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The Miscellany News

Since 1866 | miscellanynews.org

Vassar College Poughkeepsie, NY

Volume CLI | Issue 12

December 6, 2018

Feminist porn star laid bare

Artist talks homespun approach

Jessica Moss

Meghan Hayfield

Assistant News Editor

lthough some regard sex as private in nature, for those in the porn industry and many celebrities, sex straddles the line of public and private. Given this ambiguity, what role might celebrities—those in the porn industry or elsewhere—have in advancing political thoughts related to sex, such as body positivity, feminism and the “sexual revolution”? Exploring the private and public lives of these celebrities may provide answers to such questions. On Thursday, Nov. 29, Professor of History at Harvard University and Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library at Harvard Jane Kamensky gave a lecture titled “Candy/Candice/Candida: Making a Feminist Pornstar,” which presented the life of Candida Royalle: a well-known porn performer, radical feminist and, later on, producer and diSee FEMINIST on page 4

Courtesy of Joe Clifford

A

Guest Reporter

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n Tuesday, Nov. 27, artist Joanne Greenbaum spoke in Taylor Hall on her life and career, describing the path to becoming an artist in her own way. Without commenting or drawing on abstract and modernist art, she has found a unique ability to combine painting, The women’s rugby team poses with their Division II National Championship medals after defeating Winona drawing and sculpture to create a State 50-13 in a rematch of last year’s final, marking the first national championship in program history. language that evokes animation and emotion. Greenbaum creates largely abstract pieces and her art is displayed all over the country—in Louie Brown and Myles Olmsted Vassar vs. Winona State UniverWinona took an early 3-0 lead spaces such as the Rachel Uffner Guest Reporter and Sports Editor sity. after a Vassar penalty gave them Gallery in New York, the Tufts Unin Sunday, Dec. 2, instead of The Vassar side was looking to the chance to kick it in for points. versity Art Galleries at the School rain pouring from the skies make program history. The se- Even so, the Vassar players stuck of the Museum of Fine Arts, MoMa as it had the day before during niors, led by captains Oshana Re- to their game plan, which had PS1 in New York and the Museum Vassar’s semifinal win against ich, Jennie To and Makena Em- been meticulously implement- of Contemporary Art in Chicago. the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, ery, had made the Final Four each ed by coaches Tony Brown and Interestingly, she has a penchant for the air in Charlotte, NC was hot of the previous three fall seasons, Mark Griffiths in the preced- not subscribing to abstraction. and humid, seemingly thick with finishing fourth, then third and ing days, and a combined effort “I’m very uncomfortable with tension. Looming was a rematch last year, second, but the pro- from the forwards and backs gesture. I was uncomfortable using of 2017’s Division II Women’s gram remained without a Nation- set up senior Kaitlin Prado, who gesture because I felt like part of me Rugby Fall Championship Final: al Championship to its name. See RUGBY on page 19 See GREENBAUM on page 6

Rugby crowned national champs

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Forum broadens VASAM horizons Duncan Aronson Courtesy of Wenjie Xie

Douglas Hill from the New York City organization “Love Heals” spoke candidly with students about his experience living with HIV.

Love Heals event depicts life with HIV A

lthough deaths caused by AIDS peaked at 1.9 million worldwide in 2004, the disease remains a leading cause of death globally (Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Global HIV/ AIDS Epidemic, 2018). On Dec. 1 in the Old Bookstore, CHOICE, the LGBTQ Center, ProHealth and The Office of Health Promotion and Education brought attention to the continuing prevalence of the epidemic through their annual event in honor of World AIDS Day. The evening began at 5:30

Inside this issue

13

Ignore industry’s claim; sugar, OPINIONS not fat, is to blame

p.m. with the opening reception of “Then and Now: AIDS in Time,” an art exhibit depicting changing perceptions of AIDS throughout history. At 7 p.m., HIV educator Douglas Hill from the organization Love Heals delivered a talk sharing HIV prevention methods, as well as his experience living with HIV. The Office of Health Education organized the exhibition, which will be on display through Dec. 11. Wellness Peer Educator Maya Allen ’20 explained the reasoning behind supplementing the Love Heals lecture with an art showSee HIV on page 8

17 HUMOR

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t’s not every day that the Vassar community holds a backand-forth dialogue with an esteemed academic on identity and its relation to the greater human condition, but this past Friday, Nov. 30 was exactly that kind of occasion. Vassar Asian American Studies Working Group (VASAM) hosted Gary Okihiro, a scholar with many accolades to his name, to hold a workshop on Asian American Studies and a lecture on Third World studies. Okihiro engaged Vassar students and faculty on discussions of Asian and American identities and broader ethnic topics. His big-picture perspective on identity allowed VASAM members to critically self-reflect on an individual and organizational level. From the moment Okihiro began, his constructivist, dialogue-centered presentation style immediately caught everyone’s attention. Chatting in the ALANA center afterwards, VASAM member Sylvia Peng ’20 shared, “He engaged with us more as a dialogue or a conversation than a ‘lecture.’ He either stood in the middle or walked around, and

Columnist requests feedback, is roasted with flack

we just asked him questions … You would expect someone who taught at Columbia and Yale and won many accolades for his work in the field to be a very rigid intellectual, but he was very much like a scholarly grandpa or uncle.

He was very casual, but said very poignant things. I think the way he presented himself, similar to Junot Diaz, reflected how to decolonize academia.” The content of Okihiro’s disSee VASAM on page 10

Duncan Aronson/The Miscellany News

Abby Tarwater

Assistant arts editor

Reporter

Here, Emma Chun ’21, Sylvia Peng ’20 and Tamika Whitenack ’21 (left to right) discuss their impressions of Okihiro’s talks.

20 SPORTS

Athlete talks passion for Quidditch played in muggle fashion


The Miscellany News

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December 6, 2018

Editor-in-Chief Leah Cates

Contributing Editors

Talya Phelps Noah Purdy Charlotte Varcoe-Wolfson Laila Volpe

Features Frankie Knuckles Andrea Yang Opinions Steven Park Humor and Satire Hannah Gaven Arts Izzy Braham Sports Myles Olmsted Design Rose Parker Copy Teddy Chmyz

Courtesy of Jonathan Hazin Jonathan Hazin ’20 is studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. He recently took a trip to Seville and Córdoba, Spain, pictured above. Jonathan reflects, “Both cities, though Córdoba especially, have a rich history of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian occupancies that continue to present themselves in art, architecture, and food. Aside from Jerusalem itself, the south of Spain is probably the most valuable place for seeing the intersections of these three cultures across over two thousand years of history.” To read more about Hazin’s time abroad, plus those of his fellow JYA-ers, visit farandaway.miscellanynews.org!

The Miscellany News 6

December

Thursday

Basketball (W) vs. Williams College 7:00 p.m. | Fit Center Gym | Athletics

Hebrew Movie Night

Weekender_ 7

December

8

Friday

December

Students of Sobriety Group

Hanukkah Party

11:00 a.m. | CC Old Bookstore | Vassar Greens

9:30 a.m. | RH 211 | AA Pougkeepsie

Vassar College Jazz Ensembles & Jazz Combos

5:30 p.m. | CC 223-Multi Purpose Room | Chabad Jewish Community (CJC)

Vassar Smasher #12

8:00 p.m. | SH Martel Recital Hall | Music Dept.

Vassar College Chamber Ensembles

8:30 p.m. | Spins Bowling | Big Night In

“The Cakemaker”: Film Screening 8:00 p.m. | CH Auditorium | Jewish Studies Program

9:00 p.m. | Rose Parlor | The Miscellany News

Come join the Psychology and Economics departments for a gripping movie, snacks and a thought-provoking discussion.

Courtesy of Peter Markotsis

8:00 p.m. | The Mug | Vassar Students Musicians Union

Paper Critique

12:00 p.m. | Bridge Indoor Cafe | CDO

Courtesy of jdxyw via Flickr

Student Musicians Union Showcase

12:00 p.m. | CC 223-Multi Purpose Room | Vassar Smash Club

Reporters Duncan Aronson Ariana Gravinese Aena Khan Columnists Catherine Bither Isabella Boyne Jimmy Christon Christian Flemm Jesser Horowitz Dean Kopitsky Izzy Migani Emmett O’Malley Sylvan Perlmutter Taylor Stewart Blair Webber Copy Anna Blake Natalie Bober Samantha Cavagnolo Madeline Seibel Dean Amanda Herring Phoebe Jacoby Anastasia Koutavas Lucy Leonard Francesca Lucchetti Caitlin Patterson Gillian Redstone Mina Turunc Photo Yijia Hu Cartoonist Frank

Gender in Government and International Affairs Roundtable Luncheon

Spins Bowling

8:00 p.m. | SH Martel Recital Hall | Music Dept.

7:00 p.m. | NE 105 | Vassar Psycology and Economics Depts.

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Sunday December

Free Market Donation Drive

7:30 p.m. | CH Screening Auditorium | Jewish Studies Program

Movie Screening: “A Beautiful Mind”

Saturday

Assistant News Jessica Moss Assistant Arts Holly Shulman Abby Tarwater Assistant Design Lilly Tipton Assistant Social Media Patrick Tanella Assistant Online Chris Allen

Senior Recital: George Luton, voice and composition 1:30 p.m. | SH Martel Recital Hall | Music Dept.

Yule Ball 9:00 p.m. | AULA | Quidditch and Social Dancing Club

Don your cloaks and pointy hats, and head over to the Yule Ball on Saturday, Dec. 8 for a magical evening.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

CORRECTION POLICY The Miscellany News will only accept corrections for any misquotes, misrepresentations or factual errors for an article within the semester it is printed. The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented within its Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board.


NEWS

December 6, 2018

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Talk explores Chinese public opinion, foreign policy Jaime Aguayo Baas Guest Reporter

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l Roun a c i d lit

up

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n Friday, Nov. 30, Associate Professor of Government at Cornell Dr. Jessica Chen Weiss presented on the rise of Chinese nationalism in a lecture titled, “Nationalism and Public Opinion in China’s Foreign Relation.” The event, sponsored by the Political Science Department and the Vassar College Chinese Students’ Community, was hosted by Professor and Chair of Political Science Fubing Su. Weiss began with a photograph of a protest that occurred in 2012 in response to Japanese actions in the East China Sea. “This is pretty surprising of Chinese politics,” Weiss began, “that there would be large scale street demonstrations allowed to take place. The Chinese government, fearing a repeat of the demonstrations in 1999, remains extremely vigilant and proactive at cracking down on any sign of unrest, even potential unrest.” Weiss explained that over the past 30 years, there have been few successful protests relative to the number of repressed national protests. The Chinese government facilitated the few major protests. Of them, one was an anti-U.S. demonstration following the EP-3 incident of 2001, in which an American intelligence aircraft collided with a Chinese fighter jet. Elaborating, Weiss explained that because of fears associated with unrest toward foreign powers and the out-of-hand economic costs of protests, the Chinese government is hesitant to allow them to take place: “Perhaps because of all the accumulated risks, China hasn’t allowed

Ae n a K h a n In national headlines... Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and attorney Michael Cohen thrust the Mueller investigation into the limelight once again this past week. A series of released court filings displayed both lies told by the former officials in spite of cooperation deals and evidence collected by Robert S. Mueller III into activity surrounding the Trump Organization and presidential campaign. Harvard Law professor Alex Whiting stated in regard to the special investigation, “They are uncovering false statement after false statement, because they are able to prove what actually happened.” Likewise, Mueller may use evidence of communications to pressure Cohen into admitting false statements (The Guardian, “‘Mueller knows a lot’: Manafort and Cohen moves put Trump in line of fire,” 12.01.2018). Donald Trump announced on Saturday, Dec. 1, that he intends to withdraw from the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, in a move that places pressure on Congress to approve the USMCA trade deal penned earlier this year and intended to serve as an updated version of NAFTA. He promised to do so after signing the deal in Buenos Aires, announcing while aboard Air Force One, “I’ll be terminating [NAFTA] within a relatively short period of time ... And so

large scale protest to occur.” Discussing how China manages to handle mass unrests in the Internet age, Weiss stated, “The government employs more than two million [people] to monitor online sentiments and unrest.” To anticipate and intercept possible protests, the government is constantly reacting to online activity. Weiss also mentioned the role of monitoring social media in preventing protests. According to Business Insider, “China holds people criminally liable for content posted in any group chat they initiate on messaging apps” (Business Insider, “China is building a vast civilian surveillance network — here are 10 ways it could be feeding its creepy ‘social credit system,’” 04.29.2018). Noting that there haven’t been any large scale protests since 2012, Weiss asked, “Why is it we should care about nationalism and public opinion in China?” Weiss then provided historical context on the importance of public opinion, quoting past Chinese leaders who emphasized its role in the survival of the Chinese government. “First, public opinion informs domestic leadership,” Weiss explained. Public opinion in China communicates to the government the effect of its foreign and domestic policies. “Second, it informs foreigners in their view of China.” In other words, foreigners look to the public opinion to better understand China’s resolves and long term foreign policy. Continuing, Weiss made an important distinction between nationalism and public opinion, stating, “Chinese nationalism isn’t particularly rising … There is less na-

tionalism in Chinese youth.” She instead suggested that people are confusing China’s intrinsic nationalism with a new and more outspoken public voice: that is, confusing identity with public opinion. Weiss then questioned the lack of available information on Chinese public opinion. She asked, “Can the Chinese government mold public opinion?” To answer this question, Weiss presented a set of five surveys conducted in China to research Chinese public opinion. The questions addressed foreign policy issues and demonstrated that the younger generations were more outspoken about their beliefs. Yet, in the research, about 30 percent of those surveyed answered that it is best not to speak out against one’s government. Throughout the lecture, Weiss addressed the misconceptions that surveys clear up. With such limited knowledge on the public opinion of Chinese citizens, it is easy for foreign countries to create false narratives. One example she provided was the Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea; according to Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, “[The ADIZ is an] area of airspace… within which the ready identification, the location, and the control of aircraft are required in the interest of national security” (Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, “Counter-Coercion Series: East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone,” 06.13.2017). It is an area in which any unknown aircraft, if flying within that zone, has to identify itself and comply with Chinese authorities. However, U.S. military aircrafts frequently fly over that zone without complying and receive almost no

response from the Chinese government. While this lack of governmental enforcement may point to a weakness in the zone, it can be seen as “benign authority.” These possible misconceptions would then influence how foreign relations are conducted. During an interview following the lecture, Weiss contemplated her study of Chinese foreign relations. “I’ve always been interested in perception and misperception between the United States and China. Maybe because I’m half-Chinese,” she said. “When I was in China studying Chinese, the 2001 EP-3 incident happened, and I was pretty shocked by the differences between how my teachers viewed what had happened and what I was reading and hearing from the U.S. media.” Reflecting on how this experience inspired her studies, Weiss said, “The idea that we can have such radically different perceptions about the same facts in the same time really worried me. I think it’s one of the major challenges for peace in the world for generations to come. I think it has to do with my personal interests and wanting to make the world a little bit safer.” Weiss encouraged attendees to conduct and read similar studies in order to increase their understanding of one another as global citizens. “It’s important to understand Chinese domestic politics shaping China’s foreign policy,” Weiss concluded. “[A]s China becomes less and less constrained and as it rises the global hierarchy … We [in the U.S. and China] have to begin to understand ourselves mutually to avoid this creeping war footing.”

Congress will have a choice of the USMCA or pre-NAFTA, which worked very well.” Analysts view the decision as an attempt to move the new deal along because it is not popular enough on its own accord, but many business groups expressed support for the USMCA agreement because of its new provisions on digital trade and the protection of intellectual property. The only concern cited by House Democrats, who now have the majority, is that the labor and environmental provisions are too weak (Politico, “Trump says he will withdraw from NAFTA, pressuring Congress to approve of new trade deal,” 12.02.2018). Congress is deadlocked as Donald Trump demands $5 billion in funding for a wall along the Mexican border, and a partial government shutdown on Dec. 7 remains imminent. The odds of this happening have been put off by the death of 41st President George H.W. Bush this past Friday, Nov. 30. Out of respect, Donald Trump declared the day of Bush’s funeral, Dec. 5, a national day of mourning. Nevertheless, House Democrats and an increasing number of House Republicans remain adamant in blocking any bills pushing for more wall funding (The Washington Post, “Congress, Trump consider postponing shutdown deadline until after Bush services,” 12.01.2018).

of several Saudi nationals close to MBS in the murder; the Saudi Attorney General’s future actions remain unclear. However, recently revealed text messages between MBS and a senior aide, Saud Al-Qahtani, serve as evidence tying the crown prince to the journalist. The CIA released a written document citing at least 11 texts MBS sent to Qahtani immediately before and after the killing, which resulted in the assessment that MBS’ involvement was at “medium-to-high confidence” (The Washington Post, “Saudi crown prince exchanged messages with aide alleged to have overseen Khashoggi killing,” 12.02.2018). Israeli Police recommended the indictment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on counts of bribery and fraud on Sunday, Dec. 2, for the third time this year. The charges accuse him of trading favors for positive news coverage in a series of corruption cases and hurt his already weak government coalition, which clings to a one-vote majority in the Knesset. He has also been accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the form of gifts for political favors. Netanyahu is currently at the mercy of the Israeli attorney general’s decision on whether to indict him; however, such a decision is months away, and Netanyahu may be able to secure his political strength before then by winning another election. He recently took over the position of defense minister after the previous place-holder resigned in response to the conflict in Gaza, and he has sought to build an alliance with predominantly Sunni Muslim countries in the region to counter Iranian efforts to establish Shi’ite leaderships in Syria and Lebanon (The New York Times, “Israeli Police Urge Bribery and Fraud Charges Against Netanyahu. Again.” 12.02.2018). Paris just experienced its most destructive riots since 1968. After hikes in fuel

taxes, protestors eponymously named for their yellow jackets, or gilets jaunes, took to the streets in what began as a peaceful protest of hikes in green fuel taxes and ended with the looting of Paris’ wealthiest districts. French President Emmanuel Macron flew back from the G20 summit in Argentina on Sunday, Dec. 2, following the riots and instructed Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe to meet with the leaders of the protestors in an attempt to ease tensions. From Avenue Kléber to the Champs Élysées, splashes of paint, bombed cars and graffiti displaying phrases such as “‘We’ve chopped off heads for less than this” and “Babylon is burning” replaced the city’s elite shoppers. Smaller protests broke out in the name of the gilet jaunes in towns around France and saw clashes between protestors and authorities. A spokesperson for President Macron stated that policing procedures were under revision to uphold order. Early Tuesday morning, French authorities announced the tax’s suspension (The Guardian, “Paris riots: PM to meet protest groups after worst unrest in decade,” 12.02.2018).

