The Yale Herald Volume LV, Number 4 New Haven, Conn. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
From the staﬀ This weekend was a winter wonderland for the cheery, an apocalyptic horror for the dreary, and an excuse to watch My So-Called Life and pout for the reasonable. I saw you on your Facebook: you found Nemo, you reintroduced yourself to your suitemates, you ate a lot of carbs, Pi Phi angels became snow angels, you thought about whether you could be gluten intolerant (or should you just go gluten free à la Miley?). But between the Ally McBeal and your 19th visit to the “Seasonal Affected Disorder” Wikipedia page, what weren’t you doing? Reading. While you weren’t reading, at least Maude Tisch, BR ’15, was thinking about reading. In this week’s Herald, Maude looks at the history and evolu-
The Yale Herald Volume LV, Number 4 New Haven, Conn. Friday, Feb. 15, 2013
EDITORIALSTAFF: Editor-in-chief: Emma Schindler Managing Editors: Colin Groundwater, Eli Mandel, Maude Tisch Executive Editor: Emily Rappaport Assistant Executive Editor: Olivia Rosenthal Online Editors: Marcus Moretti, John Stillman Assistant Online Editor: Micah Rodman Senior Editors: Sam Bendinelli, Ariel Doctoroff, Carlos Gomez, Lucas Iberico Lozada, Nicolás Medina Mora, Clare Sestanovich Culture Editor: Micah Rodman Features Editors: Margaret Neil, Katy Osborn, Olivia Rosenthal Opinion Editor: Andrew Wagner Reviews Editor: Elliah Heifetz Voices Editor: Sophie Grais Design Editors: Julia Kittle-Kamp, Lian Fumerton-Liu, Christine Mi, Zachary Schiller Assistant Design Editor: Madeline Butler Photo Editor: Rebecca Wolenski
tion of literary theory at Yale and where the University stands today on how we read. And while Nemo (and the subsequent carbs) induced you into a coma and has been an excuse sleeping through your “Issues Approach to Biology” section (and test), for some, snow doesn’t lead to subsequent tears. (It’s just really cold. And wet. And whoever said snow’s rosy cheeks were cute also thinks blue eye shadow totally brings out your sparkling baby blues.) For some, snow can actually be exhilarating. Check inside for an interview with Yale’s very own polar explorer, Parker Liataud, DC ’16, or take a look at why Connecticut collegiate hockey culture still can’t rival Bean Town’s. Feeling guilty about your Nemo Alanis Morissette relapse? Flip the page and stay current with Jessica Sykes, SM ’14, views on Macklemore. Need confirmation that it is okay to praise the comeback of JT? Check out what Helen Rouner, DC ’16, has to say about the Grammys. Nemo’s remnants are melting slowly, Valentine’s Day came and went (and all you got was SMOOCH’D), and now there’s nothing to do but read the Herald and stay literate—or at least invest in an accessory publication.
MWAH, Olivia Rosenthal Features Editor
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: Webmaster: Navy Encinias Bullblog Editor-in-chief: John Stillman Bullblog Associate Editors: David Gore, Alisha Jarwala, Grace Lindsey, Cindy Ok, Micah Rodman, Jack Schlossberg, Maude Tisch The Yale Herald is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, incorporated student publication registered with the Yale College Dean’s Office. 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 2012-2013 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 Julia Kittle-Kamp YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
IN THIS ISSUE
COVER 12 Maude Tisch, BR ‘15, maps out the history of Yale’s fabled literary theory scene and considers its implications for how we read today.
Joseph Rosenberg, TC ‘14, sits down with Parker Liautaud, DC ‘16, Yale’s very own polar explorer.
Aaron Lewis, BR ‘14, reconciles his pro-choice position with his love for his niece.
OPINION: Jordan Ascher, SM ‘14, urges the federal government to ensure the right to vote for all Americans; Jake Dawe, TC ‘15, asks the Boy Scouts to get with the times and admit gay scouts.
Alessandra Roubini, JE ’15, examines the Sexual Intimacy and Menopause Clinic at the Smilow Cancer Hospital, which helps cancer survivors reconnect with their sexualities and loved ones.
Evan Frondorf, SM ‘14, contemplates the feasibility of an intercollegiate hockey tournament in Connecticut, modelled after Boston’s famed Beanpot.
Anna-Sophie Harling, DC ‘16, explores the Feb Club Emeritus. Also: blurbs on Macklemore and Common Room theater group.
Helen Rouner, DC ‘16, on The Grammy Awards. Also: Side Eﬀects, Parallel, Cakes Da Killa, and the YUAG’s Societé Anonyme Exhibit.
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY The Herald’s week in review: what rocked, what sucked, and who took the lead in IM bowling.
