The Official Campus Newspaper of Swarthmore College Since 1881 VOL. 137, ISSUE 4
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Grindr: The Biggest Gay Bar on Earth Comes to Swarthmore By Anna Gonzales
eeking methods of hooking up and dating beyond alcohol-fueled makeout sessions on the Paces dance floor or dates at Sharples, and looking to expand the pool of potential sexual and romantic partners, some queer men at Swarthmore have turned to Grindr. Students and a professor described a variety of motivations behind using the digital application, which utilizes a cell phone’s GPS device to display a grid of profiles of queer men, in order of distance, and primarily facilitates casual sexual encounters. As of June 2012, Grindr, which works on the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry, had 4 million users in 192 countries, including 1.1 million users on a daily basis, including 1.5 million users from the United States. The app has been described as both “a revolutionary dating tool” and “the scariest gay bar on earth that is all over the earth” by the queer blogosphere and articles in Vanity Fair and GQ. Sean Bryant ‘13, who chooses not use the app because of the dangers he feels meeting up with strangers presents, estimated that about 25 percent of queer men at Swarthmore use or have used the app at some point. Grindr asks new users to create a profile, including a picture (there are some face shots, but headless, bare-chested torso shots are common as well) and a description of height, age, weight, ethnicity, and relationship status. The profile also includes the “Looking For” category, under which a user can select from “Chat,” “Dates,” “Friends,” “Networking,” and “Relationship.” “Dates” translates roughly to a casual sexual encounter, for which Grindr is most well-known. Most Swarthmore men interviewed (and users in general) said they used the app primarily for this purpose, though some have downloaded Grindr out of curiosity to see who in the surrounding community is queer and available, or used it to facilitate dating and friendships. “Grindr is used for hookups,” said Bryant, echoing the dominant view of the app.
“No one, to my knowledge, has ever joined or hooking up with other queer men and Grindr to find some friends.” in terms of navigating the dating world of An anonymous student, Smith*, who Swarthmore. has used the app while at Swarthmore, Smith, who uses Grindr mostly for echoed this perception. Smith said he had hooking up, cited selectivity as the main used the app to chat with other queer men, advantage behind using the app. but always with the intention of eventually “You can be selective about who you hooking up with that person. interact with on Grindr, perhaps choosing However, a professor (Professor X) who only to respond to Asian guys or tall guys chose to remain anonymous because of the or guys who don’t send [genitalia photos] as sensitive nature of the article, told a differ- a greeting,” Smith said. “In person it’s more ent story. difficult to be this selective because it’s rude “I pretty much never use Grindr for to flat out ignore someone if you’re not rehooking up, especially locally,” Professor X ally interested.” said. He added that while he had used the Grindr eliminates the need for manners, app to facilitate hookups while traveling, allowing users to block others. the fundamental goal of using the app for Another occasional Grindr user (Johnhim was to meet and create friendships or son), who chose to remain anonymous, said possible romantic rethat while he had used lationships with other Grindr to hook up, he “Grindr is used for found most of the fun to queer men. “Even though our initial inin the flirting that takes hookups. No one...has be teractions were cenplace via the exchange ever joined Grindr to of messages and photos, tered on sex, we also cultivated an underlywhich usually would not find some friends.” ing foundation of real result in a hookup. friendship,” Professor “It’s fun to say, ‘Here’s a Sean Bryant ’13 X said of the men with picture of me, here’s what whom he had had sex I’m into, we should totally via Grindr. do it,’ and then just stop, and that’s totally Professor X acknowledged that the pur- fine,” Johnson said. pose of Grindr was usually a quick physical He added that he was surprised at how encounter. “I’m just not really built for the eager other users were to trade pictures. “It kinds of instant anonymous hookups that was very easy to trade pictures, especially Grindr is more known for,” he said. sexual pictures,” Johnson said, though he Kenneson Chen ‘15 said he also used said that after some time, he decided picthe service to find friends and that he had ture trading was “too slutty” and stopped. never used it for hooking up or finding a The app also helps to eliminate the awkboyfriend, but noted that he was unusual in wardness and uncertainty of navigating the this respect. “I think people tend to meet up Swarthmore dating scene. and/or hook up with Grindr acquaintances “I don’t know how I would hook up with more frequently than I do,” he said. someone in Paces, where I wouldn’t know if a guy was straight, or if that guy was willNO STRINGS ATTACHED AND ONE ing,” Johnson said. With Grindr, he said, NIGHT STANDS: GRINDR’S BENE- the experience was more controlled. “We’re FITS AND FAILINGS both looking for the same thing. It’s a one Users described a variety of advantages night stand, and there are no strings atto using Grindr, both in comparison to tached,” Johnson said. non-virtual methods of talking to, meeting, Bryant, though an opponent of the app, Continued on Page 7
TODAY: Some clouds in the morning, but sunny skies later. High 47, Low 35. TOMORROW: Partly cloudy. Chance of rain: 10%. High 50, Low 33.
Franzen Revisited By TAYLOR HODGES Assistant Living & Arts Editor As Jonathan Franzen delivers a much anticipated lecture on campus today, now seems a good time to visit his memoir, “The Discomfort Zone,” to see what one of Swarthmore’s most prominent alumni had to say about his time on-campus. Unfortunately, his memoir doesn’t introduce “Swoggles” or “Swat swivel” to the reading public or name-check Sharples and McCabe, but the memoir reflects Swat culture in a different way, as young Jonathan Franzen proved to be preoccupied with the same concerns that plague many Swatties. To start, most of the words Franzen put to paper about his time at Swarthmore are dedicated to his course work and a good too many pages are used to chronicle his struggles with German modernist literature. This provides a rare treat for those readers who’ve always wanted to hear Franzen struggle to commiserate with Kafka’s “The Trial” in the original German. For other readers, this portion will be as interesting as hearing any other Swarthmore student discuss their seminar studies at length. Franzen graduated in 1988 as an honors German major. He had a passion for literature and was attracted to studying English, but he says, “since my parents had suggested I might want to pay for college myself if I insisted on being an English major, I was left with German by default. Its main attraction as a major was that I got easy As in it, but I assured my parents that I was preparing myself for a career in international banking, law, diplomacy, or journalism.” Though Franzen avoided the kind of practical career his parents tried to steer him toward, familial pressure to select an employable major permeates this section of the memoir. Franzen includes letters written from his parents, expressing their concerns about his future career prospects. In his responses, he defends the rigor of his studies and the value of his liberal arts education, but ultimately doesn’t seem certain of his career path or employability. Instead he just loses himself further in his studies. That the memoir’s college section is titled “The Foreign Language” makes clear that the autobiography intends to focus on his college years’ intensive studies rather than their social growth. Yet, Franzen does use his memoir to say a bit about his out-of-classroom time, though most of this content reeks of sexual frustration. The succeeding comedy of sexual denial in the chapter detailing his time abroad is the most entertaining part of the memoir’s collegiate chapter. Franzen returns to Swarthmore when he studies more German and in his senior year finds himself editor of The Nulset Review, the campus literary magazine whose name he and other magazine staff elected to change to Small Craft Warnings. Franzen finds himself falling in love with the magazine’s former editor, a “petite red-headed poet from New York.” For pages, he is threated by her intelligence, her ability to “cast her eye over [a manuscript] briefly and deliver an incisive summary and analysis.” But eventually he stops pursuing her friend and turns his attentions toward her. The two have a clear affinity for each other, and just before he graduates among Swarthmore’s class of 1988, Jonathan Franzen is no longer a virgin.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Inspired by the growing prominence of the movement to divest from fossil fuel, a group of teachers held a teach-in to discuss the divestment campaign.
The Phoenix’s new matchmaking service makes its debut! Read about a couple’s awkward-free dinner date in Media (and send in an application to get yourself matchboxed.
Faculty Teach-In on Climate Change
Quaker Matchbox: First Edition
The Phoenix EdBoard weighs in on the ongoing sorority controversy.
The Garnet clinch a playoff with a win over Washington, then send the seniors off in style with a win over Franklin and Marshall.
Staff Editorial: Time for a Referendum on Greek Life at Swat
Women’s Basketball Earns Playoff Berth
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
The Phoenix STEVEN HAZEL Editor-in-Chief KOBY LEVIN Managing Editor PARKER MURRAY Managing Editor The News Section AMANDA EPSTEIN Editor DANIEL BLOCK Assistant Editor ANNA GONZALES Assistant Editor SARAH COE-ODESS Writer COLE GRAHAM Writer TIFFANY KIM Writer TOBY LEVY Writer The Living & Arts Section ALLI SHULTES Editor GABRIELA CAMPOVERDE Assistant Editor TAYLOR HODGES Assistant Editor COURTNEY DICKENS Writer MIREILLE GUY Writer AXEL KODAT Writer JEANETTE LEOPOLD Writer MAYRA TENORIO Writer JOSHUA ASANTE Writer VIANCA MASUCCI Writer SERA JEONG Writer IZZY KORNBLATT Columnist
DEBORAH KRIEGER Columnist CATHY PARK Columnist KIERAN REICHERT Columnist DAVID TOLAND Columnist PAIGE FAITH SPENCER WILLEY Columnist ZOE WRAY Columnist DINA ZINGARO Columnist YENNY CHEUNG Artist ELIZABETH KRAMER Artist RENU NADKARNI Artist PRESTON COOPER Puzzle Master The Opinions Section PRESTON COOPER Editor AARON KROEBER Assistant Editor TYLER BECKER Columnist SEAN BRYANT Columnist DANIELLE CHARETTE Columnist CRAIG EARLEY Columnist PATRICK HAN Columnist HARSHIL SAHAI Columnist The Sports Section DANIEL DUNCAN Editor SCOOP RUXIN Writer JAMES IVEY Columnist IBIDAYO FAYANJU Columnist
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SOPHIE DIAMOND Editor JOSH GREGORY Editor ALICE KIM Editor AKSHAJ KUCHIBHOTLA Editor ALLISON MCKINNON Editor ALEC PILLSBURY Editor CAMI RYDER Editor Business HARSHIL SAHAI Director PAUL CHUNG Director ERIC SHERMAN Webmaster MARCUS MELLO Social Media Coordinator CAMI RYDER Publicity Coordinator ALLISON MCKINNNON Circulation Manager The Phoenix is located in Parrish Hall, Offices 470-472 500 College Ave Swarthmore, PA 19081 Tel 610.328.7362 Email email@example.com Web swarthmorephoenix.com Please direct advertising requests to advertising@ swarthmorephoenix.com. The Phoenix reserves the right to refuse any advertising. Advertising rates subject to change. Mail subscriptions are available for $60 a year or $35 a semester. Please direct subscription requests to Harshil Sahai. The Phoenix is printed at Bartash Printing, Inc., and is a member of the Associated College Press and the Penn. Newspaper Association.
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INSIDE THE PHOENIX NEWS Queer-Straight Alliance Throws Fundraising Banquet for Ali Forney Center Students involved in the Queer-Straight Alliance cooked and ate to raise awareness and funds for the Ali Forney Center, which provides housing for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City but was devastated by Hurricane Sandy last November. PAGE 4 Ecosphere Coalition Holds Open Collective and Sets Goals for 2020 Ecosphere, Swarthmore’s coalition of environmental groups, held an open meeting to identify its environmental goals for the year 2020, which include making the college carbon-neutral. PAGE 5
LIVING & ARTS
Patti Smith Performs... But Not Only Songs 14
media provokes violent behavior lacking. PAGE 17
The Bus Boys: Oyster House a Pearl
A Bryn Mawr concert by the legendary singer left audience members with only a smattering of songs, but a whole lot of personality. PAGE 14
Voyage to the New World
Still need a dinner plan for Valentines Day? Foodies Gaby Camoverde and Angela Oh award this Sampson Street restaurant 4 out of 5 stars. PAGE 8 Quaker Matchbox Kids What is it like being raised by two Swatties? Three students offer a peek into the infamous Quaker Matchbox. PAGE 9
“American Idiot” at Merrian Theater: BAM 14 Theater guru Jeannette Leopold labels this electrifying musical a must-see for Green Day fans. PAGE 14 Beyond Belief: What’s in a Word
Hot Diggity Dog: Dobby and Diane Meet Dobby, the lovable moonwalking Shi Tzu. A frequent campus walker and Kohlberg Coffee Bar regular, he’s sure to melt your heart this Valentines Day. PAGE 12
Students Create Activist Group to Focus on Immigration Rights After a course last semester which discussed the disparity in discussions about immigration, students have banded together to attempt to change the experience of migrant workers in the United States. PAGE 6
PAFA’s “The Female Gaze”: Bad Title, Great Exhibition
Student Council Works to Create Comprehensive Guide Two members of Student Council want to create a student resource guide, seeking to centralize and continuously update all information about student life. PAGE 7
Vonnegut and Valentine’s Day
In a departure from stereotypical female art (think flowers and vaginas), this PAFA exhibition showcases a diversity of works -- and perspectives -- from female artists. PAGE 13
Columnist Paige Willey opens the pages of Vonnegut’s fictional works to offer advice on overcoming apathy and telling someone you care this Valentine’s Day. PAGE 13
Exploring the distinction between spirituality and religion, columnist Dina Zingaro suggests that religion gets a bad rep -- and that it’s a whole lot sexier than we give it credit for. PAGE 15
OPINIONS Get the Government Out Of the Liberal Arts Danielle considers the role of the government in financing and supporting higher education, and what the role of higher education itself should be in America. PAGE 16 The Intersection of Violent Media and Violent Crime Harshil weighs in on the growing debate over the impact of violent media on its consumers, finding the argument that violent
Prompted by the immigration reform debate, Patrick reflects on his own experience as an immigrant to America and its implications for American ideals. PAGE 17 Kentucky Senate Race Shaping Up To Be Battleground Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, will face a tough reelection challenge in his home state of Kentucky, presenting Democrats with a rare pickup opportunity in the 2014 cycle. Potential challengers to McConnell include actress Ashley Judd. PAGE 18
SPORTS Swat Senior Swimmers Reflect on Four Years The men upset Dickinson, while the women fall narrowly to the Red Devils in the senior meet. The Garnet seniors reflect on their careers. PAGE 20 Major Sports Need A Focus On Financial Responsibility Jamie argues that multi-million dollar contracts for very young players are detrimental to athletes and clubs alike. PAGE 20
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Faculty Facilitate Teach-In On Climate Change
Cynthia Halpern, professor in the Political Science Department, was one of the main speakers at Monday’s Divestment Teach-In. She argued for divestment, despite the financial setbacks the college may experience.
