THE INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER OF WASHINGTON UNIVERSIT Y IN ST. LOUIS SINCE 1878 Forum hosts a fiery debate over the rights of the fetus, with readers and staff columnists both speaking up on the subject. Page 4.
Bears baseball improves their record to 29-5 while men’s tennis serves up an all-star match, beating UMSL’s Division II team. Page 6.
VOLUME 127, NO. 75
A drag queen inspired line of shoes, Robert Ebert, and a 46-song CD/DVD combo? Cadenza squeezes it all into one page. Page 5.
Cadenza is smoking hot when they interview the original writer of the new film, “Thank You for Smoking.” Page 10.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2006
SWA celebrates one year McCaskill shares platform with anniversary of sit-in WU students
v SWA looks back on the 19-day occupation of the Admissions Ofﬁce one year ago and looks forward to achieving a living wage for all Washington University workers
By Josh Hantz
DAVID BRODY | STUDENT LIFE
Junior Meredith Davis, communications chair of the Student Worker Alliance, speaks at a press conference Monday about the progress of workers at the University one year after SWA’s 19-day sit-in in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. By Kristin McGrath Contributing Reporter “What do we want?” shouted Reverend Michael Vosler to the small crowd gathered at Grace United Methodist Church on Monday morning. His audi-
ence knew the answer too well. Wearing the orange armbands that became a symbol of civil disobedience on campus one year ago, seven sit-in veterans boomed back with, “A living wage!”—a response they had chanted countless times at the
Washington University administration. And when did they want it? “Now.” With a cake bearing a single candle and statements to the local press from community leaders, University workers and sit-in participants marked the one-year anniversary of the 19-day occupation of the Admissions Ofﬁce and the Brookings Quadrangle by the Student Workers Alliance (SWA). The sit-in, which included a ﬁve-day hunger strike, ended on April 22, 2005, with a written agreement from the University that addressed students’ demands for a living wage and increased beneﬁts for all University employees. “We teach economics in the classroom, and, by virtue of its community, [the University is] saying to students that it’s all right for these workers to be earning these low wages,” said Vosler, co-chair of the St. Louis Workers’ Rights Board. “But the students are saying it’s not all right, and the community is saying it’s not all right. Washington University is capable of better and greater things.” Monday’s gathering also marked the release of a re-
port from a panel of community leaders who have been researching the University’s actions towards fulﬁ lling their agreement. “We were pleased to ﬁ nd that Washington University appears to be in compliance with the agreement that ended the sitin,” said Missouri State Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who serves on the panel. Among the University’s accomplishments, according to the panel’s ﬁ ndings, are its yearly commitments of $500,000 toward increased wages and beneﬁts for workers. So far, this commitment has raised the wage ﬂoor for all campus workers from as low as $6.50 per hour to $8.25 per hour. In addition, the University has provided health care services at La Clinica, a free bilingual clinic in south St. Louis, for workers without health insurance and formed two committees with SWA representation to continually discuss the issues raised by the sit-in. Chappelle-Nadal also cited the University’s issuance of MetroLink passes to all of its employ-
See SWA, page 2
Staff Reporter Missouri Democratic senatorial candidate Claire McCaskill spoke at Washington University Monday night, sharing her views on issues ranging from gay marriage to healthcare to the defense budget. McCaskill, currently serving her second term as Missouri state auditor, is running against Republican incumbent Jim Talent. While she admitted the election would be close, she did not hold back her feelings of opposition. She speciﬁcally criticized his deciding vote in favor of a 2005 bill reducing student loan programs by $12.7 billion. “It was the biggest gut punch,” said McCaskill. “It has had a dramatic impact on the economy. We can’t continue to absorb the debt we’re foisting on students.” McCaskill also supported increased federal funding for private universities nationwide. “I’m happy to go toe-to-toe on this issue,” she said. “Wash. U. is a jewel in this state. I’d like to throw a net over this place to keep all the students here.” Furthermore, she added
that the University could best improve its relations with the state, and St. Louis in particular, by providing more internships and focusing on stem-cell research. Despite its reputation as a premier research institution, the local biotech industry has recently criticized the University for its inefﬁcacy at fostering the growth of the community. McCaskill was brought to the University by the College Democrats, who ﬁ rmly support her campaign and policies. “It shows a lot when a candidate comes to talk to college students,” said College Democrats President Aaron Keyak, a junior. “What’s most important is to get Senator Talent out of ofﬁce and out of Missouri. McCaskill is an excellent alternative.” Others who attended the discussion acknowledged her unique way of communication and taking action. “It was a good opportunity for students to hear her opinions,” said sophomore Jeremy Kazzaz, an intern for McCaskill. “Part of the new breed of Democrats is to understand that bi-
See McCASKILL, page 2
Students cautioned as recruiters and police log on to Facebook By Josh Hantz Staff Reporter Employers are increasingly using Facebook as a hiring tool, prompting the University’s Career Center to warn students against putting racy images and salty language in their proﬁ les. Mark Smith, director of career planning and placement, says that during hiring decisions employers are looking for someone who exhibits good judgment and would represent their company well. “You don’t want any barriers to prevent you from getting a job,” said Smith. “You don’t need something like that. You want your application clean.” In addition to pictures involving drugs, alcohol, nudity and related paraphernalia, Smith warns students to moni-
tor the groups they join and the messages posted on their walls. “Think of a boring 50-yearold person who doesn’t get out and doesn’t have a sense of humor,” he said. “It may not be fair, but it’s reality.” Smith said one University student recently lost a job opportunity because of an improper Facebook proﬁ le. The interviewer found it and immediately declared him out of the running. “Just as you research employers, they’re going to do the same thing,” said Smith. “The safe thing is to go with a safe proﬁ le.” Smith also said students don’t realize that separating their personal and professional lives can be difﬁcult. “As you get older you realize you can’t keep them separate,”
Smith said. “Even after college and your ﬁ rst job, you have to be careful.” Still, Smith suggests students should maintain separate e-mail and phone numbers for professional and personal purposes. Universities across the country are also beginning to educate their students about the issue. The University of Missouri at Columbia formed a panel to teach students about possible legal violations. Employers are not the only ones scanning proﬁ les. Police are also getting into the act. At Northern Kentucky University, students were charged with code violations when a keg was seen in a photo of a dorm room. Don Strom, Washington University’s police chief, says he hasn’t used Facebook as an
STUDENTS HONOR SUICIDE BOMBING VICTIMS
investigation tool but wouldn’t hesitate to do so if necessary. “If we had an investigation and we were trying to determine who might know an individual, would we go to tools like Facebook? Sure. We probably would,” said Strom. But Strom added that the University police department doesn’t and wouldn’t use Facebook to actively search for students with potentially incriminating proﬁ les. He said that such use would be “inconsistent with the University philosophy.” “People have to make a serious consideration about how much information they want to put out about themselves,” Strom said. “I think that there’s an overall level of caution that people should be using.”
Wash. U. climbs in RecycleMania rankings By Mandy Silver Senior News Editor
DAVID BRODY | STUDENT LIFE
Sophomore Mollie Spevack holds a candle during a vigil for the victims of a Tel Aviv suicide bombing held by the Students for Israel on the Swamp on Monday evening. Approximately a half dozen students came to pray, read descriptions of the victims and sing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem.
CAROLYN GOLDSTEIN | STUDENT LIFE
Claire McCaskill, Missouri’s Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks to the College Democrats on Monday night in Friedman Lounge.
