2015 Fall Retrospective

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Fall Retrospecive, 2015 Volume 1.1



The Fall 2015 Staff Managing Editor: Madison Friend Copy Chief: Bret Laurie News & Multimedia Editor: Noah Goldfarb Web Editor: Brock Bowen Arts & Entertainment Editor: Alex McDougall Poetry Editor: Erica Gilman Design Editor: Patrick Driscoll Cartoonists: Patrick Driscoll and Nicholas Clark Staff Writers: Nicholas Clark Nicole Despotopulos Patrick Driscoll Timothy Jarvis


The New Worcester Spy Fall Retrospective, 2015 5

Letter from the Editor

Pat Driscoll Madison Friend

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Alex Macdougall Patrick Driscoll

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Comix, Yo! Classics Week Who Would be King Has the Goods Chappelle’s (New) Show Smart Talking: A Conversation with Dr. Sharon Yang

Erica Gilman

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Catherine Jreije

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Heather Macpherson

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Arts

Poetry

Wootown Spotlight: Heather Macpherson “Time” “Patience” “Female Perversions, 1927” “Distraction does not calm the alarm” “Hades Contemplates a Vacation”

Erica Gilman

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Mary Schroth

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“When the City of Love Lost its Light” “Number Nine” “Per Aspera Ad Astra” “Little Fish” “Searching for Daisies”

Madison Friend

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Timothy Jarvis Nicholas Clark Paul M. Fontaine Nicholas Clark

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Brendan Pauley

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Local

Mayoral Race Heats Up in Worcester Worcester and the Space Age A Bakery fit for a King Hungry? Head to Boomers Worcester Art Museum Welcomes Higgins Armory Collection City Council Votes to Lift Moratorium on Needle Exchange


Noah Goldfarb and Nicholas Clark Noah Goldfarb

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Alex Macdougall Madison Friend Paul M. Fontaine Timothy Jarvis

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Comment

Gun Control: Dueling Editorials How to Get Your Democratic Muscles in Shape Paris, France: A Short History Bernie Begins The Night of the Donald Trump, Worcester, and the State of Right-Wing Politics

Submit Your Work! Rolling Call for Submissions The New Worcester Spy is currently accepting submissions to be considered for publication. Submissions should be sent to thenewworcesterspy@gmail.com. Include the topic and your name in the subject line, and attach your piece as a .doc or .docx file. Submissions accompanied by an original photo or original artwork are more likely to be published.



Arts


Comix, Yo! Classics Week By Patrick Driscoll

Originally published Sep. 21, 2015 This week on Comix, Yo!, we’re going to take a look at some early examples of the popular comics medium. The earliest definitions and semantic specifics of what constitutes “sequential art” is an entire field of argument; some academics say it stretches all the way back to the famous cave paintings of Lascaux, France, and Egyptian hieroglyphics. While those arguments are fascinating and valid, I’m gonna focus on our current modern understanding of what constitutes a “comic”—panels, borders, word balloons, etcetera. As with any field in art, the moment you make a concrete judgment or draw a line

Little Nemo in Slumberland 8

in the sand concerning what does or doesn’t constitute a genre or medium, leagues of contrarians drop from the rafters and devote their entire careers to defying and contradicting that judgment. And that’s good, because art is meant to develop and grow and evolve through time, reflecting the culture it’s created in. But it is also frustrating, because it can make it difficult to even talk about mediums in the first place. That’s a whole different ballgame though, so let’s focus on something cool – classic comics! Little Nemo in Slumberland, by Winsor McCay Winsor McCay (1867-1934) is sort of the Nikola Tesla of the comic arts, but without the tragic obscurity and bizarre pigeon anecdotes. Prolific


and masterful from a very young age, McCay was a powerhouse of innovation in all kinds of sequential arts, from the comic medium to early animation, financing and producing early short animations that he used in a vaudeville act. This act would include him live-drawing at ridiculous speeds while performing for an audience, known as “chalk talks,” and interacting with Gertie the Dinosaur, an early animated short film he made where he would give orders to the dinosaur and it would respond. But before he transcended to the status of “art sorcerer to be admired and feared,” he worked making comics and cartoons for the New York Herald, including Little Sammy Sneeze and Dream of the Rarebit Fiend before creating, in 1905, the work for which he is perhaps best known: Little Nemo in Slumberland. Little Nemo, a weekly strip focusing on a boy and his increasingly strange dreams, is an Art Nouveau fantasy of the early 1900s, encapsulating the sensibilities and aesthetics of the time as well as innovating on numerous stylistic fronts. The format of the strip is this: Nemo is in his bed when emissaries from Slumberland come and try to escort him there, by order of the King. The comic then proceeds to show Nemo going through a multitude of bizarre and fabulous adventures, riding enormous birds through psychedelic jungles, running through forests of growing-and-collapsing mushrooms, racing the constellations on horseback. The conceit of the strip is that just before any real progress is made, Nemo is awakened by his parents, who are almost always off-panel, leaving Nemo frustrated at his interrupted journey. The strip continued on a weekly basis for nearly a decade, and still remains a breathtaking achievement—a cursory glance of a single page of Little Nemo is enough to make any young cartoonist snap their pencil in frustration. McCay was heralded for his groundbreaking work with linear perspective as well as page formatting—the comic panels themselves would often change in keeping with the theme of the page itself. The page where Nemo must run through a forest of increasingly-tall mushrooms features panels that get taller and taller—a later page featuring an enormous elephant-like monster has Nemo and other characters depicted as tiny blips at the bottom of the page, while the behemoth creature takes up the entire frame. The psychedelic colors, the incredible attention to detail, the formal mastery, and the flat out plain-faced beauty of the pages makes them extraordinary to this day, more than 100 years after the strip began. The incredible achievements of this comic masterwork are dimmed ever-so-slightly by the unfortunate and tonally-dissonant presence of ethnic stereotypes such as Flip, a grumpy frog-like

Irishman who is constantly chomping on a cigar and attempting to swindle the other characters, and Impie, a mute African character who can speak only in fractured words like “Ig Ump Imple.” Latent racist and colonialist attitudes are a frustrating and disappointing theme in many of these early comics—they are still dazzling masterpieces, and they are accurate depictions of the attitudes of their time, but it’s still definitely a little bit of a bummer to pick up a collection of Herge’s Tintin in a fit of adventurous whimsy and come upon regressive racial stereotypes. I would never argue for the censorship of these works, because it is important that these flaws exist and be seen and contextualized—to ignore these offensive anachronisms would be intellectually dishonest and historically unethical. But it can certainly take a bit of wind out of a modern comic aficionado’s sails. Regardless, Little Nemo (and the rest of McCay’s work) is an early and crowning achievement of the medium, and is absolutely deserving of your time. The entire archive can be found at (http:// www.comicstriplibrary.org/browse/results?title=2). There are also many gorgeous collections of the strips available on Amazon. Little Nemo was always intended to be read on a page, so while the online archive is free and convenient, the print editions are definitely preferred for the serious reader and aesthete.

Krazy Kat, by George Herriman Like Little Nemo, Krazy Kat takes place in a world where reality is fluid, a vast surrealistic environment full of dream-logic and bizarre beauty, a sprawling desert that is both desolate and lush with life. Krazy Kat’s eponymous character is a freewheeling, carefree, and somewhat simple cat who meanders throughout the environment pursuing an unrequited love for a mouse named Ignatz. Interestingly, Krazy Kat’s gender is never precisely defined, as they are referred to as both ‘he’ and ‘she’ in the course of the comic. While superficially the comic seems like the archetypal slapstick funny-animals comic (a frequent comic beat includes Ignatz hurling a brick at Krazy Kat’s head, which Kat always takes, rather tragically, as an affectionate act), the thoughtful characterization and formal experimentation lead Krazy Kat to be one of the first comics to be officially and intellectually considered “serious art.” Kat takes place in a dramatically stylized version of the Painted Desert of Arizona, and frequently shifts in terms of page formatting and colorization. Kat’s initial publication run was met with a somewhat lukewarm reaction from the public, due to 9


Krazy Kat its flat-out bizarreness and refusal to adhere to comic strip formulas, but it had many famous fans, including the poet e e cummings and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Kat has gone on to be one of the most influential works in the entire sequential medium, defining a tone, a sense of humor, and a hard-to-put-your-finger-on sense of loss and longing that pervades it, separating it from its peers. Krazy Kat is lighthearted breezy fun when you start to read it, full of alliterative and phonetic language and dialogue, but by the time you finish a strip, it’s hard to not feel touched by it on a much deeper level. Again, Like Little Nemo, these strips are over a century old and are pretty easy to get for free, but you’d do yourself a genuine solid to grab a physical copy. http://www.comicstriplibrary.org/ browse/results?title=1

The Adventures of Tintin, by Herge The Adventures of Tintin, by Belgian comics deity Herge, are among the most popular European comics ever published, having been translated into over 60 languages and selling hundreds of millions of copies. The series centers around the trials and travails of adventurous young Belgian reporter Tintin, his trusty dog Snowy, and the cynical, hard-drinking Captain Haddock as they travel throughout a largely realistic depiction of the early 20th century. The Tintin comics cover a vast array of genres and styles, everything from science fiction to “lost world” adventures (featuring the aforementioned, unfortunate racism) to travelogues of far off 10

lands, and also mummies. Herge’s art is breathtakingly pretty, with clear lines and vibrant colors, and feature dozens of recurring characters. The series’ typical adventure format is also punctuated with slapstick humor and gentle, wry social commentary, but the focus tends to be on the journey itself. The global ubiquity of Tintin makes it hard to say too much about it that is new or groundbreaking, but the power of the art and the gentle humor of the writing definitely speak for themselves. My personal favorite entry is Tintin in Tibet, made when Herge was sick and wracked with artist’s block and unsettling dreams of an all-white wasteland (insert joke here). As a result, Herge temporarily moved from his typical vibrant, detail-heavy backgrounds to the sparse beauty of the Himalayas, resulting in what is considered one of the strongest works of the medium. There are probably online archives of the Tintin stories, but I’m not gonna do the work for you on this one, because you should absolutely go get a physical copy. Treat yourself. You deserve it.


