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Counterpoint OCTOBER 2007 VOLUME 31 / ISSUE 2

THE MIT/WELLESLEY JOURNAL OF CAMPUS LIFE

A Mouse in Siberia Dispatches: Lake Baikal

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Back in the U.S.S.R? The state of Russian politics

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Beaver’s Back! The triumphant return of our sex and dating column

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w r i t e e d i t l a yo u t p h o to g ra p h d r a w co n t i b u t e a r g u e b a n t e r fa c t - c h e ck p ro of re a d d e s i g n fundraise advertise s o m a ny w a y s t o co n t r i b u t e t o co u n t e r p o i n t e m a i l co u n t e r p o i n t @ mi t . e d u


E D I TO R I A L S TA F F Editors in Chief

Managing Editor

Edward Summers MIT ’08 Kara Hadge WC ’08 Kristina Costa WC ’09 Marion Johnson WC ’09

Counterpoint The MIT/Wellesley Journal of Campus Life October 2007 Volume 31 / Issue 2

D E S I G N S TA F F Layout Editors

Kristina Costa WC ’09 Hailey Huget WC ’10

Artistic Director

Julie Camarda WC ’08

c a m p u s

B U S I N E S S S TA F F Advisor Treasurers

Rebecca Faery MIT F Katie Gosling WC ’10 Sandy Naing WC ’09

Business Manager

Rayla Heide WC ’10

S TA F F W R I T E R S E.B. Bartels WC ’10, Julie Camarda WC ’08, Janet Chen WC ’10, Maggie Cooke WC ’09, Veronica Cole WC ’09, Kristina Costa WC ’09, Kara Hadge WC ’08, Ouqi Jiang MIT ’08, Marion Johnson WC ’09, Catherine H. Lee WC ’08, Ami Li WC ’10, Itamar Kimchi MIT ’08, Edward Summers MIT ’08, Barrett Strickland MIT ’08, Lizzy Wilkins WC ’09

M I T C O N T R I B U TO R S

JENNY KIM

20 Traffic Tends to Come from the Right Tips for surviving life in London.

ELANA ALTMAN

21 First-Year, Meet Fraternity This is college?

p o l i t i c s MARION JOHNSON

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Gen. Petraeus Goes to Washington

KRISTINA COSTA

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Da, Comrade!

Kevin DiGenova ’07, Ken Haggerty ’11, Rashida Nek ’07, Adam Nolte G, Durga Prasad Pandey G, Vivi Vasudevan ’07, Mike Yee ’08

W EL LESLEY CO NTR IB UTO RS Yetunde Abass ’09, Elana Altman ’11, Megan Cunniff ’11, Ellis Friedman ’08, Rayla Heide ’10, Ellen Huerta ’08, Jenny Kim ’08, Nauf Latef ’09, Maria Mattera ’09, Alex Ording ’09, Elizabeth Pan ’11, Erin Rangel ’08, Jane Repetti ’09, Nancy Sandoval ’08, Katherine Scafuri ’11, Caroline Sun ’11, Minying Tan ’08, AlyssaTorres ’09, Melissa Woods ’08, Jennifer Willis ’08

Cover photo: EB Bartels WC ‘10

How Putin is ruining Russia for democracy.

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KARA HADGE

13 Come Together

VERONICA COLE

14 “Don’t Tase Me, Bro”

JANE REPETTI

16 The Not-So-Lonely World of Lonelygirl15

The Beatles take you Across the Universe. Violence and the YouTube generation.

Charting the downfall of the YouTube phenomenon.

r e g u l a r s JENNY KIM

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SUB M IS SIO N S Counterpoint welcomes all submissions of articles and letters. Email submissions to counterpoint@mit.edu. Counterpoint encourages cooperation between writers and editors but reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and clarity.

ELIZABETH PAN, MEGAN CUNNIFF & KARA HADGE

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SUB SCR IPTIO N S

E.B. BARTELS

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/etc Britney’s “comeback.”

Agenda Events at MIT, Wellesley and the greater Boston area

Dispatches

Lake Baikal: a photo essay

One year’s subscription: $25. Send checks and mailing address to:

Counterpoint, MIT Room W20-443 77 Mass. Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139 Counterpoint is funded in part by the MIT Undergraduate Association Financial Board and by the Wellesley Senate. MIT and Wellesley are not responsible for the content of Counterpoint. Counterpoint thanks its departmental sponsors at Wellesley: Middle Eastern Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, Art, Philosophy, and Africana Studies; and at MIT: Writing & Humanistic Studies.

A House, a Senate, a General and a war.

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TR U S TE ES Matt Burns MIT ’05, Brian Dunagan MIT ’03, Tracey L. Godbold WC ’07, Stephanie Landers WC ’07, Minying Tan WC ’08, Kristen Thane WC ’05, Vivi Vasudevan MIT ’07

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STAFF

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Last Page We ask people at Remix what they think of Wellesley, and how many drinks they’ve had.

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Baby, One More Time Britney’s back. Sort of.

{ by jenny kim}

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t’s official! Britney is finally back! And it’s about time. After taking a two year break to start and raise a family with her beloved, now divorced, K-Fed, the notorious Britney Spears has—unfortunately for most of us—decided to make her presence known in the music scene. Fans got a taste of her upcoming release with her new single “Gimme More” from her overly-hyped-up, as-yet-to-benamed album due out in mid November 2007. Like most of her songs, “Gimme More” revolves around fast, catchy beats,

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repetitive lyrics and, of course, Britney’s signature moaning and groaning. In short, it’s exactly what you got in her previous albums. Some artists refuse to change or grow, and Britney is no exception. To promote the album and make her official comeback, Britney performed her single at the MTV Video Music Awards held in Las Vegas in September. Her performance, which was the opening act, was quite an eyebrow-raiser, and for all the wrong reasons. Throughout the performance, Britney seemed

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spacey, confused and even awkward, causing some to question whether she was “on something.” Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton even went so far as to say, “She blew it... it was so bad, it was painful, it was embarrassing!” Is this the same Britney who a few years ago took the world by storm by dancing with a yellow boa constrictor and made international news headlines by locking lips with Madonna? Granted, her VMA performance this year was horrendous. It was obvious that she lip-synched her way through the entire song, and even forgot some— or most—of her dance moves. Then again, since when has Britney been known for not lip-synching? And give the girl a break. She’s been on hiatus for two years. Of course she’s not going to be as limber and tight as she used to be when she first sang “… Baby One More Time.” Britney has been extremely busy during her break. When she’s not mothering her two children or loaning out cash to her ex-husband, she’s partying somewhere with Paris and Lindsay while showing off her most private body parts to the rest of the world. Britney is the prime example of a super-mom. I don’t know about most of you, but I’m certainly ready for more Britney. With her album only a month away, Britney is sure to wow us continuously with both her on-stage and off-stage antics. Even if we are unimpressed by her music, we can all agree that Britney sure has a way to keep the whole world amused. So sit back and join me when I say, in Britney’s own words, “Gimme more!”

Jenny Kim ’08 (jkim8@wellesley.edu) is sittin’ on the dock of the bay.