By DANIEL BLOCK Assistant News Editor
Divestment is becoming an increasingly salient issue both at Swarthmore and at colleges and universities around the country. The movement, which aims to compel colleges and universities to stop investing in companies that produce fossil fuels, has grown rapidly over the last few months. Early in December, the New York Times published an article detailing how the campaign has expanded. Indeed, Mountain Justice, the group fighting for Swarthmore to divest, is hosting a convergence this month in which representatives from multiple schools will come to campus to learn about the divestment efforts and how to run a divestment campaign. Inspired by the growing prominence of the movement, a group of professors held a teach-in about divestment. The event, which took place on Feb. 11, entailed a variety of professors giving brief presentations on different aspects of the issue, followed by questions from audience members. The aim was to explain and discuss what the process might mean for the college, the fossil fuel industry, and the world. “I was trying to provide some information,” said Philip Jefferson, an economics professor and participant. “I took the ‘teach’ part of it very seriously.” Cynthia Halpern, a political science professor and another participant, gave a slightly different reason for participating — to encourage dialogue about divestment. “I think the importance of the teach-in is to have a conversation on campus,” she said. But while participants may agree that the teach-in was important in order to share knowledge, it was readily apparent from the presentation that different speakers were approaching the issue from differ-
ent angles. Jefferson, for his segment, discussed the effects divestment might have on the endowment. According to his analysis, since divestment would result in a less diverse portfolio of assets, it could cause the endowment to shrink. “If you want to keep the variability the same, the risk the same, you’d probably have to accept a lower average return,” he said. The alternative would be to accept greater risk. “What that means is that we’d have some good years and some bad years in an effort to maintain the average return.” “Other things being equal,” Jefferson said, “the operating budget is going to be impacted.” As a result, the college would have to find a way to accommodate. The school could see less funding for certain departments, lower salaries, higher tuition, and less monetary assistance to students. “The opportunity costs of divestment might include reduced financial aid,” Jefferson said during the presentation. But Halpern, who supports divestment, disagreed that financial aid would be at risk. She pointed out that the faculty was willing to take salary cuts during the financial crisis rather than risk a reduction in financial aid to students. “There’s a lot of ways the college can juggle its money,” she said. “I think the bigger problem is it’s complicated to cut particular investments if you’re using large, managed funds.” Jefferson agreed that this could make the situation more difficult. Because the investors who manage Swarthmore’s endowment invest in a variety of assets, it would be very difficult to separate out money invested in fossil fuel companies. “The reason why they do that is that’s how they keep fees down, that’s how they keep transaction costs down, and that’s how they maximize return,” he said. “The college would have to
go to a different set of investment managers. And the fees, transaction costs, and returns are likely to be lower.” He compared the process of divestment to switching from ordering food at a restaurant à la carte versus prix fixe. A la carte allows for choice, as opposed to prix fixe. But it also tends to cost more. The same, Jefferson said, is true for investing. “Investing à la carte is more expensive.” While Jefferson’s analysis suggested that divestment might negatively impact the endowment, Professor of Economics Mark Kuperberg concluded it would not likely impact fossil fuel companies in any direct or immediate economic way. “I don’t think it’s going to affect the firms,” Kuperberg said. He pointed out that if divestment were to cause stock prices for oil companies to drop, other “less ethical investors” would buy them. Furthermore, he drew a distinction between the divestment that took place during the anti-apartheid movement and the divestment that would take place here by pointing out that companies threatened with divestment during the apartheid had very small parts of their businesses in South Africa, meaning it was easy to force them to sell it off. But effectively, the sole aim of oil companies is fossil fuel production. “There’s just a tremendous incentive for them to stay engaged in fossil fuel production,” he said. But others felt that the issue must be considered in a way that is not financial. “There are consequences of our actions that are more than just economic,” said Ben Bernard-Herman ’14, a member of Mountain Justice. “Even if we don’t reduce the bottom line of those companies, it opens up political space to make decisions that our hope is slightly less bought out by the fossil fuel companies.”
JOSHUA ASANTE/THE PHOENIX
Halpern agreed. “It’s only if you look at economic consequences that you can say there are no consequences,” she said, arguing that even if there is no immediate economic outcome, the move has symbolic power. “The consequence is to create a consciousness change.” Bernard-Herman saw divestment as a potential catalyst for a larger movement. “One of the thing I believe divestment does is it opens up the conversation,” he said. “It gets people in Congress talking about passing climate legislation in a way they have not before.” Kuperberg and Jefferson, however, both felt divestment was not the best way to do that. “I like the idea of the college staying focused on education,” said Jefferson, who suggested that the college ought to use education as a tool to help students to work on climate change. Kuperberg emphasized the need for reform in government. In particular, he advocated for a carbon tax. But Bernard-Herman disagrees with this view. “Education doesn’t exist in a vacuum. In order for knowledge mean something, you have to do something with it,” he said. “We make decisions with that, and one of them being that it’s immoral to support the fossil fuel industries that are destroying the planet.” Whether the movement is ultimately successful remains to be seen. “I think it’s a long process,” said Halpern. “I think it’s something that happens as consciousness changes.” But she believes it will require wider support in order to be successful. “It’s not going to move if there’s a small group of activists who are pushing.” But Bernard-Herman is more optimistic about the future of the movement. “I feel very strongly that we’re going to win,” he said. “I do believe that this movement is going to have a substantial impact.”
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Queer-Straight Alliance Throws Fundraising Banquet
Ben Wolcott ’14 and Abigail Henderson ’14 enjoy delicious food at the banquet, along with the mariachi band.
By TIFFANY KIM News Writer
At a banquet held in the Friends Meeting House last Friday evening, the Swarthmore Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) sought to provide students and members of the community with a delicious meal and awareness of an issue that does not receive enough mainstream attention — that of homelessness amongst teenagers who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual or Queer (LGBTQ). Held as a fundraising event for the Ali Forney Center, the banquet attracted around 80 people, each of whom donated between $3 and $20 upon entry. In late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides housing for homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City. QSA began formulating plans to fundraise for the organization near the close of the fall semester, almost immediately after news reached the student group. QSA managed to raise around $700 for the Ali Forney Center through the donations of attendees. Joan Huang ’15 worked as one of the organizers for the banquet and explained the choice to fundraise on behalf of the Ali Forney Center. She said, “Part of what QSA does is try to support important queer issues. [The destruction of the Ali Forney Center] was an immediate thing; it was obviously time-dependent and for the number of queer youth who are homeless, there is a surprisingly low number of organizations that are supposed to help them.” The banquet featured food prepared by Swarthmore student volunteers, many of whom signed up to contribute following an extensive tabling campaign at the start of the semester. As attendees queued for helpings of delicious glutinous rice balls and couscous, the Swarthmore Mariachi Band serenaded the crowd. Attendees of the banquet got more than just good food; they heard the stories of local homeless LGBTQ youth and learned of ways to help out and volunteer at organizations devoted to aiding these young people. After a brief introduction from event organizers Ian Perkins-Taylor ’13 and Huang, Evan Thornburg from the Attic Youth Center spoke to the gathering about his group’s work with LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia. The Attic aids young people who identify as LGBTQ between the ages of 14 and 23,
providing free services that range from aid in the college admissions process to counseling, both at the individual and the family level. Thornburg detailed the problem of homelessness amongst LGBTQ youth, explaining that while between five percent and 10 percent of the American people identify as LGBTQ, LGBTQ individuals make up at least 40 percent of the homeless population of the United States. Thornburg concluded his remarks by acknowledging that, sometimes, statistics aren’t enough. “Those numbers have no immediate meaning, so to help people understand on a personal level that this is very real, that this is a real experience for a lot of people, we like to bring some of our youth who have had these experiences to talk to people like you,” he said to the gathering. Thornburg then introduced Kemar Jewel, a native Jamaican who was raised in Philadelphia. Jewel’s mother had thrown him out of her house at the age of 15 after discovering that he had gone on a date with a boy. Jewel recounted the two and a half years that he spent on the streets and in shelters, giving life to the bleak numbers Thornburg had listed. Despite a recurring desire to drop out, Jewel continued to at-
Evan Thornburg from the Attic Youth Center spoke to the gathering about the group’s work with LGBTQ youth.
tend high school during this time. He went to great lengths to ensure that he graduated, waking up at 4 in the morning and commuting for hours to get to school. Jewel explained that the Attic Youth Center had provided him with connections to housing programs and college admissions resources. vJewel, who now works for the Attic, currently lives on his own and attends college full-time. His story absorbed the audience completely, causing many in the crowd to express interest in volunteering their time to the organization or working in other ways to bring greater public attention to the issue of homeless LGBTQ youth. Monica, another person who had benefited from working with the Attic, followed Jewel and shared her story. Though she currently resides in a shelter, Monica remained positive and said of the Attic, “I know have great people helping me to be strong and be who I am.” Attendee Juliana Gutierrez ’16, who has worked with a social justice organization that aids homeless LGBTQ youth, appreciated the opportunity to hear these testimonies. “I think that it’s very import ant
to show the stats but also it’s good to hear the stories behind them, because they show that it’s a real problem,” she said. It was Sophomore Class Dean and Director of the Intercultural Center Alina Wong who initially suggested that QSA invite speakers from the Attic Youth Center in order to bring this seemingly distant problem closer to home for students. Near the close of the banquet, members of the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia (SREHUP) provided further encouragement to students to get involved in helping homeless LGBTQ youth. SREHUP members described their experiences in volunteering at their organization’s shelters and explained that students interested in donating their time could fill out an application available on the group’s website. One attendee, Joyce Wu ’15, echoed the sentiments of many others present at the banquet. “I thought the speakers were great,” she said. “It was especially good to hear from the Attic Youth Center because I didn’t really know much about it before and it makes me want to go volunteer.”
ALL PHOTOS BY JULIA CARLETON/THE PHOENIX
Frank Mondelli ’14, Juliana Guiterrez ’16, and Damella Dotan ’15 shared delicious student-cooked food and laughs at the banquet, which benefited homeless LGBTQ youth.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Ecosphere Coalition Holds Collective and Sets Goals for 2020 By NEHMAT KAUR News Writer
successful because it saw other members attend as well as unaffiliated students.” He is a firm believer in the purpose of the Ecosphere and believes it will benefit Ecosphere, Swarthmore’s coalition of its constituent groups. “Many people in the environmental groups on campus, the Ecosphere are interwoven (part of held an open meeting on Sunday to iden- multiple groups) and there are always tify and discuss the implementation of en- possibilities for people to help each other. vironmental goals that should be achieved Divestment and composting may be difby the year 2020. ferent goals with no overlapping areas but The coalition, which was started last the groups can come together for events year, just held its second conference. or help with advertising another group’s It consists of all seven environmental activities,” Ammerman said. groups on campus — Mountain Justice, Though the meeting was only the beEarthlust, the Good Food Project, Green ginning of Ecosphere’s planning process, Advisers, Think Climate, Environmental some of the goals that they identified and Justice and Swat Frack Action. will subsequently try to achieve will see Ecosphere aims to facilitate communi- minor and major changes around camcation between all the different environ- pus. mental groups “We talked and foster a about being ingreater sense of volved in the budMany people in the community by geting for Sharples, holding monthto address the lack Ecosphere are interwoven ly meetings with of vegetables. We (part of multiple groups) representatives want to bring in from each group more local food and there are always attending. Patand have a traypossibilities for people to rick Ammerman less dining hall like ’14 and Laura Bryn Mawr’s,” said help each other. Divestment Rigell ’16, susAmmerman. Anand composting may be tainability inother change the terns at the Lang student body can different goals with no Center for Civic in the future overlapping areas but the expect and Social Reis the availability of sponsibility, actgroups can come together reusable mugs at ed as facilitators the coffee bars. for events or help with for the meeting Of the expected on Sunday. major changes, advertising another group’s A m m e r like Ecosphere’s activities man thought involvement or that the meetsuggestions for the Patrick Ammerman’14 ing was successCampus Master ful and allowed Plan, Ammerman Ecosphere to and the rest are still identify achievable goals for the future. at an early stage in the planning process “We got several connected and achievable to propose any major changes. ideas written down and appointed a point One of the main topics of discussion person for each,” he said. “We established raised at the meeting was Earthlust’s need central groups of people and core mem- to identify a new cause to supbers for each idea that we discussed.” port and re-evaluating its relSome of the ideas that the attendees evance in the current environidentified were divestment from fossil mental context of Swarthmore. fuel industries and investment in envi- Earthlust was the first environmental group to be established at Swarthmore and originally served as the all-purpose “green” group on campus. As Ben Goloff ’15, a representative for Earthlust and other members acknowledged, that particular role is not relevant anymore, considering the existence of other groups with very specific goals like Mountain Justice. Goloff raised these questions first at the Ecosphere meeting, and then at an Earthlust meeting on Monday night. He said, “Earthlust doesn’t have an ongoing issue or structure presently. The landscape around us has changed. Till a few years ago, we were one out of four enJULIA CARLETON/THE PHOENIX vironmental groups on campus The meeting was held in Mephistos lounge. and there are seven now. I’m not sure how to continue and further conversation about this ronmentally friendly ones, having energy- needs to be pursued.” efficient buildings at Swarthmore (which Speaking about the future was discussed in relation to the Campus of Earthlust, Goloff said, “ We Master Planning meetings) and adequate need to carve a niche within legislation and institutions to make the Ecosphere. Earthlust has been college carbon-neutral by 2020. The idea around for around forty years to keep working towards establishing an and has lots of history. It’s valuEnvironmental Studies department at able and means a lot to people.” Swarthmore was reiterated with enthusiFor now, Ecosphere and all asm. its components will continue to Ammerman felt that having an open identify common goals to work forum for members of different groups on in addition to their specific and even students who are presently un- agendas. involved helped in establishing the diverse Ammerman was particurange of goals that Ecosphere settled on. larly excited about the Board’s He talked about the previously established decision to focus on Climate system, saying, “The system of monthly Change and institute a Climate meetings with representatives from all Action Plan. He said, “This is the groups was leading to the same people pivotal for Swat environmentalturning up at the meetings and sort of be- ism and will be important for a coming a group in itself. This meeting was long time.”
JULIA CARLETON/THE PHOENIX
Above, students from varying environmental groups discuss how to achievet their different goals.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO SUMMER SESSION ’13
If you’re a standout, you’ll fit right in. Don’t just communicate ideas—experience them. Don’t memorize a foreign language—think in one. Don’t study the ruins—excavate them. Don’t analyze dreams—live them. This is the very essence of the University of Chicago Summer Session. Where students are engaged at every level—intellectually, socially, personally, and professionally. Where you can benefit from the value of taking university courses in an accelerated, intensive format. Join us this summer for an extraordinary learning experience at the academic home to 85 Nobel laureates. For students in high school, college, and beyond. June 24–August 30, 2013 , 3, 4, 5, and 6-week sessions. Apply today: summer.uchicago.edu/UCFUEL 773.702.6033 firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Week In Pictures
Student Council Works To Create Comprehensive Resource Guide By COLE GRAHAM News Writer
Olivia Edwards ’15 and Alec Toro ’15 enjoy a snowy afternoon on Valentine’s Day week.
COURTESY OF MOLLY LICHTEN
COURTESY OF GABE BENJAMIN
Students prepare food for the QSA fundraising banquet that was held last Friday for the Ali Forney Center.
COURTESY OF GABE BENJAMIN
Averill Obee ’15 and Mike Lumetta ’15 participate in a muffin eating contest at the QSA banquet on Friday.
