The Yale Herald Volume LIV, Number 8 New Haven, Conn. Friday, November 2, 2012
From the staﬀ The Rock, The Undertaker, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan were my favorites. I didn’t really know this then, but these professional wrestlers, the stars of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), were more like actors than anything else, actors starring in a macho soap opera I tuned into every Thursday night. The plots of the weekly WWE broadcasts were totally ridiculous—like illegitimate leprechaun children ridiculous, or eating your rival’s dog ridiculous. The President of the WWE, Vince McMahon, and his wife, former president and CEO Linda McMahon, were often embroiled in some of the show’s steamiest story lines. Since then, I’ve shifted to other soap operas, namely national politics. The story lines are still ridiculous, but now they involve matters of consequence, like monstrous hurricanes. For some confounding reason, Linda McMahon is still a main character! And she’s playing the Republican lead in Connecticut’s political theater. In this week’s cover story, Colin Groundwater, ES ’15, chronicles the insand-outs of the race between McMahon and Democratic Congressman Chris Murphy. for Connecticut’s open Senate seat You’ll find first-hand reporting from the field, explanation of the stakes involved, and reports on how tropical superstorm Sandy has affected the race, which, as far as anyone can tell, is a toss-up.
The Yale Herald Volume LIV, Number 8 New Haven, Conn. Friday, Nov. 2, 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
Also inside, we’ve got A. Grace Steig, SM ’14, on the sudden discontinuation of the Indigo Blue Buddhist chapel at Yale, and Amanda Chan, BR ’15, on the significance of New Haven’s Dia de los Muertos parade, while
The Yale Herald is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan, incorporated student publication registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office.
Margaret Neil, ES ’14, recalls her experience of Hurricane Katrina. And If you haven’t heard about the election and know nothing about hurricanes, you’ve at least heard a track from the new Taylor Swift album Red, so read what Cindy Ok, PC ’14, has to say about it. You can’t vote for former WWE-star-turned-Minnesota-Governor Jesse Ventura in this election, but the Herald still expects all of you to get out to vote early and often. Vote or die y’all, Micah Rodman Opinion editor
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
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. Cover by Zachary Schiller YH Staff
IN THIS ISSUE
COVER 12 Colin Groundwater, ES ‘15, lays out what’s at stake as Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy battle it out in the race for Connecticut’s open Senate seat.
Vincent Tolentino, PC ‘14, talks shop with the poet Richard Wilbur.
Margaret Neil, ES ‘14, recalls living through another hurricane: Katrina.
OPINION: In light of fundamental diﬀerences in the presidential candidates’ views on assistance and aid, a group of Yalies explain who has helped them get where they are.
A look at Hurricane Sandy’s impact on Yale and New Haven: from Yale dining services, to New Haven elections, to the Elm City’s historical landmarks. Also, a photo essay of the aftermath by Julie Reiter, BK ‘14.
A. Grace Steig, SM ‘15, considers Buddhist life at Yale and its future in the wake of the discontinuation of Indigo Blue.
Amanda Chan, BR ‘15, takes us to the Día de los Muertos parade. Also: Yogis at Yale, and a bugscentric ﬁeld trip.
Cindy Ok, PC ‘14, on Taylor Swift’s poppy new album of (mostly) break-up classics, Red. Also: Kendrick Lamar, Cloud Atlas, The Casual Vacancy, and Titus Andronicus.
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY The Herald’s week in review: what rocked, what sucked, and who took the lead in IM bowling.
Vice President Linda Koch Lorimer
Well played, Linda. Well played. By extending Fall Break for two more days due to Hurricane Sandy, you’ve made yourself the favorite BWOC (Big Woman on Campus) at Yale. Don’t worry. This isn’t a critique. I’m already on board. (Lorimer for pres: if it ain’t Lorimer, it ain’t worth Koch!) It may be bold, but I’d go so far as to suggest that the BWOC of State and famed Yale Law alumna Hillary Clinton might have some competition in you. If the two of you ever happen to find yourselves trapped in a cage, forced to duke it out in front of the Yale student body, and I happen to find myself watching in whatever underground, administrative fight club this turns out to be, I know where my loyalties lie. Once you announced that Monday classes were canceled, Yalies lit sacrificial fires in your honor. Once you announced that Tuesday classes were canceled, GHeav named a sandwich after you, and a newborn child in LDub was awarded your hallowed name. I tip my hat to you. —Jake Dawe
You’re such a tease, Halloween candy, what with all this role-play. Why do I have to dress up to have you the way I want you? For an inanimate object, you’re pretty kinky. I get it, though. I get it. Everyone has his or her own thing. But I start feeling uncomfortable when you make children play your sick, twisted, sexy game. They’re so vulnerable, but maybe that’s just the way you want them. I mean, you can get the adults to play along with your Dominatrix rules. They’re happy to get in on the action. But children? Don’t you think it’s a bit early to be teaching kids that exposing a little skin in that Little Mermaid outfit or shaking a bit of tush in that Buzz Lightyear costume will earn them a sweetie? It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, almost as bad a taste as the Werther’s Original Caramel Hard Candies old people hand out to trick-or-treaters. They tell children Werther’s candies are just as good as Snickers, but I think they’re mostly just used to keep away Death and the Anti-Christ. —Jake Dawe
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
No Attention for the Environment
I don’t claim to understand the complicated science that gave us the storm currently dominating the news cycle, this issue of the Herald, and small talk all over the Yale campus and the northeast. Were I to voice my belief/terror that there must be some sort of correlation and/or causation between global climate change and Sandy, you could rightly point out that I have no credentials to make such a claim. But I do know that the apocalyptic quality of the whole episode freaks me out and leaves me feeling that throughout the lead-up to the presidential election, the environment has been kinda shafted in favor of other issues. I mean, the other stuff is well and good until we’re swimming to class and living on dining hall brownbag meals. Right now, faced with what feels like concrete evidence of weather patterns getting weird, I do not care for the fact that the environment has basically been ignored in all four debates. Also, sucks that it’s just a few days before the election and it takes an apocalyptic-feeling storm to make us talk climate change. Ugh. — Maude Tisch YH Staff — Graphics by Zachary Schiller YH Staff
BOOM/BUST INCOMING: Purgatory Not quite heaven, not quite hell, these next two weeks constitute a strange sort of purgatory for the student body. Last year, we remember feeling weak and worn, tired and weary, unsure if we could make it to the light at the end of the tunnel that was Thanksgiving break. Now, we feel strange: we’re wellrested, our hair is not falling out, and we’re showering semi-regularly.
OUTGOING: Fall break, Sandy-style Mother Nature showed the Yale administration who truly runs the show this week by unleashing her wrath in the form of Sandy, Yale’s favorite frenemy. Yalies everywhere rejoiced in the light of the extended break, only to have this excitement tempered by the reality of flooding, loss of power, and death. On to the next disaster. —Eamon Ronan YH Staff
TYNG CUP STANDINGS 1. Trumbull 2. Pierson 3. Saybrook 4. Jonathan Edwards 5. Davenport 6. Silliman 7. Timothy Dwight 8. Ezra Stiles 9. Morse 10. Branford 11. Berkeley 12. Calhoun
307 297.5 293.5 271 259.5 239 227 206.5 196.5 190.5 157.5 63.5
Ways to express your dislike for others in a playful manner (i.e. through movie quotes)
Number used to represent November, the eleventh month of the year, and, incidentally, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month
30,000 Number of peanut butter sandwiches that can be made from one acre of peanuts
5 4 3 2 1
“You’re tacky and I hate you!” —School of Rock
Number of U.S. presidents who were peanut farmers (Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter)
“She’s a full-on Monet...From far away, it’s OK, but up close it’s a big old mess.” —Clueless
“Details of your incompetence do not interest me.” — The Devil Wears Prada
“You don’t have any friends; nobody likes you!” — The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
1:41.30 Amount of time (minutes, seconds) that it took Todd DeFazio to eat an 18.5-oz jar of peanut butter, a world record
40 The length, in feet, of the world’s largest peanut butter sandwich, made in Peanut, Pennsylvania
“There’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you... You’re not very pretty and you’re not very bright.” — A Cinderella Story —Eamon Ronan YH Staff
Sources: 1) Gregorian calendar; 2, 3) National Peanut Board; 4) Recordsetter.com; 5) University of the Pacific —Eamon Ronan YH Staff The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
Richard Wilbur is one of our nation’s finest living poets. Last spring, Yale awarded him an honorary degree—his latest distinction in a long list that includes the title of U.S. Poet Laureate, two Pulitzers, the Bollingen, the PEN Translation Prize, and the National Medal of Arts. For the past 65 years, Wilbur has honed his command of traditional meter and rhyme to mastery, and he continues today to give us elegant verse on all aspects of earthly American life. Wilbur is also a celebrated lyricist and translator of French literature. At 91, he is still active and teaching poetry at Amherst College, his alma mater. The Herald visited him at his home in Cummington, Massachusetts. YH: How do you start writing a poem? What are you most often doing or looking at when the idea to write a poem occurs? RW: I’ve got a feeling that “looking at” is the important thing. The one thing I think one can’t do or shouldn’t do is to put pressure on oneself about it. Robert Browning at one point made himself write every morning, and his worst material was written under those circumstances. Howard Nemerov used to get up early in the morning before his Bennington classes and hammer out a few lines, and they were never his best. I think one needs to feel, to some extent, passive about all this. Things have to come to you, in other words.
(Vincent Tolentino/YH Staff)
SITTING DOWN WITH RICHARD WILBUR by Vincent Tolentino YH Staﬀ 6
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
YH: Do you think there is too much is being published? RW: Well, there’s more than I can consume. And I do think that many people are writing under pressure and publishing under pressure—the way people do in academe. Publish or perish, they say. I think there’s no best way of becoming a poet, but I think many people are trying to force it by taking high-pressure creative courses and trying then to go on for MFAs and worse. Yes, it can be all too hasty, and there can be too much of it. YH: Tell me about the way you became a poet. RW: Well, when I was at Monte Cassino, that battle during World War II, I was in a foxhole for a long, long time. And what can you do in a foxhole? You have your rifle, and you can clean it yet again, but in fact there’s very little you can accomplish there except when you pull yourself up and go on duty in one way or another. I found myself starting to write poems in that hole in the ground. It could have happened almost anywhere. And I don’t say this just for the comedy of it, but that was real isolation. And it was favorable to rumination. I didn’t then say, “I think I’ll be a poet.” One of our generals said that there are no atheists in the foxholes. That was MacArthur, I think, who said that. And there are almost no non-poets in the foxholes. The daily magazine of the army published in Europe during World War II had an editorial page in which there was almost always a box labeled “Puptent Poets.” And you got the feeling that we were
an army entirely of poets, and of poets published by the army.
of poetry that I’d wanted to write, that does no harm.
