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The Wheaton College Independent Literary Journal | Vol. 7, Issue 2, Spring 2012


the pub Thoughts from the Editor through silence and avoidance. Such strategies result only in superficial unity, preventing us from interacting with one another as we actually are. Honest disagreements can allow us to cultivate charity toward one another if they are done respectfully and with a willingness to actually listen to the other side. Indeed, disagreements can be valuable since a disagreement often implies active engagement with the issue being discussed. And affirmation can be just as important as disagreement, since it is all too easy to criticize without giving enough attention to what someone has done right. These reactions can be done hand in hand, and my hope is that as this campus continues to wrestle with important issues that we have the ability to engage one another with the capacity to both challenge and uplift each other at the same time. Hence, it is all the more important to be a listener. It is through active listening and reading that we can resist the temptation of apathy and begin to truly engage with one another in order to foster a more welcoming community devoid of perspectives masked behind indifference or fear. The Pub has always strived to be an outlet for student concerns through publishing, but our readers are just as important as our writers. This issue is for you. Fight the urge to just casually peruse this issue or to disregard it altogether. Embrace the role of a listener!

I have always struggled to participate in discussions. This is due to many reasons: my discomfort with public speaking, worrying about being unable to contribute anything valuable to the conversation, and deference to those who I perceive as having more knowledge on the subject. This doesn't mean that I don't have a place in any discussion, though: through my lack of verbal engagement I have come to embrace and value my role as a listener. Too often divisive issues on this campus become fragmented between those who are directly affected and those not affected, who therefore tend to dismiss the significance of these issues entirely. The recent dialogues about homosexuality at Wheaton are an example, as is, of course, the more recent problems regarding race. This division occurs as much in verbal dialogues as in written ones. It is important to remember, however, that there is value in participating and listening to discussions for which we have no vested interested. No man is an island, and in the community of Wheaton College the process of active listening allows for the possibility of grace and understanding to emerge even when we do not end up agreeing with what is being said. At Wheaton I think we sometimes have the tendency to avoid heated issues because of the uncomfortable tension that are their by– products. Christian unity should not be created

the pub [narrative] 4, 14, 28, 41 DOOWYLLOH Facing the Germs In Violence and Vomit, the Silence Shattered Peaches-and-Cream

[poem] 3, 7, 13, 45 When You Ask What I Remember an equivocal examination of an enigmatically elusive excursus. (a word-search for meaning) or, that time he tried to be in the world but not of it. Dogboy On the Chadian Civil War

Meredith Moench Jason Brown

Caleb Cardenas Aaron Brown

[essay] 9, 18, 35 Clarifying our Language on Racism Invisibility in the Public Forum Suburbs, City, and Environmental Appeal

Joe Lim Jason Smith Sophia Matias

[photo essay] 22 Soroti

Mary Noll

[review] 46

Joel Coakley Editor-in-Chief

David Hudson Abby Long Caleb Cardenas Julia Craig

The New Jim Crow

Helen Herrle

The Pub is an Associate Chapter of Vox Clara. For more information please visit their website at

Special Thanks:

Cover Photo: The Boats One by Chris Erdos. Digital Photograph. Chicago, Illinois. 2011.

We would like to give special thanks to Student Government for their financial support; and to the wonderful staff of the SAO for all their help. We would also like to thank the Vox Clara foundation for their support and counsel.

Chris Erdos is a Business and Art major from Missouri City, TX. He just learned how to do a cartwheel.Chris.




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When You Ask What I Remember Meredith Moench —Anna’s Visitation by an Angel: from frescoes of the life of Mary in the Orvieto Duomo. Now sometimes I forget an angel talked to me. She grew out of a slant of light beneath the door, until all I could see were colours bursting out like tulips after winter rains. And then I heard the dog and cat yelping on the floor, as if that angel brought in sound as well as sight, and this old house were like some gong that she had struck to break the quiet of my night. That solid darkness, that steeping silence—a this that she had turned to that— now seems so long ago, but still the corners of this room aren’t clean of shadows yet. Maria, you are evidence enough of how my darkness broke, and how I came to see the daily entering of light beneath my door. Meredith Moench is a senior English writing major from Kandern, Germany. She aspires to buy a chalet in the Swiss Alps, invite all her friends over, eat good cheese, and write more poetry.



— as if that’s always the first thing I’ll ask him, because it’s the first thing he would ask if he David Hudson heard something he didn’t understand. Though he had no vested interest in seeing the sign, and was, in fact, baffled as to why I wanted to see it I walked up to the Hollywood Sign on my last at all, he got a decent hike out of it, so he didn’t day in Los Angeles. I walked behind it, actually, mind going along. My younger cousin also went with me. I because it’s against the rules to walk straight up to it. I had to take my picture of it through the don’t know why. My uncle: “I don’t care about celebrities gaps in a black chain link fence twenty yards away, next to some sort of radio tower. A helpful or that stuff at all. I don’t get why people read about all that stuff. police officer at the bottom of the mountain told My uncle likes climbing Who the hell wants to know about these crazy me that hopping the fence mountains and taking people?” would set off a flurry of “Who knows if underground sensors that machines apart to see they’re even crazy?” I would trigger alarms and how they work. He’s said. “That could just bring helicopters “just like in the movies,” which may fascinated with function. be the tabloids making them look bad.” or may not have been true. My cousin; “Nah, Charlie Sheen is crazy.” It’s 6.5 miles up and down, with a change “Yeah, Charlie Sheen is crazy. You know in elevation of about 1,000 feet. There’s no shade. It goes through Griffith Park, home to he’s like the highest paid actor in television? Griffith Observatory (on a different hill), and Three million an episode, I think.” “Yeah, I don’t get it,” said my uncle. “He’s the trail is dry and dusty and covered in crumbly horse droppings. Near the top, there is a large not even that funny.” “I think it’s because he’s so famous. Wasn’t and complicated-looking cactus with a baked surface where dozens of lovers have carved each he funny before? Like in the 80s?” “He was never that funny.” other’s names. From the summit, you can see “I think he’s hilarious,” my cousin said. most of the city sprawling out in all directions And so we walked, alone aside from the so that the sign sits like an inscription on a Godfashioned monolith, and all around the inscrip- occasional jogger, while the sign in the distance gradually grew closer. We took a picture towards tion is sacred space. My uncle went with me. My uncle likes the beginning, just in case something happened climbing mountains and taking machines apart and we couldn’t get all the way up. You can to see how they work. He’s fascinated with func- barely see the sign because it’s so far away, so tion. He’s constantly telling me how things it looks like my cousin and I are posing in the work, and when he doesn’t know why something middle of nowhere. There is nothing inherently important or works, he says exactly that — I don’t know why



the pub interesting about the Hollywood sign. It’s ugly, from 20 yards away from behind? You can’t even monochromatic, half-hazardly constructed, read the word in my pictures without a mirror. and has absolutely nothing to do with anything. There’s me, standing in front of a black fence It’s a landmark, like the Eiffel Tower or Statue with DOOWYLLOH in the background, tryof Liberty, but it’s not really like those — those ing to stand just enough out of the way to show things are beautiful. They’re feats of engineer- the whole sign but not so much as to make it a ing and works of art. The Hollywood sign, on picture of the sign and not a picture of me with the other hand, is a giant word on a hill that says the sign, because the message requires that we be shown together. what neighborhood is in front of the hill. There is nothing inherently And I bet nobody has even looked at it That’s not beautiful; important or interesting since I put it online, it’s functional. And it doesn’t deserve to be about the Hollywood sign. since it’s exactly the same as every other nearly as famous as it It’s ugly, monochromatic, picture of the Hollyis. I walked up 1,000 feet, hiked three and a half-hazardly constructed, wood sign ever taken half miles on a dusty and has absolutely nothing by anyone. At the time, I fire trail, and sidedidn’t think about stepped a rattlesnake to do with anything. it much. But afterto reach a comically large welcome sign for a town I didn’t actually wards, it bothered me. Why put so much work go to because you don’t have to drive through into visiting something that you have no real reason to want to see? Because you’re a tourist. Hollywood to get to the sign. And yet, I really wanted to go see it, to But that doesn’t answer the question at all. Why be photographed with it so I could show other would seeing an ugly word on a hill be such a people that yes, I saw it, it’s real for me in a way popular priority that the backyard of a house that it isn’t for you because you’ve never seen it below the sign has TOURISTS, up close like I have. It’s true that I’d already seen GO HOME it in so many movies and photographs that it’s OR JUMP as familiar to me (visually, at least) as Adventure Trails, a mini-golf park that I drive past on the laid out in the grass? Or even stranger, that they way to and from school. Like the Hollywood actually have to put a fence and hidden sensors sign, I immediately know where I am when I see and helicopters near the sign to keep the crowds the gigantic green Adventure Trails dragon that of vandals and obliviously destructive foreigners guards the hole closest to the road. But I don’t from inevitably mobbing it? I don’t know why. Not really. But I think ever have the urge to take a picture of myself with the dragon and show it to people who have it was because, while almost everybody knows never been there. What makes the Hollywood what it looks like, almost nobody has actually sign worth climbing a little mountain to see seen it. It represents a shared cultural delusion


of experience, a comforting familiarity that our culture is so constantly inundated with these makes us feel like we’ve tapped into something photographs, both still and moving, that we see bigger than ourselves, even if it’s ugly and point- a million of these photographs per day and preless. A real confirmation of what was, before, tend it’s the same as seeing a million things. If I was going to continue like this, I would die with only an image. FOR INSTANCE: We all know what the an empty photo album, or much worse, an alsign looks like, and in that sense, we all have bum full of other people’s pictures, a sad testa“been there,” in that we all have escaped there in ment to a life lived vicariously. And it was this our imaginations, however brief and incomplete fear, this subconscious desire for true sight that I didn’t even understand it felt. It’s like that with anyat the time, that made thing: in seeing a picture, The problem with me want to go, and not we can imagine being there photographs is that just go experience somenext to whatever is in it, fillthing, but to stand close ing in the cracks with the they let us pretend to something I had seen stuff of dreams, and for an imaginative moment, we we’re experiencing the a hundred times but had pretend we’re in two plac- phenomenon of sight. never seen, to fill in an actual experience for a es at once. The ability to live vicariously is amazing, and dangerous. For vicarious one, to give life to a stagnant image while it’s exhilarating to pretend, I’ve hobbled I mistook for the real thing. It wasn’t about the my way through dull days on a crutch made of sign. It was about my eyes. It was about wanting “pretend,” playing the part of the compulsive to see better things with them, to not waste their daydreamer while life happened quietly around potential on sterile secondhand experiences. It’s very easy for me to escape into places me. I walked right past it. The problem with photographs is that they I’m shown, even if all I’m seeing is whitewashed let us pretend we’re experiencing the phenome- Australian steel on the top of a dusty hill in the non of sight. We confuse familiarity with experi- middle of a city, through the gaps in a chain-link ence. I’d seen this sign before, knew exactly what fence. But after only 21 years, my imagination it looked like, but I had only seen it vicariously is getting tired, and it’s not creative enough to through the “eyes” of a faraway camera. And compete with the magic of true sight.

David Hudson is a junior philosophy major with an English literature concentration from Winona Lake, IN. He can often be found daydreaming in class, writing movie scenes or plot synopses in the margins of his notes. David.



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an equivocal examination of an enigmatically elusive excursus. (a word-search for meaning) or, that time he tried to be in the world but not of it. Jason Brown

The metronomic microphone mumbles, trudges towards a teleological turf, but surfs sideways, swerving to safety from frankly fraudulent Freudisms — assumed simply for a self-satisfying science once weighed by wayfarers as worthy — honorable, if not ostentatious, but honest, for sure; yet even this security is shaken from since-shriveled hands by the trials of time itself. A terrorific tyranny. Better to babble than think theosophical thoughts aimed agreeably at austere aristocrats; they could never normalize their nefarious narratives whispered, oh so whimpily — where’s wisdom? — under unentitled breaths.

He grows. Economically exegeted, extremist expulsions from fantastically framed familial fermentation, nonsensically never-minded as nil — always allowed almost conclusions, yet quickly kicked by the wayside with a “whatever,” never noticed by the knowledgeable gnosts — nixed.

