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Tennis teams conclude fall schedules
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The Beacon reviews the new RPG video game “DragonAge”
Tuesday, November 10, 2009 Issue 56
E D I T O R I A L L Y
I N D E P E N D E N T
Katie Freeman News Editor Competing against top-tier schools like Harvard and Yale, UT’s Mock Trial team is hoping for another winning year. “I told the team at the beginning of the year that our goal was to win a national championship,” Jacob Feuer, UT Mock Trial president and senior in English, said. And so far this fall, the team has risen above their own expectations, winning an invitational at the University of Georgia in September. “We’ve never won an invitational,” Feuer said. “We had a couple of Best Attorney awards also -- myself, and a couple of first-year people, Matthew Underwood and Jordan Burner, won awards. This is their first-ever competition. They haven’t done anything outside of practice, and considering they’re competing against people who have done this for three or four years, it’s impressive.” Nate Ogle, senior in philosophy, also walked away with an award at the University of Richmond invitational, Feuer said. While at least one of the three teams that make up UT Mock Trial has made it to the national American Mock Trial Association competition for several years, winning an invitational is a early indicator of a strong team. “A lot of teams in the country will stack their talent and put the best members on one team from the start,” Feuer said. UT’s team, however, uses fall invitationals to mix levels of experience, placing new members with seasoned members before stacking their teams for the spring regionals. “This year we took more new members than we have in the past, so we’re young, but we combine that with a lot of people who have had success in the past,” Feuer said. UT’s “A” team placed 24th, Honorable Mention, at nationals last spring, and many of the winning members have returned. UT Mock Trial faces challenges that many of the rough-
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ly 600 university teams do not. The organization is entirely student-run, whereas almost all of the schools that make it past regional competitions to the national competition have advising faculty. “We were the highest finishing student-run organization (last year),” Feuer said. “We take great pride in competing against the Harvards, Yales and UCLAs -- those that have full-time faculty members and $20,000 budgets.” Thanks to their high rank in the 2009 national competition, UT Mock Trial will be facing their Ivy League counterparts earlier this year than usual at the Great American Mock Trial Invitational in Washington, D.C., in two weeks on Saturday, Nov. 21. “D.C. is a great opportunity because there aren’t many state schools that get to go to that sort of thing,” Spenser Powell, UT Mock Trial public relations officer and sophomore in political science, said. Feuer also looks at the D.C. invitational as a way to highlight the strength of the “state school.” “Teams in the South are sort of overlooked over some of the more prominent mock trial teams,” Feuer said. “While (winning) the invitational wouldn’t do anything for our place next semester (in regionals), it would be a huge step for our team.” In addition to running the organization themselves, the mock trial team relies on private donations, member dues and less university funding than many of their competitors. “We’re actually in the middle of a financial crunch. We have a few private donors and some funding from the school, which was recently cut (decreased),” Feuer said. Students that make up a successful mock trial team are not all pre-law either, Powell and Feuer said. “It’s not something you have to be pre-law for,” Spenser said. “There’s no knowledge of law required to join or even be succesful in it. Not all of the team members are planning on going on to law school. A lot are in acting and theater, playing witnesses.” The next invitational the team is attending is at MTSU this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13-14.
Tennessee Right to Life garners Rep. backlash for backing Cobb The Associated Press
Katie Hogin • The Daily Beacon
Suzanne Devan, senior in studio art, and Ajay Ohri, graduate in Statistics dance the Rumba and Tango during lessons held at the Wesley Foundation Sunday.
Forum discusses dangers of rabies Brandon Pouncy Staff Writer
Marcy J. Souza of the UT College of Veterinary Medicine warned against feeding raccoons that may carry the rabies virus at the UT S cience Forum on Friday. People often feed stray or outdoor animals that come into their yards. However, in her lecture “STOP! Don’t Feed that Raccoon!” Souza said some zoonotic infections that raccoons can carry include rabies and roundworm.
“This means that the disease can easily be passed to a household, then a baby, then to an adult, and so on.” – Marcy J. Souza, speaking about the dangers of rabies
Rabies has not been prevalent in Tennessee. The last case of a human with the disease was 2002, and the disease was transmitted by a bat. Unfortunately, when a
human gets the virus it is almost always fatal and includes hallucinations and behavioral changes before death. “Ringworms usually live in the intes-
tines of raccoons, and the eggs are shed in the feces,” Souza said. There have been a few cases of dogs shedding ringworm eggs, but that is very rare. Raboral VR-G is an oral recombinant vaccine that researchers give to raccoons. The team makes them fish and dog-f lavored bait to attract the animals. The infected eggs can be consumed by a raccoon or any animal that eats outside, especially near residential areas. See SCIENCE on Page 3
NASHVILLE — Republican legislators are at odds over whether to criticize the state’s largest antiabortion organization for supporting a Democrat. House Republican Leader Jason Mumpower drafted a letter to Tennessee Right to Life President Brian Harris saying the endorsement of Democrats would harm prospects for anti-abortion legislation. The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Monday that he e-mailed the letter last week to House Republicans, inviting them to add their names to the letter. But several have objected, including House Speaker Kent Williams and Knoxville Reps. Bill Dunn and Stacey Campfield. Mumpower cites the group’s endorsement of Democrat Ty Cobb in a special election last month that was won by Republican Rep. Pat Marsh of Shelbyville. Mumpower’s letter says the anti-abortion organization doesn’t consider that the fate of legislation often depends on “behind the scenes” activity. “These behind the scenes actions are either being ignored or maybe simply are not understood by Tennessee Right to Life,” the letter says. “By your own actions of supporting Democrat candidates you are saying you hope Democrat leaders once again are in the position of power and by your own actions you will help history repeat itself and you will help insure prolife legislation is defeated.” But other Republicans say the group is dedicated to the passage of anti-abortion amendment to the state con-
stitution and is trying to gain more Democratic support. Republicans hold 51 seats in the 99-member House, but an amendment would require 66 votes. Williams e-mailed a response on Friday supporting Right to Life as an “honest, straightforward, nonpolitical and non-hypocritical” group. “While it may be politically expedient to condemn and denounce the Tennessee Right to Life organization, it is not fair, it is not right and it will not go toward achieving our mutual goal of having the 66 votes required,” Williams wrote. Dunn said the letter was “trashing the group that only endorsed Republicans” in 2008. “I decline your offer to attack an organization that weighed the facts and made a principled decision,” said Dunn in one of several emails on the subject obtained by the newspaper. Mumpower said he planned to mail the letter Wednesday. He told the newspaper the letter was drafted as the request of “many of our caucus members who feel Tennessee Right to Life takes for granted the support received from (Republicans) and that they are tone deaf politically.” Harris said he has not yet received a letter from Mumpower, but said several legislators called to offer their support. “The Tennessee Right to Life was founded on a nonpartisan commitment to supporting the election of both pro-life Republicans and prolife Democrats and that will continue to be the position of the organization,” he said Monday.
