The Yale Herald Volume LIV, Number 7 New Haven, Conn. Friday, October 19, 2012
From the staﬀ Fifteen years ago, I was learning to read, waiting for naptime, and stealing Goldfish at snack time. I was a master of finger paint and the authority on sand art. Life was good. Fifteen years is a long time (not to mention a weird age—just ask Tay). A lot’s changed since then. The death of Picnik brought with it the end of my attempts at art. Snack time is now all the time. I’m still learning to read. Still anxiously awaiting naptime. In those fifteen years, I’ve also realized that art isn’t for me. My lopsided stick figures haven’t made it past my fridge; sadly, they will never hang on the walls of the Yale University Art Gallery. But even if my doodles haven’t changed over the years, the gallery walls certainly have. On December 12, the YUAG’s 15-year, $135 million renovation will be officially complete. My education began 15 years ago with finger paint and sand art. Much to my chagrin, those days are long gone. Education, though, remains closely tied to the visual arts. In this week’s cover story, Ariel Doctoroff, SY ’13, explores the YUAG’s new look: the results of its renovation, its emphasis on education programs, and its accessibility to students and tourists in New Haven. Also inside, we’ve got Julia Calagiovanni, SM ’15, investigating the successes of student-run sustainability programs on campus. Speaking of green, no,
The Yale Herald Volume LIV, Number 7 New Haven, Conn. Friday, Oct. 19, 2012
EDITORIAL STAFF: Editor-in-chief: Emily Rappaport Managing Editors: Emma Schindler, John Stillman Executive Editor: Lucas Iberico Lozada Senior Editors: Sam Bendinelli, Nicolás Medina Mora, Clare Sestanovich Culture Editors: Elliah Heifetz, Andrew Wagner Features Editors: Sophie Grais, Olivia Rosenthal, Maude Tisch Opinion Editor: Micah Rodman Reviews Editor: Colin Groundwater Voices Editor: Eli Mandel Design Editors: Serena Gelb, Lian FumertonLiu, Christine Mi, Zachary Schiller Photo Editor: Julie Reiter BUSINESS STAFF: Publishers: William Coggins, Evan Walker-Wells Director of Advertising: Shreya Ghei Director of Finance: Stephanie Kan Director of Development: Joe Giammittorio ONLINE STAFF: Online Editors: Ariel Doctoroff, Carlos Gomez, Lucas Iberico Lozada, Marcus Moretti Webmaster: Navy Encinias Bullblog Editor-in-chief: John Stillman Bullblog Managing Editor: David Gore Bullblog Associate Editors: Alisha Jarwala, Grace Lindsey, Cindy Ok, Eamon Ronan, Jesse Schreck, Maude Tisch
it’s not spring and it won’t be till May, but Sophie Nguyen, JE ’14, tells us what she thought of Spring Awakening. Phoebe Gaston, PC ’13, sits down with New Haven psychoanalyst Sybil Houlding, and Ifeanyi Awachie, TD ’14,
The Yale Herald is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, incorporated student publication registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office.
tries her hand at stand-up comedy. Happy snack time from the Herald! And when we run into you in 15 years, we should really grab a meal. Much love, Sophie Grais Features editor
If you wish to subscribe to the Herald, please send a check payable to The Yale Herald to the address below. Receive the Herald for one semester for 40 dollars, or for the 20122013 academic year for 65 dollars. Please address correspondence to The Yale Herald P.O. Box 201653 Yale Station New Haven, CT 06520-1653 Email: Emily.Rappaport@yale.edu Web: www.yaleherald.com The Yale Herald is published by Yale College students, and Yale University is not responsible for its contents. All opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of The Yale Herald, Inc. or Yale University. Copyright 2011, The Yale Herald, Inc. Have a nice day.
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
Cover by Christine Mi YH Staff
IN THIS ISSUE
COVER 12 Ariel Doctoroﬀ, SY ‘13, takes a tour of the newly-renovated Yale University Art Gallery, examining its design and collection, as well as its goals to become a major tourist attraction and educational center.
Phoebe Gaston, PC ‘13, gets Freudian with prominent psychoanalst Sybil Houlding.
Radhika Koul, TD ‘14, on getting lost, mint tea, and eccentric company in the City of Light.
Kohler Bruno, SM ’16, examines the diﬃculties that accompany athletes’ decisions to quit their varsity teams.
Julia Calagiovanni, SM ‘15, explores student environmental activism and the challenges of trying to eﬀect meaningful change.
OPINION: Victoria Hall-Palerm, BK ‘15, on the downsides of being a liberal in a sea of Democrats. Jake Dawe, TC ‘15, takes the time to say hello.
Ifeanyi Awachie, TD ‘14, talks to the Yalies who makes us laugh. Also: Joe’s Junk Yard and Saybrook’s resident fellow.
Sophia Nguyen, JE ’14, on Spring Awakening at the Oﬀ-Broadway Theater this weekend. Also: Argo , Taken 2, Mika, and the iPhone 5.
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY The Herald’s week in review: what rocked, what sucked, and who took the lead in IM bowling.
The diamond planet This one diamond isn’t in the rough of the universe, is it? The discovery this past week of a planet largely made up of pure diamond made dreams come true for Disney Princess lovers and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fans alike. It’s 40 light years away, which my specialized knowledge based on the Toy Story movies and 2001: A Space Odyssey makes me think should be a breeze. (And so should Google Earth’s upgrade to Google Space, right?) Look, the Herald knows better than anyone that Yale’s so big that it’s always messing something up, but for this one we give props to the Yale researchers, particularly for giving the football players and English majors getting their science credit in the Planets and Stars lecture something relevant to discuss. And, we ask, what’s next? A planet made of cotton candy? Or of rollercoasters that magically don’t cause nausea or fear in even the biggest party poopers? Every kiss begins with Kay, and every diamond begins with being D. So get down, we’re heading to infinity and beyond. —Cindy Ok YH Staff
Midterms, round one The fact that we didn’t have a fall break has surely made for many Ds over the years, and I’m certainly not thankless for the many beloved hours of use my Netflix Instant will get next week. But the way fall break scheduling worked out for most people was no autumnal harvest festival of fun. Exam hell weeks were scrunched into a shorter period, and while the leaves were a-turning, we were too busy crying of boredom in A&A to notice. They were also pushed up into cold season, so 75-minute midterms turned into jam sessions where enough phlegm was coughed up to make funky music or to eradicate a small country. Not even your thickest, least flattering sweatpants can keep those germs away. Well, it’s over (or, even if you’re unlucky, will be so, so soon), and it’s time to collectively fall into fall. It’s sweater weather, pumpkin. You’re free until round two, and meanwhile an infinite number of corns on their cobs awaits you. —Cindy Ok YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
“Stepping down” I know what they say about the celebrity rule of three but why does everyone keep leaving us??? It’s not just President Levin who’s resigning after this year; it’s also the Pierson master, and, as announced this week, the Trumbull master, too. They’re peacing after tenures the length of some of our lifetimes to do things one can imagine they didn’t always have room to pencil in while their jobs were to love us so well 24/7. Maybe they’ll travel (hey, Prez, you think you’ll hit up China at some point?), maybe they’ll take up a little Vinyasa flow, maybe they’ll read for pleasure. Good for them, and for yoga studios everywhere. But hopefully they’ll also have time to miss us, and to feel a little guilty about the feelings of abandonment they’re stirring up on campus. We want you to be so, so happy, Mr. President, Master G, and Master Henrich. You are definitely not the “fails” of anything. But we also want to wallow a little, so this week knowing our time with you is limited is the “fail” of everything. — Cindy Ok YH Staff —graphics by Zachary Schiller YH Staff
BOOM/BUST INCOMING: Being tired Everyone is tired now. Ugh. Sooo tired. I only slept like three hours last night and I’m pulling an all-nighter tonight because my p-set is OWNING me. I’m literally addicted to coffee, literally I have a problem, literally I often drink coffee. I’m so tired I might not be able to play in all nine of my IMs this week—but I’m so tired that I just wanna say, “F it. I’m playing.” I’m so tired but I won’t let my team down. I’m sorry that the skin on my nose is peeling, but it’s not my fault, I’m so tired, I haven’t slept in weeks.
OUTGOING: iPhone 5 Oh sick, you got the new iPhone? Does it rock? Are you really happy with the software upgrade? Oh wait, I’m so sorry I forgot that I don’t give two hoots. I don’t have the new iPhone, so I’m not interested in its new features. Is that mean of me or do you suck and have no self-awareness?
—Jack Schlossberg YH Staff
TYNG CUP STANDINGS 1. Trumbull 2. Jonathan Edwards 3. Pierson 4. Saybrook 5. Silliman 6. Davenport 7. Timothy Dwight 8. Ezra Stiles 9. Branford 10. Morse 11. Berkeley 12. Calhoun
279 271 270.5 270.5 240 238.5 227 200.5 184.5 180.5 146.5 46.5
INDEX 2 days since Theta crush.
TOP FIVE Things to do over fall break
99 bottles of beer on the wall.
5 4 3 2 1
Fall further behind on your reading.
moms that were cuter than their daughters last weekend.
Gain weight in unwanted places. Lips2hips, eyes2thighs.
9:1 ratio of girls to boys in my section.
No shower shoes!!! Visit your ex-lover and apologize for killing it without them.
7 minutes in Gourmet Heaven to decide which Naked juice I want.
