The Brandeis Hoot 01/17/2020

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Volume 17 Issue 2

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe”

Janurary 17, 2020

Brandeis University’s Community Newspaper · Waltham, Mass.

Mitch Albom ’79 talks about his new memoir By Rachel Saal editor


President condemns anti-Semitism editor

Over winter break, University President Ron Liebowitz condemned anti-Semitism and affirmed the safety of the Brandeis campus in a statement issued via email on Jan. 3. Liebowitz began by acknowledging “the recent rash of violence directed at members of the Jewish community in New York and New Jersey,” which he called a reminder of “the ugly scourge of antisemitism.” He went on to praise “the breadth and diversity of support coming from across the country, rejecting in the strongest terms such prejudice and hatred.” As mentioned in the statement, the incidents which Liebowitz referred to are part of a larger and growing trend of anti-Semitic incidents, according to statistics recorded by the Anti Defamation League (ADL). In its yearly audits of anti-Semitism, the ADL, an organization which works to combat anti-Semitism, recorded 57 percent more anti-Semitic incidents in 2017 than in 2016, which itself had a 34 percent increase from 2015. According to the ADL, the number remained

Inside This Issue:

similarly high in 2018. The ADL has not yet published its audit of 2019. In a response to the same attacks as Liebowitz, Karen Baynes-Dunning, interim president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, another group dedicated to fighting hate, also noted the recent rise of anti-Semitism. Liebowitz’s statement also referenced Brandeis’ history and its foundation by the American Jewish community as a haven from discrimination against Jews and other minorities. He called these attacks and the growing trend of anti-Semitism “an affront to the values at the core of our institution,” and declared that Brandeis would “continue our part in countering the hatred that comes from ignorance by pursuing the truth through learning, being an open and inclusive community, and preparing our students to fight prejudice in all of its forms.” Liebowitz then shifted to talking about the various ways in which Brandeis would ensure both the physical and mental safety of its students and employees. In addition to referencing the installation of new security locks

See ALBOM, page 3

Howard C. Stevenson named 2020 Gittler Prize winner By Sabrina Chow editor

By Tim Dillon

Best-selling author of “Tuesdays with Morrie,” Mitch Albom ’79, said that his life was transformed by the child that he raised, Chika Jeune, in a book talk for his new book, “Finding Chika,” on Thursday in Spingold Theater. Jeune, who was born three days before the 2010 Haiti earthquake and faced many familial hardships, was taken into the Have Faith Haiti Orphanage, operated by Mitch and Janine Albom. At age five, Jeune developed a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG), a tumor located in the pons within the brain, and Albom and his wife, Janine, brought Jeune back to the United States to be tested. After her tumor was diagnosed, Jeune stayed in the United States with the Alboms and became who Albom called, “their child.” They spent two years with her, traveling the world and looking for a cure.

Jeune died at seven years old, and Albom recounted all of the lessons that he learned from her. “Chika found wonders and she found laughs in the simplest of things,” said Albom. “Chika Jeune lived just seven years, but they were seven beautiful, impactful years. She changed us and she changed pretty much everyone she met. It is my hope through nights like this and the proceeds of this book, 100 percent of which will go to the orphanage, that she can change the world for others like her: poor kids, sick kids, forgotten kids. There are many ways to make a family: conventional, late in life, lent, adopted, fostered, or a five year old who makes you parents in grandparents’ bodies. There are many ways to make a family, but there is no wrong way to make a family. No matter how a family may come together and no matter how it may come apart, this I have learned to be true: you

Nationally recognized clinical psychologist and researcher of racial stress, Howard C. Stevenson, is the winner of the 2020 Gittler Prize, according to a Brandeis-

NOW article. “Not only has Howard Stevenson brought a better understanding to the detrimental effects caused by racial stress and trauma through his scholarship, he actively leads the way in improving the lives of people affected by these issues,” said President Ron

Liebowitz in the press release. “I look forward to welcoming him to campus to engage with our community, and presenting him with the Gittler Prize.” “I am extremely honored to receive the Gittler Prize that is com-

See LIEBOWITZ, page 2

News: Alumnus testifies before Senate Ops: Classes at Brandeis begin again Features: 10th annual MLK Day of Service Sports: Head softball coach resigned Editorial: Hoot turns 15!

Track and field

Page 4 Page 12 Runners stepping it up. Page 10 Page 5 SPORTS: PAGE 6 Page 8

See GITTLER, page 2


Senior midyear exhibition Seniors in studio course showcase artwork. ARTS: PAGE 16


2 The Brandeis Hoot

Janruary 17, 2020

Nationally renowned clinical psychologist wins 2020 Gittler Prize

GITTLER, from page 1

stance Clayton Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and serves as the executive director of the Racial Empowerment Collaborative (REC), according to a BrandeisNOW article. REC is “a research, program development, and training center that brings together community leaders, researchers, authority fig-

ures, families, and youth to study and promote racial literacy and health in schools and neighborhoods,” according to its website. The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize was started in 2007 by the late Professor Joseph B. Gittler to “recognize outstanding and lasting scholarly contributions to racial, ethnic and/or religious relations,” according to its website. The Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Endowed Fund supports this award. Recipients of the award receive a $25,000 prize and a medal.

Stevenson is also the leader of Forward Promise. Forward Promise is a national program that is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) “to support culturally-responsive practices that buffer the effects of historical and systemic trauma on boys and young men of color,” according to its website. Stevenson has also led two mental health research projects that have been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

to examine the benefits of racial literacy, according to a BrandeisNOW article. The first project, Preventing Long-term Anger and Aggression in Youth (PLAAY), “uses basketball and racial socialization to help youth and parents cope with stress from violence and social rejection,” according to a BrandeisNOW article. The other program, SHAPE-UP: Barbers Building Better Brothers, helps train black barbers to teach young black men different ways

to reduce their risk for HIV/STDs and retaliation violence. He also authored the bestselling book, “Promoting Racial Literacy in Schools: Differences That Make a Difference,” which helps give solutions to reduce the reactions of racial threats in various face-to-face encounters. Stevenson will be presented the award in a public ceremony during his visit to Brandeis from Nov. 10 to 12, 2020. He will also be lecturing on his research.

Liebowitz condemns anti-Semitism, emphasizes safety of Brandeis campus LIEBOWITZ, from page 1

in classrooms and the expansion of university transportation services, Liebowitz talked about the university’s ongoing installation of new security cameras and efforts to improve cellular coverage on campus. He also said that the university is hiring more university police officers, and mentioned the ongoing search for a night lieutenant and another daytime public safety officer, which the university set out to hire after an off-campus stabbing hospitalized two Brandeis graduate stu-


dents in the fall. Acknowledging the mental toll that anti-Semitism and violence

can take, Liebowitz directed students and employees to on-campus organizations and resources

that could provide support. He mentioned the Brandeis Counseling Center, Brandeis Hillel and

the Center for Spiritual Life for students and the Employee Assistance Program for employees. Liebowitz concluded his statement by expressing his desire that students and staff would return to campus “as an inclusive and welcoming community that learns together and is committed to upholding the principles upon which the university was founded.” The Brandeis Hoot reached out to President Liebowitz’s office for further comment, but has not heard back at the time of publication.

Former Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division comments on Dep. of Labor rule By Tim Dillon and Rachel Saal editors

The U.S. Department of Labor released a final Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rule on Sunday to replace the one joint employer guidance that the Trump administration rescinded in 2017. Dean of the Heller School of Social Policy and Management David Weil, former administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division under then-President Barack Obama, commented that the rule implemented by the administration of President Donald Trump will affect the way joint employment is understood, according to Bloomberg News. “Clearly this is the secretary and the wage-and-hour administrator saying this is our interpretation of joint employment, it’s very narrow, and we’re not going to pursue it in lots of cases that historically, even under this administration, they have,” said Weil in the article. “This is going to clearly dampen both the solicitors’ and wage-andhour investigators’ use of joint employment as a concept.” The FLSA, implemented in 1938 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “set nationwide standards for employees of organizations engaged in interstate commerce, operations of a certain size, and public agencies,” according to The new rule imposes a stricter standard for when a person is


considered to be jointly employed by multiple businesses, for purposes of determining overtime and wages. If they are considered to be jointly employed, hours worked at both businesses are added together to determine the number of hours they worked and whether or not they are owed overtime pay, according to JDSUPRA. The new rule adds new conditions which need to be fulfilled in or-

der for someone to be considered a joint employee. The rule will be effective March 16, 60 days after it was published, according to Bloomberg Law. “The U.S. Department of Labor is updating and revising the Department’s interpretation of joint employer status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA or Act) in order to promote certainty for employers and employees, reduce litigation, promote great-

er uniformity among court decisions, and encourage innovation in the economy,” reads the rule. Weil was made dean of the Heller School in August of 2017, according to the Brandeis University Faculty Guide. Prior to working at Brandeis, Weil was a professor of management at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. In 2014 Weil was appointed by Obama as the Administrator of

the Department of Labor’s Wages and Hour Division, a position which he held until January 2017. He has done “decades of research on labor, employment, and the structure of labor markets and labor policy.” He received the Father Edward F. Boyle Award, Cushing-Gavin Award of the Labor Guild, Archdiocese of Boston in 2017 and the Frances Perkins Intelligence and Courage Award in 2019.

Janruary 17, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

Best-selling author Mitch Albom ’79 returns to campus to talk about his new book, ‘Finding Chika’ ALBOM, from page 1

cannot lose a child. And we did not lose a child. We were given one, and she was glorious.” Albom, who has seven #1 New York Times best-sellers, has sold over 40 million copies in 47 different languages worldwide, according to the Brandeis Alumni page. His book, “Tuesdays with Morrie,” a memoir of his visits with former Brandeis sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, is the best-selling memoir ever published. Albom said when he first joined Schwartz’s sociology class, he was

about to drop the class on his first day, until Schwartz called his name when checking attendance. He said that he appreciated that Schwartz asked what name he wanted to be called. “The first thing Morrie ever said to me was ‘Is it Mitch or Mitchell, which do you prefer?’” said Albom. “I said ‘My friends call me Mitch.’ And he said ‘Okay, Mitch it is. And Mitch? I hope one day you’ll call me one of your friends.’” Albom said he ended up majoring in sociology, not because he was interested in the subject, but because he took every class Schwartz offered. He said that

he basically “majored in Morrie.” Schwartz’s wife, Charlotte, and his two kids, Jon and Rob, were present at the book talk on Thursday. Albom is currently on a three month tour promoting “Finding Chika.” Many of the book talks are ticketed and include a signed hardcover copy of the book, and some raise funds for DIPG research, according to Albom’s website. According to Albom, all proceeds from the book will go to fund the Have Faith Haiti orphanage.


Son of Brandeis’ first chairman of the Board of Trustees, Baba Ram Dass, dies at 88 By Adian Vinograd and Victoria Morrongiello staff and editor

Richard “Baba Ram Dass” Alpert, son of the first chairman of the Brandeis Board of Trustees George Alpert, died at age 88 on Dec. 22, 2019 at his home in Maui, HI. His death was announced on his official Instagram account the following day. Baba Ram Dass’ father, George Alpert, was the first chairman of Brandeis’s Board of Trustees, according to Board of Trustees page on the Brandeis website. According to the Brandeis archives, Alpert served as chairman of the Board of Trustees from 19461954, however, after leaving his position as chairman, Alpert remained a Board member for the rest of his life. Alpert received the university’s first honorary degree in 1953 at the second commencement, according to the Honorary Degree Recipients page on Brandeis’ website. In his early life, George Alpert’s


son, Baba Ram Dass, worked with Harvard psychology department colleague—Timothy Leary—researching the effects of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) on the mind, according to a New York Times article. Their work caused controversy and criticism ultimately leading to both men getting fired, Baba Ram Dass having given drugs to an undergraduate student. Baba Ram Dass continued to

experiment with LSD after having been fired, causing effects on his mental state as he became depressed. Conflicts resulting from his sexuality led to increased tensions between Baba Ram Dass and his past colleagues including Leary. In 1967, Baba Ram Dass went to India where he underwent a “spiritual upheaval,” as written in The New York Times. In India, Baba Ram Dass met a

man called Maharajji. Baba Ram Dass later went on to recognize this man as his guru—a spiritual teacher in the Hindu culture. It was Maharajji who gave him the name “Ram Dass,” which means “Servant of God,” to replace his birth name, Richard Alpert. Baba was added on to Ram Dass’ name as a sign of respect, according to the aforementioned New York Times article, translating to ‘father.’

Baba Ram Dass then returned to the United States following the instructions of his guru and began giving lectures that attracted over 200 people, who would come to chant with him, according to The New York Times. In 1971, Baba Ram Dass became a published author, with his most successful book, “Be Here Now,” selling over two million copies, according to The New York Times. Ram Dass continued to publish books and recordings, but eventually sought to detach himself from his role as a “cult figure” and began doing charity work. Ram Dass also began writing books in order to help prisoners, which made his works accessible at low prices. Before his death, Ram Dass built a foundation to fight blindness in India and Nepal, advocated for reforestation projects in Latin America and even carried out primary health care programs for Native Americans, according to the New York Times article.

