11.17.11 vol. xlii, no. 34 The Indy is gearing up for The Game.
Cover Design by
MIRANDA SHUGARS and SAYANTAN DEB
Co-President Co-President Editor-in-Chief Production Manager News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Associate Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Columnists
FORUM Percents and Tents 3 My Love Story 4 Camp Harvard 5 Insurance Overruled? 5 SPECIAL-SPORTS 6-7 Yale Sucks Victory March 8 Ivory Towers 9 ARTS The Night Cafe 10 Body Beautiful 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.
Gary Gerbrandt '14 Whitney Lee '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Miranda Shugars '14 Christine Wolfe '14 Sayantan Deb '14 Curtis Lahaie '15 Michael Altman '14 Angela Song '14 Will Simmons '14 Sanyee Yuan '12
Staff Writers Arthur Bartolozzi '12 Cindy Hsu '14 Yuying Luo '12 Zena Mengesha '14 Marina Molarsky-Beck '15 Riva Riley '12 Brad Rose '14 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Carlos Schmidt '15 Marc Shi '14 Weike Wang '11 Celia Zhang '13 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Alexandria Rhodes '14
Pick of the Week THE GAME WHEN: Saturday Noevember, 19, 2011 at 12:00pm WHERE: Yale Bowl, New Haven, CT WHAT: THE event of the year, Harvard-Yale, or as our competitor calls it, “The Game,” (*cough cough*) is an essential part of our college experience. It is the one time of the year that even the least interested in sports flock into the football stadium, some for their first time to see this historic battle of the titans. This year, we have the added thrill of Harvard having secured the Ivy Championship. Really though, what is a good football season without beating Yale? So let’s cross our fingers and hope that we make a clean sweep with the Crimson on top! HOW: If haven’t gotten your ticket yet, unfortunately, the box office has run out. So start emailing all of those lists! It may be that an unfortunate soul who happens to have an extra ticket will be stuck here because of a midterm. Stubhub as of 4:30am this morning had 99 tickets left. As to whose side you’ll get to sit on—your guess is as good as ours. To those who are preparing for the trip to New Haven, make sure you have all the necessities (sleeping bag, toothbrush, a pillow). Have fun, but stay safe and please help anyone who needs it. But if you can’t make it this year, don’t be too depressed. Just make sure to catch it next year!
11.17.11 • The Harvard Independent
Point/Counterpoint Does #OccupyHarvard Represent the 99%? We Are the 1% By MEGHAN BROOKS
here is something poignant
about the sight of a small huddle of tents neatly pitched in the triangle of grass at the feet of the John Harvard statue. There may be fewer students than there are tents, but this is part of #OccupyHarvard’s particular charm; it’s classic David and Goliath. It is a small group of students standing up for the common welfare against a university that is, they say, little more than another selfishly motivated corporation. They want a university for the 99%, and they claim to represent and speak for that 99%; yet, something is not quite right. Simply put, the Occupy Harvard movement as it stands is inherently contradictory, as Harvard students already are the 1%. Although this statement—the declaration that Harvard students are, whether they like it or not, the 1%—is obvious to outsiders, many Harvard students will go to great lengths to prove that they are in fact representative of the 99%. “I’m on full financial aid!”, one might protest. “I am from a small family farm in South Carolina,” says another. “I’m middle-class!”, say the rest. They are right. Socioeconomically speaking, the vast majority of Harvard students are not from families who make a minimum of $516,633 per year. (We’ll leave the financial statuses of the nearly 40% of Harvard students who receive no financial aid up to speculation.) Furthermore, many Harvard students will never join the socio-economic 1%, whether it’s due to personal “failure” or to the pursuit of career paths wherein the accumulation of wealth is not the ultimate objective. However, the definition of “the 1%” has now exceeded the parameters of economic status. In the national discourse “the 1%” now means the highest level of privilege in American society, and to argue that Harvard students are not included in this 1% is both foolish and deceiving. Harvard has always been, is, and will always be a bastion of privilege. The only difference The Harvard Independent • 11.17.11
between Ye Olde Harvard and the Harvard of today is that back then enormous privilege was what you needed to get in, and today enormous privilege is what you are given once you get in. This privilege afforded to Harvard students is not necessarily an economic privilege, though if you want to land in the highest economic bracket, a Harvard degree makes for a pretty decent launching pad. This modern privilege is the privilege of opportunity. Harvard students, through some combination of work, brains, and luck, are given the top 1% of academic, occupational, and intellectual opportunity in the world. We are taught by the greatest minds in their fields, are empowered to participate in and even change the course of the flow of new and exciting ideas, are presented with grants to study and live in China and Uganda for the summer, are given exclusive access to the largest private library system in the world, are flamboyantly courted by Bain & Co. and Goldman Sachs, and are supported by a campus community whose wealth of tutors, counselors, advisors, and peers make it all possible. We are so, so privileged. If Occupy Harvard wants to be taken seriously, its students need to recognize that they are the 1%. They also need to recognize that even if Harvard does make serious institutional changes, it cannot become a “university for the 99%,” because it is Harvard. It is by definition and design a place of immeasurable privilege. However, this does not mean that Occupy Harvard is inherently hypocritical. The basic ideological platform of the Occupy movement is that the 1% has a responsibility to the 99%. When the students at Occupy Harvard can recognize that they are the 1% and then still take seriously their responsibility to the 99%, they will honestly represent the Occupy movement. Meghan Brooks ’14 (eghanbrooks@college) is very, very grateful to be in the 1%.
