Page 1

Writing for Progressive Change


Ed y r a s r e niv

10th An

Athens Hip Hop Scene Athens Landlords What are your rights while renting?

Peace, Love, and Vegan Cooking Issue 54 | Winter 2014






cation does not limit itself to “hot button” political issues, but also


brings light to socio-economic, gender and racial inequalities; en-

has been serving as a local alternative to right-wing, commercial

vironmental injustices; humanitarian efforts and other socially and

and corporate-owned media for 10 years. The InterActivist staff

politically conscious topics often ignored by mainstream media.

publishes the magazine independently with participation from the Ohio University student group InterAct along with funds from the Ohio University Student Activities Commission, the Campus Progress division of the Center for American Progress, reader donations, advertising revenue and fundraising events. The InterActivist features independent reporting and politically progressive commentary on a wide range of underreported social justice issues and draws attention to the work of local and regional grassroots activists, groups, campaigns and events. The publi-

2   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

Although the InterActivist staff reserves the right to reject submissions, the views expressed in The InterActivist belong to individual authors and do not necessarily coincide with the positions of its publications or co-sponsors, the members of these organizations, the magazine’s staff, or its contributors. For information on joining our staff or supporting work, please email or visit us at


with us!

In this issue... OU InterActivist


10TH ANNIVERSARY Conversations with InterActivists from the past.


INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE What it takes to rule the world in the 21st century.


1 0 RAPE CULTURE changing the national mentality especially prevalent on college campuses.




Sam Flynn

Peace, love , and vegan cooking combine at UCM’s


weekly vegan dinners.

Lindsay O’Brien



Brooke Baldi


What are your rights while renting in this town?


PUBLIC RELATIONS Sean King Peter Andrews Blake Mohr


An unconventional look at changing conventions.

2 0 ATHENS HIP HOP The transformative power of hip hop is alive and

Sam Flynn, Lindsey O’Brien, Olivia Harlow, Sophie Kruse, Ryan Powers, Emily Votaw


Lindsay Citraro Kristen Vandervaart

well in the Athens community.


a look back on music that changed the world from

PHOTOGRAPHERS Olivia Harlow Eli Hiller Lucas Reilly Alexandra Polanosky

VINTAGE ALBUM REVIEWS Marvin Gaye and P.J. Harvey.




Peter Zeisler Nikki Volpenhein

ON THE COVER: Jacob Midkiff, a sophomore in film at Ohio University, raps to a crowd at The Union during the Athens Hip Hop Shop on Oct. 24, 2013.

COVER PHOTO by Eli Hiller COVER DESIGN by Brooke Baldi


10th Anniversary of


Interview with Damon Krane: Former Editor in Chief


ara DeAloia, who co-founded Students Against the War and its successor InterAct, first proposed InterAct create its own publication in the spring of 2003, shortly after InterAct itself into being. Initially, I thought The InterActivist was a waste of time. I didn’t vote against Sara’s proposal, but I was not supportive, either, for several reasons. First, when it came to independent media, I was more interested in public access media as an empowering forum for community dialogue as opposed to specifically progressive media for a mainly progressive audience. Second, I thought it made more sense for progressive writers to try to get published in the established local newspapers because the circulation of those papers was far larger than what we could achieve on our own, and it was relatively easy to get the established papers to publish your work. We’re talking about Athens, a city of about 30,000 people with three major newspapers. Plus, The Post and especially The Athens News run many more letters and guest columns than typical newspapers. In my own experience, probably 90-95 percent of my submissions to the major Athens newspapers got published, with the same piece frequently running in two papers simultaneously. So why not focus on the opportunities provided by the local established newspapers instead of trying to create our own publication? Why work harder to reach fewer readers? 4   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

Third – and most important – this was right after the Iraq war was launched, and I thought that instead of speaking out against the war, progressives needed to be acting out in ways as concretely disruptive as possible,in order to raise the domestic costs of that war of U.S. aggression to prohibitive levels, as far as U.S. elites were concerned. Given that the U.S. government was then slaughtering significantly more innocent people than usual, the urgency of that issue at the time outweighed everything else for me. Anything else just seemed like a distraction. The funny thing is, looking back, I still think all of these criticisms are valid. Nevertheless, I gradually came to believe that other aspects of The InterActivist made it – and continue to make it – a very worthwhile project. I stopped attending OU in the summer of 2003 in order to focus on anti-war and other grassroots organizing efforts. I did organizing work in Athens until the end of 2008, which is when People Might folded and I left The InterActivist. In the summer of 2009 I finally left Athens to take a job in Portland, Oregon. These days.... InterAct essentially is The InterActivist, but that’s not how it used to be. From mid-2003 through the end of 2005, InterAct was the primary social justice activist group at OU and as active as any of its community-based counterparts in Athens. During this time InterAct carried out all kinds of projects besides The InterActivist – everything from guest speakers, study groups and conferences, to bus trips for rallies in Washington D.C.,

fundraisers, local protests, an alliance with a coalition of regional labor unions, and even acts of civil disobedience. Over the years the group’s members included two presidents of the College Democrats, lots of New Deal liberals, a couple communists, some anarchists, many socialists, and lots of people who didn’t identify so specifically. We always drew attention to the fact that InterAct’s members didn’t agree about everything, and we had a written decisionmaking process and group structure. It meant that The InterActivist published a range of progressive opinion, and further demonstrated InterAct’s openness in this regard.Even though The InterActivist didn’t have the circulation of the major local papers, it was controlled by local progressive activists. The thing that probably got me the most excited about The InterActivist is related to it being controlled by progressives and therefore being alternative media. A vital part of what makes alternative media “alternative” is an alternative medium’s ability to critique, confront and challenge mainstream media – be they major media like Fox News or NPR, or local established media like The Athens News, Athens Messenger or The Post. It’s a cliché to talk about Athens like it’s insulated from the “real world.” But really, Athens is very much part of the larger society -- and that’s especially true when we’re talking about the culture and output of U.S. news media. Unfortunately, there are only two

Issue 6: September 2003

situations I know of in which The InterActivist directly confronted the Athens media establishment, and I was personally responsible for both of them. One resulted in flak from the journalism school —not just a pretty weak piece of written criticism from one professor, which we published, but also efforts to get at least one of our Scripps majors on staff to resign. In the other situation, we ran a piece that not only directly criticized The Post’s leadership at the time, but revealed much of the hidden institutional relationship between the newspaper, OU and Scripps. Publication of that piece was immediately followed by a rather dramatic reduction in The InterActivist’s quarterly SAC funding, from $10,800 in Fall 2007 to just $2,000 in Winter 2008. During The InterActivist’s first two years, there were no specific positions. The process of producing an issue would begin when someone at an InterAct meeting proposed that an issue be produced with a specific person acting as project coordinator for that issue. If the proposal passed, then we’d pass around a sheet of paper. Everyone who had signaled their enthusiastic support for the idea would sign up with their names and e-mail addresses, and it would be up to the coordinator to organize a separate meeting of this working group. InterAct then transferred primary responsibility for The InterActivist to People Might. I then led a process of