Staff Illustration / Alyssa Torres WC ‘09

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Agenda MIT EVENTS The 7th Annual MIT Great Glass Pumpkin Patch MIT: Fri 10/5 5-8 pm, Sat 10/6 10 am – 3 pm. (Rain Date: 10/7 10 am – 3 pm.) MIT glassblowers of varying experience have worked together to create and install over 1000 handblown glass pumpkins, each a unique and intriguing work of art. Visitors can attend the opening reception on Friday to preview the pieces, which will be sold Saturday to benefit the MIT Glass Lab. Browsing both days is free and open to the general public, while the pumpkins themselves generally carry price ranges from $20200. Kresge Oval Holography: The Light Fantastic MIT: Ongoing, 10 am – 5 pm. Come see selections from the world’s largest collection of holographic images at the MIT Museum! In an ongoing exhibit, the museum offers an introduction to the diverse artistic and scientific applications of holography. Learn how holographic imaging technology has affected everything from anthropology to medicine to the credit card industry, and see the work of world-renowned holographic artists. Free with MIT ID, students with ID $3, others $7.50. Free Sundays 10 am – noon. MIT Museum MIT SCUBA Club: Underwater Hockey MIT: Tuesdays, 8:20-10:00 pm. “Underwater hockey,” a bottom-of-thepool game played with pucks and short sticks, is a fun co-ed activity which is famous for offering a great workout. New players are welcome at any time (bring

October 2007 your bathing suit!), and should email uwh-officers@mit.edu for more information. Pool access is free to MIT athletic card holders, $7 with student ID and $12 to all others. Zesiger Center Pool Titus Andronicus MIT: Thu 10/25 – Sat 10/27, 8-10:30 pm Like violent movies? How about iambic pentameter? Then you’ll definitely want to see MIT’s Shakespeare Ensemble performing the classic Titus Andronicus, one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays -- and certainly his bloodiest. The location is still under determination, so email ensemble-request@mit. edu for information later in the month. Tickets are $8 general admission and $6 for students. TBA Beginner Salsa Lessons MIT: Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm Every Tuesday, the MIT Salsa Club offers beginner lessons free to the public – no partner or prior experience required. (Already learned the most basic steps and turns? Then come at 7:30 instead to learn new material.) See http://web.mit.edu/ salsaclub for more details. Morss Hall, Walker Memorial (Oct. 2, 16, 23, 20) Lobby 13 (Oct. 9) LSC: Once MIT: Sat 10/6 7, 10 pm, Sun 10/7 10pm This acclaimed Irish indie film chronicles the romance between a pair of young musicians with passion only equal to their emotional baggage – not quite intrigued enough yet? Have we mentioned it’s a musical? Come satisfy your curiosity with this Sundance-

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award-winning movie, or check out the rest of the Lecture Series Committee’s fall film schedule at http://lsc.mit.edu. Tickets are $3 and most LSC events are open to the general public. Building 26-100

CONCERTS Hot Hot Heat, Thurs 10/11, 9:00 pm. Getting colder? Well this indie rock band certainly isn’t! After their first album release Make Up the Breakdown in 2002, the up-and-coming band signed to Warner Bros., where they produced their second album Elevator. After a two-year hiatus, this synth-based, wordplaying band is back with their third album Happiness LTD, which (unsurprisingly) Online Calendars: https://calendar.wellesley.edu/ wv3public http://events.mit.edu Events listed here are subject to change. Readers are advised to check with organizers ahead of schedule.

Submitting an Event to Agenda: Send title, date, time, duration, location, brief synopsis, organizers/ sponsors, frequency of event (if applicable), contact information and admission and ticketing requirements to: cptevents@gmail.com Promotional pictures (of at least 200 dpi resolution) strongly encouraged but not required. 5


A G E N DA , O CTO B E R 2 0 0 7 has the same head-bopping, shout-outloud melodies. If you want to feel the heat, catch them in concert! Tickets are $19.50. This event is 18 and over. See www.ticketmaster.com for more information. Paradise Rock Club. Boston, MA Of Montreal, Fri 10/12, 6:30 pm. Indie rock juggernaut Of Montreal promises its consistently unique brand of wildly bizarre, yet eminently danceable shows with melodies guaranteed to be stuck in your head for weeks. Tickets are $20. See www.ticketmaster.com for more information. Roxy. Boston, MA Stars, Fri 10/19, 7:30 pm. Upon the recent release of their stunning fourth album In Our Bedroom After the War, Toronto-based Stars retains their status as the gold standard of melodic indie pop. Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan bring their trademark tweaked-to-perfection vocal harmonies to Berklee Performance Center in the kind of performance you have to see to believe. Tickets are $20. See www.ticketmaster.com for more information. Berklee Performance Center. Boston, MA. The New Pornographers, Tues 10/23, 7 pm. The New Pornographers bring both energetic showstopper Carl Newman and the breathtaking vocals of Neko Case to the Roxy to prove once again why Canadian indie rock deserves all the hype. Loud guitars and addictive, on-your-feet melodies guarantee a uniquely electrifying show. Tickets are $22.50. This event is 18 and over. See www.ticketmaster.com for more information. Roxy. Boston, MA.

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MISC. 17th Annual Pies on the Common Sat 10/13, 10am-3pm. Come to the Framingham community fair! There will be crafters, local artists lots of tasty refreshments, handmade candy, a quilt raffle, and of course hundreds of homebaked pies! Free parking and admission. All proceeds will go to benefit First Parish Church in Framingham. For more information, see http://www.firstparishframingham.org or contact (508) 8723111. Framingham Centre Common. Edgell Road & Vernon Street, Framingham, MA. The Boston Tea Party Thurs 10/18, 6:30pm-8pm Robert J. Allison, Professor of History at Suffolk University, recounts the days leading up to the fateful night of December 16, 1773, when 342 chests of tea were thrown into Boston Harbour. Booksigning to follow. Free admission. For more information see http://www.cityofboston. gov/calendar/calendar.asp Old South Meeting House. 310 Washington Street, Boston MA 02108. Sinners and Saints Halloween Bash Sat 10/27, 9pm-2am. Want to go crazy this Halloween? The Boston Event Guide is producing a huge, ghoulish party featuring a reception of light hors d’eovers and spooky drinks for the first hour, followed by DJ and dancing. Enjoy complimentary body painting and a costume contest with over $1,000 in prizes at this mosnter mash. Tickets are two for $25 or $15 each in advance; $20 at the door if available. For tickets and more information see http://www.bostoneventguide.com Vinalia Boston. 101 Arch Street, Boston MA. Head of the Charles Regatta Sat – Sun 10/20-21 About 7,500 athletes and over 300,000

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spectators will converge on the Charles for the world’s largest two-day rowing competition. The forty-third annual regatta includes 55 race events throughout the day as well as other entertainment: every year, Row-a-Palooza brings headlining bands to perform. Past acts have included Nada Surf and Gavin DeGraw. For more information, visit www.hocr.org. On the banks of the Charles River, from DeWolfe Boathouse at Boston University to Artesani Playground in Brighton

WELLESLEY The Foreigner Wellesley: Thu 10/25, 7pm; Fri 10/26, 8pm; Sat 10/27, 2pm and 8pm; Sun 10/28, 2pm and 7pm Upstage presents a comedy by Larry Shue about a British man who comes to rural 1980s Georgia and pretends not to understand English. Complications arise and hilarity ensues. Admission free for Wellesley and MIT students; $5 for students and seniors; and $10 for the general public. For more information, contact (781) 283-2220. Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre, Alumnae Hall CPLA Pizza Lunch: How the World Has Changed Since 9/11 Wellesley: Wed 10/3, 12:30-1:30pm CPLA hosts their first lunch-time lecture this semester, a discussion of the changes felt by the nation and world since September 11. Pizza will be served. Pendleton Atrium Falling Leaves Festival Wellesley: Sat 10/20, 10am-9pm The Felding Medieval Society hosts their annual festival, a day-long event of fencing, hurley (a game similar to field hockey), dancing and a pot-luck dinner. Merchants will sell their wares, and one of the world’s greatest commedia dell’arte troupes will perform. Newcomers are welcome. Contact Elisabeth at ecaron@wellesley.edu for more information.


POLITICS

Gen. Petraeus Goes to Washington The fascinating spectacle of the Iraq war hearings { by marion johnson}

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the terrorists there so we don’t have to fight them here,” and declared our status in Iraq as ”unquestionably victorious.” Obama, unsurprisingly, used his time meant to question Petraeus—or at least meant to pretend to question Petraeus—to make another one of his thrilling speeches. “We have now set the bar so low that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation…is considered success. And it’s not,” Obama

Somehow Obama, Clinton and the rest of the crew have to find a way to be just as or even more reliable and convincing than General Petraeus—and they’ll have to do it in spite of rather than in conjunction with MoveOn.org’s efforts.

against. Petraeus recommended that we pull out one of our marine units immediately and by next summer withdraw about 30,000 troops. This counsel would bring us back to our pre-surge troop commitment. Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama treated Petraeus as just another piece of the Bush Administration Soundbite Machine, as though he said things like, “We are fighting

