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11.03.11 vol. xlii, no. 32 The Indy is getting cold. Cover Design by
MIRANDA SHUGARS, SAYANTAN DEB, and ANGELA SONG Co-President Co-President Editor-in-Chief Production Manager News and Forum Editor Arts Editor Associate Arts Editor Sports Editor Design Editor Columnists
FORUM 3 Post.Harvard.edu? 4 Logorrhea 5 My Big Fat Greek Bailout 6 Riding the Struggle Bus ARTS 7 8 9 10
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 (email@example.com). Letters to the Editor and comments regarding the content of the publication should be addressed to Editor-in-Chief Meghan Brooks (firstname.lastname@example.org). For free e-mail subscriptions please contact email@example.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.
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 Brad Rose '14 Kalyn Saulsberry '14 Marc Shi '14 Weike Wang '11 Celia Zhang '13 Graphics, Photography, and Design Staff Maria Barragan-Santana '14 Alexandria Rhodes '14
Othello in White Legs Wide Open Drag Me to Hell Late Night with Langlang
SPORTS 11 Dartmouth Goes Down
Gary Gerbrandt '14 Whitney Lee '14 Meghan Brooks '14 Miranda Shugars '14
Picks of the Week Late Night @ Harvard: Wedding Crashers Where: Leverett Dining Hall When: Friday November 4, 10:00-12:00 (CHECK DATE) What: Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson crash everyone's Friday night in another of Harvard's attempts to make everyone's weekend a little bit less pathetic. Free food and drinks – non-alcoholic ones – and plenty of fun movie-watching times. It's a good movie, Harvard's behind it, and it's a pretty relaxed place to pick up an early-night snack even if you're not up for a movie. Come by!
Sleep Where: In your room (Or wherever) When: Whenever you can! What: Well, midterms never end; neither do the projects, the extracurricular activities, or that one party you have to be at on a Friday night. So among all of these things, we want to encourage you to try to get some sleep. The first thing that goes in our overscheduled lives is sleep, and then the caffeine takes over, until we are in the middle of nights that merge into days. So this week, go to bed before two just one day.
11.03.11 • The Harvard Independent
Point/Counterpoint Must We Pursue Careers That Serve the Greater Good? The Ethical iBanker By MEGHAN BROOKS
hat did you want to be when you were five? A firefighter? A doctor? A firefighter-doctor-astronautsuperhero? Whatever it was, you probably wanted to be someone you looked up to, someone who helped others, especially someone who helped kids like you. As for me, I wanted to be a teacher. Over fifty percent of the adults I’m related to are elementary school teachers, and as a little girl I would line up my dolls or brothers, whichever were more willing, and teach lessons and assign homework. I wanted to be a teacher not just because it meant I got to be in charge, but because I knew exactly how much teachers mean to their students, and of all the good that they do with so little recognition every day. Fast-forward fifteen years. I’m now a sophomore at Harvard concentrating in Comparative Religion with a secondary in Literature. What do I want to be when I grow up? In reality, I simply want to be anything other than unemployed (not an easy task, considering what I have decided to do with my time here). I have no set career goals, and I’m fine with that, but I admire those who have a plan, those who have internships and interviews lined up, whose extra-curriculars start with “pre-“, and whose concentrations come attached to jobs. Some of these students I admire are going through UTEP (Undergraduate Teacher Education Program) or the TFA process, and that’s noble. Some are going to medical school and will specialize in pediatrics, while others have positions in labs researching alternate fuel sources, and that’s noble as well. Some, on the other hand, are coming off of summers interning at Goldman Sachs and have their eyes and résumés focused on Madison Avenue, McKinsey & Co., or Wall Street, and that’s just fine. It’s not noble, but it is ethically acceptable, despite what many in the current social climate would argue. It is acceptable because our chosen careers do not The Harvard Independent • 11.03.11
define us or all that we do. The obnoxious but largely true maxim “noblesse oblige” attaches to us the moment we enter the world of privilege that Harvard represents. It doesn’t matter what your situation was before you came here; once you matriculate you become very, very privileged, and it becomes your moral prerogative to use that privilege for the good of others in some way or another. At the same time, however, by coming to Harvard you are not taking a vow of poverty and service; that has never been the mission of this school and it never will be. You are rather developing your talents according to your interests, and it may be true that your interests and talents, or even personality, do not lend themselves to pursuing careers wholly dedicated to the greater good, and that’s fine. Simply put, if you come to this school and attach yourself to the economics department because you are interested in money and are good at making it, you would be a very unhappy elementary school teacher. If you want to be an ibanker, be an ibanker. Enjoy the job, the money, the challenge! It does not make you a bad person if—and this “if” is crucial—it is not all that you are or all that you do. If you are going to be an ibanker, or a consultant, or any other “selfish” something, you have responsibilities. The first is to your family and the second is to yourself, which in your case will probably involve amassing a small fortune. Your third responsibility, however, is to your community, however you define it. If you are going to leave Harvard as an ibanker, you had better leave appreciating that privilege, willing to donate generously to worthy causes, to join the PTA, to live a sustainable lifestyle, to support social justice, and, most importantly, to make money ethically without harming the most vulnerable in our society. Is that difficult? Of course, but you go to Harvard. Figure it out. Meghan Brooks ’14 (meghanbrooks@college) refuses to go into ibanking…because she still can’t do long division.
