ARE YOU A SNOB?
The new definition of highbrow
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Bienen School of Music
Pas s p or T:
A Music a l E x p e di tion
Spring Festival 2011
March 30 - April 9
Mark O’Connor String Quartet An Evening of Strings March 30
Alex de Grassi
A Story of Floating Weeds A silent film with live music March 31* Mark O’Connor String Quartet
Alex de Grassi
An Operatic Travelogue with stage and music direction by Jay Lesenger and Alan Darling April 1
Boukman Eksperyans April 2 The Hot Club of San Francisco
The Hot Club of San Francisco Meet Me in Paris April 7
An Operatic Travelogue
The Hot Club of San Francisco Silent Surrealism Silent films with live music
If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews A tribute to Irish and Jewish influences on Vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley featuring Mick Moloney, Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and more. Mick Moloney
All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m. in Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, except those with * at Block Cinema
Send in the Snobs Could you be friends with someone who listens to Nickelback? A look inside snobbery at NU.
The State of Animation
For m ore, c heck o ut our w ebsite north at bynor thwes tern.c om
The Animate Arts program merged art, engineering and technology. But five years after it began, it’s already gone.
Solving Life’s Puzzles
cover shoot Models: (clockwise from top left) Josh West, Erin Campbell, David Harris, Chika Nwosu, Maxine Hupy, Victor Fimbres, Yoonj Kim, Jung Kang. Photographed by John Meguerian and Justin Barbin.
Not all learning happens in the lecture hall. Life advice from seven Northwestern professors.
Teaching to Learn Twenty-six percent of history graduate students are teaching outside their department. Why is this the case?
northbynorthwestern.com | 1
One shot, two shot, red shot, blue shot
What was the boa constrictor doing in the furnace?
3 Love and Lattes 4 Feeling Chemistry 5 CuteOverload.edu 6 In My Bag 7 Chairmaster 8 Lord of the Fries 9 Hot Shots 10 Chicago Chow Down 12 Busiest Bodies 13 Saving Face(book) 14 Grading the Ratings
Get an exclusive first look at recent grad Veronica Roth's upcoming novel from HarperCollins.
QUAD what’s going on around campus. 15 16 17 18 19 21 22 23 24
Daddy Norbucks Lobby of Love (and Georgi) Language Death Match Facing the Music PMA Bros Out Pop the Evanston Bubble Rewired Reading Downsizing Northwestern: a Prehistory
GENIUS your guide to living smart.
Turn to page 34 to see this guy take it off.
the quarter in culture. 25 26 27 28 29 30 32
Sip of Tradition Sound Off A Dauntless Debut Sex and Mouse Ears Making the Switch Past Plays Classrooms to Kegstands
EXTRA one last thing.
47 We Are All Grape Juice 48 ‘Nuff Said 49 Escape from Tech
northbynorthwestern.com Editor Monica Kim
Senior Editors Julie Beck Nolan Feeney Associate Editors Alessandra Calderin Sean Kane
Creative Director Sarah Adler Senior Designers Sarah Davidson Gus Wezerek Designer Katherine Zhu
Assistant Editor Shaunacy Ferro
Photo Director John Meguerian
Digital Editor Nick Sauerberg
Photo Assistant Justin Barbin
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editor-in-chief Nick Castele executive editor Matt Connolly managing editors Lindsey Kratochwill Gus Wezerek asst. managing Sourav Bhowmick Vanessa Dopker Joe Drummond editor-at-large Dan Camponovo
news editors Julie Kliegman Jordyn Wolking opinion editor Rachel Poletick features editor Edwin Rios life & style editor Krislyn Placide entertainment editor Nolan Feeney sports editor Josh Sim
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North by Northwestern, NFP
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president Nick Castele executive vp Matt Connolly vice president Monica Kim secretary Aubrey Blanche treasurer David Ma
Published with support from Campus Progress, a division of the Center for American Progress. Online at CampusProgress.org
YOUR guide TO LIVING SMART.
“Alcohol? Chill. If anything, pot.”
“You are reading this and I love you, whoever you are.”
“There are moments in my day when the mere thought of you rescues me.”
“There is no such thing as unconditional love… only love based on circumstances… sorry!”
“I love 2 Jeffs, but I’m only marrying one!”
Love and Lattes A record of romance at the Unicorn Cafe By Jordyn Wolking ucked in a pocket behind a Unicorn Cafe bench, there is a journal full of letters to lost loves and law school, odes to delicious muffins and Tums and elaborate drawings of cities. College students, 8-yearolds and the elderly have been filling its pages for years. Cafe owner Tracie Dahlke, 31, left the journal there in 2006. “I love valentines and so I was like, ‘Let’s have people do a community love letter,’” she says.
photo: natalie white
She wrote the first letter to get it started and then let people discover it on their own or through friends. The original journal, an otherwise unused Christmas present, is now filled with letters that Dahlke enlarged for the cafe’s Valentine’s Day display. She left a new journal in the bench this summer. “I love the anonymity of it and all the different aspects of love that are addressed,” says Dahlke. “Some are really sarcastic, some are filled with passionate
“I fear that our love will never blossom because the bosom of your fiancée is not only large enough to keep us apart, but could also crush me and my heart. Her breasts are so large they could crush even the most monstrous cantaloupes you could imagine.”
desire and others are bitter.” She is still deciding what to do with the journal, but would like to make it available to others. Her first step is the art project, and she hopes it will inspire people to contribute more. Dahlke has considered self-publishing the letters or posting them in a blog. “I feel like some of the people who wrote in this want [to have] it,” she says. “Because it’s a collective, it’s a different, interesting, fun book.”
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love HOW TO
Turn up the bunsen burner and start humming “It’s Getting Hot in Here.”
Feeling Chemistry Spill your solution and bend over dramatically to clean it up.
Offer to clean your partner’s beaker.
Rub the smudge off of your partner’s goggles and stare deeply into their eyes.
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An attempt to find love in lab By Angad Chadha A cute girl making a mistake during an organic chemistry lab initiates what is essentially the nerd Olympics. Every laboratory-competent male in her vicinity will make a desperate dash to help her correct her mistake and hopefully talk to her. I won, mainly because I was working in the vent-hood adjacent to hers. “You should probably stir that vial under the hood,” I said. “Oh, yeah, thanks.” I missed my chance to append small-talk to that exchange, so I kept waiting for her to make another mistake. Unfortunately, the rest of her technique was immaculate and the flimsy conversation I’d constructed in my head went to waste. The next week, under the pretext of examining her pre-lab assignment, I started a shallow conversation, teasing bits of information from her, vetting her personality and trying not to act too interested. What was your name again? How are you monitoring the temperature in your distillation apparatus? Got any plans for the weekend? She was wearing a broadnecked shirt, and I could make out a sentence tattooed on her shoulder blade. The helix of her left ear had three piercings, and she wore curve-hugging jeggings. I covertly glimpsed at her during lecture and wondered where she was when she was absent.
I was in that social grey area between small-talk and flirting, and I needed to subtly obtain the “I’m single” signal to cross over without being shot down. Ever ready to perform face-saving espionage, I looked for ways to catch a glimpse of her love life. We didn’t have any mutual friends I could pump for information; I had to scout her online presence. Unfortunately, her social media provided an inscrutable mélange of information. She was “married to” some guy on Facebook and had been directing flirty tweets at a slew of androgynous Twitter handles. As we approach the age where people actually do start getting married, how was I supposed to tell whether this “married to” was real or a joke? And to what extent did her online personality represent her real one? At the peak of my frustration, I chanced upon a website touting Livestrong-style rubber bracelets that said “single” on them. I conveniently overlooked the fact that they are an ersatz, desperate substitute for romantic exploration and accepted them as a sensible simplification of the dating scene. Married people wear rings to show off their privilege and ward off advances, why shouldn’t singles wear something to denote their availability and ease the burden of guesswork and social anxiety upon potential suitors? As a 3 a.m. impulse buy, I purchased two.
A few days later, the bracelets arrived and were, of course, ridiculed by my friends. Hoping to regain some face, I swallowed my insecurities and decided to ask her to lunch two lab sessions from then—another eight hours before showing my hand. Worst-case scenario, she tells me she has a boyfriend, isn’t attracted to me and awkwardly dodges any future trite small-talk. Nothing new. The next day, I saw her coming out of Tech Express with a box of sushi and a face showing the consternation of not having found an open table. My mind began churning, hoping to birth some suave spontaneity: “Looking for a place to eat?” “Ha, yeah.” “I was just about to duck into an empty classroom to have my lunch. Wanna join?” “Yeah, sure.” As this anticipated dialogue played through my head, she smiled at a girl approaching her; they hugged, and then kissed on the lips. A full-fledged, hey-honey-how-wasyour-class-let’s-eat-lunch-together type kiss. So that’s why she wasn’t wearing a singles’ bracelet. Worst-case scenario partly realized, but dignity intact and original intentions safely hidden, I gave her a quick, acknowledging smile and pretended to walk somewhere important.
photo: monica kim; sidebar illustrations: kat wong
Wear nothing under your lab coat.
This lab is sparkling. Don’t you let it go.
CuteOverload.edu A hedgehog will never cancel study plans. By Jasmyne McDonald he life of a student can be a lonely one. Sometimes your latest Keg hookup won’t call you back, or you have to barricade yourself in your room to finish a paper (once you check your news feed one more time). In those dark hours, it’s nice to know that someone loves you unconditionally—even if that someone is a lizard. Pet ownership, like all relationships, isn’t always easy, but Northwestern’s animal lovers can’t imagine life without their critter companions.
illustrations: kat wong
franklyn the snake Weinberg junior Tyris Jones calls his two bearded dragons, TJ (short for Teddy Jam) and F2, his friends. This is Jones’s second attempt to have a pet on campus. The bearded dragons are a less dangerous alternative to the Colombian red-tail boa constrictor he owned for three months during his sophomore year. The football player’s roommates were convinced the snake would kill them all and were not comforted when “Franklyn with a y” was thought to be lost and eventually found lodged in Jones’ furnace. No one knows how he escaped his box. Recalling a pet dog and bird that ran and flew away, Jones calls the bearded dragons his first real pets.
34% of students want a baby monkey as their nighttime companion.
thembi the hedgehog Thembi, who joined the Northwestern community in July 2010, was profiled on the New York Times website in November and has 147 fans on Facebook. Thembi’s mom is SESP senior Jennifer Goldberg, who purchased the African Pygmy Hedgehog for her 21st birthday. Her therapist suggested him as an emotional support animal to sooth sadness and anxiety when she returned from studying abroad in South Africa. Thembi is named after the son of Goldberg’s hero, former South African president Nelson Mandela. “Thembi is one of my best friends and I think we make a dynamic duo,” Goldberg says.
jacques the hamster Communication sophomore Kenzie Barth’s many attempts at pet ownership have included ducks, chicks, turtles, rabbits, frogs, dogs, hamsters and a snake. Most recently, she purchased Jacque, a hamster, this past fall. But this love story doesn’t have a happy ending. Barth realized she couldn’t keep the hamster at school after he started biting people and kept her awake running on his wheel. She has yet to pick up Jacque after returning him to the pet store before winter break. “It’s hard to have a pet at school. It costs quite a bit of money for a pet that doesn’t love you back,” Barth says.
tron the bearded dragon Recent graduate Stephen Simmons chose a bearded dragon and two iguanas as less expensive alternatives to a dog. His ongoing costs are limited as the pets eat vegetables like lettuce. One day during Fall Quarter, he returned home to find Tron, his bearded dragon, dead. “When I tried to give him food, I realized he had died. I had someone else get rid of him,” he says. He misses the way the bearded dragon would run to the side of the cage when he walked in the room. northbynorthwestern.com | 5
In My Bag A theater stylist shows off her beauty tricks. By Emily Ferber rom blush brushes to industrial-sized cans of hairspray, Caitlin Oates comes to rehearsal equipped with several bags of well-used products and hot tools, ready to transform her actors into turn-of-the-century characters. “A lot of it is just my personal stuff from high school,” says the Communication junior and hair/ makeup designer for Ragtime, this year’s Dolphin Show. Having held makeup positions on theater crews since her freshman year, Oates knows which brands work best for what and when. Her one standby is the Ben Nye stage makeup kit, available at the Norris Book Store. “It’s the leading stage makeup brand,” Oates says. Once Oates preps the face with Ben Nye foundation and powder, the fun begins.
revlon just bitten lip stain balm ($8) “On stage it works a lot better. It doesn’t wipe off on other people and costumes. I use my fingers because it gives me more control.”
covergirl lashblast mascara ($6) “I like the spikey brush because it’s not clumpy, and it doesn’t flake into your eyes.”
revlon ceramic large barrel curling iron ($22) “Any ceramic tool gets the hottest and works the best.”
chi straightening iron ($105) “It works the best on my unruly hair, so I bring my own to use on the actors.”
“It smears less and it’s darker. I feel like I have more control over the powder, plus it doesn’t smear onto the top of your lids like other liners.” 6 | WINTER 2011
garnier fructis sleek & shine anti-humidity smoothing milk ($15) “I ask the actors to come with dirty or already straightened hair, and I use a smoothing product.”
tresemmé tres two freeze hold hairspray ($5) “Hair spray is vital to my process. I spray the hair before I style it, during and after to get the look I want and to make it stay.”
physicians formula conceal rx physicians strength concealer ($7) “It has salicylic acid, so it’s healthier for your skin. Sometimes I’ll mix it with lotion to de-red the face.”
photo: justin barbin
revlon bedroom eyes powder liner ($3)
GET in SHAPE
Workouts for when you’re lazy—or locked in Kresge. By Jenny McCoy Picture this: You are trapped inside an academic building and cannot escape. Your bed is far away. The vending machines are empty. Your only option is to emerge from the dark dungeon that is your lecture hall as buff as a SPAC addict. Free weights you have not, but a desk chair? That will do. Finding the time and energy to work out can be a struggle in itself, and making the trek to SPAC is almost as unappealing as writing that 20-page philosophy paper. Luckily, you can still stay trim without the help of a treadmill. All you’ll need are a few chairs and a little motivation.
Standing on your head can relieve stress and strengthen the core. Find a sturdy wall and get down on all fours, facing the wall. Straighten your legs, lifting your knees off the ground, and kick your legs upwards so that they rest against the wall. Take several deep breaths to steady your balance and hold the position for 30 seconds. Gently lower your legs and take a short break before repeating.
photo: justin barbin, model: tucker may
2 BODYWEIGHT DIPS This exercise works your triceps and pectorals. Place two chairs far enough apart so that your feet rest on one chair and your hands rest on the other, without sitting on either chair. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle so that you sink below your original position, and then raise yourself back up to the level of the chair. Repeat the exercise 10 times, take a one-minute break and then complete two more rounds of dips. 3 SIDE LUNGES Stand sideways at the bottom of a staircase, facing the wall. Extend one leg forward, skipping three steps. Push down into a lunge position, hold for three seconds, then bring your other leg up so that your feet come together. Repeat until you reach the top of the stairs, then jog back to the bottom and start over again, switching your dominant leg.
4 STAIR INTERVALS Start by walking, then gradually increase speed with each flight until you reach a comfortable pace, skipping every two steps. To spice up the routine, take a quick break on each landing and alternate between 10 push-ups, crunches or jumping jacks. Stair intervals are especially effective in a building with several flights—think Kresge or University. northbynorthwestern.com | 7
Lord of the Fries A salty, greasy taste of Evanston’s hot potatoes By Tom Schroeder Evanston is the “Dining Capital of the North Shore,” but forget the highfalutin’ establishments as we evaluate E-town’s restaurants on their crispiest criterion: french fries. Any self-respecting fast food joint carries some variant of the greasy finger food—some opt for straightforward thin-cuts, while others get ambitious with sauces and toppings. But go beyond the obvious favorites, like Edzo’s and Burger King, and you’ll find Evanston has a lot to offer when it comes to the ultimate side dish.
