09.15.11 vol. xlii, no. 26 The Indy falling back into the thing of things. Cover Design by
MIRANDA SHUGARS and SAYANTAN DEB
FORUM Rubbing Elbows 3 Ups and Downs 4 Tiebreaker 5 Pre-senioritis 6 Wafflin' 7 ARTS All that Jazz 8 The Art of Science 9 hTunes 10 SPORTS Gloves Off! 11 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 Weike Wang (firstname.lastname@example.org). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Yuying Luo (email@example.com). Yearly mail subscriptions are available for $30, and semester-long subscriptions are available for $15. To purchase a subscription, email subscriptions@harvardindependent. com. The Harvard Independent is published weekly during the academic year, except during vacations, by The Harvard Independent, Inc., Student Organization Center at Hilles, Box 201, 59 Shepard Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Copyright © 2010 by The Harvard Independent. All rights reserved.
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Weike Wang ‘11 Whitney Lee ‘14 Yuying Luo ‘12 Amanda Hernandez ‘14 Miranda Shugars ‘14 Riva Riley ‘12 Eric Wei ‘14 Meghan Brooks ‘14 Zena Mengesha ‘14 Brett Giblin ‘11 Alexandria Rhodes ‘14 Luis Martinez ‘12
Staff Writers Michael Altman '14 Arthur Bartolozzi ‘12 Sayantan Deb ‘14 Gary Gerbrandt ‘14 Cindy Hsu '14 Brad Rose '14 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Marc Shi ‘14 Angela Song '14 Christine Wolfe ‘14 Sanyee Yuan ‘12 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Schuyler Polk ‘14
Picks of the Week
Laboratory at Harvard Annual Fall Celebration When: Fri 9/23, 6:00-9:00 PM Where: Northwest Building, 52 Oxford St., Lower Level What: This year's exhibition and celebration will highlight an original film by South African artist William Kentridge developed for the 10th experimental exhibition at Le Laboratoire in a collaboration with Joseph Pellegrino University Professor Peter Galison, and various design projects by talented students from Harvard University and around the world. Partners In Health 18th Annual Thomas J. White Symposium When: Sat 9/24, 3:00PM Where: Sanders Theatre What: This year's symposium will highlight the importance of partnerships in sustaining PIH's life-saving work and building the movement for global health and social justice. PIH will also honor its longtime and devoted partner, Thomas J. White, who passed away this January. Join PIH leadership, site representatives, and emerging leaders to reflect on the many other partners who have followed Tom's example, making it possible for PIH to deepen its commitment to the world's poorest communities. Concert by the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma When: Tue 9/27, 6:00-8:30 PM Where: New College Theatre, 12 Holyoke Street, Cambridge MA What: The concert begins at 7 p.m. A pre-concert talk for concert ticket holders begins at 6 p.m., when Yo-Yo Ma, Silk Road Project artistic director, and Homi Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, will speak about neighborliness and the arts. Tickets are free, but most be obtained prior to performance. 09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
Point/Counterpoint Networking or Nay?
The Benefits of Networking
By WHITNEY LEE
t one time or another,
almost everyone has heard the phrase, “it’s not about what you know, but who you know.” This phrase could not be more true than when applied to the career fields that the majority of Harvard students are interested in. If you want to succeed in the world of business (or law, entertainment, politics, music or a wide variety of fields that highly ambitious students are interested in), you have to be willing to network. This means getting out there and making an impression. At the same time, you will need to learn about and appreciate what others have to offer so you can contact them down the road when the need arises to develop some type of business relationship with them. It is indisputable that meeting people and making positive connections can benefit you in the future. Networking with people in different areas of expertise can benefit you when you need information in an area you are unfamiliar with or when you are looking for a career change in the future. Of course, networking is a two-way street — you will not be able to sustain your connections if you are only involved in them for your own personal benefit. College is full of countless opportunities for networking, but it is up to the student to utilize these opportunities. The skill of networking is so valuable to one’s professional future that most colleges, e s p e c ia l l y e l i t e c o l l eg e s , try to ease students into the practice of networking as soon as possible. At
The Harvard Independent • 09.22.11
H a r v a r d s p e c i f i c a l l y, opportunities to network occur almost everyday during class and social events with student organizations such as AMBLE and HWIB. In addition to this, Harvard allows certain companies that tend to favor hiring the cream of the crop (no arrogance intended) to come to our campus to actively recruit juniors and seniors for internships or even full-time analyst positions. Arguably, if Harvard did not provide networking opportunities, it would be putting students at a disadvantage when put up against the students from other schools who seek out opportunities to network v o r a c i o u s l y, s o m e t i m e s even more voraciously than Harvard students as they try to gain the professional advantage. The potential to network, to expand student’s professional reach is one that is so central to Harvard culture that in many ways, it is one of the main selling points of the school. What makes up for the sometimes impersonal relations with the administration, the large class sizes and the wildlyvarying dorm quality is the host of social opportunities that Harvard offers — the chance to associate oneself with social and professional elites. Going to college, especially an Ivy League college, is not just about gaining knowledge, but also about gaining social capital and networking is the best way to do that. Whitney Lee ’14 (whitneylee@ college.harvard.edu) sees no harm in collecting business cards.