Imagine an online page where you could find any information about student resources you needed offered by the college. That page is the goal of Tony Lee ’15 and Jason Heo ’15, the Student Council members in charge of developing a Student Resource Guide that will consolidate information on everything from obtaining grants for summer projects to reserving a space for a party to contacting Workbox. “Because of our lack of knowledge, we are not able to utilize everything the College has to offer,” said Heo. “A lot of students have questions about certain things,” said Lee. According to a Student Council survey sent out last week, many students feel like they are either not aware of or do not know how to use many of the resources the college provides. Although a range of issues were mentioned, the most perplexing was finding funding for various activities like student group events, parties, and speakers. “A lot of people don’t realize what the Lang Center has to offer,” said Heo, referencing one of the project’s goals to facilitate student attempts to implement social change. “Information on this isn’t centralized,” said Lee. “We want to make it easier for students to do what they want to do.” The “Student Resource Guide” stemmed from the need to find an alternative method of dispensing information, as the current word-of-mouth system is not very effective. Student Council has been discussing updating the orientation handbook since last semester. It was not until the recent survey, however, that they realized that unawareness and disuse of College resources was not limited to first-year students and that an all-encompassing guide should be available to the entire student population. Currently, Lee and Heo say the plan is to establish the guide as an extension of the College website, as either a PDF or Wiki-page hosted by the Swarthmore College Computer Society, with limited hard copies. “We want an entirely student-compiled source,” said Lee, a desire that makes the wiki more amenable. Nevertheless, a survey done by Student Council of other colleges and universities found that Wiki-pages were not a very common medium for student resource guides. Independent of format, the goal is for the guide to be visible and utilized. “A lot of people restrict themselves to the Dash,” said Heo. Akshaj Kuchibhotla ‘16 said he has had issues with the college website in its current format. “It could be improved, it’s not very well structured,” he said, “when I first looked at the website, it was very daunting.” Unsurprisingly, Kuchibhotla thinks a new, centralized page would be extremely useful. According to Lee, there has been overwhelming support for the guide. “The biggest problem we face is how to make it sustainable,” he said, citing the constant change within the student population and the need for future generations to continue updating information. Although still a work in progress, Lee and Heo have said that their goal is to implement the guide by the beginning of next year. “It would be great to get it up by next year’s orientation,” said Heo, “just to have it present, not necessarily to give it out.” A link to a suggestion box for Student Council can be found under their heading on the Dash.
A small snowman adorns a Public Safety truck after snow fall this past weekend.
COURTESY OF SWARTHMORE FLICKR
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Mexican Pennsylvania Stirs Interest In Students By SARAH COE-ODESS News Writer
After Spanish professor Aurora Camacho de Schmidt taught a course titled “Mexican Pennsylvania: the Making of a Transnational Community” last semester, Camacho de Schmidt and several members of the class have decided to create a new student activist group on campus that will focus on immigration rights. Emma Waitzman ’14, who was a student in the class last fall, will lead the group. The course, which discussed the disparity between society’s discussion of immigration and sociologists’, historians’ and immigrants’ interpretation of how many Mexican and Central American workers are displaced, sparked interest in students — especially Waitzman — to take action. “We have been eager to see immigration law respond to reality, not the proposals based on misperceptions and outright prejudice that come from politicians such as Senator [Marco] Rubio [R-FL],” Camacho de Schmidt said. “We wanted to change the dire conditions under which workers migrate, settle, and start their new life of intense and poorly paid work in the United States.” Although the future activist group cannot accomplish these goals single-handedly, the group plans to join a network of advocates and activists who are speaking out in favor of immigration reform. Another goal of the organization will be to partner with workers to get a better grasp of their needs.
The group, which will be student-led with faculty assistance, is not Swarthmore’s first collection of students that focused on immigration issues. “In the past, Swarthmore students did very good work on immigration, studying and also serving as translators for the many documents immigrants must submit to the authorities to regularize their status,” Camacho de Schmidt said. “Swarthmore has had a very active group involved in bringing about passage of the DREAM Act, which would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to go to college in spite of their undocumented status, offering a path to legal residence.” With the help of Swarthmore College President Rebecca Chopp, the college supports the Dream Act on record. Swarthmore is currently among a national network of colleges and universities who support immigration reform. To help Swarthmore assimilate into the other immigration activist colleves, Camacho de Schmidt is helping the group plan upcoming meetings, which are open to anyone on campus. “We are hoping to invite some speakers on immigration to campus, and to participate in activities currently being organized in Philadelphia, a city that has always been very active in solidarity with immigrants through its legal institutions and community centers,” she said. The first meeting will take place in the Keith Room, Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility, on Whittier Place this Friday from 2:25–3:30 p.m.
‘The Biggest Gay Bar on Earth,” continued from page 1 acknowledged Grindr’s utility in this arena. “At Swat, people can be very awkward when it comes to approaching someone who they are interested in, and Grindr seems to cut out all the guessing and awkwardness,” he said. Bryant also affirmed Johnson’s observation about clarity: “People on Grindr know each other’s intentions. There is no guessing game, no beating around the bush when it comes to what people want.” Bryant said that his perception was that Grindr users were very upfront and clear about their desires. Grindr also helps to expand the pool of potential partners. Students often complain about the way in which Swarthmore’s small community hinders meeting new people and dating, and queer students suffer even more from the school’s limited size. “Swarthmore is simply too small to possess a large enough queer population for some people,” Chen said. While Chen remarked that some students are satisfied with the dating scene, he thinks that Grindr allows students the welcome opportunity to expand the queer population. “I’ve found that while I have wonderful queer friends at Swat, the dating scene is admittedly stifling,” he said. Chen added that Grindr’s use by exclusively queer men was also an advantage when seeking new friendships. “There are really very few spaces solely reserved for queer men, especially spaces so open about sexuality and with the purpose of meeting or, at least, acquainting yourself with other queer men,” Chen said. For those who have not shared their sexuality with the rest of the world, Grindr can also provide a comforting degree of anonymity. Smith believes that men who were not yet openly queer would be comfortable using Grindr because the app does not require face photos. “A body could be anyone. Prove my body is the one in the photo,” he said. “You can’t, unless I have some distinctive tattoo or birthmark.” The potential anonymity of Grindr also provides a way to ease into the queer community. “For someone in the closet, the prospect of meeting another, usually self-assured and forward gay man can be downright terrifying,” Chen said. While approaching another man at a party and requesting a number could be dangerous, Chen said, Grindr reduces the
risk of being shamed or physically or verbally harassed. Both Chen and Johnson also said they had used Grindr when they were not yet openly queer in order to see if there were queer men in their surrounding area. “I used Grindr to see who else was gay around me. It was comforting to know I wasn’t alone,” Chen said. Johnson added that he would have welcomed the app while attending high school, where there were no out queer students, because “I didn’t know that there were gay people out there — I didn’t know what they looked like.” Along with the advantages of convenience, selectivity, anonymity, and the chances to develop friendships, however, there are potential disadvantages to using the app. Bryant said that he would be uncomfortable with meeting strangers at night who he had connected with on Grindr “when there can be some pretty crazy people out there.” He also thinks that Grindr’s facilitation of instant hookups undermines the creation of an actual, meaningful friendship or relationship. Smith said that while his experiences had been mostly positive, he has had a couple of negative encounters. These were mostly due to another user being dishonest about their age or posting photos that were not of themselves. Professor X mentioned that there are many “red flags” one can spot in order to guard against having a negative experience with the app. These red flags indicate to Professor X that he will not enjoy spending time with someone in real life. “I make sure not to ignore those red flags, no matter how attractive the guy may be,” he said. These warning signs include “not having a face picture, not revealing their name, not being willing to engage in ordinary conversation… only wanting to meet privately…and perhaps the biggest one, continually asking ‘when are we going to meet?’ rather than trying to engage with me in conversation,” Professor X said. Chen raised the question of queer social apps on queer culture, especially with regards to appearance. Some apps, like Grindr, GROWLr, BoyAhoy, Jack’d, Hornet, Skout, Mister, and Scruff (another popular choice, along with Grindr, among queer students at Swarthmore), allow users to filter out profiles
COURTESY OF PAOLA MERO
Students in the class “Mexican Pennsylvania” visited a St. Rocco Catholic Church in Avondale, PA, where all masses are held in Spanish.
based upon certain characteristics such as age, race, height, and weight, or are targeted at types of appearances (GROWLr is for those who identify as “bears,” queer men who embrace a more muscular, hirsute aesthetic). “Is this racist, age-ist, body-ist?” Chen asked. He also wondered whether these filters enabled the fetishization of certain bodily characteristics.
WHY GAY MEN? Although Grindr’s creator has released an app called Blendr, open to all genders and sexualities, its success has been limited. Sources offered a variety of perspectives on why the app arose and became explosively popular, especially among queer. Some of the underlying factors appear to be cultural. Smith said that he was surprised that more Swarthmore students do not use Grindr, and that the app was primarily useful because so many queer men use it. Smith also said that Grindr did not suffer from the same stigma that dating apps and websites for straight people do: “only pathetic people use them,” he said. Professor X linked Grindr’s popularity and existence to a largely heteronormative culture. “I think Grindr is just another evolutionary step in the way that gay men have been trying to find each other while trapped in a heterocentric, usually homophobic culture,” he said. Unlike straight people, Professor X said, queer members of society are and have been part of an invisible, often vilified minority, and thus need ways to find one another outside of the public eye. Professor X detailed the variety of ways in which queer men have met in the past, including websites and methods of meeting up in public bathrooms or “cruising” areas known for dense populations of queer men — a process that Grindr has made virtual. Professor X also believes that Grindr was partially engendered by cultural perceptions of male sexual desire compared to that of females. “The conventional wisdom is that, on average, men are just biologically and emotionally more willing to have sex with a random stranger than women are,” he said. Gender and Sexuality Studies Professor Anna Ward acknowledged this perception as well. “The assumption people make is that straight women are not interested in casual
sexual exchanges, and therefore, would have no interest in an app that facilitated this,” she said. Ward, however, believes that this perception is mistaken. She said that while there is tremendous cultural disapproval of women who engage in casual sexual relations, and that the culture of sexual violence in which we live can make women wary, the fact is that women do engage in casual sexual encounters. “What is the difference between a woman hooking up with a guy she just met at a club and using an app like Blendr to do so? I think it’s a difference of degree, not kind,” Ward said. She sees a random sexual encounter at a nightclub as barely different from using an app to facilitate such an occurrence. Ward also noted that queer women were notoriously early adopters of technological methods and online dating sites, including Craigslist and OkCupid, to facilitate casual or long-term sexual encounters. Grindr (and its users) may merely be the most visible of these technological methods. Ward added that she often heard discussion of queer men “being more horny or more open to casual sex than other folks,” and that this perception was incorrect. “Gay male communities have a long and admirable history of appreciating the pleasures of casual and/or anonymous sex, but they’re not alone in that appreciation,” she said. “When people make sweeping statements about what women do or don’t want sexually, I can’t help but think about all the women, both queer and straight, that just don’t fit those assumptions.” Regardless of the reasons for its existence, Grindr’s facilitation of casual sexual encounters certainly fits into Millennial-generation “hookup culture,” which has become a recent media buzzword after coverage in The New York Times. “Hookup culture,” which mystifies many adults but pervades high school, college, and recent postgraduate life, consists less of traditional dating and more of casual meet-ups and sexual encounters. It remains to be seen whether Blendr, which recently joined with a dating website called Badoo and acquired its millions of users, will attain popularity and visibility equal to that of Grindr. *Smith, Johnson, and X are all pseudonyms for individuals interviewed.
Living & Arts
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Oyster House a Pearl Oyster House 1516 Sansom St Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 567-7683 www.oysterhousephilly.com Rating: 4.5 / 5 Price: $$$ Good for Groups: Yes Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly: No Ambiance: Casual As we sit here, discussing what exactly we should tell you about the Oyster House, we slowly begin to realize the difficulties which occur to food critics. When you recall a great place like this ANGELA OH & one, you slowly GABRIELA start having cravings and when you CAMPOVERDE finally discover Busboys what you want to write about, you wish you could step back in time and relive that marvel of a meal. On a bustling Friday, we stepped foot into this Samson seafood restaurant and suddenly felt separated from the rest of Philadelphia. Couples were seated on bar stools, groups at long tables towards the back, and everyone regardless of where they fell into space was enjoying themselves. The lights were dim, and the waiters and busboys were pacing the floor in order to accommodate everyone they could. All around the walls were carefully decorated porcelain oyster plates that made you believe you were in a gallery that fed you. The tables were low and wooden, kept simple so that all your attention would focus on the food in front of you. This also made it simple to talk to everyone since we went with a large group of eight. The centerpiece is a large glass goblet cup with many oyster crackers. We were all confused as to whether or not they were meant to be eaten, but we did anyways. No surprise there. The staff was very amiable and explain every dish with patience. While the service was not optimal due to the large crowd brought in for Restaurant Week, the food was worth it. This would be an ideal spot for a date. It is casual, but trendy and impressive. The ambiance is also perfect for avoiding long, awkward pauses in conversation as you will have something to point at and comment on at anytime or crackers to bite on in case you need a moment. The restaurant week menu for the Oyster House was love at first sight, only partially because we were all seafood lov-
ers. As our eyes scanned the possibilities for each course, decisions were hard to make. I finally settled on the following: four oysters on a ½ shell, clam casino, lobster roll, and chocolate bread pudding. The four oysters definitely lived up to its expectations. And, judging by the title of the restaurant, our expectations were pretty sky high. With a dollop of cocktail sauce and a hint of horseradish, each slurp of the shell was a taste of the ocean. You could really feel the freshness of the oyster meat filling your mouth with each chew. Once you swallowed, you couldn’t wait for the next one. We all had to exercise immense self control as we wanted the four to last as long as possible. The next dish, clam casino, was a delightful surprise. It consisted of four small clams sprinkled with bits of crunchy bacon and flecks of red pepper presented on a bed of coarse rock salt. With my past experience with cooked clam, I had my reservations regarding how chewy the clams would be. Undercooked, clams have an undesirable, mushy texture; overcooked, you will be chewing for days. These clams were steamed to perfection. On top of that, the bacon and red pepper perfectly complimented the hint of saltiness hidden on each shell. My favorite, by far, had to be the lobster roll, which I considered to be the main course. If we were ever worried whether or not we could get full, this course made sure we would. This dish consisted of succulent pieces of lobster wedged between a soft, warm roll. Too often, lobster rolls lose their special lobster flavor when drowned in mayo. In this dish, however, each piece of lobster was only lightly tossed with it, allowing all components to complete each other. As an added bonus, a side of hot, crispy fries came with it as well. Finally, the bread pudding emerged as the perfect sweet ending. My only other past experience with this dessert stemmed from Sharples, so this was a real eye opener. Oyster House presented us with a chocolate bread pudding drizzled with a sweet ginger sauce. There were also small pieces of ginger mixed into the bread. Each bite was delectable. Even as our stomachs were on the verge of exploding, the moist sweetness compelled us to keep scooping it in. We continued to do so until every last piece disappeared from our bowl.
OUTSIDE the BUBBLE LOVE AT THE BARNES Barnes Museum February 14th at 6:30 p.m.
The Barnes Museum offers an intimate evening within its newly opened galleries. Guided tours will reveal the passion, intrigue, and love affaris behind some of the collection’s legendary paintings. The evening will be accompanied by live classical music in the galleries and a complementary glass of champagne. Tickets are $25 and advance reservation is required.
OSCAR-NOMINATED SHORT FILMS Bryn Mawr Film Institute Friday, Februrary 15 - February 19
Starting this Friday The Bryn Mawr Film institute will be screening both the six animated and six live action nominees for best short film in two hour and a half shows. A ten minute walk from the Bryn Mawr shuttle stop, The Film Institute offers a way to soak in a half-dozen different perspectives in a workaholic-friendly span of time.