The guiding philosophy of Five Guys is tied to American values: bigger and greasier is better. A diner with a normal appetite will struggle with a regular order of fries. The Cajun option is also worth trying, although here we recommend going for the classic. Also, props to management for implementing a humane ketchup-tub size.
CROSS RHODES Price: $ Type: Greek Special options: With or without feta Verdict: A good niche fry
Cross Rhodes came highly recommended, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a Greek restaurant, and as such, they only serve Greek fries, which are steak fries with a sharp sauce of wine, lemon and spices (feta optional). These fries pack a lot more flavor than Wild Dogz’s, though the acidic sauce is a little overpowering.
MUSTARD’S LAST STAND Price: $ Type: Thin-cut Special options: Cheddar, barbeque Verdict: Only okay, but redeemed by options
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The embarrassingly-named Wild Dogz serves “meh” fries. While the base is ho-hum, the Dogz come through by serving an impressive array of styles, which are leagues better than the plain fries. Our favorite was the spicy bacon cheddar, which is worth the thousands of calories.
NEÜ ÜBER BÜRGER Price: $ Type: Boardwalk fries (skin-on, greasy) Special options: Cheddar, chili, a host of delicious sauces Verdict: Great, with impressive variety
After ordering fries, you’ll be handed a brown bag soaked through with grease—this is a good sign. The salt isn’t overpowering and doesn’t mask the potato’s natural flavor, but the fries’ real strength is in their sauces. The cheese actually seems real, and their menu sports diverse offerings like wasabi mayo and garlic aioli.
see s to King u o i Cur urger cked B ta how dzo’s s out E k and ? Chec views e r up full ne. r u i l o on
photo: john meguerian
If you’re ever up by Ryan Field, go to Mustard’s Last Stand. Their approach to fries is a straightforward one: they’re thin, crispy and salty. You won’t be blown away, but if you’re up north and jonesing, Mustard’s is cheap and worthwhile.
Price: $$ Type: Thin-cut Special options: Cheese, spicy bacon cheddar, chili cheese, club fries, bleu cheese, Greek-style feta Verdict: Standard
Price: $$ Type: Boardwalk fries Special options: Cajun Verdict: Greasy goodness
G Hot Shots Who wants to black out? Tonight’s all about color. By Alison Goldman e take shots because they’re fast, easy and smooth—or at least they’re supposed to be. But anyone who throws back has experienced the straight shot that leaves your throat burnt but cold. These colorful concoctions are both attractive and delicious—and we’ll take a shot to that.
1 teal shooter Spring break can’t come fast enough, so enjoy a 1.5-ounce tropical teaser. 2 ounces tequila 2 ounces blue curacao 4 ounces pineapple orange juice 1 sliced lime, for serving
2 electric green shooter Are you trying to win over a special someone with your bartending skills? This shooter is so green it glows.
3 orange & cream shooter
5 rosé shooter
It’s definitely not your little brother’s orange soda float.
Add this shooter to the league of lip-gloss, Barbie, cherry sundaes and Molly Ringwald—this is what pink tastes like.
2 ounces vodka 2 ounces triple sec 2 ounces orange soda Whipped cream, for serving
4 white & purple shooter
2 ounces vodka 2 ounces peach schnapps 2 ounces cranberry juice A scoop of ice, in the shaker 4 cherries, for serving
Everyone is putting a spin on the phrase, so we figured we would give it a shot too. (See what we did there?) 2 ounces vodka 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice 1/2 ounce grenadine 1/2 ounce blue curacao 1 1/2 ounces Sprite Whipped cream, for serving
2 ounces vodka 2 ounces Midori 2 ounces triple sec 2 ounces pineapple orange juice
2 5 1 instructions
photo: john meguerian
Recipes serve four. Mix ingredients with a shaker, then pour into shooters.
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Bring the Windy City’s treats to your kitchen. By Nathalie Rayter Chicago: city of broad shoulders and, perhaps all too often, tightening waistbands. There are famous and delicious eats both in the city and Chicagoland, like deep-dish pizza, hot dogs and any Indian dish found on Devon. But why wait until parents’ weekend for a culinary tour? Here are three homemade takes on some regional favorites.
Chicago Chow Down
Wilmette’s Walker Bros. Original Pancake House has been around for 50 years, and its menu is home to one of Chicagoland’s finest breakfast traditions. Its apple pancake is something of a legend—caramelized, gooey and enormous. Just a warning: Tongues were burned in the immediate, greedy consumption of our version. 2 apples 1 tablespoon butter 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons sugar 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon flour 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted 3 eggs 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup flour 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 2 tablespoons heavy cream
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1 Preheat oven to 500°. 2 Peel and slice apples into about 1/4-inch slices. 3 Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a pan on medium heat. When hot, add apples and sauté for four minutes, turning once or twice. Apples should be softened, but not browned or cooked through. Remove apples from heat. 4 Combine brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of flour in a bowl, using a fork to break up lumps. Add melted butter and mix well. 5 Spread cinnamon sugar mixture over bottom of pan (either a casserole dish or a cast iron skillet will work) and layer apples over top. 6 Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Add milk, cream, flour, nutmeg and salt and combine well. 7 Pour batter over apples. Bake until batter rises and starts to brown, 12-15 minutes. 8 When pancake is done, remove and let cool. Then loosen sides with a knife and invert onto a serving plate, apple-side up.
G vegan italian sausages Hot Doug’s, Chicago’s encased meat emporium, is a local favorite, famous for its creative offerings (curry pork sausage, anyone?) as well as its constant favorites, like spicy Italian sausage. If you’re not ready to start grinding your own meat, try our tasty vegan version— just imagine, fully-disclosed sausage ingredients.
Ann Sather is a Swedish restaurant with four Chicago locations that all serve life-changing cinnamon rolls. Our cinnamon rolls require a little prep time but prove themselves worth it in the end—the perfect brunch on a lazy Sunday. 1 envelope active dry yeast 1 teaspoon sugar 1/4 cup warm water 1 cup milk 1/4 cup butter, melted 1/3 cup sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour Cinnamon Filling 4 tablespoons soft butter 1/2 cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon
photo: john meguerian
Icing 1 cup sifted powdered sugar 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 1 tablespoon milk, plus additional as needed 1 In a large bowl, stir yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar into warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. 2 Add milk, melted butter, 1/3 cup sugar, salt and 1 cup flour. Stir with a spoon until smooth. 3 Gradually stir in remaining flour. If the mixture is still moist, stir in 1 tablespoon flour at a time until it makes a soft dough. 4 Cover and let rise in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in bulk. 5 Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and divide into two halves. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out and stretch half of the dough to make a rectangle. 6 Spread half of the softened butter over the top of the dough and sprinkle half of the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly on top; roll dough tightly, sushi-style. Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients. 7 Cut dough into 2-inch slices and place in a greased baking pan. Then let dough rise again for about 40 minutes. 8 Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown. 9 While the rolls are in the oven, combine sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk in a small bowl; stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing is liquid enough to drizzle. 10 When the rolls are done, drizzle them with icing immediately. Then, let sit until they’re just cool enough to stuff your face.
1/2 cup white beans 1 cup vegetable broth 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons fennel seeds 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon oregano 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten (wheat protein) (optional, but recommended) 1/4 nutritional yeast
1 For this recipe, you’ll need a steamer or colander set over a big pot. Fill pot with water and bring to a boil. 2 While waiting, get four sheets of foil to place the sausage in. 3 In a medium bowl, mash beans with a fork until no whole beans remain. 4 Combine remaining ingredients. Mixture should resemble a loose dough. 5 Divide dough into four equal parts and place each on a sheet of foil. 6 Shape dough into 5-inch logs (don’t worry about shape, they’ll magically become cylindrical) and roll the foil up, twisting ends closed. 7 Place wrapped sausages in the steamer. Cover and steam for 40 minutes. After that, they’re all set. Great with yellow mustard or sauteed with onions and peppers. Adapted from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
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Busiest Bodies Learn how some of NU’s student leaders plan their weeks. By Nolan Feeney barry mccardel Communication senior, Chairman of A&O Productions “I used to have a different color for everything. I switched because I can share that calendar with people [on] A&O for them to see when I’m free. I only share my free/busy information, so I’ve got some personal time. I’ll have things show up on my calendar that someone put there.”
maggie birkel WCAS junior, Northwestern Living Wage Campaign “Turquoise was for things like laundry or homework. I used to only [use] turquoise during Reading Week. As I’ve gotten busy, I’ve had to start doing it during normal weeks. Red is sports because I like the Red Sox. Social stuff is pink. I don’t put social on there that much. I don’t like pink.”
10 11 12 1
5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12
Class Homework Class
Gym Dry Cleaning
Class Persuasive Images TA’ing Class
1 2 3 4 5 6
Meeting Senate Research
7 8 9 10 11 12
Homework Help Event
ASG Exec Meeting
Meeting Class task make phone call Class Meeting hw task Meeting Meeting meeting make phone call asg
Class Meeting ASG
Meeting ASG Exec
art: sarah adler
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claire lew SESP senior, ASG President “I try to go to bed by 1:30 and wake up by 6. I have slots for social life and gym, and you never see it on here. I think it’s accurate in terms of priorities right now. I used to block time in for doing homework, but stuff comes up, people walk in, I’ll get distracted. It’s discouraging to not follow a set pattern, so the idea is to build flexibility in what you’re doing.”
G HOW TO embarrass yourself on facebook
Update your status when you’re drunk.
Accidentally “like” your ex’s new relationship.
IM the person you were trying to vent about.
Saving Face(book) How to protect your privacy when the Internet is forever. By Patrick Svitek hen you’re seated before a panel of HR reps, Lady Gaga should be the last thing on your mind. But according to a survey conducted by Careerbuilder.com, four of those recruiters may have seen your sloppy rendition of “Poker Face” on Facebook—and the sticky Solo cups strewn around your feet. Eszter Hargittai, an associate professor of communication studies whose Web use research has been featured in the New York Times and Washington Post, shares some sage advice to secure that callback.
illustration: alice zhang, sidebar illustrations: kat wong
DON’T OBSESS OVER PRIVACY SETTINGS. Facebook treats its privacy settings about as seriously as it does lawsuits from the Winklevoss twins. Don’t rely on the company’s built-in options without thinking of technical glitches and general misuse. Hargittai believes privacy settings aren’t going to save you.
“I think it’s less about what you’re keeping ‘private’ [than] what you’re posting,” she says.
STAY ON TOP OF THINGS. “People should have an online presence that they’re fully in control of,” Hargittai says. Job recruiters aren’t interested in the second-to-last result on the seventh page of a web search. First-page results are paramount and not completely out of your influence. Creating an account on LinkedIn, regularly updating a personal blog or registering a domain are surefire approaches to Google housekeeping.
SEPARATE ACCOUNTS, NOT SEPARATE PERSONALITIES. It’s not a secret that college students often maintain two emails: one to beg professors for extensions and another to receive Perez Hilton’s daily newsletter. But avoid using your second account as a refuge for a second persona. If
number of Facebook fans the NU Archives acquired before celebrating with cake
Stalk someone you don’t know when they’re behind you in class.
Search for someone in your status bar. a cover letter states you can begin work in July, don’t tweet about that intercontinental excursion this summer. “You don’t want to portray conflicting information,” says Hargittai. “It’s actually remarkable how inconsistent people can be.”
Friend the wrong person.
TRUST NO ONE, EVEN BFFS. You ultimately can’t control whether your jocular buddies will tag you in a blushworthy photo or upload video of a regrettable evening to YouTube. An “omg take that down now lol” text may result in prompt deletion, but you never know who has already marveled over your drunken recitation of “My Neck, My Back.” Private gossip confined to a Facebook chat window can easily enter the public sphere—just ask anyone who’s forgotten to log out at the library. “The assumption that if you send it to your best, closest friends, no one will ever see it, is wrong,” Hargittai says.
Forget that you pressed “reply all.”
Feel the effects of your parents’ new Facebooks.
Inundate your friends’ news feeds with updates on your Facebook gaming success.
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Grading the Ratings The CTEC system should help professors improve, not hurt their feelings. By Kevin Sullivan
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selected 50 or 60 comments to publish in a book sold on campus for about a dollar. A few years after the introduction of CTECs by the student government, the university administration took over the operation. Considering how familiar most students are with the CTEC system, it remains somewhat
experience with CTECs as mixed. “They generally don’t provide much information that allows a professor to figure out how to improve a class,” he says. “They’re not providing that much constructive criticism.” This fall, the professor taught a class that was generally wellreceived, apart from one negative evaluation. The comment described the system has become something the class as a waste of time and recommendelse entirely a for students ed other instructors only guide to picking classes by name. “It was done in a hidden behind the purple curtain. way that isn’t very constructive or Most students have little idea of valuable to me. It was bolded and what teachers actually see or if capped and stood out and yes, that their well-worded jab makes it to hurts,” he says. “When someone its intended target. Evaluations are goes online to see that, that’s going written for teachers to see, after to have a greater impact on other all, but when they’re also written students as to whether they take to help students pick classes, my class or not.” Despite the anothe intended audience can get nymity, he claims he knows who confused. wrote the comment. “Every entity that is involved Peter Fenves, who has been thinks it’s for them,” says Maria a professor in Northwestern’s DiBenedetto, associate registrar German department for the past and acting head of the CTEC twenty years, has made a habit of office. Many instructors, on the sharing his mantra about CTECs other hand, will tell a very differwith his classes. He used to tell his ent story. students, “One of the key aspects A professor, who requested to of thinking and being a responsiremain unnamed, describes his ble member of scholarly commu-
nity is that one takes responsibility for what one says.” Fenves says that anonymity and free-form answers are to blame for the lessthan-useful responses. Creating a system with attributed responses would foster better comments. “It would be someone’s genuine opinion for which they are taking responsibility and not simply the morass of anonymous postings on the Internet, which is what most of it tends be,” Fenves says. One of the most consistently well-rated instructors, Renee Engeln-Maddox, has not read her evaluations in four years. “I had the sense that they didn’t make me a better teacher, that they did something bad, which was make me worry too much about being liked,” she says. The comments weren’t always positive, though. In the class that convinced her to never read CTECs again, a student referred to her as the “worst professor at Northwestern.” Ever since then, someone Englen-Maddox calls a “trusted colleague” has reviewed the comments for any trends, but she says most comments shouldn’t be that surprising. “You’d have to be blind to miss some things. We all know what confusion and boredom look like.”
photo: monica kim
n email shows up in your inbox three weeks before the end of the quarter. It’s usually greeted with a long sigh and a click of the delete button. You’ll wait for the next one. Another week goes by and the next email arrives. Your time is running out. Swallow the pill and head to CAESAR. The problem with CTECs is that students write the kind of comments they find the most helpful. They’re the ones that help pick classes the following quarter, the “worst class ever”s and the “easy distro”s. In theory, teachers as well as department heads look to CTECs for information about course and instructor effectiveness, something difficult to extract from “this class blows.” The system that began as a student initiative and was then absorbed by the university as an official evaluation tool has become something else entirely—a “for students only” guide to picking classes. The evaluation system has come a long way since its inception as a student government initiative in 1971. Originally, the Course and Teacher Evaluation Council collected handwritten student responses and randomly
what’s going on around campus.
Daddy Norbucks Get to know your master mocha maker. By Ariana Bacle Anthony Anderson will make your drink with a smile. But who is the cheerful man behind the coffee? The 29-year-old takes your orders at Norbucks, but here’s what you don’t know about the late-night keeper of caffeine.
ON GROWING UP IN THORNTON, ILL. When I was 16, I didn’t get a car—I got roller blades. I knew one kid in town who skated. We skated religiously. Every year on my birthday, I have [had] a skate park tour, for five years in a row now. What better to do than hang out with your friends and go all over the place skating in one day?
photo: justin barbin
ON STAYING UPBEAT You get used to your shift. It’s just a state of mind. You say, “I’ll be in a good mood today.” And with taking care of people, you don’t want to have a frumpy face and give them sloppy drinks. You have to be nice. It’s part of the gig, but it’s also part of who I am.
