THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
06 OCTOBER 2011 VOLUME XXIII ISSUE IV BROWN/RISD WEEKLY
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT FR O M T H E E DITORS: Steve Jobs, the visionary turtlenecked founder of Apple, died Wednesday night after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Unlike the September 9th CBS Twitter reports of his death, this news is real. Quoth tmohede: “-_- (NOT a hoax, tweeps).” We at the Independent feel strangely somber. We feel a collective closeness with Jobs—he is a cultural and personal reference point for our generation. It’s banal to try and summarize his impact on the technological world, and these impacts aren’t what created our sense of intimacy with him in the first place. So what did? Jobs never donated prominently to charity. He never took care of his illegitimate child. And he charged us thousands of dollars for hunks of smart metal. But Jobs managed to do what his coder predecessors could not: he made technology sexy. He developed products nuanced in design as well as function, and the result was intuitive and elegant and consistent. He dated Joan Baez. He rocked a handlebar mustache in the eighties. His cool-geek air eliminated technophobia for the impressionable hordes of trend kids growing up in a generation that his company defined. “Think different” was Apple’s first motto, and with it came a merging of revolution and innovation that the tech world had never before seen. And above all, his products worked beautifully. (Can you imagine a BonziBUDDY for Mac?) Steve Jobs was the dude, and for that we are grateful.
EP H E M E R A
NEWS WEEK IN REVIEW
BY MADILYNN CASTILLO, CHRISTINA MCCAUSLAND, ASHTON STRAIT
THE NASTY NET BY ERICA SCHWIEGERSHAUSEN
METRO SECURE COMMUNITY? BY MADILYNN CASTILLO
HOWDY PROVIDENCE BY MUHAMMAD SAIGOL
FEATURES HIGHER ED FOR ALL BY LUCY ASAKO BOLTZ
DEATH ROW ANNOTATED BY BELLE CUSHING
EPBHOEUMTE R A A FALL 2011 MANAGING EDITORS Malcolm Burnley, Jordan Carter, Emma Whitford ∙ NEWS David Adler, Erica Schwiegershausen, Kate Welsh ∙ METRO Sam Adler-Bell,Grace Dunham, Caroline Soussloff ∙ OPINIONS Stephen Carmody ∙ FEATURES Belle Cushing, Mimi Dwyer, Max Wiggins ∙ INTERVIEWS Timothy Nassau ∙ ARTS Ana Alvarez, Eve Blazo, Emma Jananskie ∙ SCIENCE Ashton Strait, Joanna Zhang ∙ METABOLICS Chris Cohen ∙ LITERARY Michael Mount, Scout Willis ∙ OCCULT Alexandra Corrigan ∙ X PAGE Rachel Benoit, Audrey Fox ∙ LIST Allie Trionfetti ∙ Max Lubin, Jonah Wolf ∙ DESIGN EDITOR Mary-Evelyn Farrior ∙ DESIGN TEAM Andrew Beers, Jared Stern, Olivia Fialkow, Joanna Zhang ∙ COVER EDITOR Annika Finne ∙ ILLUSTRATIONS EDITORS Robert Sandler, Becca Levison ∙ MEGA PORN Kaitie Barnwell ∙ SENIOR EDITORS Gillian Brassil, Adrian Randall, Erin Schikowski, Dayna Tortorici ∙ MVP Max Wiggins Cover Art: Annika Finne THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT PO BOX 1930 BROWN UNIVERSITY PROVIDENCE RI 02912 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: maudelajoie
IM-MERCE YOURSELF BY LIZZIE FIEDELSON
SOTHEBY’S BY ANA ALVAREZ
OPINIONS DONKEY KAHN BY BEN TUCKER
INTERVIEWS WALL STREET BLUES BY KATE WELSH
SPORTS ROARING BACK BY NICK CATONI
SCIENCE Letters to the editor are welcome distractions. The College Hill Independent is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters and is printed by TCI press in Seekonk, MA. The Independent receives support from Campus Progress/Center for American Prgress. Campus Progress works to help young people–advocates, activists, journalists, artists–makes their voices heard on issues that matter. Learn more at CampusProgress.org
HD BRAIN BY JESSICA MITTER
BY RACHEL BENOIT, ILLUSTRATION BY SASHA SPIELBERG
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
WEEK IN REVIEW Illustration by Annika Finne
UTAHNS STRIP DOWN TO BREAK STEREOTYPES If you were to associate underwear with Utah in any way, it would probably be a vague recollection of once learning something about Mormons wearing church-mandated underthings. (If you didn’t know this tidbit, please accept our appologies for introducing you to an underlying truth in the world of organized religions: they care about what’s in their practitioners’ pants.) On September 24, over 3,000 Utahns clad in naught but their skivvies jogged through the streets of Salt Lake City on a two-mile run to the steps of the capitol building. Nate Porter, a local nightclub manager, organized the so-called Undie Run “to change Utah [and] to make this state lighten up once and for all,” he told local news stations. “I think so many people have all these misconceptions about [people from Utah] because the angry,
uptight ones are so vocal.” With the New York Times recently running an article about the inanity of Utah’s LDS-inspired liquor laws, the Mormon Church playing a well-known role in backing Prop 8 (and later throwing a gay couple off of their temple grounds for sharing a public kiss), and state senator Chris Buttars calling a bill he disagreed with a “black baby” midlegislative session in 2008, it’s hard not to think of Utah as a state of stunning natural beauty populated by stunningly conservative blowhards. The run set a Guinness World Record for the largest number of people in their underwear running together (smashing the previous record of 550). In all seriousness, though, being a Utahn myself, I appreciate this attempt to show a different side of our state. Especially when that side includes the colorfully adorned backsides
of so many of my fellow citizens (including several friends who described the run as a rollicking good time). Participant Keri Sanders said, “it seemed like a ton of fun to just be silly and be a little bit overt about saying, ‘Utah please let down your hair. Please don’t take yourself so seriously.’” Though the aim of the run itself was to shake up Utah’s conservative culture and had no explicit political message, many of the runners also painted their bodies with messages of love and equality in protest of the conservative LDS church’s stance on homosexuality and gay marriage. For those who find this wildly out of character for a state that’s supposed to be red as the devil, think again. Salt Lake City is actually a liberal oasis in the middle of the state, complete with citywide recycling programs and a hip democratic
CUPCAKES SPRINKLED WITH CONTROVERSY Last week, the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) hosted the “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” offering prices based on the race and gender of customers. The Facebook event page listed prices for men:“White/Caucasian: $2.00, Asian/ Asian American: $1.50, Latino/Hispanic: $1.00, Black/African American: $.75, Native American: $.25”--Women received a standard$.25 off of their race’s price. The controversial event shot the student body into an uproar. The initial “satirical version” of the event was replaced by a less offensive description which explained that the bake sale was a protest of Senate Bill 185 and affirmative action. However, the Associated Students, Berkeley’s student government, still held an emergency town hall two days prior to the sale and passed “A Bill in Support of Respectful ASUC Student Group Conduct,” which “condemns the use of discrimination whether it is in satire or in seriousness by any student group” threatening “[t] o revoke the funding of any group found discriminatory.” The day before the bake sale, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau sent out a
campus-wide e-mail urging reflection on how words and actions affect the community. “Freedom of speech is not properly exercised without taking responsibility for its impact,” wrote Birgeneau. “Taking that responsibility does not negate the freedom; it brings an enhanced humanity to it.” In a letter posted on the group’s website, BCR’s president Shawn Lewis said that the bake sale’s purpose was to protest proposed state legislation mandating affirmative action in university admissions. He writes, “We agree that the event is inherently racist but that is the point.”Despite objections, the BCR held their bake sale as planned the following Tuesday. The university has not punished the Republican group. Senate Bill 185 passed May 26, and sponsored by CaliforniaState Senator Ed Hernandez, amends education code to require state universities to “ consider race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, [and] geographic origin” when making admissions decisions. It’s a response to Proposition 209, a 1996 ballot initiative that eliminated affirmative action practices throughout California. The California
company to take Schweddy Balls off the shelves and to refrain from creating any more ice cream flavors with offensive names (OMM cites last year’s specialedition Hubby Hubby flavor as another of the ice cream company’s controversial names). Other issues of recent concern to OMM include a transgender contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” the sale of “adult toys” on the Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS websites, and the Levi’s “Go Forth” campaign, which, for OMM, “suggests disrespect and chaos with no consequences.” The campaign consists of ads with an Americana air, intended to capture a sort of idealistic, pioneering
mayor (I see you, Ralph Becker). In fact, the last time the city elected a Republican mayor was in 1972. Plop yourself down in the middle of Salt Lake and you’ll have a hard time differentiating it from any other midsized metropolitan area (although its general cleanliness and happy valley-esque aura of safety might give it away). Nate Porter summed up these frustrations succinctly when he told local news, “I am so sick of hearing all the crazy things Utah is known for, like the liquor laws, and don't even get me started on Prop. 8. I want to show a more interesting side of Utah.” And show it these undie runners did. Hopefully I’ll be reporting from the frontlines of Undie Run 2012, which is already scheduled for next August, but until then all I can say is, Utah, you have done me proud.
by Madilynn Castillo Supreme Court had voted 6-1 in favor of Proposition 209’s constitutionality as recently as August 2010, and a previous bill mirroring Senate Bill 185 was vetoed by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R.). Hernandez credits Prop 209 for the low number of minority students enrolled in state college and universities. On his website he says,“We have seen the damage done by Proposition 209, and it is time we cut away those provisions that keep qualified students from pursuing a higher education.” Following the bake sale, CNN’s John King hosted a discussion between Hernandez and Lewis on his show John King’s USA. Hernandez criticized the bake sale as “insensitive,” and Lewis justified the controversial pricing by explaining, “we feel like we’re facing a controversial issue.” Lewis questioned how far the university should go for the sake of diversity, asking whether religion or political ideology should be considered in admissions. Hernandez insisted the true intent of the bill was to, “ make sure universities reflect the demographics of the state of California.”
MOMS HATE SCHWEDDY BALLS To no one’s surprise, the conservative Christian group One Million Moms is unhappy with the name of a new Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, Schweddy Balls. The name is a reference to a sketch from a 1998 episode of Saturday Night Live, in which Alec Baldwin plays Pete Schweddy, a public radio guest who owns a holiday bakery specializing in balls--his calling card is “the thing that I most like to bring out this time of year are my balls.” You see where this is going. One Million Moms—an offshoot of the American Family Association—has sent a letter to its members asking them to email Sean Greenwood, Ben & Jerry’s public relations manager, urging the
by Ashton Strait
However, noticeably absent from the BCR’s description of the bill and the media’s subsequent coverage was the line including “household income, along with other relevant factors,” which directly follows ethnicity, race, and gender in the bill. Karen Klein, an opinion columnist for the Los Angeles Times, urges a greater focus on basing admissions decisions on income and school performance. She wrote in a recent column, “Until a few years ago, some of those [high] schools right here in Los Angeles didn't even offer the courses required by the UC or California State University schools.”She credits societal inequalities that primarily affect racial minorities, for the lack of diversity in state colleges. Perhaps controversy surrounding societal inequalities can be mirrored with a bake sale too. Only students who attended high performing high schools can buy the sweets, and remaining students can make them. It’s not offensive; it’s satiric. In the words of BCR, “Hope to see you all there! If you don’t come, you’re a racist!”
by Christina McCausland spirit. Among OMM’s objections are a voiceover in one of the commercials that states “your life is your life, the gods wait to delight in you” (they don’t approve of the mention of multiple gods), as well as images of “people running away from something” and “a male rebelling against officers and authority in a riot.” Despite this conservative opposition, Ben & Jerry’s is still pushing the product, a rum-tinted vanilla ice cream loaded with maltballs. Among the promotions is a Schweddy video greeting card on Facebook, which they recommend sending “to the ones you most cherish.” In reference to the name, Greenwood told NPR.org that it “is just plain
silly … we’ve always been a company that has a sense of humor.” Since OMM’s callto-arms, Greenwood said, Ben & Jerry’s has received hundreds of emails about the flavor and “90 percent were saying ‘keep doing what you’re doing.’” The company plans to continue selling the product through the end of the holiday season. Regardless of general approval for the taste of Schweddy Balls, try to avoid ordering the flavor at an actual Ben & Jerry’s franchise, as even their employees seem to have trouble resisting the temptation to abuse the double entendre.