YH: It’s true that your generation, when they came back from World War II, made great poetry. RW: Oh, we all had had some practice without realizing that we were practicing to be poets. I suppose some had got the idea, but for me, it was a different matter. I brought home the usual war trophies, and some soiled paper with my poems on it, and went to Harvard. And one day when I was studying at Harvard, a friend of mine, a wonderful French poet named André du Bouchet, who was then hanging around Harvard, came to call. And my wife said, “André, I think you ought to look at these. These are some things that Dick scribbled during World War II.” He took them home to his apartment on Mass Avenue, and then was back within an hour, and he kissed me on both cheeks, and he said, “You are a poet!” And I think that may have been the moment at which I began to take myself seriously in that way. I don’t know that I wrote better or not.
YH: Did you ever find that being so saturated in language all the time was a hindrance when you went to sit down and write poetry? RW: Well it could be, yes, and in one period or another, there’s the danger of falling into a jargon of some kind. And I think I avoided that. There are disadvantages to talking as much as a teacher has to do, but it’s good practice, too.
YH: Could you talk more about how you relate what you’re “looking at” to your poetry? To seeing without speaking, or to non-verbal, or visual, art? RW: That’s a tough one. But I know that having a father who was a painter, and a good one, and who would point out to me things like the blueness of the shadows of trees on the snow—I know that I was constantly in communion with my father’s color and pattern sense of the world. He and I were not the same person, but I always loved his work. YH: Do poems or words have those kinds of colored associations for you? Is there a sense that you’re ever working in colors? RW: I think that the words I find myself ready to use are words which I have experienced to a certain depth. And I don���t know whether I can be more exact than that. But I know that I observe, feel, and taste the world of words as my father did the world that he painted. YH: When you teach poetry, you must feel something of your father in you in pointing out the blueness of a shadow. That must translate over into the realm of language. RW: Every now and then, I’m speaking with the help of my father, yes. YH: How has teaching changed or informed your own poetry? RW: One of the courses I was asked to teach at Harvard was a freshman humanities course covering every darn thing—covering philosophy, history, and so on. And it obliged me to do kinds of reading and articulateness that I had never done before. It obliged me to read long Russian novels, which is perfectly terrible if you never became a speed-reader. I did find that under the pressure of teaching, I had the pleasure of becoming much more generally cultured than I had been. And for the kind
YH: I suppose the follow-up question would be, can students in the same environment write good poetry despite the same dangers? RW: I think they can. Poets are, as they say, born, not made. And there are some people who are born right, and who can survive or take advantage of any atmosphere. I don’t think there’s anything but good about the cultured atmosphere of colleges. YH: How were you able to continue your stream of production for so long? You must, at some point, have had a problem with inspiration. RW: I did have periods in which I couldn’t write anything. Nothing came to me. And the only thing you can do is to try to not feel perfectly absurd—a poet who doesn’t write? But all poets, if they’re honest with us, must admit to dead periods, or periods in which poems do not come to them. There’s a lot of passivity in writing, I think. I just wait to be visited. That’s why we have this fiction called the muse—she comes to you. YH: What should we be reading now as Americans in 2012, or, what have you been reading that you’ve enjoyed? RW: Gosh, I’ve been reading lots of different people, and many of them with happiness. It would be absolutely safe to say that everybody ought to read Elizabeth Bishop. This is one case in which justice has been done in the literary marketplace. When I first knew Elizabeth Bishop, she was patronized, she was not thought to be a poet of any importance. And now of course, she’s come thundering into her own. Now, she’s the person above all whom I can recommend with confidence. YH: When you sit down to write in silence, who’s speaking? How do those voices that you get out of reading other writers, other poets, make themselves present? RW: I think I digest those things, and if I’m lucky, they become part of me in an authentic way. But it’s always my voice that I’m using and that I’m turning into poems. You know, Emerson one time said that the deeper we go into ourselves, the more we are everybody. I think that’s really the answer to the question you’ve raised. Whatever it is that helps to make you everybody at some core is good, even if it begins as reading. —This interview was condensed by the author
THE EYE OF THE STORM by Margaret Neil n New Orleans, where I lived for six years, there’s a time of year called “hurricane season.” It runs from June to November, when the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico waters are hottest. Hot water means easier tropical storm formation. The two things to remember about New Orleans are that it’s below sea level, and topographically speaking, it’s a bowl, and bowls keep water in. Even a little bit of rain causes flooding. For a long time, hurricanes felt like exciting adventures. When the storms were on the smaller side, or less powerful, or farther away, people stayed home. My family had our storm rituals: we’d buy water, batteries, and candles, put sandbags around the doors of the ground floor to prevent flooding, park our cars up high in parking lots instead of on the street, board up windows—or at least close the storm shutters. Sometimes we wouldn’t close them well enough and they’d start banging against the window and the side of the house. One of my parents would have to go out, into the storm, and close them again. Inside, my house would be cozy. We always played Scrabble. Because it wasn’t any ordinary day, I would try to contain the frustration I felt when my parents helped my little sister out—which. to my eyes, was totally unfair. When the power went out, it was even more exciting. I would hear the storm outside and imagine all the other people in all the other houses, cut off from each other, in their own little worlds. I always hoped the phone lines would stop working too—then we would really be cut off—and when they occasionally did I would feverishly run to tell my parents. It isn’t that the storm didn’t unnerve me, just that my nerves were quelled by the baseline feeling of safety and comfort: the adrenaline made me energetic, the cocoon of my house with my parents and sisters meant that nothing could go wrong. I was taken care of. Hurricane Katrina wasn’t our first evacuation. When the storms were bigger, or appeared to be heading for New Orleans, there would be voluntary or mandatory evacuation notices. Not being native New Orleanians or particularly dare-devilish, my parents always heeded these warnings. As a child, evacuations, too, were fun. School would be cancelled for a few days, and we’d pack into a car and drive to a hotel in Houston. It had an indoor/outdoor pool, the first I’d ever seen—I remember
feeling astonished and sort of scared that you could just swim under this wall and bam, you’d be outside. It was also close to IKEA (which in those days was, for me, the peak of home décor). A night or two of hotel life, and then we’d pack up and go back home. I imagine that the storms weren’t quite as fun for my parents. Our house, at 5429 Prytania Street, was in a kind of valley between St. Charles Avenue and the levee, two of the highest points in the city, so it always flooded, like a kind of mini-New Orleans. Once, a large tree limb fell on our roof, and they had to replace the whole thing. After replacing water-damaged carpets several times, my mother opted for terracotta tiles on the ground floor—the
an artist and very energetic, had painted every room of our house a different bright, saturated color—and called my friend Alston, to see if she wanted to go for a walk along Magazine Street. She laughed at my obliviousness and told me she was evacuating to her second home in Mississippi (which turned out to be not such a great idea, given the storm’s eventual path). I hung up, a bit disappointed, and went to ask my parents if we were going to evacuate too. They hadn’t decided yet. Either the weather reports got worse or the evacuation warnings came, because at some point on Sunday my parents decided we were, in fact, going to leave. I packed my blue Puma bag with that Houston hotel in mind—a bathing suit,
nicer option, in any case. In late August 2005, I had just started my freshman year at Isidore Newman School. School starts early in New Orleans, so we were two or three weeks in when Katrina came. I had just broken up with my eighth-grade boyfriend, decided that my best friend from elementary school—whom I’d begun to drift away from when my more social boyfriend had introduced me to a new scene—might be worth keeping after all, and was about to have my first advanced math quiz in geometry (which I was really nervous about). Saturday was sunny. I sat in my bright yellow kitchen—my mom, who is
my Big Star jeans (the item of clothing I was proudest of), and that’s pretty much it. After a moment’s hesitation, I even left my geometry book. No school—I call that a vacation. Around 3 a.m., I felt the weight of my dad’s feet on the ladder of my loft bed (IKEA) and then his hand wrap gently around my ankle as he shook me a little to wake me up. I was barely even asleep; I had slept with my Puma bag close by and my clothes on. I jumped up and the next thing I remember is being in the car. Somehow, seven of us, the six people that make up my immediate family and a friend of my sister Nora’s, whose parents
were on call at Charity Hospital, packed into my dad’s Toyota Highlander. As we drove away, I took out my lime green iPod Mini and listened to Ivy: It’s four in the morning and I’ve got that feeling… I must have slept for most of the ride. I remember highway traffic, and then being in the hotel. In the middle of the night, the light of the TV in my parents’ room next door woke me up. I turned on my own TV and watched meteorologists in ponchos growing concerned about the storm’s path. What happened in the next few days in New Orleans has been talked about, mythologized, fetishized, analyzed, and referred to so often. Things were happening to the evacuees too, talked about, but maybe less so—choices had to be made fast about where to go and who to stay with, for starters. The phone lines were so busy it was impossible to reach anyone with a 504 area code. My family and I drove up to Washington, D.C., where my grandmother lives in a suburb called Chevy Chase. We spent days in the cramped car. I was especially bitter about having to sit in the “way back”—the Highlander seats seven, but whoever designed the car must have intended for two of those people to be miniature because the third row of seats is truly tiny. When we got to D.C., I started ninth grade for the second time, at a fancier, more prestigious school than the one I had left. My evacuation story is by all measures a mild one. We had eight feet of mold climbing up our walls; meanwhile, 1,800 people lost their lives. Even so, the hurricane meant that my family had to leave New Orleans—the first place we had lived for more than a year since I was born, the first place my parents bought a house, the place my parents began their adult lives. I moved to D.C., briefly back to New Orleans, back to D.C., and finished high school on the Upper East Side. Big storms carry weight because they can do things to our lives that we did not ask for. We’re taught at Yale that our future is in our own hands—“if you will it, it is no dream.” I believe this, too. But I didn’t will the new houses, new friends, new value systems (I’d moved from the Big Easy to the Big Apple, after all). The hurricane did. Nor did I get a chance to say goodbye—to mourn a little so that I could welcome what was coming. —Graphic by Julia Kittle-Kamp YH Staff The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