ON WHEN HE’S NOT WORKING I bake a lot. I’ve got a sweet tooth. My cookies get good reviews. I’m not telling you what I put in them, though. I goof around with pastas and red sauces all the time. I make a killer brunch. I’ll make anything on the brunch menu, anytime.
ON HIP-HOP DREAMS I used to want to be a DJ. I never wrote graffiti, but I did want to goof around on turntables. It was a medium I could relate to as a kid growing up because you could play tapes in your car, then CDs came out, but we still had records. That was cool. It’s got the pops, the hisses and all that feel to it.
ON THE GRIND I went to Calumet College of St. Joseph. Majored in media and fine arts. I had a TV job for five years at a racetrack, I was a camera man. I was working two jobs. It was all the way in the suburbs, which wasn’t bad, but everything else was in the city—friends, girlfriends, family. I was running on four hours of sleep every night. I get good sleep now. I’m happy and ready for work every day. northbynorthwestern.com | 15
Lobby of Love Catching up with NU alum Janessa Goldbeck on battling genocide By Lydia Belanger
As organizations first posted ads about the Darfur genocide in New York subway tunnels, Northwestern alum Janessa Goldbeck (Medill ‘07) worked in the city, interning for a “hipster magazine.” When her friends invited her to a rally in D.C., she boarded the Chinatown bus in jeans and a T-shirt, with a skateboard tucked under her arm. The “rally” turned out to be a lobby day. “All these other kids were dressed up in suits and ties and I was kind of looking like a scrub,” says Goldbeck. “I was super nervous. My hands were shaking.” During her first three years at Northwestern, Goldbeck dabbled in antigenocide student activism while pursuing an African Studies minor. She had already studied abroad in Uganda. She took her passion for human rights and genocide awareness to Washington during the summer of 2006. Fellow lobbyists put Goldbeck in charge of delegation to the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from her home state of California. “We got Congress to appropriate $700 million to the African Union, which at that time was the only peacekeeping force in Darfur,” says Goldbeck. “That was really the first time that I became aware that we had a government that is responsive to the people.” Back in Evanston that fall, Goldbeck started working against genocide on a national scale. After graduation, Goldbeck sacrificed a job offer from VICE magazine and eventually became the field director of the Genocide Intervention Network. Now she oversees STAND, which has a chapter at Northwestern. “I realized that this is really where my passion was at this moment,” says Goldbeck. “That I would rather be making the news than writing it.” STAND provides individuals with the tools they need to prevent genocide, including a hotline for political advocacy, information and human resources. “On this campus, probably the greatest thing STAND could achieve would be long term sustained awareness,” says Chelsea Glenn, Northwestern STAND chapter co-president and Weinberg sophomore. “That will last longer than the few images of kids with limbs chopped off that we see.”
The red hand symbol protests the use of child soldiers, many of whom fought in the Darfur genocide. “We really pride ourselves on not dumbing it down to the point that it’s meaningless,” says Goldbeck. “‘Just click this button and you’ll save Darfur.’ That’s not our message.” Goldbeck begins Officer Candidate School with the U.S. Marine Corps in June and hopes to focus on the intersection of human rights, national security and technology. “You can look back and create a story about your own life,” says Goldbeck. “But really, the most important thing is to be where you feel like you’re having the most impact in that moment and just go from there.”
A man who has seen terror firsthand By Julie Kliegman
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schools before becoming a Wildcat, says he stopped researching terrorists to become a professor because years of unsettling fieldwork were too psychologically demanding. And although lecturing students for 90 minutes is exhausting, he says it’s rewarding. “I think that I’m one of very few people actually in the world who are lucky with their jobs,” says Derluguian, who is teaching Global History II this quarter. Weinberg freshman Abby Gary, who took Global History I this past fall, says Derluguian makes a great impression. “He is constantly throwing in anecdotes and
he has the whole class laughing,” she says. One time, Derluguian went off on an amusing tangent about how the design of the parka is thousands of years old and cannot be improved, Gary. Although teaching means Derluguian does not have time during school to travel, he takes advantage of summer vacations. He taught in Kiev on a Fulbright Scholarship, and in France. But his travel is nothing like what it was years ago, when he would teach his kids how to use guns when his family lived in war zones. “It was sometimes very brutal,” he says. “I never thought when I was younger, that I would see this.”
photo: hand, gus wezerek; derlugian, justin barbin
eorgi Derluguian leans over his desk, which is covered with Russian books. As he discusses his research experiences, he grows serious. “When you study terrorists, you don’t speak about a best experience,” says the associate professor of sociology. “I have seen how a school full of children was burned with over 300 dead. I have seen terrible things.” Now in his 14th year at Northwestern, Derluguian is far away from his research in Russia, Armenia, Uzbekistan and his time spent studying guerrilla wars in Mozambique. Derluguian, who briefly taught at two other
dx = yPyx(x,s) - xPxy(x,s) dt
The basic model Abrams uses to model language competition, where the attractiveness of two languages, X and Y, changes symetrically based on s, their status within the society, and x and y, their fraction of speakers
Language Death Match An assistant professor’s work pairs numbers and letters in unexpected ways. By Brian Lange scale. And whether that’s possible or not is still an open question,” Abrams says. “I think you can, at least to some extent, explain and hopefully predict some aspects of human behavior.”
photo: john meguerian
Danny Abram’s office on the fourth floor of Tech is full of numerals and variables, but the McCormick assistant professor’s new research is deeply rooted in words. “It’s something completely different, so that if I get tired of looking at equations, I can go do something else that has a goal and is interesting on its own,” he says. It was this interest that led Abrams to one of his latest topics of research. He was leaving his Spanish literature lecture in grad school when his professor urged him to stay after and learn Quechua, the language of the Incan Empire. “Quechua is a language that, at the moment, is hanging in the balance,” Abrams says. Quechua is just one of four languages Abrams studied for a paper that focuses on modeling the death of languages using mathematic formulas. Abrams predicted the downfall of these languages by treating two competing languages as entities fighting for speakers. “If you’ve ever learned about predator-prey interaction, that’s similar to the approach I’m taking,” Abrams says. What the study uncovered was that in a system where two languages are in competition, there is no situation in which both persist. In other words, only one will survive. Abrams traveled to Peru multiple times to gather data on Quechua speakers by poring through old census data and traveling between Catholic parishes, asking what languages the mass was offered in. His research posits that languages have two weapons to fight with—the majority effect and the status effect. The majority effect is easy enough to explain—humans are more likely to switch to the language that most people speak. The status effect, on the other hand, takes into account the “status” attached to a language—the sorts of wealth and opportunities that a language provides. Abrams is currently applying his language death model to religion, replacing two language groups with the group of people in a society who are religious versus those who are “unaffiliated,” which has been growing in the Western world recently. “Much more controversial,” he says with a smile. “The goal is to understand things on a large
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students JURY DUTY
WIND AND PERCUSSION
Wind and percussion juries are held once a year. The combined wind and percussion faculty is the largest of the four areas of concentration, but while there are multiple piano, voice and violin instructors, there are usually at most two instructors for a given woodwind instrument.
STRINGS STRINGS Each student in the string
Facing the Music For performance majors, getting in is only half the battle. By Nolan Feeney
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Fail this test and you’ll be right back where you started.
failed her advanced standing jury and requested anonymity. “It was very jarring to have failed, something I had never done before. So I wanted to go in and prove to them that I deserved to be in the program. And then I wanted to drop it and do my other thing.” That “other thing” was a unique ad hoc major she had been preparing since failing the first jury. Non-passing students may be given a second chance later in the year, which gives them time to both work on weaknesses and also consider a back-up plan. Bienen’s flexible curriculum allows students to create ad hoc programs, combining performance course work with Bienen’s other majors, such as music composition or musicology. Though the prospect of getting kicked out of a major doesn’t help underclassmen’s nerves, not all students find juries stressful. “It’s not supposed to be some scary test where if you mess up five notes, you’re done,” says Aaron Praiss, a sophomore violin performance major. “I’m totally fine with juries. They’re the only and the best way for faculty to know where everybody’s at. You want to make sure everybody’s on a level playing field.”
PIANO On average, piano performance
majors perform for the faculty twice a year, but some juries are two-part evaluations: technique and repertoire. Only three faculty members are required at the jury.
VOICE Like piano performance majors,
voice students perform twice a year in a jury or “recital permission” for at least three faculty. From there, it only gets harder: in the junior standing jury, students perform six pieces in four different languages.
photo: justin barbin
inals may decide the future of a grade, but rarely do they decide the future of your major—unless you’re in the Bienen School of Music. Juries, as they’re known in Bienen, are departmental evaluations of performance majors and exist in some form at most peer institutions. The number of juries in a given year varies by instrument, but every performance major must pass an advanced standing jury during his or her sophomore year to stay in the program. “You have to have some way to assess performance,” says Linda Garton, assistant dean for student affairs. “So whether it’s called a jury or a final exam, teachers have to have some way to say, ‘Have you made progress?’” Juries are not a cut system—Bienen intends for all of the more than 100 freshmen it enrolls each year to graduate. The approximately 10-15 students per class who don’t complete the major mostly drop performance in favor of other academic pursuits. Garton says the students who fail juries often have already lost interest in performance by the time of examination. That’s not the case for everyone, however. “I always still cared,” says one senior who
major performs for the faculty every Spring Quarter, with or without accompaniment. Jury slots are selected via a sign-up sheet, and students receive comment sheets for their own review as well.
PMA Bros Out Take a trip to Phi Mu Alpha, the frat house in the sorority quads. By George Elkind well-tinseled Christmas tree. An old model ship. A half-assembled three-thousand-piece puzzle. To most, these aren’t the images associated with a frat house, but they’re the ones I encountered when I ventured to Phi Mu Alpha, Northwestern’s resident music fraternity, situated comfortably in the sorority quad. Entering the common room on a Tuesday night, I find a quiet but industrious house, busy with purposed activity—brothers move from room to room in the basement, setting up instruments for band practices. Others set up laptops in common areas. In the main room, a lively event-planning meeting ensues, with ideas ranging from live-band karaoke to casino night. “Laser tag was awesome,” one brother assures me, referring to last year’s event. Other suggestions include hot chocolate pong in the sorority quad and broomball (The former uses “marshmallows as balls,” and the latter is “like hockey on ice.”) Other past events have included an annual Christmas party, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Dance Marathon and philanthropic performances involving the whole fraternity as a choir at
photo: ariana bacle
local retirement homes. Until this year, though, the brothers’ events have required a bit more hoop-jumping than those of other fraternities. Until recently, PMA was not a member of the Interfraternity Council (IFC), so PMA has had to go through the same channels for event approval as most non-Greek student groups. Weinberg senior Mike Di Maso, the fraternity education officer, explains the decision to join IFC: “We thought that we didn’t belong in IFC because we thought we were more different than we actually are.“ The focus on music does set PMA apart. Its bands cover a wide range of genres, varying from classical musicians to jazz quartets to rock groups. One of them, The Main Men, competed in last year’s Battle of the Bands. Surprisingly, most of the brothers aren’t music majors. “We’ve got maybe five music majors, tops,” Di Maso says. Nearly half of PMA is in marching band, but the house is still attractive to students outside of Bienen. “We’re looking for good guys— not necessarily the best musician, but the best man,” he explains of their membership. A passion for music seems to unify the house—a home to many of the brothers.
PMA hosted a homebrewing fireside in the ‘90s.
FAST FACTS Phi Mu Alpha was the winner of this year’s Greek Week.
“This is our home, because we have, like, memories and stuff here,” one brother mutters. Distance from the other fraternities no longer seems like a barrier to PMA’s participation in IFC. The move guarantees the brothers increased funding, support, visibility and a new sense of interconnectedness with the Greek community and campus as a whole. “Now we’re actually reconciling those differences [we thought we had with the other fraternities],” Di Maso explains. Phi Mu Alpha has more argyle than you’ll find in any fraternity house up north, but it also shares many of the more traditional symbols of brotherhood—paddles, a well-filled trophy case and an abundance of framed rosters dot the common room. Alongside those, though, lie a defunct organ, a vintage foosball table and a plethora of musical instruments. The common room of the house embodies what PMA is—a place where red cups and antique organs can co-exist and intermingle. With touches of eccentricity and a focus on music coupled with more traditionally Greek traits, Phi Mu Alpha seems to have carved out a clear niche for itself within IFC.
Phi Mu Alpha is the only fraternity on campus that currently has a Community Assistant. The Iota chapter of Phi Mu Alpha began here on April 29, 1910, and has resided in its current house since 1988. There are currently 46 brothers in the chapter (along with several faculty members and alumni). The full name of PMA is Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (Iota chapter)—quite a mouthful. The house holds four pianos as well as an organ. Phi Mu Alpha’s colors are red, black and gold. Sigma Alpha Iota is the music sorority and is not a member of the Panhellenic Council (the equivalent to IFC). The Main Men, a rock band within the fraternity, recently performed a cover of a song called “Enormous Penis.”
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$ NU to LA? Pack your shades.
Pop the Evanston Bubble Off-campus programs let Wildcats fly the coop. By Heather Devane hile most of her peers are trekking up Sheridan Road for class, Amanda Bossard is climbing the steps of Capitol Hill. But this is no sightseeing vacation for the Medill sophomore; it’s a class assignment. “The way classes are structured, it’s like a nine-to-five job,” says Bossard, who is spending Winter Quarter in Washington, D.C. as part of the Medill on the Hill program. The class consists of a political science class and two journalism classes, one of which emphasizes daily reporting at sites around the city. Each student is assigned a beat, ranging from education to national security, and receives the journalistic Holy Grail: a press pass. “We’ve worked hard to develop contacts on Capitol Hill with congressional staff and leadership staff, so we can direct students to good sources of information,” says Medill Washington Program Director Ellen Shearer. “That’s what the program is really about: using Flip cams and iPads and filing tweets from the Hill.” Since the undergraduate program began three years ago, Shearer has guided students in reporting on events, including President Obama’s inauguration, the 2010 State of the Union address and most recently, the congressional fallout following the Arizona shooting rampage in January. With a finger on the pulse of the nation’s politics, students like Bossard are on the frontlines of breaking news. “There’s a two-inch thick binder on my desk with the resources that might pertain to whatever story we might be working on,” says Bossard, who was chosen for the program based on her transcript, résumé, journalism clips and a personal essay. “[Medill] gives us the privileges of major news corporations. We saw stake-out spots and where to go to find certain senators. Everyone is accommodating.” Although an intertwined network lies
illustration: kat wong
within reach, students know that persistence is the key to scoring coveted interviews. Luckily, they arrive in Washington prepared. Shearer is “constantly impressed” by the “fearless undergrads” who bring their expertise and fresh perspectives beyond the confines of Evanston’s campus. With Northwestern alums scattered throughout the nation’s capitol and a widely respected reputation, the Medill News Service’s success has taken off. “My main goal is to try to experience what life would be as a full-time journalist and what it’s like to be alongside the people who do this for a living,” says Bossard, who hopes to become a legal analyst. “When I realized Medill was offering this I was like, ‘what else could I ask for?’” The Medill program is not the only Northwestern class that sends students beyond Evanston’s city limits. For 2010 Communication grad Maggie Donnelly, a grueling selection process for the school’s Senior Showcase sent her to New York to audition for performance industry movers and shakers. The goal: make the connections needed to land a job post-graduation. The experience: unparalleled. “It offers us the chance to get representation either with an agent or a manager,” says Donnelly. “The reason why I auditioned was
“WHEN I REALIZED MEDILL WAS OFFERING THIS I WAS LIKE, ‘WHAT ELSE COULD I ASK FOR?’” because I wanted to hopefully get in and see if I could get any attention here.” Donnelly garnered more attention than she anticipated. Before receiving a Northwestern diploma, she had already signed with an acting agency. The Southern California native found her post-grad plans of staying on the Chicago
theater scene tossed offstage as she bought a oneway ticket to New York to chase her acting dream. “I so firmly believe that when opportunity knocks, you’ve got to answer the door,” says Donnelly. “If I had stayed [in Chicago] I would have wondered what it was like in New York. There’s no rule that says I can’t go back. I’m so thrilled that I get to be here and get to try it out.” Donnelly’s level of success is not unique, says David Downs, a supervising professor of a Radio/TV/Film internship class that has sites in Los Angeles and New York. “Students typically get internships in agencies, studios, production companies, et cetera,” says Downs, who heads the class’s L.A. branch. “Many graduates got their first job in L.A. as a direct result of their internship work here. The internship experience provides a practical, job-oriented reality that academic classes can’t—and I think, shouldn’t—provide.” In addition to acting lessons with faculty mentors, students get an inside look at the industry. Professor Downs arranges visits to the sets of shows, like Modern Family and Weeds, and events including the Santa Barbara Film Festival. In New York, Professor Carey Graeber, an adjunct lecturer and a coordinator for the New York site of the School of Communication’s internship program, connects students with internships at media outlets like Warner Brothers and MTV. Area Northwestern alums, like Comedy Central President Michele Ganeless, host networking events, screenings and lectures. Despite this wealth of resources, though, gaining full exposure takes effort. “It’s like going on a big blind date with people who have a bunch of power,” says Donnelly. “They’re here to pick out their favorites. It’s a reality check.” The 22-year-old waitresses and babysits to fill time between auditions and to make ends meet, but she finds the routine surprisingly satisfying. For the moment Donnelly is “thrilled” to be on the regional theater scene, though someday she hopes to see her name in Broadway lights. “The Showcase is one of the ways up the mountain that’s not always successful, and that doesn’t mean you’re not great,” says Donnelly. “[But] at any moment an audition could go right, and you could pack a suitcase and go.” northbynorthwestern.com | 21
tech etext stats The eTextbook market is expected to account for more than 11 percent of textbook sales in 2013. CourseSmart, a digital textbook company started by five major textbook publishers, reports that 72 percent of their customers say they would buy some or all of their textbooks in electronic format in the future. An August report by the Student Public Interest Research Groups found 75 percent of students surveyed prefer printed textbooks to digital ones.
