Issuu on Google+

TUFTS OBSERVER VOLUME CXXV, issue 7

O

DECEMBER 10, 2012

reevaluating your perspective on life ( pag e 2 )

//

Self-awareness & modern cinema ( pag e 1 8 )

destigmatizing // mental services ( pag e 2 4 )


2 BEN KURLAND

Will Vaughan

CREATIVE COMMONS

lifecycles

Monica Stadecker

Eva Strauss

Arianna Photopoulos

LIFECYCLES by Alison Pinkerton

10

HERE WE GO AGAIN by Molly Mirhashem

EIGHT DAYS OF WAR by Tamar Bardin

THE FORGOTTEN SCHOLAR by Aaron Langerman

12

20

And all points west by Jon Dutko

The Observer has been Tufts’ student publication of record since 1895. Our dedication to in-depth reporting, journalistic innovation, and honest dialogue has remained intact for over a century. Today, we offer insightful news analysis, cogent and diverse opinion pieces, creative writing, and lively reviews of current arts, entertainment, and culture. Through poignant writing and artistic elegance, we aim to entertain, inform, and above all challenge the Tufts community to effect positive change.

26


Editors editor-in-chief David Schwartz managing editor Anna Burgess

December 10, 2012 Volume CXXV, Issue 7 Tufts Observer, since 1895 Tufts’ Student Magazine

production director Ben Kurland section editors Kyle Carnes Douglas Cavers Aaron Langerman Claire McCartney Gracie McKenzie Molly Mirhashem Nicola Pardy Kumar Ramanathan Angelina Rotman Megan Wasson publicity director Lenea Sims photography director Knar Bedian photography editor Bernita Ling art director Flo Wen lead artists Izzie Gall Misako Ono lead copy editors Isobel Redelmeier Michael Rogove design assistants Moira Lavelle Angie Lou copy editors Liana Abbott Anastasia Mok Sarah Perlman Josh Sennett

Contributors Tamar Bardin Dani Bennett Ian Braddy Robert Collins Joe Dunckley Jon Dutko Alison Graham

Table oF contents Life Cycles by Alison Pinkerton 2 feature Letter from the Editor by David Schwartz 5 letters Seeking Employment: Generation Me by Nader Salass and Nathaniel Williams 6 news campus Beyond the President’s Lawn by Ian Braddy and Claire McCartney 8 off & culture Here We Go Again by Molly Mirhashem 10 arts Eight Days of War by Tamar Bardin 12 news 13 photo inset & culture What Fourth Wall? by Kumar Ramanathan 18 arts The Forgotten Scholar by Aaron Langerman 20 opinion Life, Liberty, & the pursuit of Wealth by Nader Salass 22 opinion Changing Minds by Dani Bennett 24 campus & prose And All Points West by Jon Dutko 26 poetry Police Blotter by Flo Wen & Douglas Cavers 28 extras

Griffin Quasebarth Nader Salass Lauren Traitz Nathaniel Williams Alison Pinkerton

Cover art by robert collins


FE AT UR E

I

n any given room, at any given moment, how many legs are shaking? How many fingers are nervously twirling through long locks of hair? How many nails are tapping, teeth are grinding, tongues are tripping, palms are dampening? Anxiety is pervasive and often unavoidable. Even thousands of years ago, before cognitive-behavioral therapy and Valium, Ovid declared that, “There is no such thing as pure pleasure; some anxiety always goes with it.” The term “anxiety” can refer to both acute incidents—the man feverishly shaking his leg while waiting to give a big presentation—and chronic conditions— the man feverishly shaking his leg out of existential discomfort. The latter type, chronic anxiety, may stem from two contradictory ways of imagining life’s 2

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

trajectory: (1) Life is cyclical. (2) Life is linear. Of course, these two beliefs are fundamentally at odds with each other. A thing cannot be both a circle and a line. However, to the anxiety-prone, both statements can rob sleep and increase blood pressure. Let’s take statement (1): life is cyclical. Certainly, Mufasa, Simba, and the crooning voice of Elton John have glamorized this statement, but it can be entrapping if we flesh out its implications. Take, for instance, the simple act of washing the dishes. I eat breakfast in the morning, go to class, and then return to the dirty dishes. The act of washing them lasts only five minutes, but I also have dishes from lunch and dinner. Am I going to have to do this every day for the rest of my life? For what purpose? So that I can fuel my

body to go to class (or work, or the gym, or wherever else), expend energy, and come back hungry and ready to dirty more dishes? Will this ever end? It won’t—I am, willingly or unwillingly, going to have to wash dishes every day if I plan on eating. To the well-adjusted among us, this does not seem terrifying—congratulations, for you will never feel impending doom from a full sink. To the rest of us, though, this is the stuff of nervous breakdowns. It is the mother staring in catatonia while scrubbing the same dish for the hundredth time. It is Sisyphus pushing the rock almost to the top of the mountain before it barrels down once again. It is a hamster running on a wheel going nowhere. Dishwashing is not the sole representative of this “life is a cycle”-based anxiety. How many times have I trudged to the library, snoozed the


E UR AT FE

Alison Pinkerton

alarm, or taken a shower? How often have I burned through gas to get to work and then used my paycheck to fill up the tank? We work to accrue funds with hopes to improve our quality of life. But, in reality, we spend most of these funds to maintain our quality of life—buying food, heat, shelter. These staples keep us breathing and, ironically, working for more funds in this positive feedback cycle. If life is a cycle, where am I going? Eventually, as circles dictate, I will end up where I started—synecdochically, the gas station and the grocery store. Ultimately, though, I have transitioned from Shakespeare’s age of “infancy” (birth) to his acutely-named age of “second infancy” (morbidly old age). Statement (2) is much simpler to deconstruct but equally as terrifying. If life is linear (or, more specifically, if life is a line

segment), it must have a beginning and it must have an end. Once we become aware enough to realize this, the beginning has begun (i.e. we have been born). At this point, we are making our way down a line toward a looming, mysterious end. And this end has historically been the subject of much drama, speculation, and fright. Woody Allen’s entire career owes its existence to “end” anxiety. Allen, I paraphrase, claims to have been a happy person until the age of five, when he realized that “all of this” will eventually end. If life (my life) is linear, it must end. I must end. Many uncomfortably grapple with the grim implications of this last statement, and, for the majority of our lives, the idea of death remains merely an abstraction. We do not know what it is to die, we do not want to die, and these “unknowns” inform our be-

havior. The image of life as a line causes pessimistic worldviews—if all of this will end, what is the point of doing anything? Can I enjoy my life, knowing full well that everything I love must surely die? People who ponder in this way may fully resign themselves. Others may engage in risky, lifeaffirming activities to defy the line’s end. Older and middle-aged adults are probably more conscious of this—it’s no wonder they skydive and have sex with strangers and speed in slick, red convertibles. Teenagers, rather, engage in these same activities in a more subconscious way. They infamously subscribe to the “personal fable,” believing themselves invincible and, as such, protected from death. This irrational thought—this denial of death—spawns all the sorts of risky behaviors against which our health teachers preached. Behavioral DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

3


RE TU FE A

Life is cyclical.

