NYU’s Daily Student Newspaper
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS Vol. 41, No. 2
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013
Stackable apartments indicate future for city living By EMILY BELL
New Thai restaurant promises authenticity Qi Thai Grill in Williamsburg hopes to reinvent its customers’ view of Thai food. For those familiar with basic dishes like pad Thai and pineapple rice, expect a new fusion twist that does not veer too far away from beloved Thai ingredients.
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‘Gatekeepers’ sheds light on Israeli secret service By JORDAN AXELROD
A known terrorist is within your reach and in a moment he can be killed. A man who threatens the safety of your nation can be stopped forever. He sits in a car alongside two others. Are they terrorists as well? If you fire, you may slaughter two innocent people. If you do not, three criminals could continue to plot against your homeland. The subjects of Dror Moreh’s
The hunt for an affordable, off-campus apartment may be a bit easier by fall 2015. As part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan, a pilot project created to solve some of the city’s housing shortages, a new building featuring 55 micro-apartments will be constructed in the Kips Bay area within the next few years. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development commissioned adAPT NYC, a competition among architectural firms to design an efficient micro-apartment. The DHPD received proposals from many architectural firms. A team composed of Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS won the competition with their “My Micro NY” proposal, which includes apartment designs for oneperson and two-person households. “The remarkable number of high-quality responses to the adAPT NYC [request for proposals] validates the position that developing micro-unit living is both financially and physically feasible in the New York City landscape,” said Matthew M. Wambua, commissioner of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, in a press statement. “It’s about creating choice for people,” George Tsiatis, a spokesman for Monad-
Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Gatekeepers” have faced these types of dilemmas throughout their careers. In this film, six men (Ami Ayalon, Avi Dichter, Yuval Diskin, Carmi Gillon, Yaakov Peri and Avraham Shalom) — each a former head of Israel’s secret service, the Shin Bet — speak of their work in front of a camera for the first time.
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NYU freshmen venture to try every venti By BRYNA SHUMAN
For CAS freshman Brynn Sherman and LSP freshman Cassie Wuest, no distance is too far for a caffeine fix. In September 2012, after a class trip to the Brooklyn Museum turned into a desperate search for an afternoon Starbucks pickme-up, Sherman and Wuest decided to launch “185 in 1460,” a blog that allows them to explore
their new home in New York City while sipping their favorite drinks. The blog’s name reflects their goal: visit all 185 Starbucks locations on the island of Manhattan in 1,460 days, which is the approximate number of days they have left at NYU. “I think the idea may have started as a joke, but then we realized that it was logical to combine our
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COURTESY OF CASSIE WUEST AND BRYNN SHERMAN
Freshmen bloggers sip Starbucks coffee at the Met.
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It’s a big city and a widespread university. Catch up with our daily updates on university and city/state news headlines other publications are covering.
“MATISSE: IN SEARCH OF TRUE PAINTING” The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s newest modern art exhibition explores the process behind the works of Henri Matisse. Matisse’s creative process, both fascinating and markedly imperfect, is notable for its persistence and meticulousness, and the exhibition illustrates the elaborate thought process that goes into even the simplest pictures. — Alex Greenberger EMBRACING EMBROIDERY No, I’m not talking about the cross-stitch pillows you find at your grandmother’s. From southwest-inspired patterns on jeans to intricately threaded loafers, embroidered designs are swiftly gaining popularity on both the runway and the street. — Alexandria Ethridge “DON’T TRUST THE B---- IN APARTMENT 23” Just because ABC recently caneled the show doesn’t mean viewers should skip out on “Apartment 23,” one of the most hilarious and unique comedies of the decade. With terrific chemistry from its leads, Krysten Ritter and Dreama Walker, as well as an outrageously meta performance by James Van Der Beek as himself, find out why this show was so adored by those who watched it — and how wrong most of America was for refusing to tune in. — Jeremy Grossman
Visitors walk alongside a reflection pool while touring Washington, D.C.
PHOTO BY JONATHAN TAN
HANQING CHEN Deputy Managing Editor
JORDAN MELENDREZ Assistant Managing Editor
NICOLA PRING COLD WEATHER BECOMES NEWEST CRIMEFIGHTER Even though many residents in New York state are happy the cold weather is subsiding, the frigid temperatures were beneficial. The New York Police Department announced a record-setting zero homicides in New York City from Jan. 16 to Jan. 23. — Huffington Post
KALEEL MUNROE SENIOR STAFF
university TATIANA BAEZ city/state VERONICA CARCHEDI investigative NICOLE BROWN arts JOSH JOHNSON features KRISTINA BOGOS sports MARY JANE DUMANKAYA multimedia RACHEL KAPLAN copy MICHAEL DOMANICO,
WICY WANG foreign correspondent JULIE DEVITO senior editors GENTRY BROWN, DAN
HINTON, CHARLES MAHONEY, CLIO MCCONNELL, STEFAN MELNYK, LAVYA YALAMANCHI
NERF GUN SHUTS DOWN BRONX SCHOOL P.S./M.S. 4 Crotona Park West went into a temporary lockdown on Tuesday, and police were notified that a student was rumored to have been talking about a gun to friends. But it was later discovered that he was referring to a toy Nerf gun. — DNAInfo
university KEVIN BURNS, NEELA QADIR city/state EMILY BELL, ANDREW
KARPAN books/theater OLIVIA GEORGE film JEREMY GROSSMAN entertainment ALEX GREENBERGER music ALEXANDRIA ETHRIDGE the highlighter blog SAM RULLO features HELEN HOLMES beauty & style MICHELLE LIM dining ANGEL CHANG sports FRANCISCO NAVAS multimedia REBECCA CLEMENTI,
KEEP ONE HAND ON THE HORN Because of a 63 percent decrease in car horn noise violations in the city since 2008, the New York Department of Transportation will be taking down all “no honking” signs throughout the city. — New York Daily News
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FLOOD ZONE DESIGNATIONS EXPAND POST-HURRICANE SANDY The Federal Emergency Management Agency has updated New York City flood maps to reflect post-Sandy damage assessment, expanding danger zones to cover an additional 35,000 homes in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
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NO PICTURES, PLEASE As taking pictures of restaurant dishes becomes more popular among young people, New York City chefs are beginning to voice their opposition. Some restaurants are considering banning customers from taking pictures of their food, which has sparked debate among Instagram and Twitter users. — Today
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MAXIMILÍANO DURÓN, JAEWON KANG, FRANCIS POON, MERYLL PREPOSI, AMANDA RANDONE, EMILY YANG About WSN: Washington Square News (ISSN 15499389) is the student newspaper of New York University. WSN is published Monday through Thursday during NYU’s academic year, except for university holidays, vacations and exam periods. Corrections: WSN is committed to accurate reporting. When we make errors, we do our best to correct them as quickly as possible. If you believe we have erred, contact managing editor Amy Zhang at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212.998.4302.