Alas, love and loss leave nothing to juxtapose in jest, just indigestibly trivial trials. You nomad, never to nest so neatly — as if not to annotate a science of surreptitious unselectivity — senselessly “settling,” they say.

Yet, he grows. Momentarily mystified by mythological mentors mumbling more like rather rusty Rasputins; they’ve wrought irrevocable havoc. Concomitantly these colleagues construe cranial confusion bastardly behind banal benevolences, backed unboisterously by books. Even singers and songwriters, those sensationally civil sinners, hold high their hymnals of heinous heresies. The unarguable aim: that neither artist nor ascetic be left unaroused, unabashedly, by the avaricious vice-grip of their various vicissitudes. He’s here so vexed by these hair-spray hardened, yet Frankenstein-fractured, folk of philosophy, frankly phrased: Pharisees.

And, he just wanted to be loved.

How will he ever learn? Tricky truths tenaciously take to his tree-bark hard hands now ruinedly ready to reteach through respected rhythm, a rhyme that only time tells.


Jason Brown is a senior international relations major and sculpture minor from Ellington, CT. He has invented a system for traversing the time-space continuum. Ask him about it!



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Clarifying our Language on Racism

tive” — as well as the content of their behavior — “what Rick did was racist.” But they are different and ought to be treated as such. The dichotomy between the two renders Joe Lim them associatively differentiable — hurtful behavior does not necessarily guarantee that its source has a hostile motive because it can be carried out withMuch discourse concerning racism has circu- out one (e.g. in ignorance, as a defensive reflex, lated our society today. And as tired as the topic etc.). Consider the following scenario: John’s faoften seems, it is still one that deserves engage- ther has been tragically killed in a car accident ment, given its nearness to so many individuals. and, naturally, John is traumatized. His friend The problem, as I have witnessed it, seems to Rick visits him and, unaware of his father’s be that both victims of racism and those ac- death, cracks a joke about his father, which John cused of racism need to examine the way they would have taken cheerfully had this death not occurred. But given the engage in dialogue. With The problem, as I have circumstances, John is utdiscourse that is riddled with generalizations and witnessed it, seems to terly distraught. Did Rick have a illogical assumptions, the be that both victims hostile motive? Was he debate can only grow cackling under his breath worse unless we decide to of racism and those as he saw John’s face fall? clarify our language on racism. Thus, I would like accused of racism need Clearly not. He was just to propose some lingual to examine the way they unaware, by no fault of own. Still, the fact reprinciples that I believe engage in dialogue. his mains that Rick’s behavior can be applied to general interpersonal communication. When these are was hurtful. Thus, it should be noted that the lack used specifically in the context of racism, the of a hostile motive does not disqualify that behavior as problems, as well as the solutions, ought to be- requiring some remediation. Given that Rick’s jokes about John’s father are, at least for the moment, come apparent. Let us begin with the claim that motive and hurtful to John, Rick ought to refrain from them content ought to be treated as separate. This seems evi- for the sake of John’s emotional health. However, it may not always be apparent dent in the way we use our language. For example, the term “racist” is often attributed both to that some behavior is hurtful unless this fact is individuals’ motives — “Rick had a racist mo- stated by the victim. John weeps at Rick’s men-

1 Whether in this specific case the use of the term “racist” qualifies as an attribution error or not, I believe the principle’s veracity undoubtedly remains. I will address the pushback later in the piece.


tion of his father, to which Rick is bewildered. Why is John crying? Did something fall in his eye? Does he just really love his father and get really emotional when thinking about him? Rich doesn’t know, so he cracks another joke about John’s father to get him to cheer up. Given that Rick is unaware of the effect of his jokes, it seems unlikely that he will change his language to fit the situation as he properly should. Thus, the situation suggests that the victim of hurtful behavior has a responsibility to let the source-person know that he or she is hurting; John ought to let Rick know what happened and that he is hurting, so Rick can take proper measures. The above-mentioned suggestion should be recognized as being based on individual history and culture; what is deemed hurtful is ultimately subjective. The connotative aspect of language is less rigid than its denotative one, such that it is often difficult to discern what the proper thing to say is. Consider the following proposition: given that cracking jokes about fathers is categorically wrong, Rick should not have said what he did and his behavior ought to be remediated. It seems clear that this is false. Now consider its opposite: given that cracking jokes about fathers is categorically permissible, Rick’s behavior ought not to be remediated and John simply ought to “chill out.” This doesn’t seem correct either, because the context clearly deems Rick’s behavior inappropriate to the situation. Thus, it seems we ought to accept this: given that cracking jokes about John’s father is subjectively hurtful to John because of his situation, Rick should not have said what he did and his behavior ought to be remediated. This ultimately feeds into the conclusion:

it is mistaken to claim that some form of behavior or language is objectively correct in all situations and at all times because whether they actualize this way is dependent on subjective, not objective, factors. Thus, it seems problematic to prescribe an overarching, objective method for language and behavior. The principles stated above are seldom adhered to, and this seems to lead to mistakes made on both sides of the issue of racism — those who do the accusing of racism, as well as those who are accused of it. On the one hand, victims of racism often point to hurtful behavior and language and immediately delineate its source-persons as being “racist” in their intentions, failing to dichotomize between behavior and motive, and thereby committing the fundamental attribution error. Other victims of racism are often bitter to those who have hurt them, but keep the issue bottled up and fail to address it to those who have hurt them. Thus, they have neglected their responsibility to let people know that they are hurt. There are also some people who claim that we are blowing the issue out of proportion and that the victims of racism make out the issue to be larger than it actually is; some even claim that the issue is not an issue at all. This is utterly assumptive. For some people, the issue is an important one that is very real in their lives, and using a personal example to override the entire problem altogether is incoherent — “racism is not an issue for me, so we should stop considering it an issue at all.” In the philosophical academy, we call that fallacy a “sweeping generalization.” Equally problematic is the notion that racism is an issue for everybody. There are some individuals who would rather forget about the racism issue, and would prefer to be spoken to as if it were not an issue for them. If this is so,



the pub Q: Why are Jews so good at math? we should oblige them. But this accommodation A: They have the answers on their arms. should be dispositional rather than lingual — it Not very edifying, is it? It goes without does not legitimize using racist language for people who do not struggle with the issue. Rather, saying that such a joke (albeit, probably more it simply suggests that we approach those people subtle) could be made without malicious intent. without giving extra attention to the racism issue But even without it, such language would indicwhen using our language; such lingual accom- ative of and promoting systemic racism, espemodations would only be insulting. Language cially with our language — to call the behavior itself, however, should always be free of racist that stems from and reciprocally impacts this generalizations or remarks, even among people anything but “racist” seems incoherent. And if who do not struggle with such issues. This is ul- somebody were hurt by the result of this “joke,” timately to build towards a language that is free would we justify them by saying, “Relax. It’s a joke. Their motivations were not racist”? of insensitivity. The problem of racism is a very real one. Finally, some people have claimed that without a racist motive, racism is not an issue. But whether you, or I, or any other single person Here, I ought to address a common pushback considers it a problem to us or not, chances are which is that, specifically with respect to racism, that somebody else will feel very differently. The content and motive cannot actually be sepa- utter subjectivity of the issue and how it rings rated. By definition, behavior cannot be called to the deep, personal self is not something we are going to get away from. “racist” without a prior “racist” motive because “rac- The utter subjectivity Therefore we should not treat the issue as if it does ism” is inherently hateful. of the issue and not fall along those lines. Therefore, racially hurtful how it rings to the I’m one of the luckier behavior without the hurtones, in that the race isful motive should merely be deep, personal self sue does not come across called “racially insensitive” is not something so hurtfully to me. But I’ve behavior. This is a false dichot- we are going to get also known victims of racism who have experienced omy. An all-encompassing away from. identity crisis, self-hatred, ostraterminological distinction between a “racist” motive and a “racially in- cism, depression, even suicidal tendencies because sensitive” one implies that racist behavior can of how deeply they are tied to the race issue. only perused in relation to the person — that is, And it seems problematic to me to claim that only intentional racism feeds into racist behavior. we are “blowing the race issue out of proporThis is still problematic, however, because even tion,” or that “we should stop talking about race without the intention, the hurt remains — this altogether” when the very simple and accessible can be attributed not to an intentional racism, solution of healing via listening and empathizbut a systemic one. Consider the following rid- ing lies before us. Thus, to sum up, I offer three suggestions: dle:


First, we ought to consider each individual in his or her own right, and make the decision about whether some types of racial language are okay with them. If you are unsure, ask, and let them know that it’s important to you that you speak to them in a way that is edifying and proper. If it’s not an issue for them, don’t treat it as such. If it is, then act like it is, and respond as if it is. Second, we should refrain from generalizations; don’t assume either that everybody is okay with some racial language, or that nobody

is okay with racial language. Don’t assume that the problem is objectively an issue or a non-issue. And finally, we must be gracious to those who don’t approach the issue graciously. When passion turns into aggression, responding with further aggression will only worsen the situation. The issue ultimately is one that ought to be worked through with patience, accommodation, and understanding. Only then will we regain control over our language and, ultimately, ourselves.

Joe Lim is a junior philosophy and Bible and theology major from Ridgefield, NJ. He dislikes chocolate, and has read through the entire Summa Theologica as a reading project one summer.



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Facing the Germs

Caleb Cardenas

Abby Long

When I was young I had a dog. His Name was Dog, but we called him Dogboy. Dogboy died, and I cried and beat down cactus with a baseball bat. I didn’t care when coyotes stole our chickens or our cats, but I smashed cactus with baseball bats when Dog died; I cried. Then I did-

"So, how are you doing, girl?” I wield my knife deftly, making an incision in the thick orange “Mommy, what’s for dinner?” peel, slitting the circumference. Citrus mists my “Well, honey, Aiden has the flu, so we’re smile as I tear away the peel. “Oh, I’m doing okay… I’m just so tired. I going to have potato soup and crackers.” Flu. The word itched in my ears, latchonly got like six hours of sleep last night!” What I wouldn’t give for six hours of sleep ing on to my seven-year-old focus like a macroper night. If sleep could be bottled, I would buy phage. Just the contemplation of such an infectious word as flu caused my skin to prickle and it by the case. “It’s just like, I can barely function, you my stomach to churn. It was time for preventaknow?” She yawns, lolling her head to the side. tive action. Rushing into my bedroom and shutting “And my legs are sore from my run yesterday.” Back. Legs. Neck. Wrists. Temples. My body the door behind me, I grabbed my illness outyells for my attention in the language of pain; break essentials. I stuffed my bath towel in the crack under the door to awareness of each muscle keep the germs from mospills over into my consciousDuring a recent mentarily crawling into ness. Deltoid. Sternocleidomassleep study, I got my room. I snapped on my toid. Flexor carpi radialis. I zero minutes of blue carpenter’s dust mask, strain to hear my friend over the metal nosethe sensory din within me. REM sleep during a pinching band to fit the contour of I know what it is like total of 470 minutes my nose, which I knew to to barely function. During a be the primary portal for recent sleep study, I got zero in bed. My brain the invasion of illness. My minutes of REM sleep durawoke itself on lungs expanded, inhaling ing a total of 470 minutes in bed. My brain awoke itself average 95.1 times the musty, mask-filtered air as I squirmed belly-first on average 95.1 times per per hour. onto my dresser. Standing hour. The same pain that battles for my attention during the day assails atop my dresser, I grasped the window latch me at night. As I lie down to sleep, my nervous and thrust the sliding pane to the side, letting in system fights to remain awake. I am lucky to a flow of brisk, Southern Oregon winter air. I sleep four hours a night. Often it will be two or pressed my masked muzzle against the screen; I three full days before pain agrees to a temporary envisioned the germs that lurked on my sweaty brow being assaulted by the influx of clean air. armistice with my brain allowing me to sleep.

n’t cry again for a very long time, until that night when I reached the bottom of the bottle and clenched my fingers into fists and beat them into his face. I didn’t feel his warm blood like I couldn’t feel the splatter of cactus flesh and needles in my arms. He didn’t deserve the beating that he caught in the cross-fire of my thoughts about a girl. And the woman didn’t do me wrong, she just didn’t do me right. And when his friends threw me into the ditch that night and in the shadows wound my fallen body around the anonymous plant’s trunk, I thought of Dog, and I cried.