Life is linear. responses such as resignation and defiance arise from the anxiety that a linear image of life, and its end, instill. To the college student, anxiety (or stress or nervousness) is a close companion. The role statements (1) and (2) play in the etiology of this anxiety becomes apparent to only the most neurotic among us. To the rest, statements (1) and (2) are disguised by term papers, significant others, exams, and jobs. When we are anxious because of a paper’s close due date, statement (1) may determine that, at our core, we are anxious because it seems as though the papers never cease. There will always be another due date, and the realization of this looming, persistent cycle is enough to make a student retreat from his work and hyperventilate (and how many of us have wanted to do just that after the seventh hour in Tisch?). A woman will lose her patience after asking her boyfriend for the thousandth time to please not roll his eyes at her. She’ll feel trapped in a cycle of unfulfilled requests and break

4

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

off the relationship, vowing to never again ask anything of a man. Subscribers to statement (2) will be similarly afflicted. They may throw away their work, positing that, if death is certain, then their work is trifling. And they will certainly not want to spend a portion of their unknown duration on earth writing a paper. These types of thinkers may avoid romantic relationships, or sabotage them, for it will be too painful to grow close to someone made so vulnerable by death. So how, then, can we alter our ways of viewing life in a way that diminishes anxiety and promotes peace? We can redraw the lines. I’d like to imagine a line that swirls, creating a series of conjoined Venn diagrams and looping until the necessary end. This line appears in any number of notebook-margin doodles. In this image, we feel the comfort of cycles that a straight line cannot bestow. Cycles give us a sense of tradition and meaning. We would be remiss, as humans, to overlook the connection be-

tween “infancy” and “second infancy.” It would be similarly tragic to ignore the reflection of a first kiss in a wedding kiss or to not re-feel the spirit of our youth when our parents play with our own children. But the looping circles in this new image also move forward in a determined direction—and because of this, we see progress and do not feel that moments will repeat themselves interminably. I may do the dishes countless times, but this new model reminds me that I only have one opportunity to do the dishes on November 29, 2012. I am only a student in undergraduate school at this moment. I must maximize each experience of each day. I will write the paper to the best of my ability. I will love unconditionally. Life has cycles, and its components can become banal. But the loops push forward—helping mom with the dishes at age six is a vastly different experience than washing plates with family after Thanksgiving dinner—and they do come to an end. (3) Life is a cycling line. O


LE ER TT S

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Snow, course evaluations, and excessive Dewick meals remind me of the fall semester’s end, of month-long academic hibernation and its eventual thaw into second semester. This fall, it has been a privilege and an honor to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of the Observer. I’ve stayed up until the sun rises since my freshman year, bleeding articles and checking tiny Cloister Black Os on every page, now this semester with my loyal Managing Editor, Anna and Production Director, Ben. Over the years, I’ve witnessed the improvement of articles and the contributions of more writers, ever expanding the magazine’s breadth and content. People have observed the Observer since 1895, and each year it gets closer to what it must be, current and relevant, based on the people who read it and the people who make it. And I smile when I think about having had the opportunity to lead a steadfast staff so committed to endless hours of journalism, art, and creativity. A group of students—and eventually a group of friends—so eager to produce the best possible content and the best possible magazine. To get to know them every Monday and Tuesday, their intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and interests, and love them and the magazine that much more for it. That is what I smile about. It’s been a great semester. Here’s to an even better one. Sincerely, David L. Schwartz TOP LEFT TO BOTTOM RIGHT: KNAR BEDIAN BOTTOM LEFT: DAVID SCHWARTZ

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

5


s ew n

Seeking Em

Genera

By Nathaniel Williams and Nader Salass

I

t is a truth universally acknowledged and reluctantly accepted by our generation that overpriced degrees in the liberal arts don’t guarantee success in the job market. Graduates from the millennial generation often enter the professional world with high hopes, only to retreat to their parents’ houses after facing the challenges of life after college. As the economy continues to stagnate and the number of college graduates increases, the disparity between the number of qualified candidates and available job openings is clear. This is especially true for those coming out of college with a degree in the liberal arts, while students with degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics—STEM students—tend to secure higher-paying jobs earlier in the race. The future for liberal arts graduates does not look bright. As this issue has gained standing in the public eye, a number of experts have stepped forward to try to help recent and soon-to-be graduates find their footing in an unwelcoming job

53%

6

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

market. There is much more to employment success than an impressive GPA and a liberal arts degree; equally important is the balance between tenacity, resilience, patience, and modesty, all while never selling your qualifications short. While the current state of the job market is discouraging on its own, the bigger problem that plagues our generation is the self-entitled nature of our professional expectations. According to D.A. Hayden and Michael Wilder, authors of From B.A. To Payday, today’s college students are part of what is known as the “Entitlement Generation.” Hayden and Wilder claim that graduates from this generation, more so than previous ones, are products of habitual positive reinforcement and feel too assured that our summer internships and college educations provide immunity from failure in the job market. New York Times’ Judith Warner labels these kids part of “Generation Me”—“entitled whiners who have been spoiled by parents who overstocked their

self-esteem [and] teachers who granted undeserved As.” This cushy treatment is partly responsible for making Generation Me blind to the demanding realities of the professional world. According to Hayden, “Parents are calling Human Relations professionals to negotiate their salary packages for their kids.” Another factor that Hayden and Wilder attribute to Generation Me’s foundering in the real world is the mindset that constant hard work and the dynamic learning process decelerate after college graduation. This is a deadly combination of naïveté and entitlement that pushes our expectations to unrealistic heights. Combined with the weak economy, these high expectations often set up college graduates for failure. The “Entitlement Generation” searches for the perfect job that provides them with the intellectual stimulation and salary they feel they deserve. Hayden mentions that, “The key to landing a job is to think about how to package yourself, make yourself rel-

About 1.5 million of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed (the highest share in at least 11 years)


n ew

[

ation Me BY 2020, according to government projections,

only 3 of the 30 occupations

]

with the largest projected number of job openings

will require a bachelor s degree or higher to fill it.

evant, and distinguish yourself from your competition.” Students should think of their first post-undergraduate jobs as an instructive “sampling opportunity that will prepare and refine their marketable skills.” However, Hayden also argues that the millennial generation’s sheltered nature and entitled attitude often prevent this type of reasoning. As graduation draws closer, the obvious question arises: if our generation’s millennial reputation is valid, how can we break free of the self-inflicted trauma caused by our apparent entitlement? The most obvious—and arguably most difficult—solution is to bring our standards down and understand that these costly college degrees do not guarantee professional success and affluence. According to a recent Georgetown University analysis, recent liberal arts school graduates face a 9.6% unemployment rate, while more experienced college graduates who spend about five years working for various decent but low-paying jobs face a much lower 6% unemployment rate. Through developing and refining our idea of patience, perhaps more liberal arts graduates

s

Employment: Bernita Ling

will understand that it is acceptable and in fact necessary to begin with lower-paying, sometimes tedious jobs. Experience and persistence are essential footholds for climbing up the job-market ladder. Fox Business’s Emily Driscoll writes that liberal arts graduates should “cast a wide net” and broaden their horizons when applying for jobs. They should feel comfortable falling outside the boundaries of their college degrees. Hayden and Wilder agree with this strategy, noting that the most successful graduates are often those who avoid focusing on only one type of job fixed to the constraints of their college degrees. Limiting professional opportunities will only serve to limit the potential for success, a fact that many college graduates fail to recognize in their pursuit for the dream job. Even if it means stepping outside one’s comfort zone or pursuing a career in a field unrelated to one’s studies, any job can help a graduate gain important work experience and, for those with the burden of student loans, to slowly chisel away at their debt. It’s important to recognize that this entitlement is frequently combined with

fear. Hayden notes that this generation is “scared to death when reality comes along and puts them in ambiguous and unanticipated situations.” The current job market seems to reaffirm these trepidations of failure. Fortunately there is reason to be hopeful. College graduates from the Class of 2013 will see a 13% increase in the hiring rate from last year. “Equally encouraging,” Hayden tells us, “is that large corporations are broadening their aperture and are becoming appreciative of the liberal arts dynamic.” As December rolls around, winter graduates are either locking up future jobs or scrambling for potential ones. With less competing peers, these early graduates have a slightly better chance at securing more desirable jobs than their May-graduating classmates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Although these prospects seem reassuring for all graduates, a refined attitude of resilience, patience, tenacity, and a wider scope will continue to be a critical factor in helping college graduates distinguish themselves in their search for careers. O DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

7


CA O M FF PU S MIDDLESEX FELLS Commonly referred to as “The Fells,” this spot is incredibly close to Tufts (a short jog or bike ride away) and includes miles of forest reservation. Highlights include many ponds and reservoirs, “Panther Cave,” Wrights Tower (when it’s open there is a great 360-degree view), and many winding trails. Come during any season, but be sure to bring a headlamp if you are venturing out later in the day.

Bernita ling

Beyond the President’s Lawn Has the Somerville concrete jungle got you down? Want to breathe in the crisp air of the wild, but don’t have a car to get to the Loj? Tired of pretending the trees on the way to Davis constitute a “nature walk?” Here are the top 5 underrated nature spots to visit off campus, all accessible by either bus, the T, biking, or walking.