Insincerity Has a New Name
By MEGHAN BROOKS here
icky about the word “networking”, not in its sound, as is the case with disturbingly onomatopoeic words like “phlegm” or “muck:, but in its very meaning. “Networking” is essentially active disingenuousness, and networking events — horrid fluorescent-lighted affairs comprised almost entirely of too-toothy smiles and firm handshakes — are little more than socially sanctioned excuses for the chronically self-possessed to preen and exchange business cards while the chronically anxious clutch Styrofoam cups and wish they were somewhere else. “Networking” is, in simpler terms, tacky. When a human being, businesses-minded human beings included, chooses to become acquainted with another human being, s/he can approach the other in one of two distinct ways. She can either decide to get to know the other person as a person and interest herself in the other’s interests and personality or she can ask herself, “How can I best use this person for my own gain?” and proceed from there. Ostensibly, non-narcissists go into conversations with the former intention in mind. However, the mentality of networking is the latter, which inevitably produces insincere, superficial relationships with the very people networkers so desperately try to forge productive relationships with. There is no denying that networking, or rather, the desired outcome of networking, is essential to successful and dynamic businesses and businesspeople. Making contacts with other people in the same or a related field is how hiring happens, how partnerships are established between companies, and how new and exciting ideas circulate amongst peers. However, although the establishment of business contacts is the goal of networking, the mentality of its conscious practitioners is often
counter-productive. Students who, through various well-meaning workshops affiliated with the Office of Career Services or various pre-professional student groups, have been trained in the “art” of networking have come to view cocktail parties or other such events as opportunities to win as many business cards as possible. The method they have been trained in is simple: a brief introduction, a compliment couched in self-promotion, and then, before the card collection and promise to set a lunch date, the casual but shrewd assessment of exactly how useful each person will be to the other. It is this emphasis on breadth of network, on collecting as many contacts as possible, rather than on depth of relationships, that makes “networking’ counter-productive and even mildly distasteful. Good business relationships are built not only on mutual convenience, but also on the willingness of each party to help the other, and that willingness is based on trust. Trust comes from series of actual conversations borne out of genuine interest and engagement, and current networking culture prevents that from happening. What, then, is the alternative to conventional networking, especially for young Harvard graduates trying to create careers out of little more than an undergraduate degree and an internship or two? The key seems to be as simple as abandoning the conventional networking mentality. No one needs a workshop to learn how to talk to people honestly. We’re people: forming relationships is what we do, and if “networkers” could start treating their peers more like people and less like business opportunities, they might find that those relationships they do form are ultimately more useful than stacks of trophy business cards. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@ college), likes Holden Caulfield, dislikes phonies. firstname.lastname@example.org
$28 Billion Can’t Buy Happiness
How the experimental HappyNest demonstrates one of Harvard’s most glaring flaws.
By GARY GERBRANDT
Facebook event invitation was colorful and friendly, and it promised pizza. It transcended the unadorned e-vite standard. Splashes of the rainbow in a little plastic tub, a smiling Harvardian shield, the bright and hopeful aspiration of future events — all were there. Yet the trickster god of Cambridge, Weatherus, was conspiring against the HappyNest’s “Epic Water Balloon Battle.” It was a cold weekend. The event was postponed by a week, to the night of Saturday, September 24, which is likely to be substantially colder. In a spectacle of weak foresight, the postponement of what would have been a fun late-summer event might turn the scribbled grin of the “VE RI HAPPY” shield upside down. This situation is emblematic of the poor planning, lack of coordination, and half-hearted approach that characterizes Harvard’s way of dealing with mental health. Presented as the first of several “alternative” intramural events in the “Happiness Olympics,” the water balloon fight was one of the first opportunities for those Harvard students whose social lives don’t revolve around the weekend House party crawl to get out and do something fun for fun’s sake. It’s difficult to blame the HappyNest, as anyone who has been up to the third he
floor of the SOCH on a weeknight can attest. There are various board games, toys, a Wii, and plenty of opportunities to kick back and relax in a loose, fun way. Besides, they’re trying, which is more than one can say about Harvard’s administration. It’s difficult, too, to fault the organizers for postponing the water balloon fight, considering nobody wants to be both cold and wet at the same time (perhaps it will be warmer this weekend). At the same time though, it is difficult to suggest that the HappyNest has had a significant impact on the mental health of Harvard’s undergraduates. Their space is only open a few hours each evening, during the week, in certain months. September 28th is the first night of this school year when the resources will be available. Plus, it’s in the Quad. Less than a quarter of the student body lives in Pfoho, Currier, or Cabot. They can happily wander up to the SOCH and play freely when the HappyNest is open, but everyone else has to take the shuttle or take the not-that-longbut-feels-long trek. In the month-plus of last semester after the HappyNest opened its doors on March 23rd, I went there once. My blockmates mentioned going there once. I heard approximately five words of hubbub about it. It didn’t really seem to improve anyone’s mood, and
