Jerk May 2023

Page 40

May 2023 Vol XXIII Issue IV Syracuse, New York Your student fee THE MAY ISSUE

Emily, I’m sorry, we’re not strong enough

to be cool about it being our last issue of the year. @jerkmagazine

Lilly Chidlaw-Mayen


Sarah Dolgin



FOB EDITOR: Megan Adams

ASST. FOB EDITOR: Jojo Wertheimer




ASST. FEATURES EDITOR: Joelle de Poto & Sadiya Kherani

GAWK EDITOR: Lily Brooks



NOISE EDITOR: Chloe Langerman



Jackson Barnes, Roxanne Boychuk, Maddy Brousseau, Sophie Davis, Bryan Fletcher, Kathryn Hendry, Kiran Hubbard, CM McCambridge, Isa Naro, Madeleine Oliveros, Gray Reed, Miguel Rodriguez, Teddy Ryan, Nadia Weller, Qiong Wu


DIRECTORS: Daisy Leepson & Emma Novy

EDITORS: Haley Moreland & Ella Welsh


WEB COORDINATORS: Brandon Veale & Vivian Wang

STAFF WRITERS: Kylie Adedeji, Naiya Amin, Timia Cobb, Sophie Davis, Molly Egan, Georgia Fernandez, Yewon Hong, Kiran Hubbard, Mckenzie Johnson, Amanda Kosta, Victoria Lafarge, Tania Ortiz, Catherine Scott, Josephine VanRy, Ireland Walker, Nadia Weller



VIDEO DIRECTORS: Olivia Allison & Luci Messineo-Witt

PODCAST TEAM: Emma Lambiaso, Daisy Leepson, Zoë McCreary



DESIGNERS: Katie Cefalo, Marisa Goldberg, Travis Newbery, Megan Radakovich, Lindsey Smiles

ILLUSTRATORS: Katie Cefalo, Marisa Goldberg, Matt Latvis, Fe Kligerman, Hallie Meyer, Kodah Thompson, Freddy Toglia


PHOTOGRAPHERS: Grace Hayden, Abigail Johnson, Maya Lockwood, Vivienne Love, Kailyn Peng, Lily Rubenstein, Ellie Sternschein, Yiting Wang, Krystal Zhang

Through its content, Jerk is dedicated to enhancing insight through communication by providing an informal platform for the freedom of expression. The writing contained within this publication expresses the opinions of the individual writers. The opinions expressed herein are not those of Syracuse University, the Office of Student Activities, the Student Association, or the student body. Additionally, the ideas presented in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Jerk Editorial Board. Furthermore, Jerk will not be held responsible for the individual opinions expressed within. Submissions, suggestions, and opinions are welcomed and may be printed without contacting the writer. Jerk reserves the right to edit or refuse submissions at the discretion of its editors. Jerk Magazine is published monthly during the Syracuse University academic year. All contents of the publication are copyright 2021 by their respective creators. No content may be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the Jerk Editorial Board.



I took a course this semester about the history and politics of hip-hop because that’s the kind of fun class you get to take when you’re a second-semester senior. We covered everything from house parties in the Bronx to Megan Thee Stallion, but my favorite lesson was the day we discussed the political implications of hip-hop and the ways that it and its ancestors, R&B and Rock and Roll, were used in protest music. Protest songs may not be outwardly political, but they empower those who use them. Something in them, whether it’s the beat, the lyrics, or the instruments, makes listeners feel moved and called to action.

Since that lesson, I’ve been thinking about what protest means. Almost every time I talk to my mom, we discuss that late millennials and early Gen Z-ers (or, as I’ve seen us called, Zillennials) have only ever lived in a turbulent world. Every second of our lives has been soundtracked not only by music but by TV news alerts and social media updates about the latest international tragedies. But we also live in a digital world — one in which we’re divided into millions of tiny niches online. It often feels as though we’re being pulled in multiple directions in an attempt to solve all the world’s problems at once, and that makes it easy to get burnt out. But what are the things that bring us together when every aspect of our lives is so personalized and unique to us? The answer, of course, hasn’t changed; other people.

This issue of Jerk is centered on movements and the myriad ways individuals channel their love and come together to make their voices heard. On page 27, reflect on the #NotAgainSU movement that rocked SU’s campus in 2019-2020. Learn about the reasons for mounting violence against transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. on page 17, and meet the jazz community in Syracuse on page 53.

If you’re anything like me, you feel like the world has been spinning really fast lately. It’s hard not to feel that way with the advent of the internet (you may have

heard of it) and rapidly advancing technology. It’s also no surprise that we live in a world where things change every millisecond — I’m sure your parents remind you of that every time you go home for break. But 2023 so far has seemed like a speedrun of a year, in which every possible thing that could have happened has already happened. It feels as I said earlier, turbulent, and the movements emerging to respond to this turbulence are mid-battle. Right now, we are in the middle of a chain reaction of massive changes. But the things that drive those movements and the people behind them — music, art, and our love for others — will remain the same. So channel your activism into a particular medium or area of focus, and let the love you have uplift those around you.

With love, Zoe Glasser (she/her/hers)


Jerk on the Internet

But wait, there’s more...


Sadiya Kherani

May Horoscopes

Nadia Weller

Sex: Inclusive Intimacy

CM McCambridge

Framed: Chloe McCullough

Emane Haque

21 +/- Beef Up Your Borg

Jojo Wetheimer & Megan Adams

Ozempic is Not the Answer, Regardless of What Tik Tok Might Tell You Maddy Brosseau How We Got Here CM McCambridge Bring Back the Posers Zoe Glasser Call Her Daddy Megan Adams 15 17 19 21 Breaking Silence Through Cinema Jackson Barnes Remembering Not Again SU Jojo Wertheimer Breaking Down the Internship Barrier Eden Stratton & Qiong Wu My Dorm Room is A Dark Room Joelle De Poto A Blossoming Daisy Karla Perez ArtRage Against the Machine Roxanne Boychuk 23 27 31 35 39 40
7 9 10 11 13 14


Siren Call

Lily Brooks & Noa Putman

Off the Court and Into the Streets

Emane Haque

Form & Function:

Vivienne Westwood

Lily Brooks, Cassia Soodak, Lily Rubenstein

Closet Case: School Bags / Embellished Bags

Lily Brooks & Noa Putman


A Love Supreme

Chloe Langerman

Package: Dystopias and PostApocalyptic Media

Madeleine Oliveros, Russell Tom Sun, Bryan Fletcher, Sophie Davis, Maddy Brousseau

The Garage Lights

Miguel Rodriguez

Cartoon Network’s Parenting Pizazz

Sarah Dolgin

41 49 51 52 53 57 65 66

Listen to Jerk’s weekly podcast, Hit and Bitch — where Zoë, Emma, and Daisy discuss the things you hate to love and love to hate — on Spotify today!

Jerk Magazine is exploring new ways to compliment our print mag. Find additional content on social media and our website JERK ON THE INTERNET Bringing you the latest and the littest @jerkmagazine JERK THIS 8 JERK 1-14


What we love



A month designated to loving who you want is a month we LOVE. Every month, but especially this month, celebrate who you are, and who you love, and we will celebrate you.



We here at Jerk have collectively watched the trailer a billion times. We still have no clue what it’s about but yes, we will be in theaters on July 21, popcorn in hand ready to see Margot Robbie slay as the Barbie of our dreams.


MAY 26

A live-action version of The Little Mermaid, where Ariel is played by Halle Bailey is something we can get behind. Not only is Halle Bailey a goddess of a singer, but we also can’t wait for the childhood nostalgia to kick in as she sings Part of Your World on the big screen.



The Midwest is not some place we would USUALLY advise you to go. But, for all the indie and alt-music-loving folks out there who have been waiting for your time to go to a music festival, your time has come! From Noah Kahan and Billie Eilish to Lana Del Rey and The 1975, Lollapalooza has a stacked setlist. And aside from Chicago itself, this might be the only time worthy of taking a trip to the Midwest.


MAY 14

This one is a sad one. We are not ready to say goodbye to our seniors, especially our senior Jerks! It’s a bit rude, graduation has sprung on us so fast. The beginning of the semester feels like just yesterday and now we are mentally preparing to see our favorite seniors walk across the stage and get their diplomas — yes, there will be tears.



That’s right folks, Trump is a Gemini. On behalf of Jerk , we apologize to our Gemini readers and especially those sharing the birthday of June 14th. We personally will not be celebrating Trump’s birthday when it rolls around, and are a bit offended that Trump has a summer birthday.


MAY 27

We love popsicles just as much as the next guy, but can someone tell us why we are designating one whole day to celebrate specifically grape popsicles? Jerk cannot condone National Grape Popsicle Day. Grape popsicles are bottom-tier and the lies have to stop.

What we hate

Words by Sadiya Kherani


Oh my feisty little Aries lovebugs! Whether it’s making time to revamp yourself or pursuing a super chic internship, you will definitely have something to look forward to as the semester draws to a close, and into the summer.

Your delusions sometimes get the best of you, my whimsical Tauruses, so we want to act as a helping hand. Live in the moment and focus on you, not the unhygienic frat boy who’s never going to satisfy your needs!

Geminis. Seeking out drama is not a healthy trait, and it’s especially not something you have the time for. Maybe instead of trying to settle a dispute over something that does not concern you, you could be studying for that upcoming exam! Lord knows you need to.


You Cancers have an amazing, yet vulnerable characteristic of always seeing the best in people. We suggest really studying behaviors and looking for telltale signs that someone does not have your back early on before you get hurt!

We know it’s hard to step away from the spotlight, but others need a chance to shine sometimes too. Trust us when we say that you are and always will be fascinating, and it is not necessary for you to make things up in order to keep the rest of us interested.

Ouch. We can feel your pain and desperation for a break. Don’t be hesitant to make time for self care. Even though it’s difficult for you Virgos, we promise that rest is exactly what you need right now if you plan to stay afloat.


My silly, enticing Libras — let’s have a quick chat. We all know you’re big instigators, but maybe we could insert ourselves in a more constructive manner? If you want to “spice up” your friend’s love life, consider putting their best interests forward instead of your own.

We’re aware that your SOM class is challenging, but it is not worth the hours upon hours of complaining. Try to center your attention elsewhere — perhaps the cute boy who lives on your floor? Sincerely, your besties at Jerk (xoxo).

We hate to break this to you, but your life isn’t a movie. No one is following you around with a camera, so stop doing things for the so-called “plot!” You’re always entertaining — don’t feel pressured to make rogue choices, my perfect Sagittarius superstars!


