The Brandeis Hoot, November 5, 2021

Page 1

Volume 19 Issue 10

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

November 5, 2021

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Former Student Union secretary speaks out By Victoria Morongiello editor

James Feng ’22, former student union secretary, spoke to The Brandeis Hoot regarding his impeachment and what he believes are potential alternative motives for why other members of the student union wanted him off of the union. Feng was impeached on Oct. 27 due to “gross neglect” of his responsibilities, according to a previous Hoot article. “I am not disputing the concerns that they raised against my performance. Those concerns were valid, those concerns were legitimate—they were true. In regard to those incidents they mentioned, I definitely could’ve done

better … However, what I take issue with is how they handled the situation and their ulterior motives,” said Feng to The Hoot. According to Feng, the reason other members of the student union “hounded” him for his mistakes and chose to hold him accountable was because of their political bias. Feng acknowledged that the acquisition was “fear mongering” and “conspiracy theory-esque”, but he believed he had “solid evidence” to back up his claim. The first piece of evidence which Feng cited was the fact that the former Secretary last semester, Alex Park ’22, made, what Feng considered, similar mistakes. See UNION, page 2 PHOTO BY THE HOOT

Guest lecturer speaks on foreign service experience By Scarlett Ren and Victoria Morrongiello staff and editor

Dave Harden, a former senior U.S. diplomat with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), spoke to Brandeis students on his international experience at an event held on Oct. 28. Harden presented not geopolitical analysis, but past stories of his that be believed would

help shape and expand student’s knowledge about the world. “This is not an academic discussion. This is more about what I saw as a career foreign service officer serving in the Middle East for a very long time,” Harden began the discussion. Harden shared multiple anecdotal stories to give students a new perspective separate from typical geopolitical analysis on the Middle East, said Harden. Throughout his career in foreign service, Harden has worked in South Asia, including in Ban-

gladesh, Pakistan, India and Nepal, and in Central Asia including Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan as a regional legal advisor for USAID. Harden then began his work in the Middle East in August of 2005. This was just before Gaza disengagement, when Israel removed all their military installations, said Harden. During this time, Harden said he learned about the relationship between economics and security. Harden served as a USAID West Bank and Gaza Deputy

Mission Director. In this position he said that he worked closely with Palestinian authorities, civil society and buisnesses. Concurrently, Harden said he worked closely with Israli military and the Israeli private sector. Concurrently, Harden said he worked closely with Israli military and the Israeli private sector. “I was one of the few people at that time who had the authority and the diplomatic cover to talk to both sides. Normally that’s not how it works in our embas-

sy. Normally you get one side or the other,” said Harden. This offered him a very unique perspective of the situation, said Harden. Under the Obama administration, Harden joined the special envoy team where he was on the ground working on issues. George Mitchell—who at the time was appointed as the lead negotiatory between the Palestinian and the Israelis—“dealt with the five issues between the See GUEST, page 3

Univ. students hang red dresses around campus ByVictoria Morrongiello editor

Multiple red dresses have been hung around outdoor spaces on campus as a part of the REDress Project, a project launched by artist Jaime Black. The red dress project was created by Black to draw attention to the missing or murdered Aboriginal women across Canada, according to Black’s website. “Through the installation I hope to draw attention to the gendered and racialized nature of violent crimes against Aboriginal women and to evoke a presence through the marking of absence,” wrote Black in regards to the REDress Project on her page. The red dresses are hung around campus in discrete locations, according to the REDress Project at Brandeis University page. Students of the “Introduction to Cre-

Inside This Issue:

ativity, the Arts and Social Transformation” course have been tasked with hanging the dresses as a part of the installation. “The dresses call attention to the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada and the U.S. and ask us to take action in the face of this racialized and gendered violence,” according to the university page. The students in the course will be collaborating with Black in order to “situate and contextualize” the dresses in specific locations around campus, according to the upcoming tab on the University’s Women’s Studies Research Center page. The dresses around campus will act as a re-creation of Black’s REDress Project, according to the page, meant to bring attention to gendered and racialized violence which Indigenous peoples in See RED DRESS, page 3

News: Turkey Shuttles return for students Ops: Has Squid Game hype gone too far? Features: Prof. plants have a home Sports: Women’s vollleyball beats Springfield Editorial: Branvan concerns

Page 2 Page 10 Page 9 Page 6 Page 7


Signature’s of stars

Macbeth review



Here’s what your favorite celebreties’ signatures say about them.

Double. double toil and trouble fire burn and caudron bubble


2 The Brandeis Hoot

November 5, 2021

James Feng ‘22 discusses impeachment WATER, from page 1

“Things only make sense in the greater context,” Feng explained, saying that Park missed over 10 individual positions in the spring 2021 round of elections. Feng said that this was an election-related mistake which also had consequences, similar to his situation. Those positions then had to be filled by Feng in the Fall 2021 semester despite the fact that the Student Union constitution says the positions are to be filled in the spring, said Feng. The positions were empty, not due to lack of interest, Feng highlighted, but was because Park had not entered them on the ballot. “I do not mean to criticize any of my predecessors, especially the individual who served as secretary before me,” Feng said, “but we have to take some of his actions into account.” Feng noted that there was a difference in the amount of scrutiny in which he faced versus how much his predecessor Park faced and he does not believe this is a coincidence. When asked if Park had made the same mistakes as Feng, Executive Senator Joseph Coles ’22 said that no the mistakes were not the same in an email to The Hoot. “I am appalled at how at an institution founded upon social justice, several members of its Student Union can push a blatant act of injustice,” said Feng to The Hoot. The next piece of evidence Feng provided was that he had not supported the current student union president and vice president duo when they were running for election last semester. According to Feng, he had been a supporter

By Victoria Morongiello editor

The Student Union resumed its Turkey Shuttle service this semester for students traveling to New York, New Jersey or Logan Airport for Thanksgiving break, according to an email sent by Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 to community members on Oct. 29. The Turkey Shuttle service, in collaboration with Joseph’s Van Services and the Brandeis Sustainability Fund, provides transportation for students traveling home for the holiday. “It’s first come, first serve and they do tend to sell out quickly, so don’t wait!” wrote Sourirajan in

for the other candidates for the positions, and because of this he believes that he was targeted by members of the student union to get impeached. Feng claims that this impeachment was a “witch hunt” which was targeted due to ulterior political motives. While still acting as Secretary, Feng claims he was “willing and ready” to hold a third round of elections to fill positions on Allocations board. According to Feng, the Allocations board chair expressed to him that she needed those seats filled before Marathon. However, the elections did not happen because, according to Feng, Student Union President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 had logistical concerns and instead said the elections should get pushed to next semester. Feng said this didn’t make sense with the A-board chairs’ concerns and he was “surprised” that she was unwilling for him to hold the elections. The Student Union is currently holding its third round of elections, with voting opening on Nov. 4. When asked to confirm if Feng ever asked to hold a third round of elections, Coles instead responded with a statement writing, “We are focused on the future and choose to move forward.” To help with the Allocations board, Coles wrote that, “The Senate sent an additional Senator to serve as a Representative to Allocations Board in order for the Board to have a quorum.” Coles noted that they are “excited” to see the candidates running for Allocations board in the third round of elections. Though the Student Union has made sure to support the Allocations Board at all points, ac-

cording to Coles. Feng, despite saying the only feedback he received was via a singular slack message, said he had a meeting with the Chief of Staff and Student Union President on Oct. 3. During this meeting, according to Feng, he was told of the accounts of when he had performed poorly in his role. During this meeting James states that he “was essentially demanded to step down … the two members issued me an ultimatum: resign or face impeachment.” Prior to this meeting though, Feng claims he had not received any previous concerns which would warrant such a meeting, rather he was told it was about his “performance as a whole as secretary.” When asked if this meeting occurred, Coles responded with the same statement. In the statement Coles included, “Former Secretary James Feng was impeached by the Senate with 17 votes in favor and one abstention. He was removed from his position at a trial in which James admitted to “gross neglect” of his responsibilities and admitted that the articles of impeachment against him were accurate. The Judiciary unanimously found him guilty of breaching the Constitution by failing to oversee Union elections.” Feng also included that he had never received a formal written notice of his impeachment. According to Feng, without this document the current elections to replace him are invalid. Coles disputed this and quoted Chief Justice Eamonn Golden ’24 who said, “I’d like to make the distinction between a ‘formal ruling’ and a ‘formal opinion.’ The email release following the trial

was a ‘formal ruling,’ allowing for action to be taken in removing James, with the requirement that a ‘formal opinion’ be released to substantiate it. Bearing in mind that distinction, yes, we have released a ‘formal ruling’ and a formal opinion is on the way.” Feng raised concerns about the way in which the Student Union is currently holding its second round of special elections for the semester. According to Feng, the process for this round of elections is being expedited, citing that the information session about the positions was just three hours before the intent to run was due. There is typically a longer period provided for students, explained Feng. Another issue with the elections which he noted was the fact that the email containing the names of the candidates running and the candidate bios was attached to the bottom of the Brandeis Brief email from the week of Oct. 25. Typically these are two separate emails, said Feng, and to have them in one email was “inappropriate.” Coles wrote to The Hoot that the third round of elections was not being expedited. “The intent to run being due the same day as the info session is a normal practice going back at least three years,” wrote Coles. However, for the elections earlier in the semester the info session was on Sunday ,Sep. 19 and the intent to run deadline was Monday, Sep. 20. Furthermore, going back to the Student Union Winter elections, the information session was held on Jan. 17 and the candidate bios were not due until Jan. 18, according to an email sent by Park on Jan. 11. Another concern about the im-

peachment raised by Feng was the lack of feedback he received about his performance. According to Feng, he received one slack message with feedback about his performance in his role prior to his impeachment trial. He noted that despite not receiving feedback on how to improve in his position, other members of the student union were gathering evidence which they could use against him for his impeachment instead of providing advice for how he should improve. Feng told The Hoot that he had a meeting with two faculty advisors Dennis Hicks and Stephanie Grimes during the impeachment process. According to Feng, both Hicks and Grimes agreed that there was an insufficient amount of feedback provided to him by his fellow student union members about his performance prior to his impeachment trial. The Hoot reached out to Grimes to confirm this but did not receive a response by the time of publication. Coles wrote to The Hoot that, “The Student Union is moving on and continuing to advocate for the student body and meet their needs… The Union is moving forward with planning for Kindness Day, Midnight Buffet as well as lots of other exciting initiatives and activities.” The Hoot interviewed Coles on behalf of Sourirajan and Vice President Courney Thrun ’22 due to scheduling conflicts.

her email to the student body. Ticket sales began on Nov. 2 at 12 p.m., according to a social media post on the Student Union’s Instagram. The Student Union offered three different buses heading to New York and New Jersey, leaving Brandeis on Tuesday, Nov. 23 and Wednesday, Nov. 24. One bus will be leaving on Nov. 23 at 3 p.m., and the two buses on Nov. 24 will be leaving at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., according to the email. The only bus heading to both New York and New Jersey is the bus on Nov. 24 at 10 a.m. Students taking the shuttle will be boarding the buses near the Rabb Steps, according to the email. After the first day of ticket sales, four Turkey Shuttles to New York

and New Jersey were sold out, according to a sign posted in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) ticket booth. The only two remaining shuttles were leaving on Wed, Nov. 24 at 12 p.m. and returning Nov. 28 at 10 a.m. The Turkey Shuttle will be traveling from Brandeis to Pennsylvania Station in New York, and to Newark, New Jersey. The Turkey Shuttle tickets cost $25 per oneway ticket, according to the email; students were asked to pay in cash at the SCC ticket booth. Students were also asked to bring their student ID with them when purchasing their tickets since students could only buy one ticket per ID. The shuttle is meant for Brandeis students only, according to a post

on the Student Union’s Instagram page. There are no refunds or exchanges available for students, according to the Instagram post; however, if one student wants to sell their ticket to another student they may do so if they go to the ticket booth at the SCC so that the ticket can be transferred. Tickets cannot be transferred after Nov. 16 at 6 p.m., according to the post. Another shuttle service is being run to Logan Airport for the holiday weekend, according to the email. The Logan Airport shuttle tickets cost $5 per ticket, according to the email. Nine shuttles will be running to and from Logan Airport. Three shuttles will head to Logan Airport on Nov.

23 and another three will run to Logan Airport on Nov. 24. There are three shuttles that will bring students back from Logan Airport to the University on Nov. 28. According to the official Brandeis Student Union Turkey Shuttle Fall 2021 document provided, students should show up to the shuttle 30 to 45 minutes before their bus is scheduled to depart. Students are advised to bring one suitcase and one carry on that can fit overhead on the bus. The estimate for travel time without traffic to New York’s Penn Station is four hours and 30 minutes, though the document advised planning for traffic. The estimated travel time to Newark is four hours and 50 minutes without traffic.

Brandeis Scholar discusses Wicca

By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

Brandeis resident scholar in the Women’s Studies Research Center Helen Berger (WGS) wrote an article in The Conversation discussing Wicca and its growth in the United States. It is estimated that there are around 1.5 million practitioners in the United States, according to the article. According to the article, Wicca is a minority religion whose adherents call themselves witches regardless of their gender. The

religion originated in the 1940s in the United Kingdom, and is now a part of the pagan movement. “All these spiritual paths, as pagans refer to them, base their practices on pre-Christian religions and cultures,” said the article. In the United States, Wicca can be traced back to the 1960s. However, Berger points out that not all witches are Wiccans; of the 1.5 million, only 800 thousand of them identify as Wicca. According to the article, “increasing numbers that have been witnessed in surveys and the growth of groups, such as those on Tik-

Tok, suggest that the religion is continuing to grow.” The Wiccan religion is different from more common religions. Not only does it celebrate both a Goddess and a God, but it does not have institutions such as churches and religious texts. There is one main rule in the practice: “Harm none and do as you will.” This single rule allows witches to have their own unique form of practicing the religion. Divinity can be found in nature for the Wicca. The focus of Wicca is more on spiritual experience and rituals. Many rituals

are held, which are meant to put practitioners in contact with the divine. “A yearly cycle of rituals, known as sabbats, celebrate the beginning and height of each of the four seasons of the Northern Hemisphere. Each ritual encourages participants to celebrate the changes the seasons bring to nature and to reflect on how those changes are mirrored in their own lives. For example, at Beltane – which takes place May 1, at the height of spring – Wiccans celebrate fertility in both the Earth and in people’s lives,” says the article. Most of them also practice

magic “to heal themselves and others or to find a new home or job, among other things, and emphasize that magic must not cause harm,” according to the article. The point of pursuing magic is to encourage self-growth and improvement. Witches are also “in regular contact, networking on the internet and congregating at large gatherings to conduct rituals, learn about magical and spiritual practices from one another, and enter what they see as a magical space where they can more readily encounter and embrace divinity,” according to the article.