Around the world... Following the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate of Istanbul, Turkish authorities released details of his gruesome death by strangling and dismemberment. A CIA assessment confirmed that the murder was perpetrated by a 15-man hit-squad dispatched by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS). Saudi Arabia repeatedly denied any allegations before acknowledging the culpability

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

In our backyard... The New York State Assembly is poised to pass four new gun control measures by January, with incoming Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D-Yonkers) stating that the conference was likely to support the gun laws. State Senate Republicans have held control of the chamber since 2011 and allowed for the passage of the Safe Act six years earlier. While this law blocks certain “extreme risk” individuals from purchasing firearms at a judge’s discretion, State Senate Republicans have still blocked any gun control bills (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Gun control in New York: Four ways laws could change,” 11.30.2018).


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NEWS

December 6, 2018

Lecture reveals intimate details about Candida Royalle FEMINIST continued

from page 1 rector of couples-oriented porn films. The lecture was sponsored by the C. Mildred Thompson Lecture Fund and the History Department. Prior to the talk, Professor of History on the Eloise Ellery Chair Rebecca Edwards, who was a key organizer for the lecture, hosted a reception for Kamensky in Swift Hall. There, Kamensky and Edwards discussed Kamensky’s process of gathering information for her project in various archives over coffee and cookies. During this reception, Edwards indicated that a key reason the History Department hosted this lecture is its relationship to a course she’s teaching, titled Sex and Reproduction in Nineteenth Century America. According to Edwards, “The big tension in the course is between women’s rights and ‘free love’ or sexual liberation … Students [can] connect [this lecture] to what [they’ve] learned, because...what we’ve been asking are how forms of feminism we’ve been studying relate to sexual liberation.” Weighing in, Kamensky commented, “One of the things I intend to do is question the ways [the pleasure revolution] is and isn’t feminist progress. It seems better than being beset by shame and fear, but… my question is where have we taken our attention from … Some of the big structural issues [of] poverty and sexual violence [were] brushed aside.” To begin the lecture, Edwards introduced Kamensky as a Harvard professor and historian and discussed some of her numerous accomplishments, as well as her esteemed role as a Vassar parent. Edwards also indi-

VSA Updates Updates from the VSA meeting of 2 December 2018

cated that Kamensky’s study of Royalle is part of a larger project: a book she is writing titled “Candida Royalle and the Sexual Revolution: A History from Below,” which will be published by W. W. Norton (Harvard University Department of History, “Jane Kamensky,” 2018). Kamensky prefaced the lecture with commentary about the general mood of her findings, providing a content warning to the almost-filled auditorium of students, professors and community members that the talk would include mentions of gender and family-based violence. She conversationally remarked, “One of the things I’m reckoning with in this project is the sadness in a life and era of revolution that is supposed to be filled with spontaneity and joy.” Despite these cautionary remarks, Taylor Hall’s auditorium remained densely populated with students, many of whom later indicated that they were in Edwards’ class. Throughout the lecture, Kamensky presented the intimate details of Candide’s life, which Candide recorded in her diaries. Much of the content in these diaries detailed the hardships Candice faced during childhood. “Her parents lived at the fringes of social acceptability,” Kamensky said of Candice’s family’s poverty-stricken life in New York. Candice was also a survivor of sexual harassment, having recorded several instances of being followed by men, almost being assaulted by a man in the woods and being leered at by her brother. In adulthood, Candice rechristened herself as Candida and became a porn actress. She also became addicted to heroin and attributed her failures to her difficult child-

hood. According to Kamensky, “The shakiness of Candice’s life [paralleled that] of American culture in 1974.” However, as attitudes toward women and sex began changing throughout the 1970s, Candida reflected on herself in the context of her sexual experiences. She began to produce her own pornography and adopt a sex-positive stance and became a leader in what she dubbed the sexual revolution. Kamensky acknowledged that much of Candida’s movement was an attempt at liberation from her past, and that her sex-positive feminism was more a byproduct of her attempts: “She was pretty distressed that porn was remaining her [focus] … There’s a way in which the kind of legitimacy she gained was an incredible vindication and totally insufficient.” Following the lecture, a student asked Kamensky to elaborate on how the feminist movement of her era and Royalle’s own ideas of feminism informed her porn experience. “The body politics of radical second-wave feminism are impossible for her,” replied Kamensky. “[Candida] wants to shave her legs and wear lipstick and have her feminism, too. What she loses when she breaks from that type of feminism is structural thinking … [but] she represents how female pleasure is just as deserved as male pleasure.” Kamensky also indicated that she was uncertain whether Royalle’s movement constituted a sexual revolution, or if the pornography she produced was more feminist than that in which she starred: “Many count [Royalle] as someone who broke through, but [her feminism] is a pretty narrow slice.

But this shows less the limitations of her feminism and more the limitations of the porn industry [as her medium].” While Candida’s version of feminism both gained and lost at the fringes between it and the broader radical second wave, regardless of her movement’s efficacy, she remains an important historical figure due to her evolution from a working-class background to a semi-famous movement leader. According to lecture attendee Charlotte Waldman ’21, “There are many feminists promoting body positivity, but one of the reasons why Candida Royalle [is] an important historical figure is because of the intensity of her transformations: from a heroin-addicted porn star to a feminist entrepreneur, from Candice Vidala to Candida Royalle and from an object [of] unwanted sexual attention to a figure of invited and monetized sexual transparency. These transformations reflected an American sexual culture that invited such changes.” Concluding the lecture and attendees’ brief study of Candida, Kamensky summarized the obscurity of Royalle’s feminism in the context of her time and the importance of hearing the voices of those who, historically, have remained unheard: “Dipping into Royalle’s diaries, they didn’t sound like any side [of the movement]. She was victimized by a pathological family, but she’s also victimized by a culture that no longer knows its moral center … She’s also a full-throated participant in that culture. [We see that] it’s not a two sided story, because here’s this woman in a sequence pink hat, and she doesn’t represent either of those narratives at all.”

UV RAY(VE) Vassar students enjoyed a night of dancing and music under black lights at UV RAY(VE) hosted by ViCE, VSA Programming and WVKR at the Chance Theater on Friday, Nov. 30. All photos courtesy of Kelsie Milburn ’21

Consensus Agenda – Passed Allocations: $775/$1400 from Discretionary to Vassar Alliance of Women in Foreign Affairs for Breaking into Government/ International Affairs/Think Tank panels. Equity and Inclusion Committee The College’s Committee on Inclusion and Equity (CIE) met recently to discuss a proposed statement regarding its policy on affinity spaces. The committee is planning to hold a World Café or another similar campus event during the spring semester to introduce the campus community to the new protocol. VSA Senate spent a portion of its last meeting discussing these proposed guidelines in small groups and will be sending feedback on the draft language to CIE. Health and Wellness Committee In collaboration with Counseling Services and the Office of Health Education, the committee will be holding DeStress Daze on Dec. 13. Stations around campus will include arts and crafts, cookie decoration and self-care, and Counseling Services will be offering meditation workshops in the Rose Parlor. —Julian Corbett, VSA General Intern

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


NEWS

December 6, 2018 ADVERTISEMENT

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News Briefs Bump stock ban progresses On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Trump administration announced that it would implement a ban on bump stocks on guns, which essentially allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at a higher, more lethal rate (NYT, “Trump Administration Is Set to Ban Bump Stock Devices on Guns,” 11.28.2018). This move was prompted by the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017, which resulted in the deaths of 58 people. The shooter’s hotel contained 22 guns, 14 of which had bump stocks. This technology allowed the guns to fire nine rounds per second (NYT, “Trump Administration Is Set to Ban Bump Stock Devices on Guns,” 11.28.2018; NBC, “Nearing Las Vegas shooting anniversary, Justice Department moves ahead on bump stock ban,” 10.01.2018). Manufacturing fully automatic weapons, which are commonly known as machine guns, is illegal if they were made after 1986, but bump stocks can be a loophole around this law (Vox, “Trump administration to ban bump stocks for guns,” 11.29.2018). According to the Associated Press, “The device basically replaces the gun’s shoulder rest, with a ‘support step’ that covers the trigger opening. By holding the pistol grip with one hand and pushing forward on the barrel with the other, the shooter’s finger comes in contact with the trigger. The recoil causes the gun to buck back and forth, ‘bumping’ the trigger” (Vox). In other words, bump stocks allow the gun to continually fire with one trigger pull rather than pulling the trigger separately for each shot, causing it to act like a machine gun while remaining legal to purchase and use. The ban proposal has been in progress for months. In March, Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated that he would

amend the definition of a machine gun to include bump stocks under federal law. On Sept. 27, 2018, the Justice Department submitted its proposal to ban bump stocks, which launched the Office of Management and Budget’s 90-day review period (CNN, “Trump says ban on ‘bump stocks’ coming,” 10.02.2018). Once the ban, which includes the manufacture, importation and possession of bump stocks, takes place, those who currently own the devices will be required to destroy them (NBC). However, the question remains as to how effectively this move will prevent gun violence. While it is a start, some activists continue to push for more comprehensive gun control legislation. According to a tweet from February, Trump expressed that he is considering some measures for stricter gun control, such as more detailed background checks and raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21 (Twitter, [at]realDonaldTrump, 02.22.2018). Democratic politicians have lauded the step toward prohibiting bump stocks, but even some conservative organizations support the ban. The NRA stated that it would not oppose legislation, claiming, “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations” (NBC). —Laila Volpe, Contributing Editor Michael Cohen pleads guilty To avoid serving time in jail, Former attorney for President Trump Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in Trump’s effort to build a Trump Tower in Russia in 2016. Cohen’s team argued in court that by cooperating

with Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s involvement with Russia, Cohen has taken responsibility for his crimes (CNBC, “Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen Asks to Avoid Prison Time After Plea Deal in Mueller Probe,” 12.01.18). Cohen worked for The Trump Organization for a decade as executive vice president and Trump’s legal counselor. He was previously close with Trump, and he even said in a 2011 interview, “They say I’m Mr. Trump’s pitbull, that I’m his right-hand man. I’ve been called many different things around [The Trump Organization].” Cohen’s relationship with Trump began to fall apart after Cohen got in legal trouble because of acts he performed for Trump, such as paying pornographic actress Stormy Daniels $130,000 to not speak out about an alleged extra-marital affair with Trump. Eventually, Cohen and Trump became so estranged that Cohen urged voters to vote against Trump in the midterm elections (CNN, “Who is Michael Cohen,” 11.29.18). Cohen claims that he had a conversation with the Kremlin about building a Trump Tower in Russia and informed Trump of this conversation (CNBC). According to CNN, Cohen’s guilty plea reveals that Trump was involved in financial affairs with Russia during his campaign. His confession could also cause political trouble for the president if it connects with other information that Mueller is gathering from his investigation. Cohen previously told Congress that his discussions with Russia had ended in January of 2016, yet he has recently confessed that they continued thereafter. Cohen indicated that he lied to be loyal to Trump, claiming, “I made these statements to be consistent with [Trump’s] political messaging and out of loyalty to

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

[Trump]” (CNN, “Michael Cohen Pleads Guilty, Says He Lied About Trump’s Knowledge of Moscow Project,” 11.29.18). According to Democratic Representative for New York Jerry Nadler, Cohen’s guilty plea demonstrates that Russia harbored influence over Trump during his campaign: “The fact that he was lying to the American people about doing business in Russia and the Kremlin knew he was lying gave the Kremlin a hold over him.” Nadler further wondered if Russia still held power over Trump, asking, “One question we have now is, does the Kremlin still have a hold over him because of other lies that they know about?” (NBC, “Cohen Cooperation is Proof of Russian ‘leverage’ over Trump, incoming House Judiciary says,” 12.02.18). Trump responded to Cohen’s guilty plea in a tweet, writing, “He lied for this outcome, and should, in my opinion, serve a full and complete sentence” (Washington Post, “Trump says Cohen deserves a ‘full and complete’ sentence,” 12.03.18). He also accused Cohen of being weak, claiming, “He’s a weak person and what he’s trying to do is get a reduced sentence.” Further, Trump defended his interactions with Russia during his campaign: “There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won, in which case I would have gotten back into the business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?” (The New York Times, “Cohen Pleads Guilty and Details Trump’s Involvement in Moscow Tower Project,” 11.29.18). While reducing a potentially long prison sentence for himself, Cohen’s plea may have drawbacks for Trump, as Cohen’s crimes implicate Trump as a co-conspirator. —Olivia Watson, Guest Reporter


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December 6, 2018

Earl Sweatshirt’s newest music features stunning depth Jimmy Christon Columnist

Some Rap Songs

Earl Sweatshirt Tan Cressida/Columbia

Solace

Earl Sweatshirt Tan Cressida

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arl Sweatshirt’s “Some Rap Songs” is a heavy album. It is 25 minutes long, but it goes down like a solid brick. Do not think I am just stating that this is a depressing album or anything short-sighted like that. As with any good work of art, this record probes the spaces in between the extremes of emotion—through the broken sadness of cuts like “Peanut” and the spiritual soars of the song “Azucar.” “Some Rap Songs” is Earl Sweatshirt’s most sustained piece of musical exploration and one of the freshest collections I’ve heard in quite some time. Additionally, if you have not listened to Earl Sweatshirt’s new EP “Solace” yet, I am begging you to check it out and to engage with it as genuinely as you can. Dig into the lyrics, take a walk while you listen to it and research as much as you can about Earl. You should consider Post Malone’s problematic statement that rap isn’t emotional while you listen to it and “Some Rap Songs.” This EP is a peak into the heart of so-

called depressive emotions—when our lives contort themselves into everything we feared would never happen. This song is music for when you take a long look at yourself and realize, horrified, that you didn’t used to be this way before. Or, to use Earl’s own lyrics from the EP, “I’m fixin’ to give up / I’ve been alone for the longest / This spliff, I ain’t splittin’ no time soon / My brain split in two” (Earl Sweatshirt, “Solace,” 2018). And right as this EP gets to its most revealing—it’s bleakest, harshest spot—it just continues. A jazzy outro loop repeats and repeats. And the chord progression on this synth doesn’t feel hopeful, but it doesn’t feel awful either. “Some Rap Songs” ends with an outro similar to the track “Riot!” These endings just keep going and ride out their runtimes. Or, to use Earl’s words again, this album was from “when I hit the bottom and found something” (The 405, “Earl Sweatshirt releases Solace: ‘music from when I hit the bottom and found something,’” 04.29.2018). There’s a sense of motion going forward at the end of both of these projects. A listener gets a sense that the world keeps going on and that this is not a cause for concern. If I haven’t said it blatantly enough yet, “Solace” is a masterpiece. I also think it is important to listen to “Solace” before “Some Rap Songs” because they constitute one big project for me. Much of what is on “Some Rap Songs” can be found on “Solace” and vice versa. The two resonate wonderfully. But if you don’t want to listen to an extra 10 minutes, or even the 25 minutes of “Some

Rap Songs,” just listen to the first single of this album—“Nowhere2go.” I know Earl didn’t design this song as a single, but how could I think about it as anything else? The thick, looped, vocally haunted beat that continually swells and resides, the very purposeful mix on the track where Earl sits beneath the great instrumental and the boundary-pushing lyrical performance all explode vibrantly across this short album, and the listening experience is memorable and evocative.