Curious Capricorns — switch things up if you can! For instance, go out to dinner at Alto Cinco on a random Wednesday with your gals or even find a new boy toy to mess around with. We know change can be hard, but it beats being bored!

Our favorite eccentric sign, the world is your oyster, and we encourage you to take more advantage of it. Lean into this more by joining or creating a new club, finding a new hobby, or starting a new fashion trend. Go crazy, we know you want to!

Alright you precious, procrastinating Pisces, you have no reason to be so overwhelmed. We guarantee that everyone else is in the same boat as you whether you want to believe it or not. Try to talk it out with someone who also relates before you implode!

Mar. 21
Apr. 19 Jun. 21 - Jul. 22 Sep. 23
Oct. 22 Dec. 21 - Jan. 20 Apr. 20 - May 20 Jul. 23 - Aug. 22 Oct. 23 - Nov. 21 Jan. 21 - Feb. 18
20 - Jun. 20 Aug. 23 - Sep. 22
22 - Dec. 21
19 - Mar. 20


Fuck any way you want without limitations.

Sex is great. If it were up to us, we would end the article there, but it would be a “waste of resources” and “weird to publish.” However, for many people, especially those with disabilities and mobility issues, sex can be a struggle. Expressions of love and sensuality are often, by culture and by nature, tied to their physicality. Accessibility in intimacy in broader culture can become somewhat tricky to navigate, especially without any resources. Certain positions, however, can do a great deal to facilitate easier and more enjoyable sex for everyone involved.

Modified Missionary

In all likelihood, you’ve probably done this before. One partner lies or sits back on the side of a bed (or another piece of height-appropriate furniture) while the other stands, providing an experience close to standard missionary. This allows for one partner to move less and avoid any uncomfortable hip or back positions, while the other can keep them comfortable as they go, adjusting as needed.

Modified Doggy

This is great for people in wheelchairs or who generally lack mobility in their hips, this position is rather simple. One partner remains seated (if they’re in a wheelchair, be careful not to roll back), while the other is on top, facing away from them and leaning forward, typically over a table. The partner on top does most of the moving here.


Modified Doggy (Part 2)

If the previous position doesn’t work, don’t fret! There’s another version! The goal of this one is comfort for the partner in front, while the one in the back does most of the moving. More akin to a regular doggy-style position, the partner in front is on their knees facing forward. What differs here is that they’re provided a cushion under their arms or chest, keeping their hips at a 45-degree angle. It’s comfortable and keeps them from having their back or hips bent in uncomfortable positions while staying intimate.


Perhaps best for those with general mobility issues, this one is rather simple. Starting from a spooning position with both partners lying on their sides, any penetration (by anyone or anything) is done with minimal movement. This one is also one of the most toy-friendly approaches, as there is little in the way of obstruction. While the partner doing most of the movement is typically behind the other, this one works fine either way, providing plenty of comfort for both.



Despite no formal art classes as a child or artsy parents to direct her, Chloe McCullough grew up drawing. Her own natural interest inspired her to sketch and her pages and pages of early drawings have given her not only the confidence to create her own art but to put art on other people’s bodies permanently.

A look at McCullough’s art Instagram account, @cmmvisuals, showcases the Communications Design major’s talent. Posts of cartoon-style drawings, unique advertising campaigns, and small inky black tattoos compose her page. However, McCullough’s standout works are the selfdescribed “funky faces,” with blocky heads and big eyes that suspiciously resemble those of someone who just took a fat hit. In a variety of colors, the 2D characters’ expressive faces are ones you want to keep looking at, and possibly light up with too.

McCullough cites Cole Bennett’s “Lenny” and the style of animation in “The Midnight Gospel” and “Rick and Morty” as inspiration. For those unfamiliar, Lenny is the squiggly motif with a face that makes easter egg appearances in rap music

videos produced by Bennett. From “The Midnight Gospel,” McCullough’s work draws similarity from the toon’s overly large eyes and captures the casual style akin to “Rick and Morty.” If one had to blindbuy McCullough’s work, imagine her prints as the perfect gift for fans of Tyler, The Creator, Kith, and anything indie-but-expensive.

The sophomore’s work isn’t limited to just paper, though. McCullough became interested in tattoos as a next step in expanding her artistry.

“I grew up with an uncle who was a tattoo artist, so I always thought his stuff was really cool,” she said. “It wasn’t until this past year I looked into doing it myself.”

McCullough’s first tattoo was done for a friend: a smiley face on his leg. McCullough didn’t expect much interest from others to display her newfound endeavor. After posting work she had done on her friends, strangers started swiping up on her stories asking for tattoos. Now to advertise her work, she posts stories when she is doing tattoos and their pricing, and people continue to swipe up for bookings. McCullough tattoos her own designs, as well as pieces her clients bring in.

McCullough’s favorite tattoo was a simple ghost done on her friend Hema’s arm. “That was the first one I gave that I was more confident in my ability and afterward wanting to give more.” McCullough has many plans to keep growing her brand–she wants to have her own brand, with her designs on clothes, skate decks, and other products. McCullough also plans on getting a tattoo apprenticeship to become a certified artist.

While she knows the paths she could take, exactly how her work will evolve is unknown. “What I make, or what I’m interested in changes as I change,” McCullough said. “I don’t know what it could be in the future.”



Be the life of the darty!

Absolutely nothing screams spring in Syracuse like a good BORG. After what seems like years of endless wind, sleet, and seasonal affective disorder, we need to put the “rage” in “Black Out Rage Gallon.” But at Jerk , we believe there’s much more to a BORG than the Mio can see. Whether it tastes like a margarita or tequila sunrise, it’s time to take your BORG to the next level.


Fill an empty gallon with the following:

1. Half a gallon of water

2. A good bit of hard liquor to your personal taste

3. Your choice of Mio flavoring

Add a little -beef- to it:

1. It’s BORG o’clock somewhere: the margarita borg — Make your liquor tequila and add a little lime juice and marg mix instead of Mio.

2. Tequila sunrise borg — Make your liquor tequila and add some orange juice and grenadine.



• #SyracuseBBT: Best BORG Town

• Charcuterie BORG

• SmorgasBORG

• Fuck it, we BORG

• BORGalicious

• Steven SpielBORG (for our TRF BORGers)

• Who’s a good BORG?

• The BORG who lived

21 +/-
Photo by Megan Adams


The new “fab way to stay fit” is coming at a devastating price.

I think I can speak for all women by saying we are sick and tired of health trends, spread by randos, taking over the internet to enforce the body standard women must fit. In the past, we’ve seen unhealthy wellness fads like intermittent fasting, juice cleanses, and dry scooping before working out. Though the trends amongst the Hollywood elite cost thousands more, they are equally as unhealthy and just as prominent in the media. Whether it’s getting a BBL, removing said BBL, getting lip filler, or getting the small amount of fat in your jaw removed to look “snatched,” women cannot catch a break. However, what if I told you that these useless trends are now not only affecting women’s body image but the health of an entire community? Recently the new fab way to stay fit is taking Ozempic, a medication meant to treat type two diabetes that has a side effect of weight loss. You might have heard of Ozempic from the tasteless jokes made at the Oscars or on Saturday Night Live, or from TikTok where #Ozempic has over 600 million views. This trendy drug is taking over Hollywood faster than you can say “eat the rich.” With the surge of people purchasing the drug every month, the FDA categorized it to be in short supply. However, this has not stopped doctors from prescribing this drug to people that do not qualify for it.

For Beverly Hills internist, Dr. Dennis Evangelatos, “supply issues become secondary.” This means the treatment of an individual patient is more important than the interest of an entire population. “(Supply) probably affects my decisionmaking ability less than the average person would think.”

Doctors can technically prescribe Ozempic for their patients to help them lose weight, regardless of the repercussions it has on the diabetic community. Ozempic costs around $1300 a month and can be incredibly difficult to get covered by insurance, so the people who can afford it, buy it.

“Last January, my insurance company was so expensive and due to the shortage [of Ozempic], they were not giving the discounts they initially did. I went about three weeks without medication because CVS could not get it. My blood sugar went out of luck because of that,” said Neal Morris, who has had type two diabetes for the past 10 years.

When a patient has type two Diabetes, they have insulin resistance syndrome, so their insulin is unable to convert their blood sugar into energy, muscle, and fat. These high blood glucose levels can damage many of the body’s organs. There are far more negative symptoms that can result from type two diabetes that the proper prescription of Ozempic could alleviate. Now that the medication is certified to be in low stock, diabetics are not


able to access this drug. Instead, it is being used by patients that seek it for cosmetic purposes.

However, before Ozempic rose to popularity, diabetic patients still had a lot of trouble accessing proper care.

“A shortage of doctors in underserved areas as well as the pricing of medications contribute to low-income diabetics getting less than adequate care,” said Evangelatos.

Even for Morris, a full-time nurse from North Carolina, the cost of Ozempic every month can be costly and even debilitating.

“Somebody who has diabetes has to pay quite a bit of money out of pocket for medication,” said Morris. “The people who are caught up in this disease could buy better food with the money we use to pay for our medication, but we can’t. I work, and in today’s economy, it doesn’t go very far.”

Elon Musk, in his typical fashion of saying and doing shitty things, was one of the first to announce he is an open diabetic medication user in a tweet he posted in Oct 2022. Slowly, other celebrities like the Kardashians, Post Malone, and Mindy Kailing were accused of taking Ozempic without a diagnosis of diabetes.

Now how could the repercussions of this situation possibly get any worse? Well, Hollywood has controlled the beauty standard presented to women through the media for as long as we can remember. We see the new “perfect body” everywhere, whether it’s the cover of the magazine we see in the checkout line or on our For You Page, it feels like we are drowning in voices telling us the way we look is not enough anymore.

“Rumors are circling through TikTok and The Daily Mail that the Kardashians are favoring the ‘heroin skinny’ look, so now curves are no longer ‘in style.’ This affects me and my mental health a lot because now I feel pressure to achieve this idealized look. Body positivity is no longer trending,” said SU freshman Jackie Dutmers.

Young women feel as though their bodies should be morphed to fit the fashion that’s in vogue when really our bodies are so much more than moldable clay.

“I see the comments on Kylie Jenner’s post that praise her six-pack abs and ‘ballerina’ arms. I can’t help but want that for myself,” Dutmers continues.