Doing a World of Good
feel its fair to say that students are accepted to Harvard based on one or more of the following three reasons. The first is that they are extraordinary talented at one particular thing, be it astrophysics, theater, or hockey. The second is that they exhibit an inherent ability to impact significant social changes. The third is that one or more of their family members went here. If these are the qualifications for admission, than it is logical to assume that these are the qualities that make distinguished Harvard alumni. I would even go as far as to claim that there exists a pressure on us to follow through with these measures. If a place like Harvard cares about talent and fostering change, than these things must be important. That might go without saying, but nevertheless, having been awarded the opportunity to graduate with a Harvard degree, we are responsible for what we do with it. We must use the power of our name to help those who cannot access that power or who need further support. I cannot underestimate my respect for talent, especially after what I have seen since I have been at Harvard. The music, poetry, prose, and athleticism that have come from my classmates are beyond comparison; their dedication and grace are completely inspiring. And I do not argue that talent or any of the areas in which it manifests itself are paradoxical to doing good things for others—on the contrary. I argue that each Harvard student has a duty to act upon those aspects of his or her subject that will benefit people other than the student. However, I do not believe it is the place of a Harvard student to go to Wall Street. I know that this is unrealistic. I do not expect people to stop
By CHRISTINE WOLFE finding jobs as consultants; I am not a person who believes that greed can be eliminated overnight or that it will ever be eliminated. To be fair, there may be students who want to support their families and need a well paying job. That is their decision, and I do not begrudge supporting ones own. That is the crux of the problem: there must be a balance struck between what good your professional aspirations do you (and your family) and what good they do others, and this balance is difficult to define. But we cannot ignore our place in society. No matter where you started, you have stepped up. If there is any moral I purport—and there are not many I do—it is that people with more opportunities are responsible to help people with fewer in any way they can. That’s how human beings are meant to function. Those people who need help, in any scope and form, should get at least 50% of that balance. The best part is that doing something for others is doing something for yourself—it’s fulfilling to know that you’re making a difference. And to be realistic, there are so many doors open to us that we can probably find a niche that lets us do what we love, impact societal change, and maybe make a little money too. I think the money is the hardest part—yes, organizing a successful, national nonprofit group, making policy decisions, or doing research will not give you the income of an investment banker. That’s why anyone who was ever even kind of good at science goes to medical school: you make loads of money saving people’s lives. It’s genius. Christine Wolfe (crwolfe@ college) really wishes she could write vampire TV shows. firstname.lastname@example.org
All Future Conversations Will Not Be Marked Important Mailing lists: the search for relevance.
f the seventy - plus emails
I get every day, few are particularly important to me. The vast majority of the flood is a combination of “marked read” daily deals, “archived” blurb-spamming, and “muted” drawn-out conversations on topics I find completely irrelevant to my life. “EC10 STUDENT WALK-OUT. Is there art in your life? Into Facebook and Twitter? Subscribe to the Harvard Political Review! Volunteer Over J-Term! TAKE THIS BODY MODIFICATION SURVEY!” It has reached the point where I am no longer enticed by free food. My brain is programmed to look wearily at anything happening at the Faculty Club, because it is going to be crowded with suits. Events tend to have a surprisingly small table of recentlyCVS’ed snacks, and they always have Canada Dry and Diet Coke. When I am reminded to RSVP for things, I make sure not to. My demographic profile can be easily constructed by any survey-takers on campus from all the “5-Minute Study Break[s]!” I
By GARY GERBRANDT have taken. I have forded the Seven Seas of lists. I have an instinctive ability to judge a book by its cover. I have no shame when I eviscerate emails that violate general mailing etiquette (and am unafraid to hit reply-all in doing so). Yet the tides of emails are changing. Something about the torrent has spontaneously begun to have a larger actual impact on my life. Lately, people have been having intelligent, or at least relevant, conversations over the lists I am a part of. I’ve weighed in when I’ve seen it necessary. People are arguing and communicating for what might be the first time, using these mailing lists as more than just a horrifying way to fire emails at everyone within range. It’s as though it is the golden days of email once more, the times when it was a medium of interpersonal dialogue and productive conversation (Or were there ever really times like this?). Here’s how it goes: someone sends an email over a list that isn’t advertising, something from Morgan Stanley or that features food from the Kong or
that lists the matinée prices for some theatrical production. They comment on something relevant to the lives of Harvard students, or something frustrating happening in the world, or something marvelous that makes them smile. These renegades, re:-volutionaries, shake up the usual nature of a list. QSA-Open members post about queer life and issues; EAC-Open members discuss environmental causes and happenings; Dems-Talk catches fire when #OccupyWallStreet and its protesting brothers-in-arms take a stand. People read, think, and respond. They take advantage of an embarrassingly flawed system and restore its original functionality. Let’s keep this little pattern up, Harvard. It’s nice to be able to crack open an email thread and be mildly entertained, and to have a thought provoked. Having mailing lists as a showcase of the diversity of opinions at Harvard and the surprising controversies that inevitably ensue when said opinions are expressed and debated is something we can all
applaud. Even when the threads stretch to twenty emails and they get muted, it’s better than passively reading about Crédit Suisse’s next recruiting event or the occasional Free Glee Screening In The QRC NOW!!! It’s better than having a FREE WINTHROP DANCE 21+ OPEN BAR ALL OTHER HOUSES $5! or a Best Food On The Square In Quincy This Sunday. So, people who read this article, venture forth and post liberally. Write responses to others’ dispatches. Think and make others think. Be constructive and occasionally controversial. Otherwise, the days of Inbox (Gmail) – 58 are going to be here to stay. Nobody wants that. We all want to be free from the chains of emails that shackle us to our infinite “unread” totals. We all want to have our productivity crystallized in email form. Even if it means a few missed advertising opportunities. Gary Gerbrandt ’14 (garygerbrandt@college) probably won’t read your emails.