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his just in: the Democrats have some serious problems on their hands. On September 11 of this year, General David Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker delivered the better of their two Congressional testimonies on Iraq (the first to the House, the second to the Senate). After an embarrassing first showing in the House on September 10, the two men pulled off an excellent, honest and measured performance that will be hard to compete

ing for his left-wing fan base, but those of us who are paying attention already know that a total withdrawal by December 2008 is a fantasy and nothing more. Acknowledging the grave realities of the situation is not “setting the bar low.” It’s being sensible. Then again, Petraeus is not constrained by the need to get elected by the people. He can afford to be honest. Senator Clinton also gave Petraeus and Crocker an unnecessarily yet expectedly hard time that day. She called the men spokesmen for a “failed policy” and essentially dismissed their testimony as a work of fiction. One has to wonder whether Clinton is so aggressively on the offensive about Iraq to compensate for supporting it initially—something the Democrats seem unwilling to forgive her for. Unfortunately, if this is the case, she picked the wrong target in Petraeus. This man is generally known around Washington as one who keeps it real, and his testimony will not do anything at all to change that perception. So why is Petraeus’s testimony bad news for the Democrats? Well, while Petraeus admits that he doesn’t know whether our continued involvement in Iraq will make America safer, he also argued very convincingly that an immediate and total departure on our part would lead to utter disaster. Bush would be a complete fool (I know, I know) not to use this advice to his advantage, especially given that Petraeus is so well-informed and so dedicated to keeping it real. None of the Democratic candidates have such firsthand experience, and none of them can claim to be non-partisan. Somehow Obama, Clinton and the rest of the crew have to find a way to be just as or even more reliable and convincing than General Petraeus—and they’ll have to do it in spite of rather than in conjunction with MoveOn.org’s efforts.

said, before proceeding to catapult the bar so high that he expects a full withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of 2008, an enforceable U.N.-sponsored constitutional convention and a photograph of the Loch Ness Monster in its underpants. Well, dare to dream, Mr. Senator. Petraeus’s recommendations are probably the most sensible and least partisan that anyone has voiced recently. All Obama did was a little grandstand-

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Marion Johnson ’09 (mjohnso2@wellesley.edu) is looking for Moose and Squirrel.

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Back in the U.S.S.R? How Putin is ruining Russia for democracy

{ by kristina costa}

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ess than two decades after the fall of the Berlin wall, the Russian economy is finally booming. Cranes dot the landscape of many Russian cities, a testament to the many construction projects aimed at modernization and expansion. Despite the economic boom, however, Russia remains a land of contradiction. The rate of HIV infection has been rising precipitously for years, particularly among young men; meanwhile, the government has embarked upon a campaign to urge young Russians to procreate in order to fight the falling birthrate among ethnic Russians. Popular American sitcoms from decades past, including Married… With Children, are being re-imagined on Russian television with Russian char8

acters. Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church, resurgent after decades of oppression under the Soviets, is beginning to teach its tenets to public schoolchildren with the tacit approval of the Russian government. Buoyed by a wealth of natural resources, the Russian economic bubble has been growing steadily. After the stagnant Yeltsin years, it is perhaps to be expected that Russians will attribute their newfound prosperity to their enigmatic president, Vladimir Putin. Putin enjoys considerable popularity among Russians, despite the inability of the Kremlin to curb corruption across all levels of the Russian government. It is not difficult to imagine why. Putin is fit and athletic, boasting

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a black belt in Judo and a propensity for taking his shirt off while on fishing trips. As proven time and again in the United States, the populace loves a good dose of machismo in their world leaders, and B-roll of Putin flipping an opponent over and slamming him to the mats in the dojo is perhaps the best way to project an image of a strong, aggressive Russia without sending the rest of the West scrambling to climb back into those Cold War-era nuclear bunkers. However, as reassuring as those images of President Bush with Putin at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport may have been, the time has come for the West to start taking Russia seriously again. Spurred on by fears of the declining population of ethnic Russians, Russian nationalist groups have had several particularly fruitful years of recruiting. Most notable of these groups is Nashi (“Ours” in Russian), a neo-fascistic youth group that preaches xenophobia, jingoism, anti-Americanism, and a fierce Russian nationalism. Nashi organizes concerts, camps and other group activities for its members. Most jarring, though, is the group’s cult-like worship of Putin. Like so many other troubling trends in contemporary Russia, the Kremlin has turned a blind eye on the aspects of Nashi that are most antithetical to democracy—namely, the many ways in which the Nashi of today resembles the HitlerJugend of 1930s Germany—and, perhaps based on Nashi’s love of Putin, empowered the group instead. In mid-September, brigades of Nashi members, trained by the Moscow city police, began patrolling the streets of the capital city, ostensibly to retain order. The fact that Nashi members have been accused of attacking diplomats and inciting mob violence doesn’t seem to trouble the Kremlin a whit, however. Despite the troubling legacy to which Nashi appears heir, the United States will soon have a bigger problem with U.S.Russian relations. An already-strong current of anti-Americanism has been growing steadily stronger in recent years. It has been kept from affecting U.S.-Russian

Staff Illustration / Rayla Heide WC ‘10

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relations to a large extent because of the close personal friendship between the current President Bush and Putin. However, as odds are good that a Democrat will win the next election in the United States due to fallout over the war in Iraq, and as the next Russian president will likely be far more anti-American than Putin himself is, we stand to see U.S.-Russian relations deteriorating even more precipitously in coming years. Putin’s obvious reluctance to make any attempt to curb the xenophobia and anti-Americanism in Russia is more likely linked to his desire to retain his popularity than to provide continued stability for the Russian people. Further evidence that Putin is not bothered by—and is perhaps even anticipating— the temporary destabilization that will result when he leaves office in March can be found in his decision to replace Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov with the little-known Viktor Zubkov in early September rather than with Sergei Iva-

nov or Dmitry Medvedev, two prominent deputy prime ministers whose names have been bandied about heavily as candidates for the presidency. Zubkov was a low-profile financial regulator before being vaulted into the limelight by Putin in September. Soon after his nomination, Zubkov announced his intention to run for president. Whoever Putin endorses in the next presidential election is expected to win handily, and the fact that no serious candidate has stepped forward a mere five months before the election is telling. Is this a case of insider baseball at the Kremlin, or is Putin positioning himself to endorse a puppet of a president and remain behind the scenes after the Russian constitution forces him to leave office this spring? Whatever the case may be, the ultimate beneficiary of such strategies will be Putin himself, and not the Russian people who so worship him. While it is exceptionally unlikely that Putin will attempt to

circumvent the Russian constitution and pursue another term in office, it is far more likely that he will continue to exert influence on the government from the private sector, doing nothing to curb the rampant corruption that he claims to oppose. While the ex-KGB, Judo master president has a certain James Bondesque appeal, and while he has had the good fortune to preside over Russia at a time of great prosperity, change and relative stability, the time is nigh for Putin—and Russia—to decide which of the two is more important.

Kristina Costa ’09 (kcosta@wellesley.edu) knows her babushka from her babaghanoush.

Now just $4! counterpoint

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D I S PATC H E S

If You Give a Mouse Siberia... { by e.b. bartels}

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The day after we left Logan, we spent a nine-hour layover in the Frankfurt airport. Here, Pickles is enjoying the last fast food we would have for a month. Did you know that in Germany they charge extra for condiments? 10

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Staff Photos / EB Bartels ‘10

mack in the middle of Asia exists a crescent-shaped lake unknown to most people on this side of the planet. But this lake, Baikal, is “the soul of Siberia,” as described in the name of the Russian Area Studies/Environmental Science course that brought me and 11 other Wellesley students there for three and a half weeks this summer. Baikal is the oldest (over 25 million years), the largest (by volume – containing about one-fifth of the Earth’s freshwater) and the deepest (over a mile) lake on the planet, and in some ways, Baikal is more like an ocean than a lake with its freshwater seals and sponges. As a Russian major and a Studio Art minor, I armed myself with a mediocre collection of Russian vocabulary, my 35mm camera and enough Costco film to shoot one roll a day. I also brought with me one comforting item from home – completely necessary when traveling across 13 time zones to the region in which Russia used to exile its prisoners – a small stuffed rodent by the name of Pickles, given to me by my grandmother a decade and a half ago. Pickles makes an excellent travel companion due to his compact size, but he seemed especially at home traveling through Russia, perhaps due to the number of pickled foods we consumed in our time there.