Make love not war. —Jack Schlossberg YH Staff Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) reality —Jack Schlossberg YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
SITTING DOWN WITH SYBIL HOULDING by Phoebe Gaston (Rebecca Wolenski/YH Staff) Sybil Houlding practices psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and couples therapy in downtown New Haven, and is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. She is currently the president of the board of the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis. This week, Houlding sat down with the Herald to discuss her work and psychoanalysis at large. YH: Why did you pursue the extra training to become a psychoanalyst as opposed to just performing psychotherapy? SH: One of the hallmarks of psychoanalysis is the opportunity to have a relationship where people come in three, four, five times every week and typically, you know, lie on the couch, and there’s something about the intensity of that kind of rapport that gives you much greater access to the inner world. I think psychoanalysis places a much higher premium on unconscious fantasy, unconscious parts of the mind that might express themselves in character or in symptoms. It just seemed like the deepest, fullest way. YH: Why is there such an usual density of psychoanalysts in New Haven? SH: It has to do with the fact that we have an institute to train them. There’s the Yale Medical School, the Yale Child Study Center, and the Yale Department of Psychiatry, which all have deep roots and connections with the Western New England [Institute for Psychoanalysis]. We have a very long and established presence, as there are a number of very famous analysts who trained here. The Yale Child Study Center was really one of the most important centers for psychoanalysis, particularly of children, for many, many years, and it had a direct connection to Anna Freud, Sigmund’s daughter. So New Haven has a long history of involvement with psychoanalysis. YH: What does a typical session look like? What sort of issues are you working with, and what sort of people come to you for psychoanalysis? SH: I think people get to a place in their own development where they can really feel the obstacles that are keeping them from realizing themselves, and that are causing intense distress. I think that’s a very significant moment in a person’s life, realizing that. What kinds of things? Maybe long-standing issues of depression, maybe profound anxiety, maybe early trauma that makes it impossible or difficult to create sustaining or lasting meaningful relationships, and that’s very important. And in a way there is no typical session. That’s not to
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
say that there aren’t certain recognizable qualities, like that the patient talks more than the analyst, but really each person is unique and each relationship is unique. I think what we’ve come to realize is how much the analysand affects the analyst. An important source of data is some mutual recognition of what’s going on between you. It’s a different sort of relationship, when we can begin to notice what happens in an intense way. So if you come in and tell me, “This happens again and again and again with my roommate,” we can go over how you feel, but when it happens between us, then it comes really to life. I think that is one of the most powerful things that psychoanalysis has to offer. YH: How long do you typically see a patient? SH: My sessions are 50 minutes, typically four or five days a week. How many years, now that’s a good question. How big is the problem? What the clinic would say is we wouldn’t accept someone for an analytic experience for less than two years. It’s not a fast process. And therefore it’s not for everybody—not everybody needs analysis. But for the people for whom it can make a difference, it’s probably true that nothing else will make that kind of difference. I think four years would be the short end, four to six maybe, and in some situations it can go on eight, nine, 10 years. It really depends: how entrenched are the things you’re working with? How far are you each capable of going, this analytic pair? YH: Is there a point for you as the analyst or for the patient where you feel like the problem is solved? How does the relationship end? SH: That’s the question everyone is asking. Here’s someone who knows me better than anyone has known me, and who I feel so comfortable with, and what do we do now? Termination is what we call it, which some people think sounds sort of brutal, but it is really one of the most important parts of analysis. Because being able to work through, in a meaningful way, the ending of an important relationship onto which you’ve projected or transferred so much of your whole history, and then to be able to end it or say goodbye with a fuller understanding of yourself, to mourn and to relinquish, is an incredibly important part of the work. And some people with early losses I think come into analysis in order to terminate, in order to find a way to mourn the earlier loss, but also to have a different experience of ending a relationship. I feel like mourning is one of the central parts of the human mind; it helps to build structure in the mind. I don’t just mean mourning in the layperson sense of mourning a person, but in terms
of accepting the limits of reality and being able to bear it, without either denying it or sinking into depression. YH: Is it difficult for you, being so intensely engaged in these people’s lives, to leave the office and carry on with your personal life? SH: It’s a very strange profession. It’s very rich and very privileged to be so intimate with people in that way. And you do carry it with you on some level, but I think with time and experience you get better at either just tolerating it or moving away from it, or finding some way to have an internal balance. I mean, you’re yourself, in all situations, and it finds its place inside you. YH: I’m struck by the nature of that relationship, and I can’t think of another relationship in life besides maybe with a spouse, where you find that kind of closeness and trust. SH: Yes. And I think with a spouse there’s a lot of reciprocity, there, for better and for worse, but in psychoanalysis what protects the treatment and makes it a treatment is that it’s all about you. So your fantasies about what I might be doing when I’m not here, and your wish to know, and your envy of my privacy, and all those things, form a part of the treatment, because being excluded from a relationship is central to the human psyche, and so it is actually from that point of view a very unique relationship. YH: How do you think psychoanalysis is going to fare in the coming years? SH: I wish I knew. That’s very much at the heart of the international discussion about psychoanalysis. There are, on the one hand, the people involved in it with so much passion, and at the same time, abroad, an awareness that the world is moving faster. There’s less value placed on the inner life; there’s more emphasis on a quick and speedy gratification. It makes us wonder how we can continue to flourish and be relevant. But I do know that something this valuable to humanity isn’t going to go away. YH: Your job is to listen to other people for hours and hours and to always be actively engaged. Do you ever find it boring or frustrating? SH: Well, if it weren’t in every treatment sometimes boring or sometimes frustrating, I would wonder why someone was working so hard to entertain me! —This interview was condensed by the author
OLD TIMES IN PARIS by Radhika Koul
had just emerged from the dark underground of the Métro into the light of Paris. It had rained. Cigarette butts, crushed and uncrushed, stood out prominently on the wet blackness of the paved landing. The young, as the French would say, hung around in their black leather jackets. A few motorcycles stopped by. Café Bastille inspired a little awe in its confident laziness. I strained to look at the name of the rue on the navy-blue and white street sign. Rue de la Roquette. Le voilà. I hadn’t lost it, then, after hours of navigating through airport-to-city public transport with my gingerly French and a pile of luggage that weighed more than half of what I did. I hoped house number 100 would show up magically, and soon. I didn’t want to be too far away from Bastille. The other end of the street, a quick Internet search had told me, was a lot less fun, not to mention shadier. I walked on, vaguely taking in the restaurants, cafés, and bistros of the rue. They didn’t matter. I only cared about piercing through the uncharted territory of the rue to reach number 100 as I dragged my huge red suitcase along. Where the pavement broke off into intersections, I did so with even more concentration. It started to rain a little. My umbrella was ready. I was getting closer. A part of me was convinced it was entirely possible that I would just miss the 100. More than a part of me. The numbering appeared to be so random; I could also be on the wrong side of the street. Who knew what they did here? At 104, I took out the printout with the address and other details, including a little map, hoping something I had seen along the way would solve the mystery. I felt gauche. Parisian women don’t stop midway on the trottoir. They keep walking. Only vendors, flirts, and beggars stand. I didn’t know that then, of course, but I still felt stupid. I kept peering at the sheet. God knows it was futile. A hand touched my forearm. I looked up. An old hunchbacked woman had stopped before me. Hair snow-white, and a face of white wrinkles. “Quel numéro cherches-tu?” she asked. What number are you looking for? I smiled for having been understood so easily without saying a word. “Cent,” I said. Her face showed confusion. “Cent,” I repeated a couple more times. That didn’t seem to cut it either. Was I pronouncing this goddamned little word wrong? I went over it again and again in my head—it seemed to be the right sound. Her face didn’t show a hint of understanding. I was disappointed with myself. It had to be that I was doing this wrong. That didn’t stop her from insisting on helping me. She noticed the sheet in my hand and asked to see it. I pointed out the poor little “cent” once again, this time in clear numerals. She didn’t know where it was either, but led me to the doner
kebab place I had just left behind. She did the asking for me. Apparently it was a couple feet away. When we were in front of house number 100, she instructed, “You must always ask, my dear.” I said a heartfelt “Merci.” She stroked me on the cheek, said the most heartfelt “It’s nothing” I’ve heard, and walked away. TWO DAYS LATER, ON MONDAY, I WAS AT the Bastille again. It was 10 p.m. We had our first class in Paris that morning, after five weeks of instruction at Yale. I had had a long and rather unbelievable day. 10 p.m. at the Bastille was dark, loud and busy. I sat with my crèpe at the little bistro, a little disappointed with the amount of jam in it and the plastic silverware I was given, but unwilling to complain. Only the thought of the three hours of homework that awaited me disturbed my peace. An old man with salt-and-pepper hair tied in a ponytail was sitting on the table beside mine. An old woman served him green tea in narrow glasses with colorful prints on them from a tea pot that had what one might call character. He pointed to my red phone and told me to keep it safely inside. It’ll get stolen, he said smugly. I did so, and smiled. “D’ou viens-tu?” he asked. I was slow to respond. “Tu me comprends?” “Oui, oui. Je viens d’Inde,” I said. “Inde?....Inde! India!” He asked me to finish my crèpe and cross over to his table afterward. The crèpe took a few minutes. I did as he told. There seemed to be little harm in talking to an old man over tea in a busy square for a few minutes. He offered me said tea. Thé à la menthe. It’s very good, he assured me. I had always been suspect of mint tea. I would fail to understand, generally, just what led my friends to sometimes come back from the dining hall kitchen with a cup of Tazo Refresh in hand. Y’all don’t know tea, my sneer would say. I couldn’t say no to the old monsieur sitting in front of me. I made myself feel better about liking it by reminding myself that it was a thing in France and part of their culture (by virtue of their having colonized most of North Africa at some point.) He offered me a cigarette and asked if I would like to smoke. I smiled and said, no thank you. Then he asked me if I had learned French in India. I told him I studied in the States. How long had I been learning the language? Five weeks. How long had I been in Paris? Just about three days. It’s unbelievable, then, that you talk like this. I told him that he was exaggerating; it was just that I didn’t have a strong American accent. The passé composé was far from natural to my tongue.
