Volume 96, Issue 9

Page 1

VOL 96 : 09 NOVEMBER 14, 2018 torchonline.com

The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University



Beverly Danquah Once upon a time, there was a phenomenon called Fashion Studies at St. John’s. A moment described by Dean Katia Passerini as historic, most St. John’s students are unaware of nor could they know about the obstacles, time and windy road that led to creating a fashion studies major at St. John’s. From studying students’ reception to fashion-related courses to gearing up the right team, Dr. Andrea Licari, Prof. Catherine Ruggieri and Dr. Almerinda Forte spearheaded this program, a move that has been in the works for years now. As part of the university’s Vincentian mission and ethical perspective, the Fashion Studies major particularly examines the business and ethical aspects of this industry. This August, the major was approved as a state-recognized program at St. John’s. “It started with Dr. Licari, a couple of years ago she said that she wanted to start a pre-session [mini courses offered in May], and she would teach fashion and take students on field trips,” Ruggieri explained. Ruggieri is the Fashion Studies program creator and a fashion management professor. Her hope is that the major would inspire students to go out and make change in fashion. “I thought it was a great idea,” Ruggieri said. The pre-session course then ran for a few summers and then Licari spoke to her division about implementing a minor. Licari came to St. Johns from the Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T) in the 80s, and wanted to have fashion courses at St. John’s.

“At the time, I was told that that would not work,” Licari said. In the 2000s, the fashion club, Red House, asked Licari to be their moderator. “I became the club’s moderator and many students in the club were interested in a fashion major,” she said. “I asked about the possibility of a program again, and was told ‘that’s not the strength for where St. John’s comes’.” After another rejection, Forte, professor and chairperson for the Division of Administration and Economics, suggested implementing a minor. Approving of the idea, Licari proceeded to ask Dr. Joyce Boland-DeVito to teach fashion law for the minor. “Boland-DeVito decided to go to Fordham University to do a bootcamp on fashion law, and I was very happy that she did that,” Licari said. Licari asked Ruggieri to teach management, and asked Forte to teach ethics. “It’s almost like you have to wait until the right time, where you can get support,” Licari said. “It wasn’t until the 2000s that I got that support.” Licari said Forte’s support was pivotal, as she was able to convince the administration to get behind a fashion minor — a minor students reacted very well to. In the summer of 2015, Licari decided that they needed to actively work on a degree, despite discouraging responses in the past. “While I was teaching courses for the fashion minor, Forte asked Prof. Ruggieri if she could package what we had to make a Bachelor’s program,” Licari said. Story continued on page 10

MIDTERM ELECTIONS RECAP and reactions | stories on Page 4 and 9



Students Attend Humanitarian Summit in D.C. Jillian Ortiz Student advocacy is no stranger to St. John’s University. In the spirit of the Vincentian mission, students are encouraged to take action whenever possible. They are encouraged to fulfill the mission outside of the campus gates; sometimes venturing as far as Washington, D.C. in order to do so. This past summer, junior Irene Gorosave and senior Anna Evseev attended the biennial Student Ambassador Leaders Together (SALT) summit, which took place over the course of three days in July in the nation’s capital. “This event impacted me as a student leader because it makes me see how much of a difference I can truly make,” Evseev said. “I will not let my voice be put to the side. I speak up for the opinions and causes I strongly believe in.” The summit, organized by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), aims to educate and encourage students to advocate in response to pressing issues such as human trafficking, climate change, migration, poverty and food insecurity, among others. It seeks to draw attention to the international issues that affect most of the marginalized members of society. “This experience permitted me to enhance everything I have learned in the classroom and put it into actions. It gave me an opportunity I would have been lacking if I were anywhere else,” Gorosave, who is currently studying environmental sciences and government and politics, said. “We encouraged and advocated for solutions that are effective and concrete for the poor and vulnerable.” More than 150 students from nearly 60 universities across the nation participated


Nov. 13 marked one week since the United States midterm election. At the one-week mark, St. John’s students gathered in the D’Angelo Center to discuss the outcome of the election and what will come next. Dr. Diane Heith, professor and chair of the Department of Government and Politics, conducted the post-election discussion, focusing on voter turnout. Students asked questions and shared their opinions on the election and what it means for the future, including the upcoming presidential election in 2020. “I never used to do midterms because let’s face it, no one really cared,” Heith said. “[This] is either the most important midterm we’ve ever had or it’s the most overhyped midterm we’ve ever had.” With results from the election still coming in as recently as Monday evening in states like Arizona, Heith examined up-to-date graphics and exit poll data regarding voter turnout. It is estimated that nearly 113 million people voted in the midterm, making this the first midterm election in history to exceed

Students React to WiFi Outage Over Weekend Angelica Acevedo

Catholic Relief Services organized the trip, allowing students to speak on world issues.

in the summit, hoping to bring the skills and tools that they acquired back to their respective campuses. Some of the concepts the summit focused on are their “I am Global Hunger,” “I am Climate Change,” “I am Migration” and “I am Human Trafficking” initiatives, according to the CRS website. “The portion of the summit that resonated with me the most was being able to learn how to make an impacting difference into the lives of other people in the world. Everyone is connected and everything is connected- therefore it is up to us to care for one another and to do what’s right,” Evseev said. On the final day of the summit, Gorosave and Evseev were able to speak with mem-

bers of Congress on Capitol Hill. “The main urgency we expressed to higher ups in Capitol Hill was that as Congress continues negotiating the Fiscal Year 2019 spending, we must provide the highest funding levels possible for poverty-reducing international development and humanitarian assistance,” Gorosave said. The summit also touched upon ideas that student organizations on campus seek to implement through student advocacy. “For me, advocacy is extremely important on campus to raise awareness for various social justice issues,” Kayla Soulias, secretary of Habitat for Humanity at St. John’s said. “Awareness about social justice issues is crucial to a liberal arts education and a well-rounded person.”

SJU Reflects on Midterm Elections Results Dayra Santana


100 million voters, according to CBS News. In 2010, during the first midterm of former President Barack Obama’s tenure, 41 percent of voters who were eligible to vote participated.

This is either the most important midterm we’ve ever had or it’s the most overhyped midterm we’ve ever had

- Dr. Diane Heith

States like Georgia and Texas saw voter turnouts higher than they have ever been in the last thirty years. In this election, 49 percent of eligible voters participated, compared to just 36 percent in 2014. That number was among the lowest in American history. The election itself was characterized by a rise in women and minorities elected, including New York’s own Alexandria Oca-

sio-Cortez, the 29-year-old who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Women now make up 23 percent of Congress, with four women of color in the Senate and 35 non-incumbents -- those who did not previously hold office -- in the House of Representatives. “The way women were being described this year were much more about qualifications and job experience than in the the past,” Heith said. “That’s a good thing because it takes gender off the table. “Fundamentally, was this the year of the women? You could say that, but what it really was was the year of the nontraditional candidate, the non-white male candidate. Race, religion, gender are no longer limiting factors to running,” she said. If anything can be said of the a discussions about this midterm election, it is that it is not just about presidential elections going forward. “It’s not just the presidency, we tend to focus on the presidency every four years but… these things are going to be important and these races will continue to be important.” Heith said. “This is the thing that people love and hate about American politics — it always matters.”

