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02.19.09

02

VOL.4, ISSUE 6

Modeling for money

04

commuter students

07

an ode to blink-182

weekly

THE the

Gay& Greek

It’s no secret that the Greek system is about sex and power — a sometimes cruel hierarchy governed by attraction. So can you rush out of the closet?


2

02.19.09

the weekly

THE WEEK in review

D

iana Bae, a journalism senior who is getting ready to graduate after this quarter and move to New York in the hopes of finding a job once she has a Manhattan zip code, makes both her first and last appearance in an on-campus publication in this week’s cover story, which goes inside probably the most stereotyped organizations at Northwestern to ask how gay Greeks adjust. Assistant Editor Jeremy Gordon — responsible for The Weekly’s back pages — moves from his 100-word weekly diatribes in The Brow to a full-page essay on what the return of blink-182 means to him. Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find an interview with Wesley Thorne, the assistant director for business at University Career Services, who has a few things to say about finding a job in a tough economy; an intimate look at college dating from Coco Keevan, who puts into words and elaborates on something we all have thought about (“maneuvering the overtly-coital atmosphere of the lascivious collegiate dating world is tricky,” she writes); and a What If about a couple of students who have worked as models. You know you always wanted to find out how you, too, could get discovered. Read on.

SURVEY AT STARBUCKS

at home screening

W

e can’t make this stuff up, people. As is the case with most of our surveys, this idea came to us because we heard of it happening to one of our peers at NU. At first, he found the idea unsettling — as did most of the people we talked to — but eventually decided to join the “yes” category. So, here’s the situation: One of your friends, without you expecting it, tells you that they, for whatever reason, starred in amateur porn. Of course, it being 2009 and all, that video is now available online. Would you watch it? All of our own answers were the same so, in an attempt to — once and for all — determine whether or not we are completely disturbed, we took this scenario to the masses. We asked 100 students in and around Norris whether or not they would watch: The results:

71 29 NO

nicholas jackson

weekly the

a weekly supplement to The Daily Northwestern contact the weekly at: 847.491.4901 send confirmed & denied tips to our managing editor want to join our staff? e-mail our editor in chief

the hook-up

YES

EDITOR IN CHIEF

NICHOLAS JACKSON n-jackson@northwestern.edu

MANAGING EDITOR

talia alberts taliaalberts2007@u.northwestern.edu

ASSISTANT EDITORS

sara peck sarapeck2007@u.northwestern.edu jeremy gordon jeremygordon2007@u.northwestern.edu

ART DIRECTOR

debi nafis debranafis2007@u.northwestern.edu

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what if...

you were discovered for the cash-strapped student, modeling can be both a dream and a much-welcomed source of income

For Sean Massich, 21, the start of his modeling career began with a MySpace message from a stranger, who told him that he “liked [his] face.” Massich, a music technology major from Long Beach, California, was naturally skeptical. “It seemed like some creepy guy who wanted to take pictures of me in underwear,” he says. But then he did some research (“The website was legit” with “really cool photo montages”), and a couple of weeks later, Massich found himself at a photo shoot for Men’s Health magazine. It is a dream for many students to be “discovered” and then catapulted into a lucrative career of modeling. Dream being the operative word. The Cinderella story of being discovered and going from rags to riches is appealing. It rarely happens, but it does happen. Supermodels Gemma Ward, Lily Cole, and Twiggy all have scouts to thank for their careers. So if you are approached by a stranger the next time you are drinking a latte at Café Ambrosia, should you go along with it? Modeling does seem glamorous compared to, say, sorting mail. “I think it’s a good option,” Massich says. “If you are a good height, and you can work it, then why not?” Modeling can also provide some nice income for the cash-strapped college student. Massich, who is 5’11, was paid $400 for his Men’s Health photo shoot and $600 for a two-day hair-modeling gig. “And I got fed,” Massich says. Don’t worry if you like your Chipotle or can’t clear the height requirement for roller coasters. “You don’t need to be six

Shon’s modeling has taken her all the way to Australia. [Jasmin Chang]

feet and really skinny,” says Adrienne Shon, 21, a journalism major from San Diego. “I can be 5’2 and 110 pounds, and it is fine.” Shon modeled for a Filipino shoe company, Sapilo Manilo, and has an upcoming gig in Australia. But true to what one sees on America’s Next Top Model, modeling is hard work. “A lot of it is accurate,” Shon says. One of her photo shoots lasted from 3 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shon’s and Massich’s modeling careers have not really affected their relationships or daily routines. “My friends would be super excited when the magazine came out,” Massich says. “They were all really supportive.” Still, neither of them said they would pursue modeling as a full-time career. “I wish someone would pay me to do journalistic work,” Shon says. w Jennifer Liu


the hook-up

the weekly

&

THE LAVINE WAY When Medill Dean John Lavine visited the students working at the newsroom in D.C. he insisted that the new market for 3G phones is in India and China. Maybe he is onto something here but, as seems to be the Lavine way — as we have been reminded more than once in the past week — he had nothing to back up his claims with. When asked by a student about the economic disparities in these countries effecting that sort of technological advancement, he completely dodged the question. These people don’t have access to water, how are they going to play with 3G phones?

a week out with a communication senior

10 TUESDAY Today is beautiful. Had lunch from Kim’s Kitchen at the playground on Noyes St. and watched 4-year-olds chase each other. Napped with my boyfriend after class, and had dinner on Central. Later, I boycotted Dollar Burger. It was the last thing I ate before I got a four-day, hospitalizing stomach flu. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted. (Dollar Burger, not the flu.) Ended the evening by eating ice cream and watching The West Wing.