Yale dining hall staff Snowpacalypse Round 2 had so many credits to its name it feels criminal to choose just one. The longanticipated return of Linda Koch Lorimer (LINDA FOR POPE). The rise of a new hero, Mayor DeStefano, who failed to find a way to clear New Haven streets for four days. The squid/submarine/penis snow sculpture on Old Campus. However, if I’m being exclusive, I have to give it to my homies on the Yale Dining Staff. This may seem like an unoriginal choice, but I got brunch three times this week (sidenote: I originally gave this whole credit to quadruple brunch, but Tuesday’s brunch was a lie). Add to that the fact that I lost my (fourth) Yale ID in an errant snowdrift five days ago and have still successfully eaten every meal in blatant disregard for official Yale dining policies, and I just have to express my most heartfelt thanks for Rafi Teharian and the rest of the dhall crew. In the immortal words of LKL, you will always be essential, nay heroic, to me.
Word play If your FB status this past week was any variation on “Looks like we found Nemo!”: you’re tacky and I hate you. Yale students, I know we have a worldrenowned English Department, but let’s hop off the word play. Yes, I was amused when I heard 50 Shades of Cray. But then came “Freshman Screw: Drop It Like F. Scott.” Then there was Snoad’s (which earned its D in more than just name). We’ve now reached the punny pandemonium that is a cappella jam season (Snow Job, get it? Because Mixed Co’s voices are like oral sex in the snow.) I say that going forward, we eschew cleverness for accuracy. Freshman Screw could be “A Gauge of Your Suitemates’ Hatred of You.” A cappella concerts could be rebilled as “Two Minutes of Your Friend Singing and 30 minutes of Uncomfortable Skits About Vibrators.” (But seriously, if I see another pun on the word “Jam,” I’ll stab something.) Word play escapes being an outright fail only because I recently stumbled on a collection of “Dictator Valentines” on the internet. “Leon Trotsky Thinks Your Hotsky.” ;)
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
Coat-check policies Or rather, lack thereof. It’s the (kind of) ageold dilemma. Yale students grinding up on each other in closely confined spaces generates more body heat than Helios. New Haven feels colder than that episode of Planet Earth with the polar bears, but without the fun polar bears to liven up the atmosphere. Should you YOLO it and sprint to the nearest Frat house in hopes that your BAC has your back? Or should you bring a jacket and risk diving into the enormous clusterfuck of coats only to find that yours now fits an 11-year old? A Fail-on-Fail, if you will: outerwear conformity. Is your coat black and puffy, perhaps with a detachable fur hood? If so, it will, and deserves to, get stolen by the same jacket kleptomaniac (I like to imagine a TD-dwelling hunchback working on an outerwear version of The Human Centipede) who’s hoarding all the missing jackets from Freshman Screw. —Jenny Allen —graphics by Julia Kittle-Kamp YH Staff
TYNG CUP STANDINGS
INCOMING: Internet Everyone was giddy when this blizzard shut down school for two days. I realized, however, that snow days would suck if there were no Internet. What would I have done? Where would I be now? To answer the first, I would have had to read and it wouldn’t have been cool. To answer the second, I would be drinking sunblock out of the bottle. I went on Facebook more on Monday and Tuesday than I have in my whole life and it didn’t get old. Well, Linda/Pope jokes did, but they were never that funny.
OUTGOING: Snow I love snow when it’s snowing, but I’m just not feeling all these leftovers anymore. OMG you think you’re cool because you’re more difficult than rain!!! Sick dude. Do you like when people pee on you and change your color and melt you? Does that make you feel good? What about when people sculpt you into penises, is that tight? Do you like it when old people fall and slip because you turned into ice? Yeah, you would. Anyone who is still pumped about “fresh powder” needs to 1) do less and 2) get a job.
— Jack Schlossberg YH Staff
1. Jonathan Edwards 2. Trumbull 3. Saybrook 4. Pierson 5. Timothy Dwight 6. Ezra Stiles 7. Davenport 8. Branford 9. Silliman 10. Morse 11. Berkeley 12. Calhoun
537 490 468.5 458.5 433.5 399.5 386 363.5 362.5 356 294.5 91.5
INDEX 3 Number of the world’s top 11 universities, as ranked by the Times of London, from which Class Day speaker Cory Booker holds an advanced degree.
23.9 Harlem Shake video dance moves
Percentage of Newark’s population living under the poverty line, the tenth-highest rate among large American cities.
25 to 1
5 4 3 2 1
The Full-body Seizure: if you flail all your limbs, your poor sense of timing won’t be what they notice. Trust me. The “I don’t know how to dance, so I’m just gonna do something ridiculous”: I see you, guy ironing a printer. The Upside-down Twerk: if you can werk it, twerk it. The Bernie: emulating dead people from campy 80s movies is what we call fatal attraction. The Pelvic Thrust: Toad’s approved. — Brooke Eastman
Ratio by which Booker outspent Deputy Mayor Ronald Rice when, as a former Newark councilman, he won the city’s mayoral election with 72% of the popular vote, inviting accusations of carpetbagging.