(Lian Fumerton-Liu/YH Staff) Alors, tell me then, you come from India and I am a man interested in politics, what do you think of untouchability and the caste system? It took me a second to digest that he actually wanted to have an intellectual conversation with me, and had started it by asking me about untouchability back home. Over the course of the following hour and a half, I explained to him the current status of untouchability in India, that the reason I could study at Yale wasn’t that my parents were filthy rich, that I believed in God, and that I believed in karma. He made me explain karma and samsara, the cycle of life and death, in French, though I was willing to bet that he knew. He taught me the word âme, soul. He taught me a rule of pluralization we hadn’t quite covered in class yet (fondamental--> fondamentaux). He corrected my pronunciation of the French “u.” We talked about where we had been born and learned that we had both been displaced—my family from Kashmir in 1990 and his family from Tunisia in 1956. He told me that, à son avis, without history and literature there was no life. Midway through the conversation he refused to answer when I addressed him with the formal “vous,” as I had for the last hour. Oh no, you don’t know any French, you can only say “tu,” not “vous.” I smiled but refused to oblige. In India I wouldn’t dream of using the informal with a man so much older than I. At 15 minutes to midnight, I told him that I had homework to finish. “Oh you must return then,” he said. Then, feigning sans-gêne, he asked, “You want to
meet again?” Yes I did. We exchanged email addresses and he gave me his telephone number. I didn’t give him mine; I told him I didn’t have a number yet. He lived right above the café at the Bastille. We would obviously meet again. I emailed him the following week and kept waiting until my very last day in Paris, to see him par hasard at the Bastille or get an email in response. I waited in vain. My very last day in Paris, I met an old woman recuperating from a hip surgery. We were in the quiet jardin behind La Comédie Française, away from the crowds of the Louvre. I was writing a postcard to my best friend from home and finishing a letter to my godfather. I really wanted to write, but we couldn’t help but talk. After a few words about the niceness of the garden, she asked me if I was from Paris. I couldn’t believe my ears. Again we talked for an hour. She left, saying she should really leave me alone to write. She did, but came back after three minutes. “What is your name? We must not leave this here,” she said. We exchanged email addresses. She asked me the meaning of my name. I should email her from Yale, she said. I could practice my French that way. I haven’t emailed her yet. A month and a half ago, I got a response to the email I had sent in mid-July. The old man I had met at the Bastille had gone on vacation a few days after our talk. Was I still in Paris? I haven’t answered back yet. The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
OPINION LOOKING LEFT AND RIGHT by Victoria Hall-Palerm Much has been said about the liberal climate at Yale and how the implicit assumption that everyone at Yale is equally liberal limits debate. Most of the criticisms of this environment have come from the conservative camp. And that’s fair: for a conservative, having everyone around you treat the tenets of the Democratic Party as if they were both unquestioned and unquestionable would be incredibly frustrating. This isn’t that editorial. I’m not a Republican bemoaning the overwhelming liberal consensus on campus. I’m a registered Democrat, and initially, I found nothing not to love about the liberal climate at Yale. Nearly everyone around me seemed to be on the same page: Democrats correct, Republicans in need of conversion. My liberal self could hardly imagine anything better than to be surrounded by people with the same stances as mine. I was sure that, should I ever question my beliefs, my fellow Democrats would be there to provoke thought and pull me back to the Left. If anything, it was an opportunity to renew my convictions. But lately I’ve been wondering whether this pervasive liberal environment does us liberals more harm than good. Sure, it may piss off the conservatives to have so many Democrats around, but is it even beneficial for those Democrats? If the overwhelming majority of campus espouses the same views, what incites us to scrutinize our own beliefs? Why should I question my own thoughts to figure out on which issues I might disagree with my party? I can’t imagine I’m alone in this —my experience is one example of a larger problem. When there is a pervasive school of thought, one that completely dominates discussion, and, moreover, a fairly monolithic interpretation of that school, the case is seemingly closed. Everything can be boiled down to simple sentences: Yale is full of liberals; to be a liberal means you stand with the Democratic Party. Within that worldview, there is next to no room for nuance. Don’t get me wrong—I’m happy for the majority of this campus to fall on the left end
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
of the political spectrum. I wish more of the world would join us over here. But the traditional label of “Democrat” as it is applied around campus is limiting. Can’t I contribute to the liberal discussion constructively by expressing a view other than the status quo stance of the Democratic Party? I’m simply too far to the left in my political convictions to be comfortable toeing the Democratic Party line. Where Obama and his supporters bend over backwards trying to justify why their policies don’t earn him the label of a socialist, I don’t see why “socialism” is a dirty word. I look at the Green Party platform and see fully-funded childcare, unrestricted and unabashed support of marriage equality, and advocacy for a living wage, and it makes me wonder whether I should support Jill Stein, the party’s candidate for president, and free myself from the centrist platform of the Democratic Party. Yes, I’m a liberal, and I think that any self-professed member of the Democratic Party should engage with people like me on issues of liberalism, but in all honesty, I think that my views would be just as opposed to those traditionally held by Yale Democrats as are those of a campus Republican. The political discussion at Yale has become a cut-and-dry thing on the Left: whereas on the Right, thinkers range from fiscal conservatives to Tea Partiers, somehow, as liberals, we are expected to fit a much more restrictive mold. I don’t fit the traditional Democrat mold as it has come to exist. Sure, I’ll vote for Obama come November (since, realistically, my girl Jill Stein is probably just a spoiler). Still, I think that even traditional Democrats have something to learn from those of us who aren’t totally comfortable with the widely-accepted take on liberalism. They can disagree with me—and that’s great. In disagreeing with someone they can’t simply write off as another misguided conservative, hopefully they’ll take a moment to think about why precisely they hold their beliefs to be true, and emerge better-educated from the discussion.
STABBING: NO FRIENDS: YES! by Jake Dawe I’ve mimicked sexually explicit acts with the Viola Question and I’ve played a child predator with Red Hot Poker. I’m not shy. When I stand in front of an audience during an improv or sketch comedy show, I’m happy and I’m comfortable. Only occasionally do my nerves get to me, making me want to poop out my own heart and essential organs. So I do not understand why I seize up so often when I have the opportunity to say “hey!” to someone on the street. Something inside me—something that is normally switched on—instead shuts down. The sensation is fleeting. I’ll see someone I know, perhaps a mutual friend, perhaps someone I met at a party, and my social senses jump ship. I panic. Do I say “hello” to them? Do I know them well enough to single them out from the mass of other Yalies shuffling along? My eyes scan the sidewalk for anyone else I might know better. For the love of God, why don’t I know anyone on this sidewalk? Shit. Shit. Shit. Wait. My mind jumps to realistic alternatives. Does anyone here have a knife? I could stab myself in the thigh. It’d cause a scene. There’d be a good amount of blood. Someone would have to make a tourniquet. Oh, that’d be nice. Aside from weighing the probability of a bus jumping the curb and striking me dead on impact, I mentally prepare myself for the debacle ahead. Do I just say “hey”? Or should I say “hi” instead? I could throw on a “there” at the end. “Hi there” sounds wholesome. Wholesome is good. Yalies are wholesome—despite the occasional social anxiety. Should I toss on [insert name] to the end of the greeting? Wait. What if that’s not their name? That’d be embarrassing for me. It’d keep them on their toes, though. Or maybe they’d just burst into tears. Around this point, the two of us are approaching the point of no return. If I’m going to take out my phone as a last
resort, I have to do it now. Otherwise I’ll just be ignoring them. Do it, Jake. Just say “hey.” It’s not hard. People do it all the time. Why would it be weird? It’s not going to seem as stilted as you think it sounds. OH. MY. GOD. WHY ARE YOU BEING SUCH A WEENEY? JESUS H. CHRIST, JAKE, JUST F#*%ING SAY “HELLO.” And then…they walk by. I look down and notice that my reflexes have kicked in: my phone is in my hand, preemptively sending a text that I don’t really need to send. I missed the opportunity. My heart sinks and I feel a little sick to my stomach. I ignored that person. I could have pushed a friendship further along. I could have done some small part to brighten someone’s day. Nope. Social anxiety set in and my nerves got the better of me. I have never put myself out there, never mustered up the courage to say “hey,” and regretted my decision. I have only ever been happy with the conversations that have followed or, at the very least, satisfied that I contributed to helping someone else have a better day. I’m not saying that good days are made with greetings from Jake Dawe and that your day is subpar unless I say “hi” to you. No. I’m saying that instead of instigating a Cold War over who’s going to say “hey” to whom, just put yourself out there. Yalies can be a socially anxious bunch. Sometimes, all we need is a few seconds of boldness, a few seconds when we don’t give a tiny rat’s ass about our social anxieties, to let someone know that there are people at this school who are willing and able to pick them out of a crowd and ask how their day is going. Yale will be a friendlier, more open place because of it. And you know what? Saying “hi!” is better than stabbing yourself in the thigh and using pools of your own blood as a diversion. Trust me. —Graphic by Lian Fumerton-Liu YH Staff
Oﬀ the track Life after varsity sports for athletes who leave their teams by Kohler Bruno
hen Allie Frappier, SM ’15, first hurt her back, it seemed okay— she continued playing volleyball, even using medication at times to dull the pain. This fall, though, as the injury grew more and more serious, it became clear that she wasn’t going to be able to play the way she always had. In response, she quit the women’s varsity volleyball team. Even with an injury, quitting a varsity team isn’t exactly kosher. “When I found out about my injury, there was definitely a lot of pressure to stay on the team and do what I could, like help out around practice and still be a part of the team,” Frappier said. “But that’s not something that I was interested in doing.” Many varsity athletes feel pressure to stay on their respective teams for the entirety of their college careers. Committing the faux pas of quitting, no matter the circumstances, can bring unpleasant consequences. Frappier, who was recruited by Yale while in high
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
school, went to the volleyball game against the University of Pennsylvania last weekend and ran into her coach. “It was definitely awkward,” she said. “She didn’t give me a hug. You could tell she didn’t really want to be talking to me.” She added that quitting volleyball strained relationships with some former teammates. “Some of the girls on the team handle it very well and it’s not awkward when I see them,” she said. “But there are definitely others where it’s more awkward and I feel uncomfortable being around them.” While quitting varsity sports is not a rampant trend at Yale, it is not entirely uncommon. Since Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships, there is nothing that technically binds a student to his or her team. “Certainly we know quitting happens,” said Amy Backus, the athletic department’s senior associate director for student services. “It happens at all the Ivy schools, where
you don’t have a scholarship tying the kids to their sport.” At many other colleges, if a student leaves a varsity team, he or she could potentially sacrifice a scholarship. Dean of Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel, TD ’75, lauded this aspect of the admissions process at Yale. “It is in part for this reason that we do not grant athletic scholarships – we do not wish to bind anyone, financially or otherwise, to a particular activity,” he wrote in an email. Some athletes said that the decision to quit should be a personal one. “I think if an athlete decides that being on a team isn’t what they want, it’s up to them to decide whether it’s appropriate to quit,” Amina Edwards, MC ’15, said. Edwards rows varsity crew. Erin Appleman, head coach of the women’s volleyball team, took a harder line. “When they leave the program, I think it’s detrimental to the program,” she said. “It’s detrimental to the players they’re leaving behind. I
think it’s awful.” Indeed, to many players and coaches alike, loyalty to one’s team is part of the lifeblood of the program. Violating that loyalty is, to many, an ugly prospect. “Loyalty is huge in any team sport,” said Stu Wilson, SM ’16, who plays on the men’s varsity hockey team. “Knowing teammates are going through what you’re going through provides motivation to excel.” Athletes and coaches acknowledged it was acceptable to quit under some circumstances, like in the case of career-ending injuries. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable quitting if I just didn’t want to do the work,” Edwards said, but she conceded the legitimacy of an athlete leaving a team after a bad injury. “If someone is really injured,” Katie Chockley, SM ’14, who plays rugby on the women’s varsity team, said, “and you quit because of that, I think that’s the most legitimate reason. The least legitimate is that it’s too much of a time commitment.”