OPINION In a July campaign stop in Roanoke, Va., President Obama laid out the basis for his platform. He claimed that Americans need the government to create jobs, and, more generally, that success isn’t possible without assistance. He challenged wealthy Americans, like Mitt Romney, who, he said, give themselves too much credit. “I’m always struck by people who think, ‘Well, it must be because I was just so smart,’” he stated frankly. “There are a lot of smart people out there.” Obama questioned the Republican Party’s rhetoric of individualism and argued that if you are successful, “somebody along the line gave you some help.” He concluded his remarks with the now infamous suggestion that “if you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Surely, he didn’t mean to say that government alone was responsible for personal success. The Romney campaign seized on his comment, claiming that it was evidence of Obama’s long-drawn attack on American capitalism. They printed “Government Didn’t Build My Business, I Did” on 30-dollar T-shirts, and wrote “We Built America” into stump speech-
There is a reason the Declaration of Independence was signed by a community of 56. We are a society that values individualism, but more importantly, doesn’t let its most vulnerable members fail without a support network. It takes individual initiative to succeed, but it is how well one utilizes the support systems already in place that determines achievement. My family is my foundation; without the support of my parents, I would never have been able to accomplish any of my goals. Furthermore, it was the government that provided an opportunity for my ancestors to flourish in a new country, with little money or connections. Within a few decades of my ancestors stepping off a boat at Ellis Island, my great-grandfather started a supermarket company that still thrives today. Because of the support systems in place, risks were taken, and individualism still reigned supreme. Individual success is exactly that—individual—but happens as a result of foundations previously in place. —Rafi Bildner, DC ’16
I attribute approximately 70 percent of my success thus far to a woman named Maggie who lives down the street from me in lil’ ol’ Warren, New Jersey. Here’s why: All Asian Americans living in and around Warren get their hair cut by Maggie. Thus, she is not only our source of beauty and hygiene, but also of community and opportunity. Through my bimonthly visits to “Auntie Maggie,” I’ve met powerful leaders in our community and “successful” Ivy League students, who’ve advised me on summer programs, college applications and essays. Without their guidance, I would truthfully be nowhere (or at least not at Yale); to them, I am forever grateful. The other 30 percent I’d like to attribute to myself for developing a “work hard, play very little and work more” mindset, but—let’s be honest—that probably resulted from my childhood of “tiger parenting.” That’s a story for another day. —Wesley Yiin, PC ’16
When I was little, my parents instilled the value of self-reliance in me. My parents would frequently cite examples from their own lives when of personal initiative drove them to succeed: each had come from families on food stamps and supported themselves through college. As I matured, I came to realize the value of this teaching. In Northern California, I attended an underperforming public high school, where few graduated and failure was the norm. In order to succeed and become the first student in my school’s history to be accepted to Yale, I had to seek out opportunities on my own. My experiences have showed me that personal initiative is the paramount force in society. My parents’ initiative to make more of themselves provided me with an opportunity to succeed, but it was my choice alone to take advantage of this opportunity . —Alexander Crutchfield, BR ’15
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
es. Critics on the left claimed that Obama had misspoken, and that it was unfair to broil him on this comment. Nonetheless, Romney used this opportunity to define a philosophical difference between himself and his opponent. Throughout the campaign, it has been clear that Romney believes that individual effort is the principal ingredient of success, as he has advocated for a limited federal government, while Obama defines success as the product of equal parts sweat and assistance. As Yale students, we have all experienced some form of success in our lives. Across the country, there are many equally intelligent students who have not shared the same level of success that we have. In your experience getting to and attending Yale, where do you locate the cause for your success? Has it been mostly due to individual initiative? Or have teachers, parents, and circumstances played a more important role in helping you along the way? —Micah Rodman YH Staff
It’s impossible to separate who I am from the opportunities I’ve been given. I can’t think of a single aspect of me, even an example of something that might seem to stand alone as evidence of my “initiative,” that is independent of my circumstances. Let’s leave aside the obvious examples of the help I received—the financial assistance from my family, and the individual attention from teachers, while I’m also indebted to the aspects of my upbringing that defy easy, quantifiable explanation. For example, every night at dinner my dad would say, “Tell me about what you learned at school.” That simple sentence contributed to my ability and, more importantly, my desire to think about and value my education, to take the things I learned in class home with me, where they informed who I am as a thinker. I wouldn’t have done that without the family environment I was given. I’m not alone—everyone is formed by the people and environment around them, and to say otherwise is to deny the circumstances that form of who we are as people. —Victoria Hall-Palerm, BK ’15
Generalizations, in general, are problematic. By issuing a sweeping statement about, say, the nature of happiness and how to get it, one is especially prone to sticking one’s foot in one’s mouth. But on the nature of “success,” a few things are unmistakably clear. Success is by no means dependent on intelligence; in fact, I don’t think intelligence has anything to do with it. Just because we go to Yale doesn’t mean we’re going to have an easier time achieving success than someone who graduated from a community college. Maybe we’ll find it easier to land a job out of college, or get into a fancy graduate school, but that’s not necessarily success. Success is defined on an individual basis; what that word means for me is probably very different from what that word means for my roommate. There is no standard definition. If you feel you’ve achieved success, congratulations: you have. —Kohler Bruno SM ’16 YH Staff
yale institute of sacred music presents
robin blaze countertenor
masaaki suzuki harpsichord
Music of Purcell Saturday, November 3 路 5 pm Marquand Chapel 路 409 Prospect St., New Haven
Free; no tickets required. Info at 203.432.5062
Dishing it out Bagged lunches and brunch on a Monday? Along with the wind and the rain, tropical storm Sandy brought changes in Yale Dining operations. The residential college dining halls made adjustments to ensure that students would be fed in the face of Sandy’s wrath. Many staff members took on hectic schedules and extended work hours to accomodate these preparations. The staff was most concerned about students without underground access to a dining hall. Yale Dining prepared bagged meals for freshmen, Swing Space residents, and others for whom it would be impossible to get to a dining hall in the expected extreme conditions. In response to a last-minute change in Sandy’s forecast, dining halls ordered non-perishable goods for the take-home meals. “The storm was originally supposed to hit Tuesday, but because it was changed to Monday, we had to move all of our food orders an entire day earlier,” Cathy Van Dyke, director of residential dining, said. Management then contacted the vendors and made the bagged lunches for stranded students. Students were not the only ones who had to worry about getting to and from the dining halls. Members of the dining staff were also faced
with challenging commutes. Residential colleges opened spare rooms on Sunday and Monday to help staff members avoid dangerous travels in the storm. Despite the accommodations, the kitchens were noticeably understaffed. “We all stayed late after dinner to make the bagged lunches and then worked for 11 hours the next two days,” said Shanae Dixon, who works in the Jonathan Edwards dining hall. The dining halls also altered their cleaning process to maximize efficiency. “Even though it costs more, we switched to compostable dishware in case there weren’t enough workers to wash the dishes,” said Van Dyke. Upon reflection, the staff considered their efforts a success, as did students. “The students were very thankful and appreciative,” said Sally Gray, who works in the Pierson College dining hall. And although the storm did not cause as much damage as predicted, Van Dyke said that the effort was not a wasted one. “As long as students are fed and happy, then sunshine is an added bonus,” she said. “We do the best we can,” she said. —Georgiana Wagemann
Parks & recreation “It’s like running a wedding. You always have angst about the weather. You always err on the side of safety,” said Christy Hass, deputy of New Haven’s Department of Parks, Recreation & Trees. Hurricane Sandy’s arrival meant cancelled school and days without electricity for many, but the storm’s ravaging winds also posed dangers to the historical, and sometimes overlooked, landmarks of the Elm City. The hurricane’s arrival prompted New Haven citizens to rush to protect the historical treasures of the city. One such landmark is the more than century-old carousel at Lighthouse Point Park, a short bus ride or ambitious run from Yale’s gates. Fearing that the anticipated high surges would “go over the animals” (hand-painted horses at that), Hass and two co-workers devised a plan. “We took all 68 horses and two chariots and had them taken to a warehouse,” she said. Though the animals were removed last year in preparation for Hurricane Irene, this year Hass and her team went one step further and dismantled the organ of the iconic merry-go-round. As park workers worked to move the 100-year-old organ on Monday, tides were already beginning to rise. ”All of the sudden the surf was almost up to the roadway. It probably got up to 30 inches inside. The whole thing would have been under water,” said Gary Dickerson, who works for the Department of Parks and was on the job. Thanks to Dickerson and 12 other workers, the animals and the organ were safely stowed away in a warehouse basement and the mission was deemed a success by Hass, at least as far as she knows. “We think our precau-
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