It is estimated by the National Institute of Health that around 40% of women are dissatisfied with the way their bodies look. Almost half of the female population thinks negatively of their bodies every day, and their insecurities have been fueling our economy for so long. We, unfortunately, live in a world where our physical appearance is a token exchanged for receiving adequate attention from others when it comes to meeting romantic partners or interviewing for a job in the workforce. The deficiency of self-confidence in women feels so ingrained in the machinations of our society, it seems almost impossible to change our mindsets.

Of course, we have seen trends in the past where body positivity was widely praised by celebrities like Lizzo and Ashley Graham, but inevitably people only absorb the message on a surface level. We can only ride that wave until Bella Hadid brings back low-waisted jeans and women with different body types once again feel silenced. Sometimes the forced silence makes it feel like utilizing the effects of Ozempic is the only way to feel like they can fit in.

“If there were no repercussions to using Ozempic and I had access to it, I would use it. The plethora of celebrities on the news who have been rumored to have taken the drug suddenly look happy,” Dutmers admitted.

It is not your fault if this is where your mind goes. It is hard to see yourself as beautiful when the bar is constantly being raised. It is the companies feeding off your doubts that are to blame, the media influencers that know they are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle.

For Hollywood to stop making stupid decisions that have harmful effects takes a large uproar bordering on revolution. So instead of worrying about what you can’t control, keep the change small and think about your community. Hype up your girlfriends and remind them of how beautiful they are. Here at Jerk , we love you just the way you are, and we don’t advise the use of weight-altering drugs meant to treat conditions you don’t have.

BITCH 16 JERK 15-22


Current and continuing anti-transgender sentiment.

Let’s start simple. Why now? Why trans people?

America’s right wing likes to use fear tactics as its motivating force. The last several years have been spent with fears spread about “dangerous rioters” at peaceful protests, “antifa thugs” being made out to be a domestic terror organization, and plenty more.

This strategy has long proven successful; it motivated elections — especially those of George W. Bush and Donald Trump, the former of whom started a war and invaded a sovereign nation on false pretenses, and the latter of whom has been indicted on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records in the first degree.

The current target of this group is one they have unsuccessfully attempted to attack before: the transgender community. This community was the focus of multiple speakers at the Conservative

Political Action Conference, with Daily Wire contributor Michael Knowles even stating that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”

This was only one of the multiple comments made about the community, with additional ones from Knowles, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Riley Gaines, and more — the full clown car, if you will.

The year is 2014. Katie Couric is interviewing Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox in an episode of her show meant to focus on transgender people. Couric asks Carrera about pain from surgery and when Carrera talks about plastic surgery, Couric redirects the question to her genitals. Carrera doesn’t answer those questions, and they go to commercials.

Couric interviews Cox next. She notes that people are “not familiar with transgenders,” and that Carrera, shockingly, didn’t seem to want to talk


about her genitals. Cox shuts this question down too and manages to capture the trans experience in a phrase.

“By focusing on bodies, we don’t focus on the lived realities of that oppression and that discrimination,” Cox says. Later this year, she would be on the cover of Time for a piece titled The Transgender Tipping Point, addressing civil rights issues as such.

The year is 2023. Fourteen states, over a quarter of the United States of America, have passed some form of a gender-affirming care ban, often targeting teenagers. That same group of people, transgender teens, have one of the highest suicide rates, with over 80% having considered it according to a 2020 study. Per another study in 2022, this dropped by 73% in transgender youth who received genderaffirming care. Fourteen states have decided that death would be better.

The year is 2015. Multiple states are attempting to push “bathroom bills,” ways in which to push transgender people out of using the bathroom which aligns with their gender. They largely fail, but the conservative news outrage machine gives the topic almost non-stop coverage for months. This will be one of the worst years on record for anti-transgender legislation until 2021. This would worsen in 2022. This would worsen again in 2023.

The year is 2023. Over 450 bills have been proposed in the United States in order to limit the rights and access to healthcare of transgender people so far this year. This line is being written in April. These bills are often rushed through committees, or placed on the schedule to be heard on the floor with testimony very shortly before the hearing starts.

The year is 2018. Mina Brewer, a model, is both unknowingly outed and misgendered on the cover of The Atlantic . The author of the article, Jesse Signal, would be called out by GLAAD for his antiLGBTQ+ rhetoric. The article in question, Signal’s When A Child Says She’s Trans was filled with stories of detransitioners, focusing primarily on those who are not transgender.

The year is 2023. Many of the same antitransgender activists are seen at the hearings, traveling from state to state to offer testimony. Faux medical organizations are used with names eerily similar to existing ones to promote speakers who

refuse to cite actual data. One such organization, the “American College of Pediatricians” is used solely for this purpose, mimicking the established professional organization “American Academy of Pediatrics.”

“Right now, the slate of legislation is nonstop,” said transgender legislative researcher Erin Reed. “Every single day I have 10, 15, 20 new bills that drop. Five, 10 new hearings that are going to happen the next day. It seems like every day the legislators are coming up with new creative ways to target my community.”

The year is 2021. President Biden makes a statement to the transgender community that “your president has your back.” He then proceeds to do nothing for them. Conservative outlets will spend the latter part of the year covering transgender college student Lia Thomas, a swimmer who has started competing on the women’s national team after two years of hormone replacement therapy.

The year is 2023. Worsening transphobic sentiment has spread across the U.S. The Biden administration proposes an addendum to Title IX, preventing blanket bans of transgender athletes in schools. This same addendum provides clear and simple steps to follow to ban these athletes anyways. No other protections have been implemented as of April.

The year is 2022. The Supreme Court makes the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, a direct attack on reproductive rights, informed consent, and more. Many far-right groups call it a first step to banning gender-affirming care. Some lawmakers realize that transgender people are not a majority in any place on earth, and can be legislated out of existence.

The year is 2023. Anti-transgender sentiment and misinformation are on the rise. Antitransgender hate crimes are on the rise. There is a new scapegoat for far-right movements, with rallies held across the globe decrying the evils of the community. Many of these rallies are attended by neo-nazi groups. Over 3000 emails are leaked showing far-right groups have been coordinating with legislators for at least two years.

The year is 2023.

BITCH 18 JERK 15-22


Maybe Holden Caulfield was onto something when he called out the phonies.

“My day as a Coquette girl.” “Get ready with me: indie girl edition.” “How I do my clean girl makeup.” Videos like this crop up all over my TikTok feed, and no amount of pressing the “not interested” button seems to make them go away. For every new trendy aesthetic whose head we culturally cut off, two more grow back; we dismantle the Hailey Bieber-fronted “clean girl” aesthetic as a whitewashed version of what Black women and Latinas have been wearing for years, and all of a sudden we have to start putting ribbons in our hair and coating our headphones in stickers. We shove the “cyber core” aesthetic aside as being “too 2020,” and suddenly Wednesday on Netflix makes it cool to be goth again. The internet has made it attractive and accessible to flip through trend cycles faster than a 13-year-old whose friends have convinced them to go to Hot Topic for the first time. While it’s not an issue to experiment with different clothing styles and interests to find what you like, there are more insidious issues lurking under the surface. First, these “aesthetics” are often culturally appropriative at best or straightup offensive at worst (seriously, how do we still need to remind people that dreamcatchers are a closed indigenous practice?). Secondly, they encourage overconsumption by preventing us from thinking about what we really like in favor of what we should like. And finally, these aesthetics have been reduced to fads that are based only on how you present to the public, stripping away any social or political context they once had and completely disregarding how much you actually participate in the lifestyle of the subculture. The point is how much you seem to match the aesthetic, rather than

how much you actually see yourself in it. Back in my day (read: 2013), we had a name for this: posers.

To be called a poser was once the worst insult one could think of. It didn’t just mean try-hard, it meant fake. Inauthentic. Liar. It meant, “We see you for who you truly are, and we see that you don’t even know who that is.”

But there’s a major difference between today’s posers and the posers of the past. Posers were once simple clout-chasers, latching onto whatever subculture is cool right now and profiting off of it, but they have recently become manufactured. We can’t blame individuals for being posers anymore; how could we, when we’re constantly being bombarded with ads for Demonias and influencers selling us glass skin serum so we can fit the doll aesthetic — whatever that means?

Companies have discovered our desire to be affiliated with groups, and they’ve found that they can capitalize on that by selling you the most recent subculture in a bottle. Often, these will be pale imitations of the real thing: all the glory, none of the gore. So really, you aren’t choosing to be a poser. Corporations have commodified poserdom, and they’re selling it to you.

I mentioned the cultural appropriation in these watered-down subcultures — specifically, the controversy over the “clean girl” aesthetic. But if we really think about it, what was the clean girl aesthetic? It was wearing all white (sweating strictly prohibited), drinking “spa water” (which was actually just agua fresca), and... using soap? It meant nothing, it had no goals, and it was built to be sold.

Of course, being a member of a subculture and


performing an aesthetic are different things. When you’re a member of a subculture, you align yourself with that subculture’s values and beliefs alongside visually fitting in. An aesthetic is simply a general style of dress that you can dip in and out of as you please with no real political or social affiliations. The problem begins when the boundaries between these start blurring; the clean girl aesthetic touts a unique lifestyle as if it were a subculture, but there are no real social beliefs to back it up.

Consider the goths. Goth as a subculture dates back to the 1980s and is associated with rock and synth music, death-related imagery, and a certain pessimistic mean streak. But the goth subculture is also heavily based on liberal and leftist politics. Most early goths were either allies to or members of the LGBTQ+ community at a time when it was not socially acceptable to be either. Although it is not known for its politics, it had (and has) a set of guiding values that separated the “real” goths from what they call “weekenders,” a.k.a. posers.

Removing the political and social elements out of these subcultures from their associated aesthetics takes the teeth off the movements. Likewise, punks existed to challenge the political status quo of American conservatism. Stripping them down to just wearing leather pants and studded jackets to create the “rockstar girlfriend aesthetic” also means erasing the work they did — however flawed it was — to create political change.

So how do we make sure we aren’t posers? Well, first of all, I want to re-emphasize that it’s wonderful to experiment with your style. You don’t need to be a part of a subculture to enjoy how they dress, and Jerk loves self-expression. But it’s also important to be aware of the ways that corporations are selling you these aesthetics and condition yourself not to throw your money at the first sparkly thing you see. Ask yourself if you really need that patchcoated jacket from Urban, and consider where the style inspiration came from before you buy those gold bamboo hoops. You’ll certainly save money and CO2 emissions by shopping less frequently for pieces you’ll wear more often. Plus, if we don’t give in to every single marketing tactic employed by Big Shein, it’ll send a signal that we are no longer interested in consuming watered-down aesthetics that will end up in a landfill in a few months.