Coaches recognized the difficulty in asking students to remain on a team after a career-ending injury. “It’s difficult at Yale because there are so many opportunities,” Anne Phillips, the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach of the women’s lacrosse team, said of athletes staying on their varsity teams after they’ve
athletes that walk on to a varsity team. “There’s a difference because when you’re recruited you know what you’re getting into,” Edwards said, “whereas walk-ons sometimes don’t know what exactly they’re getting themselves into in terms of the time commitment and physical strain.” Backus echoed this sentiment. “A lot of
recruited, you’re supported through [the] admissions [process].” Indeed, a recruit’s decision to quit a varsity team is often stigmatized by athletes and non-athletes alike, as it raises the question of whether he or she agreed to play a sport partly as a way of helping secure admission to Yale. In the eyes of many Yale coaches, the dis-
Quitting is often scorned by coachs and teammates, who characterize it as an act of abandonment that shows disregard for a program’s ingrained code of loyalty. been injured. “That really is the choice of the athlete. There are those kids that have invested time with the team and want to see that commitment through. That’s their decision and I support that. I’ve had other kids that really want to do other things, and I understand that as well.” There are also athletes who choose to quit their varsity teams for reasons unrelated to injuries; for instance, some find the intense commitment to a team either overly time-consuming or socially limiting. “Being on a team was a big social commitment in the sense that it took up a lot of time I could have been spending meeting people who weren’t athletes,” said one sophomore who quit her varsity team and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “On the weekends, I felt obligated to go where the team went, and I didn’t have time to meet people and figure out other places to spend time.” “It’s really disappointing when that happens,” Andrew Shay, head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, said of quitting for reasons unrelated to injury. “We try to vet that during the recruiting process. We want to make sure that kids are committed to the sport, that they want to be here.” But many athletes acknowledge an important distinction with regard to quitting: Athletic recruits, they said, are different from
kids will maybe…walk on to a team, and if they didn’t realize what kind of time commitment it was or it just didn’t work out for them, I’d say it’s a little less egregious in a coach’s eyes [if they quit],” she said. A major distinction between these two groups of athletes is of course the fact that recruits receive special attention in the admissions process. “As a coach, you devote a lot of time and energy to recruits,” Appleman said. “You submit a letter of recommendation to admissions on behalf of the athlete stating you’re recommending this
tinction between recruits and walk-ons is not recognized: once an athlete is in their program, he or she is merely a member of the squad. “Once walk-ons make the team, they’re an equal member of the team, and I don’t look at them any differently in any respect,” Phillips said of her women’s lacrosse team. “You shouldn’t quit your varsity team,” Chockley said. But Chockley did at one point quit her varsity cross country team, and then proceeded to join a different varsity program, the women’s rugby team. “I was really going back and forth with it, re-
she found that being on the team was taxing for her psychologically. She quit this past summer, before her junior year, and joined the women’s varsity rugby team. She said that the experience of quitting the cross country team was not nearly as rocky as others athletes who quit their teams had reported of their own experiences. “My coach has been really great,” Chockley said. “I was really nervous because I was at rugby practice and she was setting up for [her practice], but she was really nice, and gave me a hug.” Without athletic scholarships, athletes at Yale can quit their varsity sports without official consequences, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Quitting is often scorned by coaches and teammates, who characterize it as an act of abandonment that shows disregard for a program’s ingrained code of loyalty. But athletes who do choose to quit gain an opportunity to chart a completely different course at Yale than the one they might have pursued had they stayed on their team. With so much new free time, academic and social opportunities outside of sports are far wider and more accessible. In his email, Brenzel acknowledged that the majority of athletes at Yale stick with their varsity teams for the entirety
“It is in part for this reason that we do not grant athletic scholarships—we do not wish to bind anyone, ﬁnancially or otherwise, to a particular activity.” —Dean Jeﬀrey Brenzel, TD ’75 person to come and play for the university.” Frappier, who quit Appleman’s volleyball team, said it was easier for non-recruited athletes to quit. “It’s less dramatic if they walked on [to] the team,” she said. “I think that’s partly due to the fact that if you’re
ally having a hard time, because I love the cross country team,” she said. “It was more a decision to protect my mental health.” She walked on to the varsity cross country team her freshman year, but after a series of injuries and a bout with mono,
of their time here. A majority, but not all: “Some recruited athletes,” he wrote, “also make a decision to pursue other things at Yale—a choice I am glad they are free to make.” —graphics by Lian Fumerton-Liu YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
Exteriors of the new Yale University Art Gallery (Courtesy YUAG)
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
For art’s sake Ariel Doctoroﬀ, SY ’13, follows the transformation of the Yale University Art Gallery into a center for accessible education
n Saturday, Oct. 13, Pamela Franks was excited. Standing directly across from the Yale University Art Gallery’s entrance, the museum’s deputy director of collections and education had strategically placed herself in the center of the action. Though it was no ordinary weekend for the YUAG—Family Weekend and the TEDx conference undoubtedly helped to fill its halls—Franks hoped the hubbub was a sign of good things to come. I had unknowingly picked a great day for a visit. The arrival of snotty-nosed halfbrothers and pushy-but-lovable grandparents coincided with a temporary opening of the third floor of the YUAG’s Kahn building, where the Modern and Contemporary Art collection is housed. “What do you think, Pam? We’ve had 954 people already!” Jock Reynolds, the Henry Heinz II director of the YUAG, made sure to tell us as we passed him in the atrium. Reynolds is unnervingly tall, with a shock of white hair. His smile served as a weathervane for the day’s success, perhaps even more so than a visitor tally could have. Reynolds was particularly jazzed about the undergraduate-led tour that was tak-
ing place: “Pam, didya see the group with Emma? It’s amazing!” Franks and I beelined for the elevators. When we got off, it wasn’t hard to pick up on the space’s newness. Most of the artwork didn’t have labels yet—those finishing touches will come soon. Curators had marked some works with white paper print-outs stuck to the wall with blue masking tape. But this is part of what thrilled Franks: Everyone could tell that the project wasn’t
work, First Steps, a mother helps her toddler learn to walk. Sokoloff knew how to captivate her audience: “That painting in particular, yeah it was a Picasso, but the subject was a mother and child and since it was Parent’s Weekend, I think a lot of the people on my tour were more responsive to the painting because of its subject matter than its artist.” The undergraduate tour guide was onto something: the traditional museum experience is on its way out and
of a 15-year renovation project. In anticipation of that day, the museum’s directors are crossing their fingers that Saturday’s idyllic YUAG can be a permanent reality. Though the gallery is still a work in progress, it has little in common with the YUAG of two decades ago. Franks emphasized to me that the new lobby is meant to be a gathering space. The light wood and wide open spaces are appealing but the sunken grey sectionals and lime-green chairs complete the picture—
“Yeah it was a Picasso, but...I think a lot of the people on my tour were more responsive to the painting because of its subject matter than its artist.” —Emma Sokoloﬀ, TC ’13, head undergraduate gallery guide done but this didn’t seem to affect the tour. Emma Sokoloff, the head undergraduate gallery guide and a close friend of mine, was speaking with a crowd of 50 about a Pablo Picasso painting, one that was nearly perfect for the occasion. In the 1943
a younger, more dynamic version is taking its place. ON DECEMBER 12, 2012, THE YALE UNIversity Art Gallery will officially open its remodeled doors to the world, the culmination
sit with a few friends while you decide which exhibit you want to see or rest your museumweary legs and prepare to carry on. The old YUAG was, apparently, not quite so inviting. In 1997, when former Assistant Curator for the Academic Initiative Ellen Al-
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
vord arrived on campus, she said the “sleepy little place” was unwelcoming. Alvord, now the Andrew W. Mellon coordinator of academic affairs at Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum in South Hadley, Massachusetts, told me, “We didn’t have a front desk. There was the museum shop, and anyone who had any questions had to ask the person in the shop.” Now, when you first walk into the gallery, the first thing you see is the information desk with brochures and a fresh-faced attendant ready to answer your questions. The old space was indicative of the museum’s perceived attitude toward outsiders. As Alvord put it, “There were certainly very interesting things going on, but the level of involvement and engagement with both the academic community and the surrounding New Haven community was not nearly as dynamic or active at that point.”