M T. A U B U R N C E M E T E R Y

Ducke

8

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

This historic cemetery is tranquil, beautiful, and too close not to visit. Get a map at the visitor’s center for a dollar and wander the rows of tombstones, looking out for notables like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dorothea Dix, and Mary Baker Eddy. For peaceful reflection, take a moment to stop by the natural amphitheater. A lookout tower located in the center of the cemetery provides sweeping views of the greater Boston area—see if you can spot Tufts! Mount Auburn is a 25-minute walk from the Harvard T-stop, and is also easily accessible by bike.


Carson Beach is a classic city beach located five minutes from the Red Line JFK/ UMASS stop in South Boston. For those of us that crave the ocean, this is an ideal place to bring a cup of coffee on a chilly day and contemplate the poetry of the waves. This sandy spot is a great place to be reminded that Massachusetts is in fact a coastal state—and that the Atlantic is only a T-ride away.

by Ian Braddy & Claire McCartney

S FF U O MP A C

CARSON BEACH

joe dunckley

ARNOLD ARBORETUM Assuming you’ve already checked out the Public Gardens, the Arnold Arboretum should be the first stop on your tour of Boston nature enclaves. Located in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale, it’s the oldest public arboretum in the nation and its collection of plant life covers 265 acres. Take the Orange Line to the Forest Hills stop and disappear into the trees for a while. O

Alison graham

MYSTIC LAKES There’s more to the Mystic River area than the famed Dennis Lehane novel, and the Mystic Lakes prove it. This is one of the few legal swimming spots near Tufts but is also gorgeous to visit in chillier weather. The many flat paths surrounding this leafy area are ideal for both biking and running. To make a day of it, grab lunch at the Whole Foods located off North Street and walk down Boston Ave all the way to High Street to find this secluded, yet accessible, spot.

Alison graham

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

9


Fi lm

What Fourth Wall?

H

ollywood today is not known for its creativity. The posters that line our theater hallways do not particularly boast a bold new era in film. But hidden amongst the same old factory products, there is a growing subgenre of self-aware cinema that turns the medium on its head and uses filmmaking itself as a tool with which to tell stories. The unifying factor of this new metafilm is its central concern for thinking about how stories are told in order to tell better stories. Self-awareness is not by any means a new phenomenon in world cinema. In the 1960s, one of the challenges that the French New Wave mounted against the dominant American film industry of the time was a self-awareness of the medium. Filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut made films about what they knew best—making movies. Italian cinema at the time also featured this kind of metafilm, with the crowning jewel of Federico Fellini’s 8½, a wildly influential film that follows a filmmaker undergoing “director’s block.” American cinema, on the other hand, was never quite as open about the tricks of its trade. An early wave of self-awareness emerged in the 1970s and ’80s, spearheaded by the satirical films of Mel Brooks (Spaceballs) and David Zucker (Airplane!). These parodies built humor around the fashionable genre conventions of the day. At the other end of Hollywood, George Lu-

cas and Steven Spielberg infused films like Star Wars and Indiana Jones with homages to their favorite serial films from the ’30s and ’40s, again using the audience’s generalized understanding of conventions as currency in their art. While these films were infused with an understanding of genre, the movement of self-awareness of filmmaking itself is a new one in American cinema. This goes beyond the European tradition of self-aware cinema as well. While those were films about movies, the new era of “meta-film” is one of movies that tell a story by making films about filmmaking. The language of metafilm deals not only with the expectations of a film-going audience or the lives of filmmakers, but also in the nature and practice of filmmaking itself. The late 1990s brought some of the earliest and most notable additions to the genre. 1999’s The Matrix was a film about a constructed reality, and while it was primarily concerned with breaking down that reality, the sci-fi trilogy delved repeatedly into the theme of life as storytelling. 1998’s The Truman Show similarly questioned how the protagonist of a television show would react to the realization of his own un-reality. As the 90s gave way to the 2000s, metafilm took American cinema by storm, and has been growing ever since. From Kill Bill to Inception, the sub-genre cuts across conventional genres and often defies genre labels altogether.

EDGAR WRIGHT

10

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

This elevated self-consciousness infecting contemporary American cinema is perfectly situated for our cultural moment. If our contemporary art reveals our contemporary culture, then metafilm reveals how pervasive and powerful media has become in the lives of the average filmgoer. The directors and writers making these metafilms are a generation that grew up in the heyday of American film in the 1970s and 80s, when Spielberg and Coppola ruled the screens and television had yet to come of age as a narrative medium. There is no better example of this aspect of metafilm than Quentin Tarantino, the most successful fanboy in the film industry. Tarantino’s films fire off references at the rate of gunshots in a Rambo film, with the Internet Movie Database’s count for 2003’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 reaching a staggering 136 references to specific films. His films have inspired an online series called “Everything Is Remixed,” cutting scenes from Kill Bill and other films against a plethora of historical genre films. In his latest effort, Inglourious Basterds (2009), history is rewritten in the halls of a cinema, celebrating the power of storytelling (or lies) to change the world, boldly refusing truth when there’s a better story to be had. The same culture of metafilm that gave us Quentin Tarantino has also taken the history of self-aware satirical film to its meta conclusions. British director Edgar Wright of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead

QUENTIN TARANTINO

CLOCKWISE: King Frankenstein, LOREN JAVIER, WIKIMEDIA COMMONS (x2)


Fi

CHRIS NOLAN

fame is the exemplar of this strand of metafilm. Send-ups of the action and zombie film genres respectively, Wright’s films go beyond the straight parody of the 70s and 80s, attempting to dually function as genre films and as satires of their own genre. The Cabin in the Woods, a recent horror satire, follows in this vein and builds one of the boldest entries in metafilm. Cabin’s plot follows a group of teenagers in a classic horror scenario that is literally set up by a group of puppet-masters in service of bloodthirsty ancient gods. Everyone in the filmmaking process has a metaphorical place in the movie—the filmmakers, the actors, and even the audience. Perhaps the master of all metafilm is writer Charlie Kaufman, whose career was built on the subgenre. In 2002, Kaufman received a book named The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean, and was asked to adapt it into a screenplay. Adaptation, the film that resulted, followed a distraught writer named Charlie Kaufman as he attempts to adapt a novel; his relationship with his less talented and more successful twin brother Donald Kaufman; and their encounters with a fictional Susan Orlean and a fictional book called The Orchid Thief. Kaufman’s directorial debut, Synecdoche, New York (2008), is in many ways the mission statement of metafilm. It follows Caden, a New York theatre director who finds his life unraveling when he unexpectedly receives a grant to pursue his artistic

dreams. Caden begins to pour himself into his play, constructing a city within a warehouse in the city, populating it with doppelgängers of the cast and crew and trying to understand his play by building a metaplay into it. Life and story blur for Caden, as Kaufman explores what it means to understand one’s own life. At this point, it would be a fair to ask if “metafilm” is just another word for narcissistic self-indulgence. If poorly done, the former could potentially come off as the latter, but modern American metafilm is anything but self-indulgent. The selfawareness of the meta approach gives the filmmaker and the audience a joint lens with which to explore the world of the film. The filmmaker’s tools are brought into the story as metaphors, leveling the playing field for the audience to grapple with the story on the same thematic level. In a speech on screenwriting, Kaufman explains the self-aware approach he takes to filmmaking: “Movies tend to be very concrete in their construction of events and characters. It’s a tricky medium in which to deal with interior lives. But I think it’s really a great medium for it. Movies share so much with dreams, which, of course, only deal with interior lives. Your brain is wired to turn emotional states into movies.” The imagery of dreams that Kaufman elicits leads us to the most renowned purveyor of metafilm in 2000s cinema: Chris-

lm

THE RISE OF METAFILM IN AMERICAN CINEMA BY KUMAR RAMANATHAN

CHARLIE KAUFMAN

topher Nolan. Nolan’s Inception is as much a film about filmmaking as it is about dreams. The film is centered on a team that builds dream worlds and populates them with characters, where the protagonist struggles to draw a line between reality and fiction. Earlier in Nolan’s oeuvre, The Prestige offers perhaps the simplest of the metafilm canon. This 2006 feature follows two rival magicians, who break down their illusions (films) in three steps (acts): the Pledge (exposition), the Turn (rising action), and the Prestige (climax). Nolan’s success and influence in both the mainstream and art film worlds places him as an ideal ambassador for metafilm, challenging the medium in which he thrives with the simple addition of a mirror. We are living in an age of film when the audience becomes the artist, when the fanboy becomes the filmmaker. The metafilm that results is one that thrives on the vast history that preceded it and the cultural language of the medium in order to connect the filmmaker and the audience in radical new ways. Film is particularly suited to this kind of self-awareness, as it makes and breaks conventions with startling ease. In an era of endless remakes, metafilm is a frontier of creativity, cutting across from indie films to mainstream movies. We live in a fascinating time, where our cinema is peering down into the very structures it was built on, and ripping the secrets out into the open. O DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

11


s ew N

Eight Days of war

....