Honing back in on my friend, I nod sympathetically as I raise an orange slice to my lips. Over the course of my twenty-one years, I have conquered a host of maladies, real or imaginary. Fibromyalgia is relentless. So am I.



the pub Away they flew, powerless against the healthful gust.

rosy for a long time from Bible stories, but I had never seen it depicted on screen. I awoke in a panic after a prolonged nightmare about Ben Hur’s mother slowly disintegrating from acute leprosy as she chased me around an arena. I woke up only after she had caught up with me and grabbed my arm, causing it to melt away.

As a young girl, I developed a never-slaked thirst for reading. I read upwards of two hundred pages a day, my imagination feasting on simple classics and historical fiction. However, with literary curiosity came great danger for a girl like A turning point in my germ-averse lifestyle me. The more I read, the more potential maladies I encountered; naturally, I assumed that I, came in the form of an Anatomy and Physioltoo, was afflicted with each. Reading about the ogy class in which I enrolled as a sixth grader devastating effects of cholera on the Langford at the local community college. I was fascinated family in the American Adventures series caused my by all things anatomical, faithfully memorizing each bone, muscle, and system pulse to quicken; titles such as with unprecedented zeal. DurSmallpox Strikes! drew my attenThe video ing one class meeting towards tion to the variegated pigmenempowered the end of the course, the intation of my freckled arms. Is that a freckle or the beginnings of me to name my structor, Ms. Cound, showed educational documentary smallpox? I was psychosomatienemy, to track an on the common cold that decally smitten by yellow fever his progress, and tailed the entry of the virus after learning of Walter Reed the body, the progress of and Jesse Lazear’s experiment to withstand his into the symptoms and the correto find its source; I was sickfuture assaults sponding immune responses ened with scarlet fever upon reading about it in All-of-awith confidence. on a cellular level. While the older homeschooled high Kind Family. Even scarier were conditions that I couldn’t pronounce. Pneumo- school students slunk into their hoodies and nia leered at me from the pages of Betsy and Tacy; dozed all around me, I met one manifestation of consumption clutched at my throat from tales of my nemesis, the germ, face to face as I watched the virus in action. The video empowered me Victorian England. Reading was not the only way I discovered to name my enemy, to track his progress, and fearsome new ailments. My parents thought that to withstand his future assaults with confidence. A few weeks later when I came down with my devoted love of history would be rewarded by a family viewing of Ben Hur. After watching it my typical winter cold, I was elated: I now had late into the night with my parents and younger a test case to examine first-hand. As I rode with brother, I went off to bed dreading not Roman my mom on the way to Food4Less, I was comrule, not chariots with spiked wheels, not Charl- pelled to share my new-found knowledge. Strugton Heston, but leprosy. I had known about lep- gling through the curtain of the post-nasal drip


that threatened to erode my esophagus, I avidly informed my mom about the current state of my cold. “The virus cells released their DNA into my throat cells about three days ago. I was sick before I felt a thing!” “That’s nice, honey.” “And now, I feel miserable, because of cell lysis. But I’m not worried, because I know my killer T-cells are coming to the rescue! Thank goodness for antibodies.” “Mmhm.” “Mom, it’s amazing how much more I enjoy being sick now that I understand precisely what’s going on in there. Plus, I’m glad to know at this stage, I’m not contagious anymore.” My mom nodded, neither affirming nor disputing what I had shared. It mattered not to me whether she grasped the full import of my new knowledge. I, Abby Long with the post-nasal drip, now had the upper hand in my fearful fight against contagion. Two chiropractors. Two specialists. Three physical therapists. Three months of eating only oats, granny smith apples, nuts, cinnamon, and xylitol. One pain specialist. One acupuncturist with a fondness for Chinese herbs. One homeopathic doctor. One experimental drug trial that cost me my coherent self for a year of high school. Six years. Lots of pain. One diagnosis: fibromyalgia. My reality: a condition that inexplicably saps my energy and is accompanied by chronic, body-wide pain. The condition is diagnosed only after extensive testing and exhaustive attempts to find a direct physiological or chemical


cause for chronic pain. A person with fibromyalgia experiences constant pain wherever she has muscle tissue; nerves in the fasciae — little web-like membranes that enclose each bundle of muscle cells — send out erroneous pain signals to the brain which cause the body to feel pain without an ostensible cause. As the sixth-grade video made the path of the cold virus tangible, I have come to see fibromyalgia as a sort of invasion. The casings of each muscle-bundle cry out for relief as if they are participants in a political rally. Occupy body. Occupy attention. Occupy pain receptors. My brain calls out for order in the court, only to be overwhelmed by the mob of incoming signals of outraged muscle tissue. Internal anarchy ensues. My early fears — cholera, smallpox, yellow fever, scarlet fever, consumption — these illnesses are well documented, well understood, and well treated. Conversely, fibromyalgia is a recent discovery without any foreseeable cure. It is a condition that does not result in death, but rather in a pain-imbued life. I am grateful that as a sickness-fearing child I could not have foreseen fibromyalgia as a part of my future. Fibromyalgia, a perpetual representation of the illnesses I feared as a child, has forced me to confront my terror of being sick. Moreover, it has forced me to consciously decide how I regard life. Although I’ve always had a goodnatured temperament, I grew deeply embittered after my diagnosis during my sophomore and junior years of high school. I sought out a nationally recognized fibromyalgia specialist who prescribed heavy doses of experimental medication to combat my symptoms. Instead of relief, I was plunged into a deep fog; my personality evaporated and my faith wilted. After a doctor-defying decision to ease myself off what turned out to be


the pub

Invisibility in the Public Forum

Abby Long is a junior English literature major from Medford, OR. She invented a floral bikini harness for a chicken so she could take her on walks in style.

The first synthetic mediums we learn as infants are verbal and nonverbal language.While language has the ability to connect one individual to another, it also creates a disconnection, in Jason Smith that there is always something lost in communication. Think of language as one chain link that I want you to imagine that you’ve become in- both binds and separates communicators. Then visible. Gone is the eye of public scrutiny, that add another synthetic medium like texting. Now, social panopticon that monitors and judges all not only do we have to navigate the imperfecyour activities. Perhaps for the first time in your tions of language, but language that is quickly life, you truly feel free. But what’s the trade-off ? punched out on a phone’s dial pad. The more You soon come to realize that with your new- synthetic mediums one adds to a single commufound invisibility, you are not only free to deviate nication, the more links that may separate the communicator from the from social protocol, but recipient of the communialso society’s moral code. In the computer age, cation. You now have free reign to Through the wide “edit” your academic rival’s our experiences are array of synthetic medinotebook, publicly lamno longer mediated ums available, now more baste a fellow cabinet memthan ever before we have ber you’ve always disagreed through direct ability to communicate with, and even heckle a sensory perception. the to a worldwide audience speaker out of Edman while enjoying the comfort Chapel. That’s just the beginning. While this vision has been explored by of invisibility. I’m not talking about encrypted H. G. Wells, it is not science fiction. You might surfing to avoid identity theft — but rather the be surprised to learn that it’s happening right simple and amazing ability to participate in this now. Without even realizing the fact, you might new informational world while remaining anonbe taking part in this phenomenon. You might ymous. Think about it: Every time you deliver information anonymously on the web or any be one of the Invisibles. In the computer age, our experiences are public forum, you are invisible. Is there anything inherently wrong with no longer mediated through direct sensory perception. Now, public forums allow us to expe- this ability? No, not necessarily. There are times rience stimuli through multiple synthetic medi- when invisibility is appropriate and even necesums, such as email, Facebook Wall posts, and sary to protect personal information and safety. phone conversations. By synthetic mediums, I Unfortunately, my experience suggests that the mean any method of communicating informa- vast majority of anonymous communication on tion. Here, public forums refer to platforms that public forums does not yield positive results. We need to look no further than the racial support multiple types of synthetic mediums — slurring on so many YouTube comments secthe Internet, for instance.



addictive, side-affect inducing medications, I re- portunity to get an edge. I take personal pride emerged into reality with a renewed zeal for life. in ferreting out a true bargain. I harmonize I decided to seek out the opportunities for joy with the melody of my printer. As fibromyalgia relentlessly wracks my body that God has sprinkled about with pain, I stubbornly refuse among the detritus of life. God, with his to give in to the accompanying God, with his unfathomunfathomable listlessness it induces. able capacity to bring good from what is evil, has used capacity to bring fibromyalgia to prune my good from what “Yum!” My taste buds apathy. I have discovered that seeking joy in the ordinary is a is evil, has used dance with joy. “That was a spectacular orange. It’s not way to be present and well. Alfi bromyalgia to all dry like the geriatric vathough my pain never relents, the quest for delight in minu- prune my apathy. riety they had on Monday.” I glance up from my pile of tiae disrupts the accompanying cycle of cynicism. I create new things from orange peels, taking in my friend’s tired face. old stuff; cassette tapes, pencil erasers and door- “Mm. So, tell me, how is your sister doing back knobs become jewelry. I break into a Russian home?” “Well, she’s struggling. But she’s applying accent for the simple joy of it. I coin new words such as “salubre” (the noun form of salubrious) for jobs, so that’s a step in the right direction.” “Good, that is definitely the next step.” Laand “phobidairacheea” (meaning fear of dairy products). I create my internet passwords to in- tissimus dorsi. Serratus anterior. Temporalis. Reaching volve cheese. When driving, I play a gas-mileage for the other orange on my Saga tray, I smile, game with myself, coasting liberally at every op- knowing that this, too, is the next step.


the pub tions, threat-laced message boards, and sabotaged Wikipedia articles. While their methods may be different, all of those responsible for these actions share something fundamentally in common. They are able to do each of these wrongs — and more often than not, get away with them — because they are invisible. Invisibility tends to exist in a sort of accountability vacuum. This kind of anonymity is often antithetical to the community and connectivity which public forums are meant to foster. Whether communicating from online or offline public forums, we will see that when misused, synthetic mediums can be a powerful force of division. There may be no better example of this invisibility in the Wheaton community than the Forum Wall. I have noticed a gulf that separates the thoughtfully crafted, responsible writing I have seen in so many Wheaton students’ papers from the sludge that’s lathered onto the Forum Wall. I’m not saying everything on the Wall has to be finalist material for the James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest. I also understand that we (rightfully) invest more time in our school projects than in our sporadic Forum Wall comments and posts. But does it really require “more time” to develop a more sensible Wall comment than “you suck”? Any extra time required to keep your comments afloat above the Wall-sludge is time well spent. Complete invisibility is not the only problem. To use the example of the Internet, even when your name and picture accompany your communication, you are not free of the dangers posed by the synthetic medium. This medium 1) depersonalizes communicators, and 2) isolates the communicators from nonverbal expression. As humans, we largely base our actions ac-

cording to cues from our environment. When it comes to communication, these cues (like facial expression, posture, and hand gestures) can be vital for the proper interpretation of, and appropriate response to, what is being communicated. Media like Facebook Chat, the Forum Wall, and Twitter merely provide access to verbal cues and limited contextual cues. This leaves only a margin of the full range of human communication open to us. When we cannot see or hear the effects of our communication on others, we lack vital reference points to guide our continued discussion. Also, in such media there is often a long delay between messages, which can further estrange one from the effects of his or her communication. Granted, most comments on your roommate’s Facebook profile picture are not likely to result in dorm-warfare. But what happens when such exchanges reveal deep-seated differences between those communicating? Without the ability to monitor nonverbal cues, it is deceptively easy to offend the other party. A recent incident demonstrated just how quickly this kind of scenario can play out, when a group of students directed a running commentary of racially inflammatory tweets at the Rhythm and Praise chapel service. While I cannot speak for those directly involved, I can say that delayed response from offended parties may have contributed to this problem. This is able to happen when instant communication broadcast is possible, while response to that communication is delayed. What would have happened had the tweeters been left with no other way to communicate, aside from speech? Would they have heckled the chapel leaders openly during the service? Not likely. Why not? Probably because of the imme-