Issue 7: November 2003

reorganizing production of the magazine, so that it could be published regularly each month OU was in session. With support from five different local progressive groups, who would apply for SAC funding, and a small annual grant from the Campus Progress division of the Center for American Progress, this process of also involved establishing official positions, which people would be hired to fill on a quarterly basis. From mid 2005 through late 2008, I was the person primarily responsible for The InterActivist. Whether my official title was “Publication Advisor,” “Project Coordinator” or “Editor in Chief,” I interviewed, hired and trained the staff; I coordinated fund-raising; I picked up the slack in various areas when other people bailed or came up short – particularly over the summers when students were away. It probably goes without saying, but The InterActivist gave me the opportunity to try on so many different “hats” as a writer, while I also got to do just about everything else associated with producing a magazine at one time or another. The InterActivist published Peggy Gish’s reporting on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners six months before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke. At one point in time we had the only African American student columnist regularly writing on race issues and the only LGBT columnist writing on LGBT issues. We had a local attorney with Legal Aid

writing on poverty and legal issues. We broke a story on a property dispute between OU and Athens over the sidewalk in front of the student center, that impacted the level of free speech rights people could enjoy there. In addition to firsthand reports from Iraq, we had them from Israel/Palestine, India, El Salvador, Venezuela, Mexico, the U.S. border with Mexico… and I’m sure more that I’m forgetting now. Just a ton of great content in the 5 years I was involved from more than 100 different contributors. Why do you think a publication like InterActivist is so important at a campus like OU? Because 1.) The ordinary functioning of our world’s dominant institutions lead to our species’ eventual destruction and massive injustice until then, and 2.) OU’s primary function is to ensure the consistent operation of those institutions by training and certifying people to fulfill those institutions’ component roles. That’s true for journalism, but for everything else, too. Making a real difference, even on a local level, feels a whole lot better than getting drunk. It feels a whole lot better than getting an “A.” Sometimes it’s even better than getting laid. 


Interview with Eric Sandy: Former Editor in Chief Eric Sandy graduated in 2010 and was with IA from January 2007 - June 2010. Sandy is currently a reporter for Cleveland Scene Magazine. What year did you graduate? 2010 What made you interested in InterActivist? As a freshman, I saw it as a welcoming and much-needed alternative to The Post. I spent my first quarter seeking an outlet, and a few early meetings with InterAct (a student group originally serving as sort of an umbrella to the magazine) convinced me that something meaningful was happening here. I think advocacy is an important role in journalism, and the InterActivist remained the one outlet for that type of work the entire time I lived in Athens. What was your position with InterActivist? I was a reporter for two years and a columnist, dealing with media criticism, for two years. I also served as an editor for my senior year. Do you have a favorite story or stories you worked on? Tell me about them. News-wise, I covered a handful of strip mining developments along State Route 50. If I remember correctly, a developer named Brent Hayes was buying up land and tearing down trees throughout the area, but he had no plans for the properties. A lot of this was going on during 2007. The IA really served as an amazing

6   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

incubator for independent journalism. I think that “theme,” more than any particular story, would be my favorite takeaway of the work there. Was there a specific local, national or international event/events that you remember being covered during your time at InterActivist? The new Baker Center opened in 2007 and we covered the very unclear composting program that was being rolled out (big marketing effort, but no actual composting happening at the time). There was also a great little piece about the university’s restrictions on freedom of speech (certain areas were designated for assembly and protest; not sure if it’s still that way). We found out that the sidewalk in front of Baker was actually not owned by the university *or* the city and urged groups to gather there instead.SDS reformed during that time, and we did some pieces on them. And in 2009 (?), the OU Student Union formed and we had a small hand in that, too. Do you have a favorite memory from InterActivist? We were at one point partially financed as a project of the nonprofit “People Might,” which had an office on Court Street. For my first year, the group met there (above Pita Pit, essentially). Those early editorial meetings - and the InterAct meetings I went to - were hugely informative for the years ahead. The ideas that were discussed were incredibly eye-opening. There was a good mix

of students and Athens residents, and very good atmosphere of support. It was completely different from my classes in Scripps. The potentially hours-long discussions of every minute detail were tedious at times, but I look back fondly at the little democracy we were putting together. Why do you think a publication like InterActivist is so important at a campus like OU? Leafing through any issue, it’ll be clear that the IA covers news and issues that get no (or very little) coverage in The Post, The Athens News, the Messenger or Backdrop (I’m not even sure if that one is still around; it started late in my time at OU. Pretty flashy, but mostly atrocious writing...) Anyway, outside of the IA, there’s a noted void of substantial, progressive-minded news coverage. So there’s a very clear need when it comes to readers. Equally important, however, the magazine gives writers/photogs/editors/ marketing people/etc. a chance to learn all aspects of independent publishing. Spending time in a formal newsroom setting is very important for young journalists, but also having the ability to call the shots and cut your teeth on some very serious reporting is an opportunity that few other publications will offer. Do you/do you plan to continue to cover issues like those that InterActivist covers? My time at the IA gave me a much needed critical eye when it comes to reading journalism. 


Inspiration People making a difference at OU story and photos by ALEXA ND R I A P O L A NO S KY

Men need to take an active role in redefining their masculinity”

Bill Arnold Bill Arnold has spent time in Chicago facilitating partner abuse and working with men charged for gender violence before coming to Ohio University as a graduate assistant for Bystander Intervention and Prevention Education in the Women’s Center. Arnold recently organized Ohio University’s 6th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes march. Any student who would like to become involved with OU’s Women Center and become an advocate for women, gender and diversity can contact Arnold. 740-593-9625 email:

The challenges students face when coming to college are huge.”

Ann Addington Ann Addington is the Assistant Director for Health Promotion. She works directly with students either in recovery from drug or alcohol abuse or impacted by family members suffering from addiction. She meets with small groups of students each week and helps them create their own relapse prevention program. Addington believes the most rewarding part of her job is working with the students and witnessing the success of the program. Addington is an advocate for students in recovery and is here to help them handle the challenges they are faced with when coming to college. Any student is welcome to become part of the recovery program, whether suffering from addiction or wanting to help those impacted by such addictions. 740-593-4749 email:

8   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

We’re raising awareness for things students should be aware of.”

Sam Wittkopp Sam Wittkopp is a sophomore at Ohio University and has recently started a branch of the organization To Play Too here. The family-run organization was started by her uncle as a way to commemorate his son who passed away at the age of four from a heart condition. He aspires to build Lucky Lou’s, a handicap-accessible playground. Wittkopp’s branch of To Play Too is meant to raise awareness for the need to make playgrounds more handicap-accessible and to raise money for creating those playgrounds. One of the first service projects Wittkopp is organizing will take place at West End Elementary School where she hopes to raise awareness in the children of the difficulties of being handicapped. Wittkopp is always looking for students interested in being part of the organization. Contact her to volunteer or donate. 330-620-4692 Facebook: To Play Too at Ohio U! Twitter: @ToPlayTooOU email:

Students need to have a voice.”

Mary Kate Gallagher Mary Kate Gallegher is a fifth-year senior at Ohio University who is fighting for a tobacco-free campus. She was the first student representative on the committee from the Board of Regents for a tobacco-free campus at OU. This policy would involve a ban of chewing tobacco, smoking, electronic cigarettes and hookah on campus rather than the 10 and 25 feet smoking restrictions around campus buildings OU currently enforces. Gallagher would love to hear students’ opinions on the issue and the potential policy. Twitter: #tobaccofreeOU email:


Rape Culture at Ohio University story and photos by: OLIVIA HARLOW


I participated in the Fuckrapeculture protest on October 11. Being a photojournalist and a journalist duel major, I was conflicted between participating in the march versus being an unbiased journalist. I chose to do both, something that most professionals in my field would never do. While taking pictures of the rally, I was also topless and chanting “2, 4, 6, 8, stop the violence, stop the hate” at the top of my lungs. This may seem indeed unprofessional, and obviously biased. However, I couldn’t stray away from participating in something I feel so strongly for. It was a choice between reporting on an event and partaking in the event I did both. As a woman, I am more aware of subliminal and implicit sexism. Some men seem to only recognize explicitly aggressive acts against women as a problem, rather than realizing that it is the cultural frame that props up negative attitudes that allow for this increasing sexual violence. They fail to see the culture, the bigger picture. A lot of people seem to be confused as to what this bigger picture is. What I want to touch on is the rape culture that is related to rape.