So, the next time you feel tempted to give in to ads selling you the next hippie-girl aesthetic, listen to the tiny, angry 13-year-old on your shoulder telling you not to be a poser. By cultivating an authentic personal style, you will learn the antidote to poser-dom: personality.

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Pod’s gift to women has made internalized misogyny external.

You would think a podcast with the name “Call Her Daddy” would be full of fresh perspectives and female empowerment — the name subverts gender roles! Unfortunately, Alex Cooper, the now-solo host (after Sofia Franklyn’s unceremonious exit) and a wealthy white woman who offers an outlook sans nuance, fumbles the bag in a big way.

We commend trying to make empowering media for women that talks about the taboo in a way that can make people feel more comfortable in their bodies. Sex should be fun and liberating! But Cooper lets internalized misogyny bleed into her content so much so that it becomes poisonous.

“Call Her Daddy” aims to emphasize teaching women “how to live more confidently” and “how to play the game” — something men have been playing all along and arguably invented. But it begs the question of why play a “game” that’s purpose has always been to empower only white cisgender heterosexual men? Why mold unsuspecting people into players of a game that they don’t want to play? Especially when playing the game, according

to Cooper, almost always means living life in accordance with what will please those men.

There are a few majorly insane themes throughout the pod that really scream, “I hate women.” For example, Cooper claims that one of the best things you can do for yourself as a woman is to know your attractiveness “ranking” from one to 10 (what is this, middle school?) and act accordingly. So, if you think you are perceived as a three, you need to “make up” for being below average by being extremely good at sex. We worry for the sanity and self-esteem of the young girls who listen to this and take it to heart. There is no reason to reduce oneself to a number; telling other women to do that so they can “play the game” better is insensitive and obtuse.

Another stellar example of full-blown internalized misogyny: hiding your sexual past. Because hey, men don’t want to know that you’ve ever even TOUCHED another person before them. Cradle their precious egos and hide your personhood from them so they don’t think you’re a whore! And it doesn’t stop there. “Call Her Daddy” even has an entire episode devoted to teaching men how to emotionally manipulate their way out of the friend zone. The friend zone itself is a crazy concept – only being friends with a girl in hopes of one day sleeping with her. But teaching men how to “escape” is even further proof this podcast puts men’s desires far above female empowerment.

At the end of the day, misogyny affects everyone. “Call Her Daddy” telling women how to live their lives to appeal to men does far more harm than good. It assumes that all men only want casual sex and forces women to cater to that expectation rather than living life on their own terms. Rest in piss, “Call Her Daddy.” Cause of death? Stuck in the friend zone.



In Smut, we deep-dive into aspects of on and off-campus life that affect you (yes, YOU!).



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Syracuse seniors reflect on #NotAgainSU’s legacy.



Finding an internship is hard. Making it accessible is harder.



SILENCE THROUGH CINEMA Ruchatneet Printup is bringing a new lens to the Tuscarora community.
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Ruchatneet Printup is bringing a new lens to the Tuscarora community.

For a filmmaker, finding the right place to work comfortably is crucial, and Ruchatneet Printup “knew he was in the right place” at Syracuse Film. Having wrapped his thesis film over spring break, 55-year-old Printup, a VPA Film senior, is entering the final stint of his time at Syracuse.

Ruchatneet Printup is a member of the Tuscarora Nation and grew up very involved in his community. Some of his first callings in life weren’t film but rather theater and STEM.

“In high school, I had a big focus on theater and art, but also on maths and science. And, initially I went to RIT as a biomedical computing major, but I immediately knew I was on the wrong track.”

Printup explained that while drawn to the arts generally, he had not quite found a specific path, he decided to continue to pursue computing. He found that “it was just never the right time,” and “there was a lot going on in my community, which got me more involved with my culture.” Printup took a step back from the arts to focus on helping his community, with tasks like sourcing grants to fund language immersion programs. “I have been an advocate for my community retaining their indigenous language” Printup explains, after “five hundred years of genocide it is important for my own and other groups to hang on to their culture and ceremonies.”

This pressing work put a hiatus on his artistic pursuits, but he found his way back eventually.

His film career began in 2013 when he produced a documentary called “Unseen Tears,” which covered the Native American Boarding School system, the film followed indigenous children removed from their families and cultures, who were brutally reprogrammed to American

culture. Printup described that this topic “hadn’t been covered much,” despite being a semirecent problem, since “we still had elders who had been sent there.” Working with these elders, Printup and the documentary helped uncover a dark and forgotten part of American history. The documentary won several awards and sold up to 1,300 copies.

This documentary opened new doors for Printup, and it was working on “Unseen Tears” that helped him get into Syracuse University in 2019. “I was looking to transition out of working for a non-profit, and I did a lot of meditating, and that meditating led me to realize ‘you could go to Syracuse University and become a film director.’”

His current journey in the film world has built upon his nonlinear path into film school.“Being a director is a hard role to have; you have to not only be managing your project but also managing people.” He described how “working in [his] community” helped him learn to manage a film set, seeing as how both give “practice working with large groups of people.”

Printup stands apart from other VPA class members since he started his film education at 55.

“I didn’t think I could have handled all of this at the standard college age,” he said. He needed time to figure out more about himself and his goals before starting this journey.

The time spent working in the Tuscarora community gave Printup a more developed drive to tell stories about his community. His sophomore thesis film, “Dreams Interrupted,” follows an indigenous college lacrosse player’s experiences after his mother’s death. This film was a starting point leading towards his senior thesis, “Smoke,”

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which follows a mother returning home from rehab and trying to balance her recovery from addiction with reuniting with her children.

“It feels vulnerable to do work that relates to where I’m from,” said Printup. “Being from a community environment, I often feel the urge to put the community before myself and become invisible, but I can’t do that and do the work that’s important to me.”

Printup shot “Smoke” over spring break of last year and, having pushed himself to handle a larger task and crew, brought a crew of about a dozen SU film students back to his community for a week to shoot this film. Shooting on location with two large crowd scenes — one with 30 extras and the other with 60 to 70 — Printup and his crew worked for five straight days, with each shoot running about 12 hours.

“With [Smoke], I wanted to push myself past the boundaries of what I could easily do with a few people because my goal is to direct feature films so I need these kinds of experiences,” he said.

Printup is a filmmaker with a clear determination to provide indigenous representation to the screen, something he feels is sorely missing. As a result, every film he writes includes the indigenous philosophy of his culture or comes directly from their stories. These philosophies include: “being caretakers to Mother Earth, the sense of community where the whole comes before the individual, generational elder wisdom, and the process of making decisions which shall not harm seven generations down the line.”

Printup also believes that, while films like Avatar received criticism from indigenous communities, their philosophies highlight issues such as the climate crisis. Seeing films like this as well-meaning steps in the right direction, Printup hopes to be part of the wave of indigenous filmmakers who can directly put their values and beliefs onto the screen.

“There’s definitely people looking for indigenous filmmakers, like elders and community leaders wanting informational videos made. Many communities feel safer working with an indigenous filmmaker [for this reason].”

Printup cares deeply about the relationship between film and indigenous communities. He said that, in his community, there is limited trust in the film industry.

“We’ve had experiences where films have come in, and we’ve had very little control over them,” he said. “Promises are made and then not delivered on.”

Even on set for “Smoke,” Printup had to establish clear guidelines and reporting chains to avoid any kind of possible issues. But despite the past, he is eternally pushing to see his community represented on the screen.

“Being an older filmmaker, I feel like my purpose for film might already be so refined, compared to someone younger,” he said.

Through Facebook, Printup sees many indigenous people across communities entering the film world. He also saw a surge after shows like “Reservation Dogs” turned the camera toward the indigenous experience. He believes that the show is the first big indigenous pop-culture success in America, which has helped elevate indigenous filmmakers.

Printup is currently in post-production on his senior thesis film, “Smoke,” with hopes that both it and his other film, “Dreams Interrupted,” will soon enter the festival circuit.

“Being in school has been a bit of a whirlwind, and I haven’t shown much of my work from Syracuse to my community,” he said, “but as school begins to wind down I hope to make some changes and release them.”

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Syracuse seniors reflect on #NotAgainSU’s legacy.

In 2019, before she had even taken her first college final, Clarke Johnson slept on the lobby floor of the Barnes Center for over a week straight. Every night, she shifted uncomfortably as her head hit the foot of the student next to her. She drifted in and out of sleep, waking every few hours from the fluorescent lights shining brightly in her face or the presence of an armed Department of Public Safety officer looming in the distance.

The week-long sit-in was the beginning of #NotAgainSU, one of the largest student protests in SU history. The student movement stemmed from the university’s handling of a hate incident in Day Hall. Sometime overnight between Nov 6 and 7, 2019, anti-Black and anti-Asian slurs were written in the bathrooms of the 4th and 6th floors. In response, DPS officers and university administration met with the floors’ residents, asking the students to keep the news of the occurrence to themselves.

While this incident was seemingly the spark that lit the fire, for many students, the anger fueling #NotAgainSU stemmed from feelings that the school neglects marginalized students. This feeling, and the university’s long history of bias incidents, was only reinforced in the following days as more bias incidents piled up. On Nov 13, the day that the sit-in began, graffiti targeting the Asian community was found in the Physics Building. In the following three days, more vandalism was found targeting the Asian community in two different residence halls; Black students were accosted with racial slurs by non-Black students; and a swastika was drawn in Day Hall and in the snow near a student apartment building. The hate crimes crashed down in waves, repeatedly

crushing the campus community.

“Every time you got an email, it was [a matter of] making sure that something bad didn’t happen,” senior Kellen Reiche said.

The stress permeated every corner of campus, leaving students on edge.

“I don’t think I’d ever been in a situation where I could feel the tension on campus before… this was like an ‘everybody was just waiting to see what was going to happen next’ type of tense,” Johnson, who is now a senior, said.

Senior Adia Santos, an integral part of the #NotAgainSU organizational board, agreed.

“The campus climate was hot,” she said. “From the Black student population, there was an extreme sense of anger, fear, sadness, all the things that go along with a bias incident like that, and everyone felt really motivated to just do something about it.”

During the sit-in, students involved in the #NotAgainSU organization created a list of demands for the university to implement, including an allocation of $1 million for culture and diversity curriculum and an overhaul of SEM 100, a class revolving around discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusion. On Nov 21, 2019, Chancellor Kent Syverud agreed to 16 of the 18 demands, dissolving the occupation of Barnes.

