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THE WICHITAN

Staff Editorial

Recession Fears With a recession looming, what does the future hold for college students? In the recession of 2001, investors were hit the hardest by crashing technology stock prices. Computer science majors found it harder to find work in the industry. Globalization has since entwined – and entangled – everyone’s professions and lives. No one is immune. Some economists believe the recession has already arrived. Consumers are feeling the pain of inflation and skyrocketing energy prices. This will ultimately translate to fewer jobs for college graduates. Already, many companies are beginning to reduce their work force in hopes of raising their stock values during this time of uncertainty. Tuesday, Yahoo announced it would lay off hundreds of employees in an attempt to combat the slump the Internet legend has experienced from the slowing of the economic machine. College students face not only soaring energy and food prices, but also a rise in tuition rates as colleges struggle to maintain their current offerings. College students should be wondering how, exactly, we got to this stage. America is now $9 trillion in debt, according to the U.S. National Debt Clock. Each citizen’s share amounts to $30,229. The national debt has continued to increase $1.43 billion per day since Sept. 29, 2006. The Iraq War tab is approaching $500 billion. That figure comes from the national Priorities Project. Each day costs $275 million. The sub prime loan debacle has crippled the housing market. Wall Street banks stand to lose as much as half a trillion dollars as loans sour. Who’s responsible? The line is long. At the head of it is President Bush who lied to Congress – remember Weapons of Mass Destruction? – which got us bogged down in Iraq. Behind him is a Congress that turned a blind eye to predatory lending practices that duped thousands of Americans. Congress is backed by greedy businesses that shifted the labor pool from America to Asia, solely for corporate profit. And, finally, need we point out complacent Joe Citizen who worships at the altar of consumerism? Fixing what’s broken isn’t going to be easy, but there is a lesson to be learned. Important decisions revolve around politics. Who makes political decisions? Politicians. Who puts them there? You know who. Get informed. Get involved. If you don’t, try not to feel misrepresented or jilted. Instead, take a look in the mirror.

Lack of intelligent content in local paper

CHRISTIAN MCPHATE OP-ED EDITOR

Over the weekend, I finally decided to pick up a copy of the Times Record News for the first time in

over four months. It was a decision that did not come lightly. It is not that I despise the paper, but that rarely do I read anything in the local paper that I have not already read on dozens of Internet sites. Of course, the TRN does have a few local stories placed strategically through the folds of its pages that peak interest with catchy and not so-catchy headlines. For instance, the local section did have a daily report about a small percentage of criminals facing charges for their heinous crimes. One of their best freelance reporters, Richard Carter, does entertain the mind with his flare for feature writing, which is by far one of the best selling points of the TRN.

THE WICHITAN 3410 Taft Blvd. Box 14 • Wichita Falls, Texas 76308 News Desk (940) 397-4704 • Advertising Desk (940) 397-4705 Fax (940) 397-4025 • E-mail WICHITAN@mwsu.edu Web site: http://www.mwsu.edu/~wichitan Copyright © 2007. The Wichitan is a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. The Wichitan reserves the right to edit any material submitted for publication. Opinions expressed in The Wichitan do not necessarily reflect those of the students, staff, faculty, administration or Board of Regents of Midwestern State University. First copy of the paper is free of charge; additional copies are $1. The Wichitan welcomes letters of opinion from students, faculty and staff submitted by the Friday before intended publication. Letters should be brief and without abusive language or personal attacks. Letters must be typed and signed by the writer and include a telephone number and address for verification purposes. The editor retains the right to edit letters.

However, the world is drowning in chaos. Like the possible end of the world in 2012, the destructiveness of Mother Nature gone wild, global terrorism, local terrorism with meth addicts, the failure of our government to make a dent in the drug trade just south of our border, the stripping of our freedoms that go on each day in the higher courts of this nation, the crimes against humanity in Africa by warlords and preteen killers, the upcoming recession, the housing disaster that is affecting American taxpayers, the crimes against humanity committed every second by health insurance companies, it would seem that the editors at the TRN could find something for reporters to write about instead of using articles from other newspapers. On Sunday, with hands that shook from too much coffee pumping through my veins and thundering through the damaged chambers of my heart, I deposited my $1.50 and grabbed a paper before the jaws of the newspaper rack could snap off my fingers (I tend to have that problem from time to time). After picking up the TRN, I rushed home, made a cup of coffee (like I needed anymore), lit a cigarette and opened the paper, hoping

to find stories that would challenge my mind like the authors from my upper-level English courses. I was disappointed, to say the least. Now granted, the front page did have an interesting story honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and a semiinteresting story on new benefits for Wichita County using federal money, but then there was yet another story on the presidential candidates (which has been done far too many times) and a “Town in trauma,” a one-sided story about Sderot, Israel, a town being destroyed by thousands of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip (and yet, as usual, there is no mention of the crimes Israel is committing against the Palestinians by charging outstanding rates for utilities and treating them like infidels). The most interesting story on the front page, “Homeless on the homefront,” was at the very bottom of the page, a story enlightening the readers on the truths of how our government throws aside our returning veterans after they do their time fighting for our “freedom.” It only got worse the further I delved into the depths of the paper included were numerous stories from the Chicago Tribune that made me feel like I was in Chicago and not Wichita Falls.