The Adventures of Tintin

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Who Would Be King Has The Goods By Madison Friend

Originally published Nov. 9, 2015 Who Would Be King, showing this month at the Oberon (American Repertory Theater) in Cambridge, might give you whiplash. It’s a kinetic retelling of the biblical story of King Saul from the creatives at Liars and Believers that blends live music with a fast-paced story and a colorful cast of characters to rare effect; this short-running gem of a production veers from zany absurdity to unexpected profundity between blinks, guided by an expert cast with a clear, focused passion for the show they have created. Glen Moore stunned as the titular King Saul, providing the audience a nuanced portrait of a tortured man making the most of his circumstances in the face of divine disapproval. Saul’s devolution from contented, practical, happy-go-lucky farmer to tortured, paranoid, power-hungry king seemed so natural played by Moore, as if an entire lifetime actually does pass in the two hours of theatre darkness. Jesse Garlick, meanwhile, shines in the second act as he beautifully captures Prince Jonny’s immense frustration with and deep respect for his father through a series of exasperated sighs and seemingly inconsequential interactions that prove some of the most telling moments of the production. 12

Rebecca Lehrhoff and Rachel Wiese have excellent chemistry as Sam, the down-on-his-luck prophet, and Agnes, God’s winged messenger. Lehrhoff is just stiff and determined enough as Sam to keep the audience from pitying him, despite his repeated failures to deliver on God’s orders, while Wiese is charming, enchanting, and unexpectedly funny as both Agnes and a rotating cast of Bumbleheads. The events of the production spanned a lifetime, but blink and you would have missed them. The creators kept it fast-paced with a series of unexpected, incredibly inventive framing devices that both engaged and critiqued the largely young, media-savvy audience. A reality TV-type contest to choose a new king (a complete farce - God chose) made for one of the best musical numbers of the show and an effective device later on, when Jay Mobley (absolutely excellent, though occasionally corny, with the live music) intones “A good king has the goods,” over and over as Saul descends, Lear-like and goods-less, into madness. Later, the news broadcasts from the Bumblefolk prove a most effective expository trick, providing the audience with decades of information in a few funny minutes as Lehrhoff and Wiese riff on Fox, the fickle nature of public opinion, and the 24-hour news cycle. It’s a gorgeous, immersive, ambient spectacle, but without such a talented, cohesive team, it would have fallen to disparate pieces. It takes a singular focus to do as much as they did in only two hours, performing costume changes nonchalantly onstage, pivoting effortlessly from character to character, like the foolish uncertainty of the Bumblefolk to the angry energy of the Evil Jabash. The show’s greatest strength is its versatility (their versatility) and clear commitment to the material. Sitting in the audience, as the cast sings and dances and climbs and jumps around you, it’s impossible not to buy into the world they’ve created. Who Would Be King is a silly, subversive show with something profound at its core, a sharp wit and big heart almost masked by the relentless but wonderful absurdity of the clown kingdom. Who Would Be King is currently showing at the Oberon (American Repertory Theater) in Cambridge, MA at 7:30 pm on Nov 5, 6, 8, 12, 13, 19, 20, and 22. Tickets are $25/$35. A limited number of student rush tickets ($10) are available at the door. Visit their website for more information: http://www. liarsandbelievers.com/whowouldbeking.


Chappelle’s (New) Show By Alex Macdougall

Originally published Sep. 27, 2015 Dave Chappelle is one of the biggest and most famous performers in standup comedy — or at least he was, before his sudden disappearance from the spotlight almost ten years ago. Now he’s back on tour, and he proved he hasn’t lost a step in his latest standup comedy stop at Worcester’s Hanover Theatre last Friday. Entering the stage casually smoking a cigarette, Dave Chappelle immediately made the New England audience burst into laughter by talking about his love for Clam Chowder, and he had just come from Portland, Maine, where “The men dress just like the lesbians in Seattle.” Chappelle is most known for his hit sketch comedy series Chappelle’s Show which aired on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006, until Chappelle’s sudden and unexpected departure. It contained a slew of memorable and controversial sketches in which Chappelle played a black white supremacist, a crack addict named Tyrone Biggums,

and, perhaps most famously, Rick James—a sketch which became so popular it began to eclipse much of Chappelle’s other work, which is rumored to be the reason why he left the show. Since then, American society has undergone some profound social changes, such as the rise the smartphone, the legalization of gay marriage, and the Bill Cosby scandal. Chappelle subjected all of these topics to his brand of risqué, no-holds-barred humor. In an era that has given rise to what has been referred to as “outrage culture” in which even the mildest of politically incorrect statements can lead to wave of internet fury, Chappelle’s outrageous style is maybe more important than ever. Chappelle himself brought up the topic of outrage during his performance, recounting a time when an Asian woman in the front row of a performance called him a racist for his “insensitivity” towards her interracial marriage. “The thing is, I’m in an interracial marriage too, and my wife is Asian,” joked Chappelle. “So I’ll see you at Thanksgiving!” Chappelle also commented on the rise of transgender rights in America, talking about a time he tried to help a transgender woman about to overdose on drugs (whose friends were more concerned about Chappelle using the right pronouns), Caitlyn Jenner, and a time he watched a story about a transgender man interviewed by Diane Sawyer who had received hateful messages on his answering machine. “That’s when I began to feel really bad about the guy,” Chappelle said. “Mainly by the fact he still had an answering machine.” Chappelle took aim at the Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson as well. He doubted Donald Trump’s ability to get elected, despite his popularity, because he would be “The first president ever to have herpes.” About Carson, he said that he liked him but “No way will America elect two black presidents in a row.” But perhaps the biggest applause of the night came during the middle of the performance. Joking about Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement, he remarked, “And I thought I was crazy for leaving Chappelle’s show!” which led to a thunderous applause. It was a sign that, ten years later, Chappelle and his show are still adored by America.

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By Patrick Driscoll Originally published Oct. 25, 2015 Sharon Healy-Yang, professor of English at Worcester State University, recently published her first novel, Bait and Switch, with Touchpoint Press: a noir mystery in the tradition of classic films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s that combines an intriguing mystery with wit, humor, and genuine heart. Bait and Switch follows Jessica Minton, a smart-talking stage actress in wartime New York, who finds herself suddenly entangled in a web of intrigue, Axis spies, double-agents, drama, and mustachioed men who are as handsome as they are untrustworthy, in a story that is at once funny, thrilling, and clearly written by someone with an extensive familiarity with the genre. The New Worcester Spy’s Pat Driscoll interviews Dr. Yang about her writing habits, advice for budding authors, H.P. Lovecraft, and the importance of cats. Q: How long have you been writing? A: Well, fifty years, because the first thing I wrote was when I was eight years old, and I managed to misspell “girl”—I meant to say that a girl was being chased off a bus by a vampire and I kept spelling it “grill.” Why a vampire would take a bus is another question, but my brother read it to my parents because he thought it was so good. So, you know, I’ve always been writing. And I got started because my brother used to write, and I wanted to be like my brother. Q: Does he still write? A: Ah, no. Q: Oh, cool! So you kind of eclipsed him? A: I did, I went beyond him, yeah. He got the Master’s, I got the PhD, you know how it goes, haha. Q: Nice! Got ‘em, haha. Have you written novels or short stories before this series? A: Me and a friend of mine in junior high, we wrote this satire of Dark Shadows. It was almost like a big long soap opera. But I actually had written some 14

novels that, y’know—they’re juvenilia, they were romance novels, sort of Victorian Gothic, Gothic romance, very popular in the 70s. They weren’t bodice-rippers or anything. Kind of like Victoria Holt, that kind of thing. Some of them were satires, too, but nothing I would ever try and publish. They were just for fun. Q: Definitely, kind of like cutting your teeth? A: Yeah! Yeah, exactly. Q: Who are some of your favorite writers? A: Ah, well, for just plain relaxing reading, I love— well there’s a lot of different people, it’s hard to say. I just finished reading The Technologist by Matthew Pearl. There’s another writer who’s a wonderful combination of Nathaniel Hawthorne and H.P. Lovecraft named Scott Thomas, I think—I really like a lot of stuff that was written in the 1930s and 40s, you know, mysteries, sometimes ghost stories. I love Dorothy McArdle, who wrote The Uninvited, Theresa Charles, and a lot of people who nobody really remembers that well. I like the writing, there’s a lot in there; it’s a pleasure to read. It’s like sinking your teeth into a good sandwich, you know what I mean? Q: What attracted you to the genre of “Bait and Switch”? A: I’ve always liked mysteries, horror (although this isn’t horror), I like humor, I’m a big movie buff—I love movies from the 30s and 40s. I love how they have that noir look, I like the humor, I love the visuals, the literate way things are written, the way things unfurl, the way the characters are developed. And it’s so compact! A lot of these stories are told in seventy minutes, an hour and forty minutes, tops. And it really just works. Q: And it definitely comes through in the sample I read—like the bit about mugging a G.I. for a Hershey bar, like it’s so spot-on for the tone of the genre. It has such a good conversational, ah, what’s the word—repartee? It was super good. A: Oh, you liked it? That makes me so happy! Get all your friends to read it. Read it, buy a copy, that’d be even better. We gotta keep my cat in catnip.


Q: I definitely will! Exactly, gotta keep ‘em flush. Do you have a set writing regimen? A: You know, I can’t write during the school year, because A: I don’t have time, and B: I just can’t focus, because you really just have to immerse yourself in it. So I usually write in the summer. I’ll just find a chunk of time, go out onto the porch and write for six hours, and usually my husband will say ‘you haven’t had lunch, come in and eat something.’ And my hands will be hurting, because I handwrite. The first draft is always by hand, because it flows more freely. I try to do a certain number of hours a week, but it’s really exhausting—I’m inspired by nature, I like to feel the breeze, I love the warmth. I love the fall. I haven’t been able to set anything in the fall yet, but the fourth novel in the series—I’ve written three—the fourth one is set in the fall. Q: What are the three books so far? A: Bait and Switch, Letter From a Dead Man, and Always Play the Dark Horse. Bait and Switch is coming out first, obviously. Q: Do you have any advice to writers starting out, who’ve yet to be published? A: Well, always keep at it. Keep honing your craft. Read a lot—what kind of helped me was, I started by finding writers I liked and emulated them, but then I found my own way, sort of a way to get started. Keep writing, don’t be discouraged. And write for yourself! I think, get a lot of feedback from people who would be your audience, who would be the kind of people who you’d wanna write for. I think it’s really good to get a writing group, or just have friends who are other writers, and be able to take criticism—but also be able to know when the criticism isn’t really relevant. I just knew I always wanted to write, and I was gonna write anyway. I feel like, if you don’t have talent, then you shouldn’t get published, but if you just enjoy writing, then just enjoy it. I did a lot of research to find, you know, I invested in the Writer’s Guide to Agents, the Writer’s Guide to Presses. I got a lot of rejections, and I went through a lot of revisions. Sometimes when you hear from agents or editors, and they’ll give you suggestions, and you have to think, ‘is this something that is valid, and will make it better?’ or ‘do they want something that I don’t want to write?’ Q: Did you do a lot of research on the period? You can definitely feel it in the dialogue. A: Oh yeah, definitely. A lot of people say that, I think I have an ear for it. Another thing I do is when I’m watching old movies I’ll write things down. And you’ve probably heard me say stuff in class, you know, it’s sort of part of my patois now. Q: What genres would you list it under? Is it strictly Mystery/Noir? Is it a Political Thriller? A: I would say it’s sort of ‘amateur detective,’