2 • The Daily Beacon
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
What’s HAPPENING AROUND CAMPUS
Nov. 10 - Nov. 12, 2009 Tuesday, Nov. 10 —
• 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. — Professor Miroslav Hristov’s violin class performs a recital in the Alumni Memorial Building performance hall 32.The event is free and open to the public.
• 6:30 p.m. — State Sen.Tim Burchett, who is running for mayor of Knox County, speaks during the College Republicans meeting in UC room 226. • 7 p.m. — The CPC Film Committee shows “Jurassic Park” as part of its ‘90s Film Series in the UC Auditorium. The film is free and open to the public.
• 7 p.m. — Jeremy Rifkin, president and founder of the Foundation on Economic Trends, speaks on “Leading the Way to the Third Industrial Revolution,” which focuses on the argument that society needs to radically overhaul the way in which energy is consumed.The lecture takes place in the University Center Ballroom, is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the new Center for the Study of Social Justice.
Wednesday, Nov. 11 — • 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. — The International House hosts a Latin American Culture Night, which will highlight Mexican culture and tradition, including food, fashion, music and dance.Tickets are $6 and will go on sale at 6 p.m.
Nick Schlacter • The Daily Beacon
Victor Ashe, former ambassador to Poland and mayor of Knoxville, speaks to a group of students about the role media play in shaping America’s image during his lecture at the Howard Baker Center last Tuesday.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY • 1931 — Actor Lionel Barrymore wins the Best Actor Oscar for “Free Soul.” Barrymore came from a large family of actors. His parents were stage actors Maurice Barrymore and Georgina Drew; his siblings, John and Ethel Barrymore, were both successful actors; and John’s granddaughter Drew Barrymore launched her acting career as a child. Lionel Barrymore was the first of the family to appear in films. Between 1911 and 1953, he appeared in more than 250 movies, often in a strong character role rather than a lead. His movies included “Treasure Island” (1934), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) and “Key Largo” (1948). Lionel Barrymore died in 1954. • 1969 — On this day, “Sesame Street,” a pioneering TV show that would teach generations of young children the alphabet and how to count, makes its broadcast debut. “Sesame Street,” with its memorable theme song (“Can you tell me how to get / How to get to Sesame Street”), went on to become the most widely viewed children’s program in the world. It has aired in more than 120 countries. The show was the brainchild of Joan Ganz Cooney, a former documentary producer for public television. Cooney’s goal was to create
programming for preschoolers that was both entertaining and educational. She also wanted to use TV as a way to help underprivileged 3- to 5- year-olds prepare for kindergarten. “Sesame Street” was set in a fictional New York neighborhood and included ethnically diverse characters and positive social messages. • 1973 — On this day, newspapers report the burning of 36 copies of “Slaughterhouse-Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut’s book was a combination of real events and science fiction. His hero, Billy Pilgrim, was a World War II soldier who witnessed the firebombing of Dresden, as had Vonnegut himself. Pilgrim becomes “unstuck in time” and thereafter lives a double existence — one life on an alien planet where a resigned acceptance of inevitable doom expresses itself philosophically in the hopeless locution “And so it goes.” In his life on Earth, Pilgrim preaches the same philosophy. Some found the book’s pessimistic outlook and black humor unsuitable for school children. — Courtesy of History.com
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Daily Beacon • 3
School board member sentenced SCIENCE The Associated Press
SEC announces UT Vanderbilt game time
The Southeastern Conference announced Monday that Tennessee's Nov. 21 home finale against Vanderbilt is being televised by ESPNU and kicks off at 7 p.m. Eastern time. UT also appeared on ESPNU this past Saturday night in a 56-28 win over Memphis. Tennessee leads the series against Vanderbilt 70-27-5, having won 25 of the last 26 meetings. UT's lone loss in that stretch was a 28-24 decision in 2005. Two years ago, Tennessee rallied for its largest fourth-quarter comeback in Neyland Stadium history to defeat the Commodores 25-24. Last season, Eric Berry's interception return for a touchdown helped the Vols to a 20-10 triumph. Other televised contests that weekend involving league teams are Mississippi State against Arkansas in Little Rock and Chattanooga visiting Alabama on a split SEC Network telecast (both starting at 11:21 a.m. Central), Florida International at Florida on pay-per-view (12:30 p.m. Eastern), LSU at Mississippi on CBS (2:30 p.m. Central) and Kentucky at Georgia on either ESPN or ESPN2 (7:45 p.m. Eastern, with the network to be decided after this Saturday's games).
C H AT TA N O O GA — A j u d g e i n C h at t a n o o g a o rd e re d a c o u n t y s c h o o l b o a rd m e m b e r t o d o 5 7 h o u rs of community service in a shoplifting case. T h e C h at t a n o o g a focus on her stories of being a Ti m e s Fre e P re s s lesbian and feminist in the re p o r t s t h at H a m ilton South. County B o a rd of E d u c at i o n m e m b e r Bookstore takes textbook Janice B oydston must reservations do the community servThe UT Bookstore is taking i c e w i t h e i t h e r t h e textbook reservations for C h att a n o o ga Fo o d B a n k the C h at t a n o o g a spring now through Dec. 24. o r C o m m u n i t y Kitchen in Books can be reserved online c o n n e c t i o n w i t h h e r Ju l y at utbookstore.org.