1.0 - 0.01 = 0.99
o much of the conflict
surrounding the Occupy Harvard protests has focused on the nature of our particularly strange Harvardian ivory tower. Even before the few dozen protestors established their encampment in the Yard, we were cut off from the rest of the world, from the common strains of humanity with whom we once mingled on a daily basis. We don’t watch broadcast TV, we get our news in short online bursts, and we consume both the media and information in nonstandard ways. We spend our time reading, working, and partying like crazy people. We’re not the “general public.” Yet we Harvard students are firmly within the 99%. Harvard is already a university for, and of, the 99%. The 6,700-or-so brains with limbs who wander around our campus might have a leg up – and might have always had a leg up – but that by no means should represent an inherent divide between Harvard and the rest of the world. Sure, we were given some special treatment; perhaps we were placed into advanced classes, we may have spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours reading and learning with our parents as children, or we might have had opportunities to explore the world and engage with perspectives far outside our comfort zones, letting us form views of the world we never would have otherwise. But that doesn’t mean anything to our current status as elites. It is simple to dispel such an argument by analyzing the actual economic meaning of the 99%/1% dichotomy in a Harvardian context. In America, the 99 thpercentile of households makes about $350,000 per year. Harvard provides financial aid for its students, provided their
By GARY GERBRANDT household makes less than $ 2 0 0 ,0 0 0 p er y ea r (wit h “normal” amounts of assets for that income level), and 60% of the student body receives some amount of financial aid. That means that only about 40% of our students are in the top 5% or so – and keep in mind that students whose families saved substantial amounts of money in college funds generally pay high, if not full, tuition rates. It’s very simple: statistically, a vast majority of the people here simply aren’t part of the top 1%. Whether we students will eventually join their ranks is to be seen, but, at least today, that doesn’t matter. We’re all on a relatively equal playing field, competing against each other in a crazed collegiate ecosystem, and while we are doing so at an incredible school, it doesn’t mean we’ve breached that arbitrary 1%. Frankly, all of this bickering is meaningless. If one were to closely examine the platform of the Occupy Harvard protestors, he or she would discover a picture that decries some of the most valid criticisms that anyone can levy against Harvard: its faculty pool has virtually no diversity, its investors make money in some disreputable ways, and, well, maybe the preservation of legacy admissions boosts is regressive (as much as I want my kids to benefit from it). Whether Harvard students are part of the 1% is not controversial, at least from the perspective of those living in the shadow of John Harvard (and keeping the Yard free of tourists). But it should be strongly affirmed that we are not, by any means, already part of that 1%. Gary Gerbrandt ’14 (garygerbrandt@college) stands with the 99%.
Anatomy of a Senior Thesis Part VI: Autoethnography of Le Love Life By SANYEE YUAN
his piece might be better
suited for the Valentine’s Day issue next spring, but there’s something in the air that makes me think winter is also a good season to talk about love, or to consider writing and performing ethnography on love lives, anyway. For my senior thesis, I’m writing an autoethnography—assembling together anecdotes from my life up until now and organizing them by the thread of similar thematic elements. Afterward, I plan to create and perform a one-woman show about my work and share these stories with the community on campus. Since the thesis makes it necessary for me to constantly dive into my pool of memories and pick out the fragments that mean the most to me, I’ve begun honing my powers of observation. I’ve found myself reflecting over significant moments and milestones through the lens of my younger self, my present self, and the others involved in my experiences over time. Last night, I went out to dinner
Photo courtesy of WikiCommons
and drinks with some good friends at Border Café. As we sipped margaritas from salt-rimmed glasses and munched on warm, crunchy nachos, one of the guys talked about his interaction with a woman at a grocery store. He had taken over for the cashier during the afternoon and since the woman in line was purchasing alcohol, he had to ask for identification. She looked about 45 years old, he told us—but when she flashed her driver’s license, he realized that she was actually well over 60. He couldn’t help but ask her how she managed to look nearly 20 years younger than her age, and instead of displaying obvious offense or selfinjury at his bold query, she leaned over conspiratorially and shared her secret. “As long as you have love in your life, you’ll be forever young.” Chuckling at this point in the story, he revealed to us in an (admittedly cute) self-deprecating manner that he was single at the moment, and he then went on to recount how he’d told her that he currently had no love in his life.
