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10.11.12 vol. xliv, no. 6 The Indy is rugging. Cover Design by ANGELA SONG AND MIRANDA SHUGARS

Co-President Co-President Editor-in-Chief Production Manager News and Forum Editor Associate News Editor Arts Editor Associate Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Columnists

NEWS 3 Up for Debate 4 Porkpocalypse SPORTS 5 Evolution of a RadRugger 6 Rugger's Gloss 7 The Rules of the Game 8 Meet the Team 9 Taking Down the Lion ARTS 10 O ops ! W e P artied A gain 11 A D ay to B e

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 Co-Presidents Whitney Lee and Gary Gerbrandt (president@harvardindependent.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Meghan Brooks (editorinchief@harvardindependent.com). For email subscriptions please email independent1969@gmail.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 © 2012 by The Harvard Independent. All rights reserved

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Gary Gerbrandt '14 Whitney Lee '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Miranda Shugars '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Carlos Schmidt '15 Sayantan Deb '14 Curtis Lahaie '15 Michael Altman '14 Angela Song '14 Will Simmons '14

Senior Staff Writer Will Simmons '14 Staff Writers Clare Duncan '14 Sean Frazzette '16 Travis Hallett '14 Yuqi Hou '15 Cindy Hsu '14 Whitney Gao '16 Mohammed Hussain '15 Albert Murzhakanov '16Sarah Rosenthal '15 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Frank Tamberino '16 Milly Wang '16 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Alex Chen '16 Travis Hallett '14 Nina Kosaric '14 John McCallum '16 Orlea Miller '16 Tarik Moon '15 Anna Papp '16

Picks of the Week Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra Freshman Parents’ Weekend Concert When: 8 p.m., Saturday, October 13th Where: Sanders Theater What: The HRO plays Stravinsky’s Divertimento from the Fairy’s Kiss and
Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade for their first concert of the year. Sure to draw many proud parents and roommates as well as classical aficionados, the 205th season of the HRO is sure to start off in good measure. Soccer (Women’s) Harvard at Brown When: 4 p.m., Saturday, October 13th Where: Brown What: Harvard remains undefeated in this season (2-0-2) as they play Brown to enter into the Ivy League title race. Harvard is currently fifth in the league, while Brown is tied with Yale for seventh place. Peyton Johnson ’14, a co-captain, ranks 55th in the country for assists per game, and coach Ray Leone needs only three more game to achieve 250 wins — Providence is a lovely place to cheer on the Crimson as it runs toward victory. Jenna’s Birthday When: Thursday October 11th 7:30pm, Friday October 12th 7:30pm, Saturday October 13th 1:30 and 7:30pm Where: Adams Pool Theater What: In Hayley Cuccinello’s dark comedy Jenna’s Birthday, a young woman, claustrophobic in her small Midwestern town, yearns to escape to New Yorkbut first she must contend with an overbearing cousin, a local drug lord who is also her would-be in-law, an idealist hopelessly in love with her, and a unique neurological disorder that’s sabotaged her attempts at freedom for years. Jenna’s Birthday is in turns a comedic take on suburban mentality, a subtle commentary on our generation’s inherently ambitious nature, and an exploration of the pitfalls, yearning, and tribulations that we face as we try to negotiate between our hopes and our realities. 10.11.12 • The Harvard Independent


By FRANK TAMBERINO

S

o you’re a rugby player, finishing

up from a long practice of scrumming, dropkicking, and throwing the ball backwards, and you head home for a protein-heavy meal because you’re muscly, and muscly people always want to be musclier. It’s the weekend, so you figure you’ll splurge on nature’s equivalent of junk food: bacon. So what if you can feel the fat halting your blood flow — this stuff

The Harvard Independent • 10.11.12

causes orgasms in your mouth. It’s a world-class no brainer. Bacon, the rebellious, greasy nephew of the Pork family, is diabolically irresistible. I can only assume it’s the number one food that inspires vegetarians to gleefully abandon their convictions. It’s insane, it’s infamous, and it’s delicious. Grizzly, wolf, or human, odds are your pupils dilate as bacon sizzles in the frying pan.

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The roasting of the pork industry.

Now that you have been allured by that meaty temptress, you head to the store. But now you’re confused — where is the bacon? The grocery store is out of bacon? I mean this here looks like bacon, but no way it costs as much as filet mignon. And that other slice o’ meat over there looks like pork chops, but it can’t be, because it costs about as much as fresh lobster. Isn’t this the same bacon that’s served with scrambled eggs at the 24-hour diner? I guess you haven’t heard: it’s 2013, and pork is now a pricey, greatly coveted luxury. Move over cows — ole’ Wilbur’s moving up in the world. In all seriousness, the pork industry is between a spit and a hard place. With droughts throughout the Midwest, where the majority of grain is produced, the agricultural sector is suffering, and this is bad, bad news for the pork industry, let alone for pork lovers the world over. These droughts have caused severely declined grain production, and this is a problem for hog farmers who rely on grains like corn to feed their pigs. While this is good news for our cholesterol, it is bad news for Sunday morning brunch. The world of agriculture is being rocked by the worst droughts in years, overwhelming farmers with what is more of an emotional and financial disaster that city slickers realize. It is difficult to imagine what it’s like to have one’s life subjected to Mother Nature’s whims. The problem is not limited to pork. Food prices as a whole will be noticeably increased once 2013 rolls around. They’ve already bumped up by 1.4% last month on a global scale. Next year, they’re expected to go up as much as 4% for prices of food at home. Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute, described the upcoming era as one of “chronic scarcity”. There have already been comparisons made between the shortage of oil and the future shortage of food. Clearly, there’s a little more to be worried about than exorbitantly priced bacon. Away from the topic of food, Midwestern tourism is