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Independent textbook exchange comes to NYU By TATIANA BAEZ
A new independent textbook exchange company is expanding their services to NYU this semester. A self-described “campus exchange ecosystem,” Textbook Friend allows students to trade course materials with other students in the same university. Managed and operated by Vivek Menon, a student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, the company’s main website Textbookfriend.com links to independent sites for different universities. CEO and co-founder Karan Parekh said that the company allows students to correspond and directly transact with other students without an expensive middleman like a school bookstore or online seller. Currently in use at 60 other universities including the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, the University of the Sciences and Temple University, the company first launched at the University of Pennsylvania in November 2012. Parekh explained that NYU’s prestige attracted the company as it considered its next site of expansion. “Not only is NYU one of the largest universities in the nation, it is also one of the most recognized and will allow us to build a national presence,” said Parekh. LSP freshman Naphtali Brooks, Gallatin senior Justin Pinderhughes and Stern sophomore Max Wiseltier are operating the NYU chapter of Textbook Friend. Together, they will work to integrate the company into the NYU community and reach students through social media platforms. “The end of the semester scraping-forcash ritual, especially around the holi-
days, is familiar to countless students. We as college students need a service we can turn to instead of being pigeonholed by buyback programs,” said Justin Pinderhughes, head of marketing for NYU Textbook Friend. Naphtali Brooks, head of marketing and operations for the NYU chapter, believes that what sets Textbook Friend apart from the many available textbook exchange programs is that the company caters directly and specifically to students within one university. “Our competitors might have similar ideas, but none of them are working directly with colleges. We are college students and we understand the needs of other college students. We are not removed from the situation, but rather are living through it on a daily basis,” Brooks said. The site also includes a platform where students can discuss courses and professors with each other, further centralizing the academic experience for students. NYU students welcome the new service. “The idea will probably be really successful at NYU because students are always complaining about the tuition and the high cost of living in the city. This way, students can pay a small amount for books and make money back quickly, and not have to worry about running low on cash because of textbook costs,” said Tisch sophomore Ryan Miller. By the end of the spring semester, Textbook Friend will have a presence in almost 40 schools nationwide, serving over 500,000 students. Tatiana Baez is university editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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Micro apartments present affordable housing option for college students
nock Development said of the design. “It’s also about creating a dialogue about how space is used and how to deal with growing population density in New York City.” Of the 55 units constructed, 40 percent will be affordably priced, with rents beginning at $940 per month. Each will measure between 250 and 370 square feet. Normal zoning regulations requiring apartments to be at least 400 square feet will be waived for this pilot project. “We were working with constraints given to us by the city. These units are per code and per [the Americans with Disability Act] code as well,” said Ammr Vandal, a project architect at nARCHITECTS who worked on the design. “But the design feature that we were quite interested in is that we, as New Yorkers, understand the need for storage, so there is 16-foot linear overhead storage in apartments.” The design concept features two parts: the box, which contains the bathroom, kitchen, storage and living essentials and the canvas, or main living space. Each unit features nine to 10-foot ceilings and a large window, which can form a Juliet balcony. In addition to the micro-apartments, the Kips Bay building will include community spaces such as a sky-lit gymnasium, a rooftop garden, a full-service laundry room and a flexible space for performances and rehearsals. Tsiatis said these amenities are intended to open a
discussion about turning New Yorkers’ focuses on community spaces. “Many people, especially when they first come to New York or they’re straight out of college, find that they don’t actually spend a lot of time at home,” Tsiatis said. “The amount of space that they need for those parts of their lives that are intensely personal and behind the doors of their home is not as much as they thought they needed.” If the building model is replicated in the future, it could be a source of offcampus housing for NYU students. “I think the new apartments will provide a great alternative for students seeking an affordable and year-round alternative to NYU housing while still being able to live in a safe area of Manhattan,” CAS freshman Laura Adkins said. “I think the [‘My Micro NY’] design is really good,” said Steve Spett, co-owner of Resource Furniture, a furniture showroom in Midtown. “It’s an interesting concept in a building because it’s a prefab building so most of it is assembled off-site and then brought in to place.” Models of the winning design are currently on display at the Museum of the City of New York on 103rd St., located at 1220 Fifth Ave. Emily Bell is deputy city/state editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Database provides strategies to nurture toddler minds By KEVIN BURNS
A new data-structure system lead by Steinhardt doctoral candidate John Protzko and supervised by Steinhardt professors Joshua Aronson and Clancy Blair called “Database of Raising Intelligence” seeks to evaluate and compile the most effective ways to raise a child’s intelligence. The database, launched earlier this month, allows parents to search for recommendations easily. “Database of Raising Intelligence” contains a wide variety of ideas ranging from attending quality preschools to adding fish oil to diets. By relying on third-party studies, the group evaluates which methods are most effective. “Only the highest quality randomized trials with agreed upon measures of intelligence are included so we can best understand what works,” said Protzko. Overall, the database focuses on effective dietary and environmental methods of boosting intelligence. Methods include preschool and interactive reading where parents engage children interactively as they read to them. “[We] know that intelligence can be developed,” said Aronson. “Now it remains to be seen which methods work best for
whom at what stage of development. To do that you need to combine the results from all the available studies,” Dietary measures suggested include adding Omega-3 fatty acids to the diets of pregnant women. These supplements were found to raise a child’s IQ by more than 3.5 points when taken by their mothers while they were pregnant. Protzko said the inspiration for the project came to him four years ago, during his first year as a Ph.D. student. He is confident the technology required for the kind of massive pooling of resources the database represents could not have been achieved 15 years ago, and he looks forward to continuing his research. “It is a massive project that will not only keep me busy for years, but as more information is learned the findings can be updated,” Protzko said. “Some things we thought raise intelligence may turn out to be ineffective, some things we weren’t sure of may turn out to work. It’s a living project in a way.” Kevin Burns is deputy university editor. Email him at email@example.com.