As he talks, I begin to trace over the love lines in my life. I don’t believe they’ve run too extraordinarily deep—when it comes to boys, guys, men, dudes, etc., I’ve never really experienced anything too profound. There was a time in third grade when I wrote and distributed handmade Valentine’s to everyone in my class. I’d designed a special one for my crush at the time, writing in my loopy cursive, “Dear Vincent. I like you. A lot. Love, Sanyee.” Within five minutes of passing out my cards, Vincent’s best friend, David, had marched over to my table and waving the flimsy card in hand, asked in a demanding tone, “Do you really like Vincent? Because it says here in the card you gave him that you do.” Instead of feeling mortified, I felt liberated. My sister calls it “the admitting-fest,” which is the moment in which you reveal to someone that you like him or her. After my admitting-fest for Vincent, I realized that I actually didn’t like him so much anymore. It had just been fun to crush on someone and now the excitement was over. Following Vincent, there was Ben in middle school. Nothing but constant gossiping, plastic promise rings, and long insubstantial phone conversations were exchanged. Then there was the First Boyfriend in senior year of high school, who was my host brother during my stay with a host family in California while I was competing in California’s Junior Miss. It was a perfect example of the proximity principle in relationship psychology. After him, there was the First Dating Experience, consisting of actually going out
with a guy who I’d known since middle school but had never gotten to know. My energy and enthusiasm rapidly expended soon after the time spent watching plays and attending dances together. Plus, it was time for college applications. I moved into the virtual realm of relationships with the Facebook Pen Pal, a guy with whom I shared an epic wall-to-wall but did not meet in person until three months after our continual correspondence. Everyone’s got to have at least one cyber-relationship in his or her lifetime, right? Two summers ago came the First Real Relationship, combined with the First Long-Distance Experience. Coupled with highs and lows, we started with a storybook romance, living next door to each other on our summer program in Cambridge, UK. Europe became the backdrop for us as we explored the Eiffel Tower together, ate gelato side by side in Italy, and took midnight strolls along the Tower Bridge in London. But, as in true Taylor Swiftian fashion, the lighthearted, sunny summer dissipated as the cold, unforgiving winter descended and our level of compatibility dwindled as we spent more time apart. “Are you going to finish that?” One of my friends at the table points at my dark red sangria, with the fine orange wedge glistening at the edge of the glass. I’m jolted back to the present, surrounded by my friends, plates of Tex-Mex cuisine, and strains of inaudible country music. I smile back at him. “Go for it.” The friend with the grocery store story asks for a sip too. It becomes a communal drink and I can’t help but marvel at how I haven’t felt this happy and carefree in months. This is the kind of love and companionship I’d prefer any day: having friends to go out with so we can laugh over our adventures and embark on even crazier ones. Maybe this is the kind of love I should write about for my thesis. Sanyee Yuan ’12 (syuan@fas) is wondering where her love lines will take her next. 11.17.11 • The Harvard Independent
On the Fast Track November 2012 The Supreme Court's Brilliant Timing.
ith too much jubilation on the
part of President Obama, the majority of the Democratic Party, and progressives, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 surpassed its final legislative hurdle on March 25, 2010 and the President officially signed it into law on March 30, 2010. Aimed at making healthcare both affordable and accessible to all Americans, the bill encompassed what many deemed to be a victory for progressivism and equality. However, conservatives and liberals alike criticized the legislation for its presumptuous constitutional abuses and shortcomings. Come this June 2012, the issue surrounding the legality of the healthcare bill will finally be settled, as the Supreme Court just announced it will deliberate on the bill’s constitutional
standing. Although the prospects of the ruling are uncertain, the mere decision by the Supreme Court to take up the debate and deliver during such a critical point of the 2012 Presidential Election demonstrates the necessity of settling a highly polarizing issue that has divided many Americans. In late 2010, a group of Republican state attorneys and conservative advocates mounted a legal campaign against the new law, leading to numerous lawsuits. They argued that the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act violated civil liberties as it mandates that all Americans acquire healthcare insurance. Progressive advocacy groups and the Obama organization responded with a campaign of their own that stated that the healthcare law served to further democratize the American healthcare system. Consequently, several lower
courts ruled on the matter, both favoring and opposing the legislation. The rather incoherent results of the different rulings across district courts show the difficulty ahead for the Supreme Court: the healthcare debate involves numerous economic and political implications and it is uncertain how the court will rule. However, according to Zachary Roth of Yahoo! News, “President Obama campaigned on fixing the health care system, and whatever you think of it, getting ACA passed was the biggest domestic achievement of his presidency so far. But perversely, a ruling striking down the law might well give his reelection prospects a boost, by energizing his liberal supporters. By contrast, a ruling that upheld the law could be a boon to his GOP challenger.” Commenting on the recent decision
How Much Longer? O
