The Brandeis Hoot, August 19, 2022

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Marta Kau man ’78, co-creator of the NBC sitcom “Friends,” donated $4 million to the Brandeis African and African American Studies (AAAS) program as a part of the Marta F. Kau man ’78 Professorship in African and African American Studies in June.

is endowment will support the addition of distinguished scholars with a specialization in the study of African and African American cultures and peoples and other initiatives to the Brandeis AAAS program.

e Brandeis AAAS program was established in 1969 and is one of the oldest such programs

in the nation. As described on the AAAS webpage, the program’s mission is to enable the scholarly exploration of “intellectual, cultural, economic, political, social and historical issues related to Africans and people of African descent” through courses from the humanities and social sciences.

Despite its popularity, “Friends” received backlash for an overall lack of diversity in the characters. Kau man re ected on the criticism the show recieved during the a ermath of the murder of George Floyd in 2020 and the ensuing nationwide protests. ese conversations catalyzed her decision to support Black lives by promoting the importance of Black culture and history at her alma mater, Brandeis.

In a recent interview sponsored

KAUFFMAN pg. 2

Univ. comments on how to limit the spread of infectious diseases

In the weeks leading up to students’ arrival to Brandeis’ campus, Interim Vice President for Student A airs Andrea Dine

Inside This Issue:

News: University email on Pride

and Associate Provost for Research Administration Morgen Bergman sent emails to students to share updates on the university’s response to COVID-19 and monkeypox. e emails provided recommendations on how to maintain the health of the Brandeis community.

Bergman sent an email to

students on Aug. 10 regarding the university’s response to COVID-19. Bergman mentioned that the university is adjusting its COVID-19 communication methods. According to the email, “the University is

DISEASES pg. 2

University president Ron Liebowitz invited community members to attend a dialogue with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hosted by the Association of American Universities (AAU) on May 16.

“You know from your own experience that this is the age where you pick up what you prefer and you choose when you respond to challenges and whether you do anything when you witness injustice. I would like you to choose this path. e path of the active— of being an actor,” said Zelenskyy.

In the conversation, Zelenskyy noted that when people see injustice surrounded by hatred—like when someone tries to take something from someone else—people have a choice over whether they will act. “ ere are people who just watch and witness and there are some people who lm them on their cellphones … and some

people who will just laugh at it and others who want to make a di erence,” said Zelenskyy.

However, Zelenskyy noted that there is one day in people’s lives when they feel they are the master of their life. Once you reach that control, you have this power that you then have to decide how to implement against injustice, said Zelenskyy. He went on to explain that the day Russia invaded Ukraine he could have surrendered to being a victim and posed no resistance. Zelenskyy said that as a country they were underestimated because they collectively wanted to be actors in this life—to use their power for their freedom as a nation to show they are unconquerable.

Zelenskyy explained that Russia is trying to create a case to see if humanity can put up with them invading their neighbor. If humanity does not respond to their invasions it sets a precedent that the aggressor can act as they want and there will be no repercussions to them because third-party countries will simply watch and

ZELENSKYY pg. 2

Ops: e case for abolishing cash bail

Features: Interview with math dept.

Sports: MLB trades are personal

Editorial: Welcome back Brandeis!

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If you want to escape our terrifying reality by watching one somehow worse!

ARTS : PAGE 14

The issues with the anti-choice movement

Welcome back to the ’60s

OPINIONS: PAGE 11

Volume 21 Issue 1
“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”
Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass. August 19, 2022
‘The B oys ’ season
BRANDEIS EDU PHOTO FROM ALUMNI BRANDEIS EDU
PHOTO FROM
Victoria Morrongiello and Cooper Gottfried editors

by the Brandeis Alumni Association, current chair of the AAAS program and Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Chair in History Chad Williams and Kau man discuss the AAAS program and her donation. Kau man describes her motivation to donate, saying, “It took me a long time to begin to understand how I internalized systemic racism, and I’ve been working really really hard to become an ally, anti-racist, and this seemed to me to be

a way that I could participate in the conversation from a white woman’s perspective.”

Williams commented on the impact of donation for the program in the interview, saying, “I think we have an incredible opportunity to build on this momentum, to think about ways in which the department can continue to grow, what type of new initiatives programs we want to to now prioritize, to think about more endowed professorships in the department. So the future is really exciting.”

As shown on the AAAS webpage, Brandeis trustee and AAAS graduate Curtis Tearte ’73 commented, “ is endowed professorship means a lot to me and my fellow alums of color. e academic rigor, the global culture that I experienced at Brandeis, as well as the foundation of social justice, those are three things I’ve carried through my professional career, and that’s why I feel this is a very signicant, watershed moment.”

no longer conducting an asymptomatic surveillance testing program given the wide availability of rapid tests; the Campus Passport has also been retired.”

e university disbanded its testing program for asymptomatic community members on May 20, during the Spring 2022 semester, according to a previous Brandeis

Hoot article. In the university’s new policy, community members only need to be tested if they are exhibiting symptoms. Along with the asymptomatic testing program, the university also got rid of its COVID-19 dashboard, which was updated with the statistics of positive cases on campus from the testing program. ey have also disbanded the Campus Passport program which community

members had to present to sta when entering certain buildings, according to the previous article. However, the email suggests that “all community members accessing campus test themselves at least once a week — via rapid or PCR test — and recommend that they do so especially when area case rates are high, when returning from travel, or a er known or potential exposure (such as

attending a large, indoor event).”

“All those returning to campus either from being away for the summer (even locally) or any return from travel should test themselves with a rapid or PCR test at home prior to departing for campus at the start of the term. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 should not come to campus,” reads the email.

Students are required to complete a COVID-19 training module on Latte before returning to campus. e module also includes an agreement community members must sign, the agreement states that students will adhere to the COVID-19 policies on campus in order to maintain the health of the community, according to the training. Students are tested on their knowledge at the end of the training with a short quiz.

Dine sent an additional email to community members on Aug. 16 regarding the university’s response to Monkeypox as the disease has begun to spread throughout the U.S.

Dine said that “Brandeis is closely monitoring our local, re-

gional, and national public health situation regarding the global outbreak of monkeypox. Health center clinicians are training our sta and developing plans to identify, test, treat, isolate, manage contacts, and monitor cases should they occur in our campus community.”

e email also asks that the Brandeis community avoids stigmatizing individuals or communities with Monkeypox infections. “While the media has largely focused on sexual transmission routes of this infection, it is important to understand there are other routes of transmission,” Dine added. In truth, “direct contact with infectious rashes, scabs, or body uids and touching items (linens and clothing) previously touched by infectious rashes or body uids,” can all cause infection.

Finally, Dine asks that Brandesians “educate ourselves to mitigate the spread of monkeypox, and care for and empathize with those who have contracted it.”

Zelenskyy speaks to leading institutions on future of higher education in Ukraine

let it happen, Zelenskyy said.

“[Ukraine is] trying to create a counter precedent—a counter case—for all the aggressors in this world once and for all to see that war creates the biggest problems for the aggressor… [aggressors] should know that hatred that they spread around against other peoples will bite back on themselves and destroy them,” explained Zelenskyy.

Zelenskyy outlined his vision for Ukraine during the conversation and the plans he has for how to rebuild the country

once the war ends. Zelenskyy discussed the Ukrainian Global University—an organization that has united leading educational institutions to support Ukrainian students and scholars with opportunities for quality education to help rebuild Ukraine, according to their webpage.

Zelenskyy wants to focus on the reparation of Ukraine’s higher education system in order to secure, “a stronger, more prosperous Ukraine.” To do this the higher education system will be rebuilt around world-class research universities. By having research universities, it not only ed-

ucates the population of Ukraine but also “contributes towards innovation, healthcare, economic growth, cultural vibrancy and helps retain domestic talent.”

e conversation involved Zelenskyy and multiple higher education administrators from learning institutions across the U.S. e purpose of the talk, according to Liebowitz’s email, was to examine “how America’s leading research universities, Ukrainian o cials and educators can work together to help rebuild and transform [Zelenskyy’s] country’s decimated higher education sector.” Administrators from various

U.S. higher education institutions were given a space to ask questions to Zelenskyy. Jim Ryan— University of Virginia president— spoke on how many students attending the conversation from the U.S. were not aware of what it meant to have their democracy at risk. Ryan asked Zelenskyy what message he would give students regarding their privilege to live in a state with democracy. Zelenskyy said that people come to an understanding that they have a right to life; however, they can come to a point where they take this right for granted. is is because it is not something we have

to think about every day, so we forget the importance of having it.

AAU universities have been providing support to Ukrainian students through free tuition and housing. AAU universities are also hosting displaced Ukrainian students, scholars and researchers through direct and indirect ties. is includes access to online learning opportunities. AAU universities are also discussing what they can do in the future to support Ukraine in rebuilding its higher education system.

NEWS 2 The Brandeis Hoot August 19, 2022
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PHOTO FROM HMS HARVARD EDU
DISEASES, from page 1 KAUFFMAN, from page
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ZELENSKYY

On June 15, in the middle of Pride Month 2022, the university’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) Director Julián

being who they are. Rather than dispersing or being passive bystanders, hundreds of neighbors and patrons were incited to act.

e uprising lasted six days.”

According to the GSC webpage, the university currently has nine undergraduate pride reps.

and University Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Lee Bitsóí sent an email to the Brandeis community rea rming Brandeis’ commitment to supporting LGBTQ students. In the email, the administrators acknowledge that the university has “come a long way in embracing the LGBTQ community.”

“We believe that who you love or who you are should not be a barrier to education or employment,” wrote the email sent to community members.

Cancino and Bitsóí explained that only 50 years ago, “LGBTQ people could not marry whomever they wanted, could not pursue a profession of their choice, were o en imprisoned in jails and mental health institutions, and were persecuted for gathering in public places.”

e message to the Brandeis community also mentioned the rst Pride parade, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City a er “police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar, dragging employees and patrons out of the bar, arresting numerous people – guilty for

However, the email reminds Brandeisians that Stonewall was not the last battle for equality for LGBTQ individuals. “Today, participating in and supporting Pride events is a way to counter the laws and stereotypes that still deny LGBTQ people protections and opportunities in every area of daily life. In 2022, hundreds of bills criminalize parents for obtaining essential medical care for their children, exclude students from playing in school sports, and restrict access to inclusive education. Older adults experience high rates of discrimination in longterm care facilities and police continue to arrest transgender women of color,” the email said.

e email also mentions the speci c steps Brandeis has taken to support its LGBTQ students and faculty. Cancino and Bitsóí brought up the creation of the Faculty and Sta Pride Alliance, the broadening of the nondiscrimination policy to include protections for transgender people, the establishment of the GSC and the launch of the Pride Reps program as examples of Brandeis’s commitment to supporting its LGBTQ community members.

Cancino and Bitsóí also addressed the university’s history of engaging in conversations for equality for LGBTQ people, according to the email. e university, according to Cancino and Bitsóí, rst began these conversations in the 1950s. e conversations continued and turned into action in the 1970s when students marched the Brandeis Banner at the March on Washington for Gay and Lesbian Rights, according to the email.

It wasn’t until the ’90s that the university created its Faculty and Sta Pride Alliance (BFSPA) which is a group that is open to members of the faculty and sta who identify as LGBTQIA, according to their webpage. e group o ers a “peer network that supports the LGBTQIA community on campus,” according to the page. In the 2000s, the university established its nondiscrimination policy which was broadened to include protections for transgender people, according to the email.

In the email, Cancino and Bitsóí noted that while they are “proud of the inroads” the university has already made, they still “aspire” to break down more barriers and work towards equality.

Tim O’Neil, University Director of Information Technology, Client Services, sent an email to members of the Brandeis community sharing an update on Brandeis’ use of the Zoom web conferencing service.

According to the email, “starting August 23, 2022, all users wishing to access their Zoom account will be required to log in to Zoom using Single Sign-On (SSO), utilizing UNET credentials through the central Brandeis login page.”