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12 THURSDAY

Hung out in Burger King (circa 9 p.m.). Tried to get people to let me interview them for a class that I am taking. Manager too busy, homeless person turned me down. Decided I hate journalism as a medium and a career path. Had wine with a bunch of people and, after everyone left, Ben & Jerry’s with my boyfriend and his roommates.

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13 FRIDAY

HOOTERS ON STEROIDS Stacey Cusack, an account executive with Bender/Helper Impact wrote in to let us know that Lionsgate is releasing Still Waiting this week. It’s the “sequel to the hilarious restaurant comedy Waiting,� in case you didn’t know. We’re including this because the movie stars NU alum Rob Benedict — also a member of an indie rock band — and an alum with a job is news worth printing. Cusack’s short synopsis of Still Waiting: “Benedict reprises his role of Calvin from the original, only this time, he’s the manager of the brand new Ta-Ta’s Wing Shack next door (think Hooters on steroids)!�

Today is the best day of my life, primarily because I saw Confessions of a Shopaholic. It was terrible, although the eighth graders behind me thought otherwise. I also went to Chili’s, got drinks with friends and saw Seussical. What a catchy, brightly colored evening.

14 SATURDAY Valentine’s Day. Boyfriend and I (did I mention I have a boyfriend?) went out to breakfast at Le Peep. Mid-afternoon roses appeared at my door while I was thinking about homework. Later, we went out to dinner at a cute Italian restaurant and then headed back to my place. Hold your vomit, I usually spend Valentine’s Day eating discounted candy and masturbating.

15 SUNDAY

ETIQUETTE LUNCHEON Mark your datebooks, sisters. This year’s Rho Lambda etiquette luncheon will be more than about “how to hold a fork and knife!â€? Or so says the Evite for the March 1 event. “We want our women to be take-charge leaders who know how to get things done!â€? What, you can’t do things with forks and knives? It’s a challenging economy, but people really do get feet in doors with their Greek status. One senior, interviewing for jobs, flubbed the Kappa handshake after her interviewer, a fellow sister, prompted the greeting. Guess who’s unemployed‌

My sister is in town! We visited the Chicago’s Children Museum and the American Girl Place. (My sister is twenty-six years old.) Both are surprisingly fun, although I’m still mad they archived Samantha. We bought food at Trader Joe’s downtown (really Evanston? Yes to Cereality, no to Trader Joes?) and then watched Weeds for two hours. Gave the sister my bed to sleep in and headed over to the boy’s place to do homework.

16 MONDAY

Read the Daily column. It was on par with Confessions of a Shopaholic. Always good to have something you love to hate. Went to class, had meetings about meetings and then had those meetings, went to cardio hip-hop. Discovered I gained back the seven pounds I lost when I had the flu. Turns out disease is not a sustainable weight loss program. Thanks for lying to me, Mean Girls.

w THE WEEKLY EDITORS

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What happened to the weather? Went to the student panel sponsored by the African American Studies Department. Spent a riveting hour and a half listening to other undergrads eloquently grapple with topics surrounding controversial blackness in post civil-rights America. Then I studied for a midterm on herbs and spices. Sometimes my education here seems a bit uneven.

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G AV IF A TC IL A A R BL D E

HOSPITAL VISIT Scott Hall is investigating Lodge, alleging a Valentine’s Day party at the frat Saturday night sent a prospie to that freshmen-only spot, the emergency room at Evanston Hospital. North Campus’ “raging keggerâ€? didn’t stop crowds from pouring into The Keg. Did the prospie go there too? We’re pretty sure she can’t confirm that one‌

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confirmed denied BOOZE & BOWL Zeta inaugurated a booze-andbowl event of its own this week, two days before Kappa’s annual Rock & Bowl rager on Tuesday. Details are scarce on the Zeta event. Bobb-McCollough prez a nd Zet a sophomore A my Wang, in true Bobb form, fell and hit her head en route to the event’s buses and decided to stay in for the night. The Kappa soiree had its fair share of hiccups, but nothing like last year’s cop-punching fireworks. Revelers arrived early to the venue, which was booked until midnight. “The bouncer was not amused,â€? one attendee reports. The crowd stormed the doors, but staff didn’t turn down the lights and turn up the pop until about half an hour later. Beyond that, memories get foggy, but we do know a guy dressed up as Garth from Wayne’s World went home early with “a bloody face.â€? Again, details scarce‌