proving a program that allows Yale College students to interact with the collections. Alvord, who came from Smith College, was shocked that the YUAG had no undergraduate gallery guide program. At the time, adult docents gave the only available tours, taking patrons through the masterpieces of the collection. For a museum at an educational institution, this seemed like a bizarre choice. Why not use Yale’s best assets, the students, to bolster one of its most valuable commodities? After teaming up with Megan Luke, then a college student and now an assistant professor of art history at the University of Southern California, the duo put together a plan. After going through intensive training, students from a variety of backgrounds would put together thematic tours based on personal interest, throwing out the old model
To that end, the Committee on Yale College Education reviewed the entire undergraduate curriculum in 2003, and sure enough, it found that the University just wasn’t doing a good enough job of integrating the gallery and students: “Outside of History of Art, faculty and curators rarely make the connections that would enable wider pedagogical use of the collections. We therefore recommend that a full-time liaison position be established in the Yale Art Gallery to help faculty use Yale’s art collections in the classroom. The liaison, appointed at the curator level, would reach out to faculty in all relevant disciplines, helping them discover ways to use the collections in their courses and arranging the logistics of such use.” The CYCE report was, surprisingly, a kick in the pants. As Deputy Provost for the Arts and Humanities Emily Bakemeier explained,
The YUAG staff is insistent that the museum is just as much a part of New Haven as it is of the University. “I think we function as a bridge,” Pam Franks, former curator of academic initiatives explained. Here, Alvord honed in on a sentiment that was percolating throughout the 1990s: Yale needed to do more to support the university’s arts programs. Shortly after Richard Levin was appointed president of Yale, he announced the Master Plan for the Yale Arts Area, which was designed to restore glory to Yale’s arts buildings, while expanding them. The work on Yale University Art Gallery was to be one large part of the project. Enter Reynolds, an artist who was running the Addison Gallery of Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in September 1998. Alvord points to Reynolds’ arrival as the director of the YUAG as a transformative moment. “He was the kind of leader who enabled people to realize the potential that was dormant at the gallery,” she explained. The new director’s energy was necessary to propel forward the gallery’s portion of the Master Plan. The goal was to connect three buildings: the modernist Kahn building, neo-Gothic Old University Art Gallery, and neo-Romanesque Street Hall, increasing the exhibition space by nearly 30,000 square feet. When all is said and done, the total cost of the project will come to roughly 135 million dollars. Reynolds wanted to shake up the place, managing to change its very mission within the first two years of his tenure to reflect the YUAG’s dual commitment to education and the collections. It now reads: “The Gallery stimulates active learning about art and the creative process through research, teaching, and dialogue among communities of Yale students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni, and the wider public.” This fundamental change fit rather nicely into the Master Plan. The finished product will include eight classrooms and the brand new Nolen Center for Art and Education, a 5,000 square foot space in Street Hall. One of his first orders of business was ap-
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
of showing only the most famous work. After the first year, the program doubled. The theory that underlies the gallery guides program is this: The power of emotion is the simplest point of entry into the art world for the largest number of people. Anyone can connect with a color or a texture, less so with a piece of archaic information. And so, the tours are question-based: What do you see in the back corner of Van Gogh’s The Night Café? How does that make you feel? They are set up to engage the lowest common denominator, the person who knows nothing about art or art history. Giving the
“This, I think, had the biggest effect on opening everyone’s eyes to recognizing that we have so many amazing potential relationships between and among Yale College, the professional schools, the collections, in ways that can enhance Yale College students, by virtue of this back-and-forthing that could take place.” Reynolds hired Pam Franks as the YUAG’s first curator of academic initiatives. It was easier to convince some professors—everyone seems to cite Jane Levin, the DUS of the Directed Studies program—to participate. Others, however, weren’t clear on how
wise—standing in front of Rubens’ Hero and Leander for one hour, or the 10-page paper about that Kerry James Marshall painting—will lead to a lifelong commitment to the arts is what Reynolds, Franks, and Ezra are banking on. WHEN REYNOLDS DECIDED THAT THE gallery’s mission needed an education-oriented makeover, he wasn’t just talking about bringing Yale students into the fold. The YUAG staff is insistent that the museum is just as much a part of New Haven as it is of the University. “I think we function as a bridge,” Franks explained. The Jan and Frederick Mayer Associate Curator of Public Education Jessica Sack came to Yale in 2004 and has seen her responsibilities grow since, particularly when it comes to programming for schoolchildren. “Before 2005, there was K-12 teaching, but this is when we made a concerted effort to work with graduate students to train them as educators,” Sack told me, referring to the creation of the Wurtele Graduate Gallery Teachers Program. Anyone studying at Yale’s 14 graduate and professional schools can apply to be a gallery teacher. This program, like that of the undergraduate gallery guides, has only grown since its inception. In 2006, the museum was able to handle the demand with just six teachers. Last year, 15 teachers managed to see 8,500 schoolchildren, a number they expect to increase with the expansion. Most museums have programs designed to bring kids of all ages to their galleries, but because the YUAG is a teaching museum, the staff knows that talking at K-12 groups just won’t work. Kids are restless and they don’t care about Rembrandt’s influence, mostly because they don’t know who Rembrandt is. Sack, Elizabeth Manekin, the museum educator, and the Wurtele teachers work with a variety of schools to create pro-
Publicizing the new YUAG presents a crucial challenge, explains Emily Bakemeier, deputy provost for the arts and humanities: “‘If you build it they will come’—that doesn’t happen automatically.” viewer an access point, one that requires no prior knowledge, is crucial. Though the gallery guides will often bring friends on their first tours, it is a particular breed of student who will come on a tour alone, without first knowing the leader. We have other stuff to do and other people to see; don’t bother us with ancient Southeast Asian ceramics. Sokoloff, the head gallery guide, has noticed a dearth of Yalies on her tours: “Most of my audiences are from the New Haven and local Connecticut communities, unless someone has a parent or a grandparents visiting. Very rarely do students come in on their own.” Though it is a good start, the gallery guides program isn’t going to get half, or even a quarter, of the undergraduate population in to see the Rothko paintings at the YUAG.
the inclusion of art would enhance the study of, say, biomedical engineering. But over the last 10 years, Franks and her successor, Kate Ezra, have managed to draw professors from over 70 departments. In the 20112012 academic year alone, students from 96 different courses visited the gallery. The biggest and most obvious was “Introduction to Art History”—one of those classes you take to “broaden your horizons”—which brought 380 students into the gallery for weekly discussion section. Making gallery visits a part of the Yale liberal arts curriculum is part of the YUAG’s grand strategy. The majority of the people who have taken “Introduction to Art History” do not go on to be art history majors; many of them likely never take another art history class. But the idea that exposure they wouldn’t have experienced other-
grams that might actually form connections between students and art. Sack briefly rattled off a few ways they do this: tying pieces from the collection into a class curriculum, creating spaces for students to create art in the gallery, and teaching them how to read art, like they might learn to read a book. Educators know that learning something early and often makes one more likely to value it as the years wear. By that logic, showing New Haven’s middle schoolers how art can be enriching might pay off in the long term. Those children will grow up and, with any luck, they will bring their children to see Edward Hopper’s Rooms by the Sea one day. The schoolchildren, regardless of how much they like the gallery once they are there, are more or less forced to go. Adults, on the other hand, have to choose to walk
in the front door. Sack, in particular, has been tasked with finding ways of getting these patrons to see the gallery as a multidimensional space. Though the undergraduate thematic and highlights tours are a good way of introducing the collection to the public, Sokoloff says that she has noticed many of the people who come into the gallery walk around on their own. In keeping with that trend, the public education department has been trying to make it clear that anyone can do the YUAG by him or herself. This begins with selfguided tours. Many of the curators are working on producing cards with information that go beyond what is on the individual labels. They are also experimenting with electronic elements—in the Ancient Art collection’s Dura exhibit, there is an “electronic kiosk,” a website within the gallery that allows visitors to virtually explore the old Syrian city. There are free lectures and evening events that Ezra says “show the diversity of our collections so it is balanced across our 10 different curatorial areas.” The YUAG has developed a scavenger hunt for families, a method that has been popular at other museums. Entitled “What is the Most?,” the game includes a series of words that kids and adults are meant to match with the artwork in the galleries. Organizers are also widening the scope of what can be on display in an art museum. Over the last few years, they have put together “Gallery+” events, collaborations between the museum and various performance groups around campus. For Yale students and New Haveners alike, Gallery+ is a helpful cross-pollination of activity. Manekin explained: “It is easier word of mouth when you are in the area, and your friend is eating free food and watching a performance. It gets people in the door.” Despite these efforts, the staff conceded that it is harder to get adults who aren’t regular museum-goers to come. Some of this may have to do with the fact that spe-
(Courtesy YUAG) cific programming might not be enough to counteract the perception of museums as unapproachable. Zoe Mercer-Golden, the former head of the undergraduate gallery guides program agreed, “There is still a sense that the Yale University Art Gallery is a privileged space.” Or maybe this has more to do with the university’s brand than it initially appears. Does the Yale name change the identity of the space, as if to say, this is ours and not yours? Reynolds considered this possibility: “Whether people are comfortable walking into a museum, whether people are comfortable walking into Yale, who aren’t part of our learning community, that’s another question.” Whatever the reason, the YUAG staff is trying to reach out to everyone—young, old,
pretentious, or new to the field. But while the creative programming is definitely marketable, publicity is still the biggest hurdle in this project. As Bakemeier, the deputy provost, put it, “‘If you build it they will come’—that doesn’t happen automatically.” The first line of defense is informal. While Franks and I were sitting on a bench in front of the green and blue Josef Albers paintings, another curator walked by with a few friends. “It’s like you’re here every week!” Franks remarked, before turning to me, “We are all showing people we know around all the time.” The gallery’s new public relations department, which is working on publicizing information about the renovation and programs in anticipation of the 12.12.12 deadline, represents the more sophisticated arm of the blitz. The number one fact they tout: The gallery is 100% free, no matter who you are. In the past, the YUAG charged outof-district schools to use the facilities, but this is not the case any longer. In addition to looping in local and national media, Maura Scanlon, lead publicist for the YUAG, and her team support these ongoing efforts with a mix of traditional and digital promotions, from mailing invites and calendar notices, to email blasts, and social media. But at the end of the day, Scanlon is trying to sell an art museum, the popular appeal of which remains to be seen here in New Haven.