Instead of using a tradition-

al Zoom login, “all attempts to login from Zoom’s main web page (zoom.us) using a brandeis. edu email address will direct the user to the Brandeis login page where UNET credentials can be entered.” e intended a er-effects of this change are an enhancement of “the security of Brandeis Zoom accounts while ensuring that Brandeis users have access to all of the features offered by our Zoom site license.”

O’Neil also noted that “this change does NOT a ect users who already log in via brandeis. zoom.us OR through the Zoom app using the ‘SSO’ button, and

therefore no action is required for these users. Additionally, this change will NOT a ect users who simply click on existing Zoom meeting links to attend such meetings. ey will remain able to do so as meeting attendees.”

e email also mentions that “Zoom licenses remain available to all active Brandeis faculty, sta and students,” and asks that students and faculty “direct any questions related to this change to help@brandeis.edu.”

Zoom is currently available to all members of the university’s faculty sta and students, according to the Information, Technology and

Services (ITS) webpage. In order to get a Zoom account, community members must download the so ware for Zoom and then press ‘Login’ on the home page, according to the ITS page. Community members are then instructed to log in with their Brandeis username and password on the Brandeis login page which will then automatically set up a Zoom account. For additional support, community members can contact webconferencing@brandeis.edu.

Zoom was introduced to Brandeis courses in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes

were held remotely via the Zoom app and the university continued this partnership for the past two years. Community members can use Zoom for teaching and or attending classes remotely, attending o ce hours, attending interdepartmental meetings, viewing guest lectures, job interviews, student project collaboration, conference calling and keeping in touch with family and friends, according to the ITS page.

August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot NEWS 3
GRAPHIC FROM ANSYS COM PHOTO FROM WEBELONG APP

Ohtani’s journey to win his second of many MVPs SPORTS

It’s a warm Aug. 4 a ernoon as the Los Angeles Angels face o against the Oakland Athletics. e Angels were losing at home, but it didn’t matter once a certain player stepped up to the plate. At the bottom of the seventh inning, everyone turned and focused at the plate as Angel’s two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani came to bat. Athletics pitcher Kirby Snead started the at bat against Ohtani with a slider that was right in the middle of the plate. Ohtani fouled the ball and tightened his batting gloves, knowing he should have crushed that pitch. Snead decided to go back to the slider, but this time on the inside part of the plate. Somehow, Ohtani turned the pitch on his hands for a 399-foot home run. e 107.9 mile per hour home run to right center eld was his second home run of the game as he cut the de cit to two, as the Angels still trailed 6-8. You read that correctly: Ohtani hit two home runs in seven innings, and the team was still losing. Ultimately the Angels lost that game 7-8 as Ohtani nished the game with three hits, including two home runs. Flashback to a week before for a game where the Angels played the Texas Rangers on July 28. Ohtani pitched six innings and struck out 11 batters while allowing just two runs. Did the Angels win that game? ey did not. Ohtani is doing something that we have never seen before and yet the Angels have the eighth worst record in all of baseball. Why is the record signi cant? It’s because of the evergoing debate about who is the most valuable player (MVP) in baseball. Every year the MVP award is given to a player based on the vote of baseball writers and in most years there is an argument made for many players to win the award. However, the debate should no longer exist, or at least shouldn’t exist while Ohtani is still playing. Ohtani should win the MVP award every year that he pitches and is a designated hitter. e rst issue that people bring up with a statement like this, is that you can’t give the MVP award to a player on a bad team. A player can’t be that “valuable” if the team is losing. Take the

2021 National League (NL) MVP award race as an example. e top three frontrunners were out elder Bryce Harper of the Philadelphia Phillies, out elder Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres. All three players had comparable numbers and you could make the argument that each player outperformed another player in some category. Soto had more hits and walks than Tatis and Harper, but had less home runs than both players. Tatis had the most home runs out of the three, but also the lowest batting average. Ultimately, Harper won the award a er getting 17 out of the 30 rst place votes. One of the biggest reasons for this was because the Phillies just narrowly missed the playo s, while the Nationals had the h worst record in all of baseball.

Sometimes the wins matter. However, there have been many instances of a player winning the award on a bad team. Ohtani’s teammate Mike Trout has won the award three times. Out of those three years, the Angels had a winning record in only one of those years. So obviously there is some discourse about how much winning actually matters. If the player is so good, does that overrule the team’s poor performance? It most certainly should.

In 2021, Ohtani won the MVP award a er he took the league by storm and quickly became one of the faces of baseball. He did this by being dominant on both sides of the eld. However, he wasn’t always the face of baseball. Before 2021, Ohtani was a great player. He certainly had hype around him before he even played in his rst Major League Baseball (MLB) game. is 23-year-old player had come from Japan, where he had somehow been one of the best hitters and pitchers at the same time. When he made the decision to come to the United States, people questioned whether or not he was going to continue to pitch and hit. is hadn’t successfully been done since Babe Ruth in 1919. However, when he arrived, he emphasized how he was going to do both. Former teammate Brandon Laird said, “His work ethic is as hard as anyone I’ve seen. He’s always doing something, stretching or so toss, hitting o a tee. He’s always

doing something baseball-related,” when describing Ohtani.

e build-up ensued as he made his major league debut in 2018 and won the Rookie of the Year Award a er a very successful rst year. He was 51 percent better than the average hitter and 27 percent better than the average pitcher. At this point, most baseball fans knew him as the only two-way player in baseball, but he didn’t really take the league by storm yet.

Ohtani always had power, but in 2021 he took it to another level. He hit 26 home runs in the rst half alone, which surpassed his previous career high in a season. Ohtani added on the impressive season with 20 more home runs in the second half of the season. He nished with the third most home runs in all of baseball.

at alone would have put him in the conversation to win the MVP award. But that wasn’t all he did. He also pitched to nine wins while striking out 156 batters in 130.1 innings and being 41 percent better than the average pitcher. e combination of high quality pitching and hitting got him all 30 rst place votes for the MVP award in 2021. Ohtani beat out in elder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, who had one of the greatest o ensive seasons ever, as he led the league with 48 home runs and 123 runs. Yet it didn’t matter, considering Ohtani was setting records and doing things people had never seen before. He was undoubtedly one of the best players in baseball, if not the best. Even though his talent was undisputed, there were questions about whether or not he should always win the MVP award.

According to Sports Betting

Dime, Ohtani started the 2022 season as the betting favorite to win the MVP award. He started o the season relatively slow offensively, but was even better as a pitcher. Although Ohtani was still setting new records, he was getting less talk to win the MVP award. Instead, out elder Aaron Judge from the Yankees quickly became the favorite. It is obvious why. Judge is currently chasing the record of 61 home runs for the most home runs by a Yankee in a single season. He has hit 44 home runs in 107 games, while the next closest batter has hit just 34. Additionally, the Yankees are one of the best teams in baseball, and it is very clear that Judge is half of their o ense. He is the best o ensive player in all of baseball right now on one of baseball’s best teams. Although Ohtani isn’t as good as last year, he still is having a very good year. He is 37 percent better than the average hitter and 51 percent better than the average hitter.

However, the Angels, again, are terrible, so it seems like his value is low considering they lose so much. With all of this in mind, Ohtani still should still win the MVP award. ere are a ton of stats that can argue in many directions, including some stats that have already been discussed here.

However, there is one thing that is clear above everything else: Ohtani literally is great on both sides of the plate. When Judge starts pitching then we can have a conversation. e issue becomes how bad can Ohtani get and still have that value. If he is average to below average as a hitter and an average pitcher, is he still the most valuable player? at is obviously slightly subjective, however when

you have a player that can win you a game with the bat and every ve days win you a game as a pitcher as well, no one can really come close to that value. He is top 10 in all of baseball in home runs and pitching strikeouts. e stats back up the argument even though it should be obvious at this point. Judge may be a better hitter, but he does not pitch. Here’s one nal example that will completely clarify. A quick comparison of 2022 stats suggests that Ohtani is a comparable, if not better hitter than Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager. Seager was an All-Star player in 2022 and has o en been considered one of the best hitters in MLB. Another comparison of stats suggests that Ohtani is only slightly worse than Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes this year. Burnes was also an All-Star player in 2022 and also won the 2021 NL Cy Young award. So basically, Ohtani is a combination of Seager and Burnes in one player. Two All-Stars in one player. Judge and whoever comes up into conversation is maybe one All-Star. Ohtani is literally two at the same time. So let’s stop the narrative that Judge deserves the MVP award this year and realize that Ohtani should win and should continue to win it for years to come.

The Mets aren’t sucking this year and we New Yorkers are confused too

I was raised in a Mets household. My father likes to say he would’ve still loved us if we chose to be Yankees fans, though we knew that was a lie. Being a Mets fan over the years has been painful, to say the least. Being a fan de nitely wasn’t a matter of pride, but a er years of not playing so hot, we are nally doing pretty alright.

Last time we got excited as Mets fans was in 2015. It was a pretty big year: we made it to the World Series and the team chemistry

was so funny (throwback to the @wefollowlucasduda account on Instagram). But, in typical Mets fashion, we blew it.

And then everyone got traded. Suddenly there was no Lucas Duda, no Curtis Granderson, no Wilmer Flores. And my will to watch the team slowly diminished because I didn’t know the players and we were once again not playing too hot— we were consistent at best.

But then we got a manager, like a good manager (from my limited understanding of sports that require eye-hand coordination).

Buck Showalter became manager of the Mets in 2022 and suddenly people started saying that the

Mets might have a chance this season—that’s not something people typically say about the Mets. Now we’re in the middle of the season and we’re doing pretty alright. We’re leading the NL East, which we were last in in 2020. At the time I’m writing this, the Mets have 75 wins and 40 losses; these numbers mean absolutely nothing to me except that in comparison to the other teams it’s pretty good.

e real challenge for the Mets is—for a lack of better words—to not f up in the latter half of the season. Another typical Mets franchise move—messing up the second half of the season. If the franchise keeps up this

momentum, October will be interesting.

We are not a second half team. We always start out really strong and promising and suddenly the whole starting line up is injured and won’t be playing for the next ve years. is is an exaggeration but also not.

I must say though, it is nice to be a Mets fan now. No one laughs when you’re wearing a hat or shirt in support of the team.

At my job we had a Subway Series day and there were no jabs made at us Mets fans. I like to think this is our time to enjoy being fans a er being made fun of for the past six years.

And even as the injuries are

starting to appear on the team we have some good players coming up. Eduardo Escobar got injured, with a strained le oblique, putting him out of commission in the middle of the series between the Mets and Braves. Brett Baty came up to ll Escobar’s spot and on his rst at bat, he hit a two run homer helping the Mets win their rst game in the series.

I am by no means a sports critic; I am actually laughing as I write this because I have no idea what I am doing.

4 The Brandeis Hoot August 19, 2022
PHOTO FROM MLB COM

For anyone who is familiar with professional tennis, on the women’s side especially, the name CoCo Vandeweghe may ring a bell. It may send others into some sort of alarm because of how much they idolize her. I include this reaction because a er meeting her in person for the rst time ever this week I was one of those people to geek out over her presence. In the past ve years, Vandeweghe has been one of the highest-ranked American tennis players in the world, topping o her career record at No. 9 in the world back in 2018. She is not some small name in tennis nor is she any sort of joke, since she has not been back in the top ten for three years now.

Vandeweghe has faced the issue many tennis players do with how the system works—it does not go easy on those with injuries. e way tennis ranking works is fairly simple: for every match you

win in a tournament you receive a preset number of points. ose points are totaled and from there you are ranked. ose with more points are ranked higher than you and vice versa. However, not every tournament you play in gives you the same amount of points. Smaller tournaments only give you a fraction of the points you would receive from winning a grand slam tournament such as Wimbledon.

e di erence can be anywhere from one thousand points to nearly two thousand points depending on the tournaments in question.

So in 2019, Vandeweghe faced this challenge about points. To be No. 9 in the world you need to be competing at the highest level and winning to make sure your rate of increase when it comes to points is not less than others. But when injured, you cannot compete and you cannot get more points. is makes entering tournaments harder and getting more points from bigger tournaments even more di cult.

