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10 // 23 // 2013 E D I T O R I A L LY INDEPENDENT

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S T N E T N CO

3 NEWS 6 sports 8 COVER 10 FEATURES 11 A&E 16 OPINIONS Emily West >> Editor-in-chief

Amanda Gambill >> Managing editor

Stacy Busch >> Online Editor

Chris Bishop >> Online Director

Mamie Nash >> News Editor

Sinclaire Sparkman >> Assistant News Editor

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SES HOU D NTE HAU TERS E EA VIV SUR -IN TH S E V EW DRI EVI R UM ALB

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Claire Osburn >> A&E Editor

Noel Heath >> Assistant A&E Editor

Lauren Mandrell >> Assistant A&E Editor Sam Brown >> Sports Editor

Connor Grott >> Assistant Sports Editor Quint Qualls >> Opinions Editor

Daniel Jansouzian >> Assistant News Editor

Christine Craft >> Designer

Maranda Faris >> Assistant Features Editor

Kyle Bates >> Print Photo Editor

Bailey Robbins >> Features Editor

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TE STA S U ERO ANG D T MOS GREEN TN & AN CLE

Matt Masters >> Online Photo Editor Leon Alligood >> Adviser


Tennessee:most dangerous state,says FBI

NEWS Following Tennessee, Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico and South Carolina are the four most dangerous states. All but Alaska has notoriously low education and high poverty rates. According to USA Today’s same report, Tennessee’s poverty rate is 17.9 percent and 24.3 percent of the state’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Tennessee ranks among the most dangerous states due to a high rate of violent crime in the country, according to the FBI’s 2012 crime stats report. The FBI reported that the Volunteer State is in the top 10 in the country for murders and robberies and is No. 1 for aggravated assaults. These crimes are highly concentrated in the metropolitan areas of Memphis and Nashville. Statistically, 643 Tennessee residents out of every 100,000 have been a victim of violent crime. According to the FBI website, violent crimes include murder and non-

negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. These crimes are in direct correlation with a state’s education and poverty rates. “The apparent relationship between low income, low education and higher crime rates has been well documented, although identifying the cause and effect is still a matter of debate ... Of the 10 states with the highest rates of violent crime, eight have lower rates of adults with bachelor’s degrees, and most of them had median income levels below the national figure in 2012,” according to an article in USA Today.

However, people are discouraged against ranking statewide crime rates because demographics, such as education and the economy, can be skewed. Crime can also be particularly high in urban cities, which also upsets data accuracy. Some of the university’s students were surprised by these statistics. “I feel perfectly safe in Memphis, but I also know where to go and when to go there. I don’t think it’s a terrible place, but there are a lot of bad parts of town that I choose to stay away from,” said Becca Davis, a nursing student from Memphis. Chelsea Tarpley, a senior nursing student from Chattanooga, said she never felt threatened at home but was always sure to make smart choices concerning her safety.

“I feel safe on campus, but there’s always a ‘what if’ because there’s always some idiot running around with a gun. It’s just like any other campus, though. You just have to be careful,” Tarpley said. The most common campus crime is burglary, according to MTSU’s annual campus crime report. Amanda Rookstool, Tarpley’s roommate, agreed that campus was no different than any other university. “It makes sense that a little more crime would happen on our campus because so many people go to school here. It’s not that it’s dangerous; it’s just crowded,” Rookstool said. While students feel safe on campus, they still exercise caution. “I’ve never felt unsafe during the day, but I always call someone to pick me up if I’m at the library late at night. I think that’s more common sense than being paranoid,” said Haleigh Ezell, an organizational communications major.

Alex Beecher >> Staff Writer Graphic by William Anderson.

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NEWS

C L E AN & GR E E N Fa c i l i t i e s c r e at e s p r o g r a m f o r b e t t e r c a m p u s Two women are changing campus, one discarded food wrapper at a time, as part of a new antilitter program. Clean & Green employs two custodians, Michelle Harris and Vickie Brown. The women ride their carted bikes to pick up trash around the interior of campus from the Recreation Center to the far side of Peck Hall. Although grounds workers go out in the morning to do some pick up, they were hard pressed

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to keep the grounds free of trash throughout the day, according to Joe Whitefield, the facilities executive director for MTSU. Thus, Clean & Green was initiated this summer, making a visible impact according to both students and administrators. “It’s a lot cleaner now. You don’t see trash lying around,” said Allexa Bonner, a sophomore English major. Arriving on campus a little before 6 a.m., Harris

and Brown spend the first part of their day inside vacuuming the library before it opens, and they try to be on their bikes no later than 8 a.m. Their shift ends at 1:30 in the afternoon.

his plastic bottle in her cart so it would get recycled. She pointed to a corner telling him “Oh right there, baby,” which gave her the idea to set aside the recyclables she was collecting.

