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Thursday, September 13, 2018
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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» Page 1B
Nurses sue hospital for violating fair labor rights CARTER FOX/Daily
Michigan Medicine nurses will decide Sunday on large-scale work stoppage
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha discusses her book, “What The Eyes Don’t See” with politician Chris Kolb at Rackham Auditorium Wednesday night.
Lead Flint water crisis doctor talks new book to sold-out auditorium Hanna-Attisha weaves identity as an Iraqi immigrant and pediatrician, looks to recovery JULIA FANZERES Daily Staff Reporter
Renowned pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha spoke Wednesday to a sold-out Rackham Auditorium about her first-hand account of exposing the dangerous levels of lead in
Flint. This is the second part of the two-day event called Environmental Justice Focus: Flint Water Crisis, co-sponsored by the School for Environment and Sustainability and Literati Bookstore. Hanna-Attisha’s book, titled “What the Eyes Don’t See,” reviews her journey
acting as a whistleblower in the Flint water crisis and how her identity as an ArabAmerican shaped her career as a pediatrician. Hanna-Attisha, a University alum, began explaining her book title has two meanings: on a literal level, it represents how the effects of lead poisoning
aren’t visible or immediately apparent inpatients and water; figuratively, it represents how Hanna-Attisha had her own eyes closed to the Flint water crisis. “It is about people, it is about places and it is about problems that we choose not to see,” See FLINT, Page 3A
MAEVE O’BRIEN Daily Staff Reporter
The University Research Corridor — a partnership of the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University — released its 11th economic impact report last week. The report highlights the universities’ contributions to the state economy, which totaled $18.7 billion in 2017. This is a significant increase from 2015, when the URC added $16.5 billion to the state economy. Britany AffolterCaine, executive director of the URC, attributes this increase to federal funding and larger
student populations. “It is being successful — the three universities — and continuing to grow their operations in terms of research and education,” Affolter-Caine said. “They’ve grown enrollment over the last several years. They’ve been more successful in capturing federal grants to fund their research. … Continuing growth in those areas is why we can say we’ve had a bigger impact.” In addition, the URC added 78,845 jobs in 2017. “I think it’s really important to think about the impact that’s non-monetary — the impact on individuals,” Affolter-Caine said. “There are many impacts See SUIT, Page 2A
MSU prof discusses U.S. sanctions on No coding Scooters experience Russia, possible economic offensives could stay
needed in new course
Though effectiveness of sanctions is relative, Cook cites Russian political unrest
EECS class for freshmen women and other new coders makes its debut
Lisa D. Cook, an associate professor of economics and international relations at Michigan State University, lead a lecture Wednesday at U-M that discussed the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions against Russia and explored U.S.-Russian relations from an economic standpoint. The event was organized by the University of Michigan Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies amid a swirl of news headlines around the country’s interference in U.S. elections. CREES Director Geneviève Zubrzycki introduced the talk, which was one of over 10 events the center has planned for fall semester, all with an overarching theme of current global relations. “This year we prepared a program that mixes lectures that engage with current affairs,” Zubrzycki said. “We strive to always bring discussions of very recent issues by specialists.” Cook began her lecture educating the audience about the Russian economy, examining the gradual fall in gross domestic product per capita and rising inf lation, with emphasis on the more recent 20 percent fall of the ruble in relation to
AMARA SHAIKH Daily Staff Reporter
LSA senior Haley Richardson did not consider herself a programmer before receiving an email about a new computer science class. But the introductory-level course released at the University of Michigan this semester, EECS 198: Discover Computer Science, moved her to see new opportunities coming her way. “I was immediately really interested for multiple reasons, one (being) that I have zero experience with computer science — I know absolutely nothing about it, and that’s one of the things that I’ve always been very aware of,” Richardson said. The one-credit course is led by EECS Professor Rada Mihalcea and doctoral student Laura Wendlandt. It focuses on exposing all students – particularly freshmen women – who have not had formal programming experience to the world of computer science. Throughout the semester, students will have the opportunity to learn essential computer science concepts, begin to write code, visit local computer science companies See CODING, Page 3A
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the U.S. dollar in the past year. Cook also discussed the disadvantages of the Russian economic structure, outlining its dependence on oil as its main export, capital f light and corruption. After providing information on Russia’s previous and current economic troubles, Cook detailed the history of U.S. economic action against
Russia. She brought to attention the notable March 2014 sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, December 2016 sanctions in response to Russian interference in U.S elections and August 2018 sanctions in response to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. These sanctions freeze assets
and prohibit transactions with specific individuals, which in many cases are Putin’s associates, Russian government officials and Russian oligarchs. Cook explained the effectiveness of sanctions remains relative but cited a 1.5 percent decline of real GDP in Russia, solely from U.S. and European See RUSSIA, Page 3A
Michigan State University Professor Lisa D. Cook addresses current US-Russia relations and their implications on future sanctions in Weiser Hall Wednesday afternoon.
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on streets, city says
Ann Arbor commission on transportation weighs regulation optimistically RILEY LANGEFELD Daily Staff Reporter
The Ann Arbor Transportation Commission met Wednesday evening to discuss the presence of Bird scooters in the city, among other agenda items. Ann Arbor residents and University of Michigan students have used the motorized scooters around the city since their deployment Friday. The commission weighed allowing the scooters on city streets in the near future. Bird dropped the scooters in Ann Arbor without notice to the city, a practice that the company has become known for at many of its locations all over the United States. City officials were caught off guard and forced to deal with the presence of the scooters the following day. The commission meeting followed a response from the city publicly warning residents that use of the scooters could merit a ticket. However, the response of the commission was more measured and Commissioner Linda Diane Feldt characterized the city’s response as “short and threatening.” See SCOOTERS, Page 3A
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On Wednesday evening, Interfraternity Council President Sam Finn, a Public Policy senior, released a statement to The Daily proclaiming a number of fraternity chapters — including Theta Chi, Alpha Sigma Phi, and Psi Upsilon — have decided to disaffiliate from IFC after a July change in city zoning codes. However,
Finn noted the council will continue working to strengthen the recruitment, education and harm reduction programs of its remaining member organizations over the course of the year. The zoning codes, approved during the July 16 council session, would require new fraternities and sororities to maintain affiliation with the University of Michigan or another collegiate institution to be permitted or allowed expansion within the city. If
the fraternity or sorority loses its University affiliation in the future, it can apply for a two-year special exception to prevent loss of its house. “While a large number of chapters initially indicated an intent to disaffiliate, the IFC Executive Board worked diligently with student leaders and inter/national organization representatives to re-affirm member organization’s commitment to the IFC, the University of Michigan, and student
wellness,” the statement read. “Consequently, only a handful of chapters have elected to disaffiliate from the IFC.” Though the disaffiliated chapters will maintain their rights to operate autonomously, they will be denied traditional programs offered by IFC and the University such as anti-hazing and social responsibility task forces.
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SUIT From Page 1A that affect the rank-and-file Michigander.” In the short term, students
at URC universities contribute directly to the state and local economies by buying goods and services and boosting business. In the long-term, their presence is more important, according to Affolter-Caine. Students who attend these universities
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frequently find career paths in the state, often working on projects and jobs that can improve the lives of Michiganders. Affolter-Caine also attributes the success to innovative services and projects developed by the universities which directly impact the state. She cites the Perinatology Research Branch, part of the Wayne State School of Medicine, as an excellent example of a university project that helped the general public. The PRB has discovered a non-invasive treatment for women at risk for pre-term labor, which is now part of standard practice in hospitals across Michigan. Affolter-Caine also cited Mcity, a mock city in Ann Arbor used to test driverless cars, as another excellent example. “There are just not that many really unique facilities like Mcity,” Affolter-Caine said. “And it is bringing businesses from all over the world to Ann Arbor. It gives students an opportunity to conduct research and get that experience.” Engineering professor Glen Daigger, who has been acquainted with the URC for three years and participated in several
cross-university collaborations, said in addition to the raw economic contributions, the URC has helped significantly in facilitating further cooperation between the universities. He noted that the three universities have been working together to improve the networking between state researchers and practitioners in and out of Michigan. Like Affolter-Caine, Daigger believes that innovation is central to the success and impact of the URC. He also credits researchers and academics for their work. “If you aren’t doing new things and improving and so forth, you’re actually going down,” Daigger said. “In terms of economic contribution, the dollars flowing in for research are certainly a contribution, but it’s the ideas and the people and the enthusiasm and so forth that are the biggest contribution to continue the economic development here in Michigan.” Daigger also emphasized the importance of students to the research and economic contributions from all three universities. “Every engine needs fuel. The research engine needs money. One of the other fuels is the students,” Daigger said. “They’re the hands and the minds and the curiosity that really drive much of this research.”
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FLINT From Page 1A Hanna-Attisha said. “For about a year and a half I was also very blind to what was happening in Flint. I was telling my patients that everything was okay. I was drinking the Kool-Aid — that the water was fine and that it was fine for the kids to drink. So it is about all of us being blind to the injustices that are happening all around us.” Hanna-Attisha also underscored her identity as a first-generation Iraqiimmigrant. Her parents escaped Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s fascist regime and immigrated to the United States for their children to have a chance at living out the American dream, and Hanna-Attisha said as a result, she was acutely aware of her privilege growing up in the United States. As a child, her parents never shielded her from what was going on in Iraq, often sharing the current events of the war. That included the story of the small northern Iraqi town of Halabja, which suffered the largest chemical attack in history when Saddam Hussein poisoned over 5,000 people. “I remember seeing, very vividly, a picture of a beautiful baby in a pink blanket lifeless on the street nestled by her
CODING From Page 1A and more. Mihalcea and Wendlandt developed the course as a way to expand the ideas of the CS KickStart program, which encourages women to enroll and continue in computer science courses at the University. They wanted to expand the goals of the program to more students. “CS KickStart was successful in introducing women to computer science, so we wanted to think about ways that we could scale that sort of initiative and reach a larger audience,” Wendlandt said. “We wanted to take some of the CS KickStart material and other material and turn it into a class format to make it a little more accessible to more people and a broader set of people.” Richardson described how she appreciated being in an environment designed for women, especially given the race and gender disparities in computer science and STEM at large. University records published in Fall 2015, for example, show the School of Engineering was 25 percent female and 2 percent Black— out of 9,428 students enrolled at the time, only 64 were female Black students. “It’s geared entirely towards freshman women (but) anyone can take it, obviously — I’m not a freshman,” Richardson said. “But I like the idea of having a class that is geared towards people who
Thursday, September 13, 2018 — 3A
father who was also lifeless,” Hanna-Attisha said. “And that was the milieu of my childhood. Knowing what people in power could do to whole populations.” After Hanna-Attisha held the initial press conference revealing her research of the increased lead levels in the Flint water, she was denounced by the state government. While she expected some of the hurdles she had to face, she remembers how nothing could have prepared her for the critics’ denial of her research. Almost every branch of the state government said she was unnecessarily “causing near hysteria.” They called her an “unfortunate researcher” who was “splicing and dicing numbers.” She recalls the small doubt she felt in herself and in her research for a split second, until she remembered why she began this investigation in the first place. “This is everything about the kids,” Hanna-Attisha said. “The children are my constituency … and as a pediatrician, I literally have taken an oath to protect these kids. These kids are no different than my children. One of the reasons I went into pediatrics is because it is advocacy work. It is our job to stand up, to speak up for kids.” However, she acknowledged the work she did would not
be possible without the large community that supported her. She noted it was “a village of folks who came together to fight,” made up of moms, activists, pastors, journalists and citizen scientists in a mission to figure this out. “The other heroes in this book are our elected officials,” Hanna-Attisha said. “So state Sen. Ananich, Congressman Kildee, Sen. Stabenow and Peters, they had my back at every level of government. When, you know, the state was dismissing me, the EPA was also dismissing me, Congressman Kildee was fighting the EPA, (saying,) ‘No, she’s right, her data is right.’” When asked about the real culprit of the Flint water crisis, she named “ideologies” as the true villains. “This was driven by austerity, this was driven by environmental injustice and racism and discrimination,” Hanna-Attisha said. “It was driven by a lack of democracy. A disrespect for science. It was these ideologies that were the real villains in the story.” But Hanna-Attisha keeps writing “prescriptions for hope,” not only for her patients, but also for young people nationwide. Second-year Medical student Erica Odukoya said Hanna-Attisha should be applauded for her bold decision
to stay true to her values. “What I’m really inspired by is how she was able to take her commitment to her patients as being enough of an impetus to keep moving forward and disrupt the status quo despite the costs,” Odukoya said. Hanna-Attisha noted Flint is currently creating several programs to promote childdevelopment, especially when it comes to increasing literacy. With Hanna-Attisha’s new program called Flint Kids Read, every child in Flint between the ages of 0 and 5 gets a book mailed to their house every month. Hanna-Attisha’s former mentor and SEAS professor emeritus Paul Webb beamed with pride upon greeting her at an informal Q&A at the School of Environment and Sustainability, also attended by members of campus television station WOLV-TV. “She may think she’s in the 5-foot area, but I’ve always looked up to her even as she was an undergraduate,” Webb said. Hanna-Attisha concluded the book talk with one more prescription for hope regarding Flint. “Flint is not going to be defined by this crisis, but rather, by our recovery,” Hanna-Attisha said.