ONE OF THE CENTRAL PURPOSES OF the initial Master
Plan for the Yale Arts Area was to improve the facilities by such a significant margin that they would draw people to New Haven from New York and Boston. This goal is reasonable enough: Through the expansion of the arts complex—and specifically, the YUAG—this city can be the sort of place Time Out New York would profile in a “Day Trips on Metro North” article. New Haven’s central location is its biggest asset in realizing its potential as a destination. Just under two hours and 15 dollars from New York, the Yale University Art Gallery is an obvious alternative to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, which is an hour away from the closest train station in Albany, New York. Bakemeier cited the Peabody Museum on Whitney Avenue as an example of a successful New Haven educational attraction. In the last year alone, 150,000 people came to the Peabody. From the perspective of the moms and dads trying to fill a Saturday afternoon, however, Rex the Dinosaur’s restored bones are probably a bigger draw than the YUAG’s Numismatic Collection. But the YUAG, which will be the largest free collection of artwork outside of Washington, D.C. when the renovation is completed, will at least be able to compete with the Paleolithic shrine that is the Peabody. You’d think that 135 million dollars would be enough to transform what is already a gem into a world-class destination. The date that everyone is looking toward is 12.12.12, but that certainly won’t be the end of the road. It’s Dec. 12, 2017—or 2027—that will mark the success or failure of the YUAG’s transformation. Only then will both curators and patrons be able to tell the difference between a shiny new toy and an institution strong enough to be a pillar of the community.
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
Putting the green in blue Students seek to eﬀect global change by Julia Calagiovanni
hen I meet with Brian Tang, TD ’12, he’s building a five-bike bike rack in the backyard of his Dwight Street house. We happen to be in the middle of a nearly torrential rainstorm, but that doesn’t deter him from installing the final pieces of the project. To those who know Tang—and his limitless enthusiasm for biking, farming, and environmentalism—this is no surprise. Tang has been involved with environmentally-focused projects since arriving in New Haven as a freshman, but it took some trial and error for him to find a project that he found satisfying. He worked for a time with the Environmental Policy center of Yale’s Roosevelt Institute, a student-run think tank, on a project involving parking lots and storm water runoff in New Haven, but found the project to have little tangible impact. An internship in city government led him to realize that he wasn’t meant to work at a desk. While studying Environmental Studies and working at the Yale Farm, he looked beyond campus to find projects that he was passionate about, such as Elm City Cycling, a bicycling advocacy group in New Haven. He moved off campus as an undergraduate largely to have a space where he could be “explicitly conscious” of his lifestyle choices. In his spacious backyard, he can implement his own ideas, which, recently, have included a rain garden and three fruit trees. This is his definition of environmentalism in action.
JUSTINE APPEL, ES ’15, IS A MEMBER OF YSEC and a former Yale Farm intern. She also considers herself an environmentalist. “But I wish I didn’t have to make that distinction,” she said. “Like, I’m an environmentalist, [but] as opposed to someone who…what? Doesn’t live on Earth? Be-
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
cause the way I see it, if your existence is a function of [having] a healthy planet to live on, you must be invested in the care and protection of that planet. That makes you an environmentalist.” In a post-An Inconvenient Truth era, Appel isn’t alone in her desire to redefine the word “environmentalist.” She, like others, is working to reconsider the ways in which she can ensure a more sustainable future. As the need for environmental activism in New Haven and beyond seems increasingly urgent, Yale’s environmentalists are more concerned— but also more unsure—about how they want to help. Yale’s undergraduate environmentalist community has enthusiasm for a wide range
manded changes have even been institutionalized. There is a comprehensive recycling system, and fairly clean energy usage. Yale’s goals, as outlined by the Office of Sustainability in the 2009 Sustainability Strategic Plan 2010-2013, are ambitious: new construction must be LEED Gold-certified, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced to their 1990 levels by 2020, and Yale’s recycling rate must be increased by 25% by the end of June 2013. Beyond its behind-the-scenes work, the Office of Sustainability also runs programs that are more familiar to students, such as Spring Salvage. It also coordinates the Sustainability Service Corps, an operation similar to the now-discontinued Sustainability Education Peers (STEP) program. Both
the coordinators were limited in their abilities to inspire students to change their habits. “How do you convince someone to throw their bottle in the blue bin?” she asked. “You send them emails, you put up signs, you pester them. I don’t know.” Environmental activists certainly have their work cut out for them. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, tried to advocate for a composting system in her college’s dining hall last year. But while she had the full support of her master, Yale Dining met the suggestion with a lot of resistance. Even the move to have students scrape the food off of their plates themselves was controversial among students and their parents, she said. “They didn’t want to have to deal with food that wasn’t going into their
If your existence is a function of [having] a healthy planet to live on, you must be invested in the care and protection of that planet. That makes you an environmentalist. —Justine Appel, ES ‘15, YSEC member of projects. YSEC, founded in 1988, is the student-run umbrella organization for student-run programs that range from political advocacy to habitat restoration to environmental education for New Haven youth. As an institution, Yale has been attentive to issues of environmental sustainability. The Office of Sustainability is dedicated to creating an environmentally-friendly university. Compared to other universities, students involved in the environmentalist movement here at Yale said that the school’s policies are fairly progressive, and some activist-de-
STEP and SSC aim to mobilize students to educate their peers and help to create a sustainable campus community. These programs, which aim to inform and motivate the student body as a whole, are certainly the most visible. Yet student environmentalists often consider them to be the most frustrating. Emily Farr, BK ’14, who was a Berkeley STEP Coordinator, wrote in an email that many of the students she encountered found STEP “ineffective” or “annoying,” or were unsure what the program’s real goals were. Farr said that she felt that
mouths,” she said. While students’ resistance to change presents a significant obstacle for those seeing to implement large-scale reform, the students contacted for this article reported positive experiences with Yale’s Office of Sustainability. Maddy Yozwiak, TD ’14, found the office helpful when she sought to start an organization called Project Bright, which helps students to advocate for the use of solar energy and install solar panels on campus buildings. As a freshman, she was awarded a microloan by the office to start her
work, and credits much of the project’s success to detailed feedback from the office’s staff. Hody Nemes, SY ’13, also found the office helpful in his work with Enviroadvocates, YSEC’s political advocacy arm. When an academic paper he wrote on Yale’s pesticide use expanded into a full-fledged project, he had difficulty getting Yale to provide specific information on the university’s use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. The Office of Sustainability facilitated conversations between Enviroadvocates and facilities offices. The Office of Sustainability’s attitude, he said, was one of, “come
work. But he is also concerned that the on-campus educational efforts that many of Yale’s environmentalists are focused on may promote a mindset that “environmentalism is just about turning off the lights.” His advocacy work also raises the question of whether top-down change is necessaryg to bring about real results. He is a strong believer in the energy and statement of protesting: “I wish that everyone was out there demonstrating on climate change,” he said. But if climate change really is “the issue of our time”—and he says it is—he wonders whether focusing too much on “small-
While students agree that grassroots activism will always have a place in the environmental movement and at Yale, lobbying and activism are also tactics that can be useful. on in, have a meeting.” Yet Yale’s own commitment often exists at odds with student grassroots activism. A student involved in environmental policy research who asked not to be named said that Yale’s institutional commitment can lull students into a sense of complacency. “[I’ve] been kind of a cynic from birth,” he said, and added that his skepticism extends to Yale’s educational programs, well-intentioned as they may be. Even people who identify as environmentalists, he said, might see signs of programs like technoscrap recycling and trayless dining and assume that environmental concerns are being taken care of. This makes it hard to convince students that their responsibility shouldn’t stop there. For this reason, he prefers to focus on research and policy as methods to bring about environmental change. Nemes agreed that students’ apathy toward environmental issues is troubling. His career goal is to work to “communicate climate change to the public” in an accurate and comprehensible way, and he’s had plenty of experience doing so while at Yale. He says that at first he was “kind of shocked about how little Yale students know” about the environmental concerns that are central to his studies and
fish issues” of students’ habits is productive. While students agree that grassroots activism will always have a place in the environmental movement and at Yale, lobbying and advocacy are also tactics that can be useful. Whether it’s writing letters to legislators or doing serious research for established environmental organizations, there are opportunities for top-down change. Academic programs like the environmental studies major also train undergraduates to be leaders in their fields—and, hopefully, the environmental movement at large. So while the environmentalists have enthusiasm, it’s not clear how they can most judiciously channel that energy in order to effect change. “There’s always the question of where we should be focusing our efforts,” the self-described cynic said. Yale’s environmentalists take a variety of approaches. Some focus on educating their peers, while others lobby their elected officials; some have found it more productive to focus on their immediate community, while others consider the larger context. But despite the diverse nature of their efforts, they are, together, working toward a greener world. —Graphic by Lian Fumerton-Liu YH Staff The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
CULTURE Laugh at me by Ifeanyi Awachie
f you’re at Yale and want to see some stand-up comedy, you basically have four options: go to Last Comic Standing, the competition that determines which student will open for the headliner of the Fall Show; go to the Fall Show, Yale’s annual comedy show featuring a popular stand-up comedian; go to the Cucumber, a regular open mic for student stand-up comedians hosted by the Yale Record, Yale’s humor magazine; or, see a show by Just the Tip, Yale’s only student stand-up comedy group. You should know, though, that the first two options are only possible in October. Ben Boult, SM ’14, and Cody Wilkins, ES ’14, had this limitation in mind when they founded Just the Tip. Both competed in their freshman year to be in the Fall Show, which is where they first met. Although he had never performed stand-up comedy before, Wilkins won the competition and the chance to open, along with Yael Zinkow, SY ’12, for the Fall Show starring Michael Ian Black. As it turned out, Wilkins had a soccer game the day after the Fall Show, so he couldn’t perform. Because Boult had placed third in Last Comic Standing, he got to take Wilkins’ place at the Fall Show. Ironically, Wilkins broke his ankle at soccer practice, so he couldn’t play in his game and ended up going to the Fall Show and watching Boult’s opening act. Later, the two came up with the idea to start a group for stand-up comedians at Yale. Just the Tip hosted its first performance of the year Sunday, Oct. 14. Eric Nelson, SM ’16, performed in the show, titled “Don’t Cut Me Off.” Before his audition for the group, he’d never done stand-up. Nelson found the process of trying out for Just the Tip much more laid-back than that of auditioning for improv comedy or a cappella. “I was really not expecting to be asked to be in the show,” he said. “But I was, and I was overjoyed.” According to Nelson, what stand-up at Yale is missing is the kind of community other artistic groups have, and Just the Tip is helping to provide that community.