hardly anyone was actively aware of its existence. The Happiness Project, whose sole project is the HappyNest, had its first meeting this past February. It’s now affiliated with Harvard’s Student Mental Health Liaisons, whose acronym, cutely, is SMHLs (pronounced “smiles”). The SMHLs are a three-year-old outgrowth of the ominous-sounding UHS Department of Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling, which is, in turn, a cousin of the Bureau of Study Counsel, at the Center for Academic and Personal Development. All told, those three — four if you count the UHS BHAC (Behavioral Health and Academic Counseling), which is primarily a resource inside UHS for therapy sessions — are the primary mental health resources on campus. The HappyNest is the only one which commits itself exclusively to preempting mental health problems; the BSC offers some emotional counseling, but is first and foremost a place for tutoring. The SMHLs are a loose student organization affiliated with wellness tutors, which leaves them with a minimal presence in the Yard. Each office or group does make an effort, but even combined, the results are lacking. The HappyNest barely makes a ripple in student wellbeing (when it’s open), while the other organizations exist mainly for
students in states of mental crisis. It’s surprising and disappointing to think that Harvard is so lightly dedicated to improving the mental health of its students, especially considering the state of our campus’s collective mental health. A combination of sleeplessness, social pressure, hormones, academic intensity, and an obligation to be over-involved puts Harvard students in tenuous, dramatic places. Extreme stress is “normal” here. However, it isn’t right. It needs to be changed. When Cornell told its students “if you learn anything...please learn to ask for help,” it had just dealt with the sixth suicide of the 2010-2011 academic year. The administration worked carefully to improve mental health, placing guards and establishing new resources. Harvard, too, has had a history of suicide. Yet it has not changed its policies in any substantive way. Unexplained deaths are met with the availability of grief counselors, and a week later, they are gone. So, step it up, Harvard. Start being proactive and working to improve the lives of your students before this institution and its students get any crazier. It is time to face the veritas of mental health. Gary Gerbrandt ’14 (garygerbrandt@college) will continue to cover the HappyNest and other resources at Harvard for the next few weeks as part of a series on mental health. Stay tuned.
Photos by Maria Barragan
09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
Joining the Ranks When Princeton ties for No. 1, where does that leave us?
e’re number one!”
It is a chant often heard at college sports arenas, boisterously hollered at the diminished losers, a testosterone-laden confidence oozing through the winning side of the stadium. Here at Harvard, however, the raucous chant is made subtle. Our status is casually mentioned, quietly alluded to, and cleverly worked into our admissions materials. But as quiet as the call may be, it resonates throughout the mind of each and every Harvard student on campus — we have no doubt that we are the best. We knew it when we chose to apply, when we chose to attend, when strangers ask us where we go to college, and when we apply to summer internships. Whether or not it should be, our top ranking in the country (and second in the world) is probably the cause of our high admissions yield. In other words, we came here because we know that Harvard is number one. But this year, our fellow Ivy, Princeton, has also laid claim to that cherished title: Harvard and Princeton are tied for number one in U.S. News and World Report’s university rankings. While I don’t think President Faust or any Harvard students are panicking because we tied for first with another world-class university, it does bring to mind the meaning of our status. Now that we are here, we know why Harvard is wonderful and amazing. But how many of the unique and wonderful things about Harvard are here because of our rank? Would any of us have chosen to attend if not for the ultimate prestige it bestows upon us? What makes Harvard (and now, Princeton) the best? U.S. News and World Report ranks the top world universities, top national universities, and top liberal arts colleges annually. Not only do admissions offices around the world use their data, but college counselors, employers, parents, and prospective students also take these rankings into account. In order to ensure fair rank, U.S. News takes 77.5% of their data (for the national universities rankings) from standardized, objective academic data, such as graduation retention rates and SAT/ACT scores. The other 22.5% of their data encompasses more subjective information, such as a school’s reputation among high school
By CHRISTINE WOLFE students and academic assessment by peer establishments. There are sixteen areas of academic success by which a school is ranked, with some categories weighted more than others (the weights are based on research as to which facets of an education are the most important). These academic measures fall into larger categories, including student selectivity, faculty resources, and financial resources (U.S. News and World Report). Well, at least we know one category in which Harvard obliterates all others: our 2010 endowment was $27.6 billion. Our financial resources are truly incomprehensible — our school has more money than many small countries. Our fouryear graduation retention rate is 87% (U.S. News and World Report), but if you drop out or take time off from Harvard, it’s probably because you’re too busy being a billionaire and controlling the technology sector to go to college. Princeton was measured in the same categories as Harvard, and besides their respective locations, the data looks almost identical. This may be why many alternative-college books and counselors argue that such concrete measurements don’t matter — just because we have high standardized test scores, they say, doesn’t mean we’re getting a good education. What makes Harvard the best university in the country and the second best in the world? Is it our financial resources? Is it simply that all of the students had stellar test scores and a 4.0? It would be ignorant not to take these measures into account because as much as some may want to ignore them, they do have an impact on the atmosphere of a school. But it seems unfair to focus on the surface level alone, especially when a superficial view may well be why the public holds misguided notions about Harvard students’ superiority complex. Harvard amazes me daily —I could never quantify the infinite reasons that make Harvard special. I feel foolish when I look back on the day I was accepted
