries, contact President Albert Murzakhanov (president@harvardindependent. com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Sean Frazzette (email@example.com). For email subscriptions please email president@ harvardindependent.com. The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Copyright ÂŠ 2014 by The Harvard Independent. All rights reserved.
President Albert Murzakhanov '16 Editor-in-Chief Sean Frazzette '16 Director of Production Anna Papp '16 News Editor Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Arts Editor Associate Design Editor
Milly Wang '16 Caroline Gentile '17 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Shaquilla Harrigan '16 Aditya Agrawal '17 Joanna Schacter Travis Hallett '14
Cartoonist John McCallum '16 Illustrator Eloise Lynton '17 Business Managers Manik Bhatia '16 Columnists Joan Li '17 Christina Bianco '17 Senior Staff Writers Christine Wolfe '14 Angela Song '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Michael Altman '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Whitney Lee '14 Staff Writers Manik Bhatia '16 Xanni Brown '14 Terilyn Chen '16 Lauren Covalucci '14 Clare Duncan '14 Gary Gerbrandt '14 Travis Hallett '14 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Chloe Li '16 Dominique Luongo '17 Orlea Miller '16 Albert Murzhakanov '16 Carlos Schmidt '15 Frank Tamberino '16 Michael Feehly '14 Jackie Leong '16 Andrew Lin '17 Madi Taylor '16 Shreya Vardhan '17 Peyton Fine '17 Michael Luo '16
Czeching out Prague When in Prague, do everything. By ALBERT MURZAKHANOV
pring break, for college students, is usually synonymous with Cancun, Punta Cana, Panama City Beach, and the like. Although I am sure those regions rightfully deserve their spots for the most coveted destinations, I gave up spending days at the beach to visit Prague. Rest assured, there were no regrets. In the past few decades, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Prague has, rightfully so, become one of the most popular cities in Europe. Its streets and architecture were scarcely touched by the last three centuries, but the people making up the beautiful city have successful adapted to the time. The liberal atmosphere blended with the Romanesque and Gothic architecture makes for the perfect mix. The facts that Prague has a very active night scene and exceptionally cheap prices for most goods are also not bad additions for college students looking to unwind from midterms. Favorite places: Visiting the Prague astronomical tower is an absolute must. The clock on the tower was installed in 1410, which makes it the third oldest in the world and the oldest still working one. If you haven’t been to France, the Petrin tower is also a must, a beautiful Eifel-like steel framework that provides panoramic views of Prague. The Charles Bridge, unlike the Charles River, was a sight of unfrozen beauty by mid-March.
cabbage soup around. The entire meal is guaranteed to be super filling and under 10 dollars. Usadu will unquestionably be the place where you had one of the best servings of ribs and meat; the food, people, service, and decorations are unbeatable. A requirement: Although I come from a Jewish family, I feel that everyone should visit Terezin and the museum that contains the drawings children made while held at concentration camps. Terezin was a ghetto and concentration camp where more than 150,000 Jews were sent. It was not an extermination camp like Treblinka, but it was a site where more than 33,000 died. It was as close as I got to a concentration camp, and all the stories and movies I had been devastated to read and watch as a child have suddenly taken on overwhelming realness. My body shook as I looked at the drawings made by children ages 5-11.
These kids were not like others. They were forced to lose their innocence at ages when I was barely starting out kindergarten. Their drawings showed that, and it was overwhelming. I saw with my own eyes the tiny cells in which hundreds of people were cramped. There were little stars under most of the children’s drawings indicating that they died at the concentration camp. I felt extremely sad for going, but I knew I had something all those people did not — the option to leave. I could escape to my safe home; they could not. Considering that there are people today who, despite overwhelming first-hand evidence, do not believe the Holocaust occurred or think that the stories of torture were exaggerated, everyone has an obligation to visit the town of Terrezin and the concentration camp it has hidden within its center. Albert Murzakhanov ’16 (amurzakhano@college) hopes to Czech in on the city a few more times.
Favorite restaurants and bars: Czech food is heavy on meat and potatoes. And I say this in the best way possible. Cheap but super filling meals are available at almost every restaurant. The two best restaurants, both predominantly filled with locals, are Sokool and Usadu. Sokool, a restaurant and pub, is situated literally inside of an elementary school — only in Prague would that happen. Aside from awesome décor, Sokool has some of the best friend cheese and
The Harvard Independent • 04.03.14
Is it a Boy?