ook to xtb eTe pected e h n T is ex at a ket owing ound r a m omp p gr kee ated c owth r % m i est nual g ost 49 an f alm . 3 1 20 eo rat rough th
Rewired Reading Meet your new backpack. By Lindsey Kratochwill
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a steep discount: It varies by title, but can be about 40 percent of the price of a new, physical book. This past fall, with the help of Barnes and Noble and their NOOKstudy program, those 15 paperback books that history class assigned can also be found as eTextbooks. NOOKstudy is a free software that students can download to their computers, after
“IT’S DESTRUCTIVE INNOVATION, THE TRANSITION TO ELECTRONIC.” creating an account on BarnesandNoble.com (which requires a credit card number, but won’t bill anything until a purchase). While you don’t get the satisfaction of turning the page
(many e-books only allow you to print a fraction of the pages), NOOKstudy allows highlighting and sharing passages with others who also have the program. It also works only on computers, not on traditional e-readers like the Nook or Amazon’s Kindle. Depondt says that “real geeks will just love it—people who are familiar with learning new ways of doing things with technology.” Still, a large amount of people want that physical book and will probably continue to for a long time. The eTextbook percentage of sales for the bookstore isn’t huge, but Depondt says that it is a huge and surprisingly fast increase from last year. This shift towards more eTextbooks can be examined as a part of a larger shift in terms of innovations in teaching media. It’s going to be a difficult process, accord-
ing to Medill Assistant Dean for Research Francis Mulhern. The burden lies most on the publishing industry. The traditional textbook industry is very profitable in a way digital textbooks wouldn’t be. “They’re getting there, but they don’t want to cannibalize the sales of their textbooks,” says Mulhern. “It’s destructive innovation, the transition to electronic. It destroys the pre-existing business model.” We are there technologically, according to Mulhern. “It’s really ridiculous that people carry round these big heavy textbooks.” When considering whether or not to grab that card at the bookstore instead of lugging a pile of paper, ink and binding back to the dorm, Depondt says it’s important to know what you’re paying for. “Every book is different. It’s important to read the fine print and know what you’re getting.”
photo: emily chow
or your textbook to finally make it into your hands at the Norris Bookstore, it had to be published, printed, shipped back and forth to a warehouse a few times, shipped between stores, packaged, handled and stocked. It’s a rather inefficient process when compared with sitting at home, going to a website and buying a textbook that shows up on your screen — especially when the bookstore is sold out of that textbook you need for class tomorrow. eTextbooks have been available for larger books (think Intro to Psych or Chemistry textbooks, typically huge, hardcover horrors) for around three years. Charles Depondt, textbook manager for the Norris Bookstore, says with this “progressive program,” these titles are available to students at
The estimated cost of building the Tiny House
Downsizing This student housing project saves energy and space. By Rose Pastore
Top: Allison floor plan; bottom: Tiny House floor plan
The challenge: Create the smallest possible living area while using as few resources as possible. A group of McCormick students have designed a tiny, single-person house that produces its own electricity and clean water—and they’re building it in the Engelhart Hall parking lot. The team is building around a 128 square foot floor plan. The average double in Allison is 213 square feet. Tiny House began as a class project, and the team hopes that once it's completed, it can serve as a training ground for future McCormick students. Engineering freshmen could get their feet wet by designing small projects that will make the house better and more efficient. The house is scheduled for completion over spring break.
1 9 7 5 6 2
infographic: kat wong; external of house: tiny house project
8 1 Five solar panels on the roof charge three 12-volt batteries that can keep the house running for three days, even if there’s no sunlight. 2 The refrigerator and LED lights run on direct-current for maximum energy efficiency. There’s enough electricity for you to use a small electric stove, charge your laptop and cell phone and run other small appliances throughout the day. 3 The super-efficient faucet uses only half a gallon of water per minute, and it slides up or down depending on whether you want to shower or wash your hands. 4 The composting toilet breaks down all your waste into fertilizer. It needs to be emptied about every two weeks.
4.2 The amount of energy the house consumes. The average American used 19.9 kilowatt hours per day.
5 The bathroom is also the shower, so you need to cover the toilet and toilet paper to keep them dry while you bathe. And keep it under ten minutes, or you risk using up your daily allotment of 10.4 gallons. For future female residents, there’s enough room to shave your legs if you sit on the toilet.
6 Windows on opposite walls generate serious airflow in the summer, and a wood-burning stove heats the house in the winter. 7 The loft is a full size bed, and in case you were wondering, there is enough room to have sex. Don’t ask how they tested this. 8 From the 630 gallon water pillow, the rainwater is pumped through filters that use UV light to kill bacteria and activated carbon to remove impurities. A solar panel heats a glycol solution—basically antifreeze—that warms the water before it reaches the house’s one faucet. 9 Awnings collect rainwater that flows into a giant, flexible plastic bladder under the house. The dark colored awnings absorb heat, so in winter, they melt snow into usable water. northbynorthwestern.com | 23
saber-toothed cat Imagine how badass Willie would look if he were modeled after one of these. Sabertooths were about the size of modern African lions, but featured massive 7-inch canine teeth. These choppers came in handy when taking down prey, such as bison, elk, horses and the ground sloths. Unfortunately for wildlife biologists, but fortunately for campus safety, sabertooths have been extinct for about 11,000 years.
giant ground sloth The ground sloth was the size of an ox, could stand on its hind legs and could use its giant front claws to tear food from trees. A common species in the Midwest, Jefferson’s ground sloth is named after founding father Thomas Jefferson. After a colonel sent him some newly found foot fossils from the creature, then-Vice President Jefferson declared they were the remains of a new species of lion and warned explorers like Lewis and Clark to watch out for living specimens.
Our campus isn’t exactly a haven for wildlife. Even the most intrepid explorers will find little more than squirrels and songbirds—with perhaps a skunk or opossum thrown in for good measure. Millions of years ago, however, this area was teeming with the kinds of beasts you may have doodled in your elementary school notebook. Take a look at the prehistoric menagerie below, and imagine the fossilized footprints you may be following during your next walk to class.
infographic: gus wezerek
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arthropleura Ever been freaked out by a big bug in your dorm room? Arthropleura is a relative of the modern centipede and millipede that grew up to 10 feet long—it’s the largest known land invertebrate of all time. There is some debate among scientists about whether the creature ate meat or plants, but many believe it spent at least part of its time in the water. Arthropleura lived from about 340 to 280 million years ago, back when this area was likely covered in rainforest.
Long before University Hall was built, giant beasts roamed the Rock Quad. By Matt Connolly
Northwestern: a Prehistory american mastodon This colossus could be found roaming the Midwest from about 3.75 million to 11,000 years ago. Measuring in at 8 to 10 feet tall at the shoulder and weighing up to 6 tons— with tusks that reached 16 feet in length— mastodons likely traveled in herds and ate vegetation from shrubs and trees. While those long tusks are thought to have helped in stripping leaves and bark, scars found on tusks have led scientists to believe that males fought one another for females during mating season. Illinois is home to more than 30 mastodon fossil sites.
the quarter in culture.
Sip of Tradition A look at the green tea state of mind. By Alyssa Howard into the personalized preparations made for each ceremony. The artful atmosphere takes precedence over the act of drinking maccha, a powdered green tea. “The art of the tea ceremony is not how you drink tea, but how you present it,” says Sato. “Presenting the tea to my guest will give them pleasure, both in taste and spiritually.” Although the preparations may seem extravagant, the ceremony is all about conservation. From the host’s movements to the small size of a traditional tea room—about 9-by-9 feet—the ceremony operates on the premise that less is more. “You need to know how to do all this necessary preparation without wasting of your movement, your materials or of your time,” says Sato. “There is economy in every sense.” Through his studies, Sato has grown to better understand cultural aspects of the ceremony and remain independent of what he calls a “meoriented” culture. “When you are studying tea ceremonies, you are secondary—other people come first,” says Sato. “[You think,] ‘If I do this, what is my reflection to my guest, family or to friends?’ You are going to learn how to stand in this mechanized society as a human being.”
photo: jess chou
On the quarter system, we sprint through each 10-week stretch in pursuit of the best grades. But Shozo Sato, who has studied tea ceremonies for 58 years, says he still hasn’t graduated. “I’m now 77 and people think I’m a master of tea, but I consider myself still a student,” says Sato, who was a visiting professor with the Asian and Middle East Studies program. This comes from the man, who at 21, became the youngest person in Japanese history to receive his Ph.D in the art of tea ceremonies. Additionally, Sato has studied other traditional Japanese arts, such as kabuki, a classical genre of Japanese dance-drama. “I was a fine arts student, studying painting and calligraphy,” explains Sato. “Most of the people who study tea ceremonies start studying calligraphy, landscape design and ceramics once they have their diplomas, but I was already doing that.” Several art forms play
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“You should hear the music the best way you possibly can.” — sophomore justin lehmann
The audiophile’s guide to aural pleasure. By Laura Rosenfeld f ill-fitting earbuds are the best you’ve got, it’s time for an upgrade. It’s not difficult to get more from your music with the right equipment, but confusing model numbers and so much technical language can be overwhelming. Whether you want to turn it up to 11 on vinyl or get more bass for your buck, following these tips will take your listening experience to the next level.
RECORD PLAYERS For easier setup, get an automatic turntable. Click a button and the needle drops for you. Tim Bee, manager of Vintage Vinyl on Davis St., recommends the Audio-Technica AT-PL60 ($95, Amazon.com). “Your records are the real thing where the quality is going to show,” Bee says. The AudioTechnica model has a dust cover that keeps your records nice and clean. For the mobile student who still wants that vinyl sound, Bee recommends the Ion Audio iPROFILE to iPod DJ Conversion Turntable ($125, Amazon.com). A dock transfers your records to your iPod. The Technics SL-1200MK2 was perfect for DJs until the model was recently discontinued. Instead, try the comparable Technics SL-1200MK5 ($900, Panasonic.com.)
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photo: john meguerian
Headphones need to withstand the wear and tear of a busy schedule. Weinberg sophomore Justin Lehmann, who DJs under the name Brookah, has had the Bose QuietComfort 2 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones since the seventh grade ($400, Amazon.com). Wearing headphones for hours can get uncomfortable. Communication sophomore Jeremy Shpizner, who mixes audio for Freshman Fifteen concerts, recommends the “pillowy and delightful” Sony MDR-XB500 ($50.76, Amazon.com). Beats by Dr. Dre Solo High Performance Headphones bring out the bass in hip-hop music ($180, Amazon.com). “It’s a great investment if you’re using them in your house or for recording purposes,” Shpizner says. But the absolute best for recording purposes are the Sony MDR7506 ($130, Sony.com). If you are going to walk around wearing headphones, you’ve got to look good, right? The WeSC Bongo headphones come in every color imaginable ($20–$95, Amazon.com).
A Dauntless Debut Reviewing Divergent, 2010 grad Veronica Roth’s upcoming novel. By Julie Beck n Tris Prior’s dystopian Chicago, the icy waters of Lake Michigan are a distant memory. Beyond the giant marsh that has replaced it live the five factions, each based on a different virtue. Abnegation values selflessness; Dauntless, bravery; Amity, kindness; Erudite, intelligence; Candor, honesty. Their homes surround “the Hub,” yet another name change for the Sears-turned-Willis Tower. The El trains run without stopping. Only the Dauntless dare to ride them, jumping on and off from rooftops to get to their destination. In Veronica Roth’s debut young adult novel Divergent (the first in a trilogy), Tris is training to become Dauntless—an intense, cutthroat process ending with
photo: julie beck
Tris confronting her worst fears in a virtual-reality simulation called a fear landscape. Roth, who received a three-book deal from HarperCollins before receiving her Northwestern diploma last year, says Dauntless training was partially inspired by the competitive environment at Northwestern, and “what happens when competitive stuff eats away at you.” As Tris trains to take on her fear landscape, we catch glimpses of things that might lie in our own— corruption, loss, intimacy, war, failure, ambition taken too far. The five factions came out of a kernel of an idea Roth had in her Introduction to Psychology class freshman year, while studying group dynamics. “I started to wonder what would happen if people grouped themselves according to a
different definition as opposed to religion or age,” she says. But the divisions based on virtue turn out to be equally as dangerous, if not more so, than our current world order, and Tris finds herself torn. Strong yet fallible, Tris is a refreshing antidote to one-dimensional young adult heroines who are only concerned with summer romances, or why growing up is just so hard. But Roth also escapes the trap of writing the reactionary too-perfect heroine. While exceptional, Tris is still relatable. She is sincere but sometimes selfish, brave but sometimes vengeful and proud to a fault. But rather than passively observing events, she always takes control of her own life. “One of my problems with a lot of young adult heroines is that
they don’t make a lot of decisions,” says Roth. “If something good or bad happens to Tris, she has to be partially responsible for it.” Free will is tantamount to power in Tris’s world, and training is only the beginning. As the story hurtles toward a harsher-thanexpected ending, the importance of choice, and its consequences, becomes bleakly apparent. Roth viscerally portrays a world that is both foreign and familiar, showing us a fascinating yet alarming alternative to our society. She does it without relying on magic or mythical creatures. Instead, she uses the strengths and weaknesses of human nature to illustrate the blurry line between a thirst for knowledge and desire for power, between virtue and vice; fear and bravery. It comes down to choice, and when we are faced with our fear landscapes, the act itself of choosing bravery can make you brave. Divergent comes out May 3rd, 2011, published by Katherine Tegan Books, an imprint of HarperCollins.