to Harvard, which was also the day I realized I knew nothing about the school at all. Even in that state of ignorance, I accepted my place just a few hours after getting my letter. I know now that Harvard was the right choice for me, but it was its prestige that attracted me then. I did not doubt for one moment the academic rigor or ponder the attractiveness of the campus — Harvard just seemed above that, as though it would be trivial to even take those things into account. Harvard also offered me the most generous financial aid package of any school to which I was accepted, so I believe it is justified for Harvard to be ranked so highly based on financial resources. For whatever reason, we are number one, and that enables us to attract the incredible resources we take advantage of every day: we have the best professors, the
most distinguished departments, the most advanced research, the biggest library collections, and hundreds of phenomenal extracurricular activities. Our rank also draws the best students from around the world — our peers have distinguished themselves over hundreds of thousands of others. If there is any qualification for which we deserve the highest ranking, it is the incredibly talented, successful, and intelligent student body that lies at the heart of our university. And if there are whispers of doubt that wonder if Princeton really is as good as Harvard, there is one thing to remember: Princeton may have Dr. Gregory House and Toni Morrison, but…oh. Christine Wolfe ’14 (cwolfe@college) considers House her favorite show, and The Bluest Eye her favorite book.
Photo by Maria Barragan
The Harvard Independent • 09.22.11
Sophomore Slumpin’ It I
When the novelty wears off.
PostColonial Theory, French Literature, and Arabic at Harvard Summer School in a sleepy little beach town on the French Riviera called Menton (Mr. Rockefeller, holla back!). In any case, once I got over my crippling resentment at having to write three to five page papers every week when I could have been swimming in the bright-blue beckoning waters of the Mediterranean Sea, I was in full school mode. I did all of my reading before class, took copious, well-organized notes in lecture, and even studied for Arabic, a “class” in which I wasn’t even receiving a grade, on my own accord. In other words, I was at the top of my academic game. I was a scholar, in the Platonic epistemological sense of the word. Then, less than three weeks spent this summer studying
after turning in my summer’s opus magnum, a fifteen-page treatise on the evolution of the veil’s significance for Algerian women since the first French colonization of Algeria, I was back on campus, and had to do it all again. I wish I could say that after three months of being away from Harvard, I was excited to begin the school year proper, to see my friends and continue on my journey of academic e n l i g h t e n m e n t . H o w e v e r, t h i s unfortunate near-continuous state of school had and has wreaked havoc on my psyche. Now four weeks into the semester and four hundred pages behind in the readings for three different classes, I am finally forced to come to terms with the condition that threatens to permanently sink both my GPA and self-confidence. Its name?
By MEGHAN BROOKS
Sophomore slump. This mythical condition whose existence as an eager and enthusiastic freshman, I had refused to acknowledge even as the horror of spring finals descended upon me, is both worse and more prevalent than I had imagined. Although most of my fellow sophomores have yet to admit it to themselves, or to me, I sense a quiet desperation creeping over their stillsmiling exteriors. Sophomore year is an abyss. In all fairness, sophomore slump has likely hit me harder and faster than it will hit the majority of my classmates because I have been in school almost continuously for the past year. Empirically speaking, sophomore year is bleakest year of college. The luster of freshman year, the luster of new friends, über-specialized classes, and sweet, fresh freedom is utterly gone, and the excitement (or motivating fear) of postgraduation planning has yet to affect us. We sophomores, disposed from the Yard and made to hang from the lowest rung of house life, occupy an
in-between space in the academic and social life of the college. Undeclared and yet expected to know better than the class below us that has, like a newborn baby, snatched away our spotlight, we play at grown-up while still unsure if we’re pre-med or English concentrators. Staring at the wall instead of our coursepacks at 1:30 in the morning, we realize we still have three years of sleeplessness and stress left, and start to wonder if it is worth it. We sink into apathy. The school week is torturous, and the unvaried weekends offer little respite. What then, can we do to get un-slumped? Considering that the depth of my sophomore slump certifies this finished article a veritable miracle, I just don’t have the stamina to think up a good solution to my own question. Somehow, though, looking at the legions of stillbreathing juniors and seniors around me, I have a feeling that it is possible to get past the slump. If I figure it out, I’ll let you know. In the meantime though and in the risk of violating trademark laws, Keep Calm and Carry On. And do your reading. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) is meh.
Photos by Maria Barragan
09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
Food for Thought E
Waffleicious: a review of Zinneken’s.
