cy•press /ˈsīprəs/ n. 1: a collection of ideas and images for you
Remark4 New Oceana Four College Essentials The Natural Rhythm The Summer Guide Lions in Cages The Wrong Way to Interrogate Our New Illusion of Safety The Animal in Man
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elcome to the first issue of Cypress, a pet project and cruel mistress. Whatever frustration this publication was only became more inspiration to work with it. We wanted to create a more formal outlet for showcasing some of my and my peers’ work and I think we’ve certainly made... Something. Nowadays it’s hard to get anyone’s attention for longer than a breath, much less keep it. We’re hoping this magazine captivates you the same way creating it did. Given the speed of this world and the constant stimuli, creating anything is great way to slow down, to reflect. Slowing down feels appropriate given the season, maybe the best way to thrive in the heat. Too often we find ourselves burnt out and exasperated. Hopefully with this we give you some respite from all that stress. Many thanks to our contributors and models, believe me, I know how hard it is to be still too. This collection of their ideas certainly had me reflecting and looking at subjects in a new light. It was an absolute pleasure to have them all involved. With that said, sit down relax, and enjoy. Till next time,
WHO WE ARE Elizabeth Brophy Copy Editor & Fact Checker
Connor Sims Contributor
Sean Williams Contributor
Enjoys Korean BBQ and is patently awful at Mario Kart. Honestly, Helen Keller would beat him.
Shuffleboard expert and inventor, her most recent creation is a gun that shoots 3D printers.
A retired ghostbuster, sometimes saxophonist and Michael Fassbenderâ€™s stunt double.
Maintains he only listens to classical but was recently caught jamming out to Creed.
Ben Hilzer Contributor
Elbert Kim Contributor
Adam Wojteczko Contributor
Gabe Worstell Contributor
Has starred in an off-off-off-off broadway production of childrenâ€™s horror classic Goosebumps.
Karaoke aficionado and Loch Ness Monster skeptic, has a collection of Legos banned by the UK.
Is not allowed to go back to Belgium. Microbrew lover and the most sardonic person in the West.
Parties harder than Steve Aoki and reads at least at a sixth grade level. Recently won a game of monopoly.
WHO WE ARE
Lucas Raschbacher Editor-in-Chief
n. 1: an expression of opinion or judgment 2: mention of which deserves attention or notice 3: the act of noticing or observing
Welcome to New Oceana Connor Sims
You’re only young once, but you can stay immature indefinitely. -Ogden Nash
ith summer upon us, I and my fellow twenty-somethings are drawn to pursue that perfect vacation, night, fling that we have been trained to pursue throughout our lives. Popular culture dictates we do it, and thus we have been characterized by those generations before us as apathetic about real issues, over-concerned with appearance, and inclined to defer responsibility to others (caring isn’t cool anyhow). I believe hindsight has, and always will be, 20/20. With information readily available, the entire world is experiencing what it always has: war, unrest, natural disaster, hatred, change. What sets our generation apart is that we are all experiencing these happenings together. We are connected and issues, once separated by oceans of distance and time, are a touch away. Our generation is one of countless causes; the rhetoric around them makes them tangible and the vehicles of receiving that rhetoric make them personal. Some say we don’t want to become adults. Some of us would reply every role model has skeletons in their closet, and we will find out. We strive for immortality and have gotten
closer than any before us, but our weakness is human and is not bound by the gains of technology or the liberty of information. Much like the crisp twenty dollar bills that cough out of our credit heavy bank accounts, the solution to almost anything ready for the taking. Consequently, technology and information facilitate that feeling which actually has achieved everlasting life: fear. Perhaps it is why we are apathetic, vain, and maligning. Constant awareness perturbs us to a fucked up world and our chic, rosecolored glasses are smashed into countless shards. With that, we enter New Oceana. The perfect summer with that perfect someone and plenty of women, weed, and weather. If all goes to plan, sunglasses and Advil will be a necessity; the only real thing will be last night. And so will the next if we have anything to say about it. Sincerely, I don’t care. I love it.
Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 7
Four College Essentials Gabe Worstell
ollege is the period in your life when you leave the control and protection of your parents and enter this new world of booze, girls and VERY little responsibility. We have to ability to say, “Ya I don’t think I’ll go to that class today, instead I think I’ll day drink.” It is a period of selfishness where experimentation, personal growth and self (over) indulgence are completely okay. As a recent college graduate, I have compiled a short list of four things that you absolutely must do while embarking on this 4 (or 5 or 6) year journey that is your college experience.
1. Study Abroad
So you’re walking to class and you get stopped by who you presume to be another persistent Jesus pusher. Upon further analysis however, you find that this girl is no Jesus pusher; no, this girl is...a foreign exchange student. She’s what we call, “The great white buffalo”, “The unicorn”, “The hidden gem.” This girl has it all: an itch for adventure, the perfect olive toned skin and, what we in layman’s terms call, a sexy ass accent. If I told you that you could have the opportunity to incite the same intrigue and fascination on others as this fantasy woman did to you today, would you believe me? Well, I don’t care very much what you think because it is possible. You can be that exotic foreigner! In all seriousness though, studying in another country gives 8 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
you the privilege to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, while simultaneously learning invaluable new things about the culture, customs and language of this new place. Not to mention, it allows you to sow your wild oats on another continent, which is reason alone to hop over the pond and give it a go. Many people talk themselves out of the experience because they feel it is too expensive or because they don’t want to miss a semester at home. There are places, such as Thailand, Czech Republic and many South American countries that are just as expensive, and sometimes cheaper, than home universities. As to the people not wanting to miss a semester at home, stop making excuses and man up and go abroad!