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entertain and interested in getting what she needs,” according to Brayton. And since Maleficent is the villain, it doesn’t send the best message to would-be empowered females. English and gender studies professor Nick Davis offers another perspective, however. “Maleficent is the show-stealer… it doesn’t seem unsympathetic to her at all,” says Davis. “She’s like Satan in Paradise Lost—not the one you side with, but everything exciting comes from them.” In contrast, Beauty and the Beast (1991) is less ambiguous: Belle is entirely defined by the men for whom she fights—first her dad, then the Beast. Lady and the Tramp (1955) predicts a polarized view of the posh vs. the bourgeois. “It’s sad,” laments Kupetz. “You choose to be upper class and repressed, or free and wild but violent. What alternatives!” But a more recent film, The Princess and the Frog (2009), gets the most respect points with regard to gender roles. Tiana finds her man and follows her dreams of being a restaurateur. Her happily ever after is more than just a marriage and a household.
Sex and Mouse Ears Look a little harder into Disney’s magic mirror. By Max Brawer ven the most precocious child would struggle to find anything deeper than fairy tales and musical numbers in classic Disney films. But if you use your over-analytical college mind to deconstruct Disney, you’ll find a whole new world of adult themes beneath the surface.
(FREUD AND) SEXUAL AWAKENING
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FEMININITY AND GENDER ROLES Disney has a long history with princesses, but its attitude toward femininity is not fixed. Sleeping Beauty (1959) establishes a conflict between Aurora, a fair maiden dependent on a man’s kiss, and Maleficent, who is “self-directed
photo: john meguerian
Snow White (1937) was Disney’s first featurelength animation, and with a Freudian lens, it’s possible to view it as a tale of female sexual awakening. Picture her journey into the forest as an escape into her own mind. She awakens to find the seven phallic noses of the dwarves popping up in her bed. This is her moment of discovery. During the dwarf dance party, Dopey stands on top of Sneezy and dances with Snow White. Everyone hides when Sneezy sneezes from the bottomhalf (think about it), shooting Dopey into the rafters. Everyone laughs with relief, happy to have done the dance. This is a positive sexual moment for the young Snow White.
“I don’t think anyone would say you must interpret the film this way, but it’s another way of looking at it,” says adjunct instructor John Kupetz, who teaches film tutorials as a Communications Residential College faculty fellow and is a full-time English/journalism instructor at the College of Lake County. Film critic and Disney blogger Tim Brayton suggests a view that is less explicit, but similarly meaningful. “The dwarves don’t look like human beings,” says Brayton. “They are her first exposure to men and so non-threatening that she is then ready to be with human men. She has seen a more sanitized version of masculinity.” It’s unclear whether the subtext was intentional, but Freud had recently been translated into English at the time of the film’s release.
Perhaps no Disney film is as overtly sexual as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). Most of this tension comes from Frollo, the priest who lusts for Esmeralda. In his song “Hellfire,” Frollo admits that “desire is turning him to sin.” He cries that he wants to have relations with her, but would be sent to hell for breaking his vows. Instead, he resolves to burn her. Images include Frollo nuzzling Esmeralda’s scarf and grabbing at her breast. “Nothing else in Disney is quite as overt,” says Brayton. “It isn’t the subtext, it’s the text.” The message becomes more positive when his lust is contrasted with Quasimodo’s respectful longing. “One character is demonizing sexuality while the other is being rewarded for not getting worked up about it,” explains Brayton. “This is the movie’s way of saying, ‘lust isn’t bad, but feeling guilty about it is.’” Lust is still uncommon to Disney. In fact, only one female character explicitly shows lust—and does it in drag. Mulan (1998) sees Li Shang without a shirt and gawks at him. Sex persists through moments of blushing while bathing, a feature that “comes out of nowhere for Disney,” Brayton says. And before Mulan, Megara from Hercules (1997) was Disney’s only non-virginal heroine. It’s hard to say how much of this is just interpretation, but don’t assume that the animators and audiences back then were stupid, Kupetz warns. “It isn’t a question of what they intended. They made a movie, put it out there and it takes on a life of its own.” Revisiting movies means you can ask them for more than just a sing-a-long. “Good fairy tales should have a sense of awe, the real horrors and truth of life,” adds Kupetz. Next time, run a little psychoanalysis on your favorite characters. You just might learn something about yourself.
Making the Switch
Jones, Popovec and Cole’s combined college record, before coming to NU.
The women’s basketball team transfers are biding their time before they hit the court. By Josh Sim n any given night this season, Coach Joe McKeown will look to his bench and see six women ready to spell a break for one of their five teammates on the basketball court. On the opposite end sit two welldressed young women. Beyond occasionally clapping and mouthing words of encouragement, they sit and watch. And wait. Junior Kate Popovec and sophomore Anna Cole are transfer student-athletes and, per NCAA rules, are to sit out this season to be eligible to compete for the Wildcats next season. It’s hard to miss them; red-haired Cole stands at 6-foot-7, while Popovec comes in at a smaller 6-foot-3. Junior guard Tailor Jones pays no attention to the bench. Michi-
photo: can efeoglu
gan holds a tenuous lead, and little is going in the Wildcats’ favor tonight. By the evening’s end, she will have led the squad with four turnovers. But nary a year ago,
guard with the starters, while Cole matches up against star center Amy Jaeschke and Popovec plays defense against versatile sophomore forward Kendall Hackney. Popovec is all about heart and yeah this is fun but you re here soul, actively engaging anybody and to win to make this program everybody, especially better and to better yourself on the practice floor. Introducing herself prior to the interview, Jones was in that same seat at the she’s assertive and confident. Cole end of the bench. follows her lead, comfortable in Cole is a former Wildcat of letting the junior take point. Only University of Kentucky; Popovec a year into learning a demanding a Panther by way of two years at system, Cole appears tentative on University of Pittsburgh; Jones, a the floor, even hesitant. Jones is exFlorida native and former Florida pressionless during the drills, but Gator to boot. is aglow and passionately gestures During afternoon practice, all when describing her perspectives three are on the court. Jones plays Halfway through the period,
Jaeschke takes a wide open 3-pointer and drills it, with Cole late on the cue. Popovec later loses Hackney on a screen and gives up a long jumper. Towards the end, Jones loses her dribble and surrenders a possession. Such is the necessary adjustment period. When deciding where to transfer, Jones easily chose Northwestern over USC. The Trojans’ coaching situation was in limbo, and the allure of playing for a successful coach like McKeown was enough to sway her. “I just said, ‘hey, Northwestern has everything I need; I want to be a Northwestern Wildcat,” Jones says. With family in-state and having already adjusted to a college atmosphere, the second go-round was easier. “It’s unbelievable—I really felt at home the moment I stepped on campus,” says Jones. “It’s a family-oriented environment. I felt welcome, and I can definitely see myself here for the next three years.” Cole and Popovec, new best friends through the transition process, were courted by a number of Big Ten schools, but Northwestern was a perfect fit both in academics and coaching. “We have a great team and the coaching staff is really helpful,” says Popovec. “That’s what makes it hard or easy. The fact that the girls welcomed us with open arms made it a lot easier.” “We did turn to Tailor [Jones],” says Cole. “We asked, ‘how did you do this alone?’—because we want to help out teammates, and it’s difficult if you’re on the bench.” Next season, both Cole and Popovec will have the opportunity to make their marks on the hardwood, much like Jones has this year. Losing center Jaeschke to graduation places the burden on them both, but neither is fazed by the challenge. “Anna and I, we just want to step in,” says Popovec. “We’re not Amy Jaeschke. We’re Anna Cole and Kate Popovec, and we feel that we can come in and bang inside and do what we do and compete.” “This is your job,” says Jones. “Yeah, this is fun, but you’re here to win, to make this program better and to better yourself. Here, your blood and sweat is on that court, and this is what you live for.” As the team pushes toward their first NCAA tournament appearance in 14 years, Jones continues to play by that credo, while Cole and Popovec sit in the wings, watching and waiting. northbynorthwestern.com | 29
sports provides insight into the football world and social situation of the day. The headline of the article describing Carlisle’s victory over Northwestern, for example, reads “Our First Varsity Defeat: Indians Scalp in Blinding Snow.” Most revealing, the articles in the scrapbook almost always refer to Johnson as “the Indian,” or some sort of similar phrase (one article, for example, called him “the little Indian”). The articles include a number of phrases and cartoons that we would consider to be quite offensive today. There is no evidence to suggest Johnson was treated much differently because of his race at Northwestern. However, though he is believed by most to be a Stockbridge Indian, it now appears that history may have its facts wrong. Though Johnson’s mother was a Stockbridge Indian, it appears his father may have been black.
UNLOCKING JOHNSON’S ANCESTRY
Past Plays A recently acquired scrapbook raises more questions than it answers. By Stanley Kay n Thanksgiving Day in 1903, Northwestern University played the Carlisle Indian School in a football game at South Side Park in Chicago. Led by their star quarterback Jimmy Johnson, a Stockbridge Indian, Carlisle dismantled the previously undefeated Northwestern 28-0. But the following year, Johnson was suiting up to play in purple. Jimmy Johnson, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, has been dead for almost 70 years. But his life—both on and off the field—has been preserved in a scrapbook, which came into the possession of the Northwestern University Archives in September 2010. Underneath the story told in the decaying pages of the scrapbook is another tale, untold, in which Johnson’s Stockbridge heritage is not the certainty it once was. Though the scrapbook thoroughly details Johnson’s career on the field, it leaves more questions than answers about his life outside of football. The fact that Johnson
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was Native American would have been difficult enough at a mostly white school in 1904. But evidence shows that Jimmy Johnson may have been black, which would have been extremely rare for a college football player at a white school in the early 20th century. “This could not have been an entirely welcoming environment for someone who was not part of the Northwestern mainstream,” says Kevin Leonard, Northwestern University archivist. “There’s more to the story than just sports.”
A FOOTBALL LEGEND One of Jimmy’s descendants, Clarence Cameron, 69, of Madison, Wis., donated the scrapbook to the University Archives earlier this year. The scrapbook was most likely compiled by Jimmy’s younger brother Adam. The books eventually found their way to Cameron, Jimmy’s great-nephew. “I’m not a football fan,” says Cameron. “I’m interested in tracking his life.”
Leonard hopes that the scrapbook will increase awareness of Johnson’s career, which remains relatively unknown among casual football fans. “There’s probably hardly anyone around who knows anything about him, except those people who are historians of football, or the truly remarkable fans,” he says. Jimmy Johnson was born in Edgerton, Wis. in 1879 and was raised as a Stockbridge Indian. He attended the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania from 1899-1903 and played for its football team. Carlisle was very well respected nationally with Johnson under center; Walter Camp named Johnson an All-American in 1903. However, his football days did not end with his graduation from Carlisle, as at the time of Johnson’s career, graduate school students were allowed to play for their school’s team. After Johnson graduated from Carlisle and attended Northwestern to study dentistry, he was able to play football for the Purple. “I just hope people at this school and anyone interested in football history get something out of [the scrapbook],” says Cameron. “I’m glad that Northwestern has it.”
THE “LITTLE” INDIAN The recently donated scrapbook keeps Johnson’s story alive and
If Johnson was truly of mixed race, then it is doubtful that his peers recognized him as such. Being Native American in that time period was one thing; identifying as black was another. If people knew Johnson was even part black, he probably would not have had the same opportunities. Black players, for the most part, were restricted to playing football at black colleges until the mid-20th century; there were exceptions, of course, but black players were largely unwelcome at predominantly white colleges during Johnson’s career. It is difficult to pinpoint his father’s ethnicity; on the 1880 U.S. Census, Jimmy’s father, James A. Johnson, is listed as mulatto. His father was born in Tennessee, which would be an extremely unlikely (if not impossible) birthplace for a Stockbridge Indian—the tribe originally hailed from New York before relocating to the Midwest. James A. Johnson would have been born around 1848. The 1850 Tennessee census lists a James Johnson, that closely fits the necessary parameters, as the son of Freeman Johnson and Sarah Johnson (who would have been Jimmy Johnson’s grandparents). Though it is difficult to trace Freeman Johnson’s roots, the name “Freeman” was somewhat common for a free African-American in the age of slavery. According to Cameron, who
S has been trying to unlock the mystery of Jimmy’s genealogy, he has seen James A. Johnson listed as black, mulatto and white on three different censuses. Cameron—who is part white, black, Native American and Asian—hypothesizes that Jimmy’s father was black. Cameron’s research has indicated that James A. Johnson served with the U.S. Colored Troops in the Civil War; family photos also show James with darker skin than Jimmy, who probably looks more AfricanAmerican than Native American. But the Carlisle Indian School still listed Jimmy as a full-blood Stockbridge Indian, even though this was not the case. Somewhat oddly, Jimmy’s brothers and sisters were all listed as half-Stockbridge. Even so, Johnson would have been more of an outsider at Northwestern than at Carlisle. “It couldn’t have been all that easy for him,” says Leonard “Maybe he was just capable of dealing with whatever life threw at him.”
photo: ariana bacle
MYSTERY CONTINUES Even though the scrapbook chronicles Jimmy’s life on the field in excellent detail, it leaves some questions unanswered. We do not know why half of Jimmy’s ethnicity has been relatively unknown for this long, and we have no idea whether he experienced difficulty integrating with Northwestern’s largely white student body. His social life is relatively unknown, and Jimmy’s father, James A. Johnson, is an entirely separate puzzle. Mysteries surrounding Johnson’s life remain unsolved, and Cameron is still looking for answers. “He was an interesting relative and I keep trying to find a little more about him,” says Cameron. “And every once in awhile something just falls into place.” The library owns a number of scrapbooks, including several from former football players. But Leonard considers the Jimmy Johnson scrapbook to be the most interesting because of Jimmy’s complex story on and off the field, especially the difficulties he may have faced as a minority. But there is still much to piece together about Jimmy Johnson’s life. “It looks to me like a very uplifting story of a guy that must have faced some adversity,” says Leonard. “He just took the ball and ran, in football and in life.” northbynorthwestern.com | 31
Classrooms to Kegstands One staple, four ways. Photos by Justin Barbin and John Meguerian With so many things to dress for and so few quarters for the washer, whatâ€™s a worn-out Wildcat going to wear? Well, shut the closet door because NBN is here to show you how to style the same basic pieces for all your crucial outings. Bienen junior Marcus Shields is wearing a navy blazer from H&M. Bienen senior Jasmine Nagano is wearing a black French Connection dress.
styling: monica kim and sarah adler
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cardigan, BDG; jeans, Leviâ€™s; shoes, Steve Madden; watch, Timex
headband, J. Crew; shirt, Marc by Marc Jacobs; belt, anthropologie; tights, Hue; boots, Boutique 9
shirt, Express; tie, Jones New York; pants, H&M; shoes, Fratelli
headband, Urban Outfitters; blazer, Elizabeth & James; shirt, Joie; tights, Hue by Milly; shoes, Aldo
WALK OF SHAME
skirt, Lanvin for H&M; ring, Chanel; purse, Chanel; shoes, Michael Kors
underwear, Calvin Klein
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— advertisement —
ARE YOU A SNOB? OUR WRITER SPEAKS WITH THE ACCUSED. WRITTEN BY CALEB MELBY PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN MEGUERIAN
WEINBERG JUNIOR JOANNA POWELL
oug Kaplan sits on a couch in the living room of his house on Garnett. Two of his roommates Super Smash it out on the TV in front of us, peppering our conversation with angry shouts. Ezra Raez munches on a bowl of rice. Everyone in the room, myself included, is involved with WNUR, Northwestern’s radio station, in some capacity. The question I’m asking: Are we just a bunch of snobs?