Why selecting the gender of your child isn’t as great By ELOISE LYNTON
ast summer, at my cousin’s baby shower, I sat in a room covered in pink from floor to ceiling. Pink balloons floated lazily in the air, and pink streamers hung from the doorways. Even the cake was pink, coated with a thick layer of raspberry cream frosting. The reason for all the pink? My cousin was excited to have finally learned the sex of her unborn baby; she was excited to have a girl. Most people consider the sex of their future children to be out of their hands. There is a fiftyfifty chance that you will end up with either sex, and most consider it a fact left up to fate, a surprise that one celebrates no matter the outcome. Humankind, though, never satisfied to leave anything up to chance, has, for centuries, attempted to influence the sex of their future children. The ancient Greeks believed that if a man had sex while lying on his right side, a boy would be conceived. The Chinese created “conception calendars,” which told couples what dates to have intercourse in order to conceive the desired gender. In 18th century France, it was believed that by cutting off the father’s right testicle, one could be sure to give birth to a boy. However, while the desire to influence the gender of one’s unborn child is not new, the methods for doing so have evolved. Gender selection was taken to a new level with the invention of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PDG) in1989. PDG is the procedure of screening the DNA of embryos that have been fertilized in vitro (outside of the mother’s body). PDG was originally invented for the purpose of checking DNA for fatal genetic diseases. However, PDG can also be used to screen for gender. And, promising a 99.9 percent accuracy rate, its no surprise that doctors jumped at the opportunity to use PDG to satisfy the age-old demand for accurate prenatal gender selection. Today, the use of PDG to select gender is common and has quickly become a multi-million dollar enterprise. Last year, there were about 6,000 procedures done in the US. Websites for fertility clinics broadcast the reliability of PDG and market gender selection as a tool for “family balancing.” Now, in America, not only can you buy the perfect car, home, and education, but, for just 18,000 dollars, you can buy the perfect family as well. The use of PDG for prenatal selection is currently legal in the United States, and there has
been surprisingly little controversy against its use. Those who support the use of PDG for gender selection argue that sex selection is a parental right, like abortion or screening for disease. They assert that modern society views genders equally so that the widespread use of PDG will not skew gender ratios. Many also argue that gender selection is just the first step in the long line of progress towards the inevitable genetic engineering for certain traits. They imagine that a world where one can choose to give birth to a daughter with blue eyes, an athletic build, and a high IQ, isn’t that far off, and that we should embrace such scientific advances. However, I would argue that prenatal gender selection is worrisome both from an ethical and societal standpoint. Yes, the demand for PDG is there, and there is no denying that science has given us this ability. But, what are the ethical consequences of choosing gender, and is society ready for the responsibility of such a choice? Some see PDG as unethical because it terminates the “potential lives” of the healthy embryos that were of the undesired gender. From this perspective, PDG is an improper use of a technology used to fight illness. They argue that your gender is not a disease and that a medical procedure like PDG should not be used for nonmedical purposes. Additionally, some worry that PDG is unethical because of the potential psychological harm it inflicts upon the future child. Wouldn’t a boy feel less comfortable coming out as gay if he knew his parents had paid to have a son? Wouldn’t a girl who knew she was preselected to be female feel less comfortable trying out for the football team? There are also a host of prospective social consequences to the widespread use of gender selection. In countries like China and India, where there is a clear cultural preference for male children, the availability of PDG could create a dangerous demographic imbalance. The consequences of gender imbalance are immense. Apart from reinforcing the idea of male superiority, a population with far more males than females statistically leads to increased incidences of violence and crime, increased prostitution and sex trafficking, and the destruction of the stability of family-oriented economy. Even more troubling, is the idea that perhaps the demographic consequences of PDG would not be unique to faraway countries. Americans themselves do not seem to be free of a gender bias to-
wards males. A 2011 Gallup poll showed that 40 percent of Americans actively favored boys, while only 28 percent favored girls, with the remaining 32 percent impartial. What’s more is that Americans have consistently favored boys in each of the ten times that Gallup has asked this question since 1941. Because of these ethical and demographic concerns, the use of PDG for gender selection is currently illegal in several countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Some countries, such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, have outlawed PDG entirely, even for the use of screening for genetic disorders. America, however, has virtually no regulation of the use of PDG for genetic selection. To me, the possible ethical and social consequences of unregulated gender selection seem too great just to fulfill the desire to preselect for gender. Yes, America is a “free country,” but it seems ironic and unethical that maintaining our reputation of freedom means we must put a price on the lives of our children. Remembering the joy on my cousin’s face, as she sat at her baby shower, surrounded by ribbons, and pink, and frills, and balloons, I was struck by the fact that it shouldn’t matter whether your baby is a boy or a girl, blue-eyed or fairskinned, athletic jock or ultra-nerd. Never mind the in vitro technology and the ability of science to create a genetically perfect, balanced, family. All that should matter to a new parent is that your child is healthy and alive, that you are giving her (or him) life and that she (or he) is becoming a part of yours. Eloise Lynton ’17 (eloiselynton@college) is constantly questioning the world around her.
04.03.14 • The Harvard Independent
Let Them In! T h e C o l l e g e m a ke s a c l a s s .