TO FOOL THE EYE
Mandell Theater February 14th thru March 3rd This romantic office traces the story of Duchess Amanda as she attempts to cure her nephew from a broken heart after the love of his life passes away. To make it easier for him, members of Amanda’s estate recreate the day her nephew and his true love met, day after day. To Fool the Eye is a story of memory and loss with creative spin showing how grand illusions can be.
TITANIC: THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITON The Franklin Institute Until April 7
The always popular Franklin Institute has put a massive collection of artifacts from the Titanic on display right of the Ben Franklin parkway. Over 300 artifacts and extensive interior recreations intend to give visitors the best impression of life on the infamous cruiseship. Dishes served at the Oyster House were worthy of Instagram posts
GABRIELA CAMPOVERDE /THE PHOENIX
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Living & Arts
Quaker Matchbox Kids Share Family Tales
Maria Elena Covarrubias ’15, Paul Green ’16 and Kiera James ’15 all grew up with Quaker Matchbox parents.
By ALLI SHULTES Living & Arts Editor Perhaps one of the more frightening aspects of the infamous Swat marriage is its potential to move off-campus. A rumored one in six graduates wind up tying the knot with other alumni from the college. While students invariably nurture their own opinions as to the wisdom of uniting two Swatties in holy matrimony, the subject of Quaker Matchbox Kids seems to be a special source of fascination. What happens to the children of a Swarthmore couple? Some of them, inevitably, return to Swarthmore. Paul Green Dad: William Green ’83, chemistry major, professor of engineering at MIT Mom: Amanda Cheetham ’85, biology major, Massachusetts Department of Education The Story: William and Amanda’s first impressions of one another occurred without the tint of campus swoggles. They attended the same Pennsylvanian high school; however, with his short stature (at 5’4”, a “pipsqueak,” according to Paul) and insatiable intellect (he graduated two years early), William escaped Amanda’s notice – that is, until she arrived at Swarthmore during his junior year. “My family joked he was keeping tabs on her until she graduated,” Paul said. When Amanda arrived on campus in the fall of 1981, a note on the whiteboard outside her door — signed by William — welcomed her to the college. They soon started dating, and were married after William finished graduate school.
The Upbringing: Attending Swarthmore has given Paul the language and experience needed to better understand family dynamics. With an assortment of aunts and uncles who also graduated from Swarthmore, he now classifies his mom’s side of the family as “the ML side” and his dad’s as “the Danawell/Mertz side.” Swat Stories: After Paul received his acceptance letter, his uncle — also a Swat alum — insisted on treating him to dinner and sharing advice from his own years at the college. While Paul remembers his pointers as being fairly typical — get enough sleep, exercise and eat well — an anecdote on an unfortunate housing assignment carried the potential to instill concern over first-year dorms. While attending the College, Paul’s uncle inhabited one of the basement rooms in ML. Deemed uninhabitable now, the room then played host to a tenacious mold culture — some of which ended up growing on his roommate’s cheek as he slept. Revolted, the two roommates loaded their furniture into a car and drove it to Parrish Circle, depositing it in the Dean of Housing’s office. “They told her, ‘until you find us a new room, we’re living here,’” Paul recounted with a smile. “And she said okay.” Parental Places: While Paul’s parents seemed to keep relatively quiet about their time at the college, mentions of walking through the rose garden together repeatedly cropped up. According to Paul, it’s the one place on campus that leaves him feeling vicariously nostalgic. Love Life: Paul sometimes feels that his parents’ early relationship is used as a lens to interpret his own love life.
Illustration by CASEY SCHREINER
SADIE RITTMAN/ THE PHOENIX
“It’s scary as hell. You notice that when you meet someone freshman year and you’re with them, there’s kind of like a family expectation that, oh, this might be the person you might get married to,” Paul said. “It’s a little intimidating.” Kiera James Dad: Frank James ’92, psychology major, stock market entrepreneur Mom: Lena Mansoria ’92, English literature major, lawyer The Story: A testament to the eternally bemoaned small size of campus, Frank and Lena met through a CD exchange between two shared friends. When a neighbor on her hall left to return the product in question, Lena tagged along, only to be introduced to Frank. They began dating shortly after, and married after they graduated. The Upbringing: There was never any doubt in Kiera’s mind that her socially awkward parents stood separate from her friends.’ Aside from her mother’s choice in bedtime stories (according to Kiera, Shakespeare became a staple by the age of six), an emphasis on education distinguished the James family from others she knew. Lena and Frank decided to homeschool Kiera and her sister after being disappointed in the public education available in their hometown. When Kiera began studying Latin and Greek in sixth grade, Lena decorated the kitchen with roots and verbs, and surprised her daughter at breakfast with grammar quizzes. For her 11th birthday, her sister requested a dictionary. Swat Swag: Child-sized Swat sweatshirts featuring Parrish Hall offered Kiera a window into her father’s college experience from an early age. Frank, who lived in a front-facing room in Parrish located somewhere near Kiera’s armpit, often used the location of his old abode as a tickling point on his daughter. Love Life: “My mom sometimes jokes that she has to meet every single guy I’ve met at Swarthmore, because you never know,” Kiera laughed. Growing up, Kiera admits that he perception of the Quaker Matchbox may have been skewed. Her parents stay in touch with three other couples who attended Swarthmore. In addition to her nuclear family, her grandparents are a Quaker matchbox couple; assorted aunts, uncles and cousins also attended the college. Some succeeded in finding love; others did not. Being at the school has led to the realization that while the Quaker Matchbox works for some, it’s not as prevalent a phenomenon as Kiera may have initially believed. “I’m not sure it really happens here any more than anywhere else,” she shared. Maria Elena Covarrubias Dad: Diego Covarrubias ‘91, math major, neuroradiologist Mom: Jennifer Rawcliffe ’89, Spanish major, Spanish teacher
Three Strikes, Not Out (The Meeting): Marriage might redeem Jennifer and Diego from the transgressions made in their initial courtship. Jennifer, the RA on Diego’s hall, previously dated his roommate — a triple whammy in terms of dating no-nos. First Date: After attending a movie, Diego employed Jennifer in a sleeping bag search to furnish a bedroom he planned to use during the coming summer months. “My mom thinks it’s hilarious, that on their first date she helped him find a sleeping bag,” Maria Elena said. The Upbringing: “One of the major lessons I remember [from growing up] is always approach people in their own language,” Maria Elena shared. “[I think it] applies to more than words, vocabulary, or spoken language. [It’s more about] meeting people where they come from.” Although Maria Elena expressed uncertainty as to whether this feature stemmed from the Quaker Matchbox itself or Diego’s international status (he came to Swarthmore from Chile), the lesson percolated in the family’s many trips abroad. Maria Elena recalled a particular trip to Italy during which, realizing they were being treated like “dumb tourists,” the family began conversing in Spanish to defer the negative attention. “My parents are the type to start talking to a waiter at a Mexican restaurant in Spanish,” Maria Elena said. “There’s always certain amount of biculturalism.” The Choice: Swarthmore was not Maria Elena’s first choice — or first school. A transfer student from Oberlin, Maria Elena originally shied away from looking at Swarthmore out of a commitment to pursuing a career in professional music. After a change in heart, Swarthmore once more became an option; now, the inclusive social environment and stereotypical Swattie conversations make Maria Elena feel at home on campus. “Being a transfer student, kids will say, ‘oh, Screw ... wait, you don’t know what that is,’” Maria Elena said with a smile. “And I’ll be like, ‘yes I do!’ because I’ve been hearing about it my whole life.” Although Diego and Lena did not overtly push a Swarthmore education at home, Maria Elena feels that the values shared by the couple may have played a role in the draw of the college. “Something drew me here — at least nominally, Swarthmore has a heavy regard for dialogue, respecting others, thinking about other people,” Maria Elena reasoned. “Does [my attraction to] that come from being raised by two Swatties? Probably.” Love Life: Maria Elena attributes Quaker Matchbox anxiety not to the school itself, but to the fact that Lena and Diego met during their undergraduate years. “It’s more just knowing that my parents met in college and feeling pressure, that that could be happening now,” Maria Elena said. “It affects my expectations of where I should be.”
Living & Arts
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
The Quaker Matchbox DATING FEATURE
Helping Students Find Love, One Date at a Time
By SERA JEONG Living & Arts Writer
generally nice. Swarthmore, on both sides of the sexes, has a solid pool of people for relationships.
in art and had quite a lot to talk about. Oak: The food was good. We talked about things like traveling.
and had been in the world was interesting. Her gender sexuality studies major stood out.
This feature explores the experiences of participants who are paired up on dates based on responses to poll questions. Participants of all kinds are set up on dates whether romantic or platonic, albeit anonymously. For the inaugural article, two participants were party to a dinner and coffee in Media last Saturday night.
Swarthmore’s Pool Acacia: Although there are great guys here, I think all of them are already taken or not straight. Oak: Compared to other schools, the girls are below average but there’s still a pretty good amount of people who are attractive and not dumb.
Pre-Date Why the Quaker Matchbox? Acacia: I have very few dating experiences and a lot of them have been bad, so it couldn’t really get worse. I’m mostly excited to get out of the bubble on a weekend and feel like a real, normal person. Oak: I’ll be graduating pretty soon but I want to constantly meet people. It’s a positive thing for me to do.
Expectations Acacia: I’ve been on a date that was hijacked by a third wheeler so as long as it’s one-on-one... Oak: I’m a man of low expectations. The only thing I’m trying to get out of this is a good time.
Coffeeshop Continuation Acacia: He suggested we go get a cup of coffee. We walked to a bank in a coffee shop but there was a person playing live music in front of a bunch of ATMs so we decided to pass on that. We went to a place down the street that had live music. Oak: We went to a cafe, Seven Stones, and she had coffee and I had something uncaffeinated. We kept talking — mostly her asking questions, mostly me answering.
Consensus Acacia: I had a lot of fun and there was lots of laughing. If we had crossed paths, I definitely would have gone on a date with him. But I don’t know if it would have happened because I had to Cygnet him to see who he was before going on the date. Even if people think there is no one on campus, there are still people that, for whatever reason, you’ve never seen or run into. Oak: Despite the fact I barely know her, it didn’t feel awkward at all. Meeting her in a new environment was definitely a positive thing.
Swarthmore’s Dating Scene Acacia: There are a lot of undefined relationships and people don’t go for actual dates. In my recent history, I’ve been in undefined relationships and I think I’m done with them, basically. More definition is a good thing. Oak: I’ve never had the experience of a “campus couple” but it’s the perfect environment for dating. People are smart and
The Date First Impressions Acacia: He seemed like a nice guy. I really liked his style. Oak: She was very tall. She sounded like she had a very international background but didn’t have an accent. That was surprising. The Dinner Acacia: In Media we got dinner at Desert Rose and talked about different things. We have similar tastes in music and interests
Post Date And then.... Acacia: Before catching the train we sprinted to Wawa and we almost missed the train. He wanted to get cigarettes. It was kind of fun. I was in heels. I don’t mind walking quickly. He walked me back to my dorm. Oak: We got back with the 9PM train. Impressions Acacia: He gave me a hug when we first met which was a good way to start off. I forgot to tip at the coffee shop and he got it. That was really nice. Oak: I said to her that I’m a man from many places. But she’s the one from a lot more places than I am. Where she grew up
Post-Date Prognosis of Swat Romances: Acacia: If people were more confident and up for having fun or predetermined notion of what they want, they could be dating. Oak: A lot of people talk shit about Swarthmore and the food. Taking someone off campus would be a good idea. I’m not talking for myself, but I think there is a possibility for a real relationship to spur out of this thing. To nominate somebody or sign up, please visit The Phoenix’s Facebook page or contact sjeong1.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Living & Arts
Eclectic Femininity SWAT STYLE Ciara Williams 2016 From: Chester, Pa. Current Residence: Willets Hall
By COURTNEY DICKENS Living & Arts Writer Hendrix and Lipstick: Rocking an Eclectic, Feminine Style Donning a curly mane of brown and blonde highlights, and black boots, Ciara effortlessly adds a feminine flair to her rockstar style, evidenced by gauged ears with yellow earrings, a black septum piercing and a buttondown denim shirt. T4o some, Ciara explains, her style is abrasive. There is a “stigma around my septum piercing” and even her naturally curly hair. In her workplace, for example, “a co-worker pointed to a picture of a woman clad in sexy lingerie and asked if I liked it and would wear it” simply because of her nose ring. Her hair is also stigmatized. Referring to the curls as “the wild look,” her piano instructor frequently commented and expreseed a desire to “touch it,” causing Ciara to drop the lessons. The exoticness of her hair made it fair game for weird looks or uncondoned touches, all forms of unwanted attention. Nevertheless, Ciara embraces the negative branding of both her nose ring and her hair. “I’m not wearing my hair like this to make a statement ... I’m just being me.” Ciara describes “being herself ” as being “eclectic.” Her style, then, reflects her personality and musical taste ranging from a love of “60s psychedelic” to “classical music” to “jazz fusion.” Inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s “band jackets and his hair” with Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant’s “tight flamboyant pants and really flashy belts,” she has formed her eclectic fashion sense. Ciara chuckled and explained that she envied how they managed to look “carefree but like super well put-together” no matter what. Much like Hendrix or Plant, Ciara doesn’t “really think much about what I wear, I just throw random stuff on and it happens to match ... Lucky me, I guess.” Growing up with brothers, when she was younger Ciara had “like nothing but pants — denim — and random t-shirts my grandmom would get me when she would travel.” Since then, her style has expanded, now consisting of more “skirts and dresses.” Her dabbling in the terrain of skirts and dresses has not devalued her eclectic sensibilities; all of her “girlier” items are edgy, fun and flashy, often paired with a “band jacket”. “I’m girly in the sense that I love lipstick and I wear lipstick everyday and I have no shame in wearing bright red lipstick,” Ciara said. Preferring bright reds, she will also use pastels, corals, berries and nudes, as long as it’s not really shiny.” Lipstick, for Ciara, gives her outfits just the right pop of color and a delicate feminine flair. Almost as important as the color of her lips are the rings she wears on both hands, which not only reveal her fashion sensibilities but also her family history. On her right hand she has one ring given to her by her grandmother. Another, a gold multi-spiraled ring with a purple stone, she bought from a woman selling jewelry in Sharples. On her left hand, she dons a large, square ring, reminiscent of the “frame of a painting” that she was given by her mother. Her trademark ring, however, is the tattooed ring on her index finger, which is influenced by the DC Comic series, “The Wonder Twins,” a pair of fraternal male and female
superhero twins whose superpowers can only be activated by touching their rings together and yelling “Wonder Twin Powers activate”. Her ring tattoo is not perverse or weird as one would assume at first glance, but rather pays homage to the intimate and loving relationship she has with her brother. “I got it the day before I moved into Swarthmore,” she admited. Thrifting and Time-Traveling: Finding the Eclectic in Buffalo Exchange and her Attic Though she lives in Chester, Ciara would not deem her fashion a reflection of the trends of her community. “Labels are huge in Chester,” where residents will spend a lot of money to don “Jordans and those shirts from... Hollister and Abercrombie. They pay so much for an emblem.” Ciara’s sole criterion for shopping is avoiding the “expensive stuff,” preferring instead to buy clothes “in large quantities.” To cut corners and still remain true to her style, Ciara almost exclusively shops in flea markets and thrift shops. Citing Buffalo Exchange and Goodwill as her primary thrift stores, Ciara finds her most creative and vintage pieces from the Punk Rock Flea Market, held twice a year in Philadelphia. This market is ideal in that, as Lucy Briggs, a blogger for Philly.com describes, “with over three hundred tables of clothes, jewelry, skateboards, art, prints, instruments, and more, there were heaps of treasures for everyone.” To maximize the stylishness of her wardrobe at a fraction of the price, Ciara conveniently works at Hot Topic. “I work there so I get employee discounts. This is where I get all of my cute but cheap jeans.” Even if you love her wardrobe, there are items in it you just wouldn’t be able to get your hands on. This is because one of Ciara’s favorite shopping venues is her attic at home. Her mom stores her clothes from “back in the day” and happens to be just about Ciara’s size. “This allows me to get the basics- good solid colored pullover sweaters ... that you don’t really want to buy and spend money on.” Ciara just helps herself to the vintage array of clothes her mom’s attic affords her. Ciara’s Current Outfit Ciara’s current outfit reflects her punk style. Her denim shirt bought at Rave Girl, long-sleeved with a relaxed fit, is paired with a bright burgundy pair of pants from H&M. The shirt is laid-back enough for Ciara to feel comfortable while her psychedelic pants satiates her desire for a classic rock flair. To give it a feminine boost, Ciara dons a pair of black boots purchased at Hot Topic. These black boots are spiked and heeled. Most importantly for her, they are versatile; black as a neutral color can be used to jazz up any outfit. To top off the outfit, Ciara uses a berry lipstick. This lipstick provides a slightly different shade of berry to her outfit, adding a pop of color to offset the black of her boots. Important to Ciara is the “inclusivity” of her eclectic style, one that allows her to work outside of the boundaries of feminine or masculine, categories she deems “too rigid.” Her style, a unique fusion of classic rock and girly accents, forces all Swatties to rethink the boundaries of Swat Style.