“There’s a sense of motion going forward at the end of both of these projects.” I can hear the complaints coming now. I know that listeners are going to be thrown off by the production, how Earl’s voice sits too far back in the noise or too far in front of it. I can hear critics complaining that this album doesn’t have a traditional versehook-verse structure or that there isn’t much variety in the beats. People may say Earl just released a lazy creation instead of wrestling with the idea of how these choices elicite a response from the listener. Or, alternatively, I can see a lot of (white) people claiming that this album is a masterpiece because of its emotional depth. As you can tell from my raving of “Solace,” Earl is capable of attaching emotion to his music. But one quality I cannot stand about Earl’s white fan following is how reductive

they are. To call this album just “depressed rap,” and call it good only because it is depressing, isn’t just stupid—it’s racist. It’s racist in that it transforms Earl from being a capable musician making meaningful choices into an overly emotional, racialized subject that doesn’t make music as meaningfully as, say, Bob Dylan. Or, as I’m sure my fraternity friends from back home (Eugene, OR) would suggest, XXXtentacion, whose musical use of emotion was predicated by his notorious violence toward women and gay men. Rap is a Black art, and Earl’s new album is exactly that. I don’t want to define Blackness, or even suggest a definition of it. But I can point out problematic representations of Blackness when people like Post Malone thrive off of their racist statements. I am fed up with the idea that a Black artist needs to justify their use of emotion through the use of violence and instability—an act Earl knowingly dropped after “I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside.” I am also utterly aghast at the notion that Earl’s music is just “sad rap.” In my mind, any statement like that is predicated on an implied negativity attached to Blackness. Real emotions are complex. Approaching them with simple creativity is, in my mind, simple cowardice. “Some Rap Songs” and “Solace” are complex masterpieces with real-life emotions. These projects imbibe this complexity; they pick it up and employ it musically to elicit a response from you. In my opinion, any sort of labeling of these projects as too depressing or as depressed rap are airy nothings and only reflects the undeniable cowardice of the accuser.

Greenbaum discusses fresh, instinctual perception of art GREENBAUM continued

about what painting is or could be.” Anna Grayson ’22 commented on the romantic idea of beginning the creative process from a blank canvas: “She just kind of started simple: she said she always loved drawing. But she stopped producing art and didn’t start up again until later, and she started with a white canvas and grew from there into doing these paintings that are super layered and textured with color.” Greenbaum said that several years ago she wanted to experiment with the third dimension. After creating layered and geometric paintings, Greenbaum began crafting unique sculptures that look like creatures from her paintings. Tiny sculptures seem to occupy the fictional geometric spaces Greenbaum created through her layering and gesture. The sculptures function as another way for

Greenbaum to produce art and make her paintings come to life. “I think in the process of using clay, which is such a beautiful medium, it was more like the sculpture changed the painting. My paintings were always so linear and geometric, and working with clay, it freed my line, softened the line,” Greenbaum said. “I started drawing on the sculptures, thinking of the sculptures as drawing in three dimensions, using that as another outlet for my drawing.” It became clear in the lecture that Greenbaum creates the art she envisions, without trying to critique modernism or create what would be well recieved. In discussing the progression of her work as an artist, Greenbaum noted how her experience with art allowed her a freedom to create what she wanted without worrying about

Courtesy of Meghan Hayfield

from page 1 didn’t want to make New York School-type abstract expressionism,” Greenbaum said. “I was really against that. I just wanted to make my own work, and I was afraid of gesture.” Associate Professor of Art Laura Newman said of Greenbaum, “I went to the Loeb to see her work, and I happened to notice a Hans Hofmann painting on the way out. I think she is very intelligent in the way she uses art. She’s not sitting there thinking about Hans Hofmann, but it’s like her cultural landscape. She’s sophisticated, she knows a lot more than she said, and she’s thinking about the history of painting and particularly how women have been written in it. It’s really interesting.” In her introduction to the lecture, Newman commented, “Scribbled magic marker is obliterated by poured paint. Paintings are reimagined as sculptures. Signs of high modernism cohabit with ballpoint pen doodles, drawing interacts with painting. Her work is exuberant and generous, adventurous in its lack of predetermined end.” From an early age, Greenbaum gravitated toward drawing. Though an artist her whole life, Greenbaum recalled she scrapped all of her work in the mid-’90s and started from scratch. “I started with a very blank canvas. I didn’t think, I’m working on white, I thought, I’m working on blank. It was performative—the paintings had rules, they were fairly quick. I didn’t work out my ideas on the canvas, I worked them out in my head beforehand,” Greenbaum recalled. “There was no going over, there was no painting out. If something was a mistake, I would try to incorporate that into the painting—it wasn’t a game, but I set these rules for myself, which was thrilling because it rid me of these preconceptions

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, artist Joanne Greenbaum presented a lecture in Taylor Hall. She discussed her career, creative process and how she conceptualizes her artistry.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

how it would turn out or how it would be perceived: “I’m just trying different ways of making a painting. Eventually it does all look like your own work. The idea that if I try something new, it’s not going to look like my work. I think my work started growing so much more when I stopped trying to make Joanne Greenbaums—whatever the hell that means,” she said. For Grayson, this freedom is enticing, something to which aspire to as an art student. “The thing that struck me as the most interesting was how she talked about getting to a stage with her work where now she creates pieces because she loves making art, and she doesn’t have a set idea of what a piece has to be before she makes it. [T]hat kind of freedom that she has now in doing her work is something that comes when you’re a mature artist,” Grayson said. “That’s really interesting to see and to hear, and maybe I’ll get to that point some day as well.” Listening to Greenbaum’s artistic process, it became clear how instinctual she is about her art—she’s unpretentious about creating and understands when her art needs time to breathe. “I have a house on Long Island, I go to Michaels arts and crafts, I buy cheap-o premade stretchers that are perfectly good and perfectly fine and I make a lot of paintings on them,” she remarked. “A lot of my work comes full circle—I like to go back to something simpler that I had done maybe 20 years ago...To recycle things I used to do.” Greenbaum spoke of various challenges that she has overcome as an artist. One of her exhibitions at a gallery in Los Angeles several years ago had few viewers. Another exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City left her out of an abstract gallery. “I guess I always just have to keep going. I always just say fuck it, and just keep going.”


December 6, 2018

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Photographers highlight traditionally underrepresented Taylor Stewart Columnist

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hen you take a digital photo, light streams into the camera lens, which adjusts to the subject’s form. The light hits the sensor array and breaks into millions of pixels. Each pixel, varying in color and brightness, forms your composite image. You would think photographs are the most literal artistic medium. They capture forms as they are, atom by atom, pixel by pixel, impressions of the light that is our way of seeing. Which is why, I think, documentary portrait photography like that of Sophie Green and Robert Skinner is so arresting: What was fiction or unknown to us before proves to be real, a reflection of humankind in all its variety.

“What was fiction or unknown to us before proves to be real, a reflection of humankind in all its variety.” Sophie Green, born in 1991, is a London-based photographer, a self-described specialist in social documentary and portraits. She shot “Cowboy Country” for Modern Weekly Magazine, in collaboration with stylist Adam Winder and journalist Ellie Harrison. Alongside a horse’s mouth—the rein is embellished with red, white and blue rhinestones and a big gaudy star—is an old cowboy in the same pose. His side profile is a bit rugged, skin rough.

He looks straight ahead and his face is stony. He sports a black cowboy hat, spurs on his shoulder, a clean black shirt. There is a beautiful order and gravity to the photo. Green captures a butt in Levi’s and fringe cowhide chaps, hands folded royally over the lower back. She also includes booted feet, a girl getting her chaps laced up and two boys with lassoes standing on a hay bale (one wears a collared shirt with the American flag printed on it). Initially, you think that she has traveled to Utah or Wyoming or West Texas to capture the animal herders or rodeo performers of the Wild West tradition. But she shot these in England, in little counties like Devon and Kent, and the chaps come from a fashion house. “Cowboy Country” is a series about British Western riding, which claims communities all over the English countryside and even a British Rodeo Cowboys Association (BRCA). Bored of conventional English horseback riding, riders put on rodeos, cattle and horsemanship shows, and athletic games that include “Cloverleaf Barrel Racing” and “Pole Bending,” as mandated by the BRCA. Green styled her subjects in Gucci, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Dior to highlight the “showmanship” of their trade. She commented in an interview, “Riders love to dress up and win marks for good presentation at competitions—the aesthetics of western riding are really important and quite flamboyant too. Riders ask designers to make their outfits especially for competition” (It’s Nice That, “Sophie Green’s latest project ventures into England’s unlikely cowboy country,” 11.13.2018).

Robert Skinner is an architectural photographer, but his pictures of the Borscht Belt—even those without people in them—are sadly, painfully human. For his personal series “Searching For America,” he went to Sullivan County, NY, nestled in the Catskills and a popular vacation spot for Jewish families from the 1920s to the 1970s. In stark contrast to “Dirty Dancing,” which takes place in one of these ritzy resorts at their heyday, it is peppered with abandoned hotels. Often denied accommodation at other vacation spots, Jewish New Yorkers, many of them Eastern European immigrants, frequented the summer homes, bungalows, hotels and ski ranges of the Catskills, which were nicknamed the Jewish Alps. In fact, the area is known as the Borscht Belt.

“Although he shot the people that still live there, you cannot help but feel wistful seeing them.” With the commercialization of air travel, however, vacationers fled the Catskills for other destinations. Many of the resorts crumbled, making for a haunting collection of photographs from Skinner. Although he shot the people that still live there, you cannot help but feel wistful seeing them—perhaps because the backdrops are sparse and sad or perhaps because Skinner includes in the series the

derelict buildings once brimming with New Yorkers. A little girl named Haley stares coolly at you, holding a rifle, with some relatives and a gloomy field behind her. “Johnny Sykes, Buck Hill” is a photo of a stout old man standing in front of the abandoned Buck Hill Inn. Skinner said, “I realized that the people I was asking about where to find the resorts were the most interesting part of the landscape” (National Public Radio, “Beyond The Borscht Belt: Life After The Catskills’ Heyday Of Hotels,” 09.20.2013). Undeniably, the abandoned places are more chilling with real people in them, sporting straight faces or confused looks rather than the gleaming smiles of old Borscht Belt postcards. “Cowboy Country” is warm and saturated, with textures and colors varying from horse hair braided in a chain link pattern to a pair of haute patent-leather riding boots. The Borscht Belt pictures from “Searching For America,” however, are monochromatic and nostalgic but not playful, evoking dystopia with their cluttered commercial structures and melancholy locals. The people in both series look incredibly serious and dignified. They assert their presence, know who they are and prove to be a testament not only to the “idiosyncrasies and nuances of the human experience,” as Green always intends to capture, but also to how portraiture lends itself to this end. She commented, “I identify subjects who exist on the edge of society who are often under represented [sic] in the mainstream” (LensCulture, “About Sophie Green”).

Bike shop art show offers students space to display work Holly Shulman

Assistant Arts Editor

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ast year, Parvaneh Jefferson ’21 visited her friend at Wesleyan. She came back to Vassar raving about the student art scene she had witnessed that weekend and discouraged by the one to which she returned. Jefferson felt that there wasn’t enough space at Vassar for artists to showcase their talents. She wrote in an email interview, “I just want art to be more of a thing at Vassar. Our school is filled with so many people that are stupidly talented and brilliant. Yet, we hardly ever, well maybe just not that publicly, have collaborations.” Here, Jefferson, a self-proclaimed non-artist, had identified an issue with which many artists were and are struggling on campus. Artist Mahilia Iwugo ’21 confirmed in an email correspondence, “There aren’t a lot of opportunities for visual artists [to display their work] if they aren’t involved in the Art Department.” A few months after her trip to Wesleyan, in a seemingly unrelated move, Jefferson applied for a work-study position at the bike shop in the basement of Strong. There, she found a small, musty room filled with broken bike pieces and inexplicable odds and ends, such as a label maker and a coffee machine. The students running the shop at the time had just begun to stock the dusty shelves with spray paint, inviting every patron and friend who visited to add to the mismatched mural they were creating on the basement walls. After she was hired as one of three mechanics (the only position that exists at the shop), Jefferson found that the job held more benefits than she had initially imagined. She wrote of this realization, “If you’re a mechanic you essentially hold

a stake in the shop and you are free to do what you please with the space as long as the other mechanics are okay with it … I knew I wanted to use the shop as a platform to string together [Vassar students’ artistic] talent.” Fast-forward to November of this year, when Jefferson began to put that ambition into practice. She contacted friends and friends of friends whose work she admired, pitching the idea of an Art Department–unaffiliated, collaborative gallery and performance space at the bike shop. The idea was to put on a show in the shop, which took place on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

[Jefferson] had asked me if I would be interested in displaying art in the bike shop sometime and I immediately jumped at the opportunity...” This idea proved popular. Iwugo wrote, “[Jefferson] had asked me if I would be interested in displaying art in the bike shop sometime and I immediately jumped at the opportunity, and we were buzzing with ideas and excitement.” Together, Jefferson and Iwugo assembled a group of artists. Iwugo described the final collective: “It turned out to be an incredible group of people who I feel so lucky to have been able to get to know, and I have been super inspired by each of them.” The cohort consists of six artists from across all four classes (Iwugo, Miranda Amey ’20, Mollie

Kather ’19, Camryn Casey ’21, Luka Carlsen ’19 and Rivers Liu ’22). On the night of the show, the visual art was accompanied by four student musical groups (Odds and Ends, Westerly Rd., Earth Dad and DJ CYBORGGF). In collaboration with the artists, Jefferson started searching for a common theme to center the show. Iwugo explained the beginning of that process: “Our first meeting we got together and Parvaneh brought us paper and pens and asked us to play a drawing game, so we all sat at a table and passed around pieces of paper, adding to [each others’] drawings. Later, we cut them up and collaged them—and that is how our poster was created!” After a few more sessions and conversations with the artists, Jefferson found that one concept in particular was consistently recurring in the artists’ work, and this would eventually supply the show with its name: “Coping Mechanisms.” She wrote, “I got caught on this one idea of coping mechanisms because we, well hopefully, use our passions to cope with hardship … I was like woah wouldn’t it be cool if you could track an artist’s progression through a rough time or weird period through their art?” As Jefferson and her collaborators began to design the show around that central idea, another driving concept emerged simultaneously: the space of the bike shop itself. In the final show, paintings stood wedged between bike tools, suspended from wheel covers and hung from exposed pipes by rusty bike chains. Iwugo’s works mostly fell into the third category: “There was a certain set of works that I had done in succession, connected with a poem/ journal entry I had written—an explora-

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

tion of space and my existence within it physically, perceptually, mentally, alone, and with other beings. I wanted the pieces to be seen both as one combined work as well as separate entities, in one order or another depending on where the viewer was standing. Hanging this set by bike chains allowed me to continue to explore these relations of space in a different medium and integrate it more fully into the environment.” In this way, Iwugo and the other artists found intersections between coping mechanisms and the bike shop. Namely, the fact that the bike shop’s budget and training resources are limited necessitates creativity from the mechanics in their bike-fixing methods. Jefferson observed the links between those challenges and the art show: “I think this was reflected by the art and its placement … [It] was just natural [to install pieces the way we did] because it was just the easiest way for things to be and I think that really reflects the talent of the artists. They were just making art, not trying to be anything, just being authentic which is very much how the bike shop is.” Attendee Milo Truppin ’21 observed this, as well: “I loved how they integrated the art seamlessly into the space.” Half by necessity and half by design, the show became, in one sense, an exploration of Vassar artistic spaces (or the lack thereof). Many students go through their years here filled with dreams about what they could do at this school if only the spaces existed for them to turn those creative dreams into reality. Jefferson, Iwugo and their collaborators took steps to change this on Saturday as they initiated a process both of using space to find themselves and using themselves to find space.


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December 6, 2018

Ninety years later, book still reminds readers of war’s gore Madeline Seibel Dean Guest Columnist

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inety years ago in December 1928, Erich Maria Remarque’s landmark World War I novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” finished its serial run. For a duration of five weeks, the German magazine Vossische Zeitung published the book under the title of “Im Westen nichts Neues” (Literally, “In the West Nothing New”). The book caught on incredibly quickly. In January of 1929, it was released in one volume; in March, it was translated into English and, in 1930, it was adapted into an Oscar-winning Hollywood movie (Smithsonian Magazine, “The Most Loved and Hated Novel about WWI,” 06.16.2015). Over the next two years, the book sold three million copies. Today, “All Quiet on the Western Front” is considered by many to be the first international bestseller. The novel tells the story of Paul Bäumer, a young German soldier fighting on the Western Front during World War I. It follows him and the rest of his company up until the last few weeks of the war. The book begins in medias res, after the main characters have already been deployed. The first few chapters are interspersed with frequent flashbacks to Bäumer’s training and their jingoistic high school teacher convincing them to enlist. One famous sequence details Bäumer returning home on leave and realizing that the war has changed him forever. The ending of the novel is also downright iconic. However, if you haven’t had it spoiled for you in 90 years, I’m not going to tell you now. Famously, the book doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to its descriptions of the

front, which Remarque fills with nightmarish and gruesome depictions of bombardments, sickness, amputation and injury. Much of the story features underfed and hopeless troops, and many characters die, lose their limbs or develop PTSD over the course of the story. The New York Times book review published at the time highlighted the gruesome descriptions of the novel: “Certainly...we have a picture of that physical horror unsurpassed for vividness, for reality, for convincingness, which lives and spreads and grows until every atom of us is at the Front, seeing, mingling suffering” (New York Times, “War’s Horror as a German Private Saw It: All Quiet on the Western Front is an Extremely Vivid Document,” 6.02.1929). Interspersed with these vivid descriptions are sometimes sentimental, always well-written passages about youth in the context of war. Moreover, the book’s position as an anti-war novel is clear throughout. Back when the novel was originally published, its anti-war themes proved controversial. The first country to ban the book was Czechoslovakia, which prohibited it from military libraries in November 1929—less than a year after its initial publication (New York Times, “Czechs Ban ‘All Quiet,’” 11.17.1929). In December of 1930 in Germany, after members of the Nazi party attacked moviegoers at several of the early showings, the film was also banned. Then, when the Nazis came to power in 1933, they forbade the book along with the rest of Remarque’s works. It quickly became one of the most common books destroyed in the infamous Nazi book burnings. In that year, fearing for his safety, Remarque fled the country for Switzerland.