Tuesday night, Occupy Harvard finally had something to celebrate as the workers’ union renegotiated a contract for slight wage raises for janitors and to ensure equality among workers, preventing a potentially embarrassing workers’ strike. The protesters in Harvard Yard have now been out for over a week, and though the movement does not seem to have grown much (there are about 35 tents), the encampment looks determined to have every last one of their demands met (these demands are laid out on their website, www. occupyharvard.net). By now, Occupy Harvard has become a worn-out conversation topic around campus: after all, who could avoid sharing their most recent story about the inconvenience of walking around the yard or fumbling through their wallet for an ID? However, they can’t be blamed for trying to get the word out about their demands and causes for protest: the website outlines the goals of equality among university workers, transparency in investment and managing, elimination n
of legacy advantage, among other concerns. One student involved with the movement said that now that a contract has been negotiated for custodial workers, she looks forward to making headway stopping investments in HEI Hotels & Resorts, as the employees of HEI suffer terrible working conditions. She points out that other Ivy League institutions like Brown University has already stopped its support of the resort company. But how long will the protesters go to see all their pleas met? Even if the administration does listen and change their investment strategies, what will come next? How many more cardboard signs will it take? After closer investigation, it is clear
By CARLOS SCHMIDT by the Supreme Court, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer stated, “We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.” Indeed, the Obama administration’s integrity and support is at stake, particularly in an election season. Critics and supporters associate the healthcare bill directly with Obama—some even call it “Obamacare”—and either decision by the Supreme Court could impair or boost his election campaign. The timing of the decision is set to inspire a political firestorm come June, but for now, the eyes are set on the Republican ticket and the increasingly worrisome economic situation. Carlos Schmidt ’15 (cschmidt@college) will keep an eye on SCOTUS this summer.
The state of Occupy. By BRIAN SHIN
that the movement does indeed possess some tangible demands. However, I don’t think the best way to get the word out and garner sympathy from the community is continuing to be a hindrance to the thousands of people who get through the yard (or at least, used to). It is, of course, not the protesters themselves but Harvard security that is blocking the gates, and thus indirectly the Harvard administration. As such, as we have been told through various emails to the student body, Occupy Harvard is in no way responsible for the inconveniences. But that does not change the fact that, had there been no such building of a tent city or had the cluster of tents been placed outside the yard, these
heightened security measures would not have occurred. Petitions, fliers, statement of demands—Occupy Harvard could create all of these without alienating their own community. An attempt to spread the word and rile up positive sentiment within the university has effectively achieved the opposite reaction: most people affiliated with the University now have a negative perception of those within the Yard. Despite the movement’s desires and whether or not students sympathize with the protest ideals, everyone is turning away from the campers. In order for a protest to be influential, it has to gain support and continue to grow as a movement. A r e t he y a c h i e v i n g a connection to the University with so many claims and demands? Are they garnering student support with a stubborn attitude and an insistence on being a burden to the community? Probably not. Brian Shin ’15 (bshin@ college) is a freshman in Matthews.
Photo courtesy of Tyreke White
The Harvard Independent • 11.17.11
GUIDE to On a brilliant day in 1875, a band of strapping young Harvard men descended from Cambridge and swarmed New Haven, Connecticut. Leather helmets strapped to their heads and Crimson pride in their hearts, they stood strong against Yale. Dust rose in Hamilton Park as the crunch of bodies shook the cold earth. At the end of the day, the score was 4-0. Harvard occupied Yale, and thus began the most storied rivalry in American football. This year, we’ve already occupied the Yard. This Saturday, we’ll Occupy Yale. Join us, 10,000 men (and women!) of Harvard; they might not let us erect tents, but we will rise in victory. Go Harvard, Beat Yale!
Photos courtesy of WikiCommons
This "Handsome Dan" was Yale's first mascot. He is currently stuffed and sitting in their gym... Why?
- Founded 1636 - Cambridge = 279th most dangerous city in the U.S - 6.3% admitted - 75.9% yield - $63,400 median starting salary - $32 billion dollar endowment - Hottest Ginger. Ever. (Conan O’Brien) - Classy brick - Real concentrations - 61% of students on scholarship - 8 U.S. Presidents - Concentration Breakdown * 19.2% Humanities concentrators * 24.8% Social Sciences concentrators * 23.4% Biological Sciences concentrators
Yale Ivy League
- Founded 1701 - New Haven = 4 most dangerous city in the U.S. - 7.35% admitted - 67% yield - $59,100 median starting salary - $19.4 billion dollar endowment - Hottest Silver Fox. Ever. (Anderson Cooper) - Stone cold - Math and Philosophy Major - 53% of students on scholarship - 5 U.S. Presidents - Majors Breakdown * 41% Arts & Humanities majors * 41% Social Sciences majors * 19% Biological and Physical Sciences th
11.17.11 • The Harvard Independent
the GAME Gallery of Rogues By CHRISTINE WOLFE
1) John C. Calhoun T h i s g u y would’ve set me off as soon as he entered the interview room. I’m not sure how early in his life Calhoun adopted his trademark “ C r a z y a s t h e D e v i l Himself” haircut, but his giant, angry eyes alone would have set me running for the Northern hills. Sure he was smart (he was Phi Beta Kappa), was an outstanding, sassy orator, and filled almost every American political office, but come on, secession? Was that
Yale’s worst alumni.
