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TUFTS OBSERVER TUFTS’ STUDENT MAGAZINE

FEBRUARY 15, 2008

The Politics Issue

Plus: A Treatise on Moustaches — A Night out at Gypsy Bar


Featured Articles

NEWS

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| Pulling Tufts students into the 2008 presidential race

NEWS

Are BlackBerries taking over the social life?

ARTS

Is Tufts ready for the moustache?

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OPINION

One nation, under torture?

EXCURSIONS

A night out st Gypsy Bar

The Observer has been Tufts’ weekly 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, and lively reviews of current arts, entertainment, and sports. Through poignant writing and artistic elegance, we aim to entertain, inform, and above all challenge the Tufts community to effect positive change.

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Editors

Contents

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mara Sacks

15 February 2008

MANAGING EDITORS Lydia Hall Patrick Roath Michael Snyder EDITORIAL EDITOR Peter Shaeffer NEWS EDITORS Daniel Rosen Joshua Aschheim OPINION EDITOR William Ramsdell ARTS AND EXCURSIONS EDITORS Michael Tucker Eliza Walters CAMPUS EDITOR Molly Posner ART DIRECTOR Natalie Polito PHOTO EDITOR Erin Baldassari ONLINE EDITOR Matthew Koulouris COPY EDITOR Julie Lonergan EDITORS EMERITI Timothy Noetzel Michael Skocay

Staff

Volume CXVI, Issue 2 The Observer, Since 1895 www.TuftsObserver.org

News 2 7 8 10 11 12

Election 2008: What is at Stake?, by Lydia Hall and Peter Shaeffer Looking Across the Aisle: The Democratic Field, by Chas Morrison Looking Across the Aisle: The Republican Field, by Shana Hurley The CrackBerry Solution?, by Lauren Mazel The Adventures of Petey & Chuck: A Comic Strip, by Ryan Stolp The Rudy Implosion, by Brendan Johannsen

Opinion 16 The Technological Singularity is Near, by Andrew Leith 21 The Plight of American Civil Liberties, by Alexandra Seigel 22 The Devil’s Advocate Evaluates Abortion, by Seth Stein Arts and Excursions 25 The Show That Never Ends, by Brian McLoone 27 The Power of the Torrent, by Sam Sherman 28 Reflections on a Moustache, by Michael Tucker 30 Tipsy at Gypsy: A Bar Review, by Patrick Roath, Mara Sacks, and Mike Snyder 32 Shabu-Zen: A Japanese Gem in Chinatown, by Lauren Mazel Poetry and Prose 33 Sterile, by Michael Yarsky In Every Issue 14 Editorial 15 Ticker Tape, by Kate Schimmer 23 Interruptions 36 Campus

Sarah Leenen Brian McLoone

Kate Schimmer Michael Schecht Ryan Stolp

RYAN STOLP

COVER PHOTO: ADAM LEVY Rachel Geylin Jenny Hong Shana Hurley Brendan Johannsen Andrew Leith

PARTING SHOT: ADAM LEVY

Contributing Writers, Artists, and Photographers Adam Levy Lauren Mazel Chas Morrison Alexandra Seigel Roxy Sperber

Seth Stein Shabazz Stuart Michael Yarsky


NEWS

Election 2008

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LYDIA HALL AND PETER SHAEFFER

id you know that there is a presidential election coming up in November? Chances are, unless you have recently emerged from a lengthy coma or have been residing under a large rock

for the past year, you and the entirety of the Tufts population are indeed aware of this impending event. With fewer than ten months to go before America heads to the polls to choose its next leader, The Observer took a comprehen-

sive look at campaigns and elections as they play out on the Tufts campus. 2

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February 15, 2008

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What is at Stake? T

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he 2008 Presidential Election comes at a time of transition for the United States. Globally, the end of the “unipolar era” of the United States brought on by the rise of China, India, and the European Union will have great ramifications for international prosperity and security. The next president will not only have to reformulate American strategy in a changing international system, but he or she will also inherit the same problems that have plagued the current administration, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increasing turmoil in Pakistan, and the ongoing genocide in Darfur. The only guarantee for the future is that America’s role in these conflicts, the key determinants of President Bush’s legacy, will ultimately find resolution once he leaves office. At home, the president-elect will preside over a debt of nine–trillion dollars, the pending retirement of the baby-boomer generation, and a failing healthcare system in need of reform. While such issues may not seem relevant to the general Tufts student body, a lack of progress in fixing these national problems could dramaticaly effect our way of life in the coming decades. Most importantly, the next president will play a decisive role in questions that will affect our political culture in the 21st century, as his (or her) judgment on illegal immigration, reproductive rights, and religion may well change perceptions on how Americans define “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Are the presidential candidates addressing issues that matter not only to college stu-

dents, but to the public as well? The Observer solicited responses to this question from several politically involved students on campus, and students on both the left and right seem satisfied by the policy discourse this election season. Sofia Nelson, a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton, believes that the candidates have done an admirable job of addressing the issues. “Issues of college affordability, environmental justice, healthcare, the war, and social justice are being addressed by both Democratic candidates in a way I don’t think we have seen in the past,” she said. Tufts Republicans President Daniel Hartman agreed, although he added that, “I think the problem of illegal immigration has not been addressed enough [by Democratic candidates], as well as the threat posed by Islamic terrorists. I would like to hear from the Democrats more on how they would solve each of those issues.” That said, not all Tufts students were pleased with the campaign this electoral cycle. Stephanie Brown, a former member of Tufts Students for Mitt Romney, a group supporting the former governor of Massachusetts who recently ended his bid for the GOP nomination, believes that some important issues were upstaged by less noteworthy discussions. “I find it especially interesting that things like the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention several tense relations with other countries around the world, have taken a backseat to squabbles over a candidate’s race or religion,” she noted. Of the students contacted by The Observer for this article, several expressed their desire

to see the issue of poverty, a rallying cry for former presidential candidate John Edwards, take greater precedent in the coming months of the campaign. Students also called for a greater emphasis on generational challenges, including the need for a frank discussion on social security reform. “One issue I have been disappointed in is that they have not addressed the problem of social security,” said Hartman, “and if our current system continues, young people will never receive a social security check, and both parties will admit that there is a problem, but where are the solutions?” The Promise of Change Echoing the transitional moment for the United States, “change” has become the underlying theme for the 2008 election. “Change” is predominately associated with Senator Barack Obama and his pledge to end the divisive, red state-blue state brand of politics that has dominated recent electoral cycles. While rhetorically pleasing, is “change” just a buzzword, or can candidates use “change” to deliver real, tangible results? Tufts students differed in their opinions on the importance of “change” and its meaning in practical terms. While students surveyed defined change along the same lines of Senator Obama, others saw change in the form of new policies rather than a fundamental departure from the usual politics in Washington. Brown, for one, sees “change” as lacking any substance or significance. “I am wary of any politician who goes about touting change

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our current administration, change seems like the one thing that most Americans can agree on.” However, in Meyer’s opinion, many of the presidential candidates appear to be all talk and no action when it comes to making actual changes. “I am inclined to believe that ‘change’ is mostly just a buzzword, an appeal to the voting populace so that the same politicians can get into office and make the same mistakes all over again,” she said.

ADAM LEVY

without giving specific examples. Candidates like Obama rally around the word, but again, I see very little substance.” Samantha Goldman, a member of the student organization Tufts Students for Barack Obama, believes that “change” goes beyond the rhetorical significance described by Brown and represents a fundamental goal for the country. “I strongly believe that [change] is not just about a change in party. A lot needs to change: the way America projects herself, how we think about engaging with our enemies, how we treat our children, our poor, our elderly, our immigrants, how the parties interact, and really how politics are done as usual.” A main focal point of the Democratic nomination race between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton has been the clash of Senator Obama’s promise for “change” versus Senator Clinton’s advocacy of the importance of her “experience.” For some Tufts students, though, the two are not mutually exclusive: “Change requires hard work,” argued Nelson, “and often, not always, experience working within the system one is trying to change allows one to more effectively effect change.” On the right, Hartman sees the promise of “change” as not being the exclusive

property of the Democratic Party. “I think Senator McCain, as well as Senators Obama and Clinton, will clearly bring change to Washington, but it depends on what kind of change you want.” In his view, Washington politicians have “not secured our borders, brought about an end to pork-barrel spend-

Living Up to a Tufts Tradition: The Election and Active Citizenship If the American electorate will ultimately determine the breadth of change resulting from the election, it is important to determine whether Tufts students are engaged in this electoral cycle. As every undergraduate knows, the university prides itself on the “active citizenship” of its students, and taking an active role in politics is just one of the many ways Tufts students facilitate the tradition of the university. Has Tufts lived up to its goal of producing active citizens in the political realm? The verdict is mixed according to those closely involved with politics on campus. Goldman questions just how closely students understood the candidates’ different policy proposals and the importance of their primary vote. “What disappoints me, though, is that many students… did not really see a huge difference in the two democratic candidates, and instead think that the November general election will be more important.” She added that, “If you’re from a Democratic leaning state such as Massachusetts, New York, or California, your Democratic vote means little in November, and was hugely influential on February 5.” Meyer believes that when it comes to the election, Tufts’ reputation for active citizenship is somewhat unfounded. “Tufts students are absolutely not as active as they ought or claim to be,” she opined. “It seems many students are apathetic, and the majority of ‘active’ students illustrate their political awareness by wearing Obama stickers on their lapels. Political engagement at Tufts seems to extend only to unbased criticism of the Primary Source and changing Facebook

Th majority of my friends, The T classmates, and professors genuinely want to better understand different views. s s.

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February 15, 2008

ing, and have not insured every American with affordable healthcare,” meaning that voters will decide if the solutions to these problems lies with the government or the free market, a source of conflict between Democrats and Republicans. Ali Meyer, a freshman and supporter of libertarian Congressman Ron Paul, believes it makes sense that the theme of change has been one that has resonated throughout this election cycle. “Young people as a whole tend to be more eager to introduce changes, so it’s natural that Ron Paul’s campaign was largely centered around the efforts of young people,” she noted, adding, “In the context of

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profile pictures to Obama.” Others interviewed, though, saw the campus as living up to its reputation, albeit in an overwhelming show of support for Senator Obama. “I have been somewhat surprised to see how involved students are under Senator Obama,” observed Hartman, “and I predict that you will see a steep drop in involvement on the Democratic side if Senator Clinton ends up being the nominee.” Nelson also cited the support for Senator Obama as forcing her to seek other outlets of support for her candidate of choice, Senator Hillary Clinton. “It has been frustrating as someone who is organizing for Hillary. I found myself turning more to the communities of Somerville and Medford for support.” She admitted, however, that she found the experience of “working with the members of our host communities to be very rewarding…It was almost a blessing that the lack of support for Hillary on campus drove me in that direction.” Fulfilling a certain civic duty will play a critical role in evaluating the involvement of Tufts students. “I think that while a lot of students are getting out there and voting, there is always more work to do,” said Hartman, “and until every Tufts student who is an American citizen is voting, there will still be work to do.” Moreover, Goldman

is skeptical that one can even judge whether the campus is properly engaged in the election season: “For an undergraduate body of 4,800 students, what is a realistic expectation of engagement? At this point, it’s quality, not quantity.” Jumbo, the Liberal Elephant It’s no secret that on the whole, the Tufts campus tends to lean to the left politically. As the 2008 primary season wore on and “Super Tuesday,” along with the Massachusetts primary, approached, the campus seemed awash in fliers advertising events in support of the Democratic candidates, including a visit to Tufts in support of Obama from Kal Penn, of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle fame. Amidst such a political climate, campaign efforts from more conservative students can often go unnoticed. For Hartman, the logistics of being in the political minority on campus can make campaigning difficult. “I don’t think it’s difficult to promote a conservative candidate,” he said. However, “We have had a diverse club this year with supporters of Senator McCain, Governor Romney, Governor Huckabee, Mayor Giuliani, Senator Thompson, and Congressman Paul. The only reason it’s difficult is because of pure numbers. If we

were to divide our club into separate groups for each of our candidates, you would see very small groups with no ability to function.” The Tufts Republicans, though, have been able to effectively work with these limitations. As Hartman noted, “We have made Republicans on campus aware of various opportunities in Massachusetts [and] in New Hampshire to assist the candidate they support.” With Senator McCain all but confirmed as the Republican nominee, Hartman believes that the campus Republicans will rally together around him: “Now that we have Senator McCain as our presumptive nominee, I could see a Tufts for McCain group growing strong and competing with the Obama and Clinton groups,” he explained. “Senator McCain has an appeal to voters on both sides of the aisle, through his ‘Straight Talk Express.’” The overwhelmingly liberal trend even extends to non-partisan groups like Tufts Votes, a group dedicated to increasing voter turnout. “There are no partisan objectives to the group, but at the same time, this organization consists only of Democrats,” noted sophomore Ethan Hochheiser, who heads the group. Hochheiser would like to see the Tufts Votes membership representing both sides of the aisle: “I do hope that