100 million Dollars donated by Mark Zuckerberg to the Newark public school system in September 2010, on the opening day of The Social Network. Zuckerberg has no known connection to the city, but developed a friendship with Booker based on their mutual passion for education.
1st ,2nd , & 3rd Most important things to do in life, according to a recent Booker tweet quoting Henry James: To be kind. Sources: 1) corybooker.com 2) U.S. Census Bureau 3) New York Times 4) Wall Street Journal 5) twitter.com/corybooker — Aaron Gertler YH Staff The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
SITTING DOWN WITH PARKER LIAUTAUD by Joseph Rosenberg Rebecca Wolenski/YH
For the past three Aprils, Parker Liautaud, DC ‘16, has gone on hiking trips—to the North Pole. One of the youngest-ever polar explorers, Parker seeks to engage our generation in the escalating debate on climate change. The Herald sat down with Parker at Blue State, where we talked about checking into the North Pole on FourSquare, ways to raise $150,000, and how to plan an expedition to the Antarctic. YH: How did you become involved in exploring? PL: It was kind of an accident. When I was that age—I was 13 when I started—I was extremely unimpressive, athletically and academically. I first got started by being interested in the issue of climate change. I met Robert Swan [a British explorer and advocate for the protection of Antartica] through a friend. I realized the two interests that were developing alongside each other—environmental issues and exploration—would go well if I tried to do something with him. He wasn’t really open to the idea at the beginning. Eventually I got lucky and then he let me come [on an expedition]. YH: What was that first expedition like? PL: It wasn’t a really difficult polar expedition. About 60 people went, and it was a great introduction to the polar regions. It really opened my eyes to the issue of climate change, and not just through the things that we got to see, but [through] talking to people, business leaders, about how climate change is going to affect their business in the future, talking to scientists. When I came back I didn’t want to just go back to class. This was something I was really interested in. Then, I got this idea. It was really idiotic and irresponsible: I wanted to be the youngest person to walk the North Pole. I didn’t really think it was something I would actually end up doing. I couldn’t [even] do 10 push-ups. This is an expedition where I would have to drag a sled in -40 [degree weather], 12 hours a day, for weeks. I thought that I could, through the process of trying to put this expedition together, learn a lot about environmental issues, about fundraising, about crucial life skills, logistics. YH: The North Pole—that sounds expensive. How did you raise the money? PL: I created a budget, did everything I possibly could to slash it to the smallest possible amount, and then started trying to get corporate sponsorship, but I knew no one in the corporate world. I went to places like Dell.com. These companies get like 5,000 requests per day.
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YH: How much did you need to fundraise? PL: $150,000. 80 percent of the cost of the expedition was the planes. You have to charter a Russian pilot to fly you out to the Arctic Ocean. You also need helicopters available for an emergency evacuation. There’s all the insurance, like cancellation insurance, evacuation insurance, all the equipment. That’s a good $20,000. So, I stopped and shifted my strategy to something completely different. Usually at the end of every press release there’s a press contact. I would use [the format of] that email address to figure out how the email addresses were formatted at the company, and just wrote to every executive I thought would be relevant at the company. YH: Did your expeditions address climate change issues? PL: At the time, there wasn’t any scientific component because I couldn’t possibly do that when I was 15. So, what I did is partner with a bunch of different organizations and we talked about polar climate change. We wanted to talk about it in a credible format without having the lack of credibility that I bring to the table, so we partnered with, for example, Scientific American. YH: There was a story about your trip in the Scientific American. How else was it publicized? PL: We worked with a British designer called Vivienne Westwood. She is a climate campaigner in addition to a fashion designer, so she designed the flag that we were going to plant at the pole. [General Electric, the company that ended up funding my trip], helped me a lot; we created a social-media based campaign. We did the first check-in at the North Pole on FourSquare. It was really about trying to get people talking about an issue that is potentially not that exciting to my generation, just something we’ve been bombarded with throughout the entirety of our youth. YH: Beyond creating a dialogue, what is your vision for the future of climate change, and what are you doing here at Yale to help realize it? PL: Well, this is where the story really starts to develop, because I didn’t make it to the Pole. The temperature got really, really high, there was drift away from the North Pole, and the summer melting period started a little early. We got within 15 miles of the Pole. I got attacked a lot in the press for being young and making statements that were not really something that I had the right