November 5 , 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Guest lecturer discusses Middle East relations GUEST, from page 1

Israelis and the Palestinians,” according to Harden. Harden went on to joke that while Mitchell dealt with those five issues, he “dealt with the 995 other issues because there are thousands of issues.” Harden stressed in one anecdotal story a situation where he had to decide how much food to buy for Gaza in the 2014 war. The complexity, according to Harden, was not just getting the food, but rather getting the food inside Gaza. That would become his number one task. “In a complex crisis, you want to use everything available. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket. Your job is to save 2 million people for 90 days and make sure they have food. The only way to get the food through is from the Israeli side,” he point-

ed to the map as he spoke. From the Egyptian humanitarian crisis to the diverse demographics in Lebanon, the Yemen two-state crisis to climate change—specifically drought—in Syria to waves of refugees into Jordan, Harden led a bureau global crisis response and political transition and managed a $4.8 billion budget with a staff of nearly 1200. Through these hands-on tasks and problem-solving scenarios, Harden spent years in the Middle East at a U.S. office and learned how to talk to both sides by working closely with various groups, providing him a unique perspective by seeing relationships between economics and security. Harden discussed a situation, which is rare in foreign policy and international relations, where he was able to test two competing theories at the same time in relatively the same place. One

theory—tested in Gaza—was economic pressure will yield political change, according to Harden; if they squeezed Hamas enough then they will fail due to pressure. The other theory—tested in the Palestinian city of Jenin—was economic opportunity would yield political change. Trade through the north, which can be sustained and is predictable, would be able to maintain a business community that would provide an economic opportunity which would bring change, according to Harden. From this situation they learned that economic opportunity yields political change because in Jenin the unemployment rate dropped, there was a higher attendance of children in schools and there was a reduction in fighting, Harden expanded. “We didn’t get peace in the Middle East. I wasn’t ever going to bring peace, my job was to bring calm and opportunity for peace in the Middle East and I

think we delivered it for 10 years.” The same success was not seen in Gaza where they tested the theory that economic pressure yields political change. Harden also discussed the problems which will begin to arise due to climate change. Wet-bulb temperatures will be rising in South Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa which will add additional pressure to these already “fragile” areas, as Harden described. “This is your challenge, we failed,” Harden said to the students. In regards to the Palestine-Israeli conflict, Harden said that he initially believed Mitchell would be the one to bring peace between the two groups due to his role in solving relations between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland. “I think it’s probably too late,” said Mitchell, “I know that’s not where hope for the people want to be.” “I think the chance of a two-

state solution is either closed or nearly closed,” explained Mitchell, “I’m saddened about it because these are very difficult issues.” Harden is no longer working with USAID; he left under the Trump administration. He currently works at a global consulting group, Georgetown Strategy, and is running for the U.S. Congress for Maryland District 1. The event was co-hosted by Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC) and the Schusterman Center. BIPAC is a non-partisan group dedicated to the study and discussion of the United States-Israel relationship and strengthening the relationship between students and congress, said BIPAC president Gabriella Lieberman ’23 during the event. This event was BIPAC’s first in-person event since the spring of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Art exhibition at Brandeis focused on black bodies and reshaping sterotypes By Sasha Skarboviychuk and Victoria Morrongiello editor

Marla McLeod, an artist who explores black identity and social constructs in her pieces, exhibited her work at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis. The exhibition, titled “We the People (Our Love Will See Us Through)” consists of various clothing pieces and paintings on display. The exhibition explores the “false and pervasive narratives surrounding Black bodies while re-presenting the historical figures and characterizations of James Baldwin, W.E.B. Du Bois, and the harmful stereotype of the

‘mammy,’” according to the exhibition page. The exhibition juxtaposes “larger-than-life portrait painting with handmade textiles and garments,” according to the page. The title of the exhibit, “We the People (Our Love Will See Us Through),” references a song by a musical artist from the ’60s— Nina Simone. In one song she sings, “If some tears come our way, the sun skips a day, we still have each other, and our love will see us through,” according to the exhibition page. The other part of the title “We the People” references the U.S. constitution. According to a Boston Globe article, McLeod blends together personal, societal and historical aspects

throughout the exhibition. The oil paintings on display are meant to show the lack of Black women as the main subject of art in the West, according to the page. According to the description, the textile pieces are “inspired by techniques, symbols, and traditions of Mali mud cloths.” McLeod has also sewed the names of Black female figures such as Angela Davis and Sojourner Truth, according to the Globe article. Some of the clothes also include quotes by notable figures. One piece on display, called “Baldwin,” was inspired by writer and activist James Baldwin. The design of the dress featured Baldwin’s name down the back. Throughout the design are quotes

from Baldwin stitched onto the fabric, according to a photo from the Boston Globe article. The exhibition featured a variety of art forms, one titled “American Dream: 229 Black Lives in 2018, which is a work that has 229 bits of twine which hang from ornate shelves. They are meant to represent the 229 people that were killed by police in 2018, according to the Globe article. The pieces of twine are 79 inches long each, which is meant to represent the average lifespan of Americans, according to a 2018 statistic McLeod found. McLeod then knotted black yarn from the bottom, until she reached the age at which the victim died, to show how their lives were cut short, according to

the article. According to a Globe interview with McLeod, the piece was difficult for her to make. She tracked down the age of each of the individuals killed and knotted the thread to that age, then she continued the thread to 79 inches. McLeod used a contrast in color to represent the amount of years taken too early, according to the article. The exhibition was displayed from Aug. 2 to Oct. 29 in the Kniznick Gallery at the Women’s Studies Research Center where an Arts Program which reflects the values of the Center Scholars is run, according to their page. McLeod also did various talks throughout the time the works were on display.

Brandeis Lydian String Quartet performs at Mandel By Roshni Ray editor

The Brandeis Lydian String Quartet performed at the Mandel Center this past Wednesday as a part of the Brandeis Concert Series. Faculty, students and the larger Waltham community filled the Mandel atrium for an afternoon of music and refreshments. While the group normally has four musicians, one of their violinists, Judith Eissenberg, was unable to perform due to an injury. The remaining trio—Mark Berger on viola, Andrea Segar on violin and Joshua Gordon on cello—played two pieces. During the winter, the Quartet hosts an annual recital at Slosberg Music Hall. Their lunchtime Mandel concert served as an introduction to the wider campus community and a sneak peek into their future musical endeavors. According to the Lydian Quartet website, the Quartet has performed in famous venues across the U.S. such as the Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress. They have also performed abroad in a number of countries including Switzerland, Germany,

Russia, Armenia and most recently Taiwan. The first piece that the group performed was “Intermezzo for String Trio” by Zoltan Kodaly, a Hungarian composer of the early 1900s. Gordon described the historical background of the piece; Kodaly was one of the first scholars to practice musicology, not more than a budding field at the time. After his scholarship in music, he studied melodies from local artists and intertwined them with his own music. In this sense, the piece is reflective of the setting from which he came from. Additionally, the musical expression mimics that of a piece that would traditionally be played in between acts of a theatrical play. The second piece that was performed was “Divertimento” in E-flat major (K.563) by Mozart. As introduced by Berger, Divertimento was a piece that was designed to be played at parties and other social events during the mid to late 1700s. In other words, the music was purely for fun. Berger notes that while the piece’s intention is to be played in a light-hearted social setting, the music itself is significantly longer and more technically difficult than many other Mozart trio piec-

es. The piece consisted of different sections: Allegro, Adagio, Andante and Minuet. These names represent different passages of pacing in order to contribute to the overall narrative of the piece. All three members of the quartet balance rehearsals with teaching courses at Brandeis University. As described in the Lydian String Quartet website, Segar joined the Lydian String Quartet as a first violinist and an Associate Professor of the Practice in 2016. Her areas of expertise include chamber music, performance and analysis. Berger joined the Quartet as a violist in 2014 and an Associate Professor of the Practice. His areas of expertise include chamber music, music theory and composition. Furthermore, Gordon joined the Lydian String Quartet as a cellist and the music faculty of Brandeis University in 2002. Gordon is the undergraduate advisor for the Music Department and specializes in ensemble dynamics, performance psychology and educational outreach. Eissenberg was the founding member of the Lydian String Quartet and has become a Professor of the Practice at Brandeis University since the beginning of

her career here in 1980. The group normally rehearses for two- to three-hour stretches during several weekday mornings. Berger describes the piece selection process as fairly “democratic.” The musicians rotate which

genres and composers they want to explore. For more information about the Lydian Quartet and their upcoming performances, refer to their group website as well as the Brandeis Concert Series calendar.

Photo by Roshni Ray/ The Hoot


The Brandeis Hoot

November 5, 2021

Campus Activity Board presents: Halloweekend By John Fornagiel editor

The Campus Activities Board (CAB) hosted a Halloweekend Extravaganza event, according to an email sent to the Brandeis community on Oct. 20 by Lucas Malo, the Director of Community Service. The event took place in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC) on Oct. 30 from 8:30 p.m. until 11 p.m., according to the email. Students were invited and encouraged to come to the event in their Halloween costumes. To participate in the festivities, students were required to

have a green or yellow passport. Halloweekend Extravaganza was an event hosted in celebration of Halloween. One of the events hosted on the first floor of the SCC was laser tag, where the lobby was taped off to make room for the arena and obstacles. Students were able to play in a four-onfour style, although smaller teams were acceptable, where the team that got the most kills within five minutes was deemed the winner. Laser tag was almost constantly running throughout the night. Moreover, CAB previously planned to have escape rooms throughout campus outside

where students could collaborate to find an exit by putting together clues and thinking creatively. However, “the escape room had to be postponed due to the rain, and the laser tag was moved into the atrium so that people would still be able to play,” CAB Vice President Douglas Vantran ’22 told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. There was also a photobooth and a costume contest located on the first floor. At the photobooth, a photographer took three pictures of individuals or groups and had the photos printed on-site. In addition, there was a photogra-

COVID-19 dashboards

pher taking pictures of individuals or groups in Halloween costumes for the costume contest, with the winner of the contest winning the prize of a Nintendo Switch. Groups up to four also had the possibility of winning a mini projector each, according to a post on the Brandeis CAB Instagram page. Groups of two also had the possibility of winning a Squishmallow, a type of plush toy. There was also a DJ, music and dancing in the multipurpose room on the second floor of the SCC. Additionally, according to the email, many clubs were also welcomed to take part in the event

In the Senate, Oct. 31 •

• •


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update November 4, 2021.


Total postive COVID-19 cases each week. Last Update September 2, 2021.


Total COVID-19 tests administered each week. Last Update November 4, 2021.

by decorating one of the reserved rooms and running an event in these rooms. Hosted events of this nature include pumpkin-carving and painting by Liquid Latex, along with trick-or-treating at the Student Union office among many others. The third floor of the SCC also gave away many free Halloween sweets. These included Halloween-themed cupcakes and cookies, make-your-own s’mores, candy apples and also mocktails such as an apple cider sangria. ”We were so happy to be able to do an in-person event for Halloween this year,” Vantran added.

Emily McKerrow ’24 from Herbicide Free Brandeis attended the Senate meeting seeking probationary status for the club. Probationary status is the 12-week period in which new clubs develop and prove their ability to pursue or fulfill their purpose before getting chartered and being officially recognized as a club, according to the Bylaws of the Student Union. McKerrow presented a slideshow, explaining the workings of the club, the mission and some of the activities the club had organized. “Herbicide Free is a club that advocates for the organic landcare of campus to create a safer and more sustainable living and learning environment,” McKerrow explained during the slideshow. When asked why the club wanted to be chartered, McKerrow claimed that being chartered would allow them to receive funding for events as well as being “officially recognized” as a club. Joseph Coles ’22 asked if the club had a treasurer, to which McKerrow claimed she was unsure if the club had one or not. Once McKerrow was moved into the waiting room for the Senate to discuss, Vice President Courtney Thrun ’22 mentioned that the club seemed to be “disoriented” and said, “I feel that their club is a great idea, but it needs guidance.” The Senate agreed to have the Club Support committee meet the club so that they would be able to present again next week, postponing the vote until then. The Senate discussed some Senate Money Resolutions (SMR) surrounding the “Midnight Buffet” event that is coming up. One SMR was regarding ordering 500 t-shirts for the event, costing $2,375 and the other was the SMR regarding the food that would end up costing around $6,300. Shannon Smally ’22 mentioned that costs are high because there are more students on campus than there were last year, meaning there would be more students to accommodate for the event. Thrun claimed that plans are underway to have memberships for Calm and Headspace to be available to students that are on campus. Skye Liu ’23,Chair of the Health and Safety committee, clarified that the Student Sexuality Information Services (SSIS) is in charge of refilling Plan B in the vending machines around campus. Plan B was reported to be running out in the vending machine located in the Shapiro Campus Center. Since it was not the job of the Health and Safety committee, it has not been refilled yet. -Vimukthi Mawilmada

Students participate in REDress Project on Campus RED DRESS, from page 1

North America faced. “Through the absence of bodies, the dresses call forth the woman’s presence,” wrote a post of the Brandeis Fine Arts’ Instagram about the dresses placed around campus. Black’s exhibition, between us, will be brought to the Kniznick Gallery— a space for feminist art exhibits at the Women’s Studies Research Center on campus. Black’s work between us will expand on her earlier REDress project and it will be “focused on the

scourge of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada,” according to the page. Black’s exhibition will focus on elements including water, stone, twigs, bodies and the color red, according to the page. These elements are meant to represent the connection between humankind and the spiritual and natural worlds, according to the page. The pieces in Black’s exhibition are intended to have the viewer think of ways in which they can get involved in fighting against injustice committed against Aboriginal women as well as celebrate the beauty and reverence of women,

according to the page. According to Black, women are the weavers of “the threads that bind and sustain us.” Black is an artist based in Canada, whose art is rooted in themes of memory, identity, place and resistance, according to the university’s Bio’s page. Black is of Anishinaabe and Finnish descent and has been involved in the Aboriginal art communities serving as a curator for art curriculums and being a teacher, according to her bio. In her art, Black has infused elements that intend to start conversations regarding social and

political issues, according to the page, as well as create a space for reflection. The REDress project has been featured in Canada and North America in multiple locations including the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2019, according to her website. Other venues include the University of Alberta, the University of Manitoba, the University of Ottawa and the University of Winnipeg. Black is scheduled to give a lecture at the university on Nov. 9, where she will discuss her exhibit,

between us. The event is co-sponsored by Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation (CAST) and the Women’s Research Center, according to the upcoming events page. The curator of the exhibition is Toni Shapiro-Phim (CAST), an Associate Professor of CAST. Shapiro-Phim’s work is focused on the context of art and its relation to violence, genocide, migration and refugees, conflict transformation and gender concerns, according to her bio.