2. Sex, Drugs And Regrettable Tattoos Lets start by stating something that we can pretty much all agree on. Doing coke off a strippers inner thigh while blacked out in Vegas, is somewhat frowned upon when you have a toddler, mortgage and a hot blond trophy wife depending on you. Unfortunately, there comes a day when we must give our deviated septum a break and become a productive, responsible adult. Until that dark day comes however, get it out of your system.
Experiment, learn and have fun because one day, this type of fun won’t be permissible. As for that douchey tribal tattoo that you want to get down the side of your ribcage, that you will regret once your body gets old and gross, that says resilience in ancient Greek, go for it! You’ll cherish the memory. Although, maybe not the permanent reminder that stares back at you in the mirror every morning.
3. Go On Spring Break Late the other night, for whatever reason (boredom most likely), I found myself watching the television trash that we have come to know as MTV. It was late enough that they were actually playing music videos, and after watching several, I began to see a common theme; beaches, boats and sluts in swimsuits. I had a realization right then, that these music videos are spitting images of what
my spring break looked like. Girls literally go on special diets consisting of Adderall and cigarettes weeks before spring break, specifically so they look phenomenal when they twerk it on the beach. Whether it is South Padre, Mexico, Vegas or Lake Havasu, jump on a spring break trip because it is definitely a drunken debauchery of a good time! Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 9
4. Get The Grades Get the Job Do The Work
Ah Summer time. Three months of rest, relaxation and boozin’ at the parents house. It sounds tempting, but my advice would be to use this time to build back up that bank account that you decimated doing all of that awesome stuff during the school year. Find a high paying job whether its landscaping, general labor or simply working full time, use this time well so you are able to do the activities you like during the school year. For those whose parents pay the bills, find an internship and start working on that resume, because any experience you can get during this break will be invaluable. 10 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
The actual school part of school was always my least favorite. I tried an 8AM one time and decided it wasn’t for me. Find something that works though. Whether it’s buying some dip, a Redbull and a couple of Addy’s and pulling an all-nighter, or going to the library early in the morning and knocking all your work out then, find your study style and give it some effort. Realistically, school is why we are all here and we wouldn’t get to do all the awesome things we have the opportunity to do without it. So suck it up, find a path that interests you and stick with it.
“I imagine that one of the biggest troubles with colleges is there are too many distractions, too much panty-raiding, fraternities, and boola-boola and all of that.” -Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X
Music and Movement: The Natural Rhythm Ben Hilzer
am constantly moving. I don’t even realize I am doing it most of the time, but I am often reminded by those affected around me. The times that I am not consciously moving, I am either bouncing my leg, tapping my hand, or something similar in nature while maintaining mentally unaware. My friendly neighborhood hypochondriacs have proposed I suffer from “restless leg syndrome” but I have another theory driven by the not-socoincidental rhythm these movements have. All music is built with a rhythmic infrastructure, decorated with various melodies on top; the rhythm is what you bob your head to and the melody is what you’re humming after listening. Rhythm is usually created using drums or other types of percussion, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as an acoustic guitar with hard strums, a maraca lightly in the background, and most intriguingly: nothing at all. Music that has only has one instrument can still make the listener bob their head and feel the artificial rhythm even though an instrument isn’t creating it. It’s as if rhythm is naturally occurring, and the melody is just playing over it with an equal fluidity. I believe the reason that I am constantly moving all the time is because I am just tapping my foot to the rhythm that occurs in nature. I used to say that I am just “tapping to the 12 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
rhythm of life” as almost a witty comeback, but when I stopped to really think, it made sense. When you’re having a conversation with someone, there is almost a flow as to how the words come out of your mouth. It isn’t rehearsed, it just happens, and the other person does the same thing. Some sort of silent rhythm flows through everything and all of us that allows for us to act as the melody to the “rhythm of life” in conversation and during our daily lives. Actors attempt to speak over the rhythm in a believable manner for entertainment, and those who are great actors have successfully heard the rhythm. Those who deliver successful presentations or sales pitches are those who have tapped into the rhythm and therefore appeal to the listener, because the listener is too a part of rhythm. They just might not know it yet. Music is beautiful. Everyone has their own specific interests and disinterests in music for a variety of different reasons. Perhaps different people hear different things when listening to various genres. Similarly, different people connect on different levels through conversation because they are on the same beat of life’s naturally occurring rhythm, and the sooner we all feel it, the clearer our world will be.
