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10.01.09 vol. xli, no. 5 The Indy records the doings of the powerful.
independent THE HARVARD
President Diana Suen ‘11 Cover art by PATRICIA FLORESCU
News 3 News in Brief
Forum 4 Blind Date Peril 5 Veggie War Rant of the Week 6-7 G-20 Protests IOP: Indonesian President
Arts 8 Visiting the Big Apple 9 U2 Invasion
Editor-in-Chief Sam Jack ‘11
Production Manager Faith Zhang ‘11 Publisher Brian Shen ‘11
News Editor Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Graphics Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Graphics Editor
Susan Zhu ‘11 Riva Riley ‘12 Pelin Kivrak ‘11 Hao Meng ‘11 Patricia Florescu ‘11 Candice Smith ‘11 Lynn Yi ‘12 Sonia Coman ‘11
Staff Writers Peter Bacon ‘11 John Beatty '11 Rachael Becker '11 Ezgi Bereketli ‘12 Andrew Coffman ‘12 Truc Doan ‘10 Levi Dudte '11 Ray Duer ‘11 Nick Nehamas ‘11 Jim Shirey ‘11 Steven Rizoli '11 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Eva Liou ‘11 Caitlin Marquis ‘10 Lidiya Petrova ‘11 Kristina Yee ‘10
Sports 10 Upset by Upsets 11 Dream Deferred
For exclusive online content, visit www.harvardindependent.com
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 Diana Suen (email@example.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Sam Jack (firstname.lastname@example.org). Yearly mail subscriptions are available for $30, and semester-long subscriptions are available for $15. To purchase a subscription, email email@example.com. The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., P.O. Box 382204, Cambridge, MA 02238-2204. Copyright © 2008 by The Harvard Independent. All rights reserved.
10.01.09 s The Harvard Independent
Short & Sweet News that you could conceivably use. Compiled by SUSAN ZHU and SAM JACK
Justice goes public.
Automotive woes: Toyota recalls 3.8 million vehicles.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Amazon.com
Were you one of the unfortunate few who got lotteried out of Justice, capped at 1,000? Frustrated that you can’t ponder the morals and virtues behind killing one guy with a trolley in order to save five while eating popcorn, or, for that matter, anything else in Sanders Theatre? Fret no more. Professor Michael Sandel’s popular class, Justice, is going to be broadcast on television. This isn’t your Harvard-quality lecture video (no offense, Harvard). This is legit high-def video, webcasts, podcasts, fancy lights and microphones. The classes were taped in 2005 and 2006 and were used at first to show Extension School students and alumni. In 2007, Boston WGBH, the PBS affiliate, got a grant from POM Wonderful (yeah, the juice guys), and with money raised by Sandel, decided to get the class on air. Each class has been edited down from their 50-minute length to a more manageable 30 minutes. Two classes make up each episode and will air on PBS. For those who feel the need to keep up with “section,” justiceharvard.org provides discussion materials for every episode (as well as the actual episode itself). So sit back, pass the popcorn, and think hard – is it okay to torture an innocent person to get a terrorist to tell you where the bomb is? The Harvard Independent s 10.01.09
This past Tuesday, Toyota announced that it was recalling close to 4 million vehicles due to an improperly placed floor mat that could cause the accelerator to get stuck. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the stuck accelerator could be responsible for some high-speed deadly crashes, including one in an Lexus ES 350 that killed four in San Diego on August 28. For now, Toyota recommends that drivers remove the floor mat until they can resolve the issue. The recalled vehicles are: 2007 to 2010 Camry; 2005 to 2010 Avalon; 2004 to 2009 Prius; 2005 to 2010 Tacoma; 2007 to 2010 Tundra; 2007 to 2010 Lexus ES 350; and 2006 to 2010 Lexus IS 250 and 2006 to 2010 Lexus IS 350.
Google fouls up Brown's e-mail.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
The security of Brown students' e-mails was comprised earlier this month, when 22 students were
inadvertently granted access to other students e-mail accounts between September 12 and 14. Brown had turned over the university's e-mail system to Google — just as myriad Harvard students have done independently, forwarding their FAS e-mail. Google then increased the magnitude of the snafu by suspending the affected accounts without informing Brown. "I've spoken very forcefully with the account (executive), my boss, senior administrators at Brown — including the president. (Google needs) to find a better way to communicate with us," Brown IT director Donald Tom told the New York Times.