“I remember seeing people cleaning up the Barnes Center [and it] was such a surreal thing. [For] one, to see it end, which is like it’s great that it’s over and the demands had been signed, but also scary because we felt like we didn’t have this hold on the university anymore, like who knows what’s going to happen after this. But there was something symbolic about seeing people literally cleaning a space when we’re trying to clean a

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Following the first protest, the university created a website to update the public on its progress. However, Santos noticed demands that were supposed to take three to five years were beginning to be marked off.

“Clearly you cannot complete that in a month. I just remember feeling extremely sad and burdened by their incapability or unwillingness to cooperate, so that’s why we had the second protest in CrouseHinds in February,” she said.

Like the protest in Barnes, students occupied the space all day and all night. This time, however, the school pushed back with more force. When students refused to leave Crouse-Hinds Hall after its 9 p.m. closing time on Feb 18th, 2020, over 30 students received letters of suspension for trespassing (although the suspensions were eventually dropped). In the following days, DPS officers stationed around the building denied the entry of any food, people, and feminine products.

Johnson, who understood Syracuse’s history of racial bias incidents, was not surprised by the presence of racism on campus. What #NotAgainSU did lead her to realize, however, is SU lets student protests take place.

“Of course, being a Black woman, that’s just my life. Racist incidents, I knew it was going to happen,” Johnson said. “But I didn’t expect it to blow up into what it was. They might cover up [the protest] after it happens, but they do let it happen in some sense.”

However, upon remembering that the university stopped the protestors from receiving food and supplies, her tone changed.

“But that’s not to say it doesn’t happen without intimidation, without any form of violence.”

Like Johnson, Reiche’s view of the university also shifted based on the events of #NotAgainSU.

“I appreciated [administration] putting on a huge event in Hendricks Chapel and freeing up time for the Dean of Hendricks Chapel, the


chancellor of the university, [and] the whole board of trustees [to] listen to students which is an incredibly empowering thing,” Reiche said. “[But] I definitely lost a little respect for the university in trying to silence an issue as part of their goal to make more money.”

Four years later, remnants of #NotAgainSU still exist on campus, particularly in the manifestation of the demands. Most visible is 119 Euclid Ave, an oncampus house serving as the center for Black life and community at SU. Additionally, the university turned SEM 100 into FYS 101, a required class for first-year students with the intention of facilitating conversations about DEI. However, many students feel the class does not effectively accomplish its goal.

“That class is bullshit,” Johnson, who has been an FYS Peer Leader for multiple semesters, said. “The fact that there are minority students in the classroom, or just anyone who’s already aware of DEIA, and they’re basically being lectured about bias? How about getting into political history or critical race theory or maybe discussing how race has intersected with the law ever since it’s been a part of the land? It frustrated me that as college students we’re being spoken to as if we’re fifth graders.”

The class discussion of #NotAgainSU revolves primarily around a video created by the university describing the events that took place. According to Johnson, it’s surface-level, inaccurate, and lacks information about why the protests began. For Santos, FYS misses the nuance that makes the movement so significant.

“It was really important just to demonstrate to the university that there are a good number of people here that care about wrongdoing to the Black community... I just had higher hopes for the administration, people that actively wanted me here and were trying to get more Black students here like they are now,” Santos said.

#NotAgainSU took an immeasurable toll on students. In the midst, though, the amplification of students’ voices and their extensive collaboration shined through.

“That was a time when a lot of people on campus came together in a way that I had never seen before, anywhere,” Johnson said. “International students were chopping it up with Black students,

and Jewish students were there too, and we are all in this space where we were like, ‘yeah, we’re all being attacked right now, let’s do something about this,’ which was incredible.”

The class of 2023 is the last class left on campus to have experienced the events of #NotAgainSU. Their final days at SU are dwindling, leaving an abundance of ambiguity about how the movement will be remembered in the future.

“I want it to be remembered how it truly happened, not as this idealized, ‘oh we let the protests happen,’ version that Syracuse University’s admin loves to tell,” Johnson said. “We had to raise hell on campus in order to protect ourselves, which is saying a lot about how Syracuse maneuvers when it comes to student protests. I just want it to be recognized and remembered as what it was.”

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Finding an internship is hard. Making it accessible is harder.

For college students, internships are a crucial step in career development. One line on a resume can make or break an interview, and the connections forged during summer-long work experiences can open doors previously closed. However, finding an accessible internship is easier said than done. With transportation costs, relocation, and unpaid work still common among large corporations, internships can go from an exciting prospect to a logistical nightmare.

Kelly Chang, a junior Syracuse University student studying advertising and analytics, has completed three unpaid internships during her college career. While she agrees the experiences helped her realize her job aspirations, she says there were significant pitfalls.

“The main problem with that internship is that when you’re in New York City, [and] considering the fact that it’s unpaid, you have to do all the commuting, pay for all the meals — I just don’t think it’s really reasonable,” she said. “You’re working in this big office building, or like in a big company, and then you’re not getting any money.”

While Chang had her parents to assist her financially during her time in New York City, she says that the experience made her wonder about students who did not have the same support.

“I really appreciate my parents for being able to support me when I’m in the city [and] to support my living expenses, but I was literally thinking, ‘let’s just say someone really wants to be in an industry or be in a company that was working in [that industry], but then they don’t have enough of the financial resources, but they still really want the


Even for positions that do not require relocation, unpaid internships can still be challenging for college students. For Maya Lewis, a first-year psychology student at SU who is currently doing an unpaid internship with the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), working in an unpaid position poses other challenges, such as time management. According to Lewis, receiving financial compensation for their work would definitely make their life a lot easier.

Lewis is doing this internship for school credit, which means that they are not being paid for the position and are doing it concurrently with their courses. The internship, which sets up opportunities to educate Syracuse residents on political activities and tries to get students involved by setting up events with different campaigns, requires 135 total hours of work. This includes going to the NYPIRG office, attending meetings, and any related work that the interns do on their own time.

Although two interns usually run each NYPIRG campaign, Lewis is solely in charge of their own campaign called Hunger and Humanities. This means that Lewis puts in more time to organize and run their events, such as an ongoing menstrual product drive, which will send the products it receives to campus and community pantries. For Lewis, time management is one of the greatest challenges they face throughout this internship; finding ways to split their time between their coursework, the internship, and everyday tasks is not easy.

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“It’s definitely a challenging program,” Lewis said. “It asks a lot of you, and you don’t get a lot of structure and organization to work with.”

Though the internship no doubt offers a meaningful opportunity for students to make an impact in the community, they have to decide whether or not having to balance the intense workload with their regular coursework and other duties is worth doing without any compensation.

Though there are challenges within unpaid internships, there are also obstacles that prevent some students from landing an internship at all.

According to a 2021 National Survey of College Internships Report done by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, students reported that some of the most common obstacles they faced concerning internship participation included “the lack of knowledge about how to find an internship (59.4%), a heavy courseload (55.9%), cancellation due to the pandemic (44.2%), a lack of internship opportunities (41.3%), and the need to work a paid job (40.1%).”

Another factor to consider is that the average distance between interns’ homes and their internships was 315 miles, according to the same UWM report. This raises the concerns of finding transportation and a way to support oneself in a new location. The report also stated that the average internship lasted 18.3 weeks. For students from lower-income backgrounds who need to work to support themselves, this is a significant amount of time to invest in an unpaid position. Even if they are gaining meaningful experience that could help them later in their career, they would be losing a large amount of valuable time and money.

These barriers disproportionately affect students depending on demographic factors such as race and first or continuing-generation student status. According to the UWM report, a significantly lower percentage of Black (13.0%), Hispanic (14.2%), and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (3.3%) students participate in internships when compared with students of other races (around 20%). First-generation college students were also


much less likely (15.8%) to participate in internships than their continuing-generation counterparts (23.4%). It is clear that while participating in unpaid internships poses certain challenges, for some students, obtaining one at all comes with its own set of obstacles.

Though students are mostly the ones dealing with these difficulties, SU advisors have also noticed these challenges. Kate Mercer is a Career Exploration Specialist with Central Career Services and noted that most inaccessible, unpaid internships are from social justice organizations with progressive platforms.

“We do still see some internships that are unpaid, which can be extremely disheartening to see,” she said. “We want to put forward opportunities for our students that empower them and train them. And especially when you see organizations that have social justice-driven missions having unpaid internships, it feels kind of ironic.”

For example, prospective interns can apply to work on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s team

this summer through Handshake. However, the opportunity requires interns to live in New York City and work for two months without pay. While Senator Gillibrand offers paid internships, the amount is not clearly displayed or discussed.

Despite the barriers, specialists like Mercer are attempting to provide support for students. The SU Career Center currently offers summer internship awards, which are designed to pay for living and travel expenses for unpaid interns. Interns are able to apply for funding through June 30th, offering financial flexibility. In addition to offering grants to applicants, Mercer says the tide is beginning to change.

“[A] positive thing to come out of this COVID era is that employers aren’t putting as much weight on factors like internship experience, and factors such as GPA are becoming less important to employers — they want to know what your skills are,” she said. “Hopefully, they’re putting more emphasis on the more creative ways that folks are getting those experiences.”

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My dorm room is a vessel taking me through the school year. At the beginning of the year, I decorated my dorm room with colorful posters, part of my collection of books, fairy lights, faux vines, plants, drawings, and so on. My room was pristine yet whimsical, full of eclectic decor. I was bright-eyed and optimistic for my first year at college. Now, my room is cluttered with empty dining hall coffee cups, loose vitamin pills, worn clothes, and crumpled papers everywhere. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for my new “home away from home.”

Every day I see the tall, looming presence of the building next to mine, it looks like a vertical take on a prison complex. I let this building and its surroundings project onto my room. I have created a camera obscura of sorts, essentially turning my room into a camera, with light peeking through a

small hole and displaying the outside world onto my dorm room’s surfaces. I see the architecture appear in my room, and I feel like I am looking at projections of the outside world on a cave wall. As I exist in this liminal space, I absorb the light shining through the lens and try to think of a time when I have not felt, at least a little, alone at college — and I fail. So, I clean up my room, piece by piece, leaving some clutter behind, and I tear down the cardboard from my window, letting the light in. And as my eyes adjust, everything seems brighter than before.

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SU first-year Padma Mynampaty tells Jerk about her budding musical career and inspiration.

Padma Mynampaty uses her soft, velvety voice and an indie pop production to capture her autobiographical lyrics. For her, music is not just a form of self-expression but rather self-reflection as she sings about the ins and outs of growing up and finding herself.

“It’s like journaling,” she said. “It’s a really good way to process my emotions and capture this one moment in time.”