tions were successful. We don’t know how much damage was done. That’s the next step,” she said. Closer to campus, at the Grove Street Cemetery, Sandy’s impending arrival also called for emergency action. Established in 1797, the cemetery is the first landscaped cemetery in the world. Though weather damage to tombstones and gravesites is inevitable, the caretakers of the cemetery take precautions to protect the grounds. “I keep way ahead of storms. We have to put everything away: benches, birdbaths, and other things on the grounds. I believe in action. You can’t put the trees away, but we do as much as possible,” said William Cameron Jr., superintendent of the cemetery. Cameron stored benches and birdbaths in the cemetery’s basement, as well as in a vault and a barn on the property. Though this hurricane was relatively tame in this area, Cameron remembered the severity of past storms. In 1985, Hurricane Gloria broke many tombstones, Cameron said. Many of the older stones were damaged beyond repair. “I fixed 75 stones myself, with help from my wife and my son,” he said. “We have to use special materials to fix them. Like they say, ‘Ain’t nothing easy.’” Thanks to the efforts of the cemetery caretakers and city parks workers, these beloved historical sites managed to weather the storm with minimal damage. Hass said that the city of New Haven emphasizes the importance of caring for these landmarks. “We do the best we can,” she said. “There is real dedication on the mayor’s part to safeguard the treasures of the city. And he instills that in all of us.” —Sophie Grais and Olivia Rosenthal YH Staff
Storm the polls As the nation’s attention shifts from the destruction in New York City and New Jersey back to the electoral battlegrounds of Ohio and Virginia, new political questions linger in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. These uncertainties loom large in Connecticut, and particularly in New Haven. Just as turnout in Ohio is crucial to the President’s re-election prospects, turnout in the Elm City could make all the difference in the tightly contested battle between Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy (5th district), and Republican businesswoman Linda McMahon for Connecticut’s open Senate seat. Polling has shown a very tight race, and even a slight drop in turnout of heavily Democratic urban areas like New Haven could pave the way for a McMahon victory. Whether or not lingering affects of Sandy’s devastation will stanch turnout remains to be seen. Any drop is expected to favor McMahon. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, extended the voter-registration period in an effort to ensure the storm did not stop anyone’s last-minute registration. The deadline was moved from 8 p.m. on Oct. 30 to the same time two days later, a move that Elm City residents have taken advantage of. “People came to register today,” said Rae Tramontano, the Republican registrar of voters for New Haven on Wednesday, “and we expect the same tomorrow.” She added that while some polling places were afflicted by power outages, it was likely that they would be up and running by Election Day. And, if not, contingency plans are in place with the Secretary of State’s office to notify residents
of polling place changes. While every effort is made to ensure the polling places are open, the campaigns found themselves thrown into disarray facing questions not only of turnout, but also of the appropriateness of campaigning under such circumstances. Campaigns statewide shut down on Oct. 28 because of the storm, and stayed shuttered through Oct. 30, slowly beginning operations again the next day. Jimmy Tickey, campaign manager for U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D. Conn., 3rd District), said the Congresswoman had canceled campaign events to visit storm shelters and businesses on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to speak with residents impacted by the storm. “What comes first are people’s lives, their homes,” said Tickey, citing the many communities still without power and the extensive damage done to some parts of the state. “Campaigning can come after all of that.”How the storm affects candidates’ get-out-thevote operations remains to be seen. The Yale College Democrats began their voter turnout efforts in New Haven on Tuesday night, but did so even as the statewide campaign operations remained shut down. New Haven voter turnout could make all the difference, as it did in 2010 when Malloy won the governorship by fewer than 7,000 votes of over a million cast. None of the campaigns quite know what the storm will mean for Election Day. But one thing is certain, according to Elizabeth Larkin, the communications director for the Democratic Party of Connecticut: “Greater turnout always favors Democrats.” —Matthew Nussbaum
(Julie Reiter/Yale Herald) The Yale Herald (Nov 2, 2012)
(Zachary Schiller/YH Staff)
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
Pinning down Connecticut Colin Groundwater, ES ‘15, explains what’s at stake in the race for the Nutmeg State’s open Senate seat
n Sun., Oct. 28, I turned left onto a back road behind the Watertown, Conn.’s McDonald’s and quickly pulled into Global Plastics Recycling, a small local factory. Linda McMahon, the former President and CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment who is currently running for Connecticut’s open U.S. Senate seat, was holding a rally. I walked into Global Plastics through a delivery garage to check myself in at Job Creators for Linda and found myself milling about in the middle of a factory floor, heavy machinery flanking me on both sides. It’s a room where hard work happens daily. A small stage sat at the front of the room, and refreshments and McMahon merchandise were offered in the back while inoffensive jazz played in the background. Two hours later, and just a 10-minute drive away, the Democratic candidate, Representative Chris Murphy, held an event of his own in Waterbury, Conn.’s Palace Theater. It was a strikingly different affair. The police had shut down part of East Main Street for the event, and a line of people crowded outside the theater, waiting to fill one of the 2,300 seats in the opulent auditorium inside. Before I took my seat, I had the option to buy concessions in the massive foyer. The most prominent Connecticut politicians, both state and federal, had come to speak. But the headliner had been brought in from out of state: former President Bill Clinton, LAW ’73, was visiting Waterbury to give the keynote address. Complete with a group of local children leading the pledge of allegiance, the event was the quintessential big-time political rally. The stark contrast between the two rallies is appropriate considering the pivotal choice facing Connecticut residents on Tues., Nov. 6, when voters will elect either Democrat Chris Murphy, a veteran Connecticut politician, or Republican Linda McMahon, a successful Washington outsider from the busi-
ness world. Of the 33 Senate seats that will be filled in the November elections, only ten, one of which is Connecticut’s, still look like they might go either way, red or blue. The outcome of these races could shift the chamber’s balance towards either party, with significant impacts on everything from the fate of the Affordable Care Act to the confirmation of new Supreme Court justices. The race between Murphy and McMahon is one of the most important in the country, and it remains very close. Neil O’Leary, mayor of Waterbury, opened the Democratic rally on Sunday with something of a benediction: “This election is the most important election in our lifetime. Don’t make any mistake about that.” Hyperbole aside, he has a point.
Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain. In the 2006 Senate race, Lieberman lost in the Democratic primary; undeterred, he ran as an Independent and won with 49.7 percent of the vote, ending the state’s 17year trend of sending two Democrats to Washington. His victory is a testament to the peculiar nature of Connecticut politics. Though the state usually votes blue, there is a fierce loyalty to politicians the voters know well. Lieberman’s departure from the Senate presents a rare window of opportunity for both candidates seeking his empty seat. For Democrats, Lieberman’s retirement presents an opportunity to send a more reliable party member to the chamber. But Lieberman’s handy defeat of the Party’s nominee last election is a good reminder that electing a Democrat in Connecticut is
tionship with Connecticut politics will affect the race. Lieberman’s seat doesn’t carry much symbolic power, which is why some (politically active citizens), like Yale College Democrats President Zak Newman, JE ’13, expect the influence to be minimal. “Joe Lieberman isn’t Ted Kennedy,” Newman said. “His seat doesn’t have that kind of legacy.” Nonetheless, voters like Frino will be looking for that streak of independence Lieberman brought to the table for 24 years as they cast their ballots. For McMahon to win the election, it is crucial that she swing the independentminded voters, and to do so, she will need to appear moderate. This strategy has been the subject of controversy after a commercial her campaign aired that showed a veteran who was planning to vote for Barack Obama and Linda McMahon because of his
“This election is the most important election in our lifetime. Don’t make any mistake about that.” —Neil O’Leary, mayor of Waterbury, Conn. THE 2012 CONNECTICUT RACE BEGAN on Jan. 19, 2011, when Senator Joe Lieberman, MC ’64, LAW ’67, announced his retirement from Congress. In his 24 years in the Senate, he has become one of the most prominent and controversial figures in the body’s recent history. He ran as the first Jewish vice-presidential candidate with Al Gore on the Democratic ticket in 2000, and then for president in the Democratic primary in 2004. But Lieberman is far from your average Democrat. Many people know Lieberman today for his consistently conservative stance on defense policy; even more know him for his 2008 endorsement of the
far from a done deal. Capitalizing on some of the state’s conservative tendencies that yielded votes for Lieberman, the McMahon campaign draws strong support from fiscal conservatives and voters who prioritize of national security. Others, like Lou Frino, a retired veteran I spoke to from Watertown, Conn., see Lieberman’s independent streak in McMahon. “Usually the Congresspeople from Connecticut have been pretty independent,” he said, adding that he sees that legacy of independence on the Republican ticket. Lieberman hasn’t endorsed either candidate. It’s difficult to say how his long rela-
belief that McMahon would cooperate with the President to get things done. The ad led conservatives to question McMahon’s loyalty to Romney and the Republican Party. Since then, she has repeatedly declared her support for the Republican presidential candidate, but has continued to air commercials identifying herself as an “independentminded woman.” Todd Abrajano, SM ’02, the communications director for the McMahon campaign, defends the ad. “Linda fully supports Mitt Romney for President,” he said. “However, there are many Democrats in Connecticut that are going to vote to reelect President
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
Obama but are also willing to split their ticket and vote for Linda McMahon. Connecticut voters want their elected officials to be willing to compromise, and Congressman Murphy has shown he is not willing to do that, as he votes with his party 98 percent of the time. As a U.S. Senator, Linda McMahon will be a truly independent thinker who will be willing to work with anyone who is willing to work with her.” Notably, Obama leads Mitt Romney by 10 points in the Connecticut polls; if most voters hope the President wins a second term, McMahon needs to show willingness to work with him. FOR VOTERS, THE MOST IMPORTANT ISsue in this election is decidedly the economy.