GM to shut down Saturn.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
General Motors announced on Wednesday that it would shut down its Saturn division after Roger Penske pulled out of negotiations to acquire the brand. Penske Automotive attributed the failed negotiations to its board, who rejected a proposal by a potential manufacturer. GM will close its 350 Saturn dealerships in the US and stop manufacturing at the close of the 2009 model year. firstname.lastname@example.org
From the Desk of Mimi Min, Harvard Pre-Med Academic multitasker extraordinaire finds true love? By WEIKE WANG
URRENT WORK LOAD :
2 IMPOSSIBLE PSETS + 4 WEEKS worth of stale readings + ??? hours in lab Current number of gentlemen callers: -1
No one likes an alcoholic, shopaholic, workaholic, or any combination of the three. I rank a third category untouchable: aspiring phys/eng concentrator who is currently pre-med, pre-men and pre-mess. Up until last week, I carried on my business as loveless academic multi-tasker extraordinaire, who occasionally stalked good-looking TFs on Facebook and from behind bushes. That was unhealthy and a bit awkward, so last week, I made it a goal to enter a functional non-virtual relationship with a boy of an appropriate age. Hearing this, my roommate squealed like a piglet and said she knew a guy who was the egg to my McMuffin. Perfect. Who wouldn’t want their attraction characterized by a cholesterol-caulked delicacy?
white loafers. I considered dashing out, but as soon as the thought crossed my mind, I watched his big grin and bad shoes bounce towards me like a bad case of motion sickness. Twenty minutes into his introductory monologue, I was reeling from shock that this was the same boy who refused to reply in full sentences but was now spewing a thesis on his collection of fixated butterflies. Listening to this kind of sermon was not an effective use of my time. I had psets, readings and a lifetime of bench work that did not require smiling until my face felt like plaster. So to hurry things along, I suggested a walk into Harvard Square, where I might dissolve into the crowd as a clueless Asian tourist and where he might get jostled by oncoming traffic. We walked, he inventoried other equally fascinating insect collections, and I prayed for an intervention. For once, the cosmos took pity on me and sent down a gust of
wind. In a matter of moments, I heard nothing but the muffled sounds of my escort losing his voice box. "Gaf rarv marv." He was apparently choking on a part of my scarf that blew into his face. I decided the scarf had best stay with him since the blue of the scarf was beginning to match the blue of his face; so in a selfless act, I tossed him my scarf and sprinted away before he could graciously decline to accept it. I have not talked to butterfly man since bequeathment of scarf but from my roommate’s periodic evil eye, I take it that I didn’t make an outstanding first impression. Lesson Learned: If you're too busy for love, blind dates are not the way to go. Try speed dating instead. Weike Wang ’11 (wang40@fas) learns new things every day.
Me: “Blind dates are kind of old school.” Roommate: “I also saw a flyer for speed dating.” Me: “But I’m not against old school.” Communication between me and the mystery egg happened via Facebook messages, which by the way, is a very ineffective way to communicate with someone who doesn’t check facebook every 20 minutes, or ever. Message 1: Hey, this is Mimi, let’s do coffee sometime Reply: Sure. Days passed, sea levels rose and I still had no answer. Message 2: this is Mimi again, just wondering if the coffee date is still open. Reply: of course, when? Message 3: Saturday? Two Saturdays went by before the boy recovered from his finger fatigue, and typed a whooping threesyllable response. Reply: tomorrow? And so, three days after "tomorrow," we settled on time and place. The day of the big affair arrived. It was a tad windy, so I wore a scarf. I waited in the coffee shop for a few odd minutes before a strapping young fellow bounced in, smoothed over his comb over and surveyed the café in two neck jerks. I considered his squeaky
10.01.09 s The Harvard Independent
A Vegetarian Confrontation Why you shouldn't eat meat. By RIVA RILEY
EGETARIANISM CAME EASILY TO ME.