Raised in the outskirts of Boston and now a first year in SU’s Bandier Program, Padma began her musical journey at age 8 when she quit guitar lessons and started teaching herself. Since then, she has jumped at any opportunity to perform live, ranging from open mic nights back in her hometown to popular house venues on campus.

“[I] just like having my friends there and having them sing along,” she said. “But also just seeing a person I’ve never seen before just vibe with the music.”

Inspired by her Indian-American heritage, Padma interlaces her music with a touch of Hindustani influence, since she has trained her voice to perform similar runs heard in this style. She also takes inspiration from other indie artists like Norah Jones and Samia, but her most significant influence stems from her own family.

“Both my grandmas were super musical. One of my grandmas wrote poetry all the time and the other used to sing in temples,” she said. “I’ve kind

of been surrounded by it, but it’s just been nice growing up as an American and also as Indian.”

On the production side, Padma has worked with professional artists to write and record songs, going as far as producing a music video for her song “I’m So Cool.” Her closest professional connection has been Sheel Davé, a member of the Boston-based band Bad Rabbits, who has helped her define her sound and navigate her way into the industry.

With Davé’s guidance, Padma released a seven-song album named “Daisy” last October. Basing the album’s floral name on her own name, “Padma” — which means “Lotus” in Telugu — the album encompasses a yearning for the future with a hint of hometown nostalgia.

“It sounds like it’s about someone [else], but it’s kind of about self-love,” she said. “It’s like a future version of myself, and I thought Daisy just sounds really pretty.”

Since the album’s release, Padma has already released another single, “Supersonic,” and is currently working on her next one. But mostly, she has focused on performing around campus to share her work with other music lovers.

“My favorite thing is seeing people singing the lyrics back to me,” she said. “I just love music, and I hope other people also love my music if they ever get a chance to stumble upon it.”

Words by Karla Perez Photo provided


ArtRage Gallery brings justice through the community.

Just about a mile down the hill from the SU campus sits ArtRage, a one-room gallery with versatile exhibits that portray the ever-changing world around us. The gallery illustrates the fluctuating climate, the environment, global crises and social justice issues. Although the exhibit has a Board of Directors and many volunteers, the staff consists of two women, Gallery Director and founder Rosie Trippiano and Community Engagement Organizer Kimberley McCoy.

ArtRage’s mission is to engage with the community to promote cultural awareness and change through artwork. McCoy said that collaborating with community members is really a part of everything ArtRage does.

“ArtRage is interested in continuing to grow our reach in the community at large; we’re always seeking new partnerships, and we want to stay relevant to the issues facing Syracuse, the U.S., and the world,” she said.

When visiting the gallery, the community engagement aspect of ArtRage immediately made itself known. A family was sitting at a table, painting landscapes on glass together. Five exhibits were on display, all covering separate issues. One artist, Christine Chin, portrayed an oceanic species and its ecosystem. Chin worked in collaboration with summer research student Wei Zhengrui who studied the species and its ecosystem. Another displayed stop-motion animations of dust storms

across different states and regions. There was also artwork showing a map of America with different species of birds and where they live. The birds came in different shapes and colors, capturing a vibrant map.

McCoy said including the community was something that took a lot of work but over the years, it became more impactful and successful.

“When we opened our doors in 2008, we had some pushback from some people in the community and from funders feeling that we were not really an arts organization because of our focus on social justice and not really a social justice organization because of our focus on the arts,” McCoy said. “Over the past 15 years, I think the community, and the ‘art world’ in general, has really embraced socially relevant art and sees its value.”

ArtRage had an entire exhibit on a suffering village in Ukraine in February, which moved the people in our community due to how it reflected the effects of the Russian-Ukrainian war. McCoy also highlighted one of their most beloved exhibits, “Change-Makers,” which honored local elderly women.

“Something that I appreciate about ArtRage [is that] we are interested in exhibiting work about as many issues as possible, and in the process, we hope that our visitors can make connections across these issues,” McCoy said.

Photo by Lisa Wang
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Siren Call

Photos by Lily Rubenstein Art Direction by Lily Brooks and Noa Putman Styling by Lily Brooks, Ashlee Cypress, Troy Hardges, Noa Putman, Lily Rubenstein, Cassia Soodak
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Modeling by Ashlee Cypress, Josh Lee, Maya Terzi, Jaxx Whitney
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How basketball influenced street wear and sneaker culture.

NBA stats can tell you a lot about a player: three-pointers made, rebounds, blocks. But what’s missing on traditional rosters and (what we care about) is the style stats of each player. Fans of basketball are most likely well aware, but players have more to offer than the final score. Turn on ESPN and take a look for yourself. The real show starts with what they bring to the stadium, and we

aren’t talking about their free-throwing abilities. Take a look at arena entrances and tunnel walkouts. You’ll see players dripped out in designer brands head to toe, with sneakers at the center of attention, for obvious reasons. Even during games, players are able to express their style by picking which shoes they wear, a privilege that athletes usually don’t get. But style isn’t new to the game. Fashion and basketball have long been intertwined, influencing us on and off the court.

Formal wear before games has been required since 2005 due to David Stern, the basketball commissioner at the time, instating a dress code. The ban included items on sleeveless shirts, t-shirts, shorts, chains, sunglasses worn indoors, and baggy/loosefitting clothes. Many players, such as Jason Richardson or SU’s own Carmelo Anthony, whose typical style consisted of the banned items, found that the new rules targeted Black basketball players. As a result, players began to follow the rules in their own way. Since the inception of the NBA, players have developed their own approach to following the rules while still expressing themselves. The nature of basketball also favors such


individuality. Since its rules only allow ten players on the court at a time which allows for plenty of spotlight, each player has a significant audience reach. Because of the necessity of each of the five basketball positions, any player has the chance to be a fan favorite. Thus, to make a name out of the arena, ballplayers show off their personalities as well. Fashion is a means to do that, and no matter what team, the players have made waves in the fashion industry.

We have to give a special shout-out to players, in particular, who brought fashion to the forefront of the NBA. Ahead of his time, ‘90s Chicago Bulls Player Dennis Rodman’s style transcends traditional modes of fashion, binary expressions of gender, and matchy-matchy items. Instead, what you would see Rodman wear could be anything from flashy silk blouses, sparkly cropped camis, and lacey open shirts with either baggy jeans, leather pants, or other edgy bottoms. Basically, everything Urban Outfitters carries but better. Don’t forget the plethora of accessories, his piercings, and his shaved dyed hair before Frank Ocean brought it back with Blonde. Like Rodman, another player who set the standard on what it means to be a fashionable NBA Player is Allen Iverson. Iverson, while having a more subdued look than Rodman, still broke molds, such as debuting the Timbs and sweatpants combo for all of NYC to adopt or the iconic “throwback jersey” look. In fact, the ruling David Stern put out in 2005 was dubbed the “A.I. Rule,” as it directly targeted Iverson’s look. Today, Iverson has been associated with several fashion brands for years, such as Reebok. Due to Rodman’s and Iverson’s unapologetic embrace of personal expression, other players can follow in their footsteps.

Besides influencing our fits and, arguably more important, basketball has directly caused the rise of sneaker culture. Starting with the first basketball shoe released by Converse in 1917, the Chuck Taylor All-Stars were the first shoes ever to have a player’s name associated with and branded on them. But Walt Clyde Frazier was the first to have a signature NBA shoe, dating back to the 70s. Designed by himself, the Puma Clyde became the choice footwear within the hip-hop and skater community and continues to remain a staple among the oldschool fashion community. While many players

have come out with their own shoes, the most popular remains the Air Jordans. For their nostalgic value and carrying Michael Jordan’s namesake, both retro pairs of Jordan’s as well as redesigned versions sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars. And Jordan’s aren’t just a shoe, they’re artifacts of cultural importance. They pioneered the trend that shoes can be worn off the court and intertwine with life. You walk on the street and you’ll see basketball shoes making a statement whenever you go.

Since the success of the aforementioned predecessors, sneaker collaborations between players and shoe companies have morphed into a long-standing relationship. It’s a relationship fans can’t seem to get enough of; fans want to emulate those they admire, and their enthusiasm is contagious. The taste of basketball fans has trickled down to the general public. Even those uninterested in basketball have items that become popularized due to its players’ notoriety. Think about the number of people you see on campus wearing Oreos or Dunks for the aesthetic without even knowing the rules of basketball. Corporations also took note of the star power of basketball players. Nike and other brands have worked with players to do collaborations because of how valuable their image and influence are. The resale market understands it as well and even exploits it, with huge secondary markets that upcharge crazy amounts because they know someone is willing to pay if it means they get to have a pair their favorite baller has. Personally, we think StockX resellers have a nice spot in hell awaiting them.

A change from its past, the NBA has embraced and even begun publicizing what different athletes are wearing pre-game. Current players like PJ Tucker, Jordan Clarkson, and Russell Westbrook are known for their eclectic, bold style that matches their insane skill level. Basketball athletes are influencers in their own right; a by-product of their skill gives their taste in fashion value. When you hoop the way these men do, no one can question why you mix Nike with Louis Vuitton. Shoes from the All-Stars are made in hopes of catching on as Jordan’s did. Without basketball, our closets and shoe racks would be a whole lot blander. And if you can’t ball like an NBA player, at least you can look like one.

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FORM AND FUNCTION: How to dress like...


Did you just find out about Vivienne Westwood from social media and want to recreate her “vibe”? Well don’t you worry, thankfully TikTok has boiled down her decades of design evolution into a soundbite. And we followed it just for you. Three main takeaways from TikTok in order to make a Westwood core fit: layers, accessories, plaid. That’s all there is to it, right?

FACE: We can agree that if you want to feel like a Vivienne Westwood model, it’s all about the attitude. You are a badass.

BOOTS: As the TikTok audio goes: “the higher the boot, the closer you are to Vivienne.”

ACCESSORIES: A pinnacle figure in punk, Vivienne would approve of adding bulky chains and DYI harnesses to any outfit. And if you have any spare ribbons, ties, or clothing scraps you can safety pin that too.

SKIRT: Vivienne loved her layers and her skirts, and the more plaid, the better.

Words by Lily Brooks Photo by Lily Rubenstein Styling by Cassia Soodak Modeling by Amaya Evans


Class can be boring, but your bag doesn’t have to be. “I like to look good going to class even if I’m just wearing sweats, it sets my mood up for the day,” James says. Though the inside of your bag might be cluttered with dried up pens and balled up pieces of paper, there’s no better way to show off your personal style with what you bring to class every day. Isa agrees, “I love seeing how people personalize their school bags with pins or patches, it gives a better sense of their personality.”