really necessary? I’m sure he thought so, as he was a staunch supporter of slavery and fiercely opposed any sort of government intervention. Calhoun’s legacy would culminate in a grisly war that killed 3% of the American population and destroyed the Southern lands he called home. You know that admissions file has been destroyed… 2) George W. Bush This is why legacies have a bad reputation. There are those who don’t do
very well in school, join chauvinistic secret societies, do nothing but own a baseball team, and then ruin the country they are elected to run. No matter how you feel about Obama, at least you know he has the intellectual capacity to make his own decisions; in fact, he’s very intelligent for a politician. Bush, not so much. We were basically under the control of Satan’s sidekick, Karl Rove, for years while the country fell into the hands of the malicious evangelicals and impoverished people (literally) drown. Just to remind everyone, the economic crash happened before Obama’s election. Yes, we know, he went to Harvard Business School, but doesn’t everyone?
Vintage Game Fashion
3) C. Montgomery Burns Monty Burns is the quintessential Yalie—100% evil. Before attending Yale, Burns entertained himself by injuring immigrant laborers on his grandfather’s property. He owns a pack of dogs that he releases on unsuspecting visitors to his mansion, affectionately and deviously known as “the hounds.” His catch phrase, “Excellent,” could well be the creepiest in all of history, and the fact that he is still alive is just downright suspicious. Naturally, his well-established soullessness took him down the path to Yale. (Fun fact: Burns has been known to attend Harvard-Yale—watch out for yourselves this weekend!) 4) Dick Cheney, George H.W. Bush, Joe Lieberman, Tom Buchanan (The Great Gatsby), etc.
From the Indy archives
Photos courtesy of WikiCommons
The Harvard Independent • 11.17.11
I could list more, but I think the point has been made: Yale both accepts and creates evil. (And yes, we know the Unabomber went here. We didn’t mean to admit a terrorist.) Christine Wolfe '14 (cr wolfe@college) wonders who Yale didn't let in.
Harvard’s opening conference game against Brown ended in a landslide Crimson victory, 24-7. This was a much-needed win for the team after a tough loss to Holy Cross and was a first of many point gaps the Crimson would make throughout the season.
With a final score of 41-31, this game marked Harvard’s first 40-point game. The unusually high score would prove to be the rule rather than the exception as the season continued.
vs. The pressure was on for new starting quarterback Collier Winters to have a repeat of the Cornell game. After beating Princeton 56-39, any doubts concerning Winters’ abilities vanished. Still, Harvard let the Tigers score 39 points, raising questions about the Crimson’s defense.
For those wondering what the Princeton game would have been like if Harvard had kept up its defense, this was the game to see. Harvard pulled off another high-scoring (and this time lopsided) victory, ending the game 41-10. This is Harvard’s largest point gap of the season (thus far).
vs. Although Harvard didn’t break the 40-point mark, the Crimson still pulled off a solid victory 35-21. The win wasn’t much of a surprise though, considering the Lions are currently winless, 0-9.
This was the moment of truth. If Harvard could beat Penn, the Crimson would be the Ivy League champions. Of course, Harvard won with a considerable lead, 37-20. This was Harvard’s 14th Ivy League title.
Photos courtesy of WikiCommons
vs. By MICHAEL ALTMAN
Simply put, this year’s prognosis is good. Harvard enters the 128th playing of The Game having just been named Ivy League Champions and with a flawless record within the league. In addition, many of Harvard’s victories were not close at all and were high scoring. Meanwhile, Yale is 5-4 overall and 4-2 Ivy. With the league champions already decided, Yale has nothing to go for other than spoiling Harvard’s shot at being undefeated within the Ivies. Yale does, however, hold the lead in the series. With the record at 65-54-8, Harvard has some catching up to do. Still, the Crimson has won nine of the past ten games, in addition to winning the past five games at the Yale Bowl. If Harvard wins the 128th edition of The Game, this year’s senior class will have been undefeated against Yale. Last year’s game ended with a score of 2821, and Winters helped lead the team to victory. And let’s not forget about head coach Tim Murphy. With a record of 119-59 as the Crimson’s coach, he is the winningest coach in the school’s history. Given Murphy’s successful track record against Yale, there’s no reason he can’t pull off another victory.
11.17.11 • The Harvard Independent
Crimson, Bulldogs, and the Screen Representations of Harvard and Yale on TV and in the movies.