I WAS RAISED IN an environment conducive to the practice, and I have some innate drive that compels me to steer clear of the blood that might someday stain my hands. That bloodstain is only an issue if an individual is able to see it, but I knew that I would, and so I have chosen to avoid the flesh of other animals. Of all my moral beliefs and all my principles, my vegetarianism has always been the one I count as the most significant and the most noble, even though it is such an ingrained part of my daily life that it is no longer a choice, but an element of my lifestyle. And this, my self-proclaimed most noble quality, has been the subject of ridicule my entire life: you don’t know a dubious look until you have told a meat-eater that you are a vegetarian. It’s almost bizarre how much aggression I have received from others as a result of my vegetarianism. Without almost any exceptions, every meat-eater I have ever met has told me something to the effect of, “Well, I love meat, I eat it all the time. I can’t imagine a meal without meat, let alone an entire day, or an entire lifetime. Have you ever tried it? You don’t know what you’re missing.” My typical response to this is a smile so strained my face hurts and a halfhearted shrug, because this is an incredibly rude and brazenly offensive comment. If there were a group of people sitting at a dining hall over lunch and someone professed their dedication to helping orphans in Africa, or even to a religious belief, the rest of the people would nod respectfully and perhaps ask to hear more. They would not say, “Well, I love stealing food from orphans in Africa, I can’t imagine a day without it. Have you ever tried it? You don’t know what you’re missing.” Yet these same people who would show polite respect for another belief easily deride me and talk loudly about how they love to violate this principle that I hold so dear. No, I don’t understand this, and the actual reasons people behave this way are beyond me. Many meateaters ask me why I don’t eat meat. For most it is a question laced with irony and skepticism, and since my first fiasco in first grade I have learned not to bring up the moral arguments that I believe and completely support. Instead I bring up scientific arguments that not even people desensitized by tradition and routine can ignore. I say desensitized, because I am certain that a great majority of people would abstain from meat if they had to march up to an animal with a gun or an axe and kill it themselves. In fact, I argue that an overwhelming number of people persist in eating meat simply because it is what have done their whole lives, what the people The Harvard Independent s 10.01.09
around them do, and what they have been raised doing, and they have no need to look for alternatives. It’s actually fascinating, because our society would not even consider eating a dog, which we keep as pets and integrate into our families, and yet we readily consume pigs, which are actually more intelligent than dogs. So far as I can tell, there is no rhyme or reason for this other than some emotional whims that have been bred into us and which, now that we are living a comfortable life, we continue to exercise. The bottom line is this: you should not eat meat. Whatever you may believe about the dominion of man over animals (or whatever it is religious texts say) and however flippant you may feel toward the life and suffering of another being, eating meat is simply harmful to everyone involved. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, livestock produced 6618 Gg, or 7.3 million tons, of methane in 2007. That is very bad if you want to continue living on this planet. I’m sure many people would argue with me on this, but I’m also willing to stick my neck out and say that a vegetarian diet is generally more healthful than one rich in meat and meat products. Yes, there are plenty of superior protein sources that come from plants, and yes, this protein is just as good for you as some animal’s muscles. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons So, in a sentence, not raising a cow to be killed is good for the cow, who will not be killed, the environment, who will not suffer the effects of bovine flatulence, and even yourself, who can turn to healthier alternatives. What, then, is the higher purpose of slaughtering an animal to eat it? The final question that I receive, usually due to my conversation partners’ hope that I refrain from eating meat simply because of health reasons, is if I really believe that eating animals is wrong. If that is not clear, then I will say once again that I do believe it is morally reprehensible, and I could write a hundredpage essay on the moral arguments against eating meat that nobody would read. For the purposes of this article I have turned toward personal indignation and environmental arguments against consuming animals, because that is the only arguments most people would care to listen to. Right now, you might be muttering to yourself, “that crazy vegetarian hippie”. If you are, I bet that you haven’t really processed the above arguments and are, as most people tend to do, falling back on the same thought process that led me to write this article. Riva Riley ’12 (rjriley@fas) has been asked the wrong question one too many times.
General Education already shows flaws.