Resident students experienced a WiFi outage on the St. John’s University Queens campus during the weekend. According to Anne Rocco Pacione, St. John’s executive director of Infrastructure and interim chief information officer, the outage to the SJUMobile connection was “unexpected.” “There was an unexpected system failure over the weekend and our team worked quickly to restore service,” she said. According to some students who dorm on the Queens campus, there was no WiFi from Saturday, Nov. 10 to Sunday, Nov. 11. “It affected me extremely negatively, I was pretty upset because I need the internet for most basic things in my life, especially pertaining to school assignments and such,” Junior and Carey Hall resident Matt Saroufim said. Saroufim also added that access to the SJUGuest WiFi would have sufficed, as students usually use SJUMobile on their electronics. However, other students found that SJUGuest did provide them with internet when they signed on to it. “I just tried [it] because I really needed to get back on the WiFi because I was working on a big assignment,” Sophomore Bernadette Smith said. Smith also added that the university didn’t send an internal communications email about the outage. “I thought it was kind of annoying that the University didn’t address the WiFi being down, especially because it was down for so long,” she said. Although some students claim that they had WiFi access at St. Augustine Hall, DAC and Montgoris Dining Hall, Pacione explained that it was temporary and only affected some buildings in the Residence Village. “It was intermittent, not every Residence Village building was completely affected, and we were able to resolve the issues by Sunday evening,” Pacione said. StormCard access was also down in the Residence Village, which meant that students weren’t able to sign in overnight guests. This outage comes shortly after a previous issue with students’ StormCard access, as students weren’t able to gain entry to their rooms for several hours during the early morning of Nov. 1. Pacione offered some advice to students who dorm when the WiFi isn’t working in the Residence halls. “If WiFi is down in the Residence Village, students can come back to main campus to use wireless,” Pacione said. “We understand how critical this service is and we are always looking at new measures to ensure its resilience. We appreciated our students’ patience while we worked to restore service.”

MIDTERM ELECTIONS R ECA P Statistics courtesy of Politico and New York Times

Isabella Bruni

Last week, New York residents had their chance to cast their votes for candidates running on the federal, state and local levels for positions in the New York State Senate, New York State Assembly, U.S Congress and more. St. John’s is located within the 14th Senatorial District, 24th Assembly District, 11th Judicial District and Fifth Congressional District. After Polls closed on Nov. 6, the votes were counted and below are your newly elected officials.


* = incumbent

U.S. Senate New York Kirsten Gillibrand (D) * 66.5%

U.S. House of Reps. New York 5th Congressional District Gregory Meeks (D) * Ran unopposed


Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) * 59%

Attorney General Letitia James (D) 61.9%

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli (D) * 66.6%

District 14 Senator Leroy Comrie (D) * Ran unopposed

District 24 Assemblyman David Weprin (D) * Ran unopposed

JUDICIAL Queens County Civil Court Judge

Queens County Civil Court Judge District 4

Photo N/A

Lourdes Ventura (D) 37.1%

Ira Greenberg (D) 31.3%

Karina Alomar (D) 31.1%

Lance Evans (D) Ran unopposed




TORCH Photos/alex yem, cecelia germain

interviewing tips

this may be the last time

truth and communication

When: nov. 15, 1:50 - 3 P.M.

When: nov .15, 5 P.M.

When: nov. 16, 9 A.m. - 5 P.M.

Where: dac 308

Where: inclusivity resource center

Where: st. augustine, 2nd floor

20th anniversity cabaret for charity

black catholic history month mass

st. thomas more church anniversary

When: nov. 16, 17, 8 p.m.

When: nov. 18, 5:30 P.M.

When: nov. 21, 12:15-12:45 P.M.

Where: little theater

Where: st. thomas more church

Where: st. thomas more church

the serious side of food

speaker event: manny loley

christmas at st. john's lessons

When: nov. 28, 6 - 7 P.M.

When: nov. 29, 5 - 6:30 p.m.

When: dec. 1 6:30 - 8:30 P.M.

Where: st. augustine hall, room 150

Where: inclusivity resource center

Where: st. thomas more church

6 Opinion


Flames of the Torch On The Devastating Woolsey Fires in California Managing Board XCVI


Angelica Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief Isabella Bruni, Managing Editor


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Amanda Negretti Creative Director Derrell Bouknight News Editor Brendan Myers Sports Editor Beverly Danquah Features Editor Samantha DeNinno Culture Editor Beatriz da Costa Opinion Editor Erin Bola Chief Copy Editor



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About the Torch

Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of the Torch. Columns and other content are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of the Torch. Opinions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administration of St. John’s University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

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As a nation, we are always subject to go through dark times. However, it is on us to decide the best way we should respond and react to these hard times. Within the last few weeks of November, we have seen California battle record-breaking wildfires. The Woolsey Fire has been described as California’s deadliest wildfire to date. The state has seen cities evacuated, homes destroyed and lives lost. Yet, despite all the destruction it has caused and the lives it has affected — including those of our fellow Johnnies — California residents have united to help one another. Being able to put aside their differences to bring their neighbors basic necessities like food and water in light of the wildfires is admirable, and a trait we at the Torch value. In light of the midterm elections, a time when political tensions are high in the nation, it is reassuring to see that people from all over the country are empathizing with the tragedy of the west coast blaze. Firefighters are being brought in from a number of states, such as Texas, Montana and Washington, and other states recently sent reinforcement fleets to provide relief efforts. Apart from being brave, these firefighters

are also incredibly selfless. They’re running toward fire and leaving behind, quality time with their family members and loved ones this Thanksgiving in order to save the lives and homes of those in the path of the Woolsey Fire. We can’t imagine the sacrifice this must be and we encourage our readers, just as we encourage our staff here, to be grateful for the life we have. As the citizens of California rally around each other in these difficult times, we at the Torch are reminded of a theme that we feel is the most ideal for our nation: Unity. Togetherness. We are the strongest when we work with, and not against, each other. We noticed this theme in Destinee Scott’s column, “The Wave of Women” (pg. 7). Women and other supporters of equality across the nation have stood together with determination, and a fire in their hearts that has long since glared injustice in the face. They are achieving their goals because they choose to stand side by side, rather than apart. Just as the people of California are doing, and just as the staff at the Torch hopes to do within the St. John’s community through its writing.

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Megyn Kelly is Arrogant, Not Apologetic Devorah Satcher According to Megyn Kelly, when she was growing up there wasn’t anything wrong with blackface. After all, being someone you’re not is the whole point of dressing up for Halloween, right? Kelly’s justification of blackface and ignorance regarding the act cannot be excused. There’s no shortage of information regarding the history of blackface in America. This information is also fairly easy to obtain. Even without performing extensive research, there’s still word of mouth. Many black people have always been vocal in expressing that blackface is disrespectful and hurtful due to the origins of the tradition combined with the current state of the country’s race relations. No further reasoning or explanation should be required to understand that. Now, because this is America, from what I’ve seen, it can seem almost impossible for a white woman to come under fire for anything without someone ready to rush to her defense. In the former talk show host’s case, the people giving her the benefit of the doubt believe that her comments made on Oct. 23 shouldn’t be considered hateful or hostile. They believed her comments were simply unintentional and uninformed because she spoke about blackface without

knowing the history or stigma attached to it. The thing is, when you express ignorance regarding a particular subject matter, you should ask questions — you shouldn’t make statements. If Kelly didn’t know anything about blackface, then she shouldn’t have been speaking about it, nevermind leading a panel in discussion on the subject. In my opinion, Kelly knew exactly what she was doing. It wasn’t ignorance, but arrogance that led her to think she would get away with it. Kelly’s attempted apology failed to directly address the people she offended. In my eyes, it also lacked sincerity. Kelly was simply trying to save face. Had she not received the amount of backlash that she did, would she still have suddenly come to achieve such a contrite heart? Kelly’s removal from NBC three days later on Oct. 26 was absolutely called for. An NBC News spokesperson announced on Friday, Oct. 26 that “Megyn Kelly Today” would not be returning. That sent out a message that there are consequences for exercising freedom of speech in a way that makes others feel less free. However, it’s quite possible that by firing Kelly, NBC was doing precisely the same thing that she was: Saving face.

This wasn’t the first time Kelly made controversial or disparaging comments. She came under fire on Oct. 1 for stating that it was absurd to believe every woman regarding rape allegations. It was off-putting to some that NBC did not respond. It was on Oct. 23, when Kelly shared her opinion on suitable Halloween costumes, that NBC intervened for the first time. That makes it easy to believe that NBC’s swift response was because of the backlash that was directed at them in this case. Of course, there is the chance that NBC fired Kelly because they understood that her comments were harmful and damaging and didn’t want her to be seen as a reflection of the network. The problem with that is that racists are not born overnight, nor do opinions such as hers form overnight. I believe NBC knew exactly who Kelly was, they just never intended for the public to know. Regardless of the real reason behind her departure from the network, NBC never commented on the reasoning behind the show’s cancellation, her firing was necessary. It wasn’t necessarily needed for the sake of making a point to Kelly, but it was needed for the sake of making it up to people who were slighted by Kelly.