diate, negative response that would have been misrepresent oneself and “push the line” when generated. Twitter, however, gave them a way to one’s presence is replaced by something like a communicate their opinions while conveniently computer or phone screen. Trash gives birth to more trash. Studies avoiding the reactions of those around them. The delay, caused by the synthetic medium of show that individuals are more likely to litter in Twitter, provided a sort of buffer between the an already-littered area. This principle applies to tweeter and the fear of negative response. It is public forums, from the Forum Wall to the Web. likely that many of the tweeters did not even Synthetic mediums, as we have seen, estrange us consider such a reaction taking place. Without from the recipients of our communication, and danger of immediate reprisal, it is far easier to thereby buffer us from their accountability. This engenders thoughtlessness in our comments, to communicate opinions. It is easy for us to turn the social media which others respond in kind. Before long, our back against those responsible; however, I would public forum has become a verbal battle ground. I am not calling for the disbanding of suggest that it is this very desire that illustrates how easily synthetic mediums can allow us to added synthetic media, but for awareness of problems resulting from make the very mistake the the misuse of these media chapel tweeters made. Essentially, outlets. Heightened awareAdditionally, through deeply complex ness alone can enable us added synthetic media, the to identify current issues communicators become communicators and prevent address future depersonalized. Facial become reduced to problems. Being aware expressions are replaced that message boards, for with type-casted emotihastily-typed words instance, may depersoncons. Tone is replaced by alize communicators can italics and ALL CAPS. In- and configurations of impel you to consciously dividuals are replaced by pixels on a screen. remind yourself that you snapshot images. Essentially, deeply complex communicators become are communicating with human beings who are reduced to hastily-typed words and configura- much more than the sum of their comments. There are many practical ways you can tions of pixels on a screen. It becomes easy to disparage an inanimate computer monitor, for- do this. You might imagine that these people getting that another human being waits at the are friends of yours who are reading your comments in real-time. Perhaps they are even lookreceiving end. The communicators in such situations may ing over your shoulder as you tack something not be anonymous, but they retain a sense of in- onto the Forum Wall or broadcast it on Twitvisibility nonetheless. Through these media, the ter. You might read your message aloud before communicators themselves are not seen, but are delivering it, and then imagine that you are the rather mere synthetic representations of them- one the comments are directed to. If your opinselves. Just as in anonymity, it may be easier to ions and how you convey those opinions cannot


[photo essay]

the pub


Jason Smith is a senior psychology major from Puebla, Mexico. He spent his formative years jumping off cliffs, discovering ancient Mesoamerican ruins, fleeing extremist groups, and sipping tea with his friends. Jason.Smith@

enced the color black like that before. I sat in the middle of the compound on a mat, fascinated Mary Noll that I couldn’t see my whole hands in front of my face. Emma Michael, Esther’s two-year-old cousin, found me quickly, as my skin must have Her dark hair was cut short like most of glowed in that darkness. It was only the whitethe primary school girls I’d met, but the gentle- ness of his eyes that I could see. We didn’t speak, ness behind her dark eyes told me she was dif- for I did not know his language and he did not ferent. This little nine-year-old girl, Esther, was know mine. So instead, we listened to the small one of the people I’d be living with for the next static radio play local music, and he spent the ten days. Within just a few moments of even next hour sitting in my lap outside under that spread of stars. I fell seeing her, I sensed she Everyone else in the asleep with those same was probably the most stars bouncing under gregarious member of family came to shake my eyelids and wonderher family, and yet she hands, to trace their eyes ing where Esther had was unassertive in her attempts to meet me. If along such strange hair, disappeared to that evening. I were her, I’d want to to see my white ankles When the mornmeet the stranger who had come to live on the ashamedly poking out ing light came to replace the darkness, she compound. I found myfrom under my skirt. But was there. She was bent self kicking the red dirt over a stack of dishes, between my feet, waitshe never came. the water splashing ing to be introduced to this new family as soon as I’d arrived in this over the edge of the bowl, her bare feet stepping Ugandan village. Everyone else in the family in what was now red mud. I didn’t think it was came to shake hands, to trace their eyes along even possible to bend over like that; it was as if such strange hair, to see my white ankles asham- her body was one of the collapsible chairs we edly poking out from under my skirt. But she use at church back home. She had her rhythm never came. Later that afternoon, I caught her though, one that I began to notice. The next few stealing glances at my white skin when I wasn’t days I was a keen observer, noticing the jangling looking. I would turn to catch her gaze, and combinations of colors she wore and thetasks with the swoosh of her skirt, she was gone. Her she ran back and forth to. She must have worked grandma, Toto, whispered her name to me that harder than anyone else in our village. Early in the morning light, she ran off to school, and I evening, “It’s Esther. She’s nine.” Evening came like a black woolen blan- sat on the porch for a while, wondering what I ket, thrown on top of our village. It forced its should do that day and waiting for her to come way over the tops of the huts until the last of home. She usually ran back later that afternoon the sunlight was swallowed up. I’d never experi- with her twin brother, and their movements



hold up to this battery, they may be in need of re-evaluation. What we often lose sight of is the fact that it’s not merely bandwidth or an Internet topography that grids the landscape of our computer age. It’s the new world of communication and worldwide connection that these components make possible. In the same way, the Forum Wall is not simply made from slips of paper tacked to a cork-board, but rather the collective thoughts and feelings it allows to be expressed by the

Wheaton College community. I want you to imagine what public forums would look like if their users took responsibility for their words? Remember, our age’s connectivity has the potential to inspire anything from unprecedented community to unrivaled division. What kind of Wall do we want our own Forum to be? We can create a Wall that divides. On the other hand, we can build a Wall that, like the walls of a home, provides shelter and binds together a community.

[photo essay]

the pub seemed to be almost as identical as they looked. her Toto’s face and offered to finish making supShe hardly spoke any English — at least that’s per. She milked the cows for our breakfast the what she let on. In the early mornings before next morning and played with Emma Michael she left for school, I tried helping her wash the when he was no longer content to sit still. She sat dishes. She seemed content just to be with me, with me, worked alongside me, and let me follow as if not saying anything was sufficient for her. I her in even the small amounts of time she had to herself. To her, and everyone else there, the watched her work. One time, I followed her to collect fire- individual is only a manifestation of a greater wood. I tried to make my footsteps light, but she part. Esther found life in the idea that her meanmust have sensed me behind her as she paused ing comes from relation to another — a family to look back, smiling once she saw she was member or even a stranger. She found joy in the mundane moments, the habitual right. We kept walking together, our In this parts of her day, the small interrupstrides equal, through the bush to find where the wood had scattered. Ugandan tions, because even these reflect the presence of another. She gathered the wood on her head, village, There, man is not merely himand I gathered with my hands, disregarding the raw angry bark on the whole self; man is family. This primal conof man has been twisted by the my bare arms. She didn’t correct business of cept sanctions of western education and me, but waited patiently while I childhood culture. For the first time ever, I felt fumbled to carry as much as she had managed. There was patience is made up. a stirring anger that I had believed the lie that I deserved to wake up in her eyes, and, with the lift of her eyebrow, she motioned me to follow her home. the next morning, that my meaning came from She traipsed back through the zinnias that grew my distinctness from the whole. After watching without effort in between the orange trees near Esther and feeling the movements of this greatthe hut compound to present the wood to her er body, I began to understand in part what their Toto. I fumbled behind her, stepping around the way of life means. There is freedom in Esther’s briars that grabbed at my bare ankles, clumsily spirit, in the spirit of a child, which is not bound by language, trapped in by hard labor, or conpresenting my collection along with hers. In this Ugandan village, the whole busi- trolled by the presence of a stranger like myself. ness of childhood is made up. What should have Esther understood the gift of the time she had been time to play and explore, Esther spent do- been given, and my stale spirit wished I had ing things for people. She saw the weary lines on been living there for more than those ten days.

Untitled by Mary Noll. Digital Photograph. October 2011

Mary Noll is a junior Elementary Education major from Boerne, TX. She is partially deaf in her left ear. Mary.



[photo essay]

the pub

Imitation by Mary Noll. Digital Photograph. October 2011


Harvest by Mary Noll. Digital Photograph. October 2011



the pub

In Violence and Vomit, the Silence Shattered

Esther & Aaron by Mary Noll. Digital Photograph. October 2011


of tranquility that is elusive in our lives of a thousand commercials. And so it began, quietly, at midnight. We were sitting around the Mad Hatter’s tea party Caleb Cardenas table surrounded by smashed plates and broken eggs and glasses filled with fish swimming in their own coffins. It was after a campus-wide “Would it have been worth while, event called the Ultimate House Parties and all To have bitten off the matter with a smile, the guys from the French house were hanging To have squeezed the universe into a ball out in our Tron themed costumes with all the laTo roll it toward some overwhelming question, dies in the Kilby house, transformed into Alice’s To say: ‘I am Lazarus, come from the dead, Wonderland. There were twenty of us there and Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all’ — when the clock struck twelve I closed my mouth If one, settling a pillow by her head, determined not to open it again for another ten Should say: ‘That is not what I meant at all; midnights. That is not it, at all.’” The conversation went on and we reminisced about the Ultimate House Parties passed. "And in the room women come and go [talk, My good friend, Cordell, bumbled about his alltalk,] talking of Michael Angelo.” That’s what time favorite theme “Who is Danny Houck?” I was going to say. I had given it some thought It was during our freshman year. We wandered and I figured that these words seemed an ap- through the house and everyone asked us if we propriate and fitting way emerge from my ex- had heard about the mysterious Danny Houck, periment of ten days in silence. They are a little relaying stories like he was some mythical guru. grandiose I admit, but by day three people were We found him on a raised platform, a comfy burbeginning to tell me, “I want to be there when gundy chair for his throne. He granted us to ask him one question. “What was the ten days are over. I want to I endeavored to it that we asked him?” Cordell hear your first words.” I had an anticipating public, but I spend ten days in asked as he turned to me. This was the moment broke after day seven. And silence because that my own pilgrimage was when I broke, I exploded into seven pieces that came tearing I wanted to know all about and it was the first one. A room filled with twenty into the night roaring, swingwhat it’s like to of my peers all silent, staring ing, drunken and mad. I endeavored to spend be the guy who at me anticipating a conclusion to my goofy friend’s yarn. ten days in silence because I doesn’t talk. I shrugged the universal geswanted to know what it’s like to be the guy who doesn’t talk. I wanted to expe- ture for I don’t know. “Obviously not anything rience how other people live and see if I could very memorable” somebody said. I had passed quiet my mind and just maybe reach some level the initial volley of my first test. “But don’t you



the pub remember that house?” he asked. I nodded, and all the eyes remained on me for an explanation. A room in silence filled with a score of people can be a little tense, but I was loving it. My curiosity had led to weeks of anticipation for this very moment, a moment filled with sneezing butterflies, the simple but powerful moment of awkward silence. Unfortunately one girl happened to be aware of my experiment. The curse of foreknowledge and the privilege of a voice made it too much for her to bear and she felt compelled to relieve the tension. “Even if he did remember, he couldn’t tell you,” she spilled, “He just started ten days of silence.” I lifted my hand up and pointed to my wrist watch indicating that it was twenty minutes into Saturday morning, day one. Then they looked at me asked the question that everyone does, “Why?” I crinkled my eyebrows. Has the world gone stupid? In those moments, I wish I could have said a handful of things. I wished I could have chewed out the girl for ruining the first test of my experiment. Or I could have asked them why they would ask a mute why he can’t talk, but what was the point? I had to let it all go. I had to let it all die inside of me. Some things don’t really need to be said. Most things don’t need to be said. And I was determined not to say them. Later that week, Cordell told me that he liked the way I transitioned into silence. One second I was with them joking, throwing donuts, and eating live fish, and then I was only throwing donuts. “There were no bells and whistles or a grand ‘goodbye to speech’ speech. You just slipped into it and I hope it’s the same way when you come to the end.” I wish it would have been too. Cordell has always been an interesting specimen to observe, mostly because he rarely

ever feels shame or embarrassment. A week earlier I had observed him lick the sidewalk five times in front of Buffalo Wild Wings right in front of a couple of not unattractive young ladies. “Easiest bet I’ve ever won” he said as he walked back grinning from ear to ear. The man is an impregnable force of comfort. Also he can always make conversation regardless who he is talking to, young, old, athlete, artist, musician, boy, girl, etc.; the man can talk. But that first morning, I saw something new. We walked into the cafeteria at the same time so it was assumed that we would eat together. I walked over to a table that looked good to me. I tried to communicate something by pointing. This one here? Or maybe that one over there? He was confused so I just sat down. Since we had seen each other the night before and had now just woken up, there wasn’t much to talk about. Since I couldn’t talk, there was even less to talk about, but he tried anyway. “How’s the not talking thing going?” Shrug. One thumb up. He smiled, shifted in his seat, poked at his food, laughed nervously, wondered aloud about my project, realized that he would not get any answers to his wonderings for more than a week, and got up for more food, dessert, coffee, anything. He was gone for a while. When he came back he brought Ethan with him. I listened and ate. Cordell went for dessert and came back with some this time. “Sorry to leave you alone with him,” he said to Ethan “It’s horrible isn’t it?” For the rest of the week, whenever I ate with Cordell, he would spearhead the “point-out-and-conquer-the-tension” strategy. He would say things like “if we want seconds, we have to take turns going for food or else it’s very awkward.” He means well. To be honest, I enjoyed how tense it made him; the


