The Brandeis Hoot, February 4, 2022

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Volume 20 Issue 3

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

February 4, 2022

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

VP for diversity equity and inclusion selected

Prof. talks on physics of tsunamis By Roshni Ray

By Victoria Morongiello



Assistant Professor of Climate Science Sally Warner recently authored an article in The Conversation magazine concerning the physical science underpinning the formation of waves and tsunamis. This article was in response to the recent eruption of the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai located within the island system making up the Pacific nation called Tonga.

The university announced that LeManuel Lee Bitsóí has been selected as the new Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, according to an email sent by university president Ron Liebowitz to the Brandeis community on Jan 31. The announcement comes 6 months after the former Vice President See DEI, page 3


See TSUNAMIS, page 2

Prof. discusses how voting restrictions will impact politics By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Zachary Albert (POL) discussed how American politics would be impacted by the various policies and voting restrictions passed in recent times, in a BrandeisNow interview. Of particular concern was the fact that most voting re-

strictions were enacted almost entirely along partisan lines. “Increasing polarization of both major parties in the U.S. has only made it more important to understand the motivations and structures of parties and how they affect politics,” Albert said. Although he began his career with an interest in third parties, and why they have seen very little success, he soon

realized that the heart of American politics lies in partisanship. “In a two-party system, you need two strong, responsible parties to check the other party. What healthy parties do is they expand their appeal to bring in other voters. Instead, there seems to be a long-term trend for Republicans to not say `we’re going to bring in more people who sup-

port us, we’re going to try to restrict the other side,’” said Albert. According to the Brennan Center for Justice’s 2021 roundup, 2021 saw the most restrictions passed since 2011. Overall, there were 19 states that passed laws that restricted voting, 16 states that passed laws that expanded access and eight states that passed mixed laws. T

Although a lot of states are making it harder to enact voting restrictions, however the trend, that Albert points out, is that this happens in states in which voting is already harder. “While Republican states are making it increasingly harder to vote, See VOTING, page 4

Univ. closes campus due to blizzard conditions By Victoria Morongiello editor


Inside This Issue:

News: New member added to Board of Trustees Ops: Euphoria’s newest season Features: We B Wellness Sports: Brandeis Women’s Basketball Editorial: Return to in-person learning

Track and

Page 2 Field Page 11 Brandeis men and women’s Page 9 track and field teams compete. Page 6 SPORTS: PAGE 6 Page 7

The university closed campus due to weather forecast for blizzard conditions on Saturday, Jan. 29, according to an email sent by Lois Stanley to the Brandeis community on Jan. 28. All university-planned events and activities were canceled for the day. For dining services, Sherman Grab and Go remained open with their usual service hours and Upper Usdan was open for mobile pick-up orders from the bite app, according to the email. According to the Dining Services Website, The Hoot C-Store was open

Booktok worth it or not

for online shopping. Einstein’s Bros Bagels, The Stein and Lower Usdan, were closed due to the weather conditions, according to the dining website. Employees were obligated to work on Jan. 29 if they are scheduled to work during snow emergencies. According to the email, other employees will have to come in if they are required to by their manager. For clearing campus roadways of snow, the university requested that all vehicles be moved off of Loop Road, according to the email. Vehicles were asked to be moved to their assigned parking

The Invisble Life of Addie Larue ARTS: PAGE 16

See SNOW, page 3


2 The Brandeis Hoot

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The Massachusetts Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (MACLEA) honored 14 campus police officers on Dec. 16, including three Brandeis officers. Officer Philip Burns received the Exemplary Service Award; Officer Kimberly Carter and Officer Anthony Celona received the Heroic Action Award. “I would like to thank and congratulate not only our 14 incredible award winners today, but also all of the officers, dispatchers, emergency management staff and support staff whose dedication and hard work helped campuses across the Commonwealth safely navigate two years that were anything but normal,” said MACLEA

President Capt. Andrew Turco. Burns was honored for his “calmness and courage as he quickly prevented a dangerous incident from becoming worse,” when he responded to a fire, according to a MACLEA press release. Burns responded to a fire alarm in a residence hall, after reporting it to the fire department, he found a fire extinguisher and put the fire out, not allowing it to spread. Carter and Celona were honored for saving a student from drowning during Tropical Storm Fred. The Massel pond, which is over 10 feet deep, was flooded because of the storm. On Aug. 19, 2021, the officers were responding to a report of a student, who was unable to swim, falling into the pond. Both of them jumped into the pond and pulled them safely

to shore. “The bravery displayed by Officer Carter and Officer Celona, without regard for their own safety, likely saved a student from serious injury or death,” said the press release. Celona has worked at Brandeis Public Safety for over 15 years. “Campus police officers, administrators and support staff have all done our profession proud with two years worth of professionalism and commitment to the institutions they serve,” concluded Turco. According to its website, MACLEA Awards honor officers for their “extraordinary, lifesaving and heroic work.” It’s purpose is “to promote the common interest in the administration of law enforcement programs including the operation and development of life

February 4, 2022

safety and property protection programs on campuses of educational institutions, as a non-profit organization. To promote professional ideals and standards so as to better serve

the educational objectives of educational institutions,” among other things. The annual awards ceremony was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Brandeis Environmental Studies professor explains tsunami physics TSUNAMI, from page 1

the southern Pacific nation called Tonga. According to The Associated Press, the initial reports of damage were difficult to assess due to the loss of internet on the island system. A recent New York Times article details witness reports and estimates of damage. The ashes from the volcanic explosion were spouted thousands of feet into the air. A four-foot tsunami wave from the explosion drastically impacted Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa. Although Tonga is a remote southern Pacific nation, the sound from the volcanic explosion was reported to have been heard in the eastern coast of New Zealand, located approximately 1,100 miles southwest of Tonga. The U.S. response to the news of the tsunami urged residents of the west coast, Alaska, and Hawaii to move far from the coastal front and onto higher ground. The Japanese meteorological agency reported that waves from the impact had reached parts of Japan’s Pacific coast.

By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Todd Soloway ’88 was announced as the newest member of the university’s Board of Trustees, according to a BrandeisNOW article. Soloway was elected in January 2022 and will be one of the 37 trustees of the university. Soloway is a partner and cochair of Pryor Cashman— a midsize law firm based in New York City, according to their website. In this position, Soloway is responsible for the hotel and hospitality group and real estate services as part of the Executive Committee of the firm, according to his biography on the university’s website. Soloway has served as a partner at Pryor Cashman for over 20 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. Professionally, Soloway has over 25 years worth of complex

As of now, the estimated death toll from the tsunami is low, however Warner writes that many people are still missing and the true scope of damage remains elusive. The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano had been mostly inactive for several years, but had intermittently began activity around January 3rd, according to a report by the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program. Warner writes about the physics behind how tsunami waves are generated and how they are different from normal wind-generated waves. According to the article, most waves are regulated by the movement of various air masses and the tidal fluctuations from the lunar cycle. Tsunamis on the other hand are created by a different mechanism: rather than displacing water at the upper surface of the ocean, the tsunami force generated displaces water that extends through the entire depth of the ocean. Warner uses the analogy of someone blowing on the surface of water

at a swimming pool in contrast to someone jumping in, writing, “The cannonball dive displaces a lot more water than blowing on the surface, so it creates a much bigger set of waves.” Another key difference between tsunamis and wind-generated waves are the speed at which the waves are able to travel. While wind-generated waves travel about 10 to 30 miles per hour, tsunami waves can travel hundreds of miles per hour. For the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, the speed of the wave calculated was about 440 miles per hour. Tsunami waves are significantly more destructive than wind-generated waves because the ocean floor rises closer to the coast of a body of land. This causes the waves to be pushed up to taller heights, often capable of enveloping entire towns. Warner writes that while tsunamis can be devastating, they are not nearly as much of a surprise now. This is credited to a system of bottom-pressure detecting buoys called DART-buoys which can detect the presence of tsuna-

mi waves and alert the governmental agencies to communicate early warnings. Warner writes, “Tsunamis are one of my favorite topics to teach my students because the physics of how they move is so simple and

trial and deal experience, according to his page. Soloway has had a career of litigations, having worked on numerous high-profile cases, according to his biography. The cases he has overseen relate to the hospitality industry involving hotel management and franchise agreements, real estate finance and development and foreclosures and workouts. Featured on his Brandeis profile, is a case where Solomon won $44 million in a case against Starwood Hotels in favor of its former owner— the St. Regis Hotel. Solomon has experience acting as a trusted advisor to individuals and companies in his industry, according to the page. Solomon has been recognized for his work, he received the distinction of ‘Distinguished Leader Award’ from the New York Law Journal— an award given to lawyers who have leadership skills

that lead to positive outcomes. He was also mentioned on Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notables in Real Estate list and he was named as a top attorney by Chambers USA in 20220 in nationwide leisure and hospitality law. According to a BrandeisNOW article, university president Ron Liebowitz said, “As an experienced and well-recognized leader in the fields of hospitality, real estate, and real estate finance law, [Solomon] brings with him, along with a passion for his alma mater, a distinct perspective which will be an invaluable addition to the board.” Soloway graduated from the university in ’88, receiving a BA in history. He went on to pursue his Juris Doctor degree at Yeshiva university’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in ’91, according to his bio. Before joining the board of Trustees Soloman previously

served as a member and president of the Brandeis Alumni Club of New York City— which is a network of alumni that hosts events

elegant.” Her expertise lies in the interconnection between smallscale water turbulence in oceans and their influence on global phenomena such as El Niño and climate change.


for past Brandeis students currently living in the five boroughs, according to the alumni page.


February 4, 2022

By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Injecting mice with herpes has led Dr. Smita Gopinath to potentially new information on the future of vaccines. In a talk at Brandeis on Tuesday, Feb. 1, Gopinath explained her fascination with the “vaginal microbiome” and the way her years-long work at Harvard’s Gopinath Lab has led her to potentially uncover new ways to protect against the severity of sexually transmitted viruses. Gopinath said that the primary goal of her work is to look at direct infections and how vaginal bacteria affects various, ”hosts’ immunes responses to sexually transmitted viruses like herpes.” She explained that while herpes is typically uncomfortable in humans, it is lethal in mice. By


The Brandeis Hoot

Dr. Smita Gopinath explains research on vaginal immunity testing ways to lessen the severity of symptoms in mice, Gopinath hopes to find ways to reduce the severity of flare-ups in humans. Gopinath is studying many types of cells, neurons and other bodily contents for her work, listing about a dozen different components in her lecture. However, she focused on a few, particularly immune system cells and vaginal bacteria. One main area of fascination was on lactobacilli, “the dominant vaginal resident bacteria,” Gopinath explained. Lactobacilli becomes present at menstruation and its dominance is “strongly correlated” with “positive health outcomes,” according to Gopinath. She hopes to understand more about how this bacteria fits into the overall immune response, and what this means when it comes to protection against infections. She had more

data researching immune system cells, specifically CD8+ T cells. These immune system cells play an important role in her studies on mice, she explained. One of the focuses of her work is on the “prime and pull vaccine” made of vaginal cells and components. This vaccine involves priming a subject by injecting them with a “protein vaccine,” which will cause the body to produce more T cells, a crucial part of the immune system, she said. After the prime, comes the pull. Once the new T cells are made, you “apply the vaginal CD8+ T cells,” which attracts the newly created immune system responses. Gopinath explained that this application was like a “supporting cue” for the immune system. She said this led to a “doubling” of T cells in the vagina in her experiments, and resulted in protecting against

herpes. Gopinath doesn’t “know exactly what CD8+ T cells do,” but she has concluded that they are an important piece to this puzzle, based on her lab results. Gopinath is also interested in the way that vaginal issues can affect digestion. In her talk, she said that research showed a link between herpes and constipation. She explained that there is a link between a herpes inflection and the breaking down of enteric neurons—neurons in the digestive system that help regulate many things, including bowel movement. However, her research shows that neomycin can protect against this loss of neurons, and in turn keep the digestive system functioning normally, she said. Gopinath was sure to warn that “this needs further study,” but that “this [phenomenon] is what early results are showing.” With those

results, Gopinath has learned that “you can engineer protection.” Many times throughout her lecture, Gopinath mentioned that all of her work was still in the research phase, though she did cite that “prime and pull” vaccines have positive reviews from other scientists. The Gopinath Lab’s work centers around The Red Queen Hypothesis, according to their lab page, the main interest of their work is to examine the relationship and interaction between commensal microbiota, pathogens and host immune response. Specifically looking at the place they meet, the mucosa, according to the lab page. More information about her research and findings can be found on the Gopinath Lab website.