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02.19.09

the weekly

I regret sitting in my room in CRC all by myself on Valetine’s Day with a bottle of vodka and the three Godfather movies as company. I wasn’t the only one though, right? —Medill junior

CAMPUS CLIMATE

COMMUTER STUDENTS

4

some of your peers travel up to three hours a day to get to class, but for them, the pros outweigh the cons

While many students roll out of bed with only ten minutes to get ready and book it to class in Kresge, freshman Eugenia Miranti has been up since 6:30 a.m. transferring from one Metra line to the next with the hope that she will make it to her 10 a.m. class in Tech. Miranti is a commuter student from Elmhurst, a southern suburb an hour away from campus. Commutes can be both long and complicated. Miranti takes multiple trains to reach Evanston. “I try not to fall asleep on the second train, because I don’t want to end up in Waukegan,” says Miranti. Not all commuter students’ experiences are the same. “I think the closer a student is to campus, the more likely they would be willing to get involved,” says Queen Ohiri, the president of Men Off Campus and Women Off Campus, an organization whose focus is to help integrate commuter students into the NU community. “The farther away a student, the earlier they leave to come to NU and to go back home, which means they’ll have longer days and put less effort into spending time on campus.” Most students commute for financial reasons. Money can be saved from not paying dorm or meal fees. One freshman, Rebecca Bogue, lives with her boyfriend in Edgewater,

Some Northwestern students spend hours commuting to and from classes. [Flickr/Creative Commons]

a 20-minute Metra ride away. “My parents don’t provide for me. I’m on financial aid and an apartment is cheaper than a dorm, especially since I can cook my own food,” she says. “I can have pets, privacy, and privileges that I wouldn’t have if I lived on campus.” Danielle Mikos, a sophomore living in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, travels even further than Bogue to get to NU. “There are days around midterms or finals when the extra three hours I’m spending on a train or bus could be used for studying,” she says. “I

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feel like the only free time I have during the week is spent on public transportation.” Regardless, she’s happy to sacrifice the traditional collegiate atmosphere for some sanity. “I feel like school isn’t my entire life,” Mikos says. “In some ways, it makes school a lot more bearable that I do not have to spend every hour of every day on or near campus.” But, not living on campus also means not hitting up the Deuce on Thursday nights or spending the weekends with your friends. You can also forget about extracurriculars, since

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meetings are usually after classes when most commuters need to catch the Purple Line Express. “My social life is pretty much non-existent,” Miranti says. Bogue also doesn’t have the typical freshmen social life. “I don’t know a lot of students, I don’t hang out on campus very often and I definitely don’t hang out at normal college hangouts. My boyfriend and I prefer to go over to the neighbors’ apartment and smoke hookah instead of going to the Keg,” Bogue says. Commuters find less traditional ways to spend their time. “Chicago is a hell of a lot cooler than Evanston. Chicago has a great music scene and bar scene and Evanston just doesn’t. There are always shows to go to, museums to check out, parties to dance at and dive bars with cheap beer,” Mikos says. Even though living in the dorms may be an experience many college students share, commuters have experiences they feel are just as valuable. “I think living off campus teaches you real-life skills like how to file a tax return and pay your bills on time, which are things you won’t learn living in a dorm,” Bogue says. Though it can be hard to meet people if you don’t spend the majority of your time on campus, the Commuter Lounge in Norris has been a place for commuters to meet and hang out between classes. “The lounge gives me a place where I can feel relaxed and at home while I am on campus,” Bouge says. w ALEXANDRA SIFFERLIN


the weekly

02.19.09

5

down & out

in the greek world

how can a group of proud but not out Greeks find acceptance in a sometimes discriminating system? By Diana Bae