effort to close loopholes that allowed the Defense Department to purchase foreign products when comparable goods were available stateside. In 2011, he successfully pushed his American Jobs Matter Act through the House, which Democrats tout as a victory for domestic job creation. “Buy American” is the centerpiece of Murphy’s economic credentials. More generally, he espouses the Democratic approach to the economy: he voted for the bank and auto industry bailouts, and he supports a tax increase on the highest income earners in the country. As a general rule, if you agree with President Obama, then you agree with Murphy. To appreciate McMahon’s approach
manages to stay above it. She doesn’t say, ‘I’m a victim.’ She’s been bankrupt, she’s paid off her bills under the law, [and] they had a good business.” McMahon’s political record is significantly shorter than her opponent’s. While CEO of the WWE, she initiated a public awareness campaign for literacy and a nonpartisan voter-registration program. She briefly served on the Connecticut Board of Education in 2009 before announcing her candidacy for the U.S. Senate later that year. On her first Senate campaign, she promoted the same image she does today: the business-savvy candidate who knows how to get the economy back on track. On her website, she advertises a six-step plan
McMahon’s story is an archetypal tale of American success: an entrepreneur who has seen good times and bad, ultimately triumphing through personal know-how and hard work. “First and foremost, people are concerned about jobs,” Ben Marter, communications director for the Murphy Campaign, said. The economy overshadows and influences every other topic of debate. While McMahon has been developing her image as a moderate Republican, Representative Murphy has been reminding voters of his long record of fighting for American jobs. Chris Murphy, who graduated from Williams College in 1996 with a degree in political science, got his first real taste of politics that same year, when he interned for Chris Dodd, the longest serving Senator in Connecticut’s history. Murphy won his first election next year at age 24 for a seat on Southington, Conn.’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and has held an elected office ever since. After eight years in state politics, he challenged and ousted Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson in 2006 to become the Congressman from the 5th District of Connecticut in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the House, Murphy has consistently voted along Democratic Party lines. Arguably his most notable achievement, as his campaign will quickly remind you, was his “Buy American” initiative. The Buy American Act determines what products the federal government can purchase, encouraging the government to purchase goods from domestic manufacturers. Murphy also led an
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
to the economy, you need to understand her background, which is markedly different from Murphy’s. The buzz term associated with her is “professional wrestling magnate.” She majored in French at East Carolina University after marrying her high school sweetheart Vince McMahon at age 17. Early on, times were tough: the couple filed for bankruptcy in 1976 and lived on food stamps for a short period. However, through hard work, they picked themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and developed their own company, founding Titan Sports, Inc. in 1980. Titan Sports eventually became Word Wrestling Entertainment, the undisputed giant of the wrestling world. Linda McMahon was president and CEO. Her story is an archetypal tale of American success: an entrepreneur who has seen good times and bad, ultimately triumphing through personal know-how and hard work. For some voters, her personal financial experiences—particularly her experience with bankruptcy and her ensuing success—have inspired confidence in her economic leadership ability. When I asked what Lou Frino and his wife, Alice Frino, both of whom I met at the Job Creators for Linda rally, why they were so confident in McMahon’s ability to improve the economy, Alice instantly responded, “She’s done it!” Lou added, “She’s been through a lot of crap. Yet she
for revitalizing the economy through implementing tax cuts, decreasing regulation, and developing energy alternatives. Notably, she promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act on the grounds that it will fail to reduce costs. Both sides employ the usual political rhetoric, announcing their intentions to strengthen the middle class with tax cuts, create American jobs, and support small businesses. While McMahon’s story of financial hardship followed by business success appeals to voters on personal and economic terms, the American Jobs Matter Act attests to Murphy’s ability to promote American business interests in Congress. Many Connecticut residents will likely select their candidate based on their approval—or disapproval—of the Obama administration’s handling of the recession. While Murphy is firmly tied to Obama and the Democratic Party’s approach to improving the economy, McMahon, without any Washington experience, represents a fresh start in the capitol. The choice will be between a declaration of faith in the Democratic economic strategy and a cry for new management in Washington. When it comes to social issues, Connecticut has always been progressive. The state was the third to publicly fund stemcell research—legislation Chris Murphy wrote—and has been a strong advocate of
LGBT rights since 2005—a movement Chris Murphy helped lead. On many social issues, the candidates’ positions appear to overlap: both Murphy and McMahon support gay marriage and are pro-choice, though McMahon wants to limit federal funding for abortion and emergency contraception. McMahon also supported the Blunt Amendment, which would allow employers to deny certain medical services for “moral reasons.” The most notable difference between the two candidates’ positions is on health care, which both candidates approach as an economic issue, while sticking to their party lines. Murphy argues that the Affordable Care Act will make medical insurance cheaper for most Americans, especially women, who collectively pay almost one billion dollars more than men every year for the same policies. McMahon insists that Obama’s health care reform detracts from Medicare and Medicaid, and that its repeal will make more fiscal sense. But these positions are no surprise. Health care and its costs are inextricably tied to the debate surrounding women’s issues, especially for the Murphy campaign. Last week, Murphy held an event at Yale with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, where they both emphasized the increased cost of health insurance for women under a Republican-dominated Senate. Richards also spoke about Planned Parenthood’s economically accessible options for emergency contraception, and argued McMahon’s election would lead to an increase in costs of essential feminine health services provided by the organization. Though McMahon is pro-choice, the speakers stressed that no one who supports the Blunt amendment has any right to the claim. Their takeaway? Linda McMahon is “anti-women.” The McMahon campaign has, not surprisingly, rejected these accusations, arguing that the important issues for women have to do with job creation, not reproductive rights. “Linda McMahon is a pro-choice candidate who supports women’s health issues and has a positive record of providing excellent health benefits for her employees when she was a CEO that included access to birth control as well as mammograms,” Abrajano said. “However, while these issues are important, women today are even more concerned with having a good job and a stable economy.” Some McMahon supporters are openly skeptical of the subject all together. When asked about women’s issues, Lou’s wife Alice responded, “What, about birth control?
What are women’s issues? Free birth control? I don’t think so!” WHEN LINDA MCMAHON RAN AGAINST Richard Blumenthal in 2010, her campaign outspent her opponent’s by seven to one. She still lost. Newman explained Blumenthal’s advantage to me: “When he was running in 2010, Dick Blumenthal was the long-serving attorney general of the state. Many residents in the state knew his name and knew that he’d been fighting for them as the attorney general for years.” Furthermore, Blumenthal’s name had been regularly tossed around as a potential gubernatorial candidate since 1998. Essentially, in 2010, Blumenthal had more clout than McMahon. This time around, McMahon retains her fiscal advantage while also gaining the upper hand in terms of visibility. Though Murphy has served the 5th district for six years, Connecticut residents outside of his area know little about him. Meanwhile, Newman pointed out, “McMahon is well known after her run for the Senate in 2010 and has done a surprisingly good job of presenting herself as a moderate job creator and small business owner.” However, she is still the Republican candidate in a state that is predominantly Democrat.
exasperation with this approach, taken by both candidates. “I’m sick of this negative advertising,” Yolanda Giordano, a retiree voting for McMahon, said. “They should just say what they’re going to do and then do it.” I MET YOLANDA AND THE FRINOS AT THE job creators rally, where Joe Wihbey, owner of Global Plastics Recycling, kicked off the event with a humble speech about the value of Linda’s tax cuts and deregulatory policies to small business. A few more local business owners echoed these sentiments before guest speaker Sheila Bair, former Chairwoman of the FDIC under President George W. Bush and one of Forbes Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in the World,” lauded McMahon’s conservative economic plan. McMahon herself was the last to take the stage, touting her business experience and plan for job creation to raucous applause. More interesting than the speakers, themselves, though, were the people who came to see them, who were, for the most part, retired and Republican. Everyone I spoke with was already an avid McMahon supporter— these were not voters who would need to be swayed. Eavesdropping on various conversations, I heard some casual inquiries about whether the Tea Party was still meeting at
supposed to be. I stand up for the freedom.” Freedom, I learned, is particularly important to Ziggy. “You don’t see it, but you breathe it in,” he said. “We need freedom for the future generation. We have a job, we have everything, but you—” He trailed off midsentence, leaving me to ponder the stakes for my generation. Ziggy believes Linda McMahon is the best candidate for the job because he thinks she embodies the American ideals he learned to appreciate under Soviet rule: “She made it! That’s the capitalist system. If I don’t work, how am I going to make it?...I hope you, the youngsters listen, and come and vote for her. …She care about the future, she sees something’s going wrong and wants to fix what’s wrong for the next generation.” While Ziggy is not exactly the typical McMahon supporter, he represents a contingency of voters with an extreme sense of patriotism who emphasize the value of a capitalist work ethic—and who will undoubtedly vote for Linda McMahon in this election. POLITICAL RALLIES ARE CONFUSING. They’re critical to getting out the candidates’ messages, but attract few, if any, undecided voters. Everyone I spoke to in Watertown was definitely voting for McMahon, and many people I spoke to after the Murphy rally had
The choice will be between a declaration of faith in the Democratic economic strategy and a cry for new management in Washington. The Murphy campaign has had to fight an uphill battle for public awareness, working against a formidable spending gap. McMahon has spent 46 million dollars of her own money in this Senate race—a sum that jumps to nearly 100 million if you include her 2010 bid. Marter said that the Murphy campaign’s strategy has been to combat McMahon’s resources with good old-fashioned canvassing and phone banking. “We’ve built the largest grassroots campaign this state has ever seen,” Marter said. “We’re taking our message door to door, and person to person.” Just as each candidate has worked to promote identities for themselves, they’ve also each taken care to strategically define their opponent for voters, largely through vicious attack ads. Voters have expressed
so-and-so’s house, but most seemed to be good examples of the independent leaningconservative voter that form a key part of McMahon’s constituency. One person stood out at Job Creators for Linda. Ziggy Barisha is a senior Connecticut resident who emigrated from Soviet Kosovo. He wore American flag pants, an American flag waistcoat, and an American flag tie; he carried a large American flag over his shoulder. In a thick eastern European accent, he told me that he was once arrested at Yale (though the details of his arrest were, admittedly, not entirely clear). “Ah, Yale. They know me everybody there! I was arrested there,” he said. In broken English, he explains his offense: “In New Haven they display the flag upside down. I go there, I get arrested, then the flag is raised the way it
been canvassing and making phone calls for months. Who are the candidates trying to convince, and how? The Murphy rally seemed to be an excellent example of what a campaign rally wants to achieve. Throughout the impressive parade of speakers, which included Senator Blumenthal and Governor Malloy, applause was constant but and anticipation was high. Clinton was the main attraction, and every speaker made a point to thank him for coming. Representative Murphy’s speech hardly touched on the issues at stake in the election, and was more of an homage to a political deity. “Back in 1992, when President Clinton was giving his address to the nation accepting his first presidential nomination, I was getting ready to vote in my first presidential election.” Murphy captured the
feeling of the audience and the speakers: reverence. Clinton took the stage to a minute-long standing ovation. Throughout his entire speech, which was twice as long as all the others, Murphy stood behind him on his right, basking in his aura. The moment arguably garnered more statewide attention for Murphy than any previous moment in the campaign. Clinton is a political force of nature, a press magnet. I sat in an entire row of reporters, hardly able to see the former President from behind all the television cameras. Clinton hadn’t come to convince anyone at the rally; he was there so undecided voters could hear that he came. Clinton spoke in endearing colloquialisms easily reduced to sound bites. “It’s the same old, same old,” Clinton said of Linda’s tax policies. Moving on to explain the problems with the Republican plan to deal with the country’s debt, Clinton put it simply: “Smoke and mirrors don’t amount to a hill of beans.” He talked about fixing cars in Arkansas and doing basic arithmetic in grade school. The crowd was enchanted. Everyone left feeling like they understood inflation and interest rates better than when they entered, and more importantly, they were guaranteed to mention the event to fellow voters in the days to come. Representative Murphy, like every other speaker, had been dramatically outshined. But that didn’t matter. Everyone in attendance was already voting for him anyway. With nine days until the election, the Murphy campaign had played its best card for visibility. ON TUES., OCT. 30, 25 STUDENTS, UNdeterred by Hurricane Sandy, showed up for a phone-banking event held by the Yale College Democrats. “Can President Obama and Chris Murphy count on your support on November 6?” was scrawled on the blackboard in large letters. Rachel Miller, DC ’15, co-chair of publicity for the Dems’ election committee, explained the objective for the night: “It’s about making as many personal connections as possible. It’s not as much about convincing undecided voters. It’s more about mobilizing the vote.” Ben Mallet, DC ’16, campaign director for the Yale College Republicans, assured me that the YCR will be making phone calls, knocking on doors, and putting up posters around campus in the days leading up to the election. Murphy currently leads in the polls by four points, but nothing is decided. —Graphic by Lian Fumerton-Liu YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
Indigo blues Buddhist life at Yale, in the wake of a loss by A. Grace Steig YH Staﬀ
or nine years, every morning around 2 a.m., used ceramic cups would fill a basket in Battell Chapel, reminders of barley tea that students had poured for each other during the night. Candles would be snuffed and round meditation cushions put away by any remaining students, ready to be placed in a circle again the following night at the next session of Stillness and Light, as the meditation program was called. But on Mon., Oct. 22, no circle was formed, no candles were lit, and no tea was poured. Earlier that day, the Yale Chaplain’s Office had severed its relationship with Indigo Blue, the Buddhist chaplaincy, and its chaplain, Bruce Blair, TC ’81. That day, and each day since, students have found an empty space where they once went to meditate. Indigo Blue’s absence was instantly felt in the wake of its sudden departure. “I felt crushed,” Kerri Lu, PC ’14, said. “It was so devastating, I think, to so many.” Students, having received no prior warning of the split, struggled to understand what had happened. Some regulars in the Buddhist community were told in person. Visitors to Battell Monday night learned of the chaplaincy’s end from a sign on the door: “The Indigo Blue Event Has Been Cancelled.” Still others were surprised when they visited Indigo Blue’s former website to find it taken offline, and their browsers redirected to the Chaplain’s Office website. The sudden severing of ties between the University and Indigo Blue remains shrouded in mystery, with satisfactory explanations missing from both of the parties. “This change may feel sudden, but it was carefully thought out,” Sharon Kugler, the University Chaplain, wrote in an Oct. 30 email circulated among most Yale College students but originally addressed to “Members and Friends of the Yale Buddhist Community.” In the email, Kugler declined to elaborate on the reasons for the decision.