They pick up all trash around buildings and in bushes and set aside recyclables as a way to be green, a task the ladies took upon themselves as their own project.

“We’re trying to expand it as much as we can and take it as far as we can take it,” Harris said.

Brown recalled a day when a young man asked her where he could put

Custodial workers traditionally do their daily work inside with restocking and spot cleaning. Facilities hopes to apply that to outdoor spaces


N

NEWS

through this program, Whitefield said.

campus and what they can do to help.

can to help out on campus.

Most of the trash on the ground outside is food related, coming from the numerous places to grab a bite on campus.

“We love it. Our primary job is keeping the grounds looking good and doing the recycling, but we’re also there for any student, any faculty, any staff, anybody that needs any help,” Harris said.

“They’ve brought a lot of their own personalities and initiative into it,”

“The hope is also that if you see someone picking up and servicing an area maybe you’ll be more Some students even refer conscious and do it your- to Brown as “Mom” because of her helpful nature. self,” Whitefield said. She once witnessed a Facilities received posi- skateboarder take a rough tumble one day, and she tive feedback about the Clean & Green program and fixed him up with some ice out of her cooler afare looking in to even ter he didn’t get up. He more ways to help campus was not seriously hurt. stay clean. “Wherever we’re needed, we’ll go,” Brown said. Although their main job means picking up trash, students ask them a lot of questions, mainly regarding directions. Some students ask about how they can get involved on

Whitefield said. Sinclaire Sparkman // Assistant News Editor Photos by Kyle Bates.

. 840 TO EXIT 23 SOUTH 5 MILES 30 MINUTES FROM MTSU i

Harris and Brown say they are inspired by students and want to do all they

e love it. “W o u r p r i m a ry job is keeping the grounds looking good.

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SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2013 | www.mtsusidelines.com 5


SPORTS

MTSUbuilds excitement for key conference matchup against

marshall Hosting look-a-like competition starring Andrews / Travis

To elevate excitement in the pivotal conference matchup against Marshall Thundering Herd, MT will host a look-alike competition during the Blackout game, which will be the university’s first nationally televised broadcast on Fox Sports.

than it is,” said Chris Massaro, the university’s athletic director. “So we started thinking about Halloween and those kinds of things, because it’s getting close to Halloween, and that did morph itself into a look-a-like contest.”

Fans in attendance will try to look as similar as possible to Fox personalities Erin Andrews and Clay Travis.

Andrews was a clear candidate in the contest, but the second choice wasn’t so obvious.

“We were kicking around some ideas on how we could drive up interest and what could we do to make the game more fun

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“Erin Andrews was the natural one,” Massaro said. “Then there was some debate between Matthew McConaughey and Clay Travis.”

Massaro and others decided to keep the Fox Sports theme, going with Travis instead of the Hollywood actor. Apart from the local support for Travis, another factor swayed the decision to choose him: his beard. Travis is an analyst on Fox Sports 1’s college pregame show and is also known for his role as a cohost on the sports talk show “3HL” on 104.5 The Zone. Andrews is a pregame host for Fox College Football and has worked as a co-host for College Gameday on ESPN.


SPORTS The finalists for the contest will come to the sidelines during the MTSU - Marshall Game so fans can choose the winners of the challenge. The two winners will receive $300 in Flex Bucks to purchase food on campus if they are students. If any nonstudents win, they will receive a separate prize. Even with the national exposure and festivities for Thursday night’s contest, the Blue Raiders (3-4, 1-2 C-USA) will be all business as they look to halt a three-game skid coming off their bye-week. Offensively, MT will continue to search for answers against a Marshall defense that surrenders an average of 18.3 points per game, ranking 20th in the country. “Defensively, they’re vastly improved over last year,” said Rick Stockstill, head football coach. “They’re not giving up near as many points as they did. The changes they’ve made on defense have really paid off for them.”