By Tamar Bardin

n a region that knows the clamor of war far too well, an eight-day period of extreme back-and-forth violence broke out this November between Israel and the Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip currently led by Hamas. Hamas is regarded as a terrorist organization by numerous international powers, including the United States, and has governed Gaza since it won the majority of seats in the parliamentary elections of 2006. Hamas’ charter explicitly denies Israel’s right to exist and calls for the liberation of Palestine as well as the dissolution of Israel entirely. Ever since the Israeli disengagement of the Gaza Strip in 2005, relations between Israelis and the Palestinians have been tenuous at best. Most notably, a three-week war broke out between the two groups in 2008, bearing a remarkable resemblance to the events that unfolded in November 2012. The strife between these two groups represents a seemingly endless struggle bound by a tremendous amount of history. Between rockets, airstrikes, and bus bombings, the most recent conflict between Israel and Gaza resulted in the death of 161 Palestinians and 5 Israelis, while leaving hundreds of others wounded and psychologically scarred. The events leading up to this major conflict were not favorable to establishing peace. More than 830 rockets were launched into Israel by Hamas from Jan. 2011 up to Nov. 2012. Hamas launched the rockets in response to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the reportedly abhorrent living conditions within the territory. The cyclical nature of this conflict promotes an atmosphere of misunderstanding that breeds violence. On Nov. 14, 2012, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) initiated Operation Pillar of

I

12

TUFTS OBSERVER

robert collins

December 10, 2012

....

Defense as an official response to the incessant rocket fire into Israel. According to IDF spokesman Yoav Mordechai, “The first aim of this operation is to bring back quiet to southern Israel, and the second target is to strike at terror organizations.” Israel commenced the operation with the assassination of Ahmed Al-Jabari. Jabari was the head of the military wing of Hamas and responsible for many deadly attacks and the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006. Jabari’s assassination escalated the violence to new levels. Israel carried out twenty airstrikes on the first day of the operation, killing ten Palestinians and wounding approximately 45 more. In response to Israel’s operation, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, declared, “We will respond, that must happen. I have to say clearly we know that this road of retaliation is very long and we have to sacrifice. And we have sacrificed a lot.” The following day Hamas increased the number of rockets firing, and Israeli airstrikes only grew heavier. Over 400 rockets were fired into Israel, killing three Israeli citizens residing in Kiryat Malachi on Nov. 15. Additional rockets fell in an open field in Rishon Lezion, a town just south of Tel Aviv. While there were no casualties in the attempted Tel Aviv attack, Hamas demonstrated its longrange missile capacity for the first time by threatening a city previously presumed to be outside of rocket range. The death toll in Israel would undoubtedly have been higher if not for the success of Israel’s “Iron Dome” technology. The Iron Dome program, partially funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, is a missile defense system that intercepted roughly 90% of incoming rockets (continued on pg. 17)


8:05 AM

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

13


M

9A 5 : 8

2 9:1

AM

:30

12

14

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012


AM 8 11:4 2 PM 3:0

1:18

M

P :22

12

M

0 2:3

PM

3 9:3

AM

PM

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

15


8 2:5

PM

4 5:5 8 4:1

M

P :32

5

16

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

PM

PM

4 3:0

PM


fired by Hamas and saved Israel from serious infrastructural damage and heavy casualties. Meanwhile, the death toll in Gaza climbed to 19 as Israel reported to have struck 350 targets total since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense. Pillars of smoke engulfed both Gaza and Israel over the next six days as rockets and airstrikes continued to rain down in the region. Sirens sounded in the holy city of Jerusalem, as Hamas’ rockets landed just 10 miles south in the Jewish villages of Gush Etzion in the West Bank. Israel air raids relentlessly struck government buildings, smuggling tunnels, police buildings, and electricity sources in Gaza. In response to the ongoing violence, the Israeli defense minister called for the mobilization of 75,000 reservists. On Nov. 19, rumors of peace talks and cease-fire began to surface amidst the rockets and rubble. However, these rumors were answered with 95 rockets fired by Hamas and 80 airstrikes carried out by Israel, one of which killed senior Hamas militant commander Ramez Harb. As the death toll continued to rise, international powers began to accelerate peace efforts in the region. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to negotiate peace talks while President Obama called for newly elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to facilitate peace with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Despite the diplomatic efforts of the UN, Egypt, and the US, the fighting was not quieted for another two days. On Nov. 20, a rocket hit Rishon Lezion, wounding two Israelis, while two other Israelis were killed in the south in a separate attack. Meanwhile, chaos ensued in Gaza as an Israeli airstrike killed two. Six more Palestinians were shot dead and dragged through the streets by Hamas on the grounds of suspected collaboration with Israel. Nov. 21, the eighth and final day of the current wave of violence, began with a bus explosion in Tel Aviv. Twenty-four Israelis were wounded by the first bombing in Israel since 2006. However, the attack did not appear to be carried out explicitly by Hamas and therefore did not significantly hinder peace talks between Hamas and Israel. Despite the terrors brought on by the morning, Israel and Hamas established a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. Both Israel and Hamas agreed to “halt all hostilities”, marking the end of Operation Pillar of Defense. While both Palestinians and Israelis

welcomed the ceasefire, it would be incredibly naive to envision an enduring peace unfolding in the immediate future between the two. The conflict is seemingly spinning in everlasting circles, with the Palestinians and Israelis both swearing that they are simply reacting to the other’s intolerable actions. Within the Tufts community, a variety of viewpoints are offered on the matter. Sophomore Hani Azzam, an active member of Students for Justice in Palestine, offers one perspective, “Rocket fire itself is a response to Israel’s oppression of Gaza, through blockade, siege, and restriction of movement.” Azzam, among many sympathetic towards the Palestinian cause, finds that Hamas’ actions towards Israel are a direct and rational response to the dire circumstances in the region. Many on the other side of spectrum, however, feel that Israel is forced to react to aggression and violence initiated by Hamas. Shira Shamir, President of Tufts Friends of Israel says, “After all, rocket fire is not an invitation to negotiations…I firmly believe that Israel has the right to defend itself and its citizens against acts of terrorism and that Israeli citizens should not have to live under the threat of rocket fire.” The “means to an end” in this region are highly controversial, but ultimately the majority of Palestinians and Israelis yearn to see the day where bloodshed is not the standard. Azzam illustrates his desire for peace and provides an analysis of the current situation in the Middle East. He states, “A ceasefire in its nature is only meant to stop the fighting…Negotiations have not led to much in the past, so many on both sides tend to feel disillusioned with them. However, as power shifts and the dynamic between Hamas and Israel and Israel and the Palestinians changes, there may be a possibility that both sides engage in sincere negotiations as equals. Under this scenario, a long-lasting peace can be accomplished.” Shamir offers similar insight, stating, “I think now is the time to move forward on achieving peace…I sincerely hope that both Israeli and Palestinian leadership will take advantage of the calm and really take steps toward that goal.” Until that point in time, blockades will be met with rockets, rockets will be met with the Iron Dome, the Iron Dome will be met with additional rockets, and these additional rockets will be met with airstrikes – all of which most simply translate to further despair and desolation in the Middle East. O

sRE wU AeT FEN

............