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
In an email sent that same day, addressed to “students, staff, faculty, family, and friends of Indigo Blue,” Blair, who has served as Buddhist chaplain since the post’s foundation in 2003, emphasized the sudden nature of the program’s removal: “Called to a meeting at the Chaplain’s Office, we were taken by surprise when told the relationship was ended, and I was—in effect—asked to immediately close our shrines, and move off-campus,” he wrote.
Shubo Yin, ES ’14, said. “In its absence, [I feel] lost.” The administration has emphasized its plans to ensure that the Buddhist community at Yale does not suffer from this change. In an email to the Buddhist community on Tuesday, Sharon Kugler affirmed, “We are deeply committed to creating a new and expansive program for Buddhist life at Yale and are dedicating significant resources to it.” She has invited students to talk with her
dents who worshipped there. “There were people who considered themselves Buddhist and who belonged to a large spectrum of sects—Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, Sri Lankan—people who came from all around,” said Heshika Deegahawathura, PC ’14, president of Buddhist Advisory Board: undergraduate (BABu). Many non-Buddhist students were also connected to Indigo Blue. As Bilinski said, “One of the nicest things about Indigo Blue
Indigo Blue had a very specific purpose, and now that purpose isn’t being filled. So there’s a void. —Shubo Yin, ES ‘14 The full text of the letter is available on www.indigoblue.org, the website Blair has created to replace the old Yale site. In the email, Blair cryptically referred to “allegations, mainly new, and neither detailed nor substantiated.” He wrote, “I am now seeking expert advice, and for the moment it is not appropriate to discuss in detail the issues Yale raised last Monday.” Without access to the details of the split, students have found it difficult to draw conclusions from the situation. Alyssa Bilinski, CC ’13, said, “Everything still is confidential, so I can’t really make any judgment. I was very sad that it happened, even though Yale acted the way that it thought it was most appropriate.” Kim Fabian, DC ’15, said that she is still processing the shock by talking with “friends who are also struggling with this. [We are] hurt, confused, sad, going through a grieving process. As they recover from the immediate shock of Indigo Blue’s discontinuation, students find themselves acutely aware of the ways in which the chaplaincy had served them in their time at Yale. “Indigo Blue had a very specific purpose, and now that purpose isn’t being filled. So there’s a void,”
and to attend a Nov. 4 meeting, the first of four weekly discussions whose purpose, she wrote, is “to hear more suggestions and to put future plans for Buddhist practice in place.” Many students believe that it is essential to reflect on the chaplaincy that is now gone. Simon Song, CC ’14, stated, “Even if we’re developing something new, it’s still important to look back.” A number of students and alumni have formed a group called Friends of Indigo Blue to recognize past traditions. Their website, FriendsOfIndigoBlue.wordpress.com, provides a forum for those positively affected by Indigo Blue to submit anonymous reflections on their experiences, which the group plans to show to the administration. Bilinski, who helped to develop the website, said, “I’ve been seeing a lot of the anecdotes come in, and it’s really amazing how [Indigo Blue] managed to touch the lives of so many Buddhist and non-Buddhist people.” One consideration for a future Buddhist chaplaincy is the range of operations necessary to fulfill the varied needs of the community. The multiplicity of Indigo Blue’s programs reflected the diversity of stu-
was there was no pressure to identify as a Buddhist, not as a Buddhist, or anything.” Fabian, who is Christian, benefited from many events, as well as from talking personally with Blair: “My conversations with Bruce were always very enlightening,” she said. “I learned a lot from him in terms of serving others and what humility means, and how to deal with Yale’s atmosphere.” Indigo Blue’s programs presented plenty of different opportunities for community involvement. Daily activities included midday time to pray or light incense, evening practice, a memorial ceremony, and chanting, followed by Stillness and Light. Prayer and practice was located in the base of Harkness Tower, which, until last week, was the Buddhist shrine, a sacred space maintained by Blair. A place of worship, it held statues and objects of importance to practitioners. Lu began regularly visiting between classes her sophomore year. “[It was] a space where I could offer incense to my grandparents and think about them,” she said, “just thinking about a loved one who passed away on a regular basis.” Many students agree that a sacred physical space, icons, and a chaplain will be
essential to the future of the Buddhist chaplaincy. “You can’t have an icon in any other space; it needs to be very specifically made in that way,” Lu said. According to Blair’s email, on Oct. 22, he was told to immediately clear the shrine of the sacred icons that Indigo Blue had provided and tended. When Harkness chapel is returned, as Kugler affirmed in the Tuesday email that it will be, students hope that it reflects their concerns for a space of Buddhist worship. “If my understanding of Buddhism is true, such a sacred space needs to be tended to,”
students. Maddie Marino, PC ’15, went to Stillness and Light almost every night, often after midnight. “It was just a place that was protected from everything else,” she said. Patrick Cage, PC ’14, said, “It’s unique as a space where you can simultaneously be with sympathetic people and equally be very much on your own and have a sense of privacy.” Many students attended once a week or once a month, and yet more would come less regularly, seeking out its calm and comfort in times of particular need. Stillness and Light started as a space
chaplaincy was personally vital as she returned to Yale sophomore year: “I think that the reason I came back to Yale was partly because of the Christian community and because of Indigo Blue. Otherwise I wouldn’t have come back here.” The impact of the chaplaincy’s termination cannot be easily determined. There is no way to know how many students entered and worshipped at the shrine in Harkness Tower or at Stillness and Light over the nine years. In his email, Blair reflected that “10,000 cups of tea [have been served] to
This is giving us such a great opportunity to come together, to show how important Indigo Blue and Buddhism are in our lives. —Amaris Olguin, DC ’15 explained Lu. “There are rituals that are in the Buddhist tradition that need to be implemented. You need to have someone who is authorized to do it by the tradition itself.” Tending the shrine and leading prayer are typically the religious tasks carried out by a Buddhist chaplain; Blair performed the additional service of Stillness and Light. The program began as Indigo Blue’s response to the university’s requests for religious groups to host activities at night. Every night of the week during the academic year, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., any student could sit in open meditation. Blair was always present, and throughout those four hours, people were welcome to “come and go without hindrance”—a common refrain of Blair and
for students to deal with Yale’s atmosphere, and ultimately became, for many students, one of the most important parts of Yale. Lu relied on Indigo Blue to help her with the many pressures of sophomore year—deciding on a major, coping with homesickness, and considering the place of religion in her life. “Stillness and Light was a great space not to have pressures about religion, just to go and be still,” she said. “Stillness and Light was a way that students could find help within themselves and reach out for help in a way that is much less formal, that feels much less like exposing themselves, in comparison to going to Walden counselors or checking in to Mental Health,” Cage remarks. For Fabian, the Buddhist
hundreds of different students.” A few opportunities remain for students wishing to practice mindful meditation. New Haven Insight, which is not affiliated with the Chaplain’s Office, offers insight meditation and loving kindness meditation for students, faculty, and community members in Dwight Chapel on Monday and Thursday evenings. Another organization, the student-run YMindful, is not religiously affiliated; its website describes it as “a community of Yalies who practice meditation together.” Students lead sitting meditation, as well as practice weekly eating meditation, in which students begin a meal together in 10 to 15 minutes of silence. For now, just one Buddhist program has been implemented by the Chaplain’s Office
to fill the gap left by Indigo Blue in this interim period. From 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, Breathing Space in Welch Hall hosts Zen meditation led by Anne Dutton, a Yale Stress Center clinical staff member and meditation teacher with expertise in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. On its first session this Wednesday, three students attended. But according to Marino, these groups are very different from Indigo Blue. They offer communities practicing set forms of meditation, while the open shrine at Battell Chapel and Stillness and Light were, for many students, more independent—an opportunity to worship or meditate on their own schedules, in their own ways. Fabian argued that this lack of structure was unique to Blair’s Buddhist chaplaincy: “It’s very different from most activities at Yale and in the world in that it’s not programmed. It’s just something that is there to serve.” Right now, no cups of tea are being served, but students trust that this condition is not permanent. “This is giving us such a great opportunity to come together, to show how important Indigo Blue and Buddhism are in our lives,” Amaris Olguin, DC ’15, said. Bilinski emphasizes her hopes for a productive discourse about the community’s needs among students, administrators, and faculty: “I trust that everybody who cares a lot about this is going to work together to create the same kind of comforting spaces.” Students would be grateful to find comfort after such confusion and loss, and for these spaces to once again fill what is now just a void. In this time of transition, conversations are being held by members of a community that for the most part used to practice quietly. —Graphic by Christine Mi YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
CULTURE Parade of the dead by Amanda Chan On Sat., Oct. 27, the parking lot of the Fair Haven Bregamos Community Theater was filled with colorful puppets and vibrantly costumed children and adults. Propped against a chain-link fence, the beautiful handmade puppets included a large bird, a dragon, and various skeletons. A face painting station drew a small crowd of excited children, while two costumed musicians sustained a lively rhythmic beat on hand drums to complement the energy emanating from the crowd. Inside the theater were tables covered with handmade cardboard and paper maché skull masks. “I want a mask!” cried a boy in a ninja costume to his mother as he ran around the lot. The bustling scene outside Bregamos was in preparation for a parade celebrating Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that honors the memory of the deceased. To commemorate the day, a festive parade had been organized by Unidad Latina en Acción (ULA), a grassroots immigrant rights organization, Junta for Progressive Action, a Latino advocacy group, and Bregamos Community Theater, a local space dedicated to creating community-based theater for New Haven residents from all walks of life. Though this was technically the second annual Day of the Dead parade in New Haven, an unexpected snowstorm forced last year’s festivities indoors. The parade commenced at 5:00 p.m. as the procession began its two-mile march down Blatchley Avenue. Many residents of Fair Haven emerged from their homes to watch the parade from their porches, drawn by the parade’s brilliance and commotion. Skeleton puppets, adorned with top hats, floral scarves, and mariachi uniforms, charmed the children in the audience. Caped dancers, marchers with elaborate painted faces, and families with babies in their strollers all rounded out the parade. Occasionally, one of the parade leaders, armed with a megaphone, invited spectators to join the parade in rapid-fire Spanish. The bright hues of parade signs and puppets stood brightened up the surrounding neighborhood. Many of the parade’s participants came from beyond the Fair Haven community. For instance, members of Seminarians for a Democratic Society (SDS), a new social justice collective at the Yale Divinity School, were also present at the parade to support ULA. “Our main aim is not so much to organize big events as it is to develop positive, rather than exploitative, relationships
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2nd, 2012)
