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MIR ROR 9.20.2017





Editors’ Note

Imaginary Worlds Around Us STORY


This week, your editors come to you live from the land of rush: where the preferences are made up and the conversation topics don’t matter. Frazzled, the three realized that they were not the only ones engaged in this process — nearly all of their writers couldn’t take stories! Inspired by their own failure to launch, the editors decided on Space as a theme, both because it’s what they gaze at when they scream into the night and in honor of what they struggle to fill. So long as we have space to fill, here are some facts about each of your editors: Annette can recite the names of all the presidents in under 12 seconds. Lauren can subsist off cheese alone. May wore an eyepatch for a brief period of her life. We don’t know what you’ll do with this information, but chances are, if you pass one of us on the Green, it’ll pop into your mind — taking up a bit of space that wasn’t there before. In this issue, we explore the book arts workshop (making literal spaces between letters and words), imaginary spaces (as outlined in a class by professor Alexander Chee) and take a look into the concept of safe spaces. Enjoy!

By Julia O’Sullivan

Whoever coined the phrase, “Those who can’t, teach,” clearly never met Alexander Chee. At Dartmouth, Chee, who holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, teaches fiction and essay writing. Outside the classroom, he has various projects going on in his personal writing career. Chee has penned the books “Edinburgh,” an award-winning novel about a young man forced to confront the demons of his past, and “The Queen of the Night,” a novel whose subject rises from an American orphan upbringing to a Parisian operatic diva. In 2018, readers will be able to get their hands on his first collection of essays, entitled “How To Write an Autobiographical Novel.” Previously, his essays have been published in The New York Times Book Review, Slate, NPR and various other publications. Chee has been awarded the 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 National Endowments for the Arts Fellowship in prose and a 2010 Massachusetts Cultural Council of the Arts Fellowship. Needless to say, Chee is about as accomplished as they come. This term, Chee is teaching English 80, “Writing and Reading Fiction,” and English 87.04, “Imaginary Countries.” “Imaginary Countries” is a creative writing course that teaches students how to approach writing in the genre of speculative fiction. In the course description, Chee classifies this as, “science fiction, magical realism or myth, or a mix of these, so the author can reinvent a country’s history, the country itself — even the world.” The reading list includes “Sula”

by Toni Morrison, “Orlando” by mode of expression.” Virginia Woolf and “Never Let Me Chee wants his students to break Go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. free from that convention, and, in “In a general way, these kinds of doing so, allow themselves a new stories and novels that we’re looking at opportunity to write even more honest in the course are attempts by writers and confronting stories, as he finds that to hold up a mirror to culture in a “part of what we look to these fictions way that a more conventional mirror for is the truth about our lives that would probably fail to do,” Chee said we’ve hidden even from ourselves.” of the syllabus. “George Eliot calls it T h o u g h i t m i g h t s e e m the far mirror. Readers are capable of counterintuitive, some of these seeing themselves more comfortably truths can only emerge outside of the with that little bit of distance.” constraints of realistic fiction. Before creating this class, Chee He called upon television shows like was inspired by “Westworld” and an observation “Black Mirror” he made about “For me, the class to exemplify the realist fiction. kind of departure was inspired by the “For me, the from realism that class was inspired growing awareness he would like by the growing that realist fiction to encourage. awareness that his opinion, seemed stuck in a way, In realist fiction shows like these seemed stuck in a representing a status have an ability way, representing quo idea of the world.” to present us a status quo idea with “a different of the world,” way of thinking C h e e s a i d . -ALEXANDER CHEE, about how we “It was being stay human and ENGLISH PROFESSOR outstripped by what that even other modes of means.” description.” “Imaginary Students may find this class Countries” is a course that will push different from any fiction writing class its students to explore forms of writing they have previously taken because it with which they may have been less doesn’t emphasize the form of realist familiar. Through this, their writing fiction that has become seemingly will hopefully become more effective customary. at forcing the readers to discover “I think realism in conventional revelations that would otherwise fiction writing classes is taught as a remain stuck behind the stipulations default mode, and I think that’s a of realism. In this way, they may learn mistake.” Chee said. “It should be to hold up the “far mirror” better than taught as one of a range of responses. ever before. We aren’t helped by overly simplistic “I think writers owe it to themselves approaches, which unfortunately is to have imaginations that are at least what realism can be if it is a default as strange as the world is,” Chee said.