definitely mystery. I don’t know if it’s a thriller. It’s sort of how you define it—it’s not violent, it’s not like a Bruce Willis movie, but I think I keep you in suspense. I definitely think the noir part is in there. I guess I would call it ‘historical,’ too, it’s very in-the-period. And there’s a cat in it. You can’t forget the cat. Q: Definitely! That’s an important part of it. A: She is, actually. Q: You mention on your website the notion of ‘Smart-Talking Gals.’ Is that sort of a movement you’re trying to go for? A: I actually hadn’t thought about it like that. It’s just that, a lot of times when I read criticism about the genre, they always seem to dump women into categories; they’re either femme fatales, or these innocents. And I think an important part of the genre is the Smart-Talking Gal. There’s a person who writes on film, she has an article in the book I’m co-editing with Kathy Healy called Gothic Landscapes, where she writes about working women in film noir, and it’s kind of close to what I’m talking about. I think there definitely needs to be more attention paid to the Smart-Talking Gal. I used to the word ‘dame,’ but ‘gal’ seems way more respectful, you know. Q: Is there any genre that you’d like to do in the future? A: Well, I’ve actually done -- I’ve completed a Lovecraft pastiche, that sort of combines Lovecraft, noir, and a little romance, which sounds a little bizarre! So I completed it, it’s called Redeeming Time, I have to tighten it up a bit. I’ll see if a publisher wants to do something with it, or maybe self-publish it on Amazon or something. I grew up reading Lovecraft, I love that kind of stuff. In fact, there’s this great website run by the H.P. Lovecraft historical society called Cthulhu Lives, and you can order CDs where they’ve done radio plays of some of his short stories. Q: Oh, that’s awesome! By the way, I probably should have asked this earlier, but: Are you originally from Massachusetts? A: Yeah! I was born in Lowell, I grew up in Lowell. I lived in Lawrence for a year, and then I also lived in Worcester for a year when I went to Clark, and then I went to grad school in Storrs, Connecticut, and then I got this job about sixteen years ago, and I’ve been here ever since. And you should see my yard, it’s a fake cemetery now. Q: Lovecraft would definitely approve. Thank you so much for this! A: Oh, no problem! Thanks for the publicity! Haha. Read a sample of Bait and Switch here: (http:// sharonhealyyang.com/bait-and-switch/sneakpeek-at-bait-and-switch/) and follow her blog at http://sharonheallyyang.com. 15


Wootown Spotlight: Heather Macpherson

run a chapbook contest which will re-open for all writers in January of 2016. She encourages submissions; she’s looking to publish a year-one anthology in Spring 2016.

Originally published Nov. 10, 2015

Heather also collaborates with WSU graduate Jessica Bane Roberts of “The Barred Owl Retreat” to host poetry workshops and events. Their next event is a press reading scheduled at River Run Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on November 19.

By Erica Gilman

Heather Macpherson is the author several poems featured in this issue of the New Worcester Spy. She attended community college before switching to Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts, where she earned her Bachelor of the Arts degree in English. She went on to earn her Master of Education in Library Media Studies at Salem State College. Heather is in the final year of her Master of Arts degree in English here at Worcester State. She looks forward to pursuing her Ph.D next year in literature.

Heather encourages all fellow writers to believe in themselves and keep writing. She recommends finding a supportive writing group, such as Kristina England’s workshop that meets in WSU’s Learning Resource Center’s Café on campus (it can be found through England’s Facebook page). Heather shares a mantra she formed after a visit with Joy Heather has been published in multiple media Katz: you have to take yourself seriously and you sources such as CLARE Literary, The Broken Plate, have to make things happen for yourself. Spillway, Pearl, Nerve Cowboy, OVS, Two Hawks Quarterly, Rougarou, and most recently, ATOMIC. You can follow Heather J. Macpherson on Her poetry is heavily influenced by art (as is obvious her wordpress blog at scribblehysteria.wordpress. from her poem “Female Perversions, 1927,” based com, or like her on Facebook. If you have any on Laura Sylvia Gosse’s painting “Les Rentiers”) questions or would like to get in touch, contact her at and her work prominently features feminist themes. hmacpherson@worcester.edu. Her poems are relatable and beautifully complex. In addition to the work she does writing, Heather and her partner Lea Deschenes founded Damfino Press almost a year ago. Under this name, they publish an online journal featuring poetry, essays and reviews. Besides the online content, the two 16


Catherine Jreije

Heather Macpherson

Time

Female Perversions, 1927

It will never go fast enough It will never go slow enough It will never pass just right We all have too much and too little on our hands

Inspired by Les Rentiers, an undated painting by Laura Sylvia Gosse

Tick-tock, I can’t stop looking at the clock

Hands buried in flap pockets, closer to my body than anyone can get. My once soft velvet collar worn from age

During a test, the time is speeding by When I am in class on Friday, it is a wandering snail When I am with him, it passes like a lightning bolt When I await to see him, the same moments last for eternity Tick-tock, am I being watched by a hawk? The weight of a thousand raindrops descends on me Bellowing over me is time and time is money Time is money, time is precious I do not have eternity, my soul cannot be set free Tick-tock, every minute feels like eternity The clock keeps ticking till the end of me Clouds go by, people come and go, yet I am still here Every second feels like forever This moment will still be here, forever from now Tick-tock, I must stop watching the clock Patience Be patient, they say You will meet in a random way The time will come unexpectedly, one day Live your life, think not of it, you’ll be okay But how could I? There is no easy way The wait kills me, I want no delay The time will arrive, I know, it’s so cliché But how could I patiently await such a magical day? One day, he will come There is no telling where he will come from Some people say all the overthinking is dumb But how could I not think about he, the one? Though I cannot ignore the constant wonder I thrive one day to feed my hunger For love and happiness that will last forever I hope that we can live this way together

I know exactly what I am.

how dare you suggest I am used. Double stitched seams pop in the back curve— you men over there! I am the details on watch in this marketplace; a fallen hem you cannot mend I tailor my selfadmiration, reveal my eyes when I feel like it. I am educated. I have sex when I want it and yes, this cloche is new. I bought it with my own money.

Distraction does not calm the alarm a din beneath the rig, their song demanding PAYMENT DUE meet here: the tip of your nose cloudy, surface unruffled, nibbles away like off-pitch chorus sisters; sleepless crime is the turbulent equation—high interest unsolvable as nature hungers for cold in June spilled debt embodies the monthly epistle lying outside the bedroom door ajar with arrears

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Hades Contemplates a Vacation Blue sky might be a nice change. I hear the White Mountains are grand this time of year– snow -capped and gale. Perhaps grander heights; ski the swaggering Alps. Or Paris in winter– stay in, eat croissants, drink a real café au lait. Not that Starbucks crap. Maybe sail around the world... accept rhythm of lull and rock? Rough and breaking seas? Wide incessant, guide me across waters like one unknown to an other. Hmm. What is rain? I hear talk of seppuku during the “wet season” in Seattle. All those lost souls finding their way to me, a mild ethos, and a threeheaded dog. Falls from paradise may ease the tension in my neck, release the sigh no one else could hear.

Erica Gilman When the City of Love Lost its Light When’s the last time you went out on a Friday night with some friends? When’s the last time you grabbed a cup of coffee with someone you loved? When’s the last time you flew somewhere on vacation? When’s the last time you packed up your bag to go to school? When’s the last time you did anything normal, with no thought of fear or question whether you would be sleeping in your bed that night or sharing someone else’s, or still breathing that night? No one goes out with their boyfriend or girlfriend or parents or best friend wondering what Heaven is like. Heaven must be where everyone’s faults and the universe’s truths are etched into the Pearly Gates. So everyone and I do mean EVERYONE without a doubt, knows they were dead wrong. Some people say that Heaven

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is in the clouds, big, fluffy, cumulous clouds. They would be filled with the tears of lovers alone, with the sweat of the boys we send into unknown lands to become murders for the purpose of a political agenda. The clouds will leave drops on the soles of our bloody feet that will hold inside the good days of our lives like miniature snow globes, laying on the shelf dusty with forgotten appreciation. The Friday that the city of love had its lights taken had its breath stolen was the day that the world lit up. Everyone sat down staring at a digital screen looking at someone reminding them the importance of breathing. To really take in the air to worship the oxygen in our lungs to praise the days we took for granted. We looked to all those we have known, sent a kiss their way. We played a video behind our eyes of every sun glare, of every birthday cake slice, of every scream echoed into midnight skies full of stars. For every breath that was cut short, that slid out of numb lips, whisperings of love and grace and appreciation for every breath before, there was a breath inhaled swiftly consuming forgotten sidewalks, of pansies sitting alone in a meadow, of dusty memories long forgotten, and a shaky exhalation of sorrow for everything we have lost, both together and alone.


Mary Schroth Number Nine This hand is quite gifted in writing about the slutty letter that falls between “H” and J.” Surely the other vowels sit back and glare at her, throwing crude remarks back and forth about her as if she were nothing more than a stitched leather ball. Flowing forth from my pen, day and night, day and night, she stands in the spotlight and commands the crowd. Source of envy she may be, there is never a moment of rest. She tires of being used and worn, but still holds her brilliant head up high, forever calling out into the sky, “I, I, I.” Per Aspera Ad Astra I often know a tortured sadness, who visits me from time to time. My pain and your pain are lovers. Fate has made it so— every aspect of me coincides with every stitch of you, and our inner demons softly stroke the cheeks of one another in mutual knowing. They are separate entities, yet not gone from us entirely. You and I have learned that we must consent to their occasional meeting, for the two of us are hopeless advocates in celebrating forbidden love. There is no part of me not in love with each congruent piece of you. Our graces are married,

our sorrows dream of growing old together. And it is not only in happiness that we find balance, but in times of despair in which we allow our bodies to become the scale. Little Fish Swim little fish, swim, round and round, in your transparent prison, silently gliding about a violently unchanging world. Do you cry, little fish? Invisible tears, unnoticed— You thrive in their likeness. Weeping, weeping, on and on, submerged by sorrows. Little fish, my poor friend, here you shall remain forevermore, companionless, without a sound, trapped by glass that forces you to move about the very water that poured from you. Searching for Daisies I am trying to collect good feelings. I will build a repertoire of small, simple pleasures, previously overlooked by my clouded, unseeing eyes. They come to me sporadically, in unexpected hiding spots, at fate’s drawing of times. This is a journey. The stars are amused by my pursuits, humoring my quest with spontaneous bursts of good fortune, or in guiding me to notice the humble, silent beauty of an ethereal world. I capture daisies with the hope that they might teach my fervent soul to bloom. 19


Local


establishment politician with few new ideas and a lackluster vision for the future. Petty has touted his record as mayor over the last four years as proof of his leadership ability – since he became mayor, the city has seen an influx of jobs and increased economic investment in the community. Ahead of Election Day, The New Worcester Spy sat down with both candidates to talk about their visions for the city and, specifically, how they plan to address the issues that affect the college community.