By SUSAN ZHU
URING THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF SCHOOL, SOME OF MY
friends (all juniors) made the decision to switch to the General Education (Gen Ed) program from the Core program because they would have one or two fewer classes to take. I myself only had three Cores left, and had already found classes that seemed interesting to fulfill them, but still, I was intrigued. Maybe I could somehow end up not having to take any more required classes at all! I went to the Gen Ed website and printed out their little planning form and diligently filled it out. As a Government concentrator and former pre-med, I was only left with three yet unfulfilled categories: Societies of the World, Ethical Reasoning, and the United States in the World. Wait…what? I’m a Government concentrator. I’m exempt from Foreign Cultures and Moral Reasoning under the Core program, and I have to take an International Relations class as part of my concentration. The three that I was missing were those? Do they honestly think that I haven’t learned anything about ethical reasoning, or the United States in the world? What rubbish! But then I reached an epiphany. Maybe they just hadn’t gotten around to adding the higher-level government classes yet! After all, they had only recently started listing some of the former-Core classes that were now Gen Ed classes, and the program seemed to be making small gains through other departments. For Gov, the intro classes counted for Gen Ed —t Gov 20, the intro to comparative politics, Gov 30, the intro to American government, etc. With a smile on my face, I walked to the Holyoke Center to ask someone in the Gen Ed program whether courses I had taken could fulfill those requirements. I was sure that they would, it was just so logical! I had taken Gov 1790: American Foreign Policy (if this isn’t the United States in the World, I don’t know what is), Gov 1510: American Constitutional Law (ethical reasoning, yes?), and am currently in Gov 1280: The Government and Politics of China (a society? Check. In the world? Check!). Surely these must count. And even if Constitutional Law wasn’t enough ethical reasoning for them, I had taken a Moral Reasoning Core class, too. I had more courses in my bag if these particular ones didn’t satisfy the requirements. But oh, how amazingly frustrating the Gen Ed program is. The (very nice) lady behind the desk gently told me that the General Education program was all about general classes, and that these classes that I had taken were much too specific. Especially, she added, my junior seminar. Furthermore, Gen Ed doesn’t allow petitioning, so even if someone somewhere agreed with me, it’s not like I’d be able to do anything about it until someone on the administration side of things realized it, too. So basically, under the Gen Ed program, in order to graduate, I would have to go back and take introductory level classes or Core classes in fields I would have been exempt from, in order to graduate. I’m sorry, but that’s asinine and ridiculous. Or, more generally, stupid. Whatever. At least I can say I was among the last of Harvard students to be in the Core program. Susan Zhu ’11 (szhu@fas) is going to beat the system one way or another.
A Course in Applied Economics G-20 protests spark violence. By PRIYANKA KAURA
UNIVERSITY Pittsburgh, I woke up the morning of September 24 as I do every other morning — groggy and tired. But this morning, I had an excuse to stay in bed an extra hour. My macroeconomics class had been cancelled due to Pittsburgh’s hosting the G-20 Summit. Ironic that my professor decided to cancel class instead of discuss the significant economic decisions being made within a block of the lecture hall — S A FRESHMAN AT THE OF
but this was just one of the sacrifices we students made this week. On Thursday and Friday nights, anarchists and general rioters took to the streets on campus, smashing in windows and lighting dumpsters on fire in some kind of anti-capitalist protest. Afterwards, many of the protesters took off their black clothing and, disguised as students, formed a mob with the purpose of attracting actual students. In response, police issued warnings loud enough that I heard them through my closed dorm
Students and protesters resisted the police in a variety of ways.
Police set off smoke bombs in front of dormitory buildings to ward away mobs of students.
window, and clear enough that even the riled up crowds could understand the consequences of disobeying — and still students remained outside. So they were tear gassed, locked into residence hall lobbies, beaten, and arrested. Watching the People’s March on Friday was fascinating — the crowd was spirited, diverse, and mostly peaceful. But being locked out of my dorm, told by university officials at 12 AM not
The Anarchist coalition gets ready to march, some wearing bandanas to conceal their identities and/or protect them from tear gas.
to come within three blocks of my dorm, chased up the block by five policemen wearing armadillo-like riot suits, forced to hear “Go home or go to jail!” screamed in my face as an already homeward-bound bystander — these are things I’d rather forget. Priyanka Kaura is a guest writer from the University of Pittsburgh.
A protester poses for pictures; armed policemen stand by.
A row of policemen stands by a row of portable toilets, both in preparation for the large crowds at the People's March in Pittsburgh.
10.01.09 s The Harvard Independent
A Public Address by His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono The President of the Republic of Indonesia speaks at the IOP. Photos by PATRICIA FLORESCU
The president addresses to the full-capacity audience. His son, who is a student at the Kennedy School of Government, the First Lady and two of his ministers watch from the first row.
The Harvard Independent s 10.01.09
The Indonesia First Lady smiles to the public.