Overheards: Week Two ’21: “I thought Dick’s House was the name of a frat where people really hated the brothers.”

’21: “Anyone down to pregame for matriculation?” Freshman UGA: “Yeah, room ____. BYOB.”

’20 while getting Good Sammed: “I’m a Dartmouth ’20! Get your hands off me!”

’19: “Do you ever use your own spit as a chaser?”

’21: “I learned condoms aren’t flavored because people eat them.”

’20 #1: “That shotgun was a solid B+.” ’20 #2: “Nah, I’m an easy D.”

’18 to ’20: “Hello there. You can call me ‘Daddy.’” ’18: “I’m not gonna spend $100,000 on books. I will on bottles, but not on books.”

’19: “We went on a Novack date, and now we’re cuffed.” ’20: “We found love in a hopeless place.”

’20: “So how confident are we...” English professor: “Oh, I’m not confident at all.”

’20 #1: “I wish I was Jewish. Catholicism has no culture.” ’20 #2: “You guys have brunch!”

Varsity volleyball player about ’21s: “I wonder if they were recruited here for mini-golf.”

’19: “I only hook up with the presidents of frats.” ’21: “Wait, which sorority is Tri-Kap?”

’20: “I’m still on the 20 — I like Foco and Novack!”


Setting Spaces: A Look Insi STORY

Six of us gather close around a low wooden table. Each looks up as the next comes in, but no one breaks the cozy hush of Baker basement. Our instructor for tonight, Bob Metzler, strides in, and immediately sets to letting us know what we’re in for. We’re printing an October calendar page. Metzler has already set up the calendar part, but we all get to typeset quotes of our choosing to go beneath it. The other participants are community members, faculty and graduate students. Metzler asks where everyone heard about the workshop; three people read about it in the Vox Daily. “We don’t really get a lot of undergrads here,” Metzler said. “Maybe they’re too busy — I guess you would know,” he smiles at me. T h e B o o k A r t s Wo rk s h o p o f f e r s opportunities to lear n and practice

By Jaden Young

bookbinding, letterpress printing, illustration techniques and other aspects of making printed materials. There’s no fee to use the materials and equipment during open studio hours or to attend workshops, although registration is required to attend workshops, with preference given to students. The workshop, housed in Baker Library’s basement, has been slowly expanding. It started in a few rooms, but studios and offices now take up both sides of the hall next to the Orozco Mural Room. “We’ll have taken over the women’s bathroom within a few years,” Metzler laughs. The first order of business is a history lesson. During the 1930s, professor Ray Nash founded Dartmouth’s Graphic Arts Workshop, a precursor to today’s Book Arts Program. According to Metzler, interest in the program flagged after Nash’s retirement

in the ’70s, before the workshop was reestablished by three of Nash’s students in 1989. The presses we’ll be using today, Metzler tells us, aren’t all that unlike the one Johannes Gutenberg created in the 15th century. “This — letterpress with individual pieces of type — this is a process that you’d use up to the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s,” Metzler said. “Then, it got mechanized — photo offset lithography took over, and, now, digital printing.” Now, for a vocab primer. It’s clear there are scores of terms to learn here, and I do my best to catch what I can: “knicks” are the grooves on the top of characters, the wooden cases the type is stored in are “California job cases,” lines of type are separated by “leads” or “slugs.” The California job case is made in a way that provides printers with easy access to the most frequently used letters. The biggest compartments house the most common vowels and consonants: A, O, I, E, R, S, T, etc. Metzler shows us how to measure the size of type and line lengths with pica sticks. Metzler demonstrates how to set the type into small, hand-held composing sticks, reminding us to mind our p’s and q’s as we set the type from left to right, upside-down and backwards, to ensure proper spelling. Metzler moves us quickly into the studio, eager for the practical part of our workshop to begin. “That’s the best way to learn — to get your hands dirty,” he said. He’s not just speaking figuratively; by the end of the session the lead alloy type and ink stain all our hands. One by one, we search through examples to pick NAOMI LAM/THE DARTMOUTH fonts for our quotes, pull the heavy wooden cases from The Book Arts Studio offers workshops for students, faculty and community members to practice bookbinding, their storage and begin the letterpress printing and illustration techniques.