Arrow Street Crepes moved to their new location further down Mass Ave, I had been impatiently anticipating what would replace it. After finding out that an authentic Belgian Waffle House, Zinneken’s, would be taking its place, it was only a matter of waiting for it to open while constantly following it on Twitter. Zinneken’s opened with a free public tasting on Thursday, September 15th. Running there after class, I was able to grab a free waffle while the supply lasted. The run was well worth the effort — the Belgian waffle, much denser and smaller than your classic American waffle, had sugar droplets imported straight from Belgium melted into the warm, delicious dough. I went back for a full waffle with toppings the next day, ordering raspberries and strawberries with ver since
a hint of Nutella. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was just so different from anything else I had tasted before: dense, rich, chewy, and crunchy, with caramelized sugar drops melted inside. Slowly, however, the waffle grew on me, each bite exponentially better than the one before. The sugar drops simply melted in my mouth, providing a perfect blend of textures to savor. The treat was absolutely delectable, a perfect way to start my morning. With silver chairs, wooden tables, little pillows on the wall seats, and a countertop for all the condiments, Zinneken’s is a fusion between classy diner and home kitchen. Yet something about the atmosphere made me feel a bit tense and not completely at home. I was also quite disappointed at the service; even though we were one of the few people in the store at that time, the waffles took quite a while,
By CELIA ZHANG
and the menu was not complete as they did not have blackberries and Belgium chocolates, both toppings on their menu, in supply. As with any opening, however, there are logistics that are not yet worked out perfectly. Hopefully, in the next few weeks the restaurant will not be so hectic with grand opening headaches, and will be able to further focus on refining the little details that turn a good business into a great business. Zinneken’s is truly special. It’s obvious that the owners, Bertrand Lempkowicz and Nhon Ma, put a lot of thought into creating the place. Both have traveled exclusively to and from Belgium to make this vision a reality, varying their product enough from the classic American waffle to make Zinneken’s worth the trip. My only misgiving about Zinneken’s is its cost. For such tiny waffle, the treat is not cheap. My waffle with
three toppings ran me a little under $8, and that’s a lot for such a tiny piece of dough. I don’t know how this pricing scheme will fare in the future, especially with so many college students around, but the waffle shop is definitely worth trying at least once (and for me, multiple times). I have a feeling, however, that these waffles will make the oh-so-glorified Harvard Veritaffle hide itself in shame. As a parting thought, this place has potential. It just needs to find its roots and get itself organized first. Hopefully, they will overcome the disarray of their grand opening soon. In the meantime, what they have done already is enough to make me excited to go back. Celia Zhang ’13 (celiazhang@college), the Indy’s distinguished food critic, moonlights as a Statistics concentrator in Dunster House.
Photos by Serena Zhang
The Harvard Independent • 09.22.11
William Tell All
By WILL SIMMONS
Waltzing with Wynton.
First, at its core, dance is a deeply individualized practice that establishes the body as a signifier. Marsalis began the evening with a discussion of African marital rituals, a ceremony that included dance as a prominent factor. Music and dance framed the process of courtship with all its deeply personal outpourings of love. Two incredible performers exposed the audience to the poignant coming together of two separate bodies alongside fluid movements that undoubtedly point to an inner passion. One cannot neglect, however, the fact that this individuality is combined with a notion of collective identity and memory. According to Marsalis, AfricanAmericans sought a means of expression that transcended the many roadblocks erected by contemporary society. Dance overcame language, time, and space — it is tangible and transient, universal and particular, introspective and expressive. No longer is it simply an artistic side note to the progression of history; rather, it has been imbued through the centuries with personal and collective weight that allows for the dismantling of seemingly insurmountable odds. This is not to say that dance existed as a purely metaphysical entity, for we will see that its implications are undoubtedly and irrevocably real. With this in mind, Marsalis delved into the multifaceted relationship between race and the incredibly bodily ritual of dance. The cakewalk, for instance, was an African-American inversion of a popular dance that mocked the ridiculous theatricality of the plantation owners. It was with this subtle manipulation that the trajectory of social dance began. Moving on to Photo by WikiCommons
Wynton Marsalis’s lecture The Double Crossing of a Pair of Heels: The Dynamics of Social Dance and American Popular Music with full disclosure: I was in a terrible mood for several incredibly trivial reasons. First, my date left me halfway through the lecture. Then, this annoying hipster started talking about the discourse of this, that, or the other and the construction of identity and blah blah blah. Stop. You’re an idiot. Even so, I managed to have an incredibly interesting evening, marked by several important revelations about race and performance. It was such a fluffy humanities class kind of night. Who is Wynton Marsalis, you ask? Point of order: learn the art of intellectual faking. Never ask who anyone is. Here’s the trick: if someone asks your opinion on Foucault, for instance, just say, “Ahhh, Foucault,” or, if you are very daring, “Please. Let’s pick something else that’s also incredibly middlebrow to discuss.” I’ll humor your silly question this once. Marsalis, one of the most celebrated jazz musicians of the 20 th century, is the winner of multiple Grammys, as well as the Pulitzer Prize for music. Trumpeter, composer, and bandleader, Mr. Marsalis is dedicated to music education, and has therefore committed to a two-year lecture series at Harvard. Live instrumentation and dancers highlighted last Thursday’s lecture in Sanders Theatre as Marsalis traced the history of social dance from its earliest days to rock and roll. In every society, Marsalis noted, dance has been a medium for complex expressions of collective identity, potent emotions, and ultimately, an opportunity for healing. Certainly, the issue of race is at the forefront — music and dance existed as uniting forces for African-Americans, for whom cultural traditions were as dear as life itself. Even so, dance functioned as so much more than a need to maintain an identity through the arts. For Marsalis, social dance was, and perhaps still is, a complex amalgamation that rejects a single purpose, origin, or definition. must begin this article on