By CHRISTINE WOLFE
ach year, on the last week of March, the world learns what makes a Harvard student. Though admissions is as much about making a class as it is an effort to find the best and brightest, to select 2,023 from 34,295 necessitates some attention to the individual. But what exactly does Harvard care about in choosing its students? William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, smiling warmly, would cite the diverse and dedicated set of passions from every echelon of society (his exact words in the Gazette last week were: “‘The Class of 2018 reflects the excellence achieved by the students of an increasingly diverse America. Attracting such outstanding students to the College is vital to Harvard’s mission of educating the future leaders of our nation’”). Those watching the spike in Computer Science and Engineering degrees might suppose that Harvard spends its effort looking for a Zuckerberg/Gates-type who will actually complete his or her four years. Harvard relies on (and subsequently pampers) its alumni, but a good image necessitates more than athletes-cum-ibankers. Harvard is, after all, an institute of learning. College students may not be as vital to the academic lifeblood as the faculty and graduate researchers, but without bright-eyed undergrads to live and learn what the faculty has to teach us, the whole university system of causing new people angst about problems they could never solve and convincing them that trying might be kind of worth it would break down. And then where would we be? For at least the last decade, Harvard has celebrated the same milestones during admissions week. In each successive Class of 20-and-such, there is a higher percentage of minority students accepted, more extensive financial aid provided, and a new cohort of alumni to thank gratuitously. These golden nuggets of the admissions data make it into Gazette headlines in an effort to bring up, time and time again, the College’s desire to make Harvard a more accessible place for all, regardless of socioeconomic background. Undoubtedly, these are all good, necessary measures: the Class of 2018 will include record-breaking representations of African-American and Latino students, at 11.9% and 13%, respectively. These numbers don’t look too bad compared to (likely under-representational) national statistics, which number African-American and Latino populations at 13.1% and 16.9% of the total US population, respectively. It’s not reported whether or not most of these students come from schools from which Harvard has already recruited: for example, the number of students from disadvantaged economic backgrounds come largely from urban rather than rural areas, which are harder to access and are less likely to receive information from neighboring schools and/or district communications. In either case, the continual increase suggests a dedication to expanding Harvard’s accessibility to underrepresented groups. Moreover, the Harvard Financial Aid Initiative (HFAI) reports that 90% of American families would pay the same or less to send their child to Harvard than they would at a state school (tuition, room, and board paid is on average $12,000 a year across the College). Even the cynics can’t deny that Harvard can act in line with its rhetoric. Of course, increasing Harvard’s accessibility and diversity isn’t just for the good of humanity. Harvard’s image wavers on a border of extremes: it is both a shining beacon of the American meritocracy and a vomit spewing, cheating, American-Psycho birthing ground.
The Harvard Independent • 04.03.14
Harvard, unlike the 2012 GOP, knows it has to keep up with the times to win. Although there aren’t any Harvard brochure statistics on determinedness, it seems probable that the hardest working students are those who come from economically challenged backgrounds, those whose parents are immigrants, or those from academically and/or professionally underrepresented communities. Not only have these students produced Harvard-caliber work without necessarily having access to the resources of their privileged counterparts, but they also have the “most to lose.” Unemployment might mean draining one’s family’s already strained resources, when success could mean providing a safe, healthy home for loved ones. As with all gross generalizations, this works on a case by case basis; however, it seems likely that what Harvard sees in students from underrepresented and economically challenged students is the doggedness they have shown all their lives in their schoolwork and extracurriculars. Even Harvard can’t escape moral obligations (no, really). The administration is increasingly made up of those who would have benefitted from programs like HFAI, and with initiatives like the Undergraduate Minority Recruitment Program (UMRP), students, staff, and faculty who see the ethical, economic, and social benefits to a College accessible to all can influence the makeup of the undergraduate student body. This action on behalf of underrepresented student groups makes one wonder: in two or three years, will Harvard start recruiting humanities concentrators? The current trend seems towards entrepreneurship (and interpreneurship, or some other ilab word) than olefashioned book learnin’, but the (unconfirmed) impending riots in the Barker Center may ask Harvard to reevaluate the percentage of pre-professionals they admit. After all, the more voices there are on campus, the wiser we will all be, and all the more prepared to enter (and, so they say, lead) the world. Christine Wolfe ’14 (firstname.lastname@example.org) just wants to graduate before they reevaluate her acceptance.
