02.28.13 VOL. XLIV, NO. 16
The Indy is taking care of itself. Cover Design by ANNA PAPP
CONTENTS FORUM 3 It's All Greek to Me 4 With a Little (Self-) Help From My Friends 5 Perfection in Progress ARTS 6 Girls Run the World 7 Eddie Izzard Post Blizzard 8 And We Danced 9 Desperate Times, Desperate Measures SPORTS 10 Rowers and Ruggers 11 Sit Down with Scotty Destination of the week... Himalayas
President Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Director of Production
Angela Song '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Miranda Shugars '14
News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Associate News Editor Associate Forum Editor Associate Arts Editor Associate Design Editor
Whitney Gao '16 Curtis Lahaie '15 Sean Frazzette '16 Alex Chen '16 Milly Wang '16 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Sarah Rosenthal '15 Travis Hallett '14
Illustrator Anna Papp '16 Cartoonist John McCallum '16 Photographers Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Tarik Moon '15 Business Manager Albert Murzakhanov '16 Senior Staff Writers Michael Altman '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Whitney Lee '14 Staff Writers Claire Atwood '16 Xanni Brown '14 Clare Duncan '14 Gary Gerbrandt '14 Travis Hallett '14 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Chloe Li '16 Orlea Miller '16 Albert Murzhakanov '16 Carlos Schmidt '15 Frank Tamberino '16 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 Angela Song (president@harvardindependent. com) or Managing Editor Sayantan Deb (managingeditor@ harvardindependent.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Christine Wolfe (editorinchief@harvardindependent. 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.
FrΘm Gee κ tΘ Gree κ
One Southern belle tackles the “Greek Question.” By WHITNEY GAO
igma Chi. Kappa Kappa Gamma. Alpha Epsilon Pi. Kappa Alpha Theta. Greek life wraps up its recruitment period for the spring as March rolls in. Sorority recruitment ended on February 12th, after Nemo forced Bid Day to be pushed back two days. Sigma Alpha Epsilon was the last fraternity to send out bids this last Friday. I come from a place that’s commonly known as Arkansas, but is more often associated with looks ranging from confusion to concern when brought up in the hallowed halls of Hahvahd. Down South, Greek life is the sole determinant of your social life. So, on coming to college, I swore I would not become affiliated with any Greek letters other than those I would run into in my psets. This was not a choice of chronic social suicide but rather of preservation of sanity. You see, in the South, sororities are pretty close to their depictions in movies. The intensity of ritual and your favorite blonde and skinny “sorority girl” type exists thousand-fold. If you don’t fit into their mold, it’s the chopping block for you! (And I can only imagine how much worse it is for the boys. Freshmen males, you think you have it hard.) I have a difficult time dealing with high-stress environments — being a pre-med at Harvard is hard enough on its own. When we also take into consideration the fact that I’m a bit of a tomboy and have one of the most laidback approaches to life ever, it seems natural to think that my path would never wind within a million miles of Greek territory. However, at the end of my first semester here, I was still lost. I felt that I had no strong sense of community. Many of my peers had found an ethnic group, interest group, or even work group that they felt was their family. While I had groups through which I had met some wonderful people, they still just felt like extracurriculars. Whenever there’s a work component involved, there’s always detachment and inevitable moments of stress. The Harvard Independent • 02.28.13
I had never really experienced community for community’s sake. And at times, much to my own surprise, I found myself being jealous of my friends from the Land Down Under (the Mason-Dixon Line). Via Instagram, I looked into their lives during the rush process, Bid Day, and Big/Little week. I know this isn’t very expressive or eloquent, but there’s just something about seeing nearly everyone you know go through the same process and being left out of it all. So, when winter break rolled around, I had already decided to give Greek life a try. I made note of when the application came out — though, in classic Harvard fashion, I did not actually apply until right before the deadline — and made sure to read the “Potential New Member” packet beforehand. These things were all things I would have made fun of anyone doing less than six months ago. Countless hours of girl-flirting and over a week later, I received a bid from Delta Gamma (affectionately shortened to DG). I have never felt so popular in my life. Seriously, the amount of Facebook friend requests I received in one day was astounding. I think DG sisters actually flipped the ratio of guy to girl friends I had. Regardless, I never thought I would like getting heralded by estrogen so much. On a more serious note, Delta Gamma truly welcomed me like I never would have expected. It seems terribly cliché and trite to say that finding DG was like going home, but to some extent, that’s what it felt like after a few weeks with the girls. I had become much too cynical regarding members of my own sex a long while ago, focusing only on examples of cattiness I saw. I had become skeptical about the existence of the good of humankind. It’s easy to fall into the rhythm of competition and heartless vying in an environment like college — only intensified by the fact that we
do attend Harvard, where the person you’re sitting next to could be the next President of the United States someday. Greek life is something that levels the playing field. When I step into our space for a meeting, I don’t feel like I’m competing with these girls. I don’t feel like they’re trying to one-up me around every corner. I don’t feel like they’re sizing me up with every glance. And that can be one of the greatest feelings in the world — a feeling of relief, of relaxed vulnerability. If you don’t have somewhere to go where you can just let your guard down and not worry about the walls and defenses you constantly have to maintain in the real world, you’re going to crumble. And soon. So for me, the answer to the Greek Question was Yea. I know lots of girls feel the same way. My suitemate, who is in Kappa Alpha Theta, wasn’t feeling well during the last few days of recruitment, and she got an amazing gift and note telling her that her Theta sisters would always be there for her if she needed anything. For some girls, the answer is simple. For others, the answer can be less straightforward. Sometimes it devolves into a no — many girls feel that the Greek way isn’t for them and withdraw during recruitment. Sometimes though, it can lead to something great. My two best friends were on the fence about even signing up for recruitment, but also ended up being in DG — they love it (my entire blocking group for next year is now in Delta Gamma, so something must have gone right). Truth be told, you’ve just gotta do you. Try it out — never waste any potential opportunity. Who knows, maybe Greek life is for you too. I’d love to call you a sister someday. Whitney Gao ’16 (whitneygao@college) can’t wait to welcome the new sisters of Alpha Phi!