ometimes I feel like a snob—about music, about beer, about movies. Medill professors tell me that you’ll stop reading if I assume things about you, but I’m going to anyway. I have an inkling that sometimes you worry you may be a snob too. And for good reason. A quick College ACB search of “snob” yields dozens of results—accusing people of being beer snobs, weed snobs, sorority snobs, children-of-rich-parents snobs. If someone hasn’t accused you of being a snob to your face… well, there’s always ACB. That being the case, I’ve never been one to trust angry rants cloaked in anonymity. But surely, at this bank-breaking, liberal arts degree-touting institution we are to call our alma mater, flush with kids from top-notch high schools, there must be snobs somewhere. Online accusations aside, if snobs exist, then at least some of them have to be here, right? The way we use the word is changing, and you no longer have to be a WASP-y trust fund baby to be accused. Which leads one to ask whether “snob” is the right word at all. Perhaps you’re an expert, an aficionado, a guru, a connoisseur. I decided to search for Northwestern’s snobs—to find out who they are, what they want, and to determine whether or not they’re really all that different from the rest of us.
ing to talk to, and in no way makes me feel bad for being born human. She expresses with quick hand gestures as she tells me about the horses she’s ridden in the past—Scooby and Daisy, to name a couple—and the offcolor personalities and quirky hi-jinks that she remembers them for. We’re talking in Crowe Café, over the loud grind of coffee beans. She remembers when her mother first asked if she wanted to ride. At 7, she was obsessed with animals and wanted to be a veterinarian. Powell describes being able to feel her face light up when her mother suggested the idea. She moves her hands to her cheeks—which have gone rosy with this memory—for emphasis. Competition is inherent in the life of an equestrian, but Powell says that’s mostly an auxiliary component to what she really likes to do, developing relationships with horses. “When you’re younger, horseback riding teaches you how to be confident,” says Powell. “You’re short. You’re 7. You’re in charge of making this huge animal do what you want. It’s an amazing feeling. You have the right to get what you want and to be in control.” In the process, Powell has found that she and her fellow riders have a lot in common too. Riders, she says, share a determination to better handle horses. They also share common values—among them, an unwillingness to be “wimpy”—that they developed as children through conquering their initial fears of riding. We discuss this politely at first, using code words like “shared values,” “common childhoods” and “committed parenting.” Then Powell gets candid. “It is definitely a sport that will attract the people who have the extra funds to support it,” she says after a few false starts. “So you do end up with a lot of people who come from very privileged backgrounds, because they can afford it, because it is an expensive sport.” Prohibitively expensive, as it turns out. “Lessons on the team are 40 dollars an hour, and I ride at least once a week,” says Powell. “Then you add in breaches and boots and helmets and however many times you fall you have to replace your helmet, and then your feet grow and you have to buy new boots… It’s not as democratic as basketball, [where] you have a basketball and a hoop and a park, boom, you’re done.” She’s grateful for the opportunity—and knows it’s not one available to everybody. “It comes back to the parents who let you commit the time to something you love. My parents would pick me up from school and drive me an hour, and the lesson could be an hour and a half, two hours, then an hour drive back. If I had parents who weren’t willing to spoil me, and if they weren’t willing to make a financial commitment to it, I would’ve stopped riding when I was like nine.” We both know that, in this instance, “willing” also implies “able.”
Kaplan turns his gaze from the onscreen battle to me. “I’m trying to find art in music,” he says. “If that makes me a music snob, then fuck everybody else.” “Why is it suddenly a bad thing to try and get really smart about something?” he asks. “Are you going to call the person who writes a book about all sorts of Supreme Court rulings a ‘law snob?’ No. You’re going to call him a professor. It’s time for a word revision. Instead of dissing us, you should celebrate us.” What would that word revision be? I ask. “Rock scholar,” Kaplan says. Then: “No, that doesn’t have a good ring to it.”
oanna powell has been riding
horses since she was 7, back when she lived in San Francisco. “I don’t like children,” says Powell, now a member of Northwestern’s equestrian team. “I’m not big into babies. But horses, there’s something about a horse that’s comforting. Horses make more sense. They have a sense of humor. They’re more dependable than people.” Despite this claim, Powell is totally engag36 | WINTER 2011
he folks at the northwestern
Art Review walk a tight line. Kari Rayner, publisher of the art criticism magazine, says they face a battle that members of art communities across the world face every day. It’s a battle between accessibility and originality, between palatability and boldness. She’s soft-spoken, which makes transcribing our interview a real pain. We’re in the Norris cafeteria, sitting next to that obnoxiously
loud group of theater kids in the southwest corner. Like Powell, Rayner occasionally uses her hands for emphasis. Unlike Powell, she wrings them when she’s not. NAR has been around for about three years, and its staff simultaneously strives for the blessings of the art community while trying to make art and criticism more democratic. There are barriers to this aim, primarily the academic, dense writing styles customarily associated with critical writing, something that Rayner, who grew up wanting to be an artist, knows her way around. “In order to be taken seriously as a group, as a scholarly organization, we need to use language that is up to par with what is expected of a scholarly art-historical journal, which is not going to be accessible to everyone,” Rayner says. The art theory and practice major says this isn’t a fight that all artists and critics are willing to rise up to. “It’s not a widespread mentality—trying to make your art accessible to everyone,” says Rayner. “You have to compete with other artists in this art world that’s kind of cut-throat in a lot of ways and very difficult to break into. You run a lot of risks if you try and make something too easily understood.” Rayner doesn’t think that NAR’s staff are snobs, and like Kaplan, she identifies contradictions in how people approach the expertise of different specialists. “You can be a cultural expert without lording it over somebody else,” says Rayner. “If you’re an expert in engineering—I don’t know anything about engineering—it’s the way in which you explain something to me. It’s about your tone and whether you’re being condescending. That’s what determines whether you’re a snob or not.” Halfway through our conversation, we’re joined by Betsy Feuerstein, NAR’s director of communications. She admits that there are snobs in the art world. Somewhere. “A lot of art critics are stuck in their ivory tower, or behind the flashy glass walls of the gallery,” Feuerstein says. This, coupled with the sometimes seeming inaccessibility of contemporary art, creates a general unwillingness in some individuals to take part in art at all. To properly gauge the value of contemporary art, Feuerstein and Rayner agree, you need a knowledge of art history, as well as a firm grounding in contemporary politics and society. Both are subjects of contemporary art critique and act as barriers of entry into the culture. But, I ask, if contemporary art is meant to comment on the plights of the disenfranchised, shouldn’t the art at least be accessible to them? “It’s such a dilemma,” says Feuerstein. “Does accessible mean likable? Because it’s not going to be likable to everyone.” It seems to be a gap in expectations—between what many believe art should be, versus the reality of the current state of art. “Some people will go into a museum expecting to see something that’s nice to look at and immediately understandable,” says Rayner. “If it’s not immediately understandable then it’s ‘something your 5-year-old could do.’ My dad has said that a million times: ‘you could do this,’ ‘my dog could do this,’ ‘anyone could do this.’ That’s not the point. They didn’t. It’s all about the idea.”
COMMUNICATION SENIOR DOUG KAPLAN
northbynorthwestern.com | 37
ould you be friends
with someone who listens to Nickelback? I ask. Kaplan takes a moment and focuses on the Smash battle in front of him. “I could be friends with someone who liked Nickelback,” the Communication senior says, “but I couldn’t let them play it in the room. I don’t want to pollute my brain.” The present WNUR collective has a good laugh at this. “I suppose that when you take such high stock in music as art, the stuff that is so blatantly commercial and unoriginal and pathetic… you just can’t buy the music that’s so commercial.” New, would-be rock DJs who arrive at WNUR go through rigorous training. The learning process involves apprenticing to another DJ for two quarters while attending weekly classes about different genres, eras and scenes. The station is dedicated to playing under-represented music, an endeavor that requires this sort of education. But sometimes under-represented bands make it: Wilco, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Walkmen, Wolf Parade, My Morning Jacket. Then their albums disappear from the WNUR library. On this point, Kaplan is unapologetic. “I like Belle & Sebastian pretty well,” Kaplan says. “I like Wilco really well. The Beatles were probably the best rock band ever. I love a lot of stuff that I could never play on WNUR. And I’m fine with that, because that’s not our format.” In 2009, WNUR’s stringent devotion to that format spurred Time Out Chicago to accuse the station’s DJs of mostly spinning “skronk” that “sounds like a toddler beating a guitar against an electrical transformer”—much to the chagrin of WNUR staff, including Kaplan, who prefers retro funk, soul and psychedelia to free jazz and noise. The format also acts as the raison d’être for the music education that WNUR DJs are constantly undergoing. In this vein, it is also the catalyst for any given DJ’s customized knowledge of underrepresented music—the source of a WNUR DJ’s real or imagined snobbery. Raez, the rice-munching roommate, offers a hypothesis for why music snobbery is so egregious— because music is personal. No one likes being told that their music is “bad.” Not even Nickelback fans. “We end up getting called music snobs because we take music really seriously,” Raez says. “If you play a sport a shitton, you’re going to be called a 38 | WINTER 2011
WEINBERG SENIOR KARI RAYNER
jock. If you’re in band, and you take it really seriously, you’re a band nerd. It’s just like anything else, you get really into something, people are going to look down on you.” “Who gives a fuck,” Raez adds, with a hurt tone that leaves me unconvinced. “Whatever.”
o one i interviewed
copped to being a snob—a title that they alternatingly used to describe people with inferiority complexes, insecurities, socioeconomic advantages or narrow perspectives. Now I wouldn’t know how I would define a snob if you asked.
Kaplan doesn’t want to be known as a snob. He wants to be known for what he is—a voracious consumer of music history. Powell, as far as I can tell, loves horses, not hating those who don’t. And Rayner doesn’t need critics for friends—just people who are receptive to having conversations about art. The thing we all hate about snobs—no matter how we define them, exactly—is that they write us off based on our interests, passions or tastes. Nickelback, Bieber, NASCAR, Dungeons and Dragons, Glee and Twilight fans can all attest to that. So can bros, rednecks, sluts and who knows,
maybe even hipsters. The thing about Northwestern’s art critics, DJs and equestrians? They don’t like being written off for their interests, passions or tastes either. I find it hard to begrudge them that. What’s missing, then, is an air of mutual respect—not between everyone, but between enough people to put the rest on edge. It’s a respect that says our time at Northwestern is limited, and try as we might, there are only so many areas that we can develop expertise in. It’s a respect that says “you do your thing babe, and I’ll do mine, and that’s all right.” Let’s find that.
the state of
t's 12:30 p.m., and students are gathered at the front of Ryan Auditorium. Some are chatting in huddled groups, surrounded by laptops. Others put the finishing touches on their first project. The assignment seems simple enough—create a 2D drawing—but it belies the complex graphics the students must design by quarter's end.
McCormick sophomore Leif Foged hunches over his computer, presenting his project. As professor Jack Tumblin climbs over chairs to evaluate work, Foged shows his animated ferris wheel, in which a man flaps his arms and waves as the wheel spins. It fits the parameters and fulfills the specific requirements. Still, Foged leaves unsatisfied. The class, called “Introduction to Computer Graphics,” carries Foged into a virtual world he has sought to explore since he was 5 years old, when his father purchased a Playstation. The first game he played, Final Fantasy VII, became his obsession, as well as his inspiration. With each relevant class he labors through, with every professor and colleague he talks to, he gets closer to achieving his dream: a job in video game development. northbynorthwestern.com | 39
“Being able to provide people with that fun experience is rewarding," says Foged. “You think, ‘My work made someone happy today.’” Though Foged has learned the nuts and bolts of computer graphics, the class’s strict parameters provide little room for creative exploration until the course’s end. As the school looks to create an interactive arts and entertainment module next year, feasibility comes into question. There was once a curriculum that combined art and programming, where aspiring filmmakers and programmers united to create animations and explore a digital world beyond code. It lingers on the School of Communication website and on antiquated Wikipedia pages, created by former students. Abruptly, it ended, as if no one heard of it in the first place. 40 | WINTER 2011
8-bit illustrations, pipe: gus wezerek; ground: wingsofahero on deviantart; clouds: intuitives on sxc.hu
t started in 2002. Ian Horswill, associate professor of computer science, and Marlena Novak, professor of art theory & practice, discussed the idea of an integrated curriculum in digital media between the School of Communication, McCormick School of Engineering, Bienen School of Music and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. Horswill developed an intensive two-year program through the Center for Art and Technology, where engineers and artists would learn the fundamentals of interactive media. “It wasn't a video games program, it was much more oriented towards fine arts,” Horswill explains. The progam would cover topics like visual and sound design, and film and art theory. Technical students would shift their artistic lens, while filmmakers would embrace programming. Three years later, the Animate Arts program was approved and slated to begin the next school year. But shortly after its launch, the hardships began. Horswill’s department, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science within McCormick, “decided it couldn't afford to participate.” Despite being a co-director, Horswill was pulled from the program by EECS—he could teach classes, but would not earn credit toward his teaching license. During this time, he taught six courses for the program, in addition to two classes for EECS. But then financial concerns arose. As a pilot program, the funding for Animate Arts ended last year. Instead of asking Central Administration for a renewal, the schools decided to shift directions.
“It seemed like the best course of action was to start to spin it down then,” Horswill says. The decision to end the program first reached students last fall, and those in their second year needed to complete their senior projects. As an adjunct major, or a “major on steroids” as Horswill describes it, students resumed their usual curriculum with little administrative problems. The program broke down into four core classes and a two-quarter senior project, in which students would work alone or with a partner on a topic of their choosing. To Horswill’s surprise, many students decided to take the route of the artist, individually producing their final project. “Probably they decided, ‘This is going to be my last chance to do something like this so I just want to go ahead and do it,’” he says. This was where the magic happened. Alongside her partner, McCormick senior Vanessa Shen used time-lapse photography to create a composition of people performing activities at different Evanston and Chicago locations—pictures of people holding balloons united to form a photoshopped community. “It's unfortunate that other students won't be able to experience it,” says Shen, who completed the program last year. The news shocked her, since she hadn’t heard of majors being shut down. Her brother, a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, participates in a similar program called Digital Media Design. “It was a really good opportunity for people to explore art from a variety of different mediums,” she says. “I understand there was a funding issue, and you can’t really argue with that. When the money’s not there, it’s not there.” Discussions about her studies became awkward lapses in conversation, depending on the setting. Sometimes, she identifies solely as a computer science major; at more relaxed times, she adds on the animate arts tagline. Shen was one of 14 students in the final graduating class, according to Barbara O’Keefe, dean of the SoC. Another difficulty for the EECS department was a lack of faculty. There are a limited number of professors with the right qualifications for classes that need specific skill sets, and those professors were overloaded very quickly. Horswill will be teaching “Real-time 3D Game Engine Design” this spring for the first time, though he acknowledges the department might not be able to teach a year-long sequence in game design without assistance. “A lot of students are interested in computer science specifically because it has much stronger ties to entertainment and the arts than other engineering,” says Horswill, “so they come because they want to work for Pixar, or for Electronic Arts, or they want to build their own iPhone games, or they want to work for Facebook. We don't really have the staffing in computer science to cover a lot of that.” At a time when the number of computer science majors has escalated dramatically, the path to exploring one's artistic creativity within the EECS department narrows down to one course: EECS 399, in which students pair with a professor to explore their own interests. For McCormick senior Ryan Reid and his mentor, Horswill, it gives him the chance to explore video game design, the career he hopes to pursue.