robert collins

“This road of retaliation is very long and we have to sacrifice.” - Hamas Spokesman

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

17


re Cu lt u

By Molly Mirhashem

HERE WE R

emakes, sequels, reboots, spinoffs, prequels—what happened to original content? It’s an age-old song now that the media is ultimately a business and, because of this, relies on what sells as an indicator of what to make next. But how much is too much? A few weeks ago, the Disney Channel announced that it is developing Girl Meets World, a spinoff of the beloved 90s show Boy Meets World. The show is set to focus on another generation of characters, featuring the daughter of the protagonists in the original show as the star of the new series. Girl Meets World may be a recent example of remaking old content that has a lot of people talking, but it is by no means unique. There are 24 James Bond movies, countless spinoffs of the Superman and Batman franchises, and far too many reality shows born out of other (originally mediocre) reality shows—Teen Mom comes from 16 and Pregnant and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo from Toddlers and Tiaras, to name a couple. Two of the highestperforming movies currently in theatres are The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn,

18

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

Part 2 and Skyfall—the most recent addition to the never-ending James Bond series. And it seems that every animated movie is being revamped and re-released as a 3D movie; on top of all that, a simple Google search reveals that dozens of movie sequels are currently in production. While this compulsion to reminisce is most obvious in the realms of television and film, it’s a trend that permeates all facets of popular culture. In his piece

As more and more remakes and sequels snag the top box office slots, film production companies will be continually lured into the trap of spinning what they have already done.

in The Atlantic, “‘Retromania:’ Why is Pop Culture Addicted to its Own Past?”, Eric Harvey questions if our collective tendencies to relive the past are focusing on more and more recent segments of the past as time goes on. He asks, “Is pervasive nostalgia for the recent past…normal? Or is there something wrong with today’s fixation with the past?” It seems that a healthy amount of nostalgia is harmless, but if it stops innovation in its tracks, we’ve probably gone too far. That being said, the extent of the nostalgia craze has definitely increased in recent years. According to Box Office Mojo, of the top ten films in 2011, eight were sequels, and two were adaptations. In other words, not a single one of the top-performing movies of the year was an original story. Furthermore, Bridesmaids, at number 14, was the highest-performing original film of 2011. By contrast, in 1981, seven of the top 10 highest-grossing films were originals. Looking at this data in tenyear chunks, the list of moneymakers has become more and more inundated with sequels and remakes as time goes on.

Griffin Quasebarth


re tu ul C

GO AGAIN

Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t any original stories being produced, but rather that they are few and far between on a larger scale. When storytelling is as profit-driven as it is today, it is much easier to take the safe route than risk it all on a leap of faith. As more and more remakes and sequels snag the top box office slots, film production companies will be continually lured into this trap of spinning what they have already done. Not every sequel or spinoff is automatically mediocre. Many stories deserve to be retold, and sometimes, the second time around is even better than the original. But we can only go so far with what we already have. Nostalgia and revival of the past is valuable in moderation, for the wisdom it can grant us about what we’ve accomplished and how we have failed is invaluable. However, an excess of this sort of media production will render us stagnant. It’s much harder these days to sell an original story, because there is no security ensuring that it will work. And as the movie industry continues to underperform, it’s understandable that the safe route would look more and more appealing. There is also an element of this issue that rests with the audience rather than the producers. If the masses continue to lap up old material as quickly as the trends show, then there will be little incentive to stray from what’s proven to work. It seems like a chicken and egg sort of problem: we either must stop taking what we’re being given, or media producers must stop handing out what is readily being snatched up. If we wish to put an end to the constant déjà vu, it should be recognized that this is a two-sided issue where responsibility rests in part with each side. But this is not a death sentence for good storytelling. Few people would argue that popular culture embodies genuinely good taste, and there are still plenty of refreshingly new stories being told on all channels of media. The question remains in whether or not the general public will eventually grow sick of the same leftovers they’ve been eating for years. O

Hollywood’s Nostalgia Obsession Explained The 10 Highest Grossing Films of 2011

Harry Potter 8 Transformers 3 The Twilight Saga 4 The Hangover Part 2 Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Fast Five Cars 2 Thor Rise of the planet of the apes Captain America

Sequels Adaptations Original Films DECEMBER 10, 2012

8 2 0 TUFTS OBSERVER

19


n io pi n o

The Forgotten Scholar M

Griffin Quasebarth

by Aaron Langerman

y courses at university have taught me that colonialism and capitalism institutionalized patriarchy, racism, militarism, and unrelenting exploitation of the environment in Western civilization in a tireless pursuit of wealth and progress. The more I learn in college, the more pessimistic my outlook is towards my government and my country. I’m a 20 year-old being introduced to problems on a grand societal scale—how am I supposed to have any way of changing them? I often tell myself that these problems are for someone with power—someone like the president. President Obama came into office promising to modify a system that propagated rich elites’ exploitation of the middle and poor classes and the US policy of dictating other nations’ affairs. But four years later, Guantanamo Bay has yet to be closed, unmanned drone strikes across the Middle East have risen dramatically, and the US still relies on fossil fuels for its energy supply—not to mention the continuing failed War on Drugs and the doubling of border patrol along Mexico border under the Obama administration. If President Obama, hailed as one of the most progressive presidents in decades, struggles and consistently falls short on his promises for “change,” what hope do I, as a college student, have of making any impact on society? Sometimes I fear that ignorance is truly bliss, and the knowledge that I have about our society is an unsolvable curse. Today, college students are too willing to accept complacency and retreat from the problems plaguing society. Too often, they prefer to cautiously peer down on the raging storms below from the safe chambers of their ivory tower, distancing themselves from the problems they research. Intellectuals bury themselves in a litany of dense texts and difficult terminology, creating a fundamental disconnect between them and the rest of society. Comfortable and complacent in their nice universities, academics are all too often self-serving and useful only to the lucky few who attend college. Have we forgotten the values of the scholars that actively worked to shape the American conscience?