are sort of underrepresented and inexperienced in this field and giving them the chance to dip their feet it.” Mihalcea also pointed out the lack of women in computer science field and expressed the EECS Department’s desire to continue programs working to combat the issue. “The number of women in computer science is not as high as the number of men so there is an imbalance there,” Mihalcea said, “So this is sort of the motivation behind initiatives like CS KickStart, Girls in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and other initiatives around trying to encourage women both in terms of recruiting and retaining.” Though the course was designed for incoming freshmen women, Mihalcea and Wendlandt emphasized anyone is welcome to join. “We received a lot of support,” Wendlandt said, “The department is very supportive of initiatives to recruit a lot of people to computer science. We will add that the class is open to everyone, not just to incoming freshman women. It’s open to anyone that would like to take it.” Richardson said she preferred EECS 198 to other introductory EECS courses because of its inclusive and collaborative class climate. “Me going into an EECS 183 class was sort of something I never imagined myself doing because it’s really intimidating,” Richardson
said. “The environment is very different — you’re going to be around very different people and the pace and the sort of rigor of the course is so intense. This seemed like a really good way for me to get to know something that I was interested in and kind of excluded myself from before, and even felt excluded from just being a woman who studies other STEM and humanities.” LSA freshman Monica Iyer is another student in EECS 198 who also had little prior programming experience but wanted to explore the realm of computer science. Iyer has enjoyed the course so far and echoed Richardson’s sentiment about its engaging and collaborative environment. “It’s all girls so far, and a lot of them also haven’t really tried computer science — or at least people I’ve talked to,” Iyer said. “Everyone seemed really excited and willing to help. We did a little activity at the end of the first class and everyone was helping each other out and having fun with it, so it was really exciting.” Iyer said she also appreciated having the opportunity to delve deeper into computer science without having to completely rearrange her schedule. “I got a taste of what computer science is like and the possible careers it could lead to so I wanted to continue learning more, but I didn’t want to completely rearrange my schedule so the mini course was just perfect,” she said. Both Richardson and Iyer
praised Mihalcea and Wendlant for their enthusiastic instruction and desire to engage students in the material. “The instructor is amazing from what I’ve experienced so far,” Richardson said. “She’s very excited just to learn and share this knowledge with us and get everyone really interested in computer science so it was a very constructive and exciting environment and I think everyone felt at ease leaving the classroom that first day.” Though the class has only just begun, Richardson has already expressed an interest in learning even more about computer science in the future. “Even after just one lecture, and even the act of enrolling in (EECS 198), has made me think about this whole other realm of computer science that I had never considered before.” Richardson said. “Just all of the ways it is applicable to life in general no matter what you’re studying. I’m already looking at what EECS course I can take next semester.” Mihalcea hopes students will take the skills they learned in EECS 198 and continue to apply it in whatever they decide to pursue. “If they think of computer science as an option for either right now or down the road— or (if they realize) other areas … involve computer science, so you could do computer science even if you’re doing chemistry or chemical engineering fields — looking at computer science as a field that might as well be for them, I think that would be a win.”
FR E E SWI N G DA N C I N G
Swing Ann Arbor offers free swing dancing classes to kick off the semester behind Hatcher Wednesday night.
SCOOTERS From Page 1A “My sense of the commission is that we want to be welcoming of devices that expand the choices that people have for transportation,” Feldt said. The committee heard from Raymond Hess, the Ann Arbor transportation manager, who noted existing legislation will soon regulate electric skateboards and allow their use in city streets. The scooters are similar devices, and Hess stated the city will likely regulate them in the same way. However, this legislation was written before the Bird scooters appeared in Ann Arbor, so it is possible the city will adjust its regulatory agenda after considering the visible impact of the devices. Commissioner Scott Trudeau expressed interest in imposing a tax on the scooters, noting the city of Portland, Ore., is projected to collect more than $1 million this year on a similar tax. Trudeau also stated imposing a limit on the total number of scooters in the city could be a reliable way to prevent the influx of devices from overwhelming the city. He also noted the possibility of placing speed limiters in the scooters corresponding to local speed limits. He further expressed a desire to ensure the scooters were available for use to all parts of the city, not just the wealthiest corners. Ann Arbor resident Victoria Green was the only resident to speak about the scooters during the public comment portion of the meeting. She expressed concern over the city’s response but holds reservations about the possible impact of the scooters’ presence. “I was surprised when the city’s response to the wide-scale implementation of Bird scooters was an outright prohibition,” Green said. “I think Ann Arbor
RUSSIA From Page 1A Union sanctions. “What Russia might be experiencing if these sanctions are effective is the undermining of economic growth,” she said. Cook also noted varying levels of unrest within Russian society as living standards remain stagnant or even decline. She referenced the recent protests against the Russian government in response to a proposal to raise retirement age from 60 to 65 for men and 55 to 60 for women. “My sense is that what was underground before, in terms of economic discontent, is
is best for most people when we have a variety of transportation options. I do share concerns that I’ve heard among many of my friends in the University about the sudden appearance of large numbers and issues especially around using public space to store them.” Steve Dolan, director of University Transportation Services, expressed frustration with the company for dropping the fleet of scooters without notice. He noted several similar companies had reached out to the city requesting to expand their business to Ann Arbor, receiving responses stating the city is supportive of such transportation companies but needed to prepare infrastructure or legislation first. Bird ignored this request. Hess stated other companies attempting to “play by the rules” have now contacted the city upset about Bird’s presence in Ann Arbor. Trudeau noted the city is already attempting to find solutions to similar problems posed by other forms of transportation and stated these efforts could be easily expanded to include Bird scooters. “I think a lot of the problems that these things potentially generate are problems we’re already trying to solve,” Trudeau said. Commissioner Bradley Parson echoed this sentiment and said the city should consider how the scooters fit into existing laws — they are technically neither vehicles nor motorized — before imposing new regulations. “This is a gray area and I encourage the city staff response to allow things to develop instead of react quickly,” Parsons said. At the close of the discussion, Feldt asked the members to consider what action to take with respect to the scooters. Feldt proposed the commission create a charter for a task force or advisory committee to aid the city in dealing with the scooters and the commission resolved to do so.
just bubbling to the surface. Pension reform is something that has not been a partisan issue. There were all kinds of people protesting on Sunday,” Cook said. “There has been a rupture in the social compact that is leading to the agitation of people and the breaking of this agreement not to protest or argue for more democracy.” Community High School student Ben Clingenpeel, an Ann Arbor resident, said he attended the lecture to learn more about the current state of relations between the U.S and Russia. “This is a topic I’ve been gaining interest in, as I think a lot of people in this country have,” he said. “I’m trying to stay informed.”
4A — Thursday, September 13, 2018
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ETHAN KESSLER | COLUMN
50 years since ‘68
alfway around the world, American warplanes deliver death and destruction to a country torn apart from years of brutal fratricide. Beyond our southern border, a despotic regime silences its critics with batons and bullets alike. With equal amounts flair and frustration, women speak out against a system they view as suffocating and oppressive. And on a scale viewed by many as unprecedented, America’s youth protest Washington’s seeming indifference to the preventable deaths of their peers. These events collectively comprise the present— the civil war in Syria, violent repression in Nicaragua, the second annual Women’s March and the March for Our Lives—and are all defining moments and stories of 2018. But they are also the past, just as easily characterizations of 1968: the pinnacle of American involvement in the Vietnam War, the year of student-led protests in Mexico City, the Miss America feminist protest and the anti-war riot in Chicago. Half a century ago, many of the same ideological divisions and systemic inequalities that continue to plague our world came to a boiling point. The United States’ military foray into Vietnam had reached its peak, and the subsequent outrage was, for the first time, becoming popular. From Prague to Paris, from civil rights activists to students and workers, it seemed that there wasn’t enough “Enough!” to go around. However, 1968 wasn’t just another chapter in the counterculture saga. It was a point of realization for movements that would go on to empower traditionally neglected segments of society, but it also saw many of these movements lose their leaders and face punishment for voicing dissent. The year of 1968 served as a broadcast to those less enthusiastic citizens that massive, peaceful revolt could effect actual progress on a variety of issues, but it also marked a nadir in communion between two Americas that seemed further than ever. These dynamics appear to remain all too true today. Of course, the idea that history repeats itself is nothing new. So, what makes those events of a half-century ago so unique? The answer lies in the youth.
Those of college (and draft) age in 1968 inhabited a world still adapting to the pressures and influences of television, a technology so widespread that it fundamentally redefined how people saw each other. And just as television reshaped how citizens saw the wars their tax dollars were funding and the protests their governments were suppressing in 1968, social media and widespread internet access have overhauled old methods of mobilizing constituencies and spreading (mis)information in today’s political climate. Similarly, just as young Americans in 1968 felt the injustice of being shipped off to participate in a war they did not believe in, all the while many were not conferred equal treatment at home, the seminal 2016 presidential election shows how younger Americans today widely feel that the current administration does not reflect their best interests. If the parallels between 1968 and 2018 show how wellpositioned younger generations are to effect change, then the differences between then and now highlight how far that change has brought us in those 50 years. Five decades ago, America was on the cusp of achieving its current status as a fully democratic republic (in terms of which races and which citizens were granted a place in the electorate) — today, we take those universal liberties for granted as we exercise them, even begrudgingly. Students such as ourselves were the first in this country to enjoy free speech protections that we have the privilege to debate over today, and many did not even enjoy a place at the ballot box. So what lessons does our past, particularly that which is simultaneously so close and yet so far, offer us? 1968 shows the youth of today just how large a role was played by their predecessors in reforming the institutions that we now consider fundamental, but it also offers up a cautionary tale to those who dare to question their own ability, and with that their own responsibility, to change the world for the better. Amid the backdrop of furious antiwar protesters who nonetheless found inadequate support in the public, the misguided presidential nomination of pro-war candidate Hubert Humphrey in August 1968
aptly illustrated the downfall of such disengagement. Enabled by a system that all but shut out the popular opinion of his party, Humphrey’s nomination was characterized by a failure to “ … realize how deep the anger and hatred of the young had become,” and ultimately cost the Democrats the election that year. The “antiwar” victor of the contest, Richard Nixon, would go on to show the liberal youth who stayed home that year the cost of their ambivalence by sacrificing tens of thousands more American souls in Southeast Asia. If the social crusades being waged today seem relatively inconsequential, it is because those of the present always appear to be. But we must not forget being at the forefront of public opinion, as young people, also places us at the beginning of change. The fights for better health care, fairer voting laws and more universal discrimination protections today do not loom nearly as large as their previous incarnations, but they will go down as chapters in a horrific history of complacency if they are not fought. Just as we wonder, with shame, how our country once permitted overwhelming indifference to the lives of its own citizens, allowed states to deny suffrage to millions of voters and stood by while entire demographics were excluded from American life, future generations will not look so kindly upon a generation that does nothing to continue these quests for the sake of posterity. Committing to a future of greater equality and fairer governance, especially in light of the struggles of a halfcentury ago and the activism that rose up to meet it, is a noble aspiration that must be led by those with the most to offer. That the window of ideas deemed acceptable and achievable is in a constant state of expansion means that this class of leaders will continue to be drawn from the incubators of youthful spirit, just as it was in 1968. Looking back on that historic year will prepare us to tackle the challenges that lie ahead, as we are most dutifully bound to do.
Ethan Kessler can be reached at email@example.com.