Voter Turnout

Mayoral Race Heats Up in Worcester By Madison Friend

Originally published Nov. 1, 2015 WORCESTER – Incumbent Democrat Joe Petty and up-and-coming Independent City Councilman Michael Gaffney have spent the last several months campaigning for the office of Worcester city mayor. Their protracted efforts will see results next Tuesday when Worcester residents head to the polls to cast their final votes. The two may be political rivals, but they have a lot in common. Both were born in Worcester and worked their way through college. Petty was a waiter, busboy, and dishwasher at a restaurant in Webster Square while he attended Nichols College, studying accounting and political science before settling on a degree in business; Gaffney, a Worcester State University alum, participated in the ROTC and worked odd jobs when he wasn’t taking night classes at the New England School of Law. Both candidates have a unique passion for Worcester that inspired them to stay in the area and get involved in local politics. Though their positions on the issues differ, they have remarkably similar goals – to encourage economic growth in the city, revive neighborhoods, and celebrate the diversity that makes the city so vibrant and unique. These similarities have been less than apparent in the knock-down, drag-out battle that has been the Worcester mayoral race. Gaffney has positioned himself as the insurgent alternative to Petty, who he has consistently characterized as an entrenched

A disappointingly low turnout to the municipal primary elections earlier this fall – only 11 percent – has both candidates worried about the future of local politics in Worcester, and they both acknowledge the importance of increasing this number if the city is to make true progress. Petty in particular emphasized the importance of the youth vote, saying, “I would love to see college kids registering to vote in Worcester, but I don’t think they do because they’re worried about whether to register here or in their hometowns.” Gaffney explained that most of Worcester’s voters live on the West side of the city – meaning that large swaths of people living on the east side, as well as the college population, are not participating in the electoral process. He explained that as a result of this disparity, most of his campaigning has been focused on the west side of the city, home to voters he’s sure will turn out on election day. He’d like this to change, and thinks engaging non-voters in the political process is one of the keys to strengthening the city.

School Safety Events at North High School earlier this year brought the issue of school safety front-and-center in the public eye. A series of clashes between students, teachers, and police have had many prominent community figures calling for leadership reform in the education sector. The discourse reached such a fever pitch that it prompted a Worcester Technical High School senior to declare his candidacy for the school committee on a platform of school safety reform. He called passionately for superintendent Melinda Boone’s resignation, which has since become a reality. Petty and Boone together emphasized the continued safety of the Worcester Public School’s 21


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learning environment in spite of the setbacks, and Petty came to Boone’s defense after she resigned. Amid criticism of her work, he said, “Worcester is losing a passionate and talented leader.” Gaffney, on the other hand, has criticized both Petty and Boone for what he sees as their mishandling of safety issues, slow response times, and failure to implement practical safety measures in schools and citywide to protect police and children from gun violence. It has become one of the most contentious issues of the race. Gaffney recently received a key endorsement from the Worcester Police Patrolman’s Union (an organization that has endorsed Petty in the past), dealing a serious blow to Petty’s campaign. In a prepared statement, he criticized Gaffney for politicizing the issue of gun violence for the sake of being elected and expressed disappointment at the union’s choice. Gaffney disagrees with Petty’s interpretation, maintaining that the incumbent mayor sat idly by as the police were disrespected and members of the community were put in harm’s way.

ant to get them off-campus by providing easy access to the more vibrant areas of Worcester, like the Canal District and Shrewsbury Street. Despite these goals, it remains unclear what specific actions Gaffney will take to involve college students in the greater Worcester community.

College Life

Originally published Nov. 9, 2015

During his tenure as mayor, Petty has been very involved with the local colleges. He supports the Working for Worcester program, in which college students from the area work together to plan and complete community projects that will improve the city’s parks and recreational spaces. He often speaks at Young Democrats gatherings and attends College Consortium meetings to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the college community. Lately, he’s been working on a plan that would provide college students across the city easy-access, low-cost transportation to nightclubs, restaurants, and other cultural venues so they aren’t stuck on campus or forced to pay for a taxi. Gaffney has been more critical of the colleges in Worcester. As a candidate, he has emphasized the importance of fiscal responsibility and economic growth, and he feels that the colleges aren’t doing as much as they should to support the local economy. Instead of paying property taxes, they make “Payments in Lieu of Taxes” (PILOT) to compensate for the revenue lost to the local government due to the non-taxable nature of their land. Gaffney feels the payments are not large enough or made consistently enough to benefit the city in a meaningful way. That said, it’s still very important to him to see college students participate more actively in the culture of the city. Like Petty, he thinks it’s import-

Dr. Robert Goddard is known as “the father of the space age.” As a young boy, he dreamed of the possibilities of space exploration. He went on to discover the potential of rocket power. Goddard launched the first rocket propelled by liquid fuel on March 16, 1926 in Auburn, Massachusetts. Following this, Goddard launched another rocket in 1929. This time it caught the attention of the Massachusetts fire marshal. They banned him from conducting such exercises for safety issues. As a result, Goddard didn’t receive much support in his efforts. The newspapers nicknamed Goddard “Moon Man.” Charles Lindberg, an aviator, believed in Dr. Goddard and persuaded the Guggenheim Foundation to support his work. With their support, Goddard moved to Roswell, New Mexico where he kept working. As World War II broke out, the government hired Goddard to develop weapons for the military. Goddard was born in Worcester in 1882, graduated from South High School in 1904, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 1908. Also, he earned his doctorate in physics from Clark University in 1911, and he taught physics at Clark for many years. Edwin Aldrin, father of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was one of Goddard’s students. Dr. Robert Goddard died in 1945. He is buried in Worcester’s hope cemetery. After Goddard’s death, much of his space inspiration was left in Worcester. There were several inventions and processes made in Worcester that

Worcester and the Space Age By Timothy Jarvis


contributed to the national space program. Allegro Microsystem was a company that did this. In 1965 they opened a factory in Worcester to make computer chips. Just before the Apollo astronauts made the journey to the moon in July 1969, NASA asked Allegro for their help. NASA officials said that the Apollo astronauts were carrying written messages from world leaders to bring to the Moon. NASA needed Allegro to create a process that could reproduce the message so they could be left on the moon for others to see in the future. And so the company invented a thin disc made of silicon. It was slightly larger than a man’s thumb and 14/1000 of an inch thick. The original messages were photographed and then stored on the disc. The messages can be read clearly under a microscope and were left on the Moon during the Apollo mission. It’s still on the Moon to this day. Another Worcester company involved in the national space program was the David Clark Company Incorporated. In 1935, David M. Clark founded the company to produce knitted fabrics. During World War II, the company made flight suits and developed the famous “anti-G” suit. This was designed to prevent the fighter pilots from passing out when taking on intense G-force. The “anti-G” suit was later used by American astronauts. During the 50’s, the David Clark Company began its long partnership with the space program. When John Glenn was launched into space in 1962 in the Mercury mission, he used a David Clark headset. David Clark made the suites for the Gemini missions, and astronaut Ed White wore a David Clark suit in the first U.S. spacewalk in 1965. When Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon on July 20, 1969, he delivered the famous “one small step for man” speech to the people of Earth using a “communications carrier,” or headset, made by David Clark. Additionally, there was the Honematic Machine Company, established in 1956. They produced metal works, like shafts and cylinders, used by the U.S. military and factories. The company made a cylinder piece for the periscopes used in submarines. Also, Honematic made the legs of the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). This served as a base for the Apollo astronauts during the Moon landings. Wyman-Gordon Company is another worth noting. The company was founded in 1883 and was one of the planet’s leaders in forging airplane and aerospace parts. They forged things like engines and aircraft body frames. Forging is the process of shaping metal after it has been heated to a plastic mold. Over 150 Wyman-Gordon forgings went into the Saturn V Booster rocket that delivered Apollo 11 to the Moon. Also, more recently, Wyman-Gordon

forged the main landing gear for the U.S. space shuttle. And finally, one can’t overlook Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s influence on the national space program. Back in 1865, John Boynton gave $1000 to Worcester for the establishment of an institute. And so the Worcester Free Institute of Industrial Science was founded. Now called WPI, the college is one of the nation’s leading institutes of science and engineering. And many of its students were later involved in the space program or NASA. Of course Robert Goddard made his name at WPI, graduating in 1909. But there was also Space Shuttle astronaut Albert Sacco, who was on the space shuttle Columbia in 1995, and was the head of the Chemical Engineering Department at WPI during his flight. Sacco conducted material science and biotechnology experiments while in space. And so Worcester has done all this to contribute to the national space program. Worcester felt the inspiration of the space exploration drive most of the country felt at that time. Worcester’s impact on the space program is among the city’s greater accomplishments.

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6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Mondays and 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, there’s no good reason not to take a trip down to the Crown.