KATY MONTOYA/ THE PHOENIX
Living & Arts
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Hot Diggity Dog: Diane Watson and Dobby Meet Diane Watson, administrative assistant, and her tenyear-old Shih Tzu, Dobby. A NEW BEGINNING: While many dogs experience a lot of love and affection during the first couple years in their lives, Dobby had a rough start. Diane’s nephew was in college and letting someone live with him in his apartment. The man had a small puppy and often ignored and abused him. Her nephew knew the puppy was not Hot Diggity Dog in safe hands and took the puppy away. Diane was given Dobby, who had already been named, because her nephew was not able to care for him while still in school. Dobby found a safe and loving home with Diane and her husband.
SHAKING IT LIKE MJ: Many dogs have talents that range from catching frisbees in the air to having a small trick routine. For Dobby, talent comes in the form of a moonwalk. Whenever this shih tzu learns that he is going out for a walk, he starts to kick his legs back, almost resembling the move Michael Jackson made famous. It is quite a sight!
A WEST COAST ATTITUDE: One thing people immediately notice about Dobby is how calm he is. He only barks if a doorbell rings. Diane notes that a close to perfect description for Dobby is a stuffed toy. IN LOVE WITH SWAT: Dobby is a huge fan of the college’s campus. Since he was a year and a half, he was walked daily around campus, most frequently near Kohlberg. If you mention “college” around him, he will immediately start dancing and think he is going to be taken on a walk. STUDENTS ALSO LOVE HIM: While many pets on campus receive tons of attention from students, Dobby seems to get just a tad more than usual. A few years back, Dobby was the runner-up for President for the Student Council elections as a write-in. Last year, the senior class noted that although they knew Phineas the Phoenix was the College’s official mascot, Dobby would always be their mascot. The Kohlberg Coffee Bar employees often give Dobby treats as well. One time, Dobby actually stood in line in between students to wait for his treat! Well, who wouldn’t adore this calm, affectionate Shih Tzu?
GABRIELA CAMPOVERDE/ THE PHOENIX
Diane Watson and Dobby cuddle on the steps in front of Parrish.
Comic by RENU NADKARNI
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Living & Arts The Phoenix
PAFA’s “The Female Gaze”: Bad Title, Fantastic Exhibit Step into any art museum in the world and you’ll see that male artists have painted just about everything. Certain subject matter appear more frequently than others, such as Christian imagery or female nudes, but nevertheless it is clear that male artists aren’t fixated on any particular theme. By and large the same cannot be said for female artists, especially contemporary ones. If you completed the same art museums and instead looked only at the work of contemporary female artists, nine times out of ten their work has the feminist political intention behind it. Feminist female artists are by far the most well known outside the art world, and their omnipresence leads to the misconception that contemporary female artists are one-dimensional in their causes and philosophies for their art. As a female art lover who does not wholeheartedly endorse all aspects of feminism, it often becomes disheartening, even irritating to only see women artists who paint nothing but vaginas and categorically castigate all men for their gross sexism. Visiting the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA)’s exhibition titled “The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World,” on view in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton building until April 7th, the title led me to believe I was in for an afAesthetic ternoon of female Apperceptions genitalia and a lambasting of all things masculine. “The Female Gaze” is a term derived from “the male gaze,” a theme that the feminist artist Barbara Kruger dealt with in her combinations of black-and-white photography with red three-color printing typical of low-cost advertisements. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find not only that there were dozens of contemporary women artists that didn’t solely produce feminist art, but that they also produced really fantastic art. While there were some artworks that were so bad it seemed ridiculous to see them hanging in a museum (Candy Depew’s “Sparkle Bit,” a silkscreen and glitter sticker on paper work, for example, looks like the pattern you would see on a pillow at Limited Too), many were visually rich in substance, both in form and meaning. And this meaning extended far beyond any feminist talking points, of which there were very few on display. For this reason, the title of the exhibit does not do justice to its art, because it sets up the expectation that it will feature a much narrower breadth of art than it actually does. The key to missing the worst parts of
the exhibition is to avoid the gallery that it occupies on the second floor entirely and stick to the first floor, which contains the vast majority of the artworks anyway. I had visited the second floor gallery first because the museum staff told me that there would be an event taking place in the gallery in fifty minutes, but now I know that it really was a waste of time. The second floor gallery merely contains four walls of prints mostly by June Wayne, whose work looks like nothing more than scrapbook cutouts and arguably reinforces the female stereotype of women wasting time on frivolous endeavors such as scrapbooking. The pieces on view here that were not by June Wayne were so unrelated to her work that it made the gallery as a whole disjointed. It gave the impression that the curators had to forfeit continuity and logic in order to pull together an exhibition with only female artists. Overall, it gave me a quite discouraging introduction to “The Female Gaze,” and as I left the gallery I was already thinking about how to go about eloquently excoriating the PAFA for their ill-conceived exhibition. But all these first impressions immediately left me once I arrived at the first floor galleries. These contrast in every single way with the second floor gallery, the only exception of course being that they only featured female artists’ works. The first floor galleries contain a teeming diversity of artworks in all sorts of mediums with original themes that I’ve never come across before in art museums. Before viewers enter into the galleries with themes, however, in the large foyer outside the galleries are works on view by several of the artists who have more work on view in the galleries. They serve as a kind of tantalizing introduction to what viewers can expect to see inside. Several pieces in this foyer made me realize that my first impressions of the “The Female Gaze” were mistaken. One such piece was Judith Schaechter’s 1992 small stained glass window titled “A Breeze Blows Leaves In.” The accompanying caption includes a quote from Schaechter that she tries “to make works that mean different things to different people so I edit them for neutrality. I am trying to go for something many people can relate to,” a very interesting goal since it flies in the fact of what we learn in art history class, which is not to project your own feelings onto an artwork and therefore mistakenly assign meaning to it that the artist may not have intended. Once I entered into the main galleries of the exhibition, I encountered the first theme, which was the self-portrait and the myriad, sometimes unconventional, ways that women artists have depicted themselves. One particularly
unusual yet beautiful self-portrait was the tiny 8 x 10” oil on masonite 1945 work “Girl Searching” by Gertrude Abercrombie. With refined brushwork in a style reminiscent of Henri Rousseau set in an ominously barren, dark landscape similar to Salvador Dali’s deserts, it seems like an odd way to depict yourself—especially since the face of the girl figure in the painting consists of just two black dots for eyes and a dash of black for a mouth. Yet with this abandonment of the traditional way of composing a selfportrait, which assumes that the face is what a self-portrait should be about, we as viewers feel that the arrangement and relationship of the objects in the small painting actually provide a window into the soul of the artist. It feels as if we know her better with this sort of self-portrait than we would if she had only painted a realistic rendering of her face. The next gallery tackled the idea of selfhood in the context of community, examining the ways in which artists define their sense of self in the different communities they take part in throughout their lives. Several stunning works appeared in this gallery, including Hung Liu’s 2004 oil on canvas “Visage II.” The image has an antique flair to it due to the dripping paint that runs from the top of the canvas, as if time has warped its surface. The large, visible brushstrokes that the artist used to compose the face of a lovely young Chinese girl give the sense that she is piecing together her memories of China like a puzzle one stroke at a time. A particularly enigmatic work on view in this gallery is Lien Truong’s 2005 oil on wood panel “Family Sitting #2.” It’s really a quite conventional family portrait showing two parents and a child sitting on a couch in their living room— that is, except for the fact that the bodies have been completely removed from the clothes. It’s as if the family used the invisibility spray that Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star bought from a magic shop in one particular episode and then put their clothes back on to pose for a family portrait. This mix of the utterly conventional with the uniquely absurd transforms it into a delight for the eyes tinged with an almost humorous tone. Despite its bad beginning, this exhibition pleasantly surprised me as it turned into the kind of show where I have to stop myself from shouting “WOW” at every single work. Given that it was presented in an arts academy that doesn’t have a budget as large as a major art museum like the PMA or the MoMA, I had low expectations. But I definitely underestimated the PAFA, and I am so glad the exhibit is open until April, for I plan to go back several times to celebrate the female gaze.
“Sioux Falls” by Sarah McEaney, 1993. Egg tempera on wood. Part of the Art by Women Collection at the PAFA.
Photo courtesy of www.locksgallery.com
Valentines Recently I’ve been gently probing my friends (who might soon be doing some gentle probing of their own) about their Valentine’s Day plans. Many of them, who are steadily involved with somebody but hesitant to “put a label on it,” expressed the same sentiment: “I don’t want it to seem like I care too much.” By saying this, one means that he doesn’t want the person he’s involved with to feel overly pressured, constricted, or emotionally invested. Every time I hear this, I sadly shake my head at them: since when is it a bad thing to demonstrate to somebody that you genuinely appreciate a number of their qualities, and you value the time you spend with them? Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a gaudy, extravagant display intended to prove earth-shattering affection. A romantic gesture does not have to be an extravagant one In a collection of his short stories, “Welcome to the Monkey House,” Kurt Vonnegut said, “There are too many of us and we are all too far apart.” To anyone who has been in Sharples at 12:30 on a Monday, the claim about distance between us might seem highly inapplicable. But use what art critics call “real seeing” when you read the quote — think PAIGE about it abstractly. The WILLEY reason I bring up Kurt Swobservations Vonnegut is not only because he is unfailingly insightful and witty, and not only did his first wife attend Swarthmore, and his son as well, but because of his humanism. Despite his cynicism toward and skepticism of politicians, government, and human nature, his strongest messages begged us to care. Care about as many people as you can, as much as you can, and show them — because the value of apathy is greatly overestimated. To my friends who have a somewhat significant other, and are dreading the expression of feelings associated with the 14th, don’t become disheartened! It’s just another opportunity nudging you to show someone that you care about them. It’s not about proving that you care; “meaningful” and “elaborate” should not be equated. You don’t have to rent out a movie theatre so you and your amour can watch the Titanic together and weep all night long (à la Justin Bieber, who actually did this for then-girlfriend Selena Gomez). You don’t have to say “I love you” for the first time, save that for later. A genuine and thoughtful note is enough. A thoughtful mixtape is enough – all people like to be told, “This song reminded me of you” (but take care to avoid the generic and overplayed). Caring about somebody is nothing to be ashamed of, and it shouldn’t be treated as such. Don’t let yourself or others convince you that it is. In “Slaughterhouse-Five,” one of Vonnegut’s characters says, “Why you? Why us for that matter? Why anything? Because this moment simply is.” So, to my friends (and others) who worry over what to do on Valentine’s Day, my message is simple: show whomever you have that you value them for who they are and what they bring to your life. Stop fretting. Do something simple and thoughtful and let the moment simply be. In his 1961 novel “Mother Night,” Vonnegut wrote, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” If you are involved with someone you care about, the worst thing to pretend to be is apathetic: interactions that feel meaningless because neither party wants to demonstrate emotion is at great risk of becoming just that.
Living & Arts
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Patti Smith Performs ... Just Not Songs Bryn Mawr Concert Prioritizes Personality Over Vocals
By TAYLOR HODGES Assistant Living & Arts Editor
Patti Smith has had an amorphous career. Even before she published her National Book Award-winning memoir, Just Kids, in 2010, it always seemed salient to ask whether the artist was more of a musician or a poet. Now after her book’s publication we’ve had to ask whether the 66 year old has been a writer this whole time. Nowadays, Smith claims writing is her favorite medium, which fits well into her rock legacy. Smith, like “The Velvet Underground” and “Plastic Ono Band,” made her mark by smelting traditional western methods of interpretive lyrical meaning to the plebeian noise of rock music. With such literary aspirations, it’s easy to believe Smith may have been a writer amid other parts of her persona. However, it became unclear which part of her persona Smith was trying to showcase during a performance at Bryn Mawr this past Thursday. Smith had been invited to Bryn Mawr College to accept the Katherine Hepburn Medal, an award “given to women whose lives, work and contributions embody the intelligence, drive and independence of the four-time-Oscar-winning actress” and Bryn Mawr alum. But before the evening award ceremony at the campus’s Goodheart Hall, Smith gave an afternoon “performance” in the same cathedral-like venue. Yet performance would not be the most accurate word. Though billed to perform a concert, Smith’s hour of stage time only saw her perform three songs throughout the hour, which more closely resembled ‘an afternoon with Patti Smith.’ Smith began her onstage time by asking for audience questions, promptings which allowed her to derail into anecdotes about meeting Kevin Shields in Korea and receiving the first CD copy of the new “My Bloody Valentine” album or her daughter’s eating of all the ceremonial cookies at Allen Ginsberg’s Buddhist
funeral ceremony. Later she played two songs on her guitar, read two short passages from “Just Kids,” and closed her hour with an a cappella sing-along of “Because the Night.” This was far from a concert. Though, to be fair, the audience seemed content that Patti Smith was onstage in front of them and acting like Patti Smith. Yet this was not the rocker who screeched, “I don’t need their fucking shit,” while covering “My Generation” on her seminal album “Horses.” Sure, Smith had no problem throwing off pretensions by throwing in some swears over the course of an hour — “Don’t worry about being embarrassed,” she told the crowd, “now and then everyone looks like an asshole.” — but she didn’t intend to fill Goodheart Hall with the radical punk spirit with which she’s oft associated. Instead, the Patti Smith who stood on stage in front of hundreds of Tri-Co students was there to accept a lifetime achievement award from a top liberal arts college, and she acted like it. Smith spent lots of time offering the audience platitudes and wisdom as if giving a commencement speech. “I wish I’d listened more to my mom,” she said at one point. “Your parents will just drive you crazy, but they know stuff. They’ve already been there.” Smith understood that the crowd had gathered not to see Patti Smith the poet, Patti Smith the musician, or Patti Smith the writer. They’d gathered to see Patti Smith the celebrity, and so she opened herself up and gave them as much of her persona as she could fit into one hour. She talked about growing up outside Camden, New Jersey, about her hungry days at the Chelsea Hotel, about the simple pleasures of hearing your favorite album after a couple of drinks; and she did so in her own Patti Smith way: disarmingly charming, bull-whip smart phrases delivered in the syntax of the street. The audience loved her without her doing much, except — of course — being herself, which is what she’d been invited to Bryn Mawr to celebrate.