Professor comments on tensions between Iran and US By Victoria Morrongiello and Sabrina Chow editors

Tensions between the United States and Iran have been escalating after a series of airstrikes killed both Iranian and American people. Brandeis Professor Nadar Habibi (ECON) commented on the current situation in an article from Sputnik News where he assessed the manner in which the Trump administration is handling the situation. Habibi also provided potential solutions to the issue. In December 2019, the U.S. led an airstrike which killed members of an Iran-backed militia. This then caused Iranian demonstrators and militia members to set fire to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The U.S. then launched an airstrike on Iranian military commander, Qasem Soleimani, in early January, killing him and causing backlash from the Iranian public and government, according to another Sputnik News article. The Trump administration jus-

tified the killing of Soleimani because the administration thought Soleimani was planning an “imminent” attack, according to an article by The New York Times. However, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was never shown evidence of an attack planned by Iran on any U.S. embassies, let alone the four which the Trump administration had claimed, according to the article. “But what we can see is that on one hand, the Trump administration might want to escalate the situation,” said Habibi in the Sputnik article. He added that Congress is attempting to prevent escalation that may lead to war, which opposes the actions of the Trump administration. U.S. policy with Iran is not clear and holds contradictions, according to Habibi. Habibi further explained in the article that President Donald Trump’s tweets about his position on war with Iran has strong contradictions. “Some tweets say they are ready to initiate,” said Habibi. “Some of them say we don’t want war. In some tweets by him and his administration members we

see that they call on Iran to negotiate.” Habibi believes that the U.S.’ current policy is “to use economic pressure and diplomatic pressure on Iran without allowing the tension to escalate into a direct confrontation with Iran,” he told Sputnik News. He also noted that, based on recent polls, there is a division among Trump supporters about whether they support his policy. There is also significant opposition to Trump’s policy among independents and supporters of the Democratic Party since Democrats have opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear agreement from the beginning, according to the article. Habibi added that Trump will claim victory if Iran agrees to negotiate with the U.S. Diplomatic measures are being launched by several countries to try to deescalate the current situation in the Middle East, said Habibi, since it is so unpredictable. Habibi does believe that if there is any improvement in the relationship between Iran and the


United States, “then there could be another round of negotiations for perhaps a new nuclear deal between Iran and the five major negotiating power countries that have been dealing with Iran,” he said in an article by Sputnik News. In May 2018 the U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA.) President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Vladamir Putin of Russia said they would

want to keep the JCPOA, with similar statements also made by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. These European nations had always been opposed to the U.S. leaving the JCPOA. The repercussions of the U.S.’ withdrawal have increased the economic pressures put on Iran. Habibi is the Professor of the Economics of the Middle East for the Crown Centre for Middle East Studies and a senior lecturer in the Department of Economics.


The Brandeis Hoot

Janruary 17, 2020

Brandeis alum testifies in ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ By Victoria Morrongiello editor

Inspector General Michael Horowitz ’84 gave testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on December 11, two days after releasing a 434-page report reviewing an investigation opened by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in July 2016, according to a CNN article. The report released by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) reviews four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications and other parts of the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” Investigation. The OIG undertook the review to examine the actions of the FBI in its investigation opened in July 2016 looking into President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign officials and their potential involvement with the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential campaign, according to the report. The investigation had been given the codename “Crossfire Hurricane,” per the report. Horowitz earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brandeis University, graduating in ’84 as an economics major. After attending Brandeis, he went to Harvard Law School where he earned his Juris Doctor degree. Horowitz has been Inspector General of the United States Department of Justice since April 2012, according to Horowitz’s Department of Justice biography page. In his position as Inspector General, Horowitz oversees over 500 employees nationally to identify fraud and misconduct within the Department of Justice. “I found that the economics major [at Brandeis] was a tremendous preparation for law school,” Horowtiz said when he returned to Brandeis last year. “I thought the whole experience at Brandeis in terms of what I got out of particularly economics and the teaching there prepared me well for the journey I ended up on.” In Horowitz’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he backed the findings of the report stating that the Bureau was justified in opening its investigation back in 2016. Horowitz said, “the FBI received reporting from


a friendly foreign government,” suggesting potential interactions between the Russian government and Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisor, George Papadopolis. The “friendly foreign government” stated that Papadopolis “suggested the Trump team had received some kind of a suggestion” from Russia that could assist in the election by anonymously releasing information which could damage Trump’s running mate— Hillary Clinton’s—campaign, according to Horowitz’s testimony. Horowitz and his team found that Assistant Director Bill Priestap’s decision to open the investigation was “in compliance” with the Department of Justice and FBI policies, said Horowitz in the hearing. There was also no evidence of “contempt documentary” to influence Priestap’s decision, said Horowitz. Horowitz said during the hearing, “[The OIG] found that the Crossfire Hurricane was opened for an authorized purpose and with sufficient factual predication.” Though, Horowitz told lawmakers that the former bureau members involved in the investigation made major errors during the investigation and could not be vindicated, according to an article by the Washington Post. Investigators in the Crossfire Hurricane case failed “to meet their basic obligation with the FISA applications,” said Horow-

itz. The OIG team found “significant inaccuracies and omissions,” according to Horowitz. In total, the OIG team identified 17 inaccuracies in their handling of FISA applications, noted by Horowitz during the hearing. Horowitz, during the hearing, reiterated information in the report about FISA procedures being set in place to protect the FISA application process from irregularities and abuse. Most importantly, according to Horowitz, in every FISA application there is a full and accurate presentation of the facts which should be “scrupulously accurate” according to the procedure. These measures were not met by the bureau’s investigative team for Crossfire Hurricane. The Crossfire Hurricane investigation proposed obtaining a FISA application in August 2016 for Carter Page—another foreign policy advisor to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. This request was denied, though the investigative team reattempted getting a FISA application the following month due to alleged activities between Page and Russian officials, said Horowitz. The error with the FISA applications made “the argument supporting probable cause stronger than it actually was,” said Horowitz. In addition to the FISA application errors, Horowitz mentioned his team’s findings of “basic fundamental and serious errors”

made during the Wood’s Procedures—which is the FBI’s factual accuracy review. These errors caused department lawyers not to be presented with complete and accurate information to evaluate probable cause to decide whether surveillance should be put on a person tied to a presidential

campaign, according to Horowitz. Surveillance had been put on Carter Page despite the fact that the department was receiving intelligence which weakened the assessment, according to Horowitz. Horowitz testified that there was no documentary of intentional misconduct, though there is no explanation for the errors found in the basic procedures. After Horowitz’s prepared remarks, both Democrats and Republicans of the Senate Judiciary Committee were allowed to question Horowitz. Senator Rick Scott of Florida asked where the oversight during the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was and if there had ever been spies from the FBI in other presidential campaigns. Horowitz said that the OIG did not look into other investigations conducted by the FBI during prior presidential campaigns. To ensure that a situation similar to Crossfire Hurricane does not happen again, Horowitz said that there should be a change in the practice and policies between investigators and department lawyers before moving forward in the investigation.


Study shows walking more leads to better sleep By Sabrina Chow and Victoria Morrongiello editors

Increasing the number of steps an individual walks every day has been linked to deeper sleep, Alycia Sullivan Bisson (GRAD) found in a recent Brandeis study that looked at the effects of exercise on a person’s sleep quality. The study, published in the National Sleep Foundation Journal, looked at the correlation between a person’s amount of steps during the day and his or her quality of sleep. Prior studies with specialized populations have shown that walking can “improve sleep quality, depressive symptoms, and sleep efficiency, while decreasing nighttime wakefulness and next-day fatigue,” according to the study. The participants were monitored for four weeks with the intent to increase their physical activity as well as examine the relationship between their ac-

tivity and their quality of sleep. The results from the study demonstrated a partial relationship where “those who spent more time active, on average, across the month reported better sleep quality,” according to the study. Women who were more active were found to have better sleep than those who were not active. Activity levels were found to not affect sleep quality in men. The study involved 59 participants averaging 49.43 years old. All participants had to be “healthy enough to walk briskly, work full-time, have access to an Internet-connected computer or smartphone, and self reported walking less than 60 minutes per day.” Physical activity was measured by the number of steps taken per day and minutes spent active, which was recorded with a Fitbit Zip. The total daily active minutes were found by adding together the number of minutes spent in light, moderate and vigorous activity. The study found that the number of daily steps ranged be-

tween 2,269 and 18,314, with an average of 7,258.64 steps. The average number of daily active minutes was 184.10 minutes, with a range of 86.30 to 343.18 minutes. The participants’ sleep was measured before and after the intervention using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), according to the study. The PSQI global score and raw scores for sleep were compared by the researchers to determine duration and efficiency of the patients’ sleep. Participants had to answer a daily question, selected by the researchers due to its straightforwardness, which required them to rate their quality of sleep on a scale from 1-10. Sleep duration was also measured daily by asking the participants two questions: “When did you go to bed last night?” and “What time did you wake up this morning?” Participants were split into two groups: Control Group and Intervention Group. The intervention group was asked to take an additional 2,000 steps each day for


the duration of the study. Each week, the step goals increased by 2,000 steps. By the end of the study, the intervention group participants had increased their step count by 8,000 steps from the baseline value. Participants in the intervention group also received additional materials helping them to increase their step count. Individuals in the control group were not given any weekly step goals or extra materials. “‘I think it’s fair to say’ that

these results indicate that people who move more also sleep better,” Bisson told The New York Times in an interview. She added that we should “incorporate more activity into our daily lives” if we want a better night of sleep. The study was funded through a grant by the National Institute on Aging. Bisson is a graduate student in the psychology department and did her research under advisor Margie Lachman (PSYCH).


January 17, 2020

The Brandeis Hoot 5

DelPonte announces resignation as head softball coach By Sophie Trachtenberg and Sabrina Chow editors

Danielle DelPonte, the head coach for the women’s softball team since 2016, announced her resignation in December 2019 to pursue other career options, according to a press release by Brandeis Athletics. “[DelPonte’s] departure is certainly bittersweet for our department, especially for our softball student-athletes,” wrote athletic director Lauren Haynie in an email to The Brandeis Hoot. “She is leaving us with a legacy of success, and a team of students who have demonstrated both academic and athletic success at Brandeis. We are looking forward to the spring season, and to challenge for a championship in the very competitive University Athletic Association (UAA).” One of DelPonte’s players, shortstop and 2019 First Team All-Association honoree Jolie Fujita ’21, said in an interview with The Hoot, “The announcement about Coach [DelPonte] was extremely sudden. Coach took extreme pride in the program she built and often spoke about how she would never leave us for another school. Knowing that, I

can’t imagine how difficult it was for her to make the decision to change career paths.” When asked about Coach DelPonte’s new absence and the upcoming season, pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22, another 2019 First Team All-Association honoree, added in a message to The Hoot, “I think it is going to be pretty different when we all get back to campus and Coach isn’t there. We all bought into the program last year and in the fall, so it is just going to be a learning process for the first couple weeks [of the new season]. Reflecting on her previous seasons under DelPonte, Fujita shared some of her favorite moments saying, “I don’t have just one favorite memory with Coach. Almost every memory I have with Coach involves laughing until my stomach hurt. She wasn’t just a coach, but she was a friend to me and the rest of the team. She had our backs on and off the field whether it be in the form of relationship advice or how to turn a double play even quicker. Coach made practicing every day fun and entertaining.” According to the press release, DelPonte led the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year during the 2018-2019 school year, helping the Judges to a 29-7-1 record,


Former head coach Danielle DelPonte cheers on her team.

the second most wins in a season in the university’s history. This past season was also just the second time the Judges reached the NCAA Division III tournament, with their first appearance back in 2010. Five of DelPonte’s athletes were also All-UAA selections, including conference Pitcher of the Year Scottie Todd ’20. During her five years at Brandeis, DelPonte posted a 7164-1 record in four seasons and

helped the Judges to two runner-up finishes in the UAA in 2016 and 2019. Assistant coach Emily Kraytenberg will serve as the interim coach for the 2020 season, Haynie told The Hoot in an email. Haynie added that the search for a new head coach will begin after the conclusion of the 2020 season. Although Coach DelPonte will be missed, Goldman remarked, “I think Coach Em is more than


prepared to take over this role and keep the success going from last year.” The team is hopeful for another strong season, and is ready to prosper under new leadership. Fujita and her teammates look to head back to the NCAA Tournament, as she concluded, “The team knows it’s not going to come easy, but we’re all facing the challenge head on. We have a great team dynamic and I’m hopeful for our 2020 season.”

Men’s basketball opens up conference play with a win against NYU By Francesca Marchese staff

The Brandeis men’s basketball team started the new year on a high, ending their non-conference schedule with a victory over Bates and defeating University Athletic Association (UAA) rival New York University (NYU) on the road to secure their first conference win. In a tough battle against Bates College, the Judges rallied together to win the game on a 10-4 run, after trailing by nine at halftime. Throughout the game, there were seven ties and 13 lead changes. Late in the first half, Bates went on a run, scoring 19 of the game’s next 21 points, after Collin Sawyer ’20 finished a lay-up with seven minutes to go. With two minutes to go in the first half, Bates’ Kenny Aruwajoye’s layup established a 17 point lead over the Judges - 39-22. Junior guard Lawrence Sabir ignited the Brandeis comeback with an incredibly athletic block, which he then finished on the other end, cutting the deficit to single digits at the half. The 10-2 run for the Judges in the final two minutes of the first half was crucial heading into the second half. Throughout the second half, there were six lead changes, until the Judges scored back-toback field goals with under three minutes to play. Eric D’Aguanno ’20 delivered a behind the back pass to Nolan Hagerty ’22, with 2:26 seconds to go, that secured the lead for the Judges, 63-62. Hagerty then found freshman Dylan Lien who sunk a clutch three-pointer with 1:33 to go. The Judges finished off the game sinking five of their last six free throws from the line. The final score was 71-66, which gave

Brandeis their last non-conference win, improving their record to 8-3. Despite missing the final few minutes of the game, Sawyer led all players for the Judges with 20 points; he hit 7-11 from the field, including 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Providing a spark off the bench, D’Aguanno hit 4-of-8 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from three and 4-of-5 from the line to contribute 14 points in the Judges winning effort. Sabir had a well-rounded performance, finishing the game with eight points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Hagerty also contributed with a


game-high nine rebounds, three assists and six points. The Judges out rebounded Bates 39-31 and made 13 three-pointers; Brandeis outshot the Bobcats in the final 20 minutes of the game, too, hitting 7-of-10 from deep, while the Bobcats only connected on 1-of-10. Looking for their best 12 game start since the 2012-13 season, the Judges built a lead as large as 18 points in the first half against UAA rival NYU in the Big Apple. The Judges connected early on from behind the arc, hitting 10-firsthalf 3 pointers, steer-headed by Sawyer and Lien, who each hit three from deep, combining for 26 of Brandeis’ 46 points.