MT comes into the game with question marks on the offensive side of the ball, most notably at the quarterback position after Logan Kilgore was benched in favor of redshirt freshman Austin Grammer last Saturday against North Texas. Along with the quarterback situation, MT struggles to find running lanes, due in large part to the Blue Raiders battling multiple injuries on the offensive line and in the backfield. “We got to get healthy,” Stockstill said. “We were really down to Jordan [Parker], who was not healthy, and Reggie [Whatley] in the North Texas game, and then had three [offensive] lineman out. It’s not an excuse, but we’ve got to find a way to be able to run the ball better than we have lately.”

passing yards per game, along with averaging 36.2 points per contest, ranking 32nd in the nation in both categories. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato leads the passing attack for the Thundering Herd, posting 1,572 yards and 12 passing touchdowns through six games.

and they got great receivers around him.” Game time for the Fox Sports 1 broadcast of the Middle Tennessee Blackout matchup is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, Oct. 24. Connor Grott //Assistant Sports Editor

“Marshall is a really good football team,” Stockstill said. “They’re in first place right now, and everybody knows about [Cato]. He’s a really dynamic player,

Photo courtesy of mt athletic communications.

Marshall (4-2, 2-0 C-USA) sits at the top of the C-USA East entering Thursday’s matchup. Marshall comes into the contest averaging 276.8

SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2103 | www.mtsusidelines.com 7


“I can remember that stadium. You couldn’t hear a word. It was deafening how silent that stadium was.” The Middle Tennessee State University head football coach, Rick Stockstill, said that he will never forget when redshirt senior linebacker Craig Allen made a tackle and remained motionless on the field for more than 30 minutes before carted off the field in an ambulance last November. Allen, then a starting linebacker in his fourth year at Middle Tennessee, suffered an injury to his C4 vertebra on the tackle and was unable

to move anything below his neck due to a herniated disc. “I thought it was a stinger because I usually get stingers and shake it off, but it started to set in. After three minutes passed, I still couldn’t feel nothing, and my whole body was tingling,” Allen said. Doctors came to help, but it was frustrating because they wanted him to do something he couldn’t make his body do. “I saw the paramedics and all the trainers around me, and they were like, ‘Move this, move that’ and I was like, ‘Man, well, I’m trying to with my


mind but nothing’s moving physically.’ So I was thinking of future stuff then like, ‘Dang, am I going to be paralyzed, or am I going to stay this way? Can I play still? Can I walk?’ “Everything just set in then.” For Stockstill, watching a player go down and stay down gave him perspective. “I prayed,” Stockstill said. “We were winning at the time but I said, ‘Dear Lord, let us lose this game as long as Craig can be healthy. Winning is not important; we’ll lose this game if he can be healthy.’” The Raiders won the Battle of the Palladium against Troy University, but the game held an expensive cost. The uncertainty of Allen’s condition continued to linger even with the 2421 score on the scoreboard.

Stepping through the healing process Although Allen has played football for most of his life, an injury of this severity forced athletics to take a backseat to living a normal, healthy life. “I was happy just to be walking,” the business management major said. Allen was born in Carrollton, Ga., where he attended Villa Rica High School lettering in football, basketball

and track. Playing sports was always something he enjoyed and his neck injury stripped him of that ability. “Craig Allen is one of my favorite players of all time,” Stockstill said. “He’s always got a smile on his face; he is always very enthusiastic about life and about football. He’s just fun to be around; he’s a great leader. Our players respect him, how he plays, how he works, how he competes. Craig is just a phenomenal, phenomenal young man.”

“It let’s you know that every time you go out there it might be your last game. It just makes you look at the opportunity you have right now, what you see right now,” he said. Allen returned to the playing field in August, but during one of his first days back, he experienced a stinging sensation in his neck. He told the doctors, as this was part of the agreement between him and staff to allow him back on the field.

It was in physical therapy when Allen realized the toll his injury had on his body. “That’s when I really realized how weak my arms were and how damaged my body was because I couldn’t lift a five-pound weight physically,” the 21 year old said. Through the injury and the process that came after, Allen said that he learned to put the important things in life first.

Allen will always miss playing the game, but he hasn’t gone far. He is now a coach, helping the Blue Raiders with defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix as a linebacker and scout team coach. He sets them up to run plays against the starters in practice. “Craig is doing a phenomenal job,” Stockstill said. “He wants to be a coach in his career, and he will be a great one.”