oys “cat calling” girls at every turn, whistling at women like dogs-yet only if up to par with their aesthetic standards. If you don’t have that “perfect 10” body, then you seemingly don’t matter enough to be acknowledged. And if you do, then you are only acknowledged for that body. The majority of men seem to no longer care about female personality and quality in character. The nature of men who feel superior and entitled is demeaning and belittling towards female ability and power. The uneducated dismiss these as exaggerations, but the fact is that it is passive acceptance of what rape culture is: the objectification of women Rape culture is not rape. It’s what it says: the culture. It’s the ideas associated with rape. It’s the culture that places a man above a woman. The culture that objectifies women. The culture that makes it difficult for women to gain respect for who they are at the core. People who don’t understand the concept of rape culture, but state their opinions and ask questions respectfully, do not deserve to be bullied. If someone is willing to openly and respectfully express an opinion knowing that they may be scrutinized for what they say, at least critique them with respect! The only way we will ever be able to make progress on such issues is if we can cooperatively articulate our ideas and opinions with regard for those with different outlooks. Examples? Ashley Labaki wrote a letter to The Post earlier this semester complaining that a man had looked at her in a way that made her 1 0   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

feel uncomfortable. Her letter was extremely sarcastic and ended in “ it would be entirely pleasant if you walked into oncoming traffic.” Her letter was brutal and dramatic in a way that it did not engender productive conversation. However, she was expressing herself and venting about an incident that made her feel objectified. She had every right to address this experience. Multiple responses on Facebook calling her a “cunt” and saying, “she’s lucky he even looked at her,” accompanied by a link to her Facebook page, are examples of cyberbullying. On the other end of the spectrum, some female students who share similar opinions of Labaki have lashed out and verbally abused students for thinking differently. Tom Pernecker wrote a letter to The Post addressing his ideas on the theory that intoxication makes it impossible for consensual sex from either participant. He claimed that many cases claimed to be rape are not in fact rape, because it’s impossible for the male or the female to say yes or to say no. Many female students responded by calling him a “shitty writer” and “an idiot.” Pernecker’s letter was much different than Labaki’s, in that it read without sarcasm or hyperbole. While many have interpreted Pernecker’s letter as ignorant, this “ignorance” creates an open forum for discussion from various perspectives. When people react with hostility and verbal putdowns, the problems only grow and a mutual understanding cannot be accomplished. Rape and sexual aggression have become societal norms among college students. Many

students don’t know what does and doesn’t qualify as rape, forming a “blurred line” (indeed a Robin Thicke reference) in the minds of victims and perpetrators alike. But where do the origins of these misunderstood norms come from? What is it that is causing these apathetic attitudes? That is where the term rape culture comes in. Rape culture is a concept in which rape is linked to culture of a society. Customary attitudes and practices tend to normalize, tolerate, and even excuse rape. This semester two OU students, Claire Chadwick and Allie Erwin, created the club “Fuckrapeculture.” It began when Erwin took a screenshot of a crime alert sent out by OUPD and posted it to Facebook. Claire then commented on the post, outraged by the way police were treating victims. “We decided that we had this opportunity to make a difference on campus,” said Chadwick. Chadwick pointed out that many times the advice at the bottom of crime alerts say things like ‘make sure you don’t walk alone at night.’ Chadwick argues, “We are told all these things, but when this girl [from the screenshot reference] got someone to walk her home at night she still was still raped. We decided that the way our society views rape is absolutely atrocious, and we need to do something about it.” Some examples of such behaviors that are associated with rape culture include victim blaming and sexual objectification. Victim blaming is the phenomenon in which

Rape culture is not rape. It’s what it says: the culture. It’s the ideas associated with rape. It’s the culture that places a man above a woman. The culture that objectifies women. The culture that makes it difficult for women to gain respect for who they are at the core.” a victim is blamed and held accountable for offenses committed against them. For example, people may suggest that a victim of rape acted in a way or was dressed in a way that provoked the perpetrator. Any suggestion that the rape was in the slightest the victim’s fault is victim blaming. Men seem to think that many times the way in which a woman dresses correlates to her willingness to engage in sexual activity and her intent for attention. “Sometimes women do dress a certain way to get a man’s attention. But we have to look at the reasons why she’s wanting that attention. So, it really comes down to how society has made us, as women, feel. And that is that we need men’s validation to be whole. So there’s a much deeper root to that problem than just women dress slutty to get laid. There are reasons that we have those mentalities and reasons that we view ourselves like that.,” says Chadwick. Chadwick claims that one thing that Fuckrapeculture is working towards is voicing that no matter what a woman is wearing, her apparel is never a symbol for consent. Many participants of the Fuckrapeculture group have quoted “This dress is not a yes.” Chadwick says that people need to understand that the way a woman dresses is not always for attention, but rather for self-liberation. “I think for a lot of people, dressing in that way can be a very empowering thing, being able to take ownership of our body. We need to shift that mentality from women dressing like that because they need men’s validation to them dressing like that because they feel empowered to do so,” says Chadwick.

Students participated in the Fuckrapeculture rally on Friday, October 11 from the bottom of Jeff Hill, up Mill Street, down Court Street, and ending at College Gate.

There is an ongoing emphasis on “how not to be raped” which causes individuals to think that rape is avoidable and that it’s completely within their own hands whether or not someone acts against them. Again, this is victim blaming. Telling an individual “how not to be raped” is ignoring the capability of one to still act against them. We must instead be teaching our children “how not to rape” and how to only engage in consensual sex.

RAPE CULTURE AT LARGE There is an evident correlation between passive attitudes towards rape shown through media and the growing passiveness seen in reality dealing with rape. The United States media instigates rape culture by consistently surrounding its consumers with images and languages that validate and initiate rape. Rape culture is stirred by comedic jokes, TV programs, musical lyrics, advertising and general imagery that demonstrates violence against women or women inferiority. These repetitive and reinforced ideas cause people to see rape as inevitable and cause women to see themselves with lesser value. Americans have come to believe that sexism and sexual violence against women are naturalized. (The idea of sexual violence doesn’t necessarily mean that the woman was held at gunpoint or kidnapped into an unknown vehicle. Sexual violence means any kind of nonconsensual action that was forced upon another individual.)

When words such as “cunt,” which means that a woman is only of value for her genitals and her sexual ability, circulate, men start to find humor in this idea. The term is generally used in comedic references, when in actuality the definition is far from funny. While finding the idea entertaining, men unintentionally (or intentionally) adopt the idea to their outlook and actions, therefore treating women accordingly. When women see the same submissiveness and female inferiority portrayed in TV shows, advertisements, and music videos, they feel obliged to act correspondingly. Repeated sexist images and ideas have been forced upon Americans, pushing them to falsely accept certain characteristics as what it means to be “a true woman” or “true man.” An “ideal” man is seen as tough, dominate, strong. An “ideal” woman is seen as thin, attractive, and passive. There is a strong emphasis on outward appearance for women. And their overall character is always put under the importance of a male’s presence. At OU, rape incidents occur much more regularly than students are aware whether they are reported or not. Many college students have drunken one-night stands. It’s when those drunken one-night stands make one of the participants feel coerced or mistreated, that these encounters are then rape. “You can’t give consent if you are intoxicated, so it’s complicated,” Chadwick comments. “It’s sad that younger people have this mindset that they have to be drunk in order to feel more comfortable in their own skin or to feel more C O N T I N U E D O N N E X T PA G E 11


Rape culture is stirred by comedic jokes, TV, musical lyrics, advertising and general imagery that demonstrates violence against women or women inferiority.”