Help Me Help You Attempting to remove the red tape from self-help books. By FRANK TAMBERINO
hen it comes to self-help books, I’m something of an addict. Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” For me, self-help books are lenses through which this examination occurs. When you pick one up, you’re taking a look at yourself and trying to improve so that you can become healthier, happier, and more fulfilled. There is, however, a general suspicion surrounding this industry. Many people think the self-help book is a moneymaking scheme designed by marketers calling themselves authors. In some cases, this suspicion is correct. When I was in middle school, my mom had an audio version of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret that she would play for us in the morning. I can remember scratching my chin and chuckling at the basic premise of this book, which is comically absurd. It’s a classic example of a self-help book that preys on readers who are looking for a magically simple solution to their problems. A person must learn how to read a self-help book. Just like you shouldn’t expect slapstick comedy from a gothic horror novel, you shouldn’t expect easy solutions from a self-help book. This brings me to SELF-HELP WARNING #1: If the book claims that change is easy, then it’s trying to sell you — not help you. Many fantastic self-help books will present a simple philosophy that encapsulates the journey to change, but they will then stress that implementing this philosophy — however straightforward it may appear — takes time and serious commitment. An author with an idea that he or she believes in has no reason to lie to you. Self-help authors are master psychologists. They know how to build the reader’s investment in a philosophy by making promises. It doesn’t matter that these promises are empty, as long as they are the right ones — the ones the reader has been waiting to hear. SELF-HELP WARNING #2: When the author spends a lot of time telling you what the book can do for you, then he or she will rarely provide a philosophy that lives up to the hype. When an author has developed a rich and effective philosophy, he or she will delve right into it without wasting any time. I can often sense the genuine excitement of the author when the ideas within the book are really worth something. Excitement is a good sign. If you are considering buying a self-help book, I would suggest researching the author to find out a few things about his or her credentials, background, and personal lifestyle. I like to look up interviews with the author before I actually start reading the book. Many self-help books give very personal advice that requires you to do some serious introspection. I would never want to follow the advice of someone to whom I cannot relate. SELF-HELP WARNING #3: Make a judgment 4
call about the author’s character and background before reading the book. If the author seems honest, intelligent, and sincere, then the willingness to follow his or her advice will be far more powerful. SELF-HELP WARNING #4: No philosophy is perfect. Never commit yourself entirely to the ideas in a self-help book. Most good authors have a few really original ideas with the potential to change lives, but they will also have some in which they are less confident. Learn to recognize the latter and focus primarily on the former. I have found that the beginning of the book is usually the most inspired part. Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth is rather esoteric, but I’ve found myself making countless observations based on its fundamental claim that every human problem ultimately relates to the ego. The organization and overall movement of the book could be improved, but I think it’s worth a quick read. David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man reintroduces the essence of masculinity after decades of gender-equalization that have produced seriously overlooked side-effects. I think this is a really important book written at exactly the right time. Deida enforces the truth that masculinity and femininity as psychological extremes are not gender-exclusive, nor should they be suppressed. Whether you’re a guy or a girl with a masculine essence, Deida will help you locate and capture your masculine nature in an exciting and enjoyable introduction to your own psyche. Paulo Coelho’s Manual of the Warrior of the Light is a poetic little book full of elegant proverbs and bits of advice to inspire you in every area of your life. A spiritual leader and Messenger of the Peace to the UN, I trust Coelho to never give advice that is destructive or misleading. He sticks to timeless and understated tenets of living and searching for one’s destiny collected in a manner reminiscent of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I would advise you to read this book as slowly as possible; only then will you allow for the appropriate time to reflect on the simple yet powerful messages contained within. I could go on. I have read many fantastic selfhelp books that have guided me at important moments in my life. Currently on my list are Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Don’t make the mistake of believing that transformative knowledge can’t come from a book. The self-help genre is a wisdom tradition that stretches back farther than you think. Give it a chance. Frank Tamberino ’16 (franktamberino@college) is essentially helping you help yourself.
Nine Ways to Make Friends (Never Use Even Numbers) By SEAN FRAZZETTE 1) Excessively shake their hand when you first meet them and then throw in the awkward and personalspace-invading forearm grasp about ten seconds in. 2) Introduce yourself as a student, and then speak for an extended period of time about your disillusionment with college education, your recent quarrels with your T.F., and your obsession with [inser t 19th century novelist here]. 3) Ask about the person’s interests before instantaneously preceding into your own, which should include reading Machiavelli, dressage, and tatting. 4) Make an obscene joke. Any and all are permissible upon the first encounter. 5) Ask if he or she would like to see your special talent before proceeding to imitate various people, from Groucho Marx to John F. Kennedy to all Batman villains. 6) Reference your pets by their names, and only their names, never making it 100% clear that they are animals. 7) Talk about fight club. 8) Show them pictures of any children from your wallet, referring to them as “cute little younglings.” 9) Before you leave, call the acquaintance by a slightly different name (like Christina instead of Christine) and go in for a hug. 02.28.13 • The Harvard Independent
Why I Don't Love My
BODY And why I don't think I should.