2 0 0 8 a r re s t . B oydston never admitted guilt in the case, and Criminal C o u r t Ju d g e Re b e c c a S t e r n g ra n t e d p re t r i a l d i v e rs i o n . T h at m e a n s the case will be expunged f ro m B oyd s t o n’s p u b l i c re c o rd if she completes the community service. D e f e n s e att o r n e y S a m Ro b i n s o n s a i d B oyd s t o n is “ happy ” to perform the community service. B oyd s t o n h a s s a i d p e rs o n a l h yg i e n e i t e m s m u s t h ave f a l l e n i n h e r o p e n p u rs e w h i l e s h e wa s g ro c e r y s h o p p i n g.
continued from Page 1
“This means that the disease can easily be passed to a household, then a baby, then to an adult , and so on,” Souza said. The side effects in a child are mentally delayed as the parasite larvae travel to the neural, visceral and ocular regions. The Southeast, historically, has low level of infections in raccoons as compared to the Midwest. Souza said that what concerns people is that raccoons are
starting to adapt to human settlement due to lack of predators, the increasing density of residential areas, and the increased development of wildlife habitat. Souza warned not to feed any outside animals, even house pets, and recommended putting out bird feeders where no other animals could reach them, securing garbage bags, avoiding contact with wildlife, inspecting and disinfecting property where raccoons have defecated, and carefully watching children playing outside.
Feed your future Tune in and learn why we’re one of the best places to start your career. Begin at www.pwc.tv
I-House to host Latin American Tango Dance Lesson Two professional Latin American tango dancers from the Knoxville Argenine Tango Society will be teaching the steps of original Latin American Tango at the IHouse on Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Socks and comfortable clothes are suggested, and there will be free CDs with Tango music as door prizes. Innovative Technology Center offers Adobe workshop This workshop will offer instruction on how to use Adobe Captivate to create an online interactive learning module that contains slides, images, screenshots, video, audio, captions, hyperlinks and self-testing quiz sections. Instructors may then post the module either to a Blackboard course site or to their personal UT Web space. The workshop is Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Hoskins Room 110. Workshop designed to guide undecided students Undecided students can learn strategies for career decision making and receive resources to help guide them through the process of choosing a major in this hands-on workshop. The workshop is designed for first and second year students, and prior registration with Career Services is encouraged. The workshop is on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Career Services in 100 Dunford Hall. To register or for more information, call Stephanie Kit at 974-5435. Commission for LGBT to present lesbian, feminist author The Commission for LGBT People will welcome awardwinning author Dorothy Allison on Friday at 10 a.m. at the Black Cultural Center. The event, titled “Out from Appalachia: Story Telling with Dorothy Allison,” will
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4 • The Daily Beacon
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
LetterEditor to the
UT ignores needs of current students when allocating funds As a student at this university for three years now, I have noticed an alarming trend that is undoubtedly older than my tenure at this institution. We are lucky enough to have millions upon millions of dollars given to this university in order to finance the expansion of our campus and the construction of magnificent structures in which to house new “classrooms of the future” with hopes of attracting more scholastically active and academically gifted students. That’s great. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy seeing construction and expansion just as much as any other red-blooded American, but it comes with a price. More and more, I am finding that this university is sacrificing the education value of the students of today for prospective students of tomorrow that they may or may not get. While buildings like the new engineering center and Haslam are being built to wow and impress, the facilities serving current students are falling into disrepair and succumbing to a lack of care. Money is going to the construction of more and more facilities instead of the maintenance of the facilities we have right now. Take, for instance, the Humanities and Social Sciences building. As a student in political science, I have had quite a few classes in the building and many of them are held in classrooms meant to hold hundreds of students at once. In those classrooms, the bottoms are falling out of seats, the retractable desktops are coming off their hinges and the carpet is fraying and coming up off the floor. In smaller classrooms, the tiles are coming loose from the glue on the floor, the blackboards and dry-erase boards have been treated with chemicals to the point that they are unusable and the chairs and desks used by students are falling apart and becoming dilapidated. So, if letters to this publication are sometimes meant to deliver messages to the powers that be at this university, here is mine: Stop. Stop spending money that you barely have to build structures that serve no purpose to current students other than blocking traffic and causing long detours, and start putting state funds and private contributions to work in serving your current student body. Improve and maintain your current facilities in a sustainable way before you contemplate playing with a new tinker-toy set. If you want me to ever consider giving a dime of the money I may make in my future professional endeavors to this university as a private contribution, I suggest you start taking care of me and my fellow students instead of worrying about those currently in high school or middle school. Remember, university big-wigs, reputation can sometimes usurp the awe and wonder of some of the most beautiful structures. Derek W. Mullins Junior in political science
SUPER BROCCOLI • Sumter & Starnes
DOONESBURY • Garry Trudeau
America adopts rapper philosophy T he Pop Co lu m n by