Novemeber 5, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot 5

Men’s soccer play two games including Senior Day By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

On Friday, Oct. 29, the Brandeis men’s soccer team played against Emory University on Gordon Field, defeating the Eagles, 3-2. This puts the Judges at 2-2-1 (wins, losses, ties) in the University Athletic Association and at 5-7-2 in their overall season. Brandeis scored the first goal of the game in the 15th minute. Skylah Dias ’22 scored his first goal of the season and third career goal, into the right side of the goal. Jared Panson ’22 assisted Dias with the goal.In the 22nd minute of the game, the second goal was scored, this time by Emory, from a corner kick. For the next hour, there were no goals, until the 87th minute when Isaac Mukala ’22 scored, with assistance from Panson. This was his first career goal, and Panson’s second time being involved in multiple goals

in a game. During the regular session, Aiden Guthro ’23 saved numerous goals from the Eagles, allowing two in. He had 14 saves, a career high. In the extra session, Eli Mones ’25 scored his first goal in the 96th minute, securing the Judges’ win. There were three first career goals in the game. The Eagles outshot Brandeis 31-13, with 17-4 shots on goal, as well as 11 corner kicks to Brandeis’ four. The Judges played against the University of Rochester on Oct. 31, which was also the Judges’ Senior Day. The game ended after 110 minutes without a single goal scored, resulting in a draw. This puts the Judges at 2-2-2 (wins, losses, ties) in the University Athletic Association and at 5-7-3 in their overall season. Before the game began, Brandeis honored the team’s nine seniors: Tim Bombeli, Michael Burch, Jake Davis, Skylah Dias, Noah Gans, Evan Glass, Sammy Guttell, Isaac Mukala and Jared Panson.

For them, this was the final regular-season home appearance. The first half of the game started with Rochester outshooting Brandeis 6-2. Guthro made two saves in the half. In the latter half of the game, Brandeis outshot Rochester 20-6. Gabriel Haithcock ’25 and Mones both attempted to score, however were stopped by the Rochester goalkeeper. Mukala made two attempts at a goal in

overtime, which were also denied by the goalkeeper. The game ended with neither team scoring. This was Guthro’s fifth shutout of the season.For his achievements in the two matches, Guthro was also selected as the UAA’s Defensive Player of the Week for men’s soccer for the week ending on Oct. 31. This was the third time he was honored this season. He was also named Division III Men’s Soccer

National Player of the same week. Guthro has 72 saves for the overall season, being in the lead for the UAA. He has a 0.818 save percentage, ranking him fifth as well as a 0.99 goals-against average ranking him sixth. The final game of the season will take place on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 1:30 p.m. The team will travel to New York University for the game.


Cross country participates in UAA Championships By Justin Leung editor

On Saturday, Sep. 30, the Brandeis men’s and women’s cross country teams went to Rochester, New York to compete in the University Athletic Association (UAA) Championships. This competition was full of top Divi-

sion III teams within the nation. The women’s team finished in sixth place with 122 points and the men’s team finished in eighth place with 252 points. At the competition, the conditions were tough to run on as the ground was muddy and wet. This led to times overall being slower than previously. The men’s team fought hard but

ultimately finished in last place in the meet. First-year Daniel Frost ’25 was the first player from Brandeis to finish running the 8k. He finished in 52nd with a time of 27:35. Sophomore Willem Goff ’24 was not that far behind him as he finished in 64th. Goff ran his 8k in 28:16.5. Junior Casey Brackett ’23 finished in 67th and was only five seconds behind Goff. In 70th,


By Francesca Marchese staff

The Brandeis women’s volleyball team earned the win on Senior Day in Auerbach Arena, defeating Springfield College 3-1. Outside hitter Lara Verstovsek ’25 had 15 kills, while senior leader Kaitlyn Oh ’22 led the match with 21 digs. Emily Morrison ’23 helped rally her team back in the first set, as the Judges trailed 7-4; Morrison’s ace helped spark a mini-run for the Judges; Brandeis was able to sustain this momentum as they went on to win eight of the next nine to lead the Judges 16-12. The first match was extremely competitive, as Springfield regained the lead in the final possessions of the set, resulting in a one-point advantage over the Judges, 22-21. Verstovsek and Kaisa Newberg ’22 tallied two kills each following a Springfield service error that restored the Judges’ advantage, leading 24-22. Ultimately, the Judges took the first set off an error by their opponent. While the Judges fell to Spring-

field in the second set, Brandeis dominated in the next two sets, specifically the third set, as the Judges tallied 13 kills; the momentum was sparked by an early kill by outside hitter Verstovsek, and Amelia Oppenheimer ’23 continued to propel the Judges forward, as she scored five of her 14 kills in the third set. Springfield College took an early lead in the fourth set, but Verstovsek quickly cut Springfield’s 9-4 lead to 10-8. Brandeis was unable to sustain the comeback, though, allowing Springfield to extend their lead to 19-12. The Judges exhibited heart and resilience on their home court, fighting back to win five of the next six points. Down 24-20, the Brandeis women’s squad instilled their trust in Ella Pereira ’24, who served them to victory, sealing the deal on an ace. Overall, the Judges had 45 digs and defended the net brilliantly, totaling nine blocks. Individually, Verstovsek had an impressive all-around performance, as she totaled 15 kills, four aces, 15 digs and four block assists. Ines Grom-Mansencal ’24 played well,

too, adding 39 assists and 15 digs. The win over Springfield was meaningful, as it allowed the Judges’ six seniors to conclude their collegiate volleyball careers at Brandeis University with a win on their home court. The Judges

senior Matthew Dribben ’22 finished with a time of 28:25.5. Firstyear Lucas Dia ’25 finished shortly after him with a time of 29:00.8 and in position 72nd. Samuel Kim ’24 and senior Jac Guerra ’22 finished in 75th and 77th respectively. First-year Erik Lopez ’25 rounded off the team with a time of 31:21.5, as he finished in 78th. The women’s team finished sixth place out of seven. They were only one point behind Case Western Reserve University and three points behind Emory University. The team was led by seniors Niamh Kenney ’22 and Erin Magill ’22. Kenney finished the 6k in eighth with a time of 23:11.1 and Magill finished in ninth with a time of 23:16.6. Brandeis was one of only two schools to have multiple runners finish within the top 10. This feat led to both Kenney and Magill winning second team all-UAA honors. Senior Natalie Hattan ’22 finished in 21st with a time of 23:58.1. This gave the Judges three runners within the

top 25 at a very tough competition. Sophomore Juliette Intrieri ’24 and first-year Zada Forde ’25 finished in 44th and 49th, respectively. Brandeis therefore had five runners within the top 50. Sophomore Lizzy Reynolds ’24 finished with a time of 25.27.2 and in 58th. Junior Bridget Pickard ’23, freshman Kyra Au ’25 and senior Erika Karlin ’22 all finished in similar positions. Pickard was 67th with a time of 26:09.4 and Au was shortly behind her in 69th with a time of 26:28.7. Karlin was the final runner to finish with a time of 29:55.5. Even though the conditions were tough, the Judges ran hard and competed against some of the top teams in the nation. Both teams will compete again at the New England Division III Regional Championship at the Franklin Park, Boston on Nov. 13. They will have their final competition on Nov. 20 in Louisville, Kentucky for the NCAA Championships. This will be both teams’ final competition for the year.

honored Avery Donovan, Belle Scott, Emerson White, Kaitlyn Oh, Kaisa Newberg and Stephanie Borr, who all contributed to the success of the Brandeis women’s volleyball program over the last four years.

These six seniors will lead their team to the UAA Championship on Friday, Nov. 5, where the Judges will face Emory University at Case Western Reserve University.



The Brandeis Hoot

Novemeber 5, 2021

The World Series was boring?

By Justin Leung editor

This year’s World Series consisted of two teams that were not projected to be there. However, the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros defied the odds and proceeded to the World Series. Two underdogs faced off against each other. How could this battle of two underdogs be boring? The competition between the two teams was supposed to be so even. We were all ready to see a back-and-forth clash with each game being close, yet that really didn’t happen. In game one we saw the Braves score five runs in the first three innings. After that they didn’t look back. It never really felt like the Astros were going to make a comeback even though they scored two runs in the game. Game two was the same situation

but in the opposite direction. The Astros scored five runs in the first two innings and that stuck for the rest of the game. Even though the Braves scored two runs in the game, it did not seem competitive. In game three, the pitching for both teams were very good. According to, the Astros did not have a hit through the first seven innings of the game. Third baseman Austin Riley had a double in the third inning to drive in a run in the third inning and that one run held up for the entire game. The Astros were completely stifled offensively so it never really appeared like they could win that game. Games four and five were the most exciting games of the series. In game four we saw the Astros go up by two runs early, but crumble in the sixth and seventh innings as they allowed the Braves to score three and win the game. This was the first lead change of the entire series and was one of


two lead changes in the entire series. The other lead change came when the Astros had their back up against the wall in game five. Game five had the Astros come back from a four-point deficit to save the season. Then came a very underwhelming game six. The Astros needed a win to even the series up and have a chance to win the World Series. Many people were expecting this to be


a close game, but the game ended up being a complete blowout. According to, the Braves scored three runs in the third and fifth innings off home runs from outfielder Jorge Soler and shortstop Dansby Swanson. First baseman Freddie Freeman scored the final run of the game with a solo home run in the seventh inning to completely seal the victory. Again, the game was an absolute blowout: it seemed like the Astros did not even have a chance at winning the game. Although it was exciting for Braves fans, the game was not extremely exciting to watch overall. Most of the series was like this. A team would take the lead and then the other team would not be able to show any sign of a comeback. What happened in the 2021 World Series? The Astros forgot how to score runs. In the regular season, the Astros scored the most runs in the league as they were a top three team in all of baseball offensively. However, in the World Series their offense was not a factor. People thought that their weakness may be their starting pitching going into the series. Although this was partly true, the offense was disappointing. The American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player (MVP) was Yordan Alvarez as he had a .522 batting average in the series. He was possibly the best hitter on the planet. Then his pro-

duction severely decreased as he only hit .100 and had just two hits in the series. Alvarez was not the only player to disappoint. Third baseman Alex Bregman also had only two hits within the series. Pitcher Zach Greinke had three at bats in the World Series and he had two hits. Without their incredible offense, the series had no life as it did not seem as if the games were competitive. Although the Astros did not play well as a whole, there should be credit given to the Braves pitching staff. Soler did win the World Series MVP, but the pitching won the Braves the World Series. Out of the six games played between the two teams, the Braves held the Astros to less than three runs in four of those games. Defining this year’s World Series as boring may not be a common opinion, however it is true that the games did seem very one-sided. There did not seem to be as many back-andforth games as normal. The entire series had just two lead changes. There was just less excitement overall. This could have been due to nothing crazy happening during the games, or the fact that there are fewer fans of the Braves and Astros. The 2021 World Series may not be a series that is remembered forever, but for now the Braves will celebrate their victory and enter the 2022 season as the champions.

Women’s basketball faces loss in pre-season By Thomas Pickering editor

On Monday, Nov. 1, the Brandeis women’s basketball team held a preseason scrimmage against Assumption University in the Red Auerbach Arena here at Brandeis University. Assumption University, a Division II school from Worcester, Massachusetts, held the lead throughout most of the match. The Greyhounds, led by coach Kerry Phayre, kept the pressure on the Judges and de-

nied them the win by the end of the fourth quarter. Carol Simon’s Judges could not end the scrimmage with the victory as the final score was 61 to 78. Despite the loss to the Greyhounds, the Judges are moving forward with their first regular season match against the University of Massachusetts Boston on Monday, Nov. 8, which will also be held in the Red Auerbach Arena at 6 p.m. Following the first match of the season will be the “Brandeis Tip Off Tournament.” Beginning on Friday, Nov. 12,

and ending on Saturday, Nov. 13, Brandeis University, Connecticut College, Husson University and Wheaton College will participate in a four-team tournament over the weekend. The tournament kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday when the Brandeis Judges face the Wheaton College Lions in the first round. The second match of the first round between the Husson University Eagles and the Connecticut College Camels follows directly after at 7 p.m. The second round, beginning on Nov. 13, starts with

the third-place consolation match at noon between the two losing teams from Friday’s matches. Then the championship match will be held at 2 p.m. directly after the conclusion of the third-place match. Although women’s basketball began with a loss in the preseason against the Assumption University Greyhounds, their regular season matches are starting soon. The women’s basketball team is also going into the regular season with newly promoted full-time assistant coach Aseem Rasto-


gi. In late July, Assistant Coach Aseem Rastogi was promoted to full-time status for the 2021-22 season. Rastogi joined the women’s basketball coaching staff for the 2019-2020 season before the start of the pandemic as a parttime assistant coach. During his first season with the Judges, he assisted in helping them put up their first winning record, since the 2014-2015 season, of 13-12. During that season the Judges also became the fourth-highest scoring team in program’s history with 1748 points; this set a new school record for points per game with an average of 69.9 points per game. Although the Judges did not compete in the 2020-2021 season, head coach Carol Simon, in her 35 season with the women’s basketball team, spoke highly of Rastogi, saying, “Aseem’s energy, passion, love for the sport, educator, student of the game, and knowledge over the past two years as the part-time assistant was a great addition to our program” and “Promoting him as the full-time assistant was a no-brainer.” With the Brandeis women’s basketball team facing a loss in the preseason against the Assumption University team they now look forward to their upcoming home opener and tournament with their newly promoted coaching staff.


November 5, 2021

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.”