In 2019, Vandeweghe had to withdraw from a season of tennis (there are roughly four or three seasons of tennis based on how you measure—either by the number of grand slams or the number of di erent surfaces) which plummeted her ranking all the way from nine to 636.

is was a painful drop and the climb back up from an ankle injury is no easy task. But, at the recent oreau Tennis Open in Concord, MA, Vandeweghe proved why she was No. 9 and how she was going to get back there. She defeated all but two of her opponents in two set matches (the fastest you can end a match in the WTA) and got her serve into action.

e serve is the only shot in tennis that you have one hundred percent control over. From the toss to how the ball comes o the racket, you can control all of it, and in tennis, no matter the side, a big serve can mean a lot. With Vandeweghe standing at ve feet and 11 inches she has more height than most of the women on tour.

at is important because it means she has more angles to approach the ball on her serve and push opponents further back into the court.

In singles, this made a huge difference as she could push her opponent back and then beat them with a down-the-line winner. Her game plan was simple and her shots were big. Unlike the other players at the tournament, such as Harmony Tan, who was not generating a ton of power o of her shot but rather placement, Vandeweghe was able to beat people with speed and power that they could not keep up with.

is helped her tremendously in the doubles draw as well, as her partner, Varvara Flink, who is ve feet and nine inches tall, also had a tremendously powerful serve. It was textbook doubles serve and poach games.

Her power and experience were essential to her nal results.

e younger players in the tournament have not spent as much time hitting the kind of balls she has had to, nor have they been in

tournaments much larger with as much pressure. Vandeweghe was able to oat her way into the nals of both the singles and doubles through her sheer power and experience.

If anyone could have made tennis look easy during the tournament, it was her.

Vandeweghe concluded the tournament as the winner of both the singles and doubles draw. Hopefully, with this tournament in her back pocket, she can look forward to receiving a spot in the U.S. Open main draw as a wild card.

e climb back from recovery is not easy in tennis and most people cannot make it back—an issue Roger Federer now faces. But over the past week, Vandeweghe defeated the odds and proved how much experience can impact the outcome of a match.

U.S. Open preview: Who will be lifting the big trophy?

It has been quite the year for tennis, and now we are at thenal grand slam of 2022. Hosted in New York every year for almost a century, the U.S. Open is always a big event. 128 men and 128 women enter the main draw annually, but only one of each gender will emerge victorious. With all of these players, you never know what will happen. Take a look at last year’s winners: for the men, the winner was Daniil Medvedev. He was the No. 2 seed, so it shouldn’t have seemed that surprising on paper. Despite that, this was his rst grand slam win a er being in only one other nal, and he was going up against No. 1 seed and three-time champion Novak Djokovic who was on his way to winning a calendar slam, winning all four grand slams in a year. So this was a pleasant surprise. e bigger surprise was Emma Radacanu on the women’s side. She was a quali er who had only been in one grand slam and one other tour-level tournament in her career. To call her win unexpected would be an understatement. ese wins show that anything can happen at the U.S. Open. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some educated guesses and predictions. What will happen?

Let’s start with the men. ere has not been a back-to-back winner for the men since 2008 when Roger Federer won ve times in a row. at could change with Medvedev winning this year. He went through a bit of a slump this year, not winning a small tournament this month in Cabo. Note that at the time of writing, the Cincinnati Open has not happened, and that could be a boost. At the moment, it appears Medvedev is doing pretty well, but it is hard to say if he is at the level to repeat his success. I can say that Djokovic is not going to win, since he is unable to enter the United States

because of his refusal to get a coronavirus vaccination, so he won’t even be in the tournament as per current restrictions. If we’re talking about a classic favorite to win, there is four-time champion Rafael Nadal. Nadal did not play last year because of a foot injury, but he came back this year in pretty good form, having won the Australian Open and the French Open this year. However, he withdrew from Wimbledon with an abdominal injury. He is better now and is able to play the U.S. Open, but that injury might have pushed him back a bit. He could still win, but it’s not such a sure thing.So then let’s take a look at some great players that could have this tournament as their maiden slam. ere is hotshot newcomer Carlos Alcaraz who is 19 years old. Despite his young age, he has already become the No. 4-ranked player in the world. He has won four tournaments this year and has been an overall beast. is could be his big moment to shine.

ere is also another young hotshot, 20-year-old Jannik Sinner.

While Sinner started o lessery compared to Alcaraz and has been plagued with some injuries, he has had some big moments at tournaments this year and has beaten or has gotten close to beating some top ve players, including two recent wins over Alcaraz. is could be a tournament where he really proves his talents. en there is someone like Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has had a fairly consistent year. He has a Masters 1000 title under his belt this year as well as making it to the semi-nals at the Australian Open. He has been in the top ve for a while, and this could be the boost he needs to be recognized as one of the greats. And let’s not forget this year’s Wimbledon runner-up, Nick Kyrgios. e bad boy of tennis, he could be the best player in the world if he actually wanted to be. He has been having an amazing run lately, but you can never predict the ability of Kyrgios. is could be the year we see the extent

of his abilities. ere are so many other tennis players that have a shot as well. ere are players like Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini who have made nals but are not particularly ashy and could use a big win for their careers. ere are also some underdogs like Hubert Hurkacz and Felix Auger Alliasime who are top 10 players on paper but haven’t had a great tournament to be worthy of that title. We could also go out of the park with people like Alex De Minaur and Taylor Fritz who would be a little bit of a shock, but they have great potential and their wins wouldn’t be totally out of nowhere. It is anyone’s tournament and we could be facing an exciting two weeks. en there are the women. Despite Radacanu’s big win last year, she has not really been living up to expectations. She hasn’t won another tournament since then and she hasn’t made it that far in many other tournaments. So it is very unlikely she will repeat her success. e real favorite to win is Iga Swiatek, the current No. 1 player in the world. She went on a 37-match winning streak for a large part of this year, which included her winning her rst grand slam at the French Open. Even though that streak is now broken, she is still on top of her game. is tournament could get her another Grand Slam win. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t count everyone else out. For example, there is Ons Jabeur who has a fairly successful year, including a nal at Wimbledon. She has shown true talent and she will almost certainly get a grand slam under her belt in her career, why not now? en there is the winner of Wimbledon, Elena Rybakina. She was seeded at the tournament, but she was seed No. 17, which is fairly low. It was certainly an unexpected win. She has proven herself, but it is di cult to say if she can keep that magic going.

en you have older multi-slam winners, like Simona Halep, who you can usually count on at a

grand slam. She was injured for a bit, but she is back in high form. is would be her rst grand slam in three years, and it could show that she is back to stay. On the other end, there are players that have never made it to a nal but have had a terri c year. ere is Jessica Pegula, who has made it to two grand slam semi- nals this year. She has been in great form lately at many tournaments. She made her top 10 debut this year and could live up to that achievement by getting a grand slam win.

ere is Paula Badosa who has really improved this year by getting far in many tournaments and making her top ve debut. She hasn’t made it to a semi yet, but this could be the year she goes all the way.

Finally, we can’t forget the young ones. Coco Gau is just 18 years old, but she made her rst Grand Slam nal this year in the French Open and is just outside the top 10. It has been a long time since someone as young as her has won a grand slam, but she has the skills and the eriness that could make it happen. In recent years, women’s tennis has been less predictable than men’s tennis, so truly anyone can win.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that tennis is a wild sport. at’s one of the reasons why it’s my favorite sport. ere have been moments in the sport where some players are absolutely

dominating without anyone else getting a chance.

ere is now more variety in the sport and we have so many new players shining. From August 29 to September 12, we will get to see these players in action. Some people have a better chance than others, but everyone will be giving 200 percent e ort in these weeks. is is the last big tournament of the year if you are not counting the year-end nals, and it always turns into a spectacle. So who do I think will win? I’m not going to put money on this, but my gut is saying Jannik Sinner for the men and Simona Halep for the women. I think they have each been doing well and they will absolutely shine in New York this year. Sinner has been showing a lot of promise lately and even though this might seem like an interesting pick, he can power through. Halep has made it through Grand Slams before and with her win last week in Montreal, I think she is going through a hot streak. With all of that being said, I do believe that everyone else I mentioned has a true shot. Not to mention that I have not seen the draws yet and we could get matchups that completely change my opinions. My predictions will constantly change, I know that. So don’t forget to tune into some epic matches in these upcoming weeks, up until the trophies are li ed into the air.

August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot SPORTS 5
editor
CoCo Vandeweghe is a rising star in women’s pro-tennis
PHOTO FROM SPORTSNET CA

The 2022 MLB trade deadline was an emotional mess

I remember waking up at 6 a.m on Aug. 2 thinking that it was going to be a long day. e days leading up to Aug. 2 consisted of studying and being on Twitter for most of the day. I probably spent three hours a day on Twitter because the Major League Baseball (MLB) trade deadline was on Aug. 2. Players were getting traded every day for the few days leading up to the deadline and it was exciting. Out elder Andrew Benintendi was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the New York Yankees. Starting pitcher Luis Castillo was traded to the Seattle Mariners from the Cincinnati Reds. As a baseball fan, these trades were really exciting because teams got better and therefore made the playo race more interesting to watch. Everything was going great until a report came out about a certain player. ere were rumors that former Washington Nationals out elder Juan Soto was going to be traded due to issues with a contract extension. en reporter Bob Nightengale described how there were seven teams that were immediately the most interested. I am a Nationals fan, so the thought of trading our best player and possibly one of the best players in baseball seemed crazy at rst. I even said that I would never watch the team again if they traded him. However, as time went on and the rumors were building I almost wanted him to get traded because logically, it was the best way for the team to get better. e Nationals are currently one of the worst, if not the worst, team in baseball. I was just waiting for the Twitter noti cation to tell me he had been traded and the nightmare was over. Every time my phone buzzed, I instantly dived to grab it and see what happened. It wasn’t until the morning of the deadline where it actually became a reality. Reporter Barry Svrluga described how the San Diego Padres were the front runners and that the trade was nearly complete. By the a ernoon, Soto was traded to the Padres, alongside teammate Josh Bell. When I saw the trade fully, I was once again really upset because I thought the Nationals could have gotten more, but apparently I was wrong. At the end of the day, I again grew to understand the trade and think that the Nationals did well in the end. A week later I realized that there were a lot of emotions ying around during this deadline. It may not have been the most eventful trade deadline ever, it

was de nitely one of the most emotional ones.

e Soto trade was crazy for a lot of reasons. To start, the Nationals farm system got signi cantly better, to set them up for the future. e Padres, on the other hand, got one of the best players in baseball to make one of the greatest o ensive lineups of all time, so it was a big moment for Padres fans. ey nally beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for something. Last year, the Padres were close to trading for starting pitcher Max Scherzer, but were narrowly outbid at the last second by the Dodgers. is year, the Padres showed up the Dodgers and let the baseball world know that they aren’t messing around. During the opening press conference with the Padres, Soto said, “I wish good luck to the other pitchers.”

A er years of being second to the Dodgers, the Padres are ready to take over. On the other side, the Nationals fans were in complete disarray. is was the h star the Nationals were unable to retain. First there was out elder Bryce Harper, who the Nationals refused to give a large contract to even though he had been an AllStar multiple times and even won the Most Valuable Player award.