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ADAM LEVY February 15, 2008

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we can be a more diverse coalition in the future,” he said. For her part, Romney supporter Brown has found that being one of so few Republicans at Tufts has some distinct advantages. “When you have strong convictions and an eagerness to discuss them, it is either incredibly rewarding or painfully frustrating,” she noted, adding, “I really enjoy what some may consider the disadvantage or minority political status, because it means I have an opportunity to teach someone alternative views or provide example of my opinions or beliefs. Without a doubt there are those who confront [or] attack you under the clever guise of ‘wanting to know more,’ but I’ve found the majority of my friends, classmates, and professors genuinely want to better understand different views.” Rocking the Vote For many Tufts students, the upcoming election has represented a chance to get involved — in some cases for the first time — in the process of political campaigning. Nationally, young people have already played a significant role in this election cycle, and the Tufts campus is no exception. “This election has engaged young people like none other in my time at Tufts, both here and elsewhere,” noted Dean of Undergraduate Education, James Glaser, who personally took a group of students to New Hampshire in the days before the state’s primary. “We always have students who are interested and engaged in the campaign, but this year stands out. I think it’s a function of the election, the context in which it is taking place, and the candidates who are running.” During the primary season, Tufts students in support of Obama and Clinton have been particularly vocal. In the days leading up to Super Tuesday, members of Tufts Students for Obama phone-banked,

calling local residents and urging them to vote for Senator Obama in the primary. It was an “incredibly passionate group of students,” noted Goldman. Tufts Votes has also been a prominent voice on campus during the primary season. As Super Tuesday approached, the non-partisan group stepped up its efforts

to get Tufts students registered to vote. Said sophomore and Tufts Votes President Ethan Hochheiser, “We’ve registered several hundred students so that they would be eligible to vote in the elections through a technique called ‘dorm-storming,’ where we simply knock on students’ [doors] in dorms and register them to vote.” Advertising also played a large role in the group’s efforts, as did education about the voting process for the Massachusetts primary. Explained Hochheiser, “It’s actually very complicated for those students registered on campus, because there are four different polling locations one would have to vote in, depending on which part of campus that individual resides. Through flyers, advertisements in the Tufts Daily, school-wide emails, our own

Political engagement at Tufts Po seems to extend only to unbased criticism of the Primary Source and changing Facebook profile pictures to Obama. ma. ma.

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February 15, 2008

comprehensive Tufts Votes website, and on the front page in big letters on TuftsLife, we let students know not only that the Massachusetts primaries were February 5th, but exactly how they should go about voting.” Efforts are being made to register Tufts students before they actually arrive on campus. As Hochheiser noted, “Another initiative that has been cleared to go into effect for next year’s entering class by Admissions is to include a voter registration application in the admissions packets. That way, the incoming class will be registered to vote before they come to campus, and will not face any deadline problems when elections arrive.” As November approaches, Tufts Votes also hopes to expand its outreach efforts into the communities of Medford and Somerville. MICHAEL SCHECHT As Hochheiser explained, the group will be visiting local high schools and community colleges and helping students there register to vote. Tufts Votes will also be entering into a partnership with the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), for which Hochheiser has high hopes: “Besides already being supported by the Tisch College, Tufts Votes will be partnering with the national organization PIRG, specifically with their Massachusetts chapter, in order to have access to more resources and accomplish our goals more efficiently,” he explained. An End in Sight As the longest and costliest election cycle in history enters its final stage — CNN recently estimated that the amount of money the presidential candidates have spent on television advertising alone had reached a staggering three billion dollars — a deeply divided America is preparing to make a decision whose impact will be felt around the world. What will the results be? As eight years of the Bush Administration come to an end, the entire world is watching. “I still am distrustful of the American people to make the right choice,” Goldman noted. “Bush was elected twice, and I’m not sure we’ve gotten much smarter since the last presidential elections. But, I’m going to be optimistic, and have hope.” O


Looking Across the Aisle For The Observer’s Election 2008 Issue we asked campus Democratic and Republican political leaders to evaluate their opposing parties’ primary candidates. Chas Morrison, representing the Tufts Republicans, discusses the current Democratic candidates, while Shana Hurley, of the Tufts Democrats, offers her analysis of the Republican field.

The Democratic Field BY

CHAS MORRISON

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n Super Tuesday, Democrats across the country went to the polls to help choose the party’s nominee. While the vote was extraordinarily close, the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is tighter than ever before. Given Mrs. Clinton’s once tremendous lead in national polls, Mr. Obama’s ascendancy in this campaign is quite remarkable. Less than four years ago, Mr. Obama was an obscure Senate candidate from Illinois. Over the past few years, Mr. Obama has catapulted onto the

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national stage with all the subtlety of a Soviet tank division and stands poised to overthrow the once unassailable Clinton Dynasty within the Democratic Party. Despite the best efforts of the well-organized Clintonites, Mr. Obama has gained remarkable traction, particularly among young voters and wealthier Democrats. In just under a year, the Obama campaign has leveled the playing field by relentlessly hammering home its ubiquitous theme of change. More than any other candidate, Mr. Obama’s appeal is based on his extraordinary charisma and his ability to connect with individuals who feel disillusioned with the partisan political landscape. The central message of the Obama campaign is that Mr. Obama represents a fundamental departure from the partisan bickering that dominates Washington. Obama’s campaign managers have brilliantly harnessed their candidate’s rhetorical abilities and billed his candidacy as something bigger than a routine election; Mr. Obama, in essence, represents a sort of transcendence of the status quo — a transcendence of partisanship, a transcendence of race, a transcendence of everything that is wrong with the United States. All of this is of course very inspir-

SHABAZZ STUART

ing. However, beneath Mr. Obama’s lofty rhetoric critics argue that there is little to back up his poetic arguments. For someone who presents himself as the man to unite a divided country, Mr. Obama has exhibited very little bipartisanship during his time in the national spotlight. Despite all the rhetoric about change, Mr. Obama’s campaign platform is hardly revolutionary, they attest. Down the line, Mr. Obama supports traditional left-leaning causes: repealing tax cuts and increasing government spending. In fact, the National Journal scored Mr. Obama as the most liberal Senator in 2007. Mr. Obama has garnered endorsements from some of the most partisan actors within the Democratic Party, including Moveon.org (whose endorsement Mr. Obama eagerly accepted without a word about the organization’s “General Betrayus” ad campaign), John Kerry, and Ted Kennedy. Mr. Obama has every right to vote according to his conscience, even if that conscience leads him to positions which place him to the left of the average voter. However, Mr. Obama’s voting record does not speak volumes to his ability to unite the country and transcend partisanship. It is extremely unclear how a quintessentially left-wing agenda would unite the country and launch the United States into a new February 15, 2008

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Camelot. Ultimately, while Mr. Obama is indeed a fresh face, the policies that an Obama administration would implement are hardly extraordinary. Mr. Obama’s platform is predicated upon highly divisive issues over which reasonable people may

ton and Obama camps. Mrs. Clinton, like Mr. Obama, supports mainline Democratic policies. The difference, however — and the great secret of the 2008 campaign — is that while Mr. Obama is much more partisan than his rhetoric would indicate,

“Mr. Obama’s voting record does not speak volumes to his ability to unite the country and transcend partisanship. It is extremely unclear how a quintessentially left-wing agenda would unite the country and launch the United States into a new Camelot.” differ, but it certainly does not match up to his magnanimous public persona. If Mr. Obama’s rhetoric promises a transcendence of partisanship, Mrs. Clinton’s rhetoric certainly promises no such thing. The Clintons have repeatedly come under fire during the campaign for their strident language and rough-and-tumble style of politics. However, while Hillary Clinton does not promise utopia, she is the eminently more reasonable candidate. On the surface, there do not seem to be very many policy differences between the Clin-

Mrs. Clinton is actually more moderate than the image she has presented on the campaign trail. Mrs. Clinton has the enormous advantage of being surrounded by many of her husband’s former advisors, especially in the arena of foreign policy. On the quintessential issue of our time, our war with international terrorism, Mrs. Clinton would be pragmatically responsible and would have some of the most qualified experts in the country giving her advice. Any candidate’s foreign policy is ultimately a reflection of the given candidate’s advi-

sors — and no one on the Democratic side has better advisors than Mrs. Clinton. Mrs. Clinton’s circle of current and former advisors includes figures such as retired General Jack Keane (an architect of the Iraq surge), Michael O’Hanlon, and Ken Pollack. All three of these individuals would likely play important roles in a Clinton administration and are intelligent analysts who could genuinely unite the country under a pragmatic foreign policy. The Clinton campaign, while not flashy, represents a responsible, Democratic alternative to Republican policies. Democrats who are serious about national security — after all, Democratic presidents have tended to be the architects of American grand strategy — should enthusiastically support Senator Clinton. Despite her occasional partisan pandering, Hillary Clinton — and her most important advisors — understand the nature of our twilight struggle with international terrorism and would prosecute it to the fullest extent of their ability. Senator Obama, on the other hand, promises a new era but ultimately shows no signs of delivering upon his grandiose language. O Chas Morrison is a freshman and has not yet declared a major.

MILE SCHECHT

The Republican Field BY

SHANA HURLEY

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fter Super Tuesday, it was clear that Senator John McCain would be the Republican nominee in 2008. Thursday’s graceful exit by Governor Romney nearly solidified that fact. As a staunch Democrat, the development of McCain’s prohibitive nomination has me especially concerned for November’s race. John McCain will be an extremely formidable candidate, even as the prevailing mood trends against the Republicans. Cheap shots at Governor Romney aside, John McCain is a man of the utmost 8

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integrity. His record speaks for itself. He was a tortured prisoner of war in Vietnam. After his father was appointed Commanderin-Chief of the Pacific Command, McCain was offered freedom by his captors. McCain refused the offer, upholding the “first in, first out” policy; he would only leave if the POWs captured before him were released first. As a result, he spent five extra years in Vietnam — including two years of solitary confinement. His heroism garnered a Purple Heart and a Silver Star, among other prestigious military honors. He has often applied that integrity to his experience as a legislator. After two

terms in the House of Representatives, he was elected to the United States Senate in 1986. He now serves as the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has been a vocal advocate for ethics reform (which no one in Congress likes) and action on climate change (which his party doesn’t believe in). His willingness to break from his party has led to his reputation for “straight talk” and garnered the ire of many in his party. In fact, in August of 2007, owing mostly to his instrumental role in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, McCain’s campaign was almost lifeless and out of mon-

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ey. Conservative radio pundits Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh have vociferously opposed the Senator’s nomination. Ann Coulter, a highly conservative commentator, claimed that if John McCain were the Republican nominee, she would campaign for Hillary Clinton. At last year’s prominent gathering of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC), McCain was booed in absentia. At Thursday’s CPAC conference, attendees had to be told not to boo again. Even in McCain’s home state of Arizona, exit polls indicate that he lost the self-described conservative vote to Governor Romney. T he question, then, is how much the Republican base’s ambivalence actually matters. When McCain is the Republican nominee, I expect that many unsatisfied Republicans will come around. His Senate leadership on the Iraq War — and willingness to stay in Iraq for the next 100 years — appeals to the Republican base’s desire to “win the war.” He has spent the primary season bolstering his conservative credentials, openly supporting the teaching of intelligent design and showcasing his support for pro-life judges. He placated supply-side conservatives by supporting the continuation of the Bush tax cuts, which he initially opposed. Additionally, he repaired some of the damage from his description of Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” by receiving endorsements from prominent evangelicals, including Senator Sam Brownback, and speaking at Falwell’s Liberty University. If there is low Republican turnout in November, his struggles with the base will matter. However, other conditions might galvanize them to come out anyway. In a Clinton-McCain race, he may not have much to worry about. Moreover, McCain will likely be able

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to run in all fifty states on his maverick image. In all likelihood McCain will win the traditionally Republican states and enable the Republicans to run well in traditionally Democratic states and the very competitive in swing states. Opinion polls suggest that McCain is the Republican that most threatens any Democratic candidate in the fall — but McCain’s ascendancy to the presidency is not a done deal. If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, McCain should be wary of losing coveted independent votes, a phenomenon that already occurred in New Hampshire when more independents chose to vote in the Democratic than the Republican primary. McCain has risked and probably lost some of his independent support in his open quest to mollify the conservative wing of his party. In particular, Senator McCain should worry about being on the wrong side of history. If elected, he will be 72 at the time of inauguration. After 16 years of divisive Clinton and Bush administrations, even conservative voters seem to be clamoring

for change. McCain represents the battles of the past, showcasing his Vietnam era scars for all to see. His orientation towards solutions and compromise will help but they cannot undo what is so clear: John McCain is old. If he wants to beat the fresh appeal of Senator Obama and the (admittedly lesser) novelty of Senator Clinton, he will need to restore his 2000 platform as a straight-talking outsider, an alternative to the mudslinging of traditional partisan politics. In 2008, Obama seems to have occupied this ground. If McCain cedes the straight talking middle ground, he risks looking old, tired, and establishmentarian. But if he can maintain his independent reputation and mobilize the base of his party, he will be a difficult candidate for Democrats to beat this November. O

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Shana Hurley is a sophomore double majoring in political science and international relations. She is the secretary of the Tufts Democrats and codirector of the nonpartisan student organization Tufts Votes. February 15, 2008

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The CrackBerry Solution?