By MARINA MOLARSKY-BECK
Harvard students, the image of Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) unloading her convertible in head-to-toe pink for her first day of law school may seem ludicrous, far removed from the true Harvard experience. And yet more far-fetched is Elle’s admission to Harvard Law in the first place, which apparently hinges on the video she submits of herself lounging in a hot tub clad in a sequined bikini and the faux-fur underwear she designed for a charity project. The 2001 film, which was actually filmed not in Cambridge but in Los Angeles, is broadly comic in its depiction of Harvard. Yet it is precisely those blockbusters like Legally Blonde that have made Harvard—and, let’s admit it, Yale, too—such an enduring cultural icon. Harvard and Yale have undeniably made their reputations through centuries of academic excellence, but it is largely through movies and TV shows that they have ascended to level of mega-brands rather than mere universities. References to the o
Ivies—and most especially to Harvard and Yale—proliferate popular culture. Each year Harvard students pay mocking tribute to one of the most famous depictions of their school, Love Story, in the Crimson Key Society’s screening during freshman orientation. As much as we may laugh at the cheesiness of Ali MacGraw’s proclamation that “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” there is a note of pride detectable amongst all the irony. Part of the fun of screening Love Story lies in allowing freshman the opportunity to bask in the knowledge that they are attending a college that is not just a college, but a character in movies and books—a cultural landmark as much as a school. Doubtless a similar thrill goes through Yalies when hear the queen bee of the Upper East Side, Blair Waldorf say, in the second season of Gossip Girl, “Princeton is a trade school. There is only Yale.” The Harvard-Yale rivalry itself plays out on the small screen in Gilmore Girls, when Rory Gilmore
tries to choose between the two colleges (although she is accepted to Princeton, it never stands a chance) in the third season. Rory, who has had her sights set on Harvard since childhood, winds up attending Yale. The details of her decision-making process are murky. Ostensibly, Yale is a “better fit” for Rory. In practicality, given that the show is set predominantly in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, CT, Yale fits much more neatly into the narrative than Harvard ever could. Before Rory settles on Yale, we get a few humorous mentions of Harvard, as when Rory visits campus. She tells her mother, “This is Harvard. This is Harvard. You can’t just go inside.” Rory repeats the name “Harvard” continuously throughout the episode with a sense of awe that mirrors the attitude with which the media so often portrays Harvard. After a day exploring campus, though, Rory seems to have gotten over the mystique of Harvard. She leaves a lecture on Seneca crying, “I love college! I love Harvard! I love fatalism!”
Art from the Ivies
So, then, do TV and the movies point to a victor in the Harvard-Yale rivalry? Between last year’s The Social Network and earlier classics like The Paper Chase and Good Will Hunting, Harvard has certainly had its share of representation. Yale is perhaps less widely represented, although it plays a role in such wide-ranging works as The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2, Mystic Pizza, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (as the fictional “Marshall College,” where Indiana Jones teaches). But, of course, not all these portrayals are positive ones—in fact, nearly all of these works seem to simultaneously acknowledge the eminence of and poke fun at Harvard and Yale. There is no winner, here, but all of these TV shows and movies share a fascination with Harvard and Yale—a fascination the media perpetuates, and will, no doubt, for years to come. Marina Molarsky-Beck ’15 (molarskybeck@ college) doesn’t want to trash Yale in her article—that will happen this Saturday.
How do Harvard and Yale's artsy alumni stack up? By SAYANTAN DEB and ANGELA SONG
f you ’ ve ever heard the sweet
strains of “Maria”, watched the thrilling stunts of Jason Bourne, or laughed at the biting satire of a particular Late Night Talk Show host—you’re admiring the work of our very own Harvard alums. On the other hand, if you’ve ever wanted to slap Miranda Priestly, if you’ve snoozed through a Pocahontas rip-off, or agonized over Mulder’s refusal to man up and kiss the girl already, well, that’s the unfortunate work of our Ivy compatriot, Yale. Matt Damon was a wide-eyed Harvard freshman in 1988 before he followed his dreams to Hollywood. The rest, as they say, is history. The Bourne Series. The Departed. The Ocean’s Trilogy. Saving Private Ryan. And the list goes on. He has not only conquered the box office, but has also been lauded by critics. His awards include an Academy Award for his role in Good Will Hunting, and to top it all off, he was People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive for 2007. He has it all: money, talent, and that crooked smile that makes all of our hearts swoon. Edward Norton, Yale ’91, was the nameless narrator of Fight Club. The Harvard Independent • 11.17.11