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
The first Cucumber show of the year happened on Sat., Oct. 13, in the SaybrookBranford Room. Eight students performed, including seasoned stand-ups like Wilkins and newbies like Sydney Shea, TC ’14. Shea has a self-proclaimed dark sense of humor and described her stand-up writing style as based on “micro-stories.” Her routine on Saturday centered on two extended jokes: one about canned bananas in Trumbull dining hall and one about her grandmother’s gift-giving habits. The junior, who has written for the Record, was part of an improv theater troupe in high school, as well as a member of the short-lived sketch comedy group, Grin and Tonic, in her freshman year at Yale. Shea sees the Cucumber, started in 2010, as a welcoming space for first-time stand-ups. But as only three girls performed at the Cucumber and zero girls performed at the Just the Tip show, it may seem that stand-up at Yale isn’t too welcoming of female comedians. When asked about doing stand-up as a woman, Shea said she had been somewhat afraid she’d be the only girl performing at the Cucumber, but that proved to be a non-issue. “We consistently have more than two female performers,” she said. “In terms of the Record, the last two editors-in-chief were women, and I think our board this year is half and half…It’s not really something that I considered as a barrier.” Ngozi Ukazu, JE ’13, competed in Last Comic Standing in her sophomore year and has performed multiple times at the Cucumber. She first got into comedy at Yale by writing for the Record, and when the Cucumber started, she decided to give stand-up a try. Describing the way her comedy style has changed since she first began, Ukazu said that, these days, she’s less afraid of offending people: she’s moved from “safe” jokes to jokes that a Yale audience might not consider completely politically correct. But Ukazu says her awareness that she is a female comedian does somewhat affect her performance. “I do worry about how I look, I do worry about my appearance,” she said. “There are certain jokes that guys make and certain jokes that girls make. There are some things you’re almost expected to talk about as a girl, which is why I like talking about things… that are really not gender-specific.” Ukazu will compete in Last Comic Standing for the second time this year, as will Boult. The competition will be held in SSS 114, which seats almost 400 Yalies. Members of Yale’s comedy scene will judge performers with a range of stand-up experience. The stakes (i.e., the chance to open for this year’s celebrity comedian) will be high—and the comedians will face the biggest crowd at any stand-up event all year. Despite the pressure, every year the competition draws numerous students willing to try their best to make a room full of their peers laugh. “Comedy causes the most depressive anxiety I’ve ever experienced,” Boult said. “Sometimes, we’ll be rehearsing for a show and call each other and say, ‘None of this is funny, this is going to suck, this is terrible.’” But Yale comedians agree, the feeling that comes after doing a successful show far overshadows the fear of bombing a set. Though he’s just starting out, Nelson already recognizes this. “I went out [to do my set] completely nervous, but I kind of had this amazing experience where, about a minute in, it just clicked,” he said. “I felt kind of comfortable, and once the audience started laughing, it was a lot easier.” Yalies do stand-up for the same reason they engage in other artistic pursuits: because it’s a medium for self-expression, a creative outlet, a new experience. Stand-up, however, makes very different demands of a performer than other artistic activities do by requiring a person to stand alone before an audience and make themselves the butt of a joke in order to gain an intangible reward: laughter. –Graphic by Zachary Schiller YH Staff
A photographic junkyard
(Courtesy Yale School of Art)
Unwrapping a hardcover copy of her new photography book, Joe’s Junk Yard, lecturer in photography Lisa Kereszi, MFA ’00, recalls her first critiques as a graduate student in Yale’s MFA program—a time when the book was still only an uncertain amalgamation of photographs and memories. “I remember saying to the head of the department, Tod Papageorge, ‘I’m going to do a book. This is my project.’ And he said to me, ‘That’s very ambitious.’” Joe’s Junk Yard, released October 2012, offers a depiction of the American working class that hits, both literally and figuratively, close to home for Kereszi. The book intertwines her own photographs from over the years (the first of which she took when she was just 16) with selected pages of her grandfather’s makeshift scrapbooks. In doing so, it lovingly chronicles nearly 50 years of her family’s decay and disappointment against the landscape of their slowly eroding Pennsylvania junkyard business, from which the book takes its title. “[My earlier photos] were more documentary,” Kereszi told me. “They were very straightforward, to the point of just sort of showing the viewer what’s there.” She opens the book to a 1998 shot of her grandmother, Eloyse, and father, Joe Jr., smoking an Easter morning cigarette. “After graduate school, I started moving away from people and into making portraits of things, objects, and places…as a metaphor for something greater,” she said. Far from pure narration, these later photographs focus in on treasures discovered amidst the junk, repurposing them to evoke loss, abandonment, and ephemerality. The death of the American dream is another persistent theme, as in one photograph of a commemorative bicentennial rug littered with change and cigarette ash. “One great piece of advice…was given to me in my critiques by Gregory Crewdson, MFA ’88, here at Yale,” Kereszi told me. His advice, she said, is that “you can take a picture of something that’s not your family, and still have it be about your family.” She points to a photograph of a rusted and kinked engine lying in the dirt, leaking oil into the earth. “It was once the heart of a vehicle,” she said. “A very powerful, useful thing.” On Wed., Oct. 17, over a decade after Kereszi’s conversation with Papageorge, the School of Art celebrated Kereszi’s project-come-to-fruition with a book party and signing in Green Hall. The party was replete with tangy barbecue pulled pork in a copper stockpot, pickle spears, green tomato chutney, “Junkyard cookies” (think Martha Stewart-meets-Hoarders—in a delicious sort of way) and, for party favors, mechanic’s name patches. To complete the party’s “working class, manly” vibe (as Kereszi put it), photography student Aaron Seriff-Culick, PC ’13, even volunteered to don a mechanic’s jumpsuit. “[The book party] is a great chance for the community to show how excited we are for Lisa, and how proud we are to celebrate her incredible work,” he said. For those lucky enough to pick up a signed copy of Joe’s Junk Yard, Kereszi’s signature came with two other small personal touches: an ink stamp of the address of her family’s junkyard, and a small “J” hammered into the cover, just like the one her father and grandfather would hammer into working spare parts before selling them. It’s not so much a salute to the party’s playful theme as it is an homage to the bloodline and backyard that birthed Kereszi’s photography. They’re reminders that, in the words of Kereszi, “some things change, but not everything.” —Katy Osborn
Saybrook’s folklore scholar-in-residence Among other things, Saybrook College resident fellow Maria Kaliambou is an academic advisor, and that side of her shows as she tells me how to write my article. “Start with my role as an international scholar, move on to the Saybrook College lifestyle, then maybe all that folklore stuff.” It’s a good structure, so I won’t mess with it. Each residential college has a number of resident fellows—professors like Kaliambou who live in the dorms instead of in an off-campus residence. I visited Kaliambou’s suite, and saw that it’s quite nicer than that of the average Yalie. ”It’s like an apartment, but also one of the most—maybe the most—beautiful suites at Yale,” Kalimbou said of her luxury Saybrook suite. Every object in her living room is a piece of tasteful art or soft furniture. Her ceiling fresco (supposedly the work of Mussolini’s personal painter) is a little faded, but the Yale logo and religious icons dotted with Old Italian echo the globetrotting background of the room’s inhabitant. A history and archaeology double major at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Kaliambou (originally from Greece) went on to earn a PhD in folklore studies and European ethnology from Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich. She then did research in Hellenic studies in France, at Princeton, and, finally, here at Yale. International students know her as a source of wisdom on their postgraduate travel options, and she’s a fierce advocate for study abroad—though she loves the lifestyle of the college she now calls home. “The American—or if not the American, the Yale undergraduate life—is unique in the world, thanks to this residential system,” Kaliambou said. In the course of her fellowship, Kaliambou proudly cheers on Saybrugians in their non-competitive endeavors (she’s too friendly to be passionate about their Branford rivalry) and endures the dining hall to the best of her abilities. “It’s getting better!” she insists of the food, though protests from her L1 and L3 Greek students led her to move, with reluctance, her weekly Saybrook language table to a different dining hall. Her wisdom draws freshmen and sophomores from every field of study—unsurprising, given that her answer to “What’s your favorite piece of advice?” is a single word: “Enjoy!” As she sees it, college is a gateway to satisfaction through knowledge; as long as you have fun and make friends while still learning what you want to learn, why stress about grades? “You should tell your busy friends that they have to take time to be lazy,” she said. Her academic specialties are too numerous to list, but I was particularly intrigued by one component of her doctorate subject: folklore studies. One of Kaliambou’s primary interests involves the process whereby oral traditions are transcribed, and the changes that occur in the move from spoken language to written lore. I asked her which Greek stories have made it into American popular culture. She told me that myths are a matter of archetypes and narratives that are often found—with certain regional variations—the world over. “There are some narratives common in cultures—with variation, of course, but many common motifs,” she said. And if she had to pick a single story for a four year old’s bedtime reading? She starts a tale, then stops. The thought of choosing only one leads her to pained silence. If I had kids, I’d invite Kaliambou over for nightly storytime, so that they might hear her deep wisdom (and melodious Thessalonian accent). —Aaron Gertler YH Staff
(Julie Reiter/YH Staff)
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
REVIEWS (Courtesy Spring Awakening crew)