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iGen and the future of the kibbutz
Never have I ever had sex with a member,” I said looking around the room at my fellow volunteers and the young members of Kibbutz Baram. I quickly noticed none of the members took a drink. “How is it possible that none of you have had sex with a member?” “Have sex with another member? I would never!” “What? Why not!?” “After growing up and spending all day with other members I view them as my brothers and sisters… having sex with them would just be gross.” Throughout my summer living in Baram, a socialist town in the northern part of Israel, I came to find this was a common mindset that is inspired by a commitment to a collective ideology. The kibbutz movement, which started in the early 20th century, originally sought to merge socialism and Zionism through the creation of agricultural and industrial cooperative towns in Israel. At Baram, I quickly noticed the collective mentality displayed in games such as “Never Have I Ever” is diminishing for the Kibbutz’s youngest generation, iGen. In iGen, Baram is a case study into how social media causes the two opposing worlds of individualism and socialism to collide. Baram was founded in 1949 by 60 former members of the Hashomer Hatzair, a socialistZionist youth movement. The founders arrived in the hilly forest that would later become Baram with nothing more than a bold vision of society. In the beginning, the “members” of Baram took the socialist critique of private property to the extreme; members shared everything from underwear to daily outfits. A lot has changed for Israel in the past 69 years, as has Baram, but the biggest change appears to be looming in a surprising place — social media. In the 1980s, Israel went through a massive economic crisis that resulted in the creation of a new currency and a shift toward a free market economic model. The collapse of the economy meant nearly every kibbutz had to privatize, code for turning into regular towns where everyone has different incomes and private property. As of a 2010 study conducted by Haifa University, only 65 of the 256 kibbutzim have yet to privatize and Baram is one of the few that remains dedicated to its communal roots. In 1997, Baram was proudly the very last kibbutz to close their “children’s home,” a house in which all children of the kibbutz would sleep in at night
because kibbutzniks (people who live in a kibbutz) believed even children could be raised communally. During my time living and working in Baram I tried to learn as much as I could about Baram and the rich history of the kibbutz movement. I assumed the ending of the children’s home created a gigantic generational divide —I thought all children born after 1997 would be vastly different from the other kibbutzniks but I quickly learned the story was more complicated. I spoke with a member who was one of the first children raised after the termination of the children’s home, who for confidentiality purposes
Social media makes teenagers hyper-aware of their personal image and the way other people perceive them
will go by Isabel; she told me the termination of the home didn’t change the kibbutz all that much. She stated she and her classmates at the kibbutz still spent so much time together that where they slept didn’t really make a difference – they still went to school together, they still ate in the dining hall with all the other members and they still played together at the pool after school. To me, Isabel’s narrative seemed to demonstrate how the millennials in Baram had a strong sense of camaraderie with each other. Isabel, a millennial, did however think there was a large generational divide between her and the teens. From Isabel’s perspective, the current children of Baram have a much stronger sense of individualism than any previous generation, and she believes social media is changing the way the children of the kibbutz think about themselves and their community. Isabel’s argument is hard to deny. Social media makes teenagers hyper-aware of their personal image and the way other people perceive them. Through likes, views and followers Instagram quantifies a previously invisible social hierarchy and trains teenagers to think of themselves as a brand defined by their image. Snapchat trains teens to constantly take photos themselves and thus trains them to think about how they look in comparison to others.
Why wouldn’t these apps change the way that teenage kibbutzniks view themselves and their community? This generational divide is widely discussed and studied in the American psychology community. Jean Twenge, a University of Michigan alum and professor of psychology at San Diego State University, says millennials and the younger generation, iGens, are separated by the age of social media and the internet; iGens grow up with smartphones and have an Instagram accounts before they start high school, while millennials remember a time before the smartphone. This divide places current college students directly on the border between the two generations, leaving many people in their early 20s, like myself and Isabel, feeling more like a millennial. Twenge finds iGens spend much more time isolated and alone in their rooms using their social media and thinking about their image — a narrative that fits in perfectly with Isabel’s perception of iGen kibbutzniks in Baram. Baram’s edited socialist society will only continue to function if members of the community are dedicated to the challenge of thinking from the level of the collective, not the individual. Isabel and many other members whom I spoke to are very worried about the future of Baram. Despite the economic success of Baram, over the past few years there has been conversation and even a vote about privatization, the death of communal living. From my brief time there, I felt that the iGens did not have the same communal cognition as the other generations. Rather, I noticed anecdotal evidence for their differing identity — like the fact that there were a few iGen couples and the iGens tended to hangout in smaller groups rather than all together. I can sense this generational divide on campus, with current freshmen religiously checking their Snapchats and upperclassmen devotedly hitting “interested” on Facebook events. To many members of Baram, social media is a form of capitalist propaganda that trains young people to perceive themselves throuwwgh the hyper individualistic and isolating lenses of apps like Instagram and Snapchat; the truth of these claims, however, just like the future of Baram, remains to be seen.
Reed Rosenbacher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ELLERY ROSENZWEIG | COLUMN
Lessons from media
Gossip Girl” is a popular television show many of my friends binge watch on Netflix. As a fifth grader, I started watching the series live and followed the dramatic lives of high school aged Manhattan Elite, never missing an episode. On a lazy summer afternoon, after scrolling through Netflix with no luck, I decided to re-watch the first episode. The pilot started and it was just like the good old days. It was as entertaining and dramatic as I remembered. I was comfortable with the characters and the storyline so I didn’t really have to pay attention. That is, until a scene where a female character was sexually assaulted by a male character. I was shocked. I didn’t remember this scene or anything of its nature on the show. I continued watching the episode, but again there was another scene with the same male character sexual assaulting another female character. This time I was alarmed. I was disgusted and could not continue to watch the next episode. In anger, I began searching online to find what others thought after re-watching the pilot and found many mixed feelings. Some people just noticed, brushed it off and decided to focus on the parts they loved while others pinpointed all the reasons the show is bad for young women. With these different reactions in mind, I found myself wondering if should I continue to watch shows that I enjoy even if they have messages that
I do not support? When I look back at some of my favorite shows, movies and music, they have underlying messages of misogyny through the actions of characters or the words of the lyrics. I’m aware of this and I think the first step is noticing the inequalities in our society that are portrayed in our media. But as a young person, I did not notice this when watching “Gossip Girl” for the
Should I continue to watch shows that I enjoy even if they have messages I do not support? first time. Last winter in my developmental psychology class, my professor shared her findings on how adolescents learn by observing behaviors and attitudes from their media. This means, whether I was aware of it or not, I was learning about sexuality, gender and sexual relationships by watching programs like “Gossip Girl”. Now, in hindsight, that proves extremely problematic. As young people, we so easily learn from our media. Thus, seeing storylines of sexual assault unfold time and time again can teach us,
particularly in our youth, that this is how the world works. In the past, I’ve had experiences or heard stories from my friends about instances that I now know may not have been totally consensual. But when these experiences happened, we felt like it was positive because we learned from our world and the media that if a man was giving us attention, it was good. This doesn’t mean I have to stop watching these shows but I’m not sure how I am supposed to enjoy them. Now, I’m actively choosing to find media with messages that empower me instead of reinforcing internalized misogynistic thoughts and actions. I try to find media that promotes a positive self-image and strong female relationships that are not always about what women think of men. For example, I have been watching “Broad City” and listening to songs by hip-hop artist Lizzo. We don’t need media that makes us feel inadequate or insecure. Explore new types of music. Watch shows and movies about things you normally wouldn’t have in past. Fall in love with new characters that are different from you. Listen to lyrics that make you feel good in your body. As adults, by understanding that the kind of media we consume impacts us, we have the agency to choose what we consume.
Ellery Rosenzweig can be reached at email@example.com.
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Thursday, September 13, 2018 — 5A
Here’s what every varsity head coach is making at Michigan this year
Michigan softball coach Carol Hutchins has an option to become Special Assistant to the Athletic Director if she retires.
Daily Sports Writer
You’ve probably seen articles discussing the compensation received by college coaches, including those at the University of Michigan. Jim Harbaugh’s salary is one of the largest in all of college football — up there with Clemson’s Dabo Swinney and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. As for John Beilein, the Michigan men’s basketball coach signed a contract extension this summer that will likely see him finish his career in Ann Arbor. But there has been little reporting about the smaller sports. The Michigan Daily hopes to change that. The Daily requested contracts for every coach employed by the university, via the Freedom of Information Act. Here’s what we received back: Jim Harbaugh (football) • Harbaugh is set to make $7.5 million in 2018 after receiving a 10 percent raise on both his base salary of $500,000 and additional compensation of $4,500,000. The $7.5 million also includes $2 million in premium advances. • He is set to receive another 10 percent bump in both categories at the end of the 2019 season. • Also at the end of the 2019 season, Harbaugh’s performance and compensation will be evaluated, possibly leading to a greater salary. • Harbaugh’s contract runs through the 2021 season. • Potential bonuses include $125,000 for making the Big Ten Championship Game, $250,000 for winning it, $300,000 for making the College Football Playoff, $500,000 for winning a national championship. • Harbaugh has a $4,000 apparel allowance for personal use each calendar year. • If fired without cause, Harbaugh will still be paid his annual base salary and additional compensation. Harbaugh is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. John Beilein (men’s basketball) • Beilein will be paid $3.8 million annually through the 202223 season. After that, the contract automatically extends until either Beilein retires or the athletic department decides not to renew it. • The salary is split into a $400,000 base, $1.9 million additional compensation and $1.5 million being added into a retirement plan. • If fired this season, Beilein has a $3 million buyout. That drops to $2 million in 2019-20, then by $500,000 each year. • Potential bonuses include $25,000 for an NCAA Tournament berth, a Big Ten Tournament championship or share of the Big Ten regular season title. Mel Pearson (ice hockey) • Pearson is set to make $400,000 annually through the 2021-22 season. • That salary is split into a $350,000 base and $50,000 bonus each year. • For making the Frozen Four last year, Pearson received a bonus of two months’ base salary (approximately $58,000). • To buy Pearson out from his contract at Michigan Tech, Michigan paid $250,000. • If fired without cause, Pearson will be paid, “any earned but unpaid wages and vacation and an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining terms of this Agreement.” Pearson is required to seek another job as soon as possible
in such a situation. Kim Barnes Arico (women’s basketball) • Barnes Arico will be paid $728,000 annually through the 2022-23 season after signing a contract extension this summer. • That salary is split into a $400,000 base, $275,000 in additional compensation, $50,000 in deferred compensation and $3,000 under the university’s Nike contract. • Barnes Arico will receive a one-time $42,000 payment on September 30, 2018 as deferred compensation accrued from her previous contract. • Potential bonuses include $40,000 for winning the Big Ten outright, $20,000 for making the NCAA Tournament and $25,000 per NCAA Tournament win. • If fired without cause, Barnes Arico will be paid base salary and additional compensation through the end of the contract. Barnes Arico is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Carol Hutchins (softball) • Hutchins is set to make $539,000 this season. • That salary is split between a $459,000 base and $80,000 in additional compensation. • Her base salary increases by $9,000 every year. • Her contract runs through the 2022 season, but includes a rollover clause. • Potential bonuses include $20,000 for winning the Big Ten, $25,000 for making the Women’s College World Series and $30,000 for winning the Women’s College World Series. • Hutchins’ contract includes an option to assume a role as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director for three years, working a maximum of 20 hours per week at a $75,000 annual salary, once she retires. Erik Bakich (baseball) • Bakich is set to make at least $400,000 annually, through the 2022 season. • When Bakich signed his contract in August 2017, he was given $200,000 in a onetime payment for additional compensation. • Bakich’s salary also includes supplemental compensation of at least $25,000 annually from the university’s contract with its bat sponsor. • Potential bonuses include $20,000 for a Big Ten championship, $25,000 for a College World Series appearance and $30,000 for a College World Series championship. • If Bakich leaves before June 30, 2019, he is required to pay the university $125,000. That number drops by $50,000 every
year through the end of his contract. Chaka Daley (men’s soccer) • After signing a new contract this past April, Daley will make $161,000 this season. • His salary increases by $3,000 each year. • Daley’s contract runs through the end of the 2022 season. • Potential bonuses include one month’s salary (approximately $13,500 this season) for winning the Big Ten and three months’ salary ($40,250 this season) for winning the NCAA championship. • If fired without cause, Daley will be paid, “any earned but unpaid base wages and vacation and an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining terms of this Agreement.” Daley is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Jennifer Klein (women’s soccer) • Klein is set to make $155,000 annually through the 2022 season. • Potential bonuses include one month’s salary (approximately $13,000) for a Big Ten championship and three months’ salary ($38,750) for winning an NCAA championship • Klein’s contract includes two-for-one matching of retirement contributions if she contributes 5 percent of her gross salary. • To relocate her from Southern California, Michigan paid Klein 1.5 months’ salary (approximately $19,500) to cover her moving expenses. If she leaves before her one-year employment anniversary, Klein must pay that back to the athletic department. Mike Bottom (swimming and diving) • Bottom is set to make $220,000 annually through the 2022 season. • That salary is split into a $200,000 base and $20,000 in additional compensation. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary for winning the Big Ten (approximately $17,000) and three months’ base salary (approximately $51,000) for winning an NCAA championship. Sean Bormet (wrestling) • Bormet is set to make $175,000 annually through the 2023 season. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary (approximately $14,500) for winning the Big Ten and three months’ base salary ($43,750) for winning an NCAA championship. • Bormet’s contract includes two-for-one matching of retirement contributions if he contributes 5 percent of his gross salary. Kevin Conry (men’s lacrosse) • Conry is set to make $190,000 per year through the 2022
season. • Potential bonuses include one month’s salary (approximately $16,000) for winning the Big Ten and three months’ salary ($47,500) for winning an NCAA championship. • When Conry signed his contract in 2017, he was paid 1.5 months’ salary (approximately $24,000) to cover moving expenses. • Conry’s contract includes two-for-one matching of his retirement contributions if he contributes 5 percent of his salary. Jan Dowling (women’s golf) • Dowling is set to make $120,000 annually through the 2023 season after signing a new contract this June. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary ($10,000) for a Big Ten championship or NCAA regional appearance, and three months’ base salary ($30,000) for an NCAA championship. Ronni Bernstein (women’s tennis) • Bernstein is set to make $187,500 this season under a contract extension she signed in 2016. • That salary is split into a $177,500 base and a $10,000 annual supplemental payment. • Bernstein’s contract runs through 2019-20. Her base salary will go up to $184,000 that year. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary (approximately $15,000 this season) for winning the Big Ten and three months’ base salary ($44,375) for winning the NCAA Tournament. • If Bernstein is fired without cause, the university will pay her, “an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining terms of this Agreement.” Bernstein is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Hannah Nielsen (women’s lacrosse) • Nielsen is set to make $130,000 annually through the 2020 season under a contract signed this past February. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary (approximately $11,000) for winning the Big Ten and three months’ base salary ($32,500) for winning the NCAA championship. • If Nielsen is fired without cause, she will be paid, “any earned but unpaid base wages and vacation and an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining terms of this Agreement.” Nielsen is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Marcelo Leonardi (water polo) • Leonardi is set to make $134,000 this season under a contract he signed in 2014. • That salary is split into a $129,000 base and a $5,000 bonus. • Leonardi’s base salary has gone up by $3,500 for each year of his contract. • Leonardi’s contract expires at the end of the 2018-19 season. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary ($10,750 this year) for winning the College Water Polo Association and three months’ base salary ($32,250 this year) for winning an NCAA championship. • If Leonardi is fired without cause, he will be paid, “an amount equivalent to the Base Salary for the remaining term of this Agreement.” Leonardi is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Bev Plocki (women’s gymnastics) • Plocki will make $257,000 annually through the
Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico will be paid $728,000 through the 2022-23 season.