Campus activities canceled due to snow storm SNOW, from page 1

lot by 2 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, Stanley reminded students to park only in their assigned parking lot. The email requested that when moving cars to the parking lots community members should try to park together in a cluster, according to Stanley, as this helps in the snow clearing effort. The university’s grounds crew’s priority was centered on snow removal on emergency roadways, including Loop Road, Dining Hall Access and Building Exits. The grounds crew will also clear campus pathways including paths around residence halls. In the email, the university recommended that students plan-

ning to move in on Saturday, Jan. 29 reschedule their move-in date. However, this was not enforced by the university, only strongly encouraged. Gosman athletics facility, Faber and Goldfarb Libraries and the Rose Art Museum were all closed on Jan. 29. The campus shuttle service, both the Branvan and Joseph’s shuttles, were discontinued effective at midnight on Jan. 29, and the service was withheld all day Saturday. Updates on the weather-related changes could be accessed by community members on the university’s homepage, according to the email. “​​I’d like to recognize our Campus Ops staff -- Central Heat-

ing Plant, Custodial, Dining, Grounds, O&M, and Public Safety -- who have been on campus throughout the storm to ensure that full operations can resume tomorrow. This has been a significant weather event and they’ve been doing a phenomenal job at clearing snow while keeping all those on campus safe, warm, and well fed,” Stanley wrote in a follow-up email on Jan. 29 announcing a reopening of campus. In the follow-up email, Stanley announced that Gosman athletics facility, Faber and Goldfarb Libraries and the Rose Art Museum would reopen as well as the campus COVID-19 testing site in the Shapiro Science Center (SSC). The campus shuttle services were also set to resume on Jan. 30.

photo by victoria morrongiello

LeManuel Lee Bitsóí set to start as Vice President for Diversity Equity and Inclusion in March DEI, from page 1

for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Mark Brimhall Vargas left the position. “Lee is a skilled diversity, equity, and inclusion leader and administrator, and he will bring to Brandeis his extensive experience in collaborating with students, faculty, and staff to implement diversity-driven initiatives, policies, and programming,” wrote Liebowitz in his email. Bitsóí is set to take over the position on March 14, according to the email. Liebowitz asked the Brandeis community to join him,” in introducing [Bitsóí] to our strong tradition of striving toward inclusion in all aspects of university life.” Bitsóí will be leaving his position at Fort Lewis College as Associate Vice President for Domestic Affairs and Special Advisor to the President for Indigenous Affairs to work at the university, according to the email. Bitsóí has been working at Fort Lewis College for over 2 years according to his LinkedIn profile, where he also served as the Director, Diversity Collaborative / Special Advisor to the President for Native

American Affairs. At Fort Lewis College, Bitsóí has been, “responsible for campus-wide DEI programming in collaboration with other offices, faculty, staff and students,” wrote Liebowitz. In this position, Bitsóí also worked with senior leadership and oversaw the Diversity Collaborative Affinity Center at Fort Lewis College which supports affinity groups on their campus, according to their page. Bitsóí led the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan for Fort Lewis, according to Liebowitz’s email. Prior to working at Fort Lewis College, Bitsóí served as the Chief Diversity Officer at Stony Brooke University for almost two years, according to his LinkedIn page. Cumulatively, Bitsóí has over 20 years worth of experience in higher education, according to a BrandeisNOW article. Bitsóí is a first-generation Native American (Navajo), according to Liebowitz’s email, he graduated from New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico. Bitsóí went on to receive a master’s from Harvard University and an Ed.D. in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, according to the email.

Vargas announced his departure from Brandeis in May 2021, though he did not leave until July 2021, according to an address from the university’s Office of the President. The interim Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion position was filled by David M. Fryson who began in July 2021. The search committee to fill the position was led by Provost

Carol Fierke and Harleen Singh, associate professor of literature and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, wrote Liebowitz in the email. “We owe a debt of gratitude to the search committee for their tireless work toward identifying the right person for this important role,” he wrote in regards to the committee’s work. Other community members including:

faculty, staff and students were a part of the committee and offered their assistance with the selection of candidates for the position. Liebowitz thanked Fryson for his work while serving as interim Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Liebowitz wrote that Fryson would remain at the university until mid-march when Bitsóí is set to begin.

photo from the hoot

4 The Brandeis Hoot

February 4, 2022

Prof. dicusses how state voting restrictions are making voting more difficult

VOTING, from page 1

Democratic states are making it easier to vote,” noted Albert. The largest issue of 2020 was mail-in voting and ballot dropoff locations, according to Albert. These are all crucial factors in determining how individuals are able to vote, however, this is not his largest concern regarding the new laws. What truly concerns Albert is the politicization of election ad-

ministration. It is “the laws targeting election administration and the process used in counting ballots. These laws are changing who is in charge and what types of challenges can be made after an election. It’s not just about who gets to vote, but who counts those ballots.” He mentioned Georgia and Arizona instituted procedures that would allow for election results to be overturned. “Arizona and Georgia were

states that helped decide the election, and we see that there are more people running for election-administration positions who are committed to the big lie of the rigged election,” said Albert. He predicts an “uphill climb for Democrats in 2022 and beyond.” However, he is concerned about how the new voting restrictions are going to affect the elections. Although voting restrictions are going to reduce the amount of voting for both parties, there is no

guarantee that the impact will be equal on both parties. “There’s a lot of research that shows these laws especially affect certain kinds of people who generally fall into the Democratic camp,” said Albert. Albert is an Assistant Professor of Politics, whose expertise is in political campaigns and public policymaking. He received his B.A. from Fairfield University and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In the Senate 1/31

COVID-19 dashboards • •

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Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update February 3, 2022


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update February 3, 2022.

Currently, he is working on two books: “the first examines the impact of partisan polarization on policy research efforts by interest groups and think tanks, while the second investigates the positive and negative aspects of ‘small-donor democracy,’” according to his faculty page. He teaches Quantitative Methods for Policy Analysis, Political Parties and Interest Groups, Elections in America and The Politics of Policymaking.

The Student Union resumed its weekly meetings on Sunday, Jan. 30, to commence the start of the Spring 2022 semester. The senate met over zoom to discuss some of their goals for the semester. Peyton Gillespie ’25 mentioned that he is currently writing the funding proposal for the free menstrual products pilot involving women’s menstrual products to be provided in all the women’s bathrooms in freshman housing. Gillespie discussed plans for the “beautification” of Massel Pond, which is set to take place later in the semester. Another plan Gillespieis is overseeing is the chartering of the chess club on campus. Cameron Johnson ’25 mentioned that he is currently working on raising awareness for the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF). CEEF has two main functions: to serve as emergency funding for student projects on campus and provide funding for student-led initiatives on campus, according to the CEEF page on the university’s website. Ashna Kelkar ’24 plans to continue being the chair of the dining committee and hopes to appoint a co-chair to the position. Lia Bergen ’25 volunteered to fill the co-chair position proposed by Kelkar. Jeremiah Lemelson ’23 discussed the possibly of starting a website or online platform to organize a list of student “side hustles” on campus. This would sevre as a resource on campus for students. As the Foster Mods senator, Lemelson also plans to address the issues surrounding facilities that people complained about last semester. While continuing to be on the sustainability committee, Nicholas Kanan ’23 was in communication with the research and technology department and hopes to continue to work with the maker space to ensure that sustainability training is taught to users of the maker lab. Sahil Muthuswami ’24 plans to continue meeting with the Department of Community Living (DCL) staff to ensure transparency with what goes on with the university finances.Muthuswami is also working with DCL to work towards getting new washing machines and dryers in all residence halls. Skye Liu ’23 will continue to run the health and safety committee and plans to communicate with the BCC to purchase sun lamps that students will be able to rent out. Liu also plans to appoint a cochair as Li might step down from her position next semester. Sofia Lee ’24 claims to have received feedback from the students in the class of 2024 and plans to organize socializing events for students to meet and get to know each other as they did not have an in-person orientation in the fall of 2020. In other news, Coles also announced that the union will host a Jeopardy watch party in support of Joey Kornman ’23 who will be participating in the national college championship. The student union intends to ensure transportation for students moving to isolation housing after testing positive for COVID-19 on campus, this will be similar to the BranVan service, according to Coles. - Vimukthi Mawilmada

Prof. Garcia writes on expanded credit expiration By John Fornagiel editor

On Jan. 22, Dolores Avecedo-Garcia (HS), the Samuel F. and Rose B. Gingold Professor of Human Development and Social Policy and the Director of the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy, wrote about the effects of expanded credit expiration for American families on Jan. 15. Avecedo-Garcia writes this article in the publication “The Hill” alongside Richard Besser, the president and chief executive of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the article, families throughout the nation relied on monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit in order to feed, clothe and safely house their children. The article elaborated that the credit expansion was from two thousand dollars to $3,600 dollars for children under six years old, and from two thousand dollars to three thousand dollars for children aged six to 17. The article cited that this expansion had a drastic impact on the state of impoverished families throughout the expansion. There was a 24 percent reduction

in families that reported struggling feeding their families, and a 30 percent reduction in child poverty rates, according to the article. The article also stresses that the assistance from this act is crucial since families of color, children, and low-income households have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, which was then later tied in to the broader idea that policy choices similar to the expiration of the expanded child tax credit can lead to higher rates of chronic disease and shorter lives in the aforementioned populations, according to the article.

Despite the expiration of the program, the article stresses that the expansion provides a glimpse into the policies that can be used to reduce childhood poverty, and that a longer-lasting expansion should have even more dramatic effects on the population. Specifically, the article cites various studies that project a reduction of childhood poverty by 40 percent if the expansion laster for a year or longer. Moreover, the article claimed that even though expansion of the Child Tax Credit is a step in the right direction, no sin-

gle policy would be able to eradicate poverty by itself. Instead, the article state that other interventions such as a permanent increase in the supplemental nutrition assistance program should have a high impact on impoverished families as well, and also by taking advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit as well. The article concludes by acknowledging the difficulties of securing a temporary extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit, though the rest of the article affirms that this is an ideal that we should strive towards.


February 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 5

Brandeis Fencing remembers Parry, Riposte! By Vincent Calia-Bogan special to the hoot

Brandeis, as we all know, has many longstanding and proud traditions. Believe it or not, sports are one of them. Now, we had the good sense to sack the football program long ago. No, I’m talking about a pillar of the student body of Brandeis: Fencing. There is perhaps no more Brandeisian sport than fencing (even I fence epee! If you’re on the team and reading this, hmu). I’m here to tell you that Brandeis had a couple meets recently– Jan. 22 and Jan. 30– and what you need to know about them. Quick overview on fencing, for the uninitiated: there are three blades. Saber, Epee and Foil. Saber is all about reflexes and slashing— anywhere on the upper body and head is fair game. It’s the fastest of the blades, and the only one in which stabbing at someone usually isn’t a good idea. For the 1.5-ish years I fenced saber, half the time I didn’t know what hit me. Epee, on

the other hand, is all about stamina (which we all have plenty of, thanks to the Raab steps). Stamina, and surprise, that is—though many claim it is the slowest blade, a quarter of a second can be the difference between a touch and a miss. Epee is also a stabbing sport. Another thing: anywhere is the target area. Head (ehh), chest (no), arm (good), wrist (better), foot (if you feel like being a jerk), crotch (if you want to get carded and thrown out). It’s also the blade I’ve fenced for around three years now, and I quite enjoy it. Foil, on the other hand, will have no part in the savagery of saber and decidedly uncivilized nature of epee. Foil is a blade that prizes being light on your feet and quick to flick your wrist to get a touch; but being accurate lest you hit off target area. It is also a stabbing weapon. The only target area is the torso, and there are about a million rules to go along with it. Most of them are pretty straightforward, but Foil is unique in its obscurities and nuances (which at least one person on the team has usually mem-

orized). I’ve tried foil, but I’ve never been able to shake my saber-esque reflexes and therefore haven’t found much success. The home meet on the 22nd was decidedly alright. The Judges fell to MIT at the start of the day, but the women’s foil squad performed heroics with a 7-2 win. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for the women’s team—suffering a 12-13 loss—and the men were soundly shut down, 11-16. However, Brandeis men have a proud reputation of carrying on no matter what, and that’s exactly what they did against Brown, edging out a 14-13 win. Saber and Epee found 7-2 and 5-4 wins respectively. Unfortunately, the Brandeis Women’s team was beaten in a rough 22-5 loss against Brown. Brandeis Women found much more success against club teams from Dartmouth, beating 17-8, though an incomplete Dartmouth Saber roster did play a small role (not enough to influence the decision of the set). The Brandeis men, on the other hand, echoed the women’s performance from the previous round against

Brown, suffering a frosty 22-5 loss. Eager to redeem themselves, the Brandeis Men’s team found some of that legendary Brandeis stamina to pull off a 21-6 win against Vassar. Unfortunately, the Women’s team ate a 16-11 loss. The Saber team, happy as ever to pull some more heroics, pulled out a notable 6-3 win. The Brandeis men, looking to end on a high note, soundly beat BC 16-11. The Epee squad had their day, winning 7-2. The Foil squad won 5-4. The Brandeis Women’s team, doing their best, suffered a 19-8 defeat. The heroes of the day were undoubtedly the 2 members of the Brandeis Women’s Saber team, fencing nonstop without a full team. Overall, the Brandeis men’s team went 4-1 and the women’s team 1-4. The meet on the 30th against NYU was tough. TL;DR, we lost. Brandeis women lost their first set 15-12 and their second 19-8. The men lost 18-9 in their first set and were humbled by a 22-5 loss in their second set. As bleak as it sounds, and it is, some Brandeis spirit did show through: the