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by Lily Brooks Photos and Art Direction by Lily Brooks and Noa Putman Styling by Lily Brooks, Ashlee Cypress, Troy Hardges, Noa Putman, Lily Rubenstein, Cassia Soodak Modeling by James Peden, Dyana Gales, Isabella Bedrosian
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Getting to know the heart of the Syracuse jazz community.

It’s music that comes from the people and belongs to the people. Frank Malfitano, the founder of Syracuse JazzFest, says this is the way jazz music builds community. Since 1982, JazzFest has been largely responsible for invigorating the jazz community in Syracuse.

Jazz music has been a centerpiece of American culture since the early 20th century. The style originated in New Orleans, primarily in the Black community. Many pioneers drew inspiration from

Photos provided
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West African folk, blues, and ragtime music as well as European styles. However, the precise definition of jazz music is a mystery to historians because of the wide range of influences and cultures that contributed to shaping its countless subgenres for more than 100 years.

Jazz gained worldwide popularity through the Harlem Renaissance, a flourishing period of African American art and culture in the 1920s. This movement aimed to deconstruct stereotypes and negative perceptions of Black people and became the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement in later decades.

The Harlem Renaissance spurred the Jazz Age, a time throughout the 1920s and 1930s when jazz impacted many facets of American culture. Young people were influenced by it and began to rebel against traditional American society. Flappers emerged, people felt more comfortable discussing sex, and the women’s suffrage movement gained momentum.

Jazz is also notable for its status as protest music. Recorded by Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” was released in 1930 in response to the lynchings of Black Americans. The song was regarded as a protest anthem and was met with intense criticism from the U.S. government. Threatened by the politics of the song, government agents framed her

for heroin use and sent her to prison for one year.

From Charles Mingus’ song “Fables of Faubus,” to vibraphonist Joel Ross’ “Being a Young Black Man,” jazz music and its many iterations have persisted in calling out the injustice of American society.

The term “jazz” itself has also been a source of controversy in the community. Its origins in the mainstream derive from white critics who viewed jazz music as distasteful and immoral. In addition, since jazz encompasses such a wide array of music, it is believed by some musicians that the term cannot accurately define the complexities of the genre.

However, throughout its relatively fresh existence, jazz has been able to unite groups of people and create important vehicles for expression. This theme has continued in Syracuse.

Syracuse jazz lovers are a community passionate about bringing the music form back to the mainstream and to future generations. The area also boasts connections to many different styles of jazz. Notably, the Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse (JASS) has a focus on Dixieland jazz, otherwise known as the genre’s traditional or original style.

Influenced by the likes of ragtime, blues, and gospel music, Dixieland jazz is its own unique


subgenre of jazz music. The style places a heavy focus on collective improvisation, meaning that one instrument plays a melody or phrase and the other members of the group improvise on their instruments to form a unified sound.

The name of the genre derives from The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who created the first-ever jazz recordings in 1917.

JASS President and trombonist Bob Morris says that he wants the younger generation to be informed and engaged with the jazz community in Syracuse.

“A lot of kids play music but don’t know what’s going on in Syracuse. I’ve found that if you build something in your backyard people will listen to it, so I want our events to be in places where people can see us and appreciate this fun music,” he said.

Financial accessibility to art, particularly music, is an issue that impacts audiences who want to see live music. Ticketmaster — where most fans of popular artists purchase concert and festival tickets — has extreme power over the live concert industry. Their pricey ticket fees and deals with venues mean that fans and artists have little power over the prices and locations of tickets.

This issue came to a head after backlash from the highly scrutinized ticket-buying process of Taylor Swift’s The Eras Tour. In January, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing questioned a top Ticketmaster and Live Nation executive on their monopoly of the live entertainment industry. CEO of SeatGeek, Jack Groetzinger, said that “the industry will continue to lack competition and struggle” if the control continues. Also important is the fact that it is impossible for many people to afford live concerts with this system in place.

Malfitano explained that it brings him pride to give back to the Syracuse community and jazz fans through the free admission policy of Syracuse JazzFest.

“Everyone can attend and everyone does attend. The beauty of that is at JazzFest you will see people of all races and backgrounds and everyone is getting along,” he said.

The Jazz Appreciation Society of Syracuse also puts on accessible events, including free jam sessions, free admission for high school students and younger, and soon-to-be free admission for college students.

Joyce DiCamillo, a jazz pianist, educator, and graduate of Syracuse University’s Setnor School of Music, says that she hopes jazz music can become more accessible to and inclusive of women. In the past and during her time at SU, DiCamillo explained how women were and continue to be treated in music.

“I think as females, you are conditioned to always be right, be good, be quiet. When I did master classes, the girls hardly ever made mistakes, but the guys feel free enough to experiment and mess up,” she said.

The 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics poll found that between 2017 and 2019, only one-fifth of the 50 most highly regarded albums were recorded by women. Even getting the opportunities to record or perform, as a 2021 European Cultural Studies journal reports, is reliant largely on white men who have power in the jazz industry.

In June, DiCamillo will be one of the few female artists to perform at Syracuse JazzFest.

“It’s still mainly guys in jazz, but there are so many wonderful women who play jazz now. I attribute a lot of that to teachers who encourage us,” she said.

For young people who have yet to explore this kind of music, DiCamillo talks about the importance of not judging based on one performance or one musician. In her opinion, jazz is for everyone.

“Listen to jazz and give it an open mind, go out and seek live music. There is so much happening in jazz that you are bound to hear an unbelievable musician you’ll like,” DiCamillo said.

While jazz music is not the most popular mainstream music today, it still has a rich and large community that wants to share its sound and history with younger generations. Considering jazz’s traditions of protest, it might just be the next big thing for Syracuse students.

Protest and advocacy are an integral part of the Syracuse University experience. The sit-in of #NotAgainSU in 2019 comes to mind, as does the recent rally consisting of graduate students fighting to unionize. A similar culture of compassion runs deep in the veins of jazz music.

“With jazz, we have a greater purpose to bring love and understanding and tolerance to everyone,” Malfitano said.

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Fighting violence with violence.

In recent years, dystopian media has had a chokehold on our generation. You may be asking,

or the collapse of the government, it never fails to provide a violent depiction of everyday people fighting to survive some terrible unforeseen circumstance.

“The Hunger Games” follows the journey of an unlikely hero fighting against a corrupt government and its corrupt leaders. The film “Contagion” follows the international spread of a deadly disease.


“The Last of Us” depicts a catastrophic apocalypse with infection, isolation, and loss. All of these films have something in common: fear and death.

The common tropes of the dystopian genre show parallels to the reality we face every day. With the effects of the pandemic still lingering and issues like climate change, war, and social injustice constantly on our minds, it is not unreasonable to view dystopia as a slightly altered version of our own lives.

Why, then, are we so drawn to such violent forms of media when we already experience similar forms of violence every day?

Christina Scott, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Whittier College, says that much of the appeal comes from the reality we live in.

“I think, especially with COVID-19, we didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “There was a lot of fear and anxiety and there weren’t any answers. We were looking to our leaders and looking to the CDC, like, ‘What do we do?’ And there’s nothing. So we’re gonna naturally turn to any source of information that looks even remotely related to what we’re experiencing, which is going to be films about dystopia.”

Scott discussed the sense of hope that may come from similar or shared experiences. She talked about how immersing oneself in dystopian media can act as a coping mechanism for those who struggle to process the events happening around them.

Scott also explained the role of terror management theory, which emphasizes the fear of death and the ways in which people cope with the

danger presented in their lives.

“There’s this kind of invincibility that exists in your twenties,” she said. “So all of a sudden when you’re forced at this young age to be thinking about death and it’s every day in the media and everywhere and you’re now quarantining, there has to be a way to push those thoughts away.”

Scott said that efforts to push negative thoughts away create a desire for escapism. Since events such as the pandemic were impossible to fully escape, many turned to a withdrawal from reality and increased use of streaming services and video games. Finding characters to identify with and seeing happy endings provide viewers with a sense of hope.

However, Scott cautioned against such frequent use of dystopia as a form of escape, mentioning the danger of increased viewership of violent media. She discussed that despite the comparisons that can be found between the real world and dystopian media, it is still largely unrealistic. She mentioned that turning to such high levels of violence can desensitize the public.

“I hope that with this generation of Gen Z, they don’t become numb to violence,” she said. “I hope they’re not saying ‘I don’t know how to process violence in the real world, so I’m turning to media and sources of entertainment which will help me desensitize a little bit’ and then become numb to everything.”

Providing education and resources to help navigate the issues going on around us will help us to rely less on dystopian media. Finding new ways to cope and understand our fears or emotions can make it easier to handle issues that may feel out of our control.

Scott emphasized that while dystopia can function as a form of escape, it could alter our perceptions of everyday violence. She said that like most things, dystopian media can be used in moderation as a coping mechanism. She spoke of the importance of acknowledging reality and having conversations about our experiences.

“So I can’t just say dystopian media is bad,” she said. “There are many things that are bad and I think all these things in moderation combined with discussion and analysis and then action of some kind. That’s not bad. That’s wonderful. There needs to be that combination.”

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Deconstructing Dystopia

A deepdive into the complexities of YA dystopian novels and media literacy.

by Bryan Fletcher and Russell Tom Sun Art by Lindsey Smiles

Suzanne Collins’ young adult dystopian novel series “The Hunger Games” and its film adaptations took the world by storm in the late 2000s and throughout the early 2010s. As much as we love the Peeta vs. Gale debate, a sure part of their allure was certainly the underlying meanings and anti-capitalistic themes behind the depictions of the series’ central characters and government.

Over a decade following the original release of the “Hunger Games” trilogy, the series has recently seen a large resurgence of discourse surrounding just about every aspect of its plot, world, characters, and themes.

Naturally, some discussions within this discourse have been far less critical than others, to the point that misinterpreting the “Hunger Games” has seemingly become its very own subgenre within the discourse itself.

Online discussions regarding the “true” meaning of the series and what it stands for have proven to be rather unproductive, particularly on popular social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok — but this ultimately raises an important question: What is it about the “Hunger Games” series that has so many people coming to different conclusions? Surely finding a deeper meaning that a majority can agree on shouldn’t be that difficult.

The generally agreed-upon themes of the “Hunger Games” are those of anti-capitalism and anti-government, as seen frequently by the antagonistic actions of the Capitol versus the surrounding Districts. These themes help to establish and reinforce the central characters’ motives for fighting against the tyrannical government in an effort to overthrow the Capitol.