After reading an editorial about teachers losing their days off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (as if there was nothing more important happening in Wichita Falls to enlighten the intelligent readers of the TRN) and numerous opinion columns on absolutely nothing as well. The Dirt section showcased writers with seer-like abilities who condemned an irate McDonald’s worker (who is going to be a slacker for the rest of his life because he was upset with management) and cried about the loss of the Dallas Cowboys for far too many paragraphs (come on, they lost because a better team beat them). I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and a horrible headache. In a world where nothing is what it seems, the readers are depending on editors to break the mold and fill their papers with newsworthy events, opinions and editorials, not the same old crap that we can find surfing the net. For the love of whomever you may worship, challenge our minds and force us to think about the moral dilemmas facing the world today. Why not make us mad in an intelligent way for once?

was easy to tell he was crying. I swung open the door and greeted the small boy with a glare. “What?” (Irritability is also said to be a symptom of the “angst.”) He said nothing. Instead, he pushed his way in my room and flung himself on my bed, wailing. “I c-c-can’t do it!” he bawled. “I cc-can’t!” You know someone is in hysterics when they go into that uncontrollable hiccup-cry mode. “Can’t do what?” He didn’t say anything. He took my hand and pulled me out of my room, through the foyer, down the hall and into the bathroom. With each step he took, he increasingly became more upset. When he stopped walking, I didn’t see anything wrong with the picture: we were in the bathroom…so? The light was on, the bathroom was empty and he was still frantic. He pointed down. I followed his gesture. I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe a giant gaping hole or a rabid monster or something, but that wasn’t what I saw. There, on the ground beside the toilet, was a cricket. It was stuck on its back and was squirming frantically to flip itself right side up again, but to

no avail. I often see crickets or other bugs stuck on their backs. You almost always know that they are going to die; they can’t flip themselves over on their own, and you know eventually they will squirm themselves into a coma, or whatever other state bugs go into and stop moving. “What? It’s just a cricket, Brady. Are you scared of it?” He shook his head, still crying. “What’s wrong with you?” I asked as I picked up the bug. “He was going to die.” said Brady. “Yeah. So?” “I didn’t want him to.” “Then why didn’t you pick him up?” “I was scared.” He had finally stopped crying and I had finally stopped being grouchy. It was like that moment in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” when the Grinch’s heart finally begins to grow, and his stone expression softens. That was me. I led my brother outside and we let the cricket go. It scampered off into the grass as Brady watched it go. He cared so much about this tiny bug’s life and he wanted to save it. Yet, being the small boy that he was, he did not want to pick it up. It took the heroic rescue from an

older sister to do that. He valued life so much, he became frantic over a small, struggling animal. Even the smallest being, the tiniest example of life was that important to him. Looking back, I don’t just see a cute story. I see a child exhibiting a rare emotion in today’s society: compassion. Author Leo Rostin once said, “I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, and to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” The difference I made was not just the addition of one to the cricket population. Something I will remember for the rest of my life is seeing the relief in a young boy’s eyes as I released a cricket in my front yard. To him, it was an unlucky cricket finding its way back home. My brother didn’t want any life to be lost, no matter how insignificant it may have seemed to the rest of the world. What I learned from him that night is to think of others. I learned to have compassion for things smaller than myself, like listening to a sixyear-old’s cry and to help a doomed cricket off its back.

New columnist tackles college students

In this age of cyber space, brainless celebrities and a widespread “party like a HALEY CUNNINGHAM rock star” FOR THE WICHITAN attitude, do we lose sight of tenderness and compassion? When I was thirteen years old, my little brother was just out of Kindergarten. We lived with our mother and little sister in a big brand new house. I had contracted a r ecent dose of “teen angst” and would stay alone in my room, all day and night, with the music blaring. My younger siblings would play outside, and my Mom would do Mom things. I always had a fairly close relationship with my younger brother, Brady, but now I was going to see a different side of him. At about midnight, Brady came knocking on my locked bedroom door. I was awake, as a common symptom of the “teen angst” is insomnia. “Go away,” I snapped. “Haley. I need you.” said Brady. It

Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief Brittany Norman Managing Editor Chris Collins Entertainment Editor Position Open Op-Ed Editor Christian McPhate Sports Editor Bobby Morris Photo Editor Patrick Johnston

Reporters Richard Carter Courtney Foreman Josh Mujica Photographers Loren Eggenschwiler Graphic Artist Robert Redmon Advertising Manager Correlle Ferlance

Copy Editor Kimberly Stiles Adviser Randy Pruitt


Feature

THE WICHITAN Jan. 23, 2007

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THE WICHITAN Jan. 23, 2008

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CHRIS COLLINS MANAGING EDITOR To most college students, stealing music from the Internet is pretty easy. All it takes is a computer, a keyboard and a connection to the World Wide Web. One keyword and a double-click of the mouse and you’ve increased your music library by one. Easy, right? Music piracy, which encompasses illegal downloading from Websites such as LimeWire and KaZaa, mass producing CDs for profit and even burning copies of copyrighted music, has become about as common in everyday college life as the iPod. Still, it’s a crime, one that reaps legal penalties of five years in a federal penitentiary or a $250,000 fine. That’s a maximum penalty of $9,250 per song illegally downloaded, something most college students and their families can’t afford to pay. Despite this, 83 percent of students report having pirated music either on- or offline in their lifetimes, according to an informal poll administered to 50 MSU students in October. Media measurement Website bigchampagne.com states college students were responsible for 1.3 billion illegal song downloads in 2006, more than 30% of all illegal music downloads in the United States. “Look at this campus. It’s virtually everywhere,” Dr. David Wierschem, professor of management information systems at MSU, says. “I’ve got a daughter with 400 songs on her iPod,” the business professor says. “I happen to know that she’s paid for all of those. But she’s one of the rare ones.” That statement seems appropriate in light of recent actions taken by the RIAA (the Recording Industry Association of America, representative of big-name record labels such as EMI, Sony BMG and Capitol) against college stu-