Collin Sawyer ‘20 spots up for a three-pointer.

The biggest lead for Brandeis was 44-25 with four minutes to play in the first half. After Sawyer connected on his third three of the game, the Violets responded with 11 straight points; Miles Somerville’s four-point play before Sawyer’s late field goal decreased the Brandeis lead to 10 at the half. Austin Clamage ’21 helped to improve the Judges’ lead to 15 in the second half with 13 minutes to go after hitting another shot from deep. NYU then scored the next seven points, cutting the Brandeis advantage to single digits, after Somerville sunk a three midway into the half that made it


63-57. After a Brandeis timeout, the Violets brought it within four twice, with under nine minutes to go. The Judges, though, did not settle and Hagerty responded with back-to-back lay-ups, increasing their advantage—a 70-61 game with six minutes to play. For the next four minutes, NYU held Brandeis scoreless and Somerville concluded the Violet’s 8-0 run with 1:57 remaining, cutting the Judges’ lead to one point at 70-69. Although NYU got a stop, they were unable to find success, and Hagerty scored again to extend the lead to three with 47 seconds to go. With 33 seconds left, Violet Nick Macarchuk connected, but Sawyer drew a foul out of a Brandeis timeout and he hit both free throws. Freshman Darret Justice ‘23 got a steal on the next NYU possession, and Sawyer finished again to end the game, 76-71. Sawyer led all players, finishing the game with 19 points. Hagerty and Lien each contributed 12 points, with Hagerty tying for team-high honors with eight boards. Chandler Jones ‘21 recorded a well-rounded performance, with seven points, eight rebounds and a game-high five assists. Brandeis had 18 assists on 27 baskets, and the Judges committed fewer turnovers than their opponent; the Violets finished with 12, while the Judges finished with seven, which gave them an 18-7 advantage in points. Additionally, the Judges finished the game with 12 3-pointers to seven from the Violets. Brandeis looks to increase their UAA winning streak at home, facing University of Rochester at 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17th.


The Brandeis Hoot

January 17, 2020

Track and field teams place second at annual Reggie Poyau Invitational By Caroline Wang and Sabrina Chow staff and editor

Last weekend, the Judges hosted the annual Reggie Poyau Memorial Invitational at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished in second place. The men’s team finished second with 83 points, behind Division I school Merrimack College. The women’s team also placed second with 97 points, training behind Division II school Assumption College. Men’s Track and Field The Judges dominated in the heptathlon with Jack Allan ’20 and Dionysus Morris-Evans ’22 finishing first and second, respectively. Allan finished with 4639 points while Morris-Evans finished with 4198 points. Not only was this a personal record (PR) for Allan, this score is the second-highest performance so far among all Division III schools this season. Morris-Evans’ score is the sixth-highest performance in Division III. Allan finished first in three of the seven events, including long jump with a distance of 6.43 meters, 60-meter hurdles in 8.72 seconds and pole vault with a height of 3.74 meters. Morris-Evans finished first in the 1000-meter run with a time of 3:00.44, second


in the high jump with a height of 1.91 meters and third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of nine seconds. Patrick Quinlan ’21 won the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.46 seconds, almost two-tenths of a second faster than the second place finisher. His teammate Jamie O’Neill ’22 came in fourth, with a time of 53.31 seconds. Matthew Driben ’22 won the 3000-meter run with a time of 9:07.75. Rookie Casey Brackett ’23 finished in seventh with a time of 9:34.34. Breylen Ammen ’21 tied for second in pole vault after clearing a height of 4.0 meters on his first try. Aaron Corin ’20 finished in fourth after clearing a height of 4.0 meters on his second try. Jacob Judd (GRAD) finished third in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:03.54, half a second behind the second place finisher from Merrimack College. Rookie Siva Annadorai ’23 finished 12th in the 800 with a time of 2:08.28. Aaron Baublis ’21 finished fourth overall in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.85. The 4x400 meter relay team of Aaron Portman ’22, O’Neil, rookie Dean Campbell ’23 and Quinlan finished fourth with a time of 3:39.93, fourth-hundredths of a second behind the third place team. The relay team of Baublis, Reese Farquhar ’22, Tanner Richards ’22 and Judd finished sixth with a time of 3:42.90. Maddox finished fifth in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.23

seconds, three-hundredths of a second behind the fourth place finisher from Bentley University. He also came in second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.18, just a second behind Anthony Spignese ’23 from Assumption College. Rookie Thomas Vandalovsky ’23 finished fifth in shot put, throwing a distance of 13.51 meters. Vandalovsky also placed 11th in weight throw with a distance of 11.21 meters. Teammate Jonathan Hau ’23 finished in 12th in the weight throw with a distance of 11.00 meters. Alec Rodgers ’20 finished in sixth in the mile run with a time of 4:37.09. Teammate Dan Curley ’20 finished in 14th with a time of 4:45.70. Kevin Truong ’21 finished ninth in the long jump with a length of 5.99 meters. Teammate Michael Leung ’21 finished in 13th with a distance of 5.75 meters. Women’s Track and Field All-American Devin Hiltunen ’22 and rookie Sydney D’Ammadio ’23 were both double winners, helping the Judges to five wins. Hiltunen and D’Ammadio were part of the winning 4x400 meter relay, with Hiltunen as anchor and D’Ammadio running the third leg. Both were joined by rookies Yahni Lapa ’23 and Victoria Morrongiello ’23, who ran the first and second leg, respectively. The team won the race with a time of 4:16.25, over a second faster

Jack Allan ‘20 runs towards the finish line.


than the second place team from the University of Southern Maine. Hiltunen also won the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.78 seconds, winning by seven-hundredths of a second over second place finish Claudia Koontz ’22 from Assumption College. D’Ammadio won the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.55, also beating Koontz by two-hundredths of a second. Hiltunen finished in sixth in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:04.40, beating out teammate Lapa by four-hundredths of a second. The Judges had two more wins from the middle and long-distance runners. The Judges swept the top four positions in the 3000 meter run, led by Niamh Kenney ’21, who won the race with a time of 10:45.58. Danielle Bertaux ’20 came in second with a time of 10:48.9, followed by Erin Magill ’22 in 10:56.98 and Kate Danziger ’22 in fourth with a time of 11:03.49. In the mile, Andrea Bolduc ’21 finished nearly five seconds faster than the second place finisher, finishing the race in 5:14.38. Her teammate, Natalie Hattan ’22 finished in third with a time of 5:32.83, a new PR.


Morrongiello added another eight points to the Judges’ total with a second place finish in the 600 meter run, finishing the race in 1:46.97. Teammates Lisbeth Valdez ’21 and Mahala Lahvis ’21 finished in third and seventh with times of 1:47.44 and 1:49.94, respectively. In the 60-meter hurdles, Lydia Harris ’20 hit a new PR with a time of 10 seconds, placing fifth in the final. Willa Moen ’20 and Tessa Holleran ’20 placed seventh and eighth, respectively, in the preliminaries, just missing the mark for finals. Moen finished third in the inaugural women’s pentathlon with 2545 points after finishing fourth in the 60-meter hurdles, 800 meter run, high jump and long jump. Holleran finished eighth with 2231 points. The Judges will head to Bowdoin College this weekend for the second Bowdoin Invitational of the season. Editor’s Note: Victoria Morrongiello is a member of the women’s track and field team and is the Deputy News Editor of The Hoot.

Swimming and diving splits against Trinity By Sophie Trachtenberg editor

After returning from a training trip down in Florida, the Brandeis swimming and diving teams came back to campus to host a competition last weekend against the Trinity College Bantams (CT) to open up their 2020 season. The men ended with a win, beating Trinity by a margin of 146-128. On the women’s side, the Bantams outscored Brandeis 202-86. The team captured eight wins from the men and an additional three from the women, making 11 in total. The men’s team was led by Daniel Wohl ’21 and Matthew Arcemont ’20 who each won two events. Wohl came in first place in two freestyle events, swim-

ming the 100-yard race in 48.48 seconds and winning by just four tenths of a second. In his longer distance match-up, Wohl swam the 200 with a time of 1:45.36, beating his nearest opponent by over one full second. Arcemont took home the winning title in the 100 butterfly race, coming in with a time of 55.01 seconds. Shortly behind him was fellow Judge and classmate Justin Weissberg ’20, who finished just 0.47 seconds after to seize second place standing. Arcemont also went onto win the 100-yard individual medley event, coming in 0.34 seconds faster than the runner-up with a time of 56.77 seconds. In addition to Wohl and Arcemont, the men’s team also had members who won single races and events. Richard Selznick ’21

won by a large margin of nine seconds with a time of 10:20.62 in the 1000-yard freestyle. Tamir Zitelny ’20 edged out his nearest opponent by only one-tenth of second, capturing first place in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 55.12 seconds. For the 100yard breaststroke, Brendon Lu ’22 came in with a time of 1:02.51 to win the event. Lastly in the diving category, Rafi Rubenstein ’22 triumphed in the 1-meter diving, getting a score of 108.20. For the women, the rookies primarily led the way, as classmates Bailey Gold ’23 and Emma Rennie ’23 each won an individual race. Gold swam the 100-yard backstroke in a 1:03.04 fashion to secure first place. She was also successful in two other races, getting second place in both the 200-yard freestyle and the

100-yard butterfly with times of 2:03.74 and 1:01.77, respectively. She was about two-tenths of a second behind the leaders in each of these events. Rennie sprinted to first place in the 50-yard freestyle, reigning in a time of 25.40 seconds with her nearest competitor coming in 0.34 seconds behind. Also winning her race was Natalya Wozab ’20, who captured the 100 individual medley by the closest margin of the meet. She was just two-hundredths of a second faster than the runner-up with a time of 1:05.18. Finally in the relay categories, the women’s 200-yard freestyle came in second place, just 0.07 seconds behind the Bantams. The relay team, comprised of classmates Audrey Kim ’21 and Uajda Musaku ’21, as well as Rennie and Gold, secured the

runner-up spot with a time of 1:44.92. For the men, Marcelo Ohno-Machado ’21, Wohl, Zitelny and Arcemont also fell by a close margin of 0.43 seconds to Trinity, as they swam the event in 1:30.83. This weekend, the Judges were supposed to return to the pool for another meet. However, due to renovations to Linsey Pool, the match-up has been postponed to Saturday, Jan. 18 at 4:30 p.m. This meet will now be held at Wheaton College in Norton, MA as the Judges take on Keene State University and Bridgewater State University. The Judges will celebrate senior night at this meet before the races begin. With the win, the men improve to 3-6 on the season, while the women fall to 2-9 with the loss.

January 17, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

NBA midseason award predictions By Jacob Schireson staff

The halfway point of the NBA Season has arrived, and it is time to hand out midseason awards. The NBA season has been up and down through its first half, and while some of these awards were hard to determine, others were not. Most Valuable Player (MVP): The MVP of the 2019-20 NBA season will be Giannis Antetokuonmpo. This is hardly a spoiler, however. Through 42 games, the Bucks sit at 36-6 and are on pace to win 70 games as the league’s best regular season team. Antetokuonmpo has served as the engine of the Bucks offense, often operating as anything from their Point Guard to their Center. On the other end of the court Giannis has anchored their defense. The numbers back this up too. His 30/12.7/5.5 splits as well as 12.6 Box Plus Minus and .312 Win Shares/48 are all historically great. James Harden has made a case with his 37.8 points per game, however the Rockets currently sit in the fifth spot in the Western Conference, and the award has historically overwhelmingly gone to players on top seeded teams. Rookie of the Year (ROTY): The Rookie of the Year will be Ja Morant. Top draft pick Zion Williamson entered the season as the clear cut favorite for the award, but injury and surgery have sidelined him for much of the season. In his absence, Morant has taken the award for himself, averaging 18 points per game and 6.9 assists


per game, leading the Grizzlies to the eighth spot in the Western Conference. Although many feel that Williamson is the superior player, in all likelihood he will not play enough games this season to be considered for the award (much like Malcolm Brodgon winning ROTY in 2017 over Joel Embiid.) Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY): The Defensive Player of the Year award is not as clear cut. Multiple players have made strong candidacies and their standings may change, but through the



halfway point of the year, Anthony Davis has made the strongest case. He has anchored the Lakers’ elite defense, averaging 2.6 blocks and 1.5 steals, while posting a superb defensive rating of 100. Honorable mentions through this point in the season are Utah’s Rudy Gobert along with Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokuonmpo. Sixth Man of the Year (6MOTY): The Sixth Man of the Year thus far has been predictably, Lou Williams. The 6’1” scoring guard averages 19.9 points per game, leading the bench unit of

the championship-contending Los Angeles Clippers. While Williams comes off the bench, he is a more than capable starter who is utilized by coach Doc Rivers as a bench piece with Montrezl Harrell, in order to let offensive superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George open the game. Despite not starting games, Williams is routinely in the closing lineups for the Clippers. Williams has previously won this award three times. Coach of the Year (COTY): The Coach of the Year race thus far

has been close with a few good contenders but among the candidates so far, the Coach of the Year should be Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. Spoelstra has made the most of a Miami Heat roster that despite having just one All-NBA level player currently sits in the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Spoelstra has led the Heat to a stellar 18-1 record at home and 28-12 record overall and has inspired breakout performances from Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson.