Allen underwent surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center to repair the damage caused by the herniated disc. From then on it was a slow process of dedication, hard work and physical therapy to get back to normal. Luckily for Allen, he had the Blue Raider family behind him the whole way. “I got tons and tons of text messages from people praying for me, and teammates coming over to see me, to see how I was doing or if I needed something,” Allen said. “A lot of these guys on the team looked at me as a leader, so when a leader is down they come and make sure my head is still on straight and make sure I’m doing the right things to get back.”

know when, or if, I was going to play, so I basically put my mind to where if they said yes then it is meant to be, and if they said no then it was not meant to be,” he explained.

As far as what’s next, Allen said he would like to coach at a high level because of his love for the sport. If he can’t coach, that’s OK, too, because he came to college for a reason. At the end of the day, Allen is content because he doesn’t take a single day for granted.

From there doctors and coaches determined it was not safe for him to play, and Allen had to hang up his pads for good. “My concern for him was his longterm health; I wanted him to be healthy,” Stockstill said. “We miss him terribly on the football field, but I’m so glad that he will be able to live a productive life the rest of his life.” Strong on the sidelines Allen mentally prepared for this news, and he was not as devastated as many might have assumed. “I had set up in my mind that I didn’t

“I’ll probably be trying to coach here and get a GA’s [graduate assistant] job, but if not that I’ve got my degree. I get my degree in December so I’m going to fall back on that and just keep on doing what I’m doing because I know nothing is guaranteed.”

Photos courtesy of MT Athletic Communcations.


FEATURES

Critters Galaxy

Making

a

band your neighborhood friend By Matt Applewhite >> Contributing writer

A still, cloudless night sky hung above a quiet cul-de-sac on the outskirts of Nashville, beckoning residents to sleep. One by one, neighbors switched off their lights allowing their dreams to sweep them away, unaware of what was about to befall their peaceful impasse. As the final porch light faded to black, a crew of college graduates strapped video cameras to their tense hands in preparation for what the night would bring. Then, it happened. Cameras rolled. Lights flashed from above – and that was about it. One of the crewmembers had accidentally unplugged one of the set lights.

10 SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2013 | www.mtsusidelines.com

“Cut!” exclaimed director Hayden Mason. “Let’s try that again.” The production in process is known as “Critters Galaxy,” a weekly web-series, and it is off to a rather clumsy start. It takes place within the cluttered confines of a suburban garage starring the delightfully intrusive host, Chris “Critter” Boatwright and his silent assistant, Alex Grantz nicknamed “GrantZ.” Each week the garage door opens to Nashville bands that are willing to sit across from Boatwright as he conducts a quirky interview


FEATURES from an old lawn chair which appears to have never seen the sun. It takes on a purposeful feel of the “failed garage interview� and aspects of “Wayne’s World� while also incorporating awkward humor that whisks the audience away to somewhere far more original. Finding bands for the first season was relatively easy for Mason and crew. “Before coming to MTSU, [Boathouse] was a house show regular in Nashville for a year or so,� Mason said. “His social [group] consisted of mostly indie bands, so the show was a great fit. The first [few] episodes were all just friends.� The theme of having friends, who are willing to participate, can be traced back to the foundation of the show itself. After a couple alcohol-fueled meetings, inspiration for “Critters Galaxy� found its way into the creative minds of Mason and producer Henry Reid, both alumni of the university’s electronic media communications department. “One day me and Henry were trying to think of ways to build an audience, and an Internet web-show seemed like a great idea,� Mason said. “We had been drinking and filming sketches with [Boathouse] for years, so we asked him if he wanted to meet up about the idea.� Of course, all fingers pointed to

“yes�, and cameras began to roll in March. Both characters in “Critters Galaxy� fulfill a vital piece of its unique personality. Grantz plays the role of what Mason describes as Boathouse’s “late-night sidekick.� He adds to the cumbersome interviews by absentmindedly standing in silence as he awkwardly holds a boom microphone over the interviewees. Often times, he’s in plain sight, yet this large, cuddly character is hard not to smile at. “Grantz may be my favorite thing about the show,� Mason said. “As a director, it’s great to make people laugh or make an audience care about a character without having to do anything. Filming Grantz is like filming kittens. No matter what he’s doing, it’s gold every time.�

Filming Grantz is like filming kittens. No matter what he,,s doing, it s gold every time.