with the New Haven community,” said member Greg Williams, DIV ’15. According to Williams, SDS hopes to support and co-organize events with various local organizations to build long-term relationships across class and racial lines. SDS members held a large puppet and a banner as part of the parade. This year’s Day of the Dead parade was not merely a celebration of Latino culture. It was also a celebration of the fifth anniversary of the Elm City Resident Card, New Haven’s municipal identification card. The card serves as a means of identification for those who may not otherwise have one, allowing undocumented immigrants to open local bank accounts, and can be used to access parks and libraries. “The card came about because of dialoguing in the community about how to create a better New Haven,” explained John Jairo Lugo, a parade organizer and one of the founding members of ULA. The city was the first administrator of such an ID card in the United States. At the front of the parade, two participants held a sign proclaiming the fifth anniversary of the Elm City ID card. Indeed, many of the parade participants held signs and banners addressing themes of immigration. Behind the card-supporters, other parade participants bore a large banner that declared, “Unidad Latina en Acción Presente.” Further down the parade, another sign depicted a disapprovinglooking Native American man, next to the words, “Who’s the illegal alien, pilgrim?” According to Megan Fountain, ULA volunteer and an organizer of the event, the parade was a moment of healing for New Haven. Fountain explained that New Haven has recently seen an influx of Mexican, Ecuadorian, and Guatemalan immigrants. This, in turn, has led to tension between the new immigrant populations and New Haven’s African American and Puerto Rican communities. “The tensions go both ways,” Fountain explained. “A lot of new immigrants don’t understand the experience of African Americans and Puerto Ricans. Some Latin Americans might have prejudices against black people from their own countries. And then on the other hand, the African American and Puerto Rican communities hear myths about immigrants stealing jobs.” However, the Day of the Dead parade brought together Fair Haven residents of all ages, classes, and races. “Many residents were not accustomed to seeing this kind of parade,” Lugo said. “It was very important to have a different mixture of cultures and races walking the streets, especially for a neighborhood that usually gets attention from the news for its drugs and violence and poverty.” At the end of the parade, the participants returned to Bregamos Community Theater for the afterparty. Inside the theater, the air was rich with the scent of Latin American food and the feeling of camaraderie. Near the entrance was an altar to honor immigrants who had died crossing the border. Marchers relaxed after the parade and lined up for food.
Fountain hopes that the parade will produce a ripple effect in the community. “The parade can become an annual tradition that gets bigger each year,” she said, citing other large New Haven parades like those which occur on Saint Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, and the state Puerto Rican Day. “You see how those are big institutions in New Haven. The Day of the Dead can become a new tradition. There isn’t an[other] annual parade that represents Mexicans, Ecuadorians, or Guatemalans, who are the major new immigrant populations in New Haven.” At the afterparty, Lugo recognized African Americans and Puerto Ricans for their contributions to social justice in New Haven in a speech made in both English and Spanish. Later, a Puerto Rican band and a Mexican band played music for salsa and cumbria dancing. “This parade was very powerful because you saw groups of people that were very polarized coming together,” Fountain said. “It sends a message that we can defeat racial tensions that have been created to divide.” —Graphic by Serena Gelb YH Staff
Bugs over break William Freedberg, ES ’15, is an Ecology and Evolutionary Biology major, so it’s no surprise that he’s done plenty of fieldwork in places like Costa Rica, Texas, and South Africa. But none of those experiences were quite like the trip he took over fall break with his Terrestrial Arthropods class. Eleven students in the class—affectionately nicknamed “bugs”—traveled to Archbold Biological Station in central Florida. They were accompanied by their professor, Senior Lecturer Marta Wells, who Freedberg likens to Ms. Frizzle in the children’s series, The Magic Schoolbus. (For a five-day trip, Wells brought along seven “5 Hour Energy” drinks.) Each day, they woke up at 6:30 a.m., had breakfast at 7:00 a.m., and spent the next four hours in the field collecting specimens. They also participated in trail hikes and wildlife watches, always keeping their bug-collecting gear at the ready.
That sunshine ﬂow In a famed November 2003 Harvard Crimson article entitled “The Cult of Yale”, Jessica Kung, DC ’03, made the ultimate plug for our beloved university. “Only at Yale,” she said, “can you stand on your head next to your Dean.” Just two months earlier, Jessica and a group of close friends had begun conducting free yoga classes from atop the Women’s Table, aiming to “[make] yoga available and accessible to members of the Yale community,” as Kung told me. Soon after its founding, the project moved inside for the winter and took the name Yogis at Yale (and the aptly effusive acronym, YAY). YAY was born amid chaos at Payne Whitney Gym: Yalies interested in yoga had to drag their groggy selves out of bed at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m. to register for classes that sometimes reached nearly 100 students. As Kung tells it, YAY represents a wildly appealing new model. “Off the bat, everyone from all different parts of Yale campus life got involved, whether it was deans, graduate students, undergrads, it didn’t matter...It wasn’t such a formal yoga class, it was more about developing a community.” Almost a decade later, YAY is still going strong (and as Kung excitedly wrote, they even have a “FANCY” new website). YAY offers 75-minute classes five days a week, all taught by yogacertified undergraduate and graduate students. The classes range from Ashtanga Yoga to Vinyasa to Sunshine Flow, a class that, according to the YAY website, couples “intensive physical practice with a happy, sunshine-y energy!” YAY has even extended its repertoire to include social events and social media, such as a “Rolling with the OMies” mixer, and a film screening of Yogawoman, held during the spring semester, as well as a YAY photo shoot in Bass Library that ended with YAY members being chased out by security guards. (“I
The culminating project of the course is to assemble a collection of anthropods from 90 different taxonomic families in 20 different orders. The trip to Florida made the project possible, Freedberg said, since it offered different ecosystems containing specimens than cannot be found in Connecticut. He says he made “tremendous progress” on his collection and that he and his class were exposed to whole ecosystems that “most of us never really dreamed existed.” Being able to go on the trip over fall break rather than having to wait until Thanksgiving was ideal, he said. By November, many of the bugs in Florida are dead. However, this year’s fall break posed other challenges to the trip: students in the past have been left behind at rest stops or in airports, and this time, the class had a hurricane to deal with. But, ultimately, the group—and their prize specimens—returned to New Haven intact. —Julia Calagiovanni YH Staff —Graphic by Zachary Schiller YH Staff
have been known to do handstands anywhere,” Christina said about the incident.) The mixed-level clientele poses its own set of challenges for instructors trying to keep in pace with their students’ growth. “I have people who have never done any yoga or really any physical exercise at all,” says Corinne Kentor, TD ’16, who teaches Sunshine Flow every Thursday evening, “and then I have other yoga teachers who come and take my class at the same time.” When I attended the Wednesday night class taught by YAY President Cristina Poindexter, TD ’13, I was the token beginner–a teetering pretzel of clumsy. Seventy-five minutes later, I left on an exhilarating high; my thoughts were a little less jumbled and heavy, I remembered muscles long forgotten, and my head felt a little bit closer to my feet. I certainly don’t think I’ll be doing headstands next to Dean Fink any time soon, but as for this whole free yoga thing? Yay. —Katy Osborn —Graphic by Serena Gelb YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
REVIEWS Loving her is Red by Cindy Ok YH Staﬀ (Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)
n a cloudy night last fall, a group debate about Taylor Swift arose, as group debates about Taylor Swift are prone to when and wherever three or more bored and opinionated college students sit around a dinner table. But this particular debate escalated over the course of eight or so hours of shouting that weekend, eventually into our questioning of relationships with one another. Along the way I was accused of being anti-feminist for being pro-Tay, and in response I likened her lyrical empathy to Bob Dylan’s (marking the conversation’s point of no return). My central argument in her defense was that taste is fundamentally rooted in the viscera, not the intellect—that within reason, no one should be asked to justify what she likes, or be asked to change it. I should and would and do listen to Swift unapologetically, cultural contrarians be damned. Her latest album has been seeping throughout my entire building on repeat thanks to me. I belt it loudly and proudly walking down the street, hoping to bump into the friend who, upon finding out that I listen to her, told me he respected me significantly less. The days of crimped hair and plain acoustic twang are over for the former “country” starlet. Her fourth studio album Red is a poppier land than she’s ever ventured through; amid the three songs she co-wrote with the all-star duo behind Pink, one forgets the gal whose sworn obsessions were Nashville and the Dixie Chicks (instead of Cape Cod and HBO’s Girls). As always, Swift’s core goal is to convey life in moments. She invites us to take a noncommittal dip in her stream of consciousness with the opening song’s buoyant intro and first line: “I’m walking fast through the traffic lights / Busy streets and busy lives, / And all we know, / Is touch and go.” Such threads of rumination aren’t just reflected in the song and lyrics for Swift, they are equivalent. Diary wide open, she’s an autobiographer in acute three-and-a-half minute slices. With a less existentially broken heart than Fiona Apple’s and a presence far less performative than Lana Del Rey’s, Swift’s “sad girl” music is nothing if not relatable. There’s nothing dreamlike about this album because even in its most cinematic moments, her lyrical aesthetic remains purely naturalistic—unsurprising given how she is desperate to communicate that which is in between, to close the distance between her and other people, or the gap between public social personas and stranger private selves. It’s uncertain how long her proclivity for great infatuation and intense intimacy can sustain itself, but it’s clear that it makes for valuable material. A 40-something-email long thread followed the debate between me and my two friends, and it ended on an Einstein quote I sent them from my phone: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” That was a year ago, and since then she’s gotten older and richer, more famous and
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
more successful. But she remains completely unpretentious. It’s not hard, as always, to know exactly what Swift means in any of these 16 songs, alternating between addictively catchy/empowering and somberly sweet/vulnerable. She narrows, simplifies, and tames with the careful cadence of lines like “you took the time to memorize me” or “I’ll do anything you say if you say it with your hands.” She resists gilding the lily and the resulting plainness of her words make them numinous. In the past year of “bohemian” reinvention (scare quotes because it’s still Taylor Swift, guys), she’s lost some of the down-to-earth Joni Mitchell folk rockness to draw nearer to old-school Britney Spears pop. She’s mixed up her lipstick, her boyfriends, her intros—and the album is her most diverse in many ways—but she continues to lay out the facts of her world straightforwardly and keep her inner life far from elusive. In The Poetics, Aristotle sets apart the roles of the poet and the historian. The latter describes the thing that’s happened whereas the poet describes the kind of thing that could happen. What has been versus what might be. By this definition, Swift is not just a historian of her relationship résumé, but also its resident poet. She’s deeply concerned with not just what is, and what has happened, who got hurt how, but the potential of her seemingly infinite and constant new love interests, who she might become, and how. She’s been condemned before for not using metaphors in her lyrics, for keeping them too simple and, the argument goes, too surface-level. And indeed metaphors are not her strength in this album (“Loving him is like driving a new Maserati down a dead end street” doesn’t seem to radically bridge worlds). But her simplicity is precious as long as it rings true. With lines like “I just like hanging out with you all the time…I just want to hang out with you for my whole life,” she doesn’t slyly plant references or create puzzles so listeners will feel smart when they figure them out. This strength can be judged as not so; she is often dismissed categorically because her music is easily accessible in every way. Red continues to prove her a naturally charming and intensely earnest lyricist anyway. With the most specific (least clichéd) chapter of her career, the album has something for everyone—everyone who’s willing to let go, not apologize, and buy in, that is. Two albums ago, she realized in the folky “Fifteen” that there are “greater things than dating the boy on the football team.” And now, in “22,” she reminds us—to a more commercial and upbeat melody—to dance even when it’s “miserable and magical at the same time.” With Red, Swift once again projects herself as ever young, ever in love with love. The more things change, the more she stays the dame. But, and maybe newly, she also shows signs of delicately working through and past her romanticized 50s-style girlhood that once seemed dangerously, peculiarly perpetual.