Women’s basketball falls in UAA opener By Jesse Lieberman staff

Captain Camila Casanueva ’21 had 18 points and six rebounds and fellow classmate Jillian Petrie ’21 scored a season-high 15 points as the Judges fell short in their University Athletic Association (UAA) opener 76-65 on the road against New York University (NYU) this past Saturday. The loss snaps the Judges seven-game winning streak and brings their record to 10-2.


Jillian Petrie ‘21 jumps for tip off.

Casanueva ranks among the top five in the UAA in points per game with 15, assists per game with 4.5, and free throw percentage, shooting 95 percent. With 3:34 remaining in the fourth quarter, Casanueva knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the Violets’ lead 6361. NYU then went on a 9-2 run over the next two and a half minutes to put the game out of reach, capitalized by Lauren Koyama’s three pointer with 0:58 left in the game. Once trailing by 14 points in the second quarter, the Judges en-

tered the half down 12. The Judges outscored the Violets 20-11 in the third quarter and remained within striking distance throughout the fourth quarter before NYU ultimately pulled ahead. Usually strong from beyond the arc, the Judges struggled on threes, going 2-of-10. The Judges are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, ranking sixth in three point percentage. Casanueva, junior Kat Puda ’21, and rookie Francesca Marchese ’23 are all shooting above 40 percent from beyond the arc and rank in the top 10 in the UAA. The Judges’ difficulties on three point shooting didn’t affect their effort on the defensive end. The Judges held the Violets to 4-of-25 on 3-pointers. Furthermore, the Judges held NYU and UAA leading scorer Janean Cuffee to 8-of24 shooting including 1-of-7 on threes. Senior forward Hannah Nicholson ’20, the leading rebounder in the UAA, had six points and added 11 rebounds, the third time in the last four games Nicholson has grabbed 10 or more rebounds. Junior Samira Abdelrehim ’21 had eight points off the bench. The forward, who has been a valuable scoring asset off the bench, is posting career bests in point per game, rebounds per game, and field goal percentage. Both teams excelled at the foul line. The Judges shot 19-of-23 from the foul line, while the Violets went 22-of-25 on foul shots, including going 14-of-17 in the fourth quarter. The Violets were active on the defensive end, forcing the Judges into 22 turnovers, and scoring 21 points off those turnovers. Conversely, the Judges forced the Violets into eight turn-


Camila Casanueva ‘21 takes the ball up to court.

overs, and converted eight points of them. After going 10-1 in their non-conference schedule, which included a close loss to topranked Tufts University, the Judges face a tough conference schedule. The UAA features 14th ranked University of Chicago, Emory University and Washington University in St. Louis, all of whom made the NCAA tournament last season. In the most re-


cent rankings the Judges received eight voting points. The Judges look to get back on track Friday, Jan. 17 against the University of Rochester at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. against Emory University. Editor’s note: Camila Casanueva and Francesca Marchese are both staff members of The Hoot. Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg is also a member of the women’s basketball team.


8 The Brandeis Hoot

“To acquire wisdom, one must observe.” Editors-in-Chief Candace Ng Polina Potochevska Managing Editor Emily Botto Copy Editor Jennifer Cook Deputy Copy Editor Madeline Rousell News Editor Rachel Saal Deputy News Editor Tim Dillon Victoria Morrongiello Arts Editor Jonah Koslofsky Deputy Arts Editor Emma Lichtenstein Opinions Editor Sasha Skarboviychuk Features Editor Shruthi Manjunath Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg Deputy Photos Editor Grace Zhou Layout Editor Sabrina Chow Editors-at-Large Natalie Fritzson Celia Young

Volume 17 • Issue 2 the brandeis hoot • brandeis university 415 south street • waltham, ma

FOUNDED BY Leslie Pazan, Igor Pedan and Daniel Silverman


Medjine Barionette, Camila Casanueva, Chris DeMena, James Feltner, Sam Finbury, John Fornagiel, Lucy Frenkel, Madeline Herrup, Stewart Huang, Gunnar Johnson, Joey Kornman, Alex Kougasian, Aaron LaFauci, Dane Leoniak, Jesse Lieberman, Josh Lannon, Francesca Marchese, Zach Newman, Thomas Pickering, Lucy Pugh-Sellers, Jacob Schierson, Zachary Sosland, Courtney Thrun, Emerson White, Nicole Zador

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.


15 years of The Brandeis Hoot

he Hoot published its first issue on January 14, 2005. At our 15-year mark, we wanted to look back to where we started when three former members of the Justice founded The Brandeis Hoot, and reflect on our progress since then. The Hoot was created as a community newspaper, written about, by and for members of the Brandeis community. In the words of said members, who became part of the first Hoot editorial board, in the first editorial written for The Hoot, “What is missing from this community is a publication that provides deep, insightful, meaningful news coverage and commentary about interests of direct concern to Brandeis students, staff, faculty and alumni.” Contrary to popular opinion, The Hoot does not exist to rival the Justice. We respect and appreciate the work that the Justice does, and view it as an essential part of the Brandeis community. The Hoot exists because we believe in freedom of the press and we intend to exercise that freedom to the best of our ability. In the past 15 years, we, the current editorial board of The Hoot, have continued to strive for the goals that our founders set; to pursue relevant, timely and informative news pieces, in addition to coverage of varsity sports, art critiques, features on community members and on-campus organi-

zations and student opinions. The creation of The Hoot continues to be questioned by some, as exemplified in the previous academic year when The Hoot faced a potential de-chartering from the Student Union. We still exist today as a result of the efforts of our editors, the student body and alumni, which only reinforces our standing as a community-focused paper. The support of Brandeis students and the community as a whole for The Hoot during our near-dissolution helped us to understand and better explain to others why we have two newspapers and why it is important to express multiple viewpoints, even within a community as small as Brandeis. We believe in the importance of freedom of the press, and view the presence of two newspapers on campus as an opportunity to cover different events on different publishing schedules, so students always have the most up-to-date news regarding campus events and community members. It also allows us to improve with each article we publish and keep each paper accountable. In an editorial we published following the withdrawal of the proposal to de-charter The Hoot, we discuss the need for free press and its advantages, writing, “On campus, as in the real world, the press should not be limited. Different editorial boards

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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.

provide a range of perspectives...” We may be chartered for the foreseeable future, but these are words we continue to stand by. The founders of The Hoot fought to achieve this ideal of free press on campus, starting in an apartment in the Foster Mods and eventually moving to the Romper Room, the club printing room adjacent to the Student Union office, and finally to the Brandeis Media Coalition (BMC) on the third floor of the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC). Within a year, we became a chartered club, funded by the Allocations Board, and ever since we have consistently distributed 16-page—and sometimes 20page—issues while classes are in session. We have a full staff of editors and reporters, photographers, layout designers and distributors all dedicated to spreading The Hoot’s mission. Our mission doesn’t just mean focusing on the Brandeis community, but also strengthening the community within the paper and within our editorial board. The Hoot is a communal effort. By holding each other to a high standard, printing objective facts and abiding by journalistic ethics, we have managed to create a newspaper that we are proud of and that the Brandeis community can trust. Thank you for 15 years.

Letter from the Editors: thank you for your continued support On Jan. 14, 2005, Igor Pedan ’05, M.A. ’06, Daniel Silverman ‘05 and Leslie Pazan ‘05 founded The Brandeis Hoot. As the second newspaper founded on the Brandeis campus, the goal of The Hoot is to be “a publication that provides deep, insightful, meaningful news coverage and commentary about interests of direct concern to Brandeis students, staff, faculty and alumni,” according to a Hoot article published in the first issue. Fifteen years and 23 Editors-in-Chief later, we are incredibly grateful to say that The Hoot is not only still being printed and distributed on campus, but also has rapidly expanded in size and improved in coverage. We stand firm in our belief that The Hoot is a necessary and valuable addition to Brandeis and its students. This could not have been done without your—the Brandeis community’s—continued support. Seeing students carry copies of the paper on their way to class or read it in the dining halls and common spaces is proof that student voices are being read, heard and represented. In particular, after the Senate proposal to de-charter The Hoot in April 2019, we owe our paper’s literal existence to the 700 students and alumni and 60 campus organizations who signed our open petition and believe that The Hoot is an important asset to the campus community. We are humbled by your support, and will continue to serve this campus by providing relevant, timely news in addition to highlighting interesting features, important artistic and athletic events and community opinions. On behalf of The Brandeis Hoot editorial board, staff and alumni, thank you again for your support throughout the years. Happy fifteenth anniversary! Here’s to the next fifteen years of being the Brandeis community newspaper written about, for and by the Brandeis community. Sincerely, Candace Ng and Polina Potochevska Editors-in-Chief

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.

January 17, 2020

Corrections In the article titled “In the Senate: 12-18-19” published on Jan. 10, the Department of Community Living was incorrectly referred to as Department of Campus Life.

January 17, 2020






Baby, you light up my world like nobody else.

Mitch Albom ‘79 talked about his new memoir at a book talk on Thursday.

“Look at all those chickens!”


The Brandeis Hoot 9




Life in Rosenthal is pretty suite.

Featuring The Stein’s newest menu item, the grilled cheese bagel.



10 The Brandeis Hoot


January 17 , 2020

A novel idea By Joshua Aldwinckle-Povey special to the hoot

Brandeisians looking for a chance to discuss a book with students and faculty from multiple institutions this summer need look no further than the upcoming Brandeis Novel Symposium (BNS). Faculty from the likes of Brandeis, Brown, University of Colorado-Denver and Wesleyan amongst others will descend upon the Mandel Center for the Humanities this April. The premise is simple—host a day on campus discussing one book in particular linked to a wider theme and invite students and faculty alike to discuss said book and theme. In other words, this year will bring “another fascinating set of debates about why novels matter, and how they make you see a

problem or a question differently,” according to an email from Professor John Plotz (ENG). Plotz, the driving force of the event, was asked to come up with a way of uniting faculty and graduate students of the Humanities in an “unusual way,” and in the process, Plotz identified an issue. “The idea of BNS is to get participants in a room together with more in common than just a set of scholarly questions,” wrote Plotz. Plotz explained in an email to The Brandeis Hoot that oftentimes at conferences, the “moments of argument” require evidence that is just given to those in attendance “rather than shared.” “But here, we all have the evidence in our laps; it is like those scientific publications that actually make the data-set available. That means space for more productive disagreements—but also



for more substantial progress in unexpected directions, as single moments one reader had ignored come alive, when raised by another reader,” Plotz continued. This year’s chosen title is “The Professor’s House,” which Plotz explains was published in 1925, “in the height of modernism,” and appears to tell the story of a lonely old professor looking back upon his life, reminiscing about writing a book about the Spanish explorers of the Southwest. In reality, the novel is exploring how much of his thoughts revolve around former student of his, Tom Outland, who turns out to be a secret love object and who encountered the Native American story of the Southwest “in a profound, but also shameful way.” Plotz told The Hoot, “the committee selected it because Willa Cather is absolutely brilliant on what it means for America to be a settler nation—one that stole property, upended the lives of the indigenous dwellers on the land, and redefined the Great Plains into a space that seems ‘simply’ American. But, she always tells the stories of that takeover with a sense that it could be otherwise—that every tradition and custom gets invented, and that people get changed by where they live, who they interact with. This is a story that seems so simple and so welcoming—and yet it’s a dark river, miles deep and flowing with dangerous force.” Plotz is hopeful about this year’s event and the potential for debates. He believes that the Symposium is important not just because it brings together Brandeis students and faculty alike who


Faculty and students will be discussing Cather’s novel.

care about the issues being raised by the novels, but also “because it does so in a way that relies on the capacity of aesthetic judgment and aesthetic thought that all of us have within us, even if we do not use it all the time. Reading the novel of the year is meant to trigger the kind of thinking generated when you encounter a text that is deep, thought-provoking and beautiful in more ways than can easily be described or paraphrased.” He’s even hopeful that Brandeis will inspire other institutions to follow suit; pointing to Boston University’s “Big Fat Book Symposium” as an example. Plotz explained his hopes for this event


to “inspire other universities to make “copycat” events that are structured the same way, but raise different sorts of questions.” All are welcome, including those who have never studied literature previously, to attend the Symposium, including undergraduates, who were notable at a prior Symposium discussing Cixin Liu’s science fiction novel “Three Body Problem.” Morning meetings are designed for interested students, both graduate and undergraduate, and they come with a free lunch. Those interested can find details of this year’s Symposium, including how to register at

Martin Luther King Interfaith Day of Service celebrates 10 years By Sabrina Chow editor