I know you all tuned in Nov. 9 to watch the second episode of “I Want to Work For Diddy 2” on VH1, the second season of the reality show wherein Sean “Diddy” Combs seeks a new personal assistant. Combs’ business is being a professional namechanger, a media mogul, a celebrity endorser for Ciroc Vodka and a “rapper,” which is defined here as “minion of the late Biggie Smalls, talented at reciting phrases like ‘Unh! Yee-ah. Bad Boy fa life’ in the backgrounds of other artists’ songs and the man who brought you Danity Kane.” His show, apparently an example of that new “redemptive programming” that VH1’s president Tom Calderone talked about back in August, is best described as a hip-hop take on “The Apprentice.” Contestants are asked to complete tasks for Diddy, proving their resourcefulness and drive, in hopes of securing the position of his personal assistant, which, as Diddy frequently reminds us, could be their gateway to the corporate big leagues. P. Diddy is a man who employs a full-time umbrella holder. He is a man who once compared himself to The Wizard of Oz. He is a man who, upon learning he had impregnated his girlfriend with twins, announced, in third-person, “Your boy Diddy is a champion!” In other words, Diddy seems a little full of himself. And he makes no secret of this on his new show. As he tells his new recruits: “When I tell you something, it’s like the skies and the seas is partin’.” Having convinced the contestants of his omnipotence, Combs proceeds to unnecessarily humiliate them. In the first episode, the contestants, having shown up to the Bad Boy offices promptly, are made to sleep overnight on the roof of a parking garage. During their interviews, they are ignored, deliberately intimidated or made to say inane things to Diddy, such as “I love you, Mr. Combs!” and “You’re awesome!” Any ambitious and self-respecting job seeker realizes that there is a fundamental difference between starting at the bottom and working up, and being a nauseating sycophant. That being said, Diddy gets away with treating people this way partly because he is powerful and partly because he is, as I said before, a “rapper.” This means that Diddy’s vainglorious rhetoric is not necessarily reflective of a bloated ego. It is a script taken directly from a long tradition in rap songs: using metaphors of violence and domination to discuss success. Take, for example, lyrics from a few songs in the top ten on the Billboard rap charts. Jay-Z’s “Run This Town,” a song that is a general celebration of his enormous success in the music industry, includes the
following line: “Our girls are blackbirds ridin’ with they Dillingers / I’d get more in depth if you boys really real enough / This is la familia, I’ll explain later / but for now let me get back to this paper.” Although I’m fairly certain that Jay-Z’s tremendous fortune came from record deals and clothing lines coupled with a massive celebrity status, in his songs he chooses to compare this work to mafia activity (”la familia”), and implies that his hold on the entertainment industry is at least partially assured by associates who are carrying handguns (the Dillingers). Need more examples from the Billboard rap charts? Newcomer Drake’s number one song, “Forever,” includes several such lines. Drake: “I’m about my business / Killin’ all these rappers / You’d think I had a hit list / Everybody who doubted me is asking for forgiveness.” Kanye: “I raped the game young, you could call it statutory.” Li’l Wayne: “I will never stop, like I’m runnin’ from the cops /… pistol on my side, you don’t wanna hear that thing talk.” And so on, and so forth. I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that a musical genre that has its roots in the rough urban streets would include references to violence or that its artists, many of whom grew up in these same dangerous areas, would feel the need to establish an almost martial authority. But what is significant is that these rap songs aren’t just on the rap charts. Both songs quoted above are in the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, which includes all genres. Not only that, but as of right now Miley Cyrus’s song “Party in the U.S.A.” is holding the No. 5 spot, and in it, America’s white, Disney-bred teen sensation giddily cries “a Jay-Z song was on / So I put my hands up, they’re playing my song!” If white America is adopting rap music as its own (which, believe me, it has been doing for some time), then it stands to reason that it will inevitably adopt the American Dream: Rapper’s Edition. Motivational music for white America is no longer “Eye of the Tiger.” It’s “Ice Cream Paint Job.” Is that a bad thing? As long as no one’s literally employing pistols and hit lists, I’d say look at the Forbes list of the top 100 most influential celebrities. They’re all there. Obviously, imagining busting caps in naysayers is a meditative technique that’s working for Jay-Z, Diddy and apparently for Miley Cyrus, too. So, when you watch “I Want to Work for Diddy 2” next week, resist the temptation to write off Sean “Diddy” Combs as a disgustingly rich narcissist. We must recognize that he is all that and more — a representative of the new philosophy of success in America. This is a warrior culture. As “Diddy” contestant Ebony said, much to Diddy’s delight, “Blood makes the grass grow.” For rappers, and now for everyone, the American free market is no longer about the best man winning; it is about the best man being adequately strapped, at least metaphorically speaking. —Robbie Wright is a senior in English literature. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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LETTERS POLICY: The Daily Beacon welcomes all letters to the editor and guest columns from students, faculty and staff. Each submission is considered for publication by the editor on the basis of space, timeliness and clarity. Contributions must include the author’s name and phone number for verification. Students must include their year in school and major. Letters to the editor and guest columns may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to Jenny Bledsoe, 1340 Circle Park Dr., 5 Communications Building, Knoxville, TN 37996-0314. The Beacon reserves the right to reject any submissions or edit all copy in compliance with available space, editorial policy and style.
Can men and women be just friends? In the enduring words of Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally”: “Men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.” While I agree with the fundamentals of his argument, men and women can be friends to a certain extent, as they may have some similar interests. But heterosexual men and women cannot be best friends indefinitely without “the sex part” having an effect. You might be thinking (as Sally does) that this isn’t true, that “the sex part” does not always get in the way. However, you would be wrong because sex and/or intimacy does indeed always get in the way; it is just normally one-sided. While a guy and a girl can form a friendship with no intention of dating, eventually an attraction will start to form, and it will bring the relationship to a “make or break” point. To make this argument more personal, think of that guy or girl you were good friends with until the friendship fizzled out after one side became romantically attached. Not to blame this dilemma on the males, but a female can be friends with a guy she finds attractive without sex getting in the way. But a guy cannot be good friends with a woman he finds attractive without — at some point — wanting to have sex with her. Once this thought has crossed his mind, it is only a matter of time before the friendship is affected. This isn’t to say that men are driven by sex and animalistic instincts, but just that men are by nature visual creatures who think about sex. This relation between men and sex is not a ground-breaking realization; however, it is rarely discussed alongside the effects it can have on friendship.