Washington University has continued its steady climb up the college rankings—this time in the category of recycling. After a last-place ﬁnish for the previous three years in RecycleMania, a friendly 10-week competition among university recycling programs, this year the University showed a renewed commitment to preserving the environment and a higer score The University placed 50th out of 87 participating universities in the ‘Per Capital Classic’ category, a competition which weighs the amount of mixed paper and comingle recycled per student. Oregon State, the winner of the competition, recycled an impressive 91.35 pounds per student. Washington University weighed in at 19.3 pounds per student. “Considering we were averag-
ing about 3.8–4.6 lbs per student [in previous years], I would say that the competition exceeded expectations. We did about four to ﬁve times better than we had in the past, which is a signiﬁcant difference,” said senior Natalie Zaczek, president of Green Action. This year, RecycleMania expanded considerably, introducing ﬁve new areas of competition and doubling its number of college and university participants. Zaczek attributed this year’s success to a new recycling contractor, increased campaigning and faculty support. “The faculty played the most signiﬁcant role in the amount of waste recycled by getting a new recycling vendor that recycles more. The faculty also decided to count some from the medical school and Hilltop campus in addition to the residential areas. Only the residential areas were counted in the past,” said
Zaczek. Although the competition ended on April 8, sophomore Emily Dangremond, member of Green Action and organizer of the University’s RecycleMania, emphasized that environmental groups on campus remain dedicated to improving recycling on campus. Already, Green Action and the Committee on Environmental Quality are partnering to raise recycling awareness earlier on in a student’s career at the University. “Now that the competition is over, we are planning to teach all the incoming students what is recyclable by beginning with the freshman at orientation,” said Dangremond. “When a student comes to Wash. U., he will have to change his recycling habits anyway, so the goal is to teach people when they ﬁrst arrive.”
See RECYCLING, page 2
2 STUDENT LIFE | NEWS
Senior News Editor / Mandy Silver / firstname.lastname@example.org
STUDENT LIFE One Brookings Drive #1039 #42 Womenâ€™s Building Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899 News: (314) 935-5995 Advertising: (314) 935-6713 Fax: (314) 935-5938 e-mail: email@example.com www.studlife.com Copyright 2006 Editor in Chief: Sarah Kliff Associate Editor: Liz Neukirch Managing Editors: Justin Davidson, David Tabor Senior News Editor: Mandy Silver Senior Forum Editor: Daniel Milstein Senior Cadenza Editor: Ivanna Yang Senior Scene Editor: Erin Fults Senior Sports Editor: Andrei Berman Senior Photo Editor: David Brody News Editors: Troy Rumans, Laura Geggel Contributing Editor: Shweta Murthi Forum Editors: Tess Croner, Nathan Everly, Chelsea Murphy, Jill Strominger Cadenza Editors: Elizabeth Ochoa, Brian Stitt Scene Editors: Sarah Klein, Felicia Baskin Sports Editor: Scott Kaufman-Ross Photo Editors: David Hartstein, Meghan Luecke, Jason Hubert, Carolyn Goldstein Online Editor: Matt Rudin Design Chief: Laura McLean Copy Chief: Mallory Wilder Copy Editors: Willie Mendelson, Troy Rumans, Josh Hantz, Ellen Jones, Emily Fridman, hannah draper, Indu Chandrasekhar, Jessica Trieber, Paige Creo, Meghan Luecke, Erin Fults, Jonathan Baude Designers: Ellen Lo, Anna Dinndorf, Jamie Reed, Elizabeth Kaufman, Kate Ehrlich General Manager: Andrew Oâ€™Dell Advertising Manager: Sara Judd Copyright 2006 Washington University Student Media, Inc. (WUSMI). Student Life is the financially and editorially independent, student-run newspaper serving the Washington University community. First copy of each publication is free; all additional copies are 50 cents. Subscriptions may be purchased for $80.00 by calling (314) 935-6713. Student Life is a publication of WUSMI and does not necessarily represent, in whole or in part, the views of the Washington University administration, faculty or students. All Student Life articles, photos and graphics are the property of WUSMI and may not be reproduced or published without the express written consent of the General Manager. Pictures and graphics printed in Student Life are available for purchase; e-mail editor@ studlife.com for more information. Student Life reserves the right to edit all submissions for style, grammar, length and accuracy. The intent of submissions will not be altered. Student Life reserves the right not to publish all submissions. If youâ€™d like to place an ad, please contact the Advertising Department at (314) 935-6713. If you wish to report an error or request a clarification, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWA v FROM PAGE 1
RECYCLING v FROM PAGE 1 Following the spirit of RecycleMania, the Greek community is jumping on the recycling bandwagon. With Thurtene Carnival around the corner, leftover wood and empty paint cans litter the lot in front of Brookings. Striking the facades is expected to produce even more recyclable materials. In a new initiative this year called Green Thurtene, Green Action and Engineers Without Borders will recycle wood, collect empty paint cans, distribute half-used paint cans and place comingle recycling bins on the lot. The project has educated faĂ§ade groups about the proper disposal of paint and encouraged groups to buy wood from local vendors. Senior Emily Korsch, who masterminded the initiative, said that awareness is a â€œhuge part of any sustainable project.â€? â€œThe more people we can incorporate in everyday recycling, the better. Green Thurtene shows that every project that is undertaken can have some kind of environmental aspect,â€? said Korsch. Over past years, leftover lumber has piled up at the Greek storage facilities. This year, in order to prevent the disposal of usable lumber, Green Thurtene has planned a wood giveaway day at Tyson after the carnival. Members of local community groups are invited to come and claim leftover lumber, tentatively scheduled for May 6 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
EITAN HOCHSTER | STUDENT LIFE
Bins such as this one have been placed all over the Thurtene Carnival lot to encourage recycling.
MCCASKILL v FROM PAGE 1 partisanship is important. You have to put aside certain things to get stuff done in this country.â€? McCaskillâ€™s political career in Missouri began after graduate school when she became a law clerk at the Court of Appeals in Kansas City. From 1983 to 1988, she served in the Missouri House of Representatives. She made a name for herself as a prosecutor and leader on criminal justice issues, raising sentences for repeat violent criminals and jailing more offenders than any other Missouri prosecutor. In 2004 she lost her bid for governor to Republican Matt Blunt by three percentage points but continued her position as state auditor. Now she is statistically tied with Talent in the senate race, according to the latest poll conducted in March.
â€œThe election will be close,â€? said McCaskill. â€œThereâ€™s no tipping point on issues of competence and foreign policy.â€? During the question-andanswer session, she stated she was against gay marriage but for civil union. She also cited a need for major changes regarding healthcare. â€œThose that are uninsured and underinsured are accessing emergency rooms,â€? she said. â€œHospitals have to absorb the costs, which are passed on to the insurance companies, which are passed on to premiums. We need to be proactive in community health centers and have more ďŹ‚exibility in Medicaid.â€? National defense was also a concern. â€œThe saddest thing is that the doubled defense budget does not even include Iraq,â€? she said. â€œI canâ€™t wait to throw
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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
some elbows. Iâ€™ll be aggressive in removing the nonsense.â€? With regard to Iran, she said she was not against using force. â€œIran is so emboldened right now,â€? she said. â€œIt knows how thinly spread we are right now. We have to keep a military option open.â€? Sharing her campaign strategy in rural areas as well, McCaskill said she would focus more on the fact that she too was raised in a small town and worked as a waitress to support herself. She feels she did not do this enough in her gubernatorial race. â€œWe forget to remind them that Iâ€™m a human being,â€? she said. â€œIâ€™m a multidimensional person.â€? About 50 people attended the discussion in Friedman Lounge. The senate elections will be held in November.