He lived there until 1939, at which point he moved to the United States (Smithsonian Magazine, “The Most Loved and Hated Novel about WWI,” 06.16.2015). He became a citizen of the United States in 1947 and split his time between New York and Italy. Over the rest of his career, he wrote nine more novels, a play and a screenplay before returning to Switzerland and dying in 1970 (New York Times, “Erich Maria Remarque Is Dead: Novels Recorded Agony of War,” 09.29.1970). Long after Remarque’s death, various authors have attempted to adapt and improve upon “All Quiet on the Western Front.” In 1979, director Delbert Mann adapted the book into a three-part miniseries. It received decent reviews but was unable to live up to the 1930 movie adaption (New York Times, “Remaking ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ for TV,” 11.11.1979). In 1994, a professor at the University of Stirling in Scotland, Brian Murdoch, translated the book again, with the new translation receiving fairly poor reviews. After all, it hasn’t been these continued adaptations that have kept “All Quiet on the Western Front” in print, but rather, as one reviewer of Murdoch’s translation, Geoff Dyer, said, “It did not need revivifying because it was already intensely alive” (The Independent, “BOOK REVIEW / Laying the ghost of a cataclysm: ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’” 08.27.1994). Remarque’s language and imagery ensure that the book’s power will not diminish over time. Remarque’s work has helped to define and codify the structure of future war novels. Out-of-order storytelling, as in the opening chapters of “All Quiet on the Western Front,” would later be used in Joseph Hell-

er’s “Catch-22,” a classic novel of World War Two, and Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried,” an acclaimed book of essays and short stories about the Vietnam War. Moreover, audiences have noted striking similarities between a scene in which the author describes an experience killing an enemy soldier in “The Things They Carried” and one described in “All Quiet on the Western Front” (The English Journal, “Killing at Close Range: A Study in Intertextuality,” 01.2006). It’s reasonable for other authors to replicate elements of the book’s form, as its mode of storytelling is exquisite. While critics have commented that the book expresses more of the post-war mindset than what a soldier thinks during combat, the story of war it tells remains more accurate than any other piece of writing today—especially because we have a tendency to see World War I only through the darkened lens of World War II. It is vital now to remind ourselves of the forlorn era of World War I as we now live during a time in which an American president feels like he can skip the centennial commemoration ceremony of the war because of rain. Although it was dubbed the war to end all wars, WWI has not stopped more wars from occurring. The war in Afghanistan will soon become the longest war in American history. If the fighting continues for another year or two, there will be soldiers fighting in it that were born after it started. Now, I don’t have to tell you that war is awful; we are more accustomed to hearing about the horrors of war than were the people who lived in 1928. Still, few depictions of war since the publication of “All Quiet” possess the same kind of staying power.

Art exhibition, lecture commemorate World AIDS Day HIV continued

from page 1 case: “We wanted to think of the best way to honor World AIDS Day in a creative form that would leave a lasting impression … When you go to a lecture, you’re only there for about an hour and sometimes only leave with a couple facts and quotations that you kind of remember, whereas people can come to our gallery, take in the art at their own pace, reflect on their interpretations and even revisit later if they want to build upon their viewings and thoughts.” Fellow Wellness Peer Educator Esperanza Garcia ’20 further clarified her and Allen’s choice of medium: “We think that art is so powerful, and you take a lot away from it, and it’s something you tend to remember; it really makes an impact on you.”

The curators set up the exhibition as a timeline, following the progression of AIDS from its emergence in the early 1980s up to 2017. It showcases a global perspective of AIDS, with the intention of presenting the AIDS epidemic’s significance from a variety of nationalities, ethnicities and genders. Allen appreciated the intersectionality of the exhibit: “I really like the [works] that have people of color in them, because a person of color’s healthcare experience is always overlooked,” she stated. “HIV is a virus that for the longest time everyone thought exclusively affected white gay men. People rarely consider intersectionality within healthcare and fail to address as well as support black women and trans POCs, for example, who are diagnosed with

Courtesy of Wenjie Xie With the “Then and Now: AIDS In Time” exhibit behind him, HIV educator Douglas Hill shared HIV prevention techniques in an understanding and sex-positive manner.

HIV at higher rates than their white counterparts.” Campus Health Organization for Information, Contraception and Education (CHOICE) coordinated the lecture portion of the event. Co-Presidents Jenny Brisco ’19 and Austin Gibbs ’19 explained that CHOICE typically brings a speaker from the New York City-based organization Love Heals to commemorate World AIDS Day. CHOICE Co-Chair of Outreach and Education Lily Feinberg-Eddy ’21 articulated her reaction to Hill’s talk: “I thought he was such a good speaker. This was clearly something so close to his heart. He seemed really approachable and really open in talking about his own experience, and he was really knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS in general. I thought that it was a really cool combination to have … he was really friendly and open and comforting.” Feinberg-Eddy further disclosed that she hopes for CHOICE to include more people in their events in the future. She explained, “I feel like at places at Vassar, you’re going to seek events like [this] out if you have an interest already in sex and sex education… so you probably have already had access to that kind of information and have been exposed to it. So, I always wonder…if there are ways we can market that event to people who aren’t already really interested in sex and sex education.” Those interested in getting involved with CHOICE are welcome to attend their meetings, which take place every Sunday at 6 p.m. in the LGBTQ center. The event ultimately sought to help foster awareness, resist prejudice and increase education about HIV/AIDS. Brisco finds World AIDS Day to be an ideal time to take up these initiatives and to encourage oth-

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

ers to continue the conversation: “I think that HIV/AIDS comes up once a year…but it really is an issue that is all the time, and I think it’s sort of a golden opportunity to take this day to remind people what’s going on and to engage people on such an important topic that often gets forgotten,” she stated. Despite HIV/AIDS’ continued devastation of innumerable communities, declining rates in the United States have led to increasing apathy. For this reason, Garcia finds it important to find ways to continue the HIV/AIDS conversation. “It’s unfortunate, because it’s kind of taken a backseat to other diseases that have come up since then, but I think it’s still such an important issue; it still impacts so many lives around the world. But some people just don’t even know that [Dec. 1] is World AIDS Day, or that it even exists. It’s just bringing attention to it, and just letting people know that it’s here and it exists,” she commented. Allen echoed this sentiment, adding that students have a responsibility to be aware of HIV/AIDS. “It’s showing that people in our community stand in solidarity and will continue to fight prejudice and destigmatize the experience of living with HIV,” she stated. “I feel like people saying that they didn’t know that World AIDS Day is an event no longer serves as a valid excuse. Compared to its early days, there’s now so much more information available about HIV/AIDS. There’s still a lot of work to be done in eliminating the stigmatization and treatment living with the virus, but I think people taking the time to educate themselves and being willing to have some possibly uncomfortable conversations with other people about it are steps in the right direction.”


December 6, 2018

Campus Canvas

ARTS A weekly space highlighting the creative pursuits of student-artists

Page 9 submit to misc@vassar.edu

Excuse me, What’s the wildest thing that happened to you this semester? “[REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]” — Eura Choi ’21

“It’s too wild to be printed.” — Samira Afreen ’21

“I biked into a telephone pole, and I’m not sure if I got a concussion.” — Dakota Peterson ’19

“I don’t want to expose myself.” — Klara Kaufman ’19

“Blood magic.” — Rachel Sipress ’21

“I was in a hammock, and a crow dropped half a cookie on me.” — Quinn Waller ’21

Charlotte Markstein History and French Major Class of 2020

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

Hannah Gaven, Humor & Satire Hannah Benton, Photography


FEATURES

Page 10

Quite Frankly Frankie Knuckles

Features Editor Quality Advice-Giver

Have a question you want answered? Submit your quandaries at http://bit.ly/2RFnXfk Hey Frankie,

Thanks, Pronoun Ponderer Dear Ponderer,

Best Wishes, Frankie P.S. If someone maliciously misgenders your friend, however, publicly calling them out on transphobia and bigotry would be completely merited (as long as doing so doesn’t embarrass your friend).

Ariana Gravinese Reporter

T

he Vassar community experienced a special treat last week: They witnessed the stage come alive in a performance unlike any other. On Nov. 30, Vassar College’s Kenyon Hall transformed into a den of music and dance. FlyPeople, Vassar’s first student-run dance company, put on the spectacle of a lifetime. Members range in class year, disciplines and experience. While the organization requires members to audition, this diversity allows FlyPeople to constantly evolve, so it’s unique each year. This year’s show, featuring nine different sets, was choreographed and performed by the student members of this organization. The display illuminated a range of different styles. From dances that were upbeat with lively music, to more serious and emotional Vassar’s first student-run dance company, FlyPeople, performed on Nov. 30 in Kenyon fare, the production illustrated the talent and Hall. Pictured above, the lighting framed the dancers’ movements in shifting silhouettes. commitment of each one of the members. While as a student org FlyPeople does not to the greater campus dance environment.” pany on campus, Chwae commented, “More offer academic credit, the time commitment The members of FlyPeople are involved in casually, we’re a group of students who run made by each member proves substantial. different aspects of life at Vassar, from differ- an audition-in dance company to provide a Between hours spent learning new dances, ent clubs to leadership roles and jobs on cam- casual, but professional dance company enrehearsing and combining all the elements of pus. The commonality that they all share is a vironment run by and for students.” the show, each member dedicates themself to love of dancing. Chwae, who joined during Not only do the members bond over their putting on a great experience for everyone in her first year at Vassar, noted, “The company passion, but they also use this org as an outattendance. this year is comprised of the most enthusias- let to express their feelings and experiences, When asked about her experience with tic and dedicated members, all of whom are and come together to collaborate. Each year, this organization, Artistic Director and mem- overcommitted on campus, yet still find time new students join the organization and make ber of FlyPeople Gabbi Chwae ’19 responded to find in their busy schedules to dance.” it their own. Chwae summarized the spirit via email, “FlyPeople is the only thing that FlyPeople is comprised of dancers from all of the org: “FlyPeople is what the company has been with me for all four years of college; backgrounds and of all skill levels. Members makes of it, and this year, we’re making it I’m grateful to be giving back to the company are united by their passions for dancing and our outlet from the fast-paced Vassar enviin this leadership role, showing underclass- performance. While FlyPeople is officially ronment where we can laugh, cry, shake our men what FlyPeople can mean to all of us and defined as the first student-run dance com- booties, and create some incredible art.”

Okihiro reframes push for ethnic studies VASAM continued

from page 1 cussions also proved enlightening, challenging some of the VASAM members’ preconceived notions about their advocacy for Asian American studies. VASAM member Tamika Whitenack ’21 explained that the result has exceeded their expectations, saying, “Our original intention was to bring this well-known Asian American studies historian or scholar to educate ourselves and to show what the field of Asian American studies is, how it’s been built and why it’s important.” The primary motivation for spreading awareness of Asian American Studies, VASAM member Emma Chun ’21 affirmed, was self-representation: “My motivation for Asian American studies is still primarily for me because I want to see myself

Duncan Aronson/The Miscellany News

Quite frankly, no one gets new things right all the time. After I first changed my pronouns, I even misgendered myself, notably terming myself as a “French fry-loving gal.” Linguistic and grammatical habits are deeply ingrained. Changes inevitably require an adjustment period. I know it’s painful to see that your mistakes cause your friend discomfort, but these missteps are, unfortunately, part of transitioning. Try not to fixate on them. Focus on improving. To that end, here are some primary methods. Probably the easiest tip is to avoid pronouns altogether. It’s natural to use “you” to reference to them in person or to use their first name if they aren’t with you. This is a training wheels approach, which will gradually accustom you to using the right pronoun. That said, you should be working to incorporate the correct pronoun. Longterm avoidance of pronouns is erasure. This is also a good temporary tactic for someone whose pronouns you don’t know. To incorporate the right pronouns, I suggest you do some pre-planning. Intentionally construct sentences in your head before you say them to get used to how using the right pronoun feels. This can be tricky, because we often like to speak spontaneously, especially with friends. Even if rehearsing a sentence seems unnatural, I’d hazard a guess that your friend will appreciate your effort. Finally, what if you or someone else misgenders your friend? You should discuss this with your friend because it centers on their preference. In fact, you should have a conversation with your friend anyway; I’m sure they’d welcome some active listening. Generally, if you slip, correct yourself without drawing attention to the blunder; normalize the correct pronoun without emphasizing your failure. If you notice that someone else misgenders your friend, pull them aside privately. As a friend, you should enforce whatever language and practices help your friend feel comfortable. The goal isn’t to publicly shame someone for making an error, but to help avoid that error in the future.

Org Spotlight: FlyPeople dance into hearts

Courtesy of Clara Pitt

One of my best friends just came out as trans. I am super supportive of their journey. However, I can’t seem to remember to use the right pronouns. The wrong one comes out almost automatically. I recognize that this habit can be hurtful not only to my friend, but also to others who are in [a] similar situation [to] them. Do you have any tips for remembering people’s pronouns, or what to do if you accidentally slip up?

December 6, 2018

After the lecture, professor and author Gary Y. Okihiro engaged in a Q&A session with Vassar students concerning Third World studies and world history.

represented in Vassar’s curriculum…We wanted to carve out our own niche so that students can take Asian American studies courses as opposed to courses that are vaguely related to Asian-ness.” Rather than being narrowly focused on Asian American studies, however, Okihiro’s talks connected Asian and American identities to comprehensive critical ethnic studies of all identities to investigate a universal human condition. His unexpectedly expansive approach suggested a different motivation than self-representation. This example prompted Chun to reflect on why she advocates for Asian American studies: “I think that pursuing Asian American studies for self-representation is limiting … If it’s representation of yourself, then that is limiting your advocacy for the field because if it’s just about you, it doesn’t directly concern others.” In a similar vein, Chun tied Asian American studies to Okhiro’s points about comprehensive ethnic studies: “It becomes less that this group of people need to be included in academia or history and more about getting the whole picture of history ... So it’s not about representation, it’s acknowledgement, which sounds like the same thing, but it’s not ... It’s defining the concept of Asia and America and all sufferings as part of a larger human condition.” On incorporating such comprehensive ethnic studies into Vassar, Whitenack added, “I feel like the way Vassar is set up does not lend itself to collaboration across groups, like how Africana studies, LatinX studies and Asian studies are split up. We have the ALANA center and [the identity organizations] get along well, but it’s very hard to actually have a coalition.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

Coalitions are important because Third World studies came out of a global coalition movement.” With abstract concepts such as acknowledgement of representation and the human condition, I asked how their newfound perspectives would translate into concrete changes in VASAM’s objectives or philosophies. Whitenack responded, “Our short-term goals are still the same. We still want more Asian American courses, and the most effective way to do that would be to hire a tenure professor who is dedicated to researching and teaching Asian American [studies], like the way that Molly McGlennen was hired to teach Native American studies.” She continued, “I think a big goal for this semester has also just been building community and conversations with professors. We’ve definitely started reaching out to a lot of people, and we want to continue those conversations ... Hopefully they can incorporate a little bit of Asian American studies into their classes.” While VASAM’s short-term goals have not changed, their long-term vision certainly has. Peng remarked, “[Okihiro] tells his students you can’t write about Asian Americans suffering without incorporating queer studies and feminist theory and all the intersections of identity and the human condition ... We shouldn’t stop with Asian American studies. We should be moving further towards building a more comprehensive, critical academic institution.” VASAM’s progress toward this goal will probably take time, but Gary Okihiro’s assistance has inspired them to look beyond the horizon to an even more ambitious destination.


December 6, 2018

FEATURES

Page 11

Courtesy of Kimberly Nguyen

Tea lover rates Deece selection, finds steep competition Frankie Knuckles Features Editor

B

Caffeinated Breakfast Blend 4/10 It’s fine for what it is, but I’m not sure if it’s any better than Lipton black tea. It’s an uncomplex, flat black tea. If you like this. try James Joyce’s Black Tea Blend by Simpson & Vail. Golden Chai TM 5/10 This tea is exemplified by a shrug. It’s okay. It delivers the promised flavor profile: spicy, cinnamon-heavy. It’s quite warming. But I found it unspectacular, and thus disappointing, especially for a chai, which I expect to be bold and daring. If you like this, try Dawn by Turmeric Teas.