de the Book Arts Workshop painstaking process of finding and setting each letter. We, beginners, are painfully slow, but Metzler tells us how people used to hold typesetting competitions to show off how quickly they could accomplish the task. We proof our work individually before adding our quotes to the calendar. Metzler walks each of us through the process. We place our type, roll on ink, add paper, turn a crank to position it under the press and pull a lever to apply pressure. We’re using a H. M. Caslon iron hand press and a Vandercook SP-20 to print our projects today. Presses like these and other printing implements started disappearing as other methods of printing gained prominence. “Printing companies were dumping all this stuff in the trash or melting the metal down, and fortunately a lot of people got smart and started saving it,” Metzler said. “I was able pick up some of it over the years.” It’s harder to find printing materials now. When things break, Metzler said, they fix them themselves. There are, however, still a few people around making metal type. “We just got some new stuff that was recently cast by a fellow in Massachusetts,” he said. Having proofed each quote in the first press, we add our sections to the larger form and gather around to begin printing. Excited to see the product of their labor, each participant takes a turn loading the paper, turning the crank and setting the calendars out to dry. Then, together, we clean the type and presses. The cleaning fluid, stored in metal canisters, has a bright, sweet citrus scent. “It doesn’t taste quite as good as it smells,” Metzler quips. As we finish cleaning, I marvel at the product of our collective work. The smooth, indented surface of the inked parts and the crispness of the type against delicate paper is precious. Holding the physical product of a technique used upwards of 500 years, feeling its materiality, is an experience. I now understand what Meltzer was trying to show us in the beginning, as we passed around a book printed with tiny, hand set


Located near the Orozco Mural Room, the Book Arts Studio is housed in the basement of Baker-Berry.

type, and explained the care and time it would have taken for it to be created. That’s not to say all the techniques used in the workshop are the stuff of history. Metzler even shows us a relief plate made from computer-originated text that can be used in the presses. Even as it draws on techniques from years past, the work of the Book Arts Workshop is

dedicated to making them accessible to the present day Dartmouth community, giving people a chance to feel and experience the processes of the art. “We’re going to be doing ‘The Night Before Christmas’ before the holidays,” Metzler said. “Everyone will get to set a few lines, so if you’re into that, look out for dates.”


Safety and Subjectivity: Defining Safe Spaces STORY

By Kaijing Janice Chen

There are some words that feel ubiquitous at Dartmouth. Some, like “facetimey” and “@ now,” innocuously seep into life on campus and render us barely intelligible to students outside of Dartmouth. Other terms have acquired a more universal status across American college campuses, some becoming nothing short of contentious. One such term is “safe space.” In my two years as a Dartmouth student, I have seen safe spaces heralded as an absolute requisite for successful communication, a tool to acknowledge and validate the needs of all those present. On the flip side, I have witnessed people lampoon the term and cast safe spaces as symptomatic of a coddled and acutely emotional student body. But, what exactly constitutes a safe space? Do they serve their intended purpose of promoting communication? Or are they in fact an insidious impediment to free speech, as some make them out to be? For Kelleen Moriarty ’19 safe spaces have always been about expanding the confines of exchange, rather than curtailing them. While others see safe spaces as tantamount to censorship, she understands safe spaces as allowing for more honest and open discourse. She believes that when marginalized members of society are allowed the sanctuary of a safe space, they can engage in dialogue that transcends the exhausting to and fro of shouldering hateful attacks and defending their existence. “I find … if I’m in a safe space, and I don’t need to justify my existence, I can therefore justify my ideas and my opinions,” Moriarty said. Rabbi Daveen Litwin, who serves as dean and chaplain of the William Jewett Tucker Center for Spiritual Life, sees similar qualities in safe spaces worthy of upholding. “Even if you feel more identified with one particular thing in one particular situation — let’s say it’s around sexual violence — and to be in a safe space with others who have had that experience and not have to try to explain something that often doesn’t even have words to explain,” she said. “That’s just human. That doesn’t feel political. That doesn’t feel like coddling.” To those who question safe spaces as viable learning environments, Litwin says growth comes from negotiating the terms of safety within a space, and part of that is learning how to communicate ideas in the most respectful way possible. However, respect does not absolutely necessitate comfort. When talking about difficult topics that plague political life in the U.S. today, tensions and disagreements inevitably surface. “It doesn’t mean you’re always comfortable, but it does mean you’re welcome,” Litwin said. “I think there’s a difference between that — between figuring out ways that people can share and be heard — and people being derogatory.” Moriarty understands how safe spaces, with their often accompanying ground rules, can feel like a shutting down of different opinions to maintain the overall comfort of their occupants. In her experience, safe spaces have instead served as points of rigorous challenge,