By CURTIS LAHAIE
ast semester, I took Psychology 18: Abnormal Psychology, a course taught by Professor Joshua Buckholtz on psychopathology, or illnesses of the mind (amazing course, by the way; I highly recommend it). In one of his final lectures of the semester, Professor Buckholtz briefly discussed eating disorders, primarily explaining the causes, symptoms, and treatments of anorexia nervosa, the most deadly of psychiatric disorders. Following the discussion on anorexia, a visibly muscular male student raised his hand: “What about the opposite? Doing whatever it takes
Photos by Angela Song
The Harvard Independent • 02.28.13
to get big?” Buckholtz responded by noting the similarities between the opposite extremes: both are unhealthy preoccupations with weight gain and caloric intake — with obtaining the perfect body. Not long after the lecture, I attended the Love Your Body study break hosted by Eating Concerns Hotline and Outreach (ECHO). At the study break, in the noble pursuit of addressing Harvard students’ concerns about eating and body image, ECHO put out some healthy (and some not so healthy) snacks and drinks. Covering the walls were inspirational posters related to body image, and on a large, blank paper, students wrote all the things that they loved about their bodies. While I did pick up one of the awesome tank tops that sported the slogan “Love Your Body,” I wear the shirt more because I like the colors of the lettering than because I truly believe those bright, largelettered words. Even though I wear the shirt, I can’t say that I love my body: I think my arms are too small, my chest and stomach lacking in definition, and
my back not wide enough. But even though I can admit that I don’t love my body, I can also admit that I don’t think I should. For the last several months, I’ve been counting calories and paying close attention to what I eat. Luckily, I’ve never really liked sweets or junk food, so this hasn’t been too difficult. I’ve been lifting weights almost religiously (but not quite religiously), and I get a little angry when I stand on a scale and learn that I’ve lost a pound after eating many thousands of calories the day before. Clearly, my relationship with my body isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. It’s a tough relationship — one that requires some pain and hardship, but one that ultimately comes with rewards. I do not think that I should love my body as it is; rather, I am in love with making it better. For me, there has been nothing more empowering than transforming from a painfully scrawny guy who took Personal Fitness online (‘nuff said) into a man who’s 30 pounds heavier and significantly stronger, both physically and mentally. I have gained physical strength, but I have also become more confident and more dedicated in all realms of life. It is almost as though I am a new person. It is indisputable that anorexia nervosa and the opposite extreme of steroid usage are unhealthy. But adopting a “Love Your Body” mentality isn’t necessarily healthy either. If loving your body means being completely complacent about your body image and simultaneously your health, there are obvious consequences. Mikel Ruffinelli, the woman with the biggest hips in the world, passionately claims that she loves her body and that she doesn’t want to “lose her curves.”
Although she hopes to inspire women to love their bodies in the same way that she loves hers – which at first glance seems like a benevolent wish – Ruffinelli is 5’4” and 420 pounds, undeniably falling into the category of the morbidly obese. Like anorexia, obesity is often fatal, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, among other medical issues. If we all unconditionally loved our bodies, we might end up with more eight-foot hips and, at the same time, more cases of these deadly conditions and thus more premature deaths. I often wear my Love Your Body tank top when I go to the gym. Although I mostly just like the colors, I can’t say I don’t believe in the words at all. In one sense, I do love my body. No, I can’t say that I am satisfied with my body in its current condition; I don’t love my body in that sense. Instead, I love my body in that I take care of it — my body is important to me. In order to take care of it, in order to love my body, I must be critical, I must push myself, and I can’t be complacent. I must always work towards becoming stronger and healthier or else risk losing the benefits that exercise has consistently provided me. The line separating fitness and a clinically significant obsession with body image may be a fine one. But organizations like ECHO, and society at large, should not attempt to solve the problems of body image by asking people to love their bodies as they are. Instead, we should encourage people to consider fitness, teaching them to love their bodies by taking care of them. Curtis Lahaie ’15 (clahaie@college) loves his body, sort of. harvardindependent.com
Girls Take Charge The Indy reviews the Girls Impact the World Film Festival. By Milly Wang
hat does it mean to be a person? What does it mean to be a girl? Do these two questions warrant different answers? Should they? Prejudice. Stereotypes. Inequality. Injustice. We’ve moved past all of that – or have we? This past Saturday, the Girls Impact the World Film Festival made its debut at Harvard in Sever Hall and addressed these pressing issues. What started as just an idea and a web name quickly blossomed into an impressive event. Lila Igram from connecther.org collaborated with Harvard students Kerry Hammond ‘14 and Ara Parikh ‘15. They first dreamt up this idea with the goal of bringing to light the issues surrounding gender equality. “The one big idea that motivates me,” says Hammond, “is that we can’t say women from all around the world, from developed and developing countries, are all equal because it gives the impression that we’re done, but we’re not done.” The universal message underlying the films showcased in this Film Festival is just that: more work needs to be done. The judges that they chose for this event had impressive backgrounds. But they weren’t just chosen for their accomplishments. “We focused on people who focused on girl empowerment, those who were women’s advocates,” says Igram. The People’s Choice Award film featured a deeply touching and devastating story of a young woman in an abusive marriage that she cannot escape from. Despite interventions from the media and her parents, her husband continues to physically beat her after coming back from nights of gambling. She has come to accept this as her fate and stopped fighting for her own rights. The Deputy Director for 10X10, Tara Abrahams, presented the trailer for Girls Rising, which tells the story of 9 girls in 9 different places around the world. They made three trips to each country and focused on issues such as the barriers to education that each girl faced. Their purpose? To change minds, change lives, and change the rules. Together, they want to celebrate the power of creative abilities. The ending of the trailer was particularly poignant. “A revolution has begun” flashes across the screen, followed by “there is no miracle here, just a girl with dreams.” Just recently, 10X10 has hit its 20,000-ticket mark for Girls Rising. To promote their film, they used crowd sourcing. A student who wishes to have