1 2   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

comfortable having sex.” There’s a college age mentality of “getting laid” that more strongly pressures sexual objectification and sexism. “I think on our campus specifically there’s this whole mentality of ‘I’m gonna go out and fuck some girl, I’m gonna get some,’ all of these very derogatory and objectifying ways to describe having sex. And that leads to a very unequal sexual dynamic, which is a big cause of sexual violence. When you stop seeing women as women, and see them only as a means to an end, it leads to culture rape,” said Chadwick. After experiencing sexual harassment at a bar, like many college girls do, junior Mary Pyles wanted to set the record straight. “It saddens me that we live in a culture where when I deny a man or tell him that I don’t want to be touched or hold his hand or whatever, that his only defense is to call me a name.” She pointed out that many times, men will be embarrassed when rejected. “I just wanted to play pool [with the guy]. I didn’t want anything from it.” The Center for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that 1.3 million women are raped in

the United States annually. A woman’s chances of being raped are 1 in 6, and that statistic changes to 1 in 4 while in college. This number does not include the thousands of unreported rapes. Rapes are rarely reported to law enforcement out of fear that the victim will be blamed or somehow be legally bound, that the rape will be publicized, or that the rapist will then threaten them further. The majority of rapes go unreported and therefore excluded from official reports, and cases that are reported oftentimes don’t advance to prosecution. In fact, 97% of rapists are never incarcerated according to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network). The Department of Justice estimates that nearly 93,000 men are raped in the United States every year. RAINN claims that 3% of men in the US are victims of rape. The fact that men are succumbed to sexual violence as well as women should not be ignored. However, the majority of rape victims are factually women. And the following examples mainly target women. Cat calling, calling a woman a “slut” for having multiple sexual partners (when men are not labeled for this same behavior), believing that a more “promiscuous”

dress code implies a woman’s desire for some “sexual healing”, devaluing a woman’s worth to her attractiveness, and similarly basing a woman’s identity solely on her body, are all forms of rape culture. Basically, sexism in itself is a key factor in rape culture and male dominant attitudes that act in ways against women. What is not in dispute is that incidents like the one that occurred over Homecoming weekend this October, occur more regularly than admitted. Regardless if this incident was rape or not, the immediate reaction to photograph and video record the act is inappropriate and unacceptable. The fact that even a potential rape would be mocked and be viewed as a form of entertainment for some onlookers is nauseating. Changing the way that we as young people view sex may be challenging, because we have been taught certain things on sexuality from a young age. “The focus is always put more on the man. The focus is rarely put on female sexual

pleasure. To really change the culture, we have to be more open to understanding what female sexual pleasure is and realize that the best way to have a healthy sex life is communicating with your partner. A lot of people think that that can ‘kill the mood’ or that ‘silence is more sexy,’ but that’s not always the case. For fulfilling sex, it’s best that both partners are enjoying it. It’s all about communication. For any sexual act that you are participating in, it’s vital to have consent. You need to be checking in with the partner asking ‘does this feel good,’ ‘what else would you like me to do,’ ‘would you like me to slow down or speed up,’ etc. Asking these questions helps to have a mutually beneficial and healthy experience,” says Chadwick. Healthy sex is unachievable if the majority doesn’t understand what exactly constitutes as said “healthy sex.” Therefore, it is vital to come to a consensus on the positive ways in which people can engage in sexual activities. How?

Consent. Consent is the only way to know that both parties want sex. Communication is the only way to know that both parties enjoy sex. Consent and communication combined is the only way to achieve healthy, enjoyable sex by both people involved. This is not a common mindset in modern society. Our public mentality must change from sexual objectivity, to an allowed female expression in sexual activities. This means that minds must alter from calling a sexually involved woman a slut and not thinking anything of a sexually involved man, to realizing that a woman can be equally sexual and must still demand respect. The issues of rape and rape culture have been extremely prevalent over the weeks, and it’s time that instead of battling back and forth, we reflect on these issues and try to educate one another and express concerns. 


Peace, Love, and Food UMC’s weekly vegan dinners are a treat for students and community story by RYAN P OWER S photos by EL I H IL L ER


eople are hugging and catching apples in their mouths. Love is being given as freely as it is accepted. Vegan Cooking Workshop holds a gathering once a week, every Tuesday, that provides free vegan food to the public, although a $3 donation is encouraged. Dinner is usually served around 9 p.m at the United Campus Ministry at 18 N College Street. Vegan Cooking Workshop, otherwise known as Veganites, is a student organization under the umbrella group Conscious Ohio, and they are a co-op. Vegan Cooking Workshop President, Tyler Bryan, explained how Veganites define co-op. “A co-op is where every specific person, not necessarily has a specific duty, but pitch in nonetheless,” he said. “Even if you don't come to cook, or help menu plan or help clean, as long as you come in and share your loving energy, or a thought about the food, or if you share a donation with us, then somehow, someway, that is part of the community and part of our co-op.” The dinners are held in the basement of the United Campus Ministry. The dining room is quaint and inviting. The kitchen, though small, contains all the tools and utilities necessary for the Veganites. 1 4   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

About ten people arrive within thirty minutes bringing groceries full of noodles, pumpkin, dough, vegetables and peanut butter. These ingredients will eventually become the banquet style meal which will feed a room of sixty people. On the menu is: vegan pot pie, macaroni and pumpkin cheese, salad with peanut butter dressing, apple pie and vegan hot chocolate. These Veganites take on the responsibility of cooking the large meal and serving it by 9 p.m. The number of other volunteers gradually grows throughout the night. People are acquainted and assistance is offered. They are tasked with, among other duties, cleaning tables, helping make pie dough and making the pumpkin cheese. Bryan is among these volunteers, and has been a Veganite for over six years. An Ohio University alumnus, Bryan is now a teacher at Athens High School. Throughout the night Bryan states his belief that food must be made with love. This attitude is shared by other Veganites present, and it seeps its way into everyone that later comes, resulting in a jovial, happy environment. The origins of this cooperative mentality can be traced to the group's founding. “This is the tenth year of Vegan Cooking

Workshop,” Bryan said. “It was founded by a guy named Boaz Ramos. He and a fellow [Hare Krishna] monk . . . would bring up one meal a week on Tuesdays and sometimes Fridays.” Ramos's religious and personal motivations to found the organization ten years ago still influences the group today. However, Bryan explained that Ramos made the decision to move away from the original, heavily religious tone of the group meetings in order to appeal to more people. “They would sit down and have conversations about the Hare Krishna religion,” Bryan said. Eventually, Boaz “took it out because people were pushed away by that, and he just wanted to spread consciousness about food, as well as learning how to cook, as well as to create a community where people felt safe and comfortable and happy.” Bryan adds that he feels that Ramos was successful in achieving his goals. “It's still continuing without him to be so inspiring and just a beautiful place where people get together and smile and laugh and love,” Bryan said. According to Bryan, then, three of the Veganites stated goals are food consciousness, teaching others to cook and creating a safe and

comfortable environment. When asked what “consciousness about food” meant, Bryan states multiple topics to be aware of. “To me, consciousness in general is being aware,” Bryan said. “Food consciousness is being aware of what you're putting in your body, whether it be the nutritional reasons, or the reasons behind how the food was grown, what country is sourcing those foods, who is profiting.” According to Bryan, the Veganites live up to this goal by buying healthy food from organic and local sources. “We try to get as much organic and as much local,” Bryan said. “Local is huge for us. Harvest season, especially springtime we'll do that. The last four weeks last year we bought only local food, which was a beautiful thing for me personally, but as well as for this organization. We

We try to get as much organic and as much local,” Bryan said. “Local is huge for us. Harvest season, especially springtime we’ll do that.” - TYLER BRYAN made some really good bonds with local farmers who treat their food like they care about it as opposed to having machines do all the work, and having it be a for-profit company. Just more of a