Collins found inspiration for the series while flipping through television channels, going from reality shows to footage of the Iraq War. The idea of how Western society has the ability to watch greed, xenophobia, power, and suffering as entertainment motivated her to write the dystopian series to both parallel and speak on current real-world issues. Collins found this combination of being able to view superficial reality stars and war-stricken nations a disturbing, yet interesting idea to base her novel on.

Since the release of the novels and films, the series has become a worldwide phenomenon, with the characters, storylines, settings, and themes becoming cemented within pop culture. Yet with this, it appears people look at parts of the series for what can be seen, not necessarily what they symbolize. Although the films are faithful adaptations, the novels are able to dive deeper into themes of violence, trauma, and inequality than the films have time to display. This is where the misconceptions come into play, where most of the discourse is between those who only watched the films versus those who read the novels and watched the films.

The ironic part of the discourse is how the very people who misunderstand the context of the series are the very ones the books are critiquing and satirizing. They rarely look deeper than what they initially perceive and view the series as only a purpose of entertainment rather than the intense seriousness of the storylines that parallel realworld events and beliefs.

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A lesson in the geometry of YA’s favorite shape.

Dismantling systems of oppression, coming to terms with being a “chosen one,” and... trying to decide which generic-looking white boy to kiss. Somehow these have all become defining traits of dystopian Young Adult Fiction, a genre that seems to stick with us. But are all these elements really created equal? Should leading uprisings and grappling with the inevitable death of the old, wise mentor really be given the same (if not less) weight than which romantic partner the main character will end up with?

And yet, the love triangle, in which two people are pursuing a romantic relationship with one person, has become a mainstay of this particular type of literature. Many attribute this popularity to the commercial success of the love triangle in the Twilight saga and the “cumulative cultural force of major titles of the 2000s that established this type of plot format as a trend,” as literary critic Michelle Gaseor puts it (the “Team Jacob” throw blanket this author’s mother still uses seems sufficient evidence of this theory).

Tom Spanbauer, author of the gay love triangle romance novel I Loved You More, uses a psychological approach to shed some light on why audiences buy into love triangles time and time


“With three you go directly back to the father and the mother and the child. Or this: a parent and two children. In either case, you’re back to what’s most fundamental about you: who has the love and who’s going to get it,” he said.

There’s no doubt that love triangles sell, but they can also result in a reductive portrayal of what is, in many cases, poignant socio-political commentary. Regardless of the complexity of the subjects covered in the rest of the novel, YA dystopian fiction is reduced to cheesy romance as a result of the prominence of love triangles. Think about how much Peeta vs. Gale (although Peeta is 10000000% the right choice) dominated the conversation surrounding “The Hunger Games,” despite all the legitimately valuable societal critiques presented in the books and movies! This also feeds into a larger conversation about how literature that’s directed at young people — once again, especially young women — continues to be deemed unintelligent and shallow, often regardless of the actual material.

Not to mention these love triangles have a history of being extremely heteronormative and lacking diversity. These stories are overwhelmingly


white and embarrassingly heterosexual in their presentation of “true love” as more or less something that strictly happens between one girl and one boy. Perhaps this is what makes Spanbauer’s I Loved You More feel just so impactful and pioneering in its depiction of a queer love triangle.

To make matters worse, continued reliance on this trope undoubtedly perpetuates the myth that a protagonist (often a girl) needs to be in a monogamous romantic relationship in order to be happy despite whatever else they may accomplish over the course of the story. What if the main character decided they simply wanted two partners

and the others making up the triangle were totally cool with it? Imagine The Hunger Games ending with Katniss, Peeta, and Gale operating as Panem’s most angsty, damaged throuple.

If publishers are going to continue to insist on including romance in the dystopian YA genre, it is crucial that they incorporate diversity among their characters. But they should also have faith that their audiences can handle a more interesting shape than a love triangle. Next time, why not opt for a love octagon? Or a love tetrahedron? Or maybe sometimes just a regular old line would suffice.

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What Apocalyptic World Do You Belong In?

Have you ever wondered if you should be shooting arrows with Katniss or running mazes with Thomas? Take this quiz to find out!

1. Do you enjoy the outdoors?

A. Yes! I would live in the woods if I could!

B. Yeah, I can enjoy a good hike

C. No, I want to rot in bed

D. If I’m outside, I’m outside.

If I’m inside, I’m inside

2. What’s your favorite color?

A. Orange like the sunset

B. Green like the vines that grow on the Maze

C. Black like the Dauntless uniform

D. Purple like the color of my favorite book

3. Weapon of choice in the Cornucopia?

A. Paint, I’m blending in until people find me

B. Fist-to-fist combat

C. A knife!

D. No weapons; I’m running away

4. Who is your companion in the apocalypse?

A. I’m a lone wolf

B. I’m with friends

C. I’m with my significant other

D. I’m with a random stranger

I found along the way

5. Biggest fear?

A. Losing loved ones

B. Small spaces

C. Public humiliation

D. Zombies

6. How do you like to relax at the end of the day?

A. A nap

B. A trip to the gym

C. Getting dinner with friends

D. A movie

7. You have to evacuate your house, zombies have taken over! What are you making sure you bring?

A. Bow and arrow

B. My dog

C. A family heirloom

D. First-Aid kit

8. Which college at SU is your home college?

A. VPA/Newhouse

B. Falk/Education

C. iSchool/Whitman

D. Arts and Sciences/Maxwell

9. You just saw a clicker, what are you doing??

A. I’ve seen worse, I’m taking it down

B. Running away, I’m quiet

C. What the hell is a clicker?

D. Literally set it on fire

10. Vehicle of choice?

A. Horse

B. Canoe

C. Train

D. Car


11. What’s your fit during the apocalypse?

Lululemon matching set

A. Oversize tee with my favorite jeans

B. Hoodie and sweats

C. Long sleeve shirt and long jeans to

D. Cover any potential zombie bite marks

12. Best hiding spot during the end of the world?

A. In a tree

B. A cave

C. A farm

D. An abandoned house

13. What’s your coffee order?

A. A fancy macchiato

B. A four espresso shot Americano

C. Nitro cold brew with a little sweet cream

D. Black coffee

14. Who’s your apocalyptic man of choice?

A. Sam Claflin

B. Dylan O’Brien

C. Theo James

D. Pedro Pascal

15. Who’s your apocalyptic woman of choice?

A. Jennifer Lawerence

B. Kaya Scodelario

C. Shailene Woodly

D. Bella Ramsey

16. Favorite meal of the day?

A. I want a fancy brunch!

B. Dinner by the fire

C. I don’t care, I want a snack instead

D. Breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day

17. Lastly, would you survive the apocalypse?

A. I’m barely making it out alive

B. I’m done within the first week

C. Girl, does it look like I would?

D. I slayed the house boots down

Honestly, this is my number one choice if it means quality time with Pedro Pascal.

Mostly D’s? You belong in The Last of Us!

Mostly C’s? You belong in Divergent! Dauntless? Nooooo thanks. You could find us smoking a joint–I mean doing farmwork in Amity.

Make sure to pack your Hokas to run fast and comfortably through that maze.

Mostly B’s? You belong in the Maze Runner!

Good luck hiding in a tree until the games are over.

Mostly A’s? You belong in the Hunger Games!


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Photos provided

On Syracuse University campus, five students consider each other friends: Oji Anderson, Avaana Harvey, Ben Webster, Bryce Meuschke, and Celso Perez. Like any normal group of friends, they casually become rock stars in their free time. Performing under the name “The Garage Lights”, the quintet have been making and performing music together since last November.

Despite heavy workloads and conflicting schedules, they practice multiple times a week on the second floor of the Shaffer Art Building. Whether it be late at night or early in the morning while freshman students sleep through their 10 a.m. classes, the band commits to perfecting their songs together.

The group’s passion shines brightly even when they are practicing. Lead singer Avaana maintains a vigorous stage presence, flailing and falling all over the place. On the other side of the room,

band members gave both criticism and praise in a hilariously affectionate manner. Following a particularly great performance, guitarist Ben proclaimed, “When we all came in after the break, I might have creamed my jeans a little bit.”

Unfortunately, due to impending semesters abroad and college graduations, this semester will be the band’s last one together. It’s not the end for the Garage Lights though, as they plan to release what the band refers to as “the record” next spring semester. It’s always been a goal of mine to write and record a record,” said guitarist Ben. Singer Avaana finds performing to be freeing, and the joy she feels is her motivation to continue. “I jump around all the fucking time, it’s really nice,” she said. Most summarizing of the band’s nature though was drummer OJ: “We’re all besties and like hanging out. I love these guys.”



The adventures of intersectional TV programming for early 2000s kids.

Your “Ben 10” calendar tells you it’s another Sunday morning in 2008, so you head downstairs to grab a box of Apple Jacks and turn on the tube to indulge in your Cartoon Network diet.

The past week in second grade was a bit rough because you don’t like running around as much as the other kids and prefer making art creations indoors. But that’s okay, you think to yourself, as you watch your favorite show “Chowder.” The “Sniffleball” episode comes on. The nine-yearold, bright purple, rabbit-esque creature typically spends his time as an apprentice for Chef Mung Daal, but Mung Daal decides in this episode that Chowder needs to go play sports games with the other kids instead of spending all of his time in the kitchen. He’s subject to advances by Panini, a girl whom he has no interest in, and is picked on by bully Gorgonzola. You see yourself in Chowder, and see how he triumphs through the woes of elementary school.

Cartoon Network raised early 2000s kids on tales of anxious characters with real-life worries in mystical settings that challenged societal norms and made us better people because of it. In Chapman University alumnus Carl Suby’s thesis, he explores the liberal outlook embodied by the network: “The slant of this ecosystem, while remaining throughout its trajectory, evolves from emphasizing the performativity of gendered identities to presentations of gender egalitarian cultures and the difference of experience between racial and cultural groups.”

In Suby’s work, he discusses an episode of “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack,” “Beard Buddies,” in which Flapjack aids his mentor K’Nuckles in a beard-growing contest that is meant to represent the toughest adventurer. At the episode’s closing, the stereotypical, buff, malepresenting contestants are revealed as women in drag. While elementary schoolers at this time may not have known that what they were seeing was “drag,” it was introduced as normal, exciting, and whimsical.

As our brains developed, Cartoon Network illustrated them with diverse body types, fluid gender identities, and friendships that transcended the typical, setting our kid minds up to acknowledge and accept differences between ourselves and the people we would encounter in the world.

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Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.