One evening, we were walking out of the man I thought could handle any awkward situation couldn’t stand being around me, one of cafeteria when we smelled something offensive. his best buds, because my silence made him feel It was cheese, an overwhelming odor of Parmesan cheese, wafting from the sectioned off dining uncomfortable. Most people didn’t know how to act. I was area where gray sixty-somethings in suites were a fly on the wall and my voice was the elephant eating. Ew old people, I thought. I wanted to say that was no longer in the room. I came to re- it, but I couldn’t. Jon would love it. I could write it down, but then it wouldn’t alize the freedom in it. If I can’t talk then the burden of Most people didn’t be funny. The only way for it to achieve its humor is to say polite conversation is lifted. I know how to act. it out loud within earshot of ignored a lot of people. It was like I was on an I was a fly on the the geezers. I would say it just loud enough that they might island and the only people allowed on it had to be within wall and my voice hear it if their hearing aids four feet of me. If I was at was the elephant were turned up to bionic. But alas, I needed to let it go. one end of the table, I could that was no longer I was always needing to share notes with the persons let go of things. Every answer to my right and left. The guy in the room. to every question that anytwo spots down, he was just out of range and didn’t really exist. As I became body asked that week, I needed to let go. Every aware of this phenomenon, I started to avoid rebuttal to every stupid explanation I heard in people all together. I would ignore them more philosophy class, I needed to let go. Every joy and revelation that I found in my readings and and more. One friend, Sbraccia, used to eat lunch wished to share with my classmates, I needed to with me regularly last year. We are both laid let go. I was four days deep into the experiment back. We could eat full meals in silence just because neither of us needed to say anything. and sitting in my geology lab when I got a text During my silence, I spent most of my time with message from my mom, “Call me when you can. him. We went to the movies and watched TV It’s important.” I got two more texts that period mostly; they didn’t require conversation. We but didn’t check them until after class. One was could eat in silence fine, but even with him I had from an unknown number that said “How goes it, my quiet friend?” The other from my sister, to learn to let go. If there is one thing to learn to endure “Has mom told you about Danny yet?” I knew a week in silence, it’s the ability to just let go. exactly what that meant. My uncle has been off drugs for the last Sbraccia and I don’t waste words on each other fi ve years or so. During that time his body was too often, but when we do, it is a glorious waste. We understand each other’s humor, and we have dying from the prior thirty-five years of abuse. I that down to a science. The secret is be offensive texted my sister back saying that I couldn’t speak for a week but I’d call and she could tell me what and be excessive.



the pub The next day, I slept a lot, but before I happened. So that’s what we did. I wondered if I was being horrible to my family not to talk went to bed that night, I called B. She seemed with them, but I knew my sister didn’t need con- to be doing alright but I was still afraid for solation. I was more worried about my dad and her. That summer was the first time I saw her cousin B. My Mom said not to call Dad anyway, healthy since we were kids and I was afraid of but I decided that I would if he needed it. Also, what might come of her father’s death. I was afraid that she might do something self-destrucI would break the silence to speak with B. That summer, I saw my uncle Danny of- tive because that’s what my family does; we selften. I was proud of him for once in my life. He destruct. I was starting to crack that night a little. was living in a house, and my cousins B and C and my aunt Sherry were living with him again. I was in one of those cantankerous fighting B and C are one and four years younger than moods. If I had been home, I’m sure I could find me and were my foster siblings for a while. That someone to scrap. Where I’m from, we undersummer was the first time I had seen Beverly in stand that fighting is a human need that must be a very long time. She had gotten out of rehab. I filled and that’s the stuff that love is made from. spent a lot of time with her those days. She’s the I couldn’t very well go out and make fun of my friends until they snapped. I might have but for reason I saw Danny so much that summer. After I got the news, I was not surprised, obvious reasons couldn’t. So I went onto to the but I was in a daze. I don’t know why I did it, internet and ranted about indie-folk music. I hit the hipsters where it hurt; I but I went back to the uninsulted the poetry calling known text and responded I was starting to it cheap, easy, and unfulfill“My uncle died this morncrack that night a ing. I waited for the replies, ing. Who is this?” After that I only informed two others. little. I was in one of the defenses, the backlash. I got nothing. I got a chorus That afternoon, I those cantankerous of agreement from the old sat and stared at a picture rocker boys back home but of my dad and uncle. My fighting moods. If nothing from the hipsters I friend put her arm around I had been home, know. I went to bed. me and scratched my shoulI’m sure I could find I noticed something der and head asking me else about silent questions and I wrote the someone to scrap. that goes remaining beyond missing answers on my pad of paper. I had taken the photo that summer when the connection to other people. From day one, I locked the keys in my car while at Danny’s I missed my own voice. I felt like it was trapped house. My dad had to bring the spares. When in my gut and pushing against my throat trying we got the car open, I pulled out my disposable to get out into the air. I often sing or hum while I camera and snapped the shot of them in the walk; it felt wrong not to be able to do that. By day six I found a way to let my voice driveway. My friend suggested that I abandon break free. It was cheating, but they were my the project for a day. I didn’t.

We picked up a fifth of Seagram’s Dry own rules to break. That morning I saw this poster for “El Grito.” It was Mexican Inde- Gin and poured about three quarters of it split pendence Day, the day of the legendary Grito between two bottles of Ginger Ale. We got my roommate to drive us to de Dolores, the shout for freedom. Being one in I turned when we got the theaters and back. I felt a little immature small population of Mexito the door of our sneaking alcohol into the cans at my school, I felt theaters in soda bottles. justified in participating screening room and It’s the sort of thing I in the shout to take place decided I was sick of would have done in early that evening on the quad. high school. He worried I felt even more justified this experiment and about carrying outside because of my own perwould break it just for a beverages into the thesonal shout for freedom and what it would actu- moment. “We’re men," ater. We passed right by the teenage Asian girl ally mean for me. There without a hitch. I turned when we got to the was horchata. I drank about a hundred cups of the stuff. There was also a mariachi band and door of our screening room and decided I was I yipped and howled when they played. It felt sick of this experiment and would break it just great to howl. Then there was the Grito and I for a moment. “We’re men,” I said and let the shouted with all my might from my belly. I felt rest of what I insinuated in that statement be left high as my voice rang into the night alongside to my friend’s interpretation. Then we walked the voices of an entire humble little fiesta. I felt in. When the drink hit my lips, I realized how high and euphoric, and when it was over, I went to bed happy and refreshed and thought I might much I wanted it. I drank my bottle fast. I finished it way before the movie ended and took be ready to take on the final four days. Day seven turned out to be the final day. It draws from my friend’s. His was still half-full was Friday. It was supposed to be the beginning when we left. I helped him finish it and played of my final weekend of the stunt. After school, my ukulele and sang as we drove home. My I planned to go to the movies. That’s easy, for roommate called me out on my infidelity to the someone who can’t talk, to enjoy with friends. project. I kept singing. “He’s not talking. He’s It’s also something that is easy for someone singing,” my friend explained. After a song or who is tired of his thoughts and tired of sleep- two, I consented because I knew he was right. ing from being tired of his thoughts, to enjoy. Then we went to an acquaintance’s apartment, One friend responded to my texts. He asked if a friend of my friend’s place, and a safe place I wanted to get some booze before. I didn’t re- for drunken carousing. I poured the last quarter ally. I knew that I didn’t, but on the other hand, of the bottle into a Dixie cup and topped it off I thought I might enjoy some. I couldn’t really with a little 7UP. Then I downed the drink as I explain my mixed feelings to my friend so I just sat on the carpet rocking and drunk. I tried to write notes to the apartment owner’s girlfriend, shrugged and nodded sure, why not?




the pub but mostly I just swayed my head back and forth where I sat. I got up and realized that I lost my sea legs somewhere in that cup of gin. I inched to the bathroom using one hand on the wall to stabilize myself. I took a pee. I even got some in the toilet. Then I fell into the bathtub. I remember my friend and the man whose floor I just desecrated standing at the door. They helped me up and I wanted to do it myself. Trying to fight the man who is helping you off your drunken ass is a good way to get kicked out of anywhere, especially that man’s apartment. I was sitting in the kitchen when Fueyo came to pick me up. The next thing I remember I was in an ambulance and fighting with paramedics. You can’t hold me down! I thought look at all these bars! I was grabbing onto silver bars inside the ambulance as three EMTs struggled to hold me down. I undid my buckle and was on my hands and knees before they got a good hold on me. I don’t remember their faces. I only remember the hands, two on each wrist and arms wrapped around my legs. When I woke up again I was strapped to a bed inside of Central DuPage Hospital. “Hey!” I yelled “Let me go.” It was more a moan than a yell. A security guard came in. “What?” I asked him to take the straps off. He said, “No. There are other patients out here. Shut up.” I turned over and went to sleep. I was unstrapped when I woke up. I heard the nurse say my alcohol level was still pretty high. I opened my eyes. She had a clipboard and told me to sign it. I did. It meant I could leave. I asked her where my shirt was. I didn’t have one when I came in and no shoes either. She asked if I had a ride home. I couldn’t even remember how I got there. I couldn’t remember what I did,

but by all the security guards around and the way that everyone seemed very agitated, I deduced that it probably wasn’t very kind. She told one of security guards to take me home. “Get him out of here,” I think, were her exact words. I stood up and wobbled on my heels. Then stepped slowly to the door and sat down into the wheel chair. I was wheeled through the ER in naught but my Levis, and my arm smelled like vomit. They drove me back and dropped me off outside my apartment. I stood there at 8:45 in the morning with no shoes, no shirt, no wallet, no phone and no way into my room because my roommate left early for Milwaukee. I sauntered down the toward my friend’s door, the one I was drinking with the night before. “What happened?” I asked when he came to the door, “I woke up in the hospital.” “What?! Fueyo said he put you to bed last night and you went right to sleep.” I stepped inside and crashed on the couch. A few hours later, I got up took a shower, borrowed a shirt and got a Public Safety officer to let me into my room. I found my phone on the dresser along with the signs and odors of havoc inside my room and smeared upon my shirt and comforter. I called my roommate. “Who puked in my bed?” There’s more to the story but the shortened version goes like this. Fueyo babysat me as I roared through the night. Seth was driving; I banged on his window; waved and fell flat on my face. Once in the car, I yelled La Bamba as I banged away on my Uke. Fueyo had to chase me into the woods when we stopped and he found me lying on my back (I didn’t get very far) howling at the moon. We threw some punches and when it was obvious that I was crashing he took me to my apartment and got me into bed.


When my roommate came home, I was throwing up on myself and would not wake up. When he couldn’t think of anything else, he called the professionals. He said I tried to fight them when I regained consciousness, “That’s when I knew you’d be alright.” Who knows why we do the things we do. Why we have to self-destruct sometimes is a mystery. Although somewhere deeper than words, I

think I understand. Living things don’t like to die. They like to fight for their air. Learning to let things go is a great life lesson, but it’s probably best to understand that some things do not go away without a battle. You can’t just store up feelings, your thoughts, your words, your family, and your demons and not expect a rebellion. Because if you do, they’re coming out and they’ll be roaring and they will be you.