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also in trouble, as the dry, hot, and threatening summer has made the countryside less than aesthetically pleasing — picture a corn maze where the stalks are short enough to see the exit and you’ll get the picture. Our nation’s gorgeously colorful patchwork fields are now dull, dusty, and gray. Mother Nature can be cruel and relentless. Big corporations such as Smithfield Foods assure their customers that they are experiencing no shortage of bacon. It is the independent, domestic farmers that are in trouble. The vast majority of Nebraska has been struck heavily by the droughts, putting farmers in difficult situations. The soil is simply too dry to expect any sort of positive yield from what was planted. Wheat farmers don’t predict that there will be much growth in the winter. The same goes for corn and soybeans. The real problem lies in the fact that farmers cannot plant in the first place due to the inferior condition of the soil. They are therefore coerced into taking self-destructive actions out of sheer desperation. Americans only dedicate about 9% of their income to food. Something that is so vital to our existence doesn’t wind up being much of a financial burden. This is clearly not the case for farmers, and it is certainly not the case for pigs. Livestock such as pigs rely heavily on corn and other grains for their diet. Pigs don’t eat like they do in the movies, happily slopping up the leftovers from the farmer’s kitchen. A pig’s diet is carefully designed for the health purposes of the animal and, in effect, the consumers. Their diet is stacked with corn, soybeans, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. In this sense, a drought is a pig’s natural enemy. And when a pig’s not happy, reparations ensue — not just for the Baconator, but for the global community. Frank Tamberino ’16 (ftamberino@college) wants you to just imagine it: bacon and eggs, bacon-wrapped scallops, bacon-flavored chocolate, bacon-scented soap, all without bacon. It’s the apocalypse, people.

drop in corn production due to the drought impacting Midwest states

$40 to $60

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1.3%

amount lost per pig marketed, as opposed to the beginning of 2012 when pork producers were making $10 to $12 per head

of cost to raise a pig is dedicated to the prices of feed, which have recently been raised

amount pork supplies will drop next year versus this year

4%

amount USDA projects poultry and seafood prices to increase next year

Information taken from agweb.com. independent1969@gmail.com

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News

The Mediocre DEBATERS

Obama v. Romney (0-0), and Harvard students aren't happy. By ALBERT MURZAKHANOV

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P residential debate drew in over 50 million eager viewers, and Harvard students were by no means an exception. Students gathered to watch the candidates make eloquent arguments, quarrel over each other’s plans, and cover but a small patch of ground in their drawn-out responses. Jim Lehrer — criticized on almost every news channel for his passive attitude and behavior — moderated the debate. The debate covered five basic topics: the economy, taxes, the federal deficit, entitlements/social security, and health care. President Obama and Governor Romney both underscored the importance of helping small business and making the U.S. more energy efficient. Specifically, President Obama sought to invest in education he first

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and training in order to develop new sources of energy here in America. He would also plan to alter our tax code to ensure that companies would be incentivized to invest in the U.S. Governor Romney devised a five-part plan that differed from the President’s in that it aimed to increase trade (particularly in Latin America) and the quality of U.S. education, making our schools the best in the world in order to ensure Americans have the necessary skills to succeed. He claimed his plan would be effective even while he works to obtain a balanced budget. In regards to tax policy, Obama stated that his tax plan has already lowered taxes for almost 98 percent of families and that he wishes to continue tax cuts for small businesses and families. Governor Romney stated

that he would not add on to the deficit with his tax plan, which encompasses a reduction in the share paid by highincome citizens and an increased tax for middle-income families. This tax plan announced during the debate differed somewhat from the plan Governor Romney has announced in the past, as he has previously stated that he would lower taxes for everyone by 20 percent, including the top 1 percent. President Obama claimed to have removed a waste of $50 billion from our Federal Deficit through his strict scrutiny of medical fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and cut a trillion dollars out of our discretionary domestic budget. Governor Romney delineated his strong views on ceasing the allotment of subsidies to unnecessary programs, or at least those programs that the U.S. would need to borrow money from China in order to support. As an example, Governor Romney stated that he would cut subsidies to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a station for which Jim Lehrer was a longtime anchor (this comment later set Twitter into a frenzy of Big Bird tweets). In regards to entitlements and social security, Governor Romney stated that he differs from President Obama in that he will allow people to choose their own health insurance. President Obama’s argument focused on dealing with Medicare by lowering costs. On the final issue of Health Care, President Obama stood by Obamacare, claiming that the plan allows everyone to keep his or her own doctor while knowing that “insurance companies can’t jerk you around.” Governor Romney demonstrated the importance of repealing Obamacare and vowed that people with preexisting conditions will be covered and young people would stay on their family plan. The Independent asked Harvard students their opinion on the debates. On average, the three most significant issues/aspects to Harvard students were the economy, education, and equal rights (an aspect not addressed in the debate).

Powell Eddins ’16, a member of the Harvard Democrats, stated that, for him, the two most important issues in the presidential election are gay marriage and equal pay for equal work. In regard to the debate, Eddins felt that although President Obama seemed unsure of himself at certain times, he did not change his positions on key issues like Governor Romney did; thus, he felt President Obama was the “winner.” We asked Eddins what questions he had for the candidates. Of Governor Romney, Eddins would ask, “Why do you want to spend so much money on the military?”, while to the President he would ask, “Why did you not wait until after the election to come out in support of gay marriage?”. Dianisbeth Acquie ’16, also a member of the Harvard Democrats, highlighted the importance of education and expressed frustration that it was significantly underaddressed throughout the debate. “On basis of style, Mitt Romney (unfortunately) did much better; what he said might not have been completely accurate, but it did sound appealing,” said Acquie, acknowledging that Governor Romney had come out on top in the debate. To Governor Romney and President Obama, respectively, Acquie would have asked, “Why do you hate America’s best classroom, Sesame Street?” and “Why didn’t you bring up Romney’s 47 percent remark or make references to Bain Capital?”. The debate raised many important issues, most of which went unaddressed. When so much is left unanswered, there can be no clear winner. Harvard students — and the rest of the country — will have to wait and see what the candidates have in store for the next four years. Albert Murzakhanov ’16 (albertmurzakhanov@ college) would ask Governor Romney why, if he believes we all have the right to pursue happiness as we choose, he does not support gay marriage. To the President, he would ask for a little more defense of Ernie.