Granted, he’s picked up a couple nominations here and there, but really, he’s no leading man. He doesn’t make the ladies swoon in Ocean’s Thirteen. He’s not the brilliant, but troubled mathematician. And he’s certainly not the agile, trained assassin with lightning-fast reflexes. In short, he’s the everyman. Anderson Cooper, Yale ’89, has established himself as CNN’s poster boy. Since 2003, Anderson Cooper 360° delivers the breaking news at a punctual seven p.m. every day. His reporting skills are impeccable, as evidenced by his stoic presentation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But for all of his critical acclaim and credibility he has fostered, his news segment is still a bit… dry. Anderson’s delivery is especially dry when compared to Conan O’Brien’s ‘85. Starting his illustrious career as the president of the Harvard Lampoon, he was also part of the teams that brought you Saturday Night Live and The Simpsons. For sixteen years, NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien kept America rolling with laughter with his quick wit and biting sarcasm. With his move to TBS, Conan has marked a new chapter in his memorable repertoire,
and we along with the rest of the United States just can’t get enough of the man who makes us laugh at ourselves and like it. Since Silence of the Lambs, whatever happened to that confident young police trainee? Jodie Foster, Yale ’85, hit box-office and Oscar gold for her role in the 1992 movie. That’s when Harvard’s current freshman were born, right? Since then, she’s starred in… Nim’s Island? Clearly, she was Hollywood’s darling. Too bad it’s been more than a decade since then. So let’s focus on a more… let’s say, contemporary actress. Natalie Portman, Harvard ’03, and resident of Lowell House stole our geeky hearts as the stunning Padmé Amidala in Star Wars. Her acting prowess has shone with every subsequent role. She was the quirky, lovable Sam in the indie-hit Garden State. Her edgy transformation as Evey in V for Vendetta proved that she could tackle intense, dramatic characters as well. Last year, as the torn wife of a soldier away in Afghanistan, she connected to the nation’s soul in Brothers. Perhaps her most notable role to date was her turn as a schizophrenic ballerina in last
year’s Black Swan, which resulted in an Academy Award for the leading lady. Natalie Portman is in her prime, and we wait with bated breath for her to keep us engaged with her versatility. Of course, we don’t have space for everyone. Leonard Bernstein ‘39, Tommy Lee Jones ’69, Yo-Yo Ma ‘76, Nestor Carbonell ’89, and Rivers Cuomo ’06 – you make John Harvard proud. Sigourney Weaver ‘74, David Duchovny ’04, and Paul Giamatti ’89 – you’ve more than lived up to Eli’s expectations. But we can’t ignore Eric Johnson, Yale ‘01. Never heard of him? Well, we’re not surprised. He played in the NFL as a tight-end, briefly, and he may have caught the winning touchdown in the 1999 Harvard-Yale game. In the grand scheme of things, however, he is Jessica Simpson’s baby daddy. Yet another intelligent decision. I bet the Bulldog’s proud. Angela Song ’14 (angelasong@college) and Sayantan Deb ’14 (sayantandeb@college) respect all of these notable media figures. But on Harvard-Yale weekend, anything goes.
By WILL SIMMONS
Thoughts on Yale. am honey badger.
Hear me roar. I suppose I should start by addressing the Indy feud, which I know everyone on campus is atwitter about. It certainly does not merit more than an ounce of my attention, but I would be remiss if I did not defend myself. Our freshman staff writer, Carlos, saw fit to criticize my column for allegedly being an “incoherent rant.” A haiku: Smack talk from freshmen The honey badger don’t care He takes what he wants. Feel free to let me know, Carlos, when you can write a haiku as good as mine. Moving on to more important matters, my editor, Sayantan Deb ’14, informed me this past week that the filler that begins all my articles is better than the actual content that follows. As a result, I will try to keep my aesthetic insights to a minimum this week. To begin, I would like to implore our Indy readers to send us your thoughts and concerns. If you think I’m an idiot, I want to know. If you want to discuss formalism versus anti-formalism, hit me up. If you turn your g-chat to red so people think you’re busy, even though you’re not, shoot me an email! If you skip through the yard at night by yourself and pretend that you’re singing “I’ll Cover You” with your true love, even though you know you’re going to die alone, I’ll skip with you. Really, I mean it, especially if you have reddish hair and live in Quincy. My point is this – we provide our emails for a reason. Use the fingers God gave you and type away. What do I have to say about Yale? I whine all the time about my rejection, convinced that had I been admitted to Yale, my life would have been more amazing than a babies-dressedas-vegetables calendar. As of right now, it is just one of those crappy calendars that you get for free at 10
the bank. All I want is a baby with a dusty crater for an art museum. Go stem hat emerging from a pumpkin. figure.) houses one of Van Gogh’s Is that too much to ask? Anyway, most extraordinary masterpieces, I remember the day that my early The Night Café of 1888. Notice first action application was deferred. Yale the strange lighting; the incandescent was my dream, and I had my heart rays drip like a sickly ooze from the set on seeing that legendary bulldog lamps. Garish yellows coat the entire in my congratulatory email. I drove scene, thereby engendering a formal to my friend Emma’s house in my unity based not in beauty, but a dad’s sixty-something Dodge Dart, pervasive, melancholic ugliness. The an ancient contraption that lacked skewed perspective and shadowing airbags and functioning seatbelts. are also striking. Consider the See, I really did pull myself up by impossible slanting of the floor and my bootstraps! We waited anxiously the irrationally shaped pool table. beside the computer until the email There is certainly a dialogue between came. Its nondescript subject line this piece and Van Gogh’s Bedroom at gave me no clue; I clicked it and only Arles, a painting that uses perspective needed to read the first line before I to create a cramped, otherworldly knew what it said. indicator of the