ees as evidence of its commitment to decrease travel and parking costs for workers. â€œHowever, that commitment alone is not the standard by which we can consider Washington University to be a model employer in the St. Louis Community,â€? said Chappelle-Nadal. â€œMany of the worker issues raised in that initial proposal are still unaddressed.â€? Many of the Universityâ€™s workers, for example, still do not earn a living wage, said Chappelle-Nadal. A living wage, as deďŹ ned by St. Louis City ordinance, would be $10.30 per hour with beneďŹ ts and $12.90 per hour without beneďŹ ts. In addition, said Chappelle-Nadal, many workers do not have adequate health care and live â€œin a climate of fearâ€Śthat limits their free choice to organize unions.â€? Lorraine Anderson and Vera Johnson, who both work in janitorial services at the University, represented their fellow workers at the event. â€œWe work very hard,â€? said Anderson. â€œLast night, between my partner and I, we cleaned 59 blackboards, not to mention blinds, desks, everything. For my hard work, I earned $8.60 an hour.â€? The $8.60 per hour she now gets paid is due to the raise Anderson got after the sit-in. Prior to the sit-in, she earned $7.75 per hour. But this increase in pay, she said, is not enough. Andersonâ€™s daughter passed away last year, leaving her to raise two grandchildren. â€œI just want these kids to have a good life,â€? said Anderson. â€œIf I made a few more dollars an hour, which the city of St. Louis says is a living wage, I could afford to take the kids out to dinner once in a while. Iâ€™m coming closer to retirement, but Iâ€™m not afraid to stand up with [the SWA]. We
need to make these jobs better than we found them.â€? Hostility towards worker organization, Anderson and Johnson said, might have been why she and Johnson were the only workers in attendance at the event. The others, Anderson said, were probably â€œafraid.â€? During the sit-in itself, students attempted to dissuade campus workers from taking part, fearing that the workers might face repercussions. â€œWhen they were doing the sit-in, they didnâ€™t want us to rally with them,â€? said Johnson, who works nights at the University and joined the protesters during the day. â€œBut when weâ€™re off work on our own time, [our employers] canâ€™t tell us we canâ€™t rally with students trying to get us a decent wage. Iâ€™m here today to support the living wage and support the students too for helping us.â€? During a question-and-answer session that followed the panelâ€™s statements, the student participants were asked if they would be willing to bear a higher tuition as a result of their efforts. â€œThe tuition goes up $1,300 to $1,800 every year for seemingly no apparent reason,â€? said junior Meredith Davis. â€œIf you divide the cost [for higher wages] among all students, itâ€™s less than $100 per person, which is less than the activities fee.â€? Junior Sam White said that, if necessary, sheâ€™d take part in another sit-in. The SWA might have to be innovative, however, if it hopes to make a big impression, she said. â€œThe thing is, the protest has to put the administration out of its comfort zone, and a sit-in might not do that again,â€? said White. â€œIt might not be strategic a second time. But if it were, I wouldâ€Ś.I still want a living wage. And I still donâ€™t care if I get kicked out.â€?
Senior News Editor / Mandy Silver / email@example.com
WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
POLICE BEAT Tuesday, April 11 10:25
3:46 p.m. DRUG PARAPHERNALIA—LIEN RESIDENCE HALL—Drug paraphernalia recovered from residence room after a complaint of a marijuana smell in the hallway. Disposition: Referred to JA. 7:40 p.m. LARCENY (OTHER)—WOHL CENTER—Student lost his cell phone at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. Upon calling his phone number an unknown individual answered and demanded money to return the phone. Disposition: Pending. Wednesday, April 12 9:25 a.m. LARCENY (BICYCLE)—SOUTH 40—Student reported a bicycle stolen from the volleyball area. Bike was left unsecured. Time of call: April 8 between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Disposition: Pending. 11:27 a.m. AUTO ACCIDENT—BROOKINGS DR—Two vehicles, no injuries. Disposition: Cleared. Friday, April 14 12:55 a.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500—HITZEMAN DORM—Reportee left his laptop computer unattended in the court yard in front of Hurd Dorm. Upon returning two hours later the laptop was missing. Unknown serial, $1,300 value. Disposition: Pending.
a.m. DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY—ALUMNI HOUSE—Complainant reported that person(s) unknown had scratched the passenger side of her van on April 13. Disposition: Pending. 3:28 p.m. HARASSMENT, W R I T T E N—DA N FORT H DORM—Complainant reported having received harassing/ threatening emails over a period of time. Disposition: Pending. 4:04 p.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500— MALLINCKRODT CENTER—Victim’s purse was stolen from a table and later found in the restroom missing money and a cell phone. Disposition: Pending.
8:18 p.m. AUTO ACCIDENT—SNOW WAY GARAGE—Two vehicles, no injuries. Disposition: Cleared. Sunday, April 16 9:30 a.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500—SIMON HALL—Student left computer unattended in a study room for approximately 10 minutes. Upon returning the computer was gone. Disposition: Pending. 10:49 a.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500—MILLBROOK APARTMENTS—Three bikes stolen from bike rack near Millbrook 3 and the pool between April 15 at 6:30 p.m. and April 16 at 9 a.m. Bikes had been secured with chain locks. Disposition: Pending.
Saturday, April 15 2:44 a.m. LARCENY, THEFT BICYCLES—GIVENS HALL—Complainant reported that between April 13 at 1 p.m. and April 15 at 2:30 a.m. unknown person(s) stole his mountain bike; which was secured by a cable lock to a bike rack located on the north side of Givens Hall. Total value $160. Disposition: Pending. 2:54 p.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500—POLICE DEPARTMENT— Student lost wallet somewhere between the Galleria and the University and his credit/debit cards were later used.
10:59 a.m. LARCENY, THEFT From Buildings—HEALTH SERVICES—A large “Just The Facts” campaign sign, approximately 6 ft. by 4 ft. was stolen from in front of the Event Services ofﬁce between March 21 and March 24. Disposition: Pending. 5:55 p.m. LARCENY, THEFT STEALING OVER $500—ANHEUSER BUSCH HALL OF LAW— Complainant left his laptop in the lounge area on the third ﬂoor of A.B. Law on April 13. Student returned from his property on April 14 and found it had been stolen. Disposition: Pending.
Premier children’s advocate to end Assembly Series season
Study debunks “Latté Liberals” and “NASCAR Republicans”
Marian Wright Edelman, renowned for her work improving the lives of deprived children, will give the ﬁnal talk of this spring’s Assembly Series at 11 a.m. today in Graham Chapel. Edelman is the president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, where she has worked to fulﬁll its mission of ensuring the well-being of every child. Her canon of work includes eight books, hundreds of honors and awards and membership on the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. The event is co-sponsored by the Women’s Society of Washington University, University Libraries and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.
David K. Park, an assistant professor of political science at Washington University, recently co-authored a new study of how income inﬂuences stateby-state voting patterns. The study, titled “Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State: What’s the Matter With Connecticut?” dispels the popular media portrayal that wealthier citizens have shifted towards the Democratic Party, while at the same time poor, working-class voters are becoming Republicans. His ﬁndings reveal that the income variance within states explains national voting patterns rather than average income between states. The study concludes, ultimately, that the richer a voter is, the more likely that voter is to vote Republican, regardless of ethnicity, sex, education or age.