to talk about, so I sort of eliminated that component of the expedition and I created a scientific research program. I personally am going to become a scientist. My major is Geology and Geophysics. So, what I’m trying to do is a couple of different things—to continue the research path, to create a dialogue in a way that is productive. By productive, I mean actually engaging policy makers, and we did that a little bit last year. We created a campaign [named Wake-Up Call], in 87 countries. We changed policies in countries like Nepal [and] Algeria. YH: Can you tell me about your trip to Antarctica this coming year? PL: It’s an expedition to the South Pole. It’ll be about 900 kilometers; it’ll probably take about a month and a half to complete. And it’s by far the biggest expedition I’ve ever done. YH: When you’re on your expeditions, what are the dangers that you face? PL: Polar bears are a risk, but usually they don’t go as far north as we go. Because once you get 150 miles away from the coast, it’s too far north. Statistically speaking, the much more important danger in the Arctic is the cold. The average temperature is maybe -35 [degrees]. But, I think by far the biggest danger is water. It’s very hard to tell sometimes how thick the ice is. It ranges from about two meters to nothing. I’ve fallen through the ice three times. Twice it was just my boot. Another time it was up to here (points to mid-chest). It’s scary, you know, if you’re alone and you can’t get yourself out within a minute, there’s a good chance you’re not going to make it out at all. The Antarctic is a different story. There, there isn’t open water. There isn’t shifting ice, which is good. But then again, it’s higher. People don’t realize how high it is—it’s at eight to 10,000 feet, so you’re out of breath quicker. YH: You say Antarctica is a different story. How are you training for that? PL: I don’t really train for altitude, but I have a much more rigorous training regiment for this trip. The other danger is that it’s colder—it’s not regulated by the sea, so you have more extreme temperatures. Other than that, there are very strong winds, and that’s about it, no polar bears. —This interview was condensed by the author.
WANTS, DREAMS, AND PLANS by Aaron Lewis
had a nightmare last week that my brother’s girlfriend had tried to abort Meagan, my baby niece. Meagan is a perfectly normal four month old, but in my dream she looked three or four years older, grown up tremendously, except for her head; it was misshapen, narrow, as if disfigured in a botched vacuum abortion. In a small, wrecked voice, she said my name, time and again, while staring blindly forward and pulling at her dress. She heard my sobbing and turned to face me, then smiled, more with her eyes than with her contorted mouth, seeming unaware of anything but that I was there with her. I woke about to vomit. At a decent hour, I called my brother and asked how Meagan was: fine, just fine. Had her mom chosen to get an abortion, I wouldn’t have objected; indeed, I had almost hoped she would, for all the usual reasons. That’s what pains me now. I don’t often talk about abortion, and when I do, it’s never about such pains. Misguided though that may seem, I made this mistake again last August, not long before Meagan was born, while I was at Planned Parenthood’s New Haven Center getting the HPV vaccine. I had never been to a Planned Parenthood before, never thought I would have reason to, but on a visit to Yale Health (I had cracked a couple of ribs), my doctor mentioned that the vaccine is now particularly recommended for men who have sex with men and available for free at the nearby center. By then I was due back at work over at the medical school, but a few weeks later I had a morning off and remembered to stop by. A woman on the sidewalk out front held up a sign as I pulled in: “A nation which allows abortion has no hope.” She yelled something I couldn’t quite hear through the window I’d just rolled up. I parked, pulled out sunglasses, and walked across the lot, fixing my eyes on cracks in the asphalt. The front doors opened into an airlock-sized hallway, with a wall-mounted speaker at left: “Hello, and welcome to Planned Parenthood. How can I help you today?” I told
her I was there to get the HPV vaccine, that I had been referred by a doctor at Yale Health—but she buzzed me in mid-sentence, telling me to please proceed to the next desk. I hadn’t realized that she was security. Inside, the New Haven Center looks like a dentist’s office, if you ignore the birth control brochures and bricked-up windows. The nurse at the desk asked me to fill out a medical registration form, typical aside from a few new questions: “Can Planned Parenthood call you at this number?”; “Can we identify ourselves as Planned Parenthood?” I scrawled an “N/A” over those and handed the form back to her. She couldn’t take any walk-ins that day, so we made an appointment for the following week. As I walked out, I glanced to the side and saw the protesting woman still standing there. I slipped toward my car, but when I reached the driver’s door, I paused. I had time to kill. I wanted to talk with that woman—not to understand her, really, but to understand her enough to argue with her and feel like I had won. I wanted to ask her what’s so special about conception when even the skin off her hand, with the right chemical treatment, could also be turned into babies. Would she see mere exfoliation as murder? Would she let the unwitting exfoliator bargain his charge down to manslaughter, reserving capital punishment for the doctors who knowingly, and mercilessly, scrub their hands countless times each day? I walked toward her. “Hi,” I said, waving. “I saw your sign, and I—I wondered. Why are you here?” “You mean why am I pro-life?” “Um, yeah.” As I was hearing how God has a plan for each child, from conception unto its natural death, I sized her up. She was a large woman, white, though red from the sun, with her graying brown hair all sweaty and stuck to her head, strands falling over wrinkles and in front of her eyes. I’d guess she was 50. “And abortion hurts women, too. It’s not a freedom at all. You know, I had an abortion when I was young because
I didn’t want to be just another single mother, and I will never stop praying for God’s forgiveness, and my child’s.” She pulled a plastic figurine of a fetus from her pocket, holding it out for me to examine. I made a concerned face, then checked her hand for a wedding ring: single still, and old enough to have lost her parents, too, yet somehow she had support enough to afford standing there on a weekday morning. Across the street, I noticed a parked van with an advertisement on its side for a New Haven pregnancy care center—a very different alternative to Planned Parenthood. I interrupted to ask if it was hers. It was. Wondering just how far her script went, I ditched my planned questions and asked if abortion could ever be justified. “You mean exceptions for the life of the mother? Those times are terribly sad, but—no….” She said a bit more as I leaned to go. As if to grace our parting, she asked my name and gave me hers. I would file her memory alongside those of a dozen other roadside