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ook around any large lecture and you can watch most of the computerwielding “notetakers” in the room doing anything but taking notes while a professor talks. On the rare days that one can actually connect to the ever-elusive “tuftswireless,” many use class time to get their e-mailing done, chat online with friends, and update their Facebook statuses (“so-and-so is sooooooooooooo bored in class”). Proud members of what is sometimes referred to as Generation M (Generation Millennium or Multitask) aren’t surprised by this constant connection. Most of us have been raised on the Internet and cell phones. However, our increasingly wireless world may be reaching a whole new level with the rising popularity of BlackBerrys, iPhones, and other PDAs among college students. PDAs (personal digital assistants), like BlackBerrys, now include features such as media players, cameras, video recording, web browsers, e-mail, phone, instant messaging, calendars, memo pads, to-do lists, address 10

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books, satellite maps, and, of course, automatic notifications from Facebook. With all these features, BlackBerry advertises that an owner “can share [their] pictures right after [he or she] takes them.” As if pictures from parties didn’t get uploaded fast enough, now they can be uploaded and tagged while the party is still going on. Armed with reduced prices and the promise of turning the user into a hip, young professional, BlackBerry has recently launched a new advertising campaign aimed at college students. Their organizational power is undeniable, but do such devices offer more distractions than they’re worth? For many freshmen students, transitioning to college can be difficult. We’re suddenly independent, which can have both its benefits and drawbacks (no parents to enforce an 11:00 curfew, but few TEMS officers will rub your back when you go past your limits). These changes can be overwhelming and are magnified by the fact that you just met all your friends a few months ago. In this time of social awkwardness and forever parroted “What’s your name? Where are you from?,”

it can be tempting to avoid the challenges of forging new relationships in favor of the comfort of old ones now scattered across the country. With cell phones, text messaging, and the Internet, staying in touch is easier than ever. However, with all the communicative powers that the BlackBerry offers, one can now talk to their friends from home all the time. Hypothetically, you could be carrying on a conversation over a famous Dewick Belgian waffle with your floormates, while instant messaging five friends from home at the same time. With all the features BlackBerry has to offer, you can do it all — make new friends and keep the old. But can one little $300 device really give you social superpowers? Many device users may be surprised to discover that the human brain cannot actually “multitask.” Our brains can’t actually process multiple activities at once (at least not nonhabitual activities — walking and chewing gum is very different than trying to IM with three different friends while taking notes in psychology class). While we think it makes us more productive to do many things at


once, we actually aren’t. According to Jordan Grafman, head of the cognitive neuroscience department at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, what we think of as multi-tasking is really just “sequential processing.” The brain can’t do two things at once, so it switches back and forth quickly between the two. Because of this, we only skim the surface of both tasks, resulting in decreased efficiency and accuracy. When we do two things at once, it takes longer than if we just concentrated fully on each one after the other and we perform at a reduced level. Generation M has been raised to believe that they have special powers of technology from living in a fast-paced world, but they are actually no more skilled at so-called “multitasking” than anyone else or any previous generations. Professor James Ennis of the Tufts University Department of Sociology says that, unfortunately, “paying attention is a lost art.” With the rise of the BlackBerry and other PDAs, we are no longer just paying less attention to schoolwork, but to our relationships. While the amount of time one might spend thinking about one’s social life often increases with these products, the quality of relationships suffers. It’s hard to really listen

to your roommate confide in you about her latest crush while your best friend from home is instant messaging you about the same thing. Beyond that, you’re sending the message to whomever you’re with that they aren’t deserving of your full attention, which probably isn’t the best impression to give. Though not everyone with a BlackBerry will fall prey to its temptations, many are sucked into relationship limbo — they aren’t really living their lives as they unsuccessfully attempt to balance virtual and real-life worlds. The inability to balance these two worlds is not limited to college students. Since the early days of the BlackBerry, when it was used almost exclusively by corporate executives, its addictive powers have been obvious. Compulsive use among early users led the device to be aptly nicknamed “CrackBerry.” In Canada, the birthplace of the PDA, the Citizenship and Immigration Department has forbidden its employees from using their BlackBerrys over the weekend in an effort to maintain the line between work and life. Increased communication and the wide proliferation of technology in today’s world has led to increasing pressures to get large amounts of work done in small amounts of time, which often forces people to sacrifice

their own time to working at home via BlackBerry. However, among college students, who seem to primarily use these devices for social interactions, their use becomes an integrated part of life, almost indistinguishable from face-to-face interactions. Professor Ennis compares society today to the hive mind of Borg from Star Trek. This race of alien utilizes a hive mind, or collective consciousness, to communicate and share ideas. In many ways, the Internet, cell phones, and PDAs have created somewhat of a hive mind. Just a few weeks ago, when Heath Ledger passed away, it seemed as though the entire campus knew within 20 minutes of the news release. In fact, most of the general public heard the news before the mother of Ledger’s child, Michelle Williams, had been notified. News travels virally because everyone is so connected. Overall, the rise of the BlackBerry is just another sign of the increased connectedness of the world today. It is hard to say yet whether or not it will overtake computers and phones as our primary communication method. It is, however, further evidence that people are living their lives virtually as well as in actuality, not just as real life punctuated by periods of Internet usage. O

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THE OBSERVER

11


The Rudy Implosion

S

BY

BRENDAN JOHANNSEN

even years ago, Oprah Winfrey hailed him as “America’s Mayor.” Last week, he announced the withdrawal of his presidential bid. If one thing is certain with regards to Rudy Giuliani, it is that he rides a serious political rollercoaster. The most remarkable aspect of his campaign is how the former frontrunner for the

GOP nomination managed to fall so far from the graces of Republican voters. Was it poor strategy or policy? Or is the answer more complicated? Is it possible that Giuliani was never a truly viable candidate? The most likely answer is a combination of all of these, but the final answer seems the best fitting. Giuliani spent seven years as Mayor of New York City, during which time he worked with the New York City Police Department to decrease the city’s crime rate. He focused specifically on a deterrencebased system, which cracked down on relatively innocuous offenses such as turnstile jumping and vandalism. This focus was meant to convey the impression that order would be maintained and that the police department was committed to the city’s protection. Crime did indeed drop during the 1990s, shattering all of New York City’s records. The Giuliani presidential campaign was quick to publicize these numbers as a credit to his leadership, but it remained somewhat ambiguous as to how big of a role Giuliani actually played in the equation. While Giuliani’s supporters insist that New York’s decreased crime rate exceeded all national figures and continued well beyond his administration as a result of policing policies he instituted, critics of the Giuliani campaign assert that while Giuliani did play a role in the improved crime rate, he was much less involved than his supporters indicate. Prior to the Giuliani administration there was a small drop in nationwide crime, as well as a strengthening national economy throughout the 1990s. Aside from his police policies, he is undoubtedly best known as the Mayor of New York City during the September 11 attacks in 2001. It was in this capacity that Giuliani captured the attention of the 12

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February 15, 2008

played after the terrorist attacks, casting himself as a hero for political gain.” This opinion rattled the Giuliani campaign, considering the 11,000 members of the New York Fire Department and their countless friends and family. Regardless of whatever New York’s opinions were immediately following 9/11 (Giuliani’s approval rating was in the high 70s in December 2001) a critical evaluation of the former mayor began not too long into his presidential candidacy. The International Association of Firefighters, an umbrella union based in Washington, D.C. was one of Giuliani’s earliest critics, as was the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, another firefighters union. The former mayor’s campaign was damaged further by allegations of misrepresentation outside of the firemen’s lobby. In almost every appearance he made while campaigning for the nomination Giuliani cited a plethora of statistics and facts to make his case for the presidency. It did not help him, however, that most of these statistics were viewed as misleading by many observers. Examinations MICHAEL SCHECHT made by the news organizations Queen Elizabeth II. But as the city began to such as New York Times and independent rebuild, Giuliani’s old reputation for being groups have shed light on a variety of misharsh and divisive quickly resurfaced. Giu- statements, virtually all of which cast Mr. liani has been roundly praised for his close Giuliani in a better light. These tactics were involvement in the rescue efforts. Accord- seen as even more damaging considering ing to the New York Times, however, others, the extent to which he ran on his record. including some firefighters, police, rescue His “detail-specific” references and statisworkers, and families of WTC victims argue tics were meant to aid his proposals, but that, “Giuliani has exaggerated the role he even those who supported the Giuliani American public, mirroring the emotions that New Yorkers felt during those tragic days, momentarily endearing him to the nation-at-large. TIME magazine named him Man of the Year and he was knighted by

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campaign said that he was undercutting his own arguments when he relied on questionable numbers. While Giuliani’s aides were quick to cast this research as “witch-hunting” of a type generally employed by political machines, in a campaign year where every candidate is touting a call for change, Mr. Giuliani’s tactics, in conjunction with his somewhat gruffer personality, were seen as detrimental and certainly affected his standing in the race. Such effects were undoubtedly what journalist Michael Powell of New York Times was referring to when he quipped that the more Republican voters saw of Giuliani, the less they wanted to vote for him. Considering the campaign that Giuliani ran and the very persona he embodies, this seems above all the most likely reason for his fall from grace. Consider first the fact that Giuliani has one of the juiciest family histories in politics. Hillary Clinton’s decision to stay

political statistics, Giuliani made a series of political missteps that seemed to weaken his credibility in the public’s eyes. The first lapse of judgment that would haunt his campaign was his outspoken support for the confirmation of Bernard Kerik, Mr. Giuliani’s former police commissioner, as Secretary of Homeland Security. Following an 18-month investigation, this past November Mr. Kerik was formally brought up on charges of conspiracy, tax fraud, and making false statements. Senator John McCain, the current Republican frontrunner for the nomination, used the indictment to question Mr. Giuliani’s judgment, and while Giuliani has publicly apologized to President Bush for recommending Kerik, the Economist, a British newsweekly, reported that Giuliani continued to call Mr. Kerik a hero. To add fuel to the fire, the former mayor was accused of spending city funds to transport Ms. Nathan while he was still married to Ms. Hanover. These accusations

various domestic issues, Giuliani chose instead to focus on his ability to protect America from international terrorism and improve homeland defense. For these two policy positions he called repeatedly on his experience as mayor of New York City. Unfortunately for Giuliani, it was a dose of politics that few wanted to swallow. As he saw his numbers fading fast in New Hampshire, where he did, in fact, spend a considerable time campaigning, Giuliani decided to cut his losses up north and head to Florida, hoping that a win there would propel him into the Super Tuesday primaries, where he would presumably have been able to win enough votes to secure the nomination. There too Mr. Giuliani underestimated the ascendancy of social concerns on the conservative agenda, assuming that his tough stance on terrorism, coupled with his more liberal immigration policies, would be enough to win both the retiree vote and the Latino bloc. The reality,

“Mr. Giuliani’s tactics, in conjunction with his somewhat gruffer personality, were seen as detrimental and certainly affected his standing in the race.” with her husband has nothing on Giuliani’s marriage record. He is currently on this third wife, Judith Nathan: a relationship that began long before his second marriage to television personality and sweetheart Donna Hanover ended. When he decided to divorce Hanover, he didn’t even have the decency to inform her in person, choosing instead to relay the message through a highly publicized press conference. This little act of infidelity did little to endear Mr. Giuliani to the Republican “values voters,” although he did successfully manage to secure the endorsement of the evangelical minister Pat Robertson. The situation was not helped by the fact that Giuliani’s two children by Hanover — Caroline and Anthony — are both estranged from their father, and were not present on the campaign trail. Many Republicans also saw the former mayor as a person who could not be trusted. Outside his squabbles with the firefighters and his tendency to exaggerate

have yet to prove conclusive, but they still damaged Giuliani’s overall public image and made voters rethink exactly whom they were backing. Giuliani also took several wrong turns with regards to policies and planning. As a liberal Republican from New York, Giuliani had to realize from the beginning that his centrist stances on issues such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control would be seen anathema to the conservative Republican base. He nevertheless attempted to weave his former views into a more moderate platform, hoping to avoid the mess that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney ran into when he completely changed policy directions. The result, however, was Giuliani looking ill-informed and wishy-washy with regards to all of these policy debates, relying far too heavily on semantic nuances that were easily overshadowed by the stark words of Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator John McCain. Rather than trying to effectively flatten out his positions on

however, was that voters saw their ability to get both those and their domestic concerns addressed by either Mr. McCain or Mr. Romney, who came in first and second in the Florida primary election, respectively. In the end, it does seem as though Mr. Giuliani was never really a viable, electable candidate and the coalition he tried to form was ultimately an untenable one. His personality was tough to sell, his private life messy, and his political C.V. more than just a little bit murky. When placed against a former war hero, the former mayor of New York sounds forward-thinking and flashy, which probably had something to do with his early lead. But when it came to substance and ability, Mr. Giuliani simply lacked the prerequisites for a viable candidate. He is, at the end of the day, a liberal New Yorker, and regardless of what he did or did not do on September 11, 2001, the truth is he has done little since then to give any indication of his ability to be President on day one. O February 15, 2008

THE OBSERVER

13


EDITORIAL

Superdelegates for Sale?