A year later, the team did not give All-Star in elder Anthony Rendon the contract he desired. en they traded away both Scherzer and in elder Trea Turner during a terrible 2021 season, the latter someone they also refused to give a large contract to. e team promised that they would not let the same happen to Soto because he was a generational talent. However, a er he declined a large contract extension, the Nationals front o ce saw no other way.

e fans were obviously upset but Soto was just as upset. “I cried the whole morning,” said Soto when describing what happened when he heard about the trade. He knew that it was a business, but the trade still hit him hard. Soto was with the Nationals for six years and it was the only organization he’s ever known. Players and money get exchanged so easily, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that the players are going through this rollercoaster that so quickly changes their lives. e next trade wasn’t league shaking, but it was impactful nonetheless. First baseman Trey Mancini was traded from the Baltimore Orioles to the Houston Astros. is in general was a great trade for the Astros because they were missing a consistent hitting rst baseman as their current one, Yuli Gurriel, is having a down year. e trade was partly

a head scratcher for the Orioles as they are in the hunt to make the playo s, and they ended up trading one of their best players. Additionally, the Orioles traded away reliever Jorge Lopez to the Minnesota Twins as he is having an All-Star caliber year. ese two trades dampened the mood of Orioles fans considering this was the rst year they have been truly competitive since 2016. However, the big story was with Mancini. In April of 2020, Mancini was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer. is set him for a six-month chemotherapy treatment that obviously put him out of baseball for the 2020 season. So instead of playing the game he loved, he had to focus on ghting for his life. A er tough chemotherapy Mancini had done it. He beat cancer and was ready to work on his return. rough his short o season, he worked hard and made his return to baseball just a year a er he was diagnosed with cancer. It was an incredible recovery. “ e fans in Baltimore have always been so amazing at rallying behind their players. It didn’t surprise me in the slightest bit, the support I got. It meant so much and really helped me get through and get really excited to get back to playing baseball,” said Mancini when describing his comeback. He played well throughout the 2021 season and even earned an opportunity to compete in the Home Run Derby. Mancini had played for the Orioles for his entire ve-year career so when the 2022 trade deadline approached, he was bracing for the trade. e day Mancini was traded was emotional but he made sure to thank everyone that helped him along the way. “I think they saved my life,” said Mancini when describing the Orioles medical sta Catcher Wilson Contreras has been a Chicago Cub his entire six-year MLB career. e team ended their World Series drought back in 2016 and was lled with a solid core of rst baseman Anthony Rizzo, third baseman Kris Bryant, shortstop Javier Baez and Contreras. However, the team slowly started to decline a er winning the World Series and eventually the Cubs traded Bryant, Baez and Rizzo away at the 2021 trade deadline. e World Series core was being broken a er the team was underperforming and all three of them were set to be free agents. It was a tough time to be a Cubs fan and once again it was hard on the players as well. A camera caught Bryant taking a phone call in the dugout when he got traded before he turned and cried a er

receiving the news. A year later the Cubs were once again ready to trade some players. is year it included Contreras and long time Cub out elder Ian Happ. “I just want this to be over. If they’re going to trade me, they’re going to trade me. If they don’t want to trade me, they don’t. But I just want this day to pass and keep focusing on playing baseball,” said Contreras when talking about the trade deadline. ere were a lot of rumors going around with many teams needing a catcher, so Contreras was de nitely a player in demand. Happ was also getting large amounts of interest from all around the league considering a team could always use a switch hitting out elder. As the days built up to the deadline, tension was building up in the Chicago stadium as the fans knew this could be their last opportunity to see some of their favorite players in Cubs uniforms. In what was possibly their last home game together, Happ and Contreras were seen hugging in the dugout a er a 4-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, a er all the build-up, neither one of them ended up getting traded. is was an incredibly confusing move, as Contreras is a free agent a er the end of the season and is already 30 years old, so it is di cult to believe that he is the centerpiece for their future. If the Cubs do not bring him back a er the end of the year then this move is going to be even more confusing. I guess Cubs fans can be happy that they can watch them play for a few more months.

Out elder Joey Gallo has had a fascinating career so far. At age 21 he made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers. He was not good, considering he struck out in half of his at bats. at problem never went away. Two years later he was good and terrible at the same time. He struck out 196 times but he also hit 41 home runs. Over the next few years he continued to hit a ton of home runs while striking out at one of the highest rates in baseball. Additionally, he proved to be an excellent defender in the out eld displayed through his three Gold Glove awards in his career. In 2021, the Rangers put him on the trade block and the Yankees quickly swooped in and picked him up. During that half season with the Yankees, he was once again not good. He was still good on defense, but his o ensive production was below average. At this point he was getting some hate from the fans. New York fans are notorious for being very critical of their players and Gallo

was no exception. Going into the 2022 season it appeared as if the Yankees fans were just waiting to attack him. A er the Yankees started o the season very strong, there was only one glaring issue: Gallo was terrible. Even though the team was still winning, the fans were still upset with Gallo. Rumors about a trade started to emerge close to the trade deadline and Yankees fans were ready. Gallo was content with the possible trade as his time in New York was clearly di cult. “I don’t go out in the streets,” said Gallo in an interview before the deadline, “I really don’t want to show my face too much around here.” He went on to talk about how much his con dence su ered and how it felt like he hit rock bottom in the majors. His entire experience in New York was clearly devastating on him mentally. On top of that, some Royals players reached out to give him words of encouragement and it actually made him feel even worse, considering it made him feel like he was the problem. It was time for Gallo to get a new start. e Yankees traded him to the Dodgers and he has been better. “ ey’ve done a good job of explaining things so far. It helps that I was in a good head space as well,” said Gallo to the New York Post a er having some success with the Dodgers. e mental game is big in baseball and a fresh start has helped clear some of that up for him.

Although the Cubs had a strange deadline, the Boston Red Sox may have had an even stranger one. e Red Sox traded catcher Christian Vazqeuz to the Astros. Vazquez was a key player in their playo run last year and caught the nal out of their World Series win in 2018. Fans were clearly upset losing a favorite but it made sense. “It’s a business,” said Vazquez when asked about how it felt to be traded. Before he could say any more, the public relations for the Red Sox pulled him away from the reporters. e trade made sense though. He is a free agent at the end of this year so it was better to get something in a trade for him compared to losing him for nothing in free agency. However, the Red Sox said that they were “buyers and sellers.” So instead of just trading all of the team’s expiring contracts, they traded for out elder Tommy Pham and kept J.D. Martinez, meaning they retained and gained expiring contracts. e team at the deadline still had a slim chance to make the playo s, so the Red Sox decided to play with the emotions of the Red Sox fans. Nice.

It’s di cult to forge a path and name for oneself in a profession that favors males, from men getting more media coverage to the pay gap. is summer a track and eld icon retired—Allyson Felix. And she deserves the proper credit for all that she has given women in her time competing professionally. Her voice set a new precedent for how women should be treated. Felix is the most decorated U.S. Track and Field athlete in history. at’s right, not the most decorated female athlete, the most decorated athlete in U.S. Track and Field. Let that sink in. She ran

in ve Olympics—starting at the age of 18—accumulating 13 gold medals, three silver medals and three bronze. For comparison, Usain Bolt has 11 gold medals. She also currently holds the title of being the most decorated athlete by the World Athletics Championship with 20 medals.

And yet how many casual sports fans know her name?

Not only is Felix a beast on the track but she has also done so much for women in the sport by being a trailblazer. Felix was a Nike athlete until 2017 when her contract expired. At the time of negotiations for her contract, she was pregnant with her daughter. Because of her pregnancy—and Nike lacking a maternity policy—

the company wanted to cut her pay by 70 percent.

70 percent. e company also ould not guarantee that she would not receive punishment if she did not perform to the same standards she was at prior to giving birth.

Felix pushed back against Nike and the company has since created a maternity policy for female athletes. In Nike’s maternity policy it now provides security for women that there will be no performance-related salary reductions for 18 consecutive months, starting eight months before the due date of the child. Also, during this time the company cannot terminate a contract with a pregnant athlete who chooses to not com-

pete. Felix no longer competed for Nike a er the split in 2017; instead, she signed with Athleta, a women-oriented company. Felix also went on to start her own shoe brand, which she would later compete in, called Saysah. Felix had a di cult pregnancy but gave birth to her daughter in November 2018. She competed in her rst professional race in July 2019 and she proved people wrong. She proved that a woman can still compete on a competitive level a er giving birth. She proved that a woman’s worth is not diminished a er having a child. She also proved that just because she has a child does not mean she cannot also remain in her job.

“It was the rst time I got to the

starting line, and I wasn’t thinking about the medal or the time on the clock. I was thinking about how I represent women and mothers, and anybody who has been told their story is over,” Felix wrote on Twitter, re ecting on her career. A er giving birth to her daughter, Felix went on to break records and barriers. No woman has run faster at her age. She is a testament to the power women can have in order to make a better world for their daughters so that they do not have to face the same hardships. She has been dedicated to this sport for so many years. So dedicated, in fact, that just days a er retiring she came out of retirement when called to be a leg in the women’s 4x400 meter relay.

6 SPORTS The Brandeis Hoot August 19, 2022

Interviews with Brandeis University’s academic leadership: the Department of Mathematics

Professor Oliver Bernardi, the chair of Brandeis University’s mathematics department, sat down for an interview with e Brandeis Hoot to shed a little light on the department, its future and himself. is interview is part of a series of interviews with the chairs of a plethora of di erent academic departments and programs at Brandeis. Editor’s Note: is interview was conducted during the 2022 spring semester.

Why did you choose to come to Brandeis?

I chose to come to Brandeis because there is a very strong mathematics department; the research in Brandeis’s mathematics department is very well known. When I came [to Brandeis], one of the main gures in combinatorics was at Brandeis, Professor Ira Gessel, so that played a big role in my choice.

What do you think that the mathematics department does right?

I think that the mathematics department is very wise with its hiring decisions. It has been able to maintain strength in research despite very few hirings. We hope that there are more hirings to come and that we can rebuild a bigger department around that core .… Development recently has been [centered upon] the applied math program. I think this [program] has been a very big success because we’ve been able to roll out a new major which has proved very popular with gradu-

ate and undergraduate students.

What do you think that the math department could do better?

I think that the math department in general could do better at several levels. We are still understa ed, we should try to o er more classes, some of the majors are a little bit constrained at the moment because of the lack of classes. We want to o er more advanced classes like research-oriented classes that have become very important at many institutions, and I think we should not be le behind .… is year, we’ll start an initiative known as the “Math Mentoring Program.” We hope to be more inclusive, by having students that are considering the major have someone monitoring them or getting them through that process, [Additionally], if possible we hope to have more community events. ese have been almost absent during the pandemic, so we hope that we can restart them.

What can you tell me about the applied mathematics program?

It’s a very new program, but it’s already in full swing. ere are a lot of undergraduates that are taking [applied math] as a major, about seven percent of Brandeis students [as of Feb. 10, 2022]. We expect that the program is going to grow further because it’s a quality o ering. We hope that we are able to o er the core classes more o en and make it more exible for students.

Is there anything that you think could have gone better with the rollout of the applied

mathematics program?

We were very pleased that the university supported our mission. ey gave us three faculty members that could serve as a core of this applied math group. We do hope that this is going to grow and that we can have more o erings, but given the resources and the size of Brandeis, I think we did quite well.

Why does the mathematics department o er both a B.A. and a B.S. degree?

Our traditional degree was a Bachelor of Arts. We recently added the Bachelor of Science because we thought that it was good to give some exibility to students. Many students at Brandeis are double majoring, so having [just one kind of degree] would’ve been a disservice [to the students].

What role will the math department play in the creation of the engineering program?

It’s not completely clear at this point, but we hope that we’re going to play a big role. It’s a very natural extension of the math program .… We certainly hope that this is going to be an opportunity to o er a greater variety of classes and to create new connections between departments. Hopefully, this new engineering program is a hub that gathers people from physics, computer science, math, biology [and other departments too].

How do you feel that Brandeis’s mathematics department distinguishes itself from other universities’ mathematics departments?

We have a department that is very creative. ere is a very good atmosphere in the department and a good structure of governance. ere’s a very big collaborative e ort in terms of hiring and what direction we’d like to go in. I think that distinguishes Brandeis. In my case, I came here because

of the strengths of the faculty. is is a very ne balance for a department of our size in terms of covering enough of the spectrum of math, but still maintaining this communication between faculty. With applied math in particular, we have a very good connection between the applied math and pure math faculty. We want to maintain this equation; having the applied math program being not separate from, but integral to, the department.

What about combinatorics interests you?

I think that what attracted me to the eld is the kind of detective aspect to it. You very o en stumble on some unexpected properties of mathematical objects, some counting formula or some probabilistic aspect that looks very beautiful. You’re in this situation of trying to unravel why this thing is happening, what’s the fundamental reason behind it? at’s my drive to it: this kind of puzzle solving.