10.11.12• The Harvard Independent


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Illustration by Anna Papp

The Rise of Radcliffe Rugby A rugby powerhouse transitions to varsity. | By MEGHAN BROOKS “Are you a badass?”

players forming aggressive rucks on top of them. Even in practice, the scrimmage is inThe question popped up on posters dotting tense. Breaks in play are accompanied by Harvard dorms and classroom buildings in long pulls from water bottles, but as the the early weeks of the fall semester, bold two-hour practice draws to a close the team against the background of other inkjet appears energized rather than exhausted. eleven-by-seventeens inviting students to With whistles blowing and the dark sky of events and clubs ranging from improv au- the New England autumn above, for the ditions to tea and cookies at the Institute uninitiated it is difficult to imagine the of Politics. For those who read this poster scene as anything other than a war game. and answered “yes”, meeting its challenge For the women of Radcliffe Rugby, howwould require more than a few weeks of ever, it’s a passion, one that they have becomp and applications. It was a poster for come increasingly devoted to following the Radcliffe Rugby, otherwise known as the Harvard Athletic Department’s August anHarvard-Radcliffe Rugby Football Club nouncement that their club team would be(HRRFC) or on campus, women’s rugby, a come a varsity sport in the 2013-2014 seateam and sport where the title of “badass” son. The move is momentous, and in this is earned rather than given. transitional year the team has found its “It’s definitely not for the timid,” the intensity driven by pure excitement, and team’s Social Co-Chair Chloe Bates ’13 its dedication driven by a love for the sport admitted as she sat out a contact drill at and a love for the team. last Thursday’s practice due to an injured shoulder. “But it’s not as scary as you Rules of the Game » might think.” As she spoke a pack of girls For those who have never seen the game in cleats — only a few wearing scrumcaps played before, rugby seems a strange sport — charged down the field tossing an ob- indeed. Often described as a cross between long, egg-shaped ball behind them before soccer and American football, the object of simulated tackles had ball carriers on the the game is to get the ball across the “try ground with anywhere from four to ten line” (akin to the end zone in football) to The Harvard Independent • 10.11.12

score a “try”, worth five points, and then to kick the ball between the goal posts to “convert” the try for two more points. If it sounds a lot like American football here, it is, except you can only throw the ball backwards, there’s no blocking, you have onsides and offsides, out-of-bounds balls result in “line outs” (which look like soccer throw-ins but involve synchronized lifts), tackles result in “rucks” and penalties in “scrums”, and “mauls” are perfectly legal. Add in positions with names like “loosehead prop”, “flyhalf”, “scrumhalf”, “number eights”, “second rows” and “hookers”, minimal protective gear, and a sportwide atmosphere of heavy drinking, interclub congeniality, and Maori intimidation dances called “Haka”, and you have a sport defined as much by its rules as its tradition. “It’s ridiculous,” Forwards Captain and eight-man and flanker Ali Haber ’14 allows. “You stick your head between people’s legs, tackle, and there’s all this weird culture, but it’s great.” The game is certainly rough-and-tumble, but beyond the basic rule that you’re supposed to run towards the try line if you have the ball and hit the player carrying it if you don’t, its rules and strategy prove to be fairly complex. “Rugby can be independent1969@gmail.com

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A Rugger’s Gloss A Dictionary of Terms for the Utterly Uninitiated | By CHRISTINE WOLFE, MICHAEL ALTMAN, SEAN FRAZZETTE, and WHITNEY GAO Advantage line Also known as the gain line, the advantage line sadly has nothing to do with laundry detergent. It’s an invisible line drawn across the middle of the pitch whenever something important happens. Pass this imaginary line and collect $200. (Or gain some territory. Whichever you please). Blood bin Rugby injures people, and this is where you’re kept while your body bleeds… because they don’t want you to ruin their grass. The maximum break allotted is only fifteen minutes of running time though — tough love. After you’re all patched up, get back to the pitch! Breakdown Right after the tackle, the breakdown period happens. This is the most stressful part of the game and includes the time before and during the subsequent ruck. This is penalty city. Everyone is running around, people are trying to steal the ball (hands AND feet are involved, you guys), and everyone is pushing and scratching and YELLING and SHOVING AND — okay, I’m calm. Deep breaths. Conversion Bonus time! If your team scores a try, you can get two more points by kicking the ball through the upright goal posts (like in football). But luckily, you can customize your kick with two options for personalization! First, the kick can be made from any point on the line where the ball was grounded for the try. (You can see how it’s advantageous to score a try nearer to the posts.) Second, you can pick to do either a drop kick or a place kick. Decisions, decisions... Dummy runner Also known as a “fake,” the dummy runner is an offensive tactic to distract defenders away from the ball. One of the attackers runs towards the opposition as though she is running on to a pass, only for the ball to be passed to a different player. Sike! Classic. Dump tackle It’s a lot more sanitary

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than it sounds, I promise, but probably a lot more violent. The tackler picks up the tacklee from around the thighs, gives the poor soul some airtime, and then slams the tacklee back to the ground. As long as both people touch the ground as a result of the dump tackle, it’s perfectly legal. If the tacklee gets dumped on the head/neck, however, the tackler gets a caution (this doesn’t seem to deter anyone from playing the sport, oddly enough). Haka You thought rugby was tough? Aggressive? What testosterone was meant for? Well, for the All Blacks, the International Rugby Union team of New Zealand, the game itself just doesn’t cut it. To intimidate their opponents prior to the onset of play, the All Blacks perform the Haka, a traditional Maori dance. If there is one thing Haka reminds us, it is this: Rugby. Is. War (and relies upon hairiness for intimidation). Kick-off Much like a kick-off in American football, a coin is tossed, decisions are made, and the ball is drop kicked across the field (though it must cross the opponent’s 10 meter line). Thus begins the match. Line-out The infantry forms. Three to seven forwards line up in parallel between the five and fifteen meter lines, with jumpers held up by their teammates. The hooker of the team in possession throws the ball straight down the middle of the line-out. If there’s any deviation from the midline the ball goes to the other team or a scrum (and the hooker gets a Rugging Under the Influence). Maul When one pictures being mauled, a rigid structural definition isn’t really what comes to mind. Evidently, bloody talons, torn flesh, and the deep-throated roar of grizzlies aren’t what’s involved in a rugger’s maul. Rather, the players swarm around a ball carrier held up by both an opposing player and one of her own teammates. Offsides are

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formed and the players fight to strike the ball down. No claws are allowed, but hands are fair game. Offside Forward of the relevant offside line? You’re offside. Don’t retreat downfield? You’re offside. Pass backwards? You’re offside. Really, you’re probably offside. Ruck Rucking is, honestly, a lot less fun than it sounds. Two opposing players try to kick the ball backwards with their feet to secure possession while wrestling to oust each other from the area. It’s aggressive, it’s awkward, and often results in scrumming.   Scrum One of the most important plays in rugby is essentially a gyrating, violent mass of rugger bodies locked and intertwined. The ball is fed into the center of the scrum, after which the players push against each other, trying to eject the ball from the scrum. Tackle Nothing says fun like a little physical violence. Simply put, a tackle occurs when players of the opposing team (henceforth referred to as “tacklers”) grab the ball carrier and drag him or her to the ground. After holding the ball carrier on the ground, the tacklers must release the ball carrier, who then must continue play by immediately releasing or trying to pass the ball. Tap-tackle Simply an alliterated lie, a tap-tackle is not a tackle at all, but just a trip. The runner can either get up and keep running, or another defender can actually tackle her. Try You’ll never score if don’t try! Who knew rugby was such a warm, fuzzy sport? If at first you get tackled, try, try again! In actuality, a try is just the word for touching the ball down in the other team’s in-goal area. So it’s really more of a “do” than a “try.”  