Males are not the only party responsible for this breakdown in friendship. Although the sex part is less likely to get in the way for females, we are more likely to become romantically attached. When a girl starts daydreaming about the day her best friend John confesses his undying love for her, intimacy has gotten in the way. Like any friendship, when a guy and a girl become friends it is based on mutual interests and values. This friendship cannot continue indefinitely without him thinking about sex or her becoming romantically attached. Why can’t we be friends with people after the sex part? Because friendship, like other relationships, relies in part on vulnerability, and the sex part becomes the white elephant in the room. When friend A is attracted to friend B, she may be too worried about making herself more attractive to friend B than being true to herself. When we cannot be ourselves in front of a friend because we are preoccupied with trying to impress him or her then the friendship is fundamentally flawed. After the sex part infiltrates a friendship, there is no going back. Whether the two people decide to become “friends with benefits” or both sides become romantically attached and a dating relationship ensues, either way the dynamic of the friendship has shifted. Vulnerability in friendship can lead to heartache, but when both vulnerability and sex exist within a friendship, the potential hurt is a deeper injury to a different area of our hearts. Males and females can have shared interests and spend time together, but we should be careful when we enter into friendships with people of the opposite sex. Many of us have healthy friendships with members of the opposite sex, but it is important to be mindful of where that friendship might end up, and we can act preemptively to settle the sex part. We should keep a healthy amount of distance in friendships with the opposite sex. Can a heterosexual man and woman be best friends? Sure. But they shouldn’t be. —Robin Overby is a senior in journalism and electronic media. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
The Daily Beacon • 5
‘Box’ fails to deliver suspense
Fantasy football show proves tedious
Chief Copy Editor
Two of man’s biggest weaknesses are greed and desperation. In “The Box,” the latest from director Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darko”), the two are mixed together, resulting in a fight between forgiveness and destruction. Arthur Lewis (James Marsden) and his wife, Norma (Cameron Diaz), have begun to feel the effects of Virginian suburban life. After medical bills and disappointments at work, they feel as though they have been backed into a financial corner. One day, a stranger (Frank Langella) with a facial deformity that would give Two-Face a run for his money shows up at their door with a box that promises a rewarding opportunity. Inside of this hand-crafted box, there is a button that brings the small fortune of one million dollars to the person who pushes it. However, this person does so with the knowledge that someone in the world, whom they don’t know, will die upon the pressing of this button. Through a deadline of 24 hours, the couple wrestles with the morality and weight of their decision. Set in the 1970s, Kelly’s film reminds American audiences of a time where there weren’t the worries of Wall Street and AIG bonuses. It may be hard for some to remember a time in which families worried about simpler financial problems like paying the mortgage. To give his film the look of something from the 1970s, Kelly uses some hazy lighting that one might find in a cliché flashback scene from a 1990’s film. Although this idea is noteworthy and subtle at
After seeing one of the mindnumbingly ubiquitous advertisements for FX’s new sitcom “The League,” one might wonder how a show about a handful of guys playing fantasy football could possibly have any longevity. After seeing the show’s pilot, one wonders how the writing will even make it through the first season. The show revolves around five guys, all of whom fall into predictable stereotypes, participating in a fantasy football league. Pete (Mark Duplass) is the defending champion and more gungho than anyone else because of his accomplishment as league champion, but his wife Meghan (Leslie Bibb) despises the game and is more concerned with starting a family. The central conflict for our lead is downright cliche. Meghan is the “evil” controlling wife, attempting to squeeze all the joy out of her husband by degrading his passion. “It’s fake,” she says in this voice that unintentionally sounds like a playground insult. Is it too much to ask for a character a bit more mature and three-dimensional than that? In fact, both women in this show have their default action set at brainwash. One would think the writing might be from a male perspective, eh? The guys constantly tease another player Kevin (Stephen Rannazzisi) for involving his wife Jenny (Katie Aselton) in the fantasy football decisionmaking. In essence, Jenny has went the other way and taken over the fantasy football team rather than attempting to eliminate it altogether. But Kevin and Jenny speak more to the central theme of the show, which seems to be about a bunch of male adults attempting to return to adolescence through a game. But they cannot because they are stuck in the banal real world where they have marriages and jobs to contend with, taking up their precious time. The guys envy a 9-year-old football fanatic, called The Oracle, who does not have these obligations. Now this theme is pretty universal. Just speak to the countless who play fantasy football at the office when they should be doing their work. The problem is that maybe it’s too universal. Outside of an unbelievable pick swap, nothing happens in the show’s pilot that’s particularly outrageous. For the show airing after the
• Photo courtesy of RottenTomatoes.com
times, it can be a bit annoying after a while. The film is interesting at certain points, but sometimes the wait is just a little unbearable. Even some of the major revelations don’t merit the time spent building up the moment. Then, of course, there are all of the weird angles that the story takes due to the intriguing nature of its director. For those who have seen Kelly’s most well-known film, “Donnie Darko,” this film’s weird plot characteristics may not seem all that crazy. “The Box” is a bigscreen adaptation of an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but in comparison to time travel and psychotic bunny costumes, it may almost seem realistic. The average moviegoer will probably get lost in the sea of ambiguities found in Kelly’s most recent attempt, though. For those who can stomach the film’s odd plot, the next mountain to climb is the poor performance of Cameron Diaz. Like many actors out there, Diaz just can’t master that darn Southern accent. The
smarter choice would have been to just leave out the accents because Diaz looks so focused on pronouncing everything correctly that she forgets how to act throughout the majority of the film. These problems are almost bearable, but the film as a whole also suffers from a giant portion being left on the editing room floor. The director’s cut is rumored to be close to three hours long, yet the theatrical release is only one hour and fifty-five minutes. This results in characters jumping from A to C, without the audience ever knowing what happened at B. Usually, it is something that can be overlooked, but at one point near the end of the film, there is a jump that will leave audience members wondering if they dozed off for a few minutes. “The Box” is suspenseful every now and then, but the story as a whole works better as a TV episode than a feature-length tale.
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raunchy comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” it’s pretty tame in comparison. A believable sitcom would be fine if it managed to even stay consistent with its tone. It’s all real-world problems until suddenly two players, district attorney Kevin and defense attorney Ruxin, swap firstround picks by bargaining down a defendant’s jail sentence. While the scene itself ultimately falls flat, it feels more bizarre in a show that’s been all birthday parties and afternoons at home until then. Throughout the pilot, Ruxin attempts to bribe The Oracle for his football knowledge to aid in winning the league, but, like all the cliché characters, the climax of this plotline is predictable from the start. (As Ruxin increases his interaction with the child, The Oracle’s father suspects pedophilia.) But unlike in “Sunny” where this would lead to an over-the-top crescendo moment, it just fades out speedily and in a whimper each time the possibility of humor presents itself. The show’s advertising campaign set it up to look like a raucous romp about the most devoted, ridiculous fantasy football league in history, but there’s nothing about the actual league that’s so hard to believe. So they have a party where they get together and pick players? So they jockey for bragging rights? So they argue for picks? So what? Where’s the humor here? Not to mention, the fantasy football jokes have been done before. The actual fantasy football draft in the pilot just recalls memories of a funnier scene with Paul Rudd in “Knocked Up.” Anecdotal humor like accidentally picking someone who has already retired belong more on a friend’s Facebook wall than an actual television script. At the end of the episode, the viewer is glad it’s over and is left wondering how any of this is remotely noteworthy. Given the theme of fantasy football, someone with a camera and a Youtube video account could probably provide more laughs by accident. Someone probably already has. One just feels sad that George Lowe of “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” fame, serving as narrator of the advertisements, has been roped in with this boring bunch.