a movie showing in their city is paired up with a local theatre and once enough people in the area buy a ticket for the showing, 10X10 works with the theatre to bring the film there. Want to see the film? A few student groups are currently in the works to bring it to the Boston area. Look out for more information in the coming weeks. Brenda Dennis, Senior Director for Cisco, a sponsor of the event, presented the Most Innovative Film Award to Jordyn Roach, whose film also placed third in the overall competition. Dennis explained Cisco’s involvement in the festival, focusing on the idea of making the world of technology better for women and of using technology as a means of sharing a story. She touted the ability of mobile devices to reach audiences far and wide. It is indeed remarkable to think of the ability of a film to reach a world audience today through the web, which was not possible only years ago. Roach’s entertaining, animated film touched upon one of the core concepts of the festival with its final statement: “This is a girl. Scratch that. This is a person. Let her decide what that means.” Alexis Jones, founder of I Am That Girl, also took up the issue of humanity. She felt that this movement was not simply a women’s movement but rather a human movement. “In a movement, compassion is necessary,” Jones says. “My job is to just tell people that they are awesome. We have the ability to make people fly.” Jean Oelwang, CEO of Virgin Unite, recounts the wise words that she heard from a South African woman before: “The world’s most dangerous idea is that we are not the same.” She works with young and successful female entrepreneurs and has identified four reasons as to why they are so successful. One: they focus on people and on inspiring others. Two: they value collaboration — building up consensus
is the “new sexy” in this world. Three: grace. And four: they are open to sharing their thoughts and ideas. “There is a shift,” she feels, “towards embracing female strength. We’re changing the way we see female strength. We’re celebrating female values, embracing both genders, and building leadership.” The second-place movie, Teen Pregnancy, told the story of a teenage mom, Alexis Lopez, who got pregnant at the age of 12. Over the past year, teen pregnancy rates have dropped about 4% in the United States, but there is still a high rate of teenage pregnancy amongst certain groups and in certain areas. It was a beautiful story that touched upon the hardships and notso-glamorous sides of motherhood as well as the strength of the young mom. “Don’t let others cut you down,” Lopez says. “Try to succeed in what you want in the future.” The winner of the film festival, International Boulevard, was about the practice of human slavery in the form of prostitution present in today’s world. Their film took us to the Bay Area of California, right in the filmmaker’s backyards. The film brought to light the depraved conditions these girls were kept in — with their clothes taken away from them in the day and their ankles chained to prevent them from running away. These girls, a police officer said, are mostly those who have been maltreated and molested before. And when a pimp comes along and tells them that they are beautiful, they are easily led astray and forced into this line of work. These films certainly didn’t mince their words. They approached sensitive issues head on, without looking back. But why a film festival? Are there not other and possibly more direct ways to spread the word and make an impact? “I’ve always been very moved by performances and films. I wanted to combine different areas that motivate me and see what they can do together,” says Parikh. “We wanted to help give youth a place to express their ideas.” Milly Wang ’16 (keqimillywang@college) has come to appreciate the power of storytelling.
courtesy of kerry hammond
10.11.12 • The Harvard Independent
He Believes in People. A Stand-Up Guy By TRAVIS HALLETT “Où est la plume de ma tante?” my best friend and I would ask each other in the hallway between classes in high school, reciting Eddie Izzard’s jokes about French class like we came up with them. We knew the comedian as well as we did through her mom, whose dark and bizarre sense of humor led to hours spent watching VHS tapes of his shows. They were Izzard’s most revered routines, including Unrepeatable, Glorious, and Dress to Kill, birthed in the 1990s (long before any parent would let their child listen in). A self-described “action” transvestite, Izzard’s comedy routines usually featured him in makeup, heels, and the occasional dress, the butt of his first few jokes helping to acquaint the audience with his nontraditional appearance. Though comedy did bring him great success, it was the desire for a career in acting that brought him into the entertainment industry. In 2007-2008, Izzard starred alongside Minnie Driver in the TV show The Riches on FX. He has played supporting roles in over two dozen movies in the past 20 years. Some were met with only moderate success, though most people have surely seen him at least once in the more popular titles, including Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen, Across the Universe, the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Igor, Valkyrie, and Cars 2. The Humanist Community at Harvard’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Eddie Izzard last Wednesday, February 20 for his “superlative contribution to Humanism in world culture.” Indeed, as his fans have found, the content of Izzard’s jokes frequently oppose religion. From poking fun at the Pope and the Church, to incredulous reenactments of historical events depicted in the Old Testament and James Mason as the voice of God, a history buff or religious historian would be impressed with how informed the content tends to be. His acceptance speech/ performance (it’s never quite one or the other) last week was of his usual nature, rambling along unscripted without a sense of purpose or direction, his disorganization itself often stirring laughter. But that night, unlike others, had a serious undertone, a refrain, if you will, of the humanist gospel: I don’t believe in God, I believe in people. Running through the best hits of his past routines, Izzard reminded the audiThe Harvard Independent • 02.28.13
ence that in the history of the world, not one god has ever “shown up,” perhaps afraid to show their faces after the plight of the dinosaurs. He wondered how humans might react to a high-pitched god; after all, we’ve been programmed to respond to a deep and booming “Come on!” going into battle, not a timid and shrill rendition that one might find in a nursery. With his multitude of voices and off the cuff dialogue, Izzard kept the audience in hysterics, but he took a slightly more serious tone when mentioning how the Blood and Body of Christ seem an awful lot like cannibalism and vampirism. With each passing minute, Izzard drove the point home: he is a serious skeptic of religion who doesn’t hesitate to let it be known. While on one hand he — like every comedian — talks about what he knows, there’s an idea behind it that he wishes would grow: the belief in people in lieu of gods. Perhaps a humanist who doesn’t even know it, as the recipient of the Humanist Community’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Eddie Izzard has accomplished more than he knows.