Tom Brady actually retires

By Justin Leung editor

Whether you hated or loved him, everyone can agree that Tom Brady’s retirement is going to change the landscape of the National Football League (NFL) forever. On Feb. 1, Brady announced on his Instagram that he was retiring from football. He commented on how he believed the sport required “100% competitive commitment” and that he was done with that competitiveness. The rest of the post was thanking friends, family, fans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Interestingly, his original post did not make any comment toward his former team, the New England Patriots. However, he later made comments regarding the Patriots and Bill Belichick. Brady retired as possibly the greatest NFL player and one of the greatest American athletes of all time. The number of accolades that he has built up over the years is almost incomparable. According to Pro Football Reference, Brady had 15 Pro Bowl nominations (but he rarely went cause he was con-

stantly still in the playoffs), three All-Pro selections, seven Super Bowl wins, three Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, five Super Bowl MVPs, a Comeback Player of the Year Award and two AP Offensive Player of the Year Awards. He is also the all-time leader in passing yards, passing touchdowns, completed passes, playoff wins, Super Bowl wins and Super Bowl appearances. These are not the only categories, however just these alone are incredible. Brady has more Super Bowl wins than any NFL franchise. After leaving the Patriots for the 20202021 season, Brady continued his playoff success with a Super Bowl win in his first year with the Buccaneers. This feat further established his dominance as it was clear that the team was not completely determining his success. There have been many moments in Brady’s career that NFL fans will remember forever. In 2017, the Falcons famously blew a 28-3 lead to the Patriots, as Brady led one of the greatest comebacks of all time. There was the game winning drive that sent MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs home in

overtime in 2019. Most recently, Brady led the Buccaneers to their first ever Super Bowl in franchise history in 2021. There’s the tuck rule, the deflate gate and many more moments in his career that make his career crazy and great. He went from being a sixth-round draft pick in the 2000 NFL draft, to one of the best of all time. In 2001, Brady took over for an in-

jured Drew Bledsoe for the Patriots. Brady never looked back as he went to the Pro-Bowl in his first season as a starter and won a Super Bowl in his first season as a starter. Although many fans may be happy with Brady’s retirement, it’s not because he was bad, but rather he was too good. Brady dominated many teams during his time with the Patriots and his constant

women’s Saber team (that team, who were so heroic at the previous meet) won 6-3 in their second set. Women’s Epee won their second set 5-4, and the men took home their lone win of the day in the form of a 5-4 epee match. Clearly, the Brandeis fencing team has met a couple of challenges in the form of these meets. That being said, they seem determined to put their best foot forward, and I have no doubt that they’re training hard for the Duke invitational on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13. If you ask me, every Brandeis squad has the potential to be brilliant. I’d advise you to keep an eye on Men’s Epee, and to keep especially close watch on Women’s Saber. We may be down, but we are far from out, and from my experience, a squad can be entirely transformed in the space of two weeks. Blink, and you’ll miss it (PSA: closing your eyes during a bout is generally not a good idea). When the Duke meet happens, we’ll be sure to let you know how this pillar of Brandeis culture is holding up against their foes.

trips through the playoffs did not help. As fans rejoice, people begin to ask whether there is ever going to be a new Tom Brady? Although certain quarterbacks such as Mahomes and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen appear to possibly have the talent to do so, nothing will ever beat being a sixth-round draft pick and ending as the greatest of all time.


Swimming defeats Gordon in senior meet By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

The men and women’s swimming and diving teams celebrated their seniors in a competition against Gordon College, on Friday, Jan. 28. The men’s team won with 130 points against Gordon’s 47, while the women’s team finished with a score of 160-76. The seniors were honored before the meet began, with their teammates sharing their memories about each senior. On the men’s side, Benton Ferebee ’22 won the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 24.85. Brendon Lu ’22 won the 50-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard breaststroke with a times of 26.94 and 58.81, respectively. James

Barno ’23 finished first in the 100 yard freestyle, with a time of 53:82, as well as the 200 yard freestyle, with a time of 1:52.33. Fischer Caplin ’25 finished first in the 1650 yard freestyle with a time of 17:43.93. In the 200-yard medley relay team Jonathan Ayash ’22, Ferebee, Lu and Sean Riordan ’22 won with a time of 1:43.09; they also won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:34.52. Riordan also placed second in the 50-yard backstroke with a time of 26:18.On the women’s side, Gabriela Mendoza ’22 won the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 5:53.47. Olivia Stebbins ’22 won the 50-yard breaststroke and the 100-yard breaststroke with times of 34.07 and 1:15.29, respectively. In the 200-yard freestyle relay Abbie Etzweiler ’22, Mendoza, Rebecka Sokoloff ’22 and Steb-

bins finished first with a time of 1:57.98. Sokoloff also placed second in the 500-yard freestyle. In the 50 yard backstroke Monica Iizuka ’24 placed first, with a time 28.01, with Aubrey Cheng ’25 fin-

ishing second and Ema Rennie ’23 finishing third. Rennie finished first in the 50 yard freestyle. In the 100 yard butterfly Chloe Gonzalez ’25 finished first with a time of 1:04.20.

The Judges return to the pool on Thursday, Feb. 10 for the University Athletic Association conference championships.



The Brandeis Hoot

February 4, 2022

Track and Field compete against BU and Tufts By Francesca Marchese staff

The Brandeis University track teams competed at Tufts University in the 2022 Branwen SmithKing Invitational and Boston University to compete in the Terrier Classic on Sunday, Jan. 30. The Brandeis women’s track and field squad had a seventh-place finish overall, with a trio of second-place finishes on the day; the men, on the other hand, set some personal records at both BU and Tufts. Sophomore runner Alya Campbell ’24 placed second in the 60-meter hurdles. She finished her heat in 9.89 seconds; in the finals, she finished in 9.97 seconds. Victoria Morrongiello ’23 placed second in the 600-meter run in 1:42.26; she finished four seconds behind first place, and four seconds ahead of third. Devin Hiltunen ’23 competed in her second meet of the season and placed fourth overall in the 60-meter dash. She ran 8.16 in the prelims and 8.13 in the finals; Hiltunen was only 0.01 seconds shy of her lifetime best in that event. Kayla DiBenedetto ’25 finished 0.59 seconds ahead of the sixthplace finisher, landing in fifth

in the 800-meter run; DiBenedetto completed her race in 2:31.22. Hannah Bohbot-Dridi ’25 placed seventh in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:07.81. In addition to Campbell and Morrongiello’s impressive second-place finishes, the Judges 4x200-meter relay squad placed second, as well. Anna Touitou ’22, Campbell, Bohbot-Dridi and Hiltunen ran a time of 1:50.08. The Brandeis women’s track and field team added a half point to their overall score in field events as Smiley Huynh ’24 tied for eighth place in the pole vault competition with a height of 2.95 meters. Overall, the women’s squad scored 35.5 points at the 2022 Tufts Branwen Smith-King Invitational. At the Boston University Terrier Classic, Reese Farquhar ’22 recorded a personal record with 7.18 seconds in the 60-meter dash; nearly shaving a 10th of a second off of his previous record. Farquhar finished second overall in the Non-Invitational 60-meter, as his time was consistent in both the prelims and the finals. Jamie O’Neil ’22 also recorded a new personal record in the 400-meter dash, shaving 0.09 off his previous personal best, recording a time of 51.57 seconds; O’Neil

finished 47th overall and fourth among D3 runners. Both O’Neil and Farquhar also set personal best times in the 200-meter dash. Farquhar placed sixth among D3 runners with a personal record of 22.69 seconds, and 44th overall, while O’Neil placed 70th overall with a time 0.42 seconds better than his previous career best. Samuel Kim ’24 was additionally successful at BU, running the 800-meter dash in 2:00.85 seconds, placing 90th overall and 14th among D3 runners. The other half of the men’s track and field team found success at Tufts University, finishing in eighth place among 10 scoring teams. The 200-meter dash was the most prolific scoring event for the Judges, as three runners earned points. Parker Jones ’24 placed fourth in 24.05 seconds, a collegiate best for him, while Dean Carey ’25 placed sixth in 24.03 seconds; Carey was also successful in the 60-meter dash, running a personal best in the prelims and finals. Young Wang ’24 finished the 400-meter dash in 55.76 seconds, landing him in seventh place in the event. In field events, the Judges dominated with three scorers in the triple jump. Lin Lin Hutchinson ’25

set one of two career-bests on the day, leaping 11.71 meters, placing him sixth overall; in the long jump event, Hutchinson placed seventh with 5.54 meters. In the triple jump, Jones took seventh place, jumping 11.52 meters, and Ori Slotky ’24 placed in the triple jump with 11.47 meters under his belt. Not to be outdone was Thomas Vandalovsky ’23 who threw a great distance of 13.53 meters in the 35-pound weight throw.

Placing fourth in the 4x400-meter relay was a team composed of Campbell, Wang, Simon Goode ’25 and Carl Nie ’25; they finished with a time of 3:40.91. Both the men’s and women’s Brandeis track and field teams return to action on Saturday, Feb. 5 at the Tufts Cupid Invitational. Editor’s note: Victoria Morrongiello is the news editor at The Hoot and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.


Casanueva Dazzles as Judges get First UAA Win By Jesse Lieberman staff

After scoring a season-low three points last Friday in a 6943 loss to Emory, guard Camila Casanueva ’22 was looking to bounce back. Casanueva certainly did that, scoring a game-high 21 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, as the Judges knocked off the University of Rochester 66-59 on Sunday for their first University Athletic Association (UAA) win of the year. The Judges are now 6-10 and 1-6 in the UAA this year. Friday, Jan. 28: Emory 69 – Brandeis 43 Emma Reavis ’23 scored a career-high 16 points and Kerry Tanke ’22 scored 11 points, but it wasn’t enough as Emory outscored Brandeis 19-11 in the second quarter to cruise 69-43. Tied 6-6 following a Tanke jumper with 6:54 left in the first quarter, Emory went on a 7-2 run

before Reavis made a layup and got fouled with 3:54 to go. The Eagles answered with six straight points to take a 19-11 lead. The Judges closed the quarter by scoring four of the game’s next six points to enter the second quarter down 21-15. The six-point deficit was the closest Brandeis would get the rest of the way. The Eagles played stifling defense, forcing 20 Brandeis turnovers. The Judges shot just 30 percent from the field, their lowest mark this season. Outside of Reavis and Tanke, no Brandeis player had more than four points. Sunday, Jan. 30: Brandeis 66 – Rochester 59 The Judges used an early fourth-quarter run and made their free throws down the stretch to hold on to defeat Rochester 66-59.Leading 46-44 entering the fourth quarter, the Judges scored the first seven points of the period, six of which came from Casanueva. The Yellowjackets responded with an 8-0 of their own to cut

the Judges’ lead to 53-52, capped by two foul shots from Rochester forward Julianna Okoniewski with 3:58 remaining. But on the ensuing possession, Casanueva drilled a three, extending the lead to four. The Yellowjackets did not get within three points the rest of the way. The Judges defense held Rochester to just 31 percent shooting, which included 1-of-20 on 3-pointers. Offensively, the Judges shot 39 percent from deep, their best since Nov. 20 against Tufts. Despite shooting 4-of-11 in the fourth quarter, the Judges went 11-of-16 from the foul line. The Judges did an outstanding job taking care of the ball in the second half, committing only three turnovers after coughing it 14 times in the first half. In addition to her scoring, Casanueva had a team-high eight rebounds. Tanke contributed 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while guard Francesca Marchese ‘23 connected on three 3-pointers. Center Casey Perry

‘24 grabbed six rebounds off the bench. The Judges return to Red Auerbach Arena to host Emory and Rochester this weekend. The Judges will face off against Emory on Friday, Feb. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and play Rochester on Sunday, Feb. 6 at 2:00 p.m.. More information

about the team including schedule changes and team statistics can be found at brandeisjudges. com Editor’s note: Francesca Marchese is a staff member at The Hoot and did not contribute to the writing of this article.


Men’s basketball ends January with a win By Justin Leung editor

To end off the month of January, the Brandeis men’s basketball team faced off against Emory University and the University of Rochester. Both games were decided by less than 10 points as the Judges ended up getting a win and a loss to end the month. The game against Emory on Jan. 28, was full of offense. Emory started off with eight straight points to the Judges zero. Guard Colin Sawyer (GRAD) got the team on the board with a jump shot. However, the Judges remained down for the first 10 minutes of the game, as they were down 12-24 with a little over 10 minutes to play in the half. In the next two minutes, Brandeis went on a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to three. The two teams battled for the rest of the first half before

ending with a score of 44-37 in favor of Emory. Sawyer led the team in points for the first half with 10. Forward Nolan Hagerty ’22 also had nine points and three rebounds in the first half. The second half again started with the Judges not getting points on the board as Emory started with a quick 6-0 run to make the deficit 13 for Brandeis. Ultimately, the Judges would not be able to mount a full comeback in the game as the score ended at 73-85. Sawyer had a season high of 26 points with three three-pointers made. This brought him to 200 career three pointers made. Hagerty had 11 points, two blocks, two steals, two assists and five rebounds. Senior forward Chandler Jones ’22 played very well off the bench with 11 points and seven rebounds. In a short stint, freshman forward Toby Harris ’25 had six points from two three-pointers.

Two days later, the Judges faced Rochester and started the game differently to their game against Emory. Guard Dylan Lien ’23 had seven points in the first four minutes as he led the team to a quick 10-1 start. The team’s offense stalled for a few minutes before Hagerty got the team going again with a dunk on an assist by forward Tommy Eastman (GRAD). Brandeis maintained a lead for 15 minutes of the first half before a few misses turned into momentum for Rochester. After giving up the lead, the Judges would not take it back before the end of the half as Brandeis was behind 2732. Following half time, the two teams were neck and neck for the entire half. With a minute left to play, the two teams were tied at 57-57. Brandeis took the lead on an Eastman free throw. A few seconds later, Eastman would come up with a steal, which led

to a three-pointer from Sawyer. The team turned around to play defense and Sawyer came up with the steal leading to two free throws from Lien. Rochester cut the lead to four on a jump shot before Jones came in for the block to deny Rochester from a layup. Eastman and Lien made free throws to close out the game as Brandeis defeated Rochester 66-

61. Lien led the team in scoring with 16, while Eastman had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sawyer had 14 points and two three-pointers. Hagerty came off the bench and scored 12. The Judges look to take this momentum into the weekend as they face Emory and Rochester for a second time.