The Summer Guide Lucas Raschbacher
Listen to This Geraldine The Avett Brothers Flathead The Fratellis Save Tonight Eagle Eye Cherry Typical MuteMath The Wild Hunt The Tallest Man on Earth My Body Young the Giant One Angry Dwarf Ben Folds Five Helicopter Bloc Party Gold on the Ceiling The Black Keys Flagpole Sitta Harvey Danger Recovery Frank Turner Lost in My Mind The Head and the Heart All the Pretty Girls fun. Submarines The Lumineers In the Aeroplane Over the Sea Neutral Milk Hotel 14 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
Black and Gold Sam Sparro We Can Roll Bad Rabbits Sexy Results Death From above 1979 I Have High Expectations Hussle Club Heartbreaker MSTRKRFT Nothing to Worry About Peter Bjorn & John The Room Got Heavy Yo La Tengo Nightcall Kavinsky Face to Face Daft Punk Drugs in My Body Thieves Like Us Hypnotize U (Nero Remix) N.E.R.D. & Daft Punk She Did It Again Doc Ish What’s the Altitude Cut Chemist She Needs Me (Monarchy Remix) Fyfe Dangerfield Go to Sleep Lupe Fiasco
The Marinade (2 Servings) 12 oz Red Wine Vinegar 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce 1 tbsp Minced Garlic ½ tbsp Minced Onion 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper Mix all the ingredients in a shallow container. Then add the steaks to the mixtures. Cover the container and refrigerate for one hour. Choose Your Cut Ribeye is tender and flavorful like a perfect first wife. You’ll want to get a cut that’s at least two inches thick and grill at very high heat 5-7 minutes per side.
The Veggies (4 Servings) 1 lb Trimmed Asparagus 1 tbsp Olive Oil Salt & Pepper to Taste Coat the trimmed asparagus spears with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to your heart’s content. You’ll want to grill preheated to high temperatures and then grill for 2-3 minutes to get a crunchy but not tough texture.
The Grain (4 Servings) 2 cups Long Grain Rice 5 cups Water 3 tbsp Chopped Cilantro 3 tsp Vegetable Oil Salt to taste Porterhouse is two cuts in one Lime Juice to taste and will make vegans regret their lifestyle choices. Grill at Throw the rice, water, and 1 high heat 3-5 minutes per side tsp of the oil into a heavy pot. for a perfect medium rare. Bring that sucker to a boil until the water level evaporates to Hanger cuts are great for just the top of the rice. Then smaller grills. Cover and grill reduce to low heat and cover 6 minutes per side. for 15 minutes. Then shut off
the heat completely while covered for 5 more minutes. Afterwards, add the cilantro and season with salt to taste, also and adding lime juice to taste as well, do so judiciously. The Drink 2 oz Gin 1 oz Lemon Juice 1 tsp superfine sugar 3 oz Club Soda 1 slice Orange Add ice, gin, lemon juice and sugar to shaker. Shake like a Polaroid picture. Strain into a collins glass almost filled with ice cubes, add club soda and stir . Garnish with the slice of orange, but feel free to make like Vito Corleone and just stick the wedge in your mouth. Serve promptly. You’ll want to prepare all this publicly for friends and acquaintances so no one suspects your diet still chiefly consists of lunchables and milk straight from the jug. Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 15
Do This The Roadtrip Pack a car with enough friends so you end up with an odd number. As the hours and miles pass by, one person will be needed to become the car’s pariah. They will be blamed for lack of seating space even if they aren’t in the same row and for all undesired smells. Choose someone with a good sense of humor for this role, barring that, someone who isn’t a necessary friend.
The Concert Again, gather a group of friends. Make sure you all enjoy the type of musicians you’re going to see but not too much. Make sure at least two in the group are CPR certified. Buy drugs from a rich kid or throw on a ski mask if you’re about that life. Hydrate constantly at the show. Try to keep it to less than three panic attacks per set. Accept anything and everything strangers offer you. Don’t take it yourself, keep it and sell it to the kids that look the most action they’ve gotten was seeing a titty on HBO that one time.
Bring the worst, cheapest vacuum-sealed gas station snacks and jugs of water. Synchronize all of your urination schedules within the first 150 miles. Fight over whether you should turn off the air conditioning and roll If you’re close enough to the up the windows to conserve stage, rock out. Try to make eye fuel. contact with the performer. Keep your sunglasses on Go somewhere uninhabited, and give a slight nod if this sleep under the stars and talk happens. This lets them know about big ideas. Mercilessly you appreciate their work, but torment the pariah. They will they have sold out and you grudgingly accept it. never forget this trip. 16 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
The Day Party Reinforce your weekday schedule by continuing to wake up on the weekends. Start drinking early, it doesn’t count as dependence unless you black out only to come to having gotten yourself a table at Chuckie Cheese for one.
Don’t Do This
Make a slip and slide in a yard with garbage bags, water, and little regard for human life. Remember there are people so poor they will never drink water as clean as the bit you’re about to slosh your sweaty torso through. Make a human pyramid at the end of the slide and do not stop until someone gets injured badly enough to appreciate Obamacare.
The Theme Park The smell of funnel cake and sweat hangs in the air. Screams in the distance, uninterested migratory workers. It seemed like such a good idea until you got here. Unfortunately every theme park visit will leave you feeling, thinking and maybe even behaving like Colonel Remember that you are not Kurtz. a famous athlete and that you will not be glossed over It’s a bad acid trip that costs after an appropriate period 10 times as much as blotters. of public outrage. Remember Seemingly orphaned children that all dogs go to heaven, run wild, dropping deuces in and they will get a head start the shallow end of the wave on snitching on you and pool. Waiting in the lines making sure the pearly gates you reflect on your life. What stay closed for you. Also, the has brought you here to this clean-up is a long and arduous moment? What sin did you process. commit to deserve this fate?
Start grilling as the day wanes. Pass out for a bit then discover the grill was left on and the hosting residence has burned down. If you’re a guy, grow a mustache and flee south of the border. If you’re a lady, do not grow a mustache. Then flee.
You’ll have to come up with a ratings system more complicated than that of boxing on account of breeds. It will be more work than you ever could have imagined. You will be unprepared for defeat. It’s just not worth it.
