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SPORTS: Auburn to play in Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day






Fir Sale: Leath family owns Christmas tree farm By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

Jefferson, a little town in North Carolina, is home to a 100acre Christmas tree farm. Fraser firs grow year-round to the point of their peak. They are chopped down, and after some travel, they stand tall under family roofs every December. This little farm is owned by President Steven Leath and run by his son, Eric Leath.

Obviously, Eric, the youngest brother, Scott, and Steven Leath are against fake Christmas trees. Eric said his father bought the farm when he was in middle school when he was working on large agricultural research farms. Eric said his father fell in love with the area. “The tree business, unlike a lot of agriculture, you can be somewhat absentee for,” Eric said. “They are trees, they aren’t going anywhere. They don’t rot.” Steven Leath worked as an agriculture professor at North Carolina State University. Eric said he wanted a piece of land

for himself, and farming it offset the price. Eric said while there is a good amount of labor required for the tree business, it is strictly confined to certain times of the year. The Leath’s farm wholesales trees, so they don’t have families running through lines of trees on the hunt for the perfect Christmas addition to their living rooms. Eric said they cut over 6,000 trees a year that end up all over the states.




Young fan gets special game day treat By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

we have both in coach Malzahn,” Leath said in a statement. “We’re excited for the future of Auburn football. This means a lot to the Auburn Family.” Unfortunately for Auburn faithful, despite a 2-1 record, bragging rights against Georgia and Alabama were lost on Sunday, when the Bulldogs and Tide were invited into the 2017 College Football Playoff at No. 3 and No. 4, respectively. The Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl then chose Auburn to make a return to Atlanta. The No. 7 Tigers will battle with the last undefeated in the country, 12-0 UCF, on New Year’s Day for a chance to reach 11 wins, the most for Malzahn at Auburn since 2013. Unlike last season’s Sugar Bowl versus Oklahoma, there’s a lot to gain for Auburn back at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. A victory over UCF would be Auburn’s third win over an undefeated team this season and would couple well with the Tigers’ two wins over No. 1 teams in November. “They’re going to be extremely excited to go

Carson Lynn, an 8-year-old from Bainbridge, Georgia, joined fans on the sideline at the Lousiana-Monroe game. This moment for the books came just in time for Carson, as he was still healing from losing sight in his right eye. On Oct. 6, Carson was tending to the cows at 5:30 a.m. He said he untied his cow and took her to the water to drink. He started walking back to where he would wash her when she got spooked and started running. “I was holding on with my left hand, and we ran about 10 yards, and she found a gap between a long row of cows and took it,” Carson said. “Of course, I went with her, and I didn’t know a fence was there. She turned off at the fence, and I kept running. That’s when my eye hit the fence pole.” The tissue and nerves around Carson’s eye were fractured from the impact and 13 stitches were necessary to sew up a gash. He broke a bone in his forehead and his sinuses. His father found him, and they went to the barn. They were under the impression that they would go to the doctor, get stitched up and he would be back on the farm. “He said, ‘Daddy, I can’t see out my right eye’ and I thought that he couldn’t see through the blood and the dirt,” said Jeff Lynn, Carson’s father. “We had no idea that the injury was so severe that it caused trauma to his optic nerve.” Carson’s mother, Cara, is a registered nurse and works at his school. She was with him when he was rushed to Birmingham. Cara said Carson’s attitude has been amazing since the accident, and he’s been taking it like a champ. “Our faith in God has helped us get through it,” Cara said. She said there is hope for his eyesight, though. Cara was told as technology and treatment progresses, options for Carson might open up, and his eyesight might be repaired at some point. That attitude has kept him loving his time on the farm with his animals despite the accident. Carson said he gets out on the farm almost every day and loves every moment of it. He enjoys showing the pigs the most. “It’s what I grew up doing, and it’s all I know how to do,” Carson said. Carson’s teachers have been helping him through the injury, and, up until a few days

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» See CARSON, 2


Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn during warm-ups of Auburn vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, in Atlanta, Ga.

STICKING AROUND Head coach Gus Malzahn parries Arkansas with new contract Malzahn promises ‘best is yet to come’ after SEC letdown By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor


f former Fort Smith, Arkansas high school player, University of Arkansas player, Henderson State (Arkansas) player, cross-state high school coach, University of Arkansas offensive coordinator and Arkansas State head coach Gus Malzahn wanted to return to his home state for what most would consider a dream job at the helm of the Razorbacks, December 2017 was the time to do it. At the tail end of Arkansas' efforts to court Malzahn back to his stomping grounds, the school offered the coach a contract in the range of $50 million over seven years, according to a CBS Sports report that surfaced after Auburn's 28-7 loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship. The Razorbacks had been in hot pursuit of Malzahn since he defeated them on Oct. 21, 5220. The whipping in Fayetteville all but sealed the fate of then-head coach Bret Bielema, who was unsurprisingly fired seconds after the team's final game, a loss to Missouri. To many, a return to Arkansas was a no-

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brainer for Malzahn, with the way Auburn's season had been going. With an embarrassing loss at LSU at their backs and a daunting November ahead, the Tigers needed their best performances of the year to seal a double-digit win season and possibly their head coach's job. The ending was bitter sweet. Auburn obliterated No. 1 Georgia, then smashed No. 1 Alabama two weeks later to skyrocket all the way up to No. 2 in the CFP rankings. The explosive offensive and corrosive defense couldn't pull off a miracle 3-for-3 against arch-rivals, falling to UGA in the title game. The Razorbacks saw this as their opportunity to strike. Malzahn saw it as a chance to cement his loyalties. "I'm happy at Auburn," Malzahn said following the loss. "We have great players. I love my players. As I said before this game, we worked extremely hard to get here to this point." True to his word, a seven-year, $49 million contract was hammered out the next day by Malzahn and University President Steven Leath. “Strength and stability go hand-in-hand, and

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MALZAHN » From 1

back to the same venue and play better than we did (on Saturday),” Malzahn said. “We didn’t play our best. Got to give Georgia credit. “I know this team is going to be extremely hungry to win this bowl game and to finish the season off the right way for our seniors and a chance to win 11 games. So we’ll be very excited. We’re going to be very motivated. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.” The Peach Bowl pairing against No. 12 UCF adds to Auburn’s 2017 strength of schedule as well, ranked No. 1 in the country by TeamRankings. Despite the stigma for Group of 5 teams against Power 5 opponents in bowl games, Central Florida will be no cakewalk for Auburn. The Knights boast the top scoring offense in the country, but it will be the program’s last game with mastermind Scott Frost at the helm. Frost, a national champion quarterback at Nebraska, took the Cornhuskers opening recently but will coach his UCF swan song in Atlanta. “You can’t put a price tag on it,” Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said about Frost coaching the Peach Bowl. “It’s a three-and-a-half-hour marketing commercial for Nebraska football. Because that’s what those guys are going to be talking about, the announcers. They are going to be showing ‘Scott Frost in Nebraska’ and all of this. “Then recruits are going to be watching that offense and go, ‘Boy, I could fit into that.’ I think for whatever small negatives there might be, there are tons more positives.” Still hard at work on his second-best season on The Plains, Malzahn returns a talented group in 2018. SEC Newcomer of the Year Jarrett Stidham is a sophomore, while SEC Offensive Player of the Year Kerryon Johnson’s decision whether to turn pro will loom large in the offseason. Auburn graduates zero players from the receiving corps. A senior return for junior buck linebacker Jeff Holland, who holds a tie at second for the 2017 SEC lead for sacks, would give Auburn’s one of the best defensive lines in the nation on paper for next season, a year for which Auburn players seemed amped about following the SEC Championship loss. “One game doesn’t change the way you feel about the future,” defensive tackle Dontavius Russell said. “We have a lot of players, and we have a lot of talent. So I feel like the future is bright, and I don’t think one game defines a team. It’s just one game.” With momentum from a New Year’s Six bowl game win up for grabs, Malzahn’s aura of confidence about his abilities to lead Auburn to success going forward did not waver. Although 2018 features an opener against Washington and road games at playoff teams Georgia and Alabama, the Arkansas native still has his sights set on a return to the championship gridiron. “We’ve got a very good foundation built,” Malzahn said. “I think the best is yet to come. I believe we’re going to be back.”


CARSON » From 1


Auburn President Steven Leath owns a Christmas tree farm in Jefferson, North Carolina.