February 4, 2022

John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk

Logan Ashkinazy Emma Stott

Victoria Morrongiello

Vimukthi Mawilmada Roshni Ray

Stewart Huang Caroline O

Cyrenity Augustin Lucy Fay Rachel Rosenfield

Mia Plante

Cooper Gottfried

Justin Leung

Anya Lance-Chacko

Grace Zhou

Abdel Achibat Thomas Pickering Madeline Rousell

Volume 20 • Issue 3 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Sam Finbury, Sarah Kim, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Abigail Roberts, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, and Alex Williams

MISSION As the weekly community student newspaper of Brandeis University, The Brandeis Hoot aims to provide our readers with a reliable, accurate and unbiased source of news and information. Produced entirely by students, The Hoot serves a readership of 6,000 with in-depth news, relevant commentary, sports and coverage of cultural events. Recognizing that better journalism leads to better policy, The Brandeis Hoot is dedicated to the principles of investigative reporting and news analysis. Our mission is to give every community member a voice.

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elcome back to in-person classes! We know everyone is eager to get back to learning in person, after nearly two years of hybrid/online classes, and we are just as eager too. However, we are also cautious about diving right back into in-person learning. We are all extremely happy to be back to in-person classes. We have all noticed an improvement in the quality of our classes, and we enjoy the fruitful discussion that now happens in place of the awkward silence in breakout rooms when people’s cameras are off. Also, ITS has been amazing with troubleshooting technical problems this first week, ITS workers have been stopping into classrooms to ensure professors are not having any technical issues with recording lectures or working monitors. That doesn’t go unnoticed by us and we are happy to be getting back towards that normal. While it is lovely to see campus full again and be able to run into friends and professors almost like we are back to preCOVID-19 times, we now find ourselves in the situation with the old issues that we used to have to worry about on-campus. Dining halls are as overcrowded as ever, classes are crammed, the block schedule is inconvenient; all of this is happening while students have to adjust their schedules back to accommodate non-virtual life. Some of our editors spent over thirty minutes in line just

to get food and have had to adjust schedules to factor in commuting to campus. The 10 minutes in between classes is not a sufficient amount of time. While Brandeis isn’t a large campus to navigate, a lot of professors do not actually end their classes on time, which means that we get out of class a few minutes late. This cuts down your commute time from 10 minutes to five. If you have class on the other side of campus, tough luck because you will not get there on time. To make this better, our old problems are back all while COVID-19 issues still persist: we have experienced students not coming to classes in masks, which is just unacceptable and against university policy. Yet the students did not face any repercussions for not wearing a mask. Also, the fact that students are back to being crammed into tiny classrooms doesn’t help people feel comfortable. Classes with a capacity of 20 people are shoved into a tiny room where students sit shoulder to shoulder around one table. We are happy to be getting back towards normal but at the same time we realize we are still in the thick of this pandemic, just coming out of the woods of the Omnicron variant which did impact our campus. It's nice to be back to the in-person setting but it feels as though people have forgotten that the pandemic is still happening. The safety precautions in place last year to prevent the spread of COVID-19, have

The Brandeis Hoot 7

somehow vanished. No passports are being checked when entering classrooms, no one is cleaning surfaces of desks and social distancing is a thing of the past apparently. We want to be back in person, but we have to consider whether what we want is the practical and safe options for maintaining the health and wellness of our community members. We want to take a moment to also remind students to take care of themselves. While moving back to in-person your schedule is going to change. You may need to wake up earlier in order to eat breakfast and not just two Altoids. Getting up earlier means having to go to bed earlier, which is a nearly foreign concept after being accustomed to just rolling out of bed and onto a Zoom class. Also, make sure you have time to take a break in the middle of your day to have a snack or take a nap. A lot of students didn’t factor in meals or commuting when making their schedule because it wasn’t a concern when everything was online. We have been lucky in one regard with having online classes, it's easy to do work up until you have to jump online, you don’t have to actually physically get yourself anywhere. But that’s not the way life is, it’s just hard to remember that the past 18 months are not, in fact, normal. We are excited to be getting back to normal, but remember, we are still far away from being there.

8 The Brandeis Hoot


February 4, 2022

Interview with business program leadership By Cooper Gottfried editor

The chair of the Brandeis University’s business program, Daniel Bergstresser, sat down with The Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the business program, it’s future and himself. This interview is the first in a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of different academic departments and programs at Brandeis. Why did you choose to teach at Brandeis? Brandeis has an unusual combination of a small size and research intensity. So it combines many of the things that are great about a larger research university with the things that I like about a small liberal arts college. So, that combination is attractive. What is your favorite class to teach? I don’t have one favorite class to teach. I enjoy variety, so I enjoy teaching a range of things. When I teach graduate students, I tend to teach a class called “Fixed Income Markets,” which is a class on how bond markets work. When I teach undergraduates, I teach “Introduction to Finance” and that’s also fun. So I think they’re both fun. It’s fun to do both. If you could teach any class in any discipline, what would it be? I think I would probably teach a class that is a lot like my “Introduction to Finance” class, but that would be a couple of semesters

[in length] and would be able to move more slowly and do things in more detail. Undergraduate finance is really fun to teach. I think that if you gave me a magic wand to wave, I would take the class and I would take the same structure, but I would draw it out over a couple of semesters. There’s a lot that I think goes by very fast and I would take the time to actually go in great detail into things. Something that I’ve never taught before that would be fun for me to teach, but that maybe I wouldn’t be able to find anybody interested in, might be something like the economics and business of athletics and sports. I think I might irritate students with my grumpiness about a lot of the deals that municipalities give to build stadiums, I think a lot of those deals are pretty outrageous deals. So it would be a sports economics and sports business class from somebody who’s a little grumpy about some of the sweetheart deals that sports owners get. What do you think that the business program does right? We deliver on the mission of being a liberal arts business degree. We get right exposing students to the whole range of business disciplines. I think we do right making sure our students are exposed to things outside of the narrow business discipline. The business society courses, I think we do that right. In order to measure in business, you have to take [courses] not just within the narrow business disciplines, but you have to

take a range of courses from outside of purely business, more of a “business in society.” Is there anything that you think the business program does wrong? I’ll tell you something that we used to not do that we’re doing now that I’m very glad we’re doing now. We have just introduced a business communication class which involves writing and speaking. And I think that that is a huge upgrade over where we were before. So I think that’s something where we were doing it wrong. If you had been interviewing me a year ago, I would’ve said I think we need to upgrade that. The change that I would make now [is that] I think we need to slow down some of our instruction in the quantitative disciplines. I think finance and accounting are perceived as very hard classes, and I think we would do better if we slowed those courses down. I would want to deepen what we do and also make it not as much of a rapid, forced march through a lot of material. I think that that takes some of the joy out of learning it. [I’d want to] go at a pace that is more reasonable for the instructor and for the students. What do you wish that students knew about the business program? I wish students knew how important it is as a business major to engage very early with [the] Hiatt [Career Center] and the job search side of things. Like I think if I could stand on a platform

and tell everybody something, it would be, “what you do in the classroom is going hand-in-hand with looking for a summer internship that is a complement to what you’re doing in the classroom.” These things work together and build on each other. So I would try to highlight for our students how important that side of things is, because our students are very strong in the classroom, and I think that being aware of when recruiting starts for the roles that many of our students turn out to be interested in, [because] recruiting starts very early. You have to start from the end, you have to say, “well, if you wanna be getting a job in field X when you’re graduating, you kind of need to do an internship in that field.” The competition for those internships starts very early, so you need to start thinking concretely about these things pretty early. If you could tell all the business students one thing, what would it be? I think I’d say we understand how weird the last couple of years have been during the coronavirus [pandemic]. It’s been a weird couple years for all of us. So I think I would wanna say “one human being to another, these are weird times man.” Why is there an application for this major? When the program started, there was a limit put on the size of the program. We have to run the program in a size-limited way, there’s a limit on the size.

How has the business program changed over time? Most business majors are double majors and the set of double majors that people are doing is drifting a little over time in the direction of computer science. So I think that maybe 10 years ago, I’d have to go back and get some numbers on this, but the business-computer science combination was probably not as common as it is today. So I think that combination changes some of the interests of the students … I think people have always been kind of interested in finance, but I think that especially with the explosion of interesting things to do related to financial technology, I think there’s just also interest. … [Additionally,] adding business communication is a big deal. I think we’re trying to do more across the curriculum to make sure that students can write and speak. One thing that’s really important to me … the first chair of the [business] program was Ed Bayone. I’m the chair of the program now, but I think what we’re doing is I think we’re very consistent with the vision that Ed had when he was leading the program for 10 years. I took over from him, but I think that we are executing, we’re doing things that are evolving, but I think that it is consistent with what was a very powerful vision that he had. Is there anything that you wish the students knew about you? No. *laugh*

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February 4, 2022

First two weeks of grab-and-go dining By Jenny Zhao Special to the hoot

Due to the university’s protocol towards COVID-19 prevention, along with all the classes being online, both Sherman and Usdan closed their dining areas and became grab-and-go only in the first two weeks of school. This untraditional college dining experience concerns both the returning students and the incoming midyears who just had their first exposure to college dining. Suddenly, those students who used to find their comfort spot in the dining area were lost as new problems arose: What to eat? Where to eat? The white plates and silver tableware disappeared, all kinds of boxes—white paper boxes for kosher, round containers for soup, plastic green boxes for everything else—came into place. There is no peak lunch and dinner time when seats are barely found, but students holding handfuls of boxes can always be spotted wandering around the campus. According to The Brandeis Hoot’s investigation, numerous students showed dissatisfaction with the new policies of the dining halls. One of our major findings is that students are often unable to estimate how much food they would eat at one time. Chris Tian ’24 told The Hoot that he found it hard for himself to get the appropriate amount of food using the grab-and-go boxes. In the

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Amidst the lockdowns, isolations and quarantines there is “We ‘B’ Wellness,” which is a “one month fitness challenge open to the entire campus,” according to Andrew Vaistas, Assistant Director of Athletics. The challenge runs from Jan. 23 to Feb. 18. “Undergraduate students, grad students, faculty and staff are all encouraged to download the We The Jury rewards app, participate in intramural, fitness and wellness activities, and earn points to spend in the app’s prize store, much like the regular ‘We the Jury’ rewards program that runs continuously throughout the year,” Vaistas told The Brandeis Hoot in an email interview. Participants are able to earn points in various ways throughout the challenge. There are numerous virtual or in-person group fitness classes and intramural sports activities offered throughout the duration of the challenge. Participants are also able to check-in at Gosman when they work out or utilize activity spaces. Points are also being awarded for attending varsity athletic events in conjunction with the We The Jury program. A 30 point sign-up bonus with the code “WELLNESS22” is also available. Some of the prizes include gift cards, JBL speakers, Brandeis Judges gear and speciality mugs, among other things. “There will also be “We ‘B’ Wellness” prize drawings each week, and a grand prize winner will be crowned at the end of the challenge on Feb. 18,” added Vaistas. The outcome that athletics

past, students could always start with one plate of food and then go back to get more as they needed. However, since students are not allowed to stay in the dining halls now, they are unable to start with a small amount of food and come back later. Tian stated that for this reason, he often grabbed more than he could actually finish and sometimes ended up in food waste. The design of the green boxes is sometimes problematic for students. The separators inside the box sometimes do not have any effect—it is still easy to mix the sweet and salty food altogether in one container. Another phenomenon that The Hoot remarked was that people were leaving green boxes in the hallway of their dorm. Bella Doullas ’24 told the Hoot that with the heat inside the room, the boxes would smell bad so quickly that she had to leave them out of her room. However, she got notified by a passing AC one time that the boxes were not allowed to be put in the hall. To address the concerns of the students and to eliminate possible food waste in the future, the Hoot contacted Michael Reilly, the Resident District Manager of Sodexo. According to Reilly, Sodexo has not observed an increase in food waste this semester. However, since people are eating at different spots on campus and might dump the leftover food at different locations, it also makes Sodexo harder to track food waste. Reilly also points out that each

green box can hold approximately two pounds of food, which he hopes sustains what each person needs to consume. To take care of those who might have allergies and prevent the mix of tastes, Sodexo also has different containers designated for different stations. “Students can take any foods from any of the stations and we often see students filling up their compostable container and then getting separate food from Simple Servings, our soup station,” Reilly said, “or the Kosher side of Sherman.” Reilly’s resolution towards the smell of the green boxes inside the room is “the students should bring their used containers back to the dining halls when they are done eating and we can provide them with a token that they can use to exchange it for a clean container when needed,” and he does not suggest them to leave the boxes inside the hall. The dining hall seating has reopened starting on Feb. 1, as in-person classes resume. Although the university announces that “seating in dining halls will be offered at reduced capacity to allow for more distancing and reduced density” and “grab-and-go is still encouraged when possible,” The Hoot will continue to observe new patterns of campus dining.

hopes for the most is participation. “We are hoping that the “We ‘B’ Wellness” program brings more awareness to fitness and wellness offerings on campus, and gets our community more excited about those offerings. Our goal is to get as many people down to Gosman to try any activity, whether they are participating in an intramural event, attending a fitness class, working out or utilizing fitness areas or watching a varsity game,” Vaistas told The Hoot. “We ‘B’ Wellness” started in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The athletic department had created a robust schedule of virtual events for the campus community to participate in while social distancing, and the “We ‘B’ Wellness” program was launched to promote and incentivize those wellness activities,” explained Vaistas. Exercising regularly has a positive impact on physical and mental health, so the department decided to create extra encouragement for the Brandeis community to get physical activity. “We wanted to make sure that the campus community knew about the resources and offerings available on campus— both virtually and in person in Gosman. The “We ‘B’ Wellness” challenge is a way to make participating in wellness events more fun, exciting, and rewarding!” The intention is to make this an annual challenge, encouraging and helping the Brandeis community to achieve their fitness and wellness goals every year. The classes offered include ZoomBa, Barre, Cycle, Core, TRX, HIIT and yoga, among others. All events offered can be found in the “events” tab in the

We the Jury app, which is available on the App Store or on the Galaxy Store. Organizing activities is a “team effort by multiple professional staff members in athletics. Programming is mainly organized by our intramural coordinator, Julie Mizraji, and our fitness coordinator, Kat Page,” said Vaistas. They have “worked hard to build the program, create the schedule, staff the events, purchase prizes and successfully promote the


challenge. Both have worked tirelessly to make sure that the “We ‘B’ Wellness” program offers options for everyone in the Brandeis community.” “We truly have a lot to offer, and we hope that the “We ‘B’ Wellness” program helps motivate our campus community to explore those offerings, both during the month of the challenge and beyond,” concluded Vaistas. The “We ‘B’ Wellness” challenge is run in conjunction with the


We the Jury rewards program, which was launched in 2018. The We the Jury program allows fans to check in and earn points for attending varsity athletic events and showing their school spirit. It runs throughout the entire year. You can read more about “We the Jury” in a previous Hoot article or on the athletics website; more information about “We ‘B’ Wellness” can be found on the athletics website.