Feature

own with dents nationwide who have been accused of stealing music online. As of February 2007, the RIAA had issued 400 of its “pre-litigation settlement letters,” or offers to settle a lawsuit outside of court for a fraction of the price, to 13 college campuses. Among those targeted were the University of Southern California, the University of South Florida and the University of Texas - Austin. Since, the RIAA has sent hundreds more pre-litigation letters to campuses nationwide. Some universities, such as the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, have been sent settlement letters by the RIAA on more than one occasion during 2007. Most universities in the U.S. have adopted policies to stem online piracy, in part to meet “best practice” standards set forth by the RIAA. In 2007, a Campus Computing poll reported 70 percent of colleges cut off student Internet use if students when students were caught pirating music. Almost half had implemented software during the year to attempt to control piracy. MSU officials, however, don’t seem to think illegal downloading is an issue on our campus. “In my 19 years, this is the first time it has been addressed as a topic,” Dr. Howard Farrell, general counsel and vice president of university affairs at MSU, says when asked if music piracy is one of his primary concerns. Currently, MSU enforces no particular rule applying to illegal file-sharers, he says. That’s not to say the university is ignorant of the growing national problem that piracy poses; the campus information systems department utilizes a number of safeguards that attempt to ensure MSU doesn’t become a candidate for RIAA lawsuits. For example, the university has recently adopted a similar zerotolerance policy to piracy as many other institutions in the United States. Students caught download-

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ownloading

“They tried to ride around it by downloading songs illegally and transferring it to iTunes or something,” Kemp says, “but I don’t think it plays a big role anymore.” Director of Information Systems Michael Dye credits software advancements for MSU’s success in a field where many other universities have failed. This software, called a “packet shaper,” has already blocked 22 ports associated with illegal filesharing on both resent and MSUnet servers. If the problem weren’t kept in check, school bandwidth access -- already a point of irritation among the university population -- would be even slower, Dye says. MSU Dean of Students Dale Neely believes it’s a university’s

place to educate students about the harms of music piracy. “You have to give them the tools to make the best decision possible,” Neely says. He mentions that the issue could easily be addressed in College Connections or in leadership-based classes. However, 81% of MSU students who steal music online said they were aware of the legal penalties for their actions, a poll revealed. Only nine percent said they would stop pirating music when they were presented with piracy’s legal penalties. “They know it’s illegal,” Joe Geraghty, documentarian, says. “It’s a long term deal. Education is always more effective than punishment.” Geraghty is the senior docu-

mentary producer/director for the Close Up Foundation, the nation’s leading civic education provider. His documentary, an informational movie about the effects of piracy, was sent to more than 15,000 high school students nationwide in 2007. He hopes his efforts can help stem the tide of online music piracy nationwide, and says his ultimate goal for the project is to “create an atmosphere that respects art.” He also mentions that there are easy, legal alternatives to stealing music, such as popular social networking music Websites imeem and Ruckus. Students should realize that although stealing music online is easy, it can also be costly.

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ing illegally at MSU will have Internet privileges revoked until they appeal to the information systems department. Though PC/Networking Services Manager Jim Hall wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how many students’ access to the Web had been cut, he maintains the means justify the ends. “We’re not trying to be punitive,” Hall says. “We just don’t want to be on the receiving end of RIAA notices.” “They watch our network and see what you’re doing,” Sonny Skanning, a freshman housed in Pierce Hall, says in reference to the MSU information systems team. “They catch on to illegal downloading very quickly.” Jeff Kemp, also a freshman in Pierce, says some students living in the dormitory attempted to access music illegally at the beginning of the year, but most guilty residents have since stopped on their own or have been encouraged to.

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5 Entertainment Communicating via keyboard THE WICHITAN Jan, 23, 2008

Networking sites draw students away from schoolwork with allure of constant contact with friends CORRELLE FERLANCE AD MANAGER

Pollo Meza, a MSU senior, spends at least 6 hours a day socializing with friends on Myspace, Facebook and similar social networking sites. Admittedly, he spends just one hour per day studying for his classes. Like so many MSU students who are members of online networks, Meza has fallen prisoner to what is called “the trap.” Students who have signed up on these sites often become addicts. Meza said he never intended to spend so much time online, yet he finds himself checking his email at least four times per day, checking his online accounts multiple times throughout the day, and sitting in front of the computer is even the last thing he does before he goes to bed. “There’s an impulse to see what’s new online,” he said. “Like if my friends wrote on my wall. Even at times when I have an assignment, I find myself checking my email first.” Meza said he has been a member of several online networks for a few years. “At one point in time I realized these sites were consuming too much of my time so I closed them all,” he said. “But guess what happened? I recreated them not long after.”