shills if her shtick were not so dangerous, deadly in some cases. This routine has become perhaps her only life, and even embroils would-be bystanders like me, spurring us to fight for choice. We build airlocks and lay bricks in windows when we could be out looking for ways to live with what we’ve chosen, or would have chosen, if we could. I am fortified, certain that abortions can do good, and would argue as much with the gods themselves if I believed that there were any—but even winning that cosmic debate could not absolve me before my niece. She was born on Oct. 4, 2012, and I held her, all 12 pounds, for the first time last Thanksgiving. Holidays don’t always live up to their reputations, as well I often don’t, but on that rare day, when we’re supposed to set aside our old wants and plans and just embrace what we’ve been given, holding her felt sublime. I grasped a sense of how purely one can love what comes of failed plans. I might even think that I had let go of feeling disloyal to her, if it weren’t that I have bad dreams. —graphic by Christine Mi YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
FEDERALIZE THE VOTE by Jordan Ascher
You do not have a right to vote, strictly speaking. Nowhere does the Constitution positively assert the right of Americans to cast their ballots. Do not panic. The Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments ensure that the franchise cannot be denied because of your race or sex. The Twentysixth Amendment stipulates that 18 year olds cannot be denied their votes because of their age. The Supreme Court has traditionally considered the right to vote fundamental, readily striking down restrictions on it. This year, that might change, to the detriment of all Americans. On Feb. 27, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case Shelby County v. Holder, and be asked to rule on whether Congress’s 2006 reauthorization of of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act was Consitutional. The right to vote is guaranteed by the states, not the federal government. That’s a fact that seems inconsequential in a democracy as open as ours, but it helps account for the United States’s shameful history of disenfranchisement and discrimination. After the Civil War, states had wide latitude to determine who was eligible to vote. The ex-Confederate states used poll taxes and literacy tests to disenfranchise black citizens, circumventing the ban on (outright) racial discrimination at the polls. No woman in the United States could vote until 1869, when solitary Wyoming passed legislation for female suffrage. Luckily, the federal government actually has a vigorous mechanism for protecting franchise for all: the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Section 4 of this landmark law identifies states and counties that have historically discriminated at the polls. Section 5 stipulates that whenever one of these “covered areas” changes its voting rules, the Department of Justice must give its blessing. The federal government has the power to stop a discriminatory voting law from taking effect. When Congress reauthorized Section 5 in 2006, they did so by the paramaters set forth in Section 4. Shelby County v. Holder is a complex case, invoking questions of federal authority over states and the legacy of Jim Crow racism. Shelby County, Ala., claims the Act’s “triggers,” which determine which areas are under the Justice Department’s jurisdiction, are overly broad, do not reflect the progress the South has made since the 1960s, and infringe on the right of states to self-govern. The government will argue that Shelby County, and others like it, are covered for a reason: they have a long history of electoral racism which might well get worse without the Voting Rights Act’s safeguards. Shelby County
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
will counter that such a speculation does not withstand Constitutional scrutiny. Shelby County’s argument isn’t entirely unreasonable, but for the Court to eviscerate the most effective civil rights law in American history would be a national disgrace. Such a ruling would mark a return to an era when precious Constitutional rights were not enforced. It would amount to a narrowing of citizenship for millions of Americans, their inalienable equality laid bare for unscrupulous state legislators to pick at. The right to vote is under attack—today. States across the nation have passed laws requiring would-be voters to present a photo ID card at the polls—an onerous requirement which disproportionately affects people of color. In states like Ohio and Florida, legislatures have sought to make the act of voting harder by shortening early-voting periods. This led overwhelmed precincts on Election Day, 2012; a study estimates that hundreds of thousands of Floridians were kept away from the polls by long lines. These laws were passed by Republican lawmakers to abrogate the rights of Democratic voters—disproportionately people of color. It is a cynical campaign which resembles the state-sponsored discrimination of centuries past. The Voting Rights Act allows the federal government to zealously protect the right to vote from those who would restrict it. Over the past two years, Attorney General Eric Holder has used his department’s Section 5 prerogative to block photo ID laws in South Carolina and Texas, claiming they function like poll taxes, disenfranchising thousands. If the Court strikes a blow against the civil rights of American citizens, Congress can do two things to rebound. It can rewrite the Voting Rights Act with a narrower, more current formula for which areas should be covered. This will ensure that the attention of the Justice Department goes where needed, and will likely satisfy Court review. Second, Congress can begin the process of ratifying a new Constitutional amendment that will unequivocally, and positively, assert the right of all Americans of age to vote. It can federalize the franchise. A constitutional right to vote would be an unshakable guarantee. Access to the franchise should not be a partisan issue, or a target for those who resent federal power. It should be the cause of all Americans who cherish their rights, the rights of their fellow citizens, and the health of their democracy. We have journeyed far from our evil past. May we never return.