The Dogfighting Ring You love animals. You love competition. You love money. You loved playing Pokemon as a kid. Starting a neighborhood dogfighting ring seems like a great way to combine all your passions. Resist the temptation.
The Significant Other Keep it casual and playful. You’re a human being goddam it. Remember how you learned that bears gorge themselves in summer in preparation for winter. That’s what starting a relationship means during these months; you’re a big dumb animal.
If you’re already involved, keep at it, remember we’re all very proud of you. Remember their needs and wants and tend to them without expecting anything in return. Remember that we were all made to be loved and how lucky you feel every day to find this person. Remember that every moment with them is a blessing you could never Eventually you will return take for granted. home. Most post-theme park activities are sitting and crying Also remember your (future) fully clothed in the shower, spouse is more likely than slowly rocking back and forth. anyone else to murder you in PTSD is common and could your sleep faster than you can last years. Seek therapy and pronounce ‘Oscar Pistorius’ stave off the flashbacks. correctly. Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 17
What We Like
Yeezus Kanye’s newest album is devoid of a hit single, leaked too late, and the production is beyond unorthodox. And it’s fucking great. While he doesn’t meet the bar he set himself with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, similar ideas run throughout. The Nina Simone samples are on point. The marketing campaign was brilliant. The packaging is simpler than Forrest Gump. No stone left unturned this is a piece of art. He’s one meltdown in the MoMA away from immortality and that might actually be happening soon. 18 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
Been Trill This group of DJs turned art collective runs one of the only palatable tumblr sites on the web. Their mixes are good, and their streetwear collaborations are dope or fresh or whatever the cool kids call it. Most importantly, their image macros are cooler than Will Smith in his Fresh Prince days and they can teach you how to grow and synthesize cocaine. While a hundred bucks for a t-shirt with an emoji on it seems whack, maybe that’s the joke. Either way these guys are killing it and we all hope their fifteen minutes lasts even longer.
Otter Pops They were good when you were a kid and they’re still good enough for you. You will never have buyers’ remorse from otter pops. They come in more flavors than you have taste buds. It’s a good company too, they considered and ultimately reversed a decision to remove a flavor because of a petition created by fourth-graders. They’re cheaper than air conditioning and after giving you diabetes, you won’t have too many more summers to go on dealing with not having air conditioning. They’re better than hugs and drugs.
What We Don’t
Voting Rights Act Repeal This sets a real fucking dangerous tone for America and the decidedly still-racist south. Two hours after the decision, Texas was already starting to draw up new district boundaries in their effort to win the ‘who can disenfranchise minorities the fastest’ game. This is why constituents don’t trust politicians anymore, and why crazy people everywhere are super bummed Washington suit-wearers don’t ride in convertibles anymore after that whole Kennedy thing. This is the wrong path for the US.
Crossfit Just like a marathon, if you couldn’t tell anyone you were doing it, no one would do it. This goes along with the paleo diet. If you really want to get prehistoric fit, go live without running water or clothes and only take shits while squatting in fields. You’re going to have less cartilage than Batman did in the latest Dark Knight movie and you don’t even beat the sociopathic urges out of bad people with your bare hands. No one cares that you’re doing it except your trainer, and he’s on more steroids than all of baseball in the late 90s.
People Who Say They Can’t Eat Gluten Yes you fucking can.
Stephen A. Smith If Nicki Minaj and Nickelback did a collaborative album, it would be far more listen-able than this dude. Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 19
20 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
My Fears: Lions in Cages Elbert Kim
n a particularly humid day, I stand in front of the dense, smudgy glass that has been the subject of countless gropes and smears of children and adults alike. The glare of the sun is intense and the scorching heat that comes with the evening’s approach has me wondering why I chose to wake up so late in the day, and subsequently, why I chose to go to the zoo. As I wipe away a running bead of sweat from my brow, I lean in and squint to catch a glimpse at what’s on the other side of the safety glass. Inside this cage is the deadly Lion that is known to be the “King of the Jungle.” An animal of ferocity and strength that has earned itself pride and glory throughout the savanna. Few have bare witness to that magnificent roar, a bellow that marks the lion’s wish to be heard, its statement of existence. This beautiful specimen is in this very cage and every person who has stopped on their casual walk through the ‘Africa’ section has taken extra time at this exhibit to capture a photo of this four hundred pound killer. Here I stand waiting with the crowd as I struggle to make out anything that resembles a giant man-eating cat within the tan slabs of rock, but the cage appears empty. On lookers continue on their way while a child asks, “Where’s the lion, Daddy?” with which he replies, “They must be sleeping, sweetheart. Let’s go find Mommy.” 22 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
I continue to stand and wait. There is no way that I am leaving without seeing a lion when I walked and stood this long in the heat. All I could think of was how typical it is that the one animal on display that I actually want to see isn’t even out. I mean, come on, you’re a feline that lives in Africa, I’m sure you can deal with the heat. I let out a sigh as I fan my shirt to cool off my now sweaty torso and I take one last look toward the dark hole which appears to lead to the lion’s den. As if my wish had been answered, a large male lion emerges from the darkness, slowly scoping out its surroundings. It pats the rocky floor of its cage and begins to walk toward the glass with careful precision. I take a step forward, excited to catch an upclose encounter with the beast, and luckily for me there are no people to obstruct my view. I expect him to stop and turn toward another point of interest at any moment, but he continues to walk a straight line toward the glass, like he’s being called over. He continues his slow, surreptitious approach until he reaches the face of the glass where he heavily drops himself onto the ground with a great ‘thud,’ landing in a position facing me. Wow! I stand in amazement as I gaze at his massive body. The beast is almost twice my size and judging from how close I am to his face, I’m sure my head could fit right in his mouth. I’m starting to feel uneasy at the idea that only the