06 OCTOBER 2011
DO NOT PASS GO
lthough it’s hard to remember the days before Google was a commonplace verb, Google, Inc. was first incorporated in 1998 with a mission statement “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” At a time when conventional search engines ranked results based only on the number of times the search terms appeared on a web page, Google revolutionized the discovery of online content by introducing PageRank technology, which took additional factors into account to determine a website’s relevance. The PageRank system evaluated a website’s backlinks—the links on other web pages that lead to that site—which was the inspiration for Google’s original name, “BackRub.” In the early 2000s, Google began pioneering innovative ways to incorporate advertising into their services, beginning with the creation of content-targeting advertising and introduction of pay-per-click ads, which made it possible for Google to display specific ads in a more relevant online context. The company’s immense profitability of advertising enabled the company to expand their market well beyond online searching to a prodigious number of online products and services, so that today Google commands meaning as a prefix to nouns such as news, earth, images, maps, places, and scholar. Gmail was first introduced in 2004, and the web browser Google Chrome debuted in 2008. Google +, a social networking service intended to rival Facebook, began its trial phase this June, reaching 10 million users within its first two weeks.
and the Internet
IN GOOGLE WE TRUST Google’s massive expansion and dominance of much of the Internet has not gone unnoticed by competitors or regulators. However, in June, Google confirmed reports that the Federal Trade Commission had opened an investigation on the company in light of allegations that the tech giant has been abusing its control of the online search market to stifle competition. With Google dominating an increasingly larger share of the online service industry, some are concerned that the search engine gives its own products, such as comparison shopping and travel and online commerce offerings, preferred placement in search results, accordingly thwarting competition and potentially harming consumers. On September 21, Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt appeared before the Senate Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on Capitol Hill to defend the company against accusations of violating antitrust laws. During the hearing, Republican Senator Mike Lee from Utah presented a chart of rankings for Google Product Search in hundreds of shopping searches, compared with the rankings of NexTag, Pricegrabber, and Shopper, three competing shopping sites. Pointing out that although their rivals’ rankings varied widely, Google’s service was consistently ranked third, Lee remarked, “You cooked it so you are always No. 3.” Schmidt assured the committee that Google hasn’t “cooked anything.” Following Schmidt’s testimony, a panel of Google’s competitors came forward, including Jeffery Katz, the chief
executive of NexTag, and Jermey Stoppelman, the chief of Yelp. “Today, Google doesn’t play fair,” said Katz during his testimony. “Google rigs its results, biasing in favor of Google Shopping and against competitors like us … When you search for ‘running shoes’ or ‘digital camera,’ Google transforms itself from an independent search engine to a commerce site.” Google has been denying accusations of monopolistic practices since the Federal Trade Commission began its investigation. Throughout the hearing, Schmidt repeatedly mentioned that users can always opt to use other search engines, although at one point he did seemingly concede that Google was “in the area” of a monopoly. However, according to legal experts, Google presents a challenging case for the traditional doctrine of antitrust. Historically, high prices for consumers have always been the hallmark of competitive harm and the motivating factor behind antitrust legislation. Yet Google’s search service is free, and open use by anyone. As L. Gordon Corvitz points out in the Wall Street Journal, “regulators seem to have forgotten that the antitrust laws were written to protect their consumers, not their competitors.” Corvitz claims that the argument against Google is essentially that it serves its consumers too well, in turn making it too hard for their competitors. Yet, other accusations against Google fall more conventionally into the antitrust category, according to Herbert Hovenkamp, an antitrust expert at the University of Iowa College of Law. He told the New York Times: “If it is proven that Google discriminates in favor of its
own online properties, you certainly have an antitrust issue.” REMEMBER MICROSOFT? The investigation of Google’s potential antitrust violations has prompted many comparisons to the Microsoft case of the late 1990s, when the tech powerhouse of the period was tried by the same Senate body. In U.S. v. Microsoft, plaintiffs alleged that Microsoft Corporation abused monopoly power by bundling its Internet Explorer web browser software together with its Microsoft Windows operating system. Competitors complained that the fact that every Windows user had a copy of Internet Explorer on their computer by default restricted the market for third-party web browsers such as Netscape, which either required downloading or had to be purchased in a store. Microsoft argued that the merging of Windows and Internet Explorer was the result of innovation and competition, claiming that their attempts at innovation were being thwarted by rival companies jealous of their success. In the final settlement, Microsoft was required to share its application programming interface, making it easier for other browsers to compete on Microsoft platforms. However, many were less than satisfied with the final settlement, and saw it as a slap on the wrist. Although Schmidt did not explicitly mention Microsoft during the Google hearing, he did attempt to distance his company from the trial a decade earlier, assuring the Senate, “We get the lessons of our predecessors…one company’s past
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
DO NOT COLLECT $200
by Erica Schwiegershausen Illustrations by Annika Finne needn’t be another’s future.” Mitch Kapor, a longtime Silicon Valley technologist and investigator, told the New York Times: “The similarity between Google and Microsoft years ago is the potential for harm, the risk that a dominant company uses its power to disadvantage others... But Google was born on the open Internet, and things are just generally far more open to innovators and start-ups now than in the Microsoft era.” FACEBOOK VS. GOOGLE “Unlike regulators, few in Silicon Valley these days view Google as an unstoppable force,” Crotvitz wrote in the Wall Street Journal this summer, implying that despite monopolistic accusations, Google is not truly shielded from market competition. Indeed, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, seems all too eager to step on Google’s toes. According to new research from Nielsen’s “Social Media Report,” American users now devote more time to Facebook than any other website – a total of 53.5 billion minutes a month on the site. However, according to the research firm eMarketer, Google will pocket approximately 43 percent of all U.S. online advertising revenues in 2011, compared to a projected 7.7 percent for Facebook, and 11.9 percent for Yahoo!. However, Zuckerberg seems more determined to catch up than ever, and is in the process of unleashing a whole slew of new features which will prompt users to spend even more time on the site. Many of the so-called “new” features introduced by Facebook in the past month
aren’t truly innovative, however. In fact, they’re basically exact copies of services already offered by their competitors. For example, Facebook recently gained a new “subscribe” feature by which users can allow non-friends to view information and posts on their profile, which offers Facebook users a nearly identical service to what is already available on Twitter. Similarly, the Google+ knockoff feature, “Smart Lists,” was unveiled last month, a new tool that allows you to divide your friends up into “lists” according to how you relate, which was the whole idea behind the “Circles” which originally made Google + unique. Yet Facebook has loftier goals than simply invading the markets of its direct competitors like Twitter and Google +. Zuckerberg recently announced that Facebook will be teaming up with numerous companies that distribute music, movies, information, and games. Its new partners include Netflix and Hulu for video and movies, Spotify for music, The Washington Post and Yahoo for news, Ticketmaster for concert tickets, as well as a number of other travel, food, and consumer brands. Although the specifics of what such arrangements would entail remain hazy, many have projected that these partnerships would allow for tighter integration, perhaps enabling Facebook users to access third-party content without leaving the social networking site. As a result, users will be able to more precisely cue what they are doing online, and will in turn direct Facebook friends to new content. Integrating popular online services
to this degree will position Facebook to become a goliath conduit where online media is found, shared, and consumed. “We think it’s an important next step to help tell the story of your life,” said Zuckerberg while introducing the features at the company’s annual F8 conference for developers on September 22. During the conference, Zuckerberg described the changes as an effort to “rethink some industries.” Yet the implications of such developments are larger than is immediately apparent; Facebook is essentially trying to alter the way people find content online, which is the market currently dominated by Google. Facebook has already shown that it can maintain profitable alliances, such as its partnership with Zynga, maker of the popular online game Farmville, which has been immensely lucrative for both parties. Music analysts claim that the new Facebook developments could improve prospects for new media companies like Spotify, a Swedish-founded music service that offers music streaming from a wide range of major and independent record labels. Netflix also seems to think that a partnership with Facebook could provide a much needed financial pick-me-up after a wave of subscription cancellations following this summer’s price hikes on their most popular plans, and wants to allow subscribers to stream its video on Facebook. However, the Video Privacy Protection Act, which prohibits the release of information about what movies a person is renting, would need to be amended before such integration could take place. “Facebook wants to be omnipresent
in the Web experience by adding commerce, video and mail to their early successes with news feeds and picture tagging,” Jodee Rich, the founder of People Browser, a San Francisco based high-tech social analytics company told the New York Times. “Trying to be all things to all people was the undoing of Microsoft and AOL. If Facebook continues to overreach, they will stumble.” However, the downfall of Facebook doesn’t seem particularly imminent, especially considering eMarketer’s prediction that the company will double its worldwide ad revenues by the end of 2011, taking in approximately $3.8 billion. With a projected $1 billion increase from last year in additional online display revenues in the U.S. alone, Facebook is expected to see a larger growth in domestic ad revenues this year than is predicted for Yahoo!, AOL, Microsoft, and Google combined. Although it is doubtful that Facebook will catch up to Google’s advertising profits anytime soon, David Hallerman, a principal analyst at eMarketer says “It’s not hard to see the online ad market turning into a duopoly, with Google and Facebook becoming the two prime choices for ad spending – separate but near equals.” Erica Schwiegershausen B’13 misses Jeeves.