The U.S. Has a Need for Nuance Shabib Afzal A caravan with thousands of migrants from the countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador is on its way to the southern border of the United States, according to the Guardian. While the efforts of these migrants is admirable, I cannot see a situation where most of them make it to the border. Many have dispersed, heading back to Honduras or accepting temporary work permits from Mexico if they applied for asylum. Even for the ones that do make it, will they be let into the U.S? If we let them in, where are they going to go? How are we going to take care of them? These are only a few of the questions raised when tackling this issue. This may be a reaction to the rhetoric of President Donald Trump toward immigrants. I would argue that this situation is in defiance of such rhetoric. Many of these migrants know that they will not be welcomed at the border. But many do want to enter the United States to escape the turmoil in their native countries, which shows our continued status as a place for new beginnings. In reaction to this, Trump has decided to make the rules for asylum stricter. He also sent active-duty soldiers to our southern border, referring to the caravan as “an invasion of our country.” It seems to be an over exaggeration to refer to a few thousand migrants as an “invasion.” The actions of the administration seem more so like Trump is appealing to the fears of many Americans, rather than coming up with a long-term solution to this problem.

Ever since President Donald Trump took office almost two years ago, he has made several outrageous statements. This includes calling upon the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to establish a Space Force by 2020, which according to CNN, “could cost 12.9 billion dollars over its first five years.” He also kept calling Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas.” On Oct. 30, however, Trump made what is possibly his most outlandish claim yet. In a interview with news site Axios, Trump said that he plans to do away with birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is the legal right to citizenship for anyone born in a United States territory regardless of their parents’ citizenship status. I have no words to describe my feelings about Trump’s claim. This is basically an attack on U.S. history. We have seen Trump attack illegal immigration before, but this is going too far. Trump is trying to rewrite the 14th Amendment of the Constitution because he wants everything to go his way. That is absolutely ridiculous. There are some people that support Trump’s plan, such as U.S. Senator of South Carolina, Lindsey Graham and U.S. Representative for Virginia, Bob Goodlatte, according to USA Today.



Destinee Scott

Caravan of Love walking in support of immigrants and refugees in February of 2017.

The Democrats, however, have failed in providing any legitimate answers to our immigration problems besides open borders. As nice of an idea as that sounds, it fails to provide any nuance to this discussion. It makes the situation seem binary: Either you are with the immigrants or you are against them. Is supporting open borders caring for these migrants? Possibly. But it seems more like a grand stand rather than actual care. Most Americans view our diversity as a strength, but Trump makes it seem like diversity is our downfall. Maybe some of the concerns of the working class around immigration are not entirely justified. But the Democrats, the party that is apparently for the working class, continues to talk down to the same working

class that is concerned about their place in this country. This open border narrative that democrats have been consistent with would not seem threatening towards the working class if they felt support from the same party. However, they do not feel any of that support from the democrats. Instead, democrats have continued to double-down on the same rhetoric that got Trump elected in the first place. I cannot see how any of this administration’s proposed ideas to defend our southern border against this caravan is a good idea. But open borders cannot be the only alternative. Neither the democrats nor the current administration’s solutions take into account the complexities posed with this issue. Why not consider them?

Americans’ Rights Can’t Be Undone Eduardo Alfonzo

Opinion 7

As a response, in a Twitter post that was released on the same day that Trump announced his plan, Graham said, “This policy is a magnet for illegal immigration, out of the mainstream of the developed world, and needs to come to an end.” There is just one problem: The Constitution would not allow this. The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 to grant citizenship to “all persons born or naturalized in the United States.” Not only that, but it forbids the government to deny any eligible person of citizenship under the protection of this amendment. Over the years, the 14th Amendment has continued to evolve, with clauses added to ensure the protection and rights of anyone under this amendment No matter what Trump says or does, he can’t get rid of birthright citizenship with an executive order because of the amendment. Even if he does sign an executive order, it will most likely go through the Supreme Court, as he said himself. We’re signing it and it will probably work its way up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said to reporters outside the White House on Nov. 9. The 14th Amendment has been involved in many different Supreme Court cases and most of them are in favor of the amendment. These cases include “Brown

v. Board of Education (1954),” “Duncan v. Louisiana (1968)” and “Plyler v. Doe (1982).” The only way for Trump to have his executive order fulfilled is to have Congress alter the constitutional amendment under a two-three majority vote. In my opinion, he’s out of luck with that as well. Not only will almost half of the Senate be run by Democrats come January, (some of whom are completely against Trump’s plan), but there are some Republicans, such as Paul Ryan, who disapprove of any changes to the Constitution. In a interview with radio station WVLK on Oct. 30, Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order. We didn’t like it when Obama tried changing immigration laws via executive action and obviously as conservatives, we believe in the Constitution.” Ryan wasn’t the only one. On Oct. 31, Marsha Blackburn, the recently elected Senator of Tennessee, spoke to the political website, The Hill, expressing how she doesn’t think it is possible to do away with birthright citizenship, via an executive order. “I think the 14th Amendment is where it stands,” the senator said. No matter what Trump says, this is one order that he can’t give.

Did the world see the pink wave coming? And is it ready for what it’s going to bring? Because I have a feeling that this is just the beginning. Almost two years ago, millions of women spilled out into the streets of Washington D.C and cities across the country with pink hats and signs that warned of their unity and power in defiance to the inauguration of President Donald Trump. On Nov. 6, women delivered their promise and led Democrats to take back the House. They broke records with 118 women expected to head to the 116th Congress, surpassing the previous record of 107, and bringing the number of female legislators to at least 22 percent. “This is truly the year of the woman everywhere,” the chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez said at an election night party in Washington as results began to unfold on Tuesday night, according to the Guardian. Out of the 118 women expected to head to Congress in January, there are many “firsts” that will hold office. This includes Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, who became the first Muslim women elected to Congress; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress; and Sharice Davids and Debra Haaland, who became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Minnesota also elected its first openly lesbian congresswoman, Angie Craig, and Massachusetts and Connecticut elected their first African American congresswomen, Ayanna Pressley and Jahana Hayes, respectively. It doesn’t stop there — women also competed in governor races across the country and out of the nine women who won this year, four became the first female governors of their states and territories. They are Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Kristi Noem of South Dakota, Janet Mills of Maine and Lou Leon Guerrero of U.S. territory Guam This year, women not only increased their numbers, but they’ve challenged traditional norms of what a leader looks like and have made Congress more diverse than it’s ever been. These women have spoken out against harassment and discrimination and they anticipate afecting the political agenda in Washington, D.C. and in capitals across the country by promoting stability, equality and bipartisanship. Right now, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the world needs more innovative leaders who come from diverse backgrounds, and these women are exactly that. They bring structural and cultural differences which will help drive effective solutions and create positive change. As they begin their journey to making the world a better place, they will also inspire women and young girls across the globe to take their chance and get involved with politics.; whether it’s speaking up for what they believe in or even running for Congress in the next election. So, let’s give these ladies a well-deserved round of applause for breaking records and making efforts toward changing our white male-dominated government – and get ready world because the pink wave has only just begun.

8 Opinion


How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving? Dana Livingston Historically, the first Thanksgiving marked the communion of the Plymouth Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans in the early seventeenth century. It inspired the annual modern American holiday marked by family get-togethers, acts of gratitude and football. Thanksgiving Day is an excuse to release your inner glutton and gorge on anything (and everything) that’s in front of you. At least, that’s the way I see it. Growing up, Thanksgiving was a very important holiday that I always spent with my mother’s family. With my maternal grandmother’s birthday on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving was a cross between a birthday party and a family reunion.By some cruel stroke of fate, our house was chosen to host Thanksgiving dinner year after year. I remember the week before Thanksgiving being a period of (dis)organized chaos: Mass cleaning efforts, hordes of family flying in from all over the country and countless trips to the supermarket. For my mother, everything had to be perfect. The utensils weren’t aligned? She panicked. The dessert wasn’t room temperature? She panicked. Every little hiccup held the power to tip her over the edge.