the lindy hop and the Charleston, dance became both a racial and sexual signifier while entering the popular arena. To begin, Marsalis underscores the dynamics of power that take place on the dance floor. Women and men, for a time, became equals, as dances integrated more intimacy based upon mutual willingness and respect. Slowly, women gained the freedom to separate physically from their partners to pursue their own specific style for a time, thereby gaining the agency (I use that word all the time, but I have no idea what it means) to go their own way or return to their chosen gentleman. This momentary advancement, however, was relegated to the dance floor, but simultaneously, African-American traditions of dance paved the way for significant advancements in equality. Everyone in America was swept by dance crazes with African-American roots, and in this way, an incredible number of people were exposed to
a tradition that otherwise would have been pushed aside. Pioneering musicians integrated their bandstands, dances crossed racial divides, and soon, integrated dancehalls opened up in New York City. This raises important questions that are evident in all of the visual arts as well. What is identity, and how does its construction pertain specifically to racial and sexual minorities? Where does collective memory lie, and how do deeply personal factors enhance or detract from attempts at the creation of a unified means of expression? It is art that challenges us to form the balance between our conception of self and what values we hold dear. Dancing near this line is never an easy task, but as we come ever closer to it, a necessary balance can finally be struck. Will Simmons ’14 (wsimmons@college. harvard.edu) is keeping his dancing shoes nearby. 09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
By MARINA MOLARSKY-BECK
Art meets science at the Sackler Museum.
he popular image of the artist
is of a beret-wearing aesthete who paints in fits of solitary passion and philosophizes in smoky bars. This stereotype of the artist is the polar opposite of the scientist — a cool, reasoned individual who relies entirely on logic. Art and science seem to be diametrically opposed. “Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe,” currently on view at Harvard’s very own Arthur M. Sackler Museum, deftly turns that notion on its head. The show, which fills the fourth floor galleries of the Sackler to the brim, examines the intersection of art and scientific scholarship in sixteenth-century Europe. It focuses on prints made in a time when the field of modern science was nascent. Natural philosophers were beginning to hammer out the scientific method, but science itself was not yet a structured discipline. This climate left a wide opening for artists to contribute to intellectual discourse in their own way, through printed maps and diagrams as well as illustrations of people, creatures and natural phenomena. Although the exhibition has the
word “prints” in the title, its scope extends beyond that. The halls are not, as you might expect, lined with monotonous black and white images. In fact, many of the prints pop with bright colors. One room displays bizarrely beautiful three-dimensional flap prints of anatomical figures, in which skin, organ and bone are represented on different layers of cut paper. And, perhaps most exciting of all, visitors are invited to reach out and touch facsimiles of sixteenth-century globes, astrolabes and sundials. Susan Dackerman, the show’s curator, said, “I was inspired to organize the exhibition because I had come across many 16th-century prints by famous artists like Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein that were informed by the scientific investigations of their time and I was curious about the artists role in their production. I wondered whether the artists were merely illustrators for their scientific counterparts or whether they were informed contributors, which I suspected.” As the exhibition makes abundantly clear, Dackerman’s initial hypothesis turned out to be correct. The printmakers featured in the show do much more than record the
Albrecht Dürer, Rhinoceros, 1515. Woodcut and letterpress. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Stephen Bullard Memorial Fund, by exchange, 68.247. Photo: Photograph © 2011 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
The Harvard Independent • 09.22.11
scientific discoveries of others — they embellish, adjust and generallytakecommand of their images. A prime example of the artistry of the sixteenthcentury printmaker is Jan Saenredam’s engraving Map of Northern Netherlands (1589). In this image, as the accompanying wall text points out, “the artist’s hometown Albrecht Dürer and Johannes Stabius, after Conrad Heinfogel, Map of of Saenredam (modern the Northern Celestial Hemisphere, 1515. Woodcut with hand-coloring. Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München, Inv. 118930. Photo: StaatliZaandam)appearsatthe che Graphische Sammlung München. center.” Saenredam’s map is not only a carefully observed and museum — and Harvard has one of precisely detailed work of cartography, the largest art collections in the United but also an expression of the artist’s States. identity. By providing the viewer with Sessions are held in the Sackler just a bit of context, the wall text and often involve hands-on contact breathes life into the print. with masterpieces. Barbara The interpretative materials in Carvalho ’15 commented, “On our this show — like the wall labels, for second day we got to hold in front example — are crucial to its success. of us all of these prints that are Upon entering the exhibit, viewers about 500 years old by artists like are offered both a free cell phone Dürer who you learn about in art audio tour and a small booklet that history textbooks. It was the most highlights different themes from the amazing experience!” Jeannie show, dubbed a “pathway guide.” Sui Wonders ’15 expressed equal There is also an online interactive enthusiasm for the seminar, noting website and a forthcoming iPhone/ that she loved having class in the iPad app. Sackler. The printed pathway guide Dackerman’s seminar class suggests “alternative routes” for the ties together art and academia in visitor to explore. So, for someone just the way the exhibition does, short on time or attention span could proving that neither sphere exists simply examine the four prints on independently. Artists and scholars the “Gathering Knowledge” pathway. have clearly long been in dialogue, Materials like these allow visitors as the works displayed in “Prints to personalize their experiences in a and the Pursuit of Knowledge” multitude of ways. An already art- attest. Today, that dialogue savvy visitor might opt to simply continues every time students peruse the exhibit independently, filter into the Sackler to gather in while someone less familiar with art discussion around centuries-old is likely to benefit more from the prints. available information. “Prints and the Pursuit of Dackerman goes one step Knowledge in Early Modern further in maximizing the interactivity Europe” will on display at the of the exhibition by teaching an Arthur M. Sackler Museum accompanying freshman seminar to through December 10. Admission Harvard undergraduates entitled is free for Harvard students. “Renaissance Art and Science at the Harvard Art Museums: An Exhibition Marina Molarsky-Beck ’15 (molarskybeck@ and Its Making.” In this class, students college) is all for exploring the connections have the rare opportunity to work between science and art. with a curator behind the scenes of a email@example.com
What's Inside a Song
A review of one of Harvard's freshest talents. By CURTIS LAHAIE
ingers meticulously pluck and
rhythmically brush against strings while a microphone amplifies vocal-cord vibrations, culminating in what we know as a song. As someone who’s not exactly musically inclined, I am incredibly baffled by a guitarist’s ability to handle complex tasks with her hands and lips. I am extremely fascinated by music in general despite my limited knowledge of its scope. But it doesn’t take a Mozart or a Bach to recognize the power in a song. Music creates an impact that is amazingly distinct from other artistic mediums poem like a novel, a photograph, or a painting. For a musical ignoramus like me, the power of music is mystifying and difficult to dissect. On August 30, Sophia Wennstedt ’15 helped demystify the power of music with her remarkable performance at the Freshman Talent Show. Competing against acts that ranged from improvisation to comedy to beat-boxing, Sophia placed third with her original composition, “Inside a Song,” a musical piece that celebrates the power of music, explaining what exactly has kept her playing piano since 5, playing guitar since 10, and singing since birth. After blowing away hundreds of members of the Class of 2015, Sophia performed at the Café Gato Rojo on September 16th, playing more original pieces like “Inside a Song” in addition to creative covers of other artists. Attending both the Freshman Talent Show and her concert at the café helped a non-musician like me discover what exactly is “inside a song” that makes music, especially Sophia’s, so extraordinarily powerful.
and enthusiasm as she would with only the best of romantic partners. At her performance at the Café Gato Rojo, Sophia made her musical romance clear: After the moving performances of an original song “In the Rain” followed by a Joseph Arthur cover, “In the Sun.” Sophia lamented that she couldn’t play the songs as originally written because she wasn’t able to bring her keyboard to Cambridge from home in Lincoln, Nebraska. “It’s kind of lonely without Charlotte,” she remarked, causing a chuckle from the packed audience in the café. A Stimulator of Senses “Note after note after glorious note, it sounds so sweet.” Though Sophia emphasizes the impact that music has on herself, the lyrics of “Inside a Song” also explain another aspect of the power of music: the almost inexplicable pleasure caused by a good melody. At the Café Gato Rojo, Sophia began her performance with a cover of “Wonderwall” by Oasis,
a song heard by only a small audience, but as she continued through the night, she attracted more and more listeners until all the seats were taken. A voice with perfect pitch coupled with just the right guitar-string plucks is undeniably emotional: sound waves travel through our auditory canals, transforming into chemical signals and ultimately the best of pleasure. Sophia melodiously manipulated the chemical reactions in our brains — smiles were plastered to the faces of every audience member. She ended every song to resounding applause. A Way to Express “I speak your language: I do what I want you to.” While the sound of Sophia’s music is pleasant to the ears, what makes music especially powerful is the meaning behind every note. Though a simple story or spoken sentence could successfully convey a message, an idea is most powerful when communicated through rhyme and in front of music. Behind all of her original songs such
as “Home” and “The Story,” Sophia had a message that she successfully passed on through clever rhymes and song structures. Even in her covers such as “Chariot” by Gavin DeGraw, she added her own creative twist, making the song distinctly hers. Sophia’s performances at the Freshman Talent Show and the Café Gato Rojo gave clarity to the nature of the power of music. Music is like a loving relationship, it elicits the best of emotions, and it coveys meaning remarkably well. Of course, I will forever be baffled and impressed by the talent of those who, like Sophia, can tangle their fingers within guitar frets and perfectly vibrate their vocal chord. If you haven’t already, I enthusiastically recommend that you check out Sophia’s music on iTunes and feel the power for yourself. Curtis Lahaie ’15 (firstname.lastname@example.org. edu) is looking forward to expanding his musical horizons this year.
