Time to BeeReal

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This week, the Nass surveys ten movies, discovers the stories written in olive leaves, and juggles three languages.

The Nassau Weekly

Volume 45, Number 5 November 6, 2022

In Print since 1979 Online at nassauweekly.com


November 6, 2022


Time to BeeReal

Editors-in-Chief Juju Lane Mina Quesen

Publisher Abigail Glickman

Alumni Liasion Allie Matthias

Managing Editors


Sam Bisno Sierra Stern

Throught the Olive Trees: My Reconciliation with Science in Southern Italy

Design Editor

By Julia Stern Designed by Tong Dai

Cathleen Weng

Senior Editors Lauren Aung Lara Katz

6 10

Freshman Fall Break in 10 Movies

Junior Editors

By Ellie Diamond Designed by Helena Richardson

Lucia Brown Kate Lee Anya Miller Charlie Nuermberger Alexandra Orbuch

Drawings and Photographs By Juliette Carbonnier Designed by Cathleen Weng

Art Director Emma Mohrmann

Assistant Art Director Hannah Mittleman


Flightlessness on Being Mine: On Black-Jewish Non-Belonging At Princeton By Sierra Stern Designed by Pia Capili

Tongue Tied Read more on page 17.

Assistant Design Editors Vera Ebong Hazel Flaherty

Head Copy Editor Andrew White

Copy Editors


Tongue Tied By Kate Lee Designed by Hazel Flaherty

Bethany Villaruz Noori Zubieta David Edgemon Teo Grosu

Events Editor


Arizona 06/13/2011 By Alexandra Orbuch Designed by Synai Ferrell

David Chmielewski

Audiovisual Editor Christien Ayers

Web Editor Jane Castleman

Social Chair Kristiana Filipov

Social Media Manager

Cover Attribution

Cathleen Weng

Ellie Diamond


Volume 45, Number 5

This Week:


About us:


4:30p East Pyne Judith Butler: Fury and Justice in the Humanitie

5:00p LCA C.K. Williams Reading by Jonah Mixon Webster


4:30p 185 Nassau “Listen to the Land Speak” with Manchán Magan

8:00p Chapel Organ Concert - All Things Far and Near


5:00p McCosh Rebecca Solnit: The Story Crisis: Climate Chaos as Narrative Emergency

5:00p Makerspace Multimedia Collage Making


10:00a 185 Nassau GAMES &&

McCarter Adamandi


12:00p JRR God Forsaken: Divine Hope and Despair after the Islamic Revolution

4:30p Friend Center Fintan O’Toole: Known and Strange Things: The Political Necessity of Art


10:00a LCA HERE YE, HEAR YE!!! An Exhibition by Mark Thomas Gibson

3:00p Richardson Richardson Chamber Players


4:30p Frist Alumni Career Paths: Social Impact through Careers in Education

8:00p ZOOM Art Museum Drawing Class

Got Events?

Email David Chmielewski at dc70@princeton.edu with your event and why it should be featured.

For advertisements, contact Abigail Glickman at alg4@princeton.edu.

Overheard in communal Overheard at New College bathroom West One bro, from within a showers Pensive freshman: “The most stall: “Dude, you’re so down frustrating thing about being a bad.” human being is that you can’t Another bro, from the next stall possibly know everything.” over: “I knowww.” Overheard at the Overheard at Firestone homecoming football game Down-on-his-luck German Middle-aged white male alum: major: “I have always been “I can’t imagine what my father vaguely melancholy and would think.” vaguely French.” Overheard over a candlelit Overheard while reading dinner Dracula Inquisitive junior: “Why are we Future vampire model: “If not allowed to beg for sex? That I’m more beautiful in death should be something we’re than life, I want you to lodge a allowed to do.” complaint with God.” Overheard during precept in the Andlinger Center Loud, out-of-place humanities student: “Vermont? The only people who live in Vermont are Senator Bernie Sanders and my roommate.”

Overheard during seminar Journalism prof: “I am no longer surprised by how little I know about women’s lives. Hold on, I have an anecdote. Have any of you seen Seinfeld?”

The Nassau Weekly is Princeton University’s weekly newsmagazine and features news, op-eds, reviews, fiction, poetry and art submitted by students. Nassau Weekly is part of Princeton Broadcasting Service, the student-run operator of WPRB FM, the oldest college FM station in the country. There is no formal membership of the Nassau Weekly and all are encouraged to attend meetings and submit their writing and art.

Read us: nassauweekly.com

Overheard in lecture on syntax Pensive lecturer: “Sorry about all the violent examples. I just come from a country where the policeman does punch the boy all the time.” Overheard during meal Jaded juniors who foresee the end: “We’re not prepping, we’re just planning.” Overhead while studying COS A.B. concentrator: “Wait who was that guy who did Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg? Mike Wazowski?”

Overhead outside kitchen Local chef: “Sounds like someone needs a poop transplant.” Overhead outside Terrace Bespectacled man: “But am I really safe to drive?” Overhead on iMessage Devious fellow: “Hello my good friend. I have numerous plans to devise with you in the morrow.” Overhead over text Friend 1: “Can I call you a WASP or is that offensive?” Friend 2: “You may. Why?” Friend 1: “You’ll see. It’s for a bit.” Submit to Verbatim Email thenassauweekly@gmail.com

Contact thenassauweekly@gmail.com us: Instagram & Twitter: @nassauweekly Join us: We meet on Mondays and Thursdays at 5pm in Bloomberg 044!