'I wanna spread good food'.” As for the goal of teaching others to cook, anyone is welcome to help every Tuesday, starting around 7 p.m. The amount of people who prepare the meals is lower than those who partake in them. As for the goal of creating a happy community, many attendees hint at its success. Caitlin Garrity, Ohio University student, said, “I've met a lot of cool people,” said Caitlin Garrity, an Ohio University student. “It always brightens my Tuesday. Everyone who comes here is generally nice and friendly. It's easy to meet people.” When asked if membership was growing, declining or staying the same, Garrity said, “I would say if anything, growing. But I think they're struggling with committed people who

are committed to fully helping with preparing.” By people who are committed, Garrity was referring to those who abide by the group mantra of “cook, serve, eat and clean.” There once was a large core of members who cooked every week. “We had an incredible 40 person core who were dedicated and would come every single week my second year,” Bryan said. Membership growth since then has been slow, according to Bryan. “Since I've been in [the Vegan Cooking Workshop], [growth of attendees] has been pretty stagnant,” Bryan said. “We had a lot of new people tonight, and we have a lot of people who come once every two months.” Kelli Wanamaker, an OU sophomore, is attending her first Vegan Cooking Workshop. She intends on returning. “I felt good vibes,” she said. “That sounds cliché, but that's what came to my head.” Bryan stated that the overall goal of the Veganites is not to spread veganism, but to guarantee a food conscious meal to as many people as possible. “The reason we are vegan is so that everyone can come and eat,” Bryan said. The idea, Bryan says, is to ensure that anyone would be willing to eat the provided food regardless of their limitations. For instance, the group also is cautious of allergens. “We do usually do other food restrictions as well. Like we watch out for gluten . . . as well as nuts. We usually watch out for those two and have a few dishes that are free of those things.” Bryan is the one who shops for the food. He was taught how to “shop consciously” by Ramos. The process consists mostly of being aware of the products in the food he is buying. “While you're shopping consciously,” Bryan said, “you have to keep in the back of your head: 'oh honey is an animal product, make sure there's no honey in some things that typically C O N T I N U E D O N N E X T PA G E



have honey, like bread or a baked good like that.'” Ramos, who originally did all the facilitating work that five people now do, left the organization in 2009 and is now a world traveler. His mark, as well as the mark of the Hare Krishna religion, is still felt by the group. “We still to this day don't use garlic and onion because in the Vedic literature, they say things like garlic and onion may induce lustful thoughts,” Bryan said. “So we stay away from that just based on the pure facts that we started this way and maybe some people will feel that way.” The Veganites make the restriction work to their advantage. “It makes you more conscious of the way you cook because you don't get garlic and onion which are two easy ways to cook: just throw in garlic and onions and it makes it taste good,” Bryan said. “But we have to think of other ways, get more creative.” It is also notable to mention that, according to Bryan, Vegan Cooking Workshop first started in an establishment called The Wire as its base of operations. Attendance was limited to only “twenty to thirty people at the most,” during the group's beginnings. Bryan joined in 2007, the Veganites' first year away from The Wire, and now the group averages “sixty people on a weekly basis,” according to Bryan. He also pointed out their Thanksgiving meal. “Our big day is Thanksgiving,” Bryan said. “We do it typically a week or two before Thanksgiving, and we counted 280 two years ago. So 280 people, imagine that, fitting in this basement.” This success can partly be attributed to funding provided to the group from OU Student Senate's Student Appropriation Committee (SAC). The group uses SAC money to buy “extravagant meals,” and buy food solely from the farmers' market. When asked why he thinks the group meetings are so merry, Bryan offers an illustration. “I feel energy plays off of each other,” Bryan said. “So I'll use the example of a room full of businessmen who are not enjoying themselves: one person comes in and tries to make it an enjoyable place, the energy will be suffocated by the bad energy in the room. But everybody's coming and willing to be happy and share good energy, usually via hugs. It's not solely for the huggers or the hippies, but there happens to be some of every variety of person here. We've had football players, basketball players, lots of fraternities and sororities and every type of person. And they all enjoy it because they come and they're smothered by, as opposed to negative energy, a light and happy energy.” He adds that “I wasn't the happiest today, but I came in and instantly felt happy because everyone was happy.”

1 6   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

First timer Wanamaker says she liked the food provided by the Veganites is much better than OU's dining halls. If true, Bryan's reasoning as to why their food is so good may be why. “The best ingredient that you find more of at Vegan Cooking than anywhere else is love,” Bryan said. “You go to a restaurant and people are cooking food. Yeah they're using good ingredients, yeah they know how to cook, but they're not putting as much love into it because they're

getting paid and so they have to do it. But we are doing it out of pure service and love, and that's why it's so light and happy, cause everyone's choosing to be here and we love doing it.” From humble Hare Krishna beginnings to massive Thanksgiving feasts, perhaps the Vegan Cooking Workshop is evidence, or even proof, that people dedicated to an idea can make a movement endure and spread. 

Tips and Tricks to Know When Renting of the of pictures Take lots move in efore you property b it looked prior ow to show h even , video is in e to mov better!

The Low Down on Landlords in Athens Rising rent prices in Athens is problematic for students, especially when coupled with high security deposits written by LINDSEY O’BRIEN illustrated by LINDSAY CITRARO


mall cramped spaces, dirty communal bathrooms, loud neighbors. By sophomore year many Ohio University students are yearning to move out of the dorms for their very first apartment or house. Within all the excitement, students need to be prepared for the difficulties that may follow with renting. College campuses are a prime location for landlords to jack up rental prices and make money off of security deposits, considering students do not have many options of where they can live relative to campus. These landlords will also buy up lots of properties, which leave students with only a handful of renters to choose from. Five months after moving out of 61 First Street, Emma Bryce, an Ohio University senior, still has yet to see her $500 security deposit. Bryce stated that her and her roommate “gutted the house”, cleaning it from top to bottom, in preparation for the move out date. Pam Hines, Bryce’s former landlord, has a history of struggling with money. She was involved in a lawsuit with Citizen’s Bank amounting in $1,369,509.57 of late fees and interest. She went through three different lawyers during the process. In a dispute about lease agreements in the case Crickets of Ohio vs. Hines, Hines was required to pay Crickets of Ohio $239,746 for “intentional interference” with a business relationship. In easy terms to understand, Hines would have made it difficult for Crickets of Ohio to perform their obligations under their lease by selling the property prior to the lease ending. These two cases can elude to Hines

troubling times handling her money and her leases with tenants. Melissa Greenlee, a staff attorney for Ohio University’s Center for Student Legal Services, pointed out that the biggest issues she sees are students angry because they received either a portion or none of their security deposit back. Greenlee stated that cohesiveness between roommates is the key. “If I am going to help someone,” she said, “I am really going to need everyone who is on the lease to join in and be a part of the dispute.“ A way that Greenlee says students can protect themselves from losing their security deposit is taking pictures or videos of the state of the house before and after move in. “The more evidence that tenants can gather, the better. Judges want to see evidence”, Greenlee explains. Unfortunately for Bryce and her roommates, they never took pictures to document the state of her house. “We were juniors, we didn’t do our research,” Bryce explains. She also warned future tenants to know who your landlord is. When Hines was approached to comment she stated that she “had sent her [Bryce] deposit back” and that she did not have time to talk, but would call back later; however, she still has not contacted for further comment on the situation. Students that are looking into renting a property on campus need to be prepared to protect themselves from landlord money tricks. Don’t let yourself become prey to your landlord and follow Melissa Greenlee’s tips to prevent a dispute with your landlord. 

in your house When turning y for the securit keys in return sure all your deposit, make nd them in at roommates ha the same time.

ase EAD the le R u o y re u are Make su nd that yo a n ig s u o before y the lease. ll parts of a n o r a le c

lord immeCall your land there is a diately when g to call problem, waitin gger could cause bi issues.

nt or r apartme u o y n a le C ssible, best as po ons a e s u o h ec in the sam leaving it res tu ic your p dition that f o g eginnin from the b how. the year s

at the Take pictures clean! end after you is the Picture proof ! best evidence


What Does GAY Look Like? photos by O L I V I A H A R L OW & L U C A S R E I LY

1 8   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

Most people assume they can pick out someone who is gay from a crowd. I think it is so important that people realize you cannot determine an individual’s sexual orientation based upon what they look like. I have been told numerous times that I “look straight” and that is such an ignorant thing to say.”