Lenica Morales-Valenzuela '14 escapes from a ruck with the ball against Princeton on Sept. 29. Meanwhile, Megan Verlage '13 is stuck in the ruck. Photo courtesy of Lynne Skilken

a confusing, chaotic sport if you don’t know 1997 team president Emily Yee ’98 said. what’s going on,” slightly injured freshman “After we made our first showing at Nationrecruit and back Hope Schwartz ’16 said, als in ‘96, the goal was always to get back watching the play from the sidelines at last to Nationals and win the whole thing.” Thursday’s practice. “So,” she continued In 1998 they did win Nationals, but even with a spare ball tucked under her arm, after several more years of relative success “the best way to learn it is to just go do it.” on the national level the club began to shed membership in the mid-two thousands, Radcliffe Rugby: A Sparknotes History » and was bumped from Division I to DiviThe “just go do it” mentality has a long sion II. This, however, is where Radcliffe history in Harvard rugby, fitting for the Rugby began its rapid ascent from club American university with the oldest men’s to varsity sport. In the spring of 2011 the program in the country. Originating in team won the USARugby Collegiate DiviEngland, rugby spread to the English- sion II National Championship and that speaking world in the later half of the fall joined the infant Ivy Rugby Confernineteenth century, touching the United ence, becoming a Division I sport yet again. States but quickly losing ground as American football gained popularity. As such, Var$ity Letters » American students have usually come to When asked if her team had any ambiHarvard with little to no knowledge of the tion of ascending to the ranks of varsity sport, but have jumped into its fast-paced sport in the late nineties, Yee said, “The action quickly and with gusto, morphing prospect of becoming varsity was always a from novices to hard-tackling masters of dream, never something that could be realthe pitch within a season. ity because the ability wasn’t in our hands It was this attitude that sparked the to make that kind of change.” formation of a women’s rugby club in the Thirteen years later, however, with the fall of 1981. The credit goes to Ingrid Ja- team on track to compete in the Division II cobson Pinter ’83, who, Harvard Magazine National Championships, the possibility of reports, determined to put a women’s team becoming a varsity sport began to feel real. together while watching a men’s game. A Current president Sarah MacVicar ’13, a year and a handful of like-minded Harvard prop who played the sport in high school in women later, Jacobson Pinter became the her native Canada, said that in the 2010club’s first president in 1982. 2011 season talk about applying for varThe club’s first decade saw consider- sity status grew but was put on the back able success. Rugby was just beginning to burner as nationals became the team’s top emerge at the collegiate level as a women’s priority. Last year, however, with a chamsport and HRRFC, though always under- pionship safely in the club’s back pocket funded, was able to win the New England and membership in the newly formed DiviRugby Football Union title in 1988. The sion I Ivy Rugby League, the team began team continued to enjoy intermittent suc- serious discussion as to HRRFC’s varsity cess through the early nineties, and in future with former members of the board, 1995, just as women’s rugby experienced a and they eventually proposed their promosignificant growth spurt, Radcliffe Rugby tion to the Athletic Department became a force in the national rugby landIn October of last year a rumor spread scape. “When we started winning in our that the club had been granted varsity stafall ‘95 season we became dominant in tus, but the Athletic Department and the the northeast for three consecutive years,” team itself quickly moved to debunk it. Fi10.11.12 • The Harvard Independent


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nally, however, on August 9th the Athletic Department issued a press release confirming that women’s rugby would become the 42nd varsity sport at Harvard and the 21st women’s varsity sport, balancing the department’s gender scales and bolstering the university’s hold on the title of the largest collegiate varsity athletic program in the country. This season would be a designated transitional year in which the team could make necessary changes, including changing practice schedules, hiring permanent coaches, and the like, before full varsity status took effect. The club’s elation at the announcement was fairly unanimous: “The day it was announced our email list blew up,” MacVicar said. “Exploded,” Haber agreed. “It was so exciting.” Yet, MacVicar and Haber acknowledge, despite the overwhelmingly positive effect that going varsity will have on the team, HRRFC will lose certain elements of its character that are tied to its club team status, an objection that was raised by older members of the team when varsity status became a topic of discussion in the 2010-2011 season, and again last year. While Radcliffe Rugby will benefit immensely from increased coaching attention, full access to athletic facilities and resources, an administrative support staff, and significantly increased training time, the club will lose much of the independence that had previously defined it in everything from the board positions that MacVicar believes to be significant learning experiences for team members to the ways in which HRRFC socializes with opponents after games. What the team will likely not miss, however, are the financial worries that trouble club sports teams at Harvard. Although club teams receive grants from the Harvard Club Sports Program, teams are ultimately responsible for their own financial solvency and, unless they have a sizeable endowment, must fundraise continuously for everything from equipment to transportation costs. In the recent past HRRFC has worked for Dorm Crew, worked athletic events, held bake sales, and held Uno’s fundraisers. Notably, this spring the team advertised themselves as “Radcliffe Movers”, charging twenty dollars for an hour of moving and storage assistance. Yee recalls a particularly inventive idea from her time on the team as well: “We were standing outside the Science Center one year and Maggie Hatcher — another 1998 player — was literally like, ‘I’ll tackle you for a dollar’. That’s the most ridiculous thing we did for fundraising. I don’t remember how many people took her up on it…but that’s how desperate or, I guess, creative we were.”  While the transition to varsity means that the team will turn over most of its financial responsibilities over to the Harvard Athletic Department, the team