2022 season under a contract signed in December 2017. • Potential bonuses include $10,000 for a Big Ten regular season championship and $30,000 for an NCAA championship. • If Plocki is fired without cause, she will be paid, “any earned but unpaid base wages and vacation and an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining term of this Agreement.” Plocki is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Mark Rosen (volleyball) • Rosen is set to be paid $190,000 annually through the 2022 season under a contract extension signed in June 2018. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary (approximately $16,000) for a Big Ten championship and three months’ salary ($47,500) for an NCAA championship. • If Rosen is fired without cause, he will be paid, “any earned but unpaid base wages and vacation and an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining term of this Agreement.” Rosen is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Kevin Sullivan (men’s cross country) • Sullivan is set to make $88,200 this season under a contract he signed in 2017. • Sullivan’s salary jumps by $4,500 in 2019-20, then jumps again by $2,700 in 2020-21, after which the contract expires. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary ($7,350) for a Big Ten championship and three months’ salary ($22,050) for an NCAA championship. • If Sullivan is fired without cause, the university must pay him, “an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining term of this Agreement”. Sullivan is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Marcia Pankratz (field hockey) • Pankratz is set to make
$171,500 this season under a contract extension she signed in 2016. • The salary is split into a $161,500 base and $10,000 in additional compensation. • Pankratz’s base salary jumps to $166,000 in 2019 and $171,000 in 2020, after which her contract expires. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary (approximately $13,500) for a Big Ten regular season championship and three months’ base salary ($40,375) for an NCAA Tournament championship. • If Pankratz is fired without cause, she will be paid, “an amount equivalent to the Base Salary in monthly installments for the remaining terms of this agreement.” Pankratz is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. Adam Steinberg (men’s tennis) • Steinberg is set to make $202,200 this season under a contract he signed in 2014. • The salary is split into a $187,200 base and a $15,000 annual supplemental payment. • Potential bonuses include one month’s base salary ($15,600) for a Big Ten regular season championship and three months’ salary ($46,800) for an NCAA championship • If fired without cause, Steinberg will be paid, “an amount equivalent to the Base Salary for the remaining term of this agreement.” Steinberg is required to seek another job as soon as possible in such a situation. *The Daily was given a contract that expired after the 2015-16 season for women’s cross country coach Mike McGuire. ** The Daily was given a contract that expired on July 15, 2018 for men’s track and field coach Jerry Clayton. *** Men’s gymnastics coach Kurt Golder, rowing coach Mark Rothstein and men’s golf coach Chris Whitten do not have formal contracts with the university. Additional reporting by Max Marcovitch
Michigan hockey coach Mel Pearson will $400,000 annually through 2021-22. Release Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
ACROSS 1 Minimally 5 Oversight 10 “Man With a Plan” network 13 One and only 14 Fads 15 No longer active: Abbr. 16 Rolls off the alley 18 “__ we there yet?” 19 College Board exam, briefly 20 French assent 21 It’s calculated using ht. and wt. 22 Make a face, say 23 Swing era dance 26 Loan application section 27 Badgers 28 Staff helper 29 “Be My __ Ono”: Barenaked Ladies song 30 West Coast athletic footwear company 32 Smoking hazard 36 Got close to empty 37 Area to lay anchor 38 High style 39 Cry related to “hey” 40 Opt out 44 Anticipatory counterargument 47 Goldfinger’s first name 48 Three-time NBA Finals MVP Duncan 49 __ Butterworth 50 Post-workout lament 51 Open event gold medalist in the 2016 Chess Olympiad 52 Dairy implement, and a hint to what’s hidden in 16-, 23-, 32-, and 44-Across 55 Do a 5K, e.g. 56 Meets up with the old gang 57 “Makes sense” 58 Conclusion 59 Increase
60 Typically roundneck shirts
DOWN 1 Norse gods’ home 2 Head cover 3 Windowswitching keyboard shortcut 4 Catch a scent of 5 Yellow __ 6 “Fifty Shades of Grey” heroine 7 Trial episodes 8 French toast 9 Nail polish brand 10 More like Oscar the Grouch 11 Hamilton local 12 “In the Heat of the Night” Oscar winner Rod 14 B.A. Baracus player 17 Superlative suffix 23 Copacetic 24 “Makes sense” 25 Old World Style sauce 27 Swed. neighbor 29 Retired NBAer Ming
30 Tax 31 Japanese prime minister since 2012 32 Big name in juice pouches 33 Hot 34 Amorphous mass 35 Home Depot purchase 36 Burst 39 Ready to sire
40 Test limits 41 Excite 42 Yes or no follower 43 Drama segments 45 Sunspot center 46 Leveled, with “up” 47 Theater chain initials 50 Form W-9 org. 53 Explosive stuff 54 Fair-hiring letters
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE:
By Joe Deeney ©2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC
6A — Thursday, September 13, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
James Hudson, Jalen Mayfield pushing for starting tackle positions Michigan offensive line coach Ed Warriner didn’t rule out Hudson and Mayfield breaking into the starting lineup MARK CALCAGNO Daily Sports Editor
Offensive tackle has long been a trouble spot for the Michigan football team. Midway through the 2016 season, Grant Newsome’s career-ending knee injury forced Ben Bredeson to start at left tackle. He played like you’d expect from a true freshman lineman in the Big Ten: poorly. Bredeson then moved to guard full time last offseason, moving now-NFL center Mason Cole out of position to left tackle in 2017. Still, the Wolverines hoped to develop Nolan Ulizio, Jon Runyan Jr. or Juwann BushellBeatty into a bona fide starter in 2017; all three had been in the program for at least three years. Instead, right tackle was consistently one of Michigan’s most glaring weaknesses last season. Ulizio started the opener but was pulled by halftime. Bushell-Beatty selfadmittedly struggled with confidence. Runyan looked like he did, too. So began another year of question marks at the position. Though redshirt freshman James Hudson and true freshman Jalen Mayfield generated buzz in fall camp, Bushell-Beatty and Runyan started at right and left tackle, respectively, two weeks ago against Notre Dame. Familiar issues returned. Michigan’s offensive line was out-manned by the Fighting Irish’s front seven, allowing pressure and hits on junior quarterback Shea Patterson throughout. But the Wolverines didn’t panic after one game. They stuck with the same line, and it paid off with over 300 rushing yards against Western Michigan last week.
Freshman tackle Jalen Mayfield has been playing with the first-team offense about 25 percent of the time in practice, according to offensive line coach Ed Warriner.
“(The line was) much better in week two than in week one but a work in progress still,” said offensive line coach Ed Warinner. “(It was) Jon Runyan’s first two starts as an offensive tackle. He’s played solid and continues to improve there. Juwann Bushell-Beatty has improved, and I think he’s played better as well. I still want them to push and develop.” It doesn’t mean that Michigan’s offensive line is set, though. Warinner mentioned starting roles are evaluated
regularly based off practice and game performances. In his words, “anything can happen moving forward.” That should perk the ears of Hudson and Mayfield. Both have rotated with the starters in practice — Mayfield takes about 25 percent of his reps with the ones while Hudson gets a “little” more — and both could see larger roles if the starters’ struggles re-emerge. Warinner already thinks Mayfield is “physically and mentally” ahead of where he
“(The line was) much better in week two than in week one...”
should be, even without the luxury of enrolling a semester early. “Over the summer they’ve come a long way,” Warinner said. “I wasn’t sure with Jaylen how the summer would affect him, going through Summer Bridge, but he’s really come on and works every day with the twos and gets some work with the ones every day. His progress is great.” Despite the extra year, Hudson is also just getting acclimated to the Wolverines’
offensive line. He switched to tackle from defensive end last spring — a change difficult for even the most athletic and cerebral players. “His growth over the summer and then this fall has been tremendous,” Warriner said. “He’s fully invested now as an offensive lineman. In the spring he was putting a toe in the water to see what he thought. He gave us a good effort and showed some talent, but there were times it was frustrating for him because it was just so new. To
“Over the summer they’ve come a long way.”
go against our defensive ends every day, it’s challenging. He’s way beyond that. He’s gained confidence in himself and his ability to do the job, knowing what to do when he’s out there.” Both Hudson and Mayfield saw action at the end of Saturday’s game. Given the lopsided score and weak opposition, they couldn’t show much of real significance. But when asked about the offensive line during Monday’s press conference, coach Jim Harbaugh praised his young tackles unprompted. “It was good to see Jaylen Mayfield get in the game, it was good to see James Hudson get in the game and do well,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve got good hopes for both those tackles. It’s kind of a race to see how fast they can get up to speed.” Michigan undoubtedly has a delicate balance to strike with its tackles. Based on their age, neither Runyan nor BushellBeatty are long-term answers, and their lapses at Notre Dame put pressure to develop youthful reserves faster. But that can backfire, especially with offensive linemen. “If you put a young guy in there before he’s ready, you could ruin him, really set him back,” Warinner said. “If you bring him along at a pace he can handle, then you’ve got something for a long time.” There’s no easy answer for the Wolverines, and it’s still early for Hudson and Mayfield. But the pair do provide a glimmer of hope for Michigan at tackle — finally. “They’re in the ballpark (of starting),” Warriner said. “So that bodes well for us. (We) want depth there. … Whether they’re the best player at the position? Time will tell.”
Hudson “trending” in second year at VIPER A moment of weakness in a dominating match VOLLEYBALL
Daily Sports Writer
It was a one-sided affair. There’s no other way to put it.
Junior VIPER Khaleke Hudson has been making an impact both defensively and on special teams, as he blocked a punt in last week’s win over Western Michigan.
Managing Sports Editor
Khaleke Hudson broke fully into the spotlight last season for the Michigan football team. Taking over at VIPER for fan favorite Jabrill Peppers, Hudson made third-team All-Big Ten, won a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award and even tied the NCAA record for tackles for loss in a game with eight against Minnesota. Hudson finished the season with 83 tackles and two interceptions. This season, Hudson, now a junior, has solidified himself as one of the top talents on a defense that returned nearly all of its starters. Last week against Western Michigan, as the 19th-ranked Wolverines dominated from start to finish, Hudson made his mark. Midway through the second quarter with Michigan up 28-0 and the Broncos barely clinging to life, Western Michigan faced 4th-and-1. Its quarterback John
Wassink faked a handoff and took off to the left. Hudson shed a block, planted his feet and upended Wassink at the line of scrimmage, forcing a change of possession and dashing any hopes the Broncos had left. It was one of Hudson’s six tackles in the game, and while that isn’t an eyepopping number, it does represent Hudson’s solid play. “He’s coming on,” said linebackers coach Al Washington on Wednesday. “Khaleke has done a very good job. I thought last week he made incremental steps, and he’s gonna continue to do that. But I’m very pleased with Khaleke, and I’m really impressed with his ability to lead. You know, he’s trying to do a better job leading. But I’m very excited about this week for him.”
The leadership facet of Hudson’s game is an interesting one. As stated, this is a defense with tons of experience, which breeds leadership. Hudson’s leadership abilities can be categorized by what he does, not necessarily what he says. According to Washington, Hudson took a majority of the snaps this week in practice, a testament to his willingness to work despite what he’s already proven. “By his actions, I mean, you take yesterday, he took the bulk of the reps,” Washington said. “(He’s) just rolling. And he didn’t balk, didn’t do anything, you know, he just grinded through it. And that’s the type of leadership that I think a lot of younger guys see impacting more than what he says.”
“I thought last week he made incremental steps.”