Decaf/Tisanes Decaffeinated Earl Grey by Choice Organic Teas 2/10 It’s likely that my anti-decaf tea bias colored my perception, but this smelled and tasted like window cleaner. It is flavored with bergamot oil, rather than bergamot

Frankie Knuckles/The Miscellany News

efore we get started, let’s talk about what “tea” actually means. All tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The differences result from processing the leaves. Tea exists on a continuum of oxidation, with white tea being least oxidized, followed by green, oolong and black. Pu-Erh is fermented black tea; some people claim it cures hangovers, but I’m skeptical. Other teas are named after their region of origin, like Darjeeling and Assam. Any “tea” that doesn’t contain Camellia sinensis isn’t tea, despite the moniker “herbal tea.” Rather, these are infusions, or “tisanes” (The Tea Spot, “About Tea Types: Oolong, Green, White, Pu-Erh and Black.”). For some reason, Numi Teas spells this “teasans,” but as far as I can tell, they’re the only ones. I’ve included both teas and tisanes here. I could talk tea specs ad nauseum, so in lieu of that profusion of unnecessary words, let’s just move on to our main event: the rankings.

Jasmine Green 8.7/10 I’d rate this higher, but I’ve been spoiled by fancy jasmine green tea. Overall, a strong floral note, but not overpowering. This is exactly the blend I know and love. Note, however, that I would recommend using cooler water to make this tea. A temperature “slightly cooled” from boiling, as Numi recommends, will scorch the leaves and create a bitter taste. I recommend using water that’s just a little hotter than you can stand touching, around 175 degrees Fahrenheit. If you like this. try Organic Jasmine Green by OLLTco. Aged Earl Grey TM 4/10 Like Golden Chai, this tea underperformed. I was hoping for a bold, characteristic bergamot note, but I was disappointed. I would expect an Assam blend to pack more of a punch, too. That said, this is still a decent morning caffeine delivery system, and the taste is fine (if unremarkable). If you like this. try Earl Grey Bravo and Earl Grey Lavender by Adagio Teas. Gunpowder Green 7/10 This lived up to my expectations of what a gunpowder should be. It’s, as the name implies, smoky (which some people dislike, but I enjoy). It’s fine, but not spectacular. Note that, like Jasmine Green, this should be brewed at a cooler temperature to avoid a bitter, burned taste. If you like this. try Sleeping Dragon by Adagio Tesa.

Above is the spread of Deece tea available between Nov. 30 and Dec. 2. Since campus dining services rotates its offerings, you might find different types at different times. pieces, so it has an unfortunate slimy feel to me (again, could be psychosomatic). If you like this. try loving yourself. Moroccan Mint 8/10 I expected this to have an aggressive flavor, and I was pleasantly surprised by its subtlety. Mint teas have a tendency to be overwhelming to me, and this one wasn’t. It’s a lovely after-meal tea. If you like this. try Minty Comfort by Adagio Teas. Chamomile Lemon 7.5/10 I did not expect to enjoy this as much as I did. I found that the tartness balanced out the chamomile, making for a relaxing, well-rounded, highly-sippable comfort

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

drink. If you like this. try Chamomile Citron by Tea Forté. Honeybush 9.6/10 This has become my favorite evening tea from the Deece. It’s sweet, but not overly so. I find it positively uplifting, especially after a stressful day. If you like this. try Rooibos Vanilla by Adagio Teas. Dry Desert Lime TM 0/10 I hate strong citrus. I hate this tea. I took one sip and noped out immediately. If you like this. try eating a whole lime, while smiling in the mirror to yourself. For full information on tea recommendations, see the online edition of the Misc.


Page 12

Misc Quiz by Frankie Knuckles

FEATURES submit to misc@vassar.edu

December 6, 2018

Word

Describe yourself in a hashtag.

on the street

What’s your ~FiNaLs WeEk~ Vibe? 1. How many times have you checked your exam room on the registrar’s website? a) It’s on the registrar’s website? b) Once or twice. c) Once or twice a day.

“#nonironicflatearther.” — Tieren Costello ’20

2. Have you started your final papers yet? a) I’m not sure if I have final papers. b) I’ve made the Google Doc. c) I have detailed outlines, and my Works Cited pages are done.

“#KaraisIgor.” — Ava Thompson ’22

3. How much water have you drunk today? a) I don’t do water; I imbibe only caffeine. b) Like three glasses, maybe? I don’t keep track. c) Exactly 64 ounces. Hydration is very important to me. 4. When did you last do laundry? a) I’m not sure, but my shirts smell okay. When You Least Expect b) This week. c) It’s in the dryer now, and I’m about to fold (and iron) it.

“#kewl.” — Muhtasim Miraz ’22

“#dadfriend.” — Evelyn Frick ’19

It

2. ACROSS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Obsessed with details 3. Pay a court fine 1. Green visor wearer Archetypes 4. Fosse's artform 4. Spring-associated waterfowl • Mostly As: Casual Nihilist You’ve accepted the inevitable heat death of the universe, so exams aren’t really that big5. Iris, choroid, and ciliary body 9. Capital of Ghana of a concern for you, and I admire that. 6. Astronomer Sagan 14. Dream-filled sleep • Mostly Bs: Well-Adjusted “#iconic.” goats 15.youMake useAnd of probably some flash cards.7. Baby You’re not quite ready for exams yet, but have a plan. — Matt Usui ’22 With a bit of effort and a little luck, you’ll16. comeBlack out of finals week insignature one piece. 8. Sneaky, like a fox Friday's • Mostly Cs: Super Studier 17.tooSong in honor You take your studies seriously (maybe seriously, but hey, there are worse vices).9. Radar ancestor You’ve got a snack stockpile and will be 18. holing up intiny a secluded library carrel for the next10. Pocketful pants Like tart candies few days to go over the study guide you made during syllabus week. 11. Common spring activity 19. A terrible piece of writing 12. Finds new members 20. Cats with tufted ears 13. Pose a problem 22. Tobacco product 21. Tables for offerings 23. Relative who surrenders “When You Least 22. Cu, in law enforcement 24. Makes water, oil, and milk by24. Benjamin Costa Expect It” 26. -hoscope, -son, seGreat Roman orator, not so 46. Numerous springtime animals 38. Valentines Day month ACROSS great Republic-saver 27. Kissable spring flower 41. Make a wager 49. Die, for a frog 1. Green visor wearer 25. 43. It's, old fashioned 30. Child of a "Jr." Continues for ages 50. What Treebeard is 4. Spring-associated waterfowl 44. Present in abundance 51. Lightly distributed 27. Dick and Harry's friend 31. A clock or bomb 9. Capital of Ghana 45. Made a video call 54. Wakes up 14. Dream-filled sleep 28. 47. Darkest parts of a shadow 33. Dings, scuffs or Harveys Spine contents 55. Make fun of 15. Make use of An inserted diagram 29. 48. Pastel purple 35. 42 56. Across, Soak up all mixed around 16. Black Friday’s signature 57. Makeof likeaa"Jr." Hogwarts Poltergeist 17. Song in honor 38. Parent 1 2 3 4 5 6 58. An eagle’s home 18. Like tiny tart candies 39. Eager to go 59. Unrefined metal 19. A terrible piece of writing 14 15 60. A spy in theshow field up 20. Cats with tufted ears 40. When you'll 61. Time for lunch 22. Tobacco product 41. Companion to 42 Across 62. Flanders or Stark 23. Relative who surrenders 17 18 42. Painted for a spring 24. Makes water, oil, and milk DOWN 26. -hoscope, -son, se20 21 celebration 1. First flower of spring 27. Kissable spring flower 2. Obsessed with details 46. Numerous springtime animals 30. Child of a “Jr.” 23 3. Pay a court fine 31. A clock or bomb 49. Die, for a frog 4. Fosse’s artform 33. Dings, scuffs or Harveys 5. Iris, choroid, and ciliary 26 27 28 50. What Treebeard is body 35. 42 Across, all mixed around 6. Astronomer Sagan 38. Parent of a “Jr.” 51. Lightly distributed 7. Baby goats 31 32 39. Eager to go 8. Sneaky,up like a fox 54. Wakes 40. When you’ll show up 9. Radar ancestor 55. Make fun of 35 36 41. Companion to 42 Across 10. Pocketful pants 42. Painted for a spring celebration 11. Common spring activity 56. Soak up 38 39 12. Finds new members a Hogwarts 13. Poselike a problem Answer to last week’s puzzle 57. Make 21. Tables for offerings Poltergeist 40 41 22. Cu, in law enforcement 58. An eagle's home 24. Great Roman orator, not so great 46 47 48 Republic-saver 59. Unrefined metal 25. It’s, old fashioned 60. A27.spy the fieldfriend 50 Dickin and Harry’s 28. Darkest parts of a shadow 61. Time for lunch 29. Pastel purple 54 55 62. Flanders or Stark 32. Skin sketch

Ben Costa

32. Skin sketch 33. A bear's lair 34. Author of A Heartbreaking “#SOblessed.” Work of Staggering Genius — Bryan Smith ’21 35. Sets themselves up 36. Companion to nooks 37. Cacophony 38. Valentines Day month Humor & Satire 41.Hannah MakeGaven, a wager Hannah Benton, Photography 43. Continues for ages 44. Present in abundance 45. Made a video call 47. Spine contents 48. An inserted diagram 49. A babbling brook 49.Oracle A babbling 51. ofbrook Delphi, for example 51. Oracle of Delphi, for example 52. apple 52. Peel Peel anan apple 53. East East ofof Europe 53. Europe 54. Relaxing retreat 54. 55. Relaxing Chrome taskretreat 55. Chrome task

The Miscellany Crossword

33. A bear’s lair 34. Author of A Heartbreaking Work of DOWN Staggering Genius 35. Sets themselves up 1. First flower of spring 36. Companion to nooks 37. Cacophony

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MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

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December 6, 2018

OPINIONS

Page 13

The Miscellany News Staff Editorial

CEQs present underutilized resource for student feedback

I

t’s that time of year again. As fall semester classes wrap up, students will complete Course Evaluation Questionnaires (CEQs). Professors, likely in the final 15 or so minutes of the last class meeting, will exit the room to allow their students to anonymously fill out both a bubble sheet and a lined page for written answers detailing their experiences with and opinions of the course. Once all responses have been handed in, a student volunteer will deliver the envelope to the Registrar’s Office. Although they occur every semester, myths and misunderstandings about CEQs persist. Given the importance of CEQs, it is crucial that these false beliefs be cleared up. Ultimately, completing course evaluations is akin to exercising our right to vote: Sharing honest, thorough opinions improves the faculty body through democratic means, and students would be remiss not to take the opportunity seriously. The College relies on CEQs as one of the principle modes of evaluating the effectiveness of professors and obtaining student feedback. Once tabulated by the Office of the Registrar and handed over to the Dean of Faculty Office, the results of the numerical forms are distributed to their respective instructors and departments. As the numerical forms themselves state, “This Course Evaluation Questionnaire is an extremely important part of the faculty review, salary, tenure, and promotion process.” The narrative forms, on the other hand, play no part in employment or pro-

motion decisions, as only professors see them. Nevertheless, they serve as a crucial vehicle for student feedback regarding their courses. Given how much power CEQs hold over professors, particularly new and untenured faculty, students should fill out both forms fully and honestly, without fear of personal or academic repercussions for expressing their honest opinions. Registrar Colleen Mallet stated in an email interview, “Neither the narrative or the numerical results are shared with the instructor, department or Dean of Faculty prior to all grades being submitted.” Students should also note the falsity of the rumor that numerical forms with all ones or all fives are discarded—Mallet emphasized that all submitted forms are scanned and processed. Granted, CEQs still present serious problems as an approach to faculty evaluation. Several studies have warned that gender and racial bias can significantly skew academic evaluations (The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Why We Must Stop Relying on Student Ratings of Teaching,” 04.25.2018). Furthermore, these responses do not always accurately measure teaching effectiveness, since students tend to favor instructors who give good grades (American Association of University Professors, “Student Evaluations of Teaching are Not Valid,” 05.22.2018). Correcting deeply ingrained biases is a challenging and ongoing process without an easy solution. However, professors must refrain from swaying the CEQ outcomes through any

form of incentive. For their part, students should treat their comments seriously, because the CEQ reports can directly affect faculty under review for extension, reappointment, tenure or promotion, decisions which ultimately affect both faculty and students (Vassar College, “Faculty Handbook,” 2018). The CEQ implementation process also needs improvement. Since students typically fill out forms at the end of class, they often feel the pressure to submit a hasty response. To remedy this issue, students may consider typing out a more thoughtful version beforehand. The administration could also design an alternative digital portal for students to complete the CEQ before accessing their final grades, allowing time for deeper reflections. In addition, students should reach out to their professors and/or department heads about classes throughout the semester, whether during office hours or one-on-one meetings, so that their needs can be met in time, rather than after the fact. While not as materially consequential as the numerical form, the CEQ narrative form should be taken just as seriously, as professors adjust their syllabi based on what students deemed successful. Thus, students can help improve the syllabi of their classes for future semesters by writing thoughtful feedback on various aspects of the course, including but not limited to the organization of assignments, readings and screenings. Students can also comment on their

professors’ availability during office hours and helpfulness in one-on-one meetings. Additionally, they can assess the difficulty of the class and address any issues they ran into during the course, such as trouble finding opportunities for participation or managing the workload. Since it can be easy to forget semester-length opinions on a course, giving thought to the narrative form in advance can help synthesize reflections and fully communicate them in the moment. If a student genuinely does not have any constructive criticism to give, they can use the space to thank the professor. If this course changed how you see something or impacted your interest in an area, tell them! Ultimately, CEQs are a convenient way for students to submit evaluations of their professors and provide helpful suggestions and/or critiques. Professors, in turn, take the written responses into account to adapt the form of their courses to fit student needs. Particularly at Vassar, which prioritizes student input and discussion-based pedagogy, a course is an evolving and collaborative practice, not a static entity. Students should put thought into both their responses to the multiple-choice questions and their written evaluations. Although the CEQ may not be a perfect format, it is still a valuable one, provided students are willing to engage with it thoughtfully. —The Staff Editorial expresses the opinions of at least 2/3 of The Miscellany News Editorial Board.

Sugar industry responsible for deceiving U.S. on ‘fat’ Isabella Boyne Columnist

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he abundance of packaged foods with the phrase “low-fat” on them show that Americans place a strong emphasis on avoiding saturated fat. Ostensibly, it makes sense to do so in a country with high rates of obesity and heart disease. However, the scientific evidence has suggested that sugar, not fat, leads to obesity and heart attacks. Moreover, the people responsible for perpetuating this myth are the leaders in the food and drink industry, such as the Coca-Cola company. When President Eisenhower suffered from a heart attack in 1955, he insisted that the public be given the details of his illness. The next day, his chief physician, Dr. Paul Dudley White, gave a press conference citing smoking, fat and cholesterol as the primary sources of heart disease. Later, White introduced the research of a nutritionist at the University of Minnesota, Ancel Keys, who alleviated the worries of many Americans by suggesting the “diet-heart hypothesis.” According to Keys, saturated fat raises cholesterol by congealing within coronary arteries, stopping blood flow and causing the heart to seize up. By 1980, the low-fat approach became an ideology promoted by the media, physicians and the government’s Dietary Guidelines, which encouraged consumers to reduce their intake of saturated fats. But instead of showing health improvements, the 1980s marked the beginning of America’s obesity epidemic (The Guardian, “The sugar conspiracy,” 04.07.2016). British scientist John Yudkin was amongst those who doubted Keys’ theory. He suspected that sugar played a larger role than fat in heart disease. Yudkin conduct-

ed a series of experiments on animals and humans and found that the body processes sugar in the liver, where it turns into fat before it enters the bloodstream. In addition, saturated fats have served as an essential component in our diet throughout history and are found in breast milk. In contrast, sugar was introduced in the Western diet only 300 years ago. However, in response to Yudkin’s claims, Keys frequently publicly humiliated him and his work, causing scientific institutions and the public to dismiss his findings (The Guardian, “The sugar conspiracy,” 04.07.2016). In actuality, Keys based his theories on skewed data. Critics have pointed out that his study on the diets, lifestyles and health of 12,770 middle-aged men in Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Finland, Netherlands, Japan and the United States—which demonstrated a correlation between saturated fat intake and death from heart disease—showed signs of data manipulation. For example, there was no objective basis for the countries he chose; Keys left out France and what was at the time West Germany, most likely because the French and Germans had diets high in saturated fats, yet demonstrated relatively low rates of heart disease. Furthermore, Keys and his successors used a method known as epidemiological research, which measures the distribution of viral infections and associated risk factors in populations in terms of person, place and time. Although this method is usually used to study infections, Keys used it to gather data on chronic diseases. However, chronic diseases take a long time to develop and consist of hundreds of different factors, meaning that their chosen method was not very accurate. Years later, the study’s lead

researcher in Italy, Alessandro Menotti, looked at the data again and concluded that the food that correlated most closely with deaths from heart disease was sugar (The Guardian, “The sugar conspiracy,” 04.07.2016). However, despite evidence that shows otherwise, fat has remained the villain in the battle against obesity, largely due to the machinations of the sugar industry. Newly released documents show that sugar companies paid scientists in the 1960s to underplay the role of sugar in heart disease, exposing how the sugar industry shaped the resulting research on nutrition. A trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation, now called the Sugar Association, paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of about $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) to publish a research review on sugar, fat and heart disease that minimized the link between sugar and heart health (The New York Times, “How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat,” 09.12.2016). Today, Coca-Cola continues to fund scientific organisations in order to blame lack of exercise and foods high in saturated-fat as the reasons for heart disease and obesity. In 2004, the company funded its own research institutes called the “Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness” which focused on the role of sugar in beverages being used for “hydration” and “energy balance.” Although the institute disbanded in 2016, Coca-Cola continues to fund other organisations that promote a similar message. In 2015, the company gave $1 million to the University of Colorado Foundation to fund the Global Energy Balance Network (GEBN), whose aim was to provide “a forum for scientists around the globe to come

together and generate the knowledge and evidence-based pathways needed to end obesity.” However, as a condition of the arrangement, Coca-Cola selected the executives of GEBN and defined its mission statement. Furthermore, co-founder and president of the GEBN James O’Hill had financial ties to PepsiCo, McDonald’s and The Sugar Association. Coca-Cola also provided $4 million in research funds to two of the founding members of GEBN (Union of Concerned Scientists, “How Coca-Cola Disguised Its Influence on Science about Sugar and Health”). A video announcing GEBN featured the group’s vice president, exercise scientist Steven N. Blair, stating, “Most of the focus in the popular media and in the scientific press is...blaming fast food, blaming sugary drinks and so on. And there’s really virtually no compelling evidence that, in fact, is the cause” (The New York Times, “Coca-Cola Funds Scientists Who Shift Blame for Obesity Away from Bad Diets,” 08.09.2015). Evidently, this is not the case, as numerous studies have demonstrated the significance of diet in a healthy lifestyle. This demonstrates the underlying motives that GEBN has in shifting focus away from the contribution corporations like Coca-Cola make to the unhealthy choices of a lot of the population. Ultimately, rather than focusing on reducing our saturated fat intake, we should pay more attention to our sugar consumption. The proliferation of these myths surrounding our health and lifestyle highlight a significant message in demonstrating caution over what we consider as the truth. Furthermore, we should consider who is responsible for spreading such information.