TAYLOR HODGES/ THE PHOENIX
“American Idiot” at Merriam Theater: BAM By JEANNETTE LEOPOLD Living & Arts Writer
BAM. That’s the feeling I got after watching the opening number of Broadway’s smash-hit musical “American Idiot,” performed this week (through Sunday February 17th) at the Merriam Theater. BAM. Like, what just happened. Like, that was awesome. If there ever was a sensationalist musical, this is it. I don’t mean sensational as in it was the best thing I’ve ever seen, but as in it played on my senses. The curtain rises to reveal a very busy set. There are about forty flat-screen televisions covering the huge back wall, and 10 people clinging to various bits of furniture, some of which is attached to the wall, so that they are at varying heights. The first number is Green Day’s “American Idiot.” Various cast members leapt off of the wall to join into the song once it had begun. Someone attached to a harness dropped down from the ceil-
ing to join in. A group of girls dashed ten by Billy Joe Armstrong and Michael onstage in punk-rock clothing. The tele- Mayer, and all of the music is Green visions flashed images of consumerism Day’s. The story follows a year in the lives of three close friends, Johnny, and upside-down American flags. Will, and Tunny. The rest of the around songs in the muVisual—check. Sensual— They’re 20, and want sical were equally to make someintense, electricheck. Audio—double thing of their fying, and sencheck. This musical is lives. Johnny and sational—which both fed the ex- loud. Don’t take your kids. Tunny go to New York City to purcitement of the sue their dreams show and worked and make someagainst its effect. The lead actor (Northwestern senior thing of themselves. Will stays behind Alex Nee playing Johnny) had an as- with his pregnant girlfriend. Tunny soon joins the armed forces. tonishing amount of energy and was a thrill to watch from beginning to end. Johnny soon becomes a drug addict. However, although I loved the color of Will is a terrible boyfriend, and is unable the first piece, the rest of the show was to leave his couch, where he drinks and that same color, and by the middle of the smokes pot while his girlfriend takes show I wanted something different. Not care of their kid. The story truly follows more—I don’t know if that’s possible. Johnny, though, as he finds a woman he loves, but loses her because drugs have But different. Still, this show is a must-see for any messed up his mind. Wrapped up in this Green Day fan. The musical was writ- picture is Johnny’s personified nefarious
alter ego, who gives him drugs and tries to prevent him from falling in love. There is little dialogue in the musical; the story is told entirely through movement, lighting, and song. The result is a whole lot of energy, but not enough story. I would have liked to have seen more details of the characters’ lives—they largely express only emotion and frustration in their songs. They do manage to show plenty of sex and drugs; Johnny and his girlfriend have a dance with a tourniquet, and there is a great deal of simulated sex, though no nudity. This play is worth seeing. The songs were a throwback to the past, the set was unbelievable, and the music and flashing lights were bigger than any I’ve seen onstage. What’s more, the friendship of Johnny, Tunny and Will is something to root for. Ticket prices start as low as $15. The show runs through this coming Sunday, February 17th. Performances are tonight at 7:30, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 2 and 8 pm, Sunday at 1 and 6:30 pm.
Living & Arts
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
What’s In a Word: “Spiritual” Or “Religous”? As an English literature major, it may be expected of me to promote the seriousness of good wording — choosing your words carefully and choosing them well, especially as deliberate word choice is clearly valued by a student body whose favorite catch phrase is “that is so not P.C.” However, it wasn’t until hearing a few comments by one of my religion professors that I began to notice the linguistic distinction à la mode: religious versus spiritual. Following a brief musing on the use of one term over the other and the consequences of usage, in honor of today’s spirits, I will pay respects to religion’s way with words when it comes to love (and not just the PG-rated brand). Spiritual, not religious Although the assertion, “Oh, I’m not religious, just spiritual,” may be used simply to indicate a rejection of traditionally organized religions, it is worth taking some time to consider how, why and by whom the phrase is being used. This word choice’s implied rejection of traditional bodies of religious authority seems far from unwarranted or surprising in light of unsavory literalists and DINA fundamentalists on ZINGARO the political and soBeyond Belief cial stage. (Consider the controversy surrounding a recent announcement by the religiously-affiliated Boy Scouts of America on the reconsideration of their policy barring openly gay people from participation). Plus, it would be a mistake to excuse this “spiritual-not-religious” crowd as mere skeptics of mainstream faith who will fade from the foreground. Without making a habit of integrating Obama’s presidency in each of my installments, it seems important to note that the population of the ‘nones’ proved quite the politically consequential group in the 2012 presidential election. Created by the
Pew’s Forum for Religious and Public self religious, spiritual or neither, you Life, ‘nones’ is a nickname for the grow- should take a moment to consider what ing number of American voters who do is at stake in this wording. Is this posnot choose a specific religious affiliation. sible framing of religion merited? If so, Their overwhelming support of Obama whose problem is it to fix — to reclaim was crucial in swing states where the “religion” and reinstill it with the sense president lost both the Catholic and of dynamism and passionate, unstifled Protestant vote by single and low-double experience of divine power? digits, but won the 70+ percent of the Romantic rhetoric of religion As we’ve seen, it seems safe to say that ‘nones.’ Some are agnostic or atheist, but more than half define themselves as ei- rhetoric in religion is far from trivial ther “religious” or “spiritual but not re- since the mere term “religion” requires ligious.” However, as one of the Forum’s a navigation of complicated denotations senior researchers Gregory Smith cau- and connotations. So, in honor of today, tions: “The absence of a connection to an St. Valentine’s Day, which in fact has an organized religion [the ‘nones’] is not the origin story with its rumored share of same as the absence of a religious belief dark origins (check out NPR’s 2011 article, “The Dark or practice.” Origins of ValSo, who entine’s Day”), really cares For me, this embrace of it seems apwhether peo“spiritual” over “religous” propriate to ple insist on identifying as carries the potential to reduce dedicate a paragraph spiritual raththe complexities of the term or two to the er than religious? For me, “religon” and all it represents. festivities. So, let’s talk about this embrace L-O-V-E, but of “spiritual” more specifiover “religious” carries the potential to reduce the cally the intersection of love and religion. Often many, especially those who complexities of the term “religion” and all it represents. The distinction seems some may label as the “religious,” believe to assume that while the spiritual per- in purifying religion from expressions of son refuses to subscribe to beliefs merely love that too closely flirt with passion or handed to her and thus, possesses a faith sexual desire. Yet, if we take a closer look, of heartfelt emotion, the religious be- religion is actually pretty sexy and yes, it’s comes a passive adherent to inert and all in the wording. Addressing a Swarthmore audience dead scripture, and thus, totes insincere convictions. In this vein, “religion” does last week, the Christian radical Shane not add up to much more than mere Claiborne spoke of his new monastic doctrine and dogma. As a Harvard Di- movement called “The Simple Way,” vinity School professor Amy Hollywood which focuses on performing “little acts notes in her article “Spiritual but Not of love” (don’t let the “little” fool you) in Religious,” this proclivity for “spiritual” order to fulfill one’s responsibility to othquickly spirals into suggestions of the er human beings (check out the website: Claireligious’ submission and spiritual’s free- http://www.thesimpleway.org/). borne shared a charming anecdote about dom. Thus, whether you consider your- his return to high school after becoming
Illustration by YENNY CHEUNG
a religious radical and, when unsure of what to write as his career, chose to write “lover” in the reunion handbook. For this contemporary lover of Jesus (also happily married to his wife), it is the song of God “[he] long[s] to fall asleep cuddling with, run off into the woods with, live and die with — [his] lover.” Thus, for Claiborne, to be a believer is to be a lover. If we turn back the clock to examine older texts, this brand of acute infatuation with a divine figure is certainly not unfamiliar to religious expression. For those of us who read “The Song of Songs” in Hebrew class or Sunday school, it seems doubtful that the lesson showcased the highly erotic and charged love of the central couple — I know mine didn’t. Often lauded by Judaism as the core of the tradition, the text is often considered to serve as nothing more than a religiously-motivated allegory for the loving relationship of God to Israel, in which God was the lover and the people of Israel were the bride. Yet, the bouts of desire bursting forth from the verses seem to possess an additional dimension; it is an exchange between a man and a woman rather than a one-sided declaration by one to the other. And it’s rather explicit. Boldly, the woman commands much of the affair throughout and speaks boldly of her lover: “His cheeks of a bed of spices, / a treasure / of precious scents, his lips / red lilies wet with myrrh” (5:13 of the 1995 translation by Ariel and Chana Bloch). Other excerpts similarly revere the physical body of the lovers, thus complicating any simple disregard for the sensuality captured in the reciprocal expressions of infatuation. She says to him: “My lover has gone down to / his garden, to the bed of spices, / to graze and to gather lilies ... He feasts / in a field of lilies” (6:2-3). And he answers her: “The gold of your thigh / shaped by a master craftsman ... Your navel is the moon’s / bright drinking cup” (7:2-3). This intersection of the sensual experience of the body and religious devotion to the divine in a text prized by the Judaic and Christian traditions documents the potential for erotic language to convey religious experience. If such passionate expressions of religious life interest you, read up on the 13th century Christian mystic Angela of Foligno who served as a bold countermovement against the traditional church. In one vision, she “places her mouth to the wound in [Jesus’] side, and “drinks from the blood fleshly.” Though this fleshy and supernatural exchange with Jesus may seem nutty or perhaps just a bit Edward-and-Bella from Twilight, it is this physical intimacy that characterizes the experience of this “bride of Christ” who imagines Jesus’ cross as her bed. Such religious expressions of engagement with the body begs the question why: why is erotic language the preferred means to express intense experiences with a divine power? It would seem that the closer one gets with her God, the sexier the experience, or at least one’s means of expressing it. Do you find such suggestive language, and this coupling of spirituality and sensuality offensive or refreshing? I will leave you with that and for my next installment, will return to the use of religious rhetoric, but in light of violence, war and an unlikely pair who actually share the use of religious rhetoric: President Bush and Osama Bin Laden. For now, if you find yourself struggling to express your love to that special Swattie, you might find some luck in one of the greatest love poems of all time: The Song of Songs.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Time For a Referendum Get the Government on Greek Life at Swat Out Of the Liberal Arts A Campus-Wide Vote Will Ensure Every Student Has a Voice On an Issue That Affects Us All STAFF EDITORIAL
When a group of students tried to initiate a referendum on the presence of a sorority on campus last year, they were rebuffed. The vote would not have complied with Title IX; if a referendum were to be brought on any part of Greek life, it would have to be brought on Greek life as a whole. With that, and no further discussion, the sorority was re-established — despite extensive, campuswide debate and a referendum to abolish it 80 years ago. The campus has been shortchanged by this process, particularly in light of widespread concerns that the administration-sanctioned fraternity spaces are intimidating, even unsafe, for certain members of our community. A renewed conversation is in order, and there is no more powerful way to start one than with the referendum we never had — a referendum on all of Greek life. None of our many student groups, teams, and organizations have quite the same impact on student life as do the fraternities. For those who choose to partake in college nightlife, the effect is obvious. Greek organizations host a large number of the campus parties in spaces that they control. It is undoubtedly true that some students regard the Greek presence as a positive one. But there are concerns that these can be uncomfortable spaces, compelling some students to stay away. Even as they open their doors to all students, this atmosphere makes them exclusive. Exclusivity is not, in and of itself, bad. Some groups’ exclusivity is used to establish closed but safe spaces based on shared identities, cultures and interests that strengthen the community through productive dialogue. But whether the fraternities fall into this category is a point of contention. Indeed, many have drawn a link between Greek organizations and incidents of intimidation of women and queer students, bringing into question whether they are safe spaces at all. We feel that as the sorority expands the presence of Greek life on campus, it is especially pressing that these questions and concerns be aired, examined and answered. There is no more effective mechanism than a referendum on its existence to achieve this aim. A referendum would force the community to have a serious dialogue and to review
the effect these institutions have had on our school. It would force both advocates and opponents of fraternities to explain their positions to the student body. But most importantly, it would finally give all students a chance to have a say on the presence of an institution which affects their lives. Questions of whether Greek spaces are safe and tolerant apply to all who attend Swarthmore, not just those who choose to rush and attend their parties. Unless we address these now, their existence will continue to hang over the reputation of fraternities — and now the sorority — in times to come. It was after years of careful consideration and the input of a whole community of women that sororities were abolished in 1933. The new Kappa Alpha Theta chapter was instituted in just a few months without a substantial and legitimate campus-wide dialogue, contrary to the values exhibited in past debates on Greek life. We need to let students decide if fraternities shape the college for better or for worse, and a referendum is the best way to begin that process.
Last semester, The Phoenix published an editorial expressing a different opinion on the referendum herein advocated for. Since that time, several factors have caused The Phoenix to change its official position. New information about Kappa Alpha Theta and the specifics of sorority membership is now available. Finally, since the time of the original editorial’s publication, the editorial staff of The Phoenix has changed, as has our policy on editorials, which now represent the the opinions of a plurality of members of the Editorial Board.