Hungry? Head to Boomers By Paul M. Fontaine

Originally published Dec. 6, 2015

A Bakery Fit for a King By Nicholas Clark Originally published

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Known to many Worcester residents, a true culinary crown jewel resides at 133 Gold Star Boulevard. Swedish-American Ake Lundstrom opened Crown Bakery in Worcester over 55 years ago with the dream of creating a true European-style bakery and café. Lundstrom’s dream came to life as the Crown Bakery opened and specialized in Scandinavian treats as well as a range of classic European pastries. Its popularity rose quickly as some of Worcester’s diverse ethnic groups were able to calm their sweet tooth with traditional artisan baked goods at the new bakery. With an array of diverse, delicious Swedish-style sandwiches and meats in the deli, one can get a meal, too, but the real joy comes when choosing one of the many delicacies served in the bakery. From Swedish coffee rings and buns to traditional Swedish cinnamon braids, Worcester residents can indulge in the classic Swedish activity of fika. On top of the numerous pastries and breads fit for a feast for the king of Sweden, the Crown Bakery offers exceptional decorating talent with their wedding cakes. Made to order and ready to impress, these cakes have gained quite a reputation in Worcester. The humble storefront is decorated in blue and yellow and topped by the three-point crown logo. A welcoming atmosphere pulls you inside and the scent of fresh-baked goods and exceptional hospitality keeps you coming back for more. You’ll be able to satisfy your sweet tooth here every day of the week except Sunday. From

What is so great about Boomers Sub & Deli in Worcester? In a word, everything. Rather than being a pizza place that only has one or two lines of food to eat, Boomers has several selections of great food available for purchase. Its vast selection of delicious food is what sets it apart from similar restaurants and pizza places. Unlike some takeout places where they say they have something for everyone, Boomers actually does! Boomers is located on 93 Highland Street, at the corner of Denny Street right next to the Jim Dandy Laundromat. It’s ironic that even though I had seen the Boomers sign many times going up and down Highland Street, I never went there until the time I had to go to the Jim Dandy Laundromat to do my laundry. Once I tried some food at Boomers, I was hooked. Boomers has a wide selection of 23 different super deli sandwiches, or you can get one of their six Italian sandwiches. I have tried the Chicken Caesar Wrap and found it to be absolutely delicious! At present, I am alternating between the burgers and calzones. Boomers offers 25 different calzones (I recommend the Cheeseburger and the Texan calzones), or you can create your own special calzone with up to four different items from the menu. Six different burgers, as well as seven grilled sandwiches are also available for purchase. I strong-


ly recommend the basic charbroiled burger with cheese or the Boomers burger. Boomers offers up to 13 different specialty pizzas, or you can create one of your own from the extensive list of toppings. Boomers also offers daily pizza and lunch specials from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. For vegetarian customers, Boomers serves five different vegetarian dishes. Nine different salads are available as well as a wide selection of salad dressings. There are also over 12 pasta dishes to choose from. Haddock Fish n’ Chips are available on Friday. And don’t forget to make room for one of Boomers’ cookies or dessert items! Man, I’m getting hungry just writing about most of the menu items Boomers serves! The only problem I have with Boomers is that it’s very hard decide what to order. Boomers is open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 a.m., and Sundays noon to 10 p.m. The operating hours may change during the school year and holidays, so customers are advised to call in advance for hours during those times. There are a variety of ways for customers to contact Boomers to place an order. The telephone number is 508-791-5551 and the fax number is 508-363-4098. Customers who call in an order may have the option of paying over the phone with a credit or debit card. Boomers accepts Discover, Mastercard, and Visa credit cards. For those who want to place an order online, go to BoomersPizzeria.com, and tell them the New Worcester Spy sent you!

Worcester Art Museum Welcomes Higgins Armory Collection By Nicholas Clark

Originally published Oct. 5, 2015 As home to the Worcester Art Museum and the former Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester is truly a cultural and historical treasure. Unfortunately, in late December of 2013 Worcester lost the prestige of having the second largest collection of medieval arms and armor as well as the only museum solely dedicated to these antiquities in the nation when the Higgins Armory Museum closed its doors due to a lack of funding and city support. Although the nationally recognized armory museum has closed up shop, its (luckily) valued collection is not at all lost. The Worcester Art Museum has graciously welcomed the collection of over 2,000 medieval antiquities and has made plans to incorporate it with a whole new exhibit. With major plans underway for a new exhibit that will relight the spark that Higgins Armory once brought to Worcester, a temporary exhibit named “Knights!” has been installed. This was completed last year and houses only a fraction of the new collection of arms and armor, but this is only the beginning. The museum plans to integrate the entire

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collection of 2,000+ items in the coming years. By renovating the library into a new grand hall exhibit, WAM expects to have more than enough space to display the full collection (something that even the Higgins Armory was unable to do). The plans for moving the library to another site will be completed by 2018. This means that if all goes as planned, the Museum will be able to show off the new, two-story, 4,000+ square foot, fully decorated exhibit in as little as a few years. The Knights and Weaponry exhibits were beloved in Worcester and will be more than welcomed back to grant visitors an experience of the mystical realm that was Medieval Europe.

City Council Votes to Lift Moratorium on Needle Exchange By Brendan Pauley

Originally published Nov. 27, 2015 WORCESTER- The Worcester City Council voted 9-1 in favor of lifting the moratorium on needle exchanges in the city on Tuesday following last week’s presentation by Dr. Matilde Castiel, during which she admonished the council to adopt a more progressive means of fighting the opiate epidemic. The public comments before the council’s vote illustrated the public’s concern about the opiate epidemic and how the city intends to combat it. Of those who spoke, only one was against the measure. William Breault, chair of the Main South Alliance for Public Safety, expressed doubts regarding the proposed exchange’s efficacy and whether the public had been properly informed on the issue “The cowards who call themselves servants of the people need to hear from the good people of Worcester,” he said. “We are not willing to wave the white flag of surrender to drug addicts.” 26

His claim that a needle exchange would promote drug use and negatively affect the community were opposed by the next 15 people who spoke on the issue, from former mayor and city councilor Joseph O’Brien to outreach workers who said an exchange would provide the city with a valuable tool to fight addiction. Richard Gonzalez, an HIV positive pastor in recovery, stated that a needle exchange would give healthcare workers a valuable point of contact. “When you reach out to addicts it’s a time to tell them that they can get clean – it’s not just giving a needle, it’s an opportunity for outreach,” he said. “CVS doesn’t ask them if they need help when they’re buying needles over the counter.” Dr. Thomas Stapka, Assistant Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, took a more clinical approach in voicing his support, citing dozens of studies and his professional experiences as an epidemiologist as evidence that needle exchanges are an effective means of curbing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C – something he said Worcester needs. “Some of the needle exchanges I work with have over a 100 percent return rate; they’re getting more needles back than they’re giving out,” he said, adding that “Worcester shows up as a hotspot, a statistically significant hotspot where there are clusters of elevated rates of HIV and Hepatitis C.” City councilor Konstantina Lukes voiced doubts as to the practicality of a needle exchange program, agreeing with Main South Alliance for Public Safety chair Breault that the issue had not been sufficiently debated by members of the public. She was absent when votes were cast, however, leaving councilor Gaffney, who opposed the program based on what he considered the failure of over-the-counter needles, as the council’s lone dissenting voice.


Comment


Originally published Oct. 18, 2015


On Deaf Ears By Noah Goldfarb

In an oddly spectacular way, the debate over gun control is perhaps the epitome of American democracy. The conversation itself is both beautiful and horrendous, reflecting the American people’s unshakable need to speak out about their beliefs and defend the liberties they hold dear, while also revealing the stubborn ignorance of our modern political system. Those on both sides of the debate hold rallies, publish articles, and, both metaphorically and literally, scream their beliefs from the rooftops. This sounds great, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t our beloved Founding Fathers be proud of the forum that the constitution they crafted made possible? Well, perhaps they might. Perhaps they would take great pleasure in watching the great debate take place. I’m just a lowly college student, so who am I to say? Call me an idealist or a romantic, but I believe that the drafters of the Constitution would be sickened by the country’s blind polarization on the subject of guns. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” some might say. “Slow down there, Mr Goldfarb! The Founding Fathers added a Bill of Rights to our Constitution, which explicitly states that we have the right to bear arms.” Well, anonymous audience member, you are entirely correct. The Constitution does in fact provide the American people with the right to bear arms. And therein lies another great debate: “Well, what the hell does that mean!” Those on the left will say that it simply means the American people have the right to defend themselves, although guns aren’t necessarily the means of defense. Those on the right will say that it means it is an undeniable fact that each man, woman, and child in this country has the God-given right to be the proud owner of their very own firearm, no questions asked. Then there is a third group, those who point out that this document is over two hundred years old and, as a young, smoky-voiced man named Bob Dylan once pointed out, “The times they are a-changin’.” Our constitution should change with them. While all three of these groups do have a leg to stand on, and each of these ideologies can be reasonably and thoughtfully argued, the aspect of the gun control debate our wooden-tooth-having, pow-

dered-wig-wearing friends from 1787 would find most revolting is not the people’s eagerness to speak their mind, but their unwillingness to listen! And not just to listen to the emotional pleas of their buddy who knows a guy who was killed in cold blood by a pistol-toting burglar, or to Mr. Winchester down the street who once bravely fended off a burglar with his Remington. While emotions certainly play a part in such a vital debate, the facts can’t be ignored, or our democracy as we know it suffers. The first thing that comes to mind when gun control is mentioned, and rightfully so, is the epidemic of mass shootings in our country such as Columbine, Newtown, and most recently, the troubling events in Oregon, and an outrageous slew of others. When each new mass shooting occurs, groans can be heard across the nation as the country says to itself, “Oh, no, here we go again.” Unfortunately, this sense of hopelessness isn’t just a response to the seemingly endless spree of mass murders, but also to the ridiculous parade of pro-gun and anti-gun spokespeople climbing up to the podium, staring directly into the camera, and screaming the same points through the TV speakers that have been argued a million times before. It is no wonder that the American people have chosen their sides and ignore any opposing opinion as a defense mechanism. With a debate as polarized as this one, it can be hard to make heads or tails of the hard facts. So, for the sake of this article, let’s ignore the grotesque string of mass shootings that trouble this country. Instead, let’s focus on the 40,733 other gun-related incidents (deaths, injuries, or victimization by armed robbers/invaders) that have occurred in America over the past ten years. Oh, I’m sorry. Did I pretend to accidentally type “the past ten years” in an argumentative technique to draw attention to the absurd and unfortunately true fact that I am presenting? Because what I meant to type was “this year alone.” That’s right; as of October 13, 2014, there have been tens of thousands of recorded gun deaths, the vast majority of which are not related to mass shootings. And of those 40,000 gun-related incidents, only 936 were incidents in which the gun was used in self-defense. So obviously, somewhere, the math of the pro-gun party doesn’t add up. If guns are so vital for self-defense, yet only a minute percentage of gun-related incidents are self-defense related, then how can we, as a country, validate our insistence on ignoring the issue at hand? Gun rights supporters love to declare after each mass shooting, “It’s not a gun issue. 29


It’s a mental health issue.” While I will try to avoid addressing the equally disturbing state of America’s mental health system in this piece, I want to make one relevant point: whether or not the individuals who commit mass shootings are mentally ill barely matters to the debate at large because the victims of those shootings account for such a small portion of the total number of recorded gun deaths. There are tens of thousands of gun deaths outside of the mass shootings that we hear about on TV, and to say that every single shooter in these cases, or even the majority of them, acted as they did because of a mental illness is a ludicrous claim. Many of these incidents are gang-related or the product of a domestic conflict. It is far from the truth that every gun death is at the hands of a crazed, depressed, schizophrenic criminal, and assuming so only exacerbates the problem. On the other hand, accepting that this country’s gun policies, as well as our mental health policies, could use some reform is the only way to make any legitimate progress. Democracy is a dialogue, not a screaming match, and as I’d hope our revered Founding Fathers would agree, the issue of gun control, and of our right to safety in this country, is something worth checking up on every two hundred years or so.