February 4, 2022




Rays of sun peek through the trees outside of Pearlman

Starting the day with a smile!



View from Bretton Woods, New Hampshire



A constant mood

Masks and vaccines required at indie band Muna’s concert



Sasha digs out her car

The Brandeis Hoot 10




February 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot 11

KFC’s ‘Beyond Nuggets’ are a step in the right direction By Sasha Skarboviychuk and John Fornagiel editors

A lot of fast food joints within the last couple of years have released various versions of “beyond” or “impossible” options that are made from plant-based protein. The most notable of these include Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, which is made out of an ingredient known as soy leghemoglobin, a type of soy protein concentrate. However, KFC has recently taken a stab at plant-based meat through their release of Beyond Nuggets. These nuggets are also made out of soy and wheat proteins. However, fair warning to all vegetarians and vegans out there who are reading this: These nuggets are not vegetarian or vegan friendly whatsoever, as they are fried in the exact same oil as regular fried chicken! We are not getting into the real opinion-y part of this article yet, but I can’t help myself: What the f*ck are KFC thinking? I feel like, in America, this sort of false advertisement is just waiting for a lawsuit. The nuggets come in a green box, as opposed to KFC’s regular red packaging. They come in six pieces or 12 pieces and can be a part of a combo, which is a side and a drink. They cost $8.49, $15.99, $9.99 and $17.49 plus tax for the six piece, 12 piece, six piece combo and 12 piece combo, respectively. John

Before the food even arrived, let’s talk about the price. We decided to get the six-piece combo with fries, so it was $9.99 for both six chicken nuggets and a side of fries. Listen, I know that the inflation rate has been crazy the last couple of years, but would anybody ever seriously consid-

er paying 10 dollars for this little amount of food? Needless to say, I expected these nuggets to be huge to account for the price. Opening up the box, which is in a bright green container in contrast to their usual red box so you just know that you’re being environmentally friendly by ordering Beyond Meat, you’re greeted by six regular-sized chicken nuggets and a very regular-looking KFC fries… all for $9.99. Certainly not a value deal. Putting my pricing quarrels aside, the first few bites of the Beyond Nuggets were actually quite decent! The taste was great, the texture was a little off, but it did not bother me too much, and the breading was just the same as their meat-based chicken nuggets (I think they might literally be identical). Unfortunately, I did find the nuggets to be a little greasy in my case, which was a bit surprising, but this could be personal preference since I do not typically have a very high tolerance for grease and oil in my foods. However, I think my first couple of bites may have been particularly good pieces of Beyond Nugget. The breading of the third bite was as hard as a rock, and this was the same for many of my other subsequent nuggets. I am not exaggerating when I say I could not rip out a piece of Beyond Nugget from the rest of it! Although I eventually did get it off, I have never experienced this with their normal chicken nuggets. This begs the question: Could it possibly be a different breading recipe than the rest of their fried chicken? Or perhaps the plant-based meat did not provide enough moisture and the result was a tougher breading? Although we do not know the cause, we can certainly say that there was an unpleasant result. Overall, just strictly in terms of flavor, taste and texture, I would have to give these nuggets a five

out of 10. They certainly need some work, and they should not be approached as a chicken nugget replacement, but perhaps as a novelty item that you should give a try once just to say that you’ve tried it, and in our case review it. However, I alluded to this in the introduction, but I find myself scratching my head at what KFC’s target audience is with this item. I do not think that it is meat eaters, they would likely just pick the meat-based chicken nuggets, which are both cheaper, have similar taste and are more reasonably priced. It’s certainly not vegetarians and vegans, for two main reasons. The first reason is that I doubt many vegetarians or vegans would eat at KFC in the first place because they would be supporting an establishment that is based on serving fried chicken. The second reason, and this is the big one, is that it’s literally fried in the same oil as their regular fried chicken. Excuse me, WHAT? Are they freaking crazy? I understand that this is likely done because they do not have the money or space to afford alternative fryers, but if that’s the case, then why release an item like this at all? All this is likely to do is force unknowing vegetarians and vegans to try this “Beyond” item, and I just hope that many of them do their research beforehand.

the ways they make these nuggets; I would love to try the Beyond Nuggets in their other breadings (such as the Nashville Hot). My issue with these was the texture. I am not someone who has too much beef with food because of texture; I usually do not care about the texture of the food. But these were ridiculous. It was like chewing actual rubber; my mouth was not strong enough to comfortably chew the nuggets. There were some nuggets where I actually had to struggle to bite off a piece of the nugget. When I eat something, I do not want to be at war with my food. The final blow against these nuggets is the price point. For $9.99, you get a soda, fries and six nuggets. They are slightly bigger than their competitors’ chicken nuggets; however that is still quite little for what you get. You can get a six-piece McNugget combo for $5.79 in McDonalds or a 10-piece Nuggets combo from Wendy’s for $6.49. Hey you can even get 40 McNuggets for $16.99! (Our regular order at KFC is a spicy chicken sandwich box for $9.99, which comes with a Spicy Chicken Sandwich, three sides and a soda, and an additional Spicy Chicken Sandwich for $4.99. This is much

Sasha I do not have much of a relationship with Beyond Meat, so I was unsure what to expect coming into this. I was definitely surprised by these nuggets. The taste was not bad at all, though I think all I tasted was the breading (which was good). I definitely would not mistake it for chicken, largely because I couldn’t taste the chicken. But that really isn’t a bad thing, since I was not approaching this as a plant-based nugget, not a chicken nugget replacement. In the future, I hope KFC expands

more food per person for a smaller price). I really do not understand who KFC is trying to appeal to (probably food reviewers like us); the nuggets are cooked in the same oil as the regular chicken, so they are not actually vegetarian. So it’s not the vegetarians. If they are trying to appeal to meat eaters who are interested in getting into meat alternatives, well why the f*ck would anyone go to Kentucky Fried CHICKEN for it, and even if they do, the high price point for these is likely not going to appeal to people. This really smells like virtue signaling with nothing to back it up; basically, it’s irony all around. I don’t even know how to rate these nuggets; it’s not fair to compare them to chicken, but I also have not had any other fast food Beyond Meat nuggets, so I can’t benchmark either. So I will just say that I would not get these nuggets again. I would be willing to try them again if KFC changed the texture. If these improved nuggets were priced at a comparable price point to other nuggets, I would even eat them. But right now, I will continue eating my KFC Spicy Chicken Sandwich.


‘Euphoria: normalization or glamorization? By Anya Lance-Chacko editor

“Euphoria” is no doubt one of the most beautiful shows to hit modern screens with its cinematic visually captivating scenes and its incredibly complex characters with deep storylines, but I have concerns about the nuances in the in-betweens. This new season brought up a lot of questions for me about what the purpose of media is and how we can tell stories in the most effective way possible, but how that can be convoluted when we want people to pay attention. The first two episodes of the second season, in all honesty, disappointed me. With the long wait and the carefully crafted middle episodes I anticipated something great, but the early episodes of the second season reminded me of a lot of the potential dangers of this show. In those special episodes released between seasons, we saw how “Euphoria’s” narrative could be told with everything stripped down. A simple 40 minute episode with one setting and two characters taught us so much, but perhaps not a wide enough audience liked that. A review from The Harvard Crimson described it as “too much talking for comfort.”

Do American viewers crave shock and sensationalism at the cost of the characters’ well being—and conversely, the audience’s? TV is a tricky thing because it’s necessary to keep the audience engaged, hold them tight so they’ll watch each following episode. Therefore, we can’t see a beautiful arc of Rue’s (Zendaya) storyline in one fell swoop 90 minute story as she eventually seeks help and learns healthier coping mechanisms for her mental health issues. But at what point does “Euphoria” cross the line of normalization of issues that do exist and are prevalent in young adults, into the glamorization of them? We saw that in the month following the release of “13 Reasons Why,” there was a 28.9 percent increase in suicide rates among US youth ages 10 to 17 (National Institute of Mental Health). “Euphoria” is so much better produced and cinematic in its storytelling, but how can we make sure the depth of the message is clear to the audience it might be aimed at? I don’t believe in any way that the creators intended to condone the kind of behaviors that we see in the show’s characters, in fact I know it was loosely based on the creator’s struggle with addiction in high school. However, how can we ensure that because of the

setting of high school, youth can educate themselves about support after their struggles are brought to screen? The special episodes showed Rue talking with a mentor and Jules (Hunter Schaefer) with a therapist, but the second season dives right back into intense trauma without any resolution there. I hope that viewers can go beyond the understanding that mental health struggles are things that should be discussed and normalized, but also things that one should seek help for. On a personal note, I started watching “Euphoria” in high school and now looking back I realized how when I related to Rue’s character because of her struggles with depression and anxiety, I didn’t really take the relation as a hint to seek support, but rather that it was something that made me “interesting” and treated “Euphoria” like a tool for escapism. After some time of seeking support and finding how much better things can be my perspective truly shifted—but I don’t think I could have found that within “Euphoria’s” entrancing atmosphere. The world is complicated and the access to adequate mental health care has a truly long way to go, and today’s generation are struggling even more than any other. Yet, they’re also more open about it than any oth-

er—so how can we take that one step forward towards solutions? This brought on further questions for me. Do we need this excess of nudity, violence, sex and graphic imagery of drug abuse to convey “Euphoria’s” message? Do we have to recreate trauma for the viewers to understand it? Or is that simply a tool to keep desensitized Gen Z viewers who’ve seen everything under the sea engaged so that the creators can continue to make money? I’d like to think that “Euphoria” has proven its capability of telling the stories it needs to tell stripped down because we’ve seen that in its special episodes. We’ve also seen how absolutely captivatingly cinematic the show is, and I’d like to see them own those elements rather than profiting off of shocking ones. With the development of Lexis’ (Maude Apatow) storyline I’ve loved the creative liberties the creators have taken of playing with the idea of viewership in almost a meta-breaking-thefourth-wall kind of way. And the opening scene of the fourth episode had some gorgeous references to art and film classics (however, I think they could have excluded some for better taste rather than ensuring that every viewer got at least one reference). All in all, I’m curious to understand, at what point are creators

simply privy to what gets them views, at the cost of their own creative integrity? Or do the creators actually have a sense of integrity? I’ve been horrified and shocked to hear about some of Sam Levinson’s behaviors and responses to critiques, even by his own crew. Apparently Levinson cut Barbie Ferreira’s lines after she expressed concerns to him about the direction of her character, and there have been other rumors about actors’ lack of collaboration with the creator (Algee Smith was described as one in Elle’s article). However, on the other hand, Sydney Sweeney apparently has been quoted saying, “ I’ve never felt like Sam [Levinson] has pushed it on me or was trying to get a nude scene into an HBO show,” despite some viewer concerns about the excess of nudity, especially when all the characters portrayed are supposed to be underage. Media is an incredibly nuanced medium with lots of stories behind the scenes that viewers know nothing about, but I think it’s important for creators to think carefully about making sure the message they intend to convey is one that others will effectively hear, and grow and learn from, not simply be entertained by.