Meza said he felt as though he was missing what was going on, and all of his friends encouraged him to rejoin. “I have over 200 friends on Facebook,” Meza said. “Most of them are just acquaintances, actually. They are just people that I’ve met from classes or just know around MSU. Normally if someone sends me a friend request and I realize that they attend MSU, I just accept it.” Unakem Ogar is another MSU student who spends quite a bit of time online. “To be honest, I check my accounts every day because I feel out of touch if I don’t,” she said. Ogar said she uses Myspace and Facebook as a means of communicating with her friends and keeping up with what’s going on. “I have a lot of friends that are not attending MSU so I basically use this as an opportunity to catch up with them, all my old buddies from high school,” she said. What many students do on these online social networks is add photos, describe themselves and their interests, email their friends within the network, comment on their friends’ photos and join groups. Ogar said she knows friends who have more than a thousand ‘friends’ on these online social networks. “Some people basically use it to meet peo-

ple and get dates,” she said. “But I don’t put any personal information on there. I would not encourage dating through Myspace because people can get hurt in the process. I know a lot of people who put information on their page just to look cool.” Dr. Laura Spiller, assistant professor of psychology, said that she believes because online networks are so stimulating, the choice between studying for a class and surfing Facebook is easy. “Socializing online is not inherently bad,” Spiller said. “When it becomes so addictive that students’ lives revolve around checking their networks is when it becomes an issue.” Spiller said that socializing in campus organizations allows for face-to-face contact, which online networks cannot give. “Online networks are impersonal, which might explain why some have more than 200 friends online and only speak with a handful face-to-face,” she said. Spiller said that some students find comfort in having constant access to social networking sites, but that they can be risky. “Even the bars are closed at 3 o’clock in the morning when some students are online,” she said with a laugh.

Nominations announced for strike-imperiled Oscars Like one of those NASA probes sending a signal into deep space, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences beamed its list of Oscar nominees into the blackness of Tuesday morning with no assurance a reply will ever come from the stars. During Hollywood’s annual sunrise serenade of itself, “No Country For Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” each picked up eight nominations to lead a field almost

evenly divided between those two and “Atonement” and “Michael Clayton” with seven apiece. That means that in a year in which no clear frontrunner for Oscar supremacy had previously emerged, none did Tuesday either. “No Country,” an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s fierce novel about the truth and consequences of crime by the Coen brothers, received nominations for best picture, supporting actor (Javier Bardem), for the writing and direction of Joel and Ethan Coen, as well as

several technical awards. “There Will Be Blood” had a slightly gaudier haul, earning nominations for best picture, actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and for Paul Thomas Anderson’s direction and adapted screenplay of the Sinclair Lewis novel “Oil!” That is nominally what the film is about, although, like “No Country,” it’s really a story of avarice, greed and sin without redemption - all subjects Hollywood knows something about. The nominees for best picture are “Atonement,” “Juno,” “Michael Clayton,” “No Country For Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood.” With the Hollywood writers strike against the studios now entering its third month, and the 80th Academy Awards just 33 days away, there remains a very real chance that no stars will ever come twirling up the red carpet to claim their gold statues. The Oscar ceremony is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. EST on Feb. 24. If it happens. If it doesn’t, if the awards end up being mailed out following a press conference, which is what happened to the Golden Globes, it will reveal an uncomfortable truth about the Oscars: That without the glamour of the stars in their Vera Wang gowns and Valentino tuxes, the awards themselves might as well not exist. Hollywood’s biggest event has become a reality TV show. But for the time being, there is hope. And where there’s hope, there is Oscar campaigning,

which means a very real chance of sin without redemption. “Michael Clayton” did a little better than anticipated, adding to the expected nominations for best picture and for George Clooney as best actor, along with Tony Gilroy’s surprise nod in the directors race. Gilroy also got a nomination for best original screenplay. Tom Wilkinson was among the supporting actor nominees for his electric performance as a lawyer losing his mind. It was a good year for that. Julie Christie cemented her frontrunner status in the best actress race, picking up a nomination for her performance as a woman losing her mind to Alzheimers disease in “Away From Her.” There was one mild surprise in that category (Laura Linney of “The Savages”) and another very big one: Cate Blanchett received a best actress nomination for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” a movie very few people saw, or liked, and Angelina Jolie was not nominated for her role in “A Mighty Heart,” another movie very few people saw, although at least some of them liked it. Academy voters, who can never quite get enough of Blanchett, gave us more than our fill of her this year, also nominating her for her wonderfully funky imitation of Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There.” Her main competition in that category will come from Amy Ryan, who plays a mother behaving badly in “Gone Baby Gone,” and Ruby Dee, who plays a mother behaving sadly in “American Gangster.” Dee is only onscreen for the blink of an eye, but she gets to slap Denzel Washington, which is one of those things that tends to get people’s attention. Another supporting actress contender is Saoirse Ronin, the young Irish actress who steals “Atonement”; she also stole the only acting nomination for that picture, leaving leads Keira Knightley and James McAvoy ditched in a sad embrace. Other snubs considered memorable - if only to the people who received them - were the absence of any major award love for “Into the Wild,” and only Johnny Depp’s nomination as best actor for “Sweeney Todd.”

‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘Juno’ are two of the movies in competition for Best Picture for this year’s Academy Awards. ‘Juno’ actress Ellen Page is also a nominee for Best Actress and ‘No Country For Old Men’ co-star Javier Bardem is in the running for Best Supporting Actor.

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MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS


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T HE W ICHITAN Jan. 23, 2008

Entertainment

‘Mockumentaries’ make the outlandish seem true MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS

In the new movie “Cloverfield” a towering monster runs amok in New York City, knocking over buildings and collapsing bridges. No, it’s not a very original idea. But “Cloverfield” sells an old premise by telling the entire story through the footage shot on a video cam by a 20-something partygoer who witnesses these cataclysmic events. “The idea of a Godzilla-like creature trashing New York is pretty absurd,” observes Anthony Timpone, editor of Fangoria, a magazine devoted to horror, fantasy and science fiction. “But by telling the tale through ‘found footage,’ the filmmakers provide the sort of immediacy that might overcome the viewers’ objections. They’ve even cast the film with talented unknowns. If it was Tom Cruise running around trying to evade the monster, it would take you out of the movie. But having unknown actors helps sell you on the story’s authenticity.” No matter how convincingly made, “Cloverfield” is unlikely to persuade anyone that it’s based on real events. Yet just a few years back a little movie called “The Blair Witch Project” did just that. The film so effectively employed “found footage” - purportedly left behind by members of a documentary crew who vanished in the Maryland woods - that thousands of gullible moviegoers became convinced it was the real deal. Called fake documentaries, mockumentaries or faux reality, movies that mimic documentary forms can range from the hilarious to the dead serious. Often, as in the comedies of filmmaker Christopher Guest (“Waiting for Guffman,” “Best in Show”), they have satiric intentions and slyly ridicule political and cultural norms and human foibles. Sometimes the format is used to make the scares scarier, as with “Cloverfield” or George Romero’s “Diary of the Dead” (scheduled to open Feb. 15), in which footage shot by students making a zombie movie reveals that they’ve captured real zombies on film. At other times, as with director Brian De Palma’s “Redacted,” the mockumentary format brings added realism to dramatic current events. In that film the rape and murder

MEMORABLE MOCKUMENTARIES

Recent release “Cloverfield” is the most current example of the Mockumentary genre. The film explores the results of a monster attacking Manhattan.

“Cannibal Holocaust” (1980): In this gruesome exploitation film, documentary footage left behind by a film crew in the South American jungle reveals a bloody encounter with an Indian tribe. “This Is Spinal Tap” (1984): A has-been Brit heavy metal band tours America in this hilarious faux documentary from Rob Reiner. Among the leads is Christopher Guest (see below). “84 Charlie Mopic” (1989): An American patrol in search of the Viet Cong is shown in the footage of an Army cameraman sent along to record their mission. Regarded by many as the most authentic Vietnam combat movie ever. The films of Christopher Guest: After starring in “Spinal Tap,” Guest adopted the mockumentary as his signature directing style. The result: largely improvised comedies like 1996’s “Waiting for Guffman” (about a small-town historic pageant), 2000’s “Best in Show” (the national dog show), 2003’s “A Mighty Wind” (folk singers) and 2006’s “For Your Consideration” (Oscar mania). “The Blair Witch Project” (1999): Made on the cheap, this atmospheric horror film felt so “authentic” many moviegoers assumed it was the real thing. One of the most lucrative movies ever released. “The Office” (2005- ): This popular workplace TV comedy employs documentarystyle talking-head interviews in which characters speak directly to the camera. of an Iraqi girl by American soldiers is told entirely through the evidence left by a GI’s video, surveillance cameras, Web sites, news footage and a documentary film. It’s fake, but it looks real. As we’ve seen with “Blair Witch,” these movies can be quite convincing, which raises an interesting question: Are we sophisticated enough to recognize when the images we see in theaters and on TV and the Internet have been faked? Are we smart to the scam? “I don’t think there is an easy answer to these questions,” said Craig Hight, a New Zealand educator and co-author of the book “Faking It: Mock-Documentary and the Subversion of Factuality.” “Audiences are familiar with mockumentaries after watching ev-

erything from ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ to ‘Blair Witch’ to TV’s ‘The Office’ to ‘Borat.’ So they are ‘sophisticated’ to the extent of their knowledge of the form.” People watch reality TV shows like “Survivor,” well aware that authentic images can be manipulated and rearranged, Hight said, and almost everyone recognizes that photographs and video footage can be digitally altered so convincingly that only analysts with sophisticated computer programs can detect the changes. “Despite all of these developments, I think we still have a common-sense belief in photographic images,” Hight said. “We go to the television set to see what really happened, to hear the emotion, to live something of the experience. We

still seek those forms of media that we can assume are more ‘authentic’ or ‘raw.’ I think that’s a key part of the attraction of sites like YouTube, with so much amateur content.” In fact, the Internet is replete with sites offering bits of fuzzy footage recorded by just plain folks on their cell phone cameras. We assume that what we see really happened, whether it’s footage of skateboarders doing incredible stunts or of sidewalk fistfights. But there’s nothing to stop a tech-savvy provocateur from giving us staged or digitally manipulated footage and making it seem real by mimicking the look and feel of something recorded on a cell phone. It’s all part of a long tradition of selling fantastic fiction by making it seem real. Bram Stoker’s original vampire yarn “Dracula,” for example, was written as a series of diary entries, an approach that made the story seem plausible. Orson Welles’ infamous “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast in 1938 so perfectly mim-