A Beautiful Disease The art of fashion and eating in New York. By SANYEE YUAN
N EW Y ORK . T WO WEEKS AGO , I wouldn’t have been able to make this bold statement and stand by it. In fact, two Thursdays ago, I was sitting in the designated quiet car on Amtrak (which I had accidentally climbed into without knowledge of the “No cell phones / no talking” rule), staring out the window as we rolled past sprawling green fields, clear lakes, and brick homes, thinking about my past times in New York. My first time in New York was last Thanksgiving, when I went home with my roommate instead of flying back to my hometown of San Francisco, California. We’d taken one of the more affordable buses, which dropped us right in Times Square. Immediately overwhelmed by the giant billboards for Target and the nightly news anchors, I stopped in the middle of the street to crane my head up to look at all of the advertisements leaping off skyscrapers. Which led to my getting pushed from every side by the torrent of people walking down the block. I ended up feeling like a tourist the entire time, gaping at everything and getting pushed by everyone who was on their way somewhere important. During my second time in the city, it was intersession and increasingly chilly, which meant there were fewer people on the street. Bundled up in multiple layers, I went with my then-entrywaymates, now-blockmates to the Museum of Modern Art and then Chinatown for dinner. We passed Rockefeller Center and a huge news station on the way, but the sharp wind kept us from extensive sightseeing. This third trip, my most recent one, was different. Once I got off the quiet train car, my friend from NYU picked me up and I got the chance to experience the life of an NYU student for the weekend. Since the campus is smack dab in the city, restaurants and shopping abound. LOVE
Premier Food, Diverse Tastes For dinner my first night, we enjoyed Thai food at a very cool restaurant with little tables and dim lighting. The service was slower than we expected — which I
later found out is the norm in the city — despite the fact that there were only a few other small groups eating late-night dinner there. My friend, also a native San Franciscan, confidentially told me that the Thai iced teas were a lot better on the West Coast, advising me against a drink. But the egg rolls were tasty, with a tangy peanut sauce and the fried rice and Pad Thai were rich and flavorful. For lunch on my second day, we enjoyed Vietnamese food, at a very college-friendly place. The prices for the lunch special were good deals — a lot of food for an affordable amount. While we waited for the food, we noticed a sign about their glutenfree menu, which launched us into our discussion of how Elizabeth Hasselbeck believes gluten-free diets are healthier. So, I guess New York dining is either becoming friendlier towards people with gluten allergies or taking more measures towards establishing healthy menus. For dinner on my second day, we went to an Italian restaurant with a large group of people and got the polar opposite of what we had enjoyed with the Vietnamese cuisine. The food was still good, but they doled out very pricey and minute portions of food. The half-price entrees were about five small bites each. Then, they charged us for bottles of sparkling water that we’d all thought were complimentary. Aside from the price, though, the ambience was perfect: blooming white roses floating in water goblets, a pizza oven cut into the wall in the back as the chefs made the pizza, and framed paintings draping the walls. For brunch on my third day, we went into Times Square and stopped by the Visitor’s Center for suggestions. There, we found huge binders that contained print-outs, in alphabetical order, of the menus for the 500+ restaurants in the Square. We went to a diner with famous burgers and realizing that we were not burger aficionados, concluded that we liked the burgers. The service was slow, again, but the menu was very interesting — boasting the World’s Smallest Hot Fudge Sundae, homemade cream sodas, and bison burgers with free toppings.
One place that we visited for dessert was Junior’s Cheesecake, so that I could have a taste of the famous New York dessert. After mulling over the delectable options on the menu, I got a Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake and my friend, with the advice from our server, got the Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake. My cheesecake was amazing — layered with pink cheesecake and light shortcake and mixed with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, it was huge and it lived up to my cheesecake standards. The Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake was equally amazing — although we agreed that the chocolate mousse was tastier than the cheesecake layer. For other dessert options, we also went to two frozen yogurt places during my time there. Our first spot, quaintly named Daydream, featured new toppings that I had never seen before — including chocolate-flavored “Drizzles” which are essentially syrups that crystallize over the frozen yogurt as well as “Dusts” which are fruit-flavored powders that sprinkle and flavor plain yogurt. The other spot was “Sixteen Handles,” which Tyra Banks supposedly frequents, and which features sixteen different flavors of