SCOUT PRIDE by Jake Dawe From the age of eight to 18, I repeated the Boy Scout Oath and the Boy Scout Law every Monday night. Hundreds of times I met in the basement of our white clapboard church, made the scout sign with my right hand pointed upwards and my elbow bent to an exact 90 degrees, and reaffirmed my belief that a scout must do good and be good. Repeated time and time again, I have taken that as a given. So it confuses me when the National Council of Boy Scouts flip-flops over the question of allowing gay scouts and leaders to join or remain in the organization. Though the organization had planned a vote on this very important issue last week, they ultimately decided to postpone the decision until May, meaning gays will continue to be barred from the organization. In defense of its refusal to accept gay leaders and scouts, the council cites the moral goodness of the Boy Scouts. They claim allowing gays into scouting would water down a great American tradition, making it sinister and depraved. According to them, admitting gay leaders and gay boys would make the “normal” scouts vulnerable. The leaders would revert to pedophilia, as casual racist/ misogynist/homophobe Pat Robertson predicted. Gay scouts would sexualize an otherwise pure atmosphere. Or, more importantly, the financial backing of religious groups like the Church of Latter-day Saints, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the National Catholic Committee would melt away. And wouldn’t that just be the worst? In 2000, in a case called Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the Supreme Court held that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) could exclude gays on the basis of a private organization’s right to freedom of association. According to the Court, the BSA can follow its own moral compass. At the time, the BSA’s views fit squarely with the majority of America’s views towards gays. But now the National Council of Boy Scouts finds itself in the middle of a cultural shift, with popular views about LGBT Americans changing. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and advances in marriage equality reflect the growing recognition that the government has little business telling Americans who they can and cannot love. With these winds blowing, the BSA lies listless in brackish waters, and its nostalgia for a bygone era shackles the organization to an Eisenhower-esque worldview. You can almost guess at the fever dreams of the group’s leaders, hoping to turn Scouts into Mad Men for eight year olds. The Boy Scouts don’t need to be cast as some pitched battle between sexualities. When I first joined my Boy Scout troop, the
extent of my sexual/anatomical knowledge was thinking women pooped babies out of their butts. The idea that a fifth-grade boy entering Boy Scouts should be able to determine his sexuality and exclude himself from the organization is, I would say, absurd. Instead, Boy Scouts is a place for young men to adventure. It’s a chance to move beyond a comfort zone with close friends and trusted leaders. As a scout, I went white-water rafting, mountain biking, and deep-sea fishing. I’ve spent nights alone in the woods with nothing but a flashlight and a bottle of water, forced to find shelter, food, and warmth to prove my proficiency in survival skills. This is the purpose of Boy Scouts—focusing on a boy’s sexuality is not. Outdated moral crusades have no place in the BSA. But people might protest that if a private organization wishes to hold firm to its own values, it’s entitled to do so. And I agree, so long as those views are fair. However, homophobia is not a legitimate opinion to hold. It’s a social ailment—the product of superstition and insularity. Homophobia is really the core of the BSA’s argument and the defending principle of its anxieties. Discrimination will be the guillotine to its Robespierre. The National Council believes that by barring gay leaders and scouts from membership, the organization can continue to hold fast to its principles. This argument ignores the fact that every year fewer boys don the scouts uniform and fewer adults volunteer to lead troops. The BSA is a dying organization, limping towards irrelevance. Insisting on a policy of exclusion during a membership dearth seems like the exact opposite of what you should be doing. Rather than force honest leaders and scouts to flee from the ranks in a neo-Lavender Scare, the organization should embrace diversity as a boon to a currently homogenous organization. In the basement of that white clapboard church I said aloud the Scout Law, time and time again repeating that, among others things, a scout is brave. The National Council should make the fair decision, whatever outcry it receives from its religious sponsors. If a scout is brave, his leaders should be as well. —graphic by Lian Fumerton-Liu YH Staff
Yale Institute of Sacred Music presents
ERWIN ORTNER CONDUCTS
Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Schein, Schรถnberg, Webern
Sunday, February 24 ย4pm Woolsey Hall
YALE GLEE CLUB
YALE SCHOLA CANTORUM
(College and Grove Streets, New Haven)
Thomas Murray, organ / Holly Chatham, continuo