Caleb Cardenas is a senior English writing major from Dulzura, CA. He has had over ten near drowning experiences, has a constant fear of rattlesnakes, and he has worked as goat rancher.



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Suburbs, City, and Environmental Appeal

mental conscientiousness. The Dream is ethnocentric. The suburbs saw significant growth because whites moved there to get away from minorities (i.e. “white flight”). Suburbia, where Sophia Matias statistically most Americans live, is still largely segregated. As minorities catch up in their asUrban living has clear benefits, ones that we cent to the American Dream and climb out of would be hard pressed to find in the suburbs. the city, the traditional response of whites is to Increased walkability, reduced dependence on leave. Now that more minorities live in the subcars, increased ability to live locally, higher den- urbs than the cities (Frey, 2010), and the cost of sity residences, and smaller homes. All these suburban living is increasing with the energy things are associated with a reduced ecologi- costs, urban living can be marketed towards cal footprint. Developers have identified that people with resources in a very appealing way. the green movement and the subsequent data Developers buy cheap urban property, renovate on the environmental toll and high energy cost it, and sell it for much more money. Sociologists refer to this phenomenon as of living in the suburbs, is “gentrification.” contributing to a highly sigThe American A historic shift in demonificant desire of people to Dream — a car, graphics took place in 2008, pursue a “greener” lifestyle. big house, yard, when data from the Brookings The American Dream — a confirmed that for the car, big house, yard, and safe and safe suburban Institute first time, more minorities live suburban surroundings —is surroundings —is in the suburbs than the city expensive and we are looking with 61.9% of Asians, 61.9% for alternatives. expensive and of Hispanics, and 50.5% of I want to identify how we are looking for Blacks. This is significant bethe trend of environmental cause historically, minorities conscientiousness is being alternatives. were essentially relegated to used to sell urban property while ignoring the true social problems that cre- the city because of discriminatory housing pracate damaging environmental behaviors. I ar- tices. According to a Chicago Tribune article, gue that “urban renewal,” “re-investing” in the the village of Addison saw its Latino populacommunity, or “revitalizing” an area does not tion rise 45% in the last decade. 62,000 Latiactually benefit the people who have been living nos moved to Aurora, Joliet, and Bolingbrook in an area long term and is not really contrib- in Will County. Bolingbrook’s Asian population uting to environmental sustainability. Instead, it more than doubled and Naperville’s Black and reveals indifference to the root causes of urban Asian population went up 70% or more each. dilapidation (i.e. the same racial/class prejudice In many of the suburbs receiving the most mithat helped to create urban ghettos), for the sake norities, some white residents respond by movof a business opportunity packaged in environ- ing out. Naperville’s white population actually


dipped in 2010, and when the south suburb of Olympia Fields added 990 black residents, it lost 765 white families (Healy, 2011). This reality coincides with the interesting finding that some major cities are seeing a reversal of white flight where for decades the white population in cities consistently decreased every year. From 20002008, Atlanta, New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Boston all saw an increase of whites in the city limits (Frey, 2011). Drawing from this data, there seems to be a “demographic inversion” taking place (Ehrenhalt, 2008). It reveals how painfully connected Americans still are to the prejudice of segregated living. What is drawing whites to the cities and minorities to the suburbs? I want to explore how environmental education and raising gas prices are creating disillusionment with suburbia. In-depth studies have pointed out in the last decade that there is actually a high energy cost to living in the suburbs, and the mainstream green movement has spread this news. These environmental consequences present an interesting conflict for consuming Americans who are pressured to go green. “Going green” is an interesting concept. In its beginnings, the movement was characterized by sacrifice — lowering the thermostat, driving smaller cars, not buying things you do not need, and using cloth totes to grocery shop (Williams, 2007). In short, concern for the environment has been commoditized, branded, packaged, and sold. Life in the city, branded as the “urban lifestyle” is becoming a hot commodity. So, how much does “urban renewal” and the subsequent gentrification really help the environment? Carbon footprints are reduced because of less car usage and square footage, but why did newcomers have to move in for a

neighborhood to be tagged as hip and walkable? Were the old residents not achieving this? The fact that gentrified areas are more defined by the people who have moved in and the change in neighborhood culture they bring, not necessarily by how environmentally conscious the people, shows that people did not move in just for the environment. Gentrification isn’t inclusive urban renewal, it is economically exclusive, as is exemplified by the fact that when certain class and culture specific stores move in (Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel), the area is labeled as gentrifying. Gentrification is a business formula. Often developers use zoning loop holes to convert old industrial space into residential use or build condos on empty lots (Hague, 2011). The consumer culture so associated with suburbia follows the new people in with their purchase of a lifestyle. This is seen by the clear retail reflex that happens as a result of gentrification. Gentrification in its current form does not seek to find solutions to problems that made that urban neighborhood dilapidated in the first place; rather, it just wants to make money. While urban dwellers have a smaller carbon footprint than suburbanites due to less car usage and less square footage, the inaccessibility of this lifestyle in a gentrified neighborhood shows that attitudes towards that structural problems that create housing separation along race and class lines have not changed. One blogger articulates this well: when one talks about “re-investing” and “revitalizing” currently existing properties in order to be more sustainable, what you are really talking about is gentrification. Concentrating growth and development might reduce urban sprawl, but if you can’t do it without gentrifying, then you aren’t doing it sus-



the pub of public transportation, which means a car is essentially necessary. Also, the perception that poverty is just a central city issue causes people to be oblivious to poverty in their area (Patton, 2010). The fact that poverty is suburbanizing inCensus data establishes that class lines of- dicates that the renewal of the city is only for ten follow race lines, and this is no different for those who can afford it. Gentrification can be a gentrified neighborhoods. Yuppies and hipsters very emotional process for the current residents of a neighborhood who are are stereotypically white, and the urban neighbor- The fact that poverty slowly being priced out of their homes and businesses. hoods they move into are is suburbanizing For instance, Humoften poor and minority. indicates that the boldt Park, in Chicago’s These long-term inhabitside, has been a Puerto ants of the area cannot ecorenewal of the city west Rican neighborhood for the nomically participate in the renewal that is taking places is only for those who last 70 or 80 years. Recently they have been seeing conand are forced to sell their can afford it. dos go up and homes beproperty and move out as property increases in value, even if they own ing renovated. If you go there you can see old their house. Albert Y. Hsu captures the concept homes next to modern revamped homes sellthat lower class neighborhoods are revitalized ing in the millions. A grassroots campaign has started by long-time residents called “Humboldt simply by forcing lower class inhabitants out. Park is Not for Sale.” Their Facebook page disWhile poverty is still disproportionately concen- plays their mission, “Since 2004, our efforts are trated in central cities, in recent years urban renewal geared at challenging gentrification and preventand gentrification has been dislocating the poor. As ing the displacement of Chicago’s oldest Puerto low-income urban neighborhoods are redeveloped Rican community.” They have had rallies and for middle-income and upscale professionals, public marches to raise awareness. A poster entitled and low-income housing is being eliminated, forcing “Occupy Humboldt Park” advertises apartthe poor to move toward less affluent communities ments and rent prices in the area. Puerto Ricans at the edges of cities. In other words, as community in New York are sharing a similar struggle. In developer Robert Lupton puts it, “poverty is subur- the book Power at the Roots: Gentrification, Community Gardens, and Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side, banizing (Suburban Christian, p.23). Miranda Martinez tells the story of how people Being poor in the suburbs is not the same became involved in local politics in order to save as being poor in the city. Social services are their neighborhood from the implications of struggling to keep up with the demand of the gentrification (2010). In the southwestern neighpoor because they were not faced with such borhood of Pilsen in Chicago, a similar group numbers before (Patton, 2010). There is a lack has taken to fighting gentrification in order to tainably. Sustainability means being accessible to all residents- not just those who can afford to install low flow showerheads and dual flushing toilets (


keep the historic Mexican community there. One resident participating in the “Pilsen is Not for Sale” effort said this about the community, “I feel strongly that Pilsen is part of my identity as a Mexican American woman,” Romero told the World. In her youth, she said, “you could hear Mexican music playing right next to the hot dog joint, the cultural smells of tamales, hot Mexican chocolate. I don’t want to lose that feeling of community” (

Clearly, people who have built up the community to have cultural meaning and have stuck through harder times, resist gentrification because often it signifies an intrusion. Throughout my research I have heard labels like urban homesteaders, or urban pioneers to describe the people first moving into a gentrifying area. These words cannot be used without also mentioning manifest destiny and the effect it had on Native Americans as a byproduct when historical homesteaders and pioneers moved out West. I do not want to personally attack new urban dwellers, I just want to point out that we have not moved as far away from race/class dominance as we want to think. What makes gentrification more than just a business issue is that most of the time it is the rich displacing the poor (oftentimes whites displacing minorities) so that the rich can enjoy what they want while disparity are left unaddressed and intact. According to Lance Freeman, author of “There Goes the ‘Hood,’” people can feel extra resentment because before, they may have had to take the train to get groceries or fill a prescription, but now that wealthy white people come in, services get better and basic needs like grocery stores move in.

I think that what is sold as being environmentally conscious to white people really feeds on their dissatisfaction with the suburbs and desire for something new. There is no desire to include diversity in the agenda. I see a new form of racialized bias being reinforced that is characterized more by segregated living patterns supported by the same recourse inequality by class and race than by the blatant racist housing codes prior to the 1970s. The messy displacement that happens as a result of gentrification shows that developers and people who move in do not really care about the issues causing that neighborhood to be dilapidated in the first place. Packaging urban life as more environmentally friendly may sound neutral, but it actually targets a very specific group of people — namely, the young and wealthy — and markets a lifestyle to them in order to get them to buy. On their side, they are consumers who can afford to buy into this lifestyle as evidenced by the commercialism that follows them and the commoditization of the yuppie/hipster image with certain clothing stores and Starbucks. They seem to be unaware of the historical effects of housing discrimination and ghetto formation. The previously dying, disinvested, old, perhaps dangerous neighborhood, inhabited by mostly lower class minorities who, because of racism and its many manifestations, were relegated to live there, becomes an upper class, homogenously white, economically exclusive, retail haven for trendy young creatives who moved there for the chance to downsize their life, live locally, and use public transportation. In turn, displaced minorities and working class families have to move to cheap suburbs where they have to start over. Solutions to the negative consequences of gentrification need to be pursued.



the pub The problem of urban gentrification demands a strong commitment to social justice. Discrimination is still very much a structural reality. We have to watch out for behaviors that are too defined by consumerism and blind to the social costs of doing things for the bottom line. Rent controls and mandatory affordable housing are policies that need to be protected and spread. As a Christian, I think that whether you live in the city or suburb you need to be aware of the needs of the community and the shortcomings of the structures that are taken for granted, such as real estate and transportation systems. We should all reduce our environmental impact by consuming less, not more — and

that includes pursuing trendy lifestyles. In the suburbs there is a need for public transportation that is all too often ignored due to a perceived lack of need since most people have cars. Public transportation would serve those who need it direly. It would connect a vast suburban landscape, and it would actually help reduce personal driving. Furthermore, we need to be vigilant to how prejudices along class and race lines are still being manifested structurally and culturally. It is subtle and more disguised than outdated Jim Crow forms, but it is alive and active. As Cresswell states (1996, pp.8-9): “Value and meaning are not inherited in any space or place. Indeed they must be created, reproduced, and defended.”