06 OCTOBER 2011
(UN)SECURE COMMUNITIES Federal Immigration Enforcement in Rhode Island by Madilynn Castillo
n January 5, 2011 Governor Lincoln Chafee (I) passed an executive order terminating previous governor Donald Carcieri’s (R) Illegal Immigration Control Order. The executive order, passed in March of 2008, entered Rhode Island State police into an agreement of cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This agreement mandates that all local law enforcement officers receive training from ICE to enforce federal immigration laws and investigate immigration status of all persons “[in] custody, incarcerated, or being investigated for a crime.” A week after the executive order, newly elected Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin signed a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Homeland Security, authorizing Rhode Island Police Department’s participation in Secure Communities—an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) initiative requiring all law enforcement officers to run arrestees’ fingerprints against FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) databases. If the arrestee is undocumented, the program mandates that the deportation process should begin within 48 hours. After Kilmartin signed the memorandum of agreement authorizing Secure Communities, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Pare and Providence mayor Angel Taveras both expressed their opposition to the program. In February, Pare wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking if there was a way for Providence to opt out of the program; he cited “fear and mistrust between the [immigrant] community and law enforcement”. State Police Colonel Brendan E. Doherty, published an independent press release vocalizing his support for continued participation in Secure Communities. In it, he criticized Providence’s desire to opt out, and called it “…dangerous and irresponsible.” A rebuttal came from Governor Chafee, who chastised Doherty for speaking out in favor of the program before the Chafee administration had formulated its own position. Though Chafee expressed support for Secure Communities in December, he grew unsure of his stance after Kilmartin signed the memorandum of agreement in January. A week after Chafee’s response, Doherty abruptly announced his retirement and denied that the immigration showdown played a role in his stepping down. Doherty is now raising funds to run in the Republican 1st congressional district’s primary. According to his website, his stance on Secure Communities is unchanged— “Criminal aliens and illegal reentries should be removed from this country.” Secure Communities went into effect in Rhode Island on March 7. The Providence Journal reported that Governor Chafee announced his support for S Secure Communities on March 22. Since the program’s implementa-
tion, 28 people have been deported from Rhode Island, and 100 people have been retained in ICE custody. However, only 42 of the 100 were criminals that had been convicted of ‘aggravate felonies’—defined in the Immigration and Neutrality Act of 1952 as murder, rape and drug trafficking among other serious offenses. In August, the American Immigration Lawyers of America released a report stating that, “through Secure Communities… Local Law Enforcement Agencies rerefer cases to ICE and CBP who do not present any threat to public safety or national security” and that in many cases those deported have lived in the United States for, “over a decade or had deep ties to the community, including family members who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents who depend on them for care and support.” The report reveals that of the 200 cases reviewed, “[s]ixty-six cases involve[d] people who were placed in removal proceedings after being arrested or cited for minor traffic violations” including a broken brake light. FROM ARIZONA TO RHODE ISLAND In April 2010 Arizona passed bill 1070, a measure requiring routine checks of immigration status for anyone arrested by local law enforcement. Arizona bill 1070— unlike Secure Communities—required officers to arrest people if they were simply suspected of being undocumented immigrants. The New York Times called it “the nation’s toughest law on immigration.” US District Judge Susan Bolton issued an injunction after concerns over racial profiling. Arizona appealed, and the law remains in limbo. Following Arizona, 24 states introduced similar legislation, including Rhode Island. In May 2010, RI State Rep. Peter Palumbo, (D) and Rep. Joseph A. Trillo, (R) introduced H 4182, which copied most of the Arizona measure, including its central provision to arrest under “reasonable suspicion.” Trillo is quoted on Palumbo’s website as saying, “Law enforcement can more effectively combat criminal activity related to illegal immigrants if federal, state and local authorities work on a cooperative basis.” The bill was introduced four days after the deadline, and House Speaker Gordon Fox (D) canceled the hearing on the bill. Fox declined to comment when asked by The Providence Journal, but Larry Berman, spokesman for the House of Representatives said, “The Speaker opposes this and feels it’s better addressed federally.” OBAMA AND FEDERAL IMMIGRATION POLICY Deportations have noticeably increased under the Obama administration. When questioned about deportation policies by a student during a town hall event in Washington, D.C. in March, Obama said, “We have redesigned our enforcement practices under the law to make sure that we’re focusing primarily on criminals…” ICE reports a “71% increase in the
overall percentage of convicted criminals removed” between the Bush and Obama administrations. According to the DHS website, “[A]n alien with an appropriate criminal conviction is considered a criminal alien regardless of the section of law under which the alien was removed.” After the Arizona law, the administration found a new outlet to employ its stance on illegal immigration with Secure Communities. It has become the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s immigration policy. According to an ICE presentation, to participate in the program, states must enter into a memorandum of agreement with ICE that defines terms and conditions, including the “scope of authority and immigration enforcement activities”. According to ICE, half of all jurisdictions in the United States and its territories have now activated Secure Communities. The Obama administration plans for nationwide implementation of the program will take effect by 2013. SUPPORT AND ENFORCEMENT According to a poll conducted by Brown University in March, 55 percent of Rhode Islanders, “believe that police should be able to check the citizenship and immigration status of all people, including citizens.” Last Wednesday, ICE conducted a raid in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies nationwide. ICE officials worked with local law enforcement to track down and make the arrests, and all, “individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions.” According to ICE, the raid, named “Cross-Check” was the “largest of its kind” and resulted in arrests of 2,901 undocumented immigrants from all 50 states, 1,600 of which had prior felony convictions. In an interview with this newspaper, Terry Gorman, the executive director of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement (RIILE), said his organization received “hundreds of e-mails” following last Wednesday’s immigration raid from major news organizations about RIILE’s stance on immigration law enforcement. For his part, Gorman condones the Obama administration’s approach to undocumented immigrants. Gorman feels that there is a “silent majority” in RI that would, “like to see the current laws enforced.” He voiced support for immigrant communities and immigration, but he claims that by definition undocumented immigrants are breaking the law by being here. He explains, “If you or I [were] arrested, we’[d] be prosecuted for breaking the law, and that should apply to undocumented immigrants as well.” He supports uniform law enforcement across all races, and dismisses racial profiling concerns under Secure Communities by saying, “Any evidence of that should be prosecuted.” CRITICISM AND DISTRUST Most criticism of Secure Communities centers on the issues of racial profiling
and generating mistrust between immigrant communities and law enforcement. In the DHS Taskforce on Secure Communities Findings and Recommendations report released in September, the task force “recommend[s] suspension of the program until major changes are made, or even recommend[s] termination of what they believe is a fundamentally flawed program.” The report says, “ICE must recognize that it does not work in a vacuum and that its enforcement actions impact other agencies and the relationships with their communities in what some may conclude is a negative way.” Five members of the 20-member task force chose to resign rather than endorse the final report. Victoria Ruiz, and organizer at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association (ONA) points to the resignations as evidence of the program’s inefficiency and the fact that “[Secure Communities] marks immigrants guilty until proven innocent.” She says that most of the stories her organization hears confirm these criticisms. Ceasar, 49, an undocumented restaurant worker in RI, Ruiz translates his response to how Secure Communities has affected the immigrant population as, “[it] only makes us distrust public law enforcement. Which makes everyone less safe.” Ruiz explains that with the Federal government it’s hard to find a point of attack, so the focus has been education. It’s difficult because Rhode Island only has two congressional representatives, so they don’t have a lot of voting power. She says they don’t schedule meetings, they demand them, and during these meetings they completely fill the room in order to ensure the representatives know that, “[the] community is demanding to have this conversation”. ONA views immigration as a local and national issue. Nationally, they work with the National Day Laborers, and locally in conjunction with Direct Action for Rights and Equality and the American Friends Service Committee. She explains that working with a coalition “builds power to run against targets”, like police departments and the attorney general. The coalition also works towards education, and using community lines to monitor people’s experiences with police. “Immigration is not a crime,” says Ruiz.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
IN-STATE TUITION The Politics of Educating the “illegal” by Lucy Asako Boltz Illustration by Diane Zhou
or students without social security numbers who seek a higher education, there are many financial barriers. Undocumented students do not qualify for public financial aid nor most private scholarships. In addition, they are charged out-of-state tuition − $9,496 per year at the Community College of RI − almost three times the cost of in-state tuition. On September 26, 2011 the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, appointed by the governor and in charge of higher education policy, voted unanimously in favor of a new policy. With this policy, undocumented youth will receive in-state tuition, but have their ability to receive public financial aid restricted. To qualify, students must have attended a RI high school for at least 3 years, graduated or received a GED, and signed an affidavit stating that they will apply for lawful immigration status as soon as they are eligible. According to Kids Count RI, about 250 RI high school students would qualify under these conditions. Lorne Adrain, the chairman of the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education, defended the measure saying that it will “contribute, sooner and later, to economic recovery and sustained prosperity for Rhode Island.” Before ruling on the policy, the RI Board of Governors convened a public hearing for community members at the Knight Community College of RI. Throughout the two-minute speeches during the hearing, there emerged several themes: references to the American dream and self-advancement, calls for in-state tuition to all veterans instead of illegals, and personal testimony about undocumented life. One woman opposed to the bill yelled at the police in attendance to arrest the supporters for being illegal. Another speaker criticized the color divide emerging on the bleachers behind her, “This is segregation!” PEOPLE, IN ANY ORDINARY SENSE OF THE WORD A legal precedent for undocumented youth in the education system was set by a hallmark 1982 decision, Plyler v Doe, in which the Supreme Court extended access to K-12 public education to undocumented students. In a five-to-four decision, The Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting a class of people from equal access to education would create an underclass, fundamentally undermining the premise of democracy. As Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan put it, “[undocumented youth,] already disadvantaged as a
result of poverty, lack of English-speaking ability, and undeniable racial prejudices... will become permanently locked into the lowest socio-economic class.” IN LIEU OF BOOTSTRAPS, NGOs High school teachers working with immigrant students confront this issue during college applications. Stacy Joslin, a high school teacher at Blackstone Academy Charter School, sees a political backlash against the policy led by Terry Gorman, president of Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement. “Illegal aliens cost the state of Rhode Island $400 million a year,” he said. According to the Congressional Research Service, undocumented immigrants cannot receive any welfare benefits and even legal permanent residents are restricted in their access. Unlike Gorman, Joslin does not see these students as a financial burden to the state or as competition to citizen students, a fear expressed at the public hearing. “I think that there will be a proposed bill repealing the decision. But as time goes by and people realize that this decision does not affect their life or their children’s lives, everyone will forget about it all together.” She sees the larger struggle in terms of the push for citizenship. The advocates of this policy change include a variety of community actors and organizations. The Coalition of Advocates for Student Opportunities (CASO) has been a strong advocate of the policy, mainly through statehouse lobbying. CASO has also conducted workshops at high schools in Rhode Island to encourage undocumented students to pursue higher education and founded scholarship funds. Member Roberto Gonzalez praised the board’s decision as a victory for the immigrant community as well as for other oppositional politics. “Unfortunately, the divide is now even greater. Conservative Talk Radio will continue to fan the flames of hate against the immigrant community. On the positive side, undocumented students now have hope and the immigrant community has savored a victory.” Another group, IDEAS (Improving Dreams, Equality, Access and Success) for New England, formed with the help of a student from Blackstone Charter High School, Antonio Albizures, and the mentorship of Tam Tran, an undocumented organizer from the University of California, Los Angeles. “It’s up to our generation to lay down the foundation,” Albizures said, “…which started in the Black Freedom Movement. It’s our right to be education, and it’s up to us to use education as a form to liberate ourselves.”
Other community-based groups, including an English for Speakers of Other Languages program, Olneyville Neighborhood Association, and a particularly dedicated high school class from Hope High School have participated in the local immigrant rights contributing to the policy change. The associates drafted letters to state representatives, protesting the introduction of a bill akin to Arizona’s SB1070 bill in RI. This law requires that police ask about immigration status of anyone the officer considers “suspicious.” AT LARGE Of the twelve other states that have granted in-state tuition to undocumented students, RI is the first to adopt this measure through a policy body, and not through the state assembly. The rest of the country charges out-of-state tuition for public institutions of higher education. Five states have even taken the measure of passing laws that ensure undocumented students cannot qualify to pay in-state tuition. Undocumented immigrants in society (10.8 million people according to 2011 Department of Homeland Security) have often generated inflammatory debate. Yet, national politics remain gridlocked on any immigration-related legislation. A pathway to citizenship, even for youth has been derailed as recently as 2010. President Obama supported the DREAM Act, a bill which would have provided a path to citizenship for youth who had come to the U.S. as children, not committed any criminal offenses and agreed to complete two years of military service or college. The DREAM Act, which made its federal debut in 2001, was re-introduced this past May. In the year prior, the bill did not gain enough votes to be debated on the floor. Recently, Republicans who had previously sponsored the bill pulled their support and asked for an employer sanctions, prohibiting undocumented persons from any form of employment. Despite its vocal support for undocumented students, the Obama administration continues to deport undocumented immigrants through dragnet tactics. As of September 12th, it was estimated by Reuters that the administration had deported over one million undocumented immigrants. At this rate, the Obama administration will surpass the Bush administration’s score of 1.57 million deported in two presidential terms, in one term. In this political climate where the topic of undocumented immigrants seems to be a political third rail for Congress, states have increasingly taken on the issue of undocumented immigrants, for better or
worse. Some states have resisted anti-immigrant programs. Illinois and Massachusetts have resisted the Secure Communities Program, Obama’s latest effort to deport undocumented immigrants who are arrested for any level of offense. Other states have followed suit by introducing bills targeting undocumented immigrants, AZ and RI, for example with their SB1070 bills and the like. CAPPED AND GOWNED ELEPHANTS IN THE ROOM At the hearing, pro-in-state tuition activists argued that students deserve access based on your innocence; they did not choose to come to the U.S. illegally. While the policy may represent a step towards recognition of education as a human right rather than a restricted privilege, it has also incited a political backlash of sorts. One week later, with the help of talk show host of WPRO John DePetro, Lisa Blais of the Ocean State Tea Party in Action organized a rally to recall Governor Chafee, who supports the policy and appointed each board member. Chafee stated that the policy “will improve the intellectual and cultur[al] life of Rhode Island while strengthening our workforce and helping our economy.” Juan Garcia, leader of the Committee of Immigrants in Action and the Guatemalan Consulate organized a counter-rally in appreciation of Chafee’s support for in-state tuition and for issuing drivers’ licenses to undocumented immigrants. Garcia is the only activist so far who has linked these two issues. The tense undercurrent of in-state tuition is no secret. Discussions of undocumented immigration involve verification at employment sties, deportation, pathways to citizenship, access to drivers’ licenses, and the merging of local police with immigration officer responsibilities. Yet the arguments for in-state tuition are different, like those revealed at the RI hearing. There is a stark divide between the portrayal of young students and the missing portrayal of the rest of the undocumented community. LUCY ASAKO BOLTZ B’ 14 is DREAMing.