Candidate for Iranian presidency visits NYU By SU SIE PARK As the next Iranian presidential election approaches, a candidate in the election, Professor Hooshang Amirahmadi came to discussed the qualifications necessary for the next leader. As President of the American Iranian Council, Amirahmadi teaches at Rutgers University where he also serves as a director of the Middle Eastern Studies program. At Monday night’s event, Amirahmadi welcomed every guest with a genuine smile. The first qualification, he said, is the ability to build bridges between political factions. “Iranian political groups are polarized and unstable,” Amirahmadi said. “Therefore, [the] Iranian president should be able to reconcile various political groups.” The second qualification was for the next leader to place cooperation as a top priority. “Since one of the biggest problems facing Iran is its severed relationship with the U.S. and the West, the next president should be a mediator who brings peace,” he said. The final qualification, Amirahmadi emphasized, is the need for the president to be a savvy economic manager who can tackle Iran’s economic problems, which were brought on by economic sanctions and political infighting. Amirahmadi hopes Iran can become more united not only among different factions, but also between the government and the people. Amirahmadi also expressed opinions regarding relations between Iran and the United States. He believes the United States and other Western countries think Iran intends to build nuclear weapons, when in fact, Iran hopes for peace. Amirahmadi maintains that the main issue between the two regions is lack of trust. “When there is lack of trust, you can’t hope for resolution,” he said. “Therefore,
Iran must earn trust first. Unfortunately, it is going to be difficult. Iran needs a person like me to establish peace in the middle to help them. I lived in both places and I know their cultures, exactly what they are saying and what they mean.” Amirahmadi concluded his speech with advice for NYU students. “Students should have ardor for learning ... And the most important thing is to get involved in politics, daily life and life of their community because education is not just in the university classroom, most of the education starts in the society,” he said. “I think people just limit education to the university and classrooms.” Emily Burlinghaus, an LSP sophomore who attended the event, wished there were more details in Amirahmadi’s speech. “I have a strong interest in the Persian culture and politics ... I think [if elected] he will definitely bring improvement in Iran, but I would like to hear more specifics about what he would do to reform the government in the society,” Burlinghaus said. Kayvon Afshari, director of communications for Amirahmadi’s campaign, graduated from the Graduate School of Arts and Science with a Master of Arts in International Relations in 2012. Afshari believes his candidate can create unique policy changes in Iran. “The only way that Iran is to prosper is by maintaining system but changing its policy, and I think Dr. Amirahmadi is qualified to do it,” said Afshari. “I do not think that right now there is anybody who is inside of the system who can emerge as a leader who can promote national reconciliation.” Su Sie Park is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM
FEATURES Fusion grill offers twist on Thai traditions
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Bloggers plan to visit every Starbucks in city by graduation passion for coffee with our desire to see more of the city,” Sherman said. “We went home and started our blog that very night.” Sherman and Wuest realized that if they ordered coffee at Starbucks locations beyond the NYU campus, they would be able to travel to parts of the city they might not have visited otherwise. Even during the blackout in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the two freshmen trekked from their dorms in Greenwich Village to a Starbucks in Midtown. “It’s funny that we’re focusing on Manhattan [because] we came up with the idea for our blog in Brooklyn, but I think that it’s the best place to start,” Wuest said. “We can branch out into Brooklyn if we’ve visited all 185 locations before our 1,460 days are up.” Currently, Sherman and Wuest have visited 27 Starbucks locations in the city and have enjoyed the accompanying sights. After visiting the Starbucks at 86th Street and Lexington Avenue, they spent the morning at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. A trip to the 57th Street and Fifth Avenue location for coffee and scones led to breakfast outside the nearby Tiffany and Co., a tribute to one of Sherman’s favorite movies, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
By ANGEL CHANG
For Wuest, the most exciting moment was checking the Times Square Starbucks location off their list on election night last November. “I wasn’t looking forward to going to the Times Square location because it is always so crowded,” Wuest said. “The excitement in the air that night made it worth it. It was a once in a lifetime experience.” In one of the most heavily covered cities in the blogosphere, it’s hard to carve a niche. But the blog’s individuality can immediately be seen. “What I find so unique about this one is that it follows two girls who are just as new to the city as I am as they find their place here,” said Joy Madubuonwu, a freshman in CAS. “It’s about exploring the city and discovering it, not just visiting landmarks.” With iced caramel macchiatos in hand, Sherman and Wuest are looking forward to continuing their adventures together this spring and visiting every Starbucks location on their map, one by one. “I think the best part is that it hasn’t just helped us get to know the city, but also each other,” Sherman said. To follow their coffee-fueled adventures, visit 185in1460.blogspot.com. Bryna Shuman is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
When you think of Thai food, the first things that probably come to mind are either pad Thai or hot chilies. Qi Thai Grill, a restaurant that opened in Williamsburg earlier this month, strives to expand the horizons of the Thai food connoisseur. Unlike most fusion restaurants, Qi aims to introduce authentic flavors to its dishes and to share a delightfully unusual dining experience. Most people are familiar with basic pad Thai — the choice of chicken or beef within a melange of bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, coriander, fish sauce and chewy pho noodles. Qi’s pad Thai ($14.90) is entirely seafoodbased. It is a rendition of the original form of pad Thai, a street food dish cooked with sun-dried shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels tossed with sautéed glass vermicelli, bean sprouts, scallions and tamarind juice. Qi’s Pad Thai, which is served wrapped in an egg white crepe, was designed by chef Siwa Sila. Sripraphai Tipmanee, the owner of renowned Thai spot SriPraPhai in Queens, designs small plates, and pastry chef Pi-
chet Ong concocts grilled items and desserts. “[Ong and Tipmaneee] were very concerned with bringing Thai food to the next level,” said Ahm Bopit, a partner at Qi. “We all wanted the food to represent authentic Thai cooking, while putting a spin on it that is entirely our own.” Williamsburg, an incubator for many start-up establishments like the Brooklyn Brewery and Mast Brothers Chocolate, has provided exciting experimental ground for Qi. “People in Williamsburg are very open to trying new things,” Bopit said. “We designed the interior so that it reflects the laidback and comfortable vibe of the neighborhood.” Converted from a warehouse, the restaurant space might be the epitome of authenticity. Qi’s traditional, rickety bar stools were imported from Thailand, as were large, golden temple bells. One striking interior feature is a child-size statuette of Ganesha, a Hindu deity. The figure stands atop a marble fountain in the middle of the restaurant. Most, if not all of the dishes at Qi, reflect prominent Indian and Chinese influences. Especially notable are the spicy pork trotters ($8.90),