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Positions Center #12 and #13--the donut hole. The sun. The cream filling. The center. Flanker The flankers, also known as “Breakaways”, are the Kelly Clarksons of the team. Sporting numbers 6 and 7, they have the fewest set responsibilities, giving them more time to write angsty break-up songs. They should, however, have all the skills of a good rugger: speed, strength, fitness, tackling, handling skills, and a smoky soprano. Flyhalf Donning number 10, these ruggers are some of the most influential on the pitch, making the biggest decisions and kicking balls. Fullback Just a little more well-formed than the halfback, the fullbacks (dubbed #15) act as the last line of defense against running attacks. They’re much like the kicker in American football but with a less straightforward name. Hooker The oldest position on the team.[citation needed] Hookers traditionally wear the number 2 shirt and play a key

role in ball movement. Supported by props and straddling the front and center position in the scrum, hookers “hook” the ball back with their feet. The hooker is in danger of many things: the pressure of the scrum on her body, fully binding herself to the other players, and the risk of infection. Good thing she’s so skillful on the pitch. Lock Locks or second-row are the players wearing shirts number 4 & 5. Long, tall, and tough, locks jump up, acting as primary targets for line-outs, carrying their balls close, and bashing holes in the defense, while also pushing into the rucks and mauls. Number 8/eightman/ eighth-man They are the players wearing shirts-surprise!--no. 8. Known by their shirt number, No. 8s coordinate scrums and ruck moves. When the ball is at his or her feet, the No. 8 must decide whether to pass the ball or drive the breakdown on to make ground. Given the highpressure nature of the position, No. 8s must have a tactical mind and balls of steel.

Prop The props (#1 and #3) support the hooker, providing the main power in the push forward in the scrum. To do a satisfactory job, they must be exceptionally big and strong. It's the most aggressive threesome you've ever seen. #3, the tight head, gets stuck in the middle of the scrum, locked on the right and left side by the opposition. It’s Sparta all over again. Scrumhalf The scrumhalf, #9, is the classic middle sibling, serving as the link between the forwards and the backs. Sure, they are small, but boy can they get out of tricky situations, especially because the rest of the family forgets they exist. They are the glue, just like Jan Brady, often the first in defense and moving the scrum to freedom. Wing The wings are, well, the wingwomen: they’ve got to be fast, agile, and dexterous to save their teammates from all kinds of bad passes. Labeled with 11’s and 14’s, they’ve spent their life avoiding tackles and superior handling skills every good wingwoman needs.

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will also form its own Friends group, or gift fund, in association with men’s rugby, known as the Harvard Rugby Football Club. In an open letter to alumni posted on HRFC’s website, Keith Cooper ’83, president of the men’s alumni association (no such body exists for the women’s club), suggested that Radcliffe’s transition to varsity would help the men’s club make headway in its ten million dollar capital campaign to raise money for a brand new turf pitch and full-time coaching staff for both teams. At the moment, however, it is unclear exactly how a financial partnership between the two teams will work.

Evolution of the RadRugger »

Regardless of the financial and organizational specificities of Radcliffe Rugby’s transition to varsity, much to Head Coach Bryan Hamlin and Forwards Coach Melanie Denham’s delight, this season the primary focus has been on the team’s shift from a club level of play to a varsity level, and on the players’ development as athletes. “I think the biggest thing is that we’ve gone from two days a week training to five days a week now, which is obviously a big change for the coaching staff and for our players,” Hamlin said in a thick New Zealander accent. Denham agreed, explaining that the extra time allows the coaches to work on more specific and technical skills with their players and focus more heavily on strength and conditioning. Furthermore, Hamlin said, the transition to varsity has changed the type of athlete attracted to the team: “Not only have we had the biggest class coming in here, but this is also probably, athletic ability-wise, the strongest rookie class we’ve ever had, and the transition from being a rookie to being a rugby player has been a lot shorter because they’re excited about being varsity athletes.” The players agree. Hope Schwartz ’16, and Brandy Machado ’14, a lock and the 30th Reunion Coordinator, chose to join HRRFC rather than play club or varsity soccer because of the team’s transition to varsity, citing the appeal of the physical activity and the challenge of varsity sports in their decision-making. For Schwartz the appeal of varsity rugby lies in its accessibility as well: “There’s really no other sport you can do where you can start as a freshman and be on a varsity team. It’s pretty incredible. Everyone’s coming in on the same level, so what you put into it is what you get out of it.” And this season, the team is putting in a lot. These athletes put an average of twelve hours per week into practices and games as opposed to the six or so that club rugby required, and that’s not including team dinners, film review, travel, individual workouts, and weekend socials (though it would be difficult to argue that the last is a burden on anyone). The team doesn’t seem to independent1969@gmail.com

7


Sports

Photo courtesy of Lynne Skilken

mind, however, and with only one loss so far this season (to Princeton), they are very optimistic about their future. “I would like to think that in the somewhat short-term future we would be a powerhouse,” Coach Denham said. “Having the amenities that come along with a varsity program and a good coaching staff…the potential is there to develop players to become a powerhouse at the national level.” Despite these changes and the formation of a dedicated and athletic rookie class excited about varsity status, Recruiting Coordinator Xanni Brown ’14, a fullback, stresses that the team’s welcoming culture has not changed. “Rugby is a great sport for people of all shapes and sizes and body types, and we really value that,” she said. “I think varsity status helped us get people to those first team meetings… but it’s the team and it’s the culture that makes people stick around.” Due to the relative rarity of women’s rugby as a high school sport, especially in the United States, Brown does not anticipate that the team will be comprised of heavily recruited high school all-stars with years of experience anytime soon, though two new recruits did in fact play high school rugby on the West

Coast. Rather, she believes that the team is perhaps best demonstrated in the enwill continue its tradition of turning begin- thusiasm with which former players have ners into serious ruggers, hooking them on responded to invitations to the club’s 30th the sport with the welcoming culture it’s Reunion to be held this weekend. Machado famous for. notes that every year several alumnae coordinate and show up to a game to cheer The More Things Change » their old squad on. It is clear that rugby Across the roster, the unifying theme as friendships have lasted, and the reunion to why these athletes join Radcliffe Rugby will be a chance for old friends to reconnect and why they stay passionately dedicated and meet ruggers who played before and to the organization is its culture. “I came to after their time. Said Yee, “Whether you rugby practice and immediately fell in love played in the nineties or now, there’s still with the game and the people that play it,” that sense that you know what each other said Helen Clark ’15, the team’s Equip- has been through on the team, the kind of ment Manager and a flanker and eight- sport you play, the struggles and the joys man, echoing the sentiment expressed by of playing rugby.”  Rina Perrault ’13, also a flanker, minutes Machado notes that although the alumearlier. Machado took the sentiment one nae are generally too young to have collegestep further, “This is my family when I’m aged children, the team is planning to host at school,” she said, and through wins, loss- rugby games for the children at the event es, injuries, and anything else life throws as a way to spark interest in the sport in at ruggers, her teammates seem to agree. the next generation. While Chloe Bates ’13 reminded us that this welcoming culture pervades rugby she A Legacy » added, “This has traditionally been a very In a way, the team feels as if its transiclose, very inclusive team, which I don’t tion to varsity is about more than just their think is matched by any other club sport own satisfaction and access to the full privat Harvard.” ileges of varsity programs to Harvard. The The closeness of the women of HRRFC transition is also about raising the profile