icked a night of standard radio fare that when it was interrupted by fake news reports of a Martian invasion, mass hysteria followed. “We’re pushovers for this stuff,” said Chris Gore, movie critic and operator of the pop culture site filmthreat.com. “You could argue that there are no original stories left, but there are original ways of telling those stories. A film told in fake documentary style approaches the material in an entirely new way. And we’re eager - maybe too eager - to buy into the illusion.” An exhibition opening next month at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington examines this very issue. The show, “The Cinema Effect: Illusion, Reality and the Moving Image,” explores (according to the exhibit’s program) “the ever-increasing impact of the cinematic on our perceptions and the ways in which the very boundaries between ‘real life’ and make-believe have become at least blurred, if not indecipherable.”

Kristen Hileman, co-curator of the exhibit, said the show examines “how contemporary artists use a documentary aesthetic to create a convincing illusion of real life, or to present alternate views of reality.” One installation, created by a young woman who grew up in the Republic of the Congo, contrasts propaganda footage celebrating that country’s dictator with images of the artist participating in a march to honor his reign. “Only her movements are so mechanical and puppet-like that it forces you to examine how politicians and the media can create a spectacle that doesn’t at all represent what people are truly experiencing,” Hileman said. Another piece in the show uses a computer program to turn footage of the reading of the verdict of the O.J. Simpson trial into a cartoon. The change in medium, from news footage to animation, completely changes the viewer’s reading of the scene and forces us to consider how images can be manipulated. “You come away thinking that we really need to be savvy about what we’re looking at,” Hileman said. Younger audiences tend to be wiser to visual trickery than their parents, Hight suggests. “What’s somewhat shocking and disturbing for older audiences has become just a fact of life that young people deal with every day,” he said. “After all, we’ve got ‘The Daily Show’ giving us a constant lesson in deconstructing the news. It’s a new kind of literacy which is becoming more mainstream, and it’s created a more challenging environment for filmmakers to operate within.” Hileman said she endorses “a healthy cynical attitude” about the images we’re fed through the media. “That attitude is a manifestation of a culture becoming more selfaware about image use and the technological tools that can manipulate reality. “But at the same time, one of the big attractions of art is that people appreciate being fooled. We love the illusion, and part of the pleasure of being sucked in is knowing that the reality we’re being immersed in isn’t real. “The cinematic experience, after all, will always be about suspending our disbelief.”

U2 hits big screen in 3D Heath Ledger dead at 28 M CCLATCHEY N EWSPAPERS Just when you thought Bono’s head couldn’t get any bigger ... That joke pretty much wrote itself going into “U2 3D,” and so does any concert movie by the Irish megaband. Not only is U2 consistently rock’s best act at electrifying arenas and stadiums (sorry, Bruce; forget about it, Stones), it also always invents dazzling visuals for its tours that

make for prime film fodder. “U2 3D” doesn’t get in the way of any of that. Even as U2’s most ambitious film project since 1988’s “Rattle and Hum,” it’s still little more than 85 minutes of concert footage - albeit super hi-fi, three-dimensional footage that looks so crisp and clear you half-expect to see your own reflection in Bono’s fly glasses. Shot over several South American stops on the last leg of

the band’s 2005-2006 “Vertigo” tour, the movie might seem a bit stale to dedicated fans. We saw this tour in Minneapolis more than two years ago. By comparison, Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus’ 3-D movie will hit theaters Feb. 1, just three months after she performed here (the difference: U2’s Imax entry was far more technically demanding; plus, let’s face it, U2 are ageless, and any Cyrus movie would probably go straight to video in two years). The wait pays off, though, in the film’s genuinely high-grade digital video/audio quality. Closeups of Bono passionately delivering “Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own” are as impressive as wide-angle shots that show an entire soccer (or futbol) stadium exploding to “Vertigo” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” A few clever enhancements also help pull the onstage visual effects onscreen. “U2 3D” doesn’t make you feel like you’re there in the crowd. It makes you feel like you’re floating above the fans and riding their energy wave like a surfer during hurricane season. Aside from when he walks on water, it’s probably as close as we’ll ever get to feeling what Bono feels.

MCCLATCHEY NEWSPAPER Heath Ledger’s unexpected death at age 28 seems yet another improbable facet of what had become, in less than a decade, among the more improbable ascents in the mercurial history of motion-picture stardom. When the actor, born Heathcliff Andrew Ledger, in Perth, Australia, achieved his big Hollywood breakthrough in 2000’s “The Patriot” as Mel Gibson’s son, he appeared to most audiences as brawny, good-looking and destined for the kind of blandly heroic action roles he nailed down right away playing a Revolutionary War hero. But by the time Ledger received a 2005 Academy Award nomination for his bold, detailed and heartbreaking performance as bisexual cowboy Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain,” there was hardly anyone who would think of Ledger as a one-note actor. Indeed, after his coup in “Brokeback,” Ledger was being compared to such first-tier actors as Marlon Brando, Sean Penn and fellow Aussie Russell Crowe. But even before “Brokeback” propelled him into the front ranks of male movie leads, Ledger showed his willingness to assume multidimensional roles, such as the tormented, suicidal son of a coldblooded prison guard in 2003’s “Monster’s Ball.” In 2005’s “The Brothers Grimm,” he played Jacob, the more cir-