which are sautéed, marinated and infused with basil, chili, rare young pepper corn and chili jam. Another menu favorite is the set of pork ribs with an Ovaltine barbecue glaze ($8.90). The floating market stewed beef noodles ($11.90) are a mix of braised beef, beef tendons, Chinese broccoli, celery and crispy pork skin, deliciously entwined with rice noodles in a five-spice cinnamon broth. Herbs and spices, like lemongrass, ginger and kaffirlime, are key players in Thai cuisine. Qi incorporates all of these delicious flavors into its culinary offerings. The best way to finish a meal at Qi is with one of their astounding desserts, like the taro mousse ($7.90), a beautiful concoction of coconut cream, sponge cake and chocolate, paired with green tea ice cream and dipped in sesame crumbles and a sweet blackberry jam. By painting each dish with wildly eclectic ingredient combinations and recognizable Asian flavors, the chefs at Qi have paved the way for transcendent fusion cuisine. Angel Chang is dining editor. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Winter layers provide fashionable warmth from inside, out By EMORY LAFAYE LOPICCOLO Learning to layer is key when the temperature in New York continues to oscillate below a 50 degree mark — some days even in the teens. Follow these steps before heading outdoors for a great layered look without unnecessary bulk. BASE LAYER To begin layering, start with a shirt made of a lightweight fabric. Try a simple top or an easy button-up like Zara’s blouse with
epaulettes (on sale for $29.99). To incorporate more color and texture, add Madewell’s western jean shirt ($88) for a rugged feel, or a soft, brightly-colored cardigan from Uniqlo ($20). INNER LAYER For added warmth, layer a thick, chunky sweater like Zara’s turtleneck knitted sweater ($30) or Garnet Hill’s faux fur vest ($78) over your base garment. Adding a vest is a great way to gain extra warmth while incorporating one of this season’s
most popular trends. OUTER LAYER For the final layer, grab a down jacket to help retain heat, a wool pea coat for a classic look or a fur or leather jacket for extra flair. To minimize bulk, opt for a figuring-flattering down coat with a belt like Marc New York’s down belted pillow collar jacket ($122). ACCESSORIZE Combining winter accessories is another great layering technique. Try Uniqlo’s Heattech knit-
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ted leggings ($15) under a pair of boots to keep your legs and feet extra warm. For students with touchscreen smartphones, a pair of Agloves Original ($20) allows for easy manipulation and can be layered with additional hand accessories. Adding a scarf is another option to infuse color and texture into your look while protecting your neck and shoulders. Scarves can be worn differently each day because they are offered in countless shapes and colors. Drape a mixed fabric scarf, like a metallic
lace scarf, around your neck or choose Nordstrom’s refined wrap ($58) for a more layered look. Protect your head and ears from winter winds with a knit hat like Free People’s slouch beanie ($28). To avoid hat hair, opt for a fashionable head wrap or a pair of earmuffs like Urban Outfitter’s So Twisted ear warmer ($20) or Grace Hats triolean ear muff ($30). Emory Lafaye Lopiccolo is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
NYUNEWS.COM | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013 | WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS
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P O T
Places to celebrate Parisian pastry day with puffy treats By CLARA YANG
Indulge in a tasty croissant to celebrate today’s culinary holiday. Even though classes have just begun, take time to unwind with a cup of coffee and a Parisian treat.
1. ALMOND CHOCOLATE CROISSANT AT CECI-CELA 55 Spring Street, between Mulberry and Lafayette streets To savor a traditional French pastry, visit CeciCela for an almond-packed and chocolate-filled croissant ($3.75). Pressed after being fully baked in the oven, Ceci-Cela’s croissants taste as if they were fresh from a Parisian bakery.
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2. FLAKY CROISSANT AT MILLE-FEUILLE PATISSERIE 552 Laguardia Place, between Third and Bleecker streets For a warm, old-fashioned croissant, visit Millefeuille early in the morning and catch the first batch. Freshly baked, these buttery and crispy croissants ($2.35) can be a perfect and heavenly way to start a Saturday morning. 3. CHOCOLATE CROISSANT AT LA MAISON DU MACARON 132 W. 23rd Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues La Maison du Macaron might be famous for its macaroons, but it also offers scrumptious viennoi-
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series, or pastries, like tasty and sweet croissants. Try their bestseller, a moist and buttery chocolate croissant ($3.25) that is chewy, crispy and baked daily. After one bite they might become your new favorite dessert. 4. HAM AND CHEESE CROISSANT AT LA BERGAMOTE 177 ninth Ave., at 20th and 21st streets Tired of sweet treats? Try a ham and cheese croissant ($4.65) at La Bergamote, a Chelsea hotspot. Savory and buttery, these protein-packed pastries are another flavorful French food. The shop’s almond and walnut croissant ($4.75) is equally divine. 5. WHOLE WHEAT CROISSANT WITH HONEY AT TARALLUCCI E VINO 15 E. 18th St., between Broadway and Fifth Avenue Many bakeries, like Tarallucci E Vino, have been following the whole wheat dough trend that continues to hit the market. This Greenwich Village bakery covers its whole wheat croissants ($3 each) with honey, a substitute for sugar. Not only does honey retain the flakiness and chewiness of a signature croissant, but it is also a healthy alternative. Clara Yang is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013 | NYUNEWS.COM
ARTS Flat characters jam comedy in new play By LEORA ROSENBERG
“The Jammer” begins with a neurotic confession. Jack Lovington (Patch Darragh) announces to a priest that it’s been eight hours since his last confession, and he desperately needs to talk to someone. A taxi driver who donated half his income to the church, Jack apparently confesses several times a day. He tells the priest about grocery shopping and troubles with his protracted engagement, but what he really wants is Father Kosciusko’s blessing in his desperate desire to quit his job and join the roller derby. However, the players are unlike anyone Jack has ever met. They drink, they puke, they yell. Legendary player Lindy Batello has recently escaped from an insane asylum, and roller derby management isn’t as honest as Jack expected. Jack promises to spend the whole trip reading the Bible but instead blunders through the worlds of drinking and sex. The play has moments of genuine
hilarity. Once Jack leaves, his parish undergoes a demographic change and hires Father Domingo, who gives dramatic sermons in Spanish and takes confession from English-speakers he doesn’t understand. The two priests’ attempts to communicate are the play’s comedic highlights. Jokes closer to the central plot, however, are just running gags more likely to produce groans than giggles. The skaters are often represented by life-sized cardboard cutouts. It’s a compelling visual the first time around, but Rolin Jones’ script ends up exhausting the irony of human actors asking questions of their inanimate counterparts. Almost every character looks at an unseen photograph of Jack’s fiancée, Aurora, and winces dramatically at her ugliness. She eventually appears on stage in a gigantic hat that covers her face. It’s amusing, but certainly not funny enough to carry a comedy. The actors try their best, but the writing gives them much to overcome. Jeanine Serralles plays Jack’s crazy new love interest
with a refreshing realism, and her portrayal of a damaged, cynical woman could have led the play to an emotionally stirring climax. Unfortunately, the climax takes place on Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster, so she and Darragh must periodically disrupt their conversation to scream as the Cyclone goes down the track. Despite its repetitive comedy, “The Jammer” is entertaining. If it weren’t for the sex scene, the play would be perfect for older children with crude senses of humor. As is, “The Jammer” would be a good fit for audiences who like their comedy silly and aren’t bothered by actual cardboard characters. “The Jammer” is playing through Feb. 10 at the Atlantic Theater Company’s Stage 2, 330 W. 16th St. Leora Rosenberg is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.