R

ob Metzler always wanted to join a fraternit y. W hen he arrived at Northwestern, he went through formal winter recruitment, visiting different chapters on campus and eventually received bids from Phi Delta Theta and Phi Kappa Psi. He chose the latter. Later that year, he was forced to drop out of Greek life after pressure from his parents. That summer though, his father told him he could return to the fraternity. What had changed? Metzler finally told his parents he was gay. “My dad’s kind of conservative,” Metzler says. “He doesn’t want me to be a ‘girly man’ or anything like that. It’s kind of stupid but I guess he doesn’t really want me to act like a stereotypically gay person.” Joining a mainly heterosexual social organization then, was a way to give the McCormick junior a less gay image. Metzler returned to school the next year and joined Phi Delt to avoid an awkward situation after having left his original choice. He’s happy with the decision. Despite having been given permission to re-enter the Greek scene only in an attempt to appear straighter, the tall and lanky Pittsburgh native has yet to encounter any real problems in his fraternity regarding his sexuality. Everyone knows. No one really seems to care. There is the occasional use of words like “faggot” and phrases like “you’re so gay” tossed around in conversations among the brothers. But that’s to be expected, Metzler says. “I know not to take things personally.” It’s no secret that Greek life on college campuses is a highly stereotyped system. As Metzler’s father recognized, from the outside, fraternities and sororities consist mainly of straight men and women, who are seen as dumb, rich party animals. In such a cookiecutter social system, what is it like to not fit in entirely and not meet that image that nonGreeks may expect? Rebecca Sitter is a senior in Kappa Delta. During her junior year, she had a revelation and eventually came to terms with the fact that she was gay. Growing up in a very conservative Christian household in Brookfield, Ill., Sitter says she would block out the possibility that she was a lesbian because it was unacceptable in her family. “If you’ve been raised to think that it’s wrong, it takes you a really long time to be okay with it,” she says, pushing her bouncy dark hair behind her ear. “When I let myself really think about it rationally, it didn’t take long to figure it out.” Her family was not happy when she came out to them; her father even told her it would have been better if she had come home pregnant. Within her other family of sorority sisters, Sitter found welcome and relieving support. In fact, the first person on campus whom she came out to was her pledge daughter, who was nothing but encouraging. She eventually told other close friends within the chapter, who were surprised but accepting. “That’s the way you want things because you don’t want things to change and relationships with people to change,” she says. Sitter’s openness with the sorority has actually encouraged others both from within her house as well as women affiliated with other chapters to confront their own sexualities, she says. Other sorority women, whose names she would not disclose, have approached Sitter to discuss their own feelings and confusion. Like Metzler, Sitter has not come upon much negativity from anyone in the house.

Rob Metzler, an openly gay member of Phi Delt, says that, for the most part, his fraternity brothers are accepting of his lifestyle. [Ece Tumer]

She does, however, get flack from non-Greek lesbians. “I think that people have a negative view of girls who are in sororities to begin with. So I think that they find it doubly make fun-able that I am a lesbian in a sorority,” she says. They make jokes that she had ulterior motives for joining a sorority: living in a house with all girls must have its advantages. “No, I didn’t have an ulterior motive,” she says in response to accusations like those. “I joined a sorority because I wanted to. I wanted a different kind of social circle.” For many students who join fraternities and sororities, the social factor is an initial draw, which is the main cause for problems, if any, for the gay community entering this scene. Shane Windmeyer says that people seem to have a problem picturing gay men and women in Greek life because there is “a premise that fraternities and sororities were built on a malefemale dichotomy and a heterosexual social aspect.” Windmeyer is co-founder of the Lambda 10 Project, an organization dedicated to raising more awareness of LGBT issues in campus Greek life, as well as the author of several books regarding homosexuality in fraternities and sororities. “They forget about all the other things that truly, if you really stand for the values of fraternity and sorority life, are what they are about,” he says. “They don’t see [them] as organizations to build friendships, to build leadership and service.”

T

he number of individuals nationally coming out in their respective Greek organizations has increased over the years, according to research by Lambda 10. This may not necessarily mean that more gay men and women are joining chapters but simply that there is more visibility and openness in the country. “I have always thought that fraternities and sororities represent the more conservative part of a college campus community,” Windmeyer says. “However, I think that there have been changes both culturally and socially in society and not just fraternities and sororities.” Greek organizations have always been slow to change. It was only in the mid-90s that chapters started to include sexual orientation as part of the non-discrimination portions of their national bylaws, which Lambda 10 keeps an updated record of. (Thirteen IFC fraternities and three Panhellenic sororities on the Northwest-

ern campus are currently part of that list.) There is no way to tell how many gay men and women are on any campus and, more specifically, how many are affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. David, a Weinberg junior, whose name has been changed, has not yet come out to his entire house and he says that there probably are many more like him. “I think a lot of people come to Northwestern knowing that it is a very liberal environment,” he says. “So you’re already inherently attracting that kind of person.” Take into account the large Greek presence on campus, and a good proportion of them are bound to be homosexual. For many of these men and women rushing fraternities and sororities, the first issue they encounter is whether or not to go through the process as openly gay. Scott who requested anonymity when discussing these issues, was openly gay during his freshman year at NU, attending Rainbow Alliance functions and being open with friends. In his second year at school, he decided to rush a fraternity. He also decided to “go back in the closet” for the process. To this day, only his closest friends in the house know. He’s not ashamed and if it does come up, he won’t deny it and will be frank about his sexuality. He just didn’t want it to define him on first impression. “I think joining a fraternity for me was a time to reinvent myself and to take a different path,” he says. He wanted his brothers to “respect me as a person first.” Scott eventually accepted a bid to join his current chapter because he liked the members and felt he could be free to be himself. In comparison to other houses he visited, Scott says that his house did feel more accepting of gay men. No chapter was flat-out homophobic, but there were less tolerant vibes at some places, he says. Like Scott, David agrees that “there are definitely houses that are a lot easier to come out and be open in. The dynamic definitely varies from house to house.” In his estimation, his fraternity is probably one of the less accepting chapters on campus. He believes he is the only gay brother in it. Having been through both sides of the rush process, he says that although no one will blatantly suggest denying a bid to a potential new member for being gay, “it might just be in the back of their head. It’s