Photo by Gary Gerbrandt
11.03.11 • The Harvard Independent
Europe's Crisis in Leadership? Thoughts and reflections on the European financial meltdown.
By CARLOS SCHMIDT t the end of 2009, Europe entered
a period of high uncertainty. Beginning with Greece, many small yet crucial European economies began showing signs of instability due to both fiscal mismanagement and a seemingly uncontrollable debt. Countless summits, four bailouts, and one sex scandal later, the situation in Europe does not seem to be improving and European leaders are growing increasingly weary of one another, threatening the very existence of the European Union (EU). Last week, EU leaders met in Brussels for an extraordinary meeting in order to address the growing anxiety of the markets regarding the European sovereign debt crisis, particularly that of Greece. Although the debt-restructuring plan was much expected by foreign observers and financial analysts, the ensuing remarks by the French and Greek administrations, alongside the growing political tension among EU members, caught the most attention. “Let’s be clear; it was a mistake […] Greece came into the Euro with numbers that were false and its economy was not prepared to assume an integration into the Eurozone. It was a decision that was taken in, I believe, 2001, for which we now are paying the consequence,” stated French President Nicholas Sarkozy in an interview with the French media. The French have been particularly affected by the Greek crisis since French banks, predominantly Société Générale, are one of the biggest creditors to Greece. Defending his country’s reputation, Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinidis expressed in an interview with the BBC: “Greece may be in the centre of the storm today but this is not a Greek problem per se [...] Scapegoating Greece is not the solution.” Lately, it seems that everyone has been ‘scapegoating’ Greece; even American right-wing politicians have used the ‘Greek example’ as means of justifying their drive for budget tightening and spending cuts. However, the majority of policy makers, Europeans and Americans alike, have failed to ask if the continuing bailouts—to Greece, General Motors, or the American The Harvard Independent • 11.03.11
finance sector—are actually worth it. But it has managed to limit both Paul Krugman—an acclaimed the rise in unemployment and the economics professor at Princeton suffering of the most vulnerable; University and the 2008 recipient of the the social safety net has survived Nobel Prize of Economics—has been intact, as has the basic decency of its following the recent developments in society. ‘Things could have been a lot the EU and the United States. In his worse’ may not be the most stirring of acclaimed New York Times column, slogans, but when everyone expected Krugman wrote, “Greece has been utter disaster, it amounts to a policy pushed by its austerity measures into triumph.” an ever-deepening slump—and that The issue then becomes one about slump, not lack of effort on the part of government accountability: are the Greek government, was the reason governments more accountable to a classified report to European leaders the needs of business or their general concluded last week that the existing population? Across the United States program there was unworkable.” (and the world), thousands—if not Ironically, in trying to respect Greek sovereignty EU leaders are actually creating a politically and economically unstable situation for the Greek government, making the situation all the more unmanageable. A recent poll published by the To Vima newspaper showed that 58% of the Greek population disapproved of the EU’s decisions of debt restructuring. The Franco-German EU leadership is under heavy pressure by both domestic and regional political forces. They have to balance addressing the economic needs of their respective citizens while trying to salvage the euro. But is letting Greece default (an idea that has yet to be publically considered) a bad idea for the EU and the survival of the single-currency euro, especially considering the polarizing effect it is having on greater European integration? Citing Iceland’s miraculous stabilization by allowing their banks to declare bankruptcy after their 2008 financial meltdown, Krugman wrote, “Iceland hasn’t avoided major economic damage or a significant drop in living standards. Photo courtesy of WikiCommons
millions—of the so-called “99%” would agree with the latter. In the words of Krugman, “And there’s a lesson here for the rest of us: the suffering that so many of our citizens are facing is unnecessary. If this is a time of incredible pain and a much harsher society, that was a choice. It didn’t and doesn’t have to be this way.” Carlos Schmidt ’15 (cschmidt@college) thinks Paul Krugman should come to Harvard so the Indy can get an interview with him!