BEHIND THE STAGE DOOR For more theater reviews, be sure to read our arts blog, The Highlighter, at wsnhighlighter.com.
COURTESY OF KEVIN THOMAS GARCIA FOR ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY
Dan Domingues, Patch Darragh, Christopher Jackson and Todd Weeks skate by cardboard characters.
‘John’ destined for cult classic status By JON MARCUS
Over the years, director Don Coscarelli has graced the world with several oddities that have been canonized as cult classics. His 2002 film “Bubba HoTep,” for example, pits Elvis Presley and President John F. Kennedy in a battle against an Ancient Egyptian mummy. Coscarelli’s unique brand of absurdity is certainly not lost in his most recent film, “John Dies at the End,” a somewhat abrasive film that features a monster made out of frozen T-bone steaks and a scene in which the main character uses a hot dog as a cellphone. In “John,” two college dropouts, Dave (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes), become responsible for saving the world after they come into contact with a drug called Soy Sauce, which blurs the border between earth and another dimension. As reality crumbles in front of their eyes, they search for a way to save mankind with the help of their friends and a dog named Bark Lee. “John” does an admirable job of not tying itself to a single genre. Although recurrent use of suspense — especially at the beginning of the film — points “John” in the horror/thriller direction, its tense mood is frequently undercut by ample opportunity for laughs, and in one instance by a highly stylized animation sequence depicting a series of gory killings. The narrative structure is odd, though that is to be ex-
pected from a film adapted from a David Wong novel. Viewers are often left without the slightest notion as to what is coming next. As the title suggests, John dies at the end, but this ending is relatively insignificant with regard to the overall plot. “John” features both good acting and an array of impressive practical effects, but it falls short in the special effects department. Some of the computer-generated backdrops in the later scenes are unconvincing, and portions of the green screen are visible around the edges of certain characters. Williamson is a highlight as Dave, as is Detective Appleton (Glynn Turman), whose sense of divine purpose is reminiscent of Jules Winnfield from “Pulp Fiction.” Bark Lee, a first-time canine actor whom Coscarelli lauded as the “best dog [he] could cast,” is also a standout. The reliably charismatic Paul Giamatti, who plays the journalist to whom Dave recaps his story, delivers a solid performance. “John Dies at the End” is a niche film — not everyone who sits through the 99-minute journey into the far reaches of unreality is going to be happy with the experience. Fans of Coscarelli’s earlier work, however, will undoubtedly relish this distinctive series of acid trips encapsulated in a single film. Jon Marcus is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Girls Against Boys’ offers unique tale of revenge
By KATHERINE TEJEDA
From director Austin Chick (“XX/XY”) comes “Girls Against Boys,” a film starring Danielle Panabaker as Shae, a girl whose life is changed forever upon meeting Lu (Nicole LaLiberte). Looking for some fun, Lu takes Shae around to some warehouse parties, where they go home with a few guys. Things take a turn for the worse when one of the guys, Simon (Michael Stahl-David), forces himself on Shae under the pretense of taking her home safely. When the police prove unhelpful, Shae and Lu take justice into their own hands, and their friendship becomes something dangerous and disturbing. Although the film may sound like nothing more than a simple story of revenge, “Girls” is much
more than that. The film makes a conscious effort to deal with the objectification of women, a theme subtly featured in every man’s interaction with Shae and Lu. The two lead actresses are the film’s greatest strength. Panabaker is particularly impressive as a naive college girl, while LaLiberte is incredibly convincing as a dangerous and obsessive woman. Rather than overplaying the role of a murderer, LaLiberte makes Lu appear devoid of human feeling. Lu’s blank stares combined with her ability to kill a person without a thought make her actions all the more haunting. “Girls” also experiments with many different angles and shots. The dance scenes in the clubs are among the most interesting in the film. The action and noise
are turned down and all the audience can hear is Shae’s breathing, which, when combined with the intense focus on her face, makes it seem as though the audience is witnessing a transformation. The scene of Shae’s attack is also artfully constructed. Rather than focusing on the violence of the crime, the camera remains focused on the keys dangling from her door while she and Simon are out of focus on the side of the screen. The audience can still hear her struggles, and the sound of pain proves more effective than actually showing the act. “Girls Against Boys” is an interesting take on the idea of women seeking revenge, and it even questions the very idea of justice. The film asks the question of who is truly to blame for the murders — is it Shae, or is
it the objectification in our society? Viewers interested in dark humor, the errors of society and seeing women take things into their own hands will enjoy what
Chick’s newest film has to offer. Katherine Tejeda is a contributing writer. Email her at email@example.com.
COURTESY OF FOCO FILMS
Danielle Panabaker and Nicole LaLiberte seek vengeance in dark and distrubing ways throughout “Girls Against Boys.”