The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented within its Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


OPINIONS

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December 6, 2018

U.S. Supreme Court should limit civil asset forfeitures Jesser Horowitz Columnist

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t’s a cool Sunday morning. You’re driving down the highway at 60 miles per hour when you see flashing lights and hear a siren behind you. You pull off to the side of the road as an officer struts over to your car window. The officer informs you that you were driving five miles over the speed limit. You go to court, plead guilty, receive a stern warning and incur a $45 fine. Two weeks later, your lawyer calls: The government is confiscating your car through a process called “civil asset forfeiture.” You appeal, saying that this is an excessive penalty, but the judge asserts that the state has every right to take your car for speeding, because the Eighth Amendment, which protects citizens against excessive fines, doesn’t apply to the states. And even if it did, civil asset forfeiture doesn’t count as a fine. This situation may sound dystopian, but according to Indiana Solicitor General Thomas M. Fisher, it would be perfectly legal. When confronted with a similar hypothetical by United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, Fisher confirmed that it would be constitutionally possible. Breyer openly mocked Fisher for this opinion, to which Fisher responded, “Well, in rem forfeitures have always been with us and they have always been harsh” (Oyez, “Timbs v. Indiana,” 12.04.2018). On Nov. 28, 2018, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Tyson Timbs v. Indiana. In 2013, U.S. law enforcement arrested Timbs for selling heroin. A few months later, the state filed to take away his car, which Timbs had used to drive to the sites where he sold

his drugs. The court, however, ruled such an action as unconstitutional, because the car was four times the maximum monetary fine that Timbs could have received. The Supreme Court of Indiana overturned the case, ruling that the United States Supreme Court had not given clear guidance that the Eighth Amendment protection against excessive fines applied to state governments. It is now up to the Supreme Court to determine whether it should incorporate the protection against excessive fines, meaning that states must follow it too.

“[Civil asset forfeiture is] a rather insidious way in which the government...blatantly infringes on its citizens’ rights to due process.” I am not going to delve into why the Supreme Court should elect to incorporate the excessive fines clause. It’s fairly obvious at this point where the Supreme Court stands on this issue: Several of the justices have outright said that they would implement the clause, and others took to belittling Mr. Fisher’s arguments in open court, with Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor coming very close to openly telling Mr. Fisher that he would lose. Before Mr. Fisher could get 30 seconds into his argument, Gorsuch interrupted, saying, “We all agree that the Excessive Fines Clause is incorporated against the states … I mean most of the incorporation cases took place in the 1940s, and here we are in 2018 still litigating

Please, Tell Us More! Prof. Abigail Baird Psychology Dept.

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measures. Essentially, the government was not seizing property to return to victims, but instead as an additional means of punishing the accused. Justice Harry A. Blackmun wrote that because seizing someone’s property is inherently a punitive measure, it must meet Eighth-Amendment scrutiny (Oyez, “Austin v. United States”). However, the state of Indiana is now asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn Austin and rule that civil asset forfeitures are not fines and therefore, the Eighth Amendment doesn’t apply. This would mean that if the government decided to steal your $40,000 car because you stole $5 in bubblegum and then drove it to your house, you couldn’t go to court and argue that this measure is excessive. The Supreme Court must uphold Austin v. United States and rebuke the state of Indiana by affirming that civil asset forfeiture is a fine. By doing so, the Supreme Court could offer considerable protections to everyday Americans and provide recourse against government overreach. The right to due process cannot be eroded simply because the police are more interested in lining their own pockets than in fulfilling their obligations to the law. Civil asset forfeiture as it exists now is no more than common theft— the only difference here being that there is no higher authority to which you can turn. If a robber breaks into your home, you call the police; if the government seizes your home through an outdated, authoritarian legal loophole, your only recourse is to go through the courts. If the Supreme Court agrees with Indiana, Americans will have no one to turn to when police and prosecutors determine that their prized possessions will be forfeited to the state.

Professors: What is a topic, idea, theory or breakthrough related to your field of study that you find absolutely fascinating or feel very passionate about? Explain why. To put it simply, adolescents need an “experience library” from which to draw. With more experiences to draw upon, teens are likely to make better decisions. It is really important to emphasize experience, not “success”—in the teen brain, all experiences are invaluable since they serve as the optimal way to learn about the rules of the world. When it comes to developing the neurobehavioral skills to make mature decisions, experience is success. As a neuroscientist who studies adolescents, it has always struck me as a bit odd that adults often criticize the most functional aspects of adolescence. Saying things like “teens are impulsive” and/ or “they only care about impressing their friends” are meant as admonitions; in reality, these behaviors are actually evidence that the teen brain is working hard to acquire the experiences that will be needed to survive in the adult world. Adolescence is not always easy, but it is functional. I recently saw an advertisement featuring one of my heroes: Serena Williams. It featured a picture of her as a small but clearly determined little girl and it read: “It’s only a crazy dream until you do it.” If young Serena Williams had been overly inhibited or not motivated by reward, she would not have become Serena. While not

every teen will become Serena, nearly all will become adults whose ability to make mature decisions will be a direct consequence of the life lessons that shaped their developing brain during adolescence.

Courtesy of Abigail A. Baird

hy do teenagers do stupid things? While I object to the wording of this question, it is inevitably one of the first questions people ask when they find out that I study the adolescent brain. I began studying adolescent development because I was interested in learning how to better detect and perhaps prevent psychopathology. However, questions about teenage behavior and judgment were asked so frequently that I finally felt obligated to find some kind of answer. Twenty years later, I have learned a lot, and while I initially objected to the question of “Why do teenagers do stupid things?” because I love teenagers, I now object because it is a misinformed question (as a teacher and scientist, I maintain that there are no “stupid” questions!). In fact, it turns out that there a number of reasons why teenagers do the things they do, and none of them are “stupid.” Some of the decisions that teens make seem foolish to adults, because adults forget to consider adolescent behavior from a teen’s point of view. Adults also often fail to remember that the teen brain is not quite mature, and that this is an advantage because it allows adolescents to keep learning and adapting

at a much faster pace than at any other point in their (post-natal) lifetime. Albert Einstein was well known for having said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” And while Einstein certainly did have special talents, he was very right to point out how curiosity is the force behind most of life’s most important lessons and achievements. How many times have you thought “I wonder what would happen if I…?”, but then stopped short of actually trying out whatever you were curious about because you could foresee potential problems? Younger adolescents are much the same in terms of their curiosity but lack the neural coordination and socio-emotional experience to consistently make (what may seem like) optimal choices. What is important to point out here is that a teen’s brain and behavior uniquely situate them to seek out these opportunities for practice. Specifically, their reduced inhibition, their heightened drive to obtain potential social rewards and their preoccupation with peer approval work together to give teens the “guts” (or functional cluelessness) to successfully learn about their worlds. This learning literally shapes the connections of the developing brain, enabling it to thrive in the environment in which it develops.

incorporation of the Bill of Rights. Really? Come on” (Oyez, “Timbs v. Indiana”). Instead, I want to address the question of whether civil asset forfeiture qualifies as a fine. First, it’s important to understand what civil asset forfeiture entails. Essentially, it allows the government to seize your property or money if they suspect it was used to commit a crime or obtained illegally (Findlaw, “What Is Civil Asset Forfeiture?”). So, for example, in Sept. 2014, the government took Christos and Markella Sourovelis’s house after their son was arrested for selling heroin. They had never been convicted of a crime (CNN, “Parents’ house seized after son’s drug bust,” 09.08.2014). In other words, the government can take your property even if you haven’t been officially convicted of any crime. In most states, they don’t require any proof that the property’s owner committed wrongdoing. Therefore, if I sold drugs out of my neighbor’s house, the police could use this opportunity to seize their home, even if my neighbor had no knowledge of my activities. This is because the lawsuit is not against the individual, but the property itself; in legal terms, this is called “in rem.” All the police have to do is prove that the property was involved in a crime. Law enforcement can then sell that property, keeping most—and in some jurisdictions all—of the proceeds (Findlaw, “What is Civil Asset Forfeiture”). It’s a rather insidious way in which the government, for its own profit, blatantly infringes on its citizens’ rights to due process. The Supreme Court has already ruled that it considers civil asset forfeiture a fine. In Austin v. United States, the court decided that in rem forfeitures serve as punitive

Shown above is Professor of Psychological Science Abigail A. Baird ’91, who currently holds the Arnhold Family Chair.

This segment is designed to be a space in which professors are invited to talk about any topic related to their work that they find fascinating. If you are interested in contributing, please write a 300 or more word response to the question shown above and email your piece to Steven Park at eupark@@[at]@vassar.edu along with a picture of yourself or something relevant to your topic (examples include research projects, independent work or labs). The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented within its Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


December 6, 2018

OPINIONS

Page 15

Decline in print journalism poses threat to democracy Catherine Bither Columnist

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e have become numb to extinction in the 21st century. We watch habitats and animals, once numerous and thriving, dissolve before our eyes. We witness the demise of entire generations and their cultural habits. We see fashions, foods and aspects of popular culture cycle in and out. Yet, 50 years ago, no one could have predicted the emergence of the internet and the subsequent digitization of printed journals and information. The World Wide Web undoubtedly works to equalize access to information. Computers in public libraries and schools allow people from all walks of life to explore what interests them and discover global, national and local happenings. The conversion of printed information to digitized media not only allows people to post vast quantities of knowledge for the world, but also forces scores of printed journals to shift their focus to online subscribership. This digitization allows local journals to reach a larger audience as well as save printing costs and paper. Unfortunately, however, the repercussions of this societal change are complex. Increased access to free information deters users from paying for journal subscriptions, whether print or online. Consequently, a growing amount of seemingly trustworthy yet unreliable information saturates the internet. For 28 years now, readership for both printed and online journals has continued to decrease. In the United States, weekday print circulation dropped from 60 million in 1994 to 35 million in 2018. Newsroom employment decreased by 40 percent within the same timeframe. Counter to the trend,

digital subscriptions for journals such as The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal spiked following the 2016 election. Nevertheless, while the increase in subscribership boosted the revenues of these individual journals, the future of most other journals still seems grim (Pew Research Center, “Newspaper Fact Sheet,” 06.13.2018).

“Sources predict that many major cities will lose their local news journals in the next two to five years.” The deterioration of journalism affects not only the United States but also the world. British Prime Minister Theresa May warned, “[The closing of local newspapers] is dangerous for our democracy. When trusted and credible news sources decline, we can become vulnerable to news which is untrustworthy” (The Guardian, “Decline of local journalism threatens democracy, says May,” 02.06.2018). In addition, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to provide $50 million to support local news agencies and vowed to propose new legislation that would help nonprofit journals. Yet, given the grave state of journal revenue losses, these measures serve as little more than a symbolic gesture. Sources predict that many major cities will lose their local news journals in the next two to five years (The Washington Post, “A Once Unimaginable Scenario: No More Newspapers,” 03.21.2018).

Those of us who grew up poring over the comics in the Sunday newspaper or watched our parents read articles in The New York Times will likely feel the decline of newspapers on a more personal level. However, those not directly affected by print journals have reasons to worry as well. With easy access to information on the internet comes the ability to easily create content online. Although world-renowned journals and news agencies exist on the internet, the overwhelming amount of information which clutters the World Wide Web and may or may not tell the truth at times overshadows more reputable sources. Furthermore, fearmongering and clickbait complicate the process of garnering accurate information in addition to furthering the dissemination of inaccurate information. Social media in particular perpetuates the distribution of less accurate news, most of which has not undergone the tedious process of fact-checking. Vice News co-founder Shane Smith commented, “Moreover, the Internet…has quickly come to be dominated by a pair of global giants from Silicon Valley—Google and Facebook—that are not only lacking in passion for news, but actively avoiding the responsibilities of a publisher” (The Washington Post). Newspapers are generally trustworthy sources of world, national and local news and have been for hundreds of years. Due to the strenuous stages of verification and fact-checking that characterize the world of professional journalism, many regard reputable newspapers and online journals as dependable. But if such journals decrease in prevalence, how can we know which information to trust? Where

will it come from? How can we be certain whether our news is correct? In a world filled with biased reporting and misinformation, mass media makes it difficult for people to trust the facts they see and hear. Due to party-biased funding, news organizations such as Fox News and MSNBC give differing reports of the same happenings. However, while the press can fall victim to biases and errors, it still acts as a facilitator of democracy, informing readers of relevant and noteworthy information. Nevertheless, the American public must remain aware of the biases inherent in their sources and garner their news from a variety of different reputable journals in order to establish their own truths, in addition to approaching every report with caution and insight.

“[T]he overwhelming amount of information which clutters the World Wide Web...at times overshadows more reputable sources.” More important, the American public must not fall prey to the fear-mongering and misinformation permeating much of the internet, which continues to replace long-standing and reliable news sources. Despite the complicated status of the media, the American public must support and contribute to its press as a form of democracy. The press not only disseminates factual information, but it also allows people’s voices to be heard.

U.S. must recognize role of climate change in refugee influx Sylvan Perlmutter Columnist

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ecently, sympathetic media coverage of the Central American migrant “caravan” camped out at the United States– Mexico border has primarily focused on the threats of gang or state violence that forced many of the caravan members to leave their homes behind in the pursuit of safety. This approach is valuable, especially in humanizing a group of people subject to vicious racism on the part of the current U.S. administration, but it leaves out a critical factor in Central American migration: climate change.

“By 2050, climate change could displace 143 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America...” In recent years, the northern triangle of Central America (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador) has suffered from a prolonged drought. The resulting food insecurity acts as an impediment to economic growth, exacerbates communal violence and ultimately pushes more people to migrate. In fact, according to a study by the World Food Program, nearly half of the Central American migrants described themselves as food insecure (The Guardian, “The unseen driver behind the migrant

caravan: climate change,” 10.30.2018). All over the world, but especially in the Global South, people are exposed to similar environmental emergencies as are the Central American migrants. By 2050, climate change could displace 143 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, and 250 million could be displaced overall (NPR, “The Refugees The World Barely Pays Attention To,” 06.20.2018; Pacific Standard, “‘Not Doing Anything Is No Longer Acceptable’: A Conversation With Alice Thomas, Climate Refugee Expert,” 09.04.2018). Most will become internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their own countries, but even if only a small fraction decides to move to the Global North, their numbers will most likely eclipse those of our current refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the 1951 UN “Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees” does not recognize migrants displaced by climate change as refugees. So far, no refugee has successfully applied for asylum on the basis of environmental catastrophe (Pacific Standard). The closest protection available to climate refugees in the United States is temporary protected status (TPS), which the United States has extended to refugees from Central America, Haiti and other states after environmental catastrophes in addition to violent conflict. For example, many Hondurans were first granted TPS after Hurricane Mitch devastated the nation in 1998. While TPS only lasts for 18 months, recipients can renew this status without limit. However, even this meager protection

faces uncertainty under the Trump administration. In October, U.S. Department of Homeland Security decided to end TPS status for refugees from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Nepal and Sudan, even though these countries have not fully recovered from the damages caused by hurricanes, earthquakes and ethnic conflict and will be unable to reabsorb tens of thousands of deported refugees. Critics have legally challenged this decision in several states, which buys time for the refugees, but it remains unclear how much (Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc, “Challenges to TPS terminations,” 11.01.2018). The deportation of people who have been working in the United States and sending crucial remittances back to their home countries will further destabilize the nations that once benefited from TPS (USA Today, “Trump team uses new rationale to terminate TPS program for hundreds of thousands of legal immigrants,” 10.15.2018).