06 OCTOBER 2011
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D I V O R P
Nineties Nostalgia Strikes Again by Muhammad Saigol Illustration by Ceclia Salama
ew give this lonely edifice more than a passing glance as they zip by on I-195. It stands against the shore of the Providence River, a solitary giant lacking neighbors, who were all demolished to make room for the highway. A signpost outside makes an ominous declaration: ‘State Property. Police Take Notice.’ Its windows are broken and graffiti adorns its exterior. The year was 1990, and a young entrepreneur named Joseph Cerilli decided that Providence’s harbor nightlife needed an upgrade. He thought the adjacent bars of Hot Club and Fish Co. lacked a certain “oomph,” according to Tim M., a contributor to ArtInRuins.com, an online forum dedicated to exploring Rhode Island’s abandoned buildings. Cerilli’s idea: a $6 million, 25,000 square foot multi-story megaclub that would become the epicenter of Providence debauchery and attract party-goers from all over southern New England. Cerilli’s answer: Shooter’s. Three floors of fully stocked bars ensured that parched revelers could quench their thirst at their every convenience. Former bartender Craig L. reminisces exclamatorily about the establishment’s earnings: “We would ring over $19,000$20,000 at the Pub bar in one night.” That was in 1990. So he wonders, “How much did we have to serve to ring those numbers every night when an Absolute was $3.75?”. Shooter’s took pains to cater to a particular set of outlandish – not to mention well-heeled – customers. The hidden VIP entrance ushered those paying top dollar for tables on the exclusive roof deck. “It was like a fashion show,” says Kim, who only wished to be identified by her first name. “We would all do our thing, pretty much just to make everyone on the other deck jealous.” The VIP entrance, however, was not the height of Shooter’s offerings. Jason
V, a former member of the management team, writes that the idea was for Shooter’s to be the “nightclub of all nightclubs.” For those really wanting to make an entrance, the club’s riverside location provided alternatives: guests could arrive by boat, mooring their vessels and hopping directly onto the outdoor deck to begin their boozing. According to one online poster identified only as Angell, even billionaire Donald Trump made use of this option to visit Shooter’s, though his claim cannot be substantiated. If guests so preferred, they could bring their choppers and touch down on the rooftop helipad, where a bar awaited them just a few feet away. A Boozy Sunday brunch attracted those for whom the nights were not enough. Without the impending cut-off of the state mandated 2 AM closing time, the brunches could rage as long as the sun shone. But all of these extravagant features were but a sideshow to Shooter’s main attraction: the rooftop pool, which elevated the venue to legendary status. It wasn’t simply the ‘Hot Body’ contests – a source of excitement for ogling bystanders – that cemented Shooter’s notoriety; no, it was more so the masses of mostly-nude bodies jiving to Britney Spears that flocked to the pool as the drinks began to take their desired effect; much like a ‘90s version of the contemporary New York City cesspit, Le Bain. Kim says regarding the pool, “I’d really rather not talk about my personal time in there, even though I had so many good times. Let’s just say that everybody loved it and it was the talk of Providence when Shooter’s opened.” Not all was fun and games at Providence’s most popular spot, described as “the place to be!” by nostalgic online commentator, Lisa T. Shooter’s was plagued by a host of problems from the start. Neighborhood residents complained of the hordes of inebriated, loud partiers refusing to end the night even after last call. The club made
statewide headlines in 1993, including in the Providence Journal, when there was a fatal shooting in the parking lot after an altercation between two drunken patrons. Indeed, Shooter’s was never a stranger to violence; an assault charge was once filed accusing a woman of using a stiletto as a weapon in the club. The ownership changed hands by the club’s first anniversary, once the spot was found to be too expensive. In 1994, it began a dragged-out metamorphosis, passing through several reincarnations: first as Shadows, a low-key bar which only used a portion of the huge space, then as Bombers, an upscale restaurant, and finally as Bootlegger’s, which attempted a return to the original Shooter’s model. But, ultimately, none of the building’s occupants would ever live up to its first. Bootlegger’s shut its doors for the last time in 2000. According to The Providence Journal, it was bought by the state’s Department of Transportation for the lower-than-market-value – but still hefty – sum of $4.7 million. It has remained empty ever since. Developers eye the location as a prime spot for a hotel or high-rise condominiums. Former Providence mayor David Cicilline and various advocacy groups have called for making the space public, turning it into a marina complex that could boost the city’s fragile economy in conjunction with the harbor’s other attractions, like popular restaurant Al Forno, the Wyndham Garden Hotel, and India Point Park. MakeShootersPublic.com, a website sponsored by the Fox Point Neighborhood Association and dedicated specifically to the cause, hails it as the potential cornerstone of a new, gentrified Providence bay that would provide locals with leisure facilities and tourists with recreation opportunities like Segway and boat rentals. Today, the abandoned building conjures up images more of a circus than a notorious nightclub, thanks to an eclectic coat of
paint – which, internet commenter G Ainsworth notes, was not part of the original design, but a later change. A once-vibrant but still tacky red and yellow façade sits jarringly against the muted colors of the river, its smashed windows facing the open harbor. Multicolored and irregularly placed squares add some seemingly senseless ornament to the already bright exterior. A small triangular structure juts out into the sky from the roof, almost like the acme of a circus tent. Dirty, decrepit, and desolate, Shooter’s stands an eerie remnant of times gone-by. This hasn’t stopped adventurous Rhode Islanders from venturing into the forbidden building. Photos and stories from inside its walls are posted over the Internet. The space has devolved into a vandal’s heaven: graffiti covers virtually everything, glass and wood panels have been looted for all of their little worth, and awnings have either been scavenged or deteriorated over time. Ceiling panels have fallen off or been removed, revealing wires and pipes overhead. Beer taps have gathered rust and trampled cans still litter the floor, as if waiting to be cleaned up after a wild night. As observer Jed O. notes on ArtInRuins.com, it is as if everyone just “got up and left.” A comment by Krissy, a commentator, encapsulates the Shooter’s experience succinctly: “I remember being in high school and this was one of the places that I could get in under age, quite fun :) I also remember being ‘legal’ a few years later and having the time of my life dancing and being tipsy and falling into the pool!” For those who knew Shooter’s in its heyday, many like Krissy now probably in their 40’s, the idea of taking their kids to see Fourth of July fireworks from that famed rooftop—where they had so enthusiastically engaged in the follies of youth—must seem a bizarre idea. MUHAMMAD SAIGOL B’12 isn’t really into pool parties.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
DO M I N I Q U E S T R A U SS-KAHN “APOLOGIZES” Reports from Abroad by Ben Tucker Illustration by Alexandra Corrigan
n September 18, Dominique Strauss-Kahn spoke with Claire Chazal, the longtime evening news anchor for Télévision France 1, making his first public remarks since his four-month arrest in New York. Kahn was arrested under allegations of sexual assault reported by Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid serving his New York room. She alleges that he emerged from behind her, grasped her breasts, told her she didn’t need to be sorry, and pinned her to the ground. When the crime was reported on May 15, police pulled D.S.K. off of his Paris-bound plane, and kept him in New York until the end of August when the New York district attorney filed a motion to dismiss the case. THE INTERVIEW Chazal’s interview consisted of first discussing his various sexual assault charges for sixteen minutes (D.S.K. faces charges in France over an alleged 2003 incident), followed by seven minutes discussing geopolitics. The interview was an exercise in appearances, more of a performance than an honest examination. The studio was set up Meet the Press style, the two talking heads angled towards each other with projections for each well-rehearsed topic appearing over Chazal’s shoulder— “Nafissatou Diallo,” followed by “American Justice.” As she begins the interview, Chazal notes that the public had still not heard D.S.K.’s side of the story, and asks him if he could say what happened in his suite on May 14. He responds to the question without acknowledging the lead-up: “What happened includes neither violence, nor coercion, nor aggression, nor any criminal act. It is the district attorney who says that, not me.” He refers to the alleged rape only in the terms of “what happened,” and allows the D.A.’s report to speak for him, identifying only what didn’t happen. He continues in this manner, not saying anything but appearing both contrite and vindicated, for most of the interview, pivoting to and usually holding aloft the D.A.’s report (the only prop in the otherwise bare studio) whenever he gives the facts. At times, the interview seems finetuned to D.S.K.’s publicity needs. Ms.
Chazal notes all of the extreme images (“the handcuffs”) presented to the French public and asks: “Do you imagine that the American justice system was particularly violent towards you?” He responds, after a long, serious pause: “How to tell you… I was afraid. I was very afraid. When you are taken in the jaws of this sort of machine, you have the impression that you might be crushed.” The way the interview unfolds is ideal for D.S.K., because the imagery of violence is introduced without his having to bring it up himself. In fact, he doesn’t even have to respond to the question, and the hypothesis of violent treatment allows him to share his traumatic experience of being (for once?) on the wrong end of mechanisms of power. THE COMPLAINANT At one point, D.S.K. reiterates Ms. Diallo’s words to illustrate why she isn’t to be trusted. He changes his inflection and waves a hand in the air, paraphrasing, “he’s a rich man, I know what I’m doing.” He’s referring to a phone call recorded between Ms. Diallo and her fiancé, who is currently serving time in an Arizona jail for large-scale marijuana dealing, and has been running tens of thousands of dollars through Ms. Diallo’s accounts. Though Ms. Diallo and her attorney contend that the phone call was mistranslated, and that she was referring to understanding the risks of confronting power, the D.A. holds that multiple translations are “materially similar in their discussion of making money with the assistance of a civil lawyer”—the interpretation that D.S.K. presented in the interview. The D.A.’s dismissal motion that let D.S.K. off sheds light on what happened in the hotel room. The motion’s first page reads: “The physical, scientific, and other evidence establishes that the defendant engaged in a hurried sexual encounter with the complainant, but it does not independently establish her claim of a forcible, nonconsensual encounter. Aside from the complainant and the defendant, there are no other eyewitnesses to the incident… Indeed, the case rises and falls on her testimony.” With the event’s only two eyewitnesses offering two different stories, mounting doubt as to Ms. Diallo’s
credibility became the case’s determining factor. The D.A. writes, “the nature and number of the complainant’s falsehoods leave us unable to credit her version of events beyond a reasonable doubt [and therefore] we cannot ask a jury to do so.” The reasons for disbelief date back to a rape account that Ms. Diallo provided in order to gain asylum in the United States. Ms. Diallo now admits to have entirely fabricated her account of having been raped by Guinean soldiers. The dismissal motion details tremendous inconsistencies in her recent story as well. Originally, Ms. Diallo claimed to have fled the hotel room after the rape, cowering in the hall until running into her supervisor. On June 28, however, she provided a radically different account in which after the rape she continued cleaning rooms on the floor (including D.S.K.’s) before running into her supervisor and asking, hypothetically, if guests were allowed to force themselves on maids. Her final account, provided in July, has her once again hiding after the rape and telling a supervisor after running into D.S.K.’s room to recover her cleaning supplies, a story that doesn’t match that of the supervisor. As for the tamer June 28th account, which she insisted at the time was the real story, she denied— even to the very prosecutors who heard her say it—ever having given it. Despite the motion’s narrative of damning inconsistencies, this isn’t the only story to be found in the official facts. The motion notes reliable witnesses reporting that Ms. Diallo was upset when reporting the encounter immediately afterwards, evidence that she was out of the room fewer than seven minutes after entering it. There were also semen stains on Ms. Diallo’s dress and (mixed with her spit) on the room’s wallpaper. Though it’s difficult to accept Ms. Diallo’s inconsistent stories, it’s at least equally difficult to see this evidence as a wholly consensual encounter. CONSENT AND POWER Towards the end of the interview, D.S.K. opens up about what hurt him most: the portrait of him constructed in the media. “My whole life had been presented as if, because I had power—and it’s true that I had power, I exercised functions of au-
thority—relations with others, man and woman, must always pass through this relation of power, and that’s not who I am.” Despite D.S.K.’s protestations, it’s hard to imagine what was in play in the messy six-minute sexual encounter between global capitalist leader and hotel maid, if not the relations of power. I believe Ms. Diallo’s now-denied June 28 statement, her hypothetical question about what guests are allowed to do to maids, is an accurate account of what that guest did to this maid. Even if the encounter occurred without violence per se, the chief of the International Monetary Fund must know as well as anyone that there are coercive aspects of power that don’t require outright violence. Are we really to believe that it was his charm and not his position as a powerful client (and her desire to keep her job) that was in play if indeed the “hurried sexual encounter” occurred without violence? Perhaps that is what D.S.K. meant when he admitted in the first minute of the interview that the encounter was a “moral fault” that he continues to regret, but I doubt it. For D.S.K., it was a fault “towards my wife, my children, my friends, but also a fault towards the French people.” The fault, then, unfolds from getting caught and not from the deed itself. The essence of the scandal is the abuse of power to satisfy and hide sexual whims, and remains, for D.S.K. at least, neither a legal nor a moral fault. His fault is one of appearances. With a French public largely unsatisfied by his interview, it is in terms of appearances that he is forced to account, serving his time until voters allow him back into politics. The legal system strives to ensure that the use of force remains in the hands of the law’s own operatives. Without evidence of violent force against a helpless individual, our only recourse to punish offensive behavior is to see through attempts made by offenders to convince us of their innocence. BEN TUCKER ’13 is unconvinced.