NYUNEWS.COM | WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2013 | WASHINGTON SQUARE NEWS
EDITED BY JOSH JOHNSON ARTS@NYUNEWS.COM GATEKEEPER continued from PG. 1
Oscar-nominated ‘The Gatekeepers’ demonstrates universality of war
Moreh, an acclaimed Israeli cinematographer-turned-director, combines archival footage masterfully with still photographs and computer graphics to recreate the events described by the eponymous Gatekeepers. These sequences are depicted with elements of an action film, breathtaking in their style and suspense, allowing audience members to experience firsthand the Shin Bet. With a running time of just over 90 minutes, we never get the sense that we truly know these men, but it is unlikely that any documentarian could have done a finer job than Moreh. These leaders have been sole decision makers in matters of life and death. When questioned about morals, one speaker responds, “Forget about morals.” Throughout the film, the six men, who took turns leading the organization over the years, appear perpetually tired, still emotionally recovering from their service. “Gatekeepers” is defined by its universality. While the film focuses focuses on the Shin Bet of Israel, any race, religion or nation that has been involved in committing acts of war violence can identify with its
themes. Like U.S. soldiers returning from World War II or Vietnam, the Gatekeepers have been changed forever, hardened to the point where they will never be able to separate themselves from the Shin Bet. Through these hellish accounts, the glory of Israel’s secret service is not stripped bare but meticulously examined. At no point do these men support unnecessary violence against terrorism. They understand that they are to their enemies what their enemies are to them. One former leader declares that “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,” a statement that is key to the integrity of the film. “The Gatekeepers” is a challenging look at war, and it is bound to garner one-sided attacks as the film continues to expand in theaters. Regardless of views on the war in the Middle East — or on war in general — Moreh’s film is an raw presentation of men changed forever by their own conflicting morals. For that reason, “The Gatekeepers” is a masterpiece. Jordan Axelrod is a contributing writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Indie duo explore heartache in style By ALEXANDRIA ETHRIDGE
Heartbreak has never sounded so sweet as when performed by multi-talented indie rockers Adam Green and Binki Shapiro on their album of duets, “Adam Green and Binki Shapiro.” The highly anticipated release explores the darker side of relationships. Its 10 tracks explore the themes of anxiety, melancholy and disappointment that appear when love reaches its expiration date. One can’t help but recall popular duos of the past, such as Gainsbourg and Birkin or Sonny and Cher, while listening to “Adam Green and Binki Shapiro.” Yet Shapiro and Green’s collaboration stands apart thanks to its anti-love approach. With disheartened lyrics like, “Forgive my ugliness should I find out/ something I don’t want to know about” permeating the album, “Adam Green and Binki Shapiro” is strikingly honest about the feelings we all experience following the end of a relationship. The album has a decidedly ‘60s feel, drawing influence from the bossa-nova and folk rock genres of that era. Though it is a fantastic record overall, several tracks stand out from the pack for their particular depth and insight with lyrics and instrumentation. “Just To Make Me Feel Good,” set to a charming, drum-laden rhythm, provides two perspectives lamenting failed relationships in an interesting back-and-forth. “Pleasantries” and “Casanova” are also excellent tracks, and they demonstrate Green and Shapiro’s musical versatility. Shapiro compensates for her disappointingly small vocal presence on her last album, “Little Joy,” by dominating the majority of the songs on “Adam Green and Binki Shap-
iro” with satisfying results. Many tracks feature her honeyed crooning intertwined with Green’s resounding baritone, which reflects the unique dual perspective of the album’s subject matter. Given the many hats that Shapiro and Green both wear, it is unlikely that a second album will come along soon, if at all. However, the timelessness of “Adam Green and Binki Shapiro” should keep fans satisfied for years to come. Alexandria Ethridge is music editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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EDITED BY MARY JANE DUMANKAYA SPORTS@NYUNEWS.COM
Belgium National Team poised for powerful return By FRANCISCO NAVAS
When thinking of Europe’s strongest soccer powerhouses, the Belgium National team does not often come to mind. During the ’80s, Belgium had a surprising number of good performances against strong squads such as the Soviet Union, Spain and England. The 1986 World Cup held in Mexico saw the rise of an unexpected fourth-place finisher — similar to Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup. Belgium rose from the ashes after nearly failing to secure a qualifying spot in the tournament to reaching the semi-finals, much to the surprise of soccer fans worldwide. The Belgians would go on to knock out past and present teams including the Soviet Union and Spain before losing to the eventual champion, Argentina. But the next six world cups left Belgium in the dust. They would only go as far as the first round before losing three times, then failing to qualify for two consecutive
cups in 2006 and 2010. Now, under the leadership of Manchester City’s left centerback Vincent Kompany and Bayern Munich’s defender Daniel Van Buyten, Belgium has a strong unit from the back line to its forwards. Kompany, playing on one of the world’s best squads, is considered one of the top defenders in the European leagues. He is a strong, impenetrable force that led Manchester City to its 19 shutouts in 2011-2012 English Premier League match play and 10 shutouts in its current season. Kompany received the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2012, a testament to his skill. Thomas Vermaelen, ex-captain and current vice-captain of the Belgium National Team, caps the defensive line, carrying over his skill from Arsenal. Eden Hazard and Marouane Fellaini, who are both attacking midfielders and dominate players in the English Premier League with Chelsea
and Everton, respectively, are on the offensive line. Although Hazard has a play style similar to Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, he has been dubbed “little Messi” by Olympique Gymnaste Club Nice coach Claude Puel. Kevin Mirallas, Fellaini’s teammate on Everton, will be joining the Belgian defense, as he has recently been called up to start over Nikica Jelavic. Luckily for Belgium, all the players mentioned — save for Van Butyen — have more than one world cup left in them. All of these players are young all-stars with years of play left in them. As history and sports culture proves, having a strong squad with star players will breed interest in the sport and inspire more players. This generation of soccer fans will see a strong Belgian team that should last through more than one world cup. Francisco Navas is deputy sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The “golden generation” of Belgium soccer players pose for team photo.
Broncos quarterback Manning receives unecessary flak By NISHAAD RUPAREL
Peyton Manning refused to leave Invesco Field after his post season loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It must have broken his heart to watch Justin Tucker drive a 47yard field goal through the uprights, sending the Ravens to an American Football Conference Championship that Manning thought he reserved for himself. He must have clenched his jaw while watching Ray Lewis perform a pompous victory dance in front of the Broncos’ home crowd. Most of all, it must have been painful for him to know that he, once again, fell short of his own aspirations. He left questions of his greatness unanswered, and he had squandered a season that seemed so promising. But, despite the sadness, Manning was not too eager to go home. In fact, he waited four hours in the barren hallways of Invesco Field just for a chance to congratulate his opponent, Ray Lewis, in person. Because that is the type of guy he is. Critics are sympathetic in the moment but unsentimental in the long run. At the end of the
regular season, when Manning had just led the Broncos to their 12th-straight victory and home field advantage throughout the play-offs, critics hailed him as the savior of the Broncos’ franchise. They were in awe of his story: recovering from four neck surgeries in one year to lead a new team to the precipice of professional football. Just a couple of weeks later, following the Denver postseason loss, Manning became the Broncos’ scapegoat. The inspirational stories of his medical recovery were replaced, overnight, with statistics of his game-ending interceptions and his abysmal postseason record of 9-11. They scowl at Manning’s failures. To them he is unproven. To them his NFL record of four MVP trophies are whispers, incapable of breaking the silence left by a solitary Super Bowl trophy. To them, Manning’s legacy remains unwritten, and his window of opportunity is closing quickly. These critics maintain that Manning’s legacy will forever be hinged on his ability to overcome his postseason woes and win another Super Bowl. But,
Peyton Manning throws a pass to a fellow Broncos player.