STUDENT LIFE | NEWS
4 STUDENT LIFE | FORUM
Senior Forum Editor / Daniel Milstein / firstname.lastname@example.org
WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
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SWA sit-in still sets admirable example T
he Student Worker Alliance arrived in the Admissions Ofﬁce last April, armed with sleeping bags, laptops and “Living Wage Now” T-shirts, committed to improving workers’ rights and pushing Washington University to implement a living wage. The sit-in participants paid no heed to Student Life, Student Union and administration requests that they vacate South Brookings Hall. A Student Life poll revealed immense disapproval of the sit-in among students; 71
as a courageous example of dedication to ethical principles in the face of adversity. They remained in the Admissions Ofﬁce until they had seen positive changes to workers’ rights. And, academically, that commitment had a positive effect on the entire University campus. The SWA sit-in forced students, faculty and staff to confront immensely challenging economic and ethical issues, creating a unique and exciting atmosphere of intellectual inquiry and debate. Instead of asking SWA to
workers now receiving a minimum of $8.25 per hour. Workers without health insurance can now receive medical services at La Clinica. MetroLink passes will lower transportation costs. Whether you consider these changes illogical economic policy or necessary steps to improving workers’ rights, the success of SWA’s tenacity and dedication is indisputable. We commend SWA’s decision to disregard our demand that they end the sit-in, choosing instead to stand out
dedication…Now, however, the event has gone on entirely too long, and seems rather fruitless.” (“SWA, Stand Up!” Staff Editorial, April 20, 2006). One year ago we were asking SWA sit-in participants to stand up. Today, we stand corrected. Less than two dozen students entered the Admissions Ofﬁce wanting to change this campus; one year later, we know they succeeded. The administration has raised the University’s ﬂoor wage for all workers by 20 percent, with all campus
percent of students approved of SWA’s mission but not their tactics. The campus, initially intrigued by the novelty of a sit-in at the University, became critical of a movement that pushed the right issues in the wrong way. This editorial board had had enough with SWA at this point last April. As SWA headed into its third week of the sit-in, we commended them for their “laudable efforts” but put our foot down. “Enough is enough,” we claimed. “At ﬁ rst, the sit-in organized by the SWA showed
stand up, today we ask that the rest of this campus take a stand and diligently pursue the causes that they are passionate about. SWA showed us that students do indeed have the potential to create concrete and tangible change on this campus. Yet students have remained relatively passive over the past year: putting laundry machine payment plans on campus ID cards seems a far cry from pressuring the University to completely revise its vision of workers’ rights and wages. Let’s re-energize this campus.
KARL IMPROV AND RACHEL TEPPER | EDITORIAL CARTOON
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Put the mother’s health ﬁrst Dear Editor: In his Monday letter, Steven S. Hoffmann justifies requiring women to carry pregnancies to term even if they will end the life of the woman by saying that if all lives are equal, we should protect the weak, or in this case, the fetus. I am not going to debate Mr. Hoffmann’s classification of the fetus as a life, although I and many others do not agree with it. Rather, I would maintain that even if a fetus is a life, Mr. Hoffman’s argument, when taken to its logical conclusion, has much bigger implications than simply making abortion illegal. Imagine a scenario in which a small child will die unless they receive one of their parents’ hearts. Many parents would undoubtedly give their life so that their child could live; you might even say this is reasonable to expect of them. But no state in the union legally demands that a parent give their own life so that their child can live. To the contrary, while states do legally require that parents protect their children, this obligation does not extend to doing so when it would require endangering one’s own life or health. This means that legally, parents cannot be required to undergo any sort of medical procedure to protect their children, even in cases where the surgery would be non-life-threatening to the parent, such as a kidney or bone marrow transplant. As it stands now, the law simply does not require parents to give up their own life or even risk their own medical health to protect their children. Maybe this law is unfair, and if Mr. Hoffmann would support changing the obligation of both parents, mother and father, in all circumstances, I would still disagree but would find his logic sound. It is not fair or consistent, however, to keep this general rule intact and make pregnant women the only exception. Such an exception sends the clear mes-
sage that a woman’s life can legitimately be taken in the interest of a child while a father’s cannot, a message which is clearly inconsistent with ideas of equality. -Annasara Purcell Class of 2006
Pre-med grading system doesn’t reward hard work Dear Editor: Last Monday’s article, “What do low test means really mean?” failed to address the most demoralizing aspect of the pre-med grading system. It is not the low or high mean score that is frustrating so much as the feeling that it is not what one knows, but what others don’t, that gets one good grades. After a chemistry or biology test, students are often frustrated by a sense that knowledge of test material has little bearing on their grade. One could get a 69 percent and have an A (as on the latest Orgo test), or a 90 percent and have a C (as was the case in last year’s Biology 3050 final exam). Low means replace the pursuit of understanding with meaningless competition. As to the claim that low means and low grades somehow weed out those “unfit” for certain professions, the article ignores the impact low grades have on those that do continue. With means set in the low Bs, a huge portion of the class achieves grades that tank their GPA and damage their prospects for medical school. Just ask the members of the Facebook group “Thanks Vlady, Now I’ll Never Be A Doctor.” Instead of rewarding excellent teaching and hard work, the current system masks poor instruction and discourages diligent students.
The rights of a fetus By Melissa Miller Staff Columnist
-Rebecca Morey Class of 2008
disagree with Steven Hoffmann’s belief that fetuses’ “lives” are more important than women’s lives. Hoffmann neglects the fact that fetuses are only potential humans. Any eighth grade biology textbook will tell you that, even with today’s medical advances, only about 85 percent of pregnancies result in live births. A fetus only has an 85 percent chance of becoming a human baby. Are living humans less important than potential humans? Would you sacriﬁce a living human for a potential human? Would you even sacriﬁce one human for one hundred potential humans? (Why I think that Hoffmann believes that this “new life” is more important than a female life would be another tangent entirely...) But that’s not the main point. The point is that humans only have rights in our society if they are capable of fulﬁ lling certain duties. If someone/something can’t fulﬁ ll duties to society, we
should consider its welfare but aren’t obligated to grant it any rights. Consider a dog. Dogs can’t really contribute to our society. They can’t pay taxes, go to jury duty, or vote. They can’t break the law and go to jail. Even if someone argues that there are working dogs or dogs that contribute to society by “making people happy,” dogs can’t understand basic principles of morality. Dogs can’t take responsibility for their actions. We’ll consider their welfare and try to ensure that they aren’t abused, but because laws don’t really apply to them, neither do rights. A more relevant, less ridiculous example: a person in a coma. A person in a coma can’t do anything. Because of their state, if they aren’t physically/ mentally capable of participating in or giving to our society, why should they receive any of the beneﬁts of living in our society? Yes, we should consider their welfare, but because they literally have no voice, they also legitimately have no rights. When it comes down to it, I don’t believe that anything
has the right to live unless it can sustain its own life—unless its heart can beat and its lungs can breathe on their own. I don’t believe that you can “kill” something that’s not alive. I don’t believe that you can kill something that might only become alive at a later point in time. Once a fetus is viable, and can exist without assistance outside the womb, when it’s no longer only a potential baby, that’s when it has the right to live...because it can live. If we examine the way our society functions, it’s easy to see that we operate on the “we only get if we give, we only keep if we have” system. As children get older and can understand and do more, more is expected of them and more is given to them. Only when children hit their teens can they start being accountable to the law—and even then there’s a distinction between juvenile and adult court. The presumption is that juveniles deserve different treatment because they have an incomplete grasp of right and wrong. Rights come with responsi-
bility in our society, whether we like it or not. If you disagree, then, when you grant infants the right to vote and let’s also give a kid screaming in TGI Friday’s a citation for disturbing the peace. Better yet, let’s arrest a two-year-old for sabotage and vandalism for running off and pooing in the corner of TOYS-R-US. Let’s give the kid a month of community service and a $500 ﬁ ne. Or let’s assume that a fetus, something not yet even alive, something that only has an 85 percent chance of becoming alive, has the right to live. Even better, let’s argue that this potential human (that is not yet capable of living on its own and that can neither possess an understanding of morality nor accept any responsibility for its actions) is more important than a woman (who is both living and capable). You have to give in order to get. You have to possess in order to keep. Melissa is a senior in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at mjmiller@artsci. wustl.edu.