2012-2013 HRRFC roster Coaches

2013

Bryan Hamlin, head coach

Chloe Bates

Melanie Denham, forwards coach

Kellie Desrochers Samara Fox Sarah MacVicar Rina Perrault Megan Verlage Emily Yorke

Lock

Ji Su Yoo

Whitney Lee

Prop

2016

Shelby Lin Lock Scrumhalf Hooker, Flanker Prop

Brandy Machado Lenica Morales-Valenzuela Angela Song

Flyhalf Lock Hooker, Flanker Forward

2015

Brianna Bueltmann

Wing

Brooklyn Chen

Back

Chaffee Duckers

Outside Center

Lydia Federico

Back

Aniebiet Abasi

Wing

Inside Center

Ariel Churchill

Hooker, Flanker

Stephanie Franklin

Wing

Helen Clark

Flanker, 8-Man

Rebecca Gonzalez-Rivas

Back

Flanker, Hooker

Wing

Phebe Hong

Prop

Moiya McTier

Outside Center

Kenia Lucey

Prop

Anahvia Mewborn

Rachael Foo

Wing, Fullback

Ali Ramirez

Alexandra Haber

8-Man, Flanker

Taylor Reiter

independent1969@gmail.com

Back

Jessica Ewald

Meghan Laughner

Cayla Calderwood

Forward

Lydia Burns

Brooke Kantor

Xanni Brown

Flanker, 8-Man

Flanker, 8-Man

2014

8

Gracie Hurley

The Radcliffe team poses after sweeping the Beantown Tournament on Sept. 8–9. Top row: Coach Bryan Hamlin, Sarah MacVicar, Kenia Lucey, Cayla Calderwood, Brandy Machado, Chloe Bates, Ali Haber, Ariel Churchill, Sam Fox, Xanni Brown, Coach Melanie Denham. Bottom row: Taylor Reiter, Ali Ramirez, Emily Yorke, Megan Verlage, Rina Perrault, Helen Clark, Brooke Kantor, Shelby Lin, Kellie Desrochers, Aniebiet Abasi.

Fullback

Scrumhalf, Back Forward Flanker, Hooker

Scrumhalf

Hope Schwartz

Back

Wing, Fullback

Madeline Studt

Forward 10.11.12 • The Harvard Independent


indy

Sports of the sport and making it a more viable varsity option at the collegiate level. The NCAA currently classifies women’s rugby as an “emerging sport”, and if it wants to become a “championship sport” at least twenty-eight varsity programs must become permanent fixtures in universities across the United States. Currently, Harvard appears to be the sixth. “This is bigger than just us,” MacVicar said of the transition. “There are a few varsity programs floating around out there but Harvard is one of the first really big schools to make a statement that we take women’s rugby seriously.” Coach Hamlin agreed: “Harvard making this announcement legitimizes women’s rugby. There are a couple of other varsity teams in the country, but Harvard is by far the biggest name. So what it does is it gives other teams a benchmark to say, ‘well look, Harvard did this, how did they do this? How did they become a varsity program and how do we become a varsity program?’ The goal of when we made this switch to varsity was to focus not only on how it affected us, but how it affected women’s rugby in the whole country. Talking to coaches all over the country, they say, ‘Harvard’s gone, and that’s going to open the floodgates for everybody’.” How Radcliffe Rugby will fare in its varsity debut season next year remains to be seen. Its opponents will remain largely the same, but its expectations will be set much higher. As for now, however, they seem to be tackling the challenge head-on. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) commends Indy staff Whitney Lee and Angela Song for their efforts as HRRFC rookies, thanks the team for letting her hang around these past two weeks, and wishes them the best of luck in their transitional season.

Photo courtesy of Lynne Skilken

Aniebet Abasi '15 keeps abreast of a Princeton player for a successful try on Sept. 29. The Harvard Independent • 10.11.12

Helen Clark '15 and Chloe Bates '13 reach for the ball with the forward pack in support. Photo by Whitney Lee

Radcliffe rucks Columbia over

Radcliffe wins 52–12 | By MEGHAN BROOKS and ANGELA SONG In the tailgate area just beyond Cumnock Fields on Saturday, October 6th, it was a gorgeous day for rugby. Alumni from the men’s business school rugby team congregated around kegs in booty shorts and sailors’ caps in the unseasonable 75 degree sun. They were distracting. The real action was on the turf in front of them. At 3 p.m. fifteen Radcliffe ruggers lined up for kick-off against Columbia in sky blue, and within the first minute the Black and White gained control of the ball and wing Aniebiet Abasi ’15 had scored a try, gaining a quick five points over Columbia. This pace would define the game, with Radcliffe dominating offensively for the duration of the first half. Although Columbia had enough fight in them to keep things interesting after Abasi’s first try, Radcliffe’s momentum built confidently towards their try line, as clean scrums gave them dominance over possession and advances. Nice passes between the backs and gorgeous ball movement confused Columbia defenders as outside center Cayla Calderwood ’14 ran down the right side for the team’s second try, followed by another run by Abasi straight under the uprights. Fullback Xanni Brown ’14, back in the Black Pack after an injury, kicked the ball cleanly between the posts for the first conversion of the game, making the score 17–0. Then, just four minutes later hooker Lenica Morales-Valenzuela ’14 powered fast and hard down the pitch, diving over the try line to set the score at 22–0. With the points racking up against them, Columbia showed signs of discouragement. Brown caught a pass to the right and began sprinting the length of the field, handing the ball off to inside center Megan Verlage ’13 just before a tackle. Play was eventually stopped ten meters from the try line, and here Columbia reignited its fire and scrummed with singular ferocity. Their newfound intensity couldn’t stop Abasi as she scored her third try, however, and the game sat at 27–0. The emotional highlight of the first half was un-