Humanism Has a Heart By MEGHAN BROOKS On Wednesday, February 20th, the Humanist Community at Harvard presented comedian Eddie Izzard with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism in Memorial Church. In other words, a bunch of Harvard atheists gave a funny, famous atheist an award for being a good person. That’s humanism. Being a good person without God, I mean. The American Humanist Association defines humanism as such: “a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” Humanists believe in reason and science, stewardship of the environment, service, happiness, general wellbeing, pluralism, and, most importantly, the goodness of people. In his speech-cum-stand-up after receiving his misspelled award, Izzard returned to this concept, the goodness of people, again and again. “I’m a spiritual atheist,” Izzard said. “I don’t believe in gods, I believe in us.” Izzard believes in us, and the humanitarian work he’s done in recent years
BEST OF EDDIE IZZARD 1. I’m an action transvestite really, so it’s running, jumping, climbing trees...putting on make-up when you’re up there! 2. All that giraffes can do — if you look on Wikipedia — giraffes can cough. So they must cough, using the ancient British method of coughing to express alarm, distress, and the end of empires. 3. Puberty is the sickest joke God plays on us. So you’re just noticing members of the sex: “Girls girls, ooo”. Naturally you want to look your best, and God says “No! You will look the worst you’ve ever looked in your life!” 4. So then God created the world, and on the first day he created light and air and fish and jam and soup and potatoes and haircuts and arguments and small things and rabbits and people with noses and jam — more jam, perhaps — and soot and flies and tobogganing and showers and toasters and grandmothers and, uh…Belgium. 5. This joke was very funny a hundred years ago. Back in the early 1800s, this really killed. 6. But, you [Americans] spell “through” t-h-r-u, and I’m with you on that. ‘Cause we spell it “thruff,” and that’s trying to cheat at Scrabble. 7. My father was a beekeeper before me, his father was a beekeeper. I want to follow in their footsteps. And their footsteps were like this: AAAAAAAH! I’m covered in beeeeees! (Runs screaming) 8. It’s the cutting edge of politics in a very extraordinarily boring way! 9. And the Austro-Hungarian Empire, famous for fuck-all! Yes, all they did was slowly collapse like a flan in a cupboard. - Xanni Brown proves it. In addition to being a major contributor to the Labour Party, Izzard has campaigned for the integration of the United Kingdom in the European Union and worked to preserve the arts in universities. After Hurricane Katrina, Izzard devoted the proceeds of a New Orleans performance to re-housing efforts, and he has become a marathon runner for charitable causes. He ran 42 marathons in 51 days in 2009 for the British charity Sport Relief, running more than 1,100 miles. Last May, Izzard attempted to run 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa in honor of Nelson Mandela’s 27 years spent as a political prisoner. Although medical issues put that task on hold, Izzard’s contribution to charitable organizations is something to marvel at. And with his quick wit and infamous stage persona, Eddie Izzard takes the cake as one of the most outstanding humanists of our time. harvardindependent.com 7
A Cultural Extravaganza The Indy gets the dish on Ghungroo, from an insider. By SAYANTAN DEB There are many aspects of my identity I have explored in college — being premed, my love for the arts, writing, community service, and my queer identity have all figured in some capacity into my college career. I must confess, however, that I have neglected one part of myself — my South Asian heritage. I grew up in New Jersey, right next to Oak Tree Road. The neighborhood was, quite appropriately, termed “Little India.” I grew up next to samosa and chaat places, where the streets were abuzz with Bollywood music and most of my neighbors were South Asian. A good Biryani or the newest Bollywood flick in a theater exclusively for South Asian films was not more than a couple of blocks away. Therefore, this wasn’t an identity I necessarily felt that I had to explore or reinforce. This semester, however, after much urging from a friend, I decided to join Ghungroo, the South Asian cultural show. I attended Ghungroo my freshman year and remember being thrilled by most of the acts. I also remembered it being really long, so I had my reservations. However, after the first day of rehearsals, all of my hesitations were gone. Pretty soon, I was gyrating my hips to the tunes of Bollywood 60’s and 70’s film music, as part of the “Bollywood Oldies” segment, or “Boldies,” as we like to call it. It wasn’t until the dress rehearsal on this past Tuesday that I grasped the entire spectrum of Ghungroo and learnt what it really was all about. Ghungroo comprises of multiple dance and musical acts punctuated by funny little skits. The dances and the instrumental pieces cover the gamut of South Asian culture, encompassing classical, modern, Oldies, 90’s and contemporary Bollywood music. There are East/West fusion to regional dances such as Raas or Bhangra. Finally, the highlight of the show is the senior dance, where there are multiple segments performed by different groups of seniors as a sort of a celebration of their four years here and a last “hurrah” on a Harvard stage. The skits are funny takes on the essence of being South Asian — the shared experiences and eccentricities that make us unique. I was absolutely in awe as I saw 8 harvardindependent.com
act after act coming out. The costumes were all different, only tied together by the fact that they were colorful, covered in sequins, or both, and they celebrated their land of origin. The music was fun, and each act was unique, bringing to the audience a different aspect of South Asian culture. The Senior Dance was a blast, and one could sense the palpable joy and perhaps tinge of sadness in the room to see all of those seniors together on stage. I have realized now that Ghungroo is abot much more than just expressing a South Asian cultural background. Throughout the process, I developed an immense sense of pride in the culture I grew up in — a feeling that was, until now, jaded, perhaps clouded by the fact that growing up, I never really missed it, and therefore didn’t quite appreciate the idiosyncrasies. I know that I will only have one more year to perform in Ghungroo, and I wish had started earlier. But next year, I plan to make up for the two years that I missed out on and be onstage with my fellow seniors, celebrating the four years I will have spent here. Until then, I can always look back on this experience as one of the most eye-opening experience in college, in the most unexpected way. Ghungroo opens Thursday night and runs Friday night, Saturday matinee, and Saturday night at the Agassiz theater. If you have any time at all this weekend, drop by — trust me, it will be worth your while, or as they say in Bollywood, paisa vasool! Sayantan Deb ’14 (sayantandeb@college) is ready to put on his gold pants and sequined vest and dance the weekend away.
02.28.13 • The Harvard Independent
QUIET DESPERATION Housewives and Harvard alike.