painter’s mental Optimistic Will, however, knew distress. Additionally, a lone figure that everything was going to be faces the viewer, confronting the OK, and that he would certainly attempt of the gaze to penetrate get in through regular admission. this clandestine space, populated by I needed a gimmick, so I send a broken human beings drinking the horde of supplemental materials, night away. We are given access to and even had Emma write me a a world of prostitutes and alcoholics, peer recommendation. Colleges love society’s hidden underbelly. At the stuff like that! When my second Yale same time, however, the viewer is rejection came, I was bewildered. reminded of her separateness from I wondered what it could have been that damned me to four years at Harvard. One day, I asked Emma what she wrote in the peer recommendation. To my surprise, it turns out that she may have mentioned that I slaughter sheep on my spare time, and that I’m a raging, gun-toting Republican. My jaw dropped. And that’s how I ended up here, this place that requires me to show my ID and squeeze through a one-foot crack in a gate to walk to class. If anyone from Yale is reading this, please know that I have never slaughtered anything. I did used to put salt on slugs, but slugs don’t have feelings anyway. Except Jabba the Hut. That’s not a funny joke at all. It’s time for some art talk! Feel free to skip this part, as I know you all do. Yale’s art gallery (Oddly, not every school has a Photo courtesy of WikiCommons
this spectacularly distant interior. I want to do some further research on this wonderful painting, but I will leave it to you, dear reader, since I’m writing this at one in the morning. I will conclude with two things to put on your calendar. As part of the ArtistTalk series at the Harvard Art Museums, Laurie Simmons will be presenting a lecture, alongside Professor Robin Kelsey, at the Sackler Museum on March 20 th . See the Harvard Art Museums website for more information on this free event. Why am I telling you so far in advance? Well, it is an extraordinary chance to hear from one of the world’s most influential photographers, an artist who, alongside contemporaries like Cindy Sherman and Barbara Kruger, pioneered a new vision for their chosen medium. You will not want to miss it. Finally, in just a few weeks, Indy will be toppling the patriarchy with its feminist issue. Put it on your calendar. Get The Hours on Netflix. Buckle up. Will Simmons ’14 (wsimmons@college) doesn’t care about football.
11.17.11 • The Harvard Independent
An Exceptional Experience A review of Out of Body. By CURTIS LAHAIE
Body did not meet my expectations. I expected the title Out of Body to relate only loosely to the performance by the Harvard Ballet Company I saw last Friday night, November 11. I expected that this title was arbitrarily chosen, that the Company chose a phrase that seemed vaguely interesting, neglecting to make true connections between the title and the dances on stage. I asked myself, “How can these dancers, limited by their bodies, somehow create an “out-of-body” viewing experience?” As I sat in the packed New College Theatre that night, my question was answered quite well. Out of Body first became an outof-body experience with the perfect integration of dance and live music in the performance entitled “Insidious Intent.” On the side of the stage yet in the view of the audience, the Volta Trio gave a spirited percussion performance, while a group of dancers kept the audience members on the edge of their seats. Since most performances simply employ speakers to send the music throughout the auditorium, live performers created quite a different, unexpected experience, as though the music felt somehow more alive. In “Insidious Intent” and truly the vast majority of the dances, I underwent an out-of-body experience because the dancers’ emotions were contagious. Even though I didn’t sit in the front row, I could see the dancers’ glowing smiles and stark yet intense stares, and though they were of course only acting, I completely believed them. Particularly remarkable were the emotions of Michelle Luo ‘14 during the “Chocolate” segment of “Whipped Cream Ballet.” Though I ut of
The Harvard Independent • 11.17.11
am sometimes skeptical of dances that feature only one dancer (couldn’t she be making it up on the spot?), Luo’s performance was clearly well practiced; her flawless steps, coupled with her wide smile, made for an emotional viewing experience. Indeed, live music and contagious emotions may not be unique to Out of Body. But making Out of Body truly special was the choreography, the dance moves that perfectly represented the experience of humans “leaving” their bodies. These dances often showcased arms swinging in wide, circular motions as though the dancers were windmills, not humans. In one noteworthy performance, “The Artist,” one dancer acted as though she were controlling all the others, which made for a variety of unique dance moves that elicited both smiles and laughter from the audience. In this song and in many others, the dancers often moved erratically, almost as though they were having seizures on stage. (Could anything be more “out of body” than a seizure?) And one dancer definitely did a move that closely resembled the worm. I must admit that at times I was a bit skeptical of this choreography. “What exactly were these dancers thinking?” echoed through my head at least a few times. But as I stepped back, I was impressed by the audacity of the choreographers to try new and creative things, and I realized that because of these daring dance moves, my attention was consistently captured and my emotions always on edge. Curtis Lahaie ‘15 (clahaie@college) is ready for another out-of-body adventure. The OFA
captured & shot By MARIA BARRAGAN-SANTANA