“They go to church sales, fundraisers, large buyers and hopefully not too many to Lowe’s or Home Depot,” Eric said. The average Christmas tree is in the ground for seven to eight years and grows about a foot a year. When the trees are ready to be transported as little sprigs, workers dig them up by hand. Being in the mountains poses a challenge for workers. Machinery would roll over if used. They are fertilized in the spring. Fertilization is done by hand, carried up the mountain on the backs of those feeding the young trees. Every year after two or three have passed, they sheer the branches. Eric said Christmas trees grow in the familiar shape but never look as good as a customer would want them to. Sheering helps train the branches before they are sent to a home where a curious cat will mess them up. They begin harvesting in October and shoot for Thanksgiving as a delivery date. “There is a national shortage of Christmas trees this year,” Eric said. “I don’t know if it will be as big of a deal to consumers, it’s more the retailers trying to source what they will sell. We sold every Christmas tree we could sell by June this year.”

Because of the shortage, all of the buyers have been harvesting their own trees on the Leath’s farm. Eric said there were seasons of poor economic status for the country that left the Leaths harvesting their own trees. The Leath brothers have passed the torch of who runs the family farm after Eric returned to North Carolina after a short time in Washington D.C. Steven Leath still has a huge hand in the business, making the larger capital decisions. Eric said his father misses the farm when he is away and thoroughly enjoys the business. “There is something satisfying about being outside, at least for me,” Eric said. Eric works in real estate as a full-time job, and his work with the farm is periodical. Once harvest comes along, he spends far more time working with the trees. He said his neighbors help out on the farm when he isn’t around. Eric visits the farm once a month. Last year, Eric ran harvest himself. This year he came to the Georgia game instead of cutting trees down, thanks to the buyers’ help with the harvest. He said there was a time when the Leath brothers were young and the farm was starting up when Steven Leath and his sons did all of the labor themselves. “We would go to the mountains, we would work, we would go hunting and cook out,” Eric said. “It is hard work at the end of the day.”

ago, he was unable to engage in much physical activity, eat in the lunchroom or sit through normal classes. Carson got to wear a hat and protective sunglasses, which were his favorite Auburn eyewear. The main priority for the family is ensuring his left eye is left untouched and healthy. The family is praying that his sight will come back in the right eye, but there is currently no procedure that would restore the sight. In an effort to lift Carson’s spirit and give the family a break from what they have gone through, Desiree Harrell, a friend of the family, started to pull some strings and reach out to her friends at Auburn. Harrell is an Auburn graduate of 1992. She contacted Latisha Durroh in the Athletics Department and asked if Carson would be considered for a guest pass and the royal Auburn treatment. Madison Temple handled the details. The response was quick and positive. Carson and his family had tickets to the game and a spot waiting for them on the field. Carson said he was thrilled. He said his room, decked out in Auburn colors, is proof of his dedication. “My favorite player is Cam Newton, and there will never be anyone better,” Carson said. His prize possession: “A huge fat head of Cam Newton.” Alongside the lifesize Newton head, is his Auburn bunkbed with orange and blue sheets, his Auburn-themed bathroom and Auburn signs to cover all

walls. Harrell was planning Carson’s dream trip and thought about the travel and lodging expenses. She contacted The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, and in partnership with the Athletics Department, got a room for Carson and his family. The travel and food costs were covered by Auburn friends and livestock showing friends. “What I liked the most was being able to be on the sideline and get high fives from a lot of the players,” Carson said. “Kevin Steele came by to talk to my little sister, and she loves cheerleaders. She had a cheerleader outfit on and pom-poms. Kevin Steele asked if she was going to cheer them on and she went, ‘War Eagle.’ When she did that she knocked his contact out of his eye.” His favorite players on the current team are Kerryon Johnson and Tre Matthews. Carson said the team started out “horrible” that Saturday because they were ready for Alabama, and they overlooked LousianaMonroe. While walking around downtown Auburn after the game, the family spotted a “War Eagle Carson” painting in the window of J&M Bookstore that Harrell commissioned. Harrell said the details all fell into place, and she wasn’t surprised by the outpouring of love for Carson. Jeff said Carson has always been an Auburn fan, and he used to watch games from the comfort of his cradle. Cara said Carson went to football camp and loved every moment of it. “I have been dreaming about [going to Auburn] since I was born,” Carson said.


Carson Lynn, an 8 year old from Bainbridge, Georgia, suffered an injury that caused him to lose sight in his right eye.

opinion THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017





Conservatism is the new counterculture By COLE DAVIS Contributing Columnist


Auburn should oppose the GOP tax bill By EDITORIAL BOARD Last week, Auburn students and faculty marched around campus chanting, “No grad tax,” a protest against the tax bill being put forth by the GOP. As the protest entered the Student Center, the typical disdain toward protests bubbled up in onlookers. People openly ridiculed the protest, asking why such a display was necessary. To those who haven’t figured out why there is need for such protests, we offer an answer: this tax bill is an attack on the noble institutions of education in this country, it is fiscally irresponsible and it was executed in a manner that undermines our democracy. The House has its own version of the bill and the Senate has a separate but similar version. Right now, the bills are in conference committee, where the two will be reconciled and made into a final bill. Recently, a poll from Pew Research Center found 72 percent of Democrats view colleges positively while 58 percent of Republicans view colleges negatively. Unsurprisingly, Republican legislators have become increasingly tempted to undermine higher education. This tax bill is illustrative of these shifting views. It would tax private university endowments, which Harvard President Drew Faust said, “would disadvantage universities in the charitable sector, and — in targeting universities — weaken the nation’s strongest contributors to medical cures, economic innovation, job creation, scholarship, and access to higher education for students of all economic backgrounds who will shape our future.” By taking away some of the money universities use for scholarships, it would push more lower and middle class people away from attending college, which hinders our country’s competitiveness in international markets. On top of that, the House bill would remove a tax deduction of up to $2,500 on student loan interest, thereby exacerbating one of the greatest economic challenges young adults face. The Senate bill, thankfully, leaves the deduction intact. However, the final version of the bill may end up following the House’s plan, depending on negotiations during conference committee. Additionally, the House’s version of the bill would remove a $250 tax deduction for teachers who buy their own school supplies. The Senate bill, however, would increase the deduction to $500, a provision we support. Again, the issue is that the House’s provision could be in the final bill, which would be a slap in the face of the hard working

teachers all across our country. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), a nonpolitical congressional committee filled with Ph.D economists, attorneys and accountants, estimated that the tax plan would add $1 trillion to federal deficits over a decade. And that’s accounting for projected growth resulting from the plan, which is estimated to be only about 0.8 percent over the next decade — an average of less than an additional 0.1 percent each year. Along with plunging our country further into debt, the bill would remove a key provision in the Affordable Care Act: the individual mandate. Doing so would raise premiums on insurance holders, which would force many people to lose their insurance. Substance aside, the bill was crafted under shady circumstances — the usual smoke that accompanies special interests being prioritized over the general welfare of citizens. Written by Republican leaders behind closed doors, the nearly 500 page bill was put forth at the last minute with no time for legislators to consider every part of it. Handwritten additions covered the final draft, a testament of its shoddy preparation. If this level of preparation is unacceptable for a student turning in the final draft of a paper, why do we allow some of the most consequential business in our country to operate this way? This practice is gross incompetence at best and a malicious attack on our democratic process at worst. It invites bad governance to take root in our country, and quietly acquiescing to it is a sign of crippled leadership. Far too many of our leaders vote on bills they don’t know or understand the contents of — all because of political expediency and negligence. As long as legislators get their desired piece of the pie, often in the form of benefits designed to appease their constituents for future elections, they’re fine with whatever else is in the bill — even if, on balance, it is harmful for our country as a whole. This tax bill is a mistake both in substance and execution; only political desperation could beget such a disgrace. Instead of vying for a last minute political victory, our leaders need to reclaim their duty to promote an economy that works for the general welfare of our nation — a task that seems largely kicked aside as leaders become more and more focused on election optics than public service. We ask that our University openly stands with our students and for the pursuit of education writ large by openly condemning this blatant attack on educators, students and everyday Americans.