As most Americans use Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day without work and a chance to sleep in, members of the Brandeis community will gather on campus to honor Dr. King’s legacy through meal packaging and an educational fair at the 10th annual Martin Luther King Interfaith Day of Service. This year’s theme, “Building Beloved Community,” is a phrase that was utilized by Dr. King, Rev. Matt Carriker, the Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis, told The Brandeis Hoot in an interview. The meal packaging is done based on donations that the event receives from outside donors. Carriker explained that they receive $2500 from Outreach, Inc. each year for meal packing. With each meal costing $0.25, members of the Brandeis community are able to pack at least 10,000 meals. Any additional donations increase the number of meals that they are able to pack. Carriker added that they currently have enough funds to pack 14,000 meals. All individuals who attend the day of service will meet in the beginning and the end of the event. The guest speaker for the opening gathering is Dr. George Walters-Sleyon from Bunker Hill Community

College, according to Carriker. The speaker at the end of the day, and also the keynote speaker, is Regina Robinson, the Dean of Student Affairs at Cambridge College. Carriker explained that there would also be “conversation about what the day meant and how we can move forward with this,” he told The Hoot in an interview. “The hope is that you can take it and continue with service work at Brandeis or wherever in the community you’re from. We hope people leaving feel inspired to go and do the work of service and social justice.” Carriker has been involved with the Martin Luther King Interfaith Day of Service since its inception in 2010 with the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries (CMM), the oldest interfaith social action network, according to Carriker. He explained that “all religious and spiritual tradition say ‘be of service,’ especially of those in need. For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we wanted to honor his legacy. Not just the service, but the social justice. And demonstrating how does faith inform the social justice that we do and the service and charity work that we do.” The day of service arrived at Brandeis eight years ago, when Alex Kern, the then-Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis and CMM received a grant to move the program to Brandeis. Carriker explained that it was much easier to do the

event on a college campus rather than in Boston to avoid the cost of transporting individuals into the city and renting a space for the event to occur. The event is co-sponsored by CMM, the Center for Spiritual Life, the Department of Community Service, Intercultural Center, Waltham Group, the Library, the International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life, the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program and the MLK Fellows in Academic Services. All of the workshop sessions listed below will take place in the Usdan Student Center: Youth MLK Workshop This workshop is 30-minutes long and gives elementary school through middle school students the opportunity to explore Dr. King’s views on Building Beloved Community, the theme of this year’s event. The second 30-minutes of the event gives participants the opportunity to make Valentine’s Day cards that will be distributed to children in hospitals through the non-profit organization, Cards for Hospitalized Kids. Presented by Esther Brandon in the International Lounge Preparing for Climate Change in Massachusetts Learn more about how to prepare for climate change right here in Massachusetts with Craig S. Alternose, the founding Executive Director of the Better Future Proj-



Students volunteer at the Martin Luther King Interfaith Day of Service.

ect, which is a local climate organizing non-profit home to organizations 350 Massachusetts, Divest Ed and CREW. Presented by Craig Alternose in the Hillel Lounge.

Protestant Chaplain at Brandeis University and Pastor at Agape Spiritual Community Waltham, in the Multifaith Lounge in the Usdan Student Center

Faith Communities help trauma victims Join Rev. Isaac Selaam, the Congregational Coordinator for the RIM, in the Wyner Lobby to learn how faith communities help trauma victims.

MLK’s Six Principles of Nonviolence Come learn about the Dr. King’s six principles of nonviolence with Shelton Oakley Hersey, the direction of the Interfaith Youth Initiative program at the Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries. This event is being held in the Alumni Lounge in the Usdan Student Center.

Engaging Diversity and Privilege Join Rev. Matt Carriker, the


January 17, 2020

The Brandeis Hoot 11

Why am I here? The class syllabus By Thomas Pickering staff

Welcome, students, to your first day of class. I am thrilled to be teaching “Those Sexy Victorians” to you this semester, as I am sure you are excited to take off all the layers of this course. Before we read the syllabus, I will quickly introduce myself. My name is Harold Sackrider but you can call me Professor Harry. I studied at the University of Cambridge, England and graduated with a degree in history with a specialization in fashion over time. However, my favorite time period is the Victorian era and I am very excited to be teaching this course to you all. So, let’s jump into the syllabus. English 125b / Spring 2020 Those Sexy Victorians Professor H. Sackrider Office Hours: My office hours, as required by the university, are on Tuesday mornings from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. Let’s face it, you never go to office

hours anyway, and when you do it won’t even be in the time frame I have set up. Instead, you’ll email me and tell me you are coming to my office at noon the next day. What am I supposed to do? Say no? I know you will be crying as you write that email so I can’t say no. So, let’s make this easy for both of us and make office hours unimportant from the beginning because secondarily, if you need office hours for this class I don’t think anything I say or do could save you. Course Assistants: Course assistants have been assigned to this class. Unfortunately they, like you—the student reading this—have zero idea as to what the point of these classes truly is, so going to them won’t exactly help you so much as it will increase your confusion and leave you just as puzzled as you were before. Participation: This course is based mainly on group discussion. I expect, as

your instructor, that you will all be making very assertive and interesting comments on people’s clothes, not just in class but outside of it as well. This is a course designed to help you through life and your participation in class and newfound knowledge should certainly be brought outside of the classroom walls and into real life. If the CAs or myself see you commenting on other clothes outside of class, we will give you bonus points for doing so.

one project. You will have a final project that will be worth 100% of your grade, so try not to flub it up. You will be tasked with designing a Victorian era suit or dress. The suit should be 70 inches tall, 32 inches around the waist, and 36 inches for the shoulders. The dresses should be 55 inches tall and have a bust of 40 inches. Learning Goals: The aim of this course is to teach how to criticize people’s ap-

parel from the point of view of a Victorian era upper class noble. Now, with the final project, why do I provide the measurements of myself and my wife? Well, it is up to you throughout the course of this class to determine if it is an absurd obsession I have, or perhaps a fetish my wife and I enjoy exploring. Well, class, I hope you are as excited as I am to begin this long, puffy, stiff and uncomfortable journey with you!

Homework: There will be no assigned homework in this class, but begin to familiarize yourself with a sewing machine. It will soon become evident why this skill will be needed. Let’s face it; even if this was a serious course, you wouldn’t be bothered to do the homework anyway. So I am not going to assign any in this class. Examinations: I also do not believe in tests, so throughout this course there will be no graded work. Except for


Political campaigns and social media manipulation By Tahir Abbas special to the hoot

Back in 2017, young experts started gathering data from different dating apps such as Tinder. Through the anatomy of the algorithms of the app, they gathered data and filtered it into news feeds generated by automated systems to induce people to get involved in politics. The sole aim of these experts was to attract supporters for the U.K.’s Labour party. These online campaigns were for the benefit of the Labor Party and its constituencies. It is incidents such as these that illustrate the way technology is transforming society at a rapid pace. Facebook and Twitter, key purveyors of this information, have played a momentous role in connecting people around the world. For example, there are more than one billion users who use social media networks such as these across the globe. Indeed, social media manipulation has become quite an effective strategy. As we have seen, these computational techniques of spreading disinformation via social media have become omnipresent in a wide array of countries. Such platforms have been most recently used by political operatives to exert undue influence on public opinion. Mounting evidence accordingly suggests that social media networks are being used across the globe to manipulate and deceive voters for political purposes on an ever more widespread basis. This trend started with the Arab Spring in 2011, reared its head in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and even appeared in the Brazilian and German Federal Elections in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Turning first to the case of Arab Spring, its rise in 2011 was a significant transformation brought by social media networks. For many, this was a remarkable change ousting monarchs

and dictators in the Arab world. However, others believe that these events were the result of an effort to bring about regime change by employing modern means such as social media. Although experts hold different opinions about the primacy of social media in catalyzing these events, they are in agreement on the point that social media manipulation played an important role in causing change, whether positive or negative, in the Arab world. The second example of the use of social media manipulation for political purposes is that in the U.S. The earliest report of manipulation of social media in the U.S. came to light as early as in 2010 during the Massachusetts Special Election. According to research published in 2010, a technique known as a Twitter bomb was used to distribute automatically generated tweets to anyone using a Twitter account. Indeed, anyone buying a computer program available at that time could use it to send tweets on behalf of any Twitter user. On an even larger scale, the 2016 U.S. election and the role of Cambridge Analytica played a watershed moment which shocked the world by unveiling the power of social media networks in manipulating voters’ behaviors. The 2016 U.S. presidential election revealed the realities of online persuasion and the alleged role of Russia in the election by means of data harvesting. When Cambridge Analytica’s role became public, in 2017, Facebook disclosed that the Russian propaganda online networks reached 126 million Facebook users in the U.S. through ad campaigns. This Internet Research Agency, linked to Russia, posted 80,000 pieces of divisive content to U.S. Facebook users between 2015 and 2017. Yet Facebook was not the only social media network used for a vicious political campaign. In fact, more than 131,000 tweets were posted on Twitter to 2,700 fake Twitter accounts during the same period and more than a thousand videos

were uploaded to Google’s Youtube by similar actors. The third case, Europe, especially Germany, is crucial. Facebook was directly involved in manipulating elections in Germany. In Berlin, the main office of Facebook obtained detailed demographic information on voters. Using these data, particular individuals tried online to convince certain sectors of the electorate to vote for the AFD, a far-right German political party. As a result, showing of this party at the poll increased the vote count by a surprising amount. Arguably these individuals developed algorithms with one core objective: to promote content that would maximize user engagement and posts that tapped into voters’ emotions, such as anger and fear. It is also true that the AFD hired young American political operatives who harvested this data to weaponize the web in their favor. The main company involved in this venture was Harris Media, whose vice president, Joshua Canter, had previously attended a meeting at Facebook headquarters in Berlin. Canter’s task for the company was to target voters and convert them into supporters of AFD. Canter’s strategy was to introduce a negative campaign against Angela Merkel. It was arguably as a result of this social media campaign that AFD’s vote went up 12.6 percent in the election in question. The firm then paid Facebook to send ads to different groups wrapped in political slogans. For instance, mothers might get ads about security themes, based around immigration. The circumstances surrounding the 2016 federal elections in Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, indicates the power of social media. Professional trolls and bots were aggressively used in Brazil during two political campaigns: one during presidential impeachment in 2014 and the other during the mayoral race in Rio in 2016. In Brazil, the major political parties tend to

use automation on social media networks to target voters. It was through these means that they created incredible campaigns of lies, venom and vilification and launched them through social media against President Lula. This manipulation was also apparent in the election for mayor of Rio de Janeiro, when bots widely used for social media campaigns and to spread disinformation online. In that hotly contested election, Marcelo Crivella, rightwing leader of an evangelical mega-church, and Marcelo Freixo, a member of the left-wing Socialism and Liberty Party, contended in the final round. Members from the two different parties accused each other of data harvesting and of social media manipulation. In fact, both candidates even filed petitions, containing allegations of spreading fake news, with the electronic regulatory authority. In order to influence peoples’ political ideologies in favor of the Brazilian government, AI systems were used. From this it may clearly be observed that instances such as these of the corrupt and harmful effects of social media in the political sphere makes the prob-

lem of regulating it bigger and more difficult to resolve. In short, it may be contended that protecting democracy from manipulation on social media requires public debate and fair policy oversight. It seems also clearly true that defending democratic institutions requires public participation and the evaluation of social media practices and what may be considered legitimate discourse. Social media platforms have already become so advanced, that they provide the structure for political conversation. Yet, these technologies have been directly involved in permitting fake news and encouraging our herding instincts thereby undermining the democratic process and stampeding into decisions without regard for the public good. In addition, excessive use of bots and automated systems in public domains and their capacity to generate fake news and influence people also undermine the electoral process and present an obstacle to the functioning of fair democracies. From this, it seems clear that strict public scrutiny and oversight is therefore crucial.



The Brandeis Hoot

January 17, 2020

Too many students and not enough of everything else By Sasha Skarboviychuk editor

As of right now, the moment when I am writing this article, I have been to each of my classes once. Being my triple major, double minor self, who also takes five classes every semester, I always end up with a wide variety of classes. However, this semester seems to be particularly diverse in terms of classes for me, ranging from economics to fine arts, with philosophy somewhere in between. But these very different classes all had something in common (other than being blessed with my presence): in all of them without exception, the professors urged students to drop the class. That may send the wrong message without clarification: professors didn’t want all the students to drop the class, but the emphasis was put on people who may not be too interested, or do not think that the class is a good fit for them. Or even, if you intend on dropping the class, don’t delay it. In my not very long time at Brandeis, this has never happened to me before. Sure I’ve been in classes with long waitlists, classes over capacity, classes with not enough chairs for all the students, but I have never had professors encouraging students to drop the class. In my humble opinion, zero to five is a pretty large increase. Please don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the professors. A lot of the classes I am taking are discussion-based class-

es that currently have around 50 people in them. (Have you ever tried to have a discussion with 50 other people? It’s impossible for everyone to get a chance to speak.) Taking a standard 50-minute Brandeis class, and dividing it by 50 (let’s assume one professor and 49 students to make the math easier), that is a minute for each person to speak, including the professor. The professor speaking for only a minute is unrealistic, so assuming the professor speaks for 10 minutes, each student has roughly 49 seconds to speak. Of course not everyone will want to speak, but most of the time, not everyone will get to say everything they would like to say, or even close to that. Even assuming an 80-minute class, the

numbers aren’t much better, with only 96 seconds for each person to speak, or if the professor speaks for ten minutes, each student can speak for 84 seconds. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I can express an opinion in 84 seconds. What makes things even harder on everyone is that usually in these discussion-based classes, participation is a large part of your final grade, which means that even people who may not like to speak have to if they want to pass the class. This makes it harder on the professor; they have to give everyone a chance to speak, which isn’t easy when you have a dozen people who want to speak. The obvious solution seems to be to no longer make the class discussion-based, but even saying

this makes me sad. I personally love discussion-based classes, and would hate if some of them became lecture-heavy. Who in their right mind would prefer to get lectured on what justice is than argue about it? But it is not only discussion-based classes that have too many students than the class is designed to have. One of my classes is capped at a hundred students but currently has over 20 students on the waitlist, according to the Brandeis Schdl website. I understand that it is an interesting class, but that is crazy, especially for a class that is offered fairly often. Some of my friends are in a class that currently has 130 students, but according to the professor is only designed for around 60. I

definitely don’t envy any of them. I really do not want to spend a lot of time on the pre-med track lab classes that are impossible to get into, but I feel like they are also worth a mention. If you cannot get into one of those lab classes, you have to wait another year to take it, or take it over the summer; personally neither of those options sound great. So what is the moral of this sad story? We need more classes offered, we need more sections of classes, we need more professors, and we need larger spaces for these classes. Brandeis’s student body is growing, but the growth in quantity of professors seems to be happening at a much smaller rate. And that is having a negative impact on everyone.