Reclaiming the teen angst of Spring Awakening by Sophia Nguyen o you remember spring 2006, and middle school, and age 13? It was hives induced by locker room anxiety. It was when all the hallway murmurs were about you. It was teeth torturously wired straight, and testing the edge of your first razor with your thumb-tip. It was the first time it ever occurred to you to twist in the mirror and contemplate your own backside, because while you never had to look at it, other people did, and they had opinions. In the theater world, spring 2006 was the Off Broadway debut of Spring Awakening, a rock musical about 19th-century German teenagers on the cusp of adulthood and lost innocence. Incidentally, the show was undergoing a few fascinating and maybe inevitable changes of its own: the rape in the first act was softened to consensual sex, the iconic number “The Bitch of Living” made its way in, and other numbers and reprises got cut. The New York crowds and critics, dubious at first, were floored by the unlikely combination of 19th-century Germany, underage sex, and pop/folk/rock belted through hand-held mikes. In the eighth grade, everyone loved this musical—because it was so not like the rest of Broadway, because there were obscenities and child abuse and all the dark things that we thought made stories real. And then there was the added frisson of terror and delight when you watched this show next to your parents, this show with its live nudity and total conviction that adults are mean, thin-mouthed, and willfully clueless. It hit Broadway by the time we hit high school. Now we’re at college, more cynical, more profane, no easier in our bodies—and Spring Awakening has come back to us. Despite the production team’s expansive, expensive ambitions of reinventing the musical, it feels weirdly static. Everything is perfectly beautiful, but also somehow off: the prettily naked light bulbs sparkling benignly in the back, the empty frames and blackboards filling a black wall. The most radical and visually interesting element is the space’s reorientation into a diamond shape. This decision saves Spring Awakening from the sonic missteps of other undergraduate productions, which cram the pit band to the right of the (deafened) audience, but it also makes the show’s larger choreography feel off-balance—set, actors, rock band, and action limit themselves to a corner. Halfway through, I switched my seat, and everything fell into
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
place. Though the show is intended to be viewable from all angles, its good side is best admired from a seat all the way to the right, right over home base. Woven into the DNA of Spring Awakening are the hand-held mikes. In the original production this was imagined as a part of the angsty, rock show aesthetic, a playful contrast with the customary flesh-toned microphones taped to the skin. In the intimate space at the Off-Broadway Theater, the handhelds come off as an annoying affectation. The cast moves neatly within this rigged-up space, but despite being seriously talented, they don’t naturally re-inhabit the skin of pre-teen selves. (Let’s be honest, who would want to?) Keren Abreu, TC ’15, gives a standout performance as Martha, a young woman abused by her father, as does Christopher Camp, JE ’16, in his Yale debut as Moritz, an intensely nervous young misfit. Though those two characters are handed Spring Awakening’s two powerhouse songs, “The Dark I Know Well” and “Don’t Do Sadness/Blue Wind,” respectively, the show’s most moving moments are its quietest, when the stage is lit in blue and there’s one standing microphone at most: Wendla’s song “Whispering” is by far the best number from Alyssa Miller, PC ’16. Another highlight is “Those You’ve Known,” performed by James Dieffenbach, BR ’13. When the full ensemble went a cappella on “The Song of Purple Summer,” I got goosebumps. This performance of Spring Awakening helps us realize that what makes an American musical feel like a rock concert isn’t a microphone—it’s the exhilaration of something unexpected, and the way amazing voices can blow up a theater. It makes you dream of a Spring Awakening that went for a different kind of boldness: smaller, stripped-down, creating a space for these furtive, fervent, groping kids and their sad stories. Here in 2012 we have more sex talk, different body issues, and another set of authorities to rail against. We are accomplished. Our teeth are straight. For the most part, we are safely on the other side of adolescence. A Spring Awakening that stays the same, that remains so faithful to the Broadway version, will inevitably feel inert. Something that meant so much to us at 13 can’t recreate that same feeling for us at age 20.
Tech: iPhone 5
With Argo, Ben Affleck proves to us that he can still act—and he can sure as hell direct. Argo dramatizes a little-known true story known as the Canadian Caper. At the start of an Iranian hostage crisis, six Americans manage to escape and take shelter in the Canadian ambassador’s house. Knowing that those who fled are in grave danger of being discovered and publicly executed, the CIA enlists the help of exfiltration specialist Tony Mendez (Affleck) to bring them to safety. The outlandish plan that he hatches, involving the escapees masquerading as filmmakers on a scouting trip, is so crazy that it (spoiler alert!—but not really because it’s history) actually works. Affleck’s film manages to seamlessly blend historical accuracy with dramatic license and interpretation. The beautifully-crafted prologue, which narrates the backstory over colorful animations depicting the conflict, is an impressive exposition. Later on, Affleck masterfully develops tension by interspersing segments of debate between the six runaways (suitably portrayed by extreme look-alikes and relative unknowns) concerning the politics and controversies of the time with clips showing the physical and mental deterioration of the hostages. By the film’s climax, Affleck has you simultaneously cheering and biting your nails for the six escapees, even though you could look up the ending on Wikipedia. Argo is ultimately an optimistic movie, showing us that even during the darkest periods of American history, ordinary people do still perform extraordinary acts of heroism. —Wesley Yiin
The iPhone 5 is among the few inanimate objects I would call sexy. Not only is it thinner than its predecessors while not seeming fragile or cheap, but it also looks more Apple than ever. The new model retains the signature front wall of glass, but is longer and thinner, and has dropped the shatter-prone glass back in favor of clean metal that recalls the Macbook series. The 5’s function is more or less as streamlined as its form. The new version of Apple’s operating system, iOS 6, keeps the same distinct visual style and usability of previous versions while incorporating new features such as a panorama mode on the camera and a “Do Not Disturb” mode that lets you turn off the phone’s speakers and display with a flick of your finger. The new Maps app, however, allegedly a response to an expiring contract with Google, is a surprising misstep that is missing the usual Apple polish, particularly in its lack of public transit directions. For newcomers to the iPhone, there’s still a learning curve to the entirely virtual keyboard, and the app store, while vast, does not offer solutions to this problem like Android’s Swype app does. In the past, Apple has preferred to keep iOS cohesive and accessible at the expense of further customization for the more seasoned users who might want it, and iOS 6 is no different. So should you get the iPhone 5? If you are in desperate need of a reason for people to approach you, even if it’s just to creepily ogle at your belongings, I’d wholly recommend getting one before the novelty wears off. Otherwise, the new phone does not stray from Apple’s tried and true formula, so if you’ve never understood the appeal, the 5 probably won’t change that. If you’ve ever wanted an iPhone, though, this is the thinnest, lightest, fastest—in a word, the most iPhone—one yet. —Kevin Su
Movie: Taken 2 That sound of breaking glass and gunshots that you hear? That’s Liam Neeson doing his thing: delivering a well-deserved beat-down. Reprising his role as retired CIA officer Bryan Mills, Neeson stars in Taken 2, the follow-up to the immensely popular 2008 film Taken. Like the first film, Taken 2 follows the premise that Mills must protect his loved ones while avoiding capture and certain death; unlike the first film, Taken 2 has forced acting, a troublingly tenuous plot, and is unnecessarily cheesy. Taken 2 picks up a few months from where Taken left off. Mills has returned stateside to enjoy some quality time with his now-rescued daughter Kim. Like most 19 year olds, Kim is witty, snarky, and even decently mature. Basically, she betrays no hint of ever having been kidnapped—and therein lies the film’s first problem: the characters, while engaging, do not behave as their backgrounds would dictate. Are viewers really supposed to expect that Mills’ ex-wife willingly volunteers to travel to Europe with him? One of the largest letdowns in Taken 2 is that the plot never takes off, not for lack of action scenes, but for lack of any cohesion between them. The film’s car chases, explosions, and gunfights serve as red meat for combat-hungry audiences, but do little to advance a storyline. The dialogue consists of one-liners delivered in between grenade explosions. Overall, Taken 2 is a clumsy attempt at recapturing the lightning of the first film. The film has a few genuine moments of humor and sparks of acting gold—only Neeson could make viewers believe that a CIA-trained killing machine enjoys drinking strawberry milkshakes with his daughter. On the whole, however, the film’s weak plot and forced action scenes smother this sequel’s potential. Watch Taken 2 if you are in need of ear-splitting explosions, but be prepared to wonder whether the end credits are actually just a prelude to the real movie. —Rod Cuestas
Music: Mika Usually, the children we watch grow up get stuck for a bit somewhere along the way. There may be habits they just won’t shed, a sense of stubbornness, or a simple refusal to grow up. That’s what’s happening on Mika’s third album, The Origin of Love. Mika seems to have hit the puberty of his musical career: he begins to approach a new sound, but finds himself stuck in the past, returning to what he’s known for. But seriously, what did we expect—that Mika would abandon his Life in Cartoon Motion? Of course not. Mika has established himself with his exemplary vocals and bouncy, happy-go-lucky choruses. As much as there may have been an effort to shed his kitschy, musical flamboyance, he can’t help but slip into the occasional candy-coated falsetto. Our child may be flirting with guest vocals, new plush clubpop sounds, and even samples from Wicked, but at the core of the album remains the Mika we know and love. Missteps only appear when new sounds compete with, instead of support, Mika’s melodies. “Overrated,” for instance, drowns Mika in an unnecessarily repetitive electronic bass line; “Celebrate,” the album’s first single, is similarly inhibiting and largely unsatisfying. Nevertheless, the highlights of the album are more than enough to keep the diehards pleased. Mika’s whimsical lyrics dance on ingratiating hooks in the immensely enjoyable tracks “Emily,” “Lola,” and “Popular Song,” all invigorating tracks best listened to while in the throes of young love. I suppose we should just let him play and learn on his own—his flaws are largely insignificant, and we’re not getting tired of him just yet. —Lucas Sin
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)
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BULLBLOG BLACKLIST We’re just barely managing to get our absentee ballots. Please don’t make this worse by putting “#TeamWinning in your Facebook status. Just, really missing the point there.
And then make an unrelated point that they’ve had planned since they did the reading.
Friends SOM who are working for a campaign
Papers assigned for fall break
We couldn’t get past the first page, but we assume we hate the whole thing.
Both the residential college field trips and the iPhone thefts.
Get ready for your eval, babe.
The Spring Fling survey
TAs who are “disappointed” in the section’s midterm performance
Grad students in undergrad seminars
People who say “going along with that”
Get out, and stop saying performative.
“Binders full of women” No more sense of purpose. Feel like I was hit by a truck or robbed. But everything is here, we’re still here, etc.
But also, binders full of women memes.
The Yale Herald (Oct. 19, 2012)