FEATURES August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot 7
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MATHEMATICS FACULTY FROM BRANDEIS EDU
PHOTO FROM FILMYAP SUBSTACK COM
OF

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To all Brandeis students, incoming and returning, we encourage you to do something new as the fall semester descends upon us. A feat that may seem terrifying but assuringly well worth it in the future. College is meant to be a time where we can explore our passions—and nd new ones— surrounded by like-minded people our age. So, we at e Brandeis Hoot encourage you to get out there and enjoy every little bit of what Brandeis has to o er. Be up for anything. Incoming rst-years, you’ll be exposed to your classmates in your rst week at orientation. ose icebreaker games will feel like torture in the moment but will become some of the funniest moments to look back on. And one day you will see your OL in the Stein at 2 a.m. and you will laugh and think, “Wow that’s the person who led ships and sailors slumped over that booth in the corner.” You never know who you will meet, and you might just end up living with them for the next four years. So enjoy it, savor every second because you will meet your people. Even if you don’t nd your people right away, don’t worry: they will nd you in their own time. If you’re up for it—and even if you’re not—join a few student organizations, attend a few meetings and see

what you like. Joining a new group of people who you may not know much about is scary. But trying out a new club for one or two meetings could provide you with some of the best experiences and friends you’ll ever have at Brandeis. At worst, you spent an hour trying something that you ended up not liking. At best, you’ve just discovered a wonderful group of people and a meeting you look forward to from the moment you leave it. One of the greatest things about Brandeis is the variety of extracurricular activities it o ers for students to pursue.

e university has so many unique clubs that are always looking for members. Brandeis has service organizations that do good for the community like Brandeis 6Talk, professional organizations like the Pre-Health Society, and clubs with incredible acronyms like the Brandeis Initiative for Technology, Machines, Apps and Programming (BITMAP). ere are also countless performance clubs, cultural clubs and activist groups. ese groups are an integral part of Brandeis’s DNA. ey add a sense of community, a feeling of belonging and an incredible way to connect with your peers in a way that a classroom simply can’t supply. ere are many other groups on campus that stu-

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e Brandeis Hoot is your community newspaper. We’re a small team of undergraduate students who are passionate about writing, journalism and Brandeis. We may be biased regarding our own selves, but we’d love to have you at e Hoot. We’ve got a wonderful group of people with diverse interests who are passionate about writing here. Every member of e Hoot, from the Editors-in-Chief to our greenest sta writers, has had the chance to contribute immense value to the Brandeis community through distinct writing and honest reporting. We welcome you to join our Hoot family, and we look forward to seeing you at the involvement fair later this month. Even if you don’t join us, you can pick up a copy and read about what’s going on on campus! If you decide to take your talents elsewhere, that’s ne with us. We want every Brandeis student to nd their calling within the university. Here’s to the start of a new semester, we can’t wait for what’s in store.

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CONNECT phone • (781) 330-0051 e-mail • eic@thebrandeishoot com online • brandeishoot com facebook • facebook com/thebrandeishoot twitter • twitter com/thebrandeishoot instagram • instagram com/thebrandeishoot EDITORIALS 8 The Brandeis Hoot August 19. 2022
SUMMER IN PHOTOS August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot 9 BESTIE HONORARY EDITOR TITLE IS BESTOWED TO AIDEN WECHSLER FOR BEING BESTIE PHOTO BY VICTORIA MORRONGIELLO LIVER YOU RE PRETTY ALRIGHT KID PHOTO BY VICTORIA MORRONGIELLO THRIVING AMERICAN GIRL DOLL JULIE HAD MORE ABORTION RIGHTS THAN YOU PHOTO BY MIA PLANTE GOLF CART ADVENTURES WE DID NOT BREAK ANY GOLF CARTS ON THIS TRIP PHOTO BY VICTORIA MORRONGIELLO PUP IN CHIEF YEP THE BRANDEIS HOOT IS RUN BY A DOG NOW, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST PHOTO BY MADELINE ROUSELL
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A brief look at Brandeis’s ‘Vision 2030’ climate action plan

As Brandeis students return to campus for the fall semester, Brandeis’s “Year of Climate Action” will begin. is year-long event, organized by Brandeis’s O ce of Sustainability, is meant to “catalyze and deepen our understanding of climate change as a social justice issue through curricular and co-curricular programming throughout the year.”

Information on the Year of Climate Action is available through the O ce of Sustainability’s website. Most notably, a dra version of the Brandeis Vision 2030 Plan is available. Vision 2030 is a 38 page document written by the 2019-2020 President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability, and it’s meant to guide Brandeis’s future as it relates to climate change.

Although the plan itself was never fully adopted, the university has been “pursuing the majority of its recommendations since it was dra ed,” said Brandeis’s Sustainability Director Mary Fischer in an email exchange with e Hoot. Fischer also mentioned that “ e formal adoption process [for Vision 2030] was derailed by COVID, which hit right as we were nishing it.”

It is of note that the O ce of Sustainability never wrote analized Vision 2030, but hopes to write a new plan soon, according to Fischer. Although the nalized plan has not been written yet, this dra plan is still of signi cance and therefore worthy of a critical look. is plan is certainly not

perfect, but it is a much needed step in the right direction for the university.

Divestment and Carbon Neutrality

When I read the dra version of Vision 2030, divestment from fossil fuels was at the forefront of my mind. I was unfortunately discouraged by the measures laid out in Vision 2030 that relate to divestment, or the practice of selling o unethical or morally gray investments.

Brandeis has notably not given a time-bound commitment for divestment, which would be a massive step towards carbon neutrality. Fischer mentioned that “university leadership also decided they wanted a study done before making a [carbon] neutrality commitment for a speci c year. We have launched that study this summer. e goal is for the study to help us identify a neutrality commitment, and then we hope to write a new climate action plan with that year in mind, taking into account the progress we have made on the recommendations from the dra 2030 plan.”

It’s frustrating to see Brandeis’s administration seemingly kick the can down the road again, something they’ve done since 2013 (by their own admission in Vision 2030). Although Vision 2030 acknowledges that divestment is “one of the most frequent demands” that students make of the Brandeis administration, the plan gives no commitment to divestment.

I sincerely hope that the uni-

versity’s carbon neutrality study concludes that full divestment from fossil fuels is a necessary and viable measure for the university to take. Continuing to invest between $70 and $80 million in environmental degradation ies contrary to Brandeis’s goal of being a leader in all kinds of justice, and it’s disappointing to see Brandeis’s administration continue to nancially support the destruction of our planet.

Climate Change Education

Divestment wasn’t the only topic covered in Vision 2030, though. e document was full of plans to make the university a greener place. e plan also mentioned a desire to integrate climate change education into Brandeis’s core curriculum. is is a fantastic idea, but Vision 2030’s de nition of climate change education is too narrow and needs some adjustment prior to implementation. Vision 2030 advocates for the creation of a new general education requirement focused around climate change, which would be a wonderful addition to the Brandeis Core. Ensuring that Brandeis students graduate with knowledge on climate change is a great way to ensure that Brandeisians are more educated citizens of the world.

e plan mentions that “only a very small percentage of Brandeis students take a course about climate change during their four years of undergraduate study” as justi cation for the introduction of this new core requirement. While that’s likely true, Vision

2030 uses the AASHE STARS de nition of sustainability course o erings to determine how many students have taken a course on climate change. But, sustainability is just a small part of climate change. is de nition is not inclusive enough and should be changed to allow for more complete climate change education course o erings.

e AASHE STARS de nition fails to consider climate change as a broader topic. For example, one Environmental Studies course that I took in Spring 2022, ENVS 107b Atmospheric Civics and Diplomacy, was focused on environmental history and would likely not be counted as a climate change education course under this de nition. But, ENVS 107b should absolutely fall under the umbrella of climate change as a broader topic, as environmental history is an integral part of a complete climate change education.

While climate change education should become a part of the Brandeis Core, the required courses should not be based on the AASHE STARS de nition. Students should be allowed to take a course on climate justice, climate change biology or any other climate-related topic they’d like instead of having blind perdition towards sustainability. e integration of a new climate-focused core requirement is a fantastic idea, but the ner details of what counts as climate change education should be adjusted.

Final Thoughts

Pro-choice versus anti-choice

individuals and families are in.

ere is a fundamental error in considering pro-life and prochoice as diametrically opposed. ey simply cannot be each other’s antithesis since pro-choice allows for a woman to choose to keep her child. ere is nothing in the pro-choice movement that says you cannot keep your unborn child, it simply allows for you to have access to a safe abortion if you need it.

erefore a better way to consider this argument is to label it as pro-choice versus anti-choice, though a campaign like pro-life that is trying to gain a following wouldn’t have as much popularity if it overtly tells people it is limiting other’s freedoms. Because goodness knows in America we take people’s freedoms very seriously, just look at the Second Amendment. God forbid we try to restrict that.

e pro-life movement should be—and will be for the rest of this article—referred to as anti-choice.

e anti-choice movement operates on the assumption that life comes from being born. Being born does not constitute a life, life is so much more than taking your rst breath. It’s about having a roof over your head, food in your mouth and an education. A true pro-life movement would consider the totality of the situation that

True pro-life would consider a mother with three children who could not a ord to feed another.

True Pro-life would consider the young girl who was just raped while walking home at night. True Pro-life would consider the statistics that a child put into the foster care system has a higher chance of experiencing homelessness.

e foster care system in the United States is notorious for underserving the population that needs it the most. Its reputation precedes itself, and by removing access to abortion it will simply place a heavier burden on an already-failing system. You cannot get rid of a person’s right to abort a pregnancy when there isn’t a thriving system in place that can care for children when their biological parent(s) can’t. Where do you think children will go if the parent did not want to see the pregnancy through in the rst place?

If it were truly a pro-life movement, the anti-choice campaign would also support the betterment of the foster care system, greater access to food stamps for those in need and improved access to housing and schooling suitable for young children. You can’t strip a person of their right to not give birth when you don’t consider the factors a er birth.

And why do we care so much about children in the womb and suddenly forget about them when they’re of school age? We will let

any person walk in with a gun and slaughter children and yet we’re still pro-life?

Life is a beautiful thing, but I say this as a person who has never had to want for anything. I recognize my privilege, I know my family could support having four children. I also know, however, that that is simply not the case for every individual family. Life can be ugly and challenging and brutal. Why would you ever want to bring a sweet and innocent little one into such an ugly world?

erefore I think it is the greatest act of love for a parental gure to have to admit that they are not t to bring a child into this world. If you know that your child will have to struggle and you come to the decision that having an abortion would be better, why should anyone stop you?

We have just barely touched the surface of how limiting a person’s choice can a ect the life of the being already walking this earth. Being anti-choice does not consider the life of the individual who will bear the child. How can a so-called “pro-life” movement support a decision which does not consider the life already being lived?

Anti-choice does not consider the student who cannot take care of a child full time with classes and will now be forced to drop out in order to raise the child.

Anti-choice does not consider the person who was raped and now has to share custody with their

e Vision 2030 plan contains a lot more, including sections on climate resiliency, physical infrastructure and public transportation subsidization. ere’s too much to include in this article, but the plan is well-written overall and covers several topics that the university should prioritize. But, the lack of a commitment to divestment and neutrality is alarming and upsetting. I’m waiting anxiously for the results of the study that Fischer mentioned, and I hope that a binding commitment to a better Brandeis arrives soon.

assailant over a child they did not want to keep.

is is not to say that every situation in which a parent decides to keep their child will end horri cally. But, there is no guarantee that every child brought into this world against their parents’ will will have access to a good and happy life.

It should be no one else’s choice, aside from the individual caring for the child, to decide whether they will keep the baby or not.

ey know themselves, they know their situation and they will know whether they are t to bring a child into this world. If they believe they are un t whyever would you want them to?