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NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD • Will Shortz Across 1 Christine’s lover in “The Phantom of the Opera” 5 Onetime science magazine 9 Philosopher with a “razor” 14 “___ Lama Ding Dong,” 1961 hit for the Edsels 15 Paper purchase 16 Best-selling author Bret Easton ___ 17 “The Lord ___ shepherd …” 18 Only common word in the English language with the consecutive letters MPG 20 Wild animal track 22 Command to a person holding a deck of cards 23 ___ lily 24 What colors may do in hot water 26 Moves back, as a hairline 28 … ADQ …
31 Carney of “The 1 2 3 4 Honeymooners” 32 Catch some Z’s 14 33 “This tastes horrible!” 17 37 Really ticked 39 Circus stick 20 21 42 “Comin’ ___ the Rye” 43 Actress Winona 24 45 Captain for 40 days and nights 28 47 “___ approved” 31 32 (motel sign) 48 … KSG … 37 38 52 “I don’t want to hear about it!” 43 44 55 Perform really badly 56 Golfer Isao 48 57 Escape clauses, e.g. 52 53 54 60 Pair of lenses 62 … ZKR … 56 65 Cheese sold in red paraffin 62 63 66 Cowboy star Lash, who taught Harrison 66 Ford how to use a bullwhip 69 67 Boat in “Jaws” 68 Trick 69 Rub out 71 German admiral 70 Butterfly catchers’ Maximilian von ___ needs
ANSWER TO PREVIOUS PUZZLE T A W S J E R K M A G M A
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Down Goddess of discord … SPB … Burned ceremonially Walloped but good “The Lord of the Rings” baddie Lake ___, created by Hoover Dam ID Bestow Not ’neath Narrowly spaced, as the eyes Aware, with “in” All-Star Danny who played for the 1980s Celtics
13 PC platform released in 1982 19 Mirth
44 Baseball summary inits.
21 Necessary: Abbr.
46 The middle part of 44-Down
27 What Evita asked Argentina not to do for her 28 Fur 29 First anti-AIDS drug
50 One of about 100 billion in the human brain 51 Snakes 52 Expensive fur 53 Arctic or antarctic
30 Freshen, as a stamp pad
54 “Seven Samurai” director Kurosawa
34 Fettered 35 … NKC … 36 Romance/ suspense novelist Tami 38 Rubble, e.g. 40 The “L” in L.A. 41 Marks with graffiti
58 Tucker out 59 Zen Buddhism, e.g. 61 Right-hand man for a man with no right hand 63 Capital of Zambia? 64 Tankful
6 • The Daily Beacon
Save the Planet! Recycle Your Beacon!!!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
‘Goats’ boasts New Age war tactics
• Photo courtesy of RottenTomatoes.com
Nash Armstrong Managing Editor What would happen if Hippies were in charge of the United States Army? In the new film, “Men Who Stare at Goats,” director Grant Heslov looks at what America’s military force would be if it were controlled by New Age tactics rather than violent means. The film starts with reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) looking for a new way to spice up his life. He then encounters Sgt. Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a retired member of the now defunked New Age Army. Wilton accompanies Cassady across Iraqi lines on a mysterious mission. This movie’s comedy scheme is similar to the Persian sand that Wilton and Cassady trek across: dry and bland. Other than unique moments of hilarity, like when Cassady refers to the New Age Army as a company of Jedi Masters from “Star Wars” (to which McGregor, Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, acts as if he has never heard of the ways of the Force), the laughs in this film are few and far between. The film is full of drug and hippie one liners, most of which have already been done on “South Park,” and the plot itself jumps from one scene to another with such abruptness that only those who have taken their Adderall would be able to follow the movie completely. The only saving grace of “Goats” is the performance of
Jeff Bridges, who plays the founder of the New Age Army Bill Django. Known for his fame in “The Big Lebowski,” Bridges plays a character that contrasts his physical appearance to perfection. Bridges gets in touch with his inner being and as such gives the U.S. Army slogan “be all you can be” a completely different connotation than most would associate with today’s military. While this film is based on the non-fiction book of Colonel John B. Alexander, a Special Forces officer during the Vietnam War, Heslov’s film does nothing to show that actions in this film could have actually occurred. The manner in which he portrays the psychic actions of the New Age Army is a vision of what New Age priests and practitioners would want the masses to think they see during their LSDinduced visions rather than credible evidence that psychic spies actually exist. On the whole, Heslov has led great actors such as McGregor, Clooney, Bridges and Kevin Spacey down a dustcovered Iraqi road of failure. The only way viewers may be tempted to see this film is through the all-star cast, which Heslov disappointedly constrains, leaving viewer’s wanting more. With Jedi mindtricks that are 20 years old and lack-luster performances that leave an audience wanting so much more, this movie should be left for rental for one dollar through your local Redbox, not for ten at the theater.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Folk artist’s latest album yields uninspired, ‘unlistenable’ tracks
‘Dragon Age’ replicates life, reality Wiley Robinson Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Myspace
Jake Lane Staff Writer Once upon a Pitchfork Media review, there was not a worded description for the terrible nature of Jet’s second album.Instead, the writer simply imbedded a video of a chimp drinking its own urine straight from the fount. As a respectable news outlet and a print publication, The Daily Beacon cannot run such a thing. Therefore, the next 434 words will be as close to an English language articulation of that act as possible. Ah, Devendra Banhart. Freak-folk laureate, ingenue of the new East Side-Laurel Canyon set, unbearably blasé bastard armed with talented friends. These are all adequate descriptions of the man. Granted, in the beginning he was compelling and somewhat original. But five years of the tried-and-true formula have left Banhart’s newest album, “What Will We Be,” devoid of any spark to inspire or sign of a muse. “Can’t Help But Smiling,” the album’s point A, is a fine basis for critique. Banhart invokes the noodliest Dead rendition since last time Dark Star Orchestra came to town. There is such a thing as a song that’s too sunny, and Banhart has written it multiple times. One might blame it on a short attention span, or perhaps “intolerance” of mind-numbingly apprehensive-to-progress songs (all 14 of them), but the result is the same. Banhart’s latest release is almost unlistenable. Seriously, the man has made a grandiose dud of an affair that makes less sense than his daft interviews in which he denies drug usage because weed is a plant and plants are friends. His