Firearms Aren’t the Problem By Nicholas Clark

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Americans believe “Freedom” to be almost synonymous with The United States, but how can the third largest country on Earth proclaim that freedom is a staple of its society if it’s constantly bogged down and split down the middle due to crippling disputes? Shortly after the United States won its war for independence, it began to prosper in every area and became an icon across the globe for equality and tolerance. However, post-independence, the great young nation saw a divide forming between Federal and State governments. The conflict boiled down to whether or not Americans wanted to focus on improving society as a whole or supporting the individual. This conflict has been at the heart of many debates. Although all Americans agree that freedom is precious, we don’t all define freedom the same way. Some believe freedom is here to stay and that it needs no individual protection while others argue that freedom is so valuable that it must be explicitly protected. This conflict is no better represented than

in the hot topic of gun control. The idea of whether or not the American people should surrender their right to gun ownership is either despised or adored, but history proves there is only one practical path. This long-needed solution is supported by many who have educated themselves about gun control and its history within the United States, as well as by those who aren’t too fond of giving up individual freedoms guaranteed to them as Americans. To abolish oppressive gun control laws and arm the people is to secure a nation from foreign and domestic disturbances. However, some continue to oppose this idea because they are still blinded from the truth. Any American can tell you that gun violence and mass shootings are a tragedy, yet only a select few can tell you why they happen and how to stop them. Unfortunately, the stigma of laziness applies accurately to many Americans as they look for the quickest and “most obvious” answer in the wake of a tragedy. When Americans shoot off arguments that target firearms as the problem, they miss the bigger picture and doom themselves to relive another disaster. It seems that mass shootings happen more often all the time. Every week seems to usher in a new tragedy and every week Americans point towards the same culprit. It’s painful to all people to witness a disaster dissected over and over again in the media. No sane person wants to be in pain for any amount of time. Because of this, the quickest suspect to be accused is always firearms. Many people think that by successfully lobbying for the regulation of gun owners and gun rights, activists will prevent mass shootings from occurring; this is mostly due to the fact that in a majority of mass shootings, the firearms used are legally registered to a law-abiding citizen. However, those who share that belief aren’t ambitious enough to discover and implement a permanent solution. The solution is simple: rather than reduce American’s rights, we fund more programs devoted to aiding the mentally ill and, in turn, allow more citizens the right to defend themselves and their families from such attacks (we have discovered that most mass shootings involve the mentally ill). Although firearms are the tools used to commit these heinous acts of violence, in the right hands they are more effective than they are destructive. Any common tool can be misused and cause harm on a massive scale — this is why safety and educational courses exist across the country to provide the users of a tool with the knowledge needed to operate it. Most are even government subsidized. So why are firearms being treated like WMDs rather than the tools that they are?


Guns are possibly the most essential tools to humankind. Even the first and most primitive firearms opened up a wide range of new possibilities for humankind. Firearms allow for convenient access to food and, most importantly, protection. In the constantly changing and sometimes violent world we live in, the need to have a reliable form of self-defense is our utmost priority. There are numerous stories and instances where someone who was in possession of a firearm was able to successfully ward off an assailant who broke into their home or approached them alone somewhere. These encounters rarely result in death. Nobody wants to be shot and nobody wants to shoot someone, so when a gun is drawn, order is established. It is clear to see that when you posses a firearm and the knowledge to use it, you bring your self-defense power to the level of an armed military soldier – a force to be reckoned with. But not only do American citizens have a need to defend themselves from criminals, we have a right to defend ourselves from tyranny. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” These words so boldly grant every American a priceless freedom. The Second Amendment to the Constitution allows every American citizen to have the power to own and use a firearm. Not only is it our duty to protect our sovereign land from domestic and foreign terror, it is our right. Before anybody in favor of oppressive gun control laws can even utter a word, they need to take a look and recognize that the right to bear arms is clearly given to us in the Constitution. To surrender our right to bear arms is to surrender the legitimacy of every other right we have. History has shown time and time again that when a nation strips its people of firearms, the country soon falls into turmoil and totalitarianism. In 1933, notorious Adolf Hitler assumed the highest political office in Germany and turned the nation into a fascist Nazi dictatorship. One of the first actions he took was to disarm his people; he knew that if the citizens were armed, they would stand a chance against his regime. Another example of this atrocity is when Joseph Stalin took charge of the Soviet Union in 1922 and abolished the right to bear arms in his collectivization act. This doomed Russians to over 60 years of helplessness with no means to defend themselves from their tyrannical rulers. There are countless other instances and lessons from history that show the disastrous effects of disarming the citizens. As the United States turns towards a police

state as new repressive laws are constantly enacted, Americans need to learn from history to unite and defend their rights at every cost. Surprisingly, we can learn a great deal of information from the much smaller European country of Switzerland. Switzerland has not been in an armed conflict since 1847 and has remained neutral even through WWII. This is mainly due to one reason — the fact that every law abiding Swiss citizen is a gun owner. From a young age, the Swiss learn to respect firearms and become educated about their practicality and use. They are all trained and engaged in a militia – the reason the country needs no standing army. Because of their culture surrounding guns, they have barely any gun violence and they know that when something does happen, it’s not due to the firearm but rather the person. With every Swiss citizen “packing heat”, it’s no wonder Hitler denied any proposal to invade the small country even with his whopping number of troops. Firearms have played a role in the deterrence of invasions on American soil as well. In WWII the Japanese refused to invade mainland America due to our well-known ownership and culture surrounding firearms. Japan’s commanding admiral, Yamamoto, claimed, “You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” Our right to bear arms has helped us this far, so why would we abandon it now as the world plunges further into unprecedented turmoil? The history of firearms in America and across the globe is the greatest weapon we have to shed light on those who are set on the abolition of guns as a solution. The history books tell it best and prove that without guns not only are we not safe from tyranny, but we are not Americans. What it means to be an American is to be free and to never let anything stand in the way of your freedom. Firearms are our tool for survival, self-defense, and most importantly, sovereignty. We can’t let tragedies sway our viewpoint and abolish our culture of fighting for what we believe in. We must fulfill our duty as Americans to secure our freedom. Our great nation will overcome many challenges and discover absolute liberty when we can all unite on the issue and stand side-by-side with arms in hand. Firearms aren’t the problem – they’re the solution.

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How to Get Your Democratic Muscles in Shape By Noah Goldfarb

Originally published Oct. 11, 2015 It has become an almost unanimous opinion that today’s journalists are failing to do their jobs. “Where are the Cronkites? The Murrows?” call the American people. “Who can we trust?” To some, the answer is “No one.” Others who are a bit more optimistic claim that good, high-quality journalists can be found, though they are few and far between. To put it simply, the reason journalism has failed us as of late is because journalists have forgotten their principles. According to Kovach and Rosenstiel’s The Elements of Journalism, journalists’ loyalties lie with the people and the truth. These principles and more have become afterthoughts when reporting the news and, instead, generating revenue has become the main focus of much of the news industry. FOX News and MSNBC constantly work to polarize the political landscape. CNN keeps a “Breaking News” banner running with its stories, 32

whether or not a reasonable person would consider its content to be significant news. They do this because they believe it is the best way to attract viewers, and therefore to make money. The question? If these journalists are making millions of dollars off these tactics, who is paying them? The answer is simple: Us! The people of the United States! We, as a free capitalist nation, get to decide what businesses fail or succeed, and time and time again, we have chosen celebrity gossip over global warming, or the first lady’s dress choices over her Let’s Move! initiative to stop our epidemic of childhood obesity. We need to take a look at the choices we make as consumers, and that doesn’t start on the Internet or at the newsstand. It begins in the classroom. Our students are educated on a variety of subjects, from chemistry to algebra and world history, but somehow they graduate school without learning how to be the best citizens they can be. By the time a student enters college, they should be able to think critically and distinguish what is real news from what is infotainment, what “news” pertains to them and what is just fluff that doesn’t further their growth as citizens and as human beings. In this day and age,


a university student should be able to easily identify any possible biases or frames placed on a story and know where to look when they want to investigate a story further. In their book #Newsfail, Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny point out the somewhat unsettling fact that when comedian Jon Stewart hosted Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, he rose to prominence as one of the most trusted voices in the news industry. This is a fact that should reveal just how twisted our news system has become. Don’t get me wrong—I firmly believe in the importance of satire in our current news landscape, but the American people should not have to turn to Comedy Central in order to feel that they are sufficiently in the loop when there are dozens of other channels claiming to be dedicated to informing the people. The war against dishonesty in journalism must be fought on two fronts. First, the citizens of this country must snap themselves out of their blind anger and realize that they do have a say in the quality of news in this country. Just by picking up a copy of The Globe instead of The Herald, we can exercise our rights as members of a democracy and members of a capitalist society. At the same time, the news outlets need to step up to the plate and remember why they (hopefully) got into this business in the first place: to report the news and to do it well. And if that means force-feeding important, well-investigated stories down the throats of their audiences, then so be it. The problem with journalism doesn’t affect just the rich or the poor, the educated or the uneducated. In a democracy, when any part of the population is misinformed, all of us suffer. The lack of trust in journalism and the media is a problem that, one way or another, affects every person in this country. Much like working your way to the ultimate beach body, the surest way to mend the trust between the people and the news media is by switching the channel or picking up one newspaper or the other. Just a few simple flexes of our democratic and capitalist muscles each day should do the trick.