Through the Olive Trees: My Reconciliation with Science in Southern Italy

“...I entirely underestimated the potential of science to uncover stories about the past, to reveal a history that is not only a product of texts and photographs but of leaves, rocks, and landscape.” By JULIA STERN


spent most of fall break kneeling in mud, smelling the fumes of goat shit (a fertilizer, to be fair), arranging olive leaves on a piece of black paper, and debugging code with eccentric geophysicists and field geologists until half past midnight. As a student in FRS161, a freshman seminar studying how climate change affects crops, my fall break plans were a mandatory trip to the olive orchards of southern Italy, where, with a group of Princeton freshmen, I’d be spending a week collecting data about olive trees. Trust me: I know that

any university-funded trip to Italy is pretty awesome, regardless of its focus on work or the rigor of its daily activities. But it’s important that we’re all on the same page. Though the concept of FRS161 is a textbook example of Princeton-brand privilege, it is certainly not an example of leisure. As much as I would have loved to go anywhere and toured around for a week (which I’m on the lookout for in the future), this trip was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life not because it was an immersion into the food, art, and culture of Italy, but because it was an immersion into the practice and purpose of natural science, a realm that, to the prospective history major writing this article, had once seemed intimidating and inaccessible. So, here is a travelog (of sorts) of my six-day reconciliation with science, beginning at one of science’s finest intersections with history: the ancient ruins of Pompeii.

Pompeii The first thing that strikes you about Pompeii is its magnitude. For unclear reasons, I had learned about Pompeii’s destruction extensively in my elementary-school history courses, and quite frankly, I had always imagined a few stone huts on four or five dirt roads, maybe a few loaves of 2,000-year-old bread sitting around, and of course, some classic Roman graffiti of “coitus” on the walls. (To be fair, all of my knowledge about Pompeii came from a second-grade teacher, a children’s book about the Roman Empire, and my own imagination, all of which have questionable source use.) When we pulled up to Pompeii in our dented black van, blasting an obnoxious but fitting Bastille song, I realized that Pompeii, with its markets, temples, mansions, baths, and districts, was a more complete and complex society than I had ever imagined.

My lab group decided to focus on the roads in Pompeii. The science itself was quite rudimentary: we collected lengths of roads, widths, GPS coordinates, pictures, and lots of field notes, an intriguing yet tedious process, all with the intention of piecing together a story about Pompeii’s “urban planning” (or whatever the B.C.E. equivalent was). From our data, we saw that Pompeii was a bustling, wealthy city, a society that had experienced a level of prosperity that allowed for economic specialization. On Pompeii’s main street, the widest road in town, the stone contains deep, deformed tracks from the city’s chariots, evidence of a robust economic system that touted a heavy “transport” sector. We uncovered a tangible class divide in the ruins of Pompeii, identifying upper-class districts with neat stone roads and poorer neighborhoods with uneven stones roads.

Our historical guide, a flamboyant Napoletano named Mattia, confirmed some of our hypotheses and refuted others. Pompeii was indeed a wealthy city, but many of our observations were evidence of an obsession with the outward presentation of wealth, creating a dominant culture of competition. “Everyone in Pompeii dreamed of being number one,” Mattia repeated, as we examined the ornate statues and magnificent wall art of Pompeii’s wealthiest citizens. Later that night, when it was just us alone with our data, our processing tools, and our Domino’s-quality take-out pizza, the magic happened. My reconciliation began. From our simple field work in Pompeii, a process that we had designed and refined entirely on our own terms, there was a story about Pompeii, a story that was by no means original or undiscovered, but a story that was un-coverable, a story that was material, and—perhaps


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the most exciting—a story that revealed a level of intention and purpose in the “urban planning” of ancient Pompeii. In the ruins of Pompeii, the overlap between science and history is crystal clear. I figured that doing scientific work in Pompeii, a site with a strong theme of human-oriented history, was an exception. The most

rigorous science of the trip was yet to come, and in my mind, Pompeii was the end of my genuine engagement with science. As our dented van crossed mountains and farms, towards the olive orchards in the south, I had a bad feeling. Humanistic science was behind us, now the dullness of pure science would begin.

The Olive Orchards The olive orchards were situated in the agricultural hills of Italy’s Calabria region, a fertile yet impoverished part of the country that had remained largely cut off from the cosmopolitan wealth of Northern Italy. Our Italian contact, Marco, a physics professor from Venice, brought us to three different orchards for our field work, and he also coordinated our lodging in a Catholic monastery in the town of Mesoraca. The olive orchards had every element of a quintessentially Italian s c e n e — red-roofed farmhouses, beautiful pastoral scenery, tanned and expressive southern Italian

farmers—except thing: the olives.