not something they’ve really formulated, but just a social standing thing. It’s just an understanding [between the brothers].” As typically hyper-masculine social organizations, fraternity members sometimes form an idea that having gay members in a chapter “would somehow taint that image on the campus,” Windmeyer says. Sororities are a very heterosexual system as well, but there seems to be a societal double standard, making it easier and almost more acceptable for women to come out as lesbians. There have not been major problems stemming from sexual orientation at the school’s Greek organizations, according to Danny Miller, co-director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. The location of the school near Chicago and the liberal mindset of the student population have made fraternities and sororities on this campus unique. At other universities, especially in regions where the social standards are not as tolerant, Windmeyer says that there is still rampant harassment especially of gay fraternity men. Metzler can only recall one time that he had any issue arise from being gay. When choosing whether to take a man or a woman to a party, a brother gave him a hard time about taking a man. Five others immediately came to Metzler’s defense. Despite the support, that still left the question of who to take as a date.

O

n any given night, students pile into yellow school buses headed downtown for a social event hosted by a Greek chapter. Evites are sent out to dates and people pair up for the evening — usually a man and woman. Choosing who to take becomes a struggle for gay fraternity men. Metzler has taken both men and women as dates to his fraternity’s parties without incident. Scott has never taken a man but doesn’t know if he himself would feel comfortable if he did. David also isn’t sure if he would take another man to a social event. Other brothers may have a problem with it. But more importantly, he’s not sure how he would act in that kind of situation. “I don’t know what I would do,” he says. “It’s just a whole different area that I haven’t really had to cross yet. I haven’t had to cross that barrier of being completely public.” Sitter used to take men as dates but will probably take a woman to her next event, now that everyone knows what she used to keep hidden. With a population that is growing on NU’s campus, OFSL is taking steps to address the issue of LGBT students in the Greek scene. “I realized that we don’t really do anything on this campus to support lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgendered students, at least in fraternities and sororities,” Miller says. “That’s an area we can vastly improve.” Inspired by the University of Illinois at Champaign’s efforts, OFSL is starting what is tentatively called Greek Allies. Ideally, Miller says, the group would start a dialogue about LGBT issues within Greek organizations, bringing together gay, lesbian and bisexual students as well as “straight allies.” The goal is to make fraternities and sororities more welcoming environments for people to come out in. “A lot of what we do in fraternities and sororities are very hetero-centric,” Miller says. “It makes you not want to come out in that environment and not want to be yourself.” Despite the lack of participation from the university in the issue before now, the Greek system, at least at Phi Delt, seems to have worked for Metzler. Before pledging, he asked an older member if his sexuality was going to be at all a problem. The older member looked at him and said, “We all think you’re a cool guy. I don’t see why that would be.” w


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02.19.09

the weekly

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no strings attached for the uninvolved, wading through the NU dating scene can be as much of a bitch as a Friday night on Parents’ Weekend

It can all be summed up succinctly in a grammatically incorrect text message eliciting relations: “My place? 8p.m. Ur ass is foiiiiiiine.” It’s the familiar hook-up in its smuttiest form, stylized with technology into a booty call. In the collegiate bubble in which we reside, however, the hook-up translation is often slobbering, well-intended, tipsy tonsil hockey, tantamount to a grand hello — while under the influence. The idea of a hook-up was something I never quite comprehended. I dwell in the dichotomy of black versus white. I understand the color wheel, the violet-reds and yellow-oranges that exist between the utter absence or presence of light, but my life is, to the best of my ability, an unambiguous operation. I prefer definitive answers to abhorred utterances of “Mayyyyyybe,” which seemingly formed the entire vocabulary of last quarter’s love interest. When it comes to the sticky sweet goodness of romance, though, the cataloguing in taxonomic groups just isn’t sufficient. That, it seems, is the problem with Northwestern’s non-academic romance department — there is no in-between, no mucky gray mundanity between the head first of hook-ups and the eternity of lock-ups. I’ve discovered, as of late, that I have trouble in the romantic limbo which is the Northwestern dating scene — and I’m certainly not alone. It hit me last week, as I was scrolling College ACB, the heir to the online collegiate gossip throne left vacant by the demise of JuicyCampus. The subject line read “Dating Scene,” and the original poster posed, “What do you think of the dating scene here..?” The first response, the simplicity of “What dating scene?,” seemed to sum up the subsequent ten posts. As a second-quarter freshman, maneuvering the overtly-coital atmosphere of the lascivious collegiate dating world is tricky. I’m diving head first — pun entirely unintended — into the romantic dynamic at Northwestern, and the resulting social climate is tumultuous. Winter Quarter, steeped in rumor and expectation, facilitates the hook-up, the nostrings-attached kissy-kissy. It’s difficult to attach myself to the idea of meaningless kisses, as I was raised on the ideals of Disney princesses and happily-ever-afters. Jasmine would have never exchanged saliva with Aladdin if he’d kept their exchange to a simple magic carpet ride. Hell, even skanky Meg forced Hercules to suffer a little; he did, after all, offer up his soul in exchange for hers. Why, then, is it acceptable to exist in this uncompromising lackadaisical world of literal free love? My disenchantment with romance began in a tizzy of perfume and liquored air on a chilly winter night. There were black Xs scrubbed from cold hands, and sweat flooded the dance floor, mobilized by the thumping beat of what I will generalize as every dirtyass grind track from Britney’s Circus. Bodies pushed closer than prepubescent males at a high school homecoming, and the commotion of hips colliding with hands clouded otherwise clear minds.