20

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012


O pi n

DECEMBER10, 10,2012 2012 DECEMBER

TUFTSOBSERVER OBSERVER TUFTS

n

io

Throughout American history, a plethora of motivated scholars have worked tooth and nail for change. Benjamin Franklin’s academic endeavors blossomed into practical inventions for fellow Americans. He discovered electricity, invented the stove as well as bifocals, and even helped write the US Constitution. David Walker, an African American born as a free man in 1796, devoted himself to his studies and distributed his radical text on abolition, titled “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World,” to as many slaves as possible. In response, Southern white men put a price on his head—as Walker expected would happen—and a year after the “Appeal” was written, he was killed. Henry David Thoreau refused to pay the poll-tax to the government that supported slavery and forcibly stole over a half-million square miles of territory in the Mexican-American War of 1846. Knowledge and action need to be inseparable sides of the same coin. Without applying knowledge to action and vice versa, progressive change is impossible. This does not mean every one of us, as students, needs to become the leader of an activist movement; it means finding the issues we care about and bringing our talents to those issues. Ralph Waldo Emerson, an extremely influential American intellectual in the 1800s, applied his intellectual gift as a writer and orator to the issues of slavery, Native American rights, and women’s suffrage. He used his talents to travel around the US giving lectures to any who cared to listen. He organized and gathered intellectuals around Boston to start the Transcendental Club—a club of progressive thinkers dedicated to the circulation of ideas through publications like The Dial. Emerson’s strategy worked—by dedicating his writings and lectures to the issues he cared about, his life’s work was able to change the way Americans thought about their own society. It’s important to remember, though, that as college students between Emerson and Walker is analohome. The most courageous of actions, and intellectuals, we have limitagous to the divide between the privileged however, is reaching out and interacting tions. While Emerson decried slavintellectual and the common man. with other communities in person. We ery, for instance, he could never We undeniably have immense privishould volunteer at an inner-city school speak from the perspective of a leges as Tufts students. However, these in Boston, mentor a child whose parents slave. He understood the injustice privileges also give us limitations. Action are busy at work through the after-school of slavery, but it was only enslaved alone is insufficient; action must include program TAS.T.E., or talk to street artists African Americans themselves engaging with the world around us. And in Harvard as they publicize their craft. who could understand the anger, engaging takes courage. “Free should the Only then will we start to gain a better unthe frustration, and the oppression scholar be—free and brave, ” Emerson derstanding of the community around us. that slavery caused. David Walkdeclared. “Brave; for fear is a thing which Tufts is so close to Boston, but too often er’s “Appeal,” for example, explodes a scholar by his very function puts behind we remain perched on our hill, inwardly with fury, appeals for justice, and him. ” As students, we need to find the focused on our collegiate experience. religious fervor. Unlike Emerson, courage to be brave in the same way as We must descend from our hill and for Walker there is no way to talk Emerson and David Walker, taking a step return to the community around us. As about slavery calmly as an African outside our comfort zone and interacting students, we have the responsibility to act American. “But when I reflect with the various communities to which on the knowledge we learn in our courses that God is just,” Walker insists, we belong. For Tufts students, this means in a way that engages with the larger com“and that millions of my wretched engaging with the larger Tufts community, munity around us. The challenge of intelbrethren would meet death with whether it’s by pursuing topics further lectualism is to translate what we learn glory...in preference to a mean with professors in their office hours, into something applicable for our society. submission to the lash of tyrants, I attending guest lectures, writing for a pubAmerican scholars throughout history am with streaming eyes, compelled lication like the Observer, or being active accepted this challenge and worked tireto shrink back into nothingness in a club on campus. It means talking to lessly to achieve change. It’s time that we, before my Maker, and exclaim other classmates to see what they’ve done, as Tufts’ students, accept the mantle of reagain, thy will be done, O Lord what issues they’re researching, and how it sponsibility and become American scholGod Almighty.” Emerson calmly applies to our own courses. ars in the way intellectuals like Emerson urges for abolition, while Walker However, our responsibilities do intended. Otherwise, Tufts will never be a demands violence against 300 not end there. If we never connect our city on the hill that all eyes look towards. years of institutionalized slavery, experiences at Tufts to other communities, It will remain a withdrawn tower, peertheft, rape, and murder. This divide then our education becomes self-serving ing down on the rest of world but never and exclusionary. A basic way to have interacting with it, cautiously maintaining an impact outside of Tufts is to converse a safe distance from the problems we’re about the topics you learn about with your trying to solve without ever engaging the family members and friends from back problems head-on. O

21 21


n io pi n O

life // liberty and the pursuit of

Wealth Misako ono

by nader salass

22

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012


entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.” This dependency, in his belief, undermines self-reliance and individualistic ambitions for financial success, a hard work ethic, and self-sufficiency. Although many Republicans, like Scott Brown and later Romney himself, regretted the offensive implications of the comment, most conservatives consider a high economic dependence on the government to be counterproductive to financial self-reliance. In some regard, this conservative belief is analogous with transcendentalist principles of government protection. Emerson argues that, “The reliance on property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.” He argues that this dependency on material possessions falls short of true self-reliance. On the surface, his theory of government’s role is similar to that of conservatives. Ronald Reagan expressed the conservative spirit against large government when he asserted that, “Every time the government is forced to [rescue Americans financially], we lose something in self-reliance, character, and initiative.” From a conservative standpoint, excessive dependence on the government for financial protection embodies a failure of self-reliance. Therefore, this particular conservative belief seems to parallel Emerson’s idea of independence and self-determination. However, the difference between the transcendentalists and modern conservatives, in this regard, is that these particular conservative ideals focus heavily on monetary prosperity. To many conservatives, money and self-reliance are connected at the hip. For example, Romney’s comments on self-reliance imply the importance of the pursuit of wealth while still criticizing a dominant government role. His claims center on the fact that Americans who are financially more dependent on the government are failing to make money independently as self-reliant individuals. Like most conservatives, Mitt Romney values an American dream that centers on amassing wealth through individualistic concepts of hard work. Conservatives, in particular, tie self-reliance to economic liberty. Yet, the discrepancy in their principles becomes apparent when examining their concepts of individual liberty. Conservatives value commercial freedom for large businesses, while they seek

nE ioR nTU pAi oFE

I

n light of Mitt Romney’s recent loss in the presidential election, the Republican Party has a unique opportunity to reexamine its principles of freedom from the government in search of a reformed identity. Republicans, along with many non-conservative Americans, pride themselves on the groundbreaking principles of self-reliance, independence, and liberty. These widely held philosophies can be traced to America’s early thinkers, such as transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Yet, perhaps out of a lack of awareness or interest in the complete arguments of these philosophers, Americans frequently connect self-reliance with the (greedy) pursuit of wealth. This common association, however, has influenced this nation’s unilateral foreign policy that continues under the pretext of democracy. While an ethos of freedom permeates our culture, we, like Emerson, must ask ourselves an important question: to what extent are we securing our own self-reliance and liberty by removing the liberties of others? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Even the name puts some Americans to sleep. However, it should also stir up patriotic pride. Regardless of Emerson’s appeal—or lack thereof—his ideas about independence have found themselves firmly grounded in the mentalities of most Americans. In his essay “Self-Reliance,” Emerson urges Americans to “trust thyself, trust thy emotions,” and refrain from conformity. He argues that humans have the right to pursue their own happiness, freely question authority, and express their individualism. Whether or not we are intellectually interested in Emerson, or even know who he was, does not change the fact that we widely praise and regard these philosophies of selfdetermination as distinctly American. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, and many other political groups use their respective understandings of self-reliance to outline their defining political platforms. For over two centuries, Americans across the political spectrum have fervently maintained their respective ideas of self-reliance. Prominent Republican leaders, like recent presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have controversially argued that many Americans—especially the 47% that Romney claimed would vote for President Obama no matter what—are too dependent on government aid programs. These Americans, Romney asserts, “believe that they are

to limit social liberties, such as the right for homosexual citizens to receive marriage contracts. This heavy concern with financial prosperity directly translates into American foreign policy. While many liberal strategies are often equally obsessed with wealth, it seems that conservatives consistently pursue a foreign policy of securing economically valuable assets. Finally, a primary economic resource that influences conservative foreign policy is oil. According to the Washington Post, in 2007, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan stated that, “The Iraq war is largely about oil.” Greenspan, who served as President George W. Bush’s primary economic advisor, clarified that he had “never heard [Bush and former vice-President Dick Cheney] basically say, ‘We’ve got to protect the oil supplies of the world,’ but that would have been my motive.” President Bush’s public justification for invading Iraq was that President Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear arsenals – a threat to democracy in the region. However, evidence of the development of these weapons was never discovered. This sobering realization, along with Greenspan’s confession, suggests that financial motivations largely inspired the American invasion of Iraq. According to the released government intelligence from WikiLeaks, between 2003 and 2009, the war resulted in a total of 109,032 deaths, 66,000 of which were civilian. The destructive human toll of our materialistic-driven actions proposes that perhaps Americans should reflect upon, learn about, and fully understand the seemingly boring transcendentalist philosophies. In considering the importance of America’s early transcendental thinkers, perhaps conservatives, along with many other Americans, can adopt a less destructive and material-obsessed concept of progress. For years, we have chosen the pursuit of wealth over a more transcendental selfreliance. Although these visions may never actualize in the conservative mentality, it provides a sobering perspective of the unilateral nature of a nation that prides itself on equality, liberty, and a material-obsessed self-reliance. Nevertheless, the Grand Old Party now has an exceptional opportunity to break the cycle and restructure an identity that, for centuries, has revolved around the pursuit of wealth. O

$

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

23


S CA M PU

changing minds

+C 20+5+75C

20% of students use CMHS annually. 5% seek off campus mental health treatment.