That side of things also shows itself on special teams. As a freshman, Hudson saw almost all of his playing time on special teams, tying for the team-lead with two blocked punts. Since then, he’s spent nearly every defensive snap at VIPER, and it would be understandable if the coaches or even Hudson himself wanted to give him his rest on special teams plays. But just last week, against the Broncos, Hudson lined up as Western Michigan set to punt the ball away. He ripped through the line at the snap, along with four other Wolverines, split Western Michigan’s personal protectors and blocked the third punt of his career. Washington sees that play and the fourth down stop as signs of what is to come for Hudson this season. “Those things piggyback on each other and start to snowball,” Washington said. “It’ll continue. We’ve still got work to do, but he’s trending. His head is down.”
In the Michigan volleyball team’s sweep of Louisiana State on Friday, there were zero lead changes and only one instance of a tie in score, which happened in the opening moments of a set. From start to finish, the Wolverines dominated — except for one instance. In the second set, Michigan had an extended scoring drought. After leading by 16 points at 20-4, the Wolverines allowed six straight points to narrow the lead to just ten. It wasn’t a scare by any means. But for Michigan, which had won 21 straight sets — many just as dominantly — any chink in their armor was a notable moment. After putting on offensive pressure nearly the entire game, the sudden switch to defense caught the Wolverines off guard. Between the inability to transition and adapt to the Tigers’ new short serve offered the first looks at what an unorganized, unprepared Michigan team looked like. “Our defensive effort, there were a lot of scrambled plays, you know, we have a system and a plan, but that system only goes so far, then it turns into effort,” said Michigan coach Mark Rosen. Seeing the moment of weakness, Louisiana State attacked aggressively — paying immediate dividends. And thanks to that pressure, its defense found improvement
as well, exploiting poorly coordinated responses from the Wolverines. Sophomore middle blocker Kiara Shannon and junior outside hitter Sydney Wetterstrom saw their attacks turn into errors as they failed to keep the hits in bounds. And just as much as it was an impressive showing by the Tigers, even if for an instance, it was more of Michigan shooting itself in the foot. Of the six points Louisiana State scored, four of them were attacking errors from the Wolverines. “It was a weird set because we really only rotated five times and we didn’t even get through a full rotation,” Rosen said. “Which is odd. Usually you get through three or close to three. I think it was a weird game, we scored points at a really fast rate, we got runs like crazy. “I think maybe your serve receive gets a little bit lull because you aren’t in it very often. You were point scoring or serving, playing defense and all of a sudden we’re not on serve receive much.” In an otherwise flawless game, the short lapse gave the team a glimpse of something it had avoided all season — carelessness. After building and maintaining a large lead for so long, Michigan had a sense of security that lulled it to negligence. But it was only momentary as a brief timeout was all it took to get regrouped and revitalized — closing the set on a 5-1 run. That run led to a 25-11 finish on the night, as the Wolverines kept their perfect record intact.
“... we have a system and a plan, but that... only goes so far.”
The Michigan Daily | michigandaily.com | September 13, 2018
2B —Thursday, September 13, 2018
COURTESY OF MADELEINE GAUDIN
Call it fake, call it Neo-Dadaism: Absurdist internet humor is art MADELEINE GAUDIN Managing Arts Editor
The most common explanation among people who critically engage with absurdist internet humor is to claim a resurgence of Neo-Dadaism. A quick Google search of the two pulls up an endless list of cultural think pieces that position the two artistic movements as parallels. The primary aim seems to be, more than artistic analysis, some proof of the validity of this specific movement. “For an art historian, NeoDada is a very specific term for a few artists in the ’60s,” Art History lecturer Tara Ward said in an interview with The Daily. “People like (Jasper) Johns who were playing around, not only with popular culture, but using some irony.” Johns, who’s also claimed by abstract expressionism and pop art, is best known for his depictions and recreations of the American f lag. “The great story about Johns is he produces a series of bronze beer cans that are a response to his dealer saying that this dealer could sell some beer cans that de Kooning had thrown away,” Ward said. “So Johns kind of goes, ‘Here sell them.’ And of course they did and made a fortune.” “But this is all going back to earlier movements in the 20th century like True Dada, which goes in a variety of different directions, but was always aimed at being somewhat controversial, sometimes in very political ways,” Ward said. “And then there are people like Duchamp and Picabia who are posing interesting questions, but within an almost juvenile sense of humor.” A movement of avant-garde art in the early 20th century, Dadaism and its precursors of anti-art sought to challenge what was considered art. “The thing that I was looking at this morning that would recall these words to me … the whole Kanye/PornHub thing that just happened, where he’s the creative director of their awards,” Ward said. “The question is: Is that a joke? Are we supposed to take that seriously or is that just so ridiculous that we’re supposed to react to it?” Reaction is essential to, and the chief aim of, most Dadaist art. A mere 28 years into the life of the Internet, it has become a society that has reached a self-ref lexive stage. Absurdist internet humor, like absurdist humor and art of the early 20th century, rejects aesthetics of capitalism, logic and reason in order to pronounce the futile nature of existence. Only now the “world” that is dark and unrelenting isn’t necessarily the physical world at all. It’s the world of the internet. The creation of the internet, in a sense, was the creation of a new world — a world that
is moving through the same artistic movements as the physical world. Only the online world is privileged with the knowledge of the physical world. Even when its humor is self-referential, its modes of reference are learned from outside itself. And absurdist internet humor is critiquing and parodying the society of the internet, even more than it is the physical world. Faux profundity is blown apart by memes like “we live in a society” and “fellas is it gay” that make a joke of the homophobic rhetoric and toxic masculinity that fills forums on 4chan and Reddit. “Think about Rauschenberg taking essentially trash, but also pointedly historically meaningful trash. There is this latent meaning that then they’re remaking and sort of activating, but sort of not,” Ward said. “Which is, again, this really weird space of, ‘Okay, are you actually saying this? Or are you negating this? Where are we here?’” This constant regeneration is essential to this kind of humor. Memes are better when they reference other memes. Jokes are smarter when they reference other jokes. “In my interaction with it, I guess I would define absurdist humor as the logical extension of an ironic/Postmodern conceptualization of culture,” Derek Triebwasser, an LSA and Music, Theatre & Dance junior, said. “My sense of this humor is that we, as content creators and consumers, are perceptually aware of the
degree of abstraction of a meme … despite potentially being unable to voice this.” Triebwasser interacts with absurdist internet culture primarily through Twitter and prides themself on their ability to curate content. Like many others in this corner of the internet, Triebwasser isn’t a content generator, but interacts with the community as a collector — the kind of collector that, Ward noted, existed before the internet. “I’m not really a big fan of super, super dark humor, which I think makes up a lot of internet culture these days,” LSA junior Grace Toll said. Another content collector, Toll finds herself drawn to the lighter sides of absurdist internet culture, favoring Wholesome Memes and what she calls “goofy” humor over the darker, more cynical sides of the internet. “My favorite meme right now is the ‘Do y’all here sumn’ meme,” Toll said. “So it’s the picture of Squidward, and you use it if someone says something you’re choosing to ignore.” “And all the sub-memes of it, like the one with the fish that’s ‘Girl, I hear sumn,’” she continued, noting how memes tend to communicate with one another. Even in more benign forms, these memes are still operating under the same principles of absurdism and regeneration that Ward mentioned. They pull images, like SpongeBob and Squidward, who are recognizable even to users who haven’t seen the show, from the pop culture canon and apply
Absurdist internet humor, like absurdist humor and art of the early 20th century, rejects the aesthetics of capitalism, logic and reason in order to pronounce the futile nature of existence
text that makes them more absurd. We see this happening with cartoon characters precisely because they carry a certain degree of absurdity within the context of their show. Then, pulled out of context and paired with text, the absurdity is amplified. That’s how many of these memes operate. Users identify images with some degree of essential absurdity — cartoons, stock photos, stills from reality TV — and use them to create something even more absurd. “Pre-internet, there was a lot of like, ‘How do I figure out the unknown musician?’” Ward said. “So there was this cult of people collecting X, Y or Z, going to specific places to learn about that.” “And so there’s also something about these that has that in it. Can I find the weird thing? Can I be the first one to show you the weird thing? Can I trace where this came from? Where am I in the hierarchy? That really just echoes that person who knew all the obscure albums,” Ward said. When looking for absurdist content, Triebwasser is most taken by the simultaneous abstraction and distillation of different meme formats. “The galaxy brain meme is both more concrete and abstract than a ‘normal’ (Advice Animals) style meme as it makes a direct comparison between an established cultural scale and any number of new concepts,” Triebwasser said. Advice Animals are — and, at this point, mostly were — an early meme format that employed simple stock images and impact font to create a cast of characters. Success Kid, Advice Dog and Conspiracy Keanu should be somewhat familiar to anyone who has been online in the past decade. They are simple and easy to regenerate formulas, each with a specific set of rules. Like comic superheroes, their monikers give users all the necessary information as to how to interact with them. But now, in the era of the Galaxy Brain meme, the rules are less clear, and the
COURTESY OF MADELEINE GAUDIN
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com characters are less concrete. “Because we have empty space, anything can be placed here, including other memes, references, conceptualizations, et cetera,” Triebwasser said. “This meme, I think, is a poignant example of the degree of abstraction as a scale for humor. As the galaxy brain expands, its comparisons on the left become more and more ‘abstract.’” Triebwasser points to other popular meme formats — Guy Looking Back and Grasping Hands — as examples of this blank space abstraction. The “rules” associated with the Advice Animals are wiped away and the visual product is able to move into a space that is more abstract, and more absurd. “I think that the internet fosters this sort of ideation due to its accessibility and impersonality,” Triebwasser said. “Just as we abstract humor, the way of interaction on the internet is also bounded by ways of or degrees of abstraction.” For Triebwasser, the Twitter profile is an abstraction of the Twitter user, and the platform itself is integral to its proliferation of this kind of humor. In that sense, the platform adheres more closely to a Dadaist rejection of authorship than a Neo-Dadaist celebration of it. “When you see a really popular tweet, unless you already know the account you probably will never remember the account that tweeted it,” Triebwasser said. “I don’t know if you’d even look at their (Twitter handle), you just have the meme for itself.” This distance, Ward asserts, allows the internet to get away with a darker form of humor — like the Tide Pod challenge that dominated Twitter feeds earlier this year — that is harder to stomach in real life. “If, sitting in the dining hall, I challenge the kid across from me to drink a gallon of milk … I have to sit there and watch the consequences of that kid vomiting,” Ward said. “But you don’t if it’s on the internet. So there’s a distance there that perhaps allows this to happen more or at least puts you in a different relationship to it.” This distance between the subject and the consumer makes it easier to consume this type of humor. But consumers with different degrees of knowledge as to the validity and origins of the joke are placed in different positions. Especially when it comes to something like Tide Pods.