When Americans think of the 1950s we are reminded of a conformist, cookie-cutter world. Make no mistake, Americans in the ‘50s were definitely living an “another brick in the wall” type of existence physically and metaphysically. Inevitably, thinking of the conformity of the ‘50s makes us think of the countercultural revolution of the 1960s. Back then, popular culture, the media, etc. had an almost invariable conservative lean. We recognize the hippie movement of the ‘60s as a liberal rejection of that. Today the situation is flipped. There is absolutely no question that starting in the latter part of the 20th century, new liberalism became the dominant culture in American society. By this I do not mean that one would meet more liberals than conservatives on a day-today basis. In fact, I would posit the opposite. What I mean is that the elite culture that was broadcasted to Americans via radio, television and the arts was – and is to the utmost extent today – unequivocally left leaning. Yes, there has been a mix of conservative and liberal presidents during the past 50 years. However, the culture itself that is propagated to Americans is gradually liberal in its character. One needs to look no further than the 2016 election. It was obvious that the established media, governmental figures, artists (if you really want to call people like Katy Perry artists) and late night comedians behaved like the church lady on SNL in their opposition to an offensive and deplorable populist conservative. He was appealing to the Americans who felt as if they were being left behind, and they hated him for it. Think about it. How “avant garde” can Kathy Griffin be in her denigration of Trump when 99 percent of everyone else in

It takes a village By EMILY HALE Contributing Columnist

It takes a village. Whether it was my second grade teacher who decided to teach me multiplication a year ahead of schedule despite directions not to from the principal or my neighbor’s mom going out of her way to include me in activities during rough times in childhood, it has made itself apparent in my life. I am not simply a culmination of my experiences in my home and a blending of genes from the people I call parents. Sure, parents were important. But it was the collective effort of my parents, my sister, my friends’ parents, my friends themselves, basketball and soccer coaches, Girl Scout Troop leaders, teachers and debate coaches alike that contributed to the woman I am today. I am not writing to denounce my parents influence. I write with the intention of reminding the Auburn Family of what a community means – at all levels. The words “public sector” or “government” carry a certain sort of distaste and disappointment with them. There is ample reason for those frustrations. But it is not the end all, be all of the potential of the public sector to create a

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This editorial is the majority opinion of the Editorial Board and is the official opinion of the newspaper. The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors. These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.

better world. No one built their wealth or completed a great task or project entirely on their own. Roads were used that were funded by taxpayer dollars, or planes were utilized that are regulated by the FAA or trains built as a result of government-led initiatives. Currency is exchanged that is considered fiat – its value is created simply from the word of the government. All of this occurrs because the FDA and the CFPB maintain the safety of our food and shampoo and prescriptions and protect us from fraud and corruption in the financial sector. Whether it’s the members of a small suburban community or the public administrators that make up various government agencies, we must remember that each and every one of us has a role to play in ensuring the success of the individuals around us. With that knowledge, we can start to build a better world – together. And the less that we work together, the more vulnerable our world, our nation, our communities and we all are. The views expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.




The views expressed in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Auburn Plainsman.



Hollywood agrees with her? It is not avant garde or unique in any sense. If anything, bashing conservatives has become a “cause celebre.” Countercultural movements are consumed by the youth of the day, and today’s youth are sick and tired of elitist virtue signalers who denounce anyone with dissenting opinions. The fact is, the up and coming Generation Z is the most conservative since the WWII generation. Even a significant portion of Millennials have taken up the banner of the populist/conservative revival. Countercultural movements usually have worldwide implications. This is precisely what the world has been experiencing since 2015. First there was Brexit, then there was Trump and now there is Kurz. Even the failed movements of Le Pen, Wilders and the current plight of the Catalonians signify the growing resentment and the turning away from bureaucratic global governance. This is because “no army can stop an idea whose time has come” as Victor Hugo said. To end this, I would like to remind readers of one of the most famous popular counter culturalists of the last century: Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols. In the ‘70s, the establishment censored him, called him “deplorable” and utterly detested him. They had the same disgust for him that Clinton had for Trump supporters. It is interesting how history rhymes. Back then, people were arguing for free speech and ideological diversity. Like then, many people today are railing against the established culture of the elite. In 2017, Rotten even appeared on Good Morning Britain exclaiming how the Brexit and Trump movements symbolized the “new punk rock.” Modern leftists are the new Puritans, and conservatism is the new counterculture.


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campus THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017




Tiger Dining delivers food to various spots on campus By MORGAN KIRKLAND Campus Writer

Students can now enjoy Tiger Dining delivery services at the Ralph Brown Draughn library, Cambridge and Lowder. When hunger strikes during a study session at RBD, Tiger Dining can now deliver food to you at the library. Tiger Dining announced their game-changing delivery service on their social media accounts on Nov. 13. Their delivery hours are SundayThursday from 5-11 p.m. “Tiger Dining is always looking for new ways to serve students,” said Tiger Dining Director

Glenn Loughridge. “This new delivery service adds one more opportunity for students to access food conveniently on campus.” RBD, Cambridge and Lowder were the first campus hot spots chosen as delivery locations, but Tiger Dining plans to increase the delivery location options based on student demand. “Students have responded with a demand for delivery to their doorstep, so we are soon adding delivery service to other campus residence locations including The Quad and The Village,” said Tiger Dining Director of Marketing and Guest Experience Candice Nagel. Tiger Dining paired with FetchMe Delivery to bring this service to students. FetchMe Delivery

is a local service that is owned and operated by recent Auburn grad Harrison Evola. All students need is the GET app and $4.99 for each delivery. To add to the convenience, students have the option to use their Tiger Cards for payment. “We love that we are supporting the Auburn Family and the local community while providing speedy and reliable food delivery that students can purchase with their Tiger Card,” Nagel said. The two food options are Panda Express and Leila’s pizza. Tiger Dining selected these two restaurants because of their locations in Terrell Dining Hall, which is open late night and is accommodating to the delivery service’s hours.


Tiger Dining plans to continue delivering from Terrell but hopes to expand their delivery menu options. “We are looking to expand the menu options in the near future to include Chicken Tenders, Rye of the Tiger flatbreads and some grocery items,” Nagel said. Since the launch of their new service, Tiger Dining has had about a dozen orders but anticipates their numbers to increase. “We expect to see a rapid increase during finals and with expanded service into on-campus residential areas,” Nagel said. More details can be found on Tiger Dining’s social media accounts and on their website.


Operation Smile: improving smiles to better lives By HANNAH LESTER Campus Writer


Dave Eggers, author of The Circle, signs books after a talk on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 in Auburn, Ala.

Dave Eggers: ‘The Circle’ is a warning By LILY JACKSON Managing Editor

Dave Eggers had watched the internet grow up around him in San Francisco, like vines up the buildings he passed every day -- 20 years he has spent in that city. Seven out of those 20, he spent sketching ideas and contemplating a society completely enveloped in the “perfection” of technology and rather than telling the story of immediate chaos, he started with hope. His book, “The Circle,” follows a “bright-eyed” young woman named Mae as she finds her way in a dystopian society in which privacy has negative connotations and going off the grid is no easy feat. Eggers didn’t think he had anything special to say that hadn’t already been said until 2010 when he picked up on a shift. Monopolies. A concentration of power under one name. As an economics major, Eggers found interest in this and more importantly, he found it problematic for society. “The companies that exist now have held on to power for a while and they don’t seem to be going away,” Eggers said. Along with powerful companies, he found the blatant surveillance that carries on minute-by-minute disturbing. He said the creepy aspect motivated him. He took notes and didn’t know what to do with them. He thought about making it nonfiction or a journalistic account or essays. Eggers said others were doing what he was thinking, far better than he could. “I thought, ‘Maybe I could tell a story,’” Eggers said. Note taking may take three years and the composition or route he chooses to take -- the culmination -may come later on. His feelings toward technology have dropped jaws in presentations, though. Eggers joined a group of over 100 students in the Student Center Ballroom on Nov. 30 to discuss his book. He whipped out a $25 flip phone as he talked about his reclusive habits when finishing out his novels. Eggers said he must escape technology in order to pump out chapters.