The Brandeis Hoot

February 4, 2022

Living in Grad is not the step up you expect it to be By Mia Plante editor

If you have ever wanted to live in a building where you are either too hot or too cold at all times then the Charles River Apartments—also known as Grad—are right for you! My experience living in Grad has honestly been worse than my experiences living in the two other dorms I have had at Brandeis, which, for reference, includes (a dingle in) East. While my Grad double has individual single rooms and a kitchen, the downsides far outweigh the positives. I was given the worst placement in Grad in that I am surrounded by loud people on all sides except for my roommate. It definitely doesn’t help that the walls in Grad are practically paper, but I also

By Cooper Gottfried editor

Having attended online classes during my junior and senior years in high school, and now my first year in college, I’ve developed a fair amount of ill will for them. Zoom classes bring with them many difficulties and distractions, and I’ve always found it difficult to adapt to the new challenge of attending school virtually. While I was in high school, I attended my classes from the dining room in my house. There was nothing wrong with the room, but being in my house instead of in school made focusing a constant challenge. I constantly found my mind wandering, and always felt a strong urge to go back to bed or into the kitchen to grab a snack. Some days, I would just go from bed right on to a Zoom call in-

seem to be in a position where the people surrounding me have little to no understanding of the fact that the walls are paper thin. This is awful in multiple ways. First, it sounds as though the people who live near me are living in my brain whenever they speak, which means I have pretty much no peace or quiet while in my dorm room. Additionally, if the person next to me does anything on their bed, that is against the same wall as mine, I can hear it like they’re in the same room as me. One night the person living next to me began crying and I could hear it clearly through the walls. While any person under normal circumstances would feel bad when hearing someone crying, my time in Grad has hardened me, and has made my neighbor’s emotions fuel for anger more than a reason for sympathy. This also obviously translates to my neigh-

bor’s sexual situations which luckily for me—and unluckily for them—hasn’t happened many times since I moved into Grad. I can also hear the person below me like they are the voice of God. Their voice echoes throughout the building underneath me and bounces up to my room in a spine-chilling fashion. Their laughs are like a sonic-boom and their phone conversations are long and painfully abundant. My gripe with whoever built these buildings doesn’t end at its lack of sound-proofing. In addition, the windows in Grad are extremely drafty and lack any type of insulation that could prevent rooms from becoming freezing despite the heat being cranked up all the way. There also isn’t really a way for people to move their beds anywhere that isn’t against a wall of windows, so sitting on your bed while not under the

covers is freezing. That on top of the fact that randomly the heat decides to work too well means I am either very cold or very hot while in my room. Also, the stairwells have no heat and for some reason people prop the door to my stairwell open often, even during the blizzard on Saturday! Of course I also have to address how annoying it is that Grad is off campus. This normally wouldn’t be a problem since I have absolutely no attachment to being on campus whatsoever, but given the fact that the Branvan is often rarely on time and that the tracking on Branda is super flawed means this distance has become a problem. It isn’t uncommon for people who live in Grad to be late to places or to be forced to trek to campus no matter the weather just to get to class on time. It wouldn’t be an article about hating Grad if I didn’t discuss the

number of spiders in and around this complex. When I moved in I had to make sure I removed all the cobwebs surrounding where my bed would be, and look in every corner for the huge spiders that can be seen making homes in the windows during warmer months. I still am not sure if the spiders are better or worse than East’s stink bugs, but I guess at least spiders can’t fly. I am grateful to be able to have housing, of course that is true, but based on the amount of money we are all spending on campus housing each semester we should not have to deal with such subpar accommodations. Grad, like East, needs to be seriously updated in order to make it a more enjoyable place for students to live, starting with actually building real walls and insulating the goddamn windows.

stead of showering and getting dressed like I would for in person school. These are unhealthy habits, and the lack of a dedicated learning environment that a school building normally provides caused those patterns of behavior. To prevent the persistence of these habits in college, I only do schoolwork in the library. I find that physically moving to an environment that’s more conducive to focus helps me get my work done in a timely manner. I still have trouble focusing on academics in my dorm room, and I’m sure that many people face the same problem. It’s one of the biggest complaints that I’ve heard about online classes: it’s too difficult to focus in your own room. At the beginning of this semester, Brandeis students attended classes remotely for two weeks. For many of us, including myself, this flat-out sucked. But, even though

I definitely didn’t enjoy going to classes from my dining room, I believe that Brandeis made the right choice by going remote for two weeks.The decision to hold classes remotely was passed down to students on Jan. 7 of this year. At the same time, COVID-19 cases were nearing their all-time high in Massachusetts. According to the New York Times’ stateby-state COVID-tracker, 29,163 new cases were reported that day. In my home state of New York, 82,094 new cases were reported. The same pattern was repeating itself nationwide, as 900,170 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Jan. 7, according to the New York Times’ tracker. These numbers are staggering. Brandeis’ administration was justified in delaying the return to in person classes, as this step was clearly made with the health of the Brandeis community in mind.

It appears that this move has paid off. As of the writing of this article, Brandeis’ COVID-19 positivity rate is at 0.61 percent according to the university’s COVID tracker. This number is almost 12 times lower than Massachusetts’ state positivity rate, which is 7.13 percent according to Brandeis’ Covid Tracker. It remains to be seen whether the return to in person classes will cause a spike in Brandeis’ positivity rate, but the numbers that are present just after students moved in are very promising. Other than Brandeis’ confusing policy that forces students to quarantine in their own dorm rooms, the administration’s COVID-19 plan has been working as intended, according to the most up-to-date data available at the time of writing this article. Delaying the return to in-person classes appears to have helped the COVID-19 situation

at Brandeis so far, but that doesn’t mean it was a perfect decision. For those who still arrived on campus as planned, they were greeted by limited food options and limited social interaction. For those who stayed home, distractions and less-than-ideal learning environments presented themselves as problems. But, these are minor inconveniences when compared to the possibility of getting COVID-19. I hope that as we return to in person classes, the investment of those two weeks online pays off. The delayed return was an investment to help keep Brandeis’ positivity rates low throughout the semester, and to keep everyone in the Brandeis community safe and healthy. I hope that people are reasonable with their social interactions, safe in their classes and wear their damn masks.

Spring abroad so far By Thomas Pickering editor

For everyone who studies abroad during their time at college, they all take away very different things from their very different experiences (even if they’re on the same program, too). To chronicle my adventure, and honestly for the sake of my own terrible memory, I want to share what I have been able to do while abroad in Maastricht. In an attempt to become more like a Dutchman, one of the first things I did when I arrived was rent a bike. Now first and foremost, not to gush over a European bike or anything but….This bike is so much better than the bikes I have had and seen in the U.S. Yes, I know, a typical American abroad thinking everything there is better during the first few weeks. Well, you know what I have to say in response? You’re damn right it’s better! I mean this bike is incredible. First of all, it has wheel-powered LED lights, which are super bright. When biking at night, they are as powerful as any other headlights. This really makes it easy for bikers not only to bike at all hours but also makes it easier for cars to see you.

Imagine that in Massachusetts! For those fellow bike enthusiasts out there! Imagine not being worried about getting hit by cars when biking? What a foreign thought to our minds! But the real reason as to why I am giving so much time to these bikes is because of the gears on them. Now perhaps I am not as enveloped into the world of biking as others but within my own experience I have never seen gears like these before on a bike. Rather than my seven-speed bike having seven separate gears on the rear tire, from which it switches back and forth, this bike only has two gears—one on the pedals and the other on the rear tire—which at first confused me. I thought I was being ripped off by the company—that they were making me pay more for a multi-gear bike and only providing me with a single gear bike, but in reality, it is a multi-gear bike. Acting like a continuous variable transmission in a car, this bike artificially simulates different gear sizes in the mechanism on the rear tire. This is a very niche way of saying that it only needs two gears but can act like it has seven. Now why does this matter? Well, it gives the rider tons of feedback from the bike on what gear to be in! It will not let you over shift

from fourth gear to seventh if you do not have the speed, and it will pull you into lower gears when needed for inclines! This, when biking in a city that is located in a river valley, is super helpful! But with my bike I have been able to greatly explore the city of Maastricht! My apartment sits right on the border between the newer part of the city with paved six lane roads and the older part with tight narrow cobblestone roads. So frequently I bike into town for the cafés and for classes down the cobblestone roads. One of the pastries that I have found surprisingly good is the saucijzenbroodjes, which is a sausage wrapped in a thin layer of light pastry bread. It is one of the best savory snacks to have and absolutely balances out the sweet I get from all the stroopwafels I am able to eat. On almost every corner you will never be in short supply of stroopwafels when in the Netherlands, as it is their dessert and they take great pride in it. I was even able to bike to Belgium one night as Maastricht sits right on the border! The bike is certainly the best tool for local exploring, but the train is what can take you to really different places. For my first journey outside of Maastricht, I

traveled to Cologne in Germany. When you step out of the train station, it is impossible to miss the giant cathedral because it is right in front of you. A beautiful Gothic cathedral, you cannot miss it, as it is the tallest building for miles. It also makes a wonderful landmark to help you orient yourself wherever you are in the city. Whether it be up in the old town or down by the Rhine you can always use it to know where you are. Afterwards I followed my nose and went to the museum of chocolate! I think the name is very self-explanatory when it comes to what is inside that museum. But one of

the most shocking things inside of it was an exhibit containing the written testimonies of child workers who harvested the cacao and never made it to school. A depressing but truthful reality of the world we live in—motivating myself and those I traveled with to one day work to help end those kinds of conditions. Overall, my first couple of weeks have been moving along fast with lot’s happening and classes beginning to pick up and soon, I’ll be able to speak the silly language that is Dutch! (For reference on their trains the Wi-Fi is named “Wi-Fi on de trein”).



Febraury 4, 2022

The Brandeis Hoot 13

‘Arcane’ is a beautiful show for gamers and non-gamers alike By Cyrenity Augustin editor

When I first heard about the release of “Arcane” on Netflix, I didn’t think that I would end up watching it. With it being associated with the video game “League of Legends”, I just didn’t see myself as its target audience. However, after primarily putting it on as background noise, I quickly found myself drawn to the intricate characters and precarious situations that made up the plot of the series. Even though it is based on the video game, “Arcane” sets itself up as its own series that one can enjoy even without the background knowledge. The animated show follows multiple characters from the game, including Jinx, Ekko, Vi and Viktor, to name a few, and their lives in the two cities of Piltover and Zaun, which despite their proximity to one another, butt heads frequently. The show, through beautiful visuals and intense dialogue, shows the strain of the political situation between the two cities on the various characters, and follows their evolution into the various “League of Legends” characters that players are more familiar with. Viewers get to see how their setting twists and changes them, forming neither heroes, nor villains, but people, fighting for what they call victory. As a sucker for characters (and in turn stories that make a point to show more about said charac-


ter’s various inner workings), I found that “Arcane” does a wonderful job of showing a diverse set of characters, all coming with various viewpoints and goals. Despite their differences however, they are all intriguing in their own way—from the hardened-yet-determined Ekko, to the ambitious and hardworking Viktor. Plus, the variety of relationships between these characters grow and change over the course of the show, adding another emotional layer to the story as a whole. We see relationships fracture and split apart, leaving viewers in agony and see new connections emerge that viewers can find themselves rooting for. Ulti-

mately, viewers become invested in each of their stories and want to see them through to the end. Secondly, given that “League of Legends” is a combat-centered video game, it isn’t very surprising that “Arcane” incorporates some stellar fight scenes as well. These said conflicts are spread through the series, so that if a person is getting a little bit tired of the more political side of the story, they can get their adrenaline pumping with a beautifully illustrated battle between a variety of characters. These fight scenes range from personal one on one’s to more general fights against groups. No matter the form, however, each scene is packed

with intense action and highlights the skills and weapons of choice of the various characters. Last but not least, let us not forget the soundtrack, which is an absolute banger. With songs from Imagine Dragons (feat J.I.D.), Woodkid, Bones UK and more, the show consistently has music that mirrors the intensity and beauty of the world being portrayed (and also makes for great casual listening). The soundtrack, paired with all of the other outstanding elements of the show, makes for an overall entrancing experience that leaves its mark on viewers. There are currently only nine episodes of “Arcane” out on the streaming app, and though the

show is a bit slow (the “current day” plot doesn’t start until episode four) I find myself recommending it whenever I get the chance. With a cliffhanger that left me dangling with anticipation and a strong feeling of “Oh, crap!”, the show has set up an eager fan base for when the next season drops. The characters are intriguing, the plot heart-wrenching and the music siren-like. Even if you don’t find yourself a fan of the video game that it came from, don’t let that stop you from giving it a shot. You may find that it’s right up your alley!