Each episode is around 10 minutes long – half of which is Boathouse’s own improvisation. Interview questions range from: “How did you come up with your band name?� to “Can you name the type of bean that I’m feeding you?� Discovering Boathouse and his quirky persona was not difficult for Mason and his crew. “Henry, the producer, had the original idea to make a show with ‘Critter,’� Mason said. “We had lived with him while attending MTSU, and were always filming comedy sketches - or attempting to. He and Grantz had been in the indie music scene [in Nashville] for years.� After completing the first 15-episode season, “Critters Galaxy� will return for round two as of Oct. 20. The show can be found on Youtube. It’s free, and the first episode will feature popular American rock band, “Cage the Elephant.�

We are just trying to cater to that a little more, shorter interviews, less garage [and] more funny.

The second season will be swimming with new content, and Mason seems to have high hopes for its future. “Our goal for this next season is to try new things to engage our audience,� Mason said. “Most of our fans have the attention span of a squirrel, and we love them for it. We are just trying to cater to that a little more, shorter interviews, less garage [and] more funny.� Bailey Robbins contributed to this report. Photos by Hayden Mason.

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HAUNTED HORRORS

A&E

12 SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2013 | www.mtsusidelines.com

How to Survive Haunted Houses The full moon and the cold October air aren’t the only chill you will feel when your foot hits that creaky floorboard in a house you wish you had never stepped foot. As the Halloween season comes to its crescendo, you may find yourself being both dragged and voluntarily attending some creepy locations. Here are some helpful hints to survive your next haunt. Never Go Alone Just like the guy behind you in the movie theater always says: never go in the scary room alone. Follow his advice. Always take a friend or a group of friends to haunted houses with you. Group discounts do exist within the world of haunted attractions, and you will have more fun with people you know. It helps shake off the fear of never making it out of that maze where the clown keeps following you. Avoid Being the First Person in Your Group While shoving people in front of you makes you look like you’re terrified of the guy dressed as Jason, forcing your friends to go ahead of you has its advantages. By putting yourself in the middle of the group, you will have the best the haunt has to offer. Most actors will chase or jump at those in the middle of the group, giving the majority of the group a chance to fully experience the fear.

Take Someone More Terrified Than You We all have those friends who are afraid of their own shadows. You can never take them to bars because they get paranoid. You have to walk them into their apartment at night. They think Bloody Mary will really come after them. They even refuse to watch “Hocus Pocus” on Disney Channel. Take that friend to a haunted house because, when the chainsaw guy who looks vaguely like Daryl Dixon jumps out of that corn maze, you will not be afraid. You will be too busy trying not to be run over or tripped by your scaredy-cat pal. They also provide comic relief that you rarely see in haunted attractions. You have the ability to stand back and laugh as Chucky chases them through an abandoned mine. Like Dogs, Clowns Can Smell Fear If you suffer from that crippling fear of clowns, here are some helpful tips to surviving the circus. First of all, never stare at the ground or refuse to make eye contact. Look as close to their face as possible, but never make direct eye contact. Secondly, do not speak to them. Move forward and mind your own business. It will minimize the torment. Remember, these clowns are people, too. They have feelings and screaming expletives at them will only make the retaliation worse, or you may even find yourself removed from the haunt. Many of these attractions are familyoriented events and no cursing is allowed. Try to make the event enjoyable for the little kid behind you who still thinks clowns are cute. Maranda Faris //Assistant Features Editor Photo by Maranda Faris.


A&E The Moonlite Drive-in is a two-

Watching from the windshield You don’t ’ even have to leave your car

screen theater located on 931 W. Main St. in Woodbury. Ticket prices for adults are $7, children ages 5-12 are $5 and children under the age of five get in free. The movies start at dusk, and the theater is only open on weekends during the fall.

The Stardust Drive-in is another

two-screen theater located about 40 minutes from Murfreesboro at 310 Purple Tiger Drive in Watertown. Stardust has the distinction of being the first drive-in theater in Middle Tennessee to feature digital projection. Ticket prices for adults are $7.50, children ages 6-11 are $5 and children ages five and under get in free. The movies start at dusk, and the theater is only open on weekends during the fall.