T

his week’s feature news article highlights the role of Tufts students in Election 2008, particularly those who decided to take a hands-on approach to choosing the next president. While The Observer applauds this commitment to the political process, this magazine worries about those who simply wish to perform their civic duty and vote. The current system of selecting presidential nominees has silenced many who only desire to have their voice heard through the ballot box, and The Observer hopes that one of the legacies that will emerge from this pivotal election will be the overhaul of primary electoral process. At first glance, the 2008 presidential election appears to represent a break from the past, particularly with the race for the Democratic nomination. Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in the midst of a tightly contested race that may not find resolution until the party convention this summer, a departure from recent electoral cycles. By that time, every state will have held a primary or caucus, allowing all voters to have had a say in deciding the Democratic nominee. Nonetheless, a convention coronation may still render votes meaningless because of superdelegates, members of the Democratic Party not bound to vote for an individual based on popular vote. These elected officials could invalidate the votes of several thousand by simply voting against the masses’ choice for the nominee, and in a close election, unaccountable superdelegates could be the deciding factor. The race for the Republican nomination is no different in illustrating the severe drawbacks of the primacy electoral process. The caucuses in Iowa and the primary in New 14

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February 15, 2008

Hampshire have a disproportionate influence on who becomes the nominee; while a win in either of these contests certainly does not guarantee the nomination, a poor showing could end a candidacy before a majority of the country can decide on the merits of a candidate. An example of this effect is the candidacy of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who as recently as November led in national polls for the Republican nomination. Despite the historical importance of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, Mayor Giuliani went against conventional wisdom by

focusing on Florida and the other major contests held on Super Tuesday, at the expense of campaigning in the early battleground states. This strategy failed miserably, as the former mayor lost momentum with dismal showings in both contests and eventually withdrew from the race after a third place finish in Florida. While Giuliani’s downfall resulted from many factors, the fact remains that Iowa and New Hampshire, not seen as representative for the whole country, effectively ended the campaign of a candidate who possessed robust national support before most Americans could cast a vote. Of course, there exists no way to ensure

that voters will have equal influence in choosing a nominee, barring a single, nationwide primary. Such a step would place unrealistic financial and temporal commitments on candidates at the expense of a more personal and open campaign. Acknowledging that, several remedies exist that could improve the primary process. Eliminating the superdelegates would ensure that a select few would not hold disproportional power in determining the Democratic nominee. A rotating regional primary system, where every four years a different region would hold the first primary, would allow new voters to set the tone of the campaign and establish party front-runners. Essential logistical reform with absentee ballots and early voting must also play a role in ensuring that every vote counts, especially those cast by college students. Many students at Tufts were unaware of the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot; making this process more transparent should be an immediate goal. An even better SARAH LEENEN solution would be for more states to allow students to vote in their primary at the beginning of the year, while most are at home for winter vacation. This step would both eliminate the need for an absentee ballot and increase the number of votes counted on Election Day. Whatever the outcome of the presidential election, the role played by the primary electoral process will come under significant scrutiny, and rightly so. No reason exists to perpetuate a system with glaring deficiencies that weaken its ability to select presidential nominees. Anything less than significant overhaul in the future will be unacceptable. O


Bite-size news you might have missed since our last issue. Privacy Protected On February 6, the faculty of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering voted to limit their access to students’ transcripts. In the past, faculty members acting as advisors had access to the academic and personal records of all students. The availability of such information led to questions about students’ right to privacy and safety, and in response, the TCU Senate Educational Policy Committee proposed limiting what records the faculty could access. Bruce Reitman, dean of student affairs, and James Glaser, dean of undergraduate education, told the Daily that the concern about privacy was not unfounded. Two Tufts families were compromised by leaked information. Reitman confirmed Glaser’s statement. “About six years ago, some information got out by mishap. The university did everything it could to correct that.” In accordance with the new regulations, advisors will only be able to view information about their own advisees. Department administrators will be able to find the records of all of the students within the department and full records will be available to the deans.

mester in response to security breaches last year, the most frequent occurrence involving unauthorized males infiltrating the women’s locker room. “While we’ve been looking and reviewing security procedures for a period of time, the trespassing incidents [from last year] brought everything to the surface. It caused us to improve our security not only with new equipment but with new procedures as well,” Assistant Director of Public and Environmental Safety Ron Brevard told the Daily. Currently, there is only one open entrance into the building, and everyone entering must present a valid Tufts ID or pass. Obama is M.I.A. Despite the best efforts of Tufts Students for Barack Obama, the Illinois senator and presidential hopeful did not make a campaign stop at Tufts. Alan Solomont, a Tufts trustee and the chair of Obama’s New England finances, stated that the campaign had been considering Tufts as a possible rally site. However, Tufts, like many other

peer universities, has a school policy that prohibits hosting political rallies. The rule is derived from the Federal Elections Commission, which prohibits universities and other schools that do not pay taxes from allowing campaign gatherings on their campuses. Crack Down on Direct Connect On Tuesday Feburary 12, Tufts students received an email from Student Affairs advising them not to participate in the “Direct Connect” network and reminding them that “sharing material for which you do not hold copyright, without the expressed, written permission of the copyright holder, inside or outside of the Tufts network, is a clear violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), and can result in severe consequences.” As a result of file sharing, the number of Tufts students targeted for such violations increased threefold last semester, resulting in reported fines of up to $3,000 for DCMA complaints. —Compiled by Kate Schimmer

GPS Stolen, Again. TUPD has issued a warning to Tufts students and faculty who have GPS systems or other valuables in their cars. Five automobiles parked in the Lower Campus Garage were broken into, their windows smashed and their GPS systems removed. “GPS units were targeted, and additional personal property was also taken,” TUPD stated in a safety alert sent to the Tufts Community. Security Tightened Security at Cousens Gym has been heightened this seFebruary 15, 2008

THE OBSERVER

15


amo OPINIONS

’ of

Technological Singula rity is N ea r

The

I

BY

ANDREW LEITH

n 1907, Henry Adams (grandson of former President John Quincy Adams) published an autobiography entitled The Education of Henry Adams bemoaning the inadequacy of contemporary educational practices. He argued that his education failed to prepare him for a world that was undergoing rapid and drastic alteration. The root of this change, according to Adams, was the “dynamo” - a term he used to represent the advanced technology of his generation (the actual dynamo itself was a type of early power generator). Adams observed that technological advancement was not only increasing steadily; it was, in fact, increasing exponentially. Dismayed that his education had not prepared him for a world in the midst of significant change, his argument was this: Traditional educational infrastructure does not adequately prepare the individual to function in a world of modern technology that is developing at a viral rate. If Adams had published his autobiography in today's technological world, it would bear eerie resemblance to the one published in 1907. It is tragic but true that even in the so-called “information age”, strictly technological education is drastically lacking. That’s not to say technology hasn’t been adeptly incorporated into nearly every aspect of our daily lives; however, the study of technology as an institution and permanent feature of human civilization is woefully neglected. Modern day da Vinci and futurist author Raymond Kurzweil recently wrote that “The Singularity is Near,” describing the titular event in which the massive acceleration in the rate of increasing technological complexity culminates in a point resembling

the mathematical and astronomical features of a singularity, a concept most commonly associated with black holes. Though this summary is a gross oversimplification of the concept of technological Singularity, it conveys the basic point: in the near future, technology will become even more integrated into society than it is today. If current trends of technological education persist, we might end up with a technological infrastructure upon which all depend but few comprehend. With Wikipedia on the rise to fountainhead of information, those with the keys to such technology hold the keys to the future of human civilization. In a 1965 paper, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore postulated that the number of transistors able to be placed on an integrated circuit would double every two

years. The number of transistors is directly proportional the performance of comWILLtoRAMSDELL puters in memory, speed, graphics, and all other capabilities. Therefore, what is now known as “Moore’s Law” has accurately predicted the exponential increase in computer performance, doubling every two years. This trend is expected to continue for several decades, due to an increase in the ability to work with nanomaterials. Though Moore’s Law only refers to specifically to computer hardware, Kurzweil argues that the law in fact applies to technology as a whole: technology is becoming increasingly complex, each outgrowth of which will impact our lives just as the internet and cell phones have. Kurzweil has adapted a variation of Moore’s Law …Continued on p. 24

Moore’s Law: The complexity and capabilities of circuits have doubled and continue to double every 2 years since 1965. 16

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February 15, 2008


Clockwise: Adam Levy, Erin Baldassari, Shabazz Stuart


Left Top to Bottom: Senator Barack Obama speaks in Boston, April 2007; Top Center and Left: Senator John McCain speaks in Keene,


speaks in Keene, New Hampshire, 2007; Bottom Right: Bill Richardson speaks in Keene, New Hampshire, 2007; Tim Fitzsimons


Top: Richardson, 2007; Center: McCain, 2007; Bottom: Obama, 2007. Tim Fitzsimons

Top: Richardson, 2007; Center: McCain, 2007; Bottom: Obama, 2007. Tim Fitzsimons


The Plight of American

Civil Liberties BY

I

ALEXANDRA SEIGEL

n President Bush’s first public address after September 11, he proclaimed that Americans would not live in an “age of terror,” but rather in an “age of liberty.” It was compelling rhetoric, but most Bill of Rights aficionados (which should of course be everyone in America who cares for their rights) haven’t found the past seven years to be particularly liberating. In fact, ct, civil liberties violations like the Patriot Act, t, warrantless wiretapping, and those occurring ing in Guantanamo Bay have made the Bush ush Administration’s “age of liberty” a veryy real and insidious brand of terror: the mass ass dread that occurs when people mortally fear ear an enemy we are told wants personally to o murder us. Contrary to elementary school hool portrayals of American history, the trampling of the Constitution in the name of security is not a new phenomenon. In 1798, during the so-called quasi war with h France, John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which forbade “scandalcandalous and malicious writing” against the government or its officialss — a blatant violation of free press ss and free speech. Centuries later, Joseph McCarthy used the Cold War as an excuse to persecute leftists. There was a secret faction, McCarthyy said, and they hated everything Americans icans stood for and were devoted to destroying the American way of life. Playing on fear, lesser men accrue greater power. ke But even great leaders like Abraham Lincoln and F.D.R. dappled in unconstitutionality as seen by Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus and Roosevelt’s authorization of Japanese internment. In some ways, the Bush Administration’s policies are simply a continuation of this historical precedent of leaders consolidating their power under difficult circumstances. After September 11, Bush promised to fight for “freedom and security.” This was a noble aim, but unfortunately protecting freedoms and maintaining national security have proven to be mutually ex-

clusive goals for the Bush Administration. On February 5, 2008, the CIA admitted to using waterboard torture as an interrogation method. “Waterboarding” dates back to the Spanish Inquisition and involves strapping a prisoner to a board, covering his or her face in cloth or cellophane, and pouring water over his or her mouth in order to simulate feelings of drowning. Not only has this tactic proven to be a woefully ineffective intelligence gathering to ool, but tool, according to

RYAN STOLP

Human Rights Watch, it occasionally results in permanent brain damage. Waterboarding has also been explicitly illegal in the United States since 1901, when American soldiers were convicted of war crimes for subjecting Filipino insurgents to waterboarding during the Spanish-American war. Furthermore, in the aftermath of both World War II and the Vietnam War, more soldiers were punished for the use of waterboarding. Recently, in April of 2006, more than 100 law professors sent a letter to Attorney General Alber-

to Gonzalez, stating that “waterboarding is torture, and is a criminal felony punishable under the U.S. federal criminal code.” In case there was still any doubt of its illegality, on September 6 of the same year the Pentagon issued a new Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation that explicitly forbade the use of waterboarding in any interrogation. What is striking about the current waterboarding scandal is not that the CIA was using an illegal tort torture method, but rather that the Bush Ad Administration has been completely unapolo unapologetic. In a nation so founded on lofty id ideals, one must ask how the most importan important man in the world can sim simply flaunt the laws he is there to protect and pay no price nor experienc ence any repercussion. The Bush Administrati tration first authorized waterbo terboarding in 2006 when Vice President Dick Cheney asser asserted that it would be a “no brainer…[to] dunk someone’s head in water” if it mean meant “saving lives.” Causing permanent brain damage and suffering to another human being should never be a “no brain brainer.” Tom Malinowski, Human Rights Watch’s advocacy di director in Washington, responde responded by asserting, “If Iran or Syria S detained an America can, Cheney is saying that it would be perfectly fine for them to hold that American’s head uunder water until he nearly drowns drowns.”” If adages like “treat others as you’d like to be treated” and “what goes around comes around” still have any veracity, perhaps the Bush Administration should consider how loudly they are speaking lest the enemy take note of their big stick and hit them, and us, back. The trampling of civil liberties may be a recurring pattern in U.S. history, but the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding seems pretty medieval, even for a “crusad…Continued on p. 24 February 15, 2008

THE OBSERVER

21


The Devil’s Advocate Evaluates:

A b o r t i o n

BY

SETH STEIN

F

ew topics elicit so much vitriolic hatred. It has been categorized as a “culture war,” with the most recent salvoes being fired by pop films such as Juno. People feel so strongly about it that they will not vote for a candidate based on this one criteria. Each side of the debate vilinizes the other, sometimes even resorting to acts of terrorism. This nefarious topic is one that saw our campus recently covered with

little pink and blue flags: abortion. Abortion has not always created this kind of turf war. Ancient societies from China to Europe all had methods to abort a child, although their efficacy is not known. In ancient Greece, the practice was fairly widespread and not objectionable in the least. To them, the baby was a plant until it took its first breath and became an animal. The Romans continued the practice, while Buddhists do not oppose abortion because they believe the child will be reincarnated. In fact, it was not until the rise of Christianity that abortion became morally reprehensible, even though it was not considered a major sin until the rise of Puritanism and the Reformation. However, it is improper to place the abortion debate in a religious context: in 22

THE OBSERVER

February 15, 2008

a pluralistic society, one religion’s point of view cannot be imposed over others. This is not an easy task, especially when Christianity is by far the dominant religion in America — it has influenced our nation’s legal code in subtle and profound ways. Yet even though most Americans are Christian, we must seek to create laws that apply to people of all religious persuasions. In order to have a coherent debate about abortion, religion must be put

metric, abortion would be illegal. Yet an overwhelming number of Americans on both sides of the debate believe that abortion should be legal in the revolting cases of incest and rape. But if we are philosophically coherent with the idea of abortion as murder, it should be illegal even in these most heinous cases. Of course, few pro-lifers are willing to take that position, and for good reason. But clearly murder is not the focus of the debate. The matter is one of responsibility. The pro-life contingent holds that abortion should be illegal because the mother made a choice when she had sex. She made a choice, right or wrong, and she cannot use abortion as a method of birth control. The pro-choice side of the argument is that even though she may have made a poor choice, it is wrong for society to impose its view of responsibility on the mother, especially when the quality of her life and the life of an unplanned or prepared for child is threatened. In other words, it is her body and that’s that. If only things were so easy. A fetus is not a tumor, simply an extension of the mother’s biology. A simple pro-choice retort to this stance is that even though it may WILL RAMSDELL be morally objectionable, aborto the side. We do not live in a theocracy, tions will happen anyway. If we don’t at and “ensoulment” is not legal terminology. least make it legal and safe, “back-alley” Without religion, the debate becomes abortions will become a dangerous norm. clearer. It appears at first glance that the issue Again, this is illogical. Drug use, orgais when a fetus becomes a baby, and there- nized crime, and prostitution are activities fore when does abortion equate to murder. that are a hallmark of human civilization. It is, sadly, a misguided hope that such a Sure, they might be safer if legal, but this does nuance is the defining point of this issue. not suffice. If something is wrong, it must If the matter was murder, there would be condemned even when the side effects hardly be a debate. Whether or not a fetus are coat hangers and unlicensed abortions. has a soul is irrelevant. After a certain point, Finally, we have arrived at the true crux it is a human being. This point is frustratingly of the argument. If it is morally objectionunclear: is a ball of cells with human DNA a able to kill an unborn child, is there any arperson? Must it have the organs we associate gument for keeping abortion legal outside with mammals? Or is it a person when elec- of the most heinous cases of rape and intrical activity is taking place in the brain? See- cest? The answer is complicated, and delves ing as this is a point that neither religion nor into many other issues afflicting our society. science can answer clearly, let us say that after The first reason is simple: it is not a certain undefined point, murder being our our government’s job to govern morality.

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This is the right to privacy view: even if what I did was wrong, as long as you cannot prove societal harm by my actions, you have no right to legislate them. Thus I can take drugs and abuse myself all I want as long as my actions don’t harm others or deny others right to pursuit of happiness. I can abort my baby to improve my quality of life, but not if society is harmed by my actions. This is a strong argument, but it also has one key element that must be analyzed. Does abortion harm society? The main response on the pro-life side is that we may abort our next Einstein. That may be unfortunate, but we could also abort the next Hitler. Therefore this argument is untenable. We cannot conjecture about that which we can never observe: the potential good and potential evil we have avoided is purely theoretical. Quite honestly, until modern times, the societal good argument favored the prolife faction heavily. Part of Western world domination was advanced econo- m i e s fed by a huge birthrate. That is, all the babies we aborted this year would

have contributed to our overall wellbeing and aided in the accumulation of capital. But this is a different world. The best example of this is China. Yes, the one-child policy has many, many issues. But there has been a reduction in the number of children born into a nation where almost 400 million people live on less than $2 a day. It is hard to imagine how an even larger population would have helped this situation — I am not alone in believing the authoritarian Chinese government saved millions more from poverty and starvation with their population control methods. Even first world nations are suffering from overextended welfare states. “Be numerous and prosper” is over. Imagine if all the babies aborted in the United States were alive and kicking today.

! s on

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At $188, the “XO” is the world’s most inexpensive laptop. Created by the non-profit One Laptop per Child after millions of dollars in investments, the XO is designed as a tool to educate schoolchildren in developing countries. According to OLPC’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte, its mission is “to provide a means for learning, self-expression, and exploration to the nearly two billion children of the developing world with little or no access to education.” The bright green laptop features its own operating system, a child-sized keyboard, a wi-fi network that connects to the internet, educational games and activities, and a hand crank to generate power in areas without electricity. The Observer wondered what some families in developing countries might have to say after receiving their new XO:

t n I

1. Two hundred American dollars for this? That’s more than I make in a year. 2. Hey, does it come in blue? 3. I asked my government for running water and electricity, and all I got was this lousy laptop. 4. Look, mom! Porn! 5. I may be a refugee, but at least I can play Minesweeper and watch pirated DVDs. 6. On second thought, I’ll take the soccer ball instead. -Compiled by Mike Snyder

According to the economists Levitt and Donahue, there is a positive correlation between the drastic drop in crime rates the United States has experienced in the past decade and the legalization of abortion under Roe v. Wade. In other words, most of the babies who were aborted would have been born into poverty or would have been the unwanted results of an unwanted pregnancy. This would make them more likely to engage in criminal activities, increasing the crime rate substantially. By allowing some method of population control we have avoided this fate. The last argument in favor of elective abortion is environmental. There are six billion humans on this planet, and that number is growing. It is unknown how many people the Earth can support with new technology but one thing is painfully obvious: we are already playing catchup. We are burning through our one time bonus of top soil and natural resources and will someday enter into an era of resource poverty. Larger populations will be harder and harder to support, especially at the rate they are growing. It is not a matter of if worldwide standards of living will drop, but when. In the large-scale view, people are not of value simply because they are alive; we have to look at our society as a whole functional unit. This does not mean I am advocating authoritarian population control like that exercised in China. We have avoided such a government while still bringing our birthrate into line — Americans produce children at replacement rate. The only significant population growth we experience comes from immigration. We have achieved this in large part through education, birth control, and abortion. Abortion is a personal issue for many, and I urge you to delve into it yourself. I have attempted to be as unbiased as possible, and present both sides of the debate. If your religion influences your stance on this issue, that is legitimate and should be respected. As I said, this is a personal choice. However, I strongly urge you to separate your personal view on abortion, religiously influenced or not, from what is best for society. Only when we allow this debate to be one of societal good and not of moral and political posturing can we hope to make the best decision for our society. O Seth Stein is a sophmore majoring in Political Science. February 15, 2008

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23


…Continued from p. 16 into what he calls “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” a model with which to predict the accelerating development of technological complexity on the whole. He, like Adams, believes that we as a society must become educated about this accelerating change or face the consequences. Though most academic institutions educate students on the maintenance and operation of basic technologies, many neglect to study the sociological aspects thereof. Where is the course that discusses how technology has shaped our history as a species? Where is the course that studies past technological trends, using that information to project the social effects of the internet, as historically defining as the Gutenberg printing press? Where is the course that considers the ethics of incipient technology (though bioethics is a significant component of this question, it is not the only discipline deserving of consideration)? The course that examines technology in a philosophical light? Each of these questions is complex enough to occupy an entire school of thought, yet most institutions do not even devote a semester to their study. Adams, then, was correct: society, despite hailing technology as the way to improve the human condition, neglects educating the general population beyond the utterly necessary. Not giving extensive technological education is akin to disadvantaging a society by only teaching them elementary verbal and writing skills, and the latter is even arguably being phased out for technology. In a world with spell check, will we continue to teach sentence diagraming but not how to backup your crucial computer files? If we are going to ensure the peaceful, beneficial progression of our society in tandem with the technological dynamo, we must begin to entertain some of these questions. Without consideration, the acceleration will cause issues and answers to slip past us, and we will not be prepared to benefit. After all, as Adams wrote in his autobiography, “A law of acceleration, definite and constant as any law of mechanics, cannot be supposed to relax its energy to suit the convenience of man.” O Andrew Leith is a Freshman who has not declared a major. 24

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February 15, 2008

…Continued from p. 21 er” president. When John Adams censored speech, he did so when the American democracy was still young and unstable; Lincoln may have suspended habeas corpus, but many historians argue that this prevented the Border States from seceding and thus played a key role in the Union’s victory. However, in the same way that history has sided against Japanese internment and McCarthyism as barbaric and irrational, it seems unlikely that any future historian will defend the current string of civil rights abuses as a truly necessary evil. And just because the Bush Administration’s tactics have not yet reached the abominable extremes of past atrocities does not mean that they are justified, or that we should wait 20 years to deplore their il-

legality as a thing we never knew at the time. Unfortunately, as Bush’s last term and his seven-year “age of liberty” come to an end, the future does not look particularly promising. Civil liberties have played a strikingly small role in Election 2008 politics. One might think Senator John McCain’s experience in a Viet Cong prison may make him less likely to trample the 8th Amendment, but he nevertheless voted, along with Senators Clinton and Obama, to renew the Patriot Act. As Americans flock to the polls to choose the course of their nation’s economy and foreign policy, their civil liberties are quietly disappearing. O Alexandra Seigel is a freshman who has not yet declared a major.

You too can write! Email at will.ramsdell@tufts.edu


ARTS AND EXCURSIONS

The Show That Never Ends... BY

BRIAN MCLOONE

T

here’s a scene in Alice in Wonderland in which Alice, distraught at her not being able to fit through the keyhole of a magic doorknob, begins to cry profusely, an act which eventually – and unintentionally – allows her to swim through the otherwise impenetrable barrier. Alice shares this reflex with at least one other troubled blonde, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, whose New Hampshire tears helped her ascend through the otherwise impenetrable glass ceiling of electoral politics. Of course, in Hillary’s case, the move was entirely planned out, displaying once more the pathetic lengths to which this woman is prepared to go for a vote and for power. February 15, 2008

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As Christopher Hitchens importantly reminded readers in Slate last month, Hillary has never shied away from a chance to portray herself as an underdog and unlikely winner. He writes that in a visit to Nepal in the 1990’s, Hillary met with a true againstall-odds ascender, Sir Edmund Hillary, who daringly made it to a summit in humanity’s history of adventure. Taking advantage of their shared name, Hillary declared that her mother had in fact named her in honor of Sir Edmund. Interesting, though, is that Hillary Clinton was born in 1947, six years before Sir Edmund climbed Everest. But, in fact, Hillary is a much more opportunistic creature than even this event would suggest. I find this to be particularly evident in the dreamy words with which she describes her husband, a clear violator of various norms of international peace and justice. Two of the more telling examples of President Clinton’s callousness are his instigation of the Serbian war on Albanian Kosovars and his bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, though there are of course others. More horrific was his support of the UN sanctions on Iraq, arguably a crime against humanity. As was well documented at the time, the sanctions were enormously destructive, crippling Iraqi infrastructure and killing scores of innocent civilians. In 1998, a top UN officer in Baghdad, Dennis Halliday, resigned because of the policy’s devastatingly inhumane effects, with a collection of other UN officials later following suit. Estimates vary, but the BBC reported that the death toll reached about 4,000 to 5,000 infant fatalities a month at one point, with around 400,000 and 500,000 Iraqi civilians dying because of the sanctions throughout that decade. These facts are forgotten or just nonexistent in the minds of the deluded nationalists who cheer when Hillary embraces this criminal. Politics thus becomes performance art, as obvious breaches of human ethical intuitions are explained away, suppressed, or simply ignored. While we can be sure similar scenes of ethical depravity will carry on for a couple more months, they’ll always pale in comparison to the theatrical posturing of Mitt Romney, who, for my money, was the most transparently full-of-shit candidate of

the primary process. I’ll never forget an early Republican debate during which the moderator asked Romney what he disliked most about the country. Confounded, Romney responded by quipping “Gosh, I love America, I’m afraid I’m going to be at a loss of words.” This is a curious remark from a presidential candidate, bringing up what I hope is an obvious query: Then why are you running? In the two-bit comedies which used to pleasantly shape cinematic humor, before pretentious flicks like Garden State and I Heart Huckabees took over, a common motif was to have super-slimy politicians and business leaders foiling the naïve decency of the antihero. Watching Mitt Romney talk, I always got the impression that he had spent the bet-

toms of classifiable personality disorders. Elected officials are not recognizably normal people, and we need to stop encouraging the behavior of this group. It’s an unfortunate state of affairs to recognize, but it seems that our species has a handful of individuals who rabidly crave power. Just as we create institutions to manage the behavior of individuals with criminal tendencies, we need to be realistic about applying similar standards to the politicians who kill, lie, and steal in the name of some vacuous moral rant. Of course, such an outlook is branded as unrealistic in our society, which is precisely what one would expect, given the system’s structure. By the very nature of its interests, this power-craving segment of the population will be the same group which controls the relevant political and social aspects of our civilization. To this end, our mainstream society is relatively effective in ensuring that people happily bow to authority, just as the rest of our fascinating bi-pedal species has done for the last few thousand years. So long as the requisite pane et circensias are provided, a large segment of the population will readily acknowledge the obvious deficits of the system, but will consistently fail to act because, after all, things aren’t so bad and the theatrics of politics do carry some entertainment value. With regard to matters of life and death, the marked content of Americans Joe and Jane is coherent, albeit simple-minded. After all, the U.S. president often affects people in Beirut more than those in Boston, living as we do in a globalized age of asymmetrical power. But if we’re to even pretend we exhibit some signs of compassion, we’d hold our government accountable for the suffering it inflicts on people who don’t speak English, too. Fortunately, this system of corruption and dominance works only insofar as people buy into the theatrics of the performance, so long as they cheer at the fighter jets flying over a football game, the anti-evolutionist playing the bass, the war criminal squinting empathetically into the camera. So long as, in other words, politics is not recognized as another performance art. O

Just as we create institutions to manage the behavior of individuals with criminal tendencies, we need to be realistic about applying similar standards to politicians.