Stereotyping is the fastest way to kill individuality. I’ve never felt the need to conform to a certain label; I just love being me. I think you’re the most beautiful when you are truly being yourself.” - GIDGET MARRISON, junior communication studies major

I place myself in heteronormative environments as often as possible. Becoming friendly with people who would not otherwise be exposed to a member of the LGBTQ community is my grassroots campaign for equality in the United States.” - ABBEY CLOUGH, a.k.a Fluff, junior non-profit leadership major

- MARIKA BRESLER, senior journalism major

I really hate when someone asks me ‘so who’s the guy or girl in your relationship?’ I get so offended; it’s really disrespectful. If I wanted to date a girl, I would. Obviously we are both men.” - NICK HART, Senior photojournalism major

There are so many, much more compelling things about a person other than sexual preference. And when stereotypes are clearly so baseless, what’s the point of grouping people based on superficial qualities, when sexual preference is not a testament to someone’s character at all?” - KATELYN LILLY, junior finance major


: n o i t o M lution n o i v E y s t r I t d n e a o P s Hip Hop n The Inspiratio


rom the front of the darkened room, the stage is illuminated by incandescent lights. Green. Blue. Red. They light up the rapper’s face as he steps to the mic. The beat starts and the MC vibes, bobbing his head to catch the flow he’s about to embark down. The MC rocks the audience back and forth, guiding them with his pumping right arm, which flows like his words over the percussive beat. With each metaphorical heartbeat, the crowd feels the emotion like a shot to their own arms. Never a more perfect example of the power of community. Any lover of hip hop or rap music will be right at home in Athens, Ohio. “I think (Athens hip hop) is perfect. Because every different style is represented,” said Jacob Midkiff, who goes by the stage name 61ack4eart. “P.O.W. (Prisoners of Wisdom) is technical ability, words in your face. MC Freeman does the funky crowd hyping, getting people going. And me with emotional theatrics.” Midkiff has been writing poetry since middle school, where his work would be noticed by his signature “Blackheart.” Once moving to Athens, he incorporated hometown pride by including his 614 Columbus area code into his stage name.

2 0   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

of Athen

From the moment he spit his first rhymes at the OU chapter of HipHopCongress, he instantly felt part of the underground music scene. But rap, while a definitive component, is not all there is to the cultural expression of hip hop. Break-dancing, graffiti art, spoken-word poetry,

Words in rhythm, we take for granted how cool it is and how important it is. It’s one of the purest forms because you can say what you think and, if you make it sound good, everyone flips.” - PETER VILARDI, a.k.a. MC Freeman

story by S A M F LY N N photos by E L I H I L L E R

beatboxing, and DJing are all key parts of what makes up hip hop. One of those artists is Peter Vilardi, an Ohio University sophomore, who goes by the stage name MC Freeman. “So much about it is perception. Hip hop is very much in image,” said Vilardi. “Being able to be myself and do that, is very cool. Words in rhythm, we take for granted how cool it is and how important it is. It’s one of the purest forms because you can say what you think and, if you make it sound good, everyone flips.” Vilardi, a long time music lover, started rapping after junior year of high school, embracing the lyricism of favorites Nas and Rakim. His friend told him if he listened to one rapper consistently for one week, he would know how to rap. He broke that rule. He listened to two. “There was an exercise my theater professor had us do,” Vilardi said. “She had us write “The door is locked.” Then we wrote for 5 minutes and then she would add another prompt and eventually everyone did something completely different. And that’s what hip hop is.” Both Midkiff and Vilardi are out-of-town students attending OU. On the other side of the equation is Sam Witmer, also known as Gram Bag Sam but more famously as one of the three

There’s a power knowing, like if any guy went off and was like “Yo, go fuck yourself, man,” I would just think, ‘Dude, you have no idea how I could shred you right now.’”

Sam Witmer a.k.a. Gram Bag Sam, a junior in voice at Ohio University, fires rhythmic lines at an audience during Athens Hip Hop Shop on Oct. 24, 2013, at The Union, Athens, Ohio. Sam is one of the three members of the local hip hop group known as P.O.W.

members of P.O.W., including Clay Copinger, also known as NoName and Zain Khatri, also known as Black Stallion. Witmer has lived in Athens since he was two-years-old. Like Vilardi, he had long been musically inclined before he discovered hip hop. “I always was composing music and I remember my friend said ‘You should look up the Wu Tang Clan.’ So I clicked on “Triumph” and the rest is history,” Witmer said. “I consider myself an introvert and, now, I really feel that before rap, I couldn’t be my best self.” The Athens hip hop scene exists as a microcosm of so many of the eclectic, overlapping communities of the town and the university. But in even larger context, the appreciation of rap music, break dancing, and graffiti art transcends all differences: race, ethnicity, gender, spirituality and so on. It exists at a crossroads of love. Nowhere is this more evident than in the monthly Hip Hop Shop, a celebration of Athens music and Athens hip hop. Athens music has long been varied and wild. But this is most apparent in the art of being an MC – short for Master of Ceremony. Acts like DysFunktional Family have been around for years and are at the heart of the community. One of the founding members of DysFunk, Hil Hackworth, is the current curator of the Hip Hop Shop. Acts have included staple DysFunktional Family, MC Freeman, the rap group the Underestimated, 61ack4eart, P.O.W., Jack of Hearts, and many other talents. To this day, stigmatization plagues hip hop. Since its inception, its’ artists, like many other Clay Coppinger a.k.a NoName, age 17 of Athens, Ohio, livens the crowd at the Athens Hip Hop Shop in The Union, Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 24, 2013. Clay is one of the three members of the local hip hop group known as P.O.W.

music styles ranging from rock & roll to punk, stoked controversy and begged for confrontation. What is undeniable is the hunger at the center of hip hop. It’s certainly not subtle; braggadocio and freestyle battling are key characteristics of the competitive sport of MCing. “There’s a power knowing, like if any guy went off and was like “Yo, go fuck yourself, man,” I would just think, ‘Dude, you have no idea how I could shred you right now,’” said Sam Witmer (a.k.a Gram Bag Sam). In recent years, rap has moved even further into the stratosphere, with up-and-coming kings (Kendrick Lamar) and eternal gods (Kanye West, Eminem). And as the culture leaves its’ coastal cities and penetrates further, it has become further progressive. Homophobia and misogyny are no longer tolerated as the norm; alternative rap and conscious hip hop have become the culture itself. Many current popular artists such as

- SAM WITMER, a.k.a Gram Bag Sam, member of P.O.W. (Prisoners of Wisdom)

Macklemore and Drake express sensitivity and positivity in their music. In February 2014, VH1 will air a four-part documentary series based on the bestselling book “The Tanning of America: How Hip Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy” by Steve Stoute. The documentary will “examine how hip-hop culture influenced music, film, television, fashion, business, race relations and the politics that opened the door for Obama’s America.” “I definitely embrace the modern stuff,” said Witmer. “I feel like we just got off a kick of party music and now lyricism is coming back with people like Kendrick. I really get into the technicality of the rhymes like overlapping rhyme schemes, repeating multisyllabic rhymes, and the real nerdy stuff.” Music has long been a home for rebels, rejects, and really fantastic hairstyles. ConseC O N T I N U E D O N N E X T PA G E