By JORDAN WEIERS
Inarguably, Desperate Housewives is the ultimate American television series. Okay, perhaps not. But in 2012, when DH ended after eight seasons, a small part of America died. All right, that also may be a slight exaggeration. Still, if you’re a student at the big H, you have more in common with the sneaky, gossip-laden, and ultimately human residents of Wisteria Lane than you might realize. Allow me to explain why. For any deprived souls not familiar with DH (but really, no judgment), it is more than just a television series about housewives who gossip, drink coffee, kill each other, and get it on with the local plumber, though all those things may happen at some point or another. Desperate Housewives is a critique of the superﬁciality of American suburban life. In the very ﬁrst episode, Mary Alice (the series’ narrator) shows the viewer how polished her life is as she does laundry and makes breakfast. She clips some pretty ﬂowers. She picks up stuff from the dry cleaner. She gets the mail. She then proceeds to “retrieve a revolver that had never been used” and shoot herself. Later on, Mary Alice’s friends speculate on the circumstances surrounding her suicide. Susan (played by Teri Hatcher) remembers Mary Alice bestowing upon her the following sage advice: “Listen to me. We all have moments of desperation. But if we can face them head on, that’s how we ﬁnd out how strong we really are.” Quote-worthy advice from a seemingly infallible woman. How could such a conﬁdent, The Harvard Independent • 02.28.13
happy, Martha Stewart-style homemaker have been harboring such darkness? The picket-fence world of appearances that is Wisteria Lane can be viewed as a metaphor for the ivy-covered bastion of perfection that is Harvard. We all live it every day. Wisteria Lane seems ﬂawless with its botoxed women, trimmed hedges, and heteronormative nuclear families. Harvard students also seem ﬂawless with the depth of their accomplishments, pulled together lives, and plethora of extracurricular activities. But beneath the veneer, Harvard and Wisteria Lane hide deep anxieties and secrets. Though a “secret” in DH may constitute a soccer mom having a prostitution hobby and a “secret” at Harvard may constitute feeling overburdened to the point of depression, these are two horns on the same goat. The housewives take great pains to conceal their imperfections and struggles from their neighbors, as if a sickeningly plastic neighborhood ﬁlled with tension and misunderstanding were better than admitting inadequacy. The ironic part is that all the characters are inadequate. Why is it such a big deal that Lynette can’t wrangle control of her children when Bree’s son Andrew ends up as a gigolo on the street after she kicks him out? If only they bothered to talk to one another. If only. As I walked through the Yard today, passing well-organized-looking people, I realized something: I am one of those people. No, not wellorganized. I am the people I passed. We all put on an air of composure and, in doing that, forget that everyone else puts that air on, too. What I’m getting at is that it’s all just an air. Just like in DH, we all paint our picket fences regularly and mow the lawn real nice. But behind the perfectly
MARTIN LEWISON / CC-BY-SA 2.0
bleached curtains, we are all humans with human problems. And here at Harvard, we forget that entirely too often. To extend my extraordinarily original suburb/ Harvard metaphor, it’s time we opened the garden gate to our neighbors and their struggles. It is a liberating experience to realize that you are not alone as you work through the adversities and unimagined situations at the most famous university in the world. The wives of DH never allow themselves a moment to lower the facade or even time to think that maybe being plastically perfect isn’t better than the alternative. Honestly, is the vine-covered facade really necessary? This is for Ivy and Wisteria alike, so think! So go out and borrow a cup of ﬂour from your neighbor. Or let them come use your rolling pin sometime. After all, baking cookies (surviving Harvard) is an activity best completed by cooks working together and exchanging recipes and stuff (empathizing). All right, so maybe that metaphor overextended itself. Case in point: Don’t let your life become one of quiet desperation. There is a fellow Harvardian somewhere this side of the Charles who understands your situation. And it could be that seemingly faultless guy/girl (your pick) that just walked past your dorm room. Perfection is never perfect.
Jordan Weiers ’16 (jweiers@college) is excited to be concentrating in Home Economics with a secondary in Picket-Fence-Painting.
SOME WORK and SOME PLAY
o one w o u l d deny college can be a stressful place. Between the heavy workloads of classes and the business of everyday life, one can feel out of place, struggling, or overwhelmed. But what happens when with all of this work is thrown on top of long practices, traveling for games, and physical wellness? Would the mental stress only be heightened by the physical toll, or can these conflicting schedules be a positive force in a student’s life? The Indy interviewed two athletes — rower Maura Church ‘14 and rugger Helen Clark ‘15 — who both picked up new sports in college (Church was a runner and Clark, a tennis and powder-puff football player). They gave us a look into the adjustments necessary for the life of a student-athlete at Harvard. When one thinks of studentathletes, the athlete often comes to mind ﬁrst. The sheer amount of time these members of the community put into their sport is astounding. Clark says that rugby workouts often “include traditional squats and presses as well as more dynamic jump rope and strength move circuits.” Other than the normal workouts one could imagine with a rower — which may include anything from lifts to conditioning to crew-speciﬁc regimens — Church made sure to note the recovery aspect of wellness, writing, “Our coaches are very focused on active recovery — stretching, icing, eating within 30 minutes of the workout, going to the trainer, being preventative about injuries — that I’ve found myself actively seeking recovery, even if I’m not hurting.” One of the overlooked aspects of wellness is this healthy combination of physically training the body and keeping the body in shape. Many simply think of training as muscle and condition building, but in reality, wellness also encompasses signiﬁcant maintenance. As important as physical wellness is, however, mental health is an oft10 harvardindependent.com
overlooked yet vitally significant aspect of time management as a student-athlete. With time spent in lecture, section, gym, playing arena, and extracurriculars, one may ask when there is actually time to calm down, relax, and enjoy some freedom. Church, however, explains, “Like many athletes, I find that playing a varsity sport actually helps me balance my time. Rowing so frequently means that when I’m not at practice, I have to schedule my time wisely to be able to ﬁnish my work and do the things I want to do.” The extra scheduling comes in place at the beginning of each semester, when the rower told us that she looks for the classes “that you don’t have to stay up late ﬁnishing a p-set the night before a morning practice.” Also, she notes, “When we’re out on the water, it’s great to work out any stress or anger or whatever via the workout.” Clark, on the other hand, sees the sport as something that could induce stress — if it weren’t for the cohesive makeup of the rugby team. “We form study groups, encourage each other when we’re feeling overwhelmed, and give any sort of help we can when someone is struggling on an assignment.” The team acts as a support group to one another, both
It’s how you play the game.
academically and mentally. This way, the student-athlete always has somewhere to turn when the going gets rough. In another instance of what may seem to be a stressful aspect of being a student-athlete, the spring season of rugby begins with weekly ten-tomidnight practices. Clark, however, views these in the positive light, asserting, “The late nights are a bit of a bonding experience for our team, and our practices are always super fun, so overall I think it’s a positive thing.” While two athletes cannot account for the sentiments of our entire campus, both of these students ﬁnd beneﬁts more often than distress in their athletic engagement. Sports can be a burden at times, clogging a schedule with excessive hours of work and practice. Yet the team offers a social atmosphere — an escape, even, from the seemingly inescapable stress of college.