Editors-in-Chief John Fornagiel Emma Lichtenstein Sasha Skarboviychuk Copy Editor Madeline Rousell News Editor Victoria Morrongiello Deputy News Editor Roshni Ray Arts Editors Stewart Huang Caroline O Opinions Editor Thomas Pickering Deputy Opinions Editor Mia Plante Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editor Justin Leung Layout Editor Anya Lance-Chacko Editors-at-Large Abdel Achibat Grace Zhou

Volume 19 • Issue 10 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Cyrenity Augustin, Logan Ashkinazy, Jonathan Ayash, Lucy Fay, Sam Finbury, Cooper Gottfried, Zach Katz, Sarah Kim, Joey Kornman, Josh Lannon, Kristianna Lapierre, Max Lerner, Rafi Levi, Jesse Lieberman, Francesca Marchese, Vimukthi Mawilmada, Abigail Roberts, Rachel Rosenfiled, David Shapiro, Matt Shapiro, Jahnavi Swamy, Luca Swinford and Alex Williams

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

SUBMISSION POLICIES The Brandeis Hoot welcomes letters to the editor on subjects that are of interest to the community. Preference is given to current or former community members and The Hoot reserves the right to edit or reject submissions. The deadline for submitting letters is Wednesday at noon. Please submit letters to along with your contact information. Letters should not exceed 500 words. The opinions, columns, cartoons and advertisements printed in The Hoot do not necessarily represent the opinions of the editorial board.

CONNECT phone • (781) 330-0051 e-mail • online • facebook • twitter • instagram •

ADVERTISE Advertising in The Brandeis Hoot helps spread your message to our readers across the Brandeis campus, in the Waltham community and beyond through our website. All campus organizations receive a 25-percent discount off our regular prices. To reserve your space in the paper, e-mail us at ads@

GIVE A HOOT, JOIN THE HOOT! Writers, editors, photographers and graphic artists wanted to join The Brandeis Hoot, your weekly community newspaper. To learn more, send us an e-mail at, or visit our website

UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS We welcome unsolicited submissions from members of the community sent by e-mail to Please limit submissions to 800 words. All submissions are subject to editing.


hen we first came to campus, one of the convenient modes of transportation that were presented to us at orientation was the BranVan. While they are definitely beneficial and convenient to students having to run around campus under certain circumstances (especially during the winter months), we think that there are many aspects of the shuttles and BranVans that can be improved upon. According to the public safety website, there are six different shuttles and vans that run throughout campus during the day. These are the daytime campus shuttle, the campus BranVan, the daytime Waltham shuttle, the evening Waltham shuttle, the Market Basket shuttle, the evening Waltham BranVan and the Boston/Cambridge shuttle. The specific schedules for each of the shuttles can also be found on the public safety website. While we applaud Brandeis for the vast diversity in shuttles that can take you all throughout Waltham, the number of shuttles can be quite confusing for first-years or for students that are not used to taking the BranVan. We have heard sev-

The Brandeis Hoot 7

Branvan concerns eral stories of students either missing the BranVan, taking the wrong BranVan and going to a completely different location than what they intended to or completely missing the van. For those who take the BranVan regularly, you might know that to depict where the van is going the driver gives you a hand signal. Although this is convenient for those who take the BranVan, this is a foreign language for some of the firstyears and also for those that are new to taking the campus shuttles. One of the solutions that we propose to this problem is bringing back some of the lights on the BranVan that said either “W” or “C,” standing for Waltham or campus. Although this might be a little cryptic in general, we feel that it is a better system than the hand signals. Moreover, in a previous Hoot article, we discussed how dangerous some of the crosswalks along Brandeis campus are, especially near East Quad. As stated in the article, this is mostly because of the nearby parking spots that obscure the line of sight between the driver and the pedestrian. This only compounds the danger of fast and reckless driving along Brandeis

campus, and this is exactly what some of the BranVan drivers do. While walking around campus or while riding in a BranVan, we have found that they often go 40 mph or higher. This is extremely dangerous around Loop Road where students and pedestrians walk across the road, and also in a generally busy area.While we all appreciate the BranVan, it can be a serious source of stress for students when it should not be. On top of concerns of the van not showing up when expected and not being accurately tracked on the Branda app, the vans are very poorly ventilated. This can cause anxiety for students when the van becomes extremely packed and almost claustrophobic, as well as the general concern of spreading illnesses such as COVID-19 while in poorly ventilated enclosed spaces. Having a free source of transportation on campus is extremely important to Brandeis students, especially those who live in the Charles River Apartments or off campus. The BranVan is a great resource but it has much room for improvement for both the safety and comfort of students.

The Brandeis Hoot 8


November 5, 2021

Meet the ‘Brassy Broad’ Brandeis alum By Emma Lichtenstein editor

Alison Bass ’75 earned the nickname “Brassy Broad” because she was too intimidating to the male editors she worked under, she explained in an event on Wednesday, Nov. 3. But she wasn’t just showy or loud; she made a point in her reporting to try to help survivors of traumatic events. Bass was one of the first to report on sexual assault, giving a platform to survivors long before the #MeToo movement. Bass said she was assaulted

while she went abroad in her junior year. “It was very traumatic, but I think it made me a more open minded and empathetic reporter,” she said during the Wednesday night event. “I think it made me more open minded than some of my colleagues in terms of listening to people who were sexual abuse survivors.” She emphasized still needing to verify sources, but to make sure journalists were not dismissing their sources too early. She explained that, while it does happen, very few women lie about sexual assault, so each source that comes forward should be treated with


compassion and understanding. “Do your due diligence, but you don’t come out immediately with an air of skepticism,” she said. “It’s your job to reassure them. If they want to be anonymous, you have to let them. You have to find other ways to corroborate that story.” Using that method, she wrote a Pulitzer-nominated series about male therapists who were sexually abusing their female patients. Other well-known writing of hers includes breaking articles about the sexual misconduct of Boston priests. She said she is particularly proud of both of these. She mentioned that the priest story was a bit uncomfortable to do, as she is Jewish. She acknowledged that churches are a very prominent part of Boston culture, and she felt like she “had a bullseye on [her] back” after exposing such a troubling truth. Bass also has written three novels, the most recent of which is her memoir, “Brassy Broad: How One Journalist Helped Pave the Way to #MeToo.” According to the book’s description, the memoir shows that “Alison Bass’ story is much more than how a sassy outsider became an investigative journalist despite the odds against her. Her perseverance in chipping away at the wall of male bias in


how female victims are treated in the media helped pave the way to the #MeToo movement.” Bass mentioned that she never intended to be a writer when she first came to Brandeis. She wrote for “The Justice”—which was the only on-campus paper at the time—and ended up really loving it thanks to the editors. “The editors at the time were really wonderful people, and they did take me under their wing. They really brought me along, because what did I know about writing? Nothing. That basically fed my lifelong interest in journalism.” She offered words of encourage-

ment to any aspiring female journalists: “Don’t be afraid to take on risky and challenging assignments,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and advocate for yourself.” She advised finding a network and making connections, but most of all emphasized being brave enough to make yourself a known presence in the workspace. “Women today: the world is your oyster!” This event was moderated by Amy Cohen ’85 and co-sponsored by the Brandeis Alumni Network, the Brandeis Women’s Network and the Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC).

Orly Nathan: pursuing Marcia Freedman’s ideas for women’s rights By Shruthi Manjunath editor

In the event titled, “She Knows: Using the Brandeis Feminist Collection Archives to Explore the History of Israeli Feminism,” Orly Nathan, the Elaine Reuben ’63-HBI Jewish Feminism Collections Scholar in Residence discussed her current work. Nathan is the chief information specialist of “She Knows (Yoda’at)” at the Samuel Neaman Institute at the Technion. “She Knows” is the Arabic Gender Knowledge Center, which is a


knowledge center in Israel about women and gender. The center hopes to contribute to the advancement of social equality in Israel by making gender-conscious thought a norm while collecting information, doing research or engaging in the community. Nathan is involved in creating databases for research at the Samuel Neaman Institute. Specifically, she aids in providing information on research projects relating to women in academia or STEM. At the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Nathan is working on an archival research case study. Nathan is specifically interest-


ed in Marcia Freedman, a former member of Israeli Parliament and one of the founders of the feminist movement in Israel in the 1970s who passed away on Sep. 21, 2021. She is best known for her ideas on reproductive rights, violence against women and LGBT rights, among others. Nathan plans to trace the terms expressed by Freedman in the Marcia Freedman papers that are commonly used in research relating to feminism and gender research. Brandeis specifically contains the American Jewish and Israeli Feminism Archives Collaborative, which contain the Marcia Freedman papers. The Marcia Freedman papers are split between the Haifa Feminist Institute and Brandeis. This is due to the fact that Freedman decided to leave her private collections at these two locations. At Brandeis, the collection contains 2.75 linear feet of materials that have to do with Freedman’s life and work. The materials are from the years 1968 to 2016, with the majority of the materials coming from Freedman’s years in Israel in the 1970s and the late 1990s. At HFI, the collection contains documents and letters that Marcia wrote or received from others while she was a member of the Israeli parliament from 1974 to 1977. These letters contain ideas regarding feminism in the world and in Israel. Nathan hopes to publicize Freeman’s ideas so that they may bring about change in Israel. At Brandeis, Nathan has found many of Freedman’s notes pertaining to violence against women from the Women’s International Zionist Organization and the Citizen Counseling Service. Freedman put ads in newspapers


for women to write about the violence they experienced from their husbands and many women responded. Many of the women felt helpless and shameful as the police did not believe them. Freedman was one of the first individuals to introduce the idea of a domestic violence shelter. In addition, she started a protest at the conference of gynecologists in 1976 as she supported women being able to having free abortions. Prior to 1977, abortion was illegal. In 1978, it became legal


but had to be determined by a termination committee. Currently Israeli women are allowed to have an abortion if determined by a termination committee. In 1977, Freedman created the Women’s Party which ran in the election for the Israeli Parliament. Overall, Nathan is working towards making Freedman’s ideas come to fruition, towards being able to live in a world where women are able to have an abortion without it being anyone’s business except their own.

The Brandeis Hoot 9

November 5, 2021

Cities as Canvases: Art by Amelie By Jahnavi Swamy staff

Amelie de Cirfontaine ’18 is a mural and street artist currently based in both San Francisco and New York. Even though Amelie always considered herself an artist, she initially did not see it as a potential career. Amelie graduated from Brandeis in 2018 with a major in not only art, but business and international studies. Right out of college, she worked for large tech companies and occasionally painted murals for them. In an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, Amelie said, “It wasn’t my job, it was just something that made me happy.” The pandemic was a turning point in Amelie’s career, when she began creating street art in San Francisco using a wheat-pasting technique. She said, “all I dreamed about every day is painting walls.” Amelie talked about how the response of the community convinced her to

pursue her passion. An important aspect of using the streets as her gallery is that she doesn’t get to “control the dialogue” or select the people that see her work. Amelie’s street art and murals focus on feminine bodies and the female perspective. She said, “I didn’t see any female representation on the streets.” According to Amelie, many of the female figures in the city represented only the male perspective, and she was interested in adding her own. Amelie believes that “street art should be representative of all different kinds of people of all walks of life.” One of the main challenges Amelie faced in her career was that street art is a primarily “male-dominated industry.” She also said that painting at night in a city was usually not possible for her as a woman. When she works with other artists she is often the only woman in the room. Amelie said “most people don’t know they can do this kind of art.” Another obstacle she faced was the conflict

of having to say no to opportunities that don’t suit the kind of art she wanted to create. Amelie has visited and lived in many cities across the world. When asked about the impact traveling has had on her work, she describes how the influence of each new culture she experienced was subconsciously reflected in her work. She believes that art reflects an artist’s experience and that’s why it is “forever changing.” Her female figures, like the “blooming thoughts ladies,” emphasize growth and portray her own journey. However, she creates ambiguous figures, which allow “people to connect with her in their own ways and create their own stories about her.” When asked about people that inspired her, she mentioned an artist she has worked with called JR. She said she was inspired by the way his art encouraged people to have conversations and talk about social change. Amelie has just painted her first mural in Brooklyn and is plan-


ning to work more on her sketching, as she does in colder months of the year and will take part in a mural festival in Mexico next

year. Amelie hopes to continue to do what makes her happy: “painting murals and interacting with locals” in cities across the world.

Orrie Friedman’s plants taken care of by the Chemistry department By Victoria Morrongiello editor

If you’re willing to make the trek up to the third floor in the SSC to study, or take the elevator ride up, you’ll be greeted by a variety of fauna sitting out in the hallway. There are various potted plants, lush and well-cared for, with an intriguing past. In one of the pots there sits a sign, “From the Office Garden of Orrie Friedman.” The only thing is, Friedman passed away in 2009, so who has been caring for his plants? After Friedman’s passing, the plants were passed down in the Chemistry Department of the university. The first caretaker was Judith Hertzfeld, a former professor of biochemistry at the university. Hertzfeld cared for the plants for over 10 years before handing off the role to Meghan Hennelly, Chemistry Department Administrator and Special Projects Manager of Space and Building Oper-

ations for the Division of Science, in March 2020 just before the COVID-19 pandemic. In an interview with The Brandeis Hoot, Hennelly said that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic she was able to come into the building and water the plant due to her status as an essential worker in the labs while Hertzfeld transitioned into retirement. Hennelly said she gets into the university early in the morning and waters the plants then. “[The plants] are nice. They’re calming. They eat up our CO2,” Hennelly said in the interview and she added that plants give us something pretty to look at. Hennelly offered advice for caring for plants. “Judy [Hertzfeld], don’t read this,” Hennelly joked, “I water depending on the humidity level.” During the summer Hennelly waters the plants every other week, whereas in the winter she waters every week, or every eight to nine days. “I love plants,” Hennelly told

The Hoot, “I spend every moment in my garden when I can.” Though she joked that this habit of hers was a detriment to her housework. When it comes to the care of plants, people should be aware of the types of plants they are caring for and what the plants’ needs are, advised Hennelly. Caring for plants takes time and energy, trial and error, according to Hennelly. “Don’t give up on plants … they’re more resilient than you think,” Hennelly said. She offered an anecdote about one of the plants still in the SSC: The cornstalk plant, Hennelly explained, had started to die and it came to a point where they had stopped watering it. Rebecca Gieseking, an assistant professor of chemistry, had her husband, an arborist, come in to cut back some of the stalk to help see if it could come back. They resumed watering the plant and it did in fact come back. They now lovingly refer to the plant as Lazarus, said Hennelly. Hennelly’s love for plants is


shared by other faculty and staff members. Hennelly noted one staff member, Ana Hernandez, who also enjoys the plants and has taken pieces to propagate. Other faculty members in the Chemistry Department are also involved in caring for various plants around the labs and classroom, according to Hennelly. “We definitely love plants in this department,” Hennelly said. The department has accumulated plants, citing different instances where faculty members have brought in plants to be cared for. One faculty member brought an orchid from her mother’s home after she moved, Hennelly said. Plants can be found scattered through the labs, in the SSC and in the Rosenstiel building. The plants are getting a new life in the science department of the university. Hennelly spoke to The Hoot about potentially starting a gardening club at the university. According to Hennelly, there was a gardening club about six to seven years ago. She hopes to one day recreate the club to create a space where community members, including faculty, staff and students, can discuss issues they’re having with plants and swap plants and seeds. Though Friedman has passed,

his legacy still lives in his plants. As his plants continue to flourish he remains with the university in spirit and within the spirit of the Chemistry Department. Friedman leaves behind another legacy aside from his plants. He was the founder of Collaborative Research Inc., according to his obituary, which was responsible for helping pioneer the biotechnology industry. He also worked on a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, which his brother had suffered from. Friedman was also a philanthropist and donated $1.5 million to Temple Israel. The temple then named its school the Trudy Friedman-Bell Religious School after Friedman’s daughter, who passed away shortly after giving birth to twins, according to the obituary. Friedman worked into his 90s and before becoming sick, he planned on conducting another decade’s worth of research, according to the obituary. Friedman passed away from complications from Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 94. “Considering where I started from and where I wound up, life owes me nothing,’’ said Friedman, according to his obituary.