“That one was very pointedly, ‘You either know or you don’t.’ That was about getting other people to react,” Ward said. “The news covering Tide Pods struck me as exactly what that aimed at doing.” A Twitter user can tweet a photo of a bowl of Tide Pods with the caption “Dinner” and have it taken two very different ways by different users. “Personally I thought it was funny for a little bit,” Toll said. “You look at one and you think, ‘That does look good. I do want to eat that.’ But obviously you don’t – that was definitely a meme that was popular with younger people.” The divide of knowledge among internet users and Tide Pod challengers was also an age divide. Younger users — mostly teens — who grew up with the absurdist language of this community but had not yet developed the critical skills to understand all of its nuances drove the meme to more dangerous levels. “Part of the pleasure of it was knowing that other people didn’t get it. I think where it gets dark is what are the consequences of not getting it,” Ward said. “Maybe it’s just that you’re old and don’t get it and maybe it’s death.” Even in more benign cases, the distinction between who gets the joke and who doesn’t is constantly reaffirmed online — most prevalently through the label “local.” “Locals” are Twitter users who post sincere content that can be seen as the direct opposite of absurdist Twitter. They reaffirm the very things Dadaism, Neo-Dadaism and internet meme culture are critiquing: traditional aesthetics of beauty, capitalism and faith in the world as a good and just place. “Locals” are usually white, well-adjusted, suburban teens who retweet memes three iterations behind absurdist Twitter. Off line, they might be called “normies.” And off line, they wouldn’t necessarily interact with their darker, more cynical contemporaries in this way. But online, with enough retweets, your tweet can end up on anyone’s timeline. And next thing you know, your tweet about eating pizza and watching “The Office” that was a hit with your friend is the butt of some stranger’s joke. “People who didn’t understand that kind of humor,” Toll defined when asked about “locals.” “The kind of people who would see a meme that was popular months ago and say, ‘This is hilarious,
Users identify images with some degree of essential absurdity — cartoons, stock photos, stills from reality TV — and use them to create something even more absurd
MARCHEL DUCHAMP / WIKIMEDIA
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Thursday, September 13, 2018 — 3B
MUSIC VIDEO REVIEW: ‘REBEL HEART’
COURTESY OF MADELEINE GAUDIN
I’ve never seen this before.’” People in weird or absurdist Twitter communities have latched onto “locals” as both antithetical to themselves and an additional stream of content production. “I think that’s a combination of content lacking a specific intensity or direction of nuance, combined with either the ideals or the personhood that represents,” Triebwasser said. Beyond the local/weird divide, Western culture has always been preoccupied with tests that create hierarchies of knowledge. People who know the most, who can tick the most cultural boxes, are positioned at the top. Then come those who don’t know or don’t know as much, and finally in last place are the people who discover the list only after it has lost its novelty. Ward points to Tom Wolfe’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” “It has a list of all the things that can get you high, and I remember people reading that and it being like a checklist in sort of a similar way,” Ward said. “There was this play of: Do you know all of these? Have you tried all of these? What do they do?” Meme culture operates in similar ways, but its methods of interactions and communication are intrinsically tied to the structure of platforms like Twitter and, to a lesser degree, Instagram. So while comparisons can be made to older forms of culture — literature, art and music — their power is tied to the way these sites are constructed and displayed. “Most important for meme/ Twitter culture specifically, I think, is the way of consumption,” Triebwasser said. “Cell phones have adapted our consumption patterns to be basically unceasing, and the content follows this habituation.” Even the act of scrolling through a feed impacts the way the information on the feed is consumed and interpreted. “The way of experiencing a Twitter timeline as a stream of consciousness really affects our cognition,” Triebwasser said. The endless stream of content pushes humor toward the mundane. Not the blissful mundane of “Local” Twitter, but the ceaseless mundane tragedies of modern existence — what Triebwasser calls “the solidarity of day-to-day experience.” Accounts like sosadtoday play on a sort of communal existential dread, and rely on selfdeprecating jokes about the user’s (or the user’s online persona’s) own mental illness. “It’s best exemplified by short quips that become a vehicle for communication. ‘Might fuck around and (blank)’ ‘(Morning salutation), (blank) let’s get this (blank),’” Triebwasser said. “These formats for communication become not only a status for complexity and
popularity of humor, but then are abstracted back into everyday life.” Like “we live in a society” or “fellas is it gay,” these phrases become memes on and offline. But, this offline life is not limited to text-based memes. Vines have outlived their platform (uploads to the short-form video app were stopped in October 2016). Twitter users have taken the audio from these videos and turned them into similarly memed phrases. “My dick fell off” and “What the fuck is up, Kyle” recall both the audio and video of their original Vine format. Triebwasser points to Vine
Increased interaction is also colored by the way the platforms filter content. News articles and photos of friends are filtered in-between memes and jokes. as an integral platform in the transition from Advice Animals and other impact font meme formats to the more absurdist and abstract meme forms we see today. But is this new, post-Vine, postImpact font meme space NeoDada? Not exactly, Triebwasser says. “I would say the comparison to Dada is apt due to Dada’s emphasis on irony, anticapitalism, aestheticism, rejection of logic and reason, et cetera,” Triebwasser said. “But isn’t it more culturally and artistically accurate to conceive of it as its own genre?” The main reason for Triebwasser’s assertion is that the internet is a “radial operator” with a speed and reach which cannot be matched in physical culture. “If you conceptualize it as a format for communication, you see the way of communicating changes or evolves with increased interaction with it,” Triebwasser said. Increased interaction is also colored by the way the platforms filter content. News articles and photos of friends are filtered in-between memes and jokes. “You read some horrible news and there’s a joke after it and that is why something that’s really stupid on its own can make you laugh or make you want to show
someone else,” Ward said. While a great deal of the content produced in this vein is self-referential or, at least, participates is an established “canon” of images that make fun or critique the way people use and communicate on the internet, sometimes purely novel memes are developed. Triebwasser is reminded of “Dat Boi,” a pixelated cartoon frog riding a unicycle that appeared online, seemingly out of nowhere. “There was no existing frog emoji or play on the word boy at that time,” Triebwasser said. “That was notable enough.” It was, Triebwasser recalls, a purely non-referential meme — alone among its kind to rise to such viral levels. It proves this niche is also a generating force, a movement with the ability to recognize and generate absurdism and weirdness in the world. While a majority of this culture is visual, the main platform through which participants interact is Twitter, a primarily text-based platform, Twitter’s days could be numbered. Triebwasser sees parallels between the decline of Twitter and the decline of platforms like Facebook and Tumblr that used to hold the top position in the culture. “The way that Twitter’s administration is handling anything is not happy or fun. Verifying Neo-Nazis, and recently there was a purge of Leftist Twitter accounts that all just got deleted,” Triebwasser said. “People I follow are on their third or fourth account because they keep getting deleted.” Twitter users who are active in meme and absurdist culture don’t feel like the platform has room for them anymore. “There’s a small but noticeable ideation on Twitter that we’re being edged out,” Triebwasser said. Whatever’s next for the community, Triebwasser feels confident they’ll find a way to exist and thrive online. “The culture as a social force will always exist and we/they/it will always find a way to exist,” Triebwasser said. So, it’s clear that absurdist humor aims to generate a reaction. It rejects traditional aesthetics of beauty, logic and capitalism in favor of a visual language that reflects the darkness, absurdity and unknowability of modern life. Most of its content is referential — stock images, internet trends and visual culture in the Western canon — but some is novel. While it may bear some of the skeletal work of the two, it’s not Dada or Neo-Dada. This thing, this Weird Twitter/Meme Culture/Online Humor thing is a beast of its own creation — an artistic movement that, like all, was born from what came before it, but has quite rapidly become something wholly its own.
COURTSY OF MADELEINE GAUDIN
It’s no coincidence that the full moon is red in First Aid Kit’s new music video for “Rebel Heart.” Red is the color of the passion that drives rebellion, the color of individuality, of love that rages and dreadfully quells, of blood. It’s the color of the heart itself. “Rebel Heart” — a song from Ruins, a stellar avalanche of an album released back in Jan. — is a tale of dread and insecurity, in which the magnetic folk duo croon lines like, “Why do I keep trying / To be someone I’ll never be / I keep seeing her in everyone / Everyone but me.” The music video tells the story of a séance. Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg are dressed in red, with the latter sporting a necklace with a prominent heartshaped pendant, and surrounded by several silent, blank-faced women robed in white (think “The Beguiled”). The video is blurred with the warm fuzz of an old movie, and
full of nods to the horror and suspense genres: an eclipse, a TV screen flickering Poltergeist-style with static, dramatic shadows framing each sister’s eyes as she speaks into a lipstick-red telephone, the women in white lurching in unison on the wooden
“Rebel Heart” First Aid Kit Columbia Records floor in twitchy motions that evoke “The Exorcist.” A group of girls in a circle, holding hands while another girl rises off the table and floats, her red heart pulsing and glowing beneath her white dress. A creepy, sleepover-esque hairbraiding circle — which, if it isn’t already out of some horror movie, certainly should be. Beyond its aesthetics, though, the video bears many of the
hallmarks that make First Aid Kit’s videos so great: The nostalgic drama steeped in horror recalls the haunting high school prom from “Fireworks,” and the maneuvering between the two sisters echoes the narrative duality of “It’s a Shame.” The video reminds us of one of the most alluring aspects of the band’s music — that when they sing of heartbreak and dread, they sing of it together. When they enter a creepy castle under a full, bloodred moon, where the hallways are dark and the safety of one’s heart is called into question, they do it together. And later, when they leave the castle and speed away down a dirt road lit only by the moon and their headlights, toward an obscure and frightening red future, they do that together, too. — Laura Dzubay, Daily Arts Writer
The power of absurdism in ‘Sorry to Bother You’ STEPHEN SATARINO Daily Arts Writer
There’s a sequence late in Boots Riley’s breakout summer hit “Sorry to Bother You” when protagonist Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield, “Get Out”), the once down-onhis-luck telemarketer turned rising company star, is faced with a Faustian opportunity from international supercorporation C.E.O. Steve Lift (Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”). Given a taste of the untold riches that follow selling one’s soul, Green must decide to what extent his values (versus his wallet) will drive his decision. Now, such an epic crucible could be portrayed simply enough — a check on the table and a C.E.O.’s outstretched hand — but in wonderful “Sorry to Bother You” fashion, Riley doesn’t make it that easy. In a film built around a telemarketer’s supernatural ability to perfectly codeswitch into his “white voice” (the movie magic of the scenes supplied in a dubbed voiceover from David Cross of “Arrested Development”), the bar for what is considered shocking begins to climb. For Riley to get his point across, to really drive his message home, he doesn’t hold his punches. The absurdism of “Sorry to Bother You” is a matter
of form following function. Riley’s film is an extended conceit on the financial divide in our country, a cavernous separation that has only grown in recent decades. The absurd, real-life disparity in
Riley’s film is an extended conceit on the financial divide in our country, a cavernous separation that has only grown in recent decades
resources between those who have and those who do not is represented by fantastical, reality-bending sci-fi events and societal developments in the film’s alternate U.S. It’s not a new idea to use blown-
out-of-proportion analogies when working towards social change (see “A Modest Proposal”), and while I doubt Riley will ever be Jonathan Swift, his methodology is true. Creating space for dialogue by expanding the conversation past what is real and true and already proposed can bring in new eyes and ears. Shocking, absurdist pieces of art can’t solve any problems directly (probably), but they no doubt can help to bring the championed issues closer to the forefront of people’s minds. Additionally, Riley’s absurdism has a unique effect when carrying the weight of such real-life absurdities. In the film, without getting into too many spoilers, Lift’s idea for an army of workers under lifetime contracts who work and eat and sleep all in the factory (for efficiency, of course), sounds like a horrid breach of everything humane and acceptable in modern society. It’s the prospective distance between what is shown on screen — the nasty, unacceptable acts of a business magnate who has freed himself from all moral ties — and what we see in our own world that gives us the opportunity to ask “How absurd is this, really?” It’s those kinds of questions that make “Sorry to Bother You” a valuable piece of social criticism.
4B —Thursday, September 13, 2018
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norms of masculinity, their type of humor is still limiting for both women collaborators and consumers. Despite the minimal amount of financial investment necessary to create successful absurdist humor content (“Lazy Sunday” cost TLI a total of $22), no female-led absurdist YouTube comics have gained popularity the same way as the aforementioned SNL alums. Admittedly, Issa Rae’s more mainstream sense of humor allowed her YouTube series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” to become the critically-
acclaimed “Insecure,” but her sitcom-format and comedic tone are not a parallel example to TLI. At the moment, there is no response to the popularity of the “man-child” act. A grown man acting like a teenage boy with references to crude, elementary jokes can thrive, even become a comedy icon. A trio of “bros” being ridiculous can reach over a billion hits on YouTube with a video that cost the same amount as a hardcover novel. Are SNL digital shorts like “Dongs All Over the World” or “Natalie’s Rap” the female version of absurdist
comedy? In my opinion, no. While absolutely hilarious, these videos rely on the same playbook of TLI and GNS — a playbook written by and for boys. This is not to suggest men and women create different types of comedy because of their gender. Instead, this exploration of the underground world of YouTube comedy seeks to bring to attention the lack of female voices in a medium that should be less restricted by gender politics. Where’s the “sister comedy” group? And why haven’t we heard of them yet?
Beautiful creations can Where are all the female come out of the suburbs; absurdist YouTube stars? Austin Smith is proof NBC
MEGHAN CHOU Daily Arts Writer
The creation of YouTube allowed for the widespread distribution of DIY web series and home videos. The social media platform also provided niche communities a place to broadcast their special brand of weird. The Lonely Island, a comic-rap group made up of “Saturday Night Live” alums Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, went viral simultaneously with the launch of YouTube. Their SNL Digital Short “Lazy Sunday” helped make their pseudoband as well as the social media platform gain celebrity status. However, The Lonely Island doesn’t write your typical rap songs. Their music videos satirize popular culture and feature themselves with famous guest stars dressed like nerds with unibrows, sporting literal gift boxes as their “package” and other showcases of absurdist humor. As their song titles suggest (“Jizz In My Pants,” “I Just Had Sex,” etc.), TLI both appeals to and undermines “bro comedy” culture, best represented by the filmographies of Seth Rogen, Vince Vaughn and Adam Sandler. Often, the trio makes fun of stereotypes of fratty material through extreme interpretations. For example, in “Dick in a Box,” Samberg and Justin Timberlake sing, “A girl like you needs somethin’ real / Wanna get you somethin’ from the heart / … It’s my dick in a box.” Here, the group mocks the notion that women would appreciate some guy exposing himself without consent and laughs at the entitlement of
men who approach situations in this manner. Although all three members self-identify as feminists and use surreal and exaggerated elements to satirize norms of masculinity, their popularity still relies on the consumption and enjoyment of the “manchild” act. Samberg even admits he relies on topics that
At the moment, there is no response to the popularity of the “man-child” act. A grown man acting like a teenage boy with references to crude, elementary jokes can thrive, even become a comedy icon
made him laugh as a kid, which Jesse David Fox of Vulture summarized as, “Dick jokes. Teenage boys love ‘em. So the Lonely Island keeps delivering ‘em.” Good Neighbor Stuff, the SNL Digital Short successors to TLI, also got their start on YouTube. Current SNL cast members Kyle Mooney and Beck Bennett were two of the main members.