‘The Legend of Vox Machina’ is fan funded but not fun By Josh Lannon staff

In recent years, the world’s most famous tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons has seen an unprecedented surge in popularity, thanks in no small part to the success of live-play shows, like “Critical Role.” For those who are not immersed in the tabletop roleplaying subculture, a live-play series is simply a group participating in a roleplaying game such as Dungeons and Dragons for an audience. Liveplay series can be prerecorded or live and can be any format from a live-stream to a podcast. “Critical Role” is by far the

most popular Dungeons and Dragons liveplay series that started out as a group of veteran voice actors deciding to live stream their games. The show became more and more popular, eventually becoming the highest earning channel on Twitch. The show also has a devoted and passionate fan base who played a pivotal role in the development of an animated adaptation of the “Critical Role’s” first campaign which would become known as “The Legend of Vox Machina.” On March 4 2019, “Critical Role” launched a Kickstarter for an animated version of their first campaign. It reached its target goal within 45 minutes and in total raised over 11 million dollars for the animated series. As is evident


by the groundbreaking amount of money raised, fan support for this project was clearly fervent, and as such, fans reasonably had high expectations for the show that eventually released on Amazon Prime on Jan. 28. While the show is ultimately successful in adapting the game into an animated series, it loses a lot of what made the live-play series so special, primarily due to the limited run time and realistic limitations of animation. At the time of writing, the first three episodes of “The Legend of Vox Machina” have been released. The show follows the events and characters from “Critical Role’s” first campaign. The show follows the escapades of the adventurer group known as Vox Machina. The main cast members of “Critical Role,” Laura Bailey, Talison Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegal and Travis Willingham all voice the characters that they played in the liveplay series. The characters include the ranger Vex, the fighter Percy, the cleric Pike, the rogue Vax, the druid Keyleth, the bard Scanlan and the barbarian Grog. To the show’s credit, the voice actors all do an amazing job of making each character feel unique and interesting. A large ensemble can sometimes leave certain characters feeling underdeveloped or with overlapping personality traits. But everyone in the adventuring party is different and unique, each with their own personal problems and quirks. The first two episodes revolve around the titular adventuring party going from down-on-theirluck mercenaries to champions

of the kingdom of Tal’Dorei. These episodes feature well-animated fight scenes ranging from bar brawls to an absolutely epic showdown with a dragon. But although the voice cast and animation are really good, the show’s greatest flaw is trying to squeeze too much of everything into these first few episodes. Too many character arcs and dangling plot threads leave the main storyline feeling rushed. While the party’s exploits within the first two episodes are suitably heroic, their rapid ascension feels unearned. The main reason for the show’s poor pacing lies in its origins as a live-play series. Episodes of “Critical Role” can run anywhere between three to five hours in length. The incredibly long runtimes allow the players to really interact and roleplay with each other, while also providing ample time for plot and character development. In contrast, “The Legend of Vox Machina” episodes are limited to a 30 minute runtime. This means that the showrunners have to streamline the original story in order to adapt it into an animated series that runs under 30 minutes. As a result, the first two episodes lose a lot of what made the live play shows great. The character seems less developed and the plot is rushed and unfocused. The third episode, however, demonstrates the show still has a lot of potential. In the first two episodes, every main character gets a moment or a one liner, but no one really gets to stand out. The third episode is more plot focused, introducing the villainous Briarwood family, who are an

integral part of Percy’s tragic past. The episode is noticeably darker than the first two, and Percy gets a lot of character development. His obsession with the Briarwoods drives a wedge between himself and his party. While the other Vox Machina members still have their moments, shifting to focus on one character does wonders for the overall storyline. Despite the amazing voice cast and animation, “The Legend of Vox Machina” is ultimately weighed down by an unfocused plot and rushed storyline. The first two episodes are best viewed as pure fanservice and set-up for the rest of the series. But the third is proof that the show can be great with a more character-driven narrative. That being said, the series doesn’t have anything that really makes it stand out besides its unique origins. At the end of the day, the show was funded primarily by the fans of “Critical Role,” and therefore a lot of the show is meant to please fans. This also means that non-fans of the live-play series won’t find much in the show beyond a more or less generic animated fantasy series. However, even fans might feel a bit disappointed by the final product because it loses so much of the roleplaying and character interactions that made the original live-play show so endearing. While they managed to fit a lot into these first three episodes, “The Legend of Vox Machina” ironically lost a lot of what made “Critical Role” legendary.


The Brandeis Hoot

February 4, 2022

Want a low-commitment way to get back into reading? Try Webtoons By Jamie Trope special to the hoot

Balancing reading for fun and reading for school can be difficult, and the stress of starting a new book can be immense. However, the future for college readers is not dark; if you want to get back into reading (or get into reading at all), I highly recommend reading Webtoons. Webtoon, founded in 2004, is an app (also viewable through its website on phones) dedicated to the creation of free, online graphic web series. Each story, called a “Webtoon,” is designed for handheld reading. Webtoons are broken up into chapters called “episodes,” with art being organized to complement the vertical scrolling used on phones. The platform consists of Webtoon Original stories (artists and writers who are paid by the platform to create) and Webtoon CANVAS stories (artists and writers who publish their content to the platform independently). Webtoons typically update once or twice a week, and with each episode taking no more than five minutes to read, they are the ideal form of leisure literature for the busy college student. The stunning art that accompanies the stories may also be a nice break from the usual homework reading, further adding to the relaxing nature of Webtoons. This is not to say that Webtoons will make you tired. Rather, you will be on the edge of your seat as you read them. Webtoon has mastered the art of cliff-hangers, and I’m here for it. No matter what book genres you read, you are bound to find at least a few Webtoons to en-

joy every week. Below, you will find some Webtoons that I highly recommend looking into: “Lore Olympus” (genres: mythology, romance) (ongoing) A retelling of the myth of Persephone and Hades, in a world where the gods live with modern technologies while the mortals are still in the classical Greek age. “Lore Olympus” reimagines Greek mythology, adapting it and melding it to fit one cohesive story (to this point, not every piece of Greek canon is canon in Lore Olympus, and some details are changed entirely). The brightly-colored art style is gorgeous, and the story arcs are more dramatic than a reality television show (a high bar to clear, I know). “Heartstopper” (genre: romance, slice of life) (ongoing) Soon to be a TV show on Netflix, “Heartstopper” revolves around the life of Charlie and Nick, who meet at a British allboys school. “Heartstopper” is the ideal Webtoon for the slice-of-lifelovers out there, and the Webtoon features some of the most well-developed group of side characters I have seen in a while. Their plots are equally compelling to Nick and Charlie’s, and yet they do not overshadow or detract from the main storyline. Each character grapples with a different aspect of high school, and in all, each subplot complements the others. “Asterion” (genres: drama, sci-fi) (ongoing) What if wishing on a star could bring about real, tangible change? “Asterion” (also the name of the Webtoon’s main character) explores the lives of those who wish on stars and those responsible for granting those wishes. Granting wishes, though it may

appear like a fairytale, is not a fairytale. The wish-granting industry that “Asterion” works for grapples with its own inner power struggles, and some people make wishes they may not actually want to come true. The Webtoon explores acts of desperation made at the last second to midnight and their consequences. “The Croaking” (genres: fantasy) (ongoing) In a world where society revolves around bird species hierarchies, there is a noticeable distrust of crows. When Scra is the first crow accepted into the world’s most prestigious military academy, his roommate Ky is suspicious about where he goes every night. That’s just the start of the two’s eventual friendship, uncovering deeper secrets of their society, and what the meaning of the mysterious “Croaking.” “The Croaking” creates an immersive and modernized fantasy universe with an incredibly well thought out history. As of the time of writing this, I do not yet know what the “Croaking” is, and I am on the edge of my seat waiting to find out. “Jackson’s Diary” (genres: supernatural) (ongoing) In 1989, Jackson starts his senior year at a new high school. Despite receiving a new start, something feels amiss at school. It’s not until he meets Exer (resident popular kid) that his reality really starts to change and feel more supernatural. I love the way that the characters’ emotions are so clearly drawn; in a glance, you know exactly what is going on in someone’s head. The Webtoon plays up the mystery of what is going on in Jackson’s life while also exploring his relationships with his family and peers.

“Not Even Bones” (genres: thriller, supernatural) (ongoing) Adapted from a book trilogy of the same name, Nita lives in a world where supernatural beings are real—and who do not have the same rights as their human neighbors. Nita works for her mother, dissecting supernaturals and not concerning herself with the ethical implications until one fateful day, where she ends up on the other end of the knife. I really enjoyed book one of the original trilogy, and it has been fascinating to see two different artists visualize their takes on the book. “Not Even Bones” handles the themes of family life, humanity, friendship, and what makes a human human beautifully. (Note: this series is graphically violent at times due to its content.) “Muted” (genre: supernatural) (ongoing) A story of generational trauma and powerful magical families. Camille Severin is expected to perform a ritual to summon a demon to bring her family success on her 21st birthday, but when the ritual goes wrong, it reveals the dark underside of her family and herself. “Muted” has the perfect balance of sweet moments that get you emotionally attached to the characters and then moments of heightened tension where everything you have come to love comes crashing down. The illustrations are drawn in such a way that it almost feels as though they are moving. “Muted” focuses on the themes of family heritage and inner-personal acceptance—similar to the themes present in Disney’s Encanto. “Castle Swimmer” (genres: fantasy, adventure) (ongoing) In an underwater world filled

with oceanic life, the Beacon’s entire life is ruled by prophecy. He wanders around the depths of the waters, fulfilling each civilization’s prophecy before moving to the next. But what if he wants to choose a different course? I love how “Castle Swimmer” explores the found family trope, as well as its exploration of truth from different perspectives. “Miss Abbot and the Doctor” (genres: romance, slice of life) (completed) Doctor Marino lives a quiet life in his small town, that is, before the wild Miss Abbott arrives. A romantic comedy set in the Victorian era. “Miss Abbot and the Doctor” really reminded me of a longer version of “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, with some fantastic side plots thrown in for good measure. The illustrations are sketchy with a certain kind of warmth that draws you in. “House of Stars” (genres: fantasy, adventure) (completed) Lily lives in a boring town where nothing interesting ever happens, until young girls who stray into the forest begin to go missing. Drawn to solving the mystery, Lily finds herself on a dangerous mission, and it’s not just her world at stake—the magical world right below her feet needs saving, too. “House of Stars” is reminiscent of the everyday living and subsequent fantasy of a Studio Ghibli movie, with expansive fullscreen illustrations to top it all off. With new content added at a near-weekly rate, you will always be able to find something new and exciting. Happy reading!

‘All of Us Are Dead’ is a hopeful message to the By Caroline O editor

Zombies—the most rabid, thoughtless creatures who do nothing but bite and scratch to spread a deadly contagion—shake me to the core. I’m not kidding: I’m the type of person who, out of a mindless fear of zombies, will actually research weird natural phenomena in which some kind of zombie-ification is possible (zombie ants and spiders are a thing, apparently, and it’s terrifying). So, why did I watch the Netflix Korean drama “All of Us Are Dead,” might you ask? Because, like many kinemortophobes, I feel the need to look up zombie-related pieces of media in order to either desensitize or scare myself even more. Based on the webcomic of the same name, “All of Us Are Dead” is about a group of high schoolers facing a zombie outbreak. As their high school is ground zero, the zombie infection spreads alarmingly fast, leaving the survivors down to only a few. We mostly follow Nam On Jo (Park Ji Hoo), who’s at the bottom of the class, but surprisingly resourceful as the daughter of a fireman. She, in addition to her best friend Lee Cheong San (Yoon Chan Yeong), the cold class president Nam Ra (Cho Yi Hyun), the athletic and moral Lee Su Hyeok (Park

Solomon), as well as a handful of other classmates, all band together to survive this catastrophe. Together, they do their best to survive, using any weapon they have available: sometimes brutal force, other times even a whole classroom door. Their will to live even despite the fact their entire school is overrun is something that I personally loved most about the show. No adults to look after them, no parents to run home to, nothing—and yet these kids do so much to survive despite all of that. As such, I found myself invested in each character—except, and this is the downside of this series, the main character. Even though we follow the story through On Jo’s eyes, she’s simply not someone who I particularly found myself too invested in because the other characters are more interesting: between Nam Ra and Su Hyeok’s steadfastness, Dae Su’s humor, Cheong San’s morality and all of the slimy antagonists, On Jo is the blandest character to follow. That said, she has her moments. She’s one of the first ones to use classroom material to create some kind of ladder to move up the school buildings’ floors, and she’s also quick to offer comfort. However, On Jo also has the misfortune of having a funny loveline between Cheong San and Su Hyeok—Su Hyeok being the boy On Jo has a crush on, Cheong

San being her best friend who, unbeknownst to her, had been pining after her since childhood. Now, I’m sympathetic to teenage girls who’re probably experiencing their “first love”-type feelings, but the On Jo’s scenes regarding her love life are eye roll-worthy. I suppose this might have been some type of attempt to make On Jo a more relatable character, but in the end, it just made her seem tone-deaf and petty. Sorry about your weird love life dilemma, but we can figure that out after you survive the zombies trying to tear out your neck! Also, if your first reaction to your best friend confessing his sincere feelings for you is to whine about how you no longer have friends in the middle of a zombie apocalypse, then that’s your problem, not the others’! Furthermore, this show also felt a little undecided in where it stood with themes. Relatively early in the show, the science teacher Lee Byeong Chan (Kim Byung Chul) reveals he made this zombie virus for his suicidal son to fight back against his bullies. While the bullies of this show are absolutely ruthless (ranging between intense hazing to sexual harrassment), I couldn’t wrap my head around this motivation. Creating a humanity-wiping virus in order to have your suicidal son take revenge just seems so extreme, even for the zombie genre.

The whole message becomes even more complicated when the science teacher later goes on to say that this was all because he realized that the school system as a whole is screwed over—and he has a point! The school system is screwed up, especially in how it deals with bullies and violence—but in a MCU-esque type way, our antagonist, who has a semi-decent point, totally swings into an irredeemably awful action that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Not only that, but there’s also something unpleasant and tired about the trope of how bullied victims become literally flesh-eating monsters, even if it’s for the sake of revenge. The suicidal son becomes a zombie himself, and another bully victim Min Eun Ji (Oh Hye Soo) becomes a hybrid zombie that practically ruins an evacuation camp. Again, do I think the bully victims deserve to be a little violent in response to their awful past? Sure! But honestly, the whole “the victim turns into a monster” storyline is unsettling, and, if we’re going to have a revenge story, I would have rather those victims murder their bullies the good, old-fashioned way. All that said and done, the show is still OK. Although I still struggle with the protagonist and some of the themes, there are brighter spots, like the underlying messages about how to survive even

in the midst of a hellish world. In one touching scene, our band of students sit around the rooftop, singing around a little fire. In yet others, the students put their own lives on the line time and time again to protect the ones they care about: even the coldhearted Nam Ra, who after getting bitten by a zombie, does everything in her power to keep herself from turning—and so uses her new zombie-intensified senses to keep her friends safe. At the end of the day, these characters decide for themselves that they’ll do their best to stay alive—that even though they don’t have adults or the outside world to rely on, they must rely on themselves and, more importantly, each other. It’s a plain message, but for anyone who feels they can’t rely on adults to be upstanding and just, “All of Us Are Dead” presents a hopeful message for the youth. Even if help isn’t coming right away, you have to do your best to survive. Hold onto your morals, hold onto your friends—that’s how the younger generation is meant to keep going. And, while we’re at it, maybe also know some basic fighting skills. You never know when those might come in handy.