The Brandeis Hoot 10


November 5, 2021

The uglier side of the ‘Squid Game’ hype By Caroline O editor

As someone who’s always thrilled to hear more international folks appreciating Korean dramas, I guess I should be pretty excited about how the Netflix series “Squid Game” has become one of the hottest pieces of media. For the most part, I am excited— as “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho said in his acceptance speech at the 2020 Golden Globes, people will be “introduced to so many more amazing films” (and series!) “once they overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles.” Hopefully the thrill of “Squid Game” will push more people to appreciate Korean media, and when that happens, I know I personally would be more than happy to give as many recommendations as I possibly can. But despite all that excitement and hope, I still find myself unbelievably annoyed and, honestly, a bit saddened that “Squid Game” became as popular as it did. For the few who have either not watched or at least not heard of the premise of “Squid Game,” the show follows a small set of characters, who, at the promise of a huge cash prize, decide to participate in a series of childhood games. Ranging from “red light, green light” to tug of war to marbles, all of these games seem innocent enough. The only catch? If you lose, you’re killed by the games’ staff. In just six episodes, this show really captured the desperation of anyone who doesn’t belong to the one percent: which is to say, broke, exhausted and perhaps one second away from cracking under the financial restraints of our society. Simply put, I’ve learned over the course of the last month through

YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and just about every other social media platform that maybe people can’t be trusted with smart media like “Squid Game.” Where I, along with many of my friends and peers saw a harrowing, grim tale about how the horrific conditions of capitalistic society makes being a good person impossible, it seems that a disturbing amount of people only see details that can be sanitized and marketed for their own personal use. From celebrities dressing up as “Squid Game” characters to “Squid Game” inspired macarons and dalgona candy (yeah, people are literally calling this “Squid Game’s” dalgona candy, as though this candy hasn’t been a part of Korean culture for decades), people appear to going insane over making this show as palatable and Instagram-able as possible. But to an even greater extreme, there’s insanity happening like Abu Dhabi is hosting their own Squid Game, where participants will literally be wearing the outfits our protagonists (and victims) had to wear in the show. They’ll be playing the same exact games that the protagonists played, and the staff will even wear the same outfits of the staff in the series. In a similar vein, Youtuber/TikTok star “MrBeast” is in the process of making his own Squid Game. For anyone who’s been paying attention to the show for even half a second, this is where the alarm bells should be going off. The entire point of “Squid Game” was to demonstrate how today’s society forces the average person to do all kinds of things just for a chance—not even a full guarantee!—to survive. Sure, we might not be entering a series of deadly games to pay off our college debt or cover our parents’ medical expenses or live in a clean house, but as you watch “Squid Game,”

you’re meant to sympathize and wonder for each of the characters’ desire to take these great risks for money. You’re meant to be a little frightened, and you’re meant to think, “I might be that stupid and that desperate to enter this thing.” You’re meant to pity the characters, and you’re meant to despair for a society that would ever make the idea of potentially getting murdered for money a viable option. People who watched the “Squid Game” will also recall that this series isn’t even a dystopian piece—it’s set in this time, right now, with the protagonists’ motivations being related to what should be basic human rights: medical care, family protection, etc. Thus, the fact that there are people out there who watched “Squid Game” and proceed to rec-

reate the series as a real-life competition just speaks to a willing ignorance about the whole premise of the series. Of course, we shouldn’t be entirely surprised: in the series, the people who created this game were the one percenters anyway. The people who are trying to recreate the Squid Game experience would obviously have deep pockets, immune to the financial problems that come with being Not Them. But the fact that this whole phenomenon is happening at all speaks to a more ominous problem in our world. Should anyone produce content that points to major flaws within our system, how quickly will it be before we get the reactions of the wealthy like the ones we’re finding with “Squid Game?” All of these gestures trivialize the show just a bit more, reducing the issues pre-

sented in the show to something that can be costumed or sanitized. Here’s a story with an impactful message—and now here are a bunch of rich people feeding you content that says “shh, don’t focus on the important bit, focus on this surface-level, materialistic thing I’ve created so you can forget about the real problem at hand.” Now, am I saying that all rich people are thoughtless and incapable of consuming smart media? No, not necessarily. But I am saying there’s a problem with people taking hard-hitting messages about serious matters and sweeping them under the rug as though these matters don’t exist. Whether these rich folks like it or not, all the problems “Squid Game” discusses are real—and no amount of cute-ification is going to change that.


The bad and good of congress social safety plan By Abdel Achibat editor

The debate and discussions in CoThe debate and discussions in Congress on tax proposals that will soon be voted on demonstrate a clear polarization of our government and the continued trend that socialist policy still is not at the forefront of politics as Republicans so often claim. Essentially, Democrats have been scrambling around Capitol Hill in attempt to construct a cohesive and expansive social safety net bill, but due to the way our legislative system is divided and the nature of the social safety net bill, many Republicans have, in some way, been casted to the side in the overall decision making. Judging by comments made by Republicans, and the lack of certain major proposals the left expected to be included in the bill, it is evident that Congress post-Trump is just as critically divided as ever. Due to Democrats comprising a slight majority in the House of Representatives, and half of the Senate, the need for Republican votes is not necessary. Democrats need the majority of the House of Representatives, which they have, and 50 votes in the Senate plus the Vice President in order to get this

bill passed through Congress. Essentially, it can be relied upon that Democrats will get this pushed through, and according to comments made by Republicans, have truly been in talks among themselves in order to come up with a bill that is agreed upon by all Democrats, from the progressives to the centrists. While, generally, a congress this openly divided is a sign of a deeply polarized society, it also shows us, the voters, that Republicans have shown through example their unwillingness to compromise and push forward social policy that benefits the masses through social safety nets. Ultimately, the Republican agenda includes nothing of the sort. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that Democrats see no reason to struggle through convoluted debates with Republicans to create a bill that will please them as well, as the past four years have shown us nothing but that they seek to roll back tremendous social bills like healthcare and economic taxes like increased taxes on businesses and billionaires. What is more relevant to me is the lack of inclusion of numerous proposals that the left would have anticipated to be included now that Democrats finally hold all of Congress and the executive branch. Universal healthcare still is not established, although the

proposal will aim to include expansion on what Medicare can cover. Free or greatly reduced university tuition is still not included, even though covering two years of undergraduate education was a talking point during Biden’s candidacy. And, even more perversely, proposals like taxes on billionaires and large corporations are currently in talks to be removed or lessened while proposals like family care and leave benefits have been fully thrown out. As a left leaning voter, I want to see universal healthcare, free or reduced tuition for universities, student debt erasures, increased taxes on corporations and billionaires, increased minimum wage, expansion of governmental assistance for rental-assistance and home-buying endeavors, pressure on corporations that are the world’s largest polluters through tax increases and funding for clean energy and an expansion of funding for small businesses. Considering that many of these proposals will not even make it to the proposal that will be pushed by Democrats is absolutely stifling. While the right and Republicans continue to spread this idea that Democrats are straying too far into socialism, other Western countries have already been way ahead of us, furthering their cit-

izens’ quality of life. In America, where Democrats are having to struggle even among themselves to push for proposals as clearly socially beneficial as taxes on exploitative corporations and social safety nets like paid leave, we simultaneously have to deal with regressive and pointless rollbacks of abortion rights and trans rights from the right. Evidently, the

fight for inclusion of more socially inclusive policy with an aim for safety nets, and guaranteed higher quality of life is far from being achieved, its biggest adversaries being the Republicans that choose to represent corporations and the ideas of regression over the real solutions to the problems all their constituents ultimately face.


November 5, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

Brandeis Climate Justice Rejects President Liebowitz’s Divestment Plan By Brandeis Climate Justice special to the hoot

On Friday, Oct. 10, President Ron Liebowitz sent out a schoolwide email, titled “Advancing and deepening Brandeis’ commitment to sustainability.” The lofty announcement came weeks after schools like Harvard and Boston University publicly shared their own divestment plans. While Brandeis students have been pushing for fossil fuel divestment since 2012, the strategic timing of the University’s announcement clearly indicates its fear of not advancing social justice at the same pace as neighboring universities. As Brandeis scrambles to uphold the weight of being a “social justice institution,” let us not conflate this eagerness to announce divestment with an eagerness to make structural change. In his email, President Liebowitz details a remarkably vague and conservative response to climate change. He asserts that “Brandeis has long been at the forefront of making firm commitments and taking concrete steps toward addressing climate change.” We, the members of Brandeis Climate Justice, ask how the University has honored this long commitment when Brandeis’ divestment campaign will celebrate a bittersweet decade-long anniversary in 2022, still fighting for the same demands that students were pushing for in 2012. It is true that in 2018, President Liebowitz announced the Board’s decision to make “no direct investments of endowment funds in public or private companies or partnerships whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation.” Three years later, President Liebowitz further suggested that Brandeis’ remaining fossil fuel investments “will continue to be liq-

uidated as they run off in accordance with their normal life cycle.” It is not made clear how long this process will take, a point that is important considering how little time humanity has left to phase out fossil fuels. Simply waiting for these investments to expire is not the same as divestment. In fact, the word “divest” is never once mentioned in President Liebowitz’s email. While President Liebowitz does state that fossil fuel investments comprise only 4% of Brandeis’ portfolio, it is not clarified what exactly this includes. It is entirely possible that this does not take into account fossil-fuel-related investments which fall outside the specific category of “fossil fuel private limited partnerships.” The Board also claims that the most recent divestment announcement is simply part of a reassessment process with regards to these funds that have run their course. President Liebowitz refers to these as “ambitious policies” – quite a claim, given Brandeis’ discouragingly slow response to a true divestment plan. While Brandeis’ divestment history may feel disheartening, we must remind ourselves that it is the students who hold power in academic institutions. It is the students who are paying exorbitant amounts of money. It is the students who will donate thousands of dollars as alumni. It is the students that produce content for the University to proudly show off in recruitment advertisements. When we show our disappointment, even our anger, to Brandeis, the administration and the Board realize how much they need us. Remember the Student Occupation of Ford Hall? What about the Vietnam Protest and sit-in? Let us not forget the momentum that students have to create institutional change. The University is here to serve us. With that, we demand the following:

1. Divest direct holdings immediately; Brandeis has direct shares, or a direct percentage of a company that the school owns. Brandeis has more control over their power to divest from these companies, given that shareholders of direct shares can invest or divest at the drop of the dime. Furthermore, these shareholders have the power to vote for the company’s board members, which gives them even more moral power. 2. Divest indirect holdings within 3 years; Indirect holdings, meanwhile, are a fractional interest in company stock. Some examples of this are mutual funds or exchange traded funds. We ask for a three year time limit because we acknowledge that certain funds may have a longer contract in which it is inadvisable to divest from the holdings before the contract expires. However, we feel that three years is more than enough time to plan for the financial changes that may take place from an indirect holding divestment. Therefore, we demand that Brandeis divest from their indirect holdings within three years, because the price we will pay for the climate crisis is far higher than the price Brandeis will pay for breaking a contract early. 3. The Board of Trustees releases a written statement to never invest in the fossil fuel industry again; Although this demand may appear to have been achieved in President Liebowitz’s email, stating “Brandeis will extend its policy, first adopted in 2018, of not investing in fossil fuel private limited partnerships,” the Board did not specify what is considered a fossil fuel investment. Are we still going to invest in banks that support pipelines? What about pipeline companies themselves? In the document “Brandeis

University as a Responsible Investor General Guideline,” adopted by the Board of Trustees in April 1973, the Board firmly lays out the basis for our argument of fossil fuel divestment: “3. Where a corporation’s conduct is found to be clearly and gravely offensive to the university community’s sense of social justice and where it is found that the exercising of shareholder rights and powers is unlikely to correct the injury, consideration should be given to selling that corporation’s securities. Due regard should be given to both positive and negative conduct of the corporation in such areas as: (i) hiring, employment and pension practices; (ii) relationships with oppressive governments; (iii) product safety and consumer health; (iv) extent and nature of military contracts; (v) conservation and environmental pollution; (vi) participation in charitable, educational and cultural life of the community.” 4. Create a community resource committee of students, alumni, faculty and staff by Spring 2022 to investigate, pursue and achieve investment in socially responsible funds by 2022; What makes a fund socially responsible? This is not the first time Brandeis has grappled with these definitions. Also in the “Brandeis University as a Responsible Investor General Guideline,” the board admits that “it is difficult enough to reach agreement on what particular policies are ‘good’ or ‘bad’; the difficulty is greatly compounded when it becomes necessary to further decide whether, considering a corporation’s activities as a whole, it should be ‘praised’ or ‘censured.’” Thankfully, BCJ has acquired a

collection of socially responsible reinvestment materials, which can be found here. Establishing a committee on socially responsible investment by 2022 must be done swiftly and equitably. We recommend the involvement of all departments at Brandeis, in an attempt to include as many opinions and experiences as possible. Students, faculty, staff, the Board and the President must all be included equally in the decision making process. 5. President Liebowitz takes a meeting with student and faculty to discuss current plan; Those who have concerns and demands should be able to meet with President Liebowitz and discuss their ideas and recommendations. If Brandeis truly wishes to uphold its social justice standing, it must afford to the community the same transparency that is readily available to the Board. Students have been fighting for divestment for years, and the Board of Trustees has been unsatisfactory on all accounts. We need transparency and a committed offer with input from students and faculty immediately. Time for this action is running out. As young people who have inherited the problems caused by those who came before us, we demand to be directly involved with Brandeis’ decisions on this front and for our demands listed above to be met. We are not interested in long-winded emails that aim to keep up appearances, especially when President Liebowitz claims this to be Brandeis’ year of climate action. We demand transparent action that meets climate justice needs immediately.