doubtedly rookie Audrey Carson’s ’16 first try. The score shot up to 32–0, but the wild cheers from her teammates were Carson’s true reward. Veteran player Emily Yorke ’13 followed Carson’s try with one of her own a few minutes later, and as halftime came to a close, Radcliffe Rugby jogged off the field with a 37–0 lead over Columbia. The second half of the game began much as the first, but it soon became clear that Columbia was prepared to challenge Radcliffe’s confidence. Radcliffe met Columbia’s initial push with a strong defense, and was able to keep the ball on their offensive side for the first few minutes. With Radcliffe’s guard down, however, Columbia’s flyhalf grabbed the ball and charged down the pitch, frightening Radcliffe’s defense into a flurry of tackling action. After this jolt Radcliffe regained possession of the ball, allowing Abasi to score her fourth try, followed by another try by Brown for a score of 47–0. Columbia’s flyhalf would not be deterred, however, and eventually fought her way to the try line, earning her embattled team’s first five points. As Columbia set up its conversion (which it made), Radcliffe convened behind the goal posts for quick strategization. However, Columbia was flying on its momentum and its scrumhalf made a try ten minutes later to bring the score to 47–12. Needless to say, Coach Bryan Hamlin was not pleased with his defense, and his frustration stoked Radcliffe’s intensity on the field and on the sidelines. “Support!” the sidelined players screamed as Radcliffe’s offense pushed past Columbia’s stubborn defense, and Xanni Brown was finally able to break free and run the ball home for a final score of 52–12. Radcliffe Rugby’s win over Columbia puts the team at two wins and one loss in the Ivy Rugby Conference, a solid start to its transitional year. Meghan Brooks '14 (meghanbrooks@college) would like everyone to know that in the B-side game that followed, Angela Song '14 (angelasong@college) made a try. independent1969@gmail.com

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A Trip Down...

Memory Lane

The Indy covers the “I Love the 90s Dance.”

By MONICA WILSON

I

T’S 10 P.M. ON A SATURDAY night, and Charlotte Smith ’14, and her friends are blaring Spice Girls’s “Wannabe” and reminiscing on the days of choreographing dances to ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. It’s their third year attending the dance, but they’re just as excited as they were freshmen year. On October 6th, Pforzheimer House hosted it’s annual “I Love the 90s Dance.” HoCo Co-President Christine Hu dj-ed the dance with hours of upbeat tunes that most of us know by heart. It wasn’t a normal dining hall dance party with hot, sweaty bodies grinding up against each other to Katy Perry and Lil��� Wayne. Rather, the packed dining hall was filled with clusters of friends (some of whom donned costumes ranging from Super Mario and Luigi to Britney Spears’ schoolgirl outfit) “gettin’ jiggy with it” as they belted out lyrics to Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, and the Backstreet Boys. “My favorite music came out of the 90s, so going to the dance is a way for me to dance to all of the music that I love, but don’t get to hear that often” Smith says. A screen at the front of the room projected popular music videos and the opening credits of television shows from the 90s and early 2000s, such as Even Stevens (my personal favorite), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, S Club 7, and Nickelodeon shows including Hey Arnold! and Rugrats. They were relics of our childhood: the sitcoms we would watch after school and the 10

independent1969@gmail.com

By Anna Papp

characters we would have our first crushes on (cough, Sean from Boy Meets World, cough). As Laura Derouin ’13, treasurer of Pfoho’s HoCo, says, “We actually have had discussions in recent times, especially this year, about the future of the 90s dance. We’re getting to a point where the current students at Harvard College were very young in the 90s. The music seems to still be very popular though, even though we were at most 9 or ten years old at the turn of the millennium.” So why do hundreds of students still flock to the quad in pink scrunchies, converse hightops, and belly shirts to dance to Britney Spears and drink Capri Suns every year? “I think it’s mostly that nostalgia associated with seeing things like Beanie Babies and Backstreet Boys and remembering that they were a part of your childhood,” says Derouin. Julie Zauzmer ’13, agrees. “In some ways, it’s really a childhood dance,” she says. Zauzmer and Isamar Vega recalled the days of Furbies, choker necklaces, and light-up shoes as they scavenged the snack table for Fruit Roll Ups to take a break from dancing. Pfoho provided some of our favorite childhood snacks –– Gushers, FruitBy-The-Foot, and Warheads –– to bring back those childhood memories if the music and TV shows weren’t enough already. With the diversity of students at Harvard, each having unique and extraordinary experiences that led us here, the 90s is the one thing

we all have in common. “We were raised during the 90s. It’s part of our childhood,” says Rachel Chanen ’15. Reliving our elementary school days in the form of a college dance is primarily an exercise in nostalgia. We love the 90s because we look fondly upon that decade as our childhood and our culture. We don’t necessarily remember the Gulf War or the Clinton sex scandal. We remember seeing how far we could stretch an Airhead during a little league baseball game, or choreographing dances to “Bye Bye Bye” on the playground. I spent most of my childhood at the Piedmont Little League baseball fields in Hockessin, Delaware. If I wasn’t playing t-ball or softball, I was sitting in the stands of my brother’s games seeing how long I could stretch an Airhead. My favorite shoes were Jelly sandals, and my favorite activity was swinging (you, know, on the playground). When I remember the 90s, I recall the days when I had a bowl cut and threw tantrums if I had to take the bus to school. I remember catching tadpoles in the stream behind my house and fighting with my brother over whether we watched Rugrats or Full House. Many of us refer to the slower, more innocent days before cell phones, laptops, and wifi. What did we do waiting in lines before smart phones? Ah, yes, “I spy... a purple scrunchy.” We got creative, made up games to play, and most importantly, let our imaginations wander. In some

ways, we were more free-spirited than we are today. The wonder of childhood and the freedom from work, responsibilities, and stress allowed us to discover the world, one play-date at a time. We look back fondly on the 90s, yearning for those days of childhood innocence again. As we grow up and become educated citizens in a world of accelerated cosmopolitan modernity, it is important to carry our collective childhood with us. Hopping on a swing at the playground may actually be more enjoyable today than it was fifteen years ago because it gives us the freedom to let our imaginations loose. What was important to us as a child is still at the core of what’s important to us now. Although the prospect of status, money, and power is enticing and within our reach, we must not forget what truly makes us happy. We love the 90s because as children, we only cared about those activities and relationships that made us happy. So go ahead, have a dance party in your room to the Backstreet Boys. Eat some Gushers and bring a juice box to work. And when the pressure of growing up gets to you, find a swing set. Rekindle your childhood self as you soar higher and higher. Just make sure to give the children a turn. Monica Wilson ’14 (mjwilson@college. harvard.edu) still swings to clear her mind but unfortunately has not had an Airhead since her little league days. 10.11.12 • The Harvard Independent