The character Mercer is the obvious guess when wondering who Eggers connects to. Eggers said there is a piece of him projected into every character, remember that he himself lives in the tech-center world he is writing about -- just in a decade or two. The idea of constant surveillance, the climax of the book’s technological bounds, was an idea Eggers said he wrestled with himself while carefully crafting dialogs and throwing pros and cons around. A watchful eye preventing crime, he wondered. “How could anyone be against that,” Eggers questioned. “If we are tracked the whole time, I don’t think we’re human, necessarily. We are some other kind of species. Free will defines us,” Eggers said. “With creeping surveillance, we do lose a vast majority of our free will and I think the two things are mutually exclusive.” Although surveillance to the degree of the Circle has not come to fruition just yet, Eggers has seen a few of his creations come to life in chilling ways. Starting with Apple’s announcement of their new headquarters. A campus shaped like a circle. He’d seen tech-campuses grow and absorb parts of the towns around them, because of their appeal and innovation. The idea of living on these campuses came from friends of his in California that have been encouraged not to leave. Eggers said if they don’t leave, they stay productive. “I wanted Mae to have that feeling that on campus everything is perfected -- everything is the best of it’s kind,” Eggers said. “Excercise, yoga, doga are all in one place, so the world outside, by comparison, is filthy, chaotic and less desirable.” Eggers said on these real-time campuses, that is the case. Then you’ve got the discussion of China’s implication of the social credit score. Eggers said he has wondered if a social credit score in the United States could become reality if the country were commanded by a more heavy-handed leader or the public’s rights were infringed upon after crisis or downfall. “Any given administration: The

more these tools are available and stored they can be used,” Eggers said. “We haven’t seen these tools be used on a mass scale, we haven’t seen that many horrific outcomes. I think they can happen though.” The truth and possibility to “The Circle” is unmistakably a warning. Eggers said he wanted to first scare himself. He said every gadget or technology painted on the pages of his novel was created and intended to scare him. Eggers said he kept thinking, “What else could go wrong?” The ideas being pitched by ripe workers of 23-yearsold, under the impression that everything being pitched is the way to a better society. “I don’t prescribe anything on anyone, but I like to have discussion especially with college students,” Eggers said. “If you are struggling with [the balance of technology and life] then there is something inherently wrong with the tools. They are just supposed to be positive.” Eggers finds himself struggling with the balance, which explains his sabbaticals while he writes and his use of an old-school cell phone. He links this struggle back to his childhood where the television illuminated his house 18 hours a day. Eggers said everything was done in front of the television, even homework and he feels that many people can power through that and succeed. But, many cannot. “I struggle with distraction and retraining my brain to concentrate calmy without distraction, without the television,” Eggers said. He said better-prepared brains will be equipped with the tool and traits they need if there is a limit placed on the exposure to screens until the brain is fully formed. “They will be far better humans, than if they have to fight against these tools that have been designed to fragment, distract, fray and create an infinitely shallower daily cognitive experience,” Egger said. “To put that in someone’s hands and say ‘Deal with this. Good luck in school. Here is a tool that is designed to make you think shallower.’ I think that is an unnecessary handicap.”

Operation Smile is an organization on campus dedicated to helping children that are born with cleft palates and lips. Every other Monday, students meet in the Student Center to plan events and help raise money for children and their families as part of the global Operation Smile Organization. Gavin Parks, the public relations chair for operation smile and a studnet in psychology with a minor in social work, helps handle the day to day of the organization. He writes emails with the president to inform the organization or those who are on the email list what’s going on. “I know personally, on a personal level, I had a cousin born with cleft lip,” Parks said. “Being born with cleft lip/cleft palates, it’s very hard to eat, get your nutrition the right way, it can even affect your breathing.” Parks said that since it is so difficult for children and families, money is needed and the organization holds benefit nights. These benefit nights held throughout the semester are at places like Zoes, Newk’s, Chill or Pieology. In the spring of 2016, Operation Smile also held a Yoga night on the green space. One major promotion is Smile Week every year. “I think as the groups get bigger and we have access to more funds, we are going to start planning hospital visits,” Parks said. Not only getting to spend time with the children themselves but finding more ways to raise money is one of the organizations’ goals, Parks said. “I know one thing we definitely were talking about, having smile week per semester, and not only just having benefit nights per semester. We were even talking about getting a local singer, a local band to perform,” Parks said. Parks said that coming into the organization, he was a freshman on a big campus. He walked Haley Concourse for the first time during O week and saw Operation Smile. “Well I’m always smiling, so what is this organization about? … Basically my future revolves around helping kids,” Parks said. “I’ve always had a soft spot for them, especially when you see a child smile because of something you did.” Recently, Operation Smile was promoted to an official organization, which Parks said helped to move them forward. “We live in a world, where we have access to health care, so especially with the developing countries, we definitely are trying to help out in any way possible,” Parks said. Dr. Mary Joyce Sandage, assistant professor in communication disorders, came to speak to the group in the spring of 2016 about her experiences. “The most rewarding experience was getting to listen to our guest speaker last year, during my freshman year,” Parks said. “It really opened my eyes to how much stuff goes on behind the scenes. You always see the outcome of different organizations, you see the outcomes of different programs, but you rarely get to see what it takes to make the outcome.” Parks said it was easy to to see how what they were doing was making a difference after hearing her story. The group as a whole is rather small, but Parks said they try hard to encourage more members. “It’s a rewarding experience, knowing that you’re part of something, part of a change, even if it is a smaller organization, like Operation Smile,” Parks said. “Not only does that make you a more compassionate person, makes you more well rounded, it helps you get involved and meet other people that are involved in other organizations. Basically it’s just a blast.”




Get Auburn credit for study abroad programs in Canada or Brazil during spring break. Whether you want to bury your toes in the sand or try your hand a dog sledding, Auburn Abroad has a program for you. Hurry! Registration deadline is December 8. For more information and to apply, visit studyabroad.auburn. edu or contact

community THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2017




Opelika Christmas parade kicks off holiday season By GABBY DANCE Community Writer


Pride on the Plains, a local LGBTQ organization, marches through the annual Opelika Christmas parade on Dec. 2, 2017, in Opelika, Ala.

The streets exploded with festive music and cheering as the city of Opelika began the holiday season with their annual Christmas parade on Saturday. The parade route weaved through the streets of downtown Opelika, and spectators lined the sidewalks to watch the floats pass by. With about 80 floats ranging from local businesses and organizations to high school bands and cheerleaders, the area was filled with participants and attendees. All floats adhered to the parade’s theme, “Christmas Showcase: A Fun Tribute.” This year’s parade made history as the first city parade featuring a float sponsored by an LGBTQ organization. Pride On The Plains, a non-profit group based in the Auburn-Opelika area, was happy to be included in the festivities. “We’re so excited to be here, and we’re excited that everyone has been so accepting of us,” said Chad Peacock, president of Pride On The Plains. “We fight negativity with positivity, and we fight ignorance with love, and we’re here to celebrate Christmas just like everybody else.” Pride on the Plains had over 50 attendees march with their float. Their float was among many others that were covered with festive decorations and accompanied by cheerful music.

Opelika Utilities showcased a float inspired by the movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” The float featured a replica of the Griswold family’s home covered in lights and a large squirrel with a moving tail at the front. According to Opelika Utilities employee Andy Alsobrook, the float took about two months to make. “We vote on our theme every year and try to stay with the theme of the parade,” Alsobrook said. Some of the parade’s most excited participants and spectators were children getting ready for the holidays. Many of the floats were filled with children waving to their friends on the sidewalks. Local Girl Scout troops 7230 and 7238 shared a float that was filled with girls from preschool to high school ages. According to troop leader Monica Frazier, they have been participants in the parade for about 12 years, and the members look forward to the event each year. “I like saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to everybody, throwing them candy and just having fun,” said Isabelle McDonald, a Cadette-level Girl Scout. After over an hour of music, candy and holiday cheer, the parade ended with Santa Claus riding through town on an Opelika Fire Department Truck, marking the beginning of the holiday season.


The Guerrilla Girls bring their fight to The Plains By RACHEL MCGOVERN Community Writer

Walking down the street, seeing a group of women walking with gorilla masks on, placing posters all over a city isn’t a typical site. At first glance, it may look silly, but these women aren’t monkeying around. Behind these masks are feminist, activist artists known as the Guerrilla Girls, who have been bringing attention to the inequalities of the art world for decades. The famous group visited The Plains last Thursday, when Frida Kahlo, a founding member, came to Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art in honor of the 125th year of women at Auburn University, In order to keep their personal lives private, the Guerrilla Girls use pseudonyms of deceased female artists whose legacies they hope to continue. “We chose ‘guerrilla’ because that stands for freedom fighters,” Frida Kahlo said. “People give gorillas a demeaning and negative connotation, therefore, we chose to use gorilla masks to hide our identity.” The Guerilla Girls have launched campaigns to increase female representation in art since 1985. “Do women have to be naked to get in the Met. Museum?” one of the group’s most famous works reads. “Less than 5% of the artists in the Modern


Frida Kahlo of the Guerilla Girls visits Auburn, Ala. on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017.