Photo by Curtis Lahaie
A Relationship “You keep me sane. You own my brain. You know my name.” In her prize-winning performance at the Freshman Talent Show, Sophia beautifully articulated that she and music are essentially in a committed relationship. For musicians, music is powerful because a good song is like a good lover: calm and collected w h e n n e c e s s a r y, i n e x p l i c a b l y fascinating, and somehow capable of understanding. Performing or writing a song allows Sophia, and all musicians, to step momentarily out of reality, letting her show energy, love, 10
09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
Head-butts and Sucker Punches
Mayweather and Ortiz before their match— the friendliest they will ever be for a while. Courtesy of Wikicommons
Why a sucker punch is the best thing to have happened to boxing this year. By MICHAEL ALTMAN
ven if all you know about
boxing is what you learned from the Rocky movies, chances are you’ve heard about Sunday night’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Victor Ortiz — or more specifically, Mayweather’s winning cheap shot on Ortiz. For those who missed it, here’s a quick recap. Partway into the match, Ortiz intentionally head-butted Mayweather, a move indicative of just how antagonistic the two were. As a sign of apology and good sportsmanship, Ortiz proceeded to hug and kiss Mayweather. The referee had momentarily turned his head during this exchange and Mayweather gave Ortiz a quick onetwo punch immediately afterward. The ref came back to reality just in time to give a fallen Ortiz a ten-count and declare the knockout. Victory for Mayweather. At first glance, this is a blatant cheap shot. Ortiz let his guard down to apologize for breaking the rules and was rewarded with two shots to the head. Others may cry foul over the oblivious referee. Objective observers and those to participate in fighting sports will say, “That’s what happens when you let your guard down.” In 10
fact, that’s what Mayweather has contended, “Protect yourself at all times.” Mayweather’s punches were perfectly legal because the round was still in session during Ortiz’s peace offering. Since Mayweather’s punches — perhaps unethical — were not foul moves, the ref’s aloofness is a moot point. This makes Ortiz’s head-butt the most ugly move of the match. That’s right, the guy who was knocked out because of a sucker punch is the villain. Of course, boxing fans will not let this go. Many were anticipating an intense fight between the two big names and instead were treated to a quick and seemingly unfair KO. There are numerous sports writers debating this and numerous videos on YouTube discussing what happened. This of course stems from Mayweather’s reputation as the innocent villain of boxing. His antics both inside and outside the ring not only feed his reputation, but also make him a promoter’s dream. As boxing’s biggest attraction, it really is no surprise he partakes in questionable tactics from time to time. Mayweather’s cheap shot does,
however, fuel another long-standing controversy. He still has yet to face the equally indomitable Manny Pacquiao, who he has avoided by citing Pacquiao’s refusal to partake in drug testing. Though Mayweather’s intentions are likely unsportsmanlike, he still comes out as the fighter concerned with fairness, thus saving face. Similarly, by teaching Ortiz a lesson in keeping one’s guard up, Mayweather can dodge the cheap shot bullet. The Mayweather-Ortiz fight also raises the question, is this kind of drama bad? The answer is, of course not. If anything it’s good for the sport. A regular fight that featured Mayweather and Ortiz trading blows round after round or in which one landed a clean KO would be exciting, but it would not have people talking and arguing about it days later. It is no secret that boxing’s glory days are over and that it needs something to revitalize its appeal. Personalities like Mayweather’s and the drama they generate adds another level to the allure of boxing. It is one thing to watch two athletes wail on each other using careful combinations of speed and strength, but it is another to watch two people with interesting
personas try to outmatch each other. In the latter case, there is a lot more at stake, such as reputation and even one’s boxing style and philosophy. A shocker like Mayweather’s surprise punches affect the audience more than a standard boxing match does. Those who watched the fight likely noticed the audience’s uproar and visible amazement as soon as the Ortiz was hit. Until Mayweather fights Pacquiao (which does not appear to be happening anytime soon), boxing fans will continue to argue about Mayweather’s current reputation. Sunday’s match is just one of many small bursts of drama that have occurred and will occur. And as great as quality boxing (or any sport for that matter) is to watch, it would not be the same without said drama. There is only so much to talk about when the punches were fair. The conversation and entertainment are endless, however, when something goes awry. In the words of Mayweather himself, “Nothing wrong with some controversy.” Michael Altman ’14 (maltman@college. harvard.edu) thinks any press is good press.
09.22.11 • The Harvard Independent
captured & shot By MARIA BARRAGAN-SANTANA
Published on Sep 22, 2011