“So far, no refugee has successfully applied for asylum on the basis of environmental catastrophe.” This shortsighted move on the part of the administration indicates that the United States is woefully unprepared to manage the climate refugee crisis on the horizon. Instead of wasting critical time and

resources on deporting law-abiding people, the United States and other nations to which climate refugees will travel for safety in the future must formalize climate refugees as a legal category of refugee deserving of asylum, invest in a system that can process and integrate increased numbers of asylum-seekers and partner with developing countries to build infrastructure that will mitigate the worst impacts of environmental disasters. Earlier this year, the European Union Parliament released a report attempting to delimit the concept of the climate refugee (European Parliament Think Tank, “The concept of ‘climate refugee’: Towards a possible definition,” 05.24.2018). The U.S. government possesses the financial means to engage in this kind of ambitious, ecologically-informed policy. Over the past 25 years, the U.S. government has increased funding for border security 14 times, resulting in four billion dollars in tax money spent annually despite illegal immigration falling to historic lows. If you want to know where we can get the money to invest in preventative projects overseas, our bloated and redundant border security is where we can start (NBC News, “The U.S. Already Spends Billions on Border Security,” 08.31.2016). At the moment, this approach may appear politically unpalatable, but as climate refugees become increasingly difficult to ignore, addressing the root of this crisis will become all the more necessary. Rejecting the asylum of the 4,000 “caravan” members in Tijuana will not stop the waves to come.

The Miscellany News is not responsible for the views presented within its Opinions pages. The weekly staff editorial is the only article which reflects the opinion of the Editorial Board.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


HUMOR & SATIRE

Page 16

December 6, 2018

Breaking News

From the desk of Hannah Gaven, Humor & Satire Editor

Hookup turns deadly after energetic sex buddies get tangled in fairy lights while engaging in BDSM Hoping to alleviate stress, student divulges answer to all finals Blair Webber

Altruistic Humor Writer

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Frank/The Miscellany News

cademic integrity is a serious issue here at Vassar College. The institution of which we are lucky enough to be a part prides itself on the ability of its students to be honest and engaged enough with their studies to not only put forth their own ideas, but also to cultivate opportunities that nurture those thoughts and delve deeply into their own subjectivity. Students must submit all original work and accept and connect with professors to correct their shortcomings and failures. But finals are stressful, and desperate times call for desperate measures. If you’re like me, you’ve spent this whole semester teaching dance and writing for the Misc, so you haven’t had time to pay attention in class or do any of the readings. That’s why, this week I’ve worked hard to obtain every single answer to every final for every class to share with all of you. If I can alleviate just a fraction of your panic, I’d like to do that. That’s why I started writing for the humor section in the first place (well, not really; I wrote humor for my high school’s paper, too. But it’s a nice idea). Think of it as a Solstice gift, and please use all of the academic integrity you possess to copy down the following answers to your finals onto the inside of a water bottle label for convenient and sneaky reading during your exams. We’ll begin with the Macroeconomics final: Answer number one: ECON-200-01 1) What are the limitations of a nation’s resources? Answer: Why are you taking econ in the first place? Are you feeling fulfilled by this course? Is this what you really love doing? If it is, that’s awesome, and you probably don’t even need me to tell you that the limits of a nation’s resources are land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship, because look at you! You

love econ, you smart little cookie, and you’re taking an econ course so that’s awesome! I just want to check in with the rest of these people. If you’re taking this to satisfy your QA requirement, maybe you should’ve considered ECON 102 instead because this is a 200-level course, and I’m concerned you’re overworked studying something you feel ambivalent about. Are you taking this because you think econ will help you get a job after college? Look, just having a Bachelor’s will help you get a job after college. It doesn’t matter so much what you study, as long as what you study is something you love and are passionate about. It’s admirable that you care about your future, but your future starts with you caring for yourself right now. And I know some parents pressure you to go into finance, or you feel uncomfortable when grandfather says things like, “If you aren’t learning about biology and chemistry, what are you learning?” and your answer is that you’re learning that the films of Yasujiro Ozu are often misread as “mystical” and prototypically “Eastern” by Western film theorists, when really there’s some very comprehensible and clever inversion of cause and effect but that feels like an unsatisfactory answer to that question because your grandfather is a crazy smart and accomplished doctor and you’re a film major, and that’s valued less than cardiology, but guess what you love film and Yasujiro Ozu’s movies are super interesting and insightful without sacrificing brevity. So study what you love. Everything is going to be ok. No matter what grad school you get into or rejected from, no matter how one of your finals goes, you always have a choice. Always. So try to choose something you enjoy, and if that is econ that’s wonderful, and if it isn’t, that’s just as wonderful. 2) This answer satisfies all questions on every single final exam in the whole college.

Our beloved womp womp Harlow wanted to say hi again! Harlow is confused by Vassar students. Honestly, me too. I’m scared to run into one in the dark of night.

Personal letter: Uninvited house guest releases atrocious smells in your room Birthed from Jailyn Lopez, who is NOT Goldilocks

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


December 6, 2018

HUMOR & SATIRE

Page 17

Let roast fest begin: Izzy can be stopped by your words Izzy Migani

All-Star Yahoo Answers Contributer Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

Izzy_migani started a thread on December 1st: ou know how at the end of the semester professors hand out feedback forms that you use to evaluate their teaching over the course of the class? You know how that feedback form can help to determine whether or not they get to keep their position at the college? I propose an idea: the readers of my articles (all two of you, you know who you are) fill out feedback forms on… me. Help determine if I get MY tenure here. For convenience purposes, I will even take electronic submissions here! Roast me through pen and paper AND the Internet if one so chooses! Roast me multiple times if you’re feeling particularly gung-ho! Up to three submissions per person! Flame me within an inch of my existence! If you need some guidelines, examples of possible submissions are attached. Happy criticizing! SM123 posted on December 3rd: Who is this “you” you refer to almost every time? Me? Yourself? Someone else? Are you just screaming into the void? Or is every article just you talking to yourself? In that case, sad. SM123 updated on December 3rd: Also, your writing style is akin to that of the top contributor to a Yahoo Answers question. Am not really sure if that is good or bad. Do with that information what you will. SM123 updated on December 3rd: Your poems sounded like you had just read 10 hours worth of Rupi Kaur and then to

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Izzy goes up in flames as random Internet users post their roasts. I often like to roast people, but normally I’m too lazy. Instead, I like roasted chicken and roast beef. make it edgy you added weird niche humor. Stop trying to be cool. SM123 updated on December 3rd: Mom and Dad told me to tell you they say hi. SM123 updated on December 3rd: Stop deleting my comments. You suck. GM123 replied to SM123 on December 3rd: I think she’s funny. Funny LOOKING. HarryStylesfanxx posted on December 3rd: Why does every article read like it was written at 3 a.m.? User42069 posted on December 2nd: You ask so many questions. Who ARE you talking to? Do you want answers? Are you just confused? Why do you like listing things

so much? Why do you ask so many questions in a row? Was not one but TWO issues of your Skrillex fanfiction really necessary? Did the people of this great Vassar campus need to know all about the weird crush you had on a 26-year-old man? xxDin0s4ur_r4wrxx posted on December 2nd: Hi. Where can we post the results of the emo questionnaire? Asking for a friend. CLICKxHERExTOxWINxANxIPHONEx10x posted on December 2nd: CLICK HERE TO WIN A FREE IPHONE 10. 20 WINNERS IN THE PAST HOUR. CLICK HERE TO WIN A FREE IPHONE 10. Bee_Movie_Hater posted on December 2nd: Lost respect for you after the Bee Movie

HOROSCOPES

joke. Really? A Bee Movie joke in 2018? Who let you do that? C’mon man, all I’m asking for is for a little original humor. Anon665 posted on December 1st: What did you just type about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class at MIT, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids with Anonymous, and I have over 300 confirmed DDoSes. I am trained in online trolling, and I’m the top hacker in the entire world. You are nothing to me but just another virus host. I will wipe you out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on the Internet, mark my words. You think you can get away with typing that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fool. As we chat over IRC I am tracing your IP with my damn bare hands so you better prepare for the storm, wench. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your computer. You’re dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can hack into your files in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in hacking, but I also have access to the entire arsenal of every piece of malware ever created, and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the world wide web, you little fool. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fingers. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit code all over you, and you will drown in it. You’re dead, kiddo.

Hannah Gaven

amateur astrologist

ARIES

March 21 | April 19

TAURUS

April 20 | May 20

GEMINI

May 21 | June 20

CANCER

June 21 | July 22

LEO

July 23 | August 22

VIRGO

August 23 | September 22

I know doing homework in your bed is a recipe for disaster. At first you’re falling asleep while writing an essay. Then you’re sleeping in class and drooling a little. The next thing you know, you’ve slept through finals.

I have serious cravings for salt. At first it looked like only eating fries for every meal, but recently I’ve been stealing salt shakers from the Deece and using it for sustenance. Stop stealing my salt, or I’ll get salty.

The stars tell me that you’re already stressed about final exams. In that case, you’ll need a lot of procrastinating material, as we have a bunch of study days to waste before exams. I suggest you fist-fight an otter.

I hate cramps so much. I wish I could cut my whole uterus out. Then there would be no more bleeding for the kids I’ll never have. This is a good week to learn how to do surgery because either you’ll have to operate on me or your big toe. I’m a little bat. You’re a little bat. Together we can hang from our toes and take a nap. Be sure to cover yourself in black and only go out in the night so you can use your echolocation instead of your eyes. I often find myself googling how to wear a cape, which is, in retrospect, a weird thing to google. Don’t you just put it over your shoulders and tie it in the front? However, from my google search I learned about a new style trend, which I want to see every one of you rocking!

LIBRA

September 23 | October 22

SCORPIO

October 23 | November 21

SAGITTARIUS

November 22 | December 21

My favorite hobby is doing the least important task on my to-do list, so I still feel productive while not doing anything important. I suspect that you’re yearning for ways to complete your to-do lists, so try it my way! I’m sure you’ll start regretting your choice. I know you are worried about how to spend your winter break. What will you do with four weeks all to yourself? Sure, you could catch up on some TV or hang out with family, but that sounds nowhere near as fun as drafting up a funny 700-word article to print in the Misc! It’s fun to play games with friends, unless you get too competitive. Keep in mind that winning isn’t everything. You know what is everything? Licking other people’s toes as payment for cookies.

I’ve started taking more hand fruit from the

CAPRICORN Deece. If I see bananas, I’ll put four or five in

December 22 | my backpack. It’s gotten so bad that I took out January 19 an orange instead of my calculator in chem

lab. If this happens to you, poison the fruit, and kindly offer your enemies a slice.

AQUARIUS

January 20 | February 18

PISCES

February 19 | March 20

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

The prophecy is as follows: “You will reach new heights after the 17th moon peaks in the celestial war. Upon the sign, you will join the forces of the many and fight for the few. Also, you should always feed Hannah.”

Smiting seems like a lot of work for God. Why doesn’t God put us to good use after a smite? Perhaps he could grill up us smited ones for a little BBQ. Avoid sinning this week so you won’t be turned into a hot dog.


SPORTS

Page 18

December 6, 2018

Sports roundup: checking in with VC teams as break nears Myles Olmsted Sports Editor

T

he end of the semester is just about here. Prepare to bid adieu to your professors, your dorm and the Deece. Prepare to greet your dog and your dad, your family’s boring holiday traditions and the existential swamp into which the weeks and weeks of time at home inevitably push you. Not me. Definitely not me. Anyway… As the semester wraps up, here’s a look at how things stand for the in-season Vassar teams: Women’s Basketball Head Coach Candace Brown’s squad sits at 4-2 overall, 1-1 in the Liberty League. After a tough loss to Ithaca in their conference opener on Friday, Nov. 30, the Brewers rebounded with a big 80-75 win over league rival William Smith this past weekend. Junior Sophie Nick has led the team in scoring with 16.0 points per game, while junior Isa Peczuh has averaged 15.2 points, and junior Jackie Cenan has added 13.8. Peczuh has done most of her damage from deep, averaging three

3-pointers a game at a 44 percent clip. Nick has also dominated the glass, averaging 10 rebounds per game. Men’s Basketball At 3-3 on the season, the men’s basketball team is still looking for some consistency in Head Coach Ryan Mee’s first year at the helm. On a roster with significant turnover, returners have led the Brewers so far. Senior big man Paul Grinde has put up the biggest stats so far, with 14.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore big Zach Bromfeld is second on the team in scoring, with 14.5 points per game (on a super efficient 79.5 percent shooting), while senior point guard Alex Seff is averaging 13.2 and sophomore shooting guard Hugh Durham is tacking on 11.3. After an important win over fellow Liberty League school Hobart, in which Seff scored 24 points and went 5-8 from deep, the Brewers will travel to Susquehana on Saturday, Dec. 8. Men’s Fencing Even after two tournaments—the Drew Tournament and the Sacred Heart Tradi-

tional Multi Meet—in which they competed against mostly Division I sides, the men’s fencing team still sits at 16-11. (The Brewers began the season 13-2.) Vassar returns to action on Jan. 20 when they host the January Invitational in the Walker Fieldhouse. Women’s Swimming and Diving The women’s swimming and diving team heads into winter break with a 4-1 record and a third-place finish last weekend in the RIT Invitational. First-year Jesse Ecklund has stood out for the Brewers so far, already earning four Liberty League weekly awards, including three Rookie of the Week awards. In the RIT Invitational, Ecklund won the 500 freestyle and the 200 backstroke, placed second in the 100 backstroke and placed third in the 200 free. Sophomore Brynn Lautenbacher also had an impressive weekend at RIT, winning the 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly. They will next take the pool Jan. 12 in a trimeet at Mount Holyoke. Men’s Swimming and Diving The men’s team boasts a 3-2 record in dual meets and took third at the RIT Invitational.

Like the women’s team, the men’s team has been paced by underclassmen, particularly sophomore Max White, who continues to set records for the Brewers. At the RIT meet he set a pool record in the 500 freestyle, won the 200 freestyle and took second in the 100 and 200 backstroke. First-year Jake Mier rode three second-place finishes at the RIT Invitational to his second Liberty League Rookie of the Week award. Women’s Squash The women’s squash team won’t play again until Jan. 19. They go into break with a 7-6 record. In their last tournament, the Vassar Round Robin on Dec. 1 and 2, the Brewers split their four matches. Hard-fought 5-4 losses to Boston College and Haverford on Saturday were soon forgotten with Vassar’s Sunday performances: a 9-0 win over Denison and a 8-1 win over Colgate. Senior Julia Pollak won all four of her matches from the third position at the Vassar Round Robin, earning her second Liberty League Performer of the Week award in the process. The senior has won her last seven matches.

Death of a plutocrat: Bob McNair and George H. W. Bush

Courtesy of The Brit_2 via Flickr Bob McNair, philanthropist and owner of the Houston Texans, made headlines for his racist remarks toward protesting players and for donations to conservative causes. Emmett O’Malley Columnist