Art Sections are women, but 85% of the nudes are female.” A question, followed by a statistic is how the Guerrilla Girls work. They draw in their audience and provide them with a truth that is not publicized in the art world or society as a whole. The group also tackles issues of racial discrimination in the art world. To spread their messages to the public, humor and outrageous visuals help expose sexist and racist stereotypes as well as corruption found in art, film, pop culture and politics. “Over the years, there has definitely been a change in college student’s viewpoints,” Frida Kahlo said. “We enjoy going to universities be-

cause students are the future. In our early years, our audience of students did not believe us at all and would question why we were trying to fight the system. They did not believe there was prejudice in the art world. But now, there is so much enthusiasm about changing the art world.” Having completed over 100 street projects and posters all over the world highlighting various forms of inequality, the group has attempted to undermine the mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked and the unfair. Despite wearing a mask, Frida Kahlo said it is not always easy to escape everyday problems. When asked what has been the biggest challenge

she has faced as a woman, she chuckled and responded, “How much time do you have?” Frida Kahlo said that after graduating from university, she realized she wouldn’t have the same opportunities as her male counterparts. Even more deflating for her was realizing that so many others would have even fewer opportunities than she. The art market seen at art museums today has a focus on wealth and power, she said, which leads to a focus on the money rather than the artwork. Words that surround and describe art create a patriarchal hierarchy, Frida Kahlo said, which leaves women at the bottom. During her speech, Frida Kahlo emphasized listening to those around you, especially those with different backgrounds. “We need more men as feminists,” she said. “Today, we are seeing people in power talk more than listen, and that results in no effective change.” Her personal, growing commitment to diversity and acceptance is essential and something that she continues to work on and fight for. As Auburn continues to celebrate the 125 years of white women being accepted to the University, Frida Kahlo asked attendees to continue to fight the good fight like the pioneering trio of women that set the way at Auburn University in 1892.


Opelika councilwoman focuses on education in hometown By PAUL BROCK Campus Writer

With the help of her family, Tiffany GibsonPitts won the race for the Opelika City Council ward 2 seat in 2016. As a city councilwoman, Gibson-Pitts has decided to make education an important goal in her efforts to improve her ward. “We just need to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of all of our citizens,” GibsonPitts said.

Gibson-Pitts is the mother of a son and a younger daughter. “It was actually a family effort,” Gibson-Pitts said. “I did speak with my kids before I ran, and my son actually encouraged me to do it. They were with me every step of the way.” Gibson-Pitts said that her children and mother often came with her after school hours to help campaign. “My friends wore shirts with her campaign, and we wore those shirts to school and stuff, and the day that they did the election, we wore

them everywhere we went – I wore it to work,” said Austin Pitts, Gibson-Pitts’s son. Catherine Newkirk, Gibson-Pitts’s mother, was her campaign manager. “Whatever she needed support in, I tried to be there,” Newkirk said. “The weekend was a family affair – nieces, nephews, her children, sisters, all of us got out, and we just made sure we got to know the people and found out the needs of the community.” Gibson-Pitts spent her childhood in Opelika where she attended schools in the Opelika City

Schools all the way through her senior year. “I love this city, I grew up here,” Gibson-Pitts said. “I choose to put my children in the school system, and I think that alone, you know shows that I believe in the system.” Newkirk said that she was not surprised to see her daughter running for City Council. “She’s always been one to talk, she’s always stood her ground,” Newkirk said. “I knew she was one of the ones who could speak, and



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Sound Wall in Opelika offers a new space for music lovers By RACHEL MCGOVERN Community Writer

Opelika’s music scene is being transformed with the addition of Sound Wall, a new music studio, located at 605 Avenue B. To many, an old and abandoned house may look like the next tear-down, but for husband and wife Rob and Jen Slocumb, it was a house full of potential. Walk into this historical house and the Slocumb’s have transformed this 1907 house into a multi-use recording studio. Each room has its own purpose. There is a kitchen for culinary arts, a control room, rehearsal space and a listen-

ing room, a room for songwriting and Jen’s lifestyle and fashion space, known as Northern Flicker. After touring and making music of their own for over 20 years as the duo, Martha’s Trouble, Jen and Rob were ready to settle down. “We had done a lot of touring all around the South, and we remembered that there was such a charm to this area, so we decided to come back to the Auburn-Opelika area to call home and raise our two kids,” Jen said. “This has been a dream of ours for a long time. I love designing, and I have mixed a lot of old and new pieces throughout the house.”

In addition, the entire second floor of the house is a loft apartment and welcomes the artists who are using the downstairs recording space. It is also available for the general public to rent through Airbnb. “We want this place to be welcoming to all, whatever your purpose is to come,” Jen said. “So many artists go to the big cities and try to write and produce, but there is something so special about the calmness to a town like this, which is why we believe the Sound Wall will create this space for many artists.”


The Auburn Plainsman




Dayspring owner on running a shop across the country

Salt Lake City resident Sebastian Wersinger has operated Dayspring Nature Shop on Opelika Road since March By OLIVIA WILKES Community Writer

From goat cheese to fresh eggs and supplements to bath and body products, customers stopping by Dayspring Nature Shop on Opelika Road are sure to find a large offering of goods sourced from local growers and makers. Brother and sister Sebastien and Valerie Wersinger are co-owners of the store, having inherited it from their mother, Yolande Wersinger, who passed away in March. Sebastien Wersinger, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the most involved in managing the business along with the store manager, Brad Butcher, who runs the shop on a day-to-day basis. Dayspring was originally founded in the early 1970s. In 2000, Yolande Wersinger bought the business after having managed

the store for a few years. Sebastien Wersinger said his mother had always been interested in more natural and healthy ways of living or treating illnesses, ever since he and his sister were little. “That’s something that ever since I’ve known my mom was one of her big interests,” he said. “She had that already in her, so it was a natural step for her to come into Dayspring. And then once she started managing it, she realized that this is what she wanted to do, she wanted to have her own store.” When his mother passed away, Sebastien Wersinger began operating Dayspring from his home in Utah, which he says is “a bit of a challenge.” “To run it as it had been, it’s OK, because like I said our manager, Brad, he’s been doing this for so long that he knows how to keep things going,” Sebastien Wesinger

said. “He’s familiar with our local farmers and vendors, and he’s very knowledgeable in terms of the products we have in the store.” Sebastien Wersinger said implementing changes is not always easy. “We’ve been trying to get some new products in and do a little bit of social media advertising, and so, in that sense, it’s a little difficult to try to implement new things from a distance,” he said. Dayspring sources many of their products locally. “Mostly, I still like to consider that we’re locally owned,” Sebastien Wersinger said, laughing a little. “And so yeah, we want to support other small businesses and local businesses and farmers.” Some of the local goods that Dayspring sells include cheese, yogurt, eggs, goat milk and granola. They’ve sold locally raised lamb in the past and are hoping to start selling

vegetable boxes soon, Sebastien Wersinger said. Customers can also find a large assortment of supplements and bulk herbs at Dayspring. “A lot of people love coming in to get things that you really can’t get anywhere else in our bulk foods, bulk herbs, spices section,” Sebastien Wersinger said. Sebastien Wersinger was interested in small business before he inherited the store from his mother. “My mom, she was a big proponent of that, and she would talk to us about it all the time,” he said. “That’s something that I’m familiar with and that’s something that, especially when I saw the quality of the products that I was finding from local farmers, … I was really impressed with what people were doing there locally, so that’s something that we definitely want to promote and get the word out on.”



Robert Cooper plays guitar alongside Mitch Emmons at the Opelika Songwriter’s Night on Nov. 29, 2017.


Not only is Sound Wall a recording studio, but it is also a place for the community to gather and listen to music. Once a month, they host Opelika Songwriter’s Night, which features local and regional songwriters. The songwriters get to perform original songs in a more intimate listening environment. Songwriter Robert Cooper has been playing and performing music since he was around 10 years old. “I have performed in front

of crowds so many times, but it still feels like my heart is on my sleeve every time I go up there,” Cooper said. “It is like when in ‘Forrest Gump,’ Jenny is on stage playing the guitar, and she is naked. That’s what it feels like.” “[This] is a nice change of pace from performing in a bar or restaurant scene because there, you are more background noise, whereas in a setting like this, the audience is really listening to you and cares about the meaning behind your songs.” Cooper and Mitch Emmons swapped off back and forth performing their orig-

inal songs. Themes of love, death, family, chickens, political beliefs and everything in between can be heard through their songs. Whit Deas, Mark True, Ted McVay and Stephanie Jeck were all featured songwriters at the event and performed throughout the night as well. The next monthly event will be held Wednesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. It will be Christmas themed. The Slocumbs will feature their band, Martha’s Trouble, for a holiday event “A Martha’s Trouble Christmas” held at Sound Wall on Friday, Dec. 15, from 7 - 8 p.m.