After flying from Frankfurt to Yekaterinburg – the first large Siberian city east of the Urals – we spent 12 hours sleeping off jetlag in our Soviet-era hotel and wandering the city. That night at 1 a.m. we boarded the Trans-Siberian Railroad heading east. Our next two days blurred into 50 hours of snacking and reading as we watched Siberia fly by the train’s windows. Pickles takes one of the many “unintentional naps” that we found ourselves slipping into when in our four-bunk cabins.

Much of our time on the train was spent eating. I even visited the dining car to experience the romantic classic idea of clattering china and white linens. The tablecloth turned out to be plastic, the flowers fake and the plates mismatched, but eating smoked salmon and cheese on brown bread while traveling by rail through the middle of Asia still felt like something out of a novel. Here is Pickles next to a napkin holder printed with the Trans-Siberian Railway logo.

After five days of travel, we finally arrived on the shore of Lake Baikal in the village of Bol’shie Koty, where we would live for three weeks. Pickles is on the rocky beach on our first night in the village, still a little jetlagged and confused at how this massive body of water couldn’t be the ocean. 11 counterpoint


A couple of times during our stay in Bol’shie Koty, we would have group bonfires at a site on the side of a large hill overlooking the village. Pickles is looking a little fuzzy at left—maybe a little too much vodka?

We spent most of the last week of our time on Baikal literally on Baikal. On our five-day boat excursion we visited Olkhon Island (legendary burial site of Genghis Khan), the sulfur-stinking hot springs at Snake Cove and the nerpas (Baikal’s freshwater seals) at their breeding grounds at the Ushkany Islands. Below, Pickles is enjoying Fert Cove on our last morning of the excursion before heading home.

Staff Photos / EB Bartels ‘10

E.B. Bartels ’10 (ebartels@wellesley.edu) can no longer stand the sight of beets.

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A R T S & C U LT U R E

Come Together Uniting generations through music in the new film Across the Universe { by kara hadge}

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he Beatles. New York’s East Village. Anti-war protests. Love fests and road trip fantasias. These touchstones of the 1960s define Across the Universe, a 131-minute musical extravaganza directed by Julie Taymoor. The film is a love song to a bygone era that tells the comingof-age of an earlier generation through music that transcends decades and continents. The cast’s renditions of universal Beatles tunes pay tribute to the passion, creativity, liberality and keen sense of social responsibility in an unjust world that were endemic to the ’60s and leave your mind reeling as you watch the story unfold. Or maybe it’s the LSD-influenced montages that create that psychedelic effect. Whatever the cause, the effect is brilliant. Across the Universe tells the story of a dockhand from Liverpool, Jude, who comes to the U.S. in the 1960s to find his father, a janitor at Princeton University, and instead finds love and revolution. At Princeton, Jude meets Max, a student whose sole pursuit seems to be perfecting his golf swing from the roofs of various campus buildings. When Max decides to drop out, he and Jude head for New York and move into an apartment inhabited by the free spirits they aspire to become. Their landlady is Sadie, a singer, and their roommates are as diverse a cast of characters as anyone could imagine. They are soon joined by Prudence, an Asian-American girl from Dayton, Ohio, who does not fit in the Midwestern cornfields, and JoJo from Detroit, who leaves following the 1967 riot. After graduating from high school, Max’s sister Lucy also moves to New York with them and becomes an anti-war activist, and Jude quickly falls for her. The characters, several of whose names are drawn from Beatles songs,

lumbia University student riots, which do, unsurprisingly, cause a life-changing rift in Jude’s world. The emotional impact of the Columbia riot scene is an interesting contrast to the general apathy of today’s college students and twenty-somethings. Across the Universe is driven by the sense that Jude, Max, Lucy and their peers are on a quest to do something that matters, to experience life more fully or to enter their adult lives through some sort of trial-by-fire by breaking ties with the relative security of their childhood experiences. When Max first meets Jude at Princeton, he greets him with the words, “Welcome to the nursery.” Part of growing up in this context is to leave behind the establishment and feel the influences of pop culture and the media. Today’s media does little to encourage a sense of radicalism, but in the ’60s, the novelty of broadcasting war footage on television brought war into the American living room and influenced citizens’ responses to the war. When antiwar activist Paco installs a television in Lucy and Jude’s kitchen, Jude

are all ’60s archetypes; the structure of the film does not allow for much character development, but they are individual enough to connect with the viewer. The film is most successful at weaving together the generic storyline through an extensive soundtrack of Beatles singles, which, of course, were not all intended to function together as a soundtrack but do so very well here. The Detroit riot scene is one of the first break-out musical moments of the movie: an African-American gospel choir sings “Let It Be” in the midst of The film is driven by the characters’ quest the chaos and police brutality that segue to do something that matters, to experience into the funeral of life more fully and to enter their adult lives a little boy killed in by breaking ties with the relative security of the melee. Historical events are presented their childhood experiences. loosely chronologically to bring the characters together, and this one serves as the cause for JoJo’s flight to New flies into a rage because it brings the war York. As JoJo comments shortly after arriv- into his personal space—in particular, in ing in the East Village, “Music’s the only the room where he works on his art. His rething that makes sense anymore.” This is the sponse is a creative overture involving flying modus operandi that drives the film through red paint and rows of lusciously red strawberries pierced onto a canvas on the wall by a series of loosely-linked conflicts. Often the musical numbers give the pins, as he sings “Strawberry Fields Forever.” whole film the feeling of a gratuitously long The overall effect is that Jude realizes he music video, but overall, the format works. cannot hide from the turmoil around him. The choreographed dance numbers are The audience cannot help but be drawn in, amazing—beginning with a sock-hop style whatever their age, and this is why Across high school dance that is reworked later in a the Universe is worthwhile: it turns some of similar concept in a chilling, assembly-line- the last century’s greatest pop songs into the style scene at the military inspection center voice of a generation that still resonates dewhen Max is drafted. Another beautifully- cades later. crafted transition between scenes involves “Across the Universe,” as Jude’s lovelorn Kara Hadge ’08 (khadge@wellesley.edu) is rendition of the line, “Nothing’s gonna sitting on a cornflake waiting for the van change my world,” fades into the 1968 Co- to come.

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A R T S & C U LT U R E

“Don’t Tase Me, Bro” How YouTube and video phones commodify violence { by veronica cole}

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ast November, an act of unfathomable brutality stunned the entire collegiate community. When 23year-old UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad failed to produce proper identification during a routine check in the school’s library, police officers stunned him with a Taser multiple times, in what appeared to be a vicious abuse of power. In the aftermath of the incident, over one million Americans sat huddled around computer screens, watching that infamous six-minute YouTube video – courtesy of a bystander’s camera phone – of the horrific incident. Watching the video, one could see Tabatabainejad flailing and hear his pleas for the officers to stop, trying to explain to them that he had a medical condition. The most harrowing elements of the scene were his screams: “Here’s your PATRIOT Act! Here’s your (expletive) abuse of power!” As talk of racial profiling (Tabatabainejad is Iranian-American) and police brutality spread, we wondered how such a horrible act could haunt the college campuses at which we otherwise feel—or are supposed to feel, anyway—so safe. We assured ourselves that it would never happen again.