From right, Elli Magden, originally of Athens, and Sara Thompson, of Hawaii, cheer after listening to Peter Vildari rap at the Athens Hip Hop Shop in The Union, Athens, Ohio, on Oct. 24, 2013.


quently, it is always a target. But it is unfair and shallow to dismiss the beginnings of hip hop. Much focus and attention is given to specific words being said, at the expense of the overwhelming message it translated. Common examples include the infamous Ice-T song “Cop Killer,” 2Pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up,” and Eminem’s “Hi, My Name Is” and “The Real Slim Shady.” This commotion obfuscated the beauty of the artful expression: the truest expression of the socioeconomic turmoil of a minority class. Hip hop has grown into so much more than that. It provided the rebirth of poetry and spoken-word in a popular form not seen since Shakespeare. The struggle expressed by the lyrics and oppression spoken through the music became not just a cultural event horizon for minorities in America and even America itself, but also became the art of the oppressed, the voiceless, and the lost. Hip hop is so many things to many people, to attempt to define it is to do it

2 2   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

a disservice; the music remains alive. Hip hop is confidence. “I consider myself an introvert and I really feel that before rap, I couldn’t be my best self,” Witmer said. “A lot of what I’ve learned is how comfortable I am. Confronting insecurities. A lot my music is self-deprecating. It makes me notice things about myself, even about the nature of humanity.” Hip hop is community. “Like the darkest, most horrible thoughts; a song like ‘Suicidal Thoughts’ by Biggie is a great example. That song inspires me. Yeah, he’s dark but it’s just knowing that somebody else out there feels like me is inspirational to me,”Midkiff said. Hip hop is connection. “Hip hop has made me less afraid to say what I think,” Vilardi concluded. “Being able to get up on stage with their attention, to be in control of that, and using my voice to make people move or respond emotionally . . . it’s the closest to magic that exists.” Hip hop forever. 

The Hip Hop Shop is a monthly event held at the Union Bar & Grill. More information can be found through their Facebook group Hip Hop Shop Athens. HipHopCongress meets weekly, Wednesdays at 8 in Baker 230. Any and all lovers of rap, breakdancing, graffiti, DJing, or simple genuine love of hip hop are welcome.


ers t i r W

ers n g i s e







nit u m m Co

rs e b m y Me


#InterActwithus #InterActwithus #InterActwithus #InterActwithus

f T p 8 C OU InterActivist





Vintage Album Reviews

reviews by E M I LY VOTAW

Artist: Marvin Gaye Album: “What’s Goin’ On?” Year: 1971 Label: Tamla Records (Motown subsidiary) Rating: 9/10 Key Tracks: “What’s Goin’ On?” and “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” Artist: PJ Harvey Album: Dry Year: 1992 Label: Too Pure Rating: 8/10 Key Tracks: “Dress”and “Sheela-Na-Gig” What does it mean to be a feminist? It’s lot of things, and I can’t say that I am too well versed in feminism, although I am a woman and I do believe that people, regardless of gender, are completely equal in terms of worth. Or worthlessness, as I also believe in the power of punk rock. As does and as did British rocker PJ Harvey. “Dry” was Harvey’s debut – a loud, intense record with simple instrumentation and a lot of it. Immediately following the release of the album, Harvey was corralled into the large group of female musicians that are referred to as “riot grrls,” new wave feminists that “play punk rock music and write songs about pussy.” Not really. But something about the brutal realness of “Dry” made it a bit more difficult for the popular media to write PJ Harvey off as a mouthy feminist, because maybe she is blunt about the patriarchy and it’s ill effects on women (and men), but she does it in a way that only a Captain Beefheart fan could. In “Sheela-Na-Gig,” Harvey is making a series of references, but the title comes from sheela na gig statues, carvings found throughout Britain and Ireland depicting women with exaggerated vulvas. Throughout the song Harvey sings “Sheela-na-gig, sheela-na-gig/ You exhibitionist/ Put money in your idle hole” followed by “Heard it before, no more/ Gonna take my hips to a man who cares” and ending with “He said ‘wash your breasts, I don’t want to be unclean’/ He said ‘please take those dirty pillows away from me.” The final lines of the song are repeated several times, shrouded in distorted guitar, a reference taken from the Stephen King novel “Carrie.” In the novel, Mrs. White, Carrie’s mother, refers to women’s breasts as being “dirty pillows.” “Sheela-Na-Gig,” in particular is a perfect example of Harvey’s ability to craft rocked out, oddly catchy punk rock tunes; something that runs throughout the current of the entire album.”Dry” was met with incredible critical reception, even outside of the painful way that Harvey was labeled as a riot grrl rather quickly. Kurt Cobain famously listed “Dry” as one of his favorite fifty albums, and earned 22-year-old Harvey the title of “Best New Songwriter” from Rolling Stone Magazine. Although “Dry” was released almost twenty-two years ago, the album as a whole is still a remarkable contribution to the course of popular modern music, and is one of the most widely recognized and highly regarded alternative rock albums of the 1990s.  2 4   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

The year was 1971 and the most important milestones of the Civil Rights movement were still fresh, environmentalism was starting to take a national hold, and the Vietnam War was in full swing. Although Marvin Gaye had a number of number one Motown hits under his belt by the time he crafted “What’s Goin’ On,” his eleventh studio album, the release of this album in early 1971 marked the R&B superstar’s first stab at socially conscious music. And the result was phenomenal. The album is around forty minutes in length – and the only way to really categorize the smooth transitions and beautiful vocals and instrumentation throughout the work is to refer to it as a “song cycle,” the tunes bleeding into each other – “Sgt. Pepper style.” Although the sound of the album is serene, even reaching a sort of melancholy bliss at times, the conception for the first album that Gaye produced himself is anything but pretty. In 1969 fellow Motown megastars The Four Tops were touring in Berkeley, California, and witnessed horrific police brutality towards Vietnam protestors in People’s Park – an event that would later go on to be known as “Bloody Thursday.” Renaldo Benison, one of the vocalists in the group, described the event to Ben Edmonds, saying “"I saw this and started wondering 'what the fuck was going on, what is happening here?' One question led to another. Why are they sending kids far away from their families overseas? Why are they attacking their own kids in the street?” Upon returning to the home of Motown records in Detroit, songwriter Al Cleveland crafted a tune based on the conversation that Edmonds and Benison had had about the event – creating a song that he presented to The Four Tops. The band turned the tune down, but Gaye picked up the song, tweaking a couple of lyrics and changing the principal melody. Thus, the opening track and the most widely recognized track off of “What’s Goin’ On?” was born. The recording of the album began in 1970, working with studio engineers Kenneth Sands and Steve Smith. One of the most distinct elements of the album is the way that Gaye layers his vocals – something that accidently came about when Gaye gave Smith two different takes of the vocals for “What’s Goin’ On?” and he unintentionally mixed the two. The album’s melodious and dense sound was slowly crafted over the course of recording – a process that was pushed along by copious amounts of marijuana and Scotch. When the album was released, it became Gaye’s first effort to reach the Billboard Top Ten LPs chart, and selling over two million copies within the first year of its release. Rolling Stone gave the album the title of “Album of the Year,” and the work was overall lauded by critics and audiences alike. Although Gaye would make an even bigger smash only several year’s later with “Let’s Get it On,”, “What’s Goin’ On?” is considered by many to be his most substantial and crucial contribution to popular music – clearing the way for countless artists to make socially conscientious music without falling into a hippie singer-songwriter stereotype. 