Oh and how could I forget the life of the individual carrying the baby that can be put at risk.

ere are medical abortions that are sometimes required when the pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s life. While not all states are banning medical abortions, they are no longer inherently protected in the US. How are we pro-life if we are letting a woman die in order to bring a child into this world? Or did you forget that she too is someone’s child? Ah yes, that’s right, because a woman’s value is not important if she cannot carry to term a living, breathing child and what is she worth if she cannot bear children?

at’s what we are being raised to believe, that our worth as women comes from our ability to produce children.

I am pro- the life of the woman who does not want to keep her child. I am pro- the life of the individual who cannot give birth to their rapist’s child. I am pro- the life of the couple who decides they want to keep their baby but don’t have it all gured out yet. I am pro- letting a person choose the course of their life and not having it be controlled by someone they have not even met. But at the end of the day, it does not matter what I say. I will say what generations of women have said before me and it will not matter. Because today I know my sisters throughout this country will struggle when trying to access safe abortions. I know that some will die trying to get an abortion. I know that there will be a child born into a home that cannot support them. I think of the women who will have a re-found fear of the dark and think twice about wearing a short skirt to a club. Because there is a new risk, a lifelong risk that will be thrust upon them without their choice.

OPINIONS August 19, 2022 Th The Brandeis Hoot 11
PHOTO FROM BRANDEIS EDU/SUSTAINABILITY

The case for abolishing cash bail in Massachusetts

Despite priding itself as one of the most progressive states in the U.S. when it comes to criminal justice reform, Massachusetts continues to utilize the practice of cash bail. On the state’s webpage on the bail process, state o cials characterize bail as not a “form of punishment” but a “way of helping ensure that a defendant will appear in court at a later date.” Bail essentially is a sum of money set by, in Massachusetts, a bail magistrate, who determines a price for the likelihood of a defendant not appearing in court as well as the danger the individual may pose to the public. ere are a few obvious problems with the practice of cash bail, including the fact that it allows wealthy individuals to pay without worry while forcing indigent defendants and their families to take out bail bonds, save up or be forced to remain incarcerated while awaiting trial.

e pretrial jail population has been growing steadily across the United States. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, about 75 percent of people in prisons in 2020 were being held pretrial. e e ects of pretrial detention beyond the psychological trauma of being jailed include an increased likelihood of being sentenced, as well as more hurried decisions and plea deals. Additionally, defendants who are jailed prior to their trial have more hoops to jump through when accessing their representation and getting the support they need from family, friends, and mental health professionals.

Cash bail very clearly impacts

low-income people and people of color unequally when compared to their white, wealthy counterparts. As the criminal justice system unduly burdens people of color, Black defendants in large urban areas are 25 percent more likely to be held pretrial than white defendants. Black and Latino men also are assessed higher bail amounts than white men who committed similar crimes by an average of 39 percent and 19 percent respectively. ere is an obvious unjust and racist approach that is inherent in the practice of cash bail, much like the rest of the American criminal justice system. But, those in favor of cash bail claim that it keeps the public safe despite its many aws by keeping criminals o the streets before they are given their sentences. is completely contradicts the right wing’s favorite line when a beloved athlete, senator, Supreme Court Justice or president is accused of sexual assault: “innocent until proven guilty.” In the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are unjustly and unnecessarily held due to not being able to pay bail or held without bail, punished without being convicted of any crime. e Fi h Amendment states that “no person shall … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” And yet, the practice of cash bail is doing just this, but only to those without the money needed to have said fundamental right.

It is also crucial to note that holding people without bail, or setting cash bail, has not been shown to make communities any safer than they would be otherwise. Washington D.C. and New York City are a few examples of the successes of bail reform. D.C.

eliminated cash bail in 1992 and in 2017 94 percent of defendants were released pretrial without a cash bail set; 88 percent of them showed up for their court dates, e Marshall Project writes. New York City has slowly been reducing the percentages of cases in which bail has been set throughout the past 30 years from 48 percent to 23 percent, according to a 2019 article from e Marshall Report. Because of this reduction, the jailed population in the city has dropped signi cantly. Despite the releases, the return to court rate for the city of New York is 11 percent higher than the national average—86 percent compared to the average of 75 percent. New York’s drops in bail are likely due to the city’s Supervised Release Program which was implemented in 2015. A study on bail reform from the Harvard Kennedy School reports that this program actually slightly decreased the likelihood of rearrest while on pretrial release. Additionally, the report noted that there was a three percent increase in new violent felony arrests among those released through the program that was deemed “not statistically signi cant” and “could have resulted from natural variation over time”. e report also notes that studies from Cook County (IL), Je erson County (CO), Yakima County (WA) and Philadelphia all found no statistically signi cant increases in rearrests post-release without bail.

In the Kennedy School Report, it is also noted that “decision-makers who lead the adoption of bail reforms o en do not center the goal of reducing racial disparities, instead choosing to focus on reducing the local jail

population and/or saving money,” as opposed to understanding the depth of the problem and its roots in racism and unequal treatment in regard to race throughout the justice system. Massachusetts has already implemented some criminal justice reforms, but continues to struggle with the obvious racial inequities that remain. A 2021 report by the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board showed that a er the implementation of the Criminal Justice Reform Act in Massachusetts in 2018, white youth bene ted more from the reforms

than Black and Latinx youth.

ere is also a serious lack of data throughout Massachusetts as a whole in regard to racial disparities in arrests, policing, set bail amounts, individuals held without bail, etc.

If the state of Massachusetts is to continue claiming its progressive politics, the state must look to actually helping non-white people through criminal justice reform, including abolishing the unnecessary practice of setting a cash bail.

It has been an extremely odd 2022 for all those juniors who le Waltham to study abroad; both for the entire year and for those who went away only for one semester. We have not yet had one full year on campus which was “normal” where we were able to be with friends and enjoy the usual school activities and traditions. I am yet to experience spring-fest and break down into tears as I see my senior friends graduate. Yet, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my decision to go abroad. For everyone who is stuck between going abroad and staying on campus, I want you to hear me

out. Here is my elevator pitch for going abroad:

Going abroad forces you to reconcile with stereotypes that have been enforced into your mind either from cartoons, the media or simple conversation with friends. Most of the time you realize how wrong they are and other times you just have to laugh at how accurate they can be. On one of my journeys, I made my way to Milan and from there saw just how Italian some Italians can be. From the excessive wrist motions with all ngertips touching to all the men wearing scarves, you couldn’t help but laugh sometimes. In them, I saw so many of the expressions and body language motions that I see on the

Italian side of my family. en, you also see how wrong some stereotypes are. While traveling to Latvia I was convinced I would be returning to the United States in a body bag. When I arrived in Latvia, my ight was supposed to land at midnight with the last bus leaving the airport een minutes a er. But, due to delays I landed in Latvia at one in the morning and had to take a taxi to my hotel. I was warned of taxis that would scam you and I immediately got caught in one. As I walked out to the taxi stall I felt a hand on my shoulder and in what sounded like a Hollywood Russian accent I heard from behind me, “you need taxi?” On the inside I was peeing myself but on the outside I could only manage to ask, “What is your rate?” To which I received the most terrifying answer ever of, “My rate is I get you where you need to go.” I was then led to an unmarked black car in the back of the airport parking lot. In those moments before I opened the car door I suddenly became the most Catholic person in the world with my prayer per minute (PPM) counter ying up from zero to 100 in a matter of seconds. What followed was one of the most expensive taxis I have ever taken only to be let out a block away from my hotel, but I discovered a musical country untouched by tourists.

Latvia ended up becoming one of my favorite trips because everything to me was new and a surprise. From Latvian’s love of arti-

san hamburgers and Baltic pub songs to the weirdest foods such as chicken liver pâté and beetroot anything, I was impressed throughout my short visit. It didn’t stand out because the buildings were old or because the history was anything we Americans venerate, but because a barrier in my mind was broken down and I saw the country and people with fresh eyes for the rst time. You’ll always know what Waltham is like and what goes on from one end of South street to the other but you will rarely have the opportunity to travel the world as a young, energetic and impressionable individual. It is an invaluable experience to see the world from that vantage point and not one to miss if you can help it.

Going abroad is also perfect for making friends. I know us Brandeisians can be fairly introverted and struggle to solidify core friend groups, but practice makes perfect. Relocating yourself can put you back into a position where you feel like a rst year in the fall. You’re all alone and don’t know anyone, but force yourself to break out of your shell and the people you meet will blow you away. From the other Americans on your program, to Brits and Aussies there is no shortage of fun personalities to meet who speak english. en those who are residents of your abroad location will cement the experience in your mind as they show you around and introduce you to their world. I will always be grateful

for my friends So a and Jim who showed me around Maastricht, whether it be bars and restaurants or all the theaters and cool spots they knew I found out so much more about Maastricht than I would have on my own.

To use a phrase that everyone makes fun of people who studied abroad for using; going abroad will truly reform you. From how you socialize, to view others and even learn–being abroad shows you the world outside of the one you have constructed for yourself. It certainly hurt to be away from everything I knew I had at Brandeis. Despite not knowing the true Brandeis outside of COVID I know I came back a better person than I le . Even though some may say, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush; for all those wanting to go abroad, do not listen to those people. e world is waiting for you to explore every nook and cranny of it.

12 OPINIONS The Brandeis Hoot August 19, 2022
GRAPHIC FROM ACLUPA ORG
PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS PICKERING
PHOTO FROM COURIER-JOURNAL COM

Last semester I studied abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and it was an amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget. at doesn’t mean it didn’t come with its fair share of mishaps: I didn’t have my luggage the rst four days I was in Edinburgh because the plane was too small to carry everyone’s bags. Despite the rocky start and other less-than-ideal circumstances, I wouldn’t change a thing about my semester abroad, and now I’m here to tell you how you can do the same. Here are my do’s and don’ts for an unforgettable study abroad experience.

Do connect with people in your program ahead of time and meet up once you’re abroad. ere are usually group chats formed by your program head or by your host university to support visiting students, and you might be able to nd someone who’s traveling from the same place or arriving at the same time. It’s nice to have a travel buddy and makes everything so much less stressful once you arrive, from guring out transportation from the airport to buying bedding. Also, those group chats will o en have opportunities to meet up with others once you’re abroad, in addition to any orientation events or meet ups organized by your program.

Don’t worry if you don’t make friends right away; just like in college, forming relationships takes time. Find spots where you can be a “regular” and build relation-

Study abroad do’s and don’ts

ships over the course of the semester: for me that was a pub quiz on Mondays and a jam session at a cafe every Wednesday, but it can also be more informal meetups like meeting classmates at the same co ee shop to do work every Friday before class.

Do make friends local to the area or outside of your program, if you can. Some study abroad programs are more isolated than others, so this may be easier said than done. But making friends with locals can introduce you to other sides of your host city or culture that you wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise. In my case, I was able to make friends with my atmates, who were all from the UK, as well as my friends’ atmates and their friends. But this could also mean talking to people in your classes, at cafes, or student events put on by your host school. Which leads me to my next point:

Do nd a way to continue with your extracurriculars while abroad. I joined the dance society at the University of Edinburgh, and it was a good way to keep up my technique and meet people who shared a love of dance. It was also good to nd an activity to keep me active, but don’t make the same mistake I did and buy a gym membership if you don’t have to. is one’s pretty speci c to me, but this goes for everyone:

Don’t expect yourself to turn into a whole new person abroad.

If you don’t go to the gym regularly at Brandeis, you probably won’t when you’re abroad. And if you have questions about how things work at your host program/university, don’t be afraid to ask for

help before you make a decision.

Do keep track of your spending habits and don’t be afraid to suggest making dinner once in a while instead of going out to eat. My friends and I shared dinner duties throughout the week, which made it cheaper and more fun.

Don’t succumb to FOMO. If you’re dead tired a er an exam but all your friends want to go out, don’t be afraid to sit out one night! Study abroad is a time to take all the opportunities you can get, but you’re still a student, and you need to take care of yourself so you can keep enjoying your time abroad.

Do nd out what public transportation exists in your area, sometimes it’s even free for students or young people! Figuring the bus system out can help you get to know the city, feel more like a local and help you not be so tired at the end of the day from walking all over the city.