hackneyed neo-mysticism is repulsive, and the album itself would better serve if these simple steps were followed: break the disc in half, sever left ear; repeat with right; discard disc. It is no Herculean task to say why this music may appeal to some: either they’re just listening to the groove, they are insufferably boring or perhaps, like Rob Gordon, they just want music that they can ignore. On Banhart’s last disc, he pulled in celebrity favors from names such as Gael García Bernal, Chris Robinson (the Black Crowes) and Nick Valensi of the Strokes. Here his band is his usual cast of suspects, which only adds to the air of familiarity that smothers the album at every turn. In fact, the only time that Banhart out-sucks himself is when he tries to do something new. On “Chin Chin & Muck Muck” he completely discards his cooing tenor for nigh-on-atonal blathering that sounds not unlike a herd of tone deaf sheep. “Rats” is like ZOSO playing the entirety of “Houses of the Holy” while too drunk to hold a competent rhythm. For brevity’s sake, such comparisons can be drawn for most of the tracks on “What Will We Be” and you can draw them on your own time and dime. If you want a good freak-out with an other-worldly vibe, go out and buy Tom Wait’s “Nighthawks at the Diner” instead. Not only does it make more sense, though Waits is at least convincingly faux-drunk throughout, but also it’s old, which means you can buy it used. No Stars.
The Daily Beacon • 7
The RPG, or role playing game, is perhaps the highest manifestation of the “game,” be it electronic or board. They require a philosophy of holism so absent from other genres and arguably have the potential to combine them all over the course of a personalized journey. Be it “Super Mario RPG,” “Earthbound,” “Fallout 3” or “Dungeons and Dragons,” the RPG developer must create a breathing world with a story, characters, values and systems, all balanced and formed around each other. For all intents and purposes, RPGs replicate life. Recent technology has realized the vision of the wildly popular “open-ended” firstperson RPG, enabling the exploration of whole, beautifully rendered land masses in real time. “Dragon Age: Origins” is not one of these. While something as inheirantly novel as an open world, explored in first person, is hard to get wrong, the technology to create such huge, realistic-looking worlds should demand the compliment of equally enganging and effective RPG elements, which games like “Oblivion” arguably lack. The appeal for such games, however, is only increasing, and Bioware, the venerable developer of “Baldur’s Gate II” and “Mass Effect,” refuses to conform with “Dragon Age.” How can something called “Dragon Age,” a name that obstensibly envokes all the corniness of traditional midieval fantasy, possibly distinguish itself? Indeed, it keeps faithful to traditional fantasy with an unapologetic incorperation of Tolkien-derivatives and D&D motifs. The world is inhabited by men, elves and dwarves. The classes available are warrior, mage and rogue. The kingdoms of men are strong, while the elves and dwarves have been waning. Orc and goblin-esque baddies threaten the land once more, led by a looming and unknowable ancient evil. An alliance of said men, elves and dwarves, led by a bearded, wise Gandalf figure must unite again or be plunged into an age of darkness. How can the developers live with themselves? While it may seem too late to claim “the similarities end there,” the path “Dragon Age”
takes from this somewhat borrowed foundation is remarkably innovative and enjoyable. The tone of “Age” is fresh: it’s a realistic, morbid world that emphasizes life’s harsh realities. Not even the Gandalf figure of the story is completely pure, or invulnerable; hard desicions require the most decent characters to do harsh things. It makes “The Lord of the Rings” look too romantic by comparison. Depending on race and class, you can choose a different origin story intro to play through, which is far superior to the “blank slate” approach of dumping a player somewhere with no character development — rather, the player and everyone around them is developed with all the effectiveness of a good novel. There has never been a better voiced game than this, if only because so many nonvital characters have interesting, wonderfully choreographed and animated dialogues with the player. It’s the typical hodgepodge of quasiBritish accents, but the voice actor quality is as consistant as the dialogue choices are varied. Their uncanny ability to be unconsciously accepted by your psyche as realistic characters is sure to surprise, especially when they die. Characters just look and sound more like real people in “Dragon Age.” The subjective and polarized morality systems of old have been scrapped in favor of a less restricting yet more intimate system of virtue. “Good and evil” really have been dropped this time, with nuanced “gray” principles taking precidence. Tangibly only your party members will bear witness to your choices, but their approval ratings affect the experience across the board, from opening up side quests and romances to their effectiveness in combat. The best, though unmeasured consquence, of the gray morality is actually feeling conflicted about things. Gameplay suffers from none of the most common lazinesses of games today, namely over-accesibility and instant gratification. An RPG’s economy is arguably the hardest thing for developers to get right, if only because economies too often become broken, especially toward the
end of the game. There is no secret to a satisfying game economy— value in games is percieved exactly as it is in reality: the scarcer and more challenging something is to obtain, the more satisfaction in its obtainment. “Dragon Age” does not throw money at you. Combat is a truly crowning achievement, being an almost seemless mixture of real time and turn/stat-based. There’s the perfect amount of strategy to satisfy the most bored RPG veteran, but the rules are accessible enough for anyone; however, it can only be truly experienced on the PC version. This cannot be stressed enough. The PC version enables you to scroll between third person and top-down
view, which is omitted from the watered down console versions. “Dragon Age: Origins” ends up weaving together one of the most realistic, plot-driven narratives ever encountered in the whole medium of interactive electronic entertainment. If you’ve ever played an RPG, devote some time to this game; its unprecedented balance between innovative gameplay and narrative makes it the best RPG of the decade so far. While not quite at the artistic level of classic liturature, “Dragon Age” sets a new standard for maturity in games, taking a tired fantasy sterotype and giving it and the industry new vitality.