06 OCTOBER 2011
CUNNINGHAM The future of Merce Cunningham’s Choreographic Legacy by Lizzie Feidelson illustration by Cecilia Salama
ust before his death in July 2009, groundbreaking choreographer Merce Cunningham laid out a detailed master plan for the future of his company and work. A groundbreaking plan for the preservation and protection of his choreographic legacy. It involves a final, two-year world tour of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, after which the company will officially disband, and the creation of a massive digital archive of fifty “Dance Capsules,” the rights to which will be available for purchase through the newly-created Merce Cunningham Trust. Composed of video footage and notes on choreography, costume designs, lighting plots and production notes, these “Capsules” contain everything dancers of the future will need to recreate one of Cunningham’s masterpiece dances. But without a company or a choreographer, whether or not Cunningham’s dances live on as dances (and not films and photographs of dances) depends on whether dancers are willing to pay for costly access to these “Dance Capsules.” The sheer feasibility of relearning Cunningham’s complex and unique work
from digital resources is also still untested. This fall, former Cunningham company member Daniel Squire spent three weeks teaching sections of Cunningham repertory to Brown students. On October 14-16, this choreography will be performed as part of an interdisciplinary collaboration with costumes created by RISD Apparel Design. Set pieces and a live improvised score will also be performed by Brown students. But as the closure of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company draws near, the question as to the practical fate of Cunningham’s work is only just beginning to play out. A LEAP IS A LEAP Merce Cunningham consistently evades classification. He took much of his movement idiom from classical vocabulary, but placed none of ballet’s emphasis on symmetry or proscenium facing. Yet Cunningham also rejected the idea that dance’s purpose was to tell stories or represent emotion, unlike reigning 20thcentury modern choreographer Martha Graham. Her dances followed the narrative arc of Greek myths. He also differed sharply from choreographic revolutionar-
ies of the Judson Church movement in the 1960s-70s, in which choreographers like Yvonne Rainer and Deborah Hay used untrained dancers to perform everyday, “pedestrian” movement like walking, hopping, and crawling. His movement is swift, stately, and technically virtuosic, requiring of his dancers impeccable balance, stunning speed, and uncanny ability for sudden rhythmic and directional shifts. It is rigorous and unadorned, lacking ballet’s flourishes or other romantic embellishments; Cunningham’s movement seeks to be simply and flawlessly itself. As he put it, “a leap is a leap.” Much of the genius and difficulty of his movement lies in his use of chance. Cunningham often flipped coins, rolled dice, or used the 64 hexagrams of the Chinese divination method I Ching to decide how his dances would be constructed. He might assign six body parts to six faces of a die, and then roll to see how chance would produce completely original combination of torso, arms, legs, and head. Then he might roll a die to see how many dancers would be onstage, which direction they would face, and how far and how fast they would travel. Thus his dances are often
counter-intuitive to dancers’ bodies and to audiences’ expectations of how movement sequences will begin, end, and be arranged on a stage. Cunningham also has a revolutionary approach to the relationship of music and dance. Developed alongside his life partner and constant collaborator the avantgarde composer John Cage, Cunningham never choreographed “to” music, or depended on music for movement cues or timing. Instead, he allowed musicians to play music that was totally unrelated to the movement onstage—resulting in frequent dissonance, occasional humor, and unexpected grace. When collaborating with composers like Cage, or visual artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, Cunningham insisted that each element of the performance—choreography, music, lights, costumes, and sets—be developed independently and put together only on the night of the first performance. A COMPANY WITHOUT A CHOREOGRAPHER IS LIKE A… There is no widespread consensus as to the best method for handling a choreographer’s work after their death. Some com-
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
panies have gone on to commission work from new choreographers, such as the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, thriving under its third artistic director since Ailey’s death in 1989. The fate of Martha Graham’s company is the most legendary debacle in modern dance history. Late in life, while descending into the depths of alcoholism, Martha Graham willed the rights to all her work to her friend Ron Protas, who then refused her company the right to ever perform her work again. A bitter and public lawsuit entailed. The court’s decision went against precedent, handing the rights back to Graham’s company. Asserting that choreographic rights do not necessarily belong to the choreographer, the Graham fiasco intensified the pressure on choreographers to come up with plans for the legal protection of their work. These legal concerns exemplify the belief that the integrity of a piece of dance lies in maintaining its original choreography. Without careful regulation of rights to the work, it might be restaged incorrectly or sloppily, or simply lost. On the other hand, the dances possess an inherent requirement of repeated performance. Equally as important to their artistic integrity is the ability to see them performed on the stage—a dance is a dance, not a video of one. For a particular dance to survive requires that it both be performed again in present circumstance and that it not deviate too much from its original form. Perhaps more than any other choreographer of his time, Cunningham understood the ephemeral nature of dance as inherent to the medium. “Dance gives you nothing back,” he famously said, “no manuscripts to store away, no paintings to hang in museums, nothing but that single fleeting moment when you feel alive.” A DISTINCTLY EPHEMERAL ART Unlike live art forms like theater and music, dance has no accepted form of written notation. It is an oral tradition, relying on transmission from dancer to dancer. Even with a dancer’s keen physical memory, the exact steps to specific dances are devilishly hard to retain. Yet the distinctiveness of a particular dance work lies in high physical specificity and precision.
To this end, video technology is surprisingly insufficient—better for memory aid than learning a dance from scratch. It is incredibly difficult to pick up the complicated mechanics of specific dance movements from video recording alone. Video captures a performance, not a dance, and mimicking the way a movement looks onscreen is not the same as understanding how to perform it in all its dynamic complexity. The functionality of the “Dance Capsules” is much less certain without the presence of knowledgeable experts who can interpret and teach the material. Patricia Lent, Director of Repertory Licensing and a former Cunningham dancer who was instrumental in creating the Dance Capsules, told The Independent that input and expertise of real flesh-and-blood Cunningham dancers is the “Dance Capsules’” necessary final ingredient for successful recreation of his work. “The main training you get [to recreate Cunningham’s work]…is from doing the work. You get it from working new dancers into a piece. There’s constant reconstruction going on in a company.” For now, when dance companies and schools purchase rights to a “Dance Capsule,” they will also pay additional fees for a visit from a reconstructor, one of several former Cunningham dancers, who will be hired on a freelance basis, whenever there is interest, to interpret the available archival materials and teach the work to dancers. Said Lent, “You go twenty years from now and you want to restage the work, and there isn’t anybody who knew Merce, or who worked with Merce, or who ever learned his choreography, and the question is—how do you train them? I don’t have an answer for that right now.” AN ENDANGERED DANCE FORM While the “Dance Capsules” supposedly balance simultaneous needs for replication and authenticity with a plethora of digital materials, their effectiveness in the long run is debatable, especially when the living resources for Cunningham’s work will no longer be maintained. After the closure of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, no dancers will be employed full-time to dance his work. Cunningham
has provided for severance packages for his dancers to ease their transitions into jobs with other dance companies or careers as solo artists. Some, of course, will continue to work with his choreography by taking restaging jobs, but this won’t be their primary form of income, and these dancers, too, will eventually retire. Some Cunningham dancers will also continue teaching classes in his style at dance studios in New York City. But the Merce Cunningham Studio, the school devoted entirely to teaching his technique, has announced that lack of funding will soon force it to close. For decades, this school functioned to train dancers who eventually might join the company. Thousands of other students gained exposure to Cunningham’s work through the many high quality classes offered there. Going forward, young dancers will learn a significant amount of Cunningham’s work through classes in other dance schools and residencies like the one at Brown this fall, but several weeks or even months of intensive study is simply not comparable to being trained exclusively in his technique. With the studio’s closure, no new dancers will be trained to dance Cunningham’s work with the degree of skill and understanding that veterans of his company now possess. So while the innovative “Dance Capsules” supposedly provide a 21st-century solution to the problem of preserving dance, those required to give the “Capsules” life are a dying breed. Like an endangered language, the physical fluency of Cunningham’s technique will slowly become extinct if it is not taught to new speakers. SOMETHING BIGGER Patricia Lent spent months trying to devise a way for the studio to remain open. She courted surrounding universities for potential partnerships with the studio, but found no takers. “It makes me sad,” Lent told The Independent, “I wouldn’t be truthful if I told you I was a hundred percent happy with the way things turned out.” In addition to training new students, the studio is home to Cunningham devotees long after their training ends. “I’d love to keep taking class there for the rest of my life,” said Lent. “But I couldn’t find a way
to make that happen.” She focused instead on making sure that Cunningham technique will be taught somewhere in New York City. Recently, the Cunningham Dance Foundation announced that Cunningham technique classes will continue at the Mark Morris studio in Brooklyn and at City Center. It’s still no Cunningham Studio, but Lent is optimistic. “Rather than make people come to the studio, we’ll try and take the technique to where people are!” She said. “We’ll see if we can build new interest in the work and the technique. The idea for the future is to start small, and then if we need to get bigger, we’ll build something bigger.” A CUNNINGHAM COLLABORATION One place Cunningham’s work currently flourishes is at Brown. On October 1416, Brown and RISD students will join forces to create an interdisciplinary performance of Cunningham’s work, called a MinEvent, composed according to the distinct creative process he used throughout his career. Sixteen Brown student dancers, set designer Cecilia Salama (B’12), eleven RISD Apparel Design students, and three musicians led by MEME phD student and former sound engineer for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Stephan Moore, will wait to combine the pieces of the performance until the final tech next Thursday. At Brown this semester, Merce Cunningham’s historic body of work and masterful artistic process are generating new collaboration, and Brown/RISD students are putting one possible future of Cunningham’s work into action. LIZZIE FEIDELSON B’11.5 wants you to see it for yourself next weekend: go to www.brown.edu/tickets.
06 OCTOBER 2011
OCCUPY ART Labor dispute erupts at Sotheby’s by Ana Alvarez
ver 40 professional art handlers and supporters rallied on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art last Tuesday during the museum’s second annual “Multicultural Gala,” a fundraising event meant to inspire collaboration between the museum’s diverse constituencies. The protest is the latest development in a lockout of unionized art handlers, who oversee the transportation, handling, and care of Sotheby’s Auction House priceless art objects, that began on July 29. That night, while Met board members and Sotheby’s board advisors Michael David Weill and Caroll Petrie were inside celebrating diversity in the arts, the art handlers, who are mostly from minority groups, were fighting to be let back into their workplace. LOCKED OUT The Sotheby’s labor dispute began almost two months ago when the auction house announced new contract agreements that would substantially reduce art handlers’ benefits. The new contract proposed by Sotheby’s asked that the current art handlers, some of whom have been working the auction house for over 40 years, give up their 401 K retirements plans. Additionally, Sotheby’s proposed a 10% wage cut, a limit on workers’ overtime, and eliminating certain positions that earn higher wages. The auction house even asked workers to give up on their right to sue the company for reasons of discrimination. As Teamster Local 814 president Jason Ides told the Independent, “they have made over a hundred changes to the contract including new work rules. To sum it up they want to gut the union contract and take a lot of money out of their members when they are doing well.” Sotheby’s is effectively trying to de-unionize its workforce, asking that all new hires to relinquish most of their health and retirement benefits. When Teamsters Local 814, the union that represents art handlers, refused to sign the contract, Sotheby’s told all 43
of its art handlers on July 29th that they would not be allowed to return to work the following week. In their place, Sotheby’s has hired less-experienced, non-unionized workers. Ide explains, “[The lock out] wasn’t our idea, they did this and we think they are putting the property at risk. It’s a bad call putting your experienced people out on the street and bringing in temporary workers come in to do their jobs.” Since then, Sotheby’s art handlers have been effectively locked out from their jobs, and despite attempted negotiations the auction house has refused to concede. “They are not really moving from their position,” Ide adds. In a statement, the auction house defended their decision to lock out workers, blaming them for interfering with the auction house’s upcoming fall season. The statement reads, “Given the union’s repeated threats of a strike in their many statements to the media during our negotiations…we have had to make alternative arrangements, as we cannot be unprepared for a strike that could have happened at any time.” When asked to respond to Sotheby’s allegations, Ide replied, “They said they are willing to take as much time as it needed to get a fair contract to the workers, but apparently as much time as they needed meant locking us out since July, so this came as a shock.” “SOTHEBY’S: BAD FOR ART” These staggering cuts in workers’ rights and pay come during Sotheby’s most profitable year since it was established 267 years ago. This year alone, the auction house garnered gross profits of over $680 million dollars. According to the union, Sotheby’s CEO Bill Ruprecht, reportedly makes $30,000 a day. Sotheby’s attributed the top-flight profits this year to the growth in the Asian art market, and consequently gave employees working in that filed a net $12 million raise. Art handlers have been enraged at Sotheby’s decision to cut the benefits of its workers who are arguably in most need while still
having money to raise wages. “I guess like a lot of people in America,” Ide said, “we thought that when a company did well they wouldn’t be going this route.” In an interview with ArtInfo, Ruprecht claimed that even though it had its most profitable year, there was also a rise in expense. However, the rise in expense was mostly due to the rise in compensation for only some of its workers. ArtInfo noted that in the interview, Ruprecht did not mention the locked out art handlers or how the labor dispute would affect Sotheby’s earnings. Since the lockout, workers have been picketing at Sotheby’s headquarters in the Upper East Side, shouting “Union Power,” handing out leaflets, and holding banners that read, “Sotheby’s: Bad for Art” and “End the War on Workers.” “One things we made sure to do is to go to some of their top clients and make sure they are aware of what’s going on and ask for their support,” Ide added. Posters depict wellknown art pieces from artists like Rene Magritte or van Gogh with tears and rips, presenting what they claim can happen if Sotheby’s hires inexperienced handlers to take care of valuable works of art, and tarnished masterpieces, along with Sotheby’s reputation. So far, Ide said they have gotten some “positive messages” from Sotheby’s clients. More importantly, Ide revealed that the art handlers’ plight will soon become an international fight. “We are doing some hand billing in Hong Kong and London and there are going to be protest at Sotheby’s around the world,” Ide added. “The Teamsters union has a pretty long arm.” OCCUPIED WITH ART Art handlers aren’t the only ones that are concerned with the lockout. On September 22, nine protestors affiliated with the ongoing protest called “Occupy Wall Street” disrupted a Sotheby’s mid-season contemporary auction in a show of solidarity with the locked out workers. Two weeks ago, protestors gathered in the
park under the banner of “Occupy Wall Street.” Although the movement has no clear leader, the protestors claim that they are fighting corporate greed and irresponsibility that has garnered Wall Street bankers millions in profit at the expense of working-class America. In the auction house, One by one, the Occupy Wall Street activists stood up during the auction to announce Sotheby’s recent treatment of its art handlers. As a YouTube video of the incident posted by Occupy Wall Street shows, each activist was swiftly escorted outside of the auction room, only to be succeeded by another. One of the protestors stood mid-bidding and yelled “This is disgusting! Art is about truth.” Another activist, who was wearing a shirt that read “Greed kills” clamored that the “greed in this building is a direct example of the corporate greed that has ruined our economy.” “I’m really glad that lot of these folk that are speaking out against corporate greed are seeing that this is a prime example of corporate greed in New York,” Ide said. According to a statement from Occupy Wall Street, the supporters of the occupation sided with the locked out workers, congratulating their fight for worker’s rights and noting that Sotheby’s unfair treatment was just another example of corporate greed. “Sotheby’s art auctions epitomize the disconnect of the extremely wealthy from the rest of us,” the statement reads. The future of the locked out workers is uncertain at best. With no sign of budging from either side, it is unclear when or even if the locked out handlers will be able to return to their jobs. “We are just trying to make sure that we have a secure retirement for the future,” Ide explained. “If management need more help then the 43 art handlers, we just want them to go to trained union people.” Beyond those demands, these art handlers, like many other Americans, simply want to get back to work. ANA ALVAREZ B’13 is good for art.