It started, as all antiquated romances do, with a dance. The aura of hormones pervaded the air, and, as pelvic bones crashed with the pounding of the dance groove, good pilgrims breached familiar territory of Shakespearean proportions. Eyes clenched tightly as arms wrapped around waists, and, in the moment, sly smiles met shy eyes. Conversation superseded dancing, intensity replaced by the humility of eye contact. Common ground dialogue of baseball and music allowed comfort in a potentially awkward situation; arms outstretched wrapped delicately around cold shoulders, nothing more, nothing less. Tired eyes concealed intimations of past indiscretions, but the quiet whisper of voices divulged a tenderness unseen in the banality of “the hook-up.” The sentiments were evident in the casual brushing of hands, the subtle grins and the faint beaming of complete and utter A committed contentment. relationship The night wore terrifies even on, and downcast the most eyes chanced hopeless of me e t i n g s w it h romantics, and good graces. I crave the Laughter permea t e d t he mere ambiguous inches of air sepagray of rating one party bachelorettefrom another, redom. I’m a placing the deafsingle lady. ening rhythm of the dance f loor. Hands gingerly sought mates, venturing into territory indisputably tiptoeing on the edge of commitment, and the graze of lips across forehead met bashful utterances and crimson cheeks. The night air dried the remnants of sweat and sin, and the dance of light conversation, peppered with the laughter of shared jokes, was the last of the night. I ventured oh-so-innocently into the former territory in the dating dichotomy (see: hook-ups), but I longed instead for that nonexistent middle ground. The idea of a committed relationship terrifies even the most hopeless of romantics, myself included, and I crave the ambiguous gray of involved bachelorettedom. I’m a single lady, and, if you like it, dear God, please don’t put a ring on it; use your words, and maybe we can explore that happy medium. The campus romance climate encourages us to eschew the idea of moderation; we’re beings of utter intensity, and this fervor for the extreme extends into our romantic lives. Even I’m avoiding discussing that gray. It’s an unflattering shade of life. I’m done sending text messages and skirting the issue, but I’m not ready for the titular classifications just yet. For once, I’m pleading for that gray matter, the limbo in which I can feel confident and comfortable and sexy without transforming into someone’s ball and chain. And I doubt I’m alone in my lamentations of romantic foibles on campus. I suppose it’s unfair to say I dove into the romance department here at NU. I, if we’re being candid, stumbled. And I’m falling. w coco keevan

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PRODUCTION PHOTO COURTESY OF CHAUTAUQUA OPERA


culture shock

the weekly

OVERHEARD AT NU

Oh My. God. Yesterday was the worst day ever. Really, I can’t even deal with it. It was raining and I got my Uggs and my jeans wet. Fuck my life, right? —Freshman girl on Sheridan Road

creative essay

02.19.09

7

a thing or 182 i don’t know about blink What does blink-182’s reunion mean to us? What should it mean? Our writer ruminates on all the small things. by Jeremy Gordon

01

I’ve gotten hungry, real hungry for my youth because the job market sucks, school is a bummer and, even though it’s infantile, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to spend a day when I was 10, 14 or 18, when I had “not a care in the world” and “there seemed to be no troubles ahead,” bland platitudes we reminisce about, forgetting that life sucked then in the same ways it sucks now, and no matter where or when you are, there’s going to be something to whine about. In spite of this, wouldn’t it be nice? To see old friends long passed out of our circles, to watch TV shows that hadn’t yet been canceled, to idle in general art and P.E., to lack that selfawareness that led us to try new things and break out of our local bubble. I’m not suggesting ignorance was bliss, because ignorant is ignorance. But still… Two Sundays ago, at the Grammy Awards, blink-182 called off their five-year hiatus and officially reunited before a mostly apathetic crowd, judging from the lack of applause, surprise, or even a schlocky standing ovation when Mark Hoppus awkwardly hunched over the microphone and monotonously intoned, “Blink-182 is back!” Privately, I’ve been anticipating this since last summer, when I wrote a throwaway line in an article for my internship at Newcity calling for the reunion. When Travis Barker almost died in that plane crash last fall, I said to a friend, “Maybe the guys will figure out that life is just too short to not have blink-182,” without a trace of irony. At the Grammys, after message board speculation that got the Internet rumor mill grinding away, it happened, and a cheery wave of nostalgic giddiness washed over me when I found out the news while at work. I burst into the lounge where my co-workers were sitting and yelled out loud, “Blink-182 is fucking back!” and was met with silence. Blink’s reunion is the first superstar ’90s band get-together fueled by altruistically nostalgic reasons; listening to them on stage and reading their website message, it sounds like the guys just want to make some music and play for their fans again. When Rage Against the Machine got back together for Coachella, they seemed motivated by a real desire to change the world again, not just to make music. As they hit the reunion tour circuit, marked by a semi-disastrous outing at Lollapalooza last year, it seemed like a lot of people still weren’t getting it, choosing instead to mosh and slamdance their problems away instead of addressing them. While an over-serious rap-metal band probably can’t get us to change our views on life, a joyful pop-punk band can at least take us back to a day in our youth when all we cared about was loitering with our friends, drinking Slurpees from 7-11 and dreading the return to school on Monday. Does this sound idealistic? Does this sound romantic? Does it sound made up? It happened to me, my friends and hundreds of other kids I know; that’s right, at some point, we weren’t studying for midterms and worrying about getting a job after graduation. We were still sort of living in the moment. That’s what blink-182’s reunion can do for us.