Anatomy of a Senior Thesis
hen senioritis struck in
spring 2008 of my senior year of high school, it influenced me to spend several hours watching American Idol after family dinners and crafting Facebook wall-posts to my pen pal. Three years later, the dastardly monster has reared its head again, promising to consume my time by pushing me towards procrasti-worthy acts like reading about Jelena’s new adopted husky pup when I should be reading the six books of the week for my thesis tutorial. (By the way, “Jelena” for those of you who don’t know, is the celebri-couple nickname for Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez, another fun fact that I unearthed from my senioritis-induced feverish and frenzied web-surfing.) I’m supposed to be writing my thesis—my autoethnography for a Special Concentration in Narrative in Rhetoric & Performance—right now. Every moment that I spend on Gmail, Facebook, or (I’ll admit I still read this) I Saw You Harvard, is a moment that I’m not actually writing. I may be thinking about writing, but I’m definitely not writing.
Part IV: Write Down to Business
Maybe my topic is getting me on edge. It’s harder than I thought to probe introspectively into my own life and examine different moments that had an impact on my personal philosophy today. Perhaps I should work backwards. I can tick off several memories that have stuck with me from my younger years. There was the time when I first learned what regret feels like. My kindergarten teacher had asked me and my older sister to perform in the talent show and I turned it down because I felt too shy to get onstage in front of everybody in the school. However, I couldn’t sleep at all that night, tossing and turning in bed and wishing that I could rewind the moment to retract my rash response. The next morning, for the first time ever, I couldn’t wait to go to school and I rushed there, nearly knocking over my teacher in earnest. I exclaimed that I did want to sing in the talent show with my sister’s piano accompaniment, and I held my breath as I waited for her reply. I finally exhaled, in relief, when she said that there was still a space for us. That
By SANYEE YUAN taught me a lesson about not letting timidity and fear guide my decisionmaking. Then, there’s a distinct memory for the time when I first learned what power feels like. In first grade, I switched from attending a private school to attending a public school in the San Francisco district. I was the new kid and somehow, I established myself as queen bee of the playground even at that young age. Several of my classmates would want to be my partner on our field trips and I even got to rotate the person I partnered with during one venture to the neighborhood beach. There, though, the power got to my head and for my in-class birthday party, I made a very cruel announcement. Holding up a colorful Jello-gummy candy wrapped in crinkly tissue paper, I explained, “These are special candies that I’m only going to give to special people. I have a list and if you get one, this means that you’re one of my best friends.” I only had a select number of candies and I had stayed up the night before, revising the list so that I had the right count allocated for the corresponding names. As I finished
my announcement, I remember seeing one student—another boy who had transferred in as the new kid mid-way through the fall semester—closing his eyes and praying loudly that he would get one of the candies. My mom, who had taken a day off from work to help me with the party, pointed him out to me as well. She wanted me to give him one of the candies but I stamped my foot impetuously, insisting that he was not on the list and if I gave him a piece, then I would have to deprive one of my best friends who was on the list. In the end, I gave him the candy. He was overjoyed. And I learned to share… kind of. There are more stories about sharing and not sharing. There are so many more stories—and I guess writing this article is giving me a chance to start digging into those memories, no matter how painful or shameful. And most importantly, now I can say I’ve been working on my thesis instead of reading up on Jelena. Sanyee Yuan ’12 (syuan@fas) will tell the story of the Facebook pen pal in next week’s installment.
Snack n' Sign What: Meet other deaf and hearing individuals in the community interested in Deaf Culture and ASL! If you don't know ASL but want to learn - come with an open mind and have fun! This will be a casual gathering with snacks and treats. When: Thursday Nov 10 8-10pm Where: Ticknor Lounge Hosted by CODA, the Committee on Deaf Awareness. For more information, please contact Tory Sampson at (email@example.com).