layer of glass separates me from this deadly apex predator, however, it doesn’t stop me from leaning my face inches away from the glass. His mane remains fluffed and full while the rest of his coat shimmers a healthy shine in the sun’s rays. I examine the lion. I see his large paws with sharp visceral claws, his refined and aged fangs, and I see his eyes. My eyes meet with those of the lion and in that moment, the excitement that had once overwhelmed me disappears and is replaced with a feeling of deep empathy. I am supposed to be staring a proud lion in the eyes, yet nothing behind those cold black veils holds any life or flare that is to be expected from such a dangerous beast. Where is the commanding presence? Where is the subtle confidence of a predator that knows no equal? My mind fills with questions and I am soon both depressed and disgusted at the sight in front me. This lion is lost. It’s obvious from his vacant stare and his dull, meager acknowledgment of his surroundings that he has been broken, defeated in his confinement. You are a dangerous killer. You should be roaring, fighting, and raging against the four walls that contain you from freedom. You should be clawing and snarling at the glass to try and rip my head off due to pure hatred, not passively laying before
me. Where did it all go? I imagine a young lion cub, a bright and proud beast that has proven his worth in the hunt. He’s taken and placed in a world that he does not understand, and consequently, it matters none that he is the killer that he is. He paces the floor of his cage, each way met with a wall that further denies him from his former self. Each day he is forced to submit, each day he gives up his pride until finally he is an old lion that no longer remembers his own essence. I continue to stare at the lion in this cage and I can’t bare to see him just sit there anymore. Behind his stare, behind all his lost days, is his sad acceptance of his reality, and it is this that haunts me. I turn to look away and notice a group of kids running to come see the now visible lion. I begin to walk away and I think to myself, “Have fun, kids, but you won’t be seeing a lion in there.” In college we’re pumped full of idealistic beliefs and hype that we are the future that is to come and change the world for the better. We take up causes and correct others on misinformed assumptions thinking that this is all we can do for the moment. We’re filled with eager potential and sharp minds that imagine a tomorrow that we have helped usher into existence. We beat our chests and yell to be heard because we eventually want to be remembered for something that matters. Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 23
But then, we graduated and it hasn’t been long since I have noticed a harsh reality: we have graduated into a world that has no place for us. In 2010, almost half the graduates with a bachelors degree were working at jobs that didn’t even require a college education. This statistic hasn’t changed much in recent years, so that’s 5 years of backlog since the economy tanked, which has people looking for jobs anywhere they can. And, once the jobs do open up, they would go to the upcoming graduating class and not to those that have painfully worked as being a waiter, or car technician, or customer service rep to pay the bills after college. It’s an implicit block from hiring our generation when most jobs require 1-2 years of experience or a Masters degree, leaving no entry level positions for the new applicants. There are ways through networking and connections, but the people who don’t have that way in are hosed. It’s hard to find a job in the liberal arts field that is relevant to your major; however, it’s even harder to pursue a career of your interest. Eventually you’re left being told to take anything that comes your way because, supposedly, “a job is a job.” I don’t want this for me. I will be, and will always remain, an idealist and I will live my life by setting my own example. I understand that the job market is in shambles and that getting a job, let alone a job that you want, is by sheer luck these days, but I refuse to settle. I go about my day trying to make my place in this world by doing what I want to
do, but that’s not how it works anymore. The jobs I want, they’re out of reach because of the illogical shut out of the inexperienced, yet fully capable, recent graduates. What is left are the jobs that society then tells me that I’m “capable” of having, and that is in administrative work for fields of which I have no interest. So I continue to walk down new paths, and explore new options only to be met with more walls, glass ceilings, and red tape. These restrictions made in the professional world that continue to move me away from the career that I want and toward spots that devalue my intelligence. It’s frustrating, it’s depressing, and above all, it’s disillusioning. I begin to question whether I can make it, or if I should just swallow my pride and just settle with that job that I hate for the time being, but I’m reminded of that lion. I recall his dark defeated eyes and can’t allow myself to end up the same way. I won’t allow myself to be broken or defeated by a system that protects a status quo that prevents me from reaching my goals and dreams. I won’t pace around the cage and let myself forget my drive and aspirations because of my current circumstances. That’s my biggest fear. The thing that I constantly fight against. I’m afraid that one day I’ll end up just like that old lion, in a place for which I feel nothing but absolute contempt. But to be specific, I’m afraid that someday someone will look into my eyes and feel sympathy at the wasted potential, the same way I did when I gazed at that lion in that cage.
The Wrong Way to Interrogate Adam Wojteczko
I won’t pace around the cage
24 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
he shooting sprees in Aurora and Sandy Hook have deeply scarred our nation. Both events have spawned discussions on mental health practices and gun control. The perpetrator of the Sandy Hook shooting committed suicide on site and cannot be questioned unlike James Holmes.