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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
STUDENT LIFE | FORUM
The unavoidable reality of illegal immigration
proﬁ le ran in the Denver Post. ot long ago, PresiAnd if you think that Tancredo dent Bush expressed is a radical representative of hope that the debate a tiny xenophobic fringe of over illegal immigrasociety, you’d be wrong. He’s tion was done in a way “that largely responsible for the doesn’t pit one group of people steady increase in Americans against another.” It was a senwho consider illegal immigratiment that has been shared tion a “serious problem.” by every politician hoping to But despite the solve the problem in a rising surge in Tancivil manner. Every polcredo’s popularity, itician, that is, except there is one small isTom Tancredo. Colosue that threatens to rado Representative bring him down. The Tancredo has turned nativist hysteria that the immigration debate he helped unleash on its head by mixing is predicated upon populism and anti-imthe notion that we’re migrant sentiments together to the delight Nathan Everly simply not trying hard enough to stop of millions of Ameriillegal immigration. cans. Touch upon the country’s “melting pot” history “We can control our borders, we just choose not to,” he and he’ll warn you about the assured recently. He may be dangers of the “cult of multiright, but there is a huge difculturalism.” Ask him how he ference between controlling feels about illegal immigrants illegal immigration and actuand he’ll tell you why they are ally putting an end to it. It’s “a scourge that threatens the clear that Tancredo wants to very future of our nation.” He end it, but ﬁ rst he should take gained national notoriety after a look at how the United States trying unsuccessfully to decurrently tries to hold back the port an illegal immigrant high ﬂood of illegal immigration. If school honor student whose
he did, he’d realize that there is almost nothing the country can do to stop it. By every account, the U.S. Border Patrol is a model security force. It is a well-funded, well-equipped entity with a $9 billion budget and over 11,000 agents. It utilizes state-of-theart technology including video cameras, stadium lighting and motion detectors to help monitor the border between the United States and Mexico. Every day, the Border Patrol captures and deports hundreds of illegal immigrants. And yet despite the fact that its budget has been consistently raised, the United States’ illegal immigrant population has doubled since 1986 to almost 12 million. Efforts to slow it down have simply driven illegal immigrants into more remote access points along the 1,951 mile border. Despite the Border Patrol’s best efforts, the ﬂux of illegal immigration into the country has now reached over 500,000 people every year. Indeed, it has become uncomfortably clear that no amount of men or resources
can stop it. As George Mitchell, assistant chief of the Laredo Border Patrol, explained, “the best we can do is manage the border, not control it.” Illegal immigration did not become a problem because the United States failed to take adequate measures to seal its borders. It became a problem
“Our prosperity is the single greatest reason why any effort to eliminate illegal immigration will fail.” when the United States’ relative economic power over other countries became so massive. For years, the average wage in Mexico has never been greater than one-tenth of the average wage in America. This is a powerful reminder for hundreds of thousands of people who willingly risk everything for a chance to enter the coun-
try. The New Republic noted this phenomenon when it observed that the United States is one of the few countries “that people risk their lives to enter” in a world ﬁ lled with countries “that people risk their lives to escape.” Americans should be proud to live in such a prosperous country. But they should also understand that our prosperity is the single greatest reason why any effort to eliminate illegal immigration will fail. So the only choice is to either let the massive, unregulated immigration continue or begin ﬁ nding a way to control it. While there are many proposals ﬂoating through Congress, the McCain-Kennedy bill appears to be the most promising. Rather than focusing exclusively on tightening border security, the bill would complement those efforts with a guest worker program that allows illegal immigrants to apply for work visas. In a unique twist, though, the program would put many participants on the path to eventual citizenship, a key provision
that acknowledges the beneﬁts of immigration. From an economic standpoint, this plan would solve a dire need to ﬁ ll the 7.7 million low-paying jobs that will be created between 2000 and 2010. It would put an end to a dangerously unregulated security risk by registering the millions of immigrants currently living in the country illegally. And it would ﬁ nally eliminate a vast underground network of exploitation and abuse that preyed upon illegal immigrants who feared discovery and deportation. Of course, the United States could simply pray that the problem will eventually fade away on its own. But that’s unlikely to occur unless America loses the very qualities that have motivated millions of foreigners to seek entry into the country. If that happens, illegal immigration will be the least of America’s worries. Nathan is a sophomore in the School of Engineering and a Forum Editor. He can be reached via e-mail at neverly@ wustl.edu.
Where are all the stay-at-home dads? By Josie Smith Op-ed submission
s a graduating senior, this year I found myself in the same position as most of my classmates—trying to decide what to do next year. We all have different ways of approaching the problem, but when it comes down to it, we are all fortunate for the opportunity to have choices. Many of us come from privileged backgrounds, and if we don’t, then graduating from a top university is a vital step in expanding the opportunities available to us. Sometimes so many options can be paralyzing: we aren’t completely sure what we want to do and if we make the wrong choice now, we may be committing ourselves to years on the wrong track. It also seems worth celebrating that women today have the same options as men when graduating college. They can go into any ﬁeld and do just as good of a job as any man. But for any woman who is looking more than a couple of years into her future, her choices are not made with the same freedom as men, even in this supposedly modern era. This can be an interactive article and it applies to everyone, not just seniors. Men, take a minute and close your eyes (well, read the next few sentences, then close your eyes). Imagine your career in ten years: are you a high achiever at work? Are you respected by your coworkers? Have you worked hard to get
where you are? Now imagine your home life: are you living with someone? Maybe a partner for life? Do you have kids? Who takes care of those kids? Are they getting enough parental attention? Do you think maybe you should be at home with them instead of at work all the time? Now the real question is: how often do you think about this and how does it affect your choices when it comes to your career? I ask the women to close their eyes and imagine all the same things, although I think it is highly likely they have already asked themselves these questions. I am not trying to generalize either sex by saying I know their priorities, but it is pretty common knowledge that if you ask a man, he probably doesn’t think of “family life” as an obstacle to his career. He probably thinks of it as a nice complement or balance to it. But a woman is used to thinking about these things from an early age. She has grown up knowing what she wants to be (a doctor!), but also probably considered whether or not she wants to “settle down” and/or be a mother someday. Then she has realized over time that “being” anything, having a career, takes lots of time…and so does being a mother. She then starts to wonder how she will ever be successful in the workplace if she wants to have children and spend any time with them, which she will either desire or feel pressured to do in order to be a “good mother.” It is possible men face this dilemma as well,
but how many men assume that if no one else wants to do it and they cannot afford childcare, they will be the one at home with the kids? How many times do you think this is actually the case? “Stay-at-home dads” are few and far between. It is much more realistic to expect that both parents work at least part-time, as the majority of households in the United States today are dual-income. And it is far more common for women to choose lowerpaying careers that will be conducive to having a family someday. What is the point of all this? I’m not trying to make men feel guilty and women feel depressed, although those may be side effects of really thinking about the issue. Ann Crittenden’s book, “The Price of Motherhood,” is an excellent source on the topic, and Crittenden proposes several social reforms to promote gender equality in the home and workplace. Men and women both have to want this change, which is not going to affect them equally. For men, it will mean no longer assuming that their career can come ﬁ rst and possibly taking on some more of the responsibilities of childcare, becoming more active agents in their children’s lives. For women, it will mean that they may have to consider not just a career that will satisfy them, but one that will support a family and that they may lose some of their mythical status as “mothers.” As the up-and-coming generation, it is in our hands to challenge the norms in our workplaces and change
RACHEL TEPPER | STUDENT LIFE
them when we get into positions of power. Just realize when you’re making all these choices that some of us, maybe without even realizing it,
are taking into consideration more lives than just our own, lives that haven’t even started yet. At what point does it stop being a choice?
Josie is a senior in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via email at ajsmith@wustl. edu.