We visited the olive orchards during the peak harvesting season. Out of the three orchards we studied, two had no olives. With Marco as his translator, the owner of the first orchard explained that the region had been hit by a drought, decimating the olive production of his orchard. The owner of the second orchard laughed at the suggestion of a drought— he blamed excess humidity for an infestation of “oil mosquitoes,” leaving the olives harvestable, but inedible. Strangely enough, the third orchard experienced neither of these problems. The substandard

olive harvest was bad news for the farmers, but good news for our study of climate change. From what we heard at each orchard, it seemed that olive trees, like many crops, are fickle, reacting strongly to certain climatic conditions and ecological phenomena. The anecdotes from farmers point to increasingly severe climatic extremes, making the predictability of agriculture more and more implausible. Though we didn’t come to any big conclusions about climate while in Italy, we will spend the rest of our semester synthesizing and analyzing our newly created database, as




Freshman Fall Break in 10 Movies Ten films, lots of hot takes—join one writer on a cinematic romp. By ELLIE DIAMOND


efore coming to college, watching movies was one of my bigger pastimes. I would watch movies when I was happy, sad, or bored, in the mood to sing, cry, or scream at the TV. It’s an easily shared pastime, one that often brings people together (cue Nicole Kidman AMC ad). But, since arriving at Princeton, I have not been able to indulge my love as easily as I would’ve hoped. Yes, there are screenings at the Garden theater and a ROMA film series. Of course I could always watch something on my computer, and I’ve watched the occasional movie for class. But it’s just not the same. It feels like I would be missing out on

something in order to just sit down and put my energy into another for upwards of three hours. So in the weeks leading up to my first fall break as a Princeton student, I daydreamed about the movies I would watch when I got home. What follows, dear reader, is a detailed account of my cinematic journey (“cinexpedition” if you will) from October 14th-23rd. 1. Confess, Fletch (2022) dir. Greg Mottola I started off break with the effortless and fun new installation of the Fletch series. The Fletch movies are based on a series of books of the same name, and were originally produced because they were Chevy Chase’s favorite books (he stars in the first two as Fletch). I have a vivid memory of being, let’s say, eight years old and sitting down

with my family to watch the original Fletch with Chevy Chase. Immediately, none of us enjoyed it, and we stopped about 15 minutes of the way through. This time around, Jon Hamm stars as the wise-cracking retired journalist. It’s about time we had a Jon Hammissance and I think the time is now. Great movie to watch with your dad. He will enjoy many jokes and will in fact repeat a lot of them just to show you how funny he thought they were. 2. Bande à Parte [Band of Outsiders] (1964) dir. Jean-Luc Godard Not my favorite Godard, but it was beautiful and sweet and just a little bit pretentious. Jean-Luc Godard was French director and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave cinema

movement of the late 50s and 60s in France, which then spread to many other parts of the world (such as the US, Czechoslovakia, and China, among others). Bande à Part falls in the early middle of Godard’s extensive filmography, post his earliest (and I think best) films, and pre his Maoist propaganda period, which gets kind of weird. It centers around three students from an English class who attempt to commit a robbery, with a love triangle, an aunt, and a doghouse getting in the way. Bande offers great fall fashion inspo courtesy of Anna Karina, as well some iconic scenes like the one in the Louvre or the café dancing scene (think TikTok dance but in 1964). This was my first Godard post his death, not that it altered the way I felt about the movie in any way, more like “wow this cinema giant


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is gone, who, if anyone, will replace him?” Those types of conversations have been going around a lot on film twitter and they honestly make my head spin but are worth asking. If you decidedly don’t like Godard and haven’t seen this one, I’d check it out, it’s often been described as the “Godard film for people who don’t much care for Godard.” If you’ve seen this one and want something a little more fun from him, I’d recommend A Woman is a Woman or Pierrot le Fou. 3. The Fly (1986) dir. David Cronenberg LOVED. My first Cronenberg. Jeff Goldblum is perfection, as is his then-girlfriend Geena Davis as Seth Brundle, a scientist studying teleportation, and Ronnie Quaife, a reporter profiling his process, respectively. All the effects hold up shockingly well. I was almost at the point of vomiting whenever

“Brundlefly” would lose body parts as his physical and mental transformation from human to human-fly began, even more so in the scenes where he uses the digestive enzyme he acquires post-hybridization to completely melt off others’ limbs. The film itself is a really heartbreaking analogy for disease, aging, and death, not only on oneself but on the ones around you, as seen through the final scene when Ronnie can’t bear to kill the mutant fly/humanfly Brundle has created, even though he isn’t even recognizable as the man she once knew and loved. Aside from that, this movie dares to ask the question, “what if a fly was a huge asshole who really liked having sex?” and I think there should be more movies brave enough to ask things like that. 4. Triangle of Sadness (2022) dir. Ruben Östlund Saw this in the theater

and was absolutely blown away. The film follows a group of extremely wealthy Europeans on a luxurious yacht vacation, sort of The White Lotus-y but with more blatant criticism of class tension (and way more feces). It’s set up in three sections, pre-yacht, duringyacht, and post-yacht, each section escalating from the previous one. I’m hesitant to reveal anything more than that, and I know it’s completely cringe when people say that, but believe me when I say going into this blind is the way to go. This goes in the most unexpected directions and I was hooked every minute of it. I do think that it ran a bit long, but I still adored every minute. I will say that about halfway through, the plot takes a shit, vomit, and champagne-filled turn worthy of the king of scat John Waters himself. If the Garden theater shows this, I better see all of your asses in those seats for the 149-minute run time.