Pushing the limits of alcohol By John Fornagiel staff

On almost every college campus in America, whether you look up, down, left or right, parties seem like ubiquitous constants. At many of these parties, alcohol is present, and unfortunately, there are many students who do not think twice about the amount of alcohol they consume and the impact it has on their bodies. Maybe it’s one of your friends, who is embarrassingly uncoordinated and is yet incessant on playing beer pong over and over again, basically drinking the party dry. What are the signs that they are drinking too much alcohol, and what are some things that you could do for them to prevent them from drinking too much, and to help treat them when they do? Well, here are some things I learned the hard way. Alcohol is a depressant. This means that after consumption, it can slow the body down dramatically. This can lead to the various stereotypical signs of alcohol intoxication such as slurred speech, impaired movement and just general incoordination. It is relatively straightforward to tell when someone is intoxicated, especially if you are at a party and there is alcohol surrounding you. Treating someone who is intoxicated is more of a skill than it is a procedure. Not only do people react very differently to alcohol, but the more often you are around intoxicated people and assist them, the more comfortable and better

you will be at dealing with these different types. Generally, one of the most important things you can do with a drunk person is to keep a close eye on them and make sure they do not lose consciousness or progress into alcohol poisoning. If they lose consciousness and cannot be woken up, put them on their side, tilt their head to the side and call an ambulance immediately. In the case of your friend mentioned above, you will most likely just have to get them to stop playing beer pong and stop drinking, and to begin drinking water and eating food. They could also very likely vomit, so make sure that they have a trash can next to them (even if you don’t think they will). If they do vomit, make sure their airway is completely clear of vomit so that they can still breathe! Additionally, you should try to get your friend home safely, even if it means having them crash at your place for the night. What your friend needs is time, water and food. But remember that each person reacts to alcohol differently. While water and food does help most people when they are extremely intoxicated, giving food and water to someone could lead to bizarre reactions such as vomiting, which would simply make them more dehydrated. As noted before, it depends on the individual when it comes to treating alcohol intoxication. One of the worst things you can do is to stick your friend in a cold shower. This does not expedite the body’s natural processes of getting

rid of alcohol. Furthermore, one of the potential dangers of alcohol consumption is hypothermia, and sticking them in a cold shower when they’re becoming hypothermic is (hopefully obviously) a very bad idea. Some common signs of hypothermia include shivering, slow and shallow breathing and a weak pulse. If left in this state, hypothermia could lead to a complete failure of the cardiovascular and respiratory system, which quickly leads to death.

Now that you’ve dragged your friend away from the beer pong, which for some reason they thought they were winning, given them some food and water and safely brought them home, let them rest. After all, one of the only ways to get rid of the excess alcohol in someone’s system is simply time. The key to success in treating a person who is intoxicated is confidence. By experiencing what it is like to help someone who is drunk, you are one step

closer to becoming the best baby-sitter at the party! (Note: These articles are goodfaith attempts to be helpful to the Brandeis community and are by no means to be taken as universal. This article does not replace the advice of a medical professional. This article is not written on behalf of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps (BEMCo) and is not affiliated with BEMCo in any manner.)



January 17, 2020

The Brandeis Hoot 13

‘1917’ Review: World War One-Take By Jonah Koslofsky editor

A “cut” is an elementary filmmaking term that refers to the point at which one shot ends and another begins. The camera “cuts,” and suddenly we’re looking at another angle, another scene or another perspective. It’s a basic tool of editing, an essential aspect in the construction of a film. Or maybe it isn’t. After “Birdman” elaborately and impressively “hid” its cuts and took home the Best Picture Oscar in 2015, there’s been a trend of filmmakers operating under the assumption that the fewer the cuts, the better the movie (in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit to not just lik-

ing, but loving “Birdman”). And so these days, long-takes are a dime-a-dozen. “Creed” featured an excellent single-take boxing match. “Game Night” had a fauxlong take. Television shows “Mr. Robot” and “The Haunting of Hill House” both staged installments meant to look like a single shot. If, for some reason, you hate it when the camera cuts, you’re in luck— though I can’t think of a more boring way to judge a film. The problem is that long-takes alone do not a good movie make. The filmmaker still must justify why they’re telling a certain story, and why their decisions behind the camera strengthen the delivery of said story. Here lies the problem with Sam Mendes’


“1917”, with its bare-bones narrative told in what looks like one continuous shot. Without the help of an establishing frame, we’re plunked into the trenches of World War I, in the perspective of British soldiers Blake (DeanCharles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay), who are tasked with crossing the German line to deliver orders, preventing a disastrous attack. With the camera trailing over the shoulders of these boys, “1917” initially feels like a third-person video game—only, somebody else has the controller. Or perhaps the film is closer to a theme-park ride, as you, the viewer, are ferried through abandoned bunkers and barbed wire fences, to bombed-out towns and other, nearly identical trenches. Unfortunately, when “1917” isn’t aggressively trying to thrill you, it’s actually oddly boring. The characters lack substance—that might be the point, that they’re just average soldiers in the midst of a larger-than-life conflict, but one can’t help but wish the camera was stuck to some folks with a bit more charisma. And buckle up for lots of walking. Take the moment when Schofield and Blake spot a seemingly-vacant barn in the distance—in any other movie (and yes, some version of this scene is in practically every other war movie), we’d just cut to


the soldiers investigating the location. But because “1917” is all “one take,” we have to watch these guys trek all the way down to the barn before anything else can happen. Scintillating! Mendes, who helmed the last two James Bond movies, has brought along legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins for his exercise in virtuosity—ironically, that same virtuosity holds “1917” back from anything resembling greatness. Because nothing lies beneath the “breathtaking” cinematography—Mendes doesn’t have much to say about war or nation or the First World War— his grand experiment becomes a smoke-screen for a lack of thematic coherence. Furthermore, by

saddling Deakins with these longtakes, Mendes’ collaborator can’t actually compose any images, as his camera must constantly be in motion to literally move the plot forward. Then again, there are moments when “1917” spurts to life. The Hot Priest from “Fleabag” shows up in a neat moment. There’s a sequence involving a trip-wire and a rat that’s genuinely tense, as is the last stretch. The scenes that take place at night occasionally possess an intoxicating, surreal quality, before they swerve back into feeling like an imitation of a video game. Wouldn’t it be nice if a simple, formal choice could automatically produce a good movie? Alas, “1917” doesn’t make the cut.

The way of the fan: a brief retrospective of Disney’s ‘Star Wars’ By Zachary Sosland staff

If it isn’t already clear from the headline, I am a huge Star Wars fan and have loved the franchise ever since I watched the original trilogy on my grandparents’ VHS. Throughout these three films, George Lucas and company created a vast science-fiction/fantasy universe that spawned worlds and creatures beyond our wildest dreams and characters that audiences could relate to on a basic human level. Flash forward to October 2012, when the Walt Disney Corporation officially bought the Star Wars property from Lucas, receiving plenty of media scrutiny from both sides of the fandom. Seven years and four movies later, Disney released two major Star Wars products in 2019: “The Mandalorian,” a weekly live action television series that launched with Disney’s very own streaming service, Disney+, and the more recently released “Epi-

sode IX—The Rise of Skywalker,” which has been heavily marketed as both the final chapter of Disney’s new trilogy and the final chapter to the Skywalker Saga as a whole. Since I have seen Season 1 of “The Mandalorian” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” I would like to give my thoughts on both works, and briefly discuss where Disney could possibly go with this property in the future. As a disclaimer, I watched “The Rise of Skywalker” prior to finishing Season 1 of The Mandalorian so I want to start with my thoughts on the former work before moving onto the latter. The film in question comes from J.J. Abrams, the well-known co-writer/director behind “Episode VII—The Force Awakens” from 2015. More importantly, “Skywalker” is meant to cap off a storyline over 40 years in the making and potentially win back the many fans who were less than happy with its official predecessor “The Last Jedi” from 2017. “The Last Jedi” was the only entry in this new trilogy that Abrams



neither wrote nor directed. Unfortunately for “The Rise of Skywalker,” it currently holds a lessthan-stellar 53 percent critic score on Rotten Tomatoes compared to the 91 percent score of “The Last Jedi.” After seeing the movie myself, I can understand why. “The Rise of Skywalker” is not only a disappointing conclusion to the Skywalker Saga, but also fails as a movie in its own right. For one thing, the movie is almost two-and-a-half hours yet it still feels rushed and uneven; it also lacks much of the excitement and character moments from both “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi.” Moreover, “The Rise of Skywalker” goes out of its way to either change or flat out ignore almost everything from “The Last Jedi.” These creative choices are so infuriating and so mind boggling that it somewhat makes me like “The Force Awakens” less in retrospect since the answers that “The Rise of Skywalker” give its viewers are most likely not what Abrams initially had in mind when he made “The Force Awakens.” “The Mandalorian,” on the

other hand, is a much more enjoyable addition to the Star Wars universe. It is a stand-alone story that introduces new characters and elements to the current Star Wars canon while still feeling as if it is part of the larger universe. The new trilogy does feature new characters at the forefront but the movies they are a part of, specifically Episodes VII and IX, rely too much on the nostalgia of the original trilogy. Another reason why Season 1 of “The Mandalorian” succeeds where “The Rise of Skywalker” fails comes down to how “The Mandalorian” handles emotion compared to “The Rise of Skywalker.” “The Mandalorian” has much of what viewers associate with Star Wars—exciting vistas, colorful characters and unique production design. At the heart of its story, however, is the titular protagonist trying to protect a mysterious alien child, whom the internet has nicknamed “Baby Yoda” due to his noticeable resemblance to the iconic Star Wars character, Yoda. This little creature gives meaning to The Mandalorian’s life and makes

him feel like more than just a bounty hunter. The show is still filled with nods and callbacks to the larger Star Wars universe, but they almost never distract from the characters and locations that showrunner Jon Favreau has created for this series. Many of the emotional moments in “The Rise of Skywalker,” on the other hand, usually come down to a pandering moment meant to elicit a reaction from the audience. I understand if certain fans did not like how “The Last Jedi” followed through with the character arcs and plot threads that were initially set up in “The Force Awakens,” but at least writer/director Rian Johnson acknowledged them at all. Johnson also expanded on the foundations that Abrams initially set up instead of making them feel almost meaningless in the long run, which is exactly what “The Rise of Skywalker” did to “The Last Jedi.” Now the big question is: where can Disney and Lucasfilm possibly go with this franchise in the coming years, specifically if “The Rise of Skywalker” is not as profitable as both companies initially expected? The obvious solution would be for them to focus on Disney+ shows such as “The Mandalorian” (which has already been renewed for another season set to release this fall), especially since Disney doesn’t currently have any Star Wars movies set to release after “The Rise of Skywalker.” One thing I know for certain is that Disney and Lucasfilm have a lot of work to do if they ever want to win back the good will of the larger Star Wars fan community, which just so happens to include the author of this article.