For what, a couple of hours of eating? I didn’t think that all the stress it caused those around me was worth it — I still don’t. As I grew older, some of the responsibilities that caused my mother so much stress were passed on to me. I used to only be responsible for making sure that I showed up, greeted family and guests, ate and shuffled on to bed. When I reached my teenage years, the Thanksgiving season became less of a time to celebrate and more of a time to dread

the influx of meddling relatives. So how do I celebrate Thanksgiving today? When my maternal grandmother passed away two years ago, my family decided to create a new tradition: Staying home to appreciate our immediate family. Thanksgiving is no longer such a big deal for my family. No more fuss, no more big parties and certainly no extended family. Now when we celebrate it’s just the four of us: My mother, my father, my brother and myself. My father and brother get bundled up,

Debunking Astrology Olivia Mathon Astrology has always been a popular trend amongst today’s youth, and from what I can see, especially amongst social media users. Due to the lack of self confidence in today’s youth, publications on social media apps, such as on Snapchat’s Discover feature, pry upon these weaknesses to make themselves more marketable. They use horoscopes to instill various complementary words into their users. I don’t particularly believe in it, as to me it’s just a bunch of generic words. But, there is something about astrology that attracts people. Why? According to Julie Beck, a journalist for popular news magazine The Atlantic, astrology is the study of where the sun, moon and planets up and interact with each other, making up the 12 signs of the zodiac. The most commonly discussed astrological idea is the zodiac sign, or your sun sign. Based upon your sun sign, a determination can be made about your personality. Everyday there are multiple posts on social media and media outlets, such as “Vice,” that include daily horoscopes. Seeing this day after day makes me wonder why people buy into astrology. Putting faith into the universe and hoping that the horoscope reading will give some glimpse into my future is not something that interests me. There is no scientific proof or evidence behind astrology. “Astrology is not a science; there’s no evidence that one’s zodiac sign actually correlates

to personality,” Beck said. Amanda Hess of The New York Times said that, “It can be disquieting, and maybe a little dangerous, to see otherwise journalistic publications look to pseudoscience for answers.” The scientific research that has gone into astrology and its reliability is a debate that has been around for ages. Being told by a random online source whether or not you’ll hit it big with the lottery, or randomly find your “forever person” are just written words to make you feel confident. Needing the validation of strangers online to gain confidence in yourself should say a lot about society today. We are living in a world where self-esteem is at an all-time low, while stress is at an all-time high. I feel that this creates a need for ‘soft’ entertainment that motivates people to do their best, resulting in the increase in the reliance on astrology. Due to the sensitive nature of today’s youth, buying into daily horoscopes seems dangerous in today’s culture. “It risks becoming the free-spirited liberal equivalent of pushing aside facts inconvenient to one’s worldview as ‘fake news.’ But reports of astrological acceptance rising among younger generations might overstate the case,” Hess said. Whether or not you buy into the idea of your zodiac sign relating to your personality is not the issue at hand. I don’t believe it, as there is no evidence whatsoever, but maybe you need to think less about whether you’ll be lucky today and more about why you need some online source to tell you that.

go outside and fry a turkey. My mother and I cook simple sides together inside while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade plays in the background. When all the food is done, we each fill up our plates, sit in front of the television and enjoy our food while we watch Thanksgiving Day football. Although our Thanksgiving celebrations as of late have been small in comparison to what they used to be, it is this sense of intimacy that has made my family’s Thanksgiving Day traditions hold more importance in my life than any other holiday.

Is Black Friday Honestly Worth all the Hassle? Sara Rodia With Thanksgiving right around the corner, another popular day is right on its heels: Black Friday. For those of you who may not know, Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving where stores across the country have huge discounts on products. Take a look online and you’ll already begin to see deals popping up or previews of the deals that are going to be offered on Black Friday. However, there’s one big question regarding this day — is it worth the hassle? Personally, I think it is most certainly worth the hassle. While, yes, there are a lot of people and you often have to get there early to get the really good deals, what you walk away with at the end of the day makes it worth it. For me, Black Friday is when I purchase all of my electronics. Last year, I purchased my MacBook for 20 percent off the original price. For expensive electronics such as computers, tablets or phones, these savings can be very beneficial. It’s important to look online prior to Thanksgiving to find the best sales and when they start. It is not unusual

for these sales to start either early Friday morning or even on Thanksgiving night. My father and my brother went one year to stand in line late Thanksgiving night for an iPad sale that began at midnight. On top of the great deals you find on Black Friday, it’s also an enjoyable time to have with your friends. I’ve been going out on Black Friday every year with my friends for the past several years. It’s a tradition for us now. This is especially important for us now that we’re in college and don’t see each other as often as we used to. If you don’t feel up to going out on Black Friday, to find these deals, you can also shop online on Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving where you can find large discounts on products online. Cyber Monday is a great alternative for people who don’t want to go out on Black Friday, as you get very similar deals while avoiding the trouble of going out into the masses. Personally, I enjoy going out on Black Friday and shopping online on Cyber Monday, making the most of the two. If you’ve never ventured out on Black Friday, I suggest you grab some friends and make the trip out this year.


Students Have Mixed Emotions After 2018 Midterm Election Alana Loren Bethea

Students were asked: 1. How do you feel after this midterm election? 2. Are you surpised by the outcomes? 3. Why did you vote? 4. Which side were you rooting for?

1.“I’m feeling a little nervous because I don’t think the Democrats are going to be willing to work effectively with the president now that they have control of the House.”

1. “It was my first time voting but I knew I was voting for an important cause. For me, being newly 18, it was awkward because I feel my age doesn’t really know about politics. So, for us to actually vote a lot of people were confused about it. I know at first I was confused. I got used to it and realized the bigger idea of it was for an important cause.”

2. “I am not surprised. I knew there was a strong chance of the Democrats taking back the House especially because this has happened many times in history where the opposition party wins the House.”

2.“Not necessarily. I didn’t watch the results but I know for New York a lot of people weren’t disappointed. A lot of Democrats won apparently from what I heard...and I am Democrat.”

Delia Loouy Freshman

3.“My parents are really big on voting. They say that all votes count, especially for me being female and biracial. That one vote can have a big effect and it did have a big effect.”

3. “I voted because I want us all to have a prosperous future.”

Derek Klingel Junior

4. “I was rooting for the Republicans because I want to see the Make America Great Again agenda continue to thrive.”

4. “Democrats.”

1. “I feel pretty good, I feel like there is a balance of power with the Democrats running [the] House. I feel like there is more balance in the government, as it’s supposed to be.”

1. “I’m still somewhat in shock by some of the results and I haven’t fully registered everything yet. It’s beautiful to see people who look like me or have the same values as me in a place of high power.”

2. “I’m definitely not. I saw it coming.”

2. “Yeah I’m still pretty shocked. This is the first time in a long time where the House of Representatives is full of Democrats. It just shows that people really want change.”

3. “I live in New York, so I knew it was going to Democrat either way. I actually voted libertarian for governor just as a protest vote.”

Rumman Rafsan Senior

4. Independent.“I’m not a Democrat, I don’t like Democrats on a lot of issues. But I feel like its good for the government and the country if there’s more compromise going on and if there’s more balance. I was hoping the Democrats would take the House.”

Rachel Peprah Junior

3. “I think it was important to vote in this election because the results of this election determine what can happen in the future and I don’t just mean a year from now, but like, 20 years from now... we have to be sure that we’re making the right decisions now so that our children and our children’s children can live in a world better than we are living in right now.” 4. “I wasn’t really rooting for a specific party. I was just rooting for anyone who wanted change and who placed value on things I cared about like immigration, education and things like that.”