Free; no tickets required. www.yale.edu/ism Presented in collaboration with Yale Glee Club
Moving on A Smilow Cancer Center clinic helps female survivors of cancer reconnect with bodies and loved ones by Alessandra Roubini
ou go through the most painful of treatments. You’re drained physically and emotionally. You’re greeted by countless ‘congrats.’ You feel guilty complaining, when you are constantly being told how lucky you are to have made it,” said a breast cancer survivor who asked to remain anonymous. But what no one talks about is what happens “after you survive cancer—the problems you face, especially as a woman.” In the world of cancer treatment—one that is in constant fluctuation as new treatments regularly emerge—medical professionals have traditionally placed great emphasis on physical diagnosis and prognosis. The questions that doctors address relate almost exclusively to outcome and longevity, and far more rarely to quality of life. Recently, however, a new facet of treatment has begun to emerge: survivorship. This developing field addresses the realities cancer patients face after they have undergone intensive treatments, including various surgeries and chemotherapy. Survivorship encompasses a wide range of issues relating to rehabilitation, but the medical community has only recently begun to address the relationships of cancer survivors to their sexuality, bodies, and fears for the future. The Sexuality, Intimacy, and Menopause Clinic at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at YaleNew Haven, which opened in Jan. 2008, is one of the first centers in the country to focus exclusively on rebuilding the lives of women after they have survived cancer. The clinic aims to help female cancer survivors, most of whom battled uteran, ovarian, vulvar, or breast cancer, to reconnect with their bodies, sexuality, and loved ones by addressing problems ranging from loss
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
of sex drive to early onset menopause. The clinic, which currently holds workshops once a month, was co-founded by Elena Ratner, MD, who specializes in gynecologic oncology, and Mary Jane Minkin, MD, whose specialties are obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences. Drs. Ratner and Minkin created the clinic in partnership with Dr. Dwain Fehon, PsyD, the chief psychologist of psychiatric services at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Their goal was to create a clinic that employs what they term a “multidisciplinary approach,” integrating the often-divided medical and psychological approaches to cancer treatment. In the past, the fields of psychological treatment and
traditional approach to cancer treatment. “As cancer doctors we are very aggressive with treatment itself,” Ratner said, “but after it’s over, we often forget that patients are left with certain deficits.” In addition to doctors’ concerted focus on the solely physical treatment of the cancer, patients themselves also often remain unaware of the post-treatment consequences of their illness. One 58-year old breast cancer survivor (who asked to remain anonymous and to whom this article will refer to as Jane Smith), confirmed that upon hearing her diagnosis, she did not consider the sexual repercussions of the cancer: “Honestly, I don’t know what I expected to feel about my ffsexuality and
A research study conducted by the University of Chicago Medical Center demonstrated that Smith was not alone in her predicament. Indeed, the study’s results, which sampled from 216 female cancer survivors, showed that 41.6 percent of patients were interested in seeking treatment for issues with their sexuality. Only seven percent had actually received it. Fehon explained that impetus, at least in part, for creating the clinic: “There are very few cancer centers throughout the country that address issues of sexuality and sexual functioning within the care of oncology patients,” she said. The clinic’s efforts to improve the quality of post-cancer life can largely be divided into three categories: menopause,
“Cancer survivors have the same desires in life that we all do. We need to stop treating the cancer and start treating the woman. “ —Dr. Elena Ratner, co-founder of the SIMS Clinic physical treatment remained separate—and even, at times, at odds—from one another. The doctors at the SIMS clinic view this separation as a hindrance to total care. At the monthly clinic, cancer survivors can choose from various treatment options including: acupuncture, reike, physical therapy, individual and couples’ counseling, and both medical and herbal remedies. In creating the SIMS clinic, the doctors sought to fill what they saw as a void in the
intimacy. When I heard I had breast cancer I just was panicked about surviving and being there for my children.” She continued, “Once I got through the surgery and knew that I was doing well, only then did I feel the physical and psychological consequences of breast cancer. Not only did I have my breasts removed, but I went right into menopause. There was a period where I felt like I was in a dream and had become an old, sexless eunuch.”