References A Brief History of the Modern Green Movement in America | WebEcoist. (n.d.). WebEcoist. Retrieved December 10, 2011, from "After the Storm" Weather | US EPA. (2011). Home | Water | US EPA. Retrieved December, 2011, from Alan Ehrenhalt. (2008, July 25). Trading places. Retrieved from TheNewRepublic_TheReadingList_072508.pdf Black, G. (2007). Life in the Fast Lane. Onearth, 29(1). doi: 24373083 Community residents say no to condos; Pilsen is not for sale » peoplesworld. (2005, December 9). People's World. Retrieved December, 2011, from Dudley, M. (n.d.). Is Chicago's 'Transformed' Cabrini-Green 'Too Good for Poor People'? | Planetizen. Planetizen | Urban Planning, Design and Development Network. Retrieved December, 2011, from Dudley, M. (2008, March 13). Is Chicago's 'Transformed' Cabrini-Green 'Too Good for Poor People'? | Planetizen. Planetizen | Urban Planning, Design and Development Network. Retrieved December, 2011, from Fairfield, H. (2009, May 02). Driving Shifts into Reverse. The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. Retrieved December, 2011, from business/02metrics.html Freeman, L. (2006). There goes the 'hood: views of gentrification from the ground up. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. Frey, W. H. (2010). The State of Metro America: Ethnicity and Race. Retrieved from http://

39 Gentrification, place, and value. (2011, January 21). Urban Affect. Retrieved December, 2011, from http:// Hague, E., Curran, W., & P. (n.d.). Contested Chicago: Pilsen and Gentrification (Publication). doi: B002ACN7OM Healy, V. O. (2011, March 02). More minorities moving to suburbs - Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December, 2011, from Hsu, A. Y. (2006). The suburban Christian: finding spiritual vitality in the land of plenty. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books/InterVarsity Press. ¡Humboldt Park NO SE VENDE! campaign - Info | Facebook. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2011, from Martinez, M. J. (2010). Power at the roots: gentrification, community gardens, and the Puerto Ricans of the Lower East Side. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Moss, M. (2011, February 17). Small is cool. Miss Moss. Retrieved December, 2011, from Patton, Z. S. (2010, May). Poverty Comes to the Suburbs. GOVERNING: State Government News on Politics, Management & Finance. Retrieved December, 2011, from Power, M. (n.d.). Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban Lifestyle. Retrieved December, 2011, from Power, M. (2008, May 19). Urban Living Is Kinder to the Planet Than the Suburban Lifestyle. Retrieved December, 2011, from heresies_01cities Sustainability Forum? Maybe not so much… « The Wingnut. (2010, June 14). The Wingnut. Retrieved December, 2011, from The 2012 Statistical Abstract: Income, Expenditures, Poverty, & Wealth. (2012). Census Bureau Home Page. Retrieved December, 2011, from poverty_wealth.html Tiny Garage Turned into Dream Home [Web log post]. (n.d.). Retrieved November, 2011, from http:// Wicker Park in Chicago - Apartments in Wicker Park. (n.d.). Chicago Apartment Finders - Search Apartment Rentals. Retrieved December, 2011, from wicker-park.aspx Williams, A. (2007, July 7). Buying into the Green Movement. New York Times. Retrieved December, 2011, from pagewanted=all

Sophia Matias is a senior sociology major from Grand Rapids, MI. Her heart language is Spanglish. Sophia.



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Peaches-and-Cream Julia Craig

The hallway light sliced open the sleepy blackness in my bedroom and my mother’s familiar shape was framed there, leaning in a little to say something. I just wanted to sleep but now I was paralyzed in the bathroom’s bright vanity light, my mother’s small but firm index finger pressing something cold and oily all over my cheeks, back and forth, inside my ears, in and out, under my chin, up and down, into my eyebrows and around my lips. “Rosacea is caused by the demodex mite, and the tea tree oil kills them in four minutes.” All I knew was that it was past midnight and there was a coolness electrifying my cheeks, the smell of crushed pine needles rushing up my nose, and my mother’s voice telling me about mites. I stumbled back into the black of my bedroom and the December night, the bright lights becoming my dreams. It all started in August on that fateful but glorious day — the first Target-run of the school year. My dad had just dropped me off in Illinois for my junior year at Wheaton College, and I needed face wash. I’d been off Proactiv Acne Solution for a year, but my face oils hadn’t balanced themselves out like they were supposed to, and now my forehead was a shiny minefield lying in wait for my next move — to treat, or not to treat? I cruised the cosmetics aisles until bright reds and oranges pulled me over. “Say Yes to Carrots!” they shouted, promising to imbue my wavy locks with keratin-empowered shampoos and conditioners. To my face, they shouted, “Say Yes to Tomatoes!” I picked up

an exotic, tomato-filled pore scrub, fortified with bamboo and salicylic acid. Even the directions sounded wonderful: “Apply to your wet face, massaging gently, avoiding the eyes. Rinse off with lukewarm water. Face the day feeling clean, clear, and awfully attractive.” By the time we left, I had said yes to tomatoes, carrots, and cucumbers. With Mother Nature’s healing fruits and vegetables in my shower caddy, I felt ready to face junior year, especially with labels that instructed me to, “Say ‘wow’ to yourself when your skin is left feeling clear, calm, and gorgeous.” Splash, squirt, scrub, rinse. I repeated the face-washing ritual morning and night. But after a month, my chin looked like a boiled lobster tail, so I stopped saying yes to grainy tomato paste and renewed my account with Proactiv. Within a few weeks, Proactiv smoothed most of my face to peachy perfection, but it didn’t seem to have any effect on my chin or the soft skin around my mouth and along my jaw line. There I battled relentless pustules that protruded like sticky buns and begged me to pop them. And I did, ignoring the golden rule of pimples: DON’T POP! — no matter how many there are, or how big they get. The scars will remind you you did. During Thanksgiving break, my acne started itching and itching — and itching. I thrilled at the tingling sensation, remembering how itching means blood is moving and moving blood means skin is healing. My roommate, Bethany, and I had stayed on campus to rest from homework and hectic holiday traveling — and that’s what she and I did that break, cocooning ourselves in our flower-patterned quilts to wake up as smooth-skinned, bright-eyed butterflies for the final stretch. Sleep was the key, arm-numbing sleep.


I hadn’t anticipated what happened next. mones show up one day and decide to ravage The itching dissipated, but my cheeks were your sebaceous glands for a year or two, or ten. worse than ever, emblazoned with fiery designs Totally pointless, totally helpless. During another of my sobbing fits, I was and more pustules, while purple lesions on my right cheekbone claimed more ground. My inspired by a character I’d read about in my Viccheeks felt like two archipelagos of active volca- torian Literature class — Esther Summerson. In nic rock, my pores the conduits for the white-hot Charles Dickens’ Bleak House, she undergoes a magma. Faint itching would return, but I didn’t trial-by-fire when a fever disfigures her face, but she emerges victorious by way know what it wanted anymore of her fortitude and grace in — for me to hope, to pay atI had broken the midst of her disfigurement. tention, to scratch, or not to the golden rule I decided I, too, would squelch scratch. I wrote an email telling my mom about the downward of pimples, and my tears and silently bear my trial-by-fire — but not without turn, and she replied, “I will I didn’t expect hope. By the end of the novel, pray for your face to heal. It’s Esther’s face has seemingly just that you resist my sugges- to be pardoned. restored itself, and I believed tions and then bad things happen. I wish you would listen to my advice.” I her face could transcend literature and become didn’t know what to do or say, so I doubled over my own. While I was in this swivet, my mother in my dorm room and sobbed. Proactiv wasn’t swooped in with another email. “You must take working, sleep wasn’t working, itching no longer 3,000 mg. of Vitamin C a day to help your skin to heal.” Ok, I can do that. meant healing. Thanksgiving break had failed me, but I As I tried to make sense of this resilient acne, scarring haunted me. I had broken the still had Christmas break, which was only three golden rule of pimples, and I didn’t expect to weeks away. As I caked on cover-up to study for be pardoned. There are four types of acne scars finals, I banked on my three weeks back in New — boxcar, rolling, hypertrophic, and ice pick — Jersey to boost my immune system and banand I feared the imprint of all of them. But my ish my acne. A week and a half into Christmas stomach and eyeballs swished together when I break I was in my bathroom the night before my saw the ice pick ones, perforating the skin like a 20th birthday, sobbing quietly as I dropped my eyes from the mirror and I gripped the edge of hundred needle pricks in a sponge. “Oh, God,” I pleaded, “any ones but the the sink. “I can’t take it anymore.” ice pick.” I vowed to never pop another pimple When I loomed first my left cheekbone in again. I tried changing my diet, too. I ate more front of the mirror, then my right, I could feel salads and gave up fries and dessert (and dark the ache in my throat rise in peach-colored tears. chocolate for a day). But still no progress. The I was sleeping twelve hours every night now Proactiv handbook said diet doesn’t play a sig- since coming home, but nothing had changed. nificant role in acne, and that basically your hor- At the same time, I didn’t know why I was so



the pub Tell her what’s ailing you and my mom concerned anyway. It’s just a face, and I can live without my old one, I told myself. And there are will figure out the cause, or don’t tell her anyworse things that can happen, worse things that thing and she’ll decide what’s ailing you and the have happened and are happening. There are cause too. This becomes slightly annoying when people in wars, people in famine, people with I receive an email titled, “Concerned about the cancer. I know friends with lymphoma, diabetes sunchips”, with warnings about yeast extract, — even worse acne. Am I allowed to feel sorry brain inflammation, and excitotoxins. But I apfor myself ? Is this a good feeling of guilt, or am preciate her concern. I think I understand it a I too proud to need healing like they do? All I little better, too, after watching her strive for knew was I couldn’t bear one more pustule. I smooth skin. Until only last year, my mom had squinted my red, watery eyes and pieced togeth- struggled with Eczema since she turned 15 attending her parent’s Christian school in Leeser a pathetic philosophy on suffering. “I guess You don’t need my face,” I whim- burg, Virginia. The rash wrapped her arms pered, to God. “I guess it’s not part of Your around in blotchy never-healing sores that kept plan.” This sounded good, so I went to tell her from wearing sleeveless shirts in the hot Virmy mother, and that’s when she snatched her ginian summers. She tried everything doctors reading glasses, propped up her computer, and have thought up for her arms — intravenous became one with the World Wide Web. I just peroxide drip, all-healing lotions, coconut oil, wanted to sleep, so I sulked back to the black crocodile oil, Dead Sea minerals, Live Sea minerals. Some stuff worked until of my bedroom and the cool it became illegal, some stuff The acne had December night — until my worked until it made her rash mother plucked me out into the gone on for four worse, and some stuff never bright bathroom and sent me months now, worked at all. back with my cheeks burning. I admire my mom for The next morning my and I couldn’t not becoming bitter with God. mother came too early into imagine my I tend to spiritualize my sufmy room as I lay immobilized beneath two heavy comforters. cheeks without it. fering into something God uses to put me in my place, “Let me see your face.” I rolled my head, eyelids trying to shut out her words but mom doesn’t go there. She has suffered too with the morning. “I think it looks better, and I hard and too long to believe God tied her arms don’t think it’s just me.” Better? The acne had in a rash because of something she did. If it’s gone on for four months now, and I couldn’t a disease, it’s got a cause, and my mom never imagine my cheeks without it. I was twenty to- starts out with sin. Last year, she discovered a day, and my mom had just given me the best tube of Progesterone, the hormone no one ever knew she was deficient in, until mom found out birthday gift ever. The tea tree oil worked. “Well that’s it then,” she said. “We have to and rubbed away her eczema. It took her half kill the mites.” My mom ordered me tea tree oil a lifetime, but my mom didn’t stop looking. She taught me that healing isn’t a limited supply, that soap, shampoo, Chap Stick, and toothpaste.


we can’t give someone else more by taking less, that we need all of it we can get. A few days later we found out my acne wasn’t caused by the mites after all. I made my mom take me to the doctor who said it was a very bad infection, stop using Proactiv until this prescription clears you up. Then I remembered the tomatoes and my lobster chin. I knew there had to be a connection, and what were in the ingredients anyway? Water, Stearic Acid, Chondrus Crispus, Lycopersicum (Tomato) Extract, Magnifera (Mango) Seed. I screamed. In all the times I’ve eaten mango, I’ve developed an itchy rash around my mouth. Apparently, that ingredient hadn’t made it onto the front label, and I had stumbled upon a new philosophy: life is like a bottle of face wash; you never know what you’re saying yes to. For the rest of Christmas break and into second semester, I rubbed on the tea tree oil day after day, even though it felt like someone was taking a blowtorch to my face. Tea tree oil is one of those marvels of creation that you can put on anything — boils, pimples, cuts, bites — and with its antiseptic properties, it burned my cheeks free of the mango-and-bamboo shrapnel that I had unknowingly bombarded them with. Scars remain where the pustules were most ac-

tive, little discolored places that need makeup, but I’m just glad they are finally able to rest. Back in high school, I remember laying on my parents’ king-sized bed, nestled between them on the creamy down comforter, the two matching lamps on the two matching nightstands softening the darker corners of the room. My mom’s fingernails circled through my hair, pushing the roots back and forth and back and forth and up and down and over around and back and forth and back and forth… “You have daddy’s coloring,” she said. “He has the peaches-and-cream, don’t you honey.” Dad said he guessed so because he never got much acne as a boy, and Aunt Ellie and Aunt Caroline didn’t get much acne either. He didn’t mention Uncle Sam but I suppose Uncle Sam was the same way. I basked in my dulcet family history of peachy, creamy skin. Acne would never be a problem. “The only thing is my skin’s so pale the bloods shows through my cheeks like an eternal blush.” “I like your rosy cheeks,” mom cooed, still scratching back and forth and back and forth. And I like her smooth arms.