cumspect and thinskinned of the fabled fairy-tale writers, as depicted by director Terry Gilliam. And in 2006’s “Candy,” filmed in his native country, Ledger played a poet as desperately addicted to heroin as he is to an ill-starred love affair. More recently, Ledger had earned plaudits for playing a moody actor evoking an aspect of Bob Dylan’s multitiered legend in Todd Haynes’ “I’m Not There.” “I’m in complete shock right now. I can barely talk about it,” Haynes said by phone Tuesday. “I loved Heath. He was Australian-born actor Heath Ledger was found dead in a downtown Manan amazing man, an hattan apartment in New York, on incredible actor and I Tuesday, January 22, 2008. can’t believe this has happened.” At various times in his life, Ledger had recently finished Ledger was romantically linked work in the coveted role of the with actresses including Heather homicidal comic book villain, Graham and Naomi Watts. He The Joker, in Christopher Nolan’s became involved with actress “The Dark Knight,” which is slat- Michelle Williams, who played ed for release this summer. This Ennis’ wife in “Brokeback,” and is the sequel to 2005’s “Batman they lived together in Brooklyn’s Begins,” also directed by Nolan. Boerum Hill section until they At the time of Ledger’s death, he broke off their engagement last was working again with Gilliam fall. The couple has a 2-year-old on “The Imaginarium of Doctor daughter, Matilda. Parnassus.”


Sports

THE WICHITAN Jan. 23, 2008

7

Clutch play spurs comeback BOBBY MORRIS SPORTS EDITOR Clutch plays late in Saturday night’s contest by a couple of experienced seniors gave the women’s basketball team their first conference victory of the year this Saturday at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Midwestern successfully came all the way back from thirteen points down in the second half to take the win against Texas A&M-Kingsville, 6255. Seniors, Stacy Staten and Brittni Morrison, led the charge down the stretch accounting for nineteen and fourteen points, respectively, while Morrison hit three key three-pointers. Going into halftime the Mustangs found themselves trailing 33-25, but they didn’t stop competing as they came out of intermission with passion and a needed spark if they were going to complete the comeback. Slowly, the Mustangs chipped away at the lead, until with 3:10

left on the clock a go-ahead trey by Morrison, set up by a nice steal by Brandy Moore, gave the Mustangs the lead for good. The Mustangs went on to score six unanswered points to finish out the game and seal. Morrison also added seven rebounds on top of her performance, as Staten added six rebounds of her own to her career-high nineteen points. Rosy Ofoegbu also tallied nine rebounds and two blocks to lead the team in both categories. Felecia Soza led the Javelinas in scoring with a game-high twenty points, as Texas A&M-Kingsville falls to 5-10 on the season and 1-1 in the Lone Star Conference. This was a huge victory for the women’s basketball program and improves their overall record to 78 and brought them back to 1-1 in Lone Star Conference play. The Mustangs actually opened up their Lone Star Conference play last Wednesday, as they hosted the

Tarleton Texans at D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The Mustangs came up short of pulling out a hard fought game against the Texans, fighting backand-forth until eventually dropping the game, 70-61. Brandy Moore led the Mustangs with a game-high seventeen points, while Ofoegbu and Staten both chipped in ten points. A balanced attack from the Texans, featuring five players with eight or more points, allowed for the Texans to take the early lead and never look back. MSU made runs to try and cut the deficit, but could never tie the game up. The Mustangs are set to play West Texas A&M tonight in the First Bank Center in Canyon. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. The contest can be heard live on 100.9 BOB FM, bobradio.fm, or on the MSU athletic website at msumustangs.com. Broadcast time is set for 5:45 p.m.

Senior duo racking up accolades BOBBY MORRIS SPORTS EDITOR

Since the abrupt ending to the football team’s season, two standout seniors, quarterback Daniel Polk and center Tony Burson, have been undeniably linked by their collections of postseason awards. Back in December, Don Hansen’s Football Gazette selected both seniors to the All-Southwest Region’s first team. Burson was the anchor to a line that blocked for the nation’s top offense, while Polk was the engine to that vaunted offense. Then, more recently, the senior duo were both named in D2Football.com’s annual announcement of their post-season accolades. Burson was named to the All-American second team; while Polk was named to the All-American honorable mention team, despite the fact that he was the only quarterback in all of col-

Polk

Burson

lege football to rush for over 1,000 yards passing for over 2,000. While they were racking up the honors, Polk was also invited to compete in two different post-season exhibition games in which to showcase his talents to those at a higher level. He was invited to quarterback the West All-Stars in the Valero Cactus Bowl in Kingsville, two weeks ago, and he will also take part in the Western Refining Texas vs. The Nation game on February 2, in El Paso. Polk had to thoroughly impress a lot of the people that watched the Valero Cactus Bowl on January 11,

especially those looking at him for next-level play. The East All-Stars pounded the West All-Stars, 42-13, but Polk was the quarterback to lead the West down the field on each of the scoring drives, and showed scouts glimpses of real quality play. Polk accounted for a team-high 174 yards of total offense, including 96 passing yards on 10-of-20 completions, on the drives that Polk actually played quarterback. Polk played roughly half of the game at the quarterback position, while spending most of the other time trying out his probable position at the next level, wide receiver. His team didn’t win, but he was one of the biggest stars in the game, and the overwhelming bright spot for the West squad.