whatever her occupation was going to be, I knew it was going to be her using her brain and her mouth was going to be the piece that she used.” Newkirk, who worked for Auburn University for 16 years at the Truman Pierce Institute, graduated from Auburn in 2004 with a bachelor’s in education. “It was important for me to finish,” Newkirk said. “I was studying late at night with tests while they were still in high school, it was important to me to be a legacy where they could look and they knew where I was, and they knew what they had to do.” After graduating from Opelika High School, Gibson-Pitts went to Jacksonville State University where she graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s in criminal justice and a minor in English. She then received a master’s in school counseling and counseling supervision from Auburn in 2002. “I had a very strong female role model, and my mother not only told me what I could do, but she showed me what I could do,” Gibson-Pitts said. Gibson-Pitts is the founder of Girls’ STEPS, Inc, a non-profit organization with the goal of preparing girls grades three-12 for future careers. “It’s important for me to go out and uplift other females as well,” Gibson-Pitts

said. “I just try to make sure that I’m empowering them to let them know that you can anything you want to do as long as you are willing to put forth the work.” Gibson-Pitts has is currently in her thirteenth year as a school counselor at Auburn High School, and in 2013, She was named High School Counselor of the Year by the Alabama School Counseling Association. Gibson-Pitts started the Ward 2 Academy as a part of her effort to improve education in her ward. The academy, which is located in the former Jeter area school, offers GED classes to prepare adults to pass the test and provides career counseling to participants. The academy also offers a mentoring program and a tutoring to local youth. “It’s really like a community center that’s primarily for the people in their community because I feel that education is the key to bringing those in poverty out of poverty – because people tend to do better when they know better,” Gibson-Pitts said. Pitts is a senior this year at Opelika High School, and he serves as one of the mentors at the Ward 2 Academy. “The kids look up to him because, you know, he is on the basketball team, and they want to be on the basketball team, so I have him and his friends come over and talk,” Gibson-Pitts said. Gibson-Pitts said that she has “a great family support system.” “Family comes first before anything,” she said.








Tigers to face undefeated AAC champion UCF in Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl


The Auburn Tigers take the field before the game. Auburn vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2 in Atlanta, Ga.

By SUMNER MARTIN Sports Writer

Auburn is headed back to Atlanta. The Tigers are set to play No. 12 UCF in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1 in Atlanta. “We couldn’t have asked for a better matchup to celebrate our 50th anniversary,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl CEO and president. “To have college football’s only undefeated team square off against the first-ever team to defeat two College Football Playoff No. 1 ranked teams in a season makes for an extremely compelling game.” Despite a disappointing 28-7 loss to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn is focused on the bowl game and is excited for the chance to face an unbeaten conference champion on New Year’s Day. “We’re very excited about playing in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl

against a very good Central Florida team,” Malzahn said. “They have a very dynamic offense and are the only undefeated team in FBS, so it will be a great challenge for our program. We look forward to spending time in Atlanta, where we have a tremendous fan base and playing again in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.” Malzahn said, despite not being a Power Five conference team, UCF has his team’s full attention. “I promise you we’ll take them seriously,” Malzahn said. “They’re the No. 12 team in the entire country. They’re the only undefeated team. They’re the No. 1 scoring offense in the country. And they’ve earned everybody’s respect – not just ours, but everybody around the country. Our guys, they’ll need to be ready, and I expect us to be ready.” Auburn’s fifth-year head coach said he has been impressed by the speed and athleticism the Knights possess on both sides of the ball. “Yeah, they’ve got a lot of speed,” Malzahn said. “Coach Frost

and his staff just did a super job. They’re the No. 1 scoring offense in the country. They’ve earned that. They’ve got a lot of weapons. Any time you’re undefeated, that is a very, very special thing. So they’ve got everything going for them, and it’s been impressive to watch from the outside.” Auburn will return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the second of three consecutive games. The Tigers fell to Georgia over the weekend and will face UCF on New Year’s Day before opening their 2018 season against Washington in Atlanta. “They’re going to be extremely excited to go back to the same venue and play better than we did (on Saturday),” Malzahn said. “We didn’t play our best. Got to give Georgia credit. But I know this team is going to be extremely hungry to win this bowl game and to finish the season off the right way for our seniors and a chance to win 11 games. “So we’ll be very excited. We’re going to be very motivated. There’s no doubt in my mind about that.”




Hugo Gonzalez broke three Auburn records over the weekend in Athens, Georgia.

Gonzalez breaks three school records By PETER SANTO Sports Writer

It was a weekend to remember for Hugo Gonzalez. The freshman from Spain was named SEC Swimmer of the Week after winning three events, setting three school records and collecting three NCAA automatic qualifying times at the Georgia Invitational. “Hugo is a young man with a very bright future, and I’m glad he’s on our team,” Auburn head coach Brett Hawke said. “Incredible weekend of racing for him with three school records and posting top times in the country. He is really inspiring the guys around him to step up and get better.” Gonzalez beat the field by over a second

in the 200 IM on Friday night, finishing in 1:42.02. That time eclipsed Joe Patching’s school record by .19 seconds and is currently the third-fastest time in the country. Gonzalez came back Saturday and won the 400 IM in 3:39.28, beating Patching’s school record by over two seconds in the process. His time is currently the fastest in the nation. Gonzalez closed out the weekend with a win in the 200 backstroke on Sunday. His time of 1:39.05 broke Pascal Wollach’s school record that was set at the 2009 NCAA Championships. That time ranks second nationally. Gonzalez also anchored the 400 Freestyle relay and posted the second-fastest anchor time of the day. This is the third time he’s been honored by the SEC this season.

Campus Food Pantry, an initiative to aid Auburn University students struggling with food insecurity, is now open. The food pantry is located in the Auburn University Student Center and provides non-perishable food items to any currently enrolled Auburn student. For additional information or to access the Campus Food Pantry, please email or call 334-844-1305.



Auburn Students

The Auburn Plainsman




COLUMN: Auburn makes right move retaining Malzahn By PETER SANTO Sports Writer

Seven weeks ago, I called for Auburn to fire head football coach Gus Malzahn, citing his inability to beat his rivals in big games. At the time, Malzahn was a combined 4-9 against LSU, Georgia and Alabama, and had won just one of his last eight games against those opponents. Since then, all he’s done is convincingly defeat his two biggest rivals while both were ranked No. 1 in the College Football Playoff rankings, showing he’s worth every penny of his 7-year, $49 million contract extension. The Tigers were left for dead after blowing a 20-point lead in Death Valley. Auburn’s subsequent five-game winning streak will forever be a lesson in resilience. “Very few teams could do what this team did,” Malzahn said Saturday. “It was a very tough moment in LSU. We had to rally. We had to circle the wagons. [Jarrett Stidham and Tray Matthews], along with their teammates, got it done. I’m not sure very many teams could have done that.”

The doubters began to return after Auburn was steamrolled by Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, saying Malzahn had once again come up short when it mattered most, failing to acknowledge that the Tigers never stood a chance against the Bulldogs once Kerryon Johnson went down with a shoulder injury. Those who still doubt Malzahn should ask themselves this: would any of the coaches who potentially could have replaced Malzahn have led Auburn to an SEC West title this year? Mike Leach? Kevin Sumlin? Jeff Brohm? Not a chance. In five seasons at Auburn, Malzahn is 45-21 with one SEC Championship, two SEC West division titles, an appearance in the national championship game in 2013 and two New Year’s Six bowl appearances. He also won a national title as Auburn’s offensive coordinator in 2010. Leach, Sumlin and Brohm have zero conference championship appearances between them, and Sumlin was just fired after winning no more than eight games the last four seasons at Texas A&M. While some compared Auburn’s run this season to 2013, when Auburn needed miracles to defeat Georgia and Alabama,

Malzahn was quick to point out that this team is much more stable. Auburn will lose some talent heading into next season, particularly along the offensive line and in the secondary, but the Tigers will return most of their core skill position players. Auburn could return as many as 17 starters. After not playing for nearly two years entering this season, Stidham is just 173 yards from becoming Auburn’s first 3000yard passer since 1997 and was named SEC Newcomer of the Year along with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Johnson was named SEC Offensive Player of the Year after rushing for 1320 yards and scoring 19 total touchdowns. He said Saturday that he was leaning toward returning to The Plains for his senior season. Add in what should be another stellar recruiting class, and the Tigers are set up for success moving forward. “I think our future is very bright,” Malzahn said. “I believe we’re going to be back.” Malzahn said Saturday that he believes the best is yet to come, and after this latest run, I’m not sure many others would disagree.


Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn during warm-ups. Auburn vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday, Dec. 2 in Atlanta, Ga.