5. The Slumber Party Massacre (1982) dir. Amy Holden Jones Clocking in at a cool 76 minutes, this is an interesting one, folks. It features some of the worst acting, writing, and gags I’ve ever seen which can sometimes make for a great watch but unfortunately not here. This was 76 minutes and felt like a movie three times as long. The plot is pretty self-explanatory, a massacre occurs at a slumber party. This was intended to be a parody of slasher films of the era but unfortunately got taken a little too seriously during production so any satirical element kind of fell flat. I did appreciate, though, that the killer in this is just a guy in double denim. No backstory. No mask or horribly scarred face or anything that normally made killers scary in slashers of this era. If you want a little chuckle and something stupid, then go ahead and watch this. But if



you want something a little more seriously scary with a vaguely similar plot, I recommend Black Christmas. 6. Nashville (1975) dir. Robert Altman This was absolutely amazing. I’ve been debating for months whether I should just give in and buy this for myself rather than going to my brother’s apartment to watch it with him (he already owns it, and this movie is not rentable). The wait was well worth it. The film centers around the Nashville country music scene in the 70s, with politics, capitalism, and the quest for fame intervening at the best and worst moments. Altman’s films tend to include large ensemble casts, but this is to an extreme, featuring 24 different “main” characters who all mesh together by the end (some characters definitely get more screen time than others, like Barabara Jean or Linnea Rease over ‘silent Tricycle Man’). The most famous characteristic of

his style is the overlapping dialogue which is at play many times throughout Nashville. This is a perfect high for Altman, mixing the ultra-silliness of his earlier films with the ultra-seriousness of something like his 1977 film 3 Women. The music in this is incredible, written and performed by all of the actors themselves. I would never have expected to actually kind of enjoy country music at the end of this 180 minute epic, but hey, we’re all full of surprises. If you haven’t seen any Altman movies, I wouldn’t start here. But wherever you do start, it only gets better from there, and this is no exception. 7. Gimme Shelter (1970) dir. Maysles Brothers, Charlotte Zwerin I see something of myself in Mick Jagger as I too am frequently fixing my bangs/hair. This is interesting because as a music documentary, it isn’t great. The first half is quite chaotic, with a few different

timelines ultimately converging into the Altamont concert footage. The drama of this half comes outside of the MSG concert footage, either in the editing room with the Maysles brothers or with their attorney trying to set up the concert. Early on, to the tune of “Wild Horses,” the boys ruminate in their own sound (and other things I presume), a very “calm before the storm” type feel. There is a very felt lack of music when the band enters the concert, which makes them seem unimportant. There is a general unimportance to the music at the concert, with the filmmakers making very obvious choices to focus on the crowd. But to focus on anything other than the chaos that was the Altamont Speedway concert would be unjust, so I don’t really care about that (for context, the Altamont concert was infamous for somebody getting stabbed by a security guard, among other mishaps). This doc just makes me wish there was a camera crew at that

Travis Scott concert because that would’ve been CRAZZZYYYYY. 8. The In-Laws (1979) dir. Arthur Hiller This is one of those movies that when you tell your parents you’re seeing it they immediately go into a frenzied, almost psychosis-like state telling you how much they love it (I say this because that’s exactly what my parents did when I said I was going to see this). It’s about two men, played by Peter Falk and Alan Arkin, who days before the marriage of their children, go on an Odyssey-like journey for the CIA to a fictional South American country to retrieve some engraving plates that were stolen from the US Treasury. It was fun and silly and stupid and worth a watch if you want to laugh for a little bit. The beauty of it, though, is that I saw it at the Paris Theater, Manhattan’s sole-surviving single-screen theater (across the street from the plaza). Living in New York


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City means I can go see a movie at some historic site and not think twice about it, which is exactly what happened here! This felt really special because the curator of the theater came out before the showing and talked about how much this movie meant to him, which made the whole experience very intimate. 9. Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1954) dir. Jacques Tati I think a good litmus test for people is whether or not they enjoy the films of Jacques Tati. Each film is a uniquely curated world void of cruelty or criticism without reason, simply showing a man (Tati himself plays a character in most of his other movies named Monsieur Hulot, who is intended to have the POV of both the audience and Tati) who is struggling with the loss of the world that he once knew. They’re short and silly and beautiful to look at, and if you’re able to find something to criticize

within that I’m genuinely a little scared of you. Don’t let the French name fool you, Tati’s movies are the least pretentious, most fun that I’ve ever seen. This is the first of the Monsieur Hulot series, which is evident, but doesn’t make this any less enjoyable. It takes place during summer vacation 1953 at Saint-MarcSur-Mer, a small town near the Saint-Nazaire port, and hilarity ensues as the bumbling Monsieur Hulot interacts with his surroundings. It doesn’t have as robust of a critique on consumerism and the impracticality of modern technology that are present in the later Hulot movies, but the seeds are definitely planted here. What I love about Tati films is the lack of substantial dialogue, it really forces you to just sit and enjoy the movie or else you’ll miss out on the visual gags. 10. Polyester (1981) dir. John Waters In one word—the only word fit for John