fro-yo, as well as other creative toppings. I ended up going for nearly half of the flavors available: strawberry, coffee, cookies and cream, New York cheesecake, pistachio, banana, and peanut butter. And I topped the multi-swirl with brownie bites, cookie dough bits, mochi, and Reese’s peanut butter pieces. It was frozen yogurt at its best. Quality Shopping Aside from enjoying the good eats in the city, we also did a lot of shopping. We went to SoHo, near campus, where shops sprawled for blocks and blocks. Our first stop was the newly-opened Hollister, which featured “live” models — workers who simply stood around the shop wearing the brand’s clothing. They greeted us, but didn’t offer any help with navigating the multi-floored, dimly-lit store. We also visited Urban Outfitters and enjoyed the top floor — which featured
the sales and good deals. Then, we went to a newly opened store, called Desigual which imported radical colors and wildly-patterned pieces from Spain. The belts were over $100 and we decided that we weren’t the types who could pull off the Desigual look. After Desigual, we went to my friend’s favorite—and now, one of my new favorite—stores, Uniqlo. Similar to American Apparel, but better equipped with winter clothing, Uniqlo offers many styles in many colors. The cashmere sweaters and warm fleeces were quality and affordable. Our final shopping stop in SoHo was TopShop, which prominently advertised a 15% discount for students. An edgier H&M, with a dash of Forever 21 style, TopShop definitely appeals to the fashionista. Along with SoHo, we briefly shopped at Times Square, looking for souvenirs. I enjoyed the two M&M and Hershey’s factories — which featured different candy gift kits as well as giant colorful pillows, candy dispensers, champagne bottles full of candy pieces, and t-shirts with the bright and famous logos. The New York souvenir shops in the Square are mostly the same—with the set of similar magnets, pens, pins, keychains, and t-shirts that proclaim a love for Broadway and the Big Apple. And after my trip this time, I bought myself a souvenir — a keychain of a mini light pink t-shirt reading, “I Heart New York.” Because I do, after this trip. From the good eats to the fun shopping available, there is no shortage of places to visit within the city. In fact, I still have a list of places to go to, when I return, including: the famous chocolate desserterie, Serendipty (that was featured in the movie), the Magnolia cupcake shop from Sex & the City, Pommes Frites for its wide selection of dipping sauces for world-class French Fries, and the whole other half of SoHo and Times Square that we didn’t get to go to. My time there flew by — in a New York minute. Sanyee Yuan ’12 (syuan@fas) has fallen for the lure of the city that never sleeps.
10.01.09 s The Harvard Independent
Now Boarding: The U2 Spaceship
A spectacular concert seizes the hearts of thousands. By EZGI BEREKETLI
SPECTACLE, ALMOST A MIRACLE;
definitely unforgettable. If you think U2 is one of the best groups of all time, wait until you watch them live to add more superlatives to your description. It is from their marriage of music with technology and social consciousness that their unique and almost ineffably beautiful show is born. The multi-legged monster, or the octopus, or the claw, or whatever you might find appropriate to compare the stage set-up to, housed the spectacle. U2 traveled all the way from outer space to meet the over-excited crowd of U2 enthusiasts. On the 20th and 21st of September, the spaceship — as Bono called the in-the-round stage setup — landed at Gillette Stadium and four Irish aliens emerged as the biggest rock stars in the world. Projected on a 360-degree, 14,000-square-foot video The Harvard Independent s 10.01.09
screen, the four heroes of musical space and time travel would have made the aliens envious — if only they had had tickets. Bono opened the concert with these words: “Tonight we're gonna play old songs, new songs, songs we don't know... but we're not going anywhere without you. Are you ready for the ride?” U2 fans have been waiting for a very long time to board the mothership — a 150-foot tall, pastel green and orangespotted, claw-shaped mothership buzzing with a million points of light — that would come to take them to planet U2. The band began the concert with four songs from their new album “No Line on the Horizon,” but it wasn’t until the band started swerving the spaceship back in time that the crowd started singing and moving along. The lyrics of “Elevation,” “Vertigo”
and “Mysterious Ways” spilled out of everyone — even those who never knew they knew them. Bono went with the space and technology jargon even when he was introducing the band members: “Like to introduce our band: On the right, Experiment One, a mix between Jimmy Page and Stephen Hawking: a test tube baby, The Edge. On my left Experiment Two, his bottom end can move stadiums, a gentleman, a wise owl, a great bass player, Adam Clayton. Experiment Three, not human at all, at 21 gave his body to science, Robocop... Larry Mullen Junior. You don't need to know about Experiment Four, work still in progress...” Edge was as big of a hero as always, and fearlessly led his ace rhythm sections. Mullin and Clayton provided the brilliant heartbeat for hits from “One” to “With or Without You.”