Welcome back to the Student Sexuality Information Service (SSIS) column, where we answer any and all of Brandeis students’ questions about sex, sexuality, identity and relationships. If you have a question you’d like answered in our next column, email or leave a question in our Google Form Any and all questions are welcome: there are no bad, stupid or weird questions! (Note: These answers are good-faith attempts by SSIS to be helpful to the Brandeis community, and are by no means exhaustive or to be taken as universal. If these answers don’t resonate with you, either pay them no mind, or reach out to us with suggestions for improvement!) By SSIS special to the hoot

Is it wrong to use internet porn as a form of self care? Whenever I’ve had a difficult week or accomplish a task, I reward myself with gay porn. It makes me feel good, yet afterwards I feel ashamed. Porn can absolutely be selfcare! Self-care varies from person to person, but it is generally something that is relaxing, makes you feel good about yourself, and gives you a break from life for a little bit. Self-care is often also something that benefits your physical and mental health. Watching porn and masturbation stimulates the reward centers in the brain and releases chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. Studies have shown that watching porn releases dopamine (a happy chemical) and reduces cortisol levels (a stress chemical).

Watching porn can be beneficial to almost all areas of life. Other studies have shown that consuming pornographic media has a positive effect on the sex lives of all genders as it increases feelings of emotional and sexual intimacy between partners. Watching porn and masturbation carries no risk of pregnancy. Pornography can also be a great way to explore new things in a safe and controlled environment. There is porn for almost every preference and kink, and it helps to normalize sexual desires. Feeling shame around watching porn and sex is also a very common feeling. Society often promotes the notion that porn is “bad” or “immoral” and this can be something that’s hard to get rid of. It can be helpful to ask yourself questions to identify where the shame is coming from like “do I always feel ashamed when I watch porn?,” “am I worried that people think what I’m doing is wrong?,” and “do I feel ashamed when masturbating or just when I watch porn?” Asking

questions to identify feelings and origins of the negative feelings can help to build a foundation for overcoming shameful feelings. In addition, it can help to surround yourself with sex positive media and messages. SSIS has a library that you can borrow books from that range from sexual technique guides to erotica to novels. It may also help to try consuming a different style of porn. Some people find that they prefer erotic literature to videos or that they prefer a particular sight. SSIS has a list of recommended ethical porn websites, listed below, that feature inclusive actors and plot lines. It can also be helpful to think about the role that porn plays in your life. While porn can be safe and healthy to consume, some people struggle with a need to compulsively watch porn and it has begun to impact their everyday lives. This can have a negative impact on mental and physical health. It is important to remember that this is fairly rare but it is something to keep in mind if porn begins to feel

compulsive Overall, porn can be great self-care and can have a very positive impact on sex and mental wellbeing. SSIS is here to answer any questions about porn, consumption, or porn recommendations! Ethical porn websites: · (clips from videos are free, need to be a member to access full videos ($22.95 for first 30 days and $15.95/ month after first month)

· (can buy or rent films/videos or pay $9.99/month for a subscription/membership) · (subscription based) · free, some subscription based) · (pay whatever you want) · (subscription based)



The Brandeis Hoot

November 5, 2021

Celebrity signature insights By Rachel Landis and Thomas Pickering special to the hoot and editor

Brandeis, you may not have asked for this, you may not have wanted this but by God do you absolutely not need this. Today myself and Rachel Landis ‘23 want to bring the world of stardom a little closer to this campus, and no we are not extending the Rabb Steps into space. Instead, today we want to be your version of People magazine: we want to be your terrible tabloid and we know you will love it. As someone who studied all the teen magazines cover to cover at summer camp after stealing them from my friends (CG2 if you’re out there, sorry it was totally me), I have never felt more prepared for a task in my entire life than I do analyzing these signatures. Thomas, take it away.

won’t shoot anyone on set with a prop gun.” Tom Hanks, you’re not just a dad—you truly are America’s dad. RL - The way Tom Hanks signs his name can really tell you a lot about him! Like from the way the top line of his “T” covers the entire span of the signature, I can tell that he’s absolutely exhausted by how many fans greet him with “Run, Forrest, run!” The odd dash between the “T” and “H” that doesn’t seem to represent any particular letters is a surefire sign that you’re actually the only one who thinks about Tom Hanks like that. Or alternately, you’re the only one who doesn’t. Whichever makes you more uncomfortable. The most telltale part of the signature, though, is the little loop between the cross-line of the “H” leading into the scribble, which clearly says “Marry my son Chet. Come on, it’ll be worth it to be my child-in-law right? Please, he’s living on our couch and eating all my Takis.”


Tom Hanks TP - Did someone say daddy? Whoops, nope, I mean did someone say America’s Dad? Because that is what this signature says right there! I mean look at how you can only make out maybe two letters in that whole signature: classic dad signature. Then look at how the “T” and “H” are so big that it is not even worth looking at the rest of the scribbles: classic dad signature. This signature really shows how much Tom Hanks cares about America; he works hard to entertain us and make sure we feel protected. That is what the big top of the T is for! It is a shield of course. But the most important part of this signature is that you can tell in that last squiggle that it means “I

pect that you are a robot! So why? Why sign your name like that? The “MR ZG” really shows that inside your brain is trying to act cool but is not at all. Like when awkward Brandeis guys try to ask girls out but then just say some horribly degrading comments and then run away with their tail between their legs. I mean, this signature really just screams to me “I am not human.” So Mark, either “give us the Zuck” or prove you aren’t a robot man! RL - The fact that this signature is only four letters out of a ten letter name already tells us so much about Mark Zuckerberg. The fact that he shortens his name so intensely definitely lets us know that he’s trying to build confidence for the other parts of himself that… ahem… fall a little short, if you know what I’m saying. The “MR,” while on the surface standing for two of the four letters out of “Mark,” is really a subconscious grab for the respect and authority he felt he deserved but was never shown during his time at Harvard University. The most unique thing about Zuckerberg’s signature is how some of his upstrokes are thicker than his downstrokes, which really shows that he’s trying to communicate to us that “The Social Network” was actually a better portrayal of him than the truth. Oh dear, someone better call Aaron Sorkin for a sequel… working title: “Meta Mark.”


Mark Zuckerberg TP - Mark Zuckerberg. Tsk tsk tsk. Just because you make your new platform called “Meta” does not mean that you are. You are not meta, you are metal, because holy shit dude. What is the number one rule of trying to convince people that you are not a robot? Well that rule is do not destroy American democracy, but you already broke that one, Mark! What is rule number two? Do not give anyone any more reason to sus-


Blake Lively TP - What is not to love about someone’s signature that is only one letter? The condescending fact that they think you should know whose signature it is from the single letter? Well Blake—can I call you that?—Blake, listen to me, when I see this “B,” and particularly the little hop you did with your pen before even getting to the “B,” it really shows the mess you have been through film-wise. I mean what even was “The Shallows,” Blake? Your signature looks like the shark fins and we haven’t even gotten to the “B” yet. But on that note, your “B,” with its ornateness, showcases how proud you are of your family. Which is good but the little circle at the top shows how much you like rubbing it in other people’s faces that your husband is a man most men would cheat on their wives with. RL - The way Blake Lively curves her “B” really screams “I’m so close with Taylor Swift she takes my kids trick-or-treating. How does that make you feel about your life right now?” The crook at the end of her scribble after the “B,” seemingly the only letter in her signature at all, is there to remind you that she hasn’t only taken roles in bad movies, like “The Age of Adaline” and “Green Lantern,” but that she’s also taken roles in really bad movies, like “All I See is You” and “A Simple Favor.” The way the point between the two bumps on her “B” is almost perfectly perpendicular to the line it meets tells us that she’s in need of a new agent immediately, and all may apply. Most peculiarly, the little curve that bounces off the back end of her “B” tells us that she really does want to be included in the “Gossip Girl” reboot after all. The more you know! Adam Levine TP - Adam Levine’s signature is all wrapped up in those interlocked circles—reminds me of his career in a way: all wrapped up. I mean Adam, you literally pushed a stage rusher away and was upset that they came up to you (I mean the leftward extending line totally shows how you push affection from fans away) but c’mon man.

Take the love you can get because we do not know how much more you have left. But as for the rest of the signature, the circular pattern of it emphasizes how circular his career is since the fans are just whatever group of middle schoolers exist at the moment who think they know what love is. Maybe they are attracted to his pitchy voice though (made evident by the random squiggle over the line) as they navigate puberty and deeper voices.


RL - Adam Levine’s signature is so expressive! The two circles tell us the two sentences he’s most used to hearing from his grandmother: “I’m so happy your music career is going well, but are you sure you wouldn’t rather be a doctor like your brother Joshua?” and “I don’t understand why you had to get all those tattoos!” The line leading off of the circles of his signatures tells us he frequently asks himself when he can leave behind Maroon 5 and start his solo career, while the dot just above that line is him reminding himself that Maroon 5 basically is his solo career. Most fascinatingly, the little that hangs just outside of the main part of his signature is a clear signal that he’s looking for a nice girl who’s ready to curl up on the couch and watch some movies with him. Oh wait, he’s what? Married? Well, shit then, I guess we can’t use that stock line for this one.

The case for changing your hair By Mia Plante editor

Recently I have been having the urge to change my hair. Not in a mentally-ill-manic kind of way but a mentally-ill-but-I-likechanging-my-hair kind of way. Even if I was fully mentally sound I still believe I would be changing my hair color or style every oth-


er month simply because I hate being bored with how I look. Because of this urge I get, I don’t really understand people who never want to change their hair. Why are you not feeling bland staring at the same locks you’ve had since elementary school? No judgment towards people who like to keep it simple, but simple is not me. Since it has been on my mind lately, I would like to present the case for changing your hair. Maybe this will get you to think differently about switching up your look! Or maybe it won’t—I don’t mind either way. First and foremost I am a huge advocate for a “you don’t like it until you try it” mindset when it comes to style choices. How do you know what you like best on you, or what will feel or look the best with your particular skin tone or face shape until you switch things up a bit? I am not saying you need to shave your head to see if your bone structure is enhanced by a buzzcut, but I am saying there is no reason NOT to get those caramel highlights or experiment with curtain bangs. Some people’s natural hair colors

just wash them out, or give them a flat sort of look. This is how my natural color and style looks on me: flat. Why not see what color can make you pop, enhance your eyes and make you feel more confident? Embrace the features you may be insecure about, and allow them to make you more striking with a simple hair color change. Hair dye is also a very cheap and easy way to switch up your look! If you have light enough hair you can just put an all-over semi permanent dye on top and suddenly you’ll be a whole different person. Obviously if you fell in love with a certain color or style, it takes commitment and effort to maintain it (especially if “it” is professionally done bleach jobs), but it is easy enough to go back to your usual color if you aren’t in love. I have reverted back to my natural color about three times since I started dyeing my hair, and every time I remember why I changed it to begin with. Hair changes are not permanent, hair grows and color can be removed or replaced easily enough to justify spur of the moment dye jobs. Additionally, my hair changes

have been compliment attractors! While it isn’t the best reason to change up your look, it is one. People notice things that are different and unique about others, and compliment those things profusely. Nearly every day I get complimented for my hair color, a pinkish red that attracts everyone’s eyes even when I don’t want it to. Having something unique like this about yourself is a conversation starter, and a way to connect with people you otherwise may not have the opportunity to get to know. Colorful hair is also like a 24/7 accessory that can be used to spice up a usually bland outfit—it is perfect for when you’re feeling boring because at least you won’t look like it! College is probably the best time to try something new with your hair cut or color: you’re generally away from the scrutinizing eyes of Gen X parents and you are yet to really be concerned about the highest level of “professionalism” possible. Plus, you can always change it back to something more palatable for internships if need be. Why be simple when you can try


something new during a fun and formative time in your life? Only those who are jealous or lame will judge you for it, and those who think it’s cool will be your newest best friends—especially me. So if you have been waiting for a sign to do something different with your hair—dye it, cut bangs, get extensions or do a big chop—this is your sign. Do it and rock it with confidence, you’re about to look 10 times cooler.