Dreams from Childhood. How your earliest days impact the rest of your days. By MICHAEL LUO
here is something inspiring and foolish in a child’s naïve determination. As children, we’ve all been there, longing to be someone we’re not. To compensate, we choose to imagine, to invent worlds stirred by the art around us. Children’s art, whether books, shows, or otherwise, may be targeted at children, but they are mostly created by adults. This relationship illustrates how childhood creativity shouldn’t end when your age hits double digits; ideas and beliefs from childhood continue to flourish and influence later life aspirations. Take a moment to remember the time when your grade school teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up. Whatever your original choice, many of us have moved on. Some of us didn’t even pick possible professions to begin with. For instance, mine was Pokémon master. Looking back, I realized my selection wasn’t so far from reality, and the same viewpoint could be applied to anyone. I stuck to a children’s cartoon because I wanted to be part of an adventure story. Nowadays, I travel and write. That was the impact a children’s animated show had on me. Taking elements of what you liked as a child can present a fresh perspective on what you like today and what you’d like to do. Consciously or unconsciously, artistic creations made specifically for children leave marks on our taste in life, from our sense of humor to our sense of comedy or favorite color or favorite fashion. In any case, children’s art is what led us to have childhood dreams that we later adapt to fit real-life opportunities. That is not to say these childhood visions realize themselves. I once thought dreams came true because they always did on the Disney Channel. But sooner or later, we recognize that dreams are bound to somnolent nights lest we toil during the day. So, as many of us fight through the struggle of balancing academic ambitions with career goals, take time to meditate on what you really wanted when you were a simpler self. Have your decisions since fulfilled those ideals? Maybe you’ve changed and now everything is working out. Or maybe you’ve forgotten that those greener days of Saturday morning cartoons had something to say about the very tasks and dilemmas we busy ourselves with today. Instead of trapping yourself into worrying about what you can be, remind yourself that one time, you were excited just at the prospect of becoming anyone. Find the childhood art that inspired you to be so determined, and reclaim that marvel to succeed. Having something inspiring and foolish from your childhood to motivate your later pursuits is just the right mixture of fantasy and incentive. Sure, it’s just for the sake of nostalgia and primarily satisfies your earlier self, but a child’s sense of wonder may be one of the most valuable resources humanity has to offer. It is these ambitions we once had as children that drive us to transform our imaginations into reality. So don’t forget them. Revisit them. And with them, realize you are capable.
Silver Screen Superheroes The success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe By MICHAEL LUO
ith Captain America: The Winter Soldier being released internationally on March 26, 2014 and planned for release in North America on April 4, 2014, Marvel Comics has accomplished its ninth film in six years as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Currently in its “Phase Two,” the films’ shared fictional universe interweaves the individual story arcs of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America with their combined efforts as the Avengers. Already the third most successful film franchise behind Harry Potter and James Bond, Marvel has ambitions to attain the top spot with at least four more films scheduled by 2016. All of the released films have been blockbusters to varying degrees, but only a handful has been critically acclaimed. That doesn’t seem to worry Marvel however, as the stories and characters of the comics are far from being exhausted. As a franchise with countless worlds and heroes, Marvel took a bold step in placing these time-honored characters, their allies, and their nemeses in a shared film universe. References to Captain America in Thor’s narrative during the film or after the credits creates a cinematic version of the comic book previews located at the end of Marvel’s published volumes. This allows each solo superhero flick to build towards the teamed-up epics culminating to conclude each “Phase.” First we are introduced to the four iconic heroes as individuals before they unite to form the Avengers. After rescuing humanity from some treacherous scheme plotted in an axis of strange powers, the heroes go back to dealing with personal issues until some greater malevolence comes along that requires their reunification. This formula has driven the elegantly addictive nature of these films. If you want to see explosions, gods, and robots all in one place, then you’ll want to first see how they got there and then how they left. Superheroes are people with lives as well, and the story of each hero works well together to lead into a valiant alliance of good versus evil. Michael Luo ’16 (michaelluo@college) is still waiting for his adolescent growth spurt. However, that is not to say Marvel hasn’t simplified its diverse comic book world for the silver screen. The cinematic universe has so far been decidedly white male-dominated. No solo films are featured for Nick Fury, Black Widow, or sidekicks like James Rhodes, and other members of the Avengers including heroines like Wasp, Ms. Marvel, and Spider-Woman, as well as minority champions like Black Panther, Shang-Chi, and Sunspot are left out. Of course, the white male characters had deeper storylines in the comics, so part of this slant towards the well known makes sense. But there seems to be a quiet transition. The Falcon, Marvel’s first African-American Avenger to break into mainstream comics back in 1969, will be introduced as a supporting character in The Winter Soldier played by Anthony Mackie. As a fan of Marvel’s strides to make equal opportunity superheroes in its print editions, I hope this is a prophetic sign for positive race and gender portrayals in future superhero films, even if they rely more on SFX than anything else. As Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Avengers are possibly the most successful band of super-crusaders to grace the film stage. While they no longer fight as much on paper, these saviors of the world seem intent on assembling for a long time in front of film audiences to protect the universe, CGI and witty banter included. Michael Luo ’16 (michaelluo@college) is still waiting to hear back from S.H.I.E.L.D.