BY ANGELA SONG & SEAN FRAZZETTE
Clark acknowledges this and more, explaining, “Rugby has been the best experience I’ve had at Harvard, and it’s deﬁnitely been the most beneﬁcial thing in terms of physical and mental health. It has motivated me to stay active, given me a social support group, and helped me learn to manage my time to balance academics.” In the end, wellness does not have to diminish due to heavy workloads and long hours in the gym. Athletes ﬁnd solace in their teammates, just as students ﬁnd solace in their classmates; studentathletes have the beneﬁt of both. Angela Song ’14 (angelasong@college) knows what it’s like to be a student-athlete. Sean Frazzette ’16 (sfrazzette@college) doesn’t.
Photos by Angela Song
02.28.13 • The Harvard Independent
A Day in the Life of Scotty Hosch How athletes maintain physical and mental wellness. By SHAQUILLA HARRIGAN
ellness, both physical and mental, has been a major priority for Harvard students this year. Students have pushed the College to publicize existing outlets for wellness as well as to encourage the development of new spaces and create a culture of self-care that promotes student wellness. However, this talk of wellness seems to focus primarily on mental health within the student body as a whole. What about physical wellness? And — most importantly — do we mediate the concerns of all types of students? Often times, the stress associated with being an athlete is overlooked by nonathlete students. These are the students who not only manage rigorous practice schedules, but who also balance the same courses and extracurricular activities. The Harvard Independent asked football player Scotty Hosch ‘16 what he does to prepare himself mentally and physically as a Harvard student-athlete. The ﬁrstyear quarterback takes us through a typical day as a member of the Crimson football squad. Although football is currently in the offseason, most teams maintain a rigorous schedule year-round. Shaquilla Harrigan (Indy): What is a typical day like for you? What is required of you everyday as a member of the football team? Scotty Hosch (SH): A typical day starts off with me waking up at 5:25 a.m. I get dressed, and then I cross the river to make it to workouts by 6:15. Workouts consist of running, lifting, and working on our fundamentals until 8:30 a.m. After showering and dressing, I am off to breakfast and class. On top of studying in the afternoons, I must get some mental work in for football as well. For about an hour each day, I am either studying the playbook or watching ���lm of past games and practices. This is required for the quarterback position, which requires as much mental work as physical work. Due to the early mornings, I have to force myself to go to sleep at a decent hour, which usually falls from 10-11 p.m. Indy: As an athlete, do you have any special dietary requirements? The Harvard Independent • 02.28.13
SH: I must eat healthy so that my body will perform well during workouts. I have to stay away from fried foods, eat fruit at every meal, and lay off the dessert. This is why you always see the football players hoarding the grilled chicken at the grills of the dining halls. Indy: Are there any required shakes/ supplements you have to consume? What are the purposes of them? SH: We drink protein shakes after workouts, which help build up our torn muscles. Indy: What outlets does the team offer to relieve stress? Is mental health ever talked about on the team? SH: All of the football players are close, so if anyone is going through mental stress, we are there for each other to give support. We are all going through similar schedules, so people on the team are able to share with other teammates how to cope with stressful situations. Indy: Do you have any personal rituals that you do to maintain your wellness? SH: I try to get as much sleep as possible so that I am fresh mentally and physically. Whatever sleep I lose at night I try to gain back either in the afternoon or on weekends. Indy: What is the biggest misconception about being a student athlete? SH: I think people underestimate the time we put into football. We put in 20 hours a week during the season, and in the offseason I am personally devoting 15-20 hours of my time a week to football. And the strain on our bodies is a lot more than people imagine. Indy : Do you have any general comments on wellness at Harvard? SH: I am glad there are always people, whether on the football team or not, who are there for each other when dealing with wellness physically and mentally. Shaquilla Harrigan ‘16 (sharrigan01@college. harvard.edu) is going for more of a jacked look, instead of yoked.
EATING GREEN While HUDS has made a signiﬁcant effort to include more meal options for vegetarian and vegan students — including “Less Meat Mondays” — many students still ﬁnd the repetitive, pasta-dominated selections lacking. Many vegetarians make this difﬁcult dietary decision for both health and personal reasons. Lydia Burns ’16, a vegetarian for eleven years, was eight when she watched Gorillas in the Mist, a movie about poaching that introduced her to the ﬂawed meat and food industry. Similarly, Maura Church ’14, who has been vegetarian for 4 years, cites two particular books, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Skinny Bitch, as inﬂuential to her dietary changes for her own health and the environment. While Burns is a huge fan of the buttermilk squash or carrot ginger soups topped with bread chunks and sunﬂower seeds, Church ﬁnds that the grill is great for vegetarians because there are so many options available. Both also recommend some personal creations, listed below.