1. “I live on Long Island and I am not the happiest about the outcome.”

1.“I feel good. I’m a Democrat so I feel it’s good we have the House back. I was happy to see that we have the first Native American in the Congress and the first two Muslim women in Congress as well...it was really nice seeing that.”w

2. “I kinda saw it going that way because my parents talk about it a lot and they hear a lot of things. My dad and mom work government jobs... they kinda knew how people were feeling and voiced their opinions.”

Rosalie Bonacasa Junior

2.“No, I was expecting it...it wasn’t too much of a surprise.”

3. “A lot of the funding for Long Island and the schools are going to be sent to the cities since the democrats won. The republicans would have kept some funding for the old schools. The old school I went was a private school and I think it might shut down without the funding.” 4. “Republican.”

3.“It was the first time I actually voted. I was really happy to finally have a voice.” 4. “Democrats.”

Kyle Burnell Sophomore


Extended version available online


10 Features


Meet the Women Who Made Fashion Studies a Reality TORCH PHOTOS/ALEX YEM

Beverly Danquah Story continued from front page As a former dean, Ruggieri had the institutional knowledge needed to package the program within state guidelines. “I wrote up the management course, Dr. Joyce Boland-DeVito wrote up the fashion law course, Dr. Susan Glanz who teaches economics wrote an economic issues of fashion class, Dr. Carmine Gibaldi wrote an entrepreneurship course for fashion, Dr. Licari does the marketing and branding—she does the intro course and the pre-session as well,” Ruggieri said. In order to get the program approved, Ruggieri had to prove to New York State that there isn’t only a need for the degree, but that there is student interest. “In order to prove a need for the degree, I proposed an institute of fashion,” Licari said. “I thought if we had an institute of fashion, we could bring speakers into have events like [the fashion studies celebration], and show the state that there is demonstrated interest,” Licari said. Ruggieri wrote up a proposal, which was later approved. “A number of courses from the minor will transition into the major, the courses are both live and online,” Licari said. “We will have embedded courses in Paris, Limerick and Rome.” Fashion designer and senior student Donovan Salmon is one of the many students excited to see the major on campus, even though his senior status prevents him from pursuing the major. “If I were a freshman coming in, I would’ve done this instead of marketing,” he said. “A sustainable business is a business that will last the longest, and it makes your wardrobe way more

Dr. Andrea Licari talks to students and faculty about the much anticipated fashion studies program to come to campus in the fall.

unique than someone else’s, so I’m happy to see the ethical aspect of fashion in this program,” he added. Licari said that the program is an opportunity for St. John’s students to secure their place in a global economy. “Fashion is more than clothing, fashion is a lifestyle. Fashion to me is what is on your back, what music you’re listening to, what literature you’re reading,” she said. The fashion studies program officially launches in fall 2019 and some students have already signed up to take on the major when it becomes available. “St. John’s is committed to the fashion industry in many ways from the ethical and sustainable aspect, doing what’s right by the industry, and getting our students jobs,” Licari said.

Student searches through fabrics.

Dr. Catherine Ruggieri talks about her involvement with the program.

Alumni Talk Post-Grad Opportunities for English Majors Crystal Simmons College can be a very confusing time for many students as they work to figure out what they want to pursue after graduation. Some walk amongst campus with a clear vision or even a realm of where they want to take their careers. Others may be in a major that someone told them they should take, or may know that they belong there, but do not quite know what they should do with their degree once they complete it. Aside from exploring the Career Center and doing copious amounts of research on jobs related to a specific major, students also have another resource to help them decide what steps they can take. One of the ways to figure out where their passions really lie is by speaking to someone who has walked in their shoes and been at the same crossroads. On Thursday evening, the Career

Center hosted an intimate gathering on the fourth floor of the D ‘Angelo Center for “English Career Night.” Current students and alumni of the English department were able to connect over food and similar experiences that the Alumni could help students navigate. A common question being answered throughout the night was how the experience as an English major helped the alumni in the positions that they currently were in now. Most of the time when one thinks of the English major, they automatically assume the career path is becoming a teacher and nothing else. However, as each alumni shared their experience during brief introductions, they made it clear that the transferrable skills they gained as English majors, like critical thinking and being able to analyze large texts in small amounts of time, have helped them in their positions today. The alumni panel ranged

from various professions and companies such as Audible, POPSUGAR, The Wendy Williams Show and Harper-Collins. Some even shared helpful tips about internships students should pursue and how learning from these experiences can help move them into new directions. Assistant Beauty Editor and Alumni Tembe Denton-Hurst shared how her experience with various pieces of literature at St. John’s helped her to develop her voice and her thinking around various aspects of her identity and the awareness of others. As a former student leader, could recount how she was able to use her experience with different literature from her classes here at St. John’s to influence how she navigated different groups with varying political philosophies. “It really made me ask the question ‘who are you reading?’” Denton-Hurst said. The relatability of the advice from St.

John’s Alumni stuck with students as the conversations came to a lulling end. Senior English major Paige O’Donnell who also had an extended conversation with Denton-Hurst, found the knowledge she gained from career night to be very insightful. “I asked a lot of people they came to be at the place in their lives,” O’Donnell said. Many of them told her that things were stressful, and nothing seemed to be going right but they eventually fell into place. “The one thing I could walk away with knowing is that [you know] eventually even though I had no idea what I’m doing and no idea where my life is going hopefully it would fall into place. So, I’m pretty confident now.” For many students, this event was an eye opener for where they could go and how they could apply their passions to a variety of different career paths.

Features 11


Morgan Mullings Mezu “Zu” Ofoegbu, 23, is not a pastor. He stands in front of students and teaches them the gospel. He reads directly from the Bible to them. He jumps up and down when he’s excited about what he is preaching. He wears trendy or rare sneakers, and skinny jeans with big jackets — like a lot of hip youth pastors do. But call him a pastor and he will cringe and beg you to stop. After all, he says, Jesus only had one title among his disciples: Teacher. He sees himself more as a studier of people. Zu has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a masters in sociology. He completed both at St. John’s University in the span of five years, walking across the stage for the last time in May 2018. He has a job at an after school program. He also does research for Yo Re Mi, a program that teaches musical yoga to young children. Even though he’s busy post-grad, he still serves as a counselor for the students that are a part of EDEN, a faith and creativity student organization on campus that he helped start in his junior year. He led Bible study sessions for around 30 students of different denominations every Tuesday night. Now, Zu developed his new passion project — the “Forget the Noise” podcast. He spent a month praying about it before publishing it on Apple Podcasts and the first episode debuted in July. “I wanted to pray that my mindset be ‘God, I just want anybody to hear it,’” he said. That was a requirement, not caring about the numbers. His main fan base is the students at EDEN, who have heard him teach similar lessons that they can now listen to on their phone for free. “I really think that God has given me a gift to simply teach the gospel, simply,” he said in an interview with the Torch. He’s turned his side of the ministry into 29 episodes that claim to debunk myths that Christians have believed over the years. “I’ve seen peoples’ walk with God suffer because they believe God is watching them like a security guard, waiting for something bad to happen,” he said. That inspired “Episode 4: Rolling The Dice on God’s Love.” A fight he had with his mom became the focus of “Episode 8: Still…” Three months after the first episode aired, Zu invited a friend to his recording studio, which is just the kitchen counter in his best friend’s apartment. He and his guest, Sean Sweeney, sat on opposite sides of the counter to discuss sexuality and the church on the first episode of “Street Lights.” Sweeney believes that radical messages against the queer community come from those who don’t understand what they are talking about. Sweeney introduces himself at the beginning of the YouTube video as “Seany Bravo” (his Instagram name), the former president of Spectrum SJU, and he identi-