11.03.11 • The Harvard Independent
Shades of Grey in White
The Indy reviews Othello, now playing at the NCT. By YUQI HOU
thello, presented by
Hyperion Shakespeare Company and BlackCAST, and directed by Nathan Hilgartner ’14, makes up for its lack of visual appeal with a talented cast. Though Shakespeare doesn’t always translate well to the modern audience, the tones and actions of the actors give context and life to the play. Visually, a stark white backdrop and sheer white curtains add little interest to the stage. In fact, Othello has so little in the way of setting that it evokes an Our Town feel, where all the focus is on the characters. “We wanted to give the play the immediacy of the present day, so the characters wear modern clothing and use modern weapons. The set is far more abstract, a fluid set of small platforms that change and recombine in various ways,” says Hilgartner. Like abstract art, the stage is meant to evoke more of a feeling than a setting. Unfortunately, the abstract doesn’t always appeal to the general audience. Because the background is so sparse, more focus is given to the characters and the violence of the show. Guns, knives, and blood populate the stage. The death scenes are particularly drawn out and gruesome. “In the course of working with these weapons [blank-firing guns], which are very loud and can be dangerous if misused, the cast began treating the violence with a new kind of seriousness and fearful reverence, which imbues it with a shocking and terrifying realness,” says Hilgartner. Additionally, instead of elaborate costumes, Hilgartner had everyone in the play wear white suits except for Othello, a moor, who wears a black suit. “This creates a striking image of Othello’s isolation, both social and psychological, as a racial outsider in Venetian society,” explains Hilgartner. Though Othello is the obvious focus of the play, the rest of the cast delivers great support. Rachel Byrd ’13 lives up The Harvard Independent • 11.03.11
to her role as the demure and loving wife, Desdemona, even in the face of an unstable husband. Cassio, played by Paris Ellsworth ’14, is loyal, though easily manipulated. However, it is really the antagonist Iago, played by Philip Gillen ’13, who captures the audience. Seen as Shakespeare’s most sinister villains, Iago catalyzes Othello’s mental deterioration and each tragedy within the play.
he says, with a laugh. “Actually, I played a role earlier this year where I grew a full beard, and ended up keeping a goatee. My director thought the goatee was great, but with a goatee you look a bit skeezy. A week before Othello opened, my director decided against the goatee. But yeah, that’s how I prepared: having a goatee for a month and being in the goatee mindset.” Hints of this same humor appear in
Though Gillen has done seven full Shakespeare productions before, and spent two months last summer training to do Shakespeare at the Royal Academy in London, he likes to cite personal experience as one of his methods of preparation for Othello. “Well, I’ve just been a jerk for months and months leading up to the show,”
Gillen’s portrayal of Iago. Each time he commits another successful act of sabotage, Gillen seems to wink at the audience. His devilish grin embodies the pleasure Iago gets from seeing his vile handiwork in motion. “I finally decided that Iago used to be a good guy who was passed up for his job for years, and was told that
other people slept with his wife until he reached a boiling point when he finally snaps. Even though Iago offers 100 different reasons for his actions, I think he believes all of them. He had to have been a good person at some point to build up all the good relationships he has with the other characters,” says Gillen. Spencer Horne ’14, who plays Othello, suggests that Iago’s motives come from an inability to be happy. “The most compelling reason to me is that, being a jealous person, he’s almost unable to find happiness in other people. There’s a loneliness. The happiness he sees upsets him. As an afflicted character himself, he can get caught up in all sorts of ideas.” Horne’s portrayal of Othello is much more straightforward. The most difficult part of playing Othello, for Horne, is the deterioration Othello goes through as the play goes on. “I had to go through this cycle of change throughout the play and to do it again for the next showing. It’s been exhausting, having to reset to the Othello prior to the invasion of his mind by Iago. It’s a very energetic role, and can be draining when we do two shows in a day,” admits Horne. Though the contrast between his character in the beginning and after Othello loses his senses could have been greater, overall Horne plays Othello with vigor and energy. Horne adds, “I’ve really appreciated the cast bonding and the process of Harvard theatre. That I could have come in with some experience, but not on this level of professionalism, and work my way up into such a role shows how inclusive Harvard theatre is, especially since I don’t intend on continuing acting as a career. I’m doing engineering, and that I can put time into such a divergent path is really encouraging and rewarding.” Yuqi Hou ’15 (hou@college) loves getting into the minds of the actors.