26

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February 15, 2008

ter part of the 90’s locked in a room watching Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, and Wayne’s World, taking his idiosyncratic cues from those movies’ overdone villains. Romney strikes me as an actor doing a bad job of playing a decent human, or a great job of acting like a caricatured asshole. This existential loopde-lies is a fascinating occurrence so late in human history, when humanity’s naiveté is often seen as on the retreat, at least relative to the inanity of the 1950’s. But with Romney now out of the race, Mike Huckabee seems to be this election’s most performance-oriented politician. What more would one expect from a religious preacher? So far, though, he’s kept his act relatively secular, playing good ol’ favorites like “Sweet Home Alabama” on his bass. This plays into American voters’ curious requirement that their president seem like a decent guy, the type with whom you’d want to have a beer. In and of itself, such a criterion should rather obviously be irrelevant to electing public officials, whose managerial decisions aren’t going to be too decipherable from how they talk into a camera or how they play a musical instrument. Regardless, it’s absurd to act as though these political figures are being sincere when they share their personal sides. These people are, in fact, power-hungry and strange. In the more extreme cases, politicians exhibit symp-

Check in next week for Brian McLoone’s theatre review of Julius Caesar. Have feedback? Log on to www.tuftsobserver.org and comment on this article.

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The Power of the Torrent

The best way to scam and scoop media from the net.

BY

SAM SHERMAN*

T

he Internet is a media-junkie’s dream store. It is open 24 hours a day, every day, and is not a walk but a just a click away. There is enough readily-accessible multimedia to fill even the pickiest of critics’ music and movie collections — so how does one get to it? The main way of downloading multimedia is through a peer-to-peer (P2P) network. At Tufts, however, everyone using the university-provided Internet is banned from joining P2P networks and sharing multimedia through programs such as Kazaa, Limewire, or BearShare. I suggest forgetting about this kind of P2P downloading. It’s not worth the consequences.

For Tufts students, torrenting is definitely best. Torrenting, much like “Googling,” is an Internet-derived verb that refers to downloading bits of one multimedia file from many computers within a network. Torrenting can be used to download nearly every type of computer file, most of which are movies, CD’s, and software, and are technically illegal to download. Unlike some P2P networking, Tufts doesn’t devote the resources or energy to restrict or prevent students from torrenting. There are two quick steps that give anyone with an Internet connection the power to torrent. First, download a torrent client, the fancy name for the software that downloads and reassembles the individual pieces of a torrented file. There are many torrent

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clients, but this author suggests Googling uTorrent for a PC only, or Azureus or BitTorrent for both Mac and PC. All are free. It is now possible to download files — but from where? The second step is finding a torrent to download. Search for torrents using Web site search engines created exclusively to sift through torrents. Some of the best sites for torrent searching are torrentz.com, sumotorrent.com, and mininova.org. Type into one of these web sites’ search engines the name of the movie, CD, artist discography, or software that you want and watch it return a neatly organized index of results, all there for your downloading pleasure. Beware, however, of the rare but still worrisome viruses. A torrent’s label does not fully reveal all the files inside the single torrent file. For example, torrenting Radiohead’s newest album In Rainbows would require downloading a single torrent file, titled In Rainbows, which would have 10 individual song files contained in it. Sometimes, torrents will contain hidden files which can be harmful to your computer. They are rare, but it is worth taking two precautions to prevent downloading them. After searching for a torrent and selecting one to download, check the file’s table of contents. The aforementioned websites all provide an easy-to-understand breakdown of the files found within each torrent file. The file types should always correspond to what you plan on downloading. If you plan on downloading a movie, the torrent should contain a movie file (.avi, for example); likewise, CD torrents should contain audio files such as .mp3. Torrents will often come with a word or text document with information about the torrent, so do not be alarmed if your torrent has .doc or .txt files attached. If you are downloading anything other than software, never download a torrent containing a file ending in .exe or any other executable file extension. It is also beneficial to check a torrent’s comments, which are displayed on the same webpage as the torrent’s table of contents and other information. Once you have selected a torrent, download it using your torrent client (your torrent client will automatically ask you to begin the download). Relax and enjoy; you are now on your way to building the ultimate multimedia collection. O *The author’s name has been changed to protect his identity. February 15, 2008

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27


m

Reflections on a

Moustache

BY MICHAEL TUCKER

A

s I look down at the little auburn hairs speckled over my sink’s white porcelain, I am forced to accept that I no longer have the moustache. I am left with nothing more than memories — memories of a furry little follicle friend — memories of my best friend. I am left to listlessly finish out my college career, reflecting on life when I had a moustache.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Moustaches don’t happen overnight. There wasn’t a magical moustache fairy who o pranced into to my bedroom and whimsically g ranted me one. My upper lip was never touched by an arch-angel and blessed with a virgin ‘stash ash — my moustache che was not divine. No, myy moustache was thee product of hard work. The moustache oustache growing process is a long and arduous road. I strongly suggest that any man wishing to trek down this path only do so after some true soul searching. A guy must first decide if he can handle the whispers, the snickers, and all of the “why-in-hell-isthat-guy-growing-a-moustache” looks. If he can look past contemporary society’s unfounded scorn for the modern moustache, then he is ready to begin the growing. In the beginning of the cultivation 28

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February 15, 2008

process, the entire face is covered in stubble. This stubble becomes scruff, the early stages of a beard (and another article). At this point, the grower has hit a fork in the road. He can turn back, endure an emasculating shave, and assimilate back into the faceless masses. He could continue to let his scruff run amuck, embrace the beard, and gradually increase the amount of flannel in his wardrobe. Or, boldly, he could use his razor to announce to the world that he is man. I decided to take that leap, to shave away everything but my moustache. Unfortunately, instead of a majestic strip of hair straddling my upper lip, I was horrified to see that I had “dirt ‘stash.” It looked as if a few specks of dirt had rubbed onto my lip, thus justifying the affectionate term. I had hit a humiliating twist on the road hu to the moustache. I allowed th myself to fall victim m ctim to t a star r y-eyed ed d construction off what a mous-tache should look like. Luck-ily, I learned to o find beauty in my own o moustache. The awkwardness ness of my m social interactions actions during durin the dirt ‘stash h phasee was w worth, to me, the he joy I would receive when my moustache r grew in tthicker in further..

“Eww, a moustache?” ustache?” I thought the dirt ‘stash phase was the worst. I was wrong. There is a final twist on the highway to the moustache, the twist were all but the strongest turn back. I am speaking, of course, about the pre-moustache. The pre-moustache is, itself, somewhat of an accomplishment. The pre-moustache’s owner can truthfully and proudly claim to no longer have a dirt ‘stash, because he techni-

cally does not have one. He cannot claim, however, to have an actual moustache. “But why?” you ask. The pre-moustache exists in the brief period between the dirt ‘stash and the real moustache. During this time, the upper lip is covered in a spatter of disgusting whisker, thick enough to draw attention but still thin enough to reveal the lip underneath. Believe it or not, this look is not appreciated by women. The final day of this phase is the worst day of the entire growing process. On this day, the moustache is as disgusting as possible. It is no longer a moustache. It is a molestash. (If you have ever seen pictures of sex offenders, then you will understand g ) where this name originates.) During this dday, I would suggest just sk skipping class. It iiss easier to stomach the qui quick-passing guilt and extra read a reading that’s re results from sk skipping class th than it is to g o to that cclass and sit o on a personal isla island as everyone el eelse se in the room tries to llook at your molestash without letting you no notice. If you absolutely mus must leave the house house, it is integr integral to avoid all women and children. No moustache is worth a child’s tears, and the molestache could make even the most grizzled of humanity get misty-eyed. Most importantly, avoid looking into a mirror. The mere sight of one’s own molestache is enough to send its owner into shock, forever miring him in self-loathing. If you can make it through this day, you will be rewarded!

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Does the man make the moustache, or does the moustache make the man? The moustache is the boldest of physical statements, and a true mark of selfconfidence. After all, a man must be fully comfortable in his own bravado before he dons a moustache, the pinnacle of outright masculinity. Look no further than archaic pop-culture icons such as Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck for affirmation of the moustache’s manliness. The moustache is, arguably, the only gauge of manliness more accurate than how much weight a guy can bench press. Put in relative terms, the moustache is to stylish expressions of masculinity what the mullet is to expressions of Canadian nationalism. I was aware of this fact and started question whether or not I had what it takes to continue cultivating my facial hair. On tenacity and grit alone, I survived the pre-moustache phase. I had earned it. I was manly enough. My moustache had blossomed into a full, fuzzy boomerang of love that I was willing to share, equally, to all the women of the Tufts campus.

But that day never came. Women were no more interested in my robust, eye-catching moustache than they were in the earlier fuzz. I was shocked. Could they be so blind? Then I realized what should have been obvious from the onset — Tufts is not ready for the moustache. The Tufts community, as a whole, was too busy worrying about

the moustache, maybe we can put aside our other disagreements. Through tolerance of alternative views and lifestyles, America has moved, together, towards a better and brighter tomorrow. Why, then, is the plight of the moustache so in the dark? Guys, remember that every second you are not shaving, you are technically in the

Then I realized what should have been obvious from the onset — Tufts is not ready for the moustache. elections, classes, and the like to notice that something beautiful was unfolding right before their collective eyes. Defeated, I shaved the moustache. I, much like van Gogh, was a casualty of a society not yet ready to accept my art. It is no coincidence that van Gogh flirted with the moustache, sporting one in between his different beard styles. It is also not a coincidence that he did his best work while wearing the moustache, a claim that bears little historical merit but is safe to say on assumption alone. But it doesn’t need to be like this; we can change. If we can first learn to accept

process of growing a moustache. You will always be just a few selective razor swipes away from showing the world that you, too, can grow one. Girls, if you see a man with a moustache, don’t be shy. He already knows that you are looking at it You and I both know that you want to wink at him, so go ahead. O Michael Tucker is the Arts Section editor. He is currently regrowing his moustache. This is the first installment in a series of a articles on Tufts fashion. Look forward to future articles on sideburns, chest hair, tweed suits, and why fat will be the new skinny in 2008.