fies as bisexual. Spectrum serves the gender and sexual minority community at SJU. “‘Street Lights’ is about inviting people in for a conversation. People that I think that I know so well… people that the church has overlooked,” Zu said to the Torch. “I realized that me, and for the most part, the rest of Christian culture is homophobic. Our homophobia slips under the radar cause it’s like, I’m not homophobic, I’m just afraid to be homophobic. But I define that as homophobia as well.” Sweeney touches on this toward the end of the video, saying, “Can you blame someone for being homophobic if they don’t know that they are being homophobic? No, but you can still be [held] accountable for it.” Luana Bowers, a senior and a member of EDEN overheard the recording from another room. She has also listened to a few of the podcast episodes. “I appreciated the conversation because these types of conversations usually don’t happen. These topics are controversial, but they’re topics that need to be spoken about,” she said. Sweeney and Zu agree on a lot, in part, because they are friends. But Zu makes it very clear: He is straight. He identifies as male, and he has erred on the side of homophobia many times. “I think a lot of times we see within the church, these radical messages from people who fully don’t understand what they’re talking about, to make the argument that they’re trying to make,” Sweeney says in the video. “I wanted to actively fight against any homophobia in me. I wanted to put us so close together that other homophobic people would be weirded out by it,” Zu said in the interview. He posted a series of photos promoting the first “Street Lights” episode, of himself and Sean with their arms locked and rainbows painted on their wrists. Suddenly, the texts from pastors in his life started coming in: “yo, what are you doing?” is how Zu summarizes the messages. But Sweeney was completely open to the experience. “Zu and I have had similar discussion in the past, so it just felt like two friends having a conversation honestly,” he said in an interview with the Torch. He wants the video to encourage others to be more open-minded, and to ask questions when they don’t fully understand the situation. “While the Bible is a great text to refer to, and definitely to look at for guidance, there’s more to being a Christian than that,” he told Zu during their conversation. “You can’t tell me that I’m not blessed, and you can’t tell me that I’m not favored, and you can’t tell me that I don’t have a relationship with God because that’s my relationship with God.” While Zu agrees with some of what he calls “the church’s view” in the discussion, he makes it abundantly clear that being heterosexual is “not the goal.” He believes the Bible to be completely


Mezu Ofoegbu’s Podcast Explores Sexuality and the Church

Mezu “Zu” Ofoegbu, 23, serves as a counselor for the students that are a part of EDEN.

true, saying, “If a [gay] couple asked me for example, ‘Hey Zu, could you marry us?’ I couldn’t. And I wouldn’t. And my reasoning for that is not because I don’t love y’all. My reasoning is that I haven’t seen it in the Bible.” Some famous pastors and evangelicals such as Rob Bell have openly stated that they believe marriage can be between a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. Zu says all this knowing that he has friends who have come out to him as gay, who believe in the Bible in the same way that he does. During the video, Sweeney says that the problem lies in those who tell queer people what to do with their lives without knowing their full story. The difficult conversation they had onscreen isn’t happening very often in public, according to Zu, and he wants other Christians to say how they really feel about the relationship between the LGBTQ+

community and the church. “There should be more of [an] understanding...on the church’s end, but there’s some understanding to be held on the queer side as well,” Sweeney says toward the end of the video. Zu agrees, and he also told the Torch that there are points where what he believes can really discourage Sweeney, and even himself. He wants to continue challenging himself and others through “Forget The Noise” and “Street Lights,” because he’s interested in the lives of those he interviews. “I’m able to relate to how Jesus Christ or the lack of Jesus Christ is reinforcing things in your life that you don’t want to be there. Or even if you are satisfied, how that is temporary,” he said. His latest episode aired on Apple Podcasts and YouTube on Oct. 22, where he and senior Kennisa Ragland discussed the feminist movement.




“Midnight Marauders:” 25 Years Commemorating one of the greatest gifts to Hip-Hop Jillian Ortiz Twenty-five years ago on Nov. 9, 1993, hiphop was changed forever. A Tribe Called Quest, Queens’ very own, released their third studio album, “Midnight Marauders.” It is arguably one of, if not, the group’s best work. It is also the only record that I choose to own on vinyl. ATCQ, comprised of members Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and the late Phife Dawg, dominated the east-coast hip-hop scene through the mid-90s into the early 2000s. Their last studio album, “We Got it From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service,” was released two years ago on Nov. 11, 2016. “Midnight Marauders,” however, is a work unlike any other. It is 51 minutes of nonstop jazzy beats and playful lyrics that glide off the tongues of the group’s emcees. From the first track, “Midnight Marauders Tour Guide,” up until the last note of “God Lives Through,” you are taken on a journey of feel-good rhythm and overcome by a sense of “Electric Relaxation,” (that was incredibly corny and I’m sorry). In the spirit of their sportive nature, the group touches upon serious issues in a sometimes facetious manner. This is seen on tracks such as “Steve Biko (Stir it Up),” which references the radical anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko. On this track, the group comments on their influence

on the hip-hop community — how they have radically changed the game. The use of the N-word in the black community is another concept that is brought about through lyricism on the track “Sucka Ni**a,” where Q-Tip acknowledges the dark past from which the word stems from, but vouches for its embracement. “Upper ni**as in the

community think it’s crummy. But I don’t, neither does the youth cause we embrace adversity it goes right with the race…” Q-Tip tells halfway through the first verse. The outros to numerous tracks on the album are unique in their own sense, as they also touch upon ideas that artists often leave in the dust.

Torch photo/jillian ortiz

A Tribe Called Quest’s ”Midnight Marauders” album was released Nov. 9, 1993.

“Did you know that the rate of AIDS in the Black and Hispanic community is rising at an alarming rate? Education is proper means for slowing it down,” are the last words uttered by the Midnight Marauders tour guide on the four-minute namesake track, “Midnight.” The outro to “Award Tour” explains to listeners the definition of “maraud,” a stylistic feature that most artists today would not think to incorporate on their work. “The word ‘maraud’ means to loot. In this case, we maraud for ears.” On the other hand, songs like “The Chase, Part II” and “Oh My God” boast Tribe’s status as hip-hop pioneers. Untouchable lyricism, entrancing flow and carefully selected jazz samples put “Midnight Marauders” on another level. Several artists have borrowed elements from some of hip-hop’s greatest, more specifically from “Midnight Marauders.” This is seen on Logic’s debut album, “Under Pressure,” where his “Intro” track introduces listeners to a “tour guide” of sorts. Other artists that attribute their inspiration to Tribe are Andre 3000, J.Cole (who sampled “Electric Relaxation” on “Forbidden Fruit”) Pharrell, Questlove of The Roots and Pusha T. “This concludes ‘Midnight Marauder’ program. Press any key to return to the main menu.” Story as it appeared on Medium.com

“I Took a Walk Through this Beautiful World” “Parts Unknown” ends, but its legacy continues Samantha DeNinno Opening shot: B-roll of a Southern Italian woman singing in a crowded market. Historical footage of 1970s New York. A woman carrying produce in the fields of Hanoi. Insert narration if needed. Cut to opening credits. Before the title sequences began, chef and writer Anthony Bourdain was able to capture his audience’s attention in CNN’s “Parts Unknown.” On Nov. 11, episode seven of season 12’s ending credits marked the end of an era for those who delighted in the inquisitive and stubborn host’s travels across the globe in search of culture, history and good food. Season 12 sought to bridge the gap between the audience and the man behind the screen even further in the wake of his passing in June with inclusions of episodes focused on his impact and the behind the scenes production of the show. The series was built on a simple model. Travel to a place, find the food and talk about it for the audiences back home. When “Parts Unknown” began, travel shows of the time, such as any of Samantha Brown’s multitude, aimed at what to see and where to visit. Bourdain’s was grittier, seemingly uncut and resolute in its quest to encapture the place through the people that shaped it. Each episode had meticulous thought behind it — inspired by a film or piece of music, specifically shot and edited in that style. Bourdain never claimed to be a journalist. In fact, he shied away from that title, calling himself a “lucky cook that gets to tell stories...a storyteller.” Nevertheless, he act-

ed as a journalist when he brought a platform to the stories of those lost in the noise. One of his most memorable episodes, the sixth of season four, saw Iran and its people in a way not actively being shown by the American media at the time — as people. He wasn’t afraid to be proven wrong or change his opinion. Yes, he enjoyed luxury, but he took special measures to highlight the food, voices and culture of the working classes as well. For it is in these people, that the struggles, accomplishments and culture of a country can be best understood. A meal represents an agreement, a familiarity, a common ground between different people. Bourdain used that commonality to ask hard questions about a country’s history and current state. He bucked against “stovepiping,” what he described as production trying to sway the conversation in a certain way, and ended scenes by saying “go wide.” He refused to take direction or listen to the convention of “action” and “cut.” “Take two? We don’t do take twos,” Bourdain said to his crew in the South Pole. His conversations with people were tantalizingly authentic and real. Audiences listened as individuals shared what they loved — their home — while believing firmly in the good that can come from the bad. The last episode of “Parts Unknown” did just the same thing on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a place near and dear to Bourdain’s upbringing during the 70s and 80s punk and hip-hop movements. Story continued on page 13

PHOTO COURTESY/flickr creative commons peabody awards

Bourdain accepted a Peabody Award for “Parts Unknown.”