Holmes’ defense has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to avoid the death penalty charge sought by prosecutors. While much of the talk surrounding the tragedies concerns preventive measures, we must also examine proceedings during such trials. The judge in Holmes‘ case has approved the use of narcoanalytic
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interviews for Holmes. These drugs lower suspects‘ inhibitions; colloquially known as truth sera. The question now is what role, if any should psychologists and such drugs play in these interviews and interrogations? Interrogations can be brutal, hostile, and just plain ugly. For offenses with serious consequences, the majority of offenders aren’t willing to confess and an interrogation might be the only way to extract information. That being said, a psychologist has no reason to be a part of an interrogation. If a person isn’t willing to divulge information, a psychologist can’t do much. If they are willing to talk, proper authorities can handle the situation just as well as a psychologist. Moreover, insanity pleas are a legal defense, not a medical diagnosis. Dr. Michael Aronoff says of the suspect, “if you’re using a medical procedure to try and establish a legal criterion, it’s not going to work.” Neither psychologists nor truth serums have any viable utility in the interrogations. In an interrogation, a police officer is just as capable, if not more so, than a psychologist at extracting information from the suspect. A psychologist relies on truthful information from the client to infer information about their behavior and personality. If the suspect is willing to divulge truthful information, then the interrogation should go pretty smoothly and thus, no extra help should be required. However, most suspects aren’t willing to incriminate themselves and, as a result, often lie to the interrogator. A psychologist will be just as befuddled by false information as a police officer. That being said, a police officer has been trained to adapt to the type of criminal so they have the best possible chance of extracting truthful information. Drs. Chrsitopher Kelly, Jeanee Miller, and Allison Redlich of the University at Albany in combination with Dr. Steven Kleinman of 26 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
The Soufan Group have labeled the six broad categories for interrogation styles most used by police. They include rapport and relationship building, context manipulation, emotion provocation, collaboration, confrontation, and presentation of evidence. A psychologist typically uses only one style, the rapport and relationship building approach. Because a psychologist relies on this type of a non confrontational approach, extracting said information is a laborious process which can yield mixed results. In a study conducted by Drs. James Ost and Julie Cherryman of the University of Portsmoth and Dr. Gavin Oxburgh of the University of Tessicle, it was found that no significant change in the amount of investigation relevant information they extracted as a result of differing degrees of empathy implemented by police officers. What this shows is that psychologists are no better at extracting investigation relevant information from a person than an ordinary police officer. And police officers are a third of the cost of psychologists. The social image of a psychologist plays a large role in this debate. In society’s eyes, a psychologist can learn everything there is to know about a person given minimal interaction with them. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. Psychologists can determine the general personality types and mental health of a person, but this process takes time, money, and cooperation from the client. If even one of these components are lacking, the entire process breaks down. The decision to involve a psychologist in an interrogation is made based on the desire for accurate results and the inability to acquire them through other, more conventional methods. But, as stated above, a psychologist needs cooperation with the client in order to make accurate claims about their behavior and mental states. The
issue with this, other than the cost, is that a suspect won’t be any more willing to talk to a psychologist than a police officer. Both are authority figures who can and will incriminate this person given the opportunity so it seems unlikely a suspect would be willing to talk to one but not willing to talk to the other. Arguments in favor of psychologists advocate learning about the suspect’s behavior and personality will help determine if the suspect is the type of person who would commit a crime knowingly. There are two holes in this theory, the first being that the only way a psychologist will be able to learn about this person is via truthful communication. The second hole is the difficulty in applying this information in any relevant way to the investigation. Murderers are different people, each possessing different personality traits and mental states. Since there is no standardization in criminal personality, the time and money spent identifying the personality traits of the suspect could be better spent elsewhere. If one of the problems with psychologists is how truthful the suspect is with the professional, why won’t truth sera work? The term truth serum refers to a broad spectrum of drugs, largely barbiturates. These drugs have equally large spectrum of effects from mild sedation to anesthesia. In theory, lowering the suspect’s inhibitions facilitates the extraction of investigation relevant information. There are two problems with the drugs however, the first being adverse physiological reactions and the second being unreliable information. Adverse reactions connected mostly to excessive dosages cause difficulty in thinking and severe inhibition of the central nervous
system, which controls breathing and muscle control. At best, the suspect is going to become confused and offer incoherent and/or possibly incorrect information. The worst case scenario is that the suspect suffers respiratory arrest and ends up in a coma or dies. The information gained is fool’s gold for a multitude of reasons. The results are not always replicable; they have led to false confessions. Because of the drugs‘ effects, the suspect has a significantly decreased mental acuity, picking up on hints and cues from interviewers resulting in false statements without no recollection of doing so. There have been no large-scale clinical studies to confirm the efficacy of information achieved by truth sera, bringing to light the exactly how controversial this tactic is. It’s as if the suspect is playing pin the tail on the donkey. One time out of fifty they’ll get in the ball park of the ass’ ass but surely it cannot be worth the other forty nine misses. A safer, more reliable approach to identify the credibility of information given by the suspect is to utilize a series of interviews, testing the consistency of their information and comparing it with the evidence already found in the case. Certainly this is a much lengthier process with a higher degree of stress for both parties, but coercion has no place in an interrogation. Our justice system, though very hard pressed for results, needs to be just in their treatment and apprehension of criminals. The inherent nature of an interrogation is confrontational, potentially causing severe emotional distress in the suspect. Having a psychologist present can prove beneficial in maintaining a safe environment for all parties involved. However, a safe environment
The information gained is fool’s gold