But on September 17, 2007, it did happen again. During a speech by John Kerry at the University of Florida, 21-year-old senior Andrew Meyer rushed to address the senator after a moderator announced that no more questions would be taken. After speaking for a minute and a half, Meyer’s microphone was turned off, and police began to escort him away. Senator Kerry responded to the officers, “That’s all right, let me answer his question.” However, the officers persisted in their attempt to pull Meyer toward the exit. Meyer protested and struggled, announcing, “I want to stand and listen to the answers to my questions,” and eventually fought his way back to the stage—but he was dragged away, wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. When he asked to be allowed to leave, police threatened to restrain him with a Taser—and they did. Meyer spent the night in jail, and the cops were placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation, immediately following the incident. We, as college students and citizens, have a right to know why incidents like these occur. The thought of a student being stunned by a Taser is frankly horrifying—these incidents remind us of our

As alternative media sources like YouTube grow increasingly popular, the content available on the websites in question becomes more diverse, inventive, sophisticated and, in some cases, disturbing. This article and the one following it profile two very different forms taken by videos on YouTube.com. 14

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utter powerlessness over authority; they present us with some of the most disconcerting examples of our vulnerability to abuse. However, just as we have a right to ask why our fellow students are abused, there is one question that should be asked of us: why are we so eager to see our fellow students abused? Both this incident and the one that occurred last November were videotaped by bystanders, the videos later reposted on YouTube. Almost instantly after news of the incident broke, Meyer’s plea to the police – “Don’t Tase me, bro!” – could be seen and heard all over the Internet. This phrase was unfortunately catchy, and it became suddenly ubiquitous. A friend of Meyer’s remixed the sound byte to a hip-hop beat and put the 44-second clip on YouTube in the background of a video of the incident. At press time, the video has been viewed on YouTube over 100,000 times. As with the incident at UCLA, the presence of these videos on YouTube allowed us to see, albeit through a blurry lens, what actually occurred. It must be asked, though, why we need to see these horrors first-hand. That a YouTube video of such an awful incident is necessary to our understanding of it, that we honestly need to experience the visceral reaction elicited by seeing a student being dragged out of an auditorium and stunned in order to know or care that it happened, represents, perhaps, a truly sad testimony to our inability to relate to these events. The videos themselves, in that they are so horrifying, are quite difficult to watch—and yet we would rather watch them than read the news. Shouldn’t reading an article about such an incident be sufficient to convince us of its injustice? Maybe we’re not entirely convinced. Just days after the incident, its originally profound impact was dampened by talk that Meyer sought the attention provided by his mistreatment by the police. According to CNN, there are some who reported that Meyer asked a woman if she was taping him before heading to the microphone; officers said that his demeanor changed once the cameras were off of him, and that he was laughing on the way


to the police station. These facts may or may not be true, but they are completely irrelevant to the actual issue: that using a Taser to stun a student, who intends no physical harm to anyone, is an egregious abuse of power. The worst consequence of these videos’ YouTube-legend status is that they, somewhat paradoxically, distract us from this fact. The availability of live-action footage of the incident allows us to watch it, be appalled by it and get over it, all in a matter of minutes. The YouTube video of Meyer—both the original recording and the “remixed” one—might desensitize us to the horrific nature of the incident and runs the risk of turning his experience into a commodity or, worse, a joke. Just as some viewers did with the video of Tabatabainejad’s brutal treatment by the UCLA officers, some might watch the video of Meyer, say, “Wow, that’s messed up,” and instantly look at something else. On the other hand, we could choose to see the videos of Tabatabainejad and Meyer as particularly stunning examples of citizen journalism. The student to whom Meyer allegedly handed the camera before approaching the podium, Clarissa Jessup, was the one who posted the video to YouTube and sent it into CNN. According to Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz, Jessup claims to have sent the video to a major news source because she “wanted national attention.” The phenomenon of citizens disseminating newsworthy information— through a variety of media—has become increasingly common. With the advent of blogs and YouTube, in addition to the more widespread use of video-phones and similar devices, suddenly everyone has the wherewithal to be a journalist. Perhaps, one might argue, this shift is empowering to those of us not hired by major news outlets: perhaps it means that we all have the power to make our voices heard in a more meaningful way. After all, one might argue that these videos’ YouTube fame helped word spread about the incidents. Whether we like to admit it or not, many of us might not have even been aware that such acts happened without the videos to prove it.

In this vein, though, we must ask: have the same instruments that allow us to become producers of news media made us less discerning consumers of it? Simply put, it takes very little effort to watch the videos of Tabatabainejad and Meyer – we don’t have to think critically about the issues at hand, which makes it particularly easy to forget them. Even more unsettling to think about is the possibility that videos such as these can allow us to harbor the illusion that we are consuming news when, in actuality, we are partaking in some morbid form of entertainment. Conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, on the September 19 edition of his CNN Headline News show, declared “Taser videos are a little like potato chips. I just can’t watch just one.” While Beck’s response to the videos might seem alarmingly insensitive, it’s probably not as uncommon as we would like to think. A shaky video or blurry photograph possesses one unique aspect that differentiates it from, say, an article in the New York Times: it speaks for itself, and is thus open to a remarkable level of subjectivity. There is no professional filter in front of the pieces of media that have become examples of citizen journalism – they are, perhaps, the most unadulterated, real examples of news that we could possibly hope to access, and there are no expectations placed on our responses to them. One person could see a video of a student being Tasered and take it as news; another could gather a group of friends around the computer to watch the video for entertainment. After all, what do we

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make of the “remix” of Meyer’s cries, supposedly put on the Internet by his friend? What are they, if not an attempt at entertainment? As the line between producers and consumers of news becomes increasingly blurred, one can no longer place the onus on news media to keep us informed; we must maintain the utmost responsibility in informing ourselves. Videos of students being Tasered might represent some of the most disconcerting reminders of this responsibility. The visceral effect they have on us makes it all too easy to mistake a knee-jerk response – be it disgust, sympathy, anger, or even entertainment – for actual information. We can watch the videos on YouTube, but if we truly care about the issues at hand, then we should also be willing to pick up a newspaper and read about them. If we can’t exert the effort it takes to stay informed about these injustices, then we have no rightful place to protest if—when—they happen again.

Veronica Cole ’09 (vcole@wellesley.edu) does not spend time watching YouTube when she should be doing her homework, no, sir!

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A R T S & C U LT U R E

The Not-So-Lonely World of Lonelygirl15 { by jane repetti}

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n June 2006, a sheepish 16-year-old named Bree posted her first video blog on YouTube. She was a quirky, physics-loving home-schooler with large brown eyes and impish good looks. In addition to being home-schooled, Bree’s social isolation was increased by a childhood characterized by frequent moves and a stint on a religious commune, resulting in a lonely world consisting of her stuffed animals and her sole human friend, Daniel. Because she had previously posted clever video commentaries on the most popular YouTube videos of the time, thousands viewed her first blog. Her strict parents and her religion kept her trapped in her room most of time, and her Rapunzel-like charm eventually entranced millions. In early September 2006, she revealed that she had been selected to participate in a mysterious religious ceremony, which required extensive preparation, including a special diet and injections of an unknown substance. Viewers, myself included, continued to watch as Bree released video

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were developing a story arc. At this point, the ranks of skeptics had widened to include Virginia Heffernan of the New York Times. It was Heffernan who broke the news that a group of hackers had traced Bree’s IP address to the Creative Artists’ Agency in Los Angeles. It was also discovered that www.lonelygirl15.com had been registered before the first video was posted. How could the fan site predate the blogs? Initially, there was outrage amongst the viewers, many of whom had offered Bree advice via blog comments and emails for what they had believed were her very real problems. The media exposure generated a surge of short-lived interest that was largely based on the curiosity factor. What were these videos whose entire popularity was based on an arguably unethical deception? When Lonelygirl’s creators finally released a public statement, the feelings of some viewers shifted from anger and surface curiosity to deeper intrigue. The Creators (as they refer to

Also, real or not, they couldn’t help being concerned for her: what was this creepy religious ceremony, and what, exactly, was she being injected with?

blogs every few days. Rumors had been swirling for some time that Bree was a paid actress and that Lonelygirl15 was just a promotion for a future movie or television show. The editing was a little too slick and her videos 16

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themselves on Lonelygirl message boards) emphasized that although they had hired the Creative Artists’ Agency to represent them, they had no ties to Hollywood or any large corporations. They explained that they were filmmakers experiment-

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ing with a new interactive medium. They stressed that viewer participation was a vital part of the series and that their input would shape the plot. Viewers were encouraged to post comments and videos and to help solve the mysteries and puzzles in the story-- there would be codes to break, drops (physical clues planted in real-life locations for viewers to find) and occasionally live on-location shoots in which fans could take part. The Creators’ sentiments proved true when they offered their full support to the unofficial, fan-generated spin-off series that began to appear. To me, this seemed like an intriguing new idea. If the creators maintained the quality of the plot and kept the blog format, this could be an exciting new medium that blurred the lines both between reality and fiction and between creator and viewer. It was an active rather than passive form of entertainment. But, in truth, some viewers continued watching because they were attached to Bree--even if she was just a character. Who wouldn’t love a girl who devoted an entire blog to topics such as helping Pluto adjust to his new non-planet status or the Tolstoy Principle? Also, real or not, they couldn’t help being concerned for her; what was this creepy religious ceremony, and what, exactly, was she being injected with? The Creators were Miles Beckett, a medical school dropout, Mesh Flinders, a writer, and husband and wife lawyer team, Greg and Amanda Goodfried. According to www.lonelygirl15.com, Beckett was inspired to create an interactive web-series after realizing that video blogs were the most popular “original content” on YouTube. According to an article in the December 2006 issue of Wired magazine, Flinders had created the character of Bree several years ago. He, like Bree, had spent time on a commune with his parents, and had often felt lonely during his childhood. Bree was, in some ways, his alter-ego. When Beckett and Flinders met at a party in early 2006, Lonelygirl15 was born. The Goodfrieds joined the team as Beckett and Flinders’ legal counsel. Beckett and Flinders were concerned about the legality of their plan, which involved deceiving the public into thinking that Bree was real and even go-