A Palestinian perspective By Joseph McCarter Op-ed submission
few days ago, I was asked to offer my opinions on the speech by Yossi Olmert, the Israeli prime minister’s brother. I was unable to attend the assembly, but based on what I have heard, I can offer a little bit of Palestinian perspective. It is surprising to me that, for a doctor of Middle Eastern studies, Mr. Olmert is still a staunch believer in the notion that Hamas is a terrorist organization. There are actually only a few governments in the world that consider Hamas to be a group of terrorists, and, although I understand why this might be the popular opinion, from the other side it is simply wrong. In fact, there are also only a few governments that do not have Palestinian embassies in their capitals, alongside
those of other independent nations. For many Palestinians, Hamas is a party that offers at least a minute shred of relief and hope in a reality that is incessantly swept by fear and disillusionment. In addition to numerous social services, Hamas brings a strong political stance to the table, allowing for the possibility that Palestinians will eventually regain at least some of the land that is rightfully theirs—land that is still occupied. This is a fantastic alternative to the unceasing bloodshed that has plagued this land since 1948 and even before that. It is an awful shame that Israeli occupation forces tried to impede the Palestinian elections a few months ago. What kind of democracy attempts to sabotage the democratic processes of another nation—in addition to colonizing that nation’s land, leaving millions of that nation’s people in a virtual
prison and refusing to compromise in search of a reasonable solution? While this is happening, Palestinians produce riots in warehouses because there is no way out, and more people suffer because of it. Not a day goes by
“Here is my easyto-fulfill request: stop making ridiculous and divisive statements.” where an innocent Palestinian citizen is not murdered by an occupying soldier’s bullet. But apparently that doesn’t matter, because Hamas is a “terrorist” organization. I would also like to respond to an article written a few weeks ago that claimed an absolute correlation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. This notion is
simply wrong. First, the word “Semite” refers to the ethnicity of many groups throughout the Middle East and not just those who are Jewish. Aside from this straightforward argument, there are people—including students on this campus—who vehemently condemn the ideas behind Zionism, yet have many friends who embrace and cherish the cultures that fall under that broad term “Semite.” This fact alone is enough to prove the aforementioned suggestion to be categorically unfounded! That’s not all. Zionism is a “philosophy” based on the scriptural interpretation that Abraham’s descendants are only Jewish. Thus, the land that God gave to these descendants should, in a modern political sense, be a strictly Jewish state, right? No! After a few millennia, not all of your descendants are going to be in the same place, let alone have
the same personal beliefs. Regardless, this Zionism has now caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and the continued displacement of millions more. Just read the documents written by Zionist proponents during the late 19th century. These men completely ignored the known fact that people already lived in the area they were planning to colonize. Of course, this is just one argument of many that are embedded in the painful complexities and circumstances of the history that has led up to the current situation. It is a time when much of this pain cannot be erased—on both sides. Yet someone is insolent enough to claim that, because I do not support something that I believe is unjust and immoral, I hate Jewish people? One word describes that: illogical. I could go on, but time is not sufficient to write a weekly article that
gives “the other point of view.” Honestly, get a grip! There are many people trying to find the best in a situation that has often caused only the worst. In that light, here is my easy-to-fulfill request: stop making ridiculous and divisive statements. I can be friends with Jewish people and, at the same time, support the Palestinians and the one party that offers them hope and even a strand of stability: Hamas. Is that wrong? Seriously, come out of your radical hole and just try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. If that is not possible, then I guess you’re just anti-salaam. And since Arabic and Hebrew are both Semitic languages, I’d say you’re anti-shalom as well. Joseph is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
6 STUDENT LIFE | SPORTS
Senior Sports Editor / Andrei Berman / firstname.lastname@example.org
Baseball team scores eighth straight victory
WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
Menâ€™s tennis defeats Division II opponent By Andrei Berman
vAppears strong for stretch run By Steven Hollander Sports Reporter The Washington University menâ€™s baseball team improved its record to 29â€“5 with a win over MacMurray College last Tuesday and a pair of victories against DePauw University on Saturday. In Tuesdayâ€™s game against MacMurray College, the Bears won 17â€“0 thanks to some big hits and excellent pitching. Senior catcher Alan Germano led the way with six RBIs. Bears pitchers Andy Shields, Dan Butler and Jerry Prince combined to throw seven shutout innings. Shields, a junior who started the game, yielded the only two MacMurray hits and picked up the win. The bats broke out early in the game, with the Bears scoring ďŹ ve runs in the ďŹ rst inning. Germano led off the hit parade with a two-RBI double. Germanoâ€™s two-bagger was later followed by RBI singles from junior David Kramer and sophomore Dave Working. Perhaps the most exciting part of the inning came from junior Eddy Hoering. After being walked, Hoering advanced to third on Kramerâ€™s single and then stole home to put another run on the scoreboard. In the second inning, senior Ryan Corning had an RBI double. The double was followed by a two-run homer from Germano, the teamâ€™s senior captain. The bats got even hotter for the Bears during the fourth inning, when the red and green obliterated MacMurrayâ€™s pitching by scoring nine runs on seven hits. The inning started with a homer from Hoering, proving that he had the power to go along with his speed. The homer was followed by an RBI double by Working and a RBI single by Corning. Germano, Hoering, Shields and Working all singled to bring in ďŹ ve more runs. In the ďŹ rst game of Saturdayâ€™s doubleheader against DePauw University, the Bears prevailed 3â€“1, with junior starting pitcher Brent Buffa going the distance to take the win and upping his record for the season to 8â€“0. Shields led the Bears offense with three hits. Shields put the ďŹ rst run on the board by scoring on an error in the second inning. The score stayed 1â€“0 until the sixth, when the Bears added to their lead with RBI doubles by Hoering and freshman Zan-
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der Lehmann. DePauw opened the seventh with a homerun to keep the game interesting, but Buffa ďŹ nished what he started, ending the game in exciting fashion as the ďŹ nal DePauw hitter struck out looking. In the second game, the Bears walloped DePauw 10â€“5, thanks in part to three hits from Germano and four RBIs from Corning. The Bears opened the game early in the ďŹ rst inning on an RBI double by senior Sam Hahn and an RBI single by Germano. After DePauw scored three runs in the third, Kramer singled to tie the score. The Bears came back strong in the fourth inning, regaining the lead after Corning hit a three-run homer over the left ďŹ eld fence. In the sixth, the lead was again extended thanks to a pair of RBI doubles from Corning and Germano as well as RBI singles by Shield and Lehmann. DePauw came back to score two more runs but failed to extend its rally any further. Shields got the win for the Bears, scattering nine hits over 6.1 innings and striking out seven before senior Kent Wallace came in on relief to record the ďŹ nal two outs. The Bears look to extend their current eight-game winning streak as they travel to play Illinois Wesleyan University on Thursday. They will return to campus for a two-game home stand against Illinois College on Monday at 1 p.m. and Westminster College on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Senior Sports Editor
PAM BUZZETTA | STUDENT LIFE
Senior shortstop Ryan Corning leaps to avoid a diving base runner at a recent game. Corning and the Bears are now 29â€“5 as they head into the final stretch.