28+29+36+31+41 28%

is now at Tufts in 2007. This ye S e H g M a C t d n e e s ar, that perc gu of seniors repor ted havin

41%

Ben Kurland

2007

2012

2007 24

TUFTS OBSERVER

2012

December 1足 0, 2012


AM C

%

change because I felt like I wasn’t making huge adjustments.” She summed up the experience as “conversations about your life” in a “place [where you can] talk about something bigger than what you would with your friends.” All students who gave input about their time at Tufts CMHS had positive experiences; however, the one issue that students had was the small staff. This aspect inevitably leads to the capped-session policy and a frustration among students. Currently, after 10 meetings, the counselor must refer the student to an outside counseling resource, which can disrupt an already established rapport be-

tween the student and the psychologist—a relationship that Willard says is of utmost importance for successful therapy. One student became so frustrated with the appointment-booking process that it deterred her from going to counseling. The student said, “There were times when I would have to wait two weeks for an appointment because the person to whom I was randomly assigned was busy.” Expanding their staff is a goal that Tufts CMHS will probably strive towards in the future, but it is a case in point that CMHS resources are widely used on the Tufts campus. Overcoming mental health stigma is easier said than done. The national organization Active Minds seeks to “empower students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking.” Among other things, the Tufts chapter of Active Minds seeks to spread awareness about mental health on campus by incorporating me-

S PU

41

A

ccording to Julie Jampel, the Director of Continuing Education at Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Services, one in five students see or have seen a counselor on campus. Christopher Willard, one of the clinical psychologists on the Tufts CMHS staff, estimated that a Tufts counselor sees about six students a day. Thus, it is highly possible that someone you know has gone to Mental Health Services. But although many students have received the help they need from Tufts CMHS, a stigma still exists that students seeking therapy cannot deal with their own problems or that there is something fundamentally wrong with them. Because of a fear of being stigmatized, some students at Tufts do not get the help that they need and deserve. In fact, Jampel has met with many concerned friends of students. She mentions that “some of the students [CMHS] sees do not come to discuss problems that they themselves have, but rather are worried about their roommates or friends,” when the other person will not seek help on their own. In this case, the office helps the student connect their friend with resources and support them while still maintaining a comfortable boundary. The most common issues that the counseling has dealt with have been break-up issues, depression, test anxiety, social anxiety, and traumatic life events—so it is, as Jampel puts it, “the widest variety.” Students have had life-changing experiences through support and advice from CMHS. One student detailed the progression of her counseling sessions at Tufts. During the first two sessions, “you’re mostly just asked about your life, why you came in, and other questions that allow the counselor to get to know you.” The following sessions are “more in-depth” and provide a space to delve into the student’s issues. After each session, she left with one minor behavior change to implement for that week, such as making time to attend meetings for the clubs that she enjoys and does just for fun. The approach is to utilize smaller steps to overcome a larger problem. After the end of her sessions with the Tufts counselor, the two discussed the improvements that she had made. “I had made so much emotional progress, but I didn’t even realize it. I knew that things were improving, but I was so amazed at the amount of

dia and the arts into their projects, which have included speakers, tabling, flyers, and film screenings. One of the most successful projects that they have facilitated in the past is called PostSecret—an effort that has been gaining momentum on campus, as Alex Salvatore, the club’s treasurer, explained. Originally created by Frank Warren, PostSecret is a continual community art project that collects mailed anonymous submissions of secrets on homemade postcards. Various examples are then shared throughout the PostSecret website, book, and exhibit. Tufts facilitated its own PostSecret project in which postcards were distributed to students’ mailboxes and in the Tisch library and campus center, and then were collected and displayed in the main hallway in Tisch. PostSecret promotes mental health, says Salvatore, in that it gives people an outlet to express their fears and secrets—instead of compartmentalizing them—and a way to feel less alone if they find another person’s secret to which they can relate. In the past, Active Minds has also tabled around campus asking students to sign a petition pledging not to casually use mental health-related phrases, such as: “That’s so OCD” and “I’m going to kill myself.” The organization hopes to educate students about how using these phrases in everyday conversation can offend those who have actually been diagnosed with OCD or have attempted suicide. Psychotic disorders range from bipolar disorder to schizophrenia and can take many forms, but the bottom line is that a person with this kind of disorder would not take the joke lightly. The battle to overcome stigma is not futile. Though the stereotype associated with utilizing mental health services still persists, it lessens every year, according to Chris Willard. Each year more students realize that the most effective way to handle any emotional problems is not to deny their existence, but rather to address them through counseling—with a trained professional who knows how to handle the hardships that many students face in college. And with the student-run Active Minds as a frontrunner in the Tufts community to destigmatize mental health, there is hope that its current taboo nature will diminish. O DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

25


prose

And All POints West By Jon Dutko

I

gaped at the guy across from me. He was telling me something about an internship at the FEC. I had gathered that it was important. He was shattered by the strope light that spilled into the hallway, and I could only half-hear him over the music. His handsome face was given a depth when shadow flickered across it frame-by-frame, and I was too lost in it when he asked me what I did for a living. I fumbled at first because I remembered that I wasn’t a student anymore. So I just ended up telling him I was still in school, and he said that was cool, and then I watched him turn and disappear into the light. I closed my eyes for a while and tasted whatever I was drinking. I think it was rum. I felt warm. The music was fantastic, and although I couldn’t place the tune, I swam in it as though I had known it forever. The next moment was a girl tugging on my arm. It took me a moment to resurface, but when I remembered myself I opened my eyes and saw that she, too, was beautiful in that familiar way. We talked for a while and ended up chasing each other out of the apartment. Outside the rain from the afternoon had frozen to a gentle snow, and by the time I caught up to her on the street I was out of breath. So we looked at each other, and we laughed, and a cab showed up and we got in and pointed it in the direction of her place. The cab was warm and the hour was late and neither of us really said anything so by the time we got there she was asleep in the crook of my shoulder. We paid the fare and I walked her to her front door. When we got it unlocked finally I held her tight for a moment and bade her goodnight and as I closed the door behind me she beamed and waved goodbye. When the cab driver asked me where I was going, I couldn’t help but smile as I told him to take me home. The next morning I woke up to my phone vibrating beneath me. My mother was on the other end. I picked up and she asked me if I was okay and I said that I had no reason to be otherwise. She told me that an old friend of mine had died. I had lost touch with him, but we had been very close as children. He must have been twenty three. I was twenty two. A memorial service was planned for the end of the week, in San Francisco, on the op-

26

TUFTS OBSERVER

December 10, 2012

posite end of the country. My mother offered to purchase airplane tickets for me, but the rain was striking my window in sheets and the world outside sounded like hurricane so I told her that I would take the train, instead. —◆— The rain hadn’t let up two days later. The sun was now rising but its light was strained through the storm and again through the taxicab window. The driver cursed the traffic in a West African creole as I watched raindrops explode across the glass. I unfocused. I thumbed an email in my lap. I worried about the tip. By the time the car arrived at South Station, the total fare had come to thirty-five dollars. I gave the man two twenties, and he thanked me, and he called me his brother, and I did not know what to say. I stepped out onto the curb. I stood in the rain for a while because I couldn’t hear anything over the sound but then I noticed that people were staring so I hurried into the terminal unsure of why I felt ashamed. Inside, the lighting was warm and behind the noises of the station I could hear the rain hit the ancient roof so I started to feel okay. The Lake Shore Limited would not be boarding for another forty minutes, so I joined a line for coffee. The girl in front of me was cute and around my age so I started thinking of clever things to say to her but then I heard her mispronounce “omniscient” over the phone (with a hard “c” like in “cataracts”) so I looked away, having no idea where else to look. It wasn’t until I boarded the Limited that I realized that I was still quite wet from the rain. —◆— I remember that I was walking along a beach. I walked ahead for a very long time and I listened to the ocean crash until I noticed another boy alongside me. I stopped walking and he went a few more steps and then he turned to face me, too. His hair was yellow like mine and his skin was dark too but there was something strange about his look. When I asked him where we were going, he stared deep into me with those wrong eyes. When next he cried out, reaching for me with those unmistakable hands, the sound was like an earthquake. I opened my eyes and I was afraid because the screaming did not stop. I found that

the train was coming to a halt with a terrible noise and for a moment I could not remember myself. My senses returned after I heard the conductor announce that the Limited had arrived in Chicago. I finally released my hands, fists as they were and slick with the anxiety of nightmare. This was my stop. I would be boarding the west-

bound California Zephyr very soon. It was very late and the compartment was dark even as I got up to leave. Some people kept on the train. They would remain on the Limited until it arrived two hours later in Milwaukee, at which point the train would linger in depot until the east-bound service began again in the morning. —◆— Union Station was deserted. I stepped outside, and Chicago glowed through the drizzle. I reached for a cigarette. It was an old habit at this point. The first time I had ever


prose

o smoked, actually, was with this guy. My dead friend. He and I had stolen a pack of Marlboro Reds from across the street during lunch hour, and after school we got hooked on the things under the loading dock. We kept that up for a while. I mean, he and I had been friends since first grade. We had done all of those childhood

firsts together. About a month after that first smoke, though, I told him that I was going to ask out Claire from our English class, and he told me that he liked her too. Well, we had a huge fight over all that, and even though Claire and I only dated for about two weeks, he and I never talked all that much afterwards. I watched the California Zephyr pull into the station. I guess I had lost track of time, because a whole hour had passed, and I realized I was freezing. I boarded the Zephyr soon afterward. The rain had stopped and I fell asleep watching the lights of Chicago vanish into the