Johnson, Stidham lead six Tigers onto All-SEC team By WILL SAHLIE Sports Editor

Auburn fell short in the SEC Championship on Saturday, but its stars were still honored on Monday by the Associated Press. Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson was named the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, and quarterback Jarrett Stidham was named SEC Newcomer of the Year, which will be shared with Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Johnson leads the conference in rushing yards (1,320), rushing yards per game (120) and touchdowns (19) despite playing in only 11 of Auburn’s 13 games this season. Stidham finished the year ranked first in the SEC in completion percentage (66.7), second in passing yards (2,827) and tied for fourth in touchdowns (17) while throwing only four interceptions. The Stephenville, Texas, native needs just 173 yards in the Peach Bowl versus UCF to become Auburn’s first 3,000-yard passer since Dameyune Craig in 1997. Johnson and Stidham were also both named to All-SEC teams, with Johnson earning First Team honors and Stidham being named to the

Second Team. Senior right guard Braden Smith, defensive end Jeff Holland and kicker Daniel Carlson were each named All-SEC First Team along with Johnson. Smith was the only Auburn offensive lineman to start all 13 games this season. Holland, who took over for Carl Lawson at the Buck position, finished tied for second in the SEC with nine sacks. Carlson, who is a Lou Groza Award finalist for a third straight season, hit 21 of 28 field goals this season. Junior defensive back Carlton Davis, who finished the year with 27 tackles and one interception, joined Stidham on the second team. Alabama led the conference with eight AllSEC selections. Auburn and Georgia both finished with six. Georgia’s Kirby Smart was named the SEC Coach of the Year after leading his team to an SEC Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.


Chuma Okeke (4) shoots the ball during Auburn Men’s Basketball vs. Norfolk State on Friday, Nov. 10.

Okeke tabbed SEC Freshman of the Week By NATHAN KING Assistant Sports Editor

Atlanta native Chuma Okeke has been tabbed the SEC’s Freshman of the Week following Auburn’s victories last week over Dayton and George Mason. The 6-foot-8-inch power forward averaged 11 points and eight rebounds in the two contests. Okeke’s eight rebounds in both games marked a career-high on the glass. “Hard Working, Unselfish, Coachable, Great teammate, knows how to play inside and out, raised right, Student first, loves to

have fun,” Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl said on Twitter about Okeke. Last year’s Mr. Basketball in Georgia added a career-high in scoring in the win at Dayton with 15 points. In the last week, Okeke has accounted for 42 percent of the team’s bench points and 48 percent of the rebounding. In four of his last six games, Okeke has scored in double figures. The forward is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game, behind perennial offensive weapons Jared Harper, Bryce Brown and Mustapha Heron.


Jarrett Stidham (8) throws a pass in the second half. Auburn vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

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The Superhero Invasion Part IV: More Cartoons and Animation By PRICE EVERETT Lifestyle Writer

Cartoons and animation are the most utilized form of media for superhero adaptations. For our last part of The Superhero Invasion, we focused on early cartoons depicting comic book properties through the early 1980s, and on this week’s edition, the focus is shifting to the animation after that period. One comic that sprung up in the 80s, and eventually became a cartoon, was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The TMNT began in 1984 as a parody of other 80s action comics. They were over the top in a dark, violent and gritty way. The animated show adaptation, however, was a different story. The animated television series that came out in the late 1980s was also incredibly over the top but in a completely different way. It was goofy and silly, featuring the turtles fighting silly villains like Beebop, a talking warthog, Rocksteady, a talking rhino and Kraang, a disembodied brain who floated around in an odd suit. The show also gave the turtles different colored masks, where in the original comics they all had red masks. This show was a phenomenal hit, lasting until 1996. This show, with its goofy take on the turtles, became the main way in which the characters were portrayed. Most don’t know that the original turtles started out as a parody featuring over the top violence and darkness. One of the premier animated shows that came out during

this time was “Batman: The Animated Series,” created by Bruce Timm. This show was remarkable for its serious tone and mature themes that it presented. It showed Batman like he was in the comics at the time — a brooding, tortured man with an agenda to fight crime. The show also had the first appearance of Harley Quinn. She was so popular that she was eventually introduced into the comic books as well. “Batman” helped to launch a series of interconnected DC animated television shows, like “Superman: The Animated Series,” “Justice League,” “Justice League Unlimited,” “Batman Beyond” and “Static Shock,” all sharing the same universe lasting through the early to mid 2000s. There was also an adaptation of the “Teen Titans” done in an anime style that was not connected to this universe. Marvel had its fair share of cartoons at this time, like “Iron Man,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “The Fantastic Four,” “SpiderMan” and “X-Men.” Coming into the 2000s, more shows came out. A newer cartoon based on the X-Men, “X-Men Unlimited” pictured the main cast much younger and in high school. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles received another animated adaptation in the early 2000s as well, featuring a more accurate, but still kid friendly, version of the turtles. As the 2000s went on, more shows came out adapting comic book characters, including a new Batman cartoon called “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which came out in 2008 and ran until 2011. This take on the caped crusader returned to the

campiness of the 1960s, featuring Batman teaming up with other heroes like Aquaman and Green Arrow to take on sillier villains like the Condiment King and Crazy Quilt. The X-Men got a third adaptation called “Wolverine and The X-Men” featuring a missing Professor X leaving Wolverine as the leader of the famous team of mutants. DC also developed a team show called “Young Justice” that featured the younger heroes of the DC universe fighting villains and trying to get out from under their mentors shadows. With the team of characters like Robin, Kid Flash, Miss Martian, Aqualad, Artemis and Superboy at the start, the show expanded to include a huge cast of characters. The show was cancelled after its second season, but is being revived for a third season to premier on DC’s forthcoming streaming service. Spider-Man received a show during this time as well. “The Spectacular Spider-Man” featured Peter Parker in high school as he dealt with his usual problems of girls, grades and super villains attacking New York. Superheroes have left such an impact on western animation that it has inspired creators in Japan to make animated shows of their own featuring superheroes. Shows like “One Punch Man” and “My Hero Academia” embrace the stylings of American comics while also putting their own spin on superheroes. Animation continues to be the most common way of adapting comic-based properties. It is able to show the complexity and serialized storytelling of comic books like no other media, as it doesn’t have the constraints of a live action budget.


Brockhampton: The future of Hip-Hop By COLE McCAULEY Campus Writer

N.W.A, Wu-Tang Clan, Odd Future and Migos — the idea of a hip-hop group isn’t anything new. In fact, hip-hop groups like the ones previously mentioned have given us some of the most influential and popular songs in the genre’s history. However, in a genre mainly dominated by solo acts and big names like Drake and Kendrick Lamar, one group is using its impressive work ethic, large internet following and underrated talent to take the hip-hop industry by storm. They aren’t quite household names just yet, but with multiple music videos hitting over one million views on YouTube already, Brockhampton is off to a great start. Often described as “the internet’s first boyband,” the 15 man Brockhampton crew currently includes rappers/vocalists Kevin Abstract, Ameer Vann, Merlyn Wood, Dom McLennon, Matt Champion, JOBA and bearface as well as a talented crew of producers, creative directors and photographers. Started in San Marcos, Texas, by high school friends Ameer Vann and Ian Simpson, also known as Kevin Abstract, in 2012, the band has grown since then, with Vann and Simpson finding many other members of Brockhampton through popular internet forum “KanyeToThe,” which has led to their “internet boyband” moniker. Releasing their first single “BET I” in January 2015, the group followed it up with a couple more singles before dropping their debut mixtape “All-American Trash” in March 2016. The mixtape was praised by the indie hip scene for it’s ability to dive into many different genres of Hip-Hop and R&B. However, the real hype for the now California-based HipHop boyband didn’t start to build until the release of their first studio album “SATURATION” in June of 2017. Widely claimed by most fans and music experts alike, the groups tremendous chemistry, well produced beats and exhilarating flow were all on display. After a successful debut album, Brockhampton fans wanted more, and the group delivered. A mere two months after “SATURATION” released, Kevin Abstract and compa-

ny released a sequel to their album, aptly entitled “SATURATION II.” With both albums eclipsing 15 tracks, fans and critics were amazed with the sheer production and work ethic of the group. Many feared releasing a sequel album that quick would suffer in quality. However, “SATURATION II” was quickly praised as an improvement to its predecessor both sonically and lyrically. With two successful albums in a matter of months, Brockhampton put the Hip-Hop industry on notice. Brockhampton’s sound is hard to pin point. On one hand, their genre of Hip-Hop is comparable to fellow hip-hip collective “Odd Future,” but at the same time they break many molds in both their music and style. The confidence and passion oozes out when you listen to their music. Each member offers their own unique style of flow and clever lyrics while the instrumentals and beats, on “SATURATION II” in particular, offer some of the most well produced and exciting that the genre currently has to offer. The band has been pushing the boundaries of hip-hop and rap music with their experimental and alternative sound, and is definitely something that is hard to explain unless you listen yourself. However, with all members of the group in their early 20s and an obvious passion and tremendous work

ethic, it’s clear that Brockhampton may very well be the future of hip-hop. On Dec. 1 Brockhampton announced on Twitter, to fan’s delight, that “SATURATION III” will be released on Dec. 15. Wide grins quickly turned to worried frowns as the boyband also announced that while the new album will complete the trilogy, it will also be the last studio album from Brockhampton. Since then, fans — myself included — have been in denial. A rapidly growing group like Brockhampton was a breath of fresh air for the hip-hop genre, and an avid fan base and consistently great music seemed like a perfect recipe for future superstardom. Many fans believe that the group may go back to releasing mixtapes as opposed to official studio albums, or possibly new albums under a different name. “SATURATION II” is my choice for album of the year, and it would be a shame if the third installment of the trilogy is the group’s last project. However, if the group continues to release new music in any shape or form, look out for the “the internet’s first boyband” to continue their climb into mainstream popularity as the hip-hop genre’s next big thing.