Waters—camp. Satire done correctly, perfectly, even (take notes Slumber Party Massacre). This movie is a lot of things, but boiled down it’s a satire of White, Christian, suburban life, involving foot-fetishism, alcoholism, adultery, and more! The most overt joke in that regard is that the housewife is played by Divine, a drag queen who worked with Waters in most of his films. She’s actually quite a good actress, at least compared to the quite bad ones featured in this film. My one wish in life is to see this with the original odorama card, which, though a repetitive gimmick, builds the atmosphere of the film really well (the odorama card was a card given at each original screening with 10 different scratch-n-sniffs, ranging from a bouquet of flowers to feces, which viewers are indicated to smell at certain points throughout the movie). The lighting is SO well done, always highlighting Divine’s intensely expressive eyes. This feels like a great entry point for

John Waters, as I am slightly afraid to watch his other, more grotesque films. All of these movies were on the countless lists I have of movies I want to see, but other than that I’m not sure that there’s a thread or theme to link all them together. I’d gone a little stir-crazy leading up to break, so this was my medication. If you watch all of these movies, you’re a little crazy yourself but that is a welcome craziness. I’d like to give an honorable mention to the masterpiece that is Mad Men, which I was rewatching throughout all of this. All I can say is that though I’m excited to get back to campus, I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to bingewatch myself dizzy again. Finally, and I’m truly sorry for what I’m about to say, follow me on letterboxd @elliediamond. Ellie Diamond thinks a good litmus test for people is whether or not they enjoy the Nassau Weekly.


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Flightlessness and Being Mine: “I have to sift the hate out of Judaism where I can, the hate I have for myself, the hate other people have for us, and the hate I identify in certain Jewish communities directed toward women or Palestinians or Black people.” By SIERRA STERN


’ve been feeling more Jewish these days. Between the dense lineup of autumn holidays and the waning sun coloring me pale, something has been taken from me, and something has been given. In the summer, I am indisputably Black, and not very Jewish at all, reminding me that race, and mine in particular, is like a pendulum. To be Jewish on Princeton’s campus is a strange, political thing. It never felt this way in Southern California, where every second person at my high school was non-practicing or Reform, and we all poked hateful fun at our Jewishness, even though none of the goys seemed to care, or even know the difference. To be Jewish at

Princeton is to potentially be somebody’s first, the first Jew they’ll ever meet. It feels like a strange and weighty responsibility, but not quite the same as being somebody’s first “Black girl,” which feels rotten and cold and freshly colonial. At home, Blackness and Jewishness have always been, at the very least, compatible— because slavery, because brisket, and because of my mom and dad. This is not to say that I don’t have the same slam-poetry Who-am-I? instinct as other multiracial kids, but growing up, my cultures made room for one another. Here, being Jewish means something different than it did back home, something that undermines and squashes Blackness. The lowercase-c conservative Jewish presence on Princeton’s campus is loud, known, and constant. There’s a distinction in Jewish communities, between politically right-leaning lowercase-c conservatives, and uppercase-C religious Conservatives, who practice more traditionally than Reform Jews, and less traditionally than Orthodox Jews. Lowercase-c conservative Jews make up much of the Tory,

Princeton’s conservative publication, and a large percentage of any high holiday celebration. At Passover last year when the USG referendum concerning divesting from Caterpillar Construction, whose machines had apparently killed a Palestinian civilian, was on the ballot, I was not sure what to vote, or even believe. I am not a Zionist. There’s an old folktale that Black literaturists love about “Flying Africans,” the idea that some enslaved Black folks developed the power of flight, allowing them to rise above the corporal horrors of enslavement and return home to Africa. As a slave-descended African American, this story gets less convincing with age. On both sides, my roots in the United States go back over three generations, my Black side outpacing my Jewish side by several generations. I am, and I feel, explicitly American, and part of that American feeling is the non-belonging that comes with it. Just as I do not believe Africa is my homeland, neither is Israel, and I believe one because I believe the other, but I can understand why you



On Black-Jewish Non-Belonging At Princeton might go the other way. Around 25,000 African Americans live in Israel, a mixture of pro athletes, Black Hebrew Israelites, and African American Jews like myself, who, like all other Jews, are eligible for Israeli citizenship. In the U.S., there are around 75,000 Black Jews, two of them being my twin brother and me. I am strange to myself, and this too, can be a cohesive and fully-formed identity. Home can be many things. My disconnect with Israel does not speak for the majority of Jewish people, nor is it the absolute right or wrong way to feel and think about Zion. This isn’t to say there aren’t wrong ways. The Princeton community is quick to equate Israeli citizens and Jewish Princetonians with the Israeli government, a highly militant governing body. It scares me to position myself against antisemitism in any way. To do so is to risk aligning myself with lowercase-c conservatives on campus, who threaten my interests as a Black student by speaking out against Critical Race Theory and DEI programming in the same breath that they condemn antisemitism. However, just as Princeton is remarkably