02

Objectively, blink-182 is pretty shitty. You see, they mostly play power chords, and their song structures are pretty

similar (seriously, “First Date” and “The Rock Show” are the same goddamn song). Furthermore, their lack of lyrical sophistication leads to a lot of thematic repetition, most egregious when … snore, sorr y, what the Here’s hell was I saying? something to Who gives a shit? do: Think of Here’s something everyone you to do: Think of know who is ever yone you complaining know who is comabout how pl a i n i ng ab out blink-182 sucks h o w b l i n k-1 8 2 suck s a nd how and how their their reunion is reunion is horrible for the horrible for the world and stop world and stop being f riends being friends with them. The with them. h o r r i b l e t r ut h about blink-182: They’re three funny guys who commercialized an already commercial style of music (all the early punk bands were on major labels; the line between “true” and “fake” punk is blurry). Sure, a lot of their fans never got into the Clash or Black Flag, but not everyone who watched Kill Bill got into Kurosawa or Leone or any of the directors Tarantino was ripping off (or paying “homage” to, if you’re an apologist). You weren’t listening to their records to experience new perspectives on art and politics; you were listening to them because you were 13 and didn’t know how to express how to be 13. What does it say about three grown men who chose to make music for pre-teens? That they were smart businessmen, or at the very least, in it for benevolent reasons. The blink guys weren’t just messing around with music; they covered “Another Girl Another Planet” by the Only Ones, they cited Descendents and The Cure as major influences, and that’s really all I need to know that they had

more than a passing interest in music. All things considered, a selfaware group making fun music that had a lot of personal meaning for an impressionable crowd is not a crime; Limp Bizkit reuniting, now that’s a crime.

03

If their final album was any indication, the new record might not be a desperate reunion trap. Blink basically grew up with their crowd; if they broke in 1999 when their initial fanbase was between 10 and 15 years old, then by the time they broke up in 2005, the kids were well past puberty and even beginning to head into the real world. That last album isn’t as juvenile as the younger ones, featuring (gasp) more sophisticated lyrics and arrangements apart from the typical verse-chorus-verse power chord bashing on their earlier stuff. The most memorable song from this record to me is “Feeling This,” which I have blasted between two and nineteen dozen times for research purposes for this article, because it is so desperate, so energetic, so unconventionally catchy with its semi-abstract lyrics (for blink-182, anyway) and multiple musical bridges, and yes, I am deconstructing a blink-182 song because it rules and if I had any humility when I was 15 I would have blasted this instead of boring classic rock records. Tom Delonge has never been a technically great singer, but he can throw himself into the song when he wants to and really make you feel the rock. Angels & Airwaves is pretty terrible and I never listened to +44, but they could pick up from where they left off when they get back to the studio this year, and if that happens, then we could have the first pop-punk classic of the Obama Administration! (And lo, a sentence I believed I would never write.)

04

The music videos! A lot of them are really bad, like the campy Tim Burton fetish of “I Miss You” and really, any serious one; the downfall of pop-punk bands are the music videos that attempt to be somber, be-

cause you can’t transition from making dick jokes to slow-mo shots of kids getting pushed by their dads and generally looking sad. Most pop-punk bands had two types of music videos: funny and sad. Obviously, Blink was no exception, but their funny videos really were funny. The best is “First Date,” which mocks the apathy and slackerism of the ’70s using a filter to make everything look old-timey as the trio bounce around El Segundo smokin’ dope and trying to get with girls way out of their league. Also, there are a lot of dick jokes. What else did you expect?