GNS produced “bro comedy” low-budget videos as well, mostly centering around marijuana and the awkwardness of daily life. The most popular videos on the GNS YouTube page include shock humor bits titled “is my roommate gay?,” “My Mom’s a MILF” and “this is how we trip.” Similar to TLI, GNS both indulges in and satirizes expectations of masculinity. So why does a correlation exist between popular absurdist humor on the internet and bro-culture? Is there a female-centric equivalent to the man-child act? In a roundtable discussion on Consequence of Sound, Randall Colburn defined the “bro comedy” sub-genre as following a friendship between men challenged “by a female … (in which) the women are comically attractive and underdeveloped, reduced to either manipulating shrews or f lawless sweethearts … (where) bad ‘boys will be boys’ behavior is celebrated.” In other words, “bro comedy” is inherently unaccepting of women comics. Actually, comedy in general is highly misog ynistic, with some critics, like Christopher Hitchens in his 2007 Variety article “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” attempting to provide empirical proof that women are biologically unfunny. Unlike micro-budget cinema, whose low-stakes open the door for new voices, absurdist comedy has not provided a similar home for women discriminated against in their genre and profession. Instead, men continue to dominate the creative conversation. Even though groups like The Lonely Island and Good Neighbor Stuff challenge
COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
TESS GARCIA Daily Style Editor
Austin Smith was four years ahead of me at our high school in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. We had the same art teacher, the amazing Peg Pasternak, whose investment in her students cannot be overstated. Today, we’re both still in touch with her, but while I’m here in Ann Arbor determining what to do with my looming adult life, Smith is dazzling the world with a new form of portraiture. “When I was younger my main medium of art-making was drawing and painting — and I was always drawn to creating portraiture,” Smith said in an interview with The Daily. “The work I make now feels very similar to past work I would make, and I see it as an evolution in the way I create portrait imagery.” Now 24 years old and living in New York City, Smith is a self-proclaimed multimedia artist. He works predominantly in the fields of fashion, textile and set design. Career interests aside, he’s quickly become known for his innovative use of the human body, most often his own, as a canvas. A mere glimpse at his Instagram profile, @empty.pools, transports his 41,500 followers into a form of fantasyland only a supremely imaginative mind could conjure up. Photos of Smith’s face covered in nails and colorful acrylic squares mingle with portraits of his naturally blue eyes exuding a reptilian shade of green, the skin surrounding them covered in (temporary) tattoos and plumes of dark purple makeup. “I don’t know, I’ve only been making this type of work for less than a year,” he said of his inimitable self-portraits. “I’m happy that it’s spread as much as it has and I’m not really sure I know the full scope of my reach.” So far, Smith’s reach has extended to some of the most influential figures in fashion. Though not a model by trade, he has walked runways for the likes of Moschino, The Blonds and Opening Ceremony, all of whom admire his work so much they permitted Smith to apply his own facial tattooing for the shows. Those of us among the fashion set know how big of a deal that is — it’s not every day you see a designer eschewing the accepted standard for relatively uniform makeup among models. “Having people notice my work feels amazing, and it’s all happened in the last year or so,” he said. “When I stopped being afraid or doubt the ideas I had artistically is when I felt like what I was making actually could be impactful to a lot of people. I met (Jeremy Scott, creative director of Moschino) out one night at a Ladyfag party I was hosting. We got dinner and he asked me to be a part of his show. You never know who you’ll meet on a night out in NYC.” And so it was his charisma,
coupled with his unabashedly raw artistic vision, that has cemented Smith’s status as the new golden boy of the New York cool-kid scene. His work serves as but one possible introduction to the present conversation surrounding the role of body in fashion. “I’ve never thought of what I do as body modification,
“I think some people have trouble seeing what I do as art, or have a hard time separating me from the images, and assume I’m just parading through life as a monster,” he said. “I don’t mind that, though. I like what I do not being for everyone.”
because to me, modifying your body is a more permanent thing.” When I asked how, then, he would classify his portraiture work, Smith wondered aloud: “More like ‘body adornment’?” Whether in the form of permanent modifications or temporary, illusion-inducing effects, body alteration has always existed in fashion — albeit in forms that are perhaps less about expression and more closely related to aspirational femininity. Take the corset, the dramatic waist-cinching garment that has its roots in the 16th century. Panniers of the 19th century added boning to the lining of women’s skirts to create a larger-thanlife circumference of the hips. The bustle, emerging around the same time, was the originator of the faux bigbooty effect. In the late 20th Century, designers like Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto began pushing boundaries of the body in a more abstract direction. Kawakubo’s SpringSummer 1997 collection, which
featured pieces with goose down-filled lumps intended to distort the shape of the female figure, is perhaps one of the most poignant examples. Smith may work predominantly with the face rather than with garments, but the concept of physical transformation for art’s sake is a concept that has carried over into his portraits. Regarding artistic inspirations, Smith cites Pierre et Gille, Dave La Chapelle, Petra Collins and the Instagram-famous duo Fecal Matter as some of his greatest. He is aware, though, that not everyone views his brand of physical transformation, from creating wire facial jewelry to applying copious amounts of temporary tattoos, as an art form. “I think some people have trouble seeing what I do as art, or have a hard time separating me from the images, and assume I’m just parading through life as a monster,” he said. “I don’t mind that, though. I like what I do not being for everyone.” Though Smith does not classify his work as body modification, I couldn’t resist asking him what he thought of New York’s A. Human exhibit, a recently opened gallery experience in Manhattan that claims to serve as a “fashion showroom from the future” devoted to otherworldly adjustments to the body. Models within the space are said to tout everything from “biological heels” — shell-like appendages extending from the soles of the feet like fleshy, ingrown stilettos — to a pair of turquoise shoulder horns designed in collaboration with fashion designer Nicola Formichetti. “I’ve been meaning to go,” said Smith of the exhibit. “I do feel from images I’ve seen that it’s pulled a lot of inspiration from lesser-known artists I follow. I find with everyone sharing their work online now, it makes it easier for larger entities to steal ideas from emerging artists with no repercussions.” Of course, every artist deserves credit where credit is due. It’s clear that Smith is actively seeking out opportunities where he’ll receive his fair share of acclaim. He’ll be debuting a beautyrelated project with magazine Dazed on Sept. 26 and said there are more collaborations with the publication to come. “I think people are becoming increasingly more interested in showing their true selves — especially in this politically conservative climate,” he said. “It takes a lot of courage to step out into the world the way you truly want to, and that type of confidence scares people.” Smith’s trajectory makes it glaringly obvious: Selfexpression is valuable in its every manifestation. Even if you give a few people the heebie-jeebies along the way, you’re bound to make your high school art teacher very, very proud.
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Thursday, September 13, 2018 — 5B
Vaporwave and the “New Dada” MAX MICHALSKY Daily Arts Writer
Justin Bieber, Troye Sivan and the mainstream rise of the internet star SAMANTHA LU Daily Arts Writer
YouTube. It’s big. It’s bad. It’s been integral to the discovery, incubation and popularity of some of today’s most relevant musical artists. Justin Bieber was discovered on YouTube and some of his music videos are now among the most viewed on the platform. As a student at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, Maggie Rogers rose to fame when a video of her masterclass with Pharrell went viral, which resulted in what is now “Alaska,” her most popular single with over 61 million plays on Spotify. Troye Sivan, an international LGBTQ icon, was a YouTuber before his fame. In fact, if you scroll to five years ago, before he collabed with Ariana Grande, before he came out and before he released TRXYE and Blue Neighborhood, his channel still has relics of his past, including two self-created songs: “We’re My OTP” and “The Fault In Our Stars.” What do these three artists share? They’re almost the same age. They’ve all reached the level of fame where Billboard has written articles about them. But perhaps the greatest hallmark of their talent is that all three of them currently use music as their careers. Sivan in particular gained a following from the vlogs and music covers he posted on his channel, which propelled him to develop a career outside of the YouTube space. In recent years, however, there’s been a new category of YouTube music — releases that are often nowhere near the same level of artistry and skill that Sivan embodies in his
songs, often by creators with channels that cover everything except music or singing. And interests are subjective, sure, but some of these creations are unequivocally bad; autotune can help immensely with overall sound and key, as can production quality, but neither will ever truly replace a gifted voice. It makes sense why vloggers would start making songs. For one, they’re a relatively loweffort way to rake in more money, as music videos tend to offer not only a departure from the creator’s norm but also a way to hook in new viewers, both of which boost views. Jake Paul’s “It’s Everyday Bro” ticks pretty much all of the standard boxes, except it also emphasizes the idea that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. With a ratio of 3.8 million likes to 2.5 million dislikes, it’s evident that I’m not the only one who feels that way. From an annoying chorus (“It’s every day bro!” repeated three times, followed by a single “I said it’s everyday bro!” which originates from how Paul ends his vlogs) to lyrics about dropping merch, f launting a Rolex and a jab at PewDiePie, “It’s Everyday Bro” boils the bougie lives of highearning YouTubers down to an essence and unpleasantly force feeds it to viewers. It’s genius, in a way — by making a song f launting his success, Paul is essentially capitalizing on it to become even more successful, regardless of whether or not the song is good. And who’s to say that he didn’t make it bad on purpose? Despite the uneven like-ratio, the music video currently has 210,632,789 views, which according to tubecalculator.com equates to around 390 thousand dollars in
revenue. Perhaps one of the most significant differences between YouTubers making music and “real world” musicians is that there might be more of an expectation for YouTubers to produce videos that are truly overthe-top — the whole label of being a YouTuber relies on them producing video content creators, after all. As a general rule of thumb, I can usually figure out whether or not I’m going to end up liking a song from the first 10 seconds. But listening to music put out by a YouTuber means I’m more likely to watch the music video first rather than audio only, and my initial judgment hinges much more heavily on how good the video is. Guy Tang, a YouTuber and hairstylist known for his colorful hair transformations, recently released a music video for “#Naked2U,” a remixed version of his single. Upon my first watchthrough, I caught myself cringing at everything from the neon paint smothered on the dancers to Tang’s ultradramatic facial expressions and awkward dancing. But on my second and third run, I began to pick up little details that I hadn’t noticed before. Unlike “It’s Everyday Bro,” Guy Tang’s creation preached a message of honesty, self-love and confidence: One of the most significant lyrics in the piece is “There’s no regrets / I’m proud of who I am.” None of this made the choreography any less clumsy or the acting any better, but I realized that most of my negative reaction was almost entirely based on the visuals rather than the audio; although Tang’s vocals weren’t record-breaking, they weren’t as bad as they could have been, and I actually liked
the instrumental hook. Still, if not for this article, I can’t say that I would have willingly listened to “#Naked2U” for fun. What does it mean to go viral in the modern age? At one point in time, the Cinnamon Challenge was revolutionary, and one of the reasons it spread so quickly was because of how reproducible it was — everyone has a spoon and a vial of cinnamon in their cabinets. But as we graduated from eating cinnamon to chugging gallons of milk and eating Tide pods, what qualifies as unique enough to grab attention has become more and more extreme. Before, it was sucking on shot glasses to get Kylie Jenner’s lips. Now, Internet creators — the very people who jump-started the “challenge” trends that ruled the web five years ago — are going to absurd lengths in their attempts to stay relevant. One of YouTube’s calling cards is its bite-sized content and the variety of styles available. Movies demand at least an hour and a half of sustained attention in order for all the plot devices to hit where it counts while TV shows require even more of a time commitment from viewers, not to mention that episodes usually follow a strict linearity. For now, YouTube music is just another way the platform has evolved to assimilate new versions of media. But as with nearly all trends in the world, there will be a point of oversaturation, which raises the question of what comes next. Then again, there was a time where it was impossible to make a career out of recording your everyday life — and if something as banal as vlogging can become mainstream, then so can anything else, really.