The Brandeis Hoot

January 17, 2020

In season three, ‘Mrs. Maisel’ is still mostly marvelous By Uma Jagwani special to the hoot

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” an Emmy-award-winning show, debuted its third season by the end of 2019. While the show still delivered on its trademark features such as witty, fast paced dialogue, dazzling performances and an alluring sense of the ’50s and ’60s, this season the show seemed to not run as tight a ship. There was a lot going on, between Midge (Rachel Brosnahan), the titular character, Susie (Alex Borstein), her manager, and Midge’s family. Oh, and Lenny Bruce (Luke Kirby). For someone who has not seen the show in a long while, it might have been hard to follow. Without a recap, we know Midge is on tour now, but other non-central characters may have needed a refresher. For example, Midge’s sister-in-law, Astrid, who is mentioned a few times in the last two seasons comes back for the birth of her new son, but I had completely forgotten Midge even had a sister. Putting this aside— and say you had recently watched season two—you may notice the shift in focus, the longer musical performances and more haphazard dynamic between characters. The acting is still phenomenal, and the cinematography is still full of incredibly beautiful scenes of wide angles and careful zooms, which are almost distractingly mesmerizing—to the extent it makes you forget that maybe not everything really ties up by the

end of the season. The overall sequential plot seems to be sidestepped in the first four episodes where Midge is on tour and her parents move in with her in-laws until the second half of the season where more “ahh” moments are to be had by the audience, and yet question marks remain loosely in the air. One of these question marks is how the show made the ’60s look like a dream that people of all races can be a part of—it does seem to want to make an idealized version of the era that lets us see what it might be like if everyone did get along this way. In this season, we see more rooms filled with people of color: Joel’s dealings with underground Chinese gambling in Chinatown, and Midge’s experience with the black community introduced to her by Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) offer a view into what some racial minorities were doing during this era. This type of cinematic reclamation curtly avoids some of the most poignant aspects of the era such as classism and racism. This can be seen as problematic, or perhaps alternatively can give poetic justice for some non-whites. Joel’s romantic interest Mei, a Chinese woman he meets in Chinatown, alludes to the idea that Mei is just as beautiful and desirable as Midge— something I think all women of color can’t get enough of in white Hollywood. The performances throughout the season are phenomenal, and there are some truly remarkable moments that I could watch forever. Abe Weissman (Tony Shal-

houb), is extremely entertaining to watch as his academic vigor translates to wanting to participate in the real world, a desire sparked by a night spent in jail with Lenny Bruce. His character speaks volumes about fascism, capitalism, activism and then Broadway theater—his enthusiasm never undermined. Speaking of Lenny Bruce, a scene with Midge and Lenny simply staring at each other as the camera lingers, is enough to raise goosebumps—the sexual tension glaring. Jane Lynch (who plays Sophie Lennon, a rival comedian) is a true gem in this season. She turns coal into diamonds with one liners like “Susie, my jello was disappointing,” which she says with the utmost sincerity and manages to not only keep a straight face but draw true reverence for both jello and her acting. Lynch’s character is a comedian by day and an insecure diva by night, and she’s played with immense integrity and dignity that makes her character’s ridiculous nature truly laughable—more than can be said about Midge’s stand up set. Her despicable nature is enormously amusing and I only wish we had a whole show on Sophie Lennon now, too. Even though Midge is a likable main character, and the audiences at her shows are laughing, I’m not. Granted, the humor in the ’60s was much different, and yet sometimes, it feels as though her theatrics and beauty overshadow her actual humor. I want to like Midge’s act because she’s so cute and fun and pretty and I’m rooting for her success—and yet


maybe I can’t admit she’s not as funny as I’d like her to be. What I am afraid of saying about Midge is that she is not unlike an Instagram model’s page in sending a message that reads: “I’m not only effortlessly beautiful but I am also funny.” I struggle with the notion that Midge wouldn’t get the same attention she does if she wasn’t this beautiful. Nevertheless, isn’t the illusion of knowing everyone in the era thinks she’s funny good enough? I can’t objectively say if Midge is funny, but I assume Midge is funny on stage, and yet she’s funnier to me off stage, in moments where she accidentally gets remarried to her ex, for example, or her defiant attitude at a live radio job. Different aspects of feminism are the pillars of the show’s foundation and this season in particular highlights financial independence for women. This is the one aspect that genuinely struggles to be seen overtly, along with the women characters that struggle in its pursuance. By the end, I teared up at the series of evident scenes of each of the women—at differ-

ent stages—striving for their own careers. The penultimate episode of the show seems to sincerely tackle sexism by highlighting the absurdity of women’s work being compensated non-monetarily (like tampons and corn syrup) after helping create more sexist advertising. As a woman, some of this can be more disturbing than humorous. Despite the show’s beautiful cinematography, impressive performances and array of societal critiques, by the end it seems underwhelming and possesses some debatable plot holes. I yearned for a bigger climax instead of a bomb dropped in the last few minutes of the season, and more opportunities to think alongside the show. Season three of “Mrs. Maisel” on its own is worth a watch for its sheer beauty, but in comparison with its prior seasons the story is less tight, allowing for more airy, delightful scenes. Get lost in the beauty, have some laughs, season three is fan-serving and offers a glimpse into the sometimes not-so-marvelous ’60s.

‘Bombshell’ and ‘Richard Jewell’ stage tone-deaf portraits of the recent past By Anna Nappi staff

This past winter break, I had the unfortunate pleasure of wasting $20 and 240 minutes of my time watching “Bombshell” and “Richard Jewell” in theaters. Thankfully, I was also able to catch “Little Women” and stream a couple of other great 2019 movies online, many of which were snubbed in this year’s Academy Awards (while “Bombshell” and “Richard Jewell” received a combined total of four nominations). Although it is no surprise that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences produced yet another disappointing—and painfully reflective of their continued refusal to commend non-white, non-male filmmakers and actors—list of nominees, it still comes as a shock that these two films were lauded at all when movies like “Uncut Gems” and “The Farewell” went without any recognition. Perhaps


it is too much, in 2020, to expect this 90-year-old awards show to demonstrate any amount of perspective, taste, societal awareness, respect, or genuinely progressive behavior … but I digress. It is important to note that “Bombshell” and “Richard Jewell” are both based on true stories that deserve to be told. They are both carried by star-studded casts and some notable performances (i.e. Oscar nominated Charlize Theron and Kathy Bates). And they are both very, very politically tone-deaf. “Bombshell” centers on the 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Fox News journalist Gretchen Carlson against chairman Roger Ailes, but focuses primarily on the experiences of former anchor Megyn Kelly and a fictional staffer played by Margot Robbie. As a movie about women—specifically violence against women—it goes without a doubt that “Bombshell” should have been helmed by a woman. Instead, it was directed


by Jay Roach (whose other films include the “Austin Powers” trilogy) and written by Charles Randolph (“The Big Short”). As a result, “Bombshell” is thoughtless, insensitive, sensationalistic and makes no attempt to dig beneath the surface, leaving the women of Fox News staunchly depicted as either heroes or monsters in the movement for liberation. I can imagine that many people may praise the creators behind “Bombshell” for “putting politics aside” when making this movie, but they are failing to see that, by not delving into, critiquing, or even really addressing the specific setting of Fox News for this story about corporate sexism and misogyny, “Bombshell” has taken an inherently conservative stance. The film feels as though it’s made for viewers of Fox News or anyone who wants to watch a scandalous movie about a real life event without having to actually learn anything or think too much about it. It doesn’t help that the camerawork is also entirely inappropriate for its serious subject matter. “Bombshell” is filmed like the worst aspects of “The Big Short” were made into an episode of “The Office,” complete with frequent zoom shots and fourth-wall breaking. Besides the effort put into making Charlize Theron look and sound like a scarily accurate replica of Megyn Kelly, this film has almost no redeeming qualities. Between “Bombshell” and “Richard Jewell,” I enjoyed the latter significantly more, but that


isn’t necessarily a compliment. Directed by Clint Eastwood, “Richard Jewell” is the true story of a misunderstood security guard who was wrongfully targeted by the FBI and accused of planting a bomb he discovered at Centennial Park in 1996. It’s another movie that declines to go deeper, choosing instead to cater to a sensationalistic narrative rather than explore the complexities of the situation. The portrayal of Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), the Atlanta-based journalist who first broke the news of the FBI’s interest in Richard Jewell, feels almost harmful in its writing and execution. In a movie about the wrongful vilification of an innocent man, Eastwood takes great pains to vilify Scruggs, painting her as a bloodthirsty, contemptible reporter, adding the fictional detail that she exchanged sexual favors for tips and information. In doing so, it seems that he is making the


decision to put equal responsibility on acts of reckless journalism and underhanded measures taken by the United States government. Although Scruggs’ character was given a very short scene at the end to express teary-eyed remorse, Eastwood neglected to add anything about her life and death in the final credits alongside information about almost every other prominent character. 2020 is yet another new year for cinema. It’s an opportunity for us to challenge the casual homophobia, “fake news” rhetoric and confederate flags littered throughout “Richard Jewell,” and the mistreatment of important, groundbreaking stories in “Bombshell,” and recognize that the political impact of media should never be ignored. For me, it’s also a chance to see better movies than these two in theaters and finally give up on hoping the Academy Awards will ever pay sole tribute to deserving talent.

January 17, 2020


The Brandeis Hoot

‘You’ Season 2 review: the same old open curtains By Medjine Barionnette staff

I’ve realized two things over winter break: first, I watch far too much television, and second, second seasons of television shows rarely ever live up to the first. The first season of “You” introduced us to a generic white guy, Joe Goldberg, artfully played by the effortlessly disturbing Penn Badgley, who meets and falls in love with a generic white girl named Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) who goes by her last name. The audience watches as their relationship develops and unravels, but of course our generic white guy is actually a creepy murdering stalker who steals panties and sniffs them like they’re Vicks nasal spray. Joe falls in love with Beck after having a five minute conversation with her in the book store he owns in Brooklyn. He proceeds to internet-stalk her—of course, none of her social media platforms are on private, and through the innovation that is the internet, he finds where she lives. With this information, he can now watch as she does everything from read to masturbate, because Beck’s curtains are literally always open. The first season follows Joe as he strategically inserts himself into her life. He wedges his way in by killing people he perceives as obstacles to his goals, like Beck’s ex-boyfriend Benji (Lou Taylor Pucci) and her best frenemy, Peach Salinger (Shay Mitchell). Joe believes or wants to believe that Peach and Benji are bad for Beck—admittedly these people aren’t beneficial to Beck’s life but they don’t necessarily deserve to die. While he spends most of his time obsessing over Beck, Joe also

cares for his next door neighbor, Paco. Joe’s characterized as the creep with a heart of gold. “You” is essentially a public service announcement about privacy and how to make sure you actually have it. The show is incredibly entertaining, and the first season is downright exciting. With the self inflicted pain and difficulties Joe endures, it’s almost impossible to pry yourself away. His narration and inner thoughts are unreliable, but it allows the viewers to feel as though they’re hiding under beds or leaving jars full of urine at crime scenes. The show’s biggest hook is Joe’s charisma. The writing humanizes our would-be villain. We spend all of our time understanding him, even rooting for him as he locks various people in his glass prison, or hides and sneaks around homes that don’t belong to him. Somehow, Joe is a likeable psychopath. While season two continues to humanize Joe and echoes elements of the first season, it just feels like the same story with different characters and different twists. Spoilers: at the end of the first season Joe kills Beck after she finds out he’s more Ted Bundy than she bargained for. Joe’s first victim/girlfriend, Candace (Ambyr Childers), returns to New York to expose Joe for the criminal that he is. Fast forward to season two and “Joe” has changed his name to Will, relocating to L.A. in an attempt to escape Candace. Out west, he meets, stalks, and falls in love with a woman named “Love,” played by Victoria Pedretti (cue collective sigh of contempt). Season two is the watered down wash, rinse and repeat version of the first: it’s not as exciting, the audience doesn’t feel the chemistry between Joe and Love, you don’t enjoy learning about the

other supporting characters, and even Joe/Will is less likeable. The central relationship is forced, not just by Joe but also by the writing. One day, Love just shows up at his apartment, and Joe doesn’t even ask questions. Someone as paranoid and convoluted as Joe would definitely ask questions. The second Beck is the incredibly rich Love. Raised in Los Angeles by wealthy parents, it’s safe to say that Love has lived a rather privileged life despite some difficult family struggles. While she herself recognizes her privilege, she still uses it. Like Beck, there are people in Love’s life who are detrimental to her personal development like her brother Forty (James Nicholas Scully) with whom she has a codependent relationship. Love doesn’t seem genuine, which makes her interactions with Joe lackluster. It could be her wealth that makes it hard for her to seem like an honest person and that may be intentional, but nonetheless, one can’t help but feel like she’s missing something that Beck had. The show also tries to make it seem as if Joe’s first meeting with Love was by chance, but obviously, Joe planned it. In season one, we truly felt that Joe would do anything for Beck, as messed up as that sounds. We don’t believe that Will would do anything for Love, even though he does. This reused format also makes us continuously compare the two women. While the two leading ladies are in no way the same person they are definitely a similar type. They’re women Joe/Will perceives as manageably but not profoundly complicated. They’re smart but not smarter than him, “cool girls” that are perfect. The only thing that feels fresh about the new season is Joe’s


backstory. Like most slightly unhinged individuals, his childhood was marred by an abusive father, who he eventually killed, and a mother who abandoned him for doing it. That’s enough instability to last an entire lifetime. This in no way excuses his actions, but we start to understand why he is the way he is. In season two, Joe just finds a new girl to obsess over and unnaturally inserts himself into her life. There’s merit in the idea that Joe is simply a serial killer who follows a pattern like all serial killers, and that’s why the two seasons seem to be telling the same story. Season two affirms that Joe’s serial killer MO is finding a fantasy “cool girl” archetype to obsess over, becoming an instrumental and manufactured important part of her life, strategically beginning to

kill people who threaten that relationship until his partner finds out and eventually killing her, and then repeating this cycle with a new fantasy girl. Serial killers are redundant and redundant doesn’t make for good TV. Having Joe’s backstory unveiled while running from Candace would have made for a much better season and given the opportunity to develop her character. Despite the boring but still sometimes entertaining second season, “You” remains a good show. In long-running television shows a lull in the second season is almost always guaranteed. I believe there is hope for season three as well, primarily because there is a new dynamic in the relationship between Joe and Love. Moral of the story? Close your curtains, kids.