where there is opportunity to engage truthfully with new ideas that sometimes stand in stark opposition to her own. “I think it’s easy to misunderstand the idea of a safe space as a place where people aren’t being challenged, as a place where people put on earmuffs, and sit in silence, and sort of ruminate in their own rightness,” Moriarty said. For her, challenge is necessarily embedded not only in the actual boundaries of safe spaces, but also in the fact of their existence. In order for safe spaces to offer a moment of relief, there must be moments outside these spaces when relief does not exist, moments when individuals are vulnerable or subject to persecution. “If you are in need of a safe space, then the rest of space in which you exist is challenge,” Moriarty explained. Nonetheless, Moriarty acknowledges that underlying biases can color statements and inadvertently invalidate the experiences of individuals in safe spaces. When words are testament to ossified prejudices, it might feel like the promise of a safe space has been compromised. In order to transform a safe space into a productive learning environment, Moriarty explores the burden of challenging statements that are perceived to be harmful, especially given the added complexity of how challenge is often inextricably linked to explanation. “If [a] person does not want the burden of saying something … doesn’t feel the emotional ability or doesn’t want to, then it’s the responsibility of the rest of the community … to continue to challenge itself and the members of the community, and the members of the people in that space, to further the goal of safety and understanding,” she said. However, what lies within the promise of safety? Is it, or should it be, a promise at all? Viewing the notion of safe space under a lens of intention and result, Litwin shows that it is difficult, if not impossible, to shelter people against words perceived to be harmful. “We don’t have protection against people’s words, but we have the ability to create spaces where we learn how to articulate things in the best possible way so we can learn from each other,” she said. “Even when we intend things with our hearts to be loving and kind, that doesn’t mean somebody experiences it that way.” Within a safe space, the very notion of safety is imbued with a subjectivity that makes all-too-specific definitions of “safe space” arbitrary. Kristi Clemens, associate dean of student affairs and director of case management, urges for an acknowledgment of this subjectivity, because defining safety for oneself allows for the production of individual agency and responsibility. “How can you be active in defining what that space looks like, where we engage with each other and get to know each other in a different way, rather than just trying to put out a blanket, ‘Well, this is what it means to be safe’?” she said. When asked about what happens when a self-definition of safety comes to hinder openmindedness, Clemens reiterated her goal as

an educator to promote a growth-oriented mindset. “My hope is that that definition of safety is not fixed, that we can instill enough of a growth mindset in our students to say, ‘Okay, if you want to dig in and say that’s what you believe right now, you don’t want to hear it — that’s fine. But I would like to offer you some things to think about,’” she explained. In 2013, Clemens co-authored an article titled “From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces,” which calls for a reframing of the safe space to encourage risk-taking and more genuine dialogue. “If everybody engages in the conversation as being brave, then you can still say those things that you think or feel might not be popular in the group, but you need to accept that there may be some consequences for that,” she said. Clemens sees the value of the term “safe space” in underlining the importance of fostering a safe learning environment at Dartmouth. “I think that students need to feel safe. You can’t be productive if you don’t feel safe,” she said.