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oa monto ng. will February 15, 2008

THE OBSERVER

29


s at Gypsy y p i T Observer Staff Members Review a Popular Boston Bar

BY

PATRICK ROATH, MARA SACKS, AND M IKE S NYDER

Hotung may have raging club nights, and Powderhouse Pub may have karaoke, but somehow, Boston still manages to draw the adventurous Jumbos from the comforts of Somerville into the big city. Responding to the cry for the lowdown on Boston’s bar scene, The Observer ventured to Boston Common to check it out and report. An easy walk from the Park Street T stop is Gypsy Bar. The bar’s convenient location is one of its selling points, though heel-clad Jumbos may prefer to take the Green Line one stop to Boylston. Steep drink prices and a cover charge may deter some, but for good dancing and classy décor, Gypsy Bar is top-notch, if a little repetitive. Why Jellyfish? Why Not? Like many clubs in downtown Boston, Gypsy Bar is huge. Comprised of several different rooms and corridors, the strategic setup of the bar enables moderate levels of intimacy despite its grand scale. After waiting in the line that often stretches halfway down Boylston St. and paying the $10 cover charge, we entered a narrow room with booths flanking one side and a bar stretching along the expanse of the other. Setting the mood to this posh entrance hall are spineless globs of jellyfish. Clever backlighting gives these small, sinewy creatures a phosphorescent glow, and their red-orange forms reflect on the surface of the bar. Jellyfish may seem like an unusual decision for the occupants of a massive tank, but their shapeless grace effectively sets this unique bar apart from others. At the end of the room stands a cube-shaped glass wine cellar. Rounded steel fixtures emit low lights with sleek austerity. With the speaker level set slight30

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February 15, 2008

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nig wi er ing bu Th co an

RYAN STOLP

ly lower than the rest of the bar, this entrance room is perfect for early-evening cocktails and schmoozing. Set further back in the bar towards the main rooms is the VIP Lounge. Not actually exclusive, this chamber has large leather couches and faux fireplaces for cozy lounging, in addition to racks of Grey Goose vodka on display on either wall. A velvet partition breaks this room from the actual VIP bar and seating area, which is reserved for special guests and celebrities. The DJs are positioned above the expansive dance floor, in an open bunker. Although this enables a clear view of the DJs as they spin, a downside is that club-goers are unable to make requests or interact with the DJs. Artsy or Aristocratic? Fitting with its name, Gypsy has a trendy but mysterious feel and attracts

Bostonians from all walks of life. Groups of rhythm-hungry college girls dance alongside more frequent club-goers and even a few couples with salt-and-pepper hair. More Manhattan aristocratic than Cambridge artsy, the dress is clean and chic all-around, and whiffs of high-end perfume followed our footsteps. Gypsy Bar is actually three bars in total, plus two others for VIPs. Because of all of the roped-off private areas, one feels importantly high-brow just being there — a neat contrast to the provincial feel of some of the more casual local places. Bouncers stand on guard at every corner and a few shady police officers in uniform watch from the shadows. This adds to an overall atmosphere that might be described as part-celebrity hangout, part-drug lord headquarters. There is nothing playful, like a pool table or karaoke lounge, to detract from this intense ambiance.


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By midnight, the dance floor is packed and making it to one of the two bars conveniently positioned on either side takes some effort. Plastic cups of downed cocktails dot the floor and occasionally someone’s misplaced coat gets trampled on — not a bad alternative considering the $2 charge per item for the coat roam. Danced-out guests take a break by lounging on white love seats situated just off the dance-floor, many with an affectionate partner by his or her side. Those who aren’t so lucky might eye the plasma TVs hung over entranceways, each displaying sexy images of top pop artists. To See or Be Seen If your wallet can take the hit of a night out at Gypsy Bar, your taste buds will thank you. Though the lower, cheaper end of the spectrum starts at a disturbingly pricey $6 Bud Light, an extra few bucks will go a long way in drink quality. The Gypsy bartenders seemed able and competent, mixing strong rum-and-cokes and creative citrus cocktails in faux-glass

tumblers for $9 each. The drink menu is standard club fare and its website claims to serve dinner until 10 p.m. on the weekends, though it’s not known as a dinner destination. Like the scenery, Gypsy Bar’s music and clientele seems to be of a repetitive nature. The evening we attended, elusive DJs were mentioned in passing and were rumored to start spinning at midnight but failed to materialize until late in the night, if at all. Gypsy’s music selection, alternating almost exclusively between re-mixed Michael Jackson tracks and an abbreviated Top 40’s playlist, seemed to emerge from a laptop. The ethereal ability of the house music to emerge from hidden speakers throughout the club wouldn’t be a problem if it were interrupted by some human imposition on the standard, electronic beat. Looking ahead on Gypsy’s calendar there is little that is remarkable and the venue is light on substantial organized events. Billed as “Boston’s place to see and be seen,” Gypsy bar should at least be commended for democratizing the “celebrity

experience.” Unfortunately the effect can feel kitschy, like a Disney rendition of swankier lounges in New York and Los Angeles. The good thing is that no one at Gypsy seems to mind. The establishment’s not-so-strict dress code stipulates “No excessively baggy clothing” and “No athletic wear,” but the clientele is decidedly dressed and liquored up. Compared to the many other things that Boston has to offer after hours, Gypsy Bar seems to float by with the predictable, mediocre gait of the jellyfish that dominate its main bar area. Ultimately, there’s nothing substantially wrong with Gypsy bar and its convenient location leaves little room for complaint. If you’re looking for the generic club experience and a place to dance you won’t be disappointed, but there is little to help the club truly stand out from its many rivals downtown. O Gypsy Bar is located at 116 Boylston Street in Boston. It is open from 10pm-2am on Wednesday and 5pm-2am Thursday-Saturday. It is accessible by either the Park Street or the Boylston T stop.

Going Out

Do You Love at Night and Trying New Things? The Observer is looking for Excursions correspondents to review bars, nightclubs, and other 21+ activities. If you enjoy writing and having fun, reviewing for The Observer is a great excuse to get off campus and to hit the bars, all while getting published. If you’re interested in writing, email observer@tufts.edu.

February 15, 2008

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Shabu-Zen:

A Japanese Gem in Chinatown

BY

LAUREN MAZEL

N

ot far from the gate to Boston’s famous Chinatown, tucked away across Tyler St. from the imposing China Pearl, is the restaurant Shabu-Zen. The more modern exterior draws attention to the restaurant’s front, but the real draw to this place is the fact that it serves Japanese hot pot cuisine, a refreshing surprise in the center of Chinatown. While Chinatown traditionally hosts strictly Chinese restaurants, Shabu-Zen is a leading Japanese restaurant in the area. Chinatown, which borders Boston Common, Downtown Crossing, and the South End, has been a primarily Chinese neighborhood since the early part of the twentieth century. However, there have since been many modern renovations and an influx of tourism in the area. Part of this changing dynamic includes a diversification of restaurants and stores, like Shabu-Zen. Shabu-Zen (in Japanese, shabu means a meal in which everyone cooks their own food in their own pot of boiling broth from raw ingredients) is a great choice for Asian food. Though it may seem counterintuitive to eat Japanese food while surrounded by so many Chinese restaurants that give the neighborhood its name, it does not disappoint. The menu has something for everyone — from carnivores to vegans, seafood to chicken lovers, conspicuous consumers to cheapskates. The main courses alone (all of which are served with assorted vegetables, dessert, and your choice of udon noodles, vermicelli, or steamed jasmine rice) include six different types of meat: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, lobster, and even King crab. The restaurant also offers a variety of themed platters and combo meals. If an entrée on the menu doesn’t appeal, diners can order from the A La Carte menu to create their own unique combination. This list includes everything from the main course se32

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lection, plus various seafoods, vegetables, and more adventurous choices like beef tongue and tripe. Whichever meat you choose to order, it will come raw so that you can cook it to your liking at your table. The menu also includes 12 appetizers, served chilled or hot, most for less than $5. There is also an eightitem sashimi (bite-sized raw fish eaten with soy sauce and horseradish paste) menu. For those over

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21, the menu offers a range of sakes, beers (both Japanese and American), wine, and some frozen drinks. For the younger crowd, there are smoothies, fruit drinks, soda, iced tea, and water. Additionally, all meals are served with a delicious green tea. As far as price goes, Shabu-Zen isn’t Anna’s Taqueria, but it’s still affordable if you’re smart about your order. If you want red meat but don’t have too much to spend, avoid the $38 Kobe Mishima main course and opt instead for the regular beef — only $10.95 and still quite delicious. Also, the price of your meal includes assorted vegetables. Unlike most restaurants where this would be a separate side dish, Shabu-Zen gives each diner a heaping plate of cabbage,

L

mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, onions, watercress, and a few kinds of tofu. Though it’s tempting to order a lot of food, be aware that the servings are generous and it’s almost impossible to wrap anything up to go if you don’t finish (unless you have your own Japanese hot pot in your dorm room). Also, if you’re looking to save money, a drink isn’t necessary — the included green tea complements the meal and the atmosphere perfectly. As long as you don’t go crazy ordering, a meal at Shabu-Zen, including a filling main course with included side dishes and maybe a shared appetizer or two, should easily be less than $20 per person. In addition to great food, Shabu-Zen is a great social meal, perfect for anything from a big group (big booths with communal hot pots line the walls) to a first date (you can “accidentally” brush her hand when reaching for the dumplings while sitting at the U-shaped bar, each seat with its own hot pot). Because you do the cooking, the service is fast, usually less than five minutes to get everything you order, which is great if you’re starving after a day out in Boston. Also, the meal is interactive, so you always have something to do, rather than just starting at your buffalo shrimp at Redbones. Overall, Shabu-Zen is a Japanese gem in a sea of Chinese restaurants. Though seemingly out of place, it has certainly earned its spot with great food and a buzzing social atmosphere. Beware though — people have begun to notice the delicious Shabu-Zen and they don’t take reservations. Arrive early and be prepared to wait if you go on a Friday or Saturday night — but know that it’s certainly worth it. O Shabu-Zen is located at 16 Tyler St. in Boston, MA. It is accessible by the Orange Line Chinatown T stop. Shabu-Zen is open from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sun-Wed and 11:30 a.m.-12 a.m. ThursSat.


BY

MICHAEL YARSKY

A

lbert’s eyes were always swimming. It frustrated most of his viewers, especially those who sat down to a game of poker. They were ornaments: they swung, they blinked, and they glared from overhead lights, but they couldn’t tell you where he was. His shrink friends would say he’s a bad compass and a tough read. His wife says he lives as if everything around him is a movie; it’s as if his own mortality isn’t salient at all. Albert and his wife Sophie are lying in bed. “Your mother called, Albert.” She folds her hands across her chest. “Really?” “Her insurance didn’t grant her physical therapy.” “Why didn’t she ask me to come to the phone?” “You were out. She’s fine though.” He crawls under the covers. “I need to see her.” “Visiting hours is tomorrow, 4-5. You should go.” “I know.” She turns and faces the ceiling. “You should actually see her this time. Really,” Sophie says, still. “You’re the only son of hers in town.” It is quiet except for the breath and the sheets. Albert finally lurched toward her. “What is it about the ceiling you keep tracing every night?” She didn’t answer. “I will see her tomorrow.” There is a small sigh. “Okay. Goodnight Sophie.” Albert is fifteen minutes early. He doesn’t want to be in the waiting room. It is so infuriatingly trite. The juxtaposition between how its sterility and its filth is worth literary criticism itself. Of course, it was justification to leave the house. He flips through a Crate & Barrel magazine and eyes the suede couches, the rainbow-plated multi-limbed floor lamps, the clever wool-lined carpets, and the decadent holiday arrangements. Here, they seemed more two-dimensional

than usual. The brightness in the magazine doesn’t overshadow the surroundings; he recognizes that the walls and tiled ceilings are identical to the inside of his apartment. A knot turned in his stomach as he pinched his glasses. He forgot flowers. That’s the gift for people fighting a ride to limbo, right? He decided to play it as if his appearance was no special occasion, as if his guest showing at a hospital was trivial, or fleeting. The idea didn’t comfort him necessarily. Some kind of permanent memento would have been nice. He continues wringing his hands and tapping his feet to daytime television until visiting hours strikes four. He gets up, brushes his shirt off, adjusts his glasses, and searches for the right room. He ambles through specialty wards and curtained-off dormitories, trying to hear some triumphant last words. He hears none, and any uttered word from any doctor or patient seems trivial, caught in its own breath. Eventually he stumbles onto his mother’s room. He knocks and she turns her head. She looks frail and cold. The bed is propped. She is watching reruns of M*A*S*H*, or probably Hogan’s Heroes. She smiles; this is all the body allots. “Hey babe,” she says reaching sideways for an embrace. Albert settles on a handshake and a pat on the back. He pushes the chair into a far corner and sits down, crossing his legs. “Why do you always wear your glasses? Wear your contacts; they bring your eyes out more.” She leans back, muting the television. “Glasses are easier. Sophie likes them more anyway, so...” She hums. “How’s she doing?” “You talked to her the other day.” Albert sat as he did in the waiting room. “Sorry.” “What? What’s the matter?” “No…” Albert stopped. He wanted to apologize for the conversation, or at least make some scathing comment about its

POETRY AND PROSE

Sterile

obvious and awkward nature. It was either he found new ways to talk to people or reveled in analyzing why people don’t bother to find them. “I shouldn’t be the miserable one,” he said. “You’re the one with post-polio syndrome.” His mother rolled her eyes. “Relax. It’s still good to see you. You bring me anything?” “I have cigarettes, but they’re useless for you right now.” “No kidding.” “How about a funny story?” “Sure.” “Well…” Albert stands and paces. “This old fat lady with a giant fur coat tripped and fell on an escalator in Filene’s. Sounded like she broke her knee. Thing is it was an up escalator and when she went sideways she got stuck. Looked like a bear on a rotisserie.” “You’re sick.” “I’m sick?” he replies. He sits down again. For the rest of the visit, neither of them moves. “You see this episode?” she asks. “It’s good. It’s the one where Klink is arrested for stirring shit with the captain.” “That’s the last one they ever made I think.” She turns the volume up and they are quiet. Albert stares. They knew how to make black comedy back then, he thinks. Not that he was around for it, but Dr. Strangelove is his favorite. He could quote M*A*S*H* too, just February 15, 2008