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ing so far as to answer emails in character. According to lonelygirl15.com, they soon took on writing and producing roles as well. The outing of Lonelygirl was a major boon to the actors, who had initially been unpaid and were bound to strict non-disclosure agreements. Jessica Lee Rose (Bree) gained instant stardom. She quickly landed a small role in the ill-fated Lindsay Lohan movie I Know Who Killed Me and a recurring role on the ABC Family show Greek. Yousef Abu-Taleb (Daniel) began a weekly radio show. In early winter 2006, the creators attempted to gain mass appeal by adding… well, hot people. Jessica Lee Rose, though very pretty, is not quite Halle Berry, and Yousef Abu-Taleb (Daniel), though extremely charismatic, is not conventionally handsome, either. So another blogger, Jonas, an Abercrombie-esque Adonis, was added as a third main character. While lovely to look at, Jonas is only capable of exhibiting two emotions: sullen or angry. Katherine McPhee of American Idol fame made a cameo appearance and her single was used in the episode. Prior to this incident, the show had used mostly indie or web-based musicians for its soundtrack,

and no celebrities had appeared onscreen. By 2007, the blog format, which had been the entire premise for the series, was only weakly adhered to, and the storyline veered into the territory of the ridiculous. Bree’s religion, idiotically titled The Hymn of One, is exposed to be both a cover and recruiting arm for some kind of evil secret society known as The Order of Denderah, a.ka. The Order. The Order uses certain “trait positive” girls like Bree who possess unusually high levels of ribozymes to conduct experiments concerning the prevention and reversal of aging. The “ceremony” is really just an experiment involving the blood of a “trait positive” girl. Since Bree is unwilling to participate, the Order is pursuing her. The creators struggled to find a way to make Lonelygirl15 profitable without sacrificing their creative control and independence. Ultimately, the creators polled fans about including product placement in the videos. A majority approved of the idea, and Icebreakers Sours Gum and Neutrogena entered the “Breeniverse.” In July 2007, the first “official” Lonelygirl spin-off series, KateModern, was introduced. KateModern, which follows the adventures of a

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“trait positive” young woman in London, was specifically created for the net-working site Bebo.com. This is quite different from the origins of Lonelygirl. Although Lonelygirl debuted on YouTube, it was not funded by or affiliated with the website. It was a purely independent enterprise. Flinders and Beckett have left Lonelygirl primarily in the hands of new employees while they work on KateModern. Though they have total creative control of KateModern and still supervise Lonelygirl, this step was viewed by many as an unforgivable corporate sell-out. The Creators issued a statement claiming that their vision is to create an international community of interconnected web-series, and that their partnership with Bebo would help accomplish this. Many fans found this statement unsatisfactory—had the Creators forgotten about their original promise of independence from large corporations? Amidst all this uproar the first season of Lonelygirl15 finally came to an end. The finale entailed live shoots with fan involvement, but it was all in vain because on August 3, 2007, Bree was killed as her ribozyme-rich blood was transfused into an elderly Order member. Bree, angelic to the end, had willingly sacrificed herself, hoping that the Order would stop pursuing her friends. Lonelygirl herself was dead. Any continuing story would be a soulless attempt at continuing an enterprise. The series has gone on without her with an absurd storyline centering on a secret resistance movement, and the possibility of supernatural powers in “trait positive” girls. It’s all just too much for veteran Lonelygirl fans to bear and yet most continue watching. I can offer no explanation as to why. In light of all of this I have a confession to make: when Bree died, I wept. I wept both because my beloved character had sacrificed herself, and because the series, rather than being an innovative form of active entertainment, had become little more than a promotion for a net-working website. Jane Repetti ’09 (jrepetti@wellesley.edu) can picture herself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. 17


A S K T H E B E AV E R

Beaver’s Back! Counterpoint’s own anonymous sex and dating columnist tackles scientologists, lesbian roommates and anal sex. Oh, my!

{ by the beaver} Dear Beaver, Last spring, I broke up with my longterm boyfriend. I thought that I would never find love again. Last week, I went on a date with a guy I met at a party a couple of weeks ago. He is funny and smart, and we really hit it off. There’s one problem, though. Over dinner, he told me that he was a recent convert to Scientology. I thought that this was another one of his jokes, so I laughed. It turns out that he was serious! Not only do I think that Scientology is a fraud, and putting aside any and all Tom Cruise jokes that may come to mind, I’m a thesising senior psychology major! Our colliding differences made for an awkward dessert course, but I had such a hard time finding anyone to date even casually after my boyfriend and I split up. Do you think there is any way for us to reconcile our differences? Analytically yours, Fond of Freud Hi Fond, I see your dilemma; I would probably have difficulty dating a Scientologist as well, but your query got me thinking and I decided to look into the faith to see what I could find. Apparently, Scientology is more a collection of beliefs that encourages people to find their “true” selves in order to improve their lives. It is all about advancement of one’s self, and you’ll be happy to know that despite the church’s denouncement of psychology, the theories of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and William Sargant contributed to its conception. Some of it is even considered a quasi-religious therapy that resembles Freudian depth psychology. Don’t worry, I’m not trying to convert you, nor am I any closer to converting myself, but it’s important to understand Scientology 18

before writing it off completely just because Tom Cruise decided to do some jumping jacks on Oprah’s sofa or because the South Park episode about it is hilarious. Speaking of understanding it, why don’t you ask him about his beliefs? Not everyone in a certain religion believes every dictum, so maybe you’re lucky and he is one of the sane ones! And maybe he can explain why Scientology appeals to him. He might have a good reason, such as an alternative to psychiatric help. As a last resort, I think one thing that’s good to remember in these situations is that denial is always an option. Nothing is forcing you to discuss his religion, or yours, for that matter. You claim that you really like this guy, that you’ve hit it off splendidly, so why give that up when you have been looking for someone special for so long? Are his beliefs going to get in the way of normal interaction for you? Will he be saying grace to Xenu before you commence a meal? If not, there are plenty of alternatives to conversation than religion, and it is pretty easily avoided. I recommend you give this guy a chance, more than the one date, to see if you could be together seriously since dismissing him solely because of his beliefs seems a waste. Do tread carefully though; you don’t want to end up like Katie Holmes. Dear Beav, I am a first year at Wellesley, and I really like it so far. However, I think my roommate is a lesbian. I know that homosexuality is wrong, but she’s so nice and we’ve had a really good time together so far. How should I deal with this awkward situation? Questioningly, Straight in Shafer

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Hello Straight, If you don’t mind, let me pose a few questions to you to get a grasp of the situation. Does your roommate have pictures of lots of hot women on her wall, partially nude or otherwise? Have you seen her reading Rita May Brown or Jeanette Winterson novels? Does she listen to Melissa Etheridge or Feist? Has she cut her hair into the “Wellesley Chop”? Does she have a lot of piercings, or maybe a choice few, such as a lip ring? Or, the biggest indicator: have you walked in on her with another girl? If you’ve answered yes to a few of these questions, your roommate may indeed be gay. She isn’t, however, evil. [If only one of these is true (except if it’s the last one), then you’re probably just projecting your own homosexual desires onto her! Congratulations, YOU’RE gay. ] Also, don’t presume that she’s attracted to you. Just because she’s gay doesn’t mean she wants to get with you. For all I know you’re some deformed freak who looks like she stepped out of a Picasso painting and has grown a tail. Maybe she dry heaves when she sees you naked. If so, the chances are pretty low that she wants to bone you. It’s only an awkward situation if you make it one. And who knows how long you guys will continue to hang out anyway? It’s only fall semester your first year. She may just be acting kind until she can get some real les-be-friends. Dear Beav, I’ve been dating my girlfriend for a while now, and our sex life is great. Lately, we’ve been talking about trying anal. She’s really into the idea; I’m less sure. I really don’t want to hurt her and I’ve never had anal sex, so I don’t know how hard is too hard and so on. Do you have any advice for painfree first-time anal sex? Concerned, Anxious About Anal Hi AAA, I’m guessing you’re a man, but even if you’re a woman, the same advice will apply. First of all, BE HAPPY that she’s really into the idea of anal sex. Most guys have to coax their partners into even considering it, so feel lucky and thankful because it will actually help when it comes to the physical act.