Julia Craig is a junior English writing major from Phillipsburg, NJ. She scared a family friend away by barking at him… She thought he was a burglar.



the pub

On the Chadian Civil War

The New Jim Crow

Aaron Brown is a junior English writing major from Dallas, TX. Four years ago in Cameroon he climbed down a muddy, tangled slope to stand at the base of a waterfall. He did not write a poem about it. Aaron.Brown@

million prisoners. And while this statistic alone could generate a necessary conversation conHelen Herrle cerning the societal function and effectiveness of incarceration, Alexander’s argument holds much more cause for concern. In the six chapWhile Barack Obama leads the country from ters of The New Jim Crow Alexander staunchly the Oval Office, millions of African Americans characterizes mass incarceration as the United suffer marginalization under this nation’s cur- States’ current racial caste system, one reminisrent racial caste system - mass incarceration. cent of and just as crippling as Jim Crow. With Michelle Alexander certainly does not argue a so bold a claim, Alexander is well aware that the causal relationship between the two aforemen- burden of defense rests heavily upon her shoulders. Thus, her book is a detioned realities, but she refuses Her book then, as tailed, thoroughly researched, to concede that the latter is untrue simply because the foran unapologetic and systematic explanation of an argument that rests on four mer is true. That is to say, she call for social primary pillars: (1) Racial combats the popular notion, caste systems are cyclical in one encouraged by the Afrijustice and nature (2) The War on Drugs can American success stories equality, is one was a mask for a politically of those like Obama, Oprah, and Condoleezza Rice, that the church cannot motivated war against AfriAmerican communities racial hierarchy is an unforafford to ignore. can that led to the rise of mass intunate chapter of this nation’s history. Having fallen prey to this line of think- carceration (3) At every level this nation’s system ing herself, having only come to believe her own of mass incarceration is structurally designed to argument in the last decade, Alexander knows entrap African-American males in a permanent all too well that individual success stories falsely state of marginalization and (4) The overturncommunicate impressive racial progress. And by ing of this racial caste system cannot happen in doing so, they mask the injustices being suffered an era of colorblindness. The New Jim Crow opens with a productive by the African American community at large. Thus, Alexander writes in order to stimulate historical conversation about the two indisput“a much needed conversation” about how this able racial caste systems of our nation’s history: country “can come to include all of us” (244). slavery and Jim Crow. In detailing the rise and Her book then, as an unapologetic call for social fall of both systems, Alexander emphasizes the justice and equality, is one the church cannot af- cyclical nature of racial caste. And in transitioning into a description of ford to ignore. Between 1980 and 2010, the U.S. pe- the rise of mass incarceration, she reveals the nal population quintupled, causing the United underlying political strategy uniting all three: States to boast the highest rate of incarcera- the intentional disruption of lower class biration in the world with a current estimate of two cial unity. In drawing these parallels, Alexander



Aaron Brown

West of Adré

East of Adré

How he must tremble now in a ripped up uniform, Ahmed, the boy who smiled. He told our town he was visiting family in the east—really he was lying, wanting to see the might of those washed out rebels, to find truth in the legends sung of those card-playing bandits.

Some meet death in shredded uniforms while others still hold their Kalashnikovs, shaking in their boots as they try to distinguish friend from foe in the desert night.

Fast-taken steps on sand— shouts of anguish, of command flood the desert like a rain storm The news came to us a few hundred miles away, on a tin roof, the thunder rumbling above, all around. Predatory helicopters rumors that threaten our calm existence swoop down above a truck, its driver shot, underneath the nim trees. haphazardly weaving between the short bushes: Watching the government trucks those shrubs that will burn your skin rush to the border battlefields, if you touch them. we only sip our tea and talk of Ahmed who visited family in the east.


the pub paints mass incarceration as the “rebirth” of the same racial bias that gave rise to slavery and Jim Crow. She paints it as a strategic repackaging of a 400-year-old mind-set tailored for a society no longer tolerant of explicit racism. This repackaging, Alexander argues, was made possible largely through Reagan’s 1980 War on Drugs. Declared when less than 2% of Americans perceived drugs to be a social threat, the War on Drugs was the specific political tool by which racial lines were drawn within lower class communities. Rather than targeting drug kingpins or those using the most dangerous drugs, the political administrations from the 1970s through the 1990s played off sensationalized media images of the crack whore, welfare queen, and crack addict- fostering the perception of African Americans as noncontributing, threatening members of society and garnering public support for a targeted attack of such communities. Aided by federal cash incentives for local law enforcement officers, a negligent Supreme Court, and a legal system that benefits from plea-bargaining and testimonial coercion, this attack has gone largely unchecked for the past forty years. In so extensively corroborating the corrupt roundup and prosecution of African Americans, Alexander overturns a common piece of fiction: the understanding that African Americans so heavily populate the prison system because they are more likely to commit violent crimes. The majority of African American men are not in prison for violent crimes but for minor drug offenses. And despite the fact that studies show that “people of all races use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates,” African Americans make up 80-90% of those incarcerated for drug crimes (97). Once in prison, once


shackled with the label of criminal, these men suffer marginalization reminiscent of Jim Crow. They are denied basic human rights: the right to vote, work, serve on a jury, find housing, and receive public assistance. They are saddled with unrealistic debts and released into a society set on their exclusion. What mass incarceration has done then is define the black man as criminal. It has justified racial exclusion and injustice through a more subtle expression of racism, one supported by the current era of colorblindness. It feeds off of unconscious racism and racial indifference, encouraging a deadly silence both from within and from outside communities of color. Most detrimentally, it has fostered a deep and cancerous shame among men of color. It sows the seeds of self-hatred and passively sits back as communities of color tear themselves apart. And then it claims no responsibility. The New Jim Crow finds strength in its clarity and passion. Alexander leaves no room to be misunderstood. She systematically and impressively supports her argument through historical data, specific and well-chosen legislation, and staggering statistics. She recognizes that her readers will not all be lawyers, politicians, or sociologists, and consequently she works to make her text accessible while still retaining its intellectual flavor. Refusing to cater to the potential sensitivity of her audience, Alexander indicts her readers, demanding collective yet highly personal responsibility. She demands that her readers see themselves as part of this problem, and in turn, the book is not one that can be cast aside out of boredom or lack of concern. It is riveting. If there is an area that The New Jim Crow comes up short, it is only in that it is not 900

pages. Alexander warns that this book is only rather than punitive approach to criminology meant to begin the conversation. Still, there are and calls for reform on systemic, institutional, areas that clearly need more attention. What and group levels rather than punishment at the are the specific ways in which African Ameri- individual level. Secondly, The New Jim Crow largely concan women suffer under this racial caste sysdemns systems of formal control, or at least tem? How does this argument apply to other minority populations, specifically with regard to the ones racked with corruption patrolling our Latin American communities? Is it possible to society today. When communities are assigned properly atone for centuries of injustice? What high numbers of police officers, when random would a multiracial, radical movement look like stops and barricaded checkpoints become norfor the 21st century? What are the practical next mal and expected realities of “ghetto” commusteps for an impassioned reader to take? All of nities, the message being sent is clear: You, as a these questions linger at the end of Alexander’s community of African American people, cannot argument. And while it is Alexander’s hope that be trusted to establish internal control. You are someone else pick up the discussion of these not strong enough; you are dangerous; for the safety and well- being of your very important questions, her Still, the white suburban neighbors, we call for a nation that includes have taken it upon ourselves “all of us” loses some of its implications to monitor and enforce right power in the absence of tanof Alexander’s behavior within your comgible methodology. munity. Thus, Alexander’s Still, the implications of argument are argument serves to motivate Alexander’s argument are far far reaching, reform in the execution of exreaching, spanning multiple disciplines and sectors of so- spanning multiple ternal control and to motivate the establishment and pracciety. Firstly, she strongly dedisciplines and tice of informal control. nounces any understanding of Thirdly, as Alexander’s classical criminology, insisting sectors of society. argument details how external that the social contract often touted as a determiner of good and evil is bi- and systemic forces have wrecked incalculable ased at best. Through her unapologetic attack harm on African American social networks, her of federal and local law enforcement, Alexan- book serves as a passionate plea to invest in the der scoffs at the popular belief that law and rebuilding of the networks themselves and in the status are independent of one another. Rather, youth that suffer from the absence of these nether view of criminology is influenced heavily by works. While Alexander may not lay out specific conflict, subculture, and labeling theories and prescriptions for how mass incarceration can finds obvious distinction in its racial emphasis. be battled from a reactive standpoint, it is clear That is, she clearly sees crime as a function of that she advocates for proactive intervention esracial discrimination and injustice. Consequent- pecially with regard to young African American ly, Alexander’s book is a push for a redemptive males. There is a need for the active combat


the pub against racial stigma and self-hatred through sociological ineptitude of the American people. the creation and provision of healthy and stable The current system of mass incarceration continues to flourish, because the leaders of this support systems from within the community. Fourthly, Alexander’s main prescription for nation have not yet realized that it is harmfully the disestablishing of racial caste from the fabric reductive and irresponsible to understand indiof this nation is largely Christian. She calls for viduals in isolated and narrow ways. She calls the complete and unapologetic pursuit of equal for reformers who can recognize the causal relationships between supportjustice, collective responThere is a need for ive social networks and insibility, and a redemptive dividual success, for citizens criminology. She underthe active combat who are able to prioritize stands that a full eliminaagainst racial stigma redemption over punishtion of racial caste cannot ment. be achieved unless we, as a and self-hatred The New Jim Crow is nation, “admit, out loud, through the creation a powerful and convictthat it was because of race ing condemnation of the that we didn’t care much and provision of racial indifference and colwhat happened to ‘those healthy and stable orblindness that plagues people’ and imagined support systems from our society. Feeding a rathe worst possible things about them” (225). She within the community. cial caste system of similar proportions to Jim Crow, recognizes the need for public atonement, the need for a public address- these attitudes are crippling the African Ameriing of past and current sins, and cautions that can community, and it is only through collective in the absence of this “color consciousness” the responsibility and a determination that our nacycle of racial caste will not be disrupted (230). tion include “all of us” that such a pervasive and Alexander’s critique of the U.S. justice subtly disguised racial caste system will be oversystem is rooted in her broader critique of the turned (244).

Who grew your coffee?

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Helen Herrle '11 was an English literature major from Old Saybrook, CT. She watches the only good scene from the movie Envy, when Tim meets the J-man, whenever she needs a good laugh.



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ey Joel Coakl rith a ito Ilr Ed Tim Mc Editor raves Managing Caroline G r e g a n l a se M nt rant Hen Developme ger G a n a M n ss to e Buisn Jeff Lin anager l Lipford Publicity M r Danie uth Layout Edito G J. . r C Copy Edito ea Tatum ls e h C r bley Copy Edito Debbie Knu r ito y Ed ] to [pho bbie Knuble itor De Ed o ] c n m e la B o [p rome itor Je er [poem] Ed ssica Fletch Je r ito ney Ed ] K e nna Mc in [narrativ r Suza ito y Ed rr ] a e B l tiv [narra Christabe Editor heidell [narrative] Stephen Sc r ito Ed [essay] Geno r Alec [essay] Edito d Hudson vi a D itor huchardt [review] Ed Dr. Read Sc r so vi d A Faculty

Wheaton Pub Spring 2012  

Wheaton Pub Spring 2012