Zionist, it is remarkably antisemitic as well. In February 2022, the Princeton Committee on Palestine demonstrated outside of the Center for Jewish Life to protest an event advertising internships in Israel. In reading the coverage of this event, one sign stuck out to me. It said, “Interning on Stolen Land?” I thought that it was strange to place the ethical responsibility of the Israeli government’s subjugation of Palestinians on Jewish students at Princeton, particularly when we Princetonians, as future McKinsey consultants, narrow-minded academics, and private practice lawyers, intern on stolen land every single year, summer after summer. I feel that Princetonians, both Jewish and gentile, are quick to delegate arbitrary degrees of horror to different historical regimes, erasing slavery, erasing the mass genocide of Indigenous people while condemning the Chinese Communist Party and the Israeli government. I believe that Princeton students have empathy for victims of genocide across the globe, but I also believe this empathy is more easily accessed when

the issues are racialized and distant, and that less assimilated Americans suffer for the irredeemable actions of faraway homelands. Princeton students are just Princeton students, with varying degrees of personal and cultural connections to Israel. To bring this protest to the CJL, a second home for many Jewish students on campus, is to deny these students a sense of belonging, and to assert that Jewish students are not simply pro-Israel, but actively pro-genocide. The Princeton community has not yet learned to separate anti-Israelism from antisemitism. As a Black Jew, the recent Kanye tweet hit hard, just like everything else Kanye has done in the last five or so years. He’s attained a unique pop culture status, allowed a pass for his antics due to twin diagnoses of bipolar disorder and genius. At a school overwhelmingly obsessed with the cultivation and worship of genius, that designation is not taken lightly. On October 11th, @barstoolprinceton, an Instagram account that highlights social culture at Princeton, and a direct affiliate of @barstoolsports, released a series of Kanye tweets in time for midterms, one of them an


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edited version of tweet below, which they later removed from the post. After an immediate influx of criticism, comments are now turned off.

I won’t try to dissect his message, but it does speak to me directly. It condones Jewish hate among Black people, and worse, to me, than that, it condones Jewish hate among white people, who believe Kanye’s claim that Black people can’t be antisemitic, despite the fact that Kanye has aligned himself with white supremacy for years. The tweet grants non-Jewish people asylum for antisemitism, abusing Blackness in order to give white fans a pass to regurgitate his sentiments. Statements like these split

me in two, implying that, way deep down, all Black people are Jewish, but what about me, who’s Jewish half the time. At times like this, the campus Jewish community brings me little warmth, let alone joy. At Passover, I raise wine with peers that write against everything I believe in, and I don’t have it in me to engage in the good-willed, passionate debate championed by Jewish traditions of discourse and self-satisfied moderates. I’ve never been in the ingroup, for as long as I’ve lived. When I was little, my mom’s best friend tried to teach me how to roll my neck “like a Black person,” but I rolled my neck like a Jewish person, and she laughed at me. Here, I feel guilty for getting a tattoo, because even though G-d made me perfect, after being somebody’s first Black girl, I felt like I needed to make me mine again. My connection to Judaism involves a lot of compromise;

I allow myself to bend the rules because the rules apply to me differently. Despite how perfect I was made, I cannot be responsible for unteaching myself the ugly things I’ve been called and the ugly ways I’ve been treated. I don’t fast because I’d like it too much, and might see it as a way to get more perfect. I have to sift the hate out of Judaism where I can, the hate I have for myself, the hate other people have for us, and the hate I identify in certain Jewish communities directed toward women or Palestinians or Black people. For as long as Princeton seethes with antisemitism and prioritizes Jewish circles that refuse to recognize and embrace intersectionality, my Jewish home will always be far away, at the Jewish cemetery in Los Angeles, in some unexpected corner of Zion, or some imagined place preserved in folktales, real, if you haven’t lost the ability to fly.




well as incorporating climate data from the Italian government. During our trip, we captured one snapshot of olive farming. Now, our goal is to fit this snapshot into large-scale data on climate, producing quantitative insight into how exactly climate change affects crops. But even without olives, fortunately for us, there are still olive trees, the subject of our trip. The term “field work” is, in my opinion, purposefully ambiguous, leaving an air of mystery around the exact mechanisms of scientific research, but for my team in the olive orchards, “field work” was primarily an exercise of repetition and consistency. We were tasked with

measuring the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) of each orchard’s trees, a quantitative indicator of a plant’s health, ranging from negative values for unhealthy vegetation to 1.0 for perfect health. Using some swanky instrumentation from the Princeton Department of Geosciences, we collected both the red light and near-infrared light reflected by each tree’s leaves, the data we needed to later calculate NDVI. From 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. each day, our group of three recorded these measurements as other classmates surveyed trees, collected dirt samples, logged GPS coordinates, measured albedo, and gathered topological data for each orchard. After a dinner prepared by the monastery’s only monk, Pablo Francesco, we spent 8:00

p.m. to roughly 12:30 a.m. together in one of the monastery’s homiest rooms, processing the day’s data.