There are certainly times when “safe space” can emerge as a fixed framework within which Dartmouth community members work to respect the legal rights of students. For Litwin, this is the case particularly for issues of confidentiality. “For me, one particular interpretation or definition of [safe space] relates to the fact that as chaplain of the college, I have the opportunity and the responsibility to provide confidential space,” she said. Definitions of “safe space” are complicated by the fact that the term has been foisted into absolutist frameworks by an increasingly polarized political climate. Who has come to wear the criticism-canceling earmuffs, and how can we collaboratively explore words like “safe space” and its similarly contentious partner “trigger-warning”? Clemens hopes that bolstered dialogue can further collaboration and settle unproductive polemic banter. “You need to have dialogue in order to continue to grow as a society,” she said. “When you shut down that dialogue, we’re just going to be two different sides screaming at each other.”



Mirror Asks: Space Edition STORY

By The Dartmouth Mirror Staff

What is your happy place on campus? Leslie An ’21: My dorm room. Lauren Budd ’18: Outside? The river. Truthfully? My room. Shamefully? Certain basements. Christopher Cartwright ’21: Pine Park. It’s such a beautiful area and so fun to explore while running. Annette Denekas ’18: Is it sad that the first word that immediately came to mind was “Starbucks”? Other than that though, I loving sitting on Robo’s front balcony (usually when avoiding the work awaiting inside). Charlotte Driscoll ’21: My bed, for sure. Zachary Gorman ’21: The basement of my dorm building, in a small waiting room adjoining the laundry room. It’s the best place to study or hide without going outside. Maria Harrast ’21: Any bench on the Green. Or the Foco cookie line. May Mansour ’18: It alternates between Sanborn and the golf course depending on the season. Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20: Sanborn. It feels like a living room. I go there for all of my stressful studying. Kylee Sibilia ’20: Fairchild! Is there life on other planets? An: Yes, because there’s just so much out there. We are one spot in an imperceptibly vast place. There’s gotta be more. Budd: Definitely. Statistically, there must be. But it’s probably something disappointing like bacteria.

Mansour: My eighth grade science class once posed this question to our teacher and he responded, “Yeah, there’s life. Not like a donkey on Mars, but bacteria, sure.” Still pulling for the donkey in all honesty.

to get out of bed to open it. Turns out I got into an a cappella group, and the group came to sing for me. The song commenced, and in that moment, I felt sorry that it interrupted her peaceful slumber.


Schaeffer: If the universe is infinite, then statistically speaking, there must be life on other planets. But the idea of infinite is freaky, so I prefer not think about that.

Budd: Absolutely. I’m from Maine, and my freshman roommate was Dominican. I loved sleeping with the window wide open in all seasons, and I would often wake up in the middle of the night to my poor shivering roommate climbing over me to shut the window.

Mansour: My room is yellow, decorated with sunflowers, with wall space covered in art postcards. So I think it says I want to live in a Van Gogh still life and am failing miserably.

Sibilia: Definitely because the universe is way too big for it to be just us. Do you prefer to live with roommates or alone?

Driscoll: Yes, there just has to be.

Cartwright: I prefer a two room double because I get the best of both worlds.

Gorman: No, as I’ve never had a roommate.

Denekas: I’ve had the distinct displeasure of living with the same very tall and scatterbrained roommate since sophomore fall. Don’t know why, but I just keep going back for more. For those of you who know me, you may have seen me with said roommate once or twice around campus.

Harrast: Every time I hit snooze.

Driscoll: Alone, but next to good friends. Gorman: I prefer to live alone because I can have calmness whenever I choose. Harrast: Roommates. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to at the end of a long day.

worldly discussions with other people because there’s just so much to wonder about.”


Harrast: Yes! A NASA telescope found 10 Earthlike planets that have the potential to sustain life.

Schaeffer: I have a massive Kentucky flag on my wall, so I guess you’d be able to infer that I have a lot of state pride. #gocats

Budd: Although I am still best friends with my freshman roommate, I far prefer living alone. I am a diva with a confusing and mercurial sleep cycle, and I can’t expect another human to accommodate that. Plus, my pile of dirty laundry doesn’t really allow room for a roommate.

An: I prefer living alone because I relax most when I can do whatever I want without having to consider another person’s wants/needs. Nonetheless, the whole roommate situation is turning out well for me.