[For girls considering it, but unsure of the probability that they’ll enjoy anal sex: it can be just as pleasurable as vaginal, if not more, because although there isn’t direct clit stimulation, there is internal clit action. Your g-spot is the back of the clit inside your vaginal walls and it can be accessed through the back door too. Also, your vagina and your anus have a figure eight of nerves surrounding them, so anal sex can often access those nerves that vaginal cannot.] In terms of concern for your girlfriend: think of your own ass. If you wouldn’t like something being done to it, then she probably wouldn’t like it either. Would you like it if someone excitedly stuck a (generouslyestimated) 6-inch cylinder up your ass all at once? Then she probably wouldn’t, either. You get the idea? Only do what you wouldn’t mind being done to your own ass. (Assuming you would like anal yourself— but that’s for another column!) The fact that your girlfriend is more than willing is great. The more relaxed she is, the easier it will be to have a successful, painfree first time. But just because she’s willing doesn’t mean she’s completely ready. Usually if a woman has had a few orgasms already, her asshole will be loosened a bit and more willing to stretch, so on that special night in the near future, do everything she likes and make her cum again and again. If you don’t usually touch her ass, make sure you do so now! Do some rimming (licking the anus), and finger her a little. Don’t ram your thumb up there, but play with her ass and gently push a finger (and if she’s into it, two) inside. You also want to make sure that your finger is lubed up. You can also try to finger her ass while you have sex vaginally. This gets her used to the feeling of you inside her in multiple places, and this combination is known for its explosive orgasmic opportunities. Some people also find having sex with a butt plug in to be extremely pleasurable, and this can help to loosen up her ass for when you penetrate it. When you’re actually ready to have anal, you need to first and foremost be lubed up. Like I said before, lube is a necessity for a good time. I also suggest a condom, even if you don’t regularly use them, because it will help with added smoothness and lubrication. Quite likely,

your spit or her cum will not be enough, so invest in a bottle of KY. Don’t dump the whole bottle on yourselves, but be generous, and apply some to her (around and even inside her ass a little is preferable) as well as yourself. Don’t make it a chore; you’re playing with each other already (especially you with her ass!) so make it part of the fun. Have her get into whatever position makes her most comfortable, and then enter her a little bit at a time. Try going in about an inch, and then pull almost completely out, and then back in a tiny bit more than the first time, and then pull back again, but a little less. Continue like this until you can get your penis in all the way with no problems. During this back and forth however, listen to her! If she is in pain or she asks you to stop, do what she asks immediately. Even if you thought it was going perfectly, just listen to her and do what she says. Remember, it’s her ass you’re dealing with, so respect it like you would your own. Once you’re done, pull out and give her a chance to recover. She may be a bit flustered. She may have just had the best orgasm of her life. Give her a minute. A few last minute tips: 1. It shouldn’t hurt. If it does, stop and try again. 2. Never go ass to vagina with fingers or your penis. The other way is fine, but otherwise it can lead to bad infections for her. Use multiple condoms and designate certain fingers for certain holes if you need to. Your girlfriend will be mad if she gets an infection, and she’ll be unlikely to sleep with you again soon. 3. Don’t forget about her clit! I know you’re excited about being in her ass, but she’ll probably like the experience even more if you play with her clit and finger her vagina as well. Double penetration might be the most amazing thing she’s never experienced. 4. Listen to her. Whatever she says goes. If she tells you to stop doing something, then stop. If she tells you to go harder, do it. You won’t break her. Just make sure she’ll tell you if it hurts. Good luck and have fun!

Ask the Beaver The Beaver is Counterpoint’s anonymous sex and dating advice columnist.

Each month, the Beav answers your questions about sex, dating, and relationships.

It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s anonymous. Ask the Beaver your questions today! email askbeav@firstclass.wellesley.edu

The Beaver is Counterpoint’s anonymous monthly sex and dating advice columnist.

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19


CAMPUS LIFE

Traffic Tends to Come from the Right And other absurdities from across the pond { by jenny kim}

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ctober often feels like the busiest point of the semester, but while most of us trudge through our daily routine of classes, the fortunate are busy preparing for something a little more exciting: a semester or year studying abroad. Whether to study a language, immerse yourselves in a new culture or simply get away from Boston, many of you will opt to take your studies overseas. The prospect of going abroad can be very exciting—a light at the end of the tunnel of the sophomore slump—but like any good escape, it requires planning. All of this planning can make you feel like you are digging your way out of jail with a spoon, so before you prepare to set off into unknown territory, I would like to proffer a few tidbits of advice that I wish I had known before I went overseas. As a junior, I chose to go to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London not just for its unique classes in Asian and African studies, but also for its central location in the heart of London. This would be my first time living far away from home, so I was quite excited. When September finally rolled around, I giddily packed my bag, got on the plane and flew to London in the hopes that I’d be spending an awesome semester in a destination where the word “fun” hadn’t lost its original meaning. The first week in London was fabulous, for lack of a better word. Students go through hours and hours of orientation that deal with everything from culture shock and time management to safety issues. I strongly recommend students do 20

not attend these as they are a waste of precious time. Actually, I take that back. It might be a good idea to attend the ones dealing with class registration. Once classes began, however, things got a bit more interesting, as I slowly got used to daily life in London. Though experiences will differ from person to person, here are a few things one should expect as a student living in the UK for the first time. Drinking with British students is nothing like getting trashed with your fellow Americans back at home. For one, they rarely get wasted enough to end up crawling on the floor as most of us are used to. So if you’re planning on spending a night carousing with your fellow Brits, go easy on the alcohol. Also, beware that ale, which is what you’ll most likely be drinking in pubs, has a higher alcohol content than what we’re used to drinking back here. Take heed. Get used to the exchange rate. Unless something drastic happens, thereby leading to the weakening of the GBP to the USD (I highly doubt it), your dollar is going to be worth half as much as the pound. Get that into your head. Better yet, before you leave for London, work that into your budget. Say you have $5,000 for the semester. In your brain, just halve that amount down to £2,500 because that’s what it’ll be worth once you land in Heathrow. Don’t be offended when someone asks where you’re “really from.” As an Asian American, I’d often get asked this age-old question. It almost seemed unavoidable. Introductions between me and other Eu-

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ropean students would usually go as follows: Person A: “Hi. My name is so-andso.” Me: “Hi. I’m Jenny. Nice to meet you.” Person A: “So…where are you from?” Me: “I’m from Boston.” Person A, after a brief pause and a weird look, leans in closer and whispers: “No…Where are you really from? ’Cause…you don’t look American.” After the fifteenth time of being asked this question, I decided to have some fun. I once told someone that I was a North Korean refugee who escaped by hiding in a shrimp boat, and had spent a good three months out in the Pacific scavenging on shrimp shells before finally landing in the glorious harbors of Boston. I think he believed me because he didn’t ask anymore questions after that. Don’t scare your British friends by doing what we Americans love to do: complaining. Trust me when I say this: the British are petrified of expressing discontent to others. For example, say that you are at a restaurant and the service is sub par. The first thing most Americans would do is call the waitress and demand to speak to the manager. So you’d assume that the British would do the same right? Not so much. Complaining to the store manager in front of your British friends is a sure way to scare off not just the person in charge but your local friends as well. All this, however, does not necessarily mean that you should have misgivings about studying abroad in another country. In general, going abroad can be a great experience, and I would highly encourage students to go. The friends one makes with the local students and the experience of living in another culture far outweigh the few negative aspects that might entail. I promise. So get ready, pack those bags, and prepare for what is sure to be one of the greatest adventures of your young life. Jenny Kim ’08 (jkim8@wellesley.edu) is dancing with herself, oh-oh-oh-oh.