I

n the past ten days, two extraordinarily wealthy and powerful men died. Both of them did and said horrific things over the years. Both of their legacies have been massaged and celebrated. One was the owner of the Houston Texans. The other was the 41st president of the United States. Let’s start with 41. The hagiographic treatment of George H.W. Bush has come in many forms over the past few days. The intellectual right (my favorite oxymoron) has dubbed him the ultimate American. The objective journalists (my second favorite oxymoron) have tirelessly contrasted his “decency” to our current president’s lack thereof. Democrats like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have spoken of Bush as an icon, a friend and a shining example of the evergreen beauty of public service. Fellow rich people Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Cook and George Takei have done the same. Sure, there have been murmurs in the Twittersphere that Bush’s legacy is intimately tied to imperialism, the war on drugs, the AIDS epidemic and white identity politics. There have been paragraphs tucked neatly into the op-eds of America’s premier pub-

lications that qualified his untainted excellence. There have been flippant mentions of his role in the promotion of vile racists and his own use of racism in the 1988 presidential election. But nonetheless, the dominant narrative of his goodness has prevailed, and the selective memory of American history has reared it’s oppressive head once again. Perhaps the most sing-songy of mainstream tributes to H.W. has come from Jon Meacham, the author and historian who recently published a biography of Bush titled “Destiny and Power.” In his Time article on the former president’s legacy, Meacham describes Bush as the ultimate empath. He describes him as a man uniquely emboldened to put his country before anything else (a supposedly acceptable form of dogmatic nationalism). Meacham paints an image of a young Bush strolling through the gritty heartland of Phillips Andover Academy—the academic equivalent of a Vineyard Vines polo—when word arrived of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In that instant, describes Meacham, Bush was pulled toward some greater cause: “He longed to defend his country—right then, right away, no waiting around” (Time, “George H.W. Bush Believed in the Essential Goodness of Americans,” 12.02.2018). Meacham sees this sort of self-sacrifice as a product of H.W.’s upbringing. He writes glowingly of H.W.’s father, Prescott, and the effects that Prescott’s worldview had on H.W.’s moral compass: “[George H.W. Bush’s] vision—of himself engaged in what Oliver Wendell Holmes called the passion and action of the times—was as real and natural to him as the air he breathed. It was his whole world, and had been since his earliest days when he would watch his father come home from a day on Wall Street only to head back out to run the Greenwich Town Meeting. It was as simple—and as complicated—as that” (Time, “George H.W. Bush Believed in the Essential Goodness of Americans,” 12.02.2018). If you can find me one halfway decent person who has been steeped in the cultures of Wall Street and Greenwich, I’ll change my name to Chad. Bush’s mind-numbingly privileged upbringing explains a lot. Unlike Meacham, I don’t think that it explains his supposedly Holmesian “passion and action of the times.” Instead, I think that it explains his hunger for power. I think that it explains why he never

seemed all that interested in the plight of the marginalized. I don’t have the space here to adequately address all the wrongdoings of the Bush presidency, but if you’re interested in calling my broad critiques unfounded, please refer to PopularResistance.org’s “The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush” and Esquire blogger Charles Pierce’s “George H.W. Bush Couldn’t Fight his own Ambition.” Then maybe you can tell me why we should forget about Bush’s Willie Horton ad, his promotion of the mass incarceration of Black people, his veto of the 1990 Civil Rights Act, his penchant for arbitrary bomb-dropping or his cover-up of the Iran-Contra scandal. Then maybe you can tell me why we should forget about his outsized role in the empowerment of two of the most detrimentally impactful perverts in recent American history: Roger Ailes and Clarence Thomas. And that’s to say nothing of his parenting skills. Not unlike Bush, the late Bob McNair has recently been celebrated as a philanthropist and community-builder. It’s not worth dwelling on McNair’s professional legacy like it is Bush’s, because his professional legacy can essentially be boiled down to selling the world’s largest privately-owned cogeneration company to Enron for $1.5 billion, and then using that money to become a successful investor and mostly unsuccessful NFL owner. McNair gave almost $3 million in financial aid to academically aspirational students. He gave $100 million to Baylor’s College of Medicine. He put millions and millions of dollars into programs intended to promote entrepreneurship, science, disaster relief and children’s health. All in all, it’s estimated that he donated $500 million to charitable causes (Washington Post, “Robert ‘Bob’ McNair, businessman who brought the NFL back to Houston, dies at 81,” 11.24.18). If you believe in the unadulterated value of charity (I sure don’t), then maybe we should be celebrating Bob McNair. Or maybe we shouldn’t be. McNair was Mitch McConnell’s largest donor (Courier Journal, “UPDATED: McConnell’s Biggest Donors,” 10.28.2015). In 2017, in response to the increasingly pervasive, Kaepernick-catalyzed protests sweeping across the NFL, McNair warned, “[The NFL] can’t have the inmates running the prison” (Washington Post, “‘We can’t have inmates running the

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

prison’ Anti-protest NFL owners are fighting a losing battle,” 10.27.2017). After widespread public outcry in response to the statement, McNair apologized. He then reneged on that apology and claimed that critics had taken the original quotation out of context. I’m not going to give a man who donated millions to Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt on race-related issues (New York Times, “Bob McNair, Energy Mogul Who Brought the N.F.L. Back to Houston, Dies at 81” 11.23.2018). When a public figure dies, it’s important to treat them as a human. It’s important to understand that they have a family. That they have people toward whom they acted kindly. But that sort of respect for our fellow human should not preclude us from acknowledging and discussing the ramifications of a public figure’s actions. That’s the very nature of being a public figure. That’s the very nature of power. We have to be able to hold two seemingly contradictory thoughts in our head at the same time. We have to be able to recognize that there are individual people whose lives are profoundly better because of a George H.W. Bush or a Bob McNair...and that the net total of Bush and McNair’s actions made the world—and continues to make the world—a much less just place. McNair and Bush took very different paths to wealth, fame and power. Bush was the son of a wildly financially successful Wall Street banker, who later became a United States Senator. McNair was a lower-middle-class kid from a small town in Florida. But when in power, the two men behaved similarly: they were warm to those around them, generous in their charity and ruthless in their political reinforcement of income inequality, white supremacy and patriarchy. Their charity, in many ways, only reinvigorated this sort of violence. As we’ve seen in the coverage of their respective demises, their charity is justification for their power. It should not surprise you that Bob McNair and George H.W. Bush were good friends. How could they not be? These were two men who embodied an era, and helped launch us into a new, even more unequal one. These were two men who embodied so much of what’s always been wrong with America. May they rest in peace. And may their likeness rest in peace, too. After all, lives like those of Bush and McNair should never have been lived in the first place.


December 6, 2018

SPORTS

Page 19

In rematch, rugby earns first-ever national championship RUGBY continued

from page 1 dived over the try line to get Vassar on the scoreboard, leading 5-3. The rest of the first half was non-stop back and forth action, with Vassar keeping majority of the possession through powerful rucking and smart passing, while Winona showed

off a strong backline not afraid to run the ball wide. At the end of the first half, Vassar maintained a 17-13 lead thanks to tries from sophomore Molly Lynch and senior Kate Sworden. During halftime it was impossible not to think of last year’s Championship game,

Courtesy of Lisa Law Photography The Vassar women’s rugby team holds up the National Championshiop trophy following their historic win over Winona State in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018.

in which Winona State came back from a 29-7 deficit to narrowly eke out a 38-36 victory, but no one understood the stakes better than the Vassar players, who came out with a second-half performance for the ages. Fast and furious defensive speed and some bone-crunching tackles left the Winona side scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile, Vassar never let up on the attack, incrementally pushing their advantages until their defenders tired and withered under the onslaught of Vassar ball carriers. A barrage of tries from Sworden, Prado, To and junior Charlotte Benoit, coupled with an impressive kicking game from junior Aislinn Vences-Dimas—who slotted five of seven conversion kicks— gave the Brewers a 50-13 lead. When the referee blew his whistle for the final time, the Vassar squad was not alone in their jubilant celebrations. A number of family members had made the trip to North Carolina, and many friends and program alums streamed the game online from places such as Los Angeles, London and the watch party in the Gordon Commons. Coach Tony Brown was quick to credit his team’s defense for the win, saying, “This current squad has really had to be very disciplined and structured to defeat other teams. They have put a lot of work into their defensive skill work and organi-

zation … This 2018 team has improved defensively as the semester has progressed and was able to implement plans effectively.” While seniors like Prado, Reich, Sworden, Emery and To shone for the Brewers throughout the fall season, the real strength of the squad may be its depth. Last week, in the lead up to the Final Four, multiple players pointed to depth as the team’s greatest asset in interviews with the Misc. Throughout the season, depth allowed the Brewers to practice at a higher level and overcome the wear and tear rugby takes on the players. “We are lucky to have the breadth and depth of talent on our roster that we do,” Prado told the Misc last week. “Everyone is constantly working hard to improve and diversify their skills so that even if several people are injured, there are people who can step up and play.” Because of this depth, every player, even those who did not feature in the games over the weekend, proved integral to the team’s success. After 24 years at Vassar and the near-triumphs of the past several seasons, Coach Brown seems to grasp the significance of the Championship victory. “To win this title means the world to the players both past and present,” he said. “It validates what we do on a daily basis and gives Vassar a national spotlight.”

Women’s fencing begins season with 14 straight wins Dean Kopitsky Staff Writer

A

Heart and 2-1 over NYU. In epee, senior Rose Hulsey-Vincent, Parker and fellow first-year Chloe Chinnadurai all earned 2-1 victories. Although the streak of 14 consecutive wins to start the season came to an end on Sunday, the team remains stoically optimistic. While reflecting on the meet, Barsha admitted that the first losses of the season had felt bad. “It was a blur of lots of defeats,” she said. But her smile betrayed underlying positivity. Blumenstock, too, radiated optimism, saying, “Our team is so supportive, there were definitely some frustrating moments, but we always have a

great time competing together.” The Sacred Heart Invitational marked the last meet for a while for the women’s fencing squad, as well as for the men’s side. The teams don’t compete again until Jan. 20 when they host another invitational on campus. Once they return, the women’s team will dive into the bulk of their schedule, which includes difficult bouts with Columbia, NYU, Brown and Yale. And it’s a long season; the team will fence meets every weekend from January until the NCAA and Regionals meets in March. But Blumenstock and the rest of the Brewers are prepared, or you could say, en garde!

Courtesy of Nick Jallat

t the risk of sounding corny and making those of our community better-versed in fencing cringe, I’m going to make a fencing pun: the women’s fencing team has really foiled the competition this year. Okay, not to be de-fence-ive, but what’s the point of writing an article about the success of the women’s team if I can’t take a jab at a couple fencing jokes. In all seriousness though, the Brewers are off to a blistering start, sweeping 14 matchups to start the season. Last year the Brewers were 21-28 and culminated their season with the best sabre squad in the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference (NEIFC). The 2018-2019 roster includes seven new faces, 13 returners and four veterans of NCAA regional competition. Now they are set for the new season. The women opened with the Big One at Smith College. There, the Brewers received solid contributions from two newcomers, first-years Zoe Tolbert and Rosie Parker. Tolbert, of Olympia, WA, made it to the round of eight for the foil squad. Parker, hailing from Portland, Oregon, finished eighth in her collegiate debut. Dueling sophomores Nico Dinelli—squad leader of the sabre team—and Parker advanced to the round of 32 for the sabre squad. Two weeks later the Brewers were back at it to kick off their official season at the Vassar Invitational. Vassar dominated on home court, going undefeated in each of the tournament’s seven rounds. It was a day of strong individual performances from the upperclassmen, with seniors Sophie Blumenstock, Mirit Rutishauser and Rose Hulsey-Vincent leading the way. Blumenstock went undefeated at the Invitational, going 18-0 through six rounds. Rutishauser delivered a 19-3 record, and Hulsey-Vincent went 17-4 for the epee team. The next week, the Brewers fenced to the second half of their 14 undefeated

rounds at the Matt Lampell Invite. The women cruised through pool play before making quick work of Yeshiva (9-1), Florida (14-1) and Drew (14-10) to win the tournament and reach the 14-win mark. Of their early success, in an emailed statement, Blumenstock was especially proud: “I feel great about the season so far! I’m so proud of all of my teammates, but especially of our first-years!” To her point, of the seven new faces on the squad, six are first-years. “We have a really young team this year, and I’m constantly impressed with their talent, kindness, and enthusiasm,” Blumenstock added. The team’s early success has made acclimating to the group easier on the underclassmen. Sophomore Barsha Sasha is a newcomer to the team and to fencing. “Since we were undefeated for awhile, it felt good to be part of a team that was so good,” she said. “There wasn’t a lot of pressure, [and] I got to try new things.” Fencing is a tough sport, often described as “physical chess” for its requirement of extreme technical focus and physical endurance. Each point, match and round require constant adjustments and athleticism. So, going up against elite competition can be daunting. That’s what the Brewers faced this Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Sacred Heart Traditional Multi Meet in New Jersey, where the Brewers matched up against mostly Division I teams. “The Traditions Meet is always a tough one, especially for new members on the team,” said Blumenstock. “We mainly fence it for fun and for experience.” Despite the daunting challenge posed by Division I opponents, the Brewers fought hard throughout the meet. Vassar played Sacred Heart close, falling 11-16. Then, against NYU, the team almost pulled off an upset, ultimately losing 13-14. In that round, the epee and foil squads shined, winning their matches 8-1 and 5-4, respectively. Notably, senior Mirit Rutishauser performed well, going 3-0 against Sacred

Senior Rose Hulsey-Vincent competes in a recent match for the women’s fencing team. The Brewers began the season in an impressive fashion, winning their first 14 matches.

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE


SPORTS

Page 20

Why

we

December 6, 2018

Shannon Russo

play

Shannon Russo

Guest Contributor

I

Courtesy of Shannon Russo

went to Joss Beach on my second-ever Friday at Vassar, desperately in need of a few friends and a somewhat enjoyable way to exercise. I ended up finding a group of people I love endlessly and the wonderfully chaotic sport of quidditch. Although quidditch is run by an international federation, has referees and a rulebook and boasts over 500 teams in 25-plus countries, most people don’t understand how the sport works at all. To answer a few questions I get a lot: no, it’s not a roleplaying game; no, we don’t fly; and yes, you need to have a broom between your legs at all times, although most players use PVC pipes. Essentially, quidditch is a full-contact, mixed gender sport with four different positions. Chasers score 10 points by throwing a volleyball (“quaffle”) through one of their opponent’s three hoops. Keepers defend their own hoops and assist in scoring. Beaters throw deflated dodgeballs (“bludgers”) at opponents, knocking them out temporarily. And seekers attempt to grab a tennis ball in a sock (“snitch”), which hangs off the back of a neutral athlete, in order to score 30 points and end the game. Now you understand why I describe quidditch as chaotic. However, the chaos is only half the reason I play this sport. You need a strategic mind and a cool head to handle the four different games that all go on at once, intersecting and splitting apart in an unpredictable fashion. While athleticism is important, the game requires an extreme amount of mental energy as well. As a beater, I’m constantly thinking, Which

“Why we play” is a feature in which Vassar athletes write about what their sports mean to them. This week, we highlight quidditch player Shannon Russo, pictured at left. player should I knock out—the chaser with the ball or perhaps the seeker about to catch the snitch? Should I stay at our goals to protect us from a score or should I try to force a turnover? Should I throw the bludger to knock someone out and risk losing it? I like having to make quick and important decisions in a game where no drive is

Women’s Basketball

Men’s Basketball

Vassar College 80, William Smith 75

Vassar College 75, Hobart 72

December 1, 2018

December 1, 2018

Vassar College M

FG REB A PTS

# Player

M

20 Peczuh

35

9-20 2

1

24

21

19 5-13

7

2

12

33

8-11

3

3

21

30 Hughes

27 4-15

6

32 Nick

37

7-13 11

5

14

15

23 2-13

30 DeOrio

23

4-12

0

13

25 Gallagher

23

23 Talerico

14

1 11

Cenan

40

14 Leong

3 15

2-5

14

Gillooly

1-3

8

Douglas

0-1

7

Mousley

0-1

3

22 Schmid

Totals.......

0-1

2 6

5

2

2

3

0

0 0

0 0

4 4 0 0 0

200 31-67 34 16 80

1

2

3

16

21

17

Vassar College

William Smith

# Player

4

ever the same. Each drive is a new battle, with different situations to consider and choices to make. And when you make the right decision, successfully knocking out a player just before they score or catch the snitch, you get a feeling I can’t really describe, but I absolutely love. The chaos, along with the strategy it requires and the freshness it provides, is

addictive. I think that’s why we practice so frequently (three days a week for two hours each), go to far away tournaments (in Vermont, Philadelphia and more) and accept the teasing from bemused relatives and peers (“So who plays Harry Potter?”). We just can’t get enough of the sport. But beyond the chaos and the strategy, the reason why I play is my teammates. I love our late night talks about game strategy and life. I love the trips to tournaments, where we tell the kinds of jokes and stories that would only ever come out when you’re packed into a van for five hours straight. I love when we win, our group hugs filled with pride and excitement. I even love when we lose, because this team never forgets that the number one priority is to have fun together. While we’re competitive and always play at 100 percent, we don’t let ourselves get bogged down by win-loss records. After all, you can’t take yourself too seriously when you have a stick between your legs and play a sport created by a fantasy novelist. After going to Joss Beach on my second-ever Friday at Vassar, the quidditch team (and Joss Beach itself) quickly became my home on campus. I received guidance from older teammates, always had people to sit with in the Deece and created friendships that will last beyond Vassar. It was my goal last year as a captain and continues to be this year as an upperclassman to make quidditch a home for any newcomers after me. I play quidditch for the chaos, the adrenaline, the game-winning plays and the gut-wrenching losses. But most importantly, I play for my team: my friends and my family.

FG REB A PTS

# Player

M

24

5

Dougherty

37 6-18

8

6

20

0

13

3

McKinless

29

2-7

3

0

9

4

2

10

4

Lescoe

24 2-11

0

2

8

2-3

8

1

6

22 Allen

15

3-4

3

0

7

18

0-2

7

0

0

1

23

3-7

8

1

6

33 Bromfeld

24

6-7

6

1

14

30 Lesure

26

3-5

6

1

15

30 Palecki

15

1-4

0

0

3

12

Kitzman

25

2-3

3

1

7

2

Stevenson

14

1-4

1

2

3

33 Owenby

12

0-1

1

0

0

3

Kappes

17

0-1

1

1

2

15

Coulter

7

0-3

2

0

0

11

Lee

6

0-0

1

0

0

23 Preston

2

0-0

0

0

0

200 12-22 42 8

75

# Player

M

14

10 Seff

31 8-13 5

1

4

9

34 Grinde

22 6-12 7

8

4

6

4

23

3-6

2-4

3

2

5

42 Dyslin

30

0-1

4

0

4

25 Gallivan

Gamboa

30 7-14

5

4

18

Parisi

15

3-5

3

0

7

14 Schreder

24

2-3

2

2

6

10 Dooley

23

1-3

6

0

6

12

2

0-0

0

0

0

Morrison

Dimitrakopoulou

Davis

Totals....... 200 26-71 48 18 75

4

1

26

22

2 7

3

Durham

Totals.......

4 21

Hobart College

25

MISCELLANY NEWS | VASSAR COLLEGE

FG REB A PTS

Fleurizard

FG REB A PTS

Totals....... 200 21-59 34 11 72

1

2

1

2

40

35

31

41

Misc 12.6.18  
Misc 12.6.18  
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