The field work in the orchards was different from the field work in Pompeii. It involved long hours. It was repetitive, often without the immediate gratification of seeing surprising results. Instrument crashes were common. So were sunburns. But I will say that even for the most STEM-averse of students, scientific field work is a remarkable experience. Even from our brief work in Italy, I developed a fanaticism for olive leaves that I hadn’t expected. When we found a tree with an exceptionally high number of yellow leaves, we didn’t just say, “Hey, this tree has a lot of yellow leaves,” but we felt inclined to ask questions. Why? Where are the yellow

Through the Olive Trees: Throu Through the Oli Through the Olive Trees: Through the Olive Trees:


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leaves concentrated? Could the sun have caused yellow leaves? How do yellow leaves affect NDVI? Do the leaves feel different, do they break or bend more easily? It’s hard to teach enthusiasm for the subtleties of olive leaves. But there we were—a group of freshmen girls, crouched in mud, studying foliage with a newfound fervor. And perhaps that was the greatest success of the trip. Our professors loved to praise the storytelling virtues of science. At first, I thought it was bullshit. I am always stubborn. To be proven wrong once in Pompeii was one thing, but to be proven wrong in the orchards, after doing pure, scientific research, I finally came around to accept the storytelling power of science. Numbers aren’t just numbers, and data isn’t

just data—they are something far greater than the sum of their parts, revealing a narrative which in this case, instead of being that of ancient society from 2,000 years in the past, was the story of climate change and agriculture in southern Italy. This type of science doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We studied the crops of real farmers—their livelihood, passion, and pride—and with our data, we will make real conclusions about the real world, uncovering stories about agriculture, a fundamental part of the human experience, the very system that has sustained cultures and populations for thousands of years. I scoffed at science for its frequent arrogance (I’m tired of hearing “Well, I trust science”) and what I saw as a calculating and

cold approach to the world. of Firestone Library, but it But there is absolutely room is discoverable, in the same and reason for science in way that polio vaccines or any discipline of interest. I continental drift are discovthought my experience in erable. Science could tell Italy would be strictly scien- stories, stories that mattific—and it was, in a techni- tered, like the story of an cal sense—but I entirely un- ancient civilization, the stoderestimated the potential ry of farming, or the story of of science to uncover sto- climate change. ries about the past, to reveal a history that is not only a The anti-science adproduct of texts and photo- vocate did scientific field graphs but of leaves, rocks, work. The SEL-credit husand landscape. I began to tler dedicated sixteen hours realize that science acts as a day to her only STEM a brilliant telescope into course. When I arrived back history, a concrete link be- on Princeton’s campus tween the present and past. after a long week of hard And as I scribbled down work, I felt like a student notes about the brothels in reborn. ancient Pompeii and fertilizer in the olive orchards, For the first time in a even my understanding while, I liked science. of history—a discipline to which I felt zero previous animosity— transformed, The Nassau Weekly loves to as I realized that history is praise the storytelling virtues of not confined to the stacks Julia Stern.

Through the Olive Trees: ugh the Olive Trees: ive Trees: Through the Olive Trees:



In-between three languages, a writer reflects on how study abroad has opened her eyes to the creative opportunities in language.. By KATE LEE


n Paris, I am always thinking about words. Words in French that I don’t recognize on the street, words in English I keep forgetting, words that make me sound more local in both spaces, French or American: du coup, like, ouais, literally, c’est ça, lowkey. I’m almost halfway through my semester abroad in France here and I can confidently say that immersion is not working. The fantasy of jumping headfirst into a completely new country and culture and being a little sponge of a brain, absorbing anything and everything around me, fell apart after the first week. I feel more like a concrete brick that’s slowly being chiseled away by the French language—I’m barely taking anything in, and, often, feel like I’m losing bits of English. In my classes, I rarely talk, scared to expose myself and my French to a room of native speakers. In my class on translingual literature, my

professor calls this “linguistic insecurity.” The experience of not only not being able to speak a language perfectly, but of being conscious of that inability. We’re discussing writers who chose to write in their second languages despite all the challenges that come with it: Nancy Huston, a Canadian anglophone who writes in French, Jhumpa Lahiri, an American writer who recently moved to writing in Italian, and Yoko Taweda, a Japanese writer who works in both Japanese and German. All these authors deal with linguistic insecurity on the page—the feeling of never truly being able to own, or belong to, a language. Even though I’m not sure how my relationship with French will change and

progress, I am grateful that it gives me the opportunity to interrogate my relationship with language in general. Nancy Huston describes the experience of linguistic exile and expatriation as a lesson in constantly being a child. Yoko Taweda connects the sounds and shapes of German words in the context of Japanese ones. Jhumpa Lahiri talks about the triangulation of language that happened when she began to learn Italian, and how it offered her a different view of her two mother tongues, English and Bengali. Each discusses how their choice to learn and write in a new language has deepened their understanding of themselves and their lives. Reading their

words (in both English and translated French) has been a rare grounding force during my time in Paris. Especially as I’ve been experiencing linguistic alienation not just with my surroundings, but also with myself. Before coming to Paris, I had devoted ten years of my life to learning the French language. All I wanted to do was speak it fluently. It was only after arriving in France that I really questioned why I had chosen a language that I had zero personal ties to in seventh grade. It seems that I was elitist at age eleven. I bought into what my professor calls the “imaginary” of the French language as beautiful, intellectual, and somehow sophisticated. Why else would I choose it