Coming Out Strong The media makes small steps towards acceptance. By SAYANTAN DEB “Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us’es, the us’es will give up.” ~Harvey Milk

T

HE “US’ES,” MORE THAN three decades since Milk’s speech, haven’t lost hope. As we approach another “National Coming Out Day” this October 11th, we must recognize that we have come a long way since that speech. However, the history of the day is a reminder of how far we still have to go. October 11th is the anniversary of “The Great March,” which was a reaction to the Reagan administration’s lack of acknowledgement of the AIDS crisis, as well as the Supreme Court’s ruling of Bowers vs. Hardwick, which upheld Georgia’s law criminalizing homosexual acts. The day, now recognized internationally, is as much a reminder of the shared history of disenfranchisement as it is a celebration of the strides made in the gay liberation movement. Starting in the post-McCarthy era 60s and following on the heels of the second wave feminist movement, the Gay Rights Movement was ignited in 1969 with the Stonewall riots. That fateful Saturday morning became the catalyst for much of how the movement would shape up in the next three decades. As the patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village were subjected to a raid, they refused to leave with the officers. By the time backups arrived the crowd had grown in size. Eventually, the protest took the shape of something much bigger than anyone could have predicted. A scuffle soon escalated to an attack by the police on an unarmed, and unorganized crowd. The crowd, however, stood strong, and the first rays of light that morning saw the crowd humming “We Shall Overcome.” Pathetic fallacy or otherwise, that morning is still remembered as the event that started it all. Stonewall would be followed by many other milestones in the Gay Liberation Movement, including Harvey Milk’s election to public office. He became the first openly gay man to be elected The Harvard Independent • 10.11.12

to office, when he took the position of city supervisor in 1977. He would serve 11 months in office before his assassination. To this day Milk inspires many to follow the paths they believe in. He also served as the inspiration for the 2008 Oscar winning film Milk. During his acceptance speech for his Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black said, “If Harvey had not been taken from us thirty years ago I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches, their government, or by their families, that you are beautiful, wonderful, creatures of value, […] and very soon, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.” Four years since, equal rights is still a hope, a dream, but things have changed. From the repeal of DADT, to the President’s public support for gay marriage, just the passed year alone has seen some strong steps towards that goal. Milk, the movie, much like its namesake, has become one of the cornerstones of representation of the gay liberation movement in media. However, it is not the only one. Here is a look at some other events in media that have made meaningful impact in the last decade. “The Finale” – Will & Grace: The show that broke all boundaries and brought “gay” right into the living rooms of primetime America had a lot to live up to in its finale. Throughout its run the show had tried to make a statement both with its characters and storylines. As such, the finale had the extra burden of living up to the past eight seasons of sheer brilliance. What the show did was quite unexpected. Instead of going the expected route, the show recognized that ultimately Will and Grace could not be together, nor could they remain friends because of their co-dependence. It ended with Will and his long-time partner adopting a baby, and in a rather touching flash-forward, dropping their son off to college. The episode was the first instance of a portrayal of a gay couple raising a family. Even if the storyline only lasted an hour, it

still broke new ground in portrayal of gay characters, and leaving, showed us one more time why W&G remains one of the bravest, and most iconic TV shows of the past decade. “Born This Way” – Lady Gaga: There may have been songs before, and I am sure there will be songs after that will try to convey the need to live life in one’s own terms. However, at a time when the country and society is at the cusp of winning the fight for equality, subtlety doesn’t necessarily get the point across. Often, it is necessary to make the statement loud and clear. Lady Gaga did just that with an extremely popular song that would populate the airwaves for the entirety of 2011. “Whether you love him or capital H-I-M,” Gaga sang. She proclaimed the message of the song loud and clear: do not ever apologize for who you are. Much in the same vane as Milk’s “us’es,” Gaga’s “little monsters” are in many ways the epitome of celebrating identity in all of its forms. “The Time Warp” – Grey’s Anatomy: Even the show’s most avid fans thought that this episode would be a rather weak attempt by the once golden drama to pander to the network’s need for better ratings. How could a look back at the hospital in the 70s be any different from the regular melodrama that Grey’s often succumbs to? However, the show’s fans were pleasantly surprised when the flashback dealt with the case of a patient diagnosed with what the medical textbooks at the time called GRID (Gay-related Immune Deficiency). It was probably the first example of a primetime drama acknowledging the government and the medical community’s history of stigma towards HIV and AIDS, and their wrongful association with the LGBTQ community. JC Penney Ads: First, the company asked former employee and out media icon Ellen DeGeneres to become its spokesperson. Then they featured a lesbian family prominently in their catalogs. This was soon followed by a Father’s Day campaign that also advertised a gay couple. The three

events put together incited the wrath of many conservative groups. However, JC Penney stood by their campaigns and their spokesperson, expanding the definition and acceptance of family in mainstream America. While it might be a little idealist of this writer to think that the catalogs would do much in the fight for equality, the company’s inclusion of the LGBTQ segment of its consumer demographic still highlights the increasing positivity of the nation’s attitude towards the LGBTQ community. The It Gets Better Project: A YouTube video by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller created in response to the string of suicides incited by bullying of gay teenagers started a social media movement. The project’s YouTube channel reached maximum capacity in two weeks. The responders included people from all walks of life, and sexual orientations. The message of the video was quite simple: hang on, and brave through the hardships you face, because very soon the situations you are in will change. In a rapidly transitioning and expanding world, those school bullies or the homophobic towns you reside in will become a part of your past. The difficult times are transient, and on the other side is a very real chance to find love, to live a life the way you want to live it. In short, it gets better. The truth is that all of these events are perhaps not that momentous when looked at in the context of a struggle for equality that has lasted for at least the last fifty years. However, read together these small steps show how much progress we have made as a society. Of course there is still a long way to go. When celebrating the next National Coming Out Day, it is important to be mindful of the past struggles but also to appreciate the small victories. As we celebrate, we should try to understand and embrace the immortal words of Doctor Seuss: “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” Sayantan Deb ’14 (sayantandeb@college) hopes everyone can be proud of National Coming Out Day. independent1969@gmail.com

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captured & shot TARIK ADNAN MOON


The Rugby Issue