As in every U2 concert, Bono championed peace and political awareness, and this time, accompanied by graphics, color and all sorts of visual effects projected on the huge 360-degree screen, the peaceful globe he wants to achieve came alive. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” became an anthem for a free Iran, and “MLK” and “Walk On” were dedicated to Burmese political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi. The concert in its entirety was a social experiment: U2 brought 60,000 free souls together, traveled “360 degrees” around the world, and landed softly on everyone’s heart. Don’t you wish life were a ride on U2’s spaceship, not going anywhere without us? I do. Ezgi Bereketli ’12 (ebereket@fas) wouldn't say no to being abducted by these aliens. email@example.com
The New State of College Football Upset over all of the upsets? Get used to it. By DANIEL ALFINO
S THIS YEAR IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
turning out to be a repeat of 2007? With one-third of the season in the books, it appears that no game is a given. Already, five teams in the Top 5 of the AP poll have been upset, and no team that remains in this week’s poll (1. Florida; 2. Texas; 3. Alabama; 4. LSU; 5. Boise State) has seemed like a juggernaut throughout their first four games. Two years ago, sports writers were frantically searching for a way to explain the Top 5 upset curse that seemed to plague teams who we thought were worthy of such a high ranking. To begin that season, a division I-AA Appalachian State came into the Big House and shocked No. 5 Michigan in a game that was to epitomize the rest of the year. Other big upsets that year included: Stanford over No. 2 USC, Colorado over No. 3 Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh over No. 5 West Virginia. This season appears to have the same trajectory. With No. 4 Ole Miss, No. 5 Penn State, No. 6 California, and No. 9 Miami all losing to conference opponents this week — one week after Washington outlasted then-No. 3 USC — we have a one-loss team (Virginia Tech) ranked as high as No. 6, and it is still September. In addition, arguably with the exception of Alabama, all of the teams currently ranked in the Top 5 have shown signs of weakness. Both Florida and Texas showed vulnerability against Tennessee and Texas Tech, respectively, two weeks ago, and LSU won close games against unranked Washington in their opener and barely won on a goal-line stop against unranked Mississippi State last Saturday. Boise State, which is only in the Top 5 because no other teams can stay unbeaten, defeated Oregon in their opener, but they have no other games left on their schedule to really prove that they should crash the BCS party. Furthermore, the top-ranked Florida Gators are unfortunately questioning all of those comparisons between Tim Tebow and Chuck Norris. Rarely does Tim Tebow take time to get back up after taking a hit, but Superman showed that even he was not immune to concussions last Saturday against
Kentucky. With his status in question, Florida will have to prepare backup quarterback John Brantley for LSU in two weeks in case Tebow doesn’t recover. Without arguably college f o o t b a l l’s most invaluable player, Florida will have a much harder time getting through their SEC gauntlet.
Do all of these upsets mean that talented teams aren’t coached as well as they used to be? Well, some games, like Appalachian State over Michigan, have no excuse. For the upsets which are not so ridiculous, however, the growth of conference parity as a result of the NCAA rules
Evaluating the quality of wins and losses adds greater subjectivity to an already inexact science, angering bloodthirsty fans.
CATHY KAPULKA/UPI Photo
concerning scholarship limitations may be to blame. With the relatively new 85 scholarship limit, schools like USC are having more difficulty stealing all of the West Coast’s talent. Spreading the talent around in a conference allows a team like Washington (this year) or Oregon State (last year) or Stanford (two years ago) to “surprise” the Trojans. (Well, can we really still call it a surprise if it happens every year?) This trend certainly isn’t limited to the Pac-10, though, and it’s a reality to which college football fans must adjust. On the bright side, no longer does a fluke loss necessarily rule out a team’s hopes for a national title, unless your team’s name is Penn State, and you play an absurdly easy non-conference schedule while playing in one of the most overrated conferences in the game. Also, every game on the schedule has added significance because no matchup, especially no conference game for teams playing in BCS conferences, is an automatic win. Standardizing more losses is good news for teams not in BCS conferences, as well, who now are getting more opportunities to prove themselves. Previously, an unbeaten Mountain West or Western Athletic Conference team would never be selected over an unbeaten SEC or Big 12 team, but now that big conference teams rarely make through the season unblemished, these off-the-radar teams have a better argument. And these teams have shown that they can play — and win — against big-name schools when given this chance. The problem now is that with more losses, selecting the best two teams in the country to play in the National Championship Game becomes increasingly more difficult. Evaluating the quality of wins and losses adds greater subjectivity to an already inexact science, angering bloodthirsty fans. And you don’t want to mess with SEC fans — I speak from experience. They grow them big in the South. Even the fans. Now if only the BCS could get their act together and implement a playoff system… Daniel Alfino ’11 (dalfino@fas) knows all about bloodthirsty fans. 10.01.09 s The Harvard Independent