February 4, 2022


The Brandeis Hoot

‘The Power of the Dog:’thoughtprovoking and powerful editor

Western films have been a staple in the film industry for several decades. This means that in order to release a Western in the 2020s, it needs to be extra captivating and unique while keeping the authenticity that made this genre popular. This formula has brought the success of “The Power of the Dog,” which is now available on Netflix. Directed by Oscar nominated Jane Campion, this film is based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Thomas Savage. This film has already gotten a lot of attention by critics, including seven nominations at the Golden Globe awards and making the AFI’s (American Film Institute) top 10 film list of 2021. I watched this film with expectations based on this hype. I believe the film delivers on some of these expectations, as I expected a fantastic film worthy of critical acclaim, but some parts of the film I found to be a little slow and confusing. The location is Montana and the year is 1925. Harsh Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) and soft George Burbank (Jesse Plemons) are brothers who run a ranch. They meet Rose Gordon (Kirsten Dunst), who marries George and her odd son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who catches Phil’s attention. The Gordons and the Burbanks will shape each other in ways that will change the

By Sam Finbury staff

Despite having long languished in its comparisons to Breaking Bad, “Ozark” has always been and remains one of the most electrifying shows on Netflix. The harrowing story of an in-too-deep financial advisor and his unassuming family being forced to launder Mexican cartel money in the boonies of Missouri, “Ozark” has, over its previous three seasons, cemented itself as a nail biting masterclass in tension. The awkwardly pragmatic Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman), his ruthless wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and their foulmouthed trailer park protege Ruth (Julia Garner) are some of the most memorable and engaging protagonists of the last decade, their writing and acting deserving of a dragon’s hoard of awards. This is the part where I advise you, dear reader, to aban-

rest of their lives. However, this movie shows that what is on the surface may not be the full story and every character is multifaceted and complex. Every detail and scene in this film felt important to the background of a character. I did not love the whole story, but I appreciated a lot of it. The story was kind of slow but fascinating. There were some scenes that were just about tending to animals or masculinity show offs. While that can be a bit tedious to watch, I understood how they were important to show the characters’ personality. The film took a while to develop as characters and setting were being set up, but once it got to the middle, that is when my attention was fully grabbed. Without giving any spoilers, That is when I saw that the film was deeper than it first appeared and that there were secrets to be uncovered. There were a lot of twists and turns that caught me by surprise. This film was an interesting blend of a western, a romantic drama and a psychological drama. My favorite part of this film has to be the performances. Every actor in this gave award worthy performances. Benedict Cumberbatch owned every scene that he was in. He had a presence that made the viewer pay full attention to him. He played a cruel ranch owner whose presence brings fear in people. As the movie goes on, you see all of the emotions he is guarding in order to stand tall. You start the movie hating him

based on this harsh attitude and demeanor, but you feel pity for him by the end. Kirsten Dunst also gave a fantastic performance as well. Her role starts a little buttoned up, as she seems like an innocent restaurant owner trying to provide a nice life for her son. As the film progresses, she is seen going through an emotional rollercoaster and breakdown. From the scary presence of Phil to her succumbing to a dangerous addiction, her mental health deteriorates quickly. The journey she went on shows Dunst’s brilliance as an actress. I also have to applaud Kodi Smit-McPhee’s fascinating performance. I could not get enough of him. His character is less showy than most of the other characters, yet he was able to still make the role captivating and intriguing. He started the film as an awkward young man who seems to be weaker and daintier than all of the other men. He is just a guy who wants to be holed up in his room and work towards becoming a doctor. By the end of the film, he appears more confident and determined. He is not letting anyone get him down and he will go to great lengths to get what he wants, even if it includes causing pain. It is as if the Peter we first met was not the real Peter. I hope to see more from Smit-McPhee in the future. The book that this film is based on was written over fifty years ago and it takes place almost a hundred years ago, yet this film

don this article and binge watch “Ozark” if you haven’t already. I’m sure you can squeeze more than thirty hours of heart-pounding drama into your vice tight schedules. It’s addictive enough to warrant it. Anywho, coming off of the carnage that bookended season three, the seven episode first part of season four dropped on Netflix on Jan. 21, with the second set to release sometime later this year. Withholding half of the series’ final act is a noxious, money-grubbing ploy, but fans soldiered through with a smile for the sake of the show. Riding into this final season on the back of “Ozark’s” gilded standard of writing and acting, it suffice it to say that my expectations were atmospherically high. And they were met, to the letter. In fact, my expectations were met so exactly that I came out of this latest season feeling woefully unsatisfied. “Ozark” is still as good a show as it always has been. Nothing has

changed. And that’s the problem. After years of being only a hair away from being executed by their employers, the Byrde family have finally weasled their way into being the valued confidants of the Navarro Drug Cartel. Now, the only thing standing between the Byrdes and an end to all of their deadly debts is one last mission: to cut a deal with the FBI so that their boss, infamous drug lord Omar Navarro can live free and rich in the United States. It’s an impossible task, but after three seasons of near death experiences, it might as well be just another Tuesday for Marty and Wendy Byrde. “Ozark” is a show that understands its own strengths. The writers are experts at crafting incredibly tense, high stakes, Catch-22 situations and having the characters finagle their way to survival by sheer luck and guile. The Byrde family has spent this entire show dancing on hot coals at the gunpoint of the Cartel, talking their way



does not feel outdated. It tackles themes of love, lust, grief, masculinity, strength and courage that can still hit people today. Many old westerns like “The Dirty Dozen”, or “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” or anything with John Wayne are about crimes, violence, robberies and the pursuit of money. Not to mention a lack of complex female characters. That is what makes this film a success. Anyone can find something relatable about this film, even though it took place in the

1920s. I can relate to being an outcast, putting up walls, putting family first and trying to survive a male dominated society, and these concepts are all explored. This is not my favorite movie of the year as I was not drawn in by every moment, but I can definitely say that it is one of a kind. If you want to feel hard-hitting emotions or if you want to see a film that will make you think, go on Netflix and watch “The Power of the Dog” today.

off the executioner’s block more times than I can remember and it is consistently nerve-exhausting. However, like a world-class meal served to you three times a day, seven days a week, this formula, no matter how riveting it is, has begun to lose its flavor. This is the final season, and the Byrdes are facing the same impossible odds and deluge of wrenches in the gears that they were in season one. “Ozark” left us off with a fantastic set up; the Byrdes being given more power by the cartel, their long time ally Ruth abandoning them over her hatred for Wendy and a war looming between Navarro and the local redneck gang lead by the insane Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery). However, over the course of this season, the Byrdes are treated like the same disposable whipping boys they always are, Ruth swears no great revenge towards Marty or even Wendy and the Snells never go to blows with Navarro, Darlene remaining the same adversarial nuisance she’s always been. It’s disappointingly underwhelming. The show, seeming paralyzed when it comes sticking a toe outside the formula it’s mastered, adheres to a status quo that the story has long outgrown. In a sort of reverse pointillism, individual episodes shine in how engrossing they are, but when you look at the show as a whole, it dissolves into a litany of monotonous dots, endless problems and solutions that continue with minimal long term consequences most of the time. A lack of dynamism has always been “Ozark’s” worst affliction. While the show’s plotlines are brilliant, they have always been played out at a geologic pace, characters spending a season to go from one step in their arc to the next. Take Jonah Byrde (Skylar Gaertner) in season four, Mar-

ty and Wendy’s teenage son. In the wake of his uncle’s tragic but necessary death, Jonah spends this season coping through anger towards his parents and a rebellious streak. And that’s all he is over the course of these seven episodes: mopey, impulsive and upset, never changing his view on the tragedy or coming to any new understanding by the last episode. Same goes for Marty Byrde himself, who, while the most entertaining character on the show, has remained the same guy having a barely restrained panic attack he’s always been. This lack of dynamic character work, changing attitudes, developing power levels, building motivations episode by episode, was always present but is most noticeable in this season. Final seasons have to turn up the heat; characters have to switch around, bodies have to be stacked higher, wits have to be further at their end, otherwise the audience doesn’t feel like they’ve been on any journey with the show. Season four adds some new spice into the pot in the form of new characters, but unlike previous additions to the cast, these recent additions feel rather rote and forgettable, consisting of Navarro’s ambitious and spoiled nephew and a PI who spends the season buzzing around the Byrdes like a fly trying to find its way out of a room. Is the season bad? Of course not. It’s “Ozark.” The characters are still iconic, the episodes still induce white-knuckle stress and acting is still top shelf material. But all of this was true for the last three seasons as well. “Ozark” has always been a great show, but the fact that it refuses to be better than it’s been makes this latest season feel worse than it is.


The Brandeis Hoot

February 4, 2022

BookTok worth it or not: ‘The Invisible Life of Addie Larue’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Back by not-so-popular demand, I’m reviewing another book from BookTok. Basically, if a book gets hyped up on tik-tok, I put it on my “To Be Read” list and I review whether it was worth it or not. This week’s review will be of V.E Schwab’s book “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue.” Everyone and their mother (and their grandmother) has been talking about this book. I mean, seriously, everyone hyped up this book to be in their top reads of 2021. And I gotta say, I didn’t LOVE it. Maybe it was because of all the hype around it that I set really high expectations, or maybe I’m just a sucker for enemies to lovers, and when that didn’t happen, I was resentful. So here’s the deal. You’ve got your main character, Adeline (Addie) Larue, who is living in early 1700s France. If you didn’t know, early 1700s France wasn’t a great time to be a woman in re-

gards to having rights. Basically, a woman’s worth came from her ability to secure a marriage and bear children in said marriage. Addie doesn’t want that life for herself—because duh, she’s the main character and she wants to see the world—and she manages to get out of many marriage proposals by praying to the Old Gods. Until one day, she is forced by her parents to marry a widower in their town and raise the children he had from his previous marriage (and of course have her own as well). Terrified by this fate, Addie goes to pray to the Old Gods. Only the sun is starting to set, and of course, there is one rule about praying to the Old Gods that Addie was advised of: do not pray to the Old Gods that answer after dark. So what does our protagonist do: adhere to the advice she was given and accept her fate or pray anyway without considering the consequence? You guessed it— she prayed without considering the consequence and her prayer is answered by a, of course, hand-

some, morally grey man-demon. The man-demon wants to make a deal with her, and not prepared to bargain and blissfully unaware of the importance of semantics, Addie walks into a trap. She gives the man-demon, who will later be named Luc by Addie since he didn’t have a name, her soul and he promises her a life full of adventures and travel that she always dreamed of without ever aging or dying. If you’re reminded of the film “The Age of Adaline,” you should be. Only there is a catch to this deal: Addie is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets, unable to make her own mark on the world. And that right there is a little life lesson, kids: Semantics are important when making deals with demons after dark. There is so, so, so much potential with this plot. I was so hooked when Luc and Addie met because there was chemistry, and it would be a classic enemies-to-lovers story. But that is not the direction Schwab took it in. Instead, we meet Henry Strauss, an adorable little bookstore worker, who,

by some miracle, can remember Addie in spite of her curse. Henry and Addie are cute, and it’s nice to see Addie happy after 300 years of being forgotten. But there’s still Luc. And you find out throughout flashbacks how the dynamic in their relationship changed throughout the centuries. At one point, Addie and Luc are together, but Addie claims to Luc that he isn’t capable of loving anything, let alone her. This is a bold claim to make about someone, but Addie is convinced of it. And because she thinks he can’t love anything, they stop talking for like 30 years. We come to learn that Henry also made a deal with Luc, and this is why he can remember Addie. Only Henry’s deal was limited to one year, so his soul is set to be collected by Luc soon. After finding this out, Addie meets with Luc and makes a new deal. She will give Luc her soul and he may have her for as long as he pleases if he will let Henry be free of his deal. Luc agrees because he loves Addie, and Addie is all happy and

thinks she has the upper hand because she learned her lesson and made sure to include the phrasing “for as long as he pleases.” She believes that his infatuation with her will fade and she will be free of him, not bound to him for eternity. But I’ve got some problems with this. What if Addie was wrong? What if Luc really does love her and wants to be with her? Then what she just signed over eternity to be with him? My other problem with this deal is that we start the book with Addie running from a life where she would be trapped under a man. And she literally just sold her soul for eternity to live under a man. WHAT? WHERE DID SHE GO? And for what? To save another man? I’m sorry I just can’t get behind it. Overall, it’s a pretty good read. A slow start but can definitely finish in one sitting if you’re looking for some escapism. If you read it and like it then I guess BookTok was right, but if you read it and think meh, thank you for supporting the unpopular opinion with me.


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