perhaps, they are being shortsighted. Perhaps it is necessary to look beyond the accolades and the record books to truly quantify Manning’s success. Perhaps, despite any wins or losses, he has already solidified his legacy. Manning has the rare gift of injecting grace into the world’s most violent sport. The man walked up to the line of scrimmage and changed the play over a thousand times, but he never let fame change him. With his southern gentility and 1950s haircut Manning has been classy all the way. There have been no records of misdemeanors, no murder controversies and no children out of wedlock. Quite the opposite actually. While in Indianapolis, Ind., Manning paid for the construction and foundation of a children’s hospital. And after being kicked out of Indianapolis, Manning was quoted saying “I truly enjoyed being your quarterback.” He treated the position as an honor, as if he were elected, as if people everywhere were depending on him. He was right. Manning knows that people everywhere count on him. It’s why he practices with soaking wet footballs, on the off chance that it might rain on game day. It’s why he started 208 straight games when he gets paid regardless of how much time he spends on the field. Manning is special; he has an uncanny ability to control disorder — to turn chaos into clockwork. His 12 Pro Bowls, four MVPs, Super Bowl victory and All-Decade honors will speak to his greatness but Manning’s class will always differentiate him. He had it in the huddle, he had it in the pocket and he will have it until the very end. Nishaad Ruparel is a staff writer. Email him at email@example.com.
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Crossword ACROSS 1 Some cartoons 5 “___ de Lune” 10 Bills, e.g. 14 Boomers’ babies 15 Out of the way 16 Folkie who chronicled Alice 17 ___ de boeuf 18 Best Director of 1997 20 Speech opener, often 22 Michael Jackson wore one 23 Touts’ hangouts 24 E.R. administration 26 “Thumbs up!” 27 Sudden pain 29 Dark area on the moon 30 Windsor’s prov. 31 Ecological communities 32 Not so stuffy 34 Hospital fluids
ANSWER G T O S
R A V E
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G I N R U S L A M H E R M I V E Y P E N S E A S A L E T S O D O A R G U M E E T
35 Egocentric person’s mantra
64 Awards at which 51-Across was finally a winner 36 Like some seas in 1999 and teas 40 Apply pressure to 65 Choosing-upsides word 42 Loy of “The Thin Man” DOWN 43 Winner’s take, sometimes 1 Pearl Mosque city 46 Tip sheet figures 2 Word in the 47 Round-tripper names of some 48 Marker letters bright colors 49 His, to Henri 3 Cabinet department 50 Cola wars “combatant” 4 Chile relleno, e.g. 51 Soap star Susan 5 Sweet-talk 53 Chose 6 Hurdles for future D.A.’s 56 Statistic from the Bureau of Labor 7 Actress Anouk Statistics 8 Bouncers’ 59 Untalented writer requests 60 Clears after taxes 9 ___ center 61 Have significance 10 Caravan transport 62 School attended by 007 11 Often-dry stream 63 Difficult journey 12 Neatnik’s TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE opposite I R E D P A L E D 13 “No lie!” N E M O O L I V E 19 Correspond S C A N P U R E E 21 Archaeological E T A G E N T M A N sites L A N D I A N 24 Bizet opera O N T H E B R A K E S I T O A S T I L O 25 7 or 11, e.g. S N L S T I R 27 “Cougar Town” network S A N E F R E E Z E O N E D V E T E R A N 28 Golf’s Michelle R T E O D E S 29 Predecessors of T E R S T O S A N T A photocopies I S E E R W A R Y 32 Changes E A R I A E D I E constitutionally S T A N S D A M S 33 ABAB, for one
Edited by Will Shortz 1
Puzzle by DAN SHCOENHOLZ
35 Fort ___, Md.
44 “Speak up!”
37 Rub the wrong way 38 Bearded antelope 39 Qin dynasty follower 41 Rose-red dye 42 Act the gloomy Gus 43 Flu, e.g.
45 Acrylic sheet material 47 Batters’ toppers 50 Indiana’s state flower 52 Cooper’s handiwork 53 Lowlife
54 Business school subj. 55 Designer label letters 57 Clinch, as a deal 58 Pierre ou Jacques
For answers, call 1-900-285-5656, $1.49 a minute; or, with a credit card, 1-800-814-5554. Annual subscriptions are available for the best of Sunday crosswords from the last 50 years: 1-888-7-ACROSS. AT&T users: Text NYTX to 386 to download puzzles, or visit nytimes.com/mobilexword for more information. Online subscriptions: Today’s puzzle and more than 2,000 past puzzles, nytimes.com/crosswords ($39.95 a year). Share tips: nytimes.com/wordplay. Crosswords for young solvers: nytimes.com/learning/xwords.