Want us to figure out what your moon or rising sign is? Tweet @INDYOCCULT .
CAPRICORN GAGA: Money Honey Capricorns are the most successful of the signs, hardworking, honest and earnest. You’d make a good politician. However, we’ve never identified with you (we’re a cusp!) since you’re kind of... plain. From July 2009 until this July, due to eclipses in Cancer and Capricorn, you’ve gone through a massive re-invention process. And beware, the night of the drag-party, October 27th, Capricorn’s Pluto will link to Taurus’s Jupiter, so look out for the Bull in a dress.
Pisces -- try to find more rock and roll in your life. You’re all wishy-washy these days, taking yourself to bed early and doing laundry regularly. It’s time for some action. ARIES GAGA: So Happy I Could Die Confident but stubborn for the sake of being stubborn, Aries always get what they want. Mars passes through your sensitivity for adventure and speculation. So, despite rampant speculation and advice from others, its time to take your own bull by the horns and do whats right for you. We see you hitching a ride down to the Wall Street protests (but don’t mention your interview at Barclays).
AQUARIUS GAGA: Born This Way It’s the Age of Aquarius. Creative, weird and generally spacey, Aquariums are always the artists of the group. Attractively airy, don’t try to pin them down: they’re got commitment issues. You’re love of fall -- new gel pens, tweed jackets -- will reinvigorate you once again. You’ll really hit your stride hot-gluing your Halloween costume, but don’t commit to a joint costume too early: an enemy lurks.
TAURUS GAGA: Monster When arguing with Tauruses, one must know how invested the Bull is in the discussion. Their core beliefs never change, but they’re willing to think and accommodate others for things that don’t matter to them. You homebodies are always sticking to the plan. This month, you’ll be tempted by an indulgence. Be moderate, but don’t constrain yourself. Froyo won’t kill you.
PISCES: GAGA: Telephone Pisces get along with everyone -- and I mean, everyone -- except for Aries. They’re fluid, so they’re the most accommodating friend you’ve got, but watch out for their clinginess.
GEMINI GAGA: Poker Face Witty and talkative, Geminis are the social butterflies of the zodiac. They’re fun and good natured, but don’t take their word at face value. Gemini, sorry, but you’ve got a lot of work to do
by Alexandra Corrigan this October. What you’ve got to focus on is molding your work or career out of something you love anyway. CANCER GAGA: Dance In the Dark Being around a Cancer can be like walking on eggshells. When not moody and sensitive, they’re the sweetest, most transparent depressive you know. September was not totally ideal and your biggest concern with be something with your home-life. LEO GAGA: Beautiful, Dirty, Rich This planet-reader doubts Leo’s stereotype—we’ve never met two alike. That said, Leos are known to be extroverted, gregarious and indulgent. Play sick October 13th. Skip the Japanese Ambassador’s talk and just order Sakura delivery. Chill, invest in academia, and realize that without his ironic mustache, that boy is not with your time. VIRGO GAGA: Scheibe Virgos are like everyone’s hyper-rational exboyfriend: overly intellectual, they’re fabulous at writing a paper, analyzing the pros/cons of the movie, and exhausting your patience for criticism. All of your assumptions about money are going out the window. Consistently low-paid and appreciated, your job has just evaporated into an unpaid internship in secretarial work. You gotta work it out, step it up, and apply out.
LIBRA GAGA: Summerboy Libras are really “balanced”, which we think means boring. Nice though, they’re always your roommate’s chill boyfriend who you’ll happily third-wheel to drinks. Y’all are so anxious these days! The friendly sign can expect a surprise windfall and an autumn sweetheart. SCORPIO GAGA: Paparazzi Scorpios are intense, guarded and deeply faithful. If you’re friends with one, it’s for life -- whether you like it or not. Also, they’re really sexual -ahem -- “passionate”. Scorpio! You’re missing the value of what you have and pining over what is. Yes, your new boy toy is at home posting photobooth pictures on facebook instead of seeing you. But can’t you just appreciate a good make-out in Ruth Simmons’ yard at 2 am? SAGITTARIUS GAGA: Just Dance Sag, you defrost our cold, bitter heart. Philosophical, intelligent and athletic, we’ve never met a Sagittarius that we don’t like. Your fault? You tend to leave people in the dust, moving on to new adventures. Sagitarius, welcome to a high contrast month. You’re a mutable sign, though, so you’ll adapt. Lots of changes will find you.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
PO-LICE, MILLIONAIRE’S TAX, TIM GEITHNER, AND MACE An interview with Occupy Wall Street Police Brutality Victim Jeanne Mansfield Conducted by Kate Welsh Illustration by Robert Sandler
week ago, NYPD Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna pepper sprayed 23 year old Jeanne Mansfield and two other women in the face in a now notorious incident in the unfolding story of Occupy Wall Street. Videos of the macing have gone viral, and Mansfield and her companions are suing the NYPD. Mansfield had not intended to write about Occupy Wall Street. A recent graduate of Boston University, she had been following the movement on the Internet for a few weeks prior to visiting New York. She said that she had decided to stop by because the participants were saying things “that I had been thinking about the banks, about the politics, about the media.” When she relayed her experience to her editors at the Boton Review, they insisted that she write an op-ed. Occupy Wall Street is a grassroots populist campaign that has relied heavily on publicity generated by Facebook and Twitter. It began three weeks ago when a small group camped around Wall Street to protest the role of financial institutions in the economic crisis, unemployment, and corporate lobbying. It has since spread to the Los Angeles City Hall, downtown Boston, and outside the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago. The idea, according to its website, was to camp out for weeks or months to replicate the Arab Spring protests. On the group’s website, they describe themselves as a “leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99 percent that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1 percent.” The unspoken one percent refers to corporations, banks, and the insurance and mortgage industries. The 99 percent refers to everyone else. The demands of the movement are difficult to pinpoint, and—though this may change as protests spread to cities as disparate as Memphis, Baltimore, and Hilo, Hawaii—its imprecision has made it vulnerable to characterization as a shallow imitation of the civil rights and antiwar demonstrations of the 1960s. Also, as with many post-Reagan left-wing protests, Occupy Wall Street has been leveled with charges of hypocrisy (Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial columnist for the New York Times, wryly noted protesters using a Bank of America ATM). However, the movement has clearly tapped a vein of disgust with the current state of political affairs, and has brought together seasoned civil rights advocates, crusaders against capitalism, and young people frustrated by steep student debt and lack of job prospects. It remains to be seen whether Occupy Wall Street—a movement that rejects leadership—will have staying power. After being pepper sprayed, Mansfield insisted, “I love cops… but the experience only makes me wish I’d done something more to deserve it.” Independent: Could you provide a brief summary of what happened when you went to protest at Occupy Wall Street? Jeanne Mansfield: So we went down
intending to find the occupiers in tents, or maybe playing guitars and making anti-corporate signs, but we didn't even make it to Wall Street because we joined the march in progress. It was about 500 people I'd say, though hard to estimate as we were toward the back of the group and couldn't quite see the front. We reached Union Square and [then] we set off again back to Wall Street. At this point the police presence intensified and became aggressive as they unreeled the orange crowd-control netting and began scuttling us into side streets. The cops began making violent arrests in the street, incensing the crowd contained on the sidewalk. After a minute or so of loud shouting from the crowd the cops grabbed kids out of the group to arrest. One police officer in white strode up to the front and maced three girls [including myself] directly in the face. Indy: Are you going to press charges? JM: The girls who were maced directly in the face are suing the city of New York for violation of civil rights. I'm in contact with their lawyer and have decided to join their suit, both to help their cause and try to bring about some sort of policy changes within the NYPD. Indy: Do you see yourself or the other two becoming figureheads for the movement? JM: I definitely would not see myself as becoming a figurehead, and I haven't heard much else from the girls themselves. I think the great thing about the movement is that it doesn't need figureheads, it's surviving and thriving on the lips and in the minds of every American citizen who sees what we see: a wealth and influence disparity that is subverting the democratic process. I think as the days and weeks wear on, we will be seeing more and more people coming out in solidarity with the movement. Indy: Do you plan on continuing your activist work? JM: Yes. Definitely. I'm not sure how comfortable I am being called an "activist", mostly because I feel there are so many people participating in this more "actively" than I am. But the Occupy movement has certainly been a constant presence in my thoughts, and I will continue to help the Occupiers any way I can, even if it's just spreading their message. Indy: What would you say to writers like Ginia Bellafante (author of a New York Times piece published last week that was critical of the movement) who imply that the movement is more spectacle than substance? She wrote that the participants were "pantomiming progressivism rather than [practicing] it." JM: She clearly hasn't been down there for much more than 20 minutes. And she clearly talked to only the craziest people she could find, people who would fit the stereotype she had already decided to write about. I think Bellafante also is manifesting the civic cynicism that character-
izes many of those from the generation that had the misfortune to "come of age" during the Reagan administration. [Occupy Wall Street] is more truly, honestly progressive than anything else going on in American politics today. We will not make the same mistakes of 1968. The very things Bellafante says she did not hear people saying—worrying about "finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out," demanding "the implementation of the Buffett rule or the increased regulation of the financial industry"—are the very things that I am hearing daily from the people down at Occupy Boston. So I suppose to the skeptics I'd say "Come talk to the rest of us, not just the naked ones." If you're only looking for spectacle you'll find it. Indy: A lot has been written about how Occupy Wall Street doesn't have a cohesive message. Do you think this is true? Do you think it matters? JM: Every time someone says that, a little piece of me screams […]. There are a lot of different people down there with a lot of different agendas: there are anarchists, there are libertarians, there are union workers, there are teachers, there are people who've been foreclosed upon. There are people who are bankrupt or defaulting on student loans, or can't feed their families, or have too much education and no jobs, [who] just want Congress to pass the American Jobs Act—all these people have different goals and demands, and the idea is to focus on what they have in common. Indy: Which is what? JM: What they have in common are two things: one, they are frustrated with a financial system that values greed and influence over hard work and honesty, a system that rewards super-wealthy criminals and punishes the poor, [and] two, they are willing to stand up and be counted. They find some solace in going outside and talking to anyone who will listen, because they feel there's nothing left to do […]. This is what democracy looks like when it's broken, when all the traditional channels of politics and media and civil public discourse have failed and broken down and the only thing left to do is, as Howard Beale says in The Network: "Get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!'" Indy: Why do you think that the press has been relatively dismissive of the movement so far? Based on what you saw when you were protesting, do you feel like it will gain momentum? JM: It will definitely gain momentum, and already is [sic.]. I'm not sure I'm totally on board with the Arab Spring parallels— mostly because I think the issues we're fighting are too different, and we're not being murdered in the streets or under the thumb of a brutal dictator—but I think what it does have in common is the snowballing process of any movement that taps
into what the people are thinking and feeling. I think the press will have no choice but to pay attention and I think we're already seeing that come about. Their reasons for being dismissive I think all stem from the assumption that this is a temporary thing, a brief blip on the radar screen of the 24-hour news circuit. But the bigger it gets, the more wrong they become. Indy: Do you think that Occupy Wall Street has the potential to become the left's "Tea Party?" (Van Jones, head of the American Dream Movement, told E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post, “we can learn many important lessons from the achievements of the libertarian, populist right. This [Occupy Wall St] is our “Tea Party” moment—in a positive sense.”) JM: As much as I resist that parallel (emotionally, just based on the "ew" factor), I definitely see how one could make that comparison. I think a huge difference that can't be ignored is the difference between what really is a grassroots leaderless movement, and an astro-turfed outreach project of the super-wealthy to convince [the] average Fox News viewer that their purpose on this earth is to tear down anything with the word "progress" written on it. I certainly can't speak for everyone, because again, as I say, there are a lot of people down there thinking in a lot of different directions, but I think the influence the Tea Party somehow attained just by showing up in public and being upset is actually somewhat encouraging, so [in that sense] I would accept the Tea Party vs. Occupiers comparison. Indy: If you could send a list of demands to the Obama administration and Congress, what would they be? JM: The beautiful thing is that specific demands are not what is binding us together. It is the camaraderie that comes from standing up and being counted. We are taking care of each other, in a way that the free market can never do, [and] we are practicing real democracy in a way that the government is currently incapable. Personally, my list of demands would include passing the American Jobs Act and the millionaire tax, and wanting to see at least some of the people responsible for the financial crisis—who got bailed out and then gave themselves bonuses with American tax dollars—brought to justice. I want to see them treated like the criminals they are, and not like the kings they believe themselves to be. Kate Welsh ’12 is not just a naked one.