» » »
» » » » » » » »
vegan chicken patty from the grill tortilla spring mix salad Caesar dressing
Egg Sandwiches » » » »
egg white from the grill spinach slice of cheese toast
quinoa/couscous/brown rice spinach salad edamame corn broccoli tofu beets sunflower seeds olive oil
» » »
lentil patties couscous pesto
Outside of HUDS, Church loves Crema Café’s egg sandwiches and Boloco’s shakes with extra whey. Her parents will also include two-pound bags of almonds in occasional care packages from home. Because she lives so close to campus, Burns will often go home and bring back a Tupperware of imitation meat or her mom’s delicious vegan chocolate brownies to supplement her meals here. Burns also believes that while HUDS makes it relatively easy to be either a vegetarian or dairy-free, avoiding meats and dairy as a vegan is much harder. She was a vegan for her ﬁrst few months here as a freshman for health reasons and found dining at Hillel to be her best option. However, she eventually quit her vegan lifestyle because it was too difﬁcult to maintain. Burns and Church are both active athletes in Harvard-Radcliffe Rugby and Heavyweight Crew, respectively, and shared their preferred post-workout snacks. Burns’ snack of choice is a protein shake made with soy or almond milk, chocolate protein powder, and a banana. Church enjoys chocolate milk for the extra carbohydrates and proteins after every practice, a classic favorite among many athletes. For athletes with a rigorous training schedule, Church emphasizes that it is important to be a healthy, informed vegetarian in order to get the appropriate daily nutrition. In making large dietary changes, you have a responsibility to yourself to know what kinds of foods you put into your body and to make good choices. Though the vegetarian options that HUDS offers are not as varied as many students would prefer, many have relied primarily on the grill and other food experiments at mealtimes. Along with the constantly evolving seasonal menu that HUDS offers, hopefully many of the new options in the Spring Menu will bring us some unique vegetarian and vegan cuisine. - Angela Song
Here’s the Word on
Harvard Speaks Up By CHRISTINE WOLFE
Harvard Student Mental Health Liaisons’ (SMHL) outgoing Presidents, Seth Cassel ’13 and Meghan Smith ’13, knew that something more had to be done. In the last few years, concerns about the mental well-being of Harvard students has raised red flags all over campus, spurring the formation of myriad student groups and administrative organizations to facilitate a culture of care. Despite the existence of resources available to help students develop appropriate responses to mental health issues, many students still face debilitating concerns. Even more feel they can’t reach out. Harvard Speaks Up wants to silence that feeling. Harvard SMHL’s new pilot project hosts videos of students, faculty, and staff on their website. These videos are meant to give a face to problems that are so often — and so dangerously — silenced. “There are many aims to the project,” said SMHL’s Eliot Representative, Rishab Mehan ’14. “One of the biggest aims is to de-stigmatize conversations about mental health in our community and beyond. Video is a powerful medium because of its openness — it is as if the person in the video is talking to us personally, it identifies the person and shows that they are willing to move beyond any worries about stigma. It serves as recognition that we can talk to each other about our mental health.” The website’s founders feel open conversation is the first step to helping the Harvard community. They hope that, once a candid dialogue is established, the feelings of intimidation and hesitation will diminish. “We originally got the idea from a foundation in Canada called the mind check foundation. Basically, they were making calls for regular people to submit videos pledging support for mental health awareness. We thought that was a great idea, but we wanted to take it a step further and apply it to the Harvard community,” said Cassel. Universitywide participation is crucial. “We want to hear members of the community coming forward and saying, ‘Look, I encountered xyz problem…I battled anorexia, I battled depression, I battled failure. It was a tough time, and I did xyz, it worked, I’m coping with it.’” While a positive outlook 12 harvardindependent.com
is essential the videos will also address the difficulty of dealing with mental health concerns. “We’re not suggesting that mental health difficulties can be told overnight,” said Cassel. “A lot of videos that will be posted and have been submitted already have been about long, challenging times and learning to deal with these things. There are no quick fixes. That doesn’t happen.” Two important elements of the website address the diversity of mental health concerns that arise on Harvard’s campus. Cassel explained that the website will not be divided by issues but will instead communicate a “broad based message” of open communication, seeking help, and getting better. The second element of the website — which will go up about two to three weeks after the website’s official launch next week — presents a dropdown menu of wellness resources at Harvard. Each resource will be accompanied by a video presenting a leader of that group or resource in their location on campus explaining their mission and specialty. The goal, says Cassel, is familiarity. “The videos put a face to a name of these groups — if you’re more familiar with the location and the people there, it makes you feel more comfortable reaching out to them.” Cassel cited the importance of Harvard’s support for their project on every level. The higher levels of administration as well as the UC have collaborated with SMHL to promote Harvard Speaks Up. Though SMHL hopes their website will be a starting point for open discussion and campus wide acceptance of the existence — and prevalence — of these issues, the videos are not meant to serve as a cure. Mehan explains, “Ultimately, we hope that the project will be sensitive to the intensely personal and individual experience of everyone struggling with mental health issues. The closing line of every video will capture much of this — ‘speak up, you’re not alone.’” And with a campus united to share and support, we may make progress towards a healthier Harvard. Interested students, faculty, and administration can find instructions on uploading their own videos to the website on Harvard SMHL’s website, http://www.harvardsmiles.org/.
HARVARD MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES RESPONSE Undergraduate women provide advice on any and all relationship issues — from dating to sexual assault — to all genders. Contact: 617-495-9600, 9 p.m.-8 a.m. nightly Location: Lowell Basement E-13 Hours: 9 p.m.-12 a.m. Sunday-Thursday Room 13 Provides confidential peer counseling on any issue. Contact: 617-495-4969 Location: Thayer B-09 Hours: 7 p.m.-7 a.m. Monday-Saturday Contact Female and male undergraduates provide counseling related to issues of sex, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, and relationships. Contact: 617-495-8111 Location: Thayer Basement Hours: 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Sunday Peer Contraceptive Counselors (PCC) Female and male undergrads counsel on a variety of issues related to sexual health, including contraception, STIs, and relationships. Contact: 617-495-7561 , firstname.lastname@example.org Location: University Health Services After Hours, 5th Floor Hours: 7 p.m.-12 a.m. Sunday-Thursday 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday ECHO ECHO addresses issues regarding body image, eating, and self-esteem. Counselors provide advice to individuals dealing with body image issues as well as concerned roommates and friends. Contact: 617-495-8200 8 p.m.-8 a.m. nightly Location: Lowell House Basement M-13 Hours: 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (OSAPR) OSAPR provides counseling and support for students who have suffered from sexual violence. OSAPR also serves to connect affected students who are interested with medical resources. Contact: 617-495-9100, 24-hour hotline Location: Holyoke Center 731 Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC) The BSC provides both academic and personal counseling on a variety of issues. Contact: 617-495-2581, email@example.com Location: 5 Linden Street Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Mental Health Services at UHS UHS provides both individual and group counseling sessions for both short-term and long-term therapy. Treatment can include both therapy and prescription of medication. Contact: 617-495-2042 Location: HUHS at Holyoke Center, 4th Floor Hours: 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday Drop-in hours begin at 12 p.m. 02.28.13 • The Harvard Independent