Culture 13


torch design/jenna woo

Celebs Take Over the Podcast World Alexis Gaskin It seems like everyone has a podcast these days, including your favorite celebrities. Here are some of those that stand out especially from the mix.

"Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness" You might know him from the Netflix series, “Queer Eye,” and if you don’t, you’re seriously missing out. Jonathan Van Ness has been hosting this informational and curiosity-filled podcast since 2015, before the series premiered. Van Ness discusses topics that he finds interesting and is curious about with professionals. This genuine podcast that ranges from 30 minutes to an hour features great commentary and conversations on topics that we’re all curious about but are too scared to ask. With topics ranging from the Sunni and Shiites, menstrual cups and psychedelics, the informational and humorous commentary will grab your attention and keep you listening.

The always-funny actress, comedian and “unqualified” person adds podcast host to her roster with this entertaining and endearing podcast featuring celebrity guests each episode. Like other podcasts on this list, she brings the talk show aspect to her own home and the ears of her listeners, but in an unfiltered and unscripted (for the most part).


"Curious with Josh Peck" The “Drake and Josh” alumnus has candid conversations with other celebrities and interesting people such as John Stamos (Full House) and Josh Gad (Frozen) in this podcast. He discusses curious topics like death, the lives of his guests and future works through a friendly dialogue. An easy-going show with insight into the true lives of celebrities, host Peck is like a latenight TV host, but less serious, not caring about the PR of it all but, rather, just the reality of the business.

"How Did This Get Made" You’re getting a three-in-one for the celebrities here. Hosts Paul Scheer (Fresh off the Boat), June Diane Raphael (New Girl) and Jason Mantzoukas (Big Mouth) keep with their usual twisted humor when mocking declared bad films. This podcast is literally just the three comics and a different guest each episode, laughing and taunting bad films, such as “The Smurfs,” “Con Air” and “Spice World” (which I disagree with because that’s a great movie). It’s one long spoiler alert, but it will keep you laughing the whole time and also wondering, “How did these movies get made?”

"Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard" A celebrity interviewing other celebrities — that’s the premise of Dax Shepard’s podcast, the self-claimed “Armchair Expert.” Throughout each episode, Shepard tries to understand the anthropology of humans and the overall “messiness of their lives” with interviews that are just conversations with his friends — who are also famous. The episodes are very long, but well worth it for the laughs. It’s a perfect listen for that long commute or those days where you want to hear Shepard argue with other celebrities like Kristen Bell, Seth Meyers and Adam Scott.

PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube ufo radio

"Anna Faris is Unqualified"

Utilizing her forty-some years of life experience, she offers advice and conversation to her guests with her producer and co-host Sim Sarna. Guest celebrities like Olivia Munn, Shane Dawson and Tiffany Haddish keep the laughs rolling and the episodes queued.

“Parts Unknown” ends but its legacy continues Continued from page 12 Bourdain showed audiences his old haunts, what areas he used to avoid and shared meals with some of the icons of that generation, including Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Chris Stein. He shared a meal with actress and writer Lydia Lunch, whose colorful language and wit kept up with Bourdain’s own in a way I hadn’t seen before. A simple, short, wordless feature on the Mosaic Man, Jim Power, who glues small pieces of tile to the street signs of the Lower East Side, was powerful enough to remind you of the beautiful people still left in the world. Some viewers were unhappy about the final season as a whole — noticeably missing the narration of Bourdain in post-production. Even more disagreed about the jumpy, chaotic editing of the last episode. On the first note, I agree; there was a strange absence created by the silence between scenes, made all the more disquieting on the knowledge of

why. But on the second criticism, I disagree. Bourdain loved film and music and wished that every episode would fit the style he was emulating. To make the last episode somber and without the characteristics of 70s student arthouse films it emulated, would have been an affront to the series as a whole. The final episode ended in a fast-paced montage of the Lower East Side and its people, overlayed with the Johnny Thunders’ “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory.” As the credits rolled, it is hard not to think that this show continues on in the people it touched, the stories it told and the world it opened up. Bourdain’s last meal was a simple one. An ungarnished hard-boiled egg prepared by painter and musician John Lurie. So ironically Bourdain and so poignant in its meaning. For Bourdain and “Parts Unknown,” it was always the people that made the food what it was. “Go wide.”

PHOTO COURTESY/youtube discovery channel southeast asia

Anthony Bourdain and former President Barack Obama eating noodles in Hanoi.





Rasheeda Campbell

PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube 20th Century Fox

If you haven’t seen “Bohemian Rhapsody” yet, what are you waiting for? This film should be the next one on your list to see. It is a great biopic of the late Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British rock band, Queen. “Bohemian Rhapsody” follows Mercury (Rami Malek) as a young airline baggage handler before becoming a total rock star. At a small show, he found his bandmates and Queen was created. This is a fun film with humorous moments and opportunities to sing along to some of your favorite Queen songs. However, the film also exposes the many struggles Mercury faced with his identity, love life and musical career. Throughout the film, the audience is able to see Mercury grow as a person and learn from his mistakes. It’s a brilliant and entertaining film that focuses on Mercury, but also provides you with information about his fellow band members. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a great film because it also addresses the internal struggle

“THE GRINCH” In Theaters Now

Renee King From sarcastic posters lining subway stations to advertisements sponsored by the biotechnology company 23andMe, “The Grinch” is everywhere. It is especially hard to ignore when the Internet talks about the film, or is abuzz over the limited edition, hideously green pancakes now being served at IHOP. But was it really worth all of the excess promotion, or the giddiness of nostalgic PHOTO COURTESY/Youtube filmselect trailer

fans for the classic Dr. Seuss animation? From the same production company as “Despicable Me” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” “The Grinch” seems doomed for complete diversion from the start. If the gaudy 3D animation and raucous humor in films like “Minions” indicate anything, it is that Illumination Entertainment had the opportunity to flip the story completely on its head. Nonetheless, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the agitated title character and Pharrell Williams as the narrator, the signature rhymes and festive spirit of the original storyline remain nearly the same. The Grinch is sick of the sheer joy in the neighboring town of Whoville, attempts to steal Christmas, and is stopped when young Cindy Lou Who helps him to realize the true meaning of the holidays. Besides spontaneous scenes featuring a hip-hop soundtrack by the likes of Tyler, the Creator and BROCKHAMPTON, “The Grinch” almost feels repetitive, even with its lively animation. Did it try too hard to appeal to some kind of millennial fanbase? Perhaps. Did I zone out within the first half-an-hour? Yes. Did the little girl in the front row laugh at the Grinch’s modernized visual gags? Absolutely. But this film was made for her. It is not an arthouse cinematic masterpiece; it was meant to be a children’s movie with heart.

with identity that many people tend to have. Mercury is of an Indian background and the film reveals that he was somewhat ashamed of his heritage and wanted to deny who he really was. From saying that he is British to legally changing his name to Freddie Mercury, it’s clear that he had a resentment toward his father (who sent him away to a boarding school as a child) and where he came from. The film showed Mercury facing discrimination while performing for the first time. Racism and discrimination can have extremely negative influences on people, which makes it understandable as to why Mercury had the mentality to not want to reveal his heritage to the public. This part of the film exposes the types of issues immigrants and people of color can encounter. Later in the film, Mercury does embrace his heritage and becomes proud of who he is. Overall, this is an inspiring film that teaches us about Freddie Mercury and Queen, but also addresses important personal issues many people encounter on a daily basis.