06 OCTOBER 2011
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 1. “Eyewitness error played a role in 45 of the first 86 exonerations from death row, and, according to the Innocence Project [an organization dedicated to exonerating prisoners from death row], it is the leading cause of wrongful convictions,” Anne Holsinger of the Death Penalty Information Center told the Independent.
2. Troy Davis was a black man convicted of the murder of a white police officer in the South. The Troy Davis case distills “the precise essence of the use of the death penalty in the twentieth century America,” says David Garland, a professor at NYU law school and author of a recent book on capital punishment, in an interview with the Independent.
3. Proponents of the death penalty argue that there is adequate “quality control” in death sentencing. “It is never a speedy execution,” Garland remarks. “There is a concern to get it right.”
4. Those against capital punishment call the safeguards put in place to prevent execution of innocents “The Big Lie.” Subsequent levels of courts are permitted to review trial records, but rarely is the case retried and the actual evidence re-examined. To Garland, quality control “is shackled by technical limitations.” 5. “Once a defendant is convicted, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecution, who must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, to the defense, who must present clear and compelling evidence of misconduct or errors during the trial,” Holsinger explains.
6. Despite emphasis on the possibility of wrongful execution by those against the death penalty, there has not been a single proven case of executed innocence. While innocence is suspected in some cases, the evidence has never been definitive.
7. The exterior of the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison was surrounded by supporters in protest and candlelight vigil on the night of Davis’s execution. A small group of death penalty supporters was also present.
by Belle Cushing Illustration by Alex Dale
TROY DAVIS That August night was humid. The air stuck to the skin of Officer Mark MacPhail, who had left his daughter and infant son at home to fill his off-duty hours working the graveyard shift as a Burger King security guard. Witnesses would later testify1 that MacPhail, seeing a man being robbed, beaten, and pistol-whipped in an adjacent parking lot, ran to his rescue. He was shot and killed before he reached them. It was Troy Davis2 who pulled the trigger, they would say. The court stenographer would record accounts of Davis’s confession to two different witnesses. Davis was also suspected in another shooting case, read the police reports. A ballistics expert would confirm that the bullets used in the second shooting were the same ones that killed MacPhail. In the decades that followed, the case saw several appeals3, two stays of execution, and continual denials for a retrial4. In these twenty-two years, Davis was unable to prove his innocence. America questioned whether the prosecution had managed to prove his guilt5. Davis’s defense attorneys brandished affidavits signed by witnesses swearing recanted testimony. They called attention to leading interrogation tactics by police investigators, and the questionable credibility of accusations against their client. No definitive proof, cried the defense. “Smoke and mirrors,” dismissed Judge William T. Moore. Murder of an innocent6, insisted both sides. After 203 minutes of deliberation by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, Davis was executed at 11:08 PM on September 21, 20117. Davis looked through the one-way display to where he could only assume was standing the family of his supposed victim. All he saw was a fearfully resigned face staring back at him. "I did not personally kill your son, father, brother. All I can ask is that you look deep into
this case so you can really find the truth. " He then turned to those preparing the lethal cocktail, and gave a final benediction8. "May God have mercy on your souls.” CARLOS DE LUNA Jurors slept soundly the night after Carlos De Luna was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Maria Lopez. He had been found hiding under a truck near the gas station that served as her final resting place. The counter dripped with blood where the store clerk had been stabbed to death while her screams echoed through the receiver to a helpless 911 dispatcher on the other end. Screams that would later echo through a tape recorder in a crowded courtroom. He provided a malleable alibi; he was walking home unaccompanied from a nightclub. Or maybe he was accompanied by an acquaintance. Maybe this acquaintance, another Carlos, Carlos Hernandez, was the true culprit. On December 7, 1989, De Luna thanked the Texas state prison wardens for their kind treatment, prayed with the deathhouse chaplain, and watched a potassium solution bubble into his veins. He died with no last meal9 and no global protest. The case of Maria Lopez was considered closed. Meanwhile, the phantom Carlos Hernandez had a penchant for violence and lurking around gas stations, a knife in his pocket. He jumped from parole boards to procedural hearings, leaving a string of stabbed women in his wake. It was cirrhosis of the liver and not a needle in the arm that put Hernandez to death as he was serving a sentence for assault. His body was brought from the prison to his mother’s home. “Bury him in the ground there,” was her only request, before she slammed the door in the guards’ faces. One morning, the pages of the Chi-
8. Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, and former FBI Director William Sessions were among those who called for clemency for Troy Davis.
9. In September of 2011, Texas ended the practice of granting death row inmates a last meal before their execution. The decision came in response to onn overly extravagant request, and was spearheaded by Senator John Whitmire, who cited a blatant waste of prison resources. Lawrence Brewer, condemned to die for the hate crime of dragging James Byrd Jr., to death requested two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; a pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; a pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers. Prison workers prepared the meal, but Brewer chose not to eat it.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
10. Today, 34 states retain the death penalty and over 3,000 inmates across the country are waiting on death row.
11. Texas has executed 475 convicts since re-instatement of the death penalty in 1976.
12. Supreme Court Justice Scalia, a known proponent of the death penalty’s constitutionality, wrote in an opinion to Kansas vs. Marsh that “one cannot have a system of criminal punishment without accepting the possibility that someone will be punished mistakenly.” To Scalia, execution of innocents is a necessary margin
cago Tribune fell open to reveal the exhumed cases of the two men named Carlos. The story dug up by investigative reporters revealed phone calls with unpursued evidence against Hernandez. It was reported that Hernandez had confessed to the crime while in jail. De Luna spent six years awaiting execution10. He fixed shoes in a prison shop, and sniffed the glue used for mending to get high. He only ever blamed himself for ending up on death row. "I sometimes sit here at night, and I cry to myself, and I wonder how could I have ever let some stupid thing like this happen because of a friend who did it and I kept my mouth shut about it all. But I don't blame anyone but myself…that is why I accept it if the state of Texas11 decides to execute me12." ROGER COLEMAN Wanda McCoy was nineteen when she was raped and nearly beheaded in a bloody stabbing on March 10, 1981. Black coal dust blanketed her mangled body. The door to her home did not appear to have be forced. That night, her brother-in-law was fired from his job at a coal mine. His pants would be found spattered with and then tested for Type O blood. Though he claimed to still have been at work at the time of the murder, though there was no conclusive evidence to pin him at the scene, though evidence arose later that maybe the door was in fact forced, one puzzle piece was fit forcedly with another, and Roger Coleman was convicted for rape and murder. For eleven years on the state of Virginia’s death row, Coleman lived the life of a celebrated martyr. His face haunted the country’s conscience on the cover of Times magazine under a headline reading ‘This Man Might Be Innocent. This Man Is Due to Die.’ An average, middle-aged white man, bespectacled and entirely relatable, became a victim. From within the
frames of countless television sets, he supplicated captive living room spectators in interviews conducted from death row by the Today Show, Larry King Live, Good Morning America. Coleman spent his final hours with James McCloskey, a private investigator and abolitionist who had devoted his own life to efforts to free this wrongfully convicted13. As a last meal, they shared slices of cold pizza. "An innocent man is going to be murdered tonight,” Coleman proclaimed from under the gurney straps, still with dignity, still equanimity. “When my innocence is proven, I hope America will realize the injustice of the death penalty as all other civilized countries have14." McCloskey kept up the fight beyond the death chamber, never losing sight of Coleman’s cause. DNA does not lie. DNA would be the proof Coleman had needed to clear his name. When McCloskey appealed to the Virginia governor for a test of the semen left in Wanda McCoy’s body, he believed he had finally fulfilled the mission of his ministry15. The match came back positive. Coleman was guilty. EPILOGUE Stories can teach lessons, spin nightmares16, lull children17 to sleep. The wolf donned a suit of wool; the King turned his daughter to gold; and then there were none and they all lived happily ever after. Listener and narrator alike search for a moral in these tales, rules by which to shape lives unregulated, by which to predict and prepare for future decisions. Man will be born and he will continue to die18, and in this time stories will always be told19. BELLE CUSHING B’13 would request a Black Label burger for her last meal.
13. Those who call for the end of the death penalty are called abolitionists, bringing to mind anti-slavery crusaders and an unsettling comparison to another fight to alter the Constitution of the United States.
14. America is the last “first-world” country to retain use of the death penalty.
15. Organizations such as Centurion Ministries (Executive Director, James McCloskey) and the Innocent Project work to exonerate suspected innocents from death row.
16. “Innocence is the nightmare of the death penalty,” says Garland. “You can’t redeem that mistake.”
17. It was only in 2005 that the execution of those under the age of 18 at the time of the crime was declared unconstitutional (Roper v. Simmons).
18. “If the Supreme Court leaves full jurisdiction over the retention of the death penalty to individual states, Texas will have the death penalty forever.” (David Garland) 19. “So much has been written and said on the subject of capital punishments that it seems almost like presumptive vanity to pursue the topic any further.” –Philadelphia Repertory newspaper, 1812.