Do travel to other cities or countries if you have the time and money to do so. Sometimes ights are less expensive than trains, but don’t make the mistake I did and book a return ight for a month a er you want to leave Copenhagen. Ryanair is good for cheap travel, but sometimes their site may glitch, and they will try a hundred times to make you pay for a window seat or a bigger bag. at being said:

Do double check all travel dates and details before you leave for a trip. I found out my ight home from Edinburgh had been canceled a week before I was supposed to y home, and ended

up spending hours on the phone trying to get a new ight. It pays to double check ahead of time, or you might end up like me and take your friends to a freight train station in France at ve in the morning, instead of going to the actual train station. Travel mishaps like these are bound to happen, so it’s best to stay positive and exible.

Do keep track of experiences you have, places you travel to and people you meet. You’ll want to remember your time abroad, and it’s easy to forget the little things that made you laugh even a week later. I kept a journal with business cards from cafes I went to, tickets from the metro in Paris and a yer for a student theater production my atmate helped produce. I love looking back on it and remembering not only what I did, but how I felt while doing it.

My most important piece of

advice, however cliche it may be, is to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. It really is what studying abroad is all about, so eat the food (haggis is actually quite delicious), dance the dance (going to a ceilidh was one of my highlights even though I sprained my ankle for the 328th time) and swim in the water (the fairy pools in March were freezing, but a erward I couldn’t stop smiling). Good luck to all the Brandeisians going abroad this semester, and welcome back to everyone else. Who knows, if you follow these rules here in Waltham you might just be able to bring that study abroad magic into the Brandeis bubble.

August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot OPINIONS 13
PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS PICKERING

Net ix’s “Gray Man” follows the special agent known as Sierra Six (Ryan Gosling), a convict turned Sierra agent (essentially a killer for the government) as he gets ahold of evidence proving that the man who hired him, Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page), is corrupt. us begins a manhunt for Six, headed by Lloyd Hansen (Chris Evans), who is hired by Carmichael to retrieve said evidence. With the added stakes of Six’s loved ones being kidnapped, viewers watch as Six matches wits and sts with Hansen and the CIA.

I rst heard about this lm through one of Net ix’s TikTok ads. e focus of these videos was more so placed on the humor and action scenes of the lm, with a speci c emphasis on highlighting snarky conversations from the lm. I have to say such advertising was rather e ective for me,

making me eagerly await the day of the lm’s release. However, after watching the lm and looking back at what occurred, I nd that the sarcasm and banter was the only part of the movie that made it stand out as much as it did. e plot was rather similar to most other action lms, and most of the characters weren’t even very likable (and those that were, besides the protagonist, didn’t get much screen time). Furthermore, while I am on the topic of characters, I think that so much time was spent emphasizing Six and Lloyd’s banter and wit, that the other characters in turn felt a tad out of place. e other characters seemed to be acting like how one would expect in a dramatic action movie, so when compared with the two main characters, they come o as either boringly practical, annoying or annoyed—though I will admit that Claire Fitzroy (Julia Butters) was an exception, alongside the occasional witty line that made me chuckle from the other characters.

On another note, it felt like the plot of the movie was a tad unfocused, with two di erent problems ghting for the attention of the audience. When the rst problem was introduced, it seemed to be more or less a cutand-dry objective: expose Carmichael for who he was, and don’t get killed along the way. However, when Lloyd stepped onto the scene, a second problem (the kidnapping of Six’s loved ones) was introduced. e lm then ickers between establishing Six’s relationship with Claire, one of the kidnapped victims, Six trying to evade Lloyd’s pursuits and the occasional examination of Six’s backstory. ese di erent focuses did end up solidifying somewhat at the end, but it felt as if the writers were trying to do too much at once, and that certain plot points could have been taken out to help the movie feel less jumbled. Now, that isn’t to say that the whole movie was not to my liking. As I said before, the witty banter that was scattered throughout the

plot was quite enjoyable, whether it was between Lloyd and Six speci cally, or these two having separate conversations with the other characters in the movie. I nd that it was a quite refreshing take for the action genre. Not only is it more entertaining, but I think it is in a way more realistic as well. Plus, seeing Chris Evans play another villain was both intriguing and amusing, not because he did a bad job (far from it actually) but because seeing the same man who played the righteous Captain America play such an interesting villain so convincingly was just hilarious to me. Lloyd Hansen was a fantastically horrible villain, and I think Evans did a wonderful job playing that character on the screen. Before I nish my review, there is a more speci c problem, as a Black viewer and writer, that I nd with the movie. More speci cally, how the Black characters all fall into two categories: dead or villainous. Regé-Jean Page is cast as the main antagonist (the corrupt

government o cial who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his secrets under wraps) and he isn’t given any likable qualities. Up until the very end, he is unrelenting, unsympathetic and doesn’t feel a bit of remorse. Meanwhile, characters like Barnes (Eme Ikwuakor) and Maurice Cahill (Alfre Woodard), serve as allies to Six, helping him in di erent parts throughout the movie, but they don’t last until the end. I nd it both confusing and frustrating that the writers and casting directors of this movie didn’t think to have at least one Black character make it to the end that viewers could at least have some respect toward. I don’t think it would have been that di cult to accomplish.

If you like action movies, feel free to give the movie a shot. I doubt that the plot will be riveting in any way, but I think that the dialogue will give you a few chuckles and smirks to walk away with.

‘The Boys’: the perfect political satire for 2022

“Like most of the world, I love superheroes. Superhero movies, television shows and entire franchises have millions of adoring fans waiting for the next part of the story to unfold. What makes superheroes so enticing is they are almost always a character to root for; their power isn’t terrifying to the public but comforting. Superheroes are seen as an unwavering source of justice in the worlds they reside in—unless they are seen as harmful vigilantes prior to their fame. Still, their existence is surrounded by this ideal of justice and working towards a common good, a far too naive perspective on any human, super or not.

Amazon Prime’s series “ e Boys,” released in 2019 and based on the comic series by the same name, explores a world where superheroes aren’t born—they’re made. In a world where heroes aren’t heroic, but the face of a corporation, their saves are simply marketing tactics to boost

their numbers and every casualty—aka collateral damage—is covered up by multibillion-dollar Vought International. e series shines a light on modern political problems through the lens of the ultra-powerful Vought and their superheroes who are revered as politicians, activists, extremists and as the character Homelander (Anthony Starr) likes to call himself, Gods.

e third season of the hit series was released this summer and continues to follow the story of Hughie (Jack Quaid), a shy electronics salesman whose girlfriend is the collateral damage of A-Train’s (Jessie T. Usher) superspeed. e loss of his girlfriend is what brings anti-supe Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) to his door, to utilize Hughie’s newfound disdain for Vought heroes for his bene t. Butcher recruits past teammates Frenchie (Tomer Capone) and Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso) to take down Vaught, but this is far easier said than done. Two seasons, many Vought higher-ups, one Nazi supe radicalizing her base, a secret supe child

and many lies later, season three rejoins e Boys in their hunt to nd the weapon that supposedly killed Homelander’s predecessor, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles).

Unbeknownst to the group, Soldier Boy is not actually dead, and in their search for a weapon that could kill Homelander, they nd him—a seriously strong supe with a vengeance. Utilizing Soldier Boy as their weapon comes with many problems, namely M.M.’s haunting past in which Soldier Boy murdered his grandfather. Mother’s Milk’s reluctance to team up with the supe who created racial tensions across the U.S. and who killed his grandfather leads to e Boys fracturing—with M.M., Frenchie, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) against working with Soldier Boy, and Hughie and Butcher all for it. is tension along with Hughie’s usage of temporary Compound V—the chemical that turns people into superheroes—causes a ri in his relationship with Starlight, ghting over who needs to be protected and wanting to save one another.

Season three also takes a turn to the slightly more obviously political with A-Train’s supe-brutality storyline. e addition of Black Lives Matter to “ e Boys” caused some fans to become jaded towards the series, despite it always being a clearly anti-capitalist and anti-fascist program (ironically, since it is an Amazon Prime Original). is season also ventures more into mysterious Black Noir’s (Nathan Mitchell) history as a previous member of the superhero group Payback with Soldier Boy and a current member of e Seven.

is newest season of “ e Boys” creates new alliances, new

complex villains and a whole new unhinged Homelander-versus-Starlight publicity feud. Politics and corruption are always at the center of the show, and the shocking reveal of what supe is the notorious “head popper” brings more suspense and furthers the intertwined nature of Vought, heroes, the U.S. political system and corporate greed and power. If you love superheroes, have a disdain for the current political climate in the United States and know someone with an Amazon Prime account, “ e Boys” is a must-watch.

Expectations were high when the trailer for “ e Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” was released. A spy comedy following Nicolas Cage, playing Nicolas Cage, as he takes down the Nic Cage superfan leader of a drug cartel, was undoubtedly an intriguing sell. And while the funniest concepts of the trailer came through in the nal product, other building blocks of the lm oundered.

A major piece in “ e Unbearable Weight” is Nic Cage and drug cartel leader Javi’s (Pedro Pascal) discussions of a screenplay they want to write. Quickly it becomes clear that the two are more or less writing the script for the movie they appear in. While these scenes t “ e Unbearable Weight’s” already present theme of self-awareness, they also ultimately outline

exactly why this movie does not live up to its strongest concepts. Neither Cage and Javi, nor “ e Unbearable Weight’s” writers, could decide whether to create an art house lm or a blockbuster so they tried to be both. is leads the lm down a path of massive quality inconsistencies.

is movie is a comedy above all else, an aspect that is present and entertaining even in the lm’s weakest moments. Scenes of car chases, espionage and family drama alike are all funny, as well as tonally consistent. e style of humor stays the same no matter the situation or characters present.

e same cannot be said about the quality of the rest of the lm’s script.

Scenes of Nic Cage and Javi bonding and discussing their movie preferences, Cage’s acting career and Javi’s personal life are excellent, as are scenes of Cage by himself, where he occasionally experiences violent hallucinations of Nicky Cage, a version of Cage

from the 1990s dead set on stardom. ese scenes, which take up about half of the lm, make the entire movie worth watching. e combination of wonderful actors giving their all to ridiculous situations and the genuinely sweet friendship that forms between Cage and Javi meet a quality level most movies never do. is is not to say the entire rest of the movie is bad either, just more cliche. Where this movie completely fails is in its stilted attempts at plot progression and character motivation. Had this lm simply followed Cage bringing down a drug lord through spy shenanigans, this review may well have come to very di erent conclusions about its quality, but no, “ e Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” insisted on creating drama and action through hackneyed underwritten familial characters that took far too much time away from actual spy stu

Both Javi and Cage have members of their families who end up

majorly a ecting the plot. Javi’s family—speci cally his cousin Lucas (Paco León)—is simply one-sided, an over-the-top villain with minimal backstory, only present to serve as the main baddie come the third act. is would be wholly acceptable in a blockbuster, but less so in an arthouse movie, yet again creating an inconsistency. Alternatively, Cage’s family creates some larger issues.

It doesn’t mean much adding a ctional family to a ctional character, but adding a ctional family to a ( ctionalized) real person is counterintuitive. A ctional family inherently separates Cage further from his real self, creating a limitation upon the concept this movie is built on; their existence delegitimizes the inside joke of the movie. And to make matters worse, his family sucks.

e acting is ne but the writing and characterizations are awful. Picture the wife or daughter that gets kidnapped or attacked in literally any male-dominated action

movie: these are those women. ey argue, they scold, they get in danger and they get saved. at’s it, that’s all they do. When placed against the delightful characters that are Javi and Nic Cage, it is ridiculous that “ e Unbearable Weight” dedicated its entire third act to characters the movie would have been better o writing out. Despite its clear aws, which I suspect will almost entirely only bother certain anti-blockbuster-type movie lm snobs, “ e Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is a creative and funny movie that embraces the chaos synonymous with Nicolas Cage’s career while depicting a beautiful relationship between movie bu s and a mildly entertaining spy adventure.

ARTS August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot 14
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BookTok worth it or not: summer reading edition

I’m back for semester number two of reading books so that you don’t have to! I got busy over the summer and read an obscene amount of books—proving the person who told me I read too much entirely correct. I’ve gone to the very deepest layers of BookTok and read the most popular books. I went a little too far with the romance books which is not my typical M.O. but I did enjoy it very much. Included in this article will be a ranking from best to worst summer reading books.