Mansour: I currently have the ideal living situation being in the North Park apartments; I have my own room but share a large communal space with some of my best friends. Ditto for living in my sorority over sophomore summer. Having a single room in a large house or apartment satisfies both “I love having my desire for personal space and spectacular neediness. existential, other-

Gorman: Yes. The universe it too big for there not to be. Sadly, -ANNETTE we will never see them because their primary concern is to get as far from humanity as possible.

Harrast: I’m pretty much a mess.

Sibilia: It says that I love food because there are Denekas: Yes — I’ve been told before that I snacks actually everywhere in my room. have a slight problem with distracting others while we’re supposed to be studying. As in, my Do you consider yourself an introvert or roommate goes into the inner bedroom, closes an extrovert? the door and locks me out when she really needs “There was a knock on An: I consider myself to be to focus. an ambivert. Oftentimes, our door at 7 a.m. and I thoroughly enjoy being Driscoll: Yes definitely, my roommate was the alone and/or it takes a toll I sometimes take a on me to be with others. one to get out of bed to really long time in the Other times, I crave social bathroom, and I also play open it. Turns out I got interaction and good weird music. into an a cappella group, times with great friends.

Cartwright: Of course! Have you seen “The X-Files”?! Really though, the universe is so big that it would be more surprising if we were the only living creatures in the whole universe. Denekas: Yes, for sure. I love having existential, otherworldly discussions with other people because there’s just so much to wonder about.

Cartwright: I hope not! I just started two weeks ago though so I still have time to mess up.

Gorman: It says I need to clean up.

Schaeffer: I like having a roommate. It’s nice to come home after a bad day and vent or wake up after a night out and debrief. Sibilia: With roommates because I love waking up with my roommates and recapping the previous night first thing in the morning.

and the group had come to sing for me. The song commenced, and in that moment I felt sorry that it interrupted her peaceful slumber.”

M a n s o u r: I w a s definitely the “bad roommate” during my freshman year. I had -LESLIE people over constantly and didn’t respect my athlete roommate’s space (or sleep schedule) like I should have.

AN ’21

Schaeffer: Yes. One day, I was beyond exhausted and went to bed at 8 p.m. My poor roommate had a solid six hours of trying to find things in the dark/staying away from our room/telling people to stay away from our room/probably resenting me before she went to bed. Sibilia: Sure hope not! What does your room say about you? An: Unlike most girls’ dorms, I only have two decorative pillows, no wall decor and a desk with a bulletin board full of to-do’s. My room says about me that I just like to get the job done. Budd: My current room, in comparison to my freshman year room, says I have gotten my shit together impressively well, all things considered. Cartwright: I think my room says that I like to watch movies (I have so many movie posters).

Budd: Absolutely an extrovert, because I gain energy from bothering others and I revel in being the last person to leave a party or abandon a basement scene.

Cartwright: I think I’m an extrovert. In some social situations I’ll be more introverted, but once I get to know people I can be really outgoing and much more extroverted! Denekas: Definitely an introvert. I of course enjoy being with my wonderful friends, but only for limited amounts of time. When I studied abroad and traveled, I spent multiple days by myself and loved every single one of them. Driscoll: I’m somewhere in between. I need some people time and some alone time every day. Gorman: I consider myself an introvert because I don’t speak up when I should. I also consider myself an extrovert because I don’t shut up when I should. Harrast: Proud introvert. I like socializing, but I need my alone time to recharge. Mansour: I think I am an extrovert, though I can only be around people and keep up energy for so long. I gain energy from being in solitude, reading, writing, etc.

Have you ever been “the bad roommate”?

Denekas: It says that my roommate is a compulsive decorator — we have what she calls a “gallery wall” (?) — and that I go along with it.

Schaeffer: I think I’m pretty smack dab in the middle. I love humans and love talking to people, but sometimes I am really not in the mood. It depends.

An: Well, indirectly. There was a knock on our door at 7 a.m. and my roommate was the one

Driscoll: My room has things from a bunch of different places; I would say I have multiple

Sibilia: I’m an extrovert because I love talking to people.


Placing Space Photo

B y Ishaan Jajodia

The Dartmouth Mirror 9/20/17  
The Dartmouth Mirror 9/20/17