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for the suspect can also be maintained by a defense attorney at the same time they are consulting their client. Drs. Stephanie Madon, Yueran Yang, Laura Smalarz and Max Guyll of Iowa State University and Dr. Kyle Sherr of Michigan State University have found that a suspect with a pre-existing vulnerability to psychological stress is exacerbated by factors that are immediately associated with the interrogation situation. Since defense attorneys have more experience in interrogations, they are more aware of what investigators can and can’t do, thus ensuring a legal interrogation is performed (which can yield accurate results) and no harm is done to their client. A psychologist, while very well informed on psychological distress, usually has minimal understanding of the legal and interrogation process. Because their expertise is often outside the field of law, this puts them and their client at a significant disadvantage for the same cost as a defense attorney. It doesn’t make sense. A suspect needs someone who can prevent psychological stress and defend their innocence, not just one. The disadvantages of having a psychologist or truth serum present in an interrogation significantly outweigh the advantages. A psychologist, while very skilled in communication and behavioral analysis, has very little knowledge and practicality in the legal arena. They are no better in extracting information from a suspect as law enforcement officials and in some situations can be worse. Psychologists rely too heavily on building a relationship with the client first, which takes time, money and yields
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mixed results. Similarly, truth sera provide even less reliable results with the added risk of damaging the suspect’s health as well as posing a hypocritical threat to the legal process. A plea of insanity argues that the suspect would have committed the crime even in the presence of a police officer. Drugging the suspect into a state where reality goes on the back burner has no place in the legal process. These drugs are nothing more than pseudoscience bordering on science fiction. Would you trust a person who witnessed the crime under the influence of the same drugs to testify in court? Obviously not, so why should the suspect be treated any differently? The more cost effective method for the just extraction of accurate information is a police officer who can implement a wide range of interrogation styles, from confrontational to relationship and rapport building. A psychologist would be seemingly well suited for an interrogation because of their communicative expertise, but the legal system already possesses the necessary components for a successful interrogation as well as the necessary protection for a suspect from psychological distress. We’ll leave it up to the professionals to determine insanity, but drugging the suspect so they’ll talk only complicates things. If there is any chance accurate information will be given, the suspect needs to be coherent to do so. Otherwise, the information resulting from these interrogations is, in reality, just the legal system is only blowing smoke up our no smoking zones; hoping that knowing the motive for the crime outweighs our desire for a fair and accurate trial.
The test is by no means reliable, and when used indiscriminately, it may cloud rather than clarify criminal investigation.
-John M. MacDonald, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
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Our New Illusion of Safety Sean Williams
e’ve all been there. The airport security lines, the sign telling us to take any metallic objects out of our pockets, take off our belts and shoes. The full body scanner or the thorough pat down? It’s all an inconvenience for the 99.99% of people not planning on blowing anything up. For people like me, the average nonterrorists, sometimes it makes us wonder. How much do these staff, lines, and machines really make us safer? Recent events like the Boston Marathon bombing, which was a terrible act by a couple of misguided assholes, make it painfully obvious: if people want to make a point about whatever idiotic cause through violent acts, they will find a way. There is simply no way to monitor and police every unsafe situation in our lives. Even those without vindictive motives end up causing harm every day. My friends know how I drive, and they may point out the irony of safety here, but every time I get on the road, I can’t get more than a mile from home without seeing someone texting and driving. Any number of studies have shown that texting and driving are equally bad, if not worse, than drinking and driving in terms of safety. It seems that in the wrong hands, our cars are essentially unguided projectiles. So in a world where we are increasingly glued to our phones, what’s the solution? I propose we get rid of cars. That would be safest. 30 | CYPRESS | Summer 2013
For me, these two everyday situations beg the question; how is getting on the road less dangerous than flying? Both seem to oppose the safety of the public; yet we spend vast amounts of money on installing security systems in all of our airports, and do little to stop texting and driving. In fact, most of us are actually part of the problem on the second. We’re like terrorists of the road, by manner of negligence. In terms of safety, statistically and financially it makes zero sense. Why is there this discrepancy in action between two very evident problems? To provide the illusion of safety. People already have a fear of flying, despite it having been proven much safer than other ways of traveling. But the amount of publicity an airline accident or act of terrorism gets far outweighs the publicity of any number of fatal accidents that occur daily. Unlike driving, you are not in control. The average airline passenger is still just a person, stuck in a metal tube miles above the ground, and a little extra security at the airport makes us feel better. News flash - how thoroughly do you think your checked luggage is covered? Why do you think you have to declare all your guns? And what about all that overpriced shit they bring in to sell us in the 50 billion stores in the terminals? I’m sure every $9 candy bar is run
through a scanner… right? Completely secure. Unfortunate as it may be, if some crazy extremist dick really wants to get a bomb on an airplane, they can probably find a way. Just like the whole gun control debate, which I won’t dive into, the true underlying problem has its roots in our society as a whole, also another rant entirely. And at our very roots of human nature, there is the need to control the unknowns, whether it’s a terrorist with a bomb on your plane, or the ability to swerve out of the way of ‘so and so texting a picture of a cute kitten to their BFF’ in the middle of Broadway. Unfortunately, not everyone has the idiot radar or cat-like reflexes to avoid them, but we all still feel better because we are the ones driving and able to actively manage the risk of the unknown. By no means am I saying we should get rid of airport security, and this is only an obvious example of the illusion of safety. I commend the intent behind it of stopping violent acts against the innocent before they happen. We shouldn’t just lay down as a door mat for malicious and negligent people. But sometimes our money, our time and our efforts could be better placed. My thesis is this: risk is inherent in our lives. We spend so much time and effort trying to control things, but in a complex world of almost 7 billion people, not everything, or
even a fraction of things, can be controlled. Some systems are there mainly for reason of making us feel better, or provide this illusion of safety. To make us sleep better. What’s the solution? A change of mindset. I advocate accepting that living is a somewhat risky business, (and has been for the last however-many-million years) but realize the reward for doing it is infinite. We should grow up a little bit and accept that everything cannot be controlled and made into a pristine, safe environment and stop trying to make it so. There are better uses for our time and energy than providing an illusion of safety. That, and also stop being asshole terrorists...