The best of video game soundtracks By Stewart Huang staff

What do I mean by “best soundtracks?” As much as I would love to analyze the composition of these pieces and give you a very technical answer, my education in music theory stopped prematurely when I abandoned the piano in seventh grade. Instead, I want to show to you what makes these tracks unique and how much they add to their respective games, to the point that I consider them to be the “best.” The Themes of the Dark Souls Series I don’t know how many times I’ve talked about the “Souls” games already, and I just can’t

seem to shut up about them. You might have heard how punishingly difficult the action role-playing series is known to be. You might have even read my previous articles about its environmental storytelling and engaging multiplayer. And now allow me to tell you that it also features an orchestral score with a heavy emphasis on choir vocals, which is fitting for the dark fantasy setting. These are usually boss themes that play during the big fights, reflecting their characteristics and backstory, like eavesdropping into their consciousness, so to speak. For example, the theme of “Ornstein and Smough” (from the original “Dark Souls”) is a piece consisting of wind instruments and bass vocals that manages to be grandiose at times but sinister at others, revealing the opposing nature of


these two characters: the former a knight, the latter an executioner. But beyond the bosses they represent, many of these tracks contain elements of melancholy and despair, like the “Gwyn, Lord of Cinder” theme, which precisely reflects the tone of the dying world of “Dark Souls.” They seem to transport the listener back into the experience—the various encounters and emotions. I suppose that’s a testament to just how atmospheric and how perfect for the series these tracks are. The EDM of Violence, Contemplation and Nostalgia of the Hotline Miami Series The “Hotline Miami” series are top-down, twitchy action games all about non-stop ultraviolence and a lot of their tracks, which span multiple subgenres of electronic dance music (EDM), capture the intensity and insanity of going on a murderous spree in ’80s Miami. Tracks such as “Hydrogen,” “Roller Mobster” and “Le Perv” are like adrenaline in music form that immediately get you going with loud, repetitive beats and extremely fast-paced progressions. It puts you in a frenzy, as if you have been infected with violent impulses. Having these songs in the background while playing the games is like going berzerk on a battlefield—you just can’t help but enjoy yourself, and afterwards you’ll be startled at how much you liked committing mass murder, albeit virtually. But this startling realization is exactly

what the series wants you to experience and think about. Tracks like “Daisuke” and “Dust” seem to invite you to do some introspection with calm rhythm and whitenoise like ambience. These songs do trigger some sort of existential wondering in me whenever I listen to them. Another crucial element to the sound of “Hotline Miami” is nostalgia, a point that becomes immediately obvious when you hear that 80s drum beat, among other uniquely 80s sounds that I can’t quite name, in so many tracks. Like the themes of “Dark Souls,” these tracks reconstruct visions of the ’80s. With “Miami” and “Electric Dreams,” you get the one that takes place in Miami with the palm trees, beaches and a perpetually setting sun. With “Future Club” and “Technoir,” you get the Hollywood, sci-fi treatment: think of “Terminator” or “Blade Runner.” These reconstructions are so vivid and memorable that I like to believe that they helped popularize synthwave. The Incredibly Diverse 16-bit Tune of Chrono Trigger “Chrono Trigger,” a classic Japanese style role-playing game, came out in 1995 and it still amazes me with how inventive its soundtrack is. Nobody expected mere video game music, which was 16-bit chiptune at the time, to have such diverse sounds and span so many genres. In “Peaceful Days,” this chiptune morphs into a violin, creating an atmo-

sphere of warmth and contentment with a string-like sound. In “World Revolution,” it takes multiple forms: organ, violin and trombone—it becomes an orchestra. “Undersea Palace” feels like a sci-fi film score with a layer of persisting techno-sounding hook in the background, which actually plays from ear to ear, a variety of percussion sounds and so much more that perhaps render my characterization of this track inadequate. Whereas “Black Omen” feels like the opening theme of a suspense thriller with drum and bass as its foundation, a clean but cold piano progression and a melody that suggests mystery and malice. Then you have something like “Robo’s Theme” which seems to disguise itself as industrial rock (or something like that) with heavy, robotic percussion in the first few beats, only to quickly reveal itself as a disco track with upbeat violin. Finally, my favorite, “Battle with Magus,” uses a choppy, high-pitched sound which sporadically changes volume to mimic the sound of the wind as well as this peculiar noise that sounds like the whining of someone in pain to capture the setting of this particular boss fight. The list could go on, but alas the article would never finish. With so much atmosphere and diversity that goes into the craft of video game soundtracks, I think they’re overdue for mainstream appreciation. Give them a listen, if you will.


The Brandeis Hoot

January 17, 2020

Mom Rock is cool for kids and dads, too By Emma Lichtenstein editor

WBRS, if you’re reading this, I have the perfect band to play in Chum’s. Boston-based and incredibly talented, Mom Rock is the band to have on your radar. I first heard Mom Rock at the 2019 Boston Book Festival, planned on only staying for one song, then stayed for two, then three. This band is the next big thing. Most of the members—Curtis Heimburger, Josh Polack, Wilson Reardon—met in their freshman year at Berklee College of Music. They later added Tara Maggiuli to complete the sound. Together, these four make a terrific rock band. Mom Rock posted their first single, “Conversation,” to Spotify in January 2019, and they’ve already accumulated over 20,000 monthly listeners. (Over 3,000 of these listeners are from the last week alone!) According to their biography, their sound is “inspired by bands such as Weezer, Talking Heads and Catfish and the Bottlemen.” Almost all of their songs have a heavy rock sound,

complete with lyrics lamenting about the struggles of young adulthood. “Conversation” alone has exploded on Spotify, truly a feat for such a small band. Using general lyrics, this song can apply—and therefore appeal—to so many different aspects of the life of a college student. This song takes listeners through the psyche of a struggling individual, with lyrics discussing bad decisions and actions made due to crumbling mental health. The track then goes on to acknowledge that even if they talk about the negative situation, nothing is going to get better. It’s going to stay bad no matter what. Despite the bleak lyrics, “Conversation” is fast and energetic, a perfect song to dance around to. I can so easily imagine jumping around to this at a concert (WBRS, please!). I can imagine it even better in the outro of the track which mimics a crowd screaming “Mom Rock” repeatedly. Self plug or prophecy, who can say? My favorite track from Mom Rock is “Grand Romantic Life,” the group’s second single. This song edges into more of a pop punk sound, but it is stunning

nonetheless. It’s one of those tracks that I have to listen to over and over again—one play is never enough. “Grand Romantic Life” complains about the daily struggles of existing: missing alarms, car troubles, wanting more than what you have. These yearning lyrics paired with a fast-paced beat create an anthem for young adults everywhere. What I like most about this song is the very clear image that it paints. From the opening line, this song follows a working woman as she goes about her week, tracking all the little mishaps that come with being human. These images are completely contrasted with her fantasy world where she’s rich and influential and the kind of person everyone aspires to be. The band has been putting out a lot of singles recently. The cover art for each of the singles is the same design—a baby with rainbow shadows—which makes me hope that Mom Rock has an album on the way. Nothing has been confirmed by the band, but I’m optimistic. The most recent drop showed a new side of the band. “Flinching (My Side of Things)” is a sad song, slower than all of their other


tracks. The longest song this band has released at almost six minutes long, this track highlights a relationship that’s falling apart. “Flinching” is a plea of a song, a cry for help. “Tell me without flinching, would you ever leave?” starts the chorus, giving the listeners a virtual punch in the gut. Mom Rock even has a call back to an earlier release of theirs in the song. During the bridge, the volume drops to practically a whisper, allowing the band to play with the production. As the lead vocals lament, the background

vocals start singing the chorus from “Intheinbetween” a single that dropped just a week prior to “Flinching.” This idea comes back in the last minute or so of the song, but now it’s a mix of all of their prior tracks. The sound this creates is kind of chaotic, but that fits the vibe of this track and the band as a whole. Mom Rock tells stories about being a mess, but never once do they sound like a mess. I can’t wait to see where this band goes next… hopefully Brandeis?

The ambitious paintings of the senior midyear exhibition By Aaron LaFauci staff

Brandeis University might not have the most rigorous fine arts program in all of New England, but our student painters possess more than enough skill and creativity to stand out in a gallery. Any skeptics need only visit this year’s Senior Midyear Exhibition to be amazed into submission. For context, seniors looking to explore and develop their arts can sign up for a two-semester Senior Studio course. Every December, the Dreitzer gallery in Spingold hosts the midyear exhibition to showcase these students’ progress and provide them with a platform to practice gallery organization firsthand. While the exhibition showcases works of sculpture and photography among other mediums, this article focuses on the paintings. There is simply too much art to cover it all equally, and the quality of the paintings in particular is impossible to ignore. Those that managed to see the posters for the exhibition are already familiar with one of the gallery’s most striking pieces, “Affluenza 3.” The painting is a striking (and massive) portrait of a woman with blue skin and cherry lips and the phrase “SH!T” emerging abstractly from one of her eye sockets. It is the third and central

painting in Zoe Jin’s ’20 Affluenza series, but while all three of Jin’s paintings are on display, it is not difficult to see why the artist’s largest painting made the cut for the posters. The piece oozes texture. It is one of those works that proves why photography can never truly kill the art of painting. The woman’s face is a gyre of concentric motion. Conspicuous brushstrokes draw the viewer’s eye from the bright “SH!T” triangle across the forehead to a swirl of white highlights that spiral downward along the contours of the cheek and upward again, terminating in the opposing eyelid. Her earrings, which would otherwise be a flat, dull gold, are brought dynamically to life by swirling globs of white and yellow highlights that lift off the canvas. Photographs cannot do justice to this effect; the paint looks freshly wet upon the canvas. This technique could not be more thematically appropriate: the smeared paints of the portrait’s face mirror the makeup motifs on display throughout the series. The three paintings in continuum, all prominently displaying lipsticks, done up eyes and heavy contours, appear to show a kind of transformative breakdown that culminates in the sad and silent blue monster that reigns over the final painting. Despite their theming, there is nothing superficial about

Jin’s gallery entries. Contrasting Jin’s textured works are softer paintings of the body and face by Allison Fritz ’20. Fritz renders human flesh with a level of intricacy and care that is uncontested throughout the rest of the exhibition. Her larger painting, “Release,” matches “Affluenza 3” in scale, but its representation of temperature and light is more immediately complex. A body that flows like water serves as a battleground for cool blues threatened by warmer pinks and oranges reflected from an unseen rightward light source. It is an image of simultaneous vigor and repose. These pushed pink and blue values carry over to Fritz’s “Self-portrait in Brown,” which seamlessly wraps the opposing colors into one harmonious cheek. If Jin succeeds by accentuating brush strokes, then Fritz is a master of obscuring them. Her strive to blend flesh tones in a field loaded with abstracted painterliness is beautifully unique and skillful. By comparison, the rest of the portrait suffers, especially the neck and shoulder, but the amount of hours put into the face alone is probably equal to most full paintings. The nose itself is so captivating that the unwary viewer would hardly notice. Leah Nashel’s ’20 painting “Grenade” opposes Fritz’s self-portrait both in terms of literal placement in the gallery and painterly anti-smoothness: the piece presents a face exploding into a pomegranate. The texture of the face matches the granularity of the fruit that it is transforming into. Freckles of white and robin’s egg frame a pair of engorged, fruit-like lips, full eyeballs that gleam, fixed to captivate forever and another jaw-dropping nose. Color control is excellent, with the maroons of the pomegranate eerily matching the hues and highlights of the face’s tear ducts. This painting is pure captivation in the midst of chaos. The painting adjacent to “Grenade” is “Ophelia Psychelia,” which poses a vibrant concept


and background but appears ultimately unfinished. The body of Ophelia emerging from the water looks to be an underpainting that could have benefited from more layers of paint. Nashel’s smaller portrait, “It’s my face,” is a fun little face that shows the artist’s love for pomegranate hues while also highlighting the raw power of curt brush strokes. The majority of Carrie Sheng’s ’20 paintings are smaller than those of her fellow artists, but they undoubtedly pack the most life. Her self-portrait poses a similar image to Fritz’s “Release” but, where Fritz’s woman expands and flows with confident compositions and colors, Sheng’s presentation of the body is more withdrawn, grounded. The folds of her back muscles take on nuance as pale skin folds and stretches to expose mounds of muscle beneath. Strong attention is paid to the varying flexibilities and rigidities that living skin upon the body can display, and one detects a real depth in the crease of the spinal ridge. The depth of the whole painting is magnified by Sheng’s decision to paint a bright vase of yellow impasto flowers in the foreground of her portrait. The painting below “Self-portrait” is “Grandma,” which showcases a more dynamic exploration of col-

or. Sheng’s painting of a bird on a branch entitled “Spring” seemingly contains every color ever conceived. Generally speaking, the portraits of this exhibition display an amazing range of skin tones achievable with oil paints, and the range of colors on display across the board are delicious. Sheng is prolific to an unreal degree. Alongside the three paintings described above, she is also the artist behind the massive and ambitious battle painting “Guan Yu vs Qin Qiong.” Words cannot describe the scope of this piece, and it is difficult to imagine that this goliath was created in a span of four months alongside the artist’s other works. Despite some flaws in anatomy, this painting is undoubtedly my favorite piece in the entire gallery. I’d buy it if I could. The 2019 Senior Midyear Exhibition opened December 11 and will close January 21. So much could not be covered that deserved to be. If you missed out, do not despair. This is, afterall, only the midyear exhibition. The final products of the senior studio will be on display by the end of the semester. If these seniors can match the quality of their first semester projects in these last few months, then their final showcase will be something worth paying for.

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