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over Spanish while growing up in the practically bilingual state of Texas? And that initial interest carried me all the way to now, reading, writing, and speaking French in Paris at age twenty-one. In French, the use of the term “mother language (langue maternelle),” is still much more common than “first language.” There is still a general assumption that the language of your mother is your primary language, an assumption that doesn’t allow for the complexity of immigration, exile, and expatriation. I have never known how to explain my langue maternelle—my first language was Korean, but the language I now feel most fluent in is English. Still, like for many immigrant kids, Korean remains to me a more personal, familial, in many ways, more meaningful language, while English seems to be more

of an assignment, a skill honed by time and experience, not by choice. When I began writing, whether that be fiction or essays, I never questioned the choice of writing in English. It was the language of most of my education, and of almost all the books I read growing up. It was only recently that I re-

I had compartmentalized my languages in relatively clear boxes: Korean was for my family, friends, for consumption (through books, TV) but not for creation. French was for my classes, for my intellectual endeavors, and, to be honest, for saying I could speak French. And English was for everything else, for

alized the choice to write in the language you are most comfortable speaking in is not necessarily an obvious one. Translingual authors discuss the space between speaking and writing: writing in another language allows for more time, more deliberation, more choice. Before this year,

my life, my writing, my future and my art. I had never questioned these choices before. I had never even thought about them as choices. Spending time in Korea over the summer and taking this semester abroad in France allowed me to separate myself from what I now see as a very American

perspective on linguistic dominance: English before all, to the point it’s never really considered or debated in any substantial way. All the translingual authors I read for my class were writing from their primary language to a secondary one (for example, Jhumpa Lahiri’s English towards Italian). They faced unique challenges of impostor syndrome and of linguistic insecurity, but their objectives didn’t fully inspire me. I did not feel a calling to start writing stories in French, even in my French creative writing class. Then, for a different course, I read Decolonising the Mind: the Politics of Language by Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. In this essay collection, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o details his choice to no longer write in English, the official language of Kenya and an obvious inheritance of British colonial rule, and to rather write in


November 6, 2022

his first language, Kikuyu. Ironically, the work was published in English, perhaps with the hopes of accessing a wide readership particularly in other anglophone African countries. He calls upon all writers from previously colonized countries, and, therefore, colonial languages, to interrogate their choice to leave their native languages behind. For him, the future of Kenyan literature depends on the maintenance of native Kenyan languages, just as the future of international literature depends on the maintenance of all minor and disappearing languages. For all intents and purposes, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s declaration seems like an illogical one. Most Americans would see the decision to write in a native language as illogical, with writing in English being a choice for more profit, more press, and more

relevance in the global literary world Yet, to me, it seems to be the most fundamental creative choice of all-- reclaiming the agency of how and for whom to tell a story.

This summer, I wrote a short story fully in Korean for the first time. I am not equating my one short story to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s incredible decision; for starters, I would not consider Korean a minor language by any means, especially in modern pop culture. If I continue to write in Korean, there is a great likelihood that I will have access to translation and publication resources many minor languages do not have. Nevertheless, the writing process was incredibly difficult, and most of the time I wanted to punch at the walls of my brain for not coming up with the words I needed. But the story was

set in, written in, and was about Seoul. In Korean, I didn’t have to think about explaining, about what might be over-exoticizing, and if I would be able to do justice to these characters in English. Though it was difficult to recategorize this familial language to a creative one, it made me more excited to write than I’d felt in a very long time. For the past year or so, many of the most inspiring works I’ve read have been in Korean, and it felt like I was slowly able to speak to those writers and those books with my own language. I can’t say my relationships to these languages have changed overnight. I am still struggling with French, still pushing the limits of my Korean. And as evidenced by this essay, I am still writing in English. Sometimes it still feels most natural to a story, and it is undeniably the language that comes to me

with the most ease. But more and more, English doesn’t feel natural for a story, or an essay, or even the works I choose to read. As scary as that is, I am so incredibly excited by the uncertainty, the difficulty, the possibility of writing in Korean. I am also unexpectedly grateful for the French language bringing me to these questions and these new horizons. At the end of the day, it is less the specific languages that matter and more the possibilities of expression that each of them opens up. What matters is that these writers and these languages have given me the greatest gift a writer could ask for: the power of choice.

For the past year or so, many of the most inspiring works Kate Lee has read have been in the Nassau Weekly



a stray cloud passes above our heads as the metal camera captures us in its frame your sun-soaked auburn melded with gray freshly combed feet above my unruly brown curls your wrinkled arm wrapped around my smooth one blank no history written yours, cracked porcelain the western wall lodged with slips of paper inscribed with the hopes and dreams of your mother who did not make it through the war

with the tales of your orphaned childhood with righteous gentiles who slipped you meals beneath the fence in a pot after the sun sank over the Romanian countryside with prayer books hidden beneath floorboards and yellow stars sewn to your lapels four mother tongues and three countries a war-torn nomad with arms that wrap around mine your stories traversing the humid air between us the flash captures our bodies in eternal film

Arizona 06/13/2011

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