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Dangerous Ideas: The Animal in Man Eliot Sachs
e assume that animals’ behaviors have strict functions for survival, reproduction and competition. We also assume that humans, blessed with higher cognition, morality and sympathy, operate under a much more complex system with a different set of laws that govern our actions. With these assumptions we like think our capacities for good and evil are transcendental. This is nothing but hubris though, humans are subject to evolutionary mechanisms the same as beasts. Our nature is both inherently good and evil, aggressive and altruistic, because we are social like other organisms. Presently, almost every aspect of life revolves around social interactions, and those who can successfully navigate the social seas have more opportunity than do those who cannot effectively communicate. Since social interaction is so crucial to us, it makes sense that it has had a significant impact on human nature, it’s just another evolutionary mechanisms. Human beings are biologically predisposed to live in social groups that are variously organized into status
hierarchies. Evolutionary necessity dictated our adjustment to living in groups for the sake of propagation and safety; society organized by ranking, with those ranked higher enjoying more advantages than those under them. Our propensity for good and evil are instructed by our respective needs for getting along or getting ahead. Conflict and war in society, means that aggression is an implicit part of our nature as organisms. Territoriality and finite resources drive our decisions to be aggressive: the same motivating factors that drive many other species to competition. For advanced animal species and humans alike, aggression is the primary way to establish social hierarchies. These dominance hierarchies lead to more efficient use of resources and space. This hierarchical structure makes sense because it facilitates the aggregation of work and function. With these hierarchies in place, people can be held responsible for their actions, as they must answer to a higher authority. Without this social stratification there would be no basis for any set of rules. Hierarchy is
We like to think our capacities for good and evil are transcendental
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a tool of cooperation and social integration. Aggression relates to getting ahead, it also “indirectly supports cooperation, caring and altruistic behavior by ultimately working to establish the social stability and structure that communal human activities require” - Frans de Waal. Without the tendency to compete we would fail to obtain food, reproduce and survive and fail to take our place as a functioning, contributing part of society. In this way aggression is a cohesive force rather than a destructive one; it allows us to aspire to new levels and to mutually work together towards a higher purpose. Aggression by itself though is catastrophic, and so humans have developed the evolutionary (cultural) mechanisms to keep this in check. Of course, since the world is not entirely consumed by war and death, humans then ought to tend towards altruism or goodness. Altruism is essentially our concern for the wellbeing of others. Whenever we demonstrate selflessness or compassion, we are actively participating in something larger than ourselves. This is not uniquely human in any right. Our ability to imagine another person’s subjective experience, our capacity for empathy, promotes this behavior. Since we do not think and behave perfectly egotistically and can consider how our actions affect others, it makes evolutionary sense that as a species we use what tools we possess to assist others, especially when they are closely related to us, or when the cost is relatively low to promote the societies’ survival. We developed moralistic behavior through repeated exchanges and created a sort of schema for what is and is not fair. While hierarchically, people may not be considered equal, the needs of the average other person are generally understood and acknowledged by everyone else, which manifests itself as
a standard of fairness. In the absence of fairness, we exhibit moralistic aggression. This system of checks and balances between getting along and getting ahead enables society as a whole to maintain its stability since any overtly aggressive offenses or behaviors are collectively viewed as antisocial and detrimental to societal progress. The roots of our moral nature trace back to the three conditions we evolved under: group value, mutual aid and internal conflict. Reciprocal altruism instructs to cooperate and share with others because they cooperate and share with us. For helping someone else, we expect something in return. Whether it is for another similar favor, or an increased reputation, these mutual negotiations between humans ultimately benefit us individually. From an evolutionary standpoint, it makes sense that we developed our cooperative behavior because it helps us to survive and reproduce just as being territorial does. Altruism is an incredible evolutionary mechanism as it facilitates both individual and overall species success. Both altruism and aggressiveness are fundamental characteristics of human nature. Our tendencies to be good or bad are not mystical or spiritual though. These concepts were born from evolutionary necessity, considering that we needed to develop dispositional traits that allow us to both get ahead and get along, both tendencies interact with each other to create the complex paradigm of which we operate within: society. Aggression birthed hierarchy and created a structure through which we can cooperate and trade with others. Moral good also helps humans as a species further survive. We cannot claim to uniquely possess either trait, nor be so arrogant to think we’re anything other than another animal. Summer 2013 | CYPRESS | 35
n. 1: general external appearance; aspect; semblance, typically concealing the true nature of something 2: assumed appearance or mere semblance 3: style of dress
filth x fashion
lth x fashion
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cy•press /ˈsīprəs/ n. 1: a collection of ideas and images for you