I hate everything, especially birth and Oprah. By WILL SIMMONS
don’t really know what to tell
you. I have no desire to write. This weekend was bad, and this week is just going to be worse. I hate art. You want to know what I did on Friday night? I stayed up until 4 AM watching The Color Purple, starring Oprah and Danny Glover. I sat in the dark, cried, and blew my nose on dirty shirts—shirts that had already been used for cleaning my face of burrito residue. No one should ever have to endure such an ordeal by himself. After such a low, how can I even get up on my high horse once again and tell you that I know anything about anything? But then I remembered something from my childhood, a little known, but certainly redeeming, fact of my birth. On the day that I was born, the angels got together and decided that I would share a birthday with Frodo Baggins, the savior of Middle Earth. This is more than a coincidence; the similarities that I share with the heroic hobbit are innumerable. You know what, Frodo probably had some rough patches, but he didn’t let them stop him. I mean, except for when he was stabbed and had to die slowly until he sailed off to the Grey Heavens. What do I have to 8
worry about? I am Frodo, and Enya sings my theme song. My birth was a gift to the world. It follows, then, that I will turn my attention to the controversy over the New York City performance artist who gave birth in an art gallery. The Huffington Post, which is definitely still high-quality journalism, especially if you crave stories such as “The Top Ten Colleges for Sorority Sisters,” opened its story on the incident up to online comments. The endlessly wise readership of HuffPo assures us that “This is an insult to Art!” Wow. You capitalized art. That’s really cool. My personal favorite is “I had Taco Bell for lunch. Predicting one heck of a piece of “performance art” later in the day.” I’ve never heard anyone make a joke like that before! I think this last quote sums up everything, and I mean everything. These are the words that I live by. “THAT IS NOT ART. I AM AN ARTIST. THAT IS NOT ART. THAT IS WEIRD.” Joking aside, what does it mean for an artist to claim that her birthing process is an artistic performance? Of course, this idea is well within the discourse of feminist art history. Feminist artists in the 1970s and 1980s emphasized the importance of the body to the understanding of a uniquely feminine identity. Ana Mendieta, for instance, carved forms of women in the mud, and even posed naked and camouflaged amongst trees to draw an undeniable connection between the physical body and a
natural sense of selfhood. Similarly, Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, an icon of feminist art, encapsulates the history and progression of women in anatomical terms. Such a choice exemplifies one aspect of the feminine while forgetting others. In doing so, the feminine, or the female sensibility, is relegated to the physical body, a dangerous move toward essentialism. To say that biology defines a woman undercuts many central feminist tenets, especially the notion that women are able to transcend the superficial differences attributed to the sexes. If their bodily processes define them, how can women revoke the patriarchy founded, at least in part, on biological gender roles? On the other hand, many artists, like Cindy Sherman, refused to locate femininity at all. This may not be the solution either, for if there is no central aspect of Woman, how can any collective identity be formed? What is the foundation of feminism, or any search for human rights, if there is no unifying factor? This historical context in mind, Marni Kotak is certainly not explicating on new ideas; instead, she is rehashing the ideological battles of decades past. This is nothing new, which, in itself, does not preclude this work from being of aesthetic value. However, I do take issue with her connection of womanhood to domesticity, as evidenced by her creation of a gaudy, elaborate bedroom space as part of the exhibition. Are you kidding me? How can anyone call this a progressive work if it is all framed by a kitschy creation of interior space? We should have moved past that by
now. More important than the art historical consideration of Kotak’s performance are its implications for the reception of art generally. Today, it takes a ridiculous piece like this, some scandal, to reach an audience. American culture craves the spectacle, the grotesque, and the controversial, not the beautiful or illuminating. For this reason, a landmark Monet retrospective or the like will never be known to anyone other than those already a part of the cultural elite. This climate is not in line with the functions of art, since art, at its core, is a universal form of expression, one that speaks across lines of class, race, gender, and sexuality. If, as Hegel assures us, art speaks to a universal urge to create and be heard, access to aesthetic creation and discussion must not be limited to one group. That is not to say that power relations are entirely to blame. It is our responsibility to look at more websites than Yahoo and Drudge; we must constantly reform our vision, such that we see art in both the everyday and the extraordinary. I have to put in some more poorly evidenced fluff to meet my length requirements. Young people need more role models. We need more humanities curricula in elementary and middle schools. All art made in the last ten years is garbage. Is that enough? Almost. Almost there. I give up. Will Simmons ’14 (wsimmons@college) is using this article as a plug for an upcoming feminist issue of the Indy centered on a very special IndyExclusive interview. Details to follow. 11.03.11 • The Harvard Independent
The Good By SAYANTAN DEB
arvard is big on traditions. We
know that. Whether it be the morning bells at Memorial Church or the primal scream through the Yard in the bitter winter cold, Harvard has never shied away from following its traditions, come what may. We saw this earlier in the year when Harvard spent (read: wasted) millions of dollars and much of the green grass covering the New Yard to celebrate its three hundred and seventy-fifth birthday with all of its rainy, muddy, and grad-student infested élan. So why should Heaven and Hell be any different? Over the past few years, this twolevel party at the Currier Fishbowl (Hell) and Tenman (Heaven) has become a Halloween tradition, an event we all look forward to as part of what it means to celebrate Halloween at Harvard. This year saw much of the Harvard student body coming together to celebrate this day, too. What really stands out, perhaps, is the fact that a lot of people who would never show up to any other dorm party showed up this night, ready to party it up. In my opinion, the people make the party, and just the turnout alone would be worth the trek up to the Quad. Where else would you see a line to get into a party even before it starts? Truth is, I was very excited to go to a party that was sure to have an amazing number of people, even during peak midterm season, and to top it all off, it would also be a way for me to see some people I don’t always The Harvard Independent • 11.03.11
get to see. In fact, this is why I took this opportunity to go out with all of my closest friends from freshman year and make it a memorable night. Sure, there was snow, and sure, the walk back is probably the reason I will be coming down with my second bout of pneumonia in the next week, but perhaps the one evening spent with my friends was worth it. Be it waiting in the line, enjoying the year’s first snowfall, and trading a space in the line for an umbrella (thank you guy with the blue umbrella!) or being squished in a very, very crowded shuttle, I felt like it was the quintessential Harvard night, with the good, the bad, and the snowy. As the end of this semester slowly creeps in, I realize that most of the time that we spend here is just a long chain of delirious all-nighters, preand post-exam stress, and a whole lot of hours of running from one thing to another. So perhaps it is good to sometimes just forget everything, and enjoy the moments that we will remember for the rest of our lives. For me, one of those moments will definitely be this night, spent in a big huddle with my friends, dancing the night away, punctuated by the silence of the year’s first snow quietly falling outside, blanketing the ground, and heaping up on the window ledges, waiting patiently for us to stumble out and tear the night’s stillness asunder with our laughter. Sayantan Deb ‘14 (sayantandeb@college) had to throw out his wet shoes.