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EDITED BY SAMEER JAYWANT OPINION@NYUNEWS.COM
Doctorates becoming assets in professional world By NICKY SETHI The term Ph.D. conjures images of classrooms and chalkboards, hours spent in a library pouring over old texts or in a lab running gels and a lifetime at school — both as student and a teacher. Its unabbreviated name, doctorate of philosophy, suggests deep, academic, esoteric thought. It is a degree unlike any other. While professional degrees provide one primarily with vocational skills, a doctorate degree is an opportunity for one to contribute original thought. One selects a graduate degree from the usual choices — the M.B.A., the Master’s, the J.D. and the M.D. — based on one’s career aspirations. The Ph.D. is often overlooked and viewed as impractical unless one is planning to go into academic research or teaching. However, a Ph.D. can be more practical than many people think, and demand for scholars with Ph.D. degrees may increase soon. During a press conference on Nov. 14 of last year, President Obama said, “I am a believer that if [someone has] a Ph.D. in physics or computer science who wants to stay here and start
a business here ... We should encourage him to contribute to this society.” To combat America’s waning prowess in manufacturing, Obama’s plan for economic recovery is the development of a skilled, educated work force to replace those jobs that are moving overseas. Furthermore, it is likely that doctorate degrees in quantitative fields such as those Obama mentioned will elicit more job offers than before. It is these degrees, which require one to develop skills in statistics and computing, that happen to be highly sought after outside academia. For example, mathematicians and physicists are hired on Wall Street to perform complex calculations that no one else can do. Economists specializing in game theory and decision theory work for consulting firms. And, without a doubt, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter hire those with doctorates in computer science. Moreover, pursuing a doctorate degree is not as academic as it is made out to be. In fact, it is more like five years of work experience. Course work is only a small part of a Ph.D. In
most programs, and depending on the field, candidates only take two years of courses and conduct their own research during the remaining time. Graduate students trade labor, work on each other’s projects and network in a manner that is highly useful in the real world. Additionally, most doctorate degrees are essentially free because candidates are provided with stipends for their expenses. With student debt at an all-time high, avoiding a $100,000 debt from a Master’s program is nothing to scoff at. Contrary to popular belief, a Ph.D. is not necessarily a one-way ticket to professorship, but a versatile asset that could lead to a career in finance, technology, research or perhaps even writing and business. A word of caution: pursuing a Ph.D. still requires a very high caliber of ability and a deep interest in a particular area of study, but for any student with those traits, pursuing a doctorate seems to be the most practical option. Nicky Sethi is a contributing columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Candidate Amirahmadi is better for Iran
By SAMEER JAYWANT This week, as John Kerry’s Secretary of State confirmation hearings plodded along in the Senate with expectedly boisterous criticism of Iran, NYU hosted the pre-eminent scholar and Iranian presidential candidate Hooshang Amirahmadi for a discussion on U.S.-Iran relations. I met with Amirahmadi prior to the event, and I found in him one of the few hopes of a return to normalcy that Iran, currently in a spiraling economic crisis orchestrated by U.S.-led sanctions, desperately needs. An eloquent speaker and American citizen, Amirahmadi described an Iran that is ravaged by political infighting, particularly among the conservatives of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s ruling party, whose political legitimacy derives from the 1979 Revolution. He likens the Iranian Revolution to a diplomatic wall between Iran and the United States, and he argues that each side can only see through the prism of that landmark event. Indeed, the last 30 years have devastated U.S.-Iran relations, with the U.S. arming both sides of a war that killed an estimated one million people, including 400,000 Iranians, and a fierce denouncement of Westernization by Iranian theocrats. In many ways, the United States is no better than Iran, politically speaking. Both countries face a rancorous base of entrenched conservative politicians who
swear the other side is Satan incarnate and who are working against the general will of both populations. American officials kiss the feet of Israeli diplomats, and our president foolishly talks of war against a nation whose middle class has been destroyed by a feel-good policy that has barely scraped the knee of the insularly rich ruling class. We pat ourselves on the back because we believe we are finally not indiscriminately killing innocent people; instead, we indiscriminately starve them to death, an idea coincidentally endorsed by the Israeli government. But as Amirahmadi, founder of the conciliatory American-Iranian Council, correctly notes, “The Islamic Republic of Iran will never be brought to its knees by U.S. sanctions and destabilization policies.” For once, this is not nationalistic grandstanding; America believes Iran to be on the brink of destruction, but Iranian leaders are as resolute as ever. At some point the United States will reconsider the ineffective, destructive policy of sanctions. By then, it will be too late. After we have starved innocent people into believing theocratic propaganda against the West, peace will be unattainable. It is not lost on either Amirahmadi or myself that the current catalyst of our diplomatic dissonance is Ahmadinejad’s irrational pursuit of nuclear enrichment. But Amirahmadi accurately believes that the United States has fundamentally misun-
derstood the political and cultural fabric of Iranian society, a disturbing trend that has caused critical failures in Iraq and Afghanistan. He likens post-revolutionary Iran to a bus, “riding towards an initially great destiny. The fighting within the bus [factionalism] has changed its direction increasingly from that great destination to a great cliff.” It appears that America is desperate to give Iran its final push off the precipice. But while our trustworthy and wellrespected representatives continue to mistake trash-talking and forced impoverishment as any sort of respectable foreign policy, Amirahmadi offers himself as a new driver of the Iranian bus. He and I both see hope embodied in the new generation of Iranians, who have little affinity for theocracy and who do not bear the scars of the Revolution and subsequent wars. He strives to be the Deng Xiaoping of Iran, preserving the system but changing the country. He recognizes the deep interconnections of Iran’s challenges and calls for a leader who is a “bridge-builder, peacemaker and economic manager.” A renowned professor of economic development and an intellectual who has dedicated his life to studying and promoting U.S.-Iranian relations, Amirahmadi says calmly, “It just so happens I am that person.” Sameer Jaywant is opinion editor. Email him at email@example.com.
Kerry well-qualified to strengthen diplomacy
As expected, former Senator John Kerry will officially succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. Kerry received nearly unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, with only three senators voting against his confirmation. Given Kerry’s history in public service, Americans should watch out for two particular issues to be addressed in the near future. The first is Afghanistan: Over the course of President Obama’s first term, Kerry was routinely sent to Afghanistan to serve as a powerful messenger and negotiator for the United States. Kerry has also, however, expressed deep criticism of the war and has called on Obama to speed up the withdrawal process. Now that Kerry has been confirmed, whether he will continue to be as vocal about his personal views of the war remains to be seen. After all, a critical component of the Secretary of State role is to stand by the administration’s foreign affairs policies — not to subvert them. In the days leading up to the confirmation, many members of the press suggested that Kerry will be the catalyst for new environmental policymaking, which is the second prominent issue in Obama’s second term. Indeed, he has strong credentials with regards to environmental policy and was arguably more attentive to this issue than any other member of the Senate. As chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry has pointed out that global climate change is a serious national security threat. Nonetheless, Americans should not expect to see a substantive shift in environmental policy as much as they should with respect to Afghanistan; unless Obama addresses climate change in an international framework, the State Department will not act independently. Outgoing Secretary of State Clinton leaves behind an impressive and intimidating legacy. It will undoubtedly be a difficult task for Kerry to follow in her footsteps. However, the recent backlash over the State Department’s handling of the Benghazi tragedy has blemished an otherwise untarnished record. Kerry has been handed an opportunity to solidify his role as chief diplomat and national leader by improving upon the deficiencies of the department under Clinton, such as ensuring the protection of American diplomats and embassies worldwide. Hopefully the transition process for Kerry will continue to be smooth so he can immediately begin tackling some of the most pressing concerns facing the United States, by exhausting diplomacy before any other option.
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