Brockhampton is a 15 man crew including rappers such as Kevin Abstract and Ameer Vann.


Why students should study philosophy By JUSTIN THOMASON Lifestyle Writer

With much of the world focused on scientific discovery and technological advancement, it seems there is little room left for the humanities. American society has been primarily focused on advancements in science for the better part of a century. It has resulted in, undoubtedly, many great achievements. The focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics has gifted us with the moon landing, Netflix, smartphones and practically everything else. At the same time, however, important fields like history, literature and philosophy have consequently taken a back seat. A once revered area of study is now seen by many as antique, and, to some, a waste of time. “While philosophy has by no means gone away, it does seem to have lost much of its appeal within modern universities given the successes and progress of STEM fields,” said philosophy instructor James Compton. “Still, philosophy has a way of sticking with us. It’s a fundamental human endeavor.” Compton said there are several misconceptions that need to be cleared up, including wage, job opportunities and the

personal benefit of philosophy. PayScale’s annual College Salary Report found that those with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy received a mid-career median income of $82,000, making it the highest earning humanities major. Philosophy majors aren’t limited though; they can hold positions of high pay as well. Former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, for example, was a philosophy major during her time at Stanford University. Yet again, the data shows philosophy majors fare quite well entering graduate education. On the Graduate Records Examination, philosophy majors score the best on the verbal and analytical writing sections, which comprises most of the test, Compton said. While few apply, philosophy majors are accepted into medical school at the highest rate compared to others. Philosophy majors are accepted into law school at a rate higher than any other major as well, tied only with economics. Law School Admissions Test scores among philosophy majors is tied with economics for the highest average score at 157.4, according to Compton. Aside from the economic and academic benefits, a study of philosophy will enhance one’s communication skills both written and spoken.

Philosophers learn to be careful with their words. They try their best to mean what they say and say what they mean. “Regarding the kind of communication skills one can get from studying philosophy, it’s hard to overestimate the potential here,” Compton said. “Philosophical training leaves one very well-equipped to communicate carefully, precisely and soberly. It demands that we make every word count and think through its meaning. Being able to present arguments well, see errors in the arguments of others and correct for them is also a huge part of this. These kind of critical abilities are much needed and desired in whatever field of work a student chooses to pursue.” Although some may not realize, our societal ideals of justice, ethics and value have been directly shaped by those before us. Developments in philosophy have shaped the way we have thought for centuries. Even the principles of the United States as detailed in the Constitution are based first in philosophical theory. The founding fathers were, in a way, political philosophers. So while philosophy may never make a technological discovery, it can better determine how the discovery should be used. Philosophy may have a much higher potential than it seems. Looking back at the ideas of the past could guide our understanding of the present.

The Auburn Plainsman




Star Wars is never going to die By COLE McCAULEY Campus Writer


A student puts on her running shoes on Thursday, Nov. 16 in Auburn, Ala.

Create a group fitness class routine at home By EMMA RYGIEL Lifestyle Writer

With the New Year right around the corner, up comes the population’s favorite resolution — hitting the gym. At some point, most people vow to make working out a priority with the clean slate of a new year. One thing that stops some people in their tracks is the price of a gym or group fitness membership. Even though classes are a great way to hold yourself accountable, push yourself and meet new people, a lot of the components can be replicated if you’re more of an athome fitness fan. Manage your time The first step is to strictly manage and allocate your time during your workout. In fitness classes at the Auburn Recreation Center, the instructors plan their classes down to the minute. This makes for an efficient use of your time by giving you no space to procrastinate from exercise to exercise. Planning time for a warm-up, an array of exercises and a cool-down will ensure that you get all aspects of a fitness class in your athome workout, and make sure you are working out in a fashion that is healthy for your body. The goal is to help, not hurt, and to take measures that ensure a safer, more efficient workout. Mix it up Sticking to the same workout moves can cause your body to be stuck in a fitness funk. Adding diversity to your workout routines

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can keep your body on its toes and make working out more exciting rather than monotonous. The appeal to fitness classes is that they offer different routines and types of exercise, although it may take some more research on your part, this can be accomplished on your own as well. Checking up on Pinterest or magazines are a few ways you can you find some more moves to add in. Investing in a bike or weights may also help you work some different muscles in your at-home routine. Become your biggest motivator One aspect of a fitness class that is on the harder side to replicate is the verbal motivation and group support. When working out on your own, it is important to not just hold yourself accountable but to become your own biggest motivator. This could be done by reminding yourself of what you’re working towards, making mini goals or creating rewards for yourself along the way. Working inspiration or quotes into your workout routine either before or during to keep you motivated is another way to stay on track. If you are still having difficulties gaining motivation, there are fitness apps and YouTube videos that mimic a trainer motivating the class that could help give your workout more of a group fitness vibe. Overall, you don’t need a class or a membership for good results. With time management, variety in your routine,and motivation from within or others, you are sure to be on your way towards your fitness goals.

With mega corporation Disney purchasing Lucasfilm for an insane $4 billion back in 2012, the rights to everyone’s favorite space action opera were now in the hands of Disney. Lucasfilm, of course, was the company owned by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, and with Disney adding Marvel for another $4 billion to their roster back in 2010, and talks between Disney and 21st Century Fox rumored to be currently on the table, it seems that nowadays, it’s impossible to escape the grasp of Walt Disney — and that’s OK. Since buying Marvel, Disney has churned out some of the most successful movies of the decade and have almost single-handedly brought forward the massive superhero genre we see in today’s media. When Disney bought Lucasfilm five years ago, “Star Wars” fans everywhere prepared for the inevitable — more “Star Wars.” To be honest, no one thought this was a bad thing. With the last “Star Wars” movie being “Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith” back in 2005, and the general disappointment that the “Star Wars” prequels garnered — especially compared to the original trilogy — it was obvious that a reboot for the beloved series was needed. When a new “Star Wars trilogy” was announced, some fans were worried that Disney’s kid-friendly tendencies might ruin the series, but when 2015’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premiered to massive financial and critical success, fans were eased as it was obvious that the series was going in the right direction. Since then, fans were gifted with the stellar “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and with episode VIII, “The Last Jedi”

set to premiere this December, Star Wars looks as though it isn’t going anywhere for the time being. Powered with a massive budget and tremendous amount of hype, the next decade or so of “Star Wars” movies includes a conclusion of the third trilogy, multiple speculated spinoff films including an origin for beloved character Han Solo and a newly announced fourth trilogy spearheaded by “The Last Jedi” Rian Johnson and is set to explore parts of the “Star Wars” galaxy and lore previously untouched in the previous “Star Wars” films. With “The Force Awakens” being 2015’s highest grossing film, and “Star Wars” itself being the third most successful movie series of all time behind the Harry Potter series and films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would be ridiculous for Disney to slow down the “Star Wars” hype train. These new movies are only doing for kids these days what the prequels did for my generation — introducing to quite possibly the most exciting cinematic universe of all time. Loved by nearly every generation, and with movie releases already spanning four decades, “Star Wars” is one of those few elements of pop-culture that is completely timeless. Disney absolutely knows this. With “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge,” a new “Star Wars” themed park within both Disneyland and Disneyworld set to open in 2019, the hype for “Star Wars” as a whole likely isn’t going to slow down. December looks to be a month all about “Star Wars” and with the impeding blockbuster success of episode VIII, Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars cinematic universe as a whole was the greatest thing that could’ve happened to the series and one of the most important events in modern pop culture as well.


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The Auburn Plainsman 12.07.2017  
The Auburn Plainsman 12.07.2017  

The Auburn Plainsman 12.07.2017