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The Washington University menâ€™s tennis team proved worthy of its No. 8 national ranking on Monday, as it easily defeated the University of Missouriâ€”St. Louis (UMSL) 6â€“1. UMSL, a Division II team, gave the Division III Bears little trouble, with the University losing just one set in singles play. With the win, the Bears upped their record to 15â€“1 for the season. It was the green and redâ€™s tenth straight victory, and with one more regular season match (Tuesday, as Student Life went to press) remaining, the Bears appear more than ready for postseason play. Senior Ari Rosenthal continued his dominance at No. 1 singles. He improved his singles record to 21â€“3 for the year and has now won ten singles matches in a row. Rosenthal struggled in the ďŹ rst set, falling 4â€“6 to UMSLâ€™s Francis Lam. Rosenthal came back strong in the next two sets, however, as he dropped just three games in the ďŹ nal set and coasted to the win. The Bearsâ€™ No. 2 player, freshman Charlie Cutler, defeated UMSLâ€™s Stephen Pobst in straight sets, but it wasnâ€™t easy. In a grueling ďŹ rst set, Cutler hung on to prevail 7â€“6 (9â€“7) before battling
to a 6â€“4 win in the second stanza. The win was Cutlerâ€™s eighth straight, as he moved his season record in singles play to 19â€“4. Senior William McMahan had few problems in his win over Mike Schaaf of UMSL at No. 3 singles play. McMahan took both sets, defeating Schaaf 6â€“3 and 6â€“4. The Urbana, Ill., nativeâ€™s overall record for the spring now stands at 16â€“5. Freshman Nirmal Choradia, playing at No. 4 singles, cruised in his ďŹ rst set, winning 6â€“0. In the second set, however, UMSLâ€™s Peter Hantack provided Choradia with all he could handle, but Choradia eventually survivedthe second-set thriller and won 7â€“6 (7â€“1). The Bearsâ€™ No. 5 and 6 singles players manhandled the UMSL competition. Senior Zack Fayne won at No. 5, 6â€“0 and 6â€“0, while sophomore Charlie Howard won at No. 6, 6â€“0 and 6â€“2. Fayneâ€™s win was his sixth in as many tries, and he improved his overall singles record to 13â€“3 for the year. The Bears struggled in doubles competition, winning only at No. 3. In that match, Fayne partnered with freshman Chris Hoeland to defeat James Rigby and Hantack 8â€“2. The Bears are now set for UAA championship competition, which takes place this coming weekend in Atlanta, Ga.
WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
They Might Be Giants: ‘Venue Songs’ By Beth Ochoa Music Editor They Might Be Giants are at it again with their newest release, “Venue Songs.” This DVD/CD combination features songs about each venue the band has performed at in their nationwide tour. Each song was written on the tour bus between stops, played live and recorded to make the CD. The CD itself features 46 live tracks with the style of each song varying as much as the rest of the TMBG anthology. Meanwhile, the DVD is a collection of the songs deemed to be the best by John Linnell and John Flansburgh, the two main members of TMBG. Once chosen, the tracks were re-recorded and a unique music video was prepared for each. The range of the videos matches that of the songs themselves
and keeps viewers on their feet. While some songs are better than others, each has the feel of a live performance, giving the album something extra. Songs such as “Albany” about The Egg pokes fun at the architecture of the venue itself, while “Vancouver,” played at Richard’s on Richards, isn’t about the club at all: it simply mentions the name to create a rhyme scheme. It’s hard to say if any one song is better than another, as each is so stylistically distinct. In fact, each one can be considered a masterpiece. The same cannot be said about the videos. The video for “Dallas” seems to be a combination of an old “Steamboat Willie” Mickey Mouse animation and the portion of “The Wizard of Oz” where the trees throw apples at Dorothy. Moreover, the DVD is not just a
conglomeration of videos. Each video is introduced by a deranged millionaire who sets up a storyline for the creation of each song. The script, written by TMBG and a writer from “The Daily Show,” is both humorous and entertaining. Between each song, the man gives a short background of the venue, city and TMBG’s state of mind when composing their next masterpiece. This album is perfect for fans who haven’t seen TMBG live or for those who experienced the venues firsthand. It almost makes you feel famous when you can hear yourself cheering. However, this CD/DVD set should not be your introduction to the band. With little time to write the songs and little sleep beforehand, some songs are in the same vein as “Nightgown of the Sullen Moon” in that it is nearly impossible to understand their lyrics.
Also included in this duo is the song “Bloodmobile,” yet another educational song from TMBG that informs while being exceedingly catchy. The DVD also has three bonus shorts, including “Experimental Film.” This short features the lovable characters from homestarrunner.com.
They Might Be Giants “Venue Songs” Rating: ★★★★✩ For fans of: their hometown venue and other They Might Be Giants albums Download: “Bloodmobile,” “St. Louis” and “Vancouver” Final word: not the best album for starter fans, but a great addition to your TMBG collection
John Linnell, left, and John Flansburg of the band They Might Be Giants are photographed at Enid’s Bar in Brooklyn, New York. They just released a new album called “Venue Songs.”
Watching crap so you don’t have to: Not quite ‘kinky’ enough Rebutting Roger Ebert: video games as art By Brian Stitt Movies Editor
By Adam Summerville Cadenza Reporter Rounding out my dorkiness hat trick (actually, I guess this is at least number four in my dorky series), I feel I should talk about video games. Save for “Magic: The Gathering” and “Dungeons and Dragons,” there really isn’t much in the realm of dorkdom that I have left to talk about. Recently, movie critic Roger Ebert said, “[V]ideo games represent a loss of those precious hours we have available to make ourselves more cultured, civilized and empathetic.” While that is certainly a condemning sentence, it is hardly taken out of context. Ebert was responding to a question asking why he felt that video games could never be considered art. While I do not pretend to be an expert on what is or is not art, I might be considered an expert in the realm of video games. To claim that video games could never be considered art is a tad presumptuous regarding the nature of art and video games. Ebert claims that video games are inherently a work of craftsmanship and not of artistic design. Perhaps this is as he sees it, but then again, sculpture and architecture were solely crafts in ancient China, while today they are considered art forms the world over. To presume that just because something that is currently considered a craft could never become art solely because of present interpretation is perhaps foolish. Ebert claims that the rea-
son a video game is strictly craft is because, unlike both literature and ﬁ lm, video games rely on player control as opposed to authorial control. Nevermind that this entirely ignores the role of the viewer’s interpretation of either literature or ﬁ lm— the more ridiculous notion is that games are not under authorial control. Perhaps Ebert is under the impression that a game somehow evolves out of some sort of primordial ooze as opposed to the guiding eye of a director who works with a team to produce a very speciﬁc experience. Yes, a large portion of the team works in a strictly technical or craftlike manner, but then again, so too does every movie production crew, so that hardly seems to be a disqualifying characteristic. Ebert admits that he is unfamiliar with games, and this certainly seems to be the case. Not all games are ﬁ rst-person shooters modeled after “Doom” or ﬁ ghting games built on the “Street Fighter” model, just as not all books take after Tom Clancy or all movies take after Michael Bay. There are games with surprising narrative depth. “Killer 7,” for instance, has at least four levels to its narrative structure dealing with cosmic, political, interpersonal and spiritual levels at all times. The game beats out every single book I have read in college in terms of depth. (Note: I am a math major, so my literary experiences have been rare but not entirely nonexistent.) Few movies can approach it in terms of aesthetic design or plot. Moreover, the plot does not develop in any way that the designer did not foresee.
Does the player ostensibly control the onscreen action? Yes, but only in the most overt manner. Just as a projector is required for the ﬁ lm to move, and a book requires someone to turn the page, so too does a video game require a player to use a controller. Just because the player is in “control” does not actually mean that the game is entirely under his or her control. What the player sees, hears and causes to happen occurs only under the behind-thescenes machinations of the director and his team. Just because someone controls the pace at which they read, it does not mean that they are in control of the book. The author ultimately determines the outcome. Even discounting everything I have written as the rant of some video game– obsessed lunatic, one must admit that video games are still in a state of relative infancy. Just as ﬁ lms such as “Man doing a backﬂ ip” produced in the early 20th century are not exactly the height of artistic creation in the medium of ﬁ lm, perhaps the video games of today will not be seen as art but as a proverbial stepping stone to something much greater. Even if games are not currently viewed as art (which is something that I obviously contend), that does not disqualify them for future consideration as art. I must reiterate that I do not pretend to be an expert on art and only sort of pretend to be an expert on video games, but at least I’ve left the question of whether video games can be considered art open for debate.