If you missed me last semester—or are new to campus and therefore did not see our previous publications—basically I nd books on BookTok (but really Bookstagram cause I don’t have TikTok) and I rate them on whether I think they were worth the read or not. I am terribly biased and I am a very easy critic so don’t take my word for law. Slight spoilers are included, that is my warning.

Here are my reviews:

“It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover (content warning: domestic abuse) I did it. I caved. I caved and read my rst Colleen Hoover book.

“ e Sandman,” based on the successful comic of the same name, is an enjoyably dark and mind-bending TV series that does not shy away from the more strange aspects of its source material, and in fact, embraces them, with some shots pulling directly from comic book panels and many of the more disturbing scenes still shown in all their gory glory.

Written by Neil Gaiman— known for “American Gods” and “Coraline”—the hit “Sandman” comic series was one of the most in uential comics of its day. e series was created at a pivotal time in DC Comics history. e Comics Code Authority had recently stopped censoring most comics to make them more child friendly and the industry was beginning to experiment once again. Gaiman created something so eerie, unique and surreal that it would inspire the creation of the DC Vertigo label as a place for stories

And gosh darn I really liked it. Like, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I really thought that this book was getting overhyped because everyone—and I do mean everyone—was saying that this is THE book. e last time a book got this hyped up it was “ e Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” and I absolutely hated that book.

But man, “It Ends With Us” exceeded expectations.

Colleen Hoover gets a lot of hate because she writes about toxic love and in a way kind of glories them. But I think that’s what I appreciated about the book. Yes, it involves toxic love but it shows our protagonist—Lily Bloom— getting herself out of the cycle of violence. And I think Hoover does a wonderful job of writing Lily’s abuser as this loving guy because it shows just how dicult it is to escape domestic abuse. While you’re reading you nd it hard to hate her abuser at times because he ips this switch and suddenly he’s a nice guy again. And this is something Lily battles with — whether she will love him at his worst for when he is at his best. It also shows the emotions of the victim and how they get so lost in whether it’s their fault they’re getting abused or if they’re

being too sensitive. It really shows this internal struggle that victims of domestic violence face and the perceptions of others around them.

Hoover writes a great narrative showing a woman pulling herself out of an abusive life to break the cycle of abuse for her daughter. And in doing so she shows the love of a mother for her daughter to want to give her her best life. We also see the destruction and repair that generational trauma causes and the e orts that go in to try and x it for the next generation.

So yes, read this book.

“People We Meet On Vacation” by Emily Henry

A lot of people say this book isn’t worth it, but I really love Emily Henry’s writing and I loved “People We Meet On Vacation.”

It’s a cute and fun romance book and I adored Poppy and Alex.

It’s a friends to strangers to lovers story and it shows how relationships change as we get older. I feel like I really related to the characters and felt for them as they moved through the narrative. We got to go through their summers and see how they changed as people but still remained constant in each other’s lives.

I think what I especially loved about this book was the banter between Poppy and Alex. Writing dialogue can be extremely di cult but it ows e ortlessly between Poppy and Alex. eir responses are witty and uid and there was never a point where I felt the dialogue was sti

It had a happy ending and it made me laugh and cry at the same time: an excellent book I would recommend you read.

“Daisy Jones and The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

At rst, I wasn’t really vibing with this book, but by the end I was sobbing. e author creates a super interesting narrative by having the story told in interview format. e book is essentially written as though it were a transcript of a recording. e plot centers around a band from the ’70s and basically has the members of the band re ecting on their time touring together.

I think it was a really fun take on telling the story because you see how human memory alters events. Members of the band would recall certain stories differently and their lines would be directly underneath each other so you could see the contrast which I thought was hysterical. e book

also has a great love story happening in it that doesn’t overpower the rest of the narrative which I think is great. I love a good love story and I love it, even more, when it doesn’t overpower the rest of the book.

It’s rock and roll in the ’70s, what more could you want? You should read this book.

My summer reading ranking:

“ e Immortalists”

“ e Dead Romantics”

“It Ends With Us”

“ e Hating Game”

“People We Meet on Vacation”

“A Touch of Darkness”

“Daisy Jones and the Six”

“Little Fires Everywhere”

“Conversations With Friends”

“Second First Impressions”

“99 Percent Mine”

“You Deserve Each Other”

“ e Spanish Love Deception”

“A Touch of Ruin”

“A Touch of Malice”

“A Visit From the Goon Squad” (I HATED THIS BOOK)

Shameless plug to follow me on goodreads.

that are too dark and strange for standard DC Comics. “ e Sandman” show cannot be a trailblazer in the same way the original comic was, but that does not stop it from being just as enjoyable.

“ e Sandman” follows Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the Lord of Dreams and physical embodiment of dreaming, who creates and molds all the dreams for all creatures. e story begins a er he is captured and imprisoned by humans hoping to capture his older sister, the physical embodiment of Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste).

Eventually, he escapes from his imprisonment and returns to his kingdom to nd his realm in ruins with only his librarian Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) remaining. He soon begins a journey to recover his stolen power and x a world broken by his absence. Net ix’s adaptation of Gaiman’s original comic closely follows the source material and manages to take a story perfectly adapted to the comic book medium and translate it very admirably onto the screen. Sturridge does an excellent job of portraying the

slightly aloof, bordering on emo and duty-driven Morpheus, while a cast of famous actors like Patton Oswalt, Mark Hamill and Jenna Coleman ll out the supporting and recurring roles.

e changes made to the story between the comic and screen are either for the best or so small that only die-hard fans will notice the di erence. e adaptation removed most references to other parts of the DC mythos and several minor story beats and characters. e resulting show is tightly focused and surprisingly well made. e locations are beautiful and surreal, the special e ects are excellent (the Net ix budget is on full display) and the acting is exactly what you would expect from a big-name show on Net ix. Characters like Lucienne, Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie) and John Dee (David ewlis), antagonists of the series, visibly appear di erent from their comic iterations, yet the characters themselves remain fully intact and act exactly as fans of the comic would hope. In fact, Morpheus himself, who has very little character growth in

the comics, now has a character arc woven throughout the show that still somehow manages to feel in-character and natural.

In Gaiman’s signature style, the concepts presented in the series are strange and mostly rooted in the supernatural. But as with so much of Gaiman’s work, it is also believable, grand in scale and genuinely intriguing. e world he creates is not so random and bizarre that anything could happen, but it certainly is strange enough to keep you on your toes.

A crow (that the show insists on calling a raven) voiced by Patton Oswalt? Sure. Real demonic possession requiring an exorcism? Why not? e personi cation of the idea of Cain and Abel with a pet gargoyle? Of course. It all somehow makes sense within the con nes of the elaborate world Neil Gaiman creates.

is is not to say the show is without issues, but they are minor and mostly don’t distract from the otherwise pretty great show. Small things like an unimaginably generic speech from Patton Oswalt’s character during what is

otherwise a very cinematic scene feels forced and ruins some of the gravitas of the scene. Excellent e ects like the bright starry eyes Morpheus is known for in the comics are used once (to great effect) and then never again, despite iconic scenes that would have bene ted from it. e beautiful sweeping scenery shots that are featured several times in the early episodes begin to taper o as the series goes on, and some that remain towards the end start to feel barren and lifeless.

“ e Sandman” is a genuinely intriguing and enjoyable series that feels just as unique and compelling as its source material. Between an excellent cast, striking visuals and some nearly haunting scenes, this show is worth watching if you are ever in the mood for something psychedelic and a little on the dark side.

15 ARTS The Brandeis Hoot August 19, 2022

‘Elvis’ is a dazzling tribute to the king of rock and roll

king can feel like a servant.

Elvis Presley is a man who held many titles. He was a singer, an actor, a soldier and an icon. He has le a real mark on music history, and there may never be a musician as revolutionary ever again. From the outside, it might have seemed like he had it all, but he faced a lot of adversity and trouble, even at the peak of his stardom. His life was controlled, but he always had to put on a brave face. e new biopic “Elvis” pulls back the curtain on Presley’s life. Released in theaters on June 24, Baz Luhrmann’s newest spectacle shows Elvis like you have never seen him before. is lm displays the rise and fall of Elvis Presley up until his untimely death at 42 from a heart attack. Whether or not you are a fan of Elvis’s music, this is a story that can grip and amaze anyone. You will be able to see how even a

Even though this lm is called “Elvis,” it is not told from his point of view. It is told from the point of view of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks). However, even though it is told from his perspective, the lm makes it clear that he is the villain of this story. We see how he discovers a young Elvis Presley (Austin Butler) performing a small show at a carnival. Elvis grew up in a poor part of Mississippi and gained interest in music at a young age. Now, all he wants to do is make his mother (Helen omson) proud.

Parker manages to convince Presley that he knows what’s best and that Presley should give him full control over his music career.

Parker then builds up Presley’s career, but it is not smooth sailing at rst. Presley is driving the women wild with his wiggling hips, and it shocks the conservative people. Even so, Presley is getting bigger by the day. However, Parker is calling all of the shots. Parker de-

cides the performances, he makes all of the deals and any possible decision has to go through him. ere is no room for Presley to have a say. Presley is getting too caught up in the life of stardom and is quickly deteriorating. Does Parker really want what’s best? And is Presley ever truly happy? e best and worst parts of this lm are the performances. Austin Butler does an incredible job playing Elvis Presley. Elvis Presley is a legendary performer, so playing him is a huge job. Butler was certainly up to the challenge. He became Elvis Presley. Butler was able to sing and dance around the many stages so well that you could understand why the girls were screaming. He was also able to give deep emotional performances, like when Elvis’s mom dies or when his lack of freedom becomes realized. Austin Butler has not led a lm before, but a er watching him in this lm, I hope he has another opportunity. en, there is the mediocre

performance by Tom Hanks. Obviously Tom Hanks is one of the best actors of our time and always gives 110 percent in every role he plays. However, this was not the role for him. He played Colonel Tom Parker too much like a cartoon villain even though this man was a real person. e vague European accent was too thick and the way he played the character seemed like it would be better for a comedy. It was an okay job, but I feel like there was a version of this lm where the character is more grounded, and that would put this movie over the top.

Since this lm was directed by Baz Luhrmann, it had to be a spectacle. Luhrmann is known for directing “Moulin Rouge,” “Romeo + Juliet” and the most recent version of “ e Great Gatsby.” What do all of these lms have in common? ey are all known for their bright colors and ashiness. “Elvis” certainly delivers on that expectation. We see the brightness of all of the stages and concert halls, especially in Las Vegas. ere are all of Presley’s fun and sparkly costumes, like his iconic white suit. Almost every scene feels electrifying. A lot of scenes were lled with people dancing around and having fun in the bright lights. Even though there are plenty of serious moments in the lm, there are other parts that are very lively and beautiful.

e direction was also great in terms of storytelling. I thought telling the story through Parker’s perspective was an interesting choice. It shows how Presley can’t be in control of anything, even when it comes to the narrative of his own biopic. e lm was two

and a half hours long, but it really ew by. ere were some montage parts that could have been shorter, but overall, it felt tight. Biopics have been around for decades so new ones always have to try to be extra interesting. is one achieved that goal.

I am going to be honest, I’m not really a fan of Elvis Presley’s music. His songs are just not for me. However, I have always recognized how he is a pioneer for rock and roll. is lm did a great job at humanizing him. He is obviously not perfect. He did meet his wife when she was 14 and he was 24, a fact that was kind of glossed over in the lm. And on top of that, he wasn’t even that faithful to his wife. However, this lm is able to show that he is deeper than one might think. He is more than just some guy singing “Jailhouse Rock” in tight pants. Presley went through a lot in his career and audiences deserve to see that. Audiences also deserve to see how Colonel Tom Parker is a huge prick. So head over to your local theater to see “Elvis” on screen today. ank you, thank you very much.

August 19, 2022 The Brandeis Hoot ARTS 16
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