Paris, France: A Short History By Alex Macdougall Originally published Nov. 16, 2015 The terrorist assault on the city of Paris, which resulted in over one hundred innocent civilians losing their lives, marks another chapter in the history of Radical Islamist attacks in the West over the past two decades. Many Americans have reacted to the attacks with rightful sorrow and confusion, wondering why anyone would commit such a seemingly senseless and horrific act of mass murder on the city. Two years ago I had the privilege of visiting Paris as part of an art history class I was taking while studying abroad in Brussels. I was just one of the millions of tourists who flock to the city every year, drawn to its reputation as a city of beauty and high culture. It is home to the Louvre, the largest single collection of artwork in any one place on Earth, as well as the Musee d’Orsay, which houses some of the most famous works of the Impressionist period (Monet, Renoir, Gauguin, and Van Gogh). Its list of impressive architecture includes Notre Dame, Sainte-Chapelle, Arc de Triomphe, and, of course, the Eiffel Tower. It has been the home of famous 33


authors like Victor Hugo, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Ernest Hemingway. All of these things help contribute to the idea of Paris as one of the centers of Western culture—likely contributing to ISIS’ choice of it as a target. While the reports of the terrorist attacks coming out of the city are shocking, it should be noted that sectarian violence occurring in the city is nothing new. In the year 1572, the city bore witness to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, in which thousands of Protestant Huguenots were slaughtered by Catholic mobs. Then there were the uprisings of the French Revolution beginning in 1789, in which the people of France, guided by the ideas of enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire, overthrew the French monarchy, and with them the idea of the “Divine Right of Kings.” In 1940 the city was occupied by the Nazi regime, and saw several clashes between the Germans the French Resistance. And just last year, the city saw several deaths in the killings of several members of the magazine Charlie Hebdo, known for drawing satirical depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. It remains to be seen how this second, more intense terrorist act will affect the city. With regards to its history, it should also be mentioned that, to many in the Middle East, Paris represents a colonial ruler that came into their lands and exploited their resources. The country of Syria, the location of ISIS headquarters and a country ravaged by war, was originally a French colony, its borders drawn to divide the former territories of the Ottoman Empire amongst the British and French. Other French colonies include Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Revolutions of 2011, and neighboring Algeria and Morocco, two of the most peaceful and Western-friendly of the Arab states (though both are ruled by rather undemocratic governments). France, along with Britain and the United States, has played a big role in the unraveling of the region. With this new terrorist attack, I worry for the future of this city and the course it chooses. Will it adopt more restrictive and authoritarian measures, as has happened in the United States post-9/11 with the PATRIOT Act? And what of the human rights of millions of Muslims, some long-time citizens and others newly-arrived refugees, who call France their home? Will they be subject to discrimination and surveillance? Or will France stick to the ideals it was founded on, the ideas of basic human rights and liberties, of the equality of all people, and the brotherhood of all mankind? Only time will tell how this city writes the newest chapter of its history. 34

Bernie Begins

By Madison Friend Originally published Oct. 12, 2015 When my friends and I arrived at the Boston Convention and Exhibit Center last Saturday for a Bernie Sanders rally, the proceedings had the feel of a rock show. A long line of cars snaked from the BCEC parking lot out back (cost was $15 - luckily the rally was free) all the way to the street. After a good ten minutes of waiting, we were able to park, get out, and were instructed which way to go by a campaign volunteer. We followed a circuitous path to the front of the building, where we waited in another long line in the freezing wind to actually get into the Convention Center to hear Sanders speak. A small army of volunteers marshaled the crowd towards the stage. They smiled as they directed attendees, answered questions, and conducted a “sign-in” (a clear euphemism for ‘adding your name to our email list so we can constantly ask you for donations,’ but we got stickers for it, and Bernie doesn’t have a Super PAC, so it was all right). We arrived half an hour early, but when all was said and done, we were part of the last group of attendees to make it into the rally. The rest were directed to the center’s lawn, where large screens had been set up to broadcast Bernie’s speech to overflow crowds. I almost wish I hadn’t made it inside, because the view of the screen from the lawn was much better than my view of Bernie from the very back of the room. There were so many people there - more than 20,000 - that I had to jump up and down just to get a glimpse of the white speck of his head and his oft-raised fist. The attendance at the rally was record-breaking for Boston, surpassing the size of even Obama’s 10,000-person primary event in ‘07, and the sheer, palpable enthusiasm (the crowd routinely broke into chants of, “Bernie! Bernie!”; a pioneering fellow even tried to get, “Feel the Bern, motherf*****!” going, to no avail) had me wondering why this candidate, during this election, was having more success than any of the other progressive candidates in recent memory. How did Bernie Sanders raise almost as much as Hillary Clinton in the third quarter? Why are so many people turning out for his events? Is there a real chance he will snatch the Democratic nomination away from the presumed frontrunner? These questions prove difficult to answer. There was no clear Hillary hate at the rally (for the last time, a pro-Sanders vote is rarely strictly anti-Clinton), but it’s clear that Sanders’ supporters are fed up with what she represents to them—establish-


ment politics at its most secretive and entrenched. Whether or not that’s a fair characterization of Clinton’s character, it’s one that has dogged her for years as her family has become embroiled in scandal after seeming scandal. That kind of negative attention is par for the course for celebrities (especially political ones) like the Clintons, and some of it is certainly the product of nefarious partisanship on behalf of the Republicans. Former Speaker-of-the-House-hopeful Kevin McCarthy admitted—albeit unwittingly—that the series of Benghazi investigations was one such Republican invention, designed to destroy Clinton’s presidential aspirations, and her campaign seized on the mistake with their first national ad condemning the Republicans for their behavior. But it strikes the average voter that not all of the complaints lodged against the former first family can be bogus, and an impropriety that came to light during one of the Benghazi investigations—that Clinton had used a private email account and server during her tenure as Secretary of State, a clear break with government protocol—continues to plague her bid for the presidency. The accusations leveled against her with regards to her emails and the resulting investigations have caused her to slide precipitously in the polls as she tries (as of yet, unsuccessfully) to craft a satisfactory explanation for those choices. Sanders, because of his fringe status as an independent in the House and Senate, doesn’t find

himself subject to the same scrutiny. Diggers into his past have found a distasteful op-ed about gender roles and sexuality, a child out of wedlock, and little else. His lack of celebrity surely contributes to this—no media mercilessly chronicling your every mistake means less of a record of them—but voters are rewarding the consistency with which he has championed his progressive values with an upward surge in the polls that has some Democrats rethinking Clinton’s “frontrunner” status. It seems clear to me that this consistency is Sanders’ biggest strength. To not have a past that can be weaponized and used against you—a “traditional” view of marriage, for example, or a hawkish foreign policy record—is rare and noteworthy. The advent of the Internet and social media has made it too easy to misrepresent yourself, and way too easy for others to discover that misrepresentation and use it against you. Bernie is the rare career politician (don’t fool yourself—a career politician is exactly what he is) that has not pandered to the interests of big donors for money or lied to his constituents for votes. Millennials know this and love him for it. Layers of screens and profiles can make it hard to tell the difference between who’s gaming you and who’s legit, but with Bernie, what you see is what you get. There’s a reason polls show that Bernie’s supporters are more enthusiastic about his candidacy than Clinton’s are about hers. As it turns out, it 35


matters how long you’ve expressed opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and support for gay rights. People notice when you filibuster the extension of the Bush tax cuts for eight and a half hours on the Senate floor. Supporters respond—with high rally attendance, soaring poll numbers, and over a million small donations—when a candidate that talks about the need for campaign finance reform enacts the change they want to see in the world by not accepting the help of a Super PAC. Sanders’ campaign has proven so much already: that young people are not inherently lazy and apolitical, that there’s no such thing as a coronation in American democracy (even now) and that when citizens join together behind a leader they trust, they can force big money and the establishment that caters to its interests to take notice. I just hope the trend continues.

The Night of the Donald By Paul M. Fontaine

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Originally published Nov. 22, 2015 The night of November 18, 2015 was a very special one for Worcester, Massachusetts. It was the night presidential candidate Donald J. Trump came to the city for a political rally at the Digital Credit Union Center. I had the pleasure of attending. On Monday morning, November 15, I was listening to the WTAG 94.9 morning show with host Jim Polito when he announced that Trump was coming to the DCU Center in Worcester for a free political rally. I vowed to investigate and sign up for the event if possible. In the afternoon, I got onto the Internet and saw that, yes, Trump, was having a rally Wednesday night at 7:00 pm and yes, it was free. I immediately registered with the website and got a ticket. I wasn’t initially a Trump fan and, until recently, I had always been a conservative Republican. However, since the start of the 2016 presidential election campaign, I’ve become very dissatisfied with the Republican Party. It’s become clear to me that conservatives are becoming less and less welcome in the Grand Old Party as the pro-establishment (or liberal) Republicans gain more power and support and become more like the Democratic Party. This does not sit well with me. I’ve always thought the Republican Party should be the opposite of the Democratic Party. After all, two different views on the role of government in this country originated with the debate between John Adams, who wanted a strong federal government, and Thomas Jefferson, who feared a strong government and favored states’ rights. Thus, earlier this year I “divorced” myself from the Republican Party and

started leaning towards the Tea Party. I’ve been following Donald Trump’s candidacy ever since he announced, but I didn’t take him or his campaign too seriously. It seemed to be just a publicity stunt for the next season of his very successful television show The Apprentice. But as I continued to follow the news on Mr. Trump and his presidential aspirations, I saw that he was gaining support across the country, despite the best efforts of the news media to bring him down. I also noticed that he was addressing issues other Republican candidates were (for whatever reason) not addressing. Mr. Trump was not afraid to speak his mind and tell some unpleasant truths, something else other GOP politicians aren’t doing. I’ve already resolved not to vote for the eventual Democratic nominee, but I’m fearful James Ellis “Jeb” Bush was already selected to be the nominee by the Establishment Republicans; I’ve had enough of the Bush family in politics. So, on Wednesday afternoon, I went to the DCU Center around 4 p.m. and surveyed the situation. A couple hundred people were already lined up outside. I thought it was a good sign. After speaking with a couple of news reporters, I went inside. There was a heavy police presence, state police and secret service officers, but the entrance procedure went extremely smoothly. I went through a scanning machine and was scanned with a wand by a secret service agent. I then went into the center’s main hall and walked down to the floor. I wanted to get as close to the stage as possible. As it happened, I was able to get a seat on the right side of the seats, seven rows from the stage. Now came the hard part—waiting for a couple of hours for the Donald to make his appearance. I spent the time talking with some of the people sitting around me, in particular a couple from Connecticut and a gentleman from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. I was amazed to hear how some people had travelled long distances to come to this event. There was a good cross-section of people in the hall: men and women, singles and couples, seasoned citizens and young people, veterans and civilians. I have to admit, there were almost no people of color inside the hall. A little after 7 p.m., Trump made his appearance to the sound of Twisted Sister and a standing ovation. Trump covered a range of topics in his hourlong speech. He explained why he was running, criticizing Political Action Committees and the way they buy influence with candidates, and mentioned a new Fox Poll that has him leading by 27 percent. Trump was very critical of the Iranian nu-


clear deal crafted in part by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama. Trump quipped that Kerry obviously hadn’t read his book The Art of the Deal. He then spent some time on the problem of the trade imbalance in the United States. He cited huge trade deficits with other countries and he stressed that his administration would aggressively address this issue. He also discussed the issue of illegal immigration, citing examples of illegal aliens killing American citizens. He vowed a wall on the southern border would be built that Mexico would pay for, and he was adamant that he would return illegal aliens to their nations of origin. Furthermore, American citizens who fight for terrorist organizations would not be allowed back into the United States. “You need borders to have a country,” he said. In many ways, it was a typical Trump speech: long on promises and short on details. But how many local, state and federal office seekers have done the exact same thing? I know Mr. Trump is going to have to provide specifics at some point in the

future, but, like I said before, he talked about issues other Republican candidates have not addressed. Trump’s decision to come to Worcester, in Massachusetts (the bluest of the blue states) was a stroke of strategic genius. He went into the liberal lion’s den and successfully tapped into the conservative undercurrent running through Central Massachusetts. I only hope he will establish a campaign office in Worcester to further build on the support he found in this part of the state. Yes, this is a very liberal state and Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton will receive the majority of the votes. But it would be nice to spread the word about Trump’s candidacy, get more Massachusetts voters to support him, and, in the process, siphon some votes from the Democrats. If Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination for President, I will vote for him. If some other candidate gets the nod, I don’t know who I will vote for.