Novemeber 5, 2021

The Brandeis Hoot 13

‘Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor’ is the ultimate gambling show By Stewart Huang editpr

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. Indeed, it is a cardinal sin to leave good works of art unappreciated. I held off on seeing “Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor” for so long, and only recently did I watch it and disForgivecover that it is a sublime masterpiece. My only path to redemption now is to spread the good word and tell you about it. Adapted from the original manga of the same name by Nobuyoki Fukumoto,“Kaiji” is an anime series that tells the tale of the titular protagonist Kaiji (Masato Hagiwara), a Japanese youth who has basically given up on life. He can’t seem to find a job after moving to Tokyo in an era of economic downturn known as the “Lost Decade.” He gambles away what little money he has and slashes tires of expensive cars to vent his frustration. But everything changes when a high-interest loan he had cosigned for an ex-coworker, who is nowhere to be found, now leaves him in crippling debt. Thankfully, a major financing conglomerate is hosting a “charity event” for losers like Kaiji to wipe the slate clean and maybe even make some big bucks. All they have to do is gamble with borrowed money and play cruel games against each other. Now, you’re probably familiar with a premise like this, and perhaps you’re expecting this to be a show about the dark side of human nature and the evils of capitalism. Well, they’re there, but “Kaiji” goes way beyond those boring cliches. One major highlight is of course the games themselves, though I don’t want to give too many specifics to avoid spoiling things. Some games are entirely original creations. Some are twists on games we’re familiar with. Some are dangerous physi-

cal challenges that threaten to kill the participant. The show constantly reinvents itself and presents a new puzzle for Kaiji and the viewer, but two things are certain. One: nothing is as it seems. What appears to be a simple game of chance can contain so many hidden rules and mechanisms that allow the players to manipulate the outcomes. The show is extremely meticulous in laying out all these complexities. Kaiji and his adversaries theorize deeply about possible interactions and scenarios and evaluate the effectiveness of different strategies as much as an intelligent viewer would, and it is so satisfying to watch Kaiji gradually figure out the path to victory after several failed attempts. Brilliantly, sometimes it is the characters’ own overthinking that leads to their defeat. Two: no matter how trivial the game may look, every encounter feels like a desperate fight for survival because the stakes are so damn high. Watching these small moments of gameplay, like drawing from a lottery or dice rolling around in a bowl, is somehow way more intense than any action-packed fight scene. It is incredibly exhilarating to see Kaiji finally get the win after so much struggle, and conversely, utterly shocking when he does lose. If the games are the show’s body, then its soul must be the realistic, yet imaginative portrayal of human psychology. For one, the show perfectly captures what it’s like to be a gambling addict. We may scream at Kaiji for wanting to continue playing when he has already won big, but a gambler’s greed is insatiable; once he has tasted victory, he can never stop until he has lost everything again. In fact, Kaiji becomes so accustomed to the risk of losing everything that he feels compelled to bet with higher stakes in order to enjoy the games. We also witness how the sunk cost fallacy can

destroy someone. After spending almost 50 million yen, which is all he has, a character (I’m making this as vague as possible to avoid spoilers) is still unwilling to give up even though he knows the game is rigged to be impossible to win. At last, as his desperation grows more intense and the money starts to dry up, he pees himself and almost passes out. The narrator dramatically describes that feeling as if he is having non-stop ejaculations—talk about colorful descriptions. The show loves vivid metaphors like this. The characters often have these imaginative thoughts on how they perceive the situation, and we see these thoughts visualized in a surreal fashion. My favorite instance of this is when a cheater who gets caught suddenly comes up with an excuse to prove his innocence: everyone else suddenly appears to be stopped in time and a narrow thread slowly descends towards him. He pathetically climbs his way up it and cries: “I’m saved! I’m saved!” Of course, for a show to be a masterpiece, it must excel not

just in its writing, but in other technical aspects as well, so I will talk about a few of them here. The voice acting is wildly entertaining, especially for Kaiji and the narrator. In a show that pays so much attention to depicting specific emotions and mental states, Kaiji’s voice actor Masato Hagiwara is so versatile and nailed the part so well. There’s this scene where Kaiji finally gets to enjoy a can of beer, and you can just hear the sheer euphoria in the delivery of Kaiji’s monologue! On the other hand, the narrator, played by Fumihiko Tachiki, is a dramatic, bombastic character who makes whatever is happening on screen a hundred times more exciting, probably the best narration in any story ever. The art style is very distinct from the typical, easy-on-the-eyes anime art style. In fact, most people will probably think it’s downright ugly. But I love it precisely because I’d never seen anything like it before—it’s what made me want to watch the show in the first place. And the style is absolutely perfect for exaggerated facial expressions that emit raw, intense


‘Lamb’ deserves no acclaim

By Lucy Fay staff

“Lamb,” directed by Valdimar Jóhannsson, is an Icelandic film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival this year before seeing a limited U.S. release through A24. An addition to the slowly popularizing folk horror genre, “Lamb” is a minimalistic film shot in the middle of nowhere, featuring little dialogue, plot or entertainment. The film follows a husband and wife on their farm where they plant nondescript vegetation and raise sheep. The couple is in a rut when a lamb is born with a peculiar deformity. María (Noomi Rapace) and Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) proceed to raise this unique lamb as if it were a human baby, and very little of note occurs as a result. It cannot be overstated how crushing this film is to experience. “Lamb” seems to be a film made for film critics, pretentious movie buffs and no one else. I fancy myself both a film critic and a pretentious movie buff and yet, this movie drained me. It drained me of joy, passion and hope. Thinking back on this film is agony, not because of any deep emotional complexity, but because I know I will never get back those 100 minutes of sheer boredom.

This is a slow movie, which is in no way, in and of itself, a critique. Every classic of the ’60s and ’70s is slow. David Lynch, Ari Aster and Charlie Kaufman are talented modern directors who pace their movies carefully. But things must happen, a plot has to occur, characters need to do things. A director cannot rely on the pomposity of their viewers alone to defend a movie that has nothing to offer. “Lamb” is silent for most of its runtime. The three characters with the ability to speak rarely do, music creeps in only on the rare occasions when plot occurs and ambient sounds of nature are silenced to an unrealistic degree for rural Iceland. The bleats of sheep score this movie more than anything else. Actions should be occurring within the silence that plagues “Lamb.” Silence accompanied by compelling visuals is a core building block of the folk horror genre. The beauty of the countryside or depictions of monotony that represent the pace of María and Ingvar’s life grow tired and meaningless quickly. [Spoilers from here on] Pacing, scoring and visuals can all be largely overlooked for a good story. Interesting characters with complex relationships or an unpredictable engaging plot could have saved this movie. “Lamb’s” characters consist of an average couple whose most defin-

emotions. You can almost feel what the characters are feeling just by looking at their faces. The original soundtrack sets the tone perfectly. Take the track “Despair” for instance. It starts with a heavy bassline and a fast tempo that underscores the intensity and heavy atmosphere of the show, but then it devolves into distorted guitar notes that sound like the wailing of the damned, symbolizing those poor souls who are hopelessly stuck in life and heavily in debt. Mwah! It’s sublime. I must admit, “Kaiji” is one of the few shows that managed to squeeze a tear or two out of my unflinching eyes when the ending hit. It’s a masterpiece that I’m glad to have finally experienced (though the sad thing is that now I won’t be able to appreciate most other shows, which will no doubt be inferior). And now that you have heard of “Kaiji,” you also have a moral obligation to go and watch it immediately. Remember, it is a sin to leave good works of art unappreciated.

ing moment is María refusing a kiss from her brother-in-law, Pétur (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), a man with a vaguely troubled past, and a lamb, named Ada, whose adorable sheep head sits on top of a primarily human body. Ada may stick out as unique or compelling but once the initial shock of a lamb with a human arm wears off, she’s no different than a toddler. Since so few things happen throughout this film, any shocking moment or potential point of interest fades into the monotony. “Lamb” takes itself too seriously. This could be a point of cultural miscommunication—I am not

well versed in Icelandic cinema, but how can “Lamb” simultaneously be pretentious to the point of being insufferable while building a story around one of the most ridiculous looking creatures in modern cinema. Ada looks silly, laugh out loud bad, and any attempt to create emotion around her likeness is not going to work, yet she is the emotional centerpiece of the movie. Sheep are cute and all but they are not the best actors. The body of a small child with the dead black eyes of a lamb juxtapose each other in an unavoidably comedic way. Ada would have been a far more

sympathetic character if she was just a lamb. At least then I would not laugh every time she came on screen. The human characters are underdeveloped; Ada’s design cannot carry any emotional weight. The quality story needed to make up for how boring the rest of the movie is cannot be built on this group of subpar characters. I came into “Lamb” with high expectations. Within 20 minutes of this awful movie, I succumbed to the reality that “Lamb” would be added to the shortlist of films that I would not have finished had I not promised to review them.



The Brandeis Hoot

Novemeber 5, 2021

‘Lost’ is the perfect show for anyone who wants to be found By Caroline O editor

There are some shows and movies that attempt to tell stories about ordinary, struggling people. You know the type: the artsy, wide shots, the blue-grey-tinted lenses, the long stretches of silence and softly spoken monologues. In my personal experience, I find that they can be a hit or miss, where I’m paying more attention to the filmography rather than the story actually being told… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when I go into a series expecting a story about ordinary people, I want to actually get invested in the story, not the artistry of the series/movie medium. Thankfully, the Korean

drama “Lost” did not disappoint, telling the story of two lonely souls coming together as well as capturing the overall gloomy blue-grey, monologue-dense aesthetic in this specific genre. As I’ve suggested, “Lost” is a series that follows two struggling people: 40-year-old Lee Bu Jeong (Jeon Do Young) who now works as a cleaner after getting fired from her publishing job, as well as 27-year-old Lee Kang Jae (Ryu Joon Yeol), who works as a “stand-in serviceman,” someone who’s called on to pretend to be a boyfriend for those desperate enough to impress their acquaintances. Technically, this is the kind of show where both nothing and everything happens, because that’s exactly what the lives of the

characters are like. “Lost” isn’t incredibly plot-heavy; I can’t tell you much about Bu Jeong and Kang Jae’s lives except they’re rather miserable, and despite the fact that they’re both at different stages of their lives, they both feel stuck, destined to never become anything more than they already are. Bu Jeong never became the writer or mother that she wanted to be, having miscarried her child due to a traumatic incident at her job; Kang Jae never became the wealthy person he wished he could be. Just by the end of the first episode, the audience finds Bu Jeong numbly telling her father that “Dad … I didn’t become anything,” which Kang Jae echoes in the second episode: “I don’t think I will become anything.”


A beauty of this show is that it digs into this theme through the minor characters as well, all of whom are sympathetically sad in their own ways: Bu Jeong’s husband Jung Soo (Park Byung Eun) is constantly at a loss with how to connect with his wife, walking that thin line between loving and not loving her. Meanwhile, there’s Kang Jae’s friends Lee Soon Ju (Yoo Su Bin) and Kang Min Jeong (So Na Eun), who, while younger, are in that same vein of just wanting to make money and hopefully get somewhere in their lives. It’s worth noting that literally every post-teens age is represented here: early twenties, late twenties, thirties, forties, fifties, sixties… All of these characters are in different points of their lives, and yet like our protagonists, they too struggle with how to find meaning in lives that feel too stagnant. This sad, ancient fear—that one will never become anything more than they already are—weaves through the episodes and binds our characters together. As Kang Jae lives in the same apartment complex as Bu Jeong’s father (Park In Hwan), the two keep encountering one another, offering each other some comfort in their lonely lives. Whether it be something relatively small, like offering a handkerchief or a slice of cake, or something large, like picking one up from the police station or taking the other to see the sunrise, these two characters slowly but surely give each other more reasons to feel like an actual person, rather than the lost, stuck shell of a soul they might have once been.

It is through this slow caring for one another that these two finally feel seen. Through the course of 16 episodes, Kang Jae and Bu Jeong both recognize each other for what they truly are, and it’s a process that I genuinely believe is meant to remind the audience of how the simplest human gestures also pack the most meaning. There are so many little moments between them that made me think that perhaps one of the truest, most beautiful forms of human connection is to just swap tangerines with someone or notice that another person’s back button has come undone or touch another person’s face or recognize that one person’s anger is actually just sadness. It is this slow recognition that makes the show ultimately healing. You see these characters feel so lost and out of touch with their own lives, only to realize that perhaps there are better days ahead, so long as there is another person you can rest with. So long as there is a person who’s willing to sit still with you and to share in some of your burden, you can stay grounded for that much longer. As the show so eloquently puts it, “even if it’s peace that won’t last long, there will be days that I can call good because there’s rest.” Ultimately, that’s what this show wishes for its viewers—for everyone to know that while things may feel difficult now, there’s a better future ahead. Now go peel a tangerine for someone and rest easy.

‘Doom Patrol’ is so much more than another superhero show By Logan Ashkinazy staff

There is a lot of superhero media around right now. Comic books seem to be in a new golden age, and there are more superhero movies and TV shows coming from Marvel and DC than ever before. As someone who grew up reading a lot of superhero comic books from Marvel and DC, I’m very happy with that. But, I recognize that many people may be getting tired of this trend by now. Many production companies have realized this too: series like “The Boys” and “Invincible” satirize and deconstruct the genre. DC found their own answer to the superhero zeitgeist in “Doom Patrol.” The show is based on the DC Comics team of the same name, which debuted in 1963 from creators Arnold Drake and Bob Haney, but was largely considered to come into its own in 1989 under writer Grant Morrison. The basic concept of the Doom Patrol is that, for some unknown cause, a mysterious scientist known as Niles Caulder, aka the Chief (Timothy Dalton), has gathered a group of powered individuals to live in his remote mansion as a refuge for a world that has rejected them. Their powers all cause them to have an extended lifespan, so many of them originate from different points in the 20th and 21st centuries. The main cast of characters is notable: Cliff Steele, aka Robotman (Brendan Fraser); Rita Farr, aka Elasti-Woman (April Bowl-

by); Larry Trainor, aka Negative Man (Matt Bomer); Crazy Jane (Diane Guerrero); and Victor Stone, aka Cyborg (Joivan Wade). However, as they themselves often say within the show, to call them “superheroes” would be a stretch. In reality, despite having superpowers, these people are for the most part pessimistic and traumatized. Cliff Steele was a NASCAR driver from the 1980s who, after an accident that left his body destroyed, had his brain placed into a faulty robot body. Rita Farr was an actress from the 1950s who gained elastic powers that disfigured her, ruining her life, before she slowly gained control of them. Larry Trainor was an Air Force pilot from the 1960s who fused with a spirit made of negative energy. Jane suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and has 64 personalities, each having a different superpower. The running theme with these origin stories is that the way that the characters gained their powers ruined their lives in every other way. By presenting its characters in this way, “Doom Patrol” flips the idea of the superhero story on its head: the characters must become good people despite their superhuman abilities, not because they have them. The first season’s plot starts when the reality-warping, fourthwall-breaking being known as Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk) abducts the Chief, leaving the rest of the cast to try to find the man who brought them together. Along the way, the team delves into their own repressed trauma—Cliff deals with his addictive person-

ality and toxic mentality and Rita tries to become a “normal” person despite her unstable physical form. We learn that Larry was a closeted gay man during the 1960s who still struggles with his identity in the modern day and that Jane suffered from horrific abuse as a young child. Along the way, they must learn to accept each other and themselves to find the Chief. To call “Doom Patrol” weird is an understatement. It is unashamed to take inspiration from the strangeness of 1960s comics and, in my opinion, may even turn it up a notch. Brendan Fraser as a sarcastic, foulmouthed robot is hilarious, as is Alan Tudyk as a Deadpool-esque fourthwall breaking villain/narrator. To scratch the surface, other characters include a man who has a different superpower for each mus-

cle he flexes, a living street that communicates by flashing words on street signs, a donkey whose insides contain a pocket dimension and an army of carnivorous human butts. One of the main messages of “Doom Patrol” is to embrace the weirdness of life and to stop trying to be “normal” or fit in. In fact, one of the antagonistic forces throughout the show is a government organization literally named the Bureau of Normalcy, which seeks to contain and imprison anything which threatens their own arbitrary view of what should be “normal.” The acting in “Doom Patrol” is also phenomenal. The series brings in greats like Matt Bomer, Timothy Dalton and Alan Tudyk and heralds the return of the incredible Brendan Fraser to our screens with a lot of four-letter words to say. However, in most

discussion about “Doom Patrol,” you would find that the standout performance is Diane Guerrero as Jane. Her portrayal of not only Jane but also her many alters brings the entire show to the next level, as well as being one of the most realistic portrayals of DID in modern TV. Each personality is a distinct character in both behavior and looks, but they all manage to retain the core of who Jane is. All in all, “Doom Patrol” is so much more than a show about superheroes, or even a show about how much it sucks to be a superhero. It’s a show about trauma, about family, about accepting oneself and about a guy who eats beard hair. And honestly, I think you should do yourself a favor and give it a watch. All three seasons of “Doom Patrol” are available to watch on HBO Max.