When North Carolina’s Republican loan market, and, since 1982, the cost of governor Pat McCrory told former U.S. college has increased 439%. Kicking govEducation Secretary William Bennett ernment out of our colleges might result that public universities need to better in fewer geography departments overall, prepare their students for the job market, but the ones that persist will be less subhe set off a bit of a brouhaha within aca- ject to the so-called higher ed “bubble” demia. The gov- and its impending burst. After all, President Obama doesn’t ernor, somewhat DANIELLE crassly, ques- sell the public on educational funding CHARETTE tioned the utility because he wants every nineteen year of disciplines like old to ponder Aristotle. Instead, Obama The Nascent Neoliberal gender studies speechifies about college as a crucial and stated public component to economic competition, funding ought to be allocated not by the with statements such as “I want to make number of “butts in seats, but how many sure that the United States of America of the butts can get jobs.” This statement once again has the highest percentage of predictably set off a wave of outrage, college graduates because that is going to with numerous professors declaring that help determine who wins the race in this McCrory simply doesn’t “get” the life of global economy in the 21st century.” So politicians like McCrory are holdthe mind. My reaction is split. As a Swarthmore ing state university students to Obama’s student, I’m invested in the pursuit of the own standards. If droves of sociology liberal arts for their own sake. My justi- majors are not propping up the “global fication for choosing to major in English economy,” we’ve got a political and fiLiterature is more because I find read- nancial problem on our hands and need ing “War and Peace” satisfying and less to fix it. In this case, it’s big government because I have a set careerist gameplan. that’s mechanizing education. Conservatives can and should defend However, as a taxpayer and citizen I do worry that states and the federal govern- learning for the sake of learning, separate ment have subsidized higher education from the utilitarian aims of government. to the point that price signals are terribly The liberal arts are about intellectual liberation and the realization of self. As out of whack. In debates over the cost of the ivory Princeton professor (and Swarthmore tower, conservatives too often get framed grad) Robert George said recently, “The as luddites who don’t understand the fulfillments on offer in a liberal arts education are fundapriceless role of mentally intellecthe classroom. But tual. The intellect is Governor McCroa spiritual faculty. ry’s interview comthe advantages ments aren’t “conWe can wax philosophical So of a liberal arts edservative” per se. Rather, they’re the about the Great Books, but ucation are, at their spiritual. True natural response not if we’re going bankrupt core, liberal arts learning to over-involving government in the and few students are actu- is soul enriching.” If we speak of mission of higher ally reading them anyway. education in this education. manner, we recogAmericans now nize the liberal arts owe one trillion as a gift. Through dollars in student generous private loans, and many recent grads are discovering that their philanthropy, the savings of our parlackluster employment options are not ents, or our own commitment to paying enough to pay off their massive levels off future debt, some of us are receiving of debt. Meanwhile, state budgets are that gift at Swarthmore. But Swarthmore financially strapped, and families are isn’t for everybody, and I don’t think it’s questioning the soundness of their in- elitist to say so. In fact, I think it’s more vestment when nearly half of American elitist for Washington plutocrats to asstudents are failing to obtain a college sume that sending everyone to college is degree within six years. We can wax phil- the only way to build a prosperous sociosophical about the Great Books, but not ety. It’s much preferable to recognize and if we’re going bankrupt and few students encourage the dignity of honest work in any number of trades. are actually reading them anyway. And for unconventional students Disgruntled UNC-Chapel Hill geography professor Altha Cravey told the Wall who are still academically curious, onStreet Journal that Governor McCrory line course platforms like Coursera and “was not elected to decide what has in- Udacity now offer Greek mythology tellectual value and what does not.” But or Calculus to anyone with an Internet actually, so long as professors like Cravey connection. Cheap ebook readers will depend on public largesse for their aca- download the writings of Adam Smith in demic livelihoods, Governor McCrory a matter of seconds. No, importing the does have the authority to question what Enlightenment over the Internet doesn’t goes on at Chapel Hill. If anything, col- quite have the same luster as a twelveleges are universities are sacrificing the person seminar, but it’s also more flexawe and respect they deserve by sending ible, not to mention more affordable by students into an indebtedness that fami- several zeros. I’m confident there will continue to lies and taxpayers deeply resent. A better solution is to remove the fed- be a demand for small, elite liberal arts eral government from its student loan colleges. I’m proud to be a consumer of monopoly, which is closely associated the liberal arts and urge other students with skyrocketing tuition. In 1978, the at both public and private institutions federal government became much more to find a way of funding a well-rounded involved in subsidizing college degrees, education if that’s their genuine passion. and by 1980, the rise in tuition exceeded But I understand why a lot of Americans inflation. Today, the U.S. government question the hefty price tag and governnow controls over 93% of the student ment’s role in the higher ed market.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
The Intersection of Violent Media and Violent Crime Causal Links Between Media and Crime Appear Tenuous Mass shootings have reached their peak in 2012, with heinous massacres at elementary schools, high schools, and other public areas. Individuals shocked by such acts against humanity are in deep thought as to the real cause behind the attacks. Fingers point towards many culprits, but mental illness and gun control seem to have taken the throne. However, I recently read an article HARSHIL that criticized mass media as the real reason for these crimes. “Violent MeSAHAI dia” is a movement to push for less Conservatively Liberal Economics influence of guns, killing, and war in all media avenues. Proponents argue that violent video games like “Call of Duty,” “Killzone,” and numerous others instill poor images and depictions into children’s minds, brainwashing them to undertake more aggressive behavior. Film media has also become more violent over the years, and activists preach that ill-willed characters and plot structures heavily influence moviegoers. Proponents of the “Violent Media” movement argue that individuals put themselves into dark, digital fantasies when exposed to such media, and are eventually galvanized to commit similar crimes. The shooting last year in an Aurora, Colo. movie theater is a vivid example of an individual getting carried away, thinking of himself as “The Joker” in the Batman franchise, unleashing “chaos” upon innocent civilians. The issue I have with this argument is that proponents seem to imply an explicit causality between violent mass media and violent crimes. On the surface, it seems like an excellent argument, but with a little inspection its conclusions seem much less revealing. For example, given recent data alone, sales of violent video games have more than doubled in the past ten years, the portion of children playing video games have also increased, yet the number of violent crimes amongst teens has significantly decreased. In other words, more violent game-media has caused less violent crime.
However, recent psychological studies have been first place, and thus their level of influence by such media done on teenagers testing aggression post-video game also increased. play. Studies cite that teenagers showed more violent In other words, a lonely, depressed, isolated individubehavior after playing such games than before, and that al likely has few role models and important figures in his those individuals that have had lengthened historical or her life, and would likely watch more TV, play more exposure to these games, showed even more aggression. video games, and be influenced more by these media outThis conclusion seems to, quite blatantly, imply that in- lets. So although violent media may exacerbate mental creased exposure to violent video games initiates violent conditions that lead to harmful behavior, it surely cannot behavior. What the studies may not have considered is be the primary cause of such violence. that students that are aggressive to begin with are likely When I was a child taking Tae Kwon Do classes, I alto be more attracted to violent games and films, and thus, ways had the urge to practice moves and techniques in the “exhibit aggressive behavior after continuous exposure real world. Unfortunately, my older brother soon became to violent media.” So, the a target for my exploits. post-gameplay aggression After a few bruises to my is likely attributed to agbrother (and myself), my gressive individuals themparents took me out of the Though violent media may exacer- program. Sure, I exhibited selves rather than the violence of the game alone. increased aggression and bate mental conditions that lead to Even further, propoviolent behavior as a reharmful behavior, it surely cannot be sult of the lessons, but tonents may say that mass shootings and massacres day I regret not knowing the primary cause of such violence. (not just by teens) have basic self-defense. By the increased substantially. I same token, should we ban concede to this argument, martial arts classes, boxing but not for the reason of lessons, and even football increased violent media. Most of the recent murders (which one can easily argue also emphasizes aggression) were pursued by individuals between the ages of 30 and because they cause increased violent behavior? 40 years old, implying that their exposure to violent vidAfter all, of the millions that participate in these aceo games must have been limited. tivities, a very small portion are actually violent in real If we must blame the mass media for violent incidents, life. These few individuals are surely not violent because we must control for all other factors. These individuals of the activities themselves. Perhaps the solution is to adshould have had a steady job, a growing family, and a dress the real issues underlying such attacks: addressing healthy livelihood in addition to violent media exposure. emotional turmoil, alleviating lengthened isolation, and On the contrary, single, isolated, mentally ill individu- combating mental illness. als undertook the vast majority of such killings. However, proponents may argue that their life problems were LETTER, OP-ED & themselves a result of violent mass media. On the contrary, I would argue that their exposure to mass media COMMENT POLICY would have increased if they had been mentally ill in the
Voyage To the New World By PATRICK HAN Opinions Writer Two weeks ago, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators were finally able to agree on a comprehensive plan to reform the U.S. immigration system. It seems like immigration is an issue we hear a lot about these days from politicians, political commentators, and activists who know very little about the actual process and most of whom have never seen or experienced it firsthand. The reams of bureaucratic paperwork, the exorbitantly-priced visas, and the miles of red tape separating hopeful immigrants and the U.S. communicate to me and my relatives, who have tried to immigrate, that the U.S. does not smile upon immigration, at least not unless you are wealthy and well-educated. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but some days I feel like we should give the Statue of Liberty back. What use is it to display a symbol of our immigrant heritage when the words inscribed on its base ring true for only some people some of the time? My family was lucky enough to have made it here, but arriving at America’s shores is only half the battle. The true challenge lies in constantly having to negotiate between different cultural identities and norms, navigating the narrow straits of what is considered socially acceptable in your new society, finding your footing on unfamiliar terrain while stumbling in the dark. This was surely my experience immigrating to the United States as a seven-year-old boy, at least initially, as I had to do the difficult job of adjusting to a new life in the New World. In the year 2000, my parents made the difficult decision to immigrate to the U.S. in order to offer their children the best education in the world. As a child of seven, I had little say in the matter, but naturally I was terribly nervous, if not petrified, by the prospect of immigrating to a brand-new country I knew little about. My callow vision of America was more or less limited to the blurry image of a continent brimming with fast food, movie stars, and blondes
speaking an unintelligible tongue. Despite my trepidation, I began my first day of school in America armed with the proverb, “Suffering in youth is more valuable than gold.” I guess it is a Chinese version of the Nietzschean cliché “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Immigrant life may not have killed my parents, but it did its best, I often felt. Linguistic barriers led to countless failed attempts at finding a decent job which would not exacerbate my father’s chronic health conditions. My parents’ inability to speak English contributed not only to social isolation and discomfort, but to false starts in their attempt to find work. My father started course work, which did not produce the job he had been promised by unscrupulous middlemen, and my mother’s attempts to earn a nursing license were thwarted by misinformation. Throughout all these challenges, my parents remained steadfast in their goal to sacrifice whatever was necessary to ensure a safe home for their children and the best public education this country had to offer. Knowing all this, I could not share with them my apprehension of leaving all that I knew and moving to a land both strange and frightening or the personal challenges I faced adjusting to life here. When I first arrived, I experienced what I can only describe as social purgatory. Now, I chuckle as I imagine the gawky, “all arms and legs” kid I was. Today I am unsure what I am. Korean by descent and blood, Chinese by birth and nationality, American by culture and ideology, my heart is a melting pot of distinct but related identities. It is confusing at times to be sure, and often I long for the seemingly healthy simplicity of my friends who are born and raised in a nation-state and feel on a visceral level like they belong to it. They need not hesitate when asked “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” Neither do they need to reconcile often diametrically opposed cultural values that all fight to mold who they are and who they want to be. Still I relish the struggle for knowing oneself and my many roots, of doing the hard work of piecing together what I choose to be.
Letters, opinion pieces and online comments represent the views of their writers and not those of The Phoenix staff or Editorial Board. The Phoenix reserves the right to edit all pieces submitted for print publication for content, length and clarity. The Phoenix also reserves the right to withhold any letters, op-eds or comments from publication. All comments posted online and all op-eds and letters must be signed and should include the writer’s full name. Letters are a minimum of 250 words and may not exceed 500 words. Op-eds are a minimum of 500 words and may not exceed 750. Letters and op-eds must be submitted by 10 p.m. on Monday, and The Phoenix reserves the right to withhold letters and op-eds received after that time from publication. Letters may be signed by a maximum of five individuals. Op-eds may be signed by a maximum of two individuals. The Phoenix will not accept pieces exclusively attributed to groups, although individual writers may request that their group affiliation be included. While The Phoenix does not accept anonymous submissions, letters and op-eds may be published without the writer’s name in exceptional circumstances and at the sole discretion of the Editorial Board. An editorial represents the views of a plurality of members of the Editorial Board. Please submit letters to: email@example.com or The Phoenix Swarthmore College 500 College Avenue Swarthmore, PA 19081 Please report corrections to: firstname.lastname@example.org Letters, corrections and news tips may also be submitted online to the paper by clicking “Contact” on the Phoenix website.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Kentucky Senate Race Shaping Up To Be Battleground Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Could Face Challenges From Right And Left The 2014 Senate elections are likely to keep Democrats on the defensive. During the Democratic wave of 2008, the party won or held several seats in traditionally red states such as Alaska, South Dakota and North Carolina. Given the high number of Democratic seats up in 2014 (20 to the Republicans’ 13) and the conservative lean of many of the states holding elections, Republicans will be aggressively pursuing opportunities to pick up seats, leaving Democrats to play a defensive game to protect their incumbents. But there is one state where the Democrats may go on the offense: Kentucky. While we traditionally think of Kentucky as a “red” state (it was one of the first states CNN called for Romney in the 2012 Presidential election), that is not entirely accurate. Kentucky has a Democratic goverPRESTON nor, Steve Beshear, who was first COOPER elected in 2007. Moreover, 57 perInside cent of registered voters in Kentucky Capitol Hill are Democrats. While this has generally not translated into winning numbers for the party, Democrats remain optimistic. The incumbent Republican, Senator Mitch McConnell, is one of the most unpopular members of Congress, with a 37 percent approval rating. There’s one more reason Democrats are so interested in the Kentucky Senate seat: McConnell is also the Senate Minority Leader, the top Republican in the Senate. Unseating him would be a major symbolic victory for a party that has found McConnell a formidable adversary. Not to mention, a McConnell defeat would leave Senate Republicans without a leader. Party leaders in the Senate are the 007s of politics: endowed with great power and a short life expectancy. Recent Senate Minority Leaders such as Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) resigned or lost re-election shortly after being elevated to their post. In 2010, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), beleaguered with a 39 percent approval rating, narrowly limped to reelection over Tea Party challenger Sharron Angle. COURTESY OF FOX NEWS There are myriad reasons for McConnell’s unpopular- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, will face a tough reelection battle next year. ity in his home state. His frequent use of the filibuster (at one point, he even filibustered a bill he himself brought to the floor for vote) have earned him few friends, and the endorsement of Rand Paul, a god among Tea Party Kentucky, three of which contained the cities of Louisville, Lexington, and Frankfort. Democrats do well in many see him as an obstacle to progress emblematic of followers. Still, McConnell may go the road of other fallen Re- these urban centers, but the margins they pull are far from a dysfunctional legislature. His ratings also dipped after becoming Minority Leader, which makes sense — every publicans such as Bennett and Lugar; such an event would big enough to put them within striking distance of a stateminute he spends leading the Republican Party in the give Democrats their pickup opportunity in Kentucky. wide victory. In 2010, the Democratic candidate for SenSenate is a minute he cannot spend advancing issues im- McConnell’s established profile and organization would ate, Jack Conway, was able to expand his appeal and win portant to Kentuckians. Harry Reid experienced the same give him a leg up in the general election, but a more un- counties in Kentucky’s two coal fields. While his margins sort of plummet in approval