eid, who completed the Animate Arts program last spring, labors to create a video game engine with Flash. He is fluent in Actionscript, carrying an array of languages in his back pocket. He works in his room, during class, wherever and whenever he can. His independent project will feature shapeshifting companions in a two-dimensional space, who must solve spatial puzzles to advance through each level. With his friend Sisi Wei— who, along with Reid, has worked for North by Northwestern interactive—he edits each interface under Horswill’s direction to create a userfriendly environment for gamers of all ages. Reid started his independent study as a creative escape from his work in educational animation development. The past two summers he worked with Robert Chang, professor of material sciences and engineering, to create educational games to teach elementary school students about size and scale, as part of the National Center for Learning & Teaching in Nanoscale Science & Engineering. When the educational video game work didn't apply directly to his aspirations, he found different mediums to express his desires. He learned about the Animate Arts program from Horswill during New Student Week. Reid calls it luck, since it wasn't a very well-advertised adjunct major at the time. Due to McCormick’s strict scheduling requirements, Reid began the program his sophomore year. The foundation for the rest of his college endeavors arrived during the third core course on interaction and interactivity. There, he learned the art of Flash, which he now works with non-stop. Although it’s not the most powerful tool for programming, Reid says he prefers it for prototyping since it allows him to see results right away. But bad news came the next year when the program shut down. “Very early, everyone was excited about it. All the other schools had a lot of their professors invest a lot of time into it,” says Reid. "But I guess when time went on, for some reason they started pulling their professors out, teaching more classes in their respective schools." But through the whirlwind came a sense of solidarity. He finished the program, capping it with a Flash-based comic entitled “Re: Little Red Riding Hood.” The strip shows Red facing a big bad wolf virus that controls her computer and deletes all her information. Undeterred, Reid pursues independent projects and chooses courses that relate most to video game design, though that often means taking sparsely offered 395 classes. “I have a feeling if somebody came to Northwestern trying to get into video game design, they’d have a hard time finding exactly what classes would be useful,” says Reid. “I’ve had to design my own major in that I’ve really had to pick and choose to get anything related to video game design.” After college, Reid hopes to get involved with smaller independent game companies. In starting small, he wants to gradually gain recognition before moving forward in a profession filled with programmers. “I wish I had a lot more time to work on things I actually care about, rather than things I don’t,” he says with a smile. “But that’s kind of like how every student thinks.”
n the second floor of Frances Searle, Foged walks toward the couches. He works in the Collaborative Technology Laboratory, or CollabLab, a research group that studies and designs systems related to group interactions and communication. Foged's hectic schedule kept him from exploring Animate Arts before the program’s collapse. He now works 11 hours in the lab between classes, doing research on human-computer interaction. As a programmer, he works more on the day-to-day technical challenges of projects that include a study on massive multiplayer online games, the science of Wikipedia and eyetracking technology. “With things like game development human-computer interaction, your work is more geared toward ‘people are going to actually use this’ so you have to maximize their enjoyment,” says Foged. “The human element is definitely an appealing one.” Since his father had fostered a similar love of video games, Foged's elementary school days followed a pattern: school, homework, video games. Online PC games became his mode of expression and interaction with friends. Now, he concentrates on melding his creativity with methodical programming. Prior to his freshman year, Foged modified games and spent valuable time immersing himself in the environment, rather than learning how to create his own from scratch. It took an inspirational lecture on artificial intelligence to solidify his dream. "Whenever [the lecturer] was describing what it's like to create artificial intelligence that's fun to interact with, that's when I was thinking ‘That's legitimately awesome.’ It was a level above what I thought before," he says. Foged hopes to take the game engine design course this spring, putting him one step in the right direction. As options for specialty classes lessen, RTVF department chair David Tolchinsky, who led the committee that designed the interactive arts and entertainment module, seems to be paving the way to reintroduce interactive media at Northwestern. Though the search for staffing remains, the “major on steroids” that once was has transformed itself into a more concentrated curriculum—a module of what could have been. northbynorthwestern.com | 41
Solving Life’s Puzzles ] Non-sequitur advice fom Northwestern’s favorite experts. By Alessandra Calderin
COLLEGE & CAREER You have to look at where you want to go and what’s selling right now, what kinds of jobs are out there right now.—SMC It is more than okay that [students] don’t know what to do. [Those] that think they do know what to do are wrong, or will find that they’re wrong. There’s an inverse relationship between confidence in your career path and the likelihood that that’s the path you’ll actually take.—REM If [money and prestige] are really critical to your sense of self, then some paths might be better than others. If what
you’re looking for is a career that’s going to be really satisfying to you, then figuring out what you’re passionate about and going after that is probably the best thing to do.—MG There’s really nothing quite like [college]. It’s this amazing privilege and I just wish people would suck more out of it, just get everything they can out of it while they’re here.—REM [Don’t] be quite so impatient. You don’t have to take the superhighway all the time.—KS [Your major] doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the working world in the direct oneto-one kind of relationship people often expect that a major is supposed to do. Whatever your
L vide ook for os o f al inter view l of the s on line.
The keepers of syllabi and guardians of office hours know their shit. We know our professors are smart, but as it turns out, they’re also wise sages, filled with a diverse array of life experiences. During their pursuit of academic knowledge, they’ve managed to pick up a few nuggets of wisdom beyond what they dish out in lecture. Here’s what a few of our instructors can teach us outside of the classroom.
THE MEANING OF LIFE Life’s about giving. It’s not about taking. I think that’s why we’re here, to give to
major is, it will have other kinds of applications that will get you there, or not there as the case may be.—SP I think early on it’s a time to shop. People should spend their first year or two [of college] really aggressively shopping for different types of majors and activities that really give them a feel for what they like to do beyond just being a nerd.—MW
each other, to help others and if you don’t do that, you don’t celebrate life.—SMC I don’t think there is one. I think we construct it, and I think you’re a lot happier if you can accept that and create meaning for yourself.—REM These are ways of looking at life, but I don’t think we want them to be confining. I don’t think we want to say that to be fulfilled, every person has to fit a particular cookie cutter model of what it is to be.—KS I think the meaning and purpose of life, insomuch as there is one, is to try and do what we can to be helpful and beneficial to others and to reduce our selfcentered behaviors.—MG
our panel of advisers—and why you should care about what they say
William Irons Irons is a professor of anthropology who has done demographic and evolutionary research on pastoral nomads in northern Iran. He has published papers on the evolutionary foundation of morality and religion. 42 | WINTER 2011
Kenneth Seeskin Seeskin is the chair of the department of religious studies and the former chair of the philosophy department. He specializes in Jewish philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy and philosophy of religion.
Renee EngelnMaddox A senior lecturer in psychology, she researches the connection between images of women in media and women’s self-perceptions. She also studies motivation levels in psychology studies.
Mark Witte Witte is a distinguished senior lecturer in the department of economics. He specializes in macroeconomics and public finance, with a focus on consumption theory and topics in taxation.
Susan Mango Curtis A Medill assistant professor, Curtis teaches visual journalism to undergrads and graduate students. Her goal is to teach how to design in today’s changing technological landscapes.
Spencer Parsons An assistant professor of Radio/ Television/Film, he released a film, I’ll Come Running, from the Independent Film Channel. This summer, the film was screened on the Sundance channel.
Marcia Grabowecky Grabowecky is a research associate professor and adjunct lecturer of brain, behavior and cognition in the department of psychology. She studies attention and perception, among other topics.
THE POST-GRAD LIFE After college, unfortunately, your choices begin to narrow because you can’t just pursue subjects that interest you. You don’t have the room to experiment or pursue other interests. College is sort of the last time in your life when most
of the doors are open. That’s why it’s so exciting.—KS I worry about the phrase “play hard.” You should play consistently on a regular basis. But when I hear “work hard, play hard” that sounds like work too much and then drink too much. I
think that’s how people interpret it: work more than you can handle and engage in really unhealthy coping mechanisms on the weekend to recover.—REM [Life] gets better. It’s like wine; it gets better as years go on. You learn how to adjust and
become yourself.—SMC Everybody has got their own path they have to go through, their own crap, so maybe the best advice I can give is take your life seriously, and take it as it comes. Don’t expect anybody to give you the right answers, and don’t expect that anybody owes you anything.—SP You’ve got to keep thinking of new ways of looking at the world. You have to stop yourself from getting bored with the world. The only way you’re going to do that is to keep your mind active. You need a steady stream of new ideas, new concepts, new arguments and so on to challenge yourself.—KS The sooner you get the idea that you’re going to shape your own life and not let other people tell you what to do with it, the better off you’ll be.—WI Don’t waste time. Make sure when it’s time for play that you’re doing something that’s generally fulfilling. Don’t mix them up.—KS
LOVE & HAPPINESS A love with strong attachment and strings attached, my teacher would say, is conditional love. Unconditional love is not always easy because you need to be secure with yourself first. So romantic love, although exciting, this sort of passionate, I-can’t-live-without-you-kindof-love is not very healthy.—MG Enjoy the hormones because they don’t last. Make sure you have something for when they go away.—REM Don’t talk to your current girlfriend about your ex.—WI What is life without [falling in love]? It may happen early, it may happen late. If you haven’t
FORGIVENESS Genuinely forgiving does usually work out better, and it’s hard especially because you don’t want to get burned. What doesn’t kill you can make you bitter sometimes, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You have been damaged. You have to not be damaged again, and it can be hard. You can’t just kiss and make up.—SP The standards people have for themselves these days are somewhat destructive. There’s something to be said for doing the best you can and accepting that in yourself. The more you do, that the easier it is to
fallen in love, I think you haven’t really lived.—KS It isn’t just that you can’t be happy without being sad. It isn’t just a matter of contrast. It’s being in touch emotionally with the world you live in, and if you cannot experience and process some very serious sadness, I think that becomes a real barrier. Some of my happiest memories are actually quite sad. They’re about things that were very much not positive in that moment in my life, but which are important, intense memories for me. —SP I think you can put up with a lot if you feel you’re doing
something that is valuable to the world.—MW You’re not going to be happy all the time. Things are going to go wrong. We’d be all dead in the water without a sense of humor. You’ve gotta be able to laugh at yourself; and the other thing is low expectations.—WI You don’t need another person to make yourself whole. You need to be whole first because two halves don’t make a whole.—SMC
MISCELLANEOUS My model, my ideal, has always been Humphrey Bogart. I think everyone should see his films.—KS I think a lot of what happens in life is just luck. And don’t get down on yourself if things go badly. Because you can have bad luck, too.—WI In France they don’t [work through lunch]. You go somewhere, and you eat and you talk. And yeah, their salaries
forgive other people.—REM If it’s not part of your experience in life, then I think something very profound is missing. That’s part of what it is to be human, part of what it
are lower, and their places are smaller and they buy less stuff, but I think there’s something really light about that. They really know how to still enjoy life, instead of letting it pass you by in a whirlwind of work.—REM One of my most valued artistic experiences was seeing a production of Samuel Beckett’s Footfalls, which is excruciating. It’s a horrible play to sit through, and by the end of it, totally thrilling. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever seen, but while I was sitting there, I just wanted to escape that theater.—SP The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a book that I think about in different ways as I age. I read stupid books, too, like really
is to love. If you’ve never asked for forgiveness, I’d say you’re not a real person.—KS The best way to move beyond an injustice is to actually try and cultivate some feelings
stupid books, just because it’s pleasurable and there’s some research showing that that’s almost as good for your brain as meditating.—REM I’m a great fan of fiction. I know to some people reading fiction is a bit of a waste of time, but fiction is kind of, from a psychological perspective, it’s an opportunity to try on an alternate universe, an alternate life.—MG There are a lot of things you could be investing your time in that have nothing to do with beauty. I think the more time you spend doing that and appreciating the parts of you that are not about how you look, the better off you are.—REM
of kindness and compassion toward the person who has wronged us. Understand we’re all weak and make mistakes. Sometimes the things we do are very hurtful to others.—MG illustrations: alice zhang northbynorthwestern.com | 43
TEACHING TO LEARN Is the TA system doing us justice? Written by Katherine Zhu
rom a young age, Jason Johnson was intrigued by maps. Maps led him to history. History led him to a circle of desks in Fisk 111. Smiling slightly at the eight students in the classroom, Johnson opens his mouth to begin the discussion. “What did you take away from A Woman in Berlin? What surprised you about the book?” Johnson, a sixth-year history graduate student, is teaching a seminar titled “20th Century German Dictatorships.” There’s scattered silence for the first 20 minutes or so of the discussion, but after delving into the founding of the German Democratic Republic, all eight students are much more talkative. “Whenever you see the name 'democratic' in a country’s name, be nervous,” Johnson warns, eliciting chuckles from his students. Throughout the 80 minutes of class, Johnson skillfully guides the discussion, asking leading questions when the group clams up, throwing in a quip or two about life in East Germany and handing out political posters of the time. “Our goal is to get the most qualified student in the courses they’re best suited to teach and to prepare them to become college professors,” says Edward Muir, associate chair of Northwestern’s history department. Note: “Graduate student” in this piece expressly refers to Ph.D candidates, not master’s students.
photo: monica kim
44 | WINTER 2011
“They will typically serve as a teaching assistant—grading and running discussions—for two years. Afterwards, they are given the opportunity to teach a seminar of their own.” Johnson completed the proposal for his seminar in February of 2010, which included a general title, syllabus and list of readings. “People often propose courses closely related to their own field of research because it’s where your expertise is,” Johnson says, whose research centers on the “making of boundaries in modern Germany.” “It’s really important to make the students feel comfortable from the first minute in the classroom, otherwise it’s hard to have a good discussion,” he says. “I give my students primary sources from the period—political cartoons, film clips, diary entries—and let them react and form their own opinion. It creates a more dynamic learning environment.”
The System Every undergraduate student has to answer this question on the application: why Northwestern? There are plenty of reasons. Best in the Midwest. Number 12 in the nation, according to US News and World Report’s Best Colleges 2011 Rankings. Impressive statistics, by any measure. And on a smaller scale, the university boasts an equally prestigious classroom experience, as marketed by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.
You’ll learn from nationally and internationally recognized faculty who are passionate about teaching. More than 97 percent of undergraduate-level classes are taught by professors. Northwestern’s overall student-tofaculty ratio is an impressive 7 to 1. But at any given time, Muir estimates 26 percent of history graduate students are teaching outside of the history department. This is the number that matters, that is crucial to understanding Northwestern’s true classroom experience. And the fact that the majority of undergraduate classes are graded by a teaching assistant makes that whopping 97 percent even less solid. There is no overarching central management for teaching assistants; rather, the process of managing TAs in the classroom comprises what Senior Associate Dean Simon Greenwold refers to as a “micro market.” “The Graduate School is like the federal government,” says Greenwold. “The states are the individual graduate departments. Laws made by graduate administration will affect each state law, but the departments also have their own flexibility.” In Northwestern’s system of training, assigning and evaluating teaching assistants, there is no uniform policy. Beyond mandating a “teaching requirement” in the Graduate School, there isn’t much else, with respect to TAs, that comes from the administration. “It’s an important professional develop-
ment activity for doctoral students to teach here,” Greenwold says. “The difference in getting a doctorate in the United States versus elsewhere is learning how to teach.”
science, Witte says. Greenwold is pushing to give graduate students more agency in their assignments, an aspect of the Graduate School’s strategic plan he is currently working to implement. “Students in political science who are interwo ay treet ested in international affairs should be able to TA a global health class,” he says. “When TAs The student-TA dynamic forms a powerful are pulled from other departments, it’s a good relationship. Both sides have a vested interest thing for graduate students. The more flexible in cultivating, developing and maintaining a student is, the more marketable they are.” this relationship: Students work to learn As a result of the TA matching process, material, and don’t want to waste their time in many doctorate students are assigned to discussions if they do not advance this goal; classes outside their specific field of study, TAs develop their own pedagogic approach to which has happened to Khairunnisa Mohamfoster critical skills and analytical tools in their edali, a Canadian third-year political science students. graduate student. “American students are “The idea is that as customers of higher educagraduate students, we’ve tion,” says Greenwold. “They’re already developed the The college [Weinberg] demanding.” skills of critical reading and has long established For Medill junior Zach political science tools to unnorm that Warren, discussion needs to be derstand the material being TAs have to more “immersive” and should presented,” Mohamedali handle 120 teach material differently than says. “We then transmit undergraduates the professor. that information to the “I had one economics TA students.” per year. who would write out the probGreenwold champions —Edward Muir lem on the board, and tell us, this idea of teaching outside ‘This is what you do,’” Warren one’s comfort zone. recalls. “For the entire time in “We do a good job of discussion, he would work out the entire proborienting people when they come,” Greenwold lem, not even saying anything or explaining it.” says, referring to TA training. “The only advice “Good TAs don’t necessarily have to be the I got while I was a TA here was to make sure I smartest at what they’re doing, it’s all in the had enough water.” way you communicate it,” adds Medill sophomore Briana Keefe. “Sometimes TAs bring in crazy things, they know so much about what reparation they’re teaching. They need to take a step back and say, ‘What do I need to get across?’ and The Searle Center hosts an annual new TA ‘How am I going to do that effectively to people conference, which comprises various discithat don’t already know all the stuff I do?’” pline-specific workshops and is “highly recomRecognizing the need to bring undergradumended” for all first-year graduate students. ates into the larger conversation, the Searle The Graduate School administration does Center is in the preliminary stages of launchnot mandate this training conference across ing an “Undergraduate Teaching and Learning all the departments, according to Greenwold Committee,” according to Marina Micari, and Shyanmei Wang, program associate at Searle’s associate director for undergraduate the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. programs. Professors in various departments confirm “We haven’t really had programs for that graduate student attendance is “strongly undergrads that brought students from whole encouraged.” campus together to talk broadly about teaching “We want to create meaningful requireand learning issues—that’s the main underlyments, protocols and policies without being ing mission,” Micari says. “What makes for a overly prescriptive or uniform,” Greenwold good learning experience? Undergrads are one says. “It’s part of the fun and challenge.” of the primary consumers of learning, so they The conference allows participants to ought to be in the conversation.” explore “strategies and philosophies of good Micari envisions a small group of five to teaching while getting to know more experi10 students who would come to meetings and enced graduate students,” according to Searle’s have discussions related to teaching issues. website. Micari also hopes to compile stories of stu“It’s only one day long,” says Shu-man dents’ best learning experiences, which would Chen, a fourth-year religious studies graduate then be passed along to faculty members in the student, smiling sheepishly. “After that, I just Center’s workshops. started teaching.” The conference structure is as follows. New TAs will first sit through a brief orientassigning s tion and then have the opportunity to work with a Searle teaching assistant fellow from The system of assigning TAs resembles a less either their discipline or a closely related one, harsh version of sorority recruitment. Accordaccording to the Searle Center’s website. Each ing to Mark Witte, an economics professor, participant then selects from several concurit’s a matching process. Professors rank their rent workshops, which are facilitated by the choices in TAs, while graduate students make Searle staff, which provides time for “reflectheir own preferences. The two lists are then tion” and practicing techniques for teaching in matched up and compared. It’s not an exact the classroom.