CAMPUS LIFE

First-Year, Meet Frat Wendies and MIT rush. What could possibly go wrong?

{ by elana altman}

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ow, so I really messed up, I thought as I took my seat on the bus, en route to my first MIT frat party on my first Wellesley weekend. Why on earth had I ever thought applying early decision to an all-girl’s school in the suburbs was a good idea? The admissions staff’s constant reminders that “Wellesley is only twelve miles to Boston!”—overlooking, of course, that it still takes 30 minutes to an hour to get there—popped into my mind. I sighed and decided I might as well use the bus ride to make friends with the girl sitting next to me. “Hi! What’s your name?” I asked. She answered, and from there the typical orientation quiz followed: Where are you from? What dorm are you in? What are your classes? Are you going to the same black light party the other 40 of us are headed to? By now, every response had become scripted, from trying to find good points about being stuck on the East Side or in a dorm with the tiniest rooms on campus (“Oh, I hear Munger has such nice community!”) to trying (and failing) to be witty about the cold Boston weather (“You’re from California? Hope you bought snow boots!”) The conversation ran its course and the typical awkward silence followed. I returned to contemplating the question of what I was doing on an overcrowded bus with 40 other girls dressed in their lowest-cut tank tops or shortest skirts, all so we could mix and mingle with the opposite sex for the first time in a week. Whatever, I tried to tell myself. Don’t think about it that way. Just think that in 40 minutes—or an hour—or however long it takes to get to MIT—you’ll be dancing in a dark, crowded room to too-loud music,

and you’ll be so lost in just having a good time you’ll have forgotten all of this. Assuming I actually found the frat. I didn’t have the faintest idea where I was going; I just knew to get off at the Commonwealth Ave. stop, and I hoped I could follow someone from there. My friends were similarly clueless. Maybe the one with directions was one of the many in our group who got stranded at the Lulu because they couldn’t squeeze their way through the door to score the hottest ticket in town: a ride on the 9:00 bus. Eventually, we reached the frat house, and the confused looks on the brothers’ faces made it clear that whoever had forwarded the e-mail regarding the party to the first-years had neglected to mention she had done so to the brothers; they were not expecting forty Wellesley girls to turn up that night. Unsure what to do, almost ready to turn back, we were saved by one of our older Wellesley sisters, already at the party. “You girls from Wellesley?” she said, “Come right up.” We followed her up, up, up, to the attic room where the party was. It was small but not particularly crowded. “It’s a t-shirt and highlighter party,” she told us knowingly after scanning the rainbow of tank tops we had on. “Don’t worry about it though; I’ll go get you some shirts.” She came back with a pile of XXL plain white t-shirts and highlighters. We exchanged sarcastic “oh-we’re-goingto-look-so-hot-in-these” glances but ultimately put on the shirts. We were, after all, just some ignorant little first-years, and she was a seasoned Wellesley upperclasswoman. Our shirts on, we eagerly grabbed the highlighters and pulled off their caps. But then we froze; we had no idea what to draw or write. After minutes of standing around helpless, our creativity eventually

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lead us to doodling tiny hearts and flowers on each other. The frat boys decided we needed some help (they were clearly right) and so they started drawing on us. When they finished, we had that same awkward silence we had every time we had finished one of those orientation conversations. We started dancing, and once we loosened up, a lot of us started to actually have fun. The guys, though, seemed to stay away. At one point, a Wellesley upperclasswoman came over and asked us who wanted a boy to dance with; we raised our hands and she counted the correct number to bring over. I was, apparently, in sixth grade again, and everything had to be done through a mediator, as boys and girls were too scared to actually talk to each other. Maybe next time I have a crush I’ll ask him out with a note and tell him to circle “yes” or “no.” “Shit! I think the last bus leaves in 10 minutes!” one of my friends exclaimed. Mass hysteria and confusion ensued; there were disputes over when the last bus was leaving. Some chose not to chance it and left right away; others of us stayed. Staying, however, proved useless, as apparently Boston parties end at midnight. One of the brothers offered to take us to another frat. We followed and during the walk had our first real conversation with any of the brothers. He was nice, but understandably unsure of what to do with the plethora of girls he now had following him down Beacon Street. Unsure what to do, stuck in a city where nothing stays open very late, we headed back to the bus stop, where we found a mass of others. I have no idea how long we stood waiting in the cold; the time didn’t pass too slowly because we were having fun bemoaning the frustrations of meeting guys and the need to be “overly confident” (our new, Wellesley-approved, politically correct form of “skank”). We decided that the next weekend we could watch Pride and Prejudice; an imaginary Mr. Darcy beat 30 real guys any day, no matter how willing or unwilling to dance with us. Elana Altman ’11 (ealtman@wellesley.edu) only brakes for unicorns. 21


L A S T PA G E

Remix: A Survey of Student Opinion Three intrepid Counterpoint reporters staked out the exits at Remix, Wellesley’s first major campus party of the school year. The previous beginning-of-term party, Tower Court, was last held in 2004. Here’s what our reporters found out.

{ by ka t h e r in e s ca f u r i , j e nny k im , & e liz a b et h p a n } B U STUDENT Age: 18 Have you heard of Tower Court? No. Did you see Britney at the VMAs? Yes. It was terrible. How much have you had to drink? Nothing. Q: How many phone numbers have you gotten tonight? Can I get your number? None. My number is 617 319 XXXX Q: Where are you sleeping tonight? In my dorm room. Q: Stereotype of Wellesley/MIT? Wellesley - Dykes. Ugly. Can’t dance MIT- nerds. Good at math.

W EL LESLEY STUDENTS Student No. 1: Age: 20 Heard of Tower Court? Yes No. of Drinks: None How many numbers did you get/ Can we get your number? I got 6 numbers. Mine is 610 804-XXXX. Where are you sleeping tonight? “In the same room as my friend.” Stereotype: None for Wellesley. MIT guys are “computer geeks, socially awkward, but brilliant.” Evelyn, Wellesley senior, 21 On Tower Court: “It was much grosser. It was in the gym and everyone was just really drunk and sweaty.” Is Remix better than Tower Court: “I think so.” Saw Britney at the VMAs: “It’s just so 22

sad.” Sterotype of MIT: “Definitely nerdier than Wellesley.” Name: Michelle Age: 18 Heard of Tower Court? “The dorm?” No. of Drinks: “I pregamed a little.” Where are you sleeping tonight? “In my bed” Stereotype: “It’s nice to see Wellesley girls having fun, but I think MIT guys can be pretty obnoxious.”

M IT STUDENTS Age: 20 Heard of Tower Court? Yes. No. of Drinks: 16 shots of vodka How many numbers did you get/Can we have your number? 5 / 307 287 XXXX. Stereotype: “I don’t stereotype. I’m from MIT.” Anonymous, MIT Junior (male), 20 From the UK, only been at MIT for two weeks. Stereotype: “I’ve only heard that Wellesley is all girls.”

B R ANDEIS STUDENT Anonymous, Brandeis sophomore, 20 (international, from Beligium, English is 4th language) Never heard of TC, did not see BS on VMAs, did not drink anything, zero phone numbers. Where are you sleeping? “In your room..... Seriously.”

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Stereotype of Wellesley girls “Wellesley is cool. The girls here are more beautiful than Brandeis. This is all girls school? Why do they have that?” Stereotype of MIT: “I’ve never heard of it.”

B C STUDENTS Name: Matt Age: 20 Heard of Tower Court? No, I’ve never heard of it. See Britney at the VMAs? Yeah...at least she had hair... Can we have your number? I haven’t gotten enough yet, can I get yours? Where are you sleeping tonight? “You tell me...” Stereotype of Wellesley: “Dykes and sluts.” Name: Jasper Age: 24 Heard of Tower Court? “Yes, I’ve heard of Tower Court and there’s no comparison...” How much have you had to drink? “Why, do you want me to get you some?” How many phone numbers have you gotten tonight? “So far only one...” Where are you sleeping tonight? “Not sure yet, we’ll see how the night goes.” Stereotype: “Wellesley girls are nice, but I didn’t go to MIT”


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Deadline for the November issue: OCTOBER 15 Email counterpoint@mit.edu


October 2007