04.03.13 • The Harvard Independent
A Happily Ever After For Us All Normalcy meets celebrity and we can’t seem to get enough of it. By JOANNA SCHACTER
eering out of the window of what appears to be a very humble flat, a couple is pictured leaning together, a baby cradled in the mother’s arms, and the family dog nestled between her partner’s. The baby and the dog’s eyes meet naturally, and there is little indication that this photo could be staged, or more than just a regular family portrait. But, this photo is not of any regular family; it is of the British Royal Family’s William and Catherine, and their baby George. Earlier this week, headlines and taglines hailing the intimate and casual nature of this new family photo made the story a trending topic in social media. Why the obsession with the casual nature? Why do we care that “they look like they’re welcoming us in!” as one commenter put it? Why should it matter that celebrities are “just like us!” as advertised by tabloid headlines? Since they first started dating in college, Will and Kate caught the attention and the imagination of the public. She was the girl next door who found prince charming, and while coming from a rather privileged family background, a modern-day Cinderella. The Royal family has, up until recently, been very concerned with decorum and the keeping-up of appearances. It has been something fascinating for its mystery, but, due to how distant it is from one’s daily life, not altogether that enthralling beyond the wow-factor of the price of crown jewels. With Will and Kate, it seems like a face that is more real — or at least, that is pretending to be more real — is being put forth. Celebrity pregnancies are obsessed over by magazines, baring baby bumps and offering personal interviews and family photos, like the one of the baby prince gazing at the family pet from his mother’s embrace that was shared over and over on my Facebook newsfeed. Why would we pay to buy pictures of someone else’s intimate family moments, spend precious minutes ogling (admittedly cute) baby George’s face, or, like many photographers did on the day of his birth, crowd outside the back door of a hospital in the sweltering heat of Summer to capture a shot of Kate in a casual sun dress, holding a blanket-swathed bundle?
The Harvard Independent • 04.03.14
Candid shots of celebrities doing “normal” things like grocery shopping or playing in the park with their children… Galleries on TMZ and other gossip news sources full of pictures of celebrities without make up or looking lessthan perfect in sweat pants… These seem to be more clickworthy than the fashion or “step into my million-dollar home” photoshoots that used to try to sell something entirely unattainable. Scandal isn’t half as interesting as being normal and living “just like us.” Not too long ago, Kate was a trending topic for photos of her and her “postbaby-body” playing a fierce game of volleyball in wedges. A duchess playing volleyball doesn’t seem like something people would have wanted to see not too long ago, and something like Kate curling her hair around her fingers at a serious event — being a normal, fidgety person, that is — would probably not have made news in the past quite like it did last Fall. The obsession with celebrities, and royalty, acting like regular people instead of like idols perhaps is following the trend of indignation over photoshopping, and other ways in which the media presents us with images that are clearly not even close to real. We want to see things that are real, or that we can believe are real — regardless of how unreal or unattainable they may actually be. After all, even unphotoshopped, how many of us do boast the natural proportions of a model or celebrity; purchase the seemingly simple, but probably pricey, dress Kate wore when she stepped of the hospital; live in the flat shared by her and William that lies beyond the simple window that frames them in their recent picture with George? But perhaps, what is so enthralling about fresh-faced celebrities grocery shopping in their pajamas, and what makes a family photo a trending topic, is that leading lives that appear as mundane as the moments we’re shown allows us to believe that we too are living something magical beyond them. Joanna R. Schacter ’15 (email@example.com) is a proud Lamonster.
When the Consumer is Not the Only Customer How Spotify wants to be “the best thing that ever happened for artists.” By WILL HARRINGTON
fter my first discovery of D.A. Wallach ‘07 through his music I became very confused. Googling his name constantly turned up the result that he was Spotify’s “artist-in-resident.” While I was familiar with the concept in the world of painting and visual arts, gallery space is limited and being given some form of work and display place security is comforting, the notion of an artist-in-residence for the music industry made little sense to me. Musicians appear not to suffer from the same scarcity of space to share their work as visual artists. With venues like Spotify, YouTube, and iTunes, what is the point of a creative residency? It turns out, in this situation I was largely misconstruing what this meant. He was an artist, and he was employed at Spotify on the basis of his art credentials, but his work there was not artistic in nature. As a musician he described his work as collaborative with the design and corporate team at Spotify to advocate for the experience of the other user: the artist. One of his major projects at Spotify has been with the Artist Services Team, a corporate component Wallach seemed to put forward as the flagship in Spotify’s moves to be “the most artist friendly music company that has ever existed.” As well as serve as the contact for artists looking to put their work on Spotify, Wallach described that the service afforded to artists also includes “more opportunities to sell the fan tickets, or merchandise, or experiences.” The business of selling “experiences” to the music fan might be the thing that gives Spotify the ultimate edge over it’s competitors. Spotify is a music streaming service whose revenue comes from the ad-supported, free-to-use
service and an ad-free paid subscription. In this way it differs from iTunes which operates on a more traditional business model were a purchase is forever. Spotify allows music to be downloaded by a paying subscriber, but if a subscription is cancelled the music becomes unplayable, paying removes the audio ads between songs and the downloading of music allows for offline music listening. The idea of purchasing the music itself is not a part of the Spotify model. In a day and age of piracy, week-to-week hits, and “sharing” (thanks, Zuckerberg), the money has changed locations. iTunes’ revival of the single song might not be quite enough, especially if somebody can do one better and offer the same ability to mix/match and make playlists for free. By fully integrating the “experience” component of the artists efforts, Spotify can cash in on click-through fees in a way that iTunes can’t. You can’t share a concert (Ok, you can, sort of, but I doubt that X-Pro II filter is ever going to be able to really catch what it was really like to see somebody vomit paint on Lady Gaga. Even watching the video for “G.U.Y.” on repeat won’t earn me tickets to SXSW and a time machine) and you can’t share a t-shirt. Wallach’s work at Spotify seems to be creating an ideal partnership; one good for the manufacturer and the retailer, and one good for the consumer by centralizing a marketplace. Will Harrington ’16 (harrington@college) wonders what filter would make Spotify’s green logo really snap.