British movies about working class people doing crazy and taboo things have a long history of becoming sleeper hits. They have done so well in fact—from “The Full Monty” to “Billy Elliot”—that the ﬁ lms have almost created a genre in and of itself. Perhaps they aren’t the most original ideas, but they make for good family comedies, with that taste for sauciness the British love to claim. “Kinky Boots” is the newest export trying to make good with a small budget and a big heart. Joel Edgerton stars as Charlie Price, a small-town British guy trying to make it in the big city with his ﬁancé. When dear old dad suddenly dies, Charlie gets dragged back to Price and Son’s, his family’s failing shoe factory. The shoes are bland, the town is boring and the only task Charlie gets is to ﬁ re all of his employees because no one will buy his shoes. Enter Lola, a six-foot drag queen who becomes the inspiration for his new product line: sturdy boots for men who enjoy dressing up as
women. Throw in the requisite distance between Charlie and his future wife, the peppy factory worker who’s got the marbles to stand up to the boss and all that’s initially missing is prejudice from the small-town factory workers towards Lola. This movie rarely strays from the time-tested Brit comedy formula. The only deviation comes from the performance of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola, the drag queen who has problems with self-acceptance but is ﬁ ne walking around North Hampton in a mini skirt. Unfortunately, with all the open-mindedness the movie convinces us it has, it never fully addresses the issue of Lola’s sexuality, leaving the audience hanging on a plot line that could have added a lot of weight. Ejiofor is already one of the hottest young actors in Hollywood, recently appearing in “Serenity,” “Inside Man” and “Love Actually,” but he never has the chance to sink his teeth into the role. With a better script he would be a definite Oscar contender, but he’ll most likely have to settle for a Golden Globe nod instead. Edgerton, whose biggest part to date was as Uncle
Owen in the new “Star Wars” movies, does a ﬁ ne job in the lead role, and many of the small-town folks and factory workers are genuinely entertaining. However, the movie never moves beyond being a feel-good story. For instance, while the audience should be treated to a whirlwind of sights and sounds when Charlie sees Lola’s drag show for the ﬁ rst time, we instead get two camera angles, making the song and dance sequences trite and ﬂat instead of creating an uproarious carnival atmosphere. “Kinky Boots” is in no way a bad movie. There are some honestly humorous and genuinely touching moments in the ﬁ lm that make it worth seeing. At the heart of the movie is a story about accepting unusual ideas that aren’t really unusual at all. “Kinky Boots” Rating: ★★★✩✩ Directed by: Julian Jarrold Starring: Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, SarahJane Potts, Ewan Hooper
BY JASON ANDERSON
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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
STUDENT LIFE | CLASSIFIEDS
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10 STUDENT LIFE | CADENZA
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WEDNESDAY | APRIL 19, 2006
n. a technically brilliant, sometimes improvised solo
CADEN Z A
passage toward the close of a concerto, an exceptionally brilliant part of an artistic work
arts & entertainment
Behind the smoke Wash. U.’s connection to the new film
Thank You For By Pat Kennedy Cadenza Reporter
he newly released ﬁ lm, “Thank You for Smoking,” adapted from Christopher Buckley’s 1994 novel of the same title, has a connection to Washington University. That connection is Professor Richard Chapman, Wash. U.’s senior lecturer in screenwriting in the Film and Media Studies department. Chapman, along with writing partner E. Jack Kaplan, adapted the ﬁ rst draft of the screenplay back in 1994 when Buckley’s novel was released. “Thank You for Smoking” is not the ﬁ rst of Professor Chapman’s screenplay endeavors. Chapman is a veteran screenwriter who has been in the business for years. He co-wrote the screenplay for the ﬁ lm “My Fellow Americans” (again with writing partner Kaplan) and also more recently co-wrote the HBO original ﬁ lm “Live From Baghdad,” which garnered him an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special. Unfortunately, the script Professor Chapman penned for “Thank You for Smoking” did not get produced until ten years later, after a few revisions and production company changes. Hence, Chapman’s name does not appear in the credits as screenwriter. However, Chapman is still pleased with the results of the movie and feels that his work has contributed to its success. This is what Professor Chapman had to say about his work on the script.
Rob Lowe, left and Adam Brody star in “Thank You For Smoking.”
Cadenza: So when exactly did you start writing the screenplay for “Thank You for Smoking”? Chapman: My writing partner E. Jack Kaplan started working on the script in 1994, shortly after Christopher Buckley released the novel. The rights to the novel were purchased by Mel Gibson’s production company Icon Productions, and we were writing at Warner Brother’s at the time where Gibson had his contract for Icon. Mel was actually supposed to star in the ﬁ lm and possibly direct it. We were the ﬁ rst people to adapt the book and we met with Christopher Buckley and it was all one big happy family. We came up with a script that everybody liked, and we even had a staged reading for the ﬁ lm with stars like James Coburn, Sela Ward and Michael McKean.
Cadenza: So what happened with the production of your screenplay?
Cadenza: How was your screenplay different from the one used in the newly released “Thank You for Smoking”?
Chapman: Well, they [Icon] were considering it for production when Mel Gibson got an offer to do the movie “Ransom.” So that delayed the movie another year down the road. Then Icon was unable to produce the ﬁ lm for one more year so they brought in a writer to do a rewrite of the screenplay. That writer was Roger Avary, Tarantino’s writing partner. Several other drafts were written by other writers as well, and this is a well known process within the industry where tons of writers are brought in. I’ve done my share of rewriting myself. In this particular case, writing the ﬁ rst draft was really a delightful job because the book was so good. It was a matter of selecting different material that was suitable to make three acts of a movie, and we had to create cinematic structure from the novel. Unfortunately, what essentially happened was that Icon couldn’t launch the movie, as they kept picking other movies to produce. The timing was off, and the smoking issue was made less relevant as the political position on tobacco changed due to the tobacco companies’ admittance that nicotine was addictive.
Chapman: Overall, the production of our screenplay was going to have a signiﬁcantly larger budget, as Mel Gibson and Warner Brothers were producing it. Hence, there were sequences that required larger-scale production. In the end sequence of the movie, during a funeral, we were going to have jets ﬂy by streaming smoke for a death of the member of a tobacco company. Another large-scale scene took place involving a kidnapping with nicotine patches. A big difference in Reitman’s version of the screenplay is that he added the son of Nick Naylor as an extra character. The book actually only slightly mentions the son, so that part of Reitman’s screenplay is the biggest difference. However, because we were both adapting a book, there are obvious similarities between the two screenplays.
Cadenza: What is your opinion of Reitman’s version of “Thank You for Smoking”? Chapman: What I think Reitman has been able to do is to use Buckley’s somewhat outdated book in a cleverly done contemporary context. The story appears authentic and still works in today’s world. This small independent company ﬁgured out a way to produce the ﬁ lm for about a quarter of the price, which is impressive. I liked the movie and congratulate them on doing a good job.
he present version of “Thank You for Smoking” is both written and directed by Jason Reitman. The ﬁ lm has opened to numerous positive reviews as a biting satire on the tobacco industry and the practice of lobbying in general. Aaron Eckhart stars in the movie as Nick Naylor, a lobbyist for the Academy of Tobacco whose ability to put a positive spin on the idea of selling cigarettes is often hilarious. Naylor’s main nemesis in the movie is Vermont Senator Ortolan Finistirre (William H. Macy), a Birkenstock-sporting environmentalist. Other characters in the movie include the additional two members (besides Naylor) of the cleverly named MOD (Merchants of Death) Squad—alcohol lobbyist Polly Bailey (Maria Bello) and ﬁ rearms lobbyist Bobby Jay Bliss (David Koechner)—as well as journalist Heather Holloway (Katie Holmes), Hollywood agent Jeff Megall (Rob Lowe), former “Marlboro Man” Lorne Lutch (Sam Elliott) and Big Tobacco’s “captain” (Robert Duvall). With such a solid lineup of actors in addition to a thoughtful novel-to-big-screen adaptation, it is easy to see why this ﬁ lm has received such critical success. KRT DIRECT
William H. Macy stars in “Thank You For Smoking.”