Sports 15


Brendan Murray With another season filled with high expectations beginning, the St. John’s women’s basketball team put a beat down on the Iona Gaels last Friday, winning 6135 in convincing fashion. The Red Storm were able to demonstrate their prolific scoring and attacked with freshman Kadaja Bailey leading the way with 14 points and Qadashah Hoppie with 13 points. When watching these pieces on the floor play together, you can see they know what they want to do. These Johnnies are an experienced and hungry group that is looking to ride the final year of their leader, Akina Wellere. Wellere will be trusted with the job of teaching these young Johnnies the right way to compete. Her leadership is unquestioned in the locker room and by looking at the players engage with her, you can see that they listen to her. One young player who will be key for a successful Red Storm season is Kadaja Bailey, the preseason Big East Freshman of the Year. Her ability to be a force on the floor both offensively and defensively will be an important aspect of the Johnnies’ play that opponents will have to plan for. If her first collegiate game tells us what she will do throughout her future with

the Johnnies, Bailey is set to become the building block of this program. In a program that doesn’t feature a ton of youth, if Bailey can continue living up to her potential, she will be a household name for the Red Storm faithful. The Johnnies are also able to play a hard- nose defensive style of basketball, which was evident when they forced Iona into 24 turnovers. This group of Johnnies is more known for their offensive prowess, however, they could make defense a bigger part of their game with more displays like the one at Iona. Coach Tartamella said that they wanted to improve on their three-point shooting as a team. Bringing in transfer student Jasmine Sina was a big step towards that goal. While Sina went 0-2 from threepoint land in only six minutes of action off the Red Storm bench, look for her to be that spark of sharpshooting. Her résumé from Binghamton is enough to know that she will eventually come around. The Red Storm made four of their 13 attempts from three-point land, although they still need to improve on this aspect and put together the pieces to accomplish their goal. An underlying aspect of this start for the Red Storm is the way they were able to come out victorious in a game on the



Women’s Basketball Dominates Iona

Akina Wellere opened up her senior season with eight points and five rebounds.

road. The Johnnies struggled last year on the road, amassing five wins and seven losses. If the Red Storm want to improve on their past season, they will need to put together more outings like this on the road. The Red Storm will also need

to continue to dominate at home, where they won 13 times and lost only five times a season ago. The pieces for a very good Women’s team are there, look for them to have an improved year.

Questions Remain After Two Games John Cavanagh The St. John's men’s basketball team has played two games so far this season and both have resulted in wins on their home floor. The first game was a lopsided 76-55 victory over Loyola Maryland and the second was a 84-80 nail biter over Bowling Green. However, the Red Storm were expected to win those games, as they head into a rivalry game with Rutgers this Friday. While they've taken care of business, they'll certainly need to make some improvements if they want to continue their winning ways. St. John's has plenty of scorers in their starting five and on the bench. The backcourt of Shamorie Ponds and Mustapha Heron is as lethal as advertised, while role players L.J. Figueroa and Mikey Dixon have provided a nice spark in relief. Figueroa is averaging 10 points and 30 minutes per game. The issue that plagues the Red Storm, and has for a few seasons now, is size. Center Sedee Keita left just four minutes into the game against Bowling Green, a team who had a few good big men. Without Keita, the Johnnies were out-rebounded 38-28. Bowling Green center Demajeo Wiggins had 12 rebounds alone. It doesn't get any easier because Rutgers has plenty of size as well and plays a very physical game. Another issue was the three-point defense. Bowling Green shot 40 percent

from three and shot 53.85 percent from outside-the-arc in the first half. Their defense did force Bowling Green into 20 turnovers, compared to just eight of their own. But there had to be a happy medium somewhere that allowed St. John's to play aggressively while also guarding the perimeter. Their soft non-conference schedule allows them little margin for error, but it still showed the resiliency of an experienced group that was down 11 to Bowling Green at one point in the second half before battling back. You could argue that was a game that last year’s team would have lost. Their leadership group remains strong. Ponds was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll and Heron is averaging 20 points per game. Senior Marvin Clark II splashed five three's against Bowling Green. Yet, there's a feeling that the best is yet to come in Queens. The offense remains a bit stagnant and too often players are just standing around and swinging the ball. St. John's likely would've closed out their last game a bit quicker had they not shot 62.5 percent from the free-throw line and turned it over because of unforced errors. But as chemistry builds, the hype for the Johnnies still remains. It hasn't exactly been pretty but the Red Storm got it done when it mattered. More consistency is needed but there's plenty of time to fine-tune things before Big East play in January.

SPORTS November 14, 2018 | VOLUME 96, ISSUE 9


Greece Lightning From St. John's to CBS Sports Efrosini ALEXAKOU PLAYS A WORLDLY VERSION OF VOLLEYBALL Photo courtesy/Athletic Communications

Sean Okula A wry smirk smothers her face. She speaks softly and swiftly, cold with a sense of pride. She loves this part. “What are you thinking as your teammate sets it up for you?” “Just kill the ball,” she says. Efrosini Alexakou plays volleyball with an edge. That doesn’t follow her off the court, she assures, but victory is the only objective when she’s flying high above the net. Tops on the team in kills, fifth in the Big East in kills per set, and the freshman has flourished for the resurgent Red Storm. Queens has been good to her, but it’s a far cry from home. Some 4,800 miles east lies the Greek coastal city of Thessaloniki, a historic town on the banks of the Thermaic Gulf. Alexakou sees beauty in the disparity between her two homes. “I’m in love with Thessaloniki,” she said. “I’m in love with her, I love everything about her...We have the best food.” She was quick to show a photo of her favorite dish, the gyro.

“The best thing about New York... is kind of [all of it.] I love New York,” she said. With a population over one million, Thessaloniki is a metropolis in its own right. But the bustle pales in comparison to the never-sleeping city. “Everything’s moving fast, even the volleyball is different,” she said. “The speeds are more fast.” One thing that does translate, she says, is unity. Alexakou played at Greece’s highest professional level from 2015 to 2018. She stressed pride in playing for the name on the front of the jersey, a sense that has transferred over to the American collegiate ranks. She was 16 when she first sought to play professionally. Five hours from home, her family was split up to accommodate the rigors of the teenage athlete. With her mom by her side, Alexakou took to Athens to pursue her dream. “I was 16 years old, so I couldn’t live alone,” she said. “That was the hardest part, that and I had to go to school to meet new friends, to make new friends.” “When you’re a student-athlete, it’s al-

ways hard,” she said. “You have to combine the sport and the status. You have to be good in both.”

To be honest, I never thought that I would come so far. That I would have this opportunity to get a scholarship to come and study and play in New York. - Efrosini Alexakou

The transition on the court was seamless. The outside hitter knew some from her time with the Greek Junior National Team, and her comfortability led to a Rookie of the Year nomination.

As her career was budding, the stress on her family became overwhelming. She stuck out the season in Athens, but knew that a return would be logistically implausible and emotionally draining. Luckily, she was presented with an opportunity to continue her career back home in 2016. Thessaloniki’s local team, Aris, welcomed her aboard. She earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award in 2018, a final feather in the cap before she took her game intercontinental. “To be honest, I never thought that I would come so far,” she said. “That I would have this opportunity to [get] a scholarship, to come and study and play in New York.” Humbled by perspective, she was quickly rejuvenated by excitement. The Red Storm stand firm near the top of the Big East standings, poised to make a postseason run. Alexakou has relished in her first taste of Big East competition and can’t contain the passion for her home-across-the-globe. “I love St. John’s, that’s why I chose this University,” she said. “I love Coach JoJo [Persico], I love the staff here, I love everything.”