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because it was time to find comedy in very unfortunate situations, especially in war, and especially in an infirmary. Hogan makes a wisecrack and there is canned laughter. Albert grimaces. “Goddamnit. I hate canned laughter.” “Albert.” “I can’t help it. It’s…formulaic, contrived, and stupid.” He was angry, but inanimate. “Relax, kiddo, it’s old television. Some people aren’t smart enough to laugh without the cues.” “Well I consider myself well aware of opportune times to laugh.” “So tell me again about the old lady who broke her bones on the sidewalk?” Albert sighs. The joke was so predictable: the sarcasm, the wisecrack, even the semi-ditzy tone. Of course she makes a point about his “terrible” humor. He almost feels as if they should both wink at the cameras and call for commercial. It is silent until the episode is over. “So what else is new the life of a poor, old, crippled woman?” A quick smile fleets across his mother’s face. “Not much.” She fiddles with the TV remote. She shrugs. “That’s it? You got nothing?” “Nope. It’s boring. It’s wonderful. Same as yours I assume.” “Yeah it’s great. Sophie’s going swimmingly.” “So what else is new in the life of a wellto-do, young, married man?” Albert stares at the ceiling for a bit. “I’ll have to get back to you on that. In the meantime Sophie has dinner waiting for me.” “She cooks?” “Once a week. Anyway, I love you.” He gets up, brushes lint off his coat, and avoids kissing her. He gets to the hallway. “Albert?” He knew it. The name call that occurs right before someone leaves, and then there’s that one poignant moment where someone says something remarkably important, but subtle. “When you shake my hand to leave, feel free to look at me.” He knows he is supposed to stand there for a while, nod, and leave. He continues pacing. “Will do. See you next time.” Wow, he thinks. That wasn’t poignant at all. There is a fifteen minute gap between when Albert arrives from work and when Sophie does, wherein Albert tries and fails to 34

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February 15, 2008

masturbate. He crawls up to the bathroom, thinking about Sophie, turns the shower on, coats his hand with his wife’s shampoo and fondles his penis. He is confident that the technique is right; it worked for him a few days after his father-in-law died, but never since then. Sophie pretends she doesn’t notice the wet accidents in their sheets. Albert closes his eyes and leans against the shower wall, as always. For a moment the hot water is paralyzing, but eventually he settles until he is sitting in the bathtub. He imagines someone walking in on him, whether it is his wife, a dog, or a son. A little boy peering through the translucent curtains, watching his father’s arm flex. He imagines a small, lanky boy with blonde hair that curls down a little below his eyes. What a strange image, he thinks: blurry, but pure. There is nothing. Albert sighs. He showers, cleans himself off, and decides upon tomorrow. He will redress, walk down the stairs, and hug his exhausted wife at the door.

He’ll put his hands on her, their necks will crane, and she’ll avoid the kiss. For now he stands naked in the mirror, whispering. “Tomorrow, I might as well think of someone else.” As usual, it is silent. “I’d like to go skiing maybe,” Albert says. “You know.” “Couldn’t afford it.” “I’d still think I’d like it.” “It’s so wasp-y. Besides it’s really dangerous. You’d probably pull a Sonny Bono and die of impact.” Albert loves these occasional moments from Sophie. These are what make him turn toward her before falling asleep. “So? At least I’d die skiing.” “Then where would I be?” This startles Albert until he blinks furiously, adjusting the brightness of the room

with his eyelids. “You’d move on. You could make the Sonny Bono joke.” “Nah.” Sophie picks her nails. “I watched TV with my mother yesterday.” “That’s nice. Did she say anything?” “She was wondering how you were doing.” “What about you?” Albert stares at Sophie’s outline in the sheets. They are naked. “She worries about me, for sure,” he says. He feels he should be smoking a cigarette while talking like this. He can’t, though; he didn’t have sex. “Not sure how much, though. Probably a fair amount.” He stares at her. “We wouldn’t know how much, of course,” Sophie says. “We don’t have kids.” She closes her eyes. Albert attempts to embrace her, but interrupts himself. He watches a blade of the ceiling fan spin, focusing hard until his eyes strain to stay open. They close to dream in a small violet hue, the color of Sophie’s dress at her father’s funeral. The dress bothers him all night. They don’t close; he doesn’t dream. Sophie convinces him again, somehow, to go see his mother again. Before he decides to drive to the hospital, Albert walks to the liquor store and buys a fifth of bourbon. He walks it back to his car in the brown bag and parks in an alley three blocks from the hospital. He takes the fifth, opens it, and takes three shots. Albert wipes his mouth and clutches his chest after his heart skips a beat. He breathes in a little as his left hand yanks at the steering wheel. Bourbon doesn’t make him warm anymore. He sighs and re-opens the bottle. Neither do the new sheets Sophie got for their anniversary. It probably isn’t much cause for concern, but reason enough to justify a few more sips. As he drinks more, it tints his eyesight dark. Everything is slow and delicate, but cold. There is a murmur from near the car. Albert rolls the windows up and gets out, sauntering toward the hospital. The whiskey hasn’t hit him yet, but he sways, and his walk isn’t as mechanical. He makes it to the hospital later than usual. He smiles, playing with a mint in his pocket. At least if I’m an asshole this time around, I have an excuse. “Hi Mom,” he says, crashing on the

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chair. “Hi Albert, you’re back. Surprise.” “How’s your day job?” “My leg hurts,” she says, showing off the scars, the brace. “Yours?” Albert never talks about his job, at least not with Sophie. In fact, the question throws him off and he pauses. He is a lecturer of sociology at Lesley. “We talked dramaturgical analysis too. You know, the all-the-world’s-a-stage stuff. It was cool. God I wish you could smoke in here.” No matter, he thinks afterward. Cigarettes don’t do anything for him anymore either. “I don’t know what that means, but it sounds interesting.” “I don’t feel like explaining to you. Later on, though, we talk about discriminating against the handicapped.” He burps toward her on purpose. “That’s cute.” The television is off this time. “Are you drunk?” she asks. “Sure, sure. Ironic, yes?” “No.” Albert takes that as a cue to play the part. “Don’t get all passive-aggressive on me, okay? I don’t like that passive-aggressive shit. Or that subtly disappointed vibe you dish out at me.” “I am your mother, Albert,” she says. “I don’t think I’m allowed to be.” “Well, it eludes me.” Here’s a good time for a repeat, he thinks. “It eludes me.” “So I hear. God I wish you brought that booze with you.” “Why, so you could numb yourself up to talk to me?” “Because it eases pain a little.” “You’re on medication. Lots of it. It’d be bad. Real bad.” He pans the room for a remote, briefly losing balance. “I thought you were too.” Albert grimaces again. They should have canned drama reactions, like the opposite of canned laughter: canned disgust, canned anxiety, canned “don’t-go-in-there” shouts for horror movies, canned tears for dramas. They don’t do that, though. He could hear the intense audience silence, that collective lack of breathing that is too quiet, too weighted.

“You’re a funny woman. I have your sense of humor.” “Don’t flatter yourself.” Her mockery bruises him a little, but he is detached enough to partially ignore it. “Are visiting hours over yet?” “You could always leave early.” “Excellent.” Albert picks up his coat. “Have a lovely time. Oh yeah, and just to make you happy, here are my eyes.” He leans in close to her and stares. “Aren’t they pretty?” “Bloodshot.” “Love you.”

He takes a few guesswork shots of bourbon. This time it’ll happen. He shoves the bourbon under the seat, and starts driving home. As he passes each green light the car gets warmer. Albert takes off his sweater, but it’s no remedy. He laughs as mothers grasp their kids’ arms the moment before they flail themselves into traffic. He shouts vague insults to clumsy pedestrians with off-color shirts and ties. “Fuck Latin! It’s dead and trite!” he shouts to a man wearing a Carpe Diem T-shirt. At the intersection before his block, he closes his eyes briefly and scratches them, giggling. A shirtless blonde boy dashes from the playground on the left. Albert’s eyes open when the boy’s right foot scrapes against the sidewalk. The car jumps. He curses, slamming on the breaks before almost running a stop sign. He whiplashes and gashes his head on the steering wheel. Albert gets out of the car. The boy hops back to the playground on one foot. There’s no blood on the concrete. The children turn away or run toward the school screaming. He feels his head, and it makes a red arc across his palm. Albert is all smiles. He pulls into his driveway, parks his car, puts the bourbon in a satchel, and paces upstairs. After bandaging his forehead, he undresses and walks into the shower. He is hard. The heat of the shower tingles. He turns it up, pours shampoo into his hand, and begins. He is thinking of Sophie before they got married, when they discussed graduate school and laughed at Woody Allen movies. He is thinking of the way her feet used to curl toward him when they cuddled, or how he couldn’t resist gently tickling her when he put his hand across her side. He finishes and kicks back, breathing deeply, laughing. After drying himself off and checking his head wound, he still feels warm. When he hears Sophie enter through the back door, he will be at the kitchen table grinning, barely patient enough to tell her this news. O Jenny Hong (’10) is a combined degree student with the Museum of Fine Arts, majoring in Art History and Photography.

“Fuck Latin! It’s dead and trite!” he shouts to a man wearing a Carpe Diem T-shirt. “Love you too.” “Don’t drive just yet. Wait a little bit.” “Yeah you’re right. Toodles.” Albert walks out of the hospital and ambles toward the car. He thinks about the way they speak to each other briefly. They never talked about her legs, or her spinal stenosis, or the herniated disc she had two years ago. The list goes on and on. Sometimes she’d make a cynical remark about bureaucracy or insurance, but he’d tune her out, denouncing it as mere preaching to the choir. His father was the same, though he didn’t say anything all around. Is this supposed to phase me? It wasn’t any particular challenge for him. He would watch her limp to the dinner table with the food every night and throw the oven mitts on the dish rack. The scars up her left leg looked like a long caterpillar, a red tattoo of some mythical creature. He’d watch her flip through her X-rays like they were magazine clippings. Fuck it, he thinks. I’m trying to make myself upset because I’m supposed to be. Every writer tells you when someone goes to a hospital there’s a trail of tears involved. He gets to the car. He hates all these call-and-response rules, stimuli and domino effects, action and reaction-type natural laws. As he crept into the bathroom after work today, he said to himself, “Today, I am going to try something different.”

February 15, 2008

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CAMPUS

College Bullets Snail Mail Delivers

Campuses Go Green In June of last year, 284 university presidents made the pledge to bring their campuses “carbon neutral.” This pledge spans the country, from Arizona State to Yale University, and includes an impressive range of ideas to bring the plan to fruition. Harvard University started encouraging a green lifestyle before their freshman even reach campus, urging the use of energy-efficient refrigerators and compact flourescent bulbs. Oberlin, like Tufts, took advantage of the construction of their newest building to go green. The Lewis Center, which opened in 2000, is entirely powered by solar arrays and even features an indoor waterfall, which is also powered by the sun. Other schools, such as Yale University, encourage an eco-friendly lifestyle through food. Tasty dishes, now making up 40 percent of Yale’s menu, are made with organic and locally grown ingredients. Finally, as a culmination of the national enthusiasm, and a kick-off for the “carbon neutral” pledge, last summer 11 Dartmouth students roadtripped crosscountry in a school bus fueled entirely by the waste oil from fast food restuarants. —Compiled by Molly Posner 36

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February 15, 2008

Presidents’ Day Monday, February 18: Tufts is closed, classes are cancelled. Thursday is officially a Monday.

police Friday, January 25 Somerville Police Department arrested a Tufts student on charges of assault and battery with a deadly weapon after an incident that occurred on Whitfield Road. Somerville PD had ordered the towing of a vehicle on the street due to excessive fines. The tow truck driver was placing a boot on the tire of the car when the student ran out of his house and grabbed the boot from the tow truck driver. He then proceeded to push the man, throw the boot on the ground, and drive the car away, resulting in his subsequent arrest. Saturday, February 8 At 12:52 a.m., TUPD responded to a call from Anthony House for a panic alarm activation. The alarm was accidental, and went off during a party of 100 guests or more. While TUPD was at Anthony House, officers observed a Tufts student walking between Anthony House and Capen House with a beer in his hand. When questioned, the student simply took a drag on his cigarette and blew the smoke into the officer’s face. After this incident, and due to the fact that this was the second accidental alarm from Anthony House within 15 minutes, the party was broken up. —Compiled by Molly Posner

blotter

It is not everyday that a mysterious benefactor sends a $5 million check via the U.S. postal service. However, that is exactly what happened at Temple University, which received two checks totaling $5 million from an anonymous donor. One check, for $1 million dollars, can be used in any way the university chooses while the other, for the remaining $4 million, must be used to endow a scholarship for women and minorities. The university contacted the bank in Arizona from which the checks were sent; they were told that the generous benefactor wishes to remain anonymous and only asks that the university send periodic updates as to how the funds are being used.


PARTING SHOT

A member of the Tufts Republlicans shows support for his candidate. Adam Levy.


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Spring 2008 - Issue 2