The Bad By CURTIS LAHAIE
o put it simply, Hell was hell. (I
can’t comment much on Heaven; the space was at capacity every time I tried to enter.) But Hell was hell not only because of its name, but also because it is best described by its negative elements—those terrible characteristics that come to mind at the thought of the home of demons. At first, one might imagine that Hell is filled with fire and thus would be extremely bright. “Bright” is definitely an accurate description of the party, but that’s not really a good thing. In my opinion—and I think most would agree—the best dance parties are in primarily dark spaces, illuminated by only a few colorful, flashing lights. But Hell was nothing like this: in the Currier Fishbowl, it felt as though even the overhead light was on. While I recognize that perhaps the large group in attendance called for a bright space for safety reasons, the brightness definitely took a toll on my mood and probably the moods of others. Also, when picturing hell, one probably imagines a hot, steamy place. Well, Hell was hot…sort of. As at any party, it was naturally hot on the dance floor. But the party, of course, had to be on the night of Harvard’s first real snowfall. The long line forced people to stand in the freezing cold for long periods of time (after many people, like me, were
forced to trek to the Quad thanks to the overcrowded shuttles). I felt particularly sympathetic for the guys and girls whose costumes weren’t exactly winter attire. To top it off, every so often, people carelessly left the doors open, causing the cold air to leak in and penetrate the party space. And when one thinks of Hell, an image full of disarray probably also comes to mind: a fiery pit with flames blowing in every which way. But really, a disorganized party is not a good one. While I do applaud many technical aspects of the party—the music was well chosen, and there was a large group of tutors willing to help (who even wore matching shirts)—other aspects could have been better organized. For example, on the first snowfall of the year, it is only natural that everyone in attendance would have coats and winter gear that needed to be safely stored and easily retrieved. I expected that upon checking my coat, I would have been given some sort of number. But the coat-check system was much more informal, built largely on the honor system, and as a result, at least a few students—as far as I know—never did find their coats, leaving the party completely defenseless against the snowy weather. Curtis Lahaie ‘15 (clahaie@college) wishes he had stayed away from the afterlife altogether. firstname.lastname@example.org
Best in Class Harvard pianists get a master class from Lang Lang.
Lang Lang from his performance at the opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. You may know him from his numerous television appearances and accolades (see New York Times which proclaimed him as “the hottest artist on the classical music planet”). Playing to sold-out recitals and concerts across the globe, Lang Lang was in town this past weekend for a performance at Symphony Hall. But before that, he gave a master class for three Harvard students. What is a master class? It is a class, usually in the arts, given to students who typically have some mastery of the discipline by an expert of that discipline. Similar to getting a golf lesson from Tiger Woods (well, the pre-2010 version of Tiger Woods) or a basketball lesson from LeBron James, it is a rare opportunity to learn from the best. Three outstanding Harvard pianists—Tania Rivers-Moore ’15, George Fu ’13, and Allen Yueh ’13— had the chance to do just that. If that wasn’t nerve-wracking enough, master classes typically feature ou may know
Photo by Richard Sima
spectators. In this case, their lesson took place in front of a rapt audience of approximately 800 in Sanders Theater. “My first reaction was worried surprise, but as the week passed it grew into keen anticipation,” RiversMoore revealed. “I’m grateful to the Office for the Arts for providing me with such a rare and precious opportunity.” The first performer, she displayed her lyricism from Beethoven’s Sonata in E major, Op. 19. Fu followed with a demonstration of his technical prowess in Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 7 in B Flat, Op. 83, and Yueh ended with a showcase of his musical imagination in Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor, S. 178. Yueh explained the rationale behind his selection: “I thought the Faustian Liszt Sonata would be a fantastic choice for the audience, hearing the struggle between Faust, the devil, and fate all entwined in an electrifying composition that only Liszt could write.” Lang Lang offered comments to each on approach to the piece, tone, phrasing, and overall shape. Wearing
an iridescent blue suit, he managed to engage both his students and the large audience with a surprising sense of humor. Lang Lang, who originally hails from Shenyang, China, and now resides in New York, has his share of critics, but his devotion to music and musical pedagogy are indisputable. “What I took away from the master class was Lang Lang’s approach toward music. Although his performance style is controversial, his approach toward music is not. He devotes his entire energies toward bringing out moods and colors, and those things are what make music interesting. Whatever he played, even though I may not have agreed with it, I thought it was extremely convincing,” Fu commented. It is Lang Lang’s dedication to the cultivation of interest in classical music in young artists that sets him apart from other world-class concert pianists. He gives master classes regularly at numerous musical institutions, and he is the first Ambassador of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra. He founded his own foundation (the Lang Lang Music