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When in x department, do as x department does
“It’s very local,” says Greenwold, referring to the lack of administration-level mandates in the TA system. “What influence [the administration] can have at the local community level is diffuse. We’re working to create a kind of equity both across programs, and within them—for what TAs do and how they do it.” For example, all doctoral students in the sociology department are required to start their TA career with “Introduction to Sociology,” says Associate Sociology Professor Laura Beth Nielsen. But in the departments of political science, religious studies, economics and anthropology, no such teaching prerequisite exists. Tamas Polanyi, a fourth-year anthropology graduate student, emphasizes the process graduate students are undergoing in their education. “We are learning how to teach,” he says. “It is my job to help my students get closer to their goals."
The Report Card Not all undergraduate students voice their feedback so openly. Currently, the only universal evaluation method for teaching assistants are CTECs (Course and Teacher Evaluation Council), which, in addition to their tendency to gravitate towards love or hate, are really more of a “popularity contest,” says Rachel Ricci, a Searle graduate assistant in her fifth year of political science studies. No other comprehensive evaluation technique is in place for teaching assistants. CTECs are administered at the end of every quarter, which can prove useful for teaching assistants in their subsequent classes. Johnson says he relies heavily on the CTEC results when applying for jobs. The economics department has a “pretty elaborate system of rewards and probation for TAs based upon CTEC scores,” says Andrew Warne, a fifth-year history graduate student. The problem with this form of evaluation? All the feedback is not translated in time for the course of a class: there are no midterm CTECs and no comprehensive mechanism that requires professors to observe their TAs in the classroom. Nielsen admits that as a professor, she should be sitting in on her TAs’ discussion sections, but “never gets around to it.” “We need to make sure TAs are evaluated properly,” says Greenwold. “Through programs like class visits, we can get both qualitative and quantitative metrics. We don’t do enough now.” For a more in-depth evaluation, TAs can always turn to Searle, an “underutilized resource,” Ricci says. The teaching center offers a program titled “small group analysis,” which comprises a mid-quarter evaluation of a TA’s discussion section. Small group analysis involves a Searle consultant collecting early feedback from students. The process typically takes between 20 to 25 minutes at the end of a class. Searle also offers various TA workshops throughout the year to address key learning problems within and across their disciplines. 46 | WINTER 2011
: udy e st cas tory his ment art dep
History has led
changes in the university, says Edward Muir, associate chair of the history department. They invented freshman seminars, undergraduate research seminars and most recently, they’ve led reforms for decreased discussion section sizes (from 25 students to 17-18). “Our department has a collective attitude, and we want to talk about how we continue to make teaching effective. We see it as a collective endeavor,” says Muir, who assigns TAs to classes. On assigning TAs: “It’s a complicated puzzle. I send out a form, asking for students’ major fields and specializations. I find out what they like to teach. Then I make a big grid, and make it fit together somehow.” On training TAs: History hosts workshops and discussions about teaching, like ”how to give a lecture.” The department has also gathered TA resources, compiling a massive “Teaching Binder.” On evaluating TAs: “We encourage professors to visit their TAs’ classes, and advisers to visit their students’ classes. We also have a rewards structure.”
The Deep End Ian Savage, responsible for assigning TAs in economics, characterizes TAs as falling into several categories: inexperience, the “middlelevel” and the top-tier. In order to provide an extra incentive for the middle-level TAs, Savage, a distinguished senior lecturer in economics, points to the department’s rewards system that encourages extra effort. What happens when a TA is not meeting expectations? Savage is firm about the standard to which all TAs are held, and if this standard is not met, graduate students will be let go from their teaching positions. “We have a probation system in the department,” he says. “The threat of expulsion is enough to make the bad TAs shape up—if you reoffend, we would let you go, as far as being a TA.” To Savage’s knowledge, only one student in 15 years has ever “fallen over the edge," an affirmation of the TA system's successes. “You have to measure not only the number of people put to death, but also the number of murders that don’t happen."
Future Steps It may be unrealistic to expect a highly centralized, top-down system of authority when it comes to teaching assistants. The fact is, according to professors like Muir, Savage and Witte, that every department has their own needs. The specifics of guiding a history discussion section differ greatly from running a chemistry lab. That said, Greenwold and his administration recognize the need to step
: udy e st cas omics n eco tment ar p de
Economics does things differently, says Ian Savage, who is responsible for assigning TAs in hthe economy department.
On assigning TAs: “We put out 45 TAs every quarter,” says Savage. “It’s a big matching process. TAs tell me what classes they want, faculty tell me what TAs they want. The third constraint is that graduate students have to take classes of their own.” On training TAs: “For a typical class, we have experienced and novice TAs working together, so they learn from each other. The formal training is through Searle.” On evaluating TAs: “I’ve never sat in on a TA’s section,” says Savage. “I don’t want to micro-manage them, but I do micro-manage in the sense that I send out lesson plans.” For new TAs, the department conducts a mid-quarter “informal evaluation.” Savage says he uses CTECs to detect both good and bad TAs. “In the early ‘90s, we set up a system whereby a top third of our TAs get recognition with certificates and a professional society membership we pay for.”
up and facilitate certain aspects of assigning, training and evaluating TAs. “The experience of TA-ing isn’t radically different," he says. "Erratic as faculty members are—some take mentoring more seriously—the teaching experience will be different.” Warne, who is also a teaching fellow of the Searle Center, used “The Teaching Binder” to increase inter-departmental communication. “The Graduate Teaching Group has representatives from seven to nine South Campus departments,” Warne says. “I sent them to a questionnaire about TA practices and compiled their answers in a report." Warne says the group’s members agreed on two points for future improvement, which centered around standardizing expectations for TAs. “We need to find a systemic way to evaluate TAs within their departments,” he says. “We also wanted to implement something like the history department's resource collection—lesson plans, strategies for leading discussion and grading.” “It’s a totally decentralized system, and there’s not much anyone can do,” Warne says. “Even within departments, people are hesitant to make top-down requirements—hesitant in part because of all the responsibilities TAs already have, and in part, because teaching is not yet as central in the culture of the university as research is. Everyone says teaching is important and we need to emphasize that. But the cultural values of the academy need to change."
Wonder how international TAs fit in? Check out northbynorthwestern.com for the full story.
one last thing.
We Are All Grape Juice A writer’s search for personal perfection By Nick Castele all me a hand-crafted man. A man who—in an assembly-line land, in a buy-in-bulk land—values the kind of work that needs time and sweat. Like carpentry. Or writing. But that cuts a bit to the left of the truth for me. Because where writing is concerned, I am becoming a machine. One that hums at all hours of night and sucks a fuel of taurine and caffeine. One that sputters and backs up the supply chain. One that whirs so fast it thoroughly ruins the product. Back in October, I emailed the man who turned me onto this craftsman kick. He taught me English for two years at an all-boys high school in Cleveland. Tall
I received a response message from him a month later. He was never one for electronic mail. “Thank you for the kind words in your e-mail of 10-20-10,” it began. “When you do get home, please contact me at school. I want to treat you to a beer!” In December, I climbed to the fourth floor of my high school. He was in the English department office, door locked behind him, typing at a computer. It was the last day before winter break—a half day—and the rest of campus were cheering at the annual seniors-versus-faculty basketball game. Not him. He was applying for the school to go to a Junior Council on World Affairs summit. He let me in and apologized for holding me up. He just had THEY FORESWORE SEX, SHARED POSSESSIONS AND to send this off, then we could drink. BUILT ALL FURNITURE BY HAND. THEIR STRAIGHTBut instead we BACKED CHAIRS—SIMPLE, STURDY, FIRM—OUTheaded back to his LASTED THEM. THEY ARE THE GREATEST OF CHAIRS. classroom, where he had some more work to finish, and and skeletal, he barked at the class like a his cubbyholes confronted me. They drill sergeant. He put us through gramstood behind his desk, half a man high, mar boot camp. He called himself the 4 or 5 feet long. Dozens of small wooden Grammar Hammer. caves stocked with student essays, scantWe had not seen each other in two rons, college recommendations yet to be years. I wrote that I was following up sent. They helped him manage his work, on an old promise: When I turned 21, he but they also managed him. had said, we would have a beer together A student dropped by with questions and shoot the shit like old pals—on him. about a college essay. My teacher seemed I typed deliriously around midnight, weary. He was coming down with a cold. looking ahead at the homework I knew I On the last day before break, the work would half-ass before flopping into bed would not let him leave school. for a few hours. I sent the email, seeking It was not until later that I began to spiritual guidance. think that I had become him—and in an On the first day of class freshman unexpected way. That maybe we were year, he held up a photocopied image of a not the craftsmen we wanted to be. We chair. This chair was made by the Shakwere men who shaped their work with ers, he told us, an 18th- and 19th-century care, yes, but also men who were shaped sect of utopian Protestants who founded by the machines of their own workload. communes across the Northeast and Each night I type until near sunrise. Midwest. They foreswore sex, shared Each night I pour grape juice, hoping for possessions and built all furniture by wine. And maybe the typing preoccupies hand. Their straight-backed chairs— me more than the words themselves. As simple, sturdy, firm—outlasted them. long as I keep sanding and hammering, I They are the greatest of chairs. will not have to worry about the quality He tacked the image above the of the product. The furniture rolls in and chalkboard and demanded we shape our out with no end. work with the care of a Shaker craftsNot even the Shakers built without man. Whether we understood it or not, it flaw. An 1823 Shaker manifesto conwas now our job to cleave to the Shaker cluded with this warning about perfecmotto: “Put your hands to work and tion: “Such a state never will be attained, your hearts to God.” neither in time nor in eternity. He preferred to use his own update We walked to a Belgian bar through on the adage, though: “Fine wine takes Cleveland snow, two tired craftsmen, time, men. Don’t give me grape juice.” distracted by our chairs.
illustration: moinca kim
northbynorthwestern.com | 47
Head to centralcitytower.com to learn why Charles and John prefer their “unorthodox” way of coloring Project 0.
One man’s experiment in wordless storytelling. By Shaunacy Ferro
Come the end of finals week, Charles Agbaje won’t be sleeping off this quarter’s adventures—he’ll be drawing new ones. Agbaje will be selling his work at Chicago’s upcoming comic expo, C2E2. The Communication junior collaborates on an online graphic novel, called Project 0, with his brother John, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re trying to turn this from a hobby into being an actual craft,” Agbaje says.
Their other series, Spider Stories, is an experimental animation project that Agbaje created for his animate arts class last year. Agbaje wanted to tell his story using the way the eye tracks naturally across a page, rather than panels or words. He looked to West African folk tales, like the ones he heard from his Nigerian parents, for a simple tale that could be told with only a soundtrack. Spider Stories centers around a magical talking drum.
“People would use [talking drums] to communicate ideas,” says Agbaje. “People would be able to understand what you were saying based on the way you played it.” The digital animation moves through a series of full color murals without cuts. Agbaje says he plans to adapt more folk tales. “You often don’t see a lot of fantasy stories or cartoons or heroes that come out of an African tradition,” says Agbaje. "It fills a niche that’s not really established.”
illustrations: charles agbaje
48 | WINTER 2011
E Escape from Tech Can you survive spring break locked in? By Sean Kane
break into tech express and eat all the doughnuts monday
Playing with science, someone locked the doors! It’s spring break, so you must fend for yourself in escape from tech.
wednesday Pass out for two days in a doughnut coma. Now: find shelter.
First, you must secure some food.
build a lodge out of chicken wraps assemble a tent out of lab coats
Your lodge collapses on you, killing you in an instant. An instant that smells like creamy parmesan dressing.
find a lab and make food with chemicals
you died become the rat king
Pass out for three days. That chemical goulash did not sit right. The voices are speaking to you.
build a shrine to the voices
you should go dance in lr2
saturday All of the sudden, your entire Modern Cosmology class from freshman year is here! Why has Smutko transformed into a satyr? And that cutie you always sat next to is horrifying now. Horrifying! You’re stuck here for two days.
naturally, you cover yourself in war paint
What’s your shrine going to be made of? Don’t mess this up. DO NOT MESS THIS UP.
Thanks to that political science course, you actually turn out to be a pretty good rat king.
build a shrine for the chemicals out of chemicals
Unfortunately, the fumes overcome you and you expire. Don’t accidentally do drugs, kids.
friday A chemistry professor uses his key to get into the building to do some work. He sees you sitting on your pizza box throne. Luckily your intelligent rat minions eat him. Problem solved.
pile the chairs up and light the chair pyre on fire—the chemicals would love that
monday The pyre engulfs everything. Good thing you escaped just in time. And took off all of your clothes. Because everyone just got back from break. And that chemical acid trip is wearing off.
Sweet tent, bro! Get a good night’s sleep.
Good thing you got some rest because the lab rats have become sentient! How will you fend them off?
fashion a flame thrower with a bunsen burner and an aerosol can friday
SET THOSE RAT FUCKERS ABLAZE! Cool, now you have more food.
you died monday Luckily, everyone comes back from break that day and finds you playing Lord of the Flies... with yourself.
saturday Unfortunately, the rats decide to form a democracy, and there is little space for a rat king of a different species, so they overthrow you and eat you. Sentient rats sure do love eating people. you died
sunday A janitor unlocks the door at the end of break. He catches you eating rat meat. A lot of rat meat. you survived northbynorthwestern.com | 49
Summer is a great time to catch up, get ahead or try something new. 4 Choose from more than 300 courses
4 Immerse yourself in an intensive language or science sequence 4 Earn transfer credit and fulfill major and degree requirements 4 Enjoy summer on Northwesternâ€™s beautiful lakefront campus
Registration opens April 4. Classes begin June 20. 50 | WINTER 2011