The Montana Drive-in, a personal

The Mars Drive-in will have two

screens, two dine-in theaters, a restaurant and an arcade. It will also show films on the largest drive-in theater screen in the country. While you wait for Murfreesboro’s upcoming drive-in, visit three nearby:

The DNJ is looking to hire a part-time clerk/reporter hybrid with a digital focus. This position is available through the Information Center restructuring that took place this summer. This person will work on our families and faith team, putting in about 25 hours per week, including some weekend work. You need to be able to write and have some basic digital skills and iPhone photography/ video skills. You’ll produce a few stories each week and work with the digital director and news director on digital content, focusing on family and faith issues. Experience as a published writer is required and experience with the digital aspects of the job are also helpful. We will consider a college student if he or she can commit the 25 hours per week. We will consider an MTSU student if he or she can work the hours required. If you are interested, email your resume and cover letter to Taylor Loyal at tloyal@dnj.com. TN-0000935870

“Gravity” - The pulse-pounding thriller starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney is a must-see this season. The film concerns a pair of astronauts stranded in space after a disaster disrupts their mission. You’ll enjoy the comfort of your car knowing it’s not a space shuttle. “Rush” - This period drama starring Chris Hemsworth contains some of the most beautiful racing scenes to date in a movie. The way Hemsworth drives his car with such ease into stardom will make you wish that your own car was a Grand Prix race car. Don’t miss out on this serious Oscar contender. “Insidious Chapter 2” - This sequel to the original horror phenomenon has been out for almost a month now, but nothing is more entertaining than seeing a horror movie in a drive-in theater. So fill up your gas tank, grab a blanket, bring some friends and watch some movies under the stars. It’s worth more than that padded seat and $11 ticket to a regular theater. Ross Wilson // Contributing Writer Photo by Matt Masters.

BLUE RAIDER LET’R BUCK DAYS! Outdoor Cantina Now Open TN-0000934333

As the nights get cooler, drive-in movie theaters are probably the last thing on your mind. However, the new Mars Drive-in theater will be Murfreesboro’s first and is expected to open in 2014.

favorite, is a three-screen theater located about an hour from Murfreesboro at 10251 Tullahoma Highway in Estill Springs. Ticket prices for adults are $7 and children get in for $5. The movies start at 7 p.m., and the theater is open all week during the entire year. Don’t hesitate to visit the log cabin atop the hill for delectable fried treats and $1 popcorn.

Of course, no visit to the drive-in would be complete without a few good movie recommendations:

DAILY SPECIALS

$1 TACOS ON MONDAYS *Must Show Student ID

223 W. Main St. Murfreesboro, TN 37130 615.867.1836

SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2013 | www.mtsusidelines.com 13


Music heavyweights release new tunes

// John Coulston // Staff Writer

UM REVIEW

A&E

B

AL

Paul McCartney — New Paul McCartney is a legend that needs no introduction. On his 16th solo release, he combines reflective tracks with tracks inspired by his current life. Paired with production by Mark Ronson and Beatles’ producer George Martin’s son, Giles, New is exactly what a 2013 Paul McCart-

14 SIDELINES | Oct. 23, 2013 | www.mtsusidelines.com

ney album should sound like. McCartney uses a little bit of everything that has gotten him to where he is today. Whether it’s the acoustic ballad “Early Days,” the Wings-esque rocker “Save Us” or the bluesy, breakdown-filled “On My Way to Work,” he reminds us of what makes him one of the greatest performers of our time.

He even channels his time with The Beatles on “Queenie Eye” and “New” that are reminiscent of Sgt. Pepper material, as well as “Alligator” that sounds like it could have been written during the Abbey Road sessions. New delivers exactly what you’d expect: a solid release from one of rock’s most iconic figures.


A&E

Katy Perry — Prism Katy Perry’s latest studio effort has few silly, catchy songs akin to “Last Friday Night� and “I Kissed a Girl,� and instead focuses on mature ballads and productionreliant pop songs. The only track with an irresistible hook would be the single, “Roar.� The rest of the upbeat racks on Prism feature hooks that serve their purpose, but are more driven by their production. The most enjoyable moments on the LP come on the tracks “Walking on Air�

that features a ‘90’s houseinspired instrumental, “International Smile,� that utilizes Discovery-era Daft Punkesc production and “Dark Horse,� that puts Perry on a trap instrumental with Juicy J. As for Prism’s ballads, they leave your mind easier stick that her upbeat tracks, but they’re still lyrically mature cuts. Overall, Prism shows Perry growing as an artist, trying out new sounds and focusing on more mature subjects.