LOREN EGGENSCHWILER THE WICHITAN Senior guard, Kaylon Hodge, drives past Tarleston State defender last Wednesday.

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24 All-Academic Selections

5 All-America selections 2007 Final Four

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Sports

T HE W ICHITAN Jan. 23, 2008

Slow Start

Javelinas baffle Mustangs, 82-72 JOSH MUJICA STAFF REPORTER The MSU men’s basketball team blew a seven-point halftime lead Saturday night against the Texas A&M-Kingsville, as the Javelinas used a 13-2 run in the final five minutes of play to come away with the 82-72 victory from D.L. Ligon Coliseum. The loss puts the Mustangs in a serious hole to open Lone Star Conference South competition at 0-2 and pushes them back to an even 8-8 record on the season. Texas A&M-Kingsville’s Wendell Mulkey only scored six points but still made his presence felt, as the junior guard posted a game-high fifteen assists. It was a tale of two halves, as the Mustangs were ahead 42-35 heading into halftime, but the Javelinas came out blazing shooting 65.4 percent from the field in the second half, to turn the game around. Senior Jeremy Ford bottomed a three-point basket to bring MSU within one point with 6:03 left to play, but the Javelinas capitalized on a couple of key steals to pull away. Midwestern’s Nolan Rich-

ardson IV and Trajinski Grigsby led the team in scoring with fourteen points each. Grigsby was 6-for-11 from the field and posted seven rebounds, while Richardson added six assists. Ford finished with eleven points on 4-of-8 shooting including three treys. “It’s not ideal to be 0-2 in South conference play,” MSU coach Jeff Ray said. “We’re really frustrated right now. We’ll see what kind of character we have. Do you give up or do you keep working? We’re going to keep working.” Texas A&M-Kingsville improved to 13-4 and 2-0 in LSC North Division play. Naquawn Lee, Clyde Johnson and Reggie Love each paced the Javelinas with seventeen points each while Juan Lanauze contributed ten points. Last Wednesday, the Mus-

tangs played host to Tarleton State in their first LSC South Division game of the year, but the Texans proved to be too much to handle as MSU fell, 62-54, under the dome of D.L. Ligon Coliseum. Richardson sparked a 6-0 run with 10:30 left in the second half to help MSU take a 46-39 lead with 8:10 to go, but Tarleton State took back the lead, 54-52, with 3:11 on the clock and the Mustangs never caught up. Tarleton State finished with a 13-2 run in the game’s final 4:33 to seal the win. Richardson scored eighteen points for the Mustangs on 7of-19 shooting, while Grigsby added fifteen points and seven rebounds. The Mustangs are set to play West Texas A&M tonight in the First Bank Center in

LOREN EGGENSCHWILER THE WICHITAN Nolan Richardson IV gets a shot off before falling down in the second half last Wednesday Tarleton State.

Mustangs Player Profile

Stacy Staten

MARCUS ANDERSON

Basketball #32 Senior Guard Hometown: Mansfield, TX Major: Criminal Justice Birthdate : July 24, 1986 Stacy brings a wealth of experience to the backcourt. She has started over fifty games in her collegiate career. Following her senior year in high school, she was named to the All-District Honorable Mention team. She helped lead her Mansfield Tigers to the 5A Texas State Championship in 2001-02. Stacy is second-cousins with famous Dallas Cowboys’ offensivelineman, Leonard Davis.

PATRICK JOHNSTON

THE WICHITAN Patrick Johnston THE WICHITAN TSU. Earl Rabb (11) and Jordan Coffman (12) attempt a backcourt trap against the Texans.

TAKES THE BALL STRONG TO THE HOLE AGAINST

Soccer Standout Honored BOBBY MORRIS SPORTS EDITOR With the beginning of the spring semester, came yet another honor bestowed upon Midwestern’s senior defender, Cassidy Guice. Guice just completed her final season for the women’s soccer team, which saw an obvious resurgence with her return to the back-line. Guice was forced to sit out the entire 2006-07 season, while she was recovering from a serious knee injury. When she returned to the field, this season, the Mustangs showed an obvious boost in their defensive prowess. With Guice anchoring the

Guice

back-line, the Mustangs’ defense played tremendous all year long, allowing only 0.92 goals per match on only 8.9 shots per match. Guice earned National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America/ adidas All-Midwest Region firstteam honors, on January 14th when

the organization announced their annual awards. She also earned first-team Daktronics All-Midwest Region honors and her third consecutive All-Lone Star Conference first-team honors, earlier in the fall semester. Guice is one of five seniors leaving a very young and promising squad, which was recognized nationally, 24th, for the first time since 1998. The team finished the season on a hot streak notching their final record at 12-4-2, before bowing out of the LSC Tournament in the first round, losing any chance of being selected to compete in the NCAA Tournament.

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Jan 23, 2008  

Sweepstakes Winner 2006 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association Reporters Richard Carter Courtney Foreman Josh Mujica Photographers Loren Eg...