Have story, photos or art you’d like to see published in The InterActivist? Contact us, and your ideas could be published in our next issue. FREELAN CE SUBM I SSI O N G UI DELI N E S » Briefs: Briefs must consist of a brief summary of an event or news item, told concisely and completely. Minimum of one

whether the spotlight merits feature or department status based on the person being spotlighted and the quality of their responses. Spotlights should be about 1,600 to 2,500 words.

human source, preference is three. Source is not required to

» Poetry: All poetry submitted should be contained to a

be local. Length should be at least 350 words, no more

single page and should have a theme of concern to the

than 850.

progressive community.

» Commentary: Commentaries are opinions pieces about a

» Photography, Graphic Art & Political Cartoons: Photo

specific topic of interest to the progressive community. The

essays or stand-alone photos, which illustrate issues of par-

word limit for commentary is a minimum of 800 words and

ticular concern to progressives, are considered for publica-

a maximum of 1,600. Commentary must be supported by

tion, as are other forms of graphic artwork, including

some checkable fact, with a minimum of three sources, at

political cartoons.

least one of which should be local.

» Letters to the Editor: Reaction pieces to articles or local is-

» Features: Features include in-depth investigative reporting,

sues are also accepted. Any local person or group criticized

commentary and feature coverage of topics that require more

will be given space to respond in the same issue. Letters

coverage including special coverage that merit additional

should be between 200 and 400 words.

coverage. These should be a minimum of 1,500 words and a maximum of 2,000 words. These pieces require a minimum of three human sources, at least one of which must be local. At least five sources are preferred. » Spotlights: Spotlights are pieces featuring a specific activist or activist group in the community. These pieces include a brief introduction (who this person or group is and why they are important) and a transcript of an interview the

Please email all submissions to: Please be sure to include a title, a short biography and any pictures that may accompany your text. FOOTNOTE POLICY: PLEASE REFER TO SOURCES IN THE BODY OF THE ARTICLE AND PROVIDE A FACT-CHECKING MEMO SEPARATE FROM THE TEXT. ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR SOURCES MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR A SIDEBAR.

writer conducts with that person or group. It’s best to have at least 10 unique questions for the person. The staff will decide


f f a t S e eet Th

Sam Flynn

I’m Sam Flynn, a senior studying news and information journalism. I’m the President and Editor-in-Chief of InterAct and our magazine the InterActivist. As our fearless leader, I delegated the work to the far more talented people listed on this page, but will welcome any and all credit for the success of the magazine. I wrote about local hip hop because I believe in the power of music and the arts to change the world. I own many leather-bound books and my bedroom smells of rich mahogany.

Olivia Harlow

Oh, hello there! I’m Olivia Harlow, a senior double majoring journalism and photojournalism. I am a firm believer in the existence of fairies and I prove that girls do indeed poop. One of my favorite hobbies? Naked dance parties by myself to One Direction #NoShame.

Eli Hiller

Eli Hiller, a sophomore from Athens, Ohio, is a double major in photojournalism and environmental geography. Eli is a staff photographer for the InterActivist magazine and joined to develop creative photographic stories on individuals and group with the southeast Ohio region. In his free time he enjoys long bike rides, playing the acoustic guitar and beating the punching bags in ping when he feels academically stressed.


Peter Andrews

Brooke Baldi

Lindsay Citraro

My name is Peter Andrews and I am a freshman studying astrophysics. I have lived in Athens my whole life and love it here. I write a science blog column for the InterActivist and I am Sean’s PR monkey, full-time. I like busking and I am working on achieving fluency in Mandarin Chinese.

I’m a junior visual communication major and the creative director of IA. I love to fuss over fonts, margins, and leading while drinking a hot cup of tea. I managed to grow into a harsh cynic but I can still be overwhelmed by my childlike wonder. I’m still amazed that I built my computer without setting my place on fire.

Hi, I’m Lindsay Citraro. I am a senior double major in graphic design and creative writing. I enjoy things. I have a love affair with pasta. It’s getting pretty serious. I’m known to finish entire rows of Oreo cookies in one sitting and frolic around campus.

2 6   |  T H E I N T E R A C T I V I S T   |   F A L L 2 0 1 3

Sean King

I am a sophomore studying strategic communications . After a long and bloody stuggle, I have usurped the position of PR director from the illustrious former director. I am also the treasurer, a.ka. the “Pressurer,” if you will. As “Pressurer,” I don’t really do much. I’m at all the meetings, though.

Sophie Kruse

I am a sophomore studying journalism with a minor in business. I am the blog editor for IA. I love dogs, Mexican food, Harry Potter, video games, and Netflix binges. I take naps like it’s my job

Lindsey O’Brien

I am a junior studying journalism. I like pepperoni pizza with banana peppers. My life runs on coffee.

Alexandria Polanosky I’m a freshman photojournalism major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This is my first semester with the InterActivist and I’m so glad to have discovered the organization. I believe in using photojournalism as a tool to raise awareness of social issues so IA is a perfect place for me.

Kaylee Powers

I am technically an undecided freshman, but I promise I’ll be in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism studying Strategic Communications with a minor in Spanish eventually. I’m the magazine’s Pinterest extraordinaire as part of the PR team.

Ryan Powers

I’m a freshman journalism major. I wrote a story. It’s in the magazine. Let me take you on a journey, man.

Lucas Reily

My name is Lucas Reilly and I am a photographer who joined IA because we go against the grain. I like to bike and touch guitars.

Nikki Volpenhein I am a sophomore art and psychology major, and I am an artist for The Interactivist. I joined IA after wandering around the involvement fair. In the future I hope to become a traveling hobo artiste, finding strange materials along the journey to fuel my next project.




Winter 2014


United Campus Ministries, Lower Level Come Enjoy a free lunch every week while OU is in session Saturdays at 1 P.M. Arrive by 10:30 a.m. if you would like to volunteer. For more info, call 740-593-7301

Every Wednesday (April-December) and Saturday (Year-Round) | ATHENS FARMER’S MARKET 1000 East State Street Athens Local farmers and distributors gather together to provide the local Athens community with fresh foods. Find homegrown vegetables, fruits, fresh flowers, and teas, as well as meats from locally raised animals. The Athens farmers market is a community gathering place that supports sustainable agriculture and the local economy. The Farmer’s Market takes place from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Every Thursday | FREE SUPPER/VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY United Campus Ministries, Lower Level Come enjoy a free meal every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers and donations are welcome. Come at 3:30 P.M. if you would like to volunteer. Call 740-593-7301 for more information

Every First and Third Monday of the Month | ATHENS CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS 8 East Washington Council meetings are held on the third floor in the Council Chambers room. Meetings begin at 7:30 p.m. Come and observe what is going on in local Athens politics.


Casa Nueva 4-West State St. Bobcats Beyond Gas is hosting an event to help stop fracking in Ohio. Bobcats Beyond Gas is an on campus organization dedicated to protecting the environment from the harmful emissions of burning fossil fuels.


Athena Cinema The International Film and Video Festival presents independent films from around the world here in Athens. Each year a panel of local jurors chooses the best films to receive cash prizes. Submissions will continue to be accepted until February 15, 2014 with an entry fee of 45$. The categories are documentary, experimental, narrative and animation. The festival itself will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day from April 11 to April 17.


Burr Oak State Park Rural Action is hosting a 5k run and Nature Hike fundraiser. The proceeds will go to help support the local watersheds and wildlife. The time is as of yet undetermined, so make sure to check Rural Action’s website for details as the date draws closer.

March 3-6 | THE AMERICAN COLLEGE DANCE FESTIVAL ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE Various Locations and Times The ADCFA invites students and faculty to join this conference promoting the creativity and talent of college dance departments. The conference is run by nationally recognized professionals who will be hosting panels, workshops, classes and performances.

March 21 | MSP VISIT The Multicultural Student Program along with Up Close are hosting an event where students and families can come to campus and learn about the multicultural side of OU.

Profile for InterActivist

InterActivist Issue 54  

Winter 2014

InterActivist Issue 54  

Winter 2014