By YUYING LUO World) that is dedicated to fostering musical opportunities for budding artists. “I thought a particularly insightful comment that Lang Lang made took place not during my class, but during the Q&A session. He mentioned that a musician’s job comes not only with personal discovery, but also an incredible responsibility — to connect with audiences, and also to pass on music to the next generation,” Rivers-Moore pointed out. “I’m a bit of a solitary player, usually reluctant to perform; I’ve even used various excuses to avoid playing for my roommates, who have been pressuring me for months. But in the end, I need to realize that what Lang Lang said is true: my music isn’t worth anything unless I’m sharing it with an audience.” The passion for music that the three pianists and Lang Lang share is evident. But for these students, balancing that passion, academics, and extracurricular activities is a delicate act. “The most difficult thing is that by being at Harvard, despite the music courses and activities it offers, is that it is generally a very academically driven environment,” Yueh explained. “It can be hard to keep fighting to continue to evolve one’s musicianship and to continue to see that music is such a treasure when surrounded by assignments and exams, but at the end of the day, being able to share my art is something truly special and brings me great joy.” Fu agrees, “The hardest thing about balancing is practice. Playing the piano requires countless hours of practice, and sometimes I will have so much work that I won’t even be able to touch the piano for two or three days at a time. I think music is my ultimate career goal. I’ve never felt such passion or devotion toward anything else in my life.” Because of their natural talent and unwavering persistence, it would not be a surprise to see any of these performers give master classes of their own one day. Yuying Luo ’12 (yluo@fas) wonders if she could ever cook well enough to get a master lesson from a celebrity chef. 11.03.11 • The Harvard Independent
arvard Football Remains Undefeated in Ivy League Despite the snow, Harvard beats Dartmouth 41-10
By MICHAEL ALTMAN or
if Harvard could pull off its high-scoring victory against Princeton without the other side scoring high as well, look no further than last Saturday’s night game between Harvard and Dartmouth. The Crimson (6-1) beat the Big Green (2-5) 41-10 while holding a dominating lead throughout the game and dealing with freezing temperatures and snow. Harvard scored a touchdown just over six minutes into the first quarter. Quarterback Collier Winters ran for the touchdown himself, setting the stage for a run-dominated game. Harvard missed the field goal, increasing fears over the weather’s effect on the game. Dartmouth was unable to score until the last minute of the quarter with a field goal. The quarter ended 6-3 with The Harvard Independent • 11.03.11
Harvard in a tight lead, which would only expand as the game continued. Within the opening minutes of the second quarter, Harvard scored a touchdown (this time scoring the extra point). Dartmouth was unable to score on their next drive, but did leave Harvard to start their drive at the Harvard one-yard line. Dartmouth seemed to be in a good position to come back since Harvard now had 99 yards to cover. The Crimson managed to push forward, with running back Treavor Scales scoring a touchdown. Dartmouth failed to score for the rest of the period, leaving Harvard with a 17-point lead (20-3) at halftime. Harvard doubling their score characterized the third quarter of the game. Winters started the touchdown frenzy by scrambling to the end zone.
The Crimson’s next drive ended with a second touchdown. Dartmouth continued to struggle and was unable to score on any of their drives. The last minute of the quarter saw Harvard score a third touchdown, giving them a 38-point lead over Dartmouth. With the score at 41-3 at the opening of the final quarter, the Crimson’s victory was certain. The period was largely uneventful until Dartmouth scored their first and only touchdown in the final minute of the game. With a final score of 41-10, Harvard had a near repeat of their prior match against Princeton. The past week’s game against Dartmouth makes Harvard still undefeated in the Ivy League. And perhaps just as important as this win was that Penn lost to Brown, 6-0, that
same day. This ended Penn’s winning streak and leaves Harvard in first place within the League, giving the Crimson a shot at being League champions. In terms of the long-term status of the team, the Dartmouth game proved that Winters’ stint as quarterback against Princeton was no fluke and that he is here to stay. Not only did he lead a high scoring game, but he also demonstrated his versatility since Saturday’s game was marked by numerous running plays. Harvard plays away at Columbia (0-7) this Saturday. Given Columbia’s dismal season thus far, Harvard will likely stay undefeated in the League as of next week. Michael Altman ’14 (maltman@college) is glad he braved the weather to see this win. email@example.com
captured & shot By MARIA BARRAGAN-SANTANA