15 S P O R T S
06 OCTOBER 2011
FORWARD DOWN THE FIELD
A Fan’s Struggle with the Detroit Lions
otown legend Marvin Gaye released his landmark single What’s Going On in January 1971. Everyone knows the smooth report of Gaye’s voice, but most won’t recognize the voices in the background. And they wouldn’t be expected to. Gaye enlisted two unknowns, his friends and former Detroit Lions players: Lem Barney and Mel Farr. The year before, Gaye began training in hopes to try out for the Lions. Never playing organized sports before in his life, he bulked up almost 30 pounds, aiming to play wide receiver. However, the Lions’ head coach Joe Schmidt rejected Gaye over fear of putting him in harms way, stating that, “If I could sing like you, I certainly wouldn’t want to play football.” But everything seemed to work out fine for the legendary Gaye in the long run. Yet the same can’t be said for the Lions, who have been far from legendary for more than 50 years. The franchise began in 1929 as the Portsmouth Spartans. They moved to the Motor City in 1934 and changed their name because, according to a team spokesperson at the time, “the lion is the monarch of the jungle, and we hope to be the monarch of the league.” The Lions attempted to merit this title, creating the Thanksgiving Day football game their first year in Detroit. But the Lions have yet to come close to the team’s early ambition. Some call it “The Curse of Bobby Layne:” after trading Layne in 1958, he allegedly cursed the team, saying they would “not win for 50 years.” Prior to his trade, Layne brought the Lions three NFL Championships. During those 50 years, the Lions had the worst winning percentage in the NFL. But now, Layne’s curse has become an understatement. It’s been 53 years now without an appearance by the Lions in the Super Bowl, reaching no closer than a 41-10 blowout in the NFC Conference Championship in 1991. And
more recently, in 2008, the Lions became laughing stock of the league by becoming the first team in NFL history to go a perfect 0-16 in the regular season, losing every one of their games. Other teams have experienced prolonged periods of failure: the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. Yet, to their fans, they’ve become known as the “loveable losers.” The Lions, on the other hand, would be better named Detroit’s “hateable losers.” Nobody wanted to be a Lions fan after 2008. This may be changing. The Lions are currently undefeated and a hot pick amongst some observers to contend for the Super Bowl. I can’t see it this way just yet. The history of my family and the Lions tells me to be on my guard.
Back when my grandfather began watching the Lions, I don’t think he could’ve imagined the train wreck the Lions would become. He witnessed what one could call their “Golden Age,” watching the Lions win three NFL Championships. But his children weren’t so lucky. “That’s it. I’m finished. I’m done. I will never watch these bums again.” Those were the defeated words of my Uncle Jimbo following the 1980 Thanksgiving Day game. After watching the Lions collapse and surrender the lead late in the 4th quarter, he stayed true to these words, never watching or supporting the Lions again until he passed away. His younger brothers had long since given up on the Lions: Ron hopped on the Miami Dolphins bandwagon in the ‘70s and John has been a fan of the Rams since they played in Los Angeles. Likewise, my Aunt Judi began following the Minnesota Vikings in the ’60s, citing their “toughness and defense” but more so the fact that “they always beat the Lions.” For her the decision was simple: “If you live in De-
by Nick Catoni Illustration by Robert Sandler
troit, you always gotta have a backup.” My father, on the other hand, doesn’t have a backup: he has always stood by the Lions. He lived through the mediocre ’70s and ’80s, sharing in the defeat of that 1980 Thanksgiving Day. In the ’90s, he saw the greatest years in recent Lions history: the Barry years. Arguably the greatest running back of all time, Barry Sanders carried the Lions to five playoff appearances in the ’90s. Barry brought the Lions their only playoff victory since winning the 1957 NFL Championship: a satisfying blowout of the Cowboys in the opening round, 38-6. But these successes only made the subsequent failures hurt more; unable to carry the Lions to the Super Bowl, Barry retired in 1998 saying, “the culture of losing in the Lions organization was too much to deal with.” When I came into the picture, I gave my father a companion in misery as we watched arguably the worst decade for any team in any sport. From 2001 to 2010, the Lions had no winning seasons, with an overall record of 39-121. Through 2001 to 2003, the Lions lost 24 consecutive road games and surpassed their own record in 2010, with 26 consecutive road losses. From 2002 to 2006, they had six first round draft choices, five in the top ten overall. But none of these picks are still on the team, and only a few are still in the NFL. Through all this, I’ve watched my father whip numerous items at the television – hats, stuffed animals, etc. – out of disgust for the Lions. My family bought him a set of small foam footballs, for the T.V.’s sake. Needless to say, they’re used every Sunday. And it’s not just fans that the Lions curse, it’s anyone that gets close to the franchise: no Lions head coach has ever gone on to be a head coach again. Horrifically, the Lions have even been morbid: late wide receiver Chuck Hughes is the only player in NFL history to have died on
the field and two Lions players have been paralyzed on the turf, Mike Utley and Reggie Brown. During these years of failure, my father and I haven’t questioned our dedication to the Lions. We dream of a Super Bowl victory, but he doesn’t think the team will ever win one in his lifetime. I’ll ask him what he would do if this ever happens. He always answers: “I’d run up and down the street naked.”
And this season, things seem to be different. The Lions are winning, on the cusp of a 5-0 start, all of the misery of the last 53 years seems to be in the distant past to fans and sports analysts. They’ve ignored the Lion’s history, predicting a playoff berth and, in some cases, a trip to the Super Bowl. As diehard fans our entire lives, it’s been funny to watch. We’ve been trained to expect the worst, even when the Lions are winning. Yet the other day, we talked about the Lions optimistically for what must have been the first time in my life. Our team hosts the Packers – division rivals and defending Super Bowl Champions – on Thanksgiving Day this year. Both teams could be battling for the division title, if the Lions continue to win. He said that, since he was a child, the joy of Thanksgiving Day hinged on the Lions: turkey just doesn’t taste as good when they lose. The turkey might taste good this year. But even with these four wins, we’re not letting our hopes get too high. Nothing came of a 4-0 start in 1980. We’re just happy the Lions have already won one game: at least there won’t be another winless season. NICK CATONI ’14 bleeds Honolulu Blue and Silver.
16 S C I E N C E
06 OCTOBER 2011
REM No longer for your eyes only… scientists recreate movie scenes from brain activity
n the final scene of Inception, we are faced with the question, “Is this real life, or is it all a dream?” Inception, like countless other Hollywood movies, suggests a scientific ability to tap into dreams, memories, and other manifestations of what we can see in our mind’s eye. While we associate this with science fiction, Berkeley scientists may have found a way to tap into our dreams, or have at least come across the first step to understanding our visual functioning. These scientists have obtained a quantitative insight into the brain activity that facilitates dynamic processes such as dreaming, perception, hallucinations, and visual imagery. They have made the old Hollywood trope of tapping into someone’s mind into a reality by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and computerized models of brain activity stimulated by visual patterns. With technology like this, the scientists hope to communicate with stroke victims and even the comatose, introducing a myriad of medical possibilities. VISIONARIES Because we capture and process several images per second and piece them together into a fluid visual stream, Shinji Nishimoto and his fellow researchers were faced with a problem. The fMRI technology measures blood oxygen leveldependent (BOLD) signals, but can only model brain activity in response to still images because it does not process our brain signals as quickly as they are activated by stimuli in normal waking vision. In order to capture brain signals stimulated by watching videos, researchers developed two key innovations: a new motion-energy encoding model that could be used with the fMRI technology, and a way to train the program to associate brain signals with certain images, like training a child to associate the letter “A” with an apple. The motion-energy encoding model interprets the separate nerve cells stimulated by the video in order to recover bits of information that are then used to piece together the images being viewed by the subject. The second innovation involves over a million sample movie clips embedded into a decoding program called the Bayesian decoding framework. Essentially, the subjects—Nishimoto and two other research team members—viewed YouTube clips while in an MRI scanner for hours and had the blood flow through their visual cortex measured by fMRI. The fMRI fed their brain activity into a computer program
by Jessica Mitter Illustration by Robert Sandler
that scanned through several pre-loaded movie clips and pieced together the clips that it believed were closest to what the subjects had seen, recreating, with some fuzziness, exactly what the subjects had watched. The scientists even figured out how to reconstruct color, though image quality is not as clear as the original. The technology is astonishingly accurate, with the motion-energy encoding model correctly observing the BOLD signal 95% of the time. Even when the set included 1,000,000 movie clips chosen at random from the internet, the identification accuracy was over 75% for all three test subjects. FUTURE APPLICATIONS The researchers say that the technique, which projects what we view by measuring our brain activity, could be the gateway to see into the minds of those who cannot communicate verbally. The method the scientists would use is not explicitly outlined in the study, but their study asserts that comatose patients, stroke victims and people with neurodegenerative diseases should theoretically be able to have the images they see in their minds recreated by further innovation of their discovery. The models of dynamic mental events may also be able to serve as tools for psychiatric diagnosis. The technology is expected to be a stepping-stone to brain-machine interfaces that would allow people with paralysis or cerebral palsy to guide computers with their minds. Professor Jack Gallant, a UC Berkeley neuroscientist and co-author of the study, acknowledges the breakthrough his researchers have made, revealing that they “are opening a window into the movies in our minds.” Although this may sound like the plot of a horror movie about mad scientists, the researchers’ goal seems to be rational. However, as the technology becomes more advanced, there is no doubt that brain-probing and mind-reading will raise many moral questions and remain a hot topic for bioethicists. To see a video of the reconstructions, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM A23JJ1M1o&feature=player_embedded Citation: Nishimoto et al., Reconstructing Visual Experiences from Brain Activity Evoked by Natural Movies, Current Biology (2011), doi:10.1016/j. cub.2011.08.031
06 OCTOBER 2011
THIGHS AND THUNDER by Edward Friedman Sometimes when he was lonely and tired and depressed his
What had her words been exactly? You need to lose weight.
gigantic thighs would talk to him, whisper sweet nothings
I slept with your [little] brother. I’ll take you back or rather let
into his ears and softly knead his genitals. When it was a girl
you take me back if you want, but come on— have some self-re-
he would throw on Janis Joplin and mourn his loss and sing
spect. Something like that.
along about taking another piece of his heart— he would really
He shaved, cut his nails, took a shower. Naked, he looked in
belt. All the while his big, soft, forgiving, faithful thighs would
the mirror. He’d lost a little definition in his week of inactivity,
comfort him. Once he spent many days in this sort of state of
but he’d also definitely lost weight. This was some sort of conso-
terrible anguish. He listened to the Joplin song nearly twenty
five hundred times. And then the anguish and torment faded
“Gaunt heroin chic” his thighs told him, and he smiled. They
slowly into inertia. He didn’t get up because he hadn’t been
were gigantic as ever. Donning a soft jacket over a tee shirt and
getting up. Janis kept singing and his thighs were still loving.
above cotton pants he went outside. Something had been purged
Finally, he got bored of being bored and got up.
of him and her to him. The beauty of her eyes and hair, stomach
His muscles had lost much of their facility, except in the
and bellybutton, breasts and ass no longer held him enchanted.
thighs, which had remained active during the long sulk. But
Objectively appreciable, of course, but emotionally poisonous
his calves, feet, arms, abdominals, etc, wobbled, and he had
and deformed like an old photograph that has warped and faded,
a hard time getting out of the bedroom. Instead of being sin-
not into something interesting and vintage-y, but rather some-
ewy, he was unsinewy. He was jello-y and sore. He stumbled,
thing dull, irrelevant and maybe even sinister, a photograph that
staggered through his bedroom, out into the hallway. He
reminded you that you had lost a long time ago the most impor-
went to the bathroom and threw up a little and peed. Then,
tant thing you would ever have in your life and you wouldn’t be
with no semblance of grace or ease, he lowered his head to the
mouth of the faucet and drank capriciously—gulping, feeling
But unlike a real old photograph, this photograph-analog
his thighs throb and seethe with pleasure. Like he’d read in
seemed to have spread its deformation and dullness to all the oth-
a young-adult fiction about a guy in a plane crash who finally
er photographs— like a blight (but with pictures), disseminating
found water in the form of a fetid lake in the woods in which
an air of danger and disinterest.
the one-passenger prop plane had crashed, and drank so much
He bought some coffee. “She’s cute,” his thighs whispered
water and threw up— he drank so much water he threw up.
of the barista, and she smiled. He returned her smile coyly, but
He drank more water.
his heart wasn’t in it. Motor control still not up to capacity, he
He recalled narratives of Allied soldiers liberating Aus-
spilled a little coffee while adding milk to it and looked around,
chwitz, Buchenwald, etc—soldiers giving sliced ham to pris-
embarrassed. No one saw, and his thighs sighed with relief and
oners fed only on cabbage soup for months. Their stomachs
pity. Outside with the less-than-all-the-way-full coffee. He sat on
couldn’t handle the substance of the hardy, proteinaceous nu-
a bench and watched people walk by. “Look at her,” they said,
trients and some died. He didn’t want that to happen to him.
and tugged at and tickled his scrotum. She was pretty: not-too-
But he’d only been moping for seven days in his bed, not dying
blond, not-too-wavy hair tucked behind nice ears. Yet, he was
in a concentration camp, so he felt bad and guilty for making
that association. He heated up some tomato soup and ate it with a spoon and some stale bread.
He sat and drank his coffee, watched and waited while his thighs softly wept