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Donald Trump: An Objective Conservative’s Perspective

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After I picked up on all this, the unrest became more prevalent. Three young protesters—they couldn’t have been much older than 20—made their By Timothy Jarvis way to the closed-off section of the second level of seating. They proceeded to display three large cloth sheets with the words “migrant lives matter” on Originally published Jan. 5, 2015 them. As soon as the display was visible, the entire As we head into an election year, New Worcesvenue erupted in aggressive disapproval towards the ter Spy contributor Timothy Jarvis reflects on Donald message and the protestors; they quickly fled as they Trump’s campaign stop in Worcester and what his were jeered out of the DCU Center. They weren’t popularity says about the state of right-wing politics. acting belligerently, nor were they ejected from the venue. They left because of the overwhelming reacTHE RALLY: tion from Trump’s supporters. On November 18 the one and only Donald J. As Trump continued to speak, he went on Trump held a rally at Worcester’s DCU Center. about how the media illustrates him as something I sat up close to the action and was ready to he’s not. He then prompted the audience to “boo” the listen. Even though I’m no Trump supporter, I was media that was present. The whole crowd did just a bit excited to see him in person—at first. As more that. people flooded into the DCU Center there was enerAfter this there was a second protest. A man gy building in the air. Everyone could feel the whirl- just two or three rows ahead of myself stood up on wind of emotions as the audience eagerly awaited his chair and started yelling as loud as he could, Mr. Trump’s arrival. Supporters and non-supports “Trump is a racist! Trump is a racist!” repeatedly. were everywhere to be found in this crowd, and It turned violent when someone tried to gently pull given Trump’s divisive tendencies it felt like conflict the protestor down from his chair, but he resisted. was all but inevitable. Then the man sitting behind him tried to forcefully When Trump appeared on stage his welcome pull him down, but the protester punched that man. was electric. Supporters made homemade signs read- Everyone within the vicinity joined in and encircled ing “build the wall,” and there was an excitement the protestor and all parties were engaging in physiI’ve never seen for any presidential candidate— cal violence. there’s no denying the loyalty of Trump’s supporters. As the skirmish was broken up by Worcester As for the non-supporters, I recall seeing several police, I kept my distance. And Trump continued Bernie Sanders t-shirts. They remained calm even speaking about how his campaign is self-funded. though they probably didn’t take too kindly to their “I’m not taking super PAC money,” he said. surroundings. “My campaign is the only one that’s self-funded.” Trump opened his speech by discussing the As the rally wound down, Trump spoke polls. He spoke, even bragged, about his outstanding about immigration and building a wall on the U.S. polling and how the media downplays that. Trump and Mexico border. then went on to talk about his opposing presidential “It’s going to be a big wall, it’s going to be a candidates and how “it’s all over” for them. Trump great wall, and it’s going to be paid for by Mexico,” mentioned Carson, Bush, Rubio, Cruz and how none he said. of them stand a chance against The Donald. Trump rallied the attendees behind the issue He talked down to his own party members of illegal immigration. more than any Democrat. But make no mistake, he I’d like to mention that most of the times had some choice words for Hillary Clinton as well, Trump said something about immigrants, I could saying, “If she gets out of the email scandal, that’ll hear people behind me whispering “Kill them,” be her biggest accomplishment.” He briefly menwhich was concerning to hear. tioned Bernie Sanders, saying, “He blamed the Paris After Trump’s wall rhetoric, a third protester attacks on global warming.” took action. A man walked down the left side aisle It was shortly after this point when the eneryelling “Trump is racist,” again and again. He was gy in the venue began to feel angry. The supporters quickly stopped by Worcester police and escorted were looking to offend others, and the non-supportfrom the DCU Center. Trump then poked fun at the ers were obviously bothered by Trump’s comments. man’s physical appearance saying, “I like how when There was a lot of tension building as everyone’s I mentioned food stamps he went crazy, but he’s eyes were glued on Trump.


clearly overweight.” As the audience laughed this man into humiliation, Trump concluded his speech with his usual “we’re going to make America great again.” MY TAKE Even as a right-winger, I found many things wrong with the rally. I was put on edge nearly the entire time as the energy in the venue was just anger. It simply wasn’t a pleasant atmosphere for anyone. I welcomed Trump to the stage out of respect for him coming to Worcester, and his non-supporters who were in attendance I sympathized with. Even though they were mostly left-wingers I respected them wanting to listen to Trump. I also respected the undying loyalty of Trump’s supporters. But Trump doesn’t resonate with me as a right-winger because his views aren’t consistent with the ideology. As for my gripes, Trump’s uses his status in the polls as a selling point for himself. This isn’t interesting—no one wants to hear someone rattle off numbers about themselves. Also, at the rally Trump really misrepresented what Bernie Sanders said about the Paris attacks. “He blamed the Paris attacks on global warming,” Trump incorrectly claimed. Trump was referring to a comment made by Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic debate. The moderator asked Sanders, “What is America’s greatest foreign threat?” to which Sanders answered, “global warming.” Trump linked the Paris attacks with Sanders’ comments, implying that Sanders must believe the attacks were orchestrated by global warming and not ISIS. It’s a bit of a stretch. I’m not a Sanders supporter, but to be objective, this is a false statement. Also, the first protest didn’t deserve the reaction it got. Though I don’t agree with the statement that was presented, they have the right to protest as they did. They were peaceful and expressed their message, which is a right guaranteed by the Constitution. They have the right to protest the rally just as much as others have the right to attend it. What was most frustrating to me was the hypocritical nature of the reaction of Trump’s supporters to the protesters. For a group of people who oppose political correctness because it infringes on the freedom of speech, this was a poor display of free speech tolerance. The Trump supporters are just as entitled to their opinions on immigration as the non-supporters; that’s how free speech works, not this one-sided dis-

play by the Trump fans. This is why, as a right-winger, I can’t follow this crowd: they’re abusing their right to free speech. This crowd may very well destroy free speech just as fast as political correctness. I tried to put myself in the shoes of the protestors. They were a group of three gentlemen about my age, and they were driven off because of the aggressive audience. If I had gone to a Bernie Sanders rally and held up a sign reading “abolish the income tax,” I don’t believe I’d have been forced out of the venue like that. With this situation I was reminded of a quote by Voltaire: “I might disagree with your opinion, but I am willing to give my life for you to express it.” Trump has denounced the media for what they’ve made him out to be. The fact is, Trump is offensive, and there’s no way around it. He even wants that persona, so why would he denounce the media in that way? If there is freedom of the press, then the press is allowed to have a political slant. And just because the leftist media dislikes Trump doesn’t mean he should denounce them in the way he did at the rally. Trump uses the free press to his advantage anyway. He plays the media like a fiddle, gaining much of his momentum from controversial comments the media can’t help but report on. Trump exploits the free press to become more known and improve his standing in the polls. Freedom of the press is certainly a right-wing idea, but Trump and many modern republicans hold the media responsible for things they have a Constitutional right to do. Once again, this isn’t consistent with right-wing thinking. As for the second protest… The man was ejected from the DCU Center, and an article in the Telegram & Gazette revealed some information about this protestor. Peter Rondon, 29, was charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. He was fined $50 for each infraction, but these fines were reduced as he is unemployed and they are civil offenses. More interesting is Rondon’s past. According to the Telegram, Rondon was charged with a bomb attempt 10 years ago at an Army recruiting center in Worcester. He’s a radical activist, and he acted out in violence at the Trump rally. Rondon’s behavior isn’t acceptable, and doesn’t help his cause. The moment your free speech turns aggressive or violent it loses its value. But Trump’s followers attacked Rondon, too, which isn’t acceptable either. It didn’t even feel like a political event at this point. It was just chaos 39


among disagreeing individuals. When Trump started to talk about his “wall” the audience was particularly enthused. The details of the plan don’t matter to Trump’s people. They just want to hear what he has to say. When I heard people saying “kill them” any time immigration was brought up, I was concerned. I can’t support a candidate who’s crowd subscribes to this brand of thinking. Trump has attracted a following that gives the right-wing a bad name. I would say the people I encountered at the rally didn’t represent any rightwing ideas; rather, they represented the Trump icon. My final thoughts on the rally are about that last protestor. The man also felt Donald Trump to be a racist, based on what he was yelling at him. As he was being ejected from the DCU Center Trump’s comment was uncalled for. Making fun of someone’s physical appearance isn’t getting Trump’s point across. If Trump is tired of political correctness, like most right-wingers are, then he needs to attack that principle of political correctness. Most people think that means to just be as offensive as possible, including Trump and his crowd. But this isn’t opposing political correctness at all, it’s just being offensive. The right-wing believe it’s a natural right to offend people with one’s free speech, but just being offensive for its own sake isn’t included in this right. The one rule restricting freedom of speech is “don’t yell fire in a movie theater,” and Trump does just that. Also, Trump spoke about putting tariffs on trade and taxing the rich more. This isn’t consistent with laissez-faire capitalism, something the right believes in. My biggest problem with Trump is that his views are not right-winged. But even with all this said, there are still some unfair accusations directed towards Trump. Many denounce how he can run his campaign off endless money, but these are the same people who dislike Super PACs. But Trump isn’t taking money from anyone; it’s a self-funded campaign. There hasn’t been a self-funded presidential campaign in America for it’s entire history. Trump has no Super PAC but is still getting flack for how his campaign is run. Meanwhile, everyone praises how Bernie Sanders takes only small donations from his supporters and no PAC money. It’s overlooked how much money Bernie has received from unions. All his top donors aren’t individuals supporting his cause, but massive backers such as the teamsters union. 40

The Super PAC was originally created to keep up with the unions backing their politicians. This idea seems to have lost its value. To conclude, Donald Trump’s behavior at the rally wasn’t respectful. But he does have a right to act as such. Also, Trump’s policies simply aren’t consistent with the right. And his opposers need to better articulate why they dislike Trump; many have jumped to conclusions. Donald Trump is a mystery to me, but history will tell if my thoughts on him are accurate or not.


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