Music: Kendrick Lamar The average song on Kendrick Lamar’s debut album is over fiveand-a-half minutes. This isn’t an amateur mistake. Lamar released his first mixtape in 2003, so he’s been doing this for almost a decade. The difference between the album and the mixtapes, and the reason these songs are so long, is that now Lamar expresses his Compton childhood through confession, elegy, and jokes, each on every track. In the mid-’90s, this was common (see Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt). But these days, Lil’ Wayne has stopped bringing up New Orleans and Donald Glover is a hip-hop star. Some rapper still introspect, but they usually half-ass it and include several club-ready songs, as Nas did this summer on Life is Good. Lamar’s seriousness comes through in his radio-unfriendly song times, which approach LCD Soundsystem levels; “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” is over 12 minutes. The difference between James Murphy and Lamar is that Lamar fills up those 12 minutes with meaningful lyrics at a rate of 10 words per bar. Beat-wise, it’s inconsistent. There are some that are just fab, like “Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter” and the first part of “m.A.A.d. city.” There are also cool throwbacks to the The Chronic sounds of late-’90s Cali rap (you can hear Dr. Dre’s fingerprints are on the record). But other instrumentals are minimalistic or cliché or both, like “Backseat Freestyle.” And on occasion, Lamar indulgently slurs or gutturalizes his voice, which is grating. Those two things aside, good kid, m.A.A.d. city is a mellow, honest, and recherché work that is worth the hour and ten minutes it asks for. —Marcus Moretti YH Staff
Music: Titus Andronicus Dear Titus Andronicus, This is just to say that we love you. Also, to say some other things. We are Andrew and Elliah, the co-Culture editors for the Yale Herald, Yale’s most daring publication since 1986. The thing is, we were completely smitten with your 2010 meta-punk-post-post-rockCivil-War-concept-album-epic The Monitor. Its blazing guitars, Bruce Springsteen homages, and lack of melody had us head over heels. Also we loved it because it was so angsty. But it was so amazingly huge we weren’t sure how you could possibly follow it up. When we first heard you had an album in the works, we were wary. But luckily, we have a strong passion for local enterprise, so when we heard that your album was titled Local Business, we were immediately intrigued. It is different—very different—but even if it might not be as loud and war-themed as The Monitor, it’s just as big an album, if not bigger. To start, we’d like to thank you for establishing “that everything is inherently worthless” in your opening song, “Ecce Homo.” This album is every bit as over-the-top angsty as The Monitor was, and our inner teens love you for it. But this time around, the music doesn’t quite match the lyrics. When you were shouting to your “baby” that you were “born to die” on The Monitor, your music sounded like it was slowly killing you. Here, though, we had a groovy dance party to the song about your eating disorder. From the Dookie-era Green Day moment on “Still Life With Hot Deuce on Silver Platter” to the really white, Kinks-style “(I Am The) Electric Man”, this shit really rocks, but in a more tender way. The music is laid back, as much fierce punk as it is suburban fuzz—and we say two thumbs up! We applaud your cohesiveness. So what if the first three songs (or all of them) kind of sound the same? And are in the same key basically? It’s totally cool, because it just kind of works, ya know? But how do we know? Well, lets just say Elliah started playing the album last night, and the next thing he knew it was morning time, his computer full of 10 pages of nonsensical poetry, with an empty box of dried papaya on his lap. And that’s what great music does to you. So cheers, Titus Andronicus. Cheers. Warmly, —Elliah Heifetz and Andrew Wagner YH Staff
Book: The Casual Vacancy While reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, I found myself doing exactly what the author wanted readers to avoid: I kept trying to draw comparisons to the Harry Potter series. As it turns out, there’s really not much room for comparison. Unlike Harry and friends, the characters of The Casual Vacancy are small-minded, petty, and cruel. Rowling leaves no closet skeleton unexposed as she delves into the lives of residents of Pagford, a rural English village, who are scrambling to fill a position on the parish council after a sudden death. This is not to say that the Harry Potter series did not embrace dark elements; it did. But the underlying messages remained clear: family bonds are unbreakable, friends will stand by you, and love is a powerful weapon. With deft strokes, Rowling here disposes with each of these ideas. In Pagford, parents abuse children, racist epithets are shouted on the streets, and marriages fall apart. In the real world, Rowling seems to say, there’s no Albus Dumbledore with a solution to our problems. Rowling narrates the stories of a broad cast of characters, slipping in and out of different viewpoints. She succeeded in establishing such a large cast over the course of 3,000 pages in the Harry Potter series; in The Causal Vacancy’s 500, there are too many characters for the story and not enough development for the reader to become invested in them. Unsurprisingly, Rowling strikes gold following teenage exploits. While Potter and his friends were never sneaking off to drink vodka at parties, Rowling captures the same unpretentious banter and hidden vulnerability here that she did with the Potter set. A tentative friendship, an unrequited crush—these provide the most poignant scenes of the book. But while the lives of these Pagford teens are far more interesting than their parents’, they are relegated to secondary roles. Ultimately, Rowling fails to get us invested in Pagford’s struggles. Without arresting characters, we watch the town fall to pieces with a sense of detachment. The Casual Vacancy is clearly Rowling’s attempt to step away from Potter and distinguish herself as a multifaceted writer. This process is not a smooth one, however, and in an attempt to make a 180-degree turn, she loses the charm in her writing that retained readers for over a decade. —Alisha Jarwala YH Staff
Movie: Cloud Atlas Cloud Atlas is quite a feat. The web-of-life epic, based on David Mitchell’s novel and directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix) and Tom Tykwer, is composed of six separate storylines, set in time periods ranging from the 19th century to the present to an obscure post-apocalyptic future. On a technical level, Cloud Atlas is mighty impressive. Gorgeous, even. Tykwer and the Wachowskis construct a film that elaborately constructs multiple worlds, each beautiful in its own distinct way, and meshes them together smoothly in a way that transcends genre. The mood can switch from cutesy and idealistic to brutal and survival-driven without skipping a beat. For most of the 164-minute running time, the pace of the film is well-maintained, but some storylines are invariably more entertaining (Jim Broadbent’s humorous adventures in contemporary Britain) or demanding of the viewer (tribesmen in a futuristic Hawaii who speak semi-intelligible English) than others. Eventually, all blend together into a tapestry offering a commentary on humanity’s core values and motivations. For all the talent behind set design and special effects, this is still mainly an actor’s movie, featuring an ensemble cast, the central members of which play different characters in multiple storylines. In the first portions of the film, the viewer cannot help but play Spot the Heavily Made-Up Tom Hanks or Halle Berry. I haven’t seen a satisfying leading performance by Hanks since 2007’s Charlie Wilson’s War, but he makes up for lost time by flawlessly adopting six identities throughout the film. In short, it’s quite a lot to digest, but as long as you can keep up with it, Cloud Atlas will affect you in a deep way, motivating you to show your love to those you care about, become more accepting of other humans as your spiritual equals, or at least watch the entire movie again to see if you can understand it better. —Jackson Blum
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)
BULLBLOG BLACKLIST On a rare serious note, this was a horrible storm that wreaked a lot of devastation, and it really blew.
When did I become my seventh grade geometry teacher?
We’re blacklisting it now, and we’re going to blacklist it again when it actually happens.
Hurricane Sandy, overall
Survival rations—very caloric.
It makes sense that you were bored during Sandy, but it does not make sense that you were bored enough to make these.
If you didn’t use those two days as an invitation to watch 13 straight episodes of 30 Rock, you’re doing it wrong.
Sandy weight gain
People who did work and/or had fun during Sandy
Threats of make-up classes Politically relevant Halloween costumes
Memes aren’t less annoying because you’re wearing them as costumes now.
When TAs give guest lectures
The fact that 1/5000 of this campus wore a costume on Halloween day
Wait! No! I may not know much, but I know that T.S. Eliot is not relevant to this class.
We weren’t about to do it, but we were so ready to be offended by your Wonder Woman costume.
The Yale Herald (Nov. 2, 2012)