KNAR BEDIAN

dark behind us. I awoke long afterward, intact and in Nebraska. I emptied my mind as well as I could because I had never seen this part of the country. I tried to enjoy the time in the early afternoon that the Zephyr spent crossing those Colorado valleys, and it almost felt right that the train followed the river for as long as it did. By the time we had passed into Nevada the sun had set and I was very tired and I watched the lights come on in Elko. When I woke again the train had arrived in Emeryville. From here I would board the bus for downtown San Francisco. Everyone got off of the train because this was the last stop before the California Zephyr turned back around toward Chicago. I changed in the bathroom of the bus depot. The single bulb was a dim and flickering thing and, locking the door behind me, I was alone. On the mirror, below a column of anonymous phone numbers, someone had written “Where the fuck are you right now?” I thought this was a very pressing question. I had never heard of Emeryville before. This bathroom was a small and filthy place. As I began to change, slowly, claustrophobia set in. I held onto the cold porcelain of the sink and watched the water whirlpool into the drain. I caught my own eyes hazel in that mirror, and they were not the brown that I thought they were. What color were my friend’s eyes? I remembered that he was dead but I could not remember his eyes. In that moment, I needed to destroy something, and my hand flung out to shatter the glass, but I caught myself and only glanced it with the ball of my wrist. The pain hit me and cut through the numb, and I reeled back until the wall caught me. On the floor, the mirror could not find me. Some time later, a man began to pound on the door. A line had formed, evidently. I apologized, and I was ashamed, and changed into the rest of my suit in silence. I hid my face all the way to the end of the depot. On the bus, I gave the machine my last ticket, surprised I had made it this far. —◆— I sat in the back of the chapel because the memorial had begun and I did not recognize anybody except for his parents. The sermon was nice in that it sounded like other funerals

that I had been to. After the minister said what he had needed to say the audience began to mingle tastefully but I felt awkward about the whole affair so I left before anyone could get to me and I hid in the alley beside the church which it shared with a restaurant called Golden Moon and I chewed my nails until they were gone. When I entered the church again the reception had begun and I waited to give my condolences. The line was long and by the time I reached his parents I could tell that they were tired. I told them how sorry I was but his mother would not meet my eye. His father thanked me for coming but the pause that followed was pregnant and if there was something I was supposed to say it escaped me. I ducked away. In the corner, my face melted; he was only twenty-three. He was only twentythree and he had never been happy when I knew him and I doubt that it ever got any better for him. After a few minutes I felt a hand soft on my back. I do not know when I started crying. I looked up and it was the preacher from the service and he was sitting next to me. I could see every line in his face, now. His other hand was in his lap and on it he wore many rings. He stood me up and he opened his mouth and he said to me, “Your friend lived a good life.” I realize now that the man did not know what he was saying. But in that moment I could not stop myself from hitting him as hard as I could so that I felt his face crack and it wasn’t until he struck the floor that people started looking at me. O

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

27


Ex tr

a

Bernita Ling

B y F l o W e n a n d D o u g l a s C av e r s

Police Blotter November 2 0 , 8 :1 5 p m

On Professors’ Row, a student backed out of a parking space into a TUPD cruiser. The incident caused minimal physical damage—but, for the police car, the emotional damage is incalculable.

D e cember 1 s t, 1 1 :5 0 p m

TUPD broke up a party at 80 Professors’ Row, where a fire alarm had been triggered. There, they confiscated a 30-rack of Natty Light from an underage student. Officers reported that the hosts had failed to provide non-alcoholic drinks and snacks to their guests, a violation of Tufts’ fraternity party regulations. Their guests left soon after for 123, where brothers were serving Shirley Temples and finger sandwiches.

D e cember 2 nd, 2 :5 7 p m

TUPD responded to a call about a drunken Tufts alumnus trying to enter 92 Professors’ Row. When officers confronted him, he claimed that he thought he was banging on Zeta Psi, the fraternity where he used to live. The alumnus was transported to Somerville Hospital. The memories of his brotherhood and college home last forever (except when he’s hammered at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon).

CROSSWORD

by Lindsey Kellogg The key will be posted online at tuftsobserver.org

Across 1. Fido or Spot 4. a misspelling of a nasty cussword 8. going ---- to a dance or wedding (sans date) 12. poem type 13. to de-mask, as in a mystery 16. a congressional ---- (a

28

TUFTS OBSERVER

coveted 17. Wes Anderson’s latest 20. “therefore,” in the Vatican’s language 21. group of badgers 22. scrumptious breakfast including famous hot sauce and a breakfast staple 28. one’s part in a play 29. Toni Morrison’s novel from 1973

December 10, 2012

31. degree for a nurse 34. sickly adjective; a good reason to miss school if it applies 38. Dillon or Damon 40. highest (or lowest) card in the deck 41. pin that is a kitchen must-have 43. ---‘s Declassified School Survival Guide 44. the director von Trier 46. “I -- ----,” or a broken English way of saying “I haven’t the slightest” 47. spiny Vietnamese fruit 48. action for babies 50. with –son, a nearby arts college 52. why a general would wave a white flag 57. spicy tea 58. little battery size 60. coastal Southern town with neat architecture 66. the host with the ----

67. the girl from Seinfeld 68. a river in New Hampshire, or an acronym denoting a middle school-type English class 69. angry cat sound 70. buttery French cookies 71. –eally –imple -tuff

Down 1. King’s Under the ---2. smells 3. prefix of a discipline dealing with maps 4. cats are covered with it 5. British short term for college 6. Davis Square’s most useful chain 7. tree that sounds like it should be near the sea 8. slump 9. combined with –bit, a small amount 10. Much --- About Nothing 11. something shiny and rare 14. place to buy furniture, simple and cheap 15. word for some lowcalorie foods 18. film ---19. results of developing film (abbr.) 23. leonine sound 24. one who makes such a sound 25. large string instrument 26. it’s sticky and often

minty 27. not proper language 30. what you might be offered during an English afternoon 31. hairless 32. Mufasa’s brother 33. a Roman emperor, or, a headmaster in A Series of Unfortunate Events 35. type, kind 36. a member of a San Francisco football team 37. one may live in a garden 39. Tufts’ largest student group! 42. lead singer of No Doubt 45. “-- ----‘- what that does” 49. bank noun 51. one step above an RA 53. trigonometric proportions 54. addiction recovery place 55. quite excited 56. synecdoche for “trains” 57. plural of 6-down 59. high-level minor league baseball teams 60. disappointed internet acronym 61. common consonant-less Japanese name 62. “at the “ in Annecy 63. male nickname that recalls fish 64. the second-to-last letter in hermano 65. end sound for foot digits or one’s troubles


FE U AT RE

DECEMBER 10, 2012

TUFTS OBSERVER

31

Nicola Pardy


g 95 er.or s.edu 8 R CE 1 serv tuft er E RV SIN sob ver@ serv

O

SE B O S FT U T

tuftbser sob o tuft @

ple a se recycle


Fall 2012 - Issue 7