8 • The Daily Beacon
What’s HAPPENING IN SPORTS
Nov. 13 - Nov. 14, 2009
Friday, Nov. 13 — Women’s Volleyball Auburn Auburn, Ala. 5 p.m. Men’s Basketball Austin Peay Knoxville 9 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14 — Men’s Cross Country NCAA South Regional 10K Tuscaloosa, Ala. 11 a.m. Women’s Cross Country NCAA South Regional 6K Tuscaloosa, Ala. 12 p.m. Football Mississippi Oxford, Miss. 12 p.m.
“It’s a pretty cool deal. They’ve played a lot of games here, and nobody has ever thrown for more yards in a half.” – UT head coach Lane Kiffin on quarterback Jonathan Crompton’s school-record 305 first-half yards in Saturday’s win against Memphis
Tennis teams wrap up fall season season with a 9-2 doubles record. “I like where the unity is at right now,” associate head coach Chris Woodruff said. “(Head coach) Sam (Winterbotham) and I have noticed that whenever we’ve traveled with the team this fall. Hopefully that’s something that will carry on into the spring season.” Smith and senior Davey Sandgren also took part in doubles competition this
Travis Cabage Staff Writer
Men The Tennessee men’s tennis team was unable to make it past the semifinals in this weekend’s ITA Indoor National Championships on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. Junior John-Patrick Smith, who won the ITA AllAmerican tournament to reach the Indoor Championships, lost in the semifinals after two strong victories over highlyseeded opponents in earlier rounds. The top-seeded Smith defeated No. 6 seed Dimitar Kutrovsky of Texas in the Round of 16 and Clay Donato in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal – Head Coach Chris Woodruff loss, Smith was able reflecting on the men’s tennis team. to win the first set 36 before Steve Johnson of Southern California came weekend but fell in the quarback in consecutive sets to terfinals 8-3 to Texas A&M’s win 6-1, 6-4. Even with the Jeff Dadamo and Austin loss at the ITA Indoor, Smith Krajicek. The duo held a No. 1 led the team with a 16-3 ranking this season and finrecord in its fall schedule, and ished with a record of 11-3. the loss in the semifinals was Women Smith’s first against a ranked The Lady Vols tennis team opponent in nine matches. UT’s doubles tandem of also traveled to New Haven, junior Boris Conkic and fresh- Conn., for the ITA Indoor man Rhyne Williams also Championships where senior advanced to the semifinals Caitlin Whoriskey and sophobefore losing in the doubles more Natalie Pluskota lost in competition. The 7-5, 6-1 loss the final round. Whoriskey to Bradley Klahn and Ryan and Pluskota defeated teams Thacher of Stanford brought from Boise State, DePaul and the UT duo’s seven-match win Miami before losing to Hilary streak to a halt. The tandem Barte and Lindsay Burdette of was able to reach the ITA Stanford. The Lady Vols duo took the Indoors with a victory in the ITA Ohio Valley Regional first set 6-4 before Barte and Championships. Conkic and Burdette rallied to win the Williams concluded their fall second set 3-6. A slugfest for
the championship ensued with both teams trading leads before the tandem from Stanford won the crown 6-7 (4). “I’m very proud of the fight and effort both Caitlin and Natalie showed today,” UT cohead coach Mike Patrick said. “Today’s outcome was not due to lack of heart, as they both gave it their all in every point.” Other members of the Lady Vols competed in the St. Mary’s Tournament in Knoxville this weekend. Senior Zsófia Zubor joined juniors Maria Sorbello and Rosalía Alda to tally a combined record of 4-1 in their respective matches on Friday. On Saturday, the UT duo of Alda and Zubor fell in a doubles match 9-7 to Vanderbilt. All three Lady Vols won singles matches on Sunday. Zubor and Alda were able to come back from a loss the previous day to defeat Wake Forest 9-7. With the conclusion of both teams’ fall schedules, the men will take time off from competition before returning to action in January for the SEC Indoor Championships in Lexington, Ky., and the Sherwood Cup in Los Angeles. The women will also return in January when they travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Michigan Invitational.
I like where the unity is
at right now...Hopefully
that’s something that will
carry on into the spring season.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Memphis fires West two days after 56-28 loss to Tennessee The Associated Press Memphis fired coach Tommy West on Monday, saying the school wants to go in a different direction after the season. Athletic Director R.C. Johnson said at a news conference that he had met with West earlier Monday morning and told the coach that the university “wanted our program to go in a different direction.” He also asked West to stay through the end of the season. The firing comes after the Tigers started the season 2-7 and less than 48 hours after a 56-28 loss to instate rival Tennessee. The Commercial Appeal first reported the firing. Johnson said the search will start immediately for West’s replacement. He said while Division I experience is not mandatory, recruiting at that level will be an important factor in the new coach. The athletic director said he already has “been inundated with candidates.” “It’s not a good day at the office,” West said at the news conference right after his firing was announced. West is 49-58 in his ninth season as head coach. He led Memphis to five bowl games in the past six years, and he was one of only four coaches in school history with four winning seasons while coaching at least five seasons with the Tigers. The firing comes on the heels of Saturday’s woeful showing against the Volunteers, assuring Memphis (2-7; 1-4 Conference USA) of its second straight losing season and third in the last four years. West’s overall record is 84-93, including coaching stints at Tennessee-Chattanooga and Clemson. Besides a 35-20 win over UTEP on October 10, the only other Memphis victory this season was 41-14 over Tennessee-Martin of the Football Championship Subdivision. West was named the Tigers defensive coordinator in 2000, and a year later became head coach, replacing Rip Scherer. He led Memphis to three consecutive winning seasons from 2003-05 and his fifth bowl was last year’s St. Petersburg Bowl. But in recent years his teams struggled early in the season and rallied down the stretch to become bowl eligible. This year, they never recovered from a poor start and have lost three straight by wide margins.