ratings after his elevation to known Republican candidate might level the playing were not big enough to defeat Rand Paul, the 2010 elecfield, to Democrats’ advantage. Moreover, midterm elec- tion highlighted the part of Kentucky Democrats need to party leader in 2004. Additionally, McConnell finds himself at the helm of tions are generally more hospitable to candidates running win: coal country. Coal is a huge industry in Kentucky. The two coal fields a divided party, acting as a leader who cannot effectively in states unfriendly to their party. combined produce 4 percent of all energy consumed naBut in order to mount a successful challenge, the Demrepresent all philosophical factions. Kentucky itself is a tionwide. Democrats can do well in coal country. West ocrats need a strong candidate. The most obvious choice, microcosm of the clash between Republican Establishment and Tea Party. One of their Senators is Mitch Mc- Governor Steve Beshear, has already declined to run in Virginia’s two Democratic Senators, Joe Manchin and Jay what promises to be a bruis- Rockefeller, for instance, come from the second-largest Connell, Minority Leader, the ing contest. Other prominent producer of coal in the nation. Their electoral victories other is Rand Paul (R), a fastDemocrats such as Jack Con- in a Republican-leaning state are due in no small part to rising Tea Party favorite for way, Paul’s opponent in the their support for the coal industry and other energy-prothe 2016 Presidential election. Senate election, and Ben ducing sectors. Manchin supports the Keystone XL PipeIndeed, the most dangerParty leaders in the Senate are the 2010 Chandler, a former U.S. Rep- line, which a majority of Senate Democrats oppose. ous threat to McConnell’s The reality, however, is that Ashley Judd would not resentative, have also pulled 007s of politics: endowed with great reelection may be a primary appeal to voters from coal-producing parts of Kentucky. their hats out of the ring. challenge from the right. power and a short life expectancy. However, the media in While she has not yet made official statements on conConservative insurgents have Kentucky and beyond has tentious energy issues such as the Keystone Pipeline and unseated many Republican been abuzz about a highly emissions standards, her strong environmentalist tradigiants in recent years, among unique potential candidate for tion is likely to push swing voters in coal country towards them Richard Lugar (Ind.) and Bob Bennett (Utah). McConnell may be the next tar- the Democrats: actress Ashley Judd. The star of “Ruby in the Republican candidate. The Democratic party has get for the Tea Party movement. While he is not gener- Paradise” and “Double Jeopardy” became active in poli- many factions, and Kentucky Democrats are not ready for ally considered a moderate, many on the right have seen tics during the 2008 election, when she campaigned for Judd’s brand of progressivism. In 2014, Mitch McConnell will see a primary challenge McConnell as too conciliatory to the Democratic Senate then-Senator Barack Obama and attacked Governor Sarleadership on certain issues, particularly tax increases. ah Palin for her environmental record. Since then she has from the right, which he may or may not survive. Should Rand Paul, on the other hand, was one of only eight mem- publicly fought to further humanitarian and environmen- he win, he will probably triumph over his Democratic opbers of the Senate to vote against the “fiscal cliff” resolu- tal causes, particularly in Africa. Though she has never ponent, but it will be a hard-fought election. Judd, with tion package McConnell and Reid put together, which in- held elected office, she served as a delegate to the 2012 her name recognition and progressive base in cities such as Lexington and Louisville, may become the Democratic creased taxes on individuals and small businesses earning Democratic National Convention. candidate for Senate, but her chances of becoming KenOn paper, Judd looks like an ideal candidate to chalover $400,000 annually. tucky’s next Senator are low. lenge McConnell (or another Republican if McConnell The most prominent potential challenger to McConStill, the right set of circumstances could allow a Demnell in the primary is John T. Kemper, a Tea Party leader does not win the primary). She has the ability to match in Kentucky. “We are working on a battle plan, with the McConnell’s advantages — name recognition, fundrais- ocrat to take the seat in the next election. With Republiultimate goal to retire [McConnell] next year,” said Kem- ing capacity and organization — as well as the likely back- can pickups in West Virginia and Alaska (among other per, who then hinted at the possibility of running him- ing of national progressive movements. However, Judd places) growing more likely, Democrats will be looking self. Still, McConnell would start the race with several would be unlikely to win a statewide battle in Kentucky. for a battle they can win. But as with any state-level race, victory involves making an appeal to the voters in Kenadvantages, strong name recognition and $7 million in The reason lies in the state’s geography. tucky. In 2012, Barack Obama won only four counties in campaign funds among them. Additionally, he also has
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Women’s Basketball Earns Playoff Berth Garnet Defeat Franklin & Marshall for Senior Day Victory
By DAN DUNCAN Sports Editor On the schedule, a run came to an end this past week, as seniors Eliza Polli and Madge Ross played in their Senior Day game against Franklin & Marshall. But the team is just beginning what it hopes will be a long run to close the season: with last week’s win against Washington (Md.), Swarthmore clinched its first Centennial Conference playoff berth since the 2004-5 season. The Garnet remain tied for first place in the conference standings with Gettysburg. Ross described making the playoffs as “incredible,” adding that the decade-long playoff drought meant that “to finally break that barrier feels amazing in itself.” Polli agreed, pointing out, “My coach has never made it to playoffs and to be a part of the leadership on this team to get us there is an amazing feeling.” While the seniors’ experiences help them to appreciate this year’s success, the impact of the team’s achievement was not lost on younger players. “It is amazing to be part of something so special in [my] first year at Swarthmore,” Jessica Jowdy ’16 said. “Making [the] playoffs has shown us what it takes to succeed on the collegiate level.” She added that early success provides a drive for the future: “It inspires us to want to continue this tradition for our future years playing Swarthmore basketball.” Making the playoffs isn’t enough, though, as the Garnet still have a chance to earn the top seed and home court advantage in the conference tournament by winning out in the regular season. Accordingly, the players made sure to take care of business against Franklin & Marshall. Swarthmore jumped out to an early lead, but the Diplomats fought their way back into the game by the end of the first half. Coming out of the break, the Garnet had a run of inspired play, pulling away by as many as 14 points. Although F&M made an effort to make a comeback, the Diplomats could get no closer than within three points. Swarthmore was led for the second game in a row by Elle Larsen ’15, who scored 20 points. Katie Lytle ’14 added 16 of her own, along with 17 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the
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Eliza Polli ’13 and Elle Larsen ’15 swarm a McDaniel player in the Garnet’s Feb. 4 loss to the Green Terror.
season. While underclassmen have been leading the team in recent games this season, Jowdy attributed that to the leadership provided by Ross and Polli. “They are such encouraging and supportive people. Whenever anyone on our team is getting frustrated or finds themselves doubting their abilities, Madge and Eli are always there to pick them back up. And this is very important for the underclassmen.” She added that their support was a key to the team’s performance. “Madge and Eliza are two of the most driven individuals I have ever met. Their leadership on and off the court has had such an impact on our team and has really helped us come together ... Their unwavering confidence makes you start believing in yourself, and that is the biggest improvement we
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have made this season.” With just games to go in their collegiate careers, the seniors find each day bittersweet. Ross said, “Everyone always told me that college and my basketball career would fly by, and now that it’s already approaching the end, I finally believe them. Every second counts for me now, and I am so lucky to have been granted a few extra practices and games to spend with such a special group of players and coaches.” She added that she was thankful for the team chemistry displayed this season: “To have a team that genuinely wants to play for as long as humanly possible, just so their seniors could have even a few more games, a few more practices together, I could not have asked for more.” For Polli, this year has had a storybook ending. “It’s incredible to end my career on such a high note. I am so blessed.” Ross agreed, saying, “To be able to go out on such an outstanding, thrilling note is just all I could ask for.”
She added, “I feel so lucky to have experienced both highs and lows, successes and failures, in my basketball career, and to have been given such a wonderful privilege to lead this team as a captain my senior year.” Although Senior Day usually comes on the final home game of seniors’ careers, the Garnet had one game yet — last night’s matchup against Bryn Mawr. In the annual “Play4Kay” game, the Garnet got an early lead and ran away against the Owls, prevailing 82-35 for their 19th win this season. In a game where all players saw significant playing time, Polli and Jowdy led the offense with 18 points apiece, while Lytle put together yet another doubledouble off 11 points and 17 rebounds. The regular season finale is this Saturday at Haverford. There will be a fan bus available for those wishing to attend; tip-off is at 1:00 p.m. The Centennial Conference playoffs will follow, with opponent, location, and time to be determined.
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What He’s Done: Scored 23 points to lead the Garnet to a Senior Day upset of first-place Franklin & Marshall, earning a spot on the d3Hoops.com National Team of the Week. Favorite Career Moment: Beating F&M Saturday. The win was an awesome way to send off the seniors after all the work they have put in to this program. It was also a big breakthrough for our team and program to take down the top team in the conference.
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Upcoming Goals: Before we move on to next season, we have two more games to win this week. As a team, we are expecting to make the playoffs and do some damage in the postseason next year.
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Basketball or soccer? Borrowing from the infamous logician Brian Regan, They’re both favorite. Basketball is just a little more favorite. DAN DUNCAN/THE PHOENIX
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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2013
Swat Senior Swimmers Reflect on Four Years By SCOOP RUXIN Sports Writer
Swarthmore swimming honored its seniors during Saturday’s senior day meet at Ware Pool against Dickinson, with exciting, competitive swimming between two evenly matched teams. While the men managed a hard-fought 11194 victory, the women fell to the Red Devils by the even narrower margin of 104-101. More importantly, the day was remembered for its commemoration of a graduating class that continued a long run of Swarthmore swimming strength throughout their tenure with the program. Both the men’s and women’s swim teams have had much success in the pool over the past four seasons, with the men posting a 23-11 record and the women 23-15. Although a Centennial Conference championship has eluded both programs, the two have combined for six above .500 seasons in the conference. The consistency of Swarthmore’s teams has been a large part a result of the careers of: Roger Chin, Daniel Duncan, Charlie Hepper, Nathaniel Lo, Patrick Monari, Josh Satre, Nick Sohn, and Lucas Zullo, Hannah Gotwals, Emily MacDuffie, Katie Schultz, Chloe Stevens, and Alice Wong, all of whom swam in their final meet at Ware Pool on Saturday. Several of these swimmers enjoyed a memorable final home meet. Satre starred for the men, earning victories in both distance events: the 1000- and 500-yard freestyles. Satre, Swarthmore’s only multiple winner on the day, appreciated the timing of his season-best performance. “It was nice go-
ing out with a bang,” commented the honors political science major from Hockessin, Del. Duncan also notched a victory in the 200 freestyle, while Swarthmore’s lone other individual victory came from John Flaherty ’14, in the 200 individual medley. Though their efforts came ultimately in a losing effort, the senior women’s swimmers kept Swarthmore close to victory by leading a sweep of the relay events. The foursome of MacDuffie, Gotwals, Eva Winter ’16 and Nikkia Miller ’16 led Swarthmore to a meet-opening victory in the 400 medley relay. Swarthmore also won the 400 freestyle relay, led by Erin Lowe ’14, Miller, Supriya Davis ’15 and Kate Wiseman ’15. The Garnet managed five individual wins on the day, as well. Davis and Wiseman continued to shine, winning two events each, while Winter won the 200 breaststroke. While most of the individual victories this season have come from underclassmen, the team’s seniors have embraced an important supporting role, providing depth and leadership to their younger teammates. Notably, Wong has consistently placed in both the 500 and 1000 yard freestyles, helping Swarthmore gain the few extra points that can be the difference in a closely contested meet. Wong reflected on her season saying, “Even though I don’t necessarily like swimming the 1000 or the 500 at every meet, if it means getting a few extra points for the team, I do it.” Wong’s willingness to regularly compete in these taxing distance events showcases her selfless determination to help the team in any way possible, an attitude that has certainly proved a positive example for younger swimmers such as Davis and Wiseman.
Left: The team gathers in a pre-meet huddle. Right: Dan Duncan pulls away early in the 200 yard freestyle en route to a first place finish.
While the seniors have been successful in the pool, many cited their experiences outside of it among their highlights of being on the team. Wong said it most directly: “My best friends are on the swim team. I have been lucky to be a part of such an awesome team full of interesting people.” Duncan agreed with this sentiment. After highlighting some of the team’s impressive wins — including a 2009 victory over Division I Drexel — he emphasized that “Swimming’s been about more than athletics here.” As with Wong, Duncan noted, “My best friends are on the team,” adding, “Swimming and hanging out with them has kept me grounded in my time here.” Chin agreed that the swim team has helped him overcome the pressures of Swarthmore. “Swimming has brought me a family here at Swat and it has shown that everything is a little easier with some friends around,” Chin said. For all the accomplishments of the class of 2013, there is one hurdle yet to cross: neither team has won the Centennial Conference championship in the past three years, meaning that this weekend’s championship meet at Franklin & Marshall will give the seniors one final opportunity to cement their legacy. Satre summed up the mood of the team: “I am focused on conferences now, and am hoping to make my final season a good one, finishing strong.” Regardless of their fate on Saturday, the Garnet’s senior swimmers have had a career that warrants the commemoration they received at Saturday’s senior day festivities. Information from Swarthmore Athletics game recaps was used in this story. Dan Duncan is Sports Editor of the Phoenix. He had no role in the production of this article.
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Major Sports Need A Focus on Financial Responsibility
Usually when I talk about fiscal responsibility, I am lecturing about how sports have got out of control with increased wages and the amount of debt that is being racked up every year. This time I think there should be a lecture about how the players are using their money. Players and clubs together should be fiscally responsible. Players have very limited careers and usually only have one chance to earn a big contract that will see them living comfortably for the rest of their lives. With all the money that is waved in their faces they are very prone JAMES to financial mismanagement. The IVEY number of athletes in baseball, soccer, football, basketball, and Out of Left Field other high paying sports who end up in bankruptcy is considerable, considering the funds that have to be thrown away in order to receive a winding-up order. The case of Vince Young is a current example of how players can go astray when they get used to living a certain way. His career is most likely over, but during the lockout he decided that he really wanted to throw himself a mega birthday party. Who wouldn’t? You get to see all your friends, impress the hell out of your colleagues, and eat cake, but when you aren’t being paid because your career is currently suspended where do you get the necessary funds for your birthday bash?
So Vince Young and his associates, decided they should get a loan of $300,000 with a 20 percent interest rate so that they could party in style. First problem here: why do you need that much money to have a party? How much cake are you trying to buy? I assume that you are buying yourself some sort of mega present involving an ostrich called Barry who lays golden eggs. Secondly, Vince Young was unemployed with limited hope of future employment, yet was willing to gamble away his finances because he wanted a birthday party. Not smart. And his advisors should really be sent to exile in Siberia for thinking that was a good idea. When you pay people as much as professional athletes are paid then sometimes they get used to it. Poor financial management can lead to people like Vince Young being sued for $1.7 million because of this one loan. A second problem is that professional sportsmen are paid too much money too early in their careers. If you have a multimillion dollar contract when you are 21, what are you going to do with that much money? Personally I’d like to think that I would buy myself some property, pay off any mortgages, and invest part of my contract in long term stocks and shares so I’ll have enough money when I retire. What I would really do is another matter: I’m pretty sure it would be used to buy fancy cars, cool toys and loads of biscuits so I could balloon to the size of fat Ronaldo or Adriano. Giving someone millions of dollars at such a young age is never a good idea, especially if they have an advising team around them that is not looking
out for the player’s best interests. Think about how kids with trust funds are often ridiculed for their lack of financial prudence, then compare that to modern athletes … not too much of a difference: both are young and often foolish. A fool and his money are soon parted, as the old saying goes. This may be good for the economy — fans pay to see their player, he gets paid with money made from the fans, the player then spends his money on hula girls and an ice sculpture of Godzilla to advertise his new fragrance. The money eventually gets spent, and a few players are not joining the ranks of the multimillionaires. But it is destructive for the player and the club to be giving so much money to these young players, it destroys some players and it also destroys the clubs in a few cases. Giving the money to players in instalments over a longer period of time, not simply during the duration of the contract but after the contract too, or giving it to players in stocks or bonds would make the player have to ration his spending and also would come with a lower tax rate. Financial prudence is something that the Western world seems to have forgotten about, given that we live in an age where personal debt is at its highest level ever. In sports the effect can be multiplied due to the huge amounts of money involved in the deals on a small group of players. And in the end shouldn’t we want what is best for the sport and for the players? Both need some sort of financial guidance that is not being provided at the moment.