November 5, 2021


The Brandeis Hoot

October’s new indie singles

By Mia Plante editor

Meduza/Hozier — “Tell it to My Heart” My perspective on this one is not very controversial among long-time Hozier fans. Admittedly, I know nothing about Meduza or the genre of EDM in general, so it isn’t my place to comment on the quality of Meduza or his ability to produce a song. But, I can say confidently that Hozier’s involvement in this release is painful to me. Obviously, when I hear Hozier is releasing a new song, my inner mysterious forest creature becomes excited. However, this song is underwhelming to say the least. I am disappointed in his voice being wasted on a heavily produced song such as this one. Hozier’s vocals are a gift to mankind that must not be tainted by technology. His voice in this song sounds significantly less genuine and rich than in his personal proj-

ects. While the vocals are impeccably done, because it IS Hozier of course, they are unlike him. He sounds like himself, but not the him that made me fall in love with his music and his unique sound. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate this song. It’s catchy, and also, it is virtually impossible for me to dislike anything Hozier is a part of. This song is for Hozier fans who also like going to raves, which is a very small audience, but I guess it exists enough to make a song for them! On top of the disappointment I have in Hozier for not releasing a soulful folk ballad like the good wood nymph he normally is, I have one critique for the song itself. Its ending is so abrupt it is almost confusing. I don’t like my songs to hit it and quit it, I need some aftercare, especially with something as heavily produced and upbeat as this song is. Snail Mail — “Madonna” The first thing I think of when listening to this album-teaser sin-

gle is how sexy the bassline is at the beginning. The bass is rich and deep and pairs perfectly with Lindsey’s airy voice at the start. The vocals in this song, along with every Snail Mail song, are delicious. Honestly, I don’t know what this song is about, and I don’t care. I have nothing else but praise to give this song; its sound is so wonderful and catchy—and I am in a serious Snail Mail phase at the moment. This song was released with a few other teasers for a new 10-track album entitled “Valentine,” which will be out on Nov. 5. Beach Bunny — “Oxygen” This upbeat tune was released on Oct. 27 and already has a couple hundred thousand listens on Spotify. Admittedly, quite a few of those listens are me. I am a huge fan of Beach Bunny’s previous music such as their brooding 2018 hit “Painkiller” and their more recent bitch tune “Good Girls (Don’t Get Used).” “Oxygen” follows perfectly in their genre niche of sad

songs for angry people who like to dance (and scream). The song has key drums that drive the beat along with the mournful sounding vocals usual of Beach Bunny. More of Beach Bunny’s recent hits have been more positive lyrically than their previous songs, which is a great turn for them as artists! I love a good sad song, but I love a romantic rock ballad a bit more. Lead vocalist Lili sings “suddenly everything is easy, I’ve never felt something so deeply” in the chorus, starkly different from lines in 2018’s “Painkiller,” “every conversation puts me back on medication, sorry’s just another word you’re saying.” Beach Bunny is possibly making a move towards a happier album in the future, but maintains their original sound perfectly despite the thematic differences. They are performing two nights in a row in Boston early next week; you should grab some last minute tickets if they’re still available! Peach Pit — “Up Granville”

I have been gripped by this song since it came out on Oct. 1. Its light and airy guitar intro on top of Peach Pit’s classic folksy vocals is perfect for a late fall stroll. Released a year after their second album, “Up Granville” has been long awaited by fans of Peach Pit—especially me. The song has a consistent loneliness to it despite its upbeat nature. It is static in the best and most personal way possible that hits differently to each listener. Peach Pit’s ability to create such meaningful and personal songs paired with the most careless guitar and a happy essence is absolutely unmatched. As usual, they have released something amazing with this single, and I cannot wait for their next album to be out (hopefully soon!). Peach Pit is a band to fall back on for every feeling possible, and “Up Granville” fits into their repertoire seamlessly.

‘Young Justice’ and the meaninglessness of death By Josh Lannon staff

Recently, the much anticipated season four of the show “Young Justice” came out on HBO Max. While the first few episodes of the series were generally high quality both in animation and story, the fourth episode took an unexpected turn with the death of Superboy (Nolan North), one of the show’s original protagonists. This supposed “death” has very little impact due to the fact that no one really thinks Superboy is really dead. In the past, the show has respected character deaths and treated them as permanent, showing the effects such a loss can have on the surviving characters as a whole. In contrast, this death felt hollow and meaningless in comparison with previous deaths in the series. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular program, “Young Justice” was originally a show based on characters from DC Comics. It initially aired on Cartoon Network in 2010 and ran for two seasons until 2012. Seven years later, a third season would be released on the relatively short lived DC Universe streaming service under the title “Young Justice: Outsiders.” Since then the show has been shifted to HBO Max and season four, titled “Young Justice: Phantoms,” premiered on October 16. The first season of “Young Jus-

tice” sets itself apart from other DC shows for two reasons. First, it focused primarily on sidekicks like Robin (Jesse McCartney), Kid Flash (Jason Spisak) and Aqualad (Khary Payton) rather than characters like Batman and Superman. Much like another Cartoon Network show “Teen Titans,” having a cast of much younger superheroes attracted a younger audience who could relate to the show and its characters. However, while the show is called “Young Justice,” it is by no means a mere kids show. The second reason for the show’s popularity is its darker storyline compared to other campier shows like “Batman: Brave and the Bold,” which concluded in 2011. The show had a great balance of relatable teenage characters with relatable teenage issues, while at the same time presenting compelling stories with sometimes dark subject matter. The show avoided treating its audience like kids and appealed to a core demographic of young adults. Of course, with a near seven-year hiatus, their core demographic got older. In response, the third and fourth seasons have emulated that growth in maturity both in the storylines and in the characters, all of whom have grown and changed along with their audience. One character who didn’t get a chance to grow into the third and fourth seasons was Wally West, aka Kid Flash. Wally dies at the end of season two and his death is permanent. I was

convinced at the time that he was going to be resurrected because let’s face it, in the world of superheroes, death doesn’t last long. However, to my suprise, seven years later, season three respected the gravity of Wally’s death by not bringing him back and through the lasting emotional trauma on his partner Artemis (Stephanie Lemelin). His death was weirdly a positive thing for the show, as it established that even main characters can die and sometimes people don’t get happy endings. In contrast, Superboy’s death at the end of episode four of “Young Justice: Phantoms” lacks a lot of the emotional depth of Wally’s death. While there is a possibility that Superboy is also permanently deceased due to the standard set by Wally’s lasting death, there are two key signs that Superboy will be coming back. The first sign is that Superboy’s death serves no narrative purpose. The plot of the first four episodes of “Young Justice: Phantoms’’ revolves around Superboy and his longtime partner Miss Martian (Danica McKellar) traveling to Mars to get married. The couple have been together since season one, although they briefly broke up in season two, and their relationship has been a focal point of the series. Overall, these four episodes are compelling. We get to see the underdeveloped Martians and their political intrigues as well as the culmination of a relationship that has been building up

since season one. Ironically, the quality of these episodes is what makes Superboy’s apparent death at the end of the fourth seem less impactful. In episode four, Superboy sacrifices himself to save the Martian leadership from a bomb. The show already explains that he is weaker on Mars, a not so subtle way of foreshadowing that something bad will happen to him. While Superboy’s weakness makes sense in universe, his actual sacrifice feels manufactured. Compared to Wally West’s death that happened suddenly but at a pivotal moment in his character arc, Superboy’s sacrifice doesn’t really involve his personal character arc and seems more like a cheap way to cause trauma to Miss Martian and shock the audience. It doesn’t make sense that Superboy would be killed off so suddenly without any narrative payoff. It’s just the abrupt end to a relationship that has been building since season one. The second major reason that Superboy’s death won’t last is that “Young Justice: Phantoms” features time travel. The famous time travelling superheroes from the 31st Century, the Legion of Superheroes, were teased at the end of season three, and three of the team’s members, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl and Chameleon Boy are important side characters on a mysterious mission in the past that takes them to Mars. Episode four also teases a mys-

‘Campus Life’ Comic

terious time travelling saboteur who used the Legion’s famous time bubble to plant the bomb that kills Superboy. The Legion of Superheroes has a long history with Superboy, although in DC media, Superboy is usually a young Superman and not newcomer Conner Kent like in “Young Justice.” However, it is probably safe to assume that this Superboy may have been saved by the Legionnaires, not to mention the introduction of time travel presents a bunch of possibilities for Superboy to return. Because of the Legion’s connection to Superboy and the time traveling shenanigans taking place in “Young Justice: Phantoms,” it is highly unlikely that Superboy is truly dead. Even if that were the case, his death would serve very little purpose other than shock value. It makes more sense that Superboy’s apparent death is merely to set up a time traveling adventure with the Legion of Superheroes. That being said, there are many ways this could have been accomplished without the likely fake death of a pivotal character in the series. Even if the show is setting up something big, pretending to kill Superboy comes off as a desperate attempt to stir up drama, and will ultimately devalue character deaths going forward.


The Brandeis Hoot

November 5, 2021

A witchy night with ‘Macbeth’


What is a better way to celebrate Halloween than with Shakespeare’s spookiest play? Hold Thy Peace, Brandeis’ Shakespeare society, put on “Macbeth” on Oct. 30 and 31. I was able to attend opening night and see the society in action. This was one hour and 30 minutes of excitement, chaos and scares. This was not a straightforward production. Director Micaela Grimes ’22 and assistant director Zach Katz ’22 were able to put their own flair on this timeless classic. Katz stated that for this production, the cast and crew wanted to recapture the element of what Shakespearian plays were like in their time “... by leaning into the horror, madness and the little bit of campiness hidden within.” This was certainly achieved and I had a great time. The play started off with no lights on, but a bright red background illuminating the stage. Silhouettes were seen of the actors as they seemed to be reenacting various important events that

may come up later. I found this to be a great artistic choice to start off the play. Then the lights went up, and the play officially began. There was no stumbling and everyone said their lines perfectly. The sword fighting was very well choreographed; it was clear the actors knew what they were doing. This is a classic story, and here it was brought to life. A choice I liked was that towards the end, all of the people that had been killed turned into zombie-like creatures, as a way for Macbeth to face the past. It was a great way to finish off the show and the actors were very believable as members of the undead. They clearly put a lot of work into this critical scene. I found that to be very powerful, as it showed Macbeth confronting the past and what she has done. A delightful choice for the play was to have a female Macbeth. Grace Ahlin ’23 took on the titular role and she knocked it out of the park. She became Macbeth during this show by showing a true descent into madness when she is succumbing to murders and having breakdowns as she sees ghosts. It looked as if she was ac-

tually going through these experiences as her emotions seemed too real, and I can see why she was cast. Another shining star of this production was Lady Macbeth, played by Kat Lawrence ’22. This is a hard part that was done spectacularly and she showed true emotions in her performance. Particularly in her final monologue before she died, you could feel the sadness in her performance with her sullen face, a voice sounding like she was close to actual tears and sad eyes staring into everyone else’s. The two leads truly shined, but as the saying goes, there are no small parts, only small actors. Everyone gave it their all. For example, another gender-swapped role was Malcolm, the son of the king turned daughter of the king. Nicole Garmizo ’22 gave this part life and she certainly brought a lot of power and feeling to the role. With her powerful voice and the expressive anger in her scenes, I think she was the right choice. Honestly, I believe everyone in this play was the right choice. Whether they were in several scenes with several long lines of dialogue, or if they had one line in

one scene, everyone treated their part like it was the most important part of the play. Another important part of the production was the lighting. While some people might not see that as a critical part of a play, I felt it really added to various scenes. For example, scenes with groups of people had cool colored lighting to create a relaxed atmosphere. However, when someone like Macbeth was speaking aside, the spotlight focused on her and the color turned a glowing red. The lighting choice reflected the tone of a situation in a way that elevated the atmosphere. Another part of the production that I admired was the costumes. They looked as if they came right out of Shakespeare’s time. They all had the cuts and styles of the era, like the big skirts, intricate tops, puffy jackets, etc., combined with bright shades of red and green, or serious shades of black. All of the costumes were very captivating and it looked like there was a lot of time put into making them. While the audience might have paid attention to the acting, it takes a good team to make a production spec-

tacular. The crew definitely delivered, and they brought life into the characters. “Macbeth” is a play that has been done countless times. However, the directors’ choices and the innovations of this production made it feel new. I have read “Macbeth” before, but I have never seen it. The show really was brought to life and I am glad I got to witness it. All of the people involved with this production were essential and this is what led to a very cohesive show. I would go as far to say Shakespeare himself would be proud of what has been achieved. Everything from the acting to the costumes to the lighting fit the play well. Grimes’ aim with the play, according to the program, was that “On this weird post[COVID] Halloweekend, we are re-introducing this dimension of chaos to the experience of Shakespeare. We hope you have a wonderful, outrageous, and frightful night.” They definitely achieved that goal, as far as I’m concerned. I look forward to seeing more productions by Hold Thy Peace in the future.


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.