04.03.14 • The Harvard Independent
ON A HIGH NOTE / BY CHRISTINA BIANCO
A Review of Werther.
onas Kaufmann may be the most sought-after tenor in the opera world right now, and after the broadcast of Massenet’s Werther last Saturday, audience members can be left with no doubts why he has been leading productions around the globe. Even though the March 15th broadcast had a very unfortunate technical glitch which caused the audience to miss the opera’s last seven minutes of audio, there is no doubt that many audience members would have left the theater with a positive lasting impression. From the moment that Kauffman took the stage as the madly lovesick Werther, he gave a performance that was both musically inspiring and artistically brilliant. The title tenor role was incredibly infatuated with leading lady Charlotte, and he languishes ceaselessly throughout the first few acts of the opera. Even though this archetypical tenor role may seem superficial, Kauffman presents the character with such conviction and intention that Werther’s fatal attraction to Charlotte seems probable. Werther (pronounced vair-tair) by Jules Massenet is loosely based on The Sorrows of Young Werther by Geothe. It is the story of the doleful young courtier in 1780s Germany as he falls impulsively in love with the Charlotte, the oldest daughter of the widower Bailiff. The first act opens with a scene of Charlotte’s mother dying but then quickly transitions to some time later when Charlotte’s father Bailiff, now a widower, is teaching a Christmas carol to a children’s chorus (even though it is July). Then two of Bailiff’s friends come and discuss how Charlotte, his eldest daughter, is going to be escorted to a ball by a man named Werther. The audience is then introduced to Charlotte, and Werther arrives and watches as Charlotte prepares her young siblings’ supper. They meet and leave for the ball, from which they return very late. By the end of the night, Werther is completely enamored of her. But then his declaration of love is interrupted by the announcement of the return of Albert, Charlotte’s absent fiancé. Charlotte ruefully explains how she
The Harvard Independent • 04.03.14
promised her dying mother she would marry Albert, and therefore Act I ends with Werther’s deep despair. After the first act Werther continues to pine relentlessly after Charlotte, even though she has now married Albert. And although Charlotte attempts to brush off Werther’s affection, in the third act she realizes the true depth of her feelings for the heartbroken Werther. But the opera still has a tragic ending, for its protagonist takes his own life, and although Charlotte rushes to his side in the final act of the opera, at that point she is powerless to save him. The Metropolitan Opera’s adaptation of this was fairly traditional, albeit very dark. The opening scene was set in a courtyard with a projection of a small German town in the background. But even though the beginning of the first act seems to take place during the day, the lighting would suggest that the scene was taking place at a time more like twilight, creating a darker ambience. And when the quick transition occurs to the ball, everything was almost completely blacked out except for a strategic spotlight on Werther and Charlotte. The overall darkness contributed to Werther’s psychology and provided a sense of foreboding for the audience. The music in Massenet’s opera is lyrically appealing and harmonically rich. To be a success as Werther, a tenor must be incredibly versatile, able to portray conflicting emotions while singing some of the most demanding tenor repertoire. Kaufmann tackles the role from his very first aria with a good mixture of warmth and intensity, along with powerful top notes. In his first interview with Patricia Racette, Kauffman acknowledges that Werther is one of the most versatile roles. He asserts that he tries to portray Werther’s “sickness” by remembering similar situations in his own life and incorporating his own real feelings into the opera. And Kauffman’s dedication to his dramatic portrayal really sets him apart as an opera singer. The director Richard
Eyre (who has worked with acting legends such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Judy Dench, and Ian McKellen) described Kauffman as a “first-class actor” who could easily hold his own against any one of the artists he had worked with. Kauffman was no stranger to this role, having performed it several times before in other productions, but Eyre asserts that when approaching this production, Kauffman kept it fresh and didn’t cling to any of his past experience. Eyre also notes that his job as director was merely to provide the context of the piece, and Kauffman did the rest of the work. The one thing that I thought was definitely lacking in this production, however, was Sophie Koch’s portrayal of Charlotte. Even though Koch has played Charlotte in many productions before, her performance seemed somewhat flat. She remains very stagnant in the first two acts, and even in the third act, when she begins to become her most vulnerable, Koch still seemed to be reserved. This may have been due to the fact that the role has almost become too familiar to Koch, because she really lacked vitality, and this was especially apparent as she played opposite Kauffman. However, Koch herself stated in her interview that every night of a production is different, so I would be curious to see her play Charlotte in a different production, and compare her differing approaches to and interpretations of the character. Overall, Werther was a joy to watch. Although a stereotypical opera-plot, the music was breathtaking and the production quality incredibly highcaliber. I would highly recommend this production to both opera beginners and veterans alike. Christina Bianco ’17 (christinabianco@college) loved seeing an opera over spring break!