Peal Jam—Lightning Bolt Going into their 10th studio album, Pearl Jam has nothing left to prove. Lightning Bolt sees the band resting comfortably in their spot in the pantheon of rock music. However, that leads the album to being a forgettable one. While it starts out strong with tracks like “Mind Your Manners� and “My Father’s Son� that inject a dose of punk rock energy, the album soon settles into a rut of mid-tempo rockers and ballads that go in one ear and out the

other. The only one of these slower tracks that is effective is “Siren.� Its powerful, relatable lyrics place it with some of the band’s best songs in this style. While listeners may not expect another classic from Pearl Jam this time around, the energy present in the opening tracks of the LP throughout Lightning Bolt would have made it a more memorable listen.

       

  

 

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OPINIONS

Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” rings true today

displaced, according to a report from the International Rescue Mission. The Second Congo War, sometimes called the Great African War, was the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II. All of this violence and exploitation dates back more than a century when European colonialism reached its peak.

In the late 19th century, Conrad journeyed down the Congo River during his maritime-marine career. “Heart of Darkness” chronicles what he saw during his journey. He found that King Leopold II of Belgium had More than 100 years after author Joseph Conrad chronicled the chronic orchestrated a systematic and brutal exploitation of the Congolese people assault on the resources of the Congo; back then, the real profit came from and the region’s resources in “Heart ivory and rubber. of Darkness,” much remains the same. Like many other post-colonial states, the Congo was left in chaos when the Every time a substance of value is found in Africa, people suffer. Much Europeans made their exit. Various armed militant groups now battle has been reported about “blood diamonds” and how they funded a brutal each other and the government for control of the resources. civil war in Sierra Leone. A film starring Leonardo DiCaprio was even It’s plain to see that life hasn’t made about it. changed much since the 19th century. Our demand for smartphones, This isn’t a story about that film, or even “blood diamonds.” This is about tablets and even the high-end medical devices that make our first-world something you probably have never heard of. It’s called “blood tantalum.” lifestyles possible has caused a great Your computers, tablets, cell phones deal of suffering. and even the laptop I’m using to write this article have all likely been drenched in Congolese blood. Since the ‘90s, conflict has raged over minerals in the eastern region of the Congo, namely tantalum, a main mineral component in most electronics.

The Congo is one of the wealthiest places in the world in terms of mineral resources. Ironically, it’s because of this wealth that the Congolese people live off of bowls of rice a day and are subjected to unspeakable atrocities. Since 1998, more than 5 million people have died as a result of conflict and another 2 million have been

What could be worth 5 million lives? These conflicts were over control of the Congo’s mineral mines, rich with gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten — components in nearly every electronic device we use. A recent U.S. Census Bureau report found that the number of Americans who own personal electronics —like MP3 players, laptop computers and cell phones — has doubled since 2006, coinciding with the demand for minerals from the eastern Congo. However, efforts to curtail the flow

of tainted minerals have been taken, primarily stemming from the “blood diamonds” campaign of the late ‘90s. In its 125th anniversary edition, National Geographic published an in-depth article on the illicit mineral trade in the eastern part of the Congo. “On July 21, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank financial-reform bill,” writes National Geographic’s Jeffrey Gettleman. “The law called for publicly listed American companies to disclose whether any of their products included minerals from mines controlled by armed groups in or around Congo.” As a result, militant groups trading conflict minerals saw their profits drop by 65 percent, but peace remains elusive in the Congo. “The problem is that there are still too few clean mines,” Gettleman writes. “Only about 10 percent of mines in

the east — 55 in total — have been deemed conflict free.” Now the United Nations has begun to fight its first war. U.N. helicopters first descended in the Congo in August. It has joined 3,000 strong brigade with another 17,000 peacekeepers already deployed in the country to carry out offensive operations in the eastern Congo against the Congo’s 20 armed factions. There is no real solution to the humanitarian catastrophe in the Congo. One can only hope that consumers will demand fair-trade minerals in their electronic accessories and that multi-national corporations will begin to value human life over profit. I’m not holding my breath. Quint Qualls //Opinions Editor

Sidelines Online - 10/23/2013  

Sidelines is the editorially independent, student run newspaper of Middle Tennessee State University.

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