05

The problem with deconstructing blink-182 is that you start to look like an asshole. It’s hard to take blink-182 seriously, and when you start to really wonder why Enema of the State is as beloved as it is, it feels like grasping at irrelevant straws. But you can look at this in a critical way, because even if the music wasn’t intended to make us think that hard, we unconsciously absorb these larger meanings, intentionally or not. Whether or not you learn something is debatable, but I think you can acquire a greater appreciation than you couldn’t see when you were You weren’t younger. When I listening to their records to was 12, I spent a lot of time pretendexperience new ing not to like cerperspectives tain bands because on art and I t houg ht t he y politics; you sucked. Now that were listening I’m older, I can see to them that just about everything sucks if because you you want it to. This were 13 and is the key to enjoydidn’t know how to express ing stuff. It doesn’t mean I t hink being 13. blink-182 is, or was, consistently brilliant. It doesn’t mean I think they were artful. It doesn’t mean I think they were the best. It means I liked them, and that I still kind of like them. Will I pay $50 to see them play in Chicago this summer? No. Will I smile when they roll through town? Of course. w


8

02.19.09

the weekly

culture shock

MAN ON THE BEAT

ONE MINUTE WITH‌

Wesley Thorne, Assistant Director for Business at Career Services

‘a clear understanding of how the world works’

J

ust because you haven’t found a postgraduate job doesn’t mean you have to throw your money away on grad school — it just means you have to try harder. Luckily, Wesley Thorne is here to help you get hired.

How do you network with companies? I use a number of different employment resources. I’m on the phone. I e-mail. Typically, I reach out to alumni, because if we’re able to identify that we have an alum at an organization that doesn’t recruit our students, then I’ll reach out, try to develop a relationship and talk about strategies for hiring our students. Is there any awkwardness with a cold call? Not so much. You have to go into the process with a clear strategy of what you want to accomplish. I always research what the organization does, and I’ll have a clear idea of the type of candidates they tend to hire. Having that knowledge is helpful, so when I’m talking to someone I’m able to talk to them from a very informed perspective. Is this the first job of this kind that you’ve held? Oh, no. I’ve been working in higher education for about ten years. I’ve been working in the current services field for about ten years, and I’ve been at Northwestern for five. Prior to coming to Northwestern I worked at Wesleyan in their career offices.

With the economic downturn, have you seen more students? There’s a segment of the population that is using us very heavily. Our goal is that every student will come for a registration process and just know what’s going on, so that when it comes time to get an internship or a job they won’t miss out. What can students do to get ahead in the job market? What we’ve tried to do is use this time to help students to look at a wide range of opportunities. One of the things we’ve always tried to prioritize is having a greater mix of industries and the type of employers represented. How do you calm down a hysterical student who’s despondent about the job market? I think what many people forget is that this is an emotional process. It’s very difficult to make a decision about your career path at the age of 20 and 21, because there are so many things you’re discovering about yourself at that age. We try to help students with that process, and not to sound clichÊ, but it’s about identifying what interests you have, what skill sets you have, what you can offer to your employer. We help students get a better sense of who they are. w

Peter Webster

The author of Measures of Creative Thinking in Music and over 70 articles and book chapters on music cognition and technology, editorial board member for five music and arts journals and John W. Beattie Professor of Music Education and Technology shares what he thinks are the three most important music pieces ever written. 1. Symphony No. 7, II, Allegretto, Beethoven Vintage Beethoven, one of his most amazing symphonic movements in my judgment. 2. The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky All of the three classic ballet works are terribly important for the history of music, but this one is the most celebrated because of all that surrounded its premier and then the course of contemporary music since that time. 3. Well Tempered Clavier, Bach A set of stunning works that marked the height of Baroque music. Every NU student should hear‌ Symphony No. 4, Shostakovich This is a challenging work, but very worthwhile. It runs the gamut of deep emotions and feelings that music can offer. I recommend the Chicago Symphony Recording with Haitink. On a much lighter note, the music of Billy Joel is well worth it: I like “We Didn’t Start the Fireâ€? and “And So It Goesâ€? as two really nice examples.

Jeremy Gordon

Nicholas Jackson

THE BROW critical reviews on the week's new releases LOW BROW

MID BROW

HIGH BROW

Confessions of a Shopaholic P.J. Hogan

It’s Not Me, It’s You Lily Allen

Years of Refusal Morrissey

B

O

eing a shopaholic is not easy, according to this unrealistic — yet charming — chick flick. Rebecca Bloomwood is a woman obsessed with shopping and will use her credit to get what she wants. In an effort to pay off her debt, she finds work at a magazine where she gains fame after a single column thanks to her ability to simplify financial advice. The problem is that she has no idea what she’s talking about. In the end, she must reevaluate her priorities and get both her happy ending and the guy. The movie succeeds because it doesn’t try to be more than it is — a feel-good film.

n It’s Not Me, It’s You, Lily Allen complicates the standard definition of pop star: Rather than feeling like a disposable, engineered product — what you might expect after a successful debut — Not Me comes off as interactive and dimensional. Allen continues to play to the tensions of being pushy yet vulnerable, successful but doubtful, and in doing so has left Britney and all those naughty Disney pre-teen idols in the dust. Her lyrics are sharp little spitballs of conversation. Combine that with sugary synth beats and a Slumdog-style flash mob dance party might suddenly feel fathomable.

Elizabeth Espindola

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The Weekly: Vol. 4, Issue 6