Set to Win
HMV continues home-game win streak. By SHAQUILLA HARRIGAN
hile the Harvard men’s volleyball team may be known to break hearts with their good looks off the court, the squad broke more hearts last week after they beat Sacred Heart 3-0. Currently, the Crimson is seated fifteenth in NCAA rankings and is second in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA). Last week’s game snagged the team’s seventh consecutive home victory in the Malkin Athletic Center. Despite the MAC being filled with semi-rowdy Sacred Heart fans (no other fans can heckle quite like Harvard’s finest), the Crimson still pulled off winning three straight matches. During the first set, Caleb Zimmick ‘15, a middle blocker, was the first scorer for Harvard after we received three points due to service errors. Harvard took an early lead, beginning the game 8-4. Sacred Heart attempted to answer Harvard’s challenge, but was never able to take the lead. Harvard closed out the first set 25
to 17. Standouts in the first set included DJ White ‘15 and his brother Casey White ‘17, both outside hitters, Zimmick and captain Nick Madden ‘14.
After a disappointing first set for Sacred Heart, the Pioneers came back with a renewed energy to give Harvard a run for its endowment. In a close matchup that ended 26-24, Harvard was still able to maintain victory bringing the team 2 matches to 0. Throughout the second set, Harvard and Sacred Heart were constantly battle for the upper hand. This neck and neck battle resulted in six ties over the course of the set. After Harvard would make an impressive play and score, Sacred Heart would almost immediately respond, reminding the Crimson that the Pioneers were still on the court. At no point during this set was there a point difference of more than three points. Ultimately, Harvard clinched the win after Sacred Heart committed two service errors. These mistakes made the tense 24-24 set a decisive victory on behalf of Harvard. Harvard needed only one more set in order to claim an overall victory. Despite opening the third set up with a kill from DJ White, Harvard quickly fell behind. At the midway point in the game, Harvard was losing 14-7. Sacred Heart was playing with a renewed sense of tenacity, as the hopes of going into fourth set seemed more likely. After several service errors and kills by DJ White and Zimmick, Harvard was able to tie the game up 21-21. Harvard and Sacred Heart fans were on the edge of their seats as each time was on the cusp of victory. The Crimson and Sacred Heart dueled it out — when one team would score, the other team would almost immediately tie the game up again. Harvard closed the deal by scoring two points off of Sacred Heart’s service errors. DJ White led the team with the most number of kills at 12. He also had the second highest number of digs at 12, following Madden’s 13. Zimmick had seven kills, marking him
as the second highest scorer. Hopefully all of the energy from this game will translate into an 8th consecutive win in the MAC on Friday, April 5th. This week Harvard will be playing huge EIVA rival Penn State. The Nittany Lions are Harvard’s biggest competition in volleyball. This year, Penn State will be seeking revenge to after the Crimson’s epic upset last year. If undergraduate students choose to go to only one volleyball game of the season, this is definitely the one to attend. Not only is the heckling on point, but the exhilarating atmosphere of the Harvard Men’s Volleyball team playing their last conference game is tangible. In other sport successes from this past week, the women’s rugby team beat Boston College 105 to 0. This weekend they will travel to Penn State. Hopefully the Nittany Lions will be beaten both on the pitch in Pennsylvania and on the glossy wooden floors at Harvard. Shaquilla Harrigan ‘16 (sharrigan01@college) hopes the Nittany Lions will become little scaredy cats.