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF HIBERNATION A heart chewed up and spit out by the Cubs. By HAO MENG
HAVE A SPECIAL AFFINITY FOR PEOPLE ,
organizations, and things that win in life. You do too, and so does every attractive girl you’ve ever attempted to woo. I mean, let’s be serious — there’s a reason why you haven’t scored, say, 80 percent of the time (I don’t know what to tell you; math never lies). By the same token, this is exactly why we love people like Ken Jennings and Michael Phelps. They’re great winners, and we can’t help but admire and adore them with all our hearts. Having said that, I’ve been suffering from one painful exception to this rule for a good thirteen years: I’m a fullfledged, diehard Chicago Cubs fan. Yes, the professional baseball team that hasn’t won a World Series in 101 years — a sports record that resides proudly (with blood-stained disgust) in my heart. That team. It’s a love/hate relationship in the strictest sense. After all, there are days — like Carlos Zambrano’s brilliant no-hitter last September against the Astros — when the Cubs make me feel like Heaven just made Tina Fey my wife; and yet there always seem to be more days when the Cubs stuff 349 cheeseburgers down Tina Fey’s throat and turn her into Kirstie Alley, making me financially responsible for my new wife’s eight meals per day. It’s days when the Cubs — with the best 2008 regular season record in the National League — decide to pull a Bill Buckner and get swept by the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, or when they cheerfully pay $17 million a year for Alfonso Soriano’s .241 batting average and $7 million a year for a imbecile board game character to not know the difference between two outs and three outs, that I start to question the level of sanity in my decision-making. I guess you could say that my beginnings as a Cubs fan were hardly auspicious. As a naïve seven year old watching his first baseball game on TV, I spontaneously decided that since no professional baseball teams existed in my hometown in Alabama, I would become a Cubs fan due to their radically awesome uniforms. In hindsight, that was probably not one of my better The Harvard Independent s 10.01.09
decisions in life, ranking somewhere behind using a squat toilet without toilet paper or asking the same girl to the fifth grade dance seven times (because remember, if at first you don’t succeed, you still have the option of being a douchebag). The problem, though, was not that I had decided to be a Cubs fan, but that I was too young and ignorant to realize that I had made a bad decision. So as Sammy Sosa began to wow me with his Zeus-like home runs and Kerry Wood with his all-too sexy 20 strikeout record, the Cubs got the best of me. I became unconditionally and irreversibly headover-heels in love with the Cubs. The losing didn’t hurt as much in the beginning. I knew nothing of the Billy Goat Curse, so I figured that the losing seasons were simply an anomaly and bound to end eventually. I was wrong — astronomically wrong. I was more wrong than those idiots who thought the world was flat. More wrong than Dan Quayle’s spelling of “potato.” And definitely more wrong than the people who claim sliced bread is a better invention than the push-up bra. From 1999 to 2002, the Cubs finished dead last (6 th) in their division twice, fifth once, and third once. Then, in 2003, after finishing first in their division, making the playoffs, and coming within five outs of making the World Series, the Cubs collapsed more quickly than a poorly-built Jenga tower. Up 3-0 in the eighth inning, a Florida Marlins player hit a foul ball to left fielder Moises Alou, who was in prime condition to catch the ball and record an out. All was well — that is, until the most imbecilic Cubs fan in the world, Steve Bartman, decided to reach out and grab the ball, preventing Alou from making the catch. That one play changed the momentum of the game. The Marlins ended up winning both it and Game 7, as well as the rights to go to the World Series. There’s no other way to say it: I bawled my eyes out, much like I would have if Megan Fox agreed to a night of wild escapades before yelling “Psych!” It was the worst night of my life.
Six years later, I’m still caught in this quagmire of disappointment and anguish. But for all the suffering I endure on a regular basis, I’m still genuinely proud to be a Cubs fan. Why? You know, I don’t have a great answer to that question, other than something about the awesomeness of hope. It came through for Obama, and I know that one day, regardless
of whether I’m still alive, it’ll come through for the coolest team in all of baseball. All I have to do is believe. And when that day comes, the best day of my life, Tina Fey and I will finally share our long overdue wedding vows. Let’s go, Cubbies! Hao Meng ’11 (haomeng@fas) loves the Cubs more than Tina Fey, but it’s a close thing. firstname.lastname@example.org
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