In the early 2010s, electronic music producer Vektroid — operating under the alias Macintosh Plus — released Floral Shoppe, a full-length studio album that pioneered a new sound in electronic music. The album was coated from front to back in ’80s nostalgia, from the abundant use of sampled lounge music, smooth jazz and elevator music to the bright pink album cover emblazoned with Japanese characters, tile f looring and a bust of the Greek god Helios. Over the course of the album, Vektroid would conjure a veritable menagerie of conf licting feelings, at once both warmly nostalgic and deeply unsettling. The release and circulation of Floral Shoppe would mark the beginning of a new subgenre within electronic music, a subgenre that would rapidly grow into an entire artistic movement. “Well that’s all well and good, but what exactly is Vaporwave?” you might ask. Keeping things (relatively) simple, Vaporwave is a millennial art movement that seeks to convey the angsts and joys of the “Internet Generation” by appropriating old tropes to create new statements and speculations on millennial life. It’s inextricably tied to the past — more specifically to the ’80s and ’90s, decades that saw the emergence of the information age as a part of everyday life. The advent of personal computing made the world smaller than ever before, and a technological boom courtesy of Japanese tech companies saw the aesthetic fixations of American society shift away from the lava lamps and shag carpets of the ’70s to a decade that was all about the future. A far cry from the sleek, all-American retrofuturist stylings of the 1950s, the future of the 1980s was all about neon pinks, Japanese characters and aviator sunglasses. By this time, many of these aesthetic concepts had already begun to manifest themselves in films like “Blade Runner,” and later “Ghost in the Shell.” Deemed “Cyberpunk,” this type of art would come to exemplify the speculations and musings of a society on the cusp of an information explosion. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the children of this era have now grown up and are creating art of their own. The Information Age has not only made the world more connected, but it has made companies more connected to consumers. Marketing has become less about what the consumer thinks and more about what they feel. The early days of this trend would serve as the artistic muse for the Vaporwave movement, which seeks to expose the complicated and often contradictory relationships that millennials share with the internet age. The images associated with Vaporwave — from the pixelated look of the early-internet to the generic sounds of elevator music — all share one thing in common. They evoke a sense
of the uncanny valley, or the unsettling effect of seeing something almost human, but not quite. While it typically refers to robots, animations and other would-be-humans, it applies to many Vaporwave tropes. These artifacts are products of a time when companies sought to make their consumers feel very specific ways. Elevator music, for example, is meant to make you feel calm and at ease — so why doesn’t it? It’s by exposing this chink in our understanding of pop culture that Vaporwave manages to make us feel both at ease and on edge, simultaneously filled with nostalgia and angst. It is at once about our past and our future. As Vaporwave matured and developed, it began to grow further into the realms of science fiction, speculative fiction and surrealism. Vaporwave artists were fascinated by just how powerfully evocative these artifacts could be. The movement exposed deeper questions about the effects of digitization on our society: Why does the soft glow of neon make you feel wistful? What about a crackling record or a Coca-Cola jingle evokes such strong feelings when placed in the right context? Why can a computer glitch feel gut-wrenching? For an artistic movement that’s so fixated on the passage of time and the creation of new from the old, it should come as no surprise that Vaporwave is in fact the reincarnation of a much older idea. I speak, of course, of Dada, the avant-garde art movement that brought forth artists like Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp and Otto Dix. The gathering of Dada artists in New York’s Cabaret Voltaire would birth some of the Lost Generation’s most identifiable visual motifs. Deemed “anti-art,” the goal of Dada was to expose the consumerist values of postwar society and convey them through repurposing the ordinary and familiar into the bizarre and unsettling. If the ideological core of Vaporwave now sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Both movements were brought about by critical minds observing the society in which they lived, both are viciously anti-consumerist, and both serve as a cultural snapshot of a generation. While it may be jumping the gun to assign the same level of cultural significance to Vaporwave as one would to Dada, the ideological and conceptual similarities between the two movements are striking. Vaporwave’s circulation as an internet meme adds an entirely new facet to the discussion, as the cultural clout of memes in the context of the arts has yet to be formally established. While it may be tempting to dismiss the significance of memes due to their often ridiculous nature, one could also view the medium as a unique form of sharing ideas, one that no prior generation has used. Only time will tell where Vaporwave lands in our cultural lexicon, but until then artists like Vektroid will keep on cruising down the sonic highways of yesteryear.
For an artistic movement that’s so fixated on the passage of time and the creation of new from the old, it should come as no surprise that Vaporwave is in fact the reincarnation of a much older idea
6B — Thursday, September 13, 2018
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
One thousand and one words ROBERT MANSUETTI Daily Arts Writer
Eric Andre and cringe comedy SAYAN GHOSH Daily Arts Writer
Whatever someone may think about his humor, a person’s reaction to an episode of “The Eric Andre Show” is a surprisingly effective way to gauge their personality. I won’t quite go so far as to judge you based on your reaction, but I can, in a way that’s difficult to articulate, get to know you beyond a superficial level (although I will say if you guffaw the same way I do after watching a specific segment for the 10th time, we will probably be friends). Borrowing from a rich tradition of absurdist humor ranging from Monty Python to “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead,” Eric Andre’s work is the most successful form of absurdism in the internet and pop culture age. There is a wealth of options for the discerning late-night viewer. Too many options, really. While each variation of the format has their own unique “made-for-Youtube” segments, they are really all too similar. The tropes of straight white men making just barely witty jokes, offering
milquetoast interviews with celebrities who would rather be anywhere else and squandering opportunities with actually interesting guests make for a steady stream of cash for networks, but offer little in the way of substance for viewers. Every once in a while, you might just become completely fed up with the selfimportance of it all. Enter Eric Andre. Perhaps the best way to describe “The Eric Andre Show” is a deconstruction of this tired format. It’s like watching Jimmy Kimmel, except you just f lipped on the new TV in the Red Room in “Twin Peaks” while tripping on acid. It lies in an uncanny valley of late night talk shows. For the first five seconds or so, everything seems normal. Eric Andre himself seems charming enough, sitting behind a desk holding note cards. There’s a live band. The
audience is clapping (well, kind of ). There’s the straight man played by Hannibal Buress who seems funny enough to riff off the host’s jokes. So far, so good. And usually, it all falls apart in a glorious, symphonic trainwreck. Every single aspect of the show is designed to make the guest as uncomfortable as possible. At this point, there are either two reactions: You either feel as uncomfortable as the guest, or you decide that this is the best thing you have ever watched. Reportedly, the studio has a conspicuous lack of air conditioning. There might be a musky smell permeating the place as well, or even “heat ducts in (the guest’s) seats.” Andre might strip naked, puke over his desk or suspend a man with hooks over the desk — whatever it takes to completely horrify the guests.
There may be no method whatsoever to Eric Andre’s madness, and if so, more power to him.
SINGLE REVIEW: ‘ELECTRICITY’
WARNER BROS RECORDS
“Electricity” Dua Lipa Warner Bros. Records
Somehow, we as a collective have not dropped Dua Lipa quite yet. The English singer/ songwriter first rose to attention with “New Rules,” a driving pop anthem that was
made distinct by Dua Lipa’s curiously husky, soulful voice. From there, she remained steady, always existing within the public eye with consistent music releases — like her “One Kiss” collaboration
with Calvin Harris — but never reaching the same level of attention as she did with “New Rules.” In a similar sense, her newest single, “Electricity,” doesn’t veer far from her norm.
Even Hannibal is in tune with him, whether he is shouting at Christina Applegate or getting verbally assaulted by a woman from the crowd (before getting slapped by said woman’s wig). For the most part, the guests seem to end the show contemplating firing their publicists. Unlike the usual round of late night shows, guests are never coddled or worshipped. It makes you wonder what exactly would happen if some of the truly repulsive figures who end up on the normal talk shows appeared with Eric Andre (à la Sacha Baron Cohen in “Who is America”). But every once in a while, a Tyler the Creator shows up — that is, someone who understands, embraces and completely f lips the shows format on its head, reducing Andre to be more akin to Jimmy Fallon than his usual, irreverent self. But maybe the true brilliance of the show is that I am completely wrong. There may be no method whatsoever to Eric Andre’s madness, and if so, more power to him. I just hope that in a world where reality seems just as absurd as the wildest fictions ever conceived, he can find ways to continue shocking us.
Teaming up with Silk City — a music duo consisting of Mark Ronson and Diplo — she has created what was created with “One Kiss,” and what could be argued was created with “New Rules”: a dancefloor smash hit, and nothing more. With Lipa’s vocals layered over Silk City’s predictable pop algorithm, “Electricity” is unsurprising, yet not terrible. It does what it’s meant to accomplish. The tempo is fast enough to make your hips start swaying of their own accord. The piano interspersed throughout the song adds an effervescent quality to contrived house beats. The lyrics, “I wanted to let you know, I’ll never let this feeling go” are just catchy enough to scream in the middle of Rick’s, the pulsating bodies all around adding to the electricity of the song itself. It does its job well and with that, I guess Dua Lipa is sticking around for a little bit longer. -Shima Sadaghiyani, Daily Music Editor
You are about to begin reading the latest edition of the B-Side on absurd art. Or, depending on the layout, maybe this is the last article you came across. At the time this article was written, it was only a f lood of pixels, one trip down the waterfall of edits away from print. The author was aware that according to convention, usually the lead article reigns supreme from the upper left of the first page. Nonsense like what you are currently reading would be lucky to be shuff led between the intermediary pages. The author still leaves the possibility open for you to fatally f lip to page three on your first read. It is also possible that the chiefest of nonsense takes precedence in an insert dedicated to nonsense. Take a moment to take in your surroundings. The classroom chatter is enough to slightly obstruct, forcing you to make a choice: Finish reading this article or prepare yourself for class with the one minute you have left. You opt for the latter (a smart decision, as reading a crinkly newspaper is complicated to do covertly) and your professor suddenly manifests into the cramped, windowless room. How, you ask? Your questions remained unanswered as the lights dim and the projector whirs. “I have eaten the plums” is all you can make out. You crane your neck around the six feet of human in front of you to read the text that has spilled onto the blackboard. It seems orientation has been thrown out the window. But there is no window, thankfully, because if there was a window, the birds would sing tempting songs of self-defenestration from their unimpeded pedestals. You, the prisoner pawn, sit f lanked by that unusually tall bishop and fellow fodder, while the opposing queen plots unf linchingly. The invisible hands controlling the standoff begin to budge, albeit apathetically. The presentation on the absence of convention and form in literature switches slides slowly in the background. You find it funny that this theoretical warden has the gall to confine you when they have never been confined themselves. Intrinsically, they are free. You are not. Your professor, the eightfold master of the checkerboard, initiates her strike. Ramble of how abandoning form is form itself soundtracks this scheme. Fell swoop. 12:51. You and your monochromatic compatriots lay prostrate on the battlefield of irony. This article has become crumpled in your hurried attempts to fashion the insert back to its virginal state. You put all your focus into these words. Except the only words that can excite you are “RESTROOMS.” The helpful arrow indicating their position extends seemingly infinitely. The stall door f lies open as fast as your belt unbuckles. You think to yourself that The Thinker looks like he’s shitting and everything amusingly swirls together. Lecture keywords buzz through your mind, but where to store them provides a challenge. The Encyclopedia Of Songs
That You Almost Completely Know Lyrically But Don’t Bust Your Pipes Out In The Car Around Friends Quite Yet? The Encyclopedia Of Very Basic Video Tutorials For Everyday Human Processes (Featuring Such Hits as, “How To Boil Water” and “Practicing Eye Contact”)? The Encyclopedia Of Life Lessons That Came As A Result Of Getting In Trouble With Your Parents? The Encyclopedia Of Misremembered “National Treasure” Quotes? The Encyclopedia Of Menu Item Numbers At Takeout Places Within A Three Mile Radius? You settle on Volume Three of the Encyclopedia Of Literary Terms You Incorporate Into Colloquy And Writing To Make Yourself Appear Smarter Than You Really Are (of which the author has a full set). Metafiction fits in nicely above metonymy. With a clear mind and clearer body, you head home for your sweet midday nap. You are at peace. Instantaneously, your meditative state of mind is marred when an ugly stack of dishes greets your arrival. You angrily ponder the notion that your roommate actually believes you don’t need soap to clean pans. Boiling like a tea kettle, steam billows out of your ears quite cartoonishly. You need to cool in the calming waters of your most cherished story, “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote.” The author wonders why you, someone who prefers chess-fueled escapism over English class, would have a leather-bound copy of “The Garden of Forking Paths.” You and the author share a common bond: Questions remain unanswered. Perhaps you like reading books that aren’t really books and don’t like listening to people talk about books that aren’t really books. You hate structure anyways, evidenced by the fact “Pale Fire” and “Hopscotch” top the pile of books sandwiched in a corner. You prefer function over form; functionally, the corner is a bookshelf. Chapters and threeact structure are tools of oppression. Liberation, in your eyes, is the shirking of oppression. In absurdity, you find normality. You realize that Jorge Luis Borges found normality in absurdity as well. So did Vladimir Nabokov. Julio Cortázar. William Carlos Williams. In your attempt to subvert normality, a new norm was established. The walls of your room are closing in. In a f lurry of motion, you grab your copy of Italo Calvino’s “If on a winter’s night a traveler” from the middle of your stack, an absurd stack, as infinite as the Library of Babel housed in that aforementioned favorite leather tome of yours. The balance is upset and its weight is enough to crush you, if not for your nimbleness. The world around you is vanishing, like the letters on the last page of that Calvino book you grabbed after you spilled water on it. It takes the first word of “traveler” to realize that your shackles are drawn in ink. You are bound to this page of the B-Side as you were bound to the classroom. You are the reader. I am the author. While these pages are set in type, the nature of our relationship is not. Perhaps one day these roles will be reversed. For now, you’re still fiddling with this f limsy paper. Classmates chatter closely. The clock strikes noon.
You are about to begin reading the latest edition of the B-Side on absurd art. Or, depending on the layout, maybe this is the last article you came across