04.03.14 • The Harvard Independent
Sprinting Towards the Straus Cup
House IMs face the spring season.
ith the launch of House shells into the freshly de-iced Charles and the muffled grunts of tennis matches yet again filling the Murr Center’s air, the spring intramural season is well underway. Coming off of an eventful winter season that has left several Houses neck-and-neck for the Straus Cup, House teams are racing towards the finish across a wide variety of sports and events. The Harvard House Intramural Program, which overseas all IM coordination, has drawn up tournament brackets for A and B-league volleyball, men’s and women’s A and B crew, and mixed gender softball, soccer, flag football, ultimate frisbee, spikeball, and tennis. While most sports are already multiple games into tournament play, the Houses will also eventually compete in a track and field meet, a swim meet, and a fencing meet (epée only), as well as in this Sunday’s 1.8 mile “River Run.” Designed to facilitate “the pursuit of excellent through personal development and teamwork,” Harvard’s intramural program seeks to provide a sportsmanlike outlet for recreational athletics to students across campus. Accordingly, the student IM representatives that the Independent spoke to assured us that each of their respective Houses participated in the program for the love of sport, rather than to win. At the end of the semester, however, only one House gets to lock the shiny, silver Straus Cup into its trophy case. As it currently stands, Dudley House — Harvard’s thirteenth, non-residential House comprised of graduate students and undergraduates who choose to live off-campus — holds the lead with 1,097 points. Winthrop comes in at 1,066, a very close 31 points behind Dudley, and Dunster is settled in third with 991. A full 159 points behind the third place slot is Adams House, followed by Cabot, Kirkland, Leverett, Eliot, Pforzheimer, Lowell, Mather, Quincy, and finally Currier, which has managed to rack up just over 180 points over the past two seasons. Because points earned are not calculated until tournaments are over, the rankings haven’t budged since the end of the winter season. Nonetheless, with multiple wins already down in ultimate Frisbee, softball, and flag football, Dudley might be a difficult House to beat. If Winthrop and Dunster have anything to say about it, however, Dudley House will not find victory easily, a fact that Dudley House athletic fellow Kelly Miller is well aware of. A graduate student in Applied Physics, Miller is pinning her House’s hopes on a strong showing across all four divisions in rowing. Acknowledging the threat that the Kirkland and Winthrop crews pose to Dudley’s established dominance on the water, she believes that the House’s talented softball and tennis players should make up any point differentials on land. Yet, Miller emphasized that whatever the outcome might be, intramurals amount to more than bragging rights. “House rowing has probably been one of the best things I’ve done as a graduate student,” she said, and explained that many of her peers agree. After a successful winter season that saw the thirteenth House claim victory in squash, rock climbing, and the perennially popular inner tube water polo tournament, however, Miller is hoping that Dudley IM captains will continue to marshal enough interest among the dispersed graduate student population to guide the House to its first ever Straus Cup win. Undoubtedly, Winthrop poses the most tangible threat to Dudley’s lead. Despite losing its five-year stranglehold on the Straus Cup to Kirkland last year, Winthrop has held on to its reputation as an IM powerhouse and currently sits three seats above its usurper in the IM rankings. If Winthrop is set on reclaiming its lost glory, however, IM student representative Jimmy Field ’14 is keeping the plans under wraps. Although he concedes that some Houses might do better than others in any given year according to the athletic abilities of the students sorted into them, Field tacks up his House’s past and present triumphs to a combination of House pride, teamwork, and luck.
By MEGHAN BROOKS “It’s a communal process,” he said of Winthrop’s approach to the intramural program. “The biggest thing for us is making sure that the people who are coming out are having a good time. That’s really the most important thing for continued success.” Connor Hinebaugh ’15, Cabot’s IM student coordinator, agrees, saying of his House’s approach to crew, “even if we don’t win just getting out on the water is a great experience to try while at Harvard.” Yet, currently fifth in line for the Straus Cup with 706.5 points, if Cabot manages to replicate past seasons’ nail biters in the spring season it could see a significant jump in the rankings by May. Proud of his House for the successes it has had thus far, Hinebaugh praised his fellow Fishes’ dedication to their IM teams: “Ultimately, we have great house spirit. During the winter it can be hard to get people down to games because of the distance…other than that I think we’re a really close knit group, which helps us work together on the court, the field, or whatever we’re playing on.” While distance from athletic facilities has failed to keep Cabot from landing in the top half of the heap, fellow Quad House Currier has seen little success overall. However, as Tyler Gamble ’14 explained, Currier’s dead last ranking might have more to do with the House’s athletic priorities than a lack of enthusiasm or ability. Rather than attempting to drum up mass support for more obscure events such as spikeball, Currier focuses its efforts on its prospects in basketball and, especially, soccer, whose championship it won tidily in the fall. Said Gamble, “This season, we’re playing for a repeat. It’s all on soccer.” He continued, “We’re the farthest from the field, we’re the smallest house, but somehow, in soccer, we manage to pull it all out.” Although soccer is only a “double special event” in the spring and therefore worth fewer points than the “major sport” of volleyball, for example, Currier plans to take the field this season for a different kind of win altogether. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) is rooting for Dunster, except (maybe) in soccer.
Photo by Tori Wenger ‘14
The Harvard Independent • 04.03.14
S EX S URVEY.