pain, and rehabilitation. Fehon described the patient pool for the clinic’s menopause treatment as “largely young women who, as a result of their cancer or surgery or chemotherapy, are now experiencing menopause.” The treatment goes beyond the addressing the physical symptoms of menopause, she said. “There is a host of emotional and psychological issues, relating to not being able to have children anymore, the body changes that go along with that, and
the changes in sexual functioning that can occur as a result of menopause,” she said. “This creates a strain not only within the individual, but also within a couple’s relationship.” Emblematic of the hybrid medical and psychological approach the clinic has adopted, SIMS offers both estrogen treatments to help ease the symptoms of menopause and therapeutic counseling. The pain most patients at the clinic encounter occurs during sexual intercourse. The
but they really were not part of me.” Smith added that in addition to her own personal issues with her reconstructive surgery, she also had to contend with the reactions of others. “My husband tried to act like he had no problem but I could see him flinch and look away when I got undressed. I had no interest in sex for quite awhile. I also have to admit that I felt like men no longer would find me attractive if they knew I no longer had ‘real’ breasts.” The clinical program addresses the treat-
can help change the culture of field separation in the medical community at large. “We learn from each other,” Fehon noted. “That also helps in subtle ways change the culture from a traditional medical model that has not felt comfortable with asking about the emotional lives of patients to one where there is more willingness and receptiveness to integrating the psychological with the medical.” Smith agreed that the traditional approach to cancer treatment simply does not suffice in
“After my surgery for breast cancer where I had a masectomy, I was numb for the ﬁrst year about my body and sexuality.” —58-year-old breast cancer survivor clinic addresses both the physical and psychological factors that contribute to this common issue among cancer survivors. Finally, the clinic seeks to rehabilitate the sex lives of its patients. According to Fehon, the SIMS physicians assist their patients in the process of “rebuilding one’s life after one’s had cancer, reintegrating the changes with one’s self and one’s body, and reestablishing a healthy sense of identity to move forward.” Smith agreed that the sexual transition after treatment was exceedingly difficult. “After my surgery for breast cancer where I had a mastectomy, I was numb for the first year about my body and sexuality. I forced myself to look at my breast reconstruction, but I felt very self-conscious about anyone else seeing these breasts. I felt like these breasts were only for show, to make my clothes look normal,
ment of these three principal issues through its hallmark multidisciplinary approach. The potential value of combining approaches to both behavioral and physical matters is only recently beginning to permeate the culture of the medical community. “Over the last decade there has been a greater emphasis on the value of integrating psychological and medical care,” Fehon said. “It provides better care for patients, because it involves the recognition that they have complex needs that involve comprehensive and complex approaches to their treatment. That improves patient outcomes and the satisfaction that patients feel through their medical care: they feel understood.” In addition to the benefits of a multidisciplinary approach for their patients, the doctors also are hopeful that such an approach
terms of long-term quality of life. “The oncologists often only have time for traditional medical checkups and don’t assist in ongoing, untraditional health recommendations like herbal treatments for cancer survivors.” she said. “It would be great to have one place where you could go to talk about medical concerns and psychological advice.” Through their work, the doctors at the SIMS clinic also hope to rewrite the taboos in the medical community toward discussing patients’ relationships with sexuality. “By asking routine questions about sexuality, it becomes the norm,” Ratner said. “I cannot tell you how many women have said that this acknowledgement alone makes a huge difference.” Four years after its initial opening, the clinic is now seeking to expand. Having hired an advanced-practice nurse practitioner, the co-
founders of the clinic hope to reach even more patients. The clinic also hopes to meet more regularly: beginning at twice a month and potentially moving to once a week. According to Minkin, the clinic is also looking to offer fertility preservation for young women diagnosed with cancer, whose chemotherapy may affect their ovaries. “We’re also very interested in research,” Minkin said. “We are basically doing sexual surveys with everyone coming in to see how our intervention has an impact on sexual satisfaction scales.” Furthermore, Fehon hopes to extend the range of services to men as well. “The issues of sexuality are not specific to women; they are relevant to men throughout the cancer center as well,” he said. “Sexuality and sexual functioning are a huge concern among patients who have prostate cancer, testicular cancer, especially, but again, it’s not just specific to those cancers that affect organs that we most associate with sexual functioning. Because sexuality, identity, sexual functioning, and quality of life are so tightly connected to emotional functioning in general. So these types of issues can be experienced by anyone with any kind of cancer.” While not unique, the SIMS clinic at the Smilow Center is one of very few of its kind around the United States, and the cofounders of the clinic hope that its success will lead to the creation of other such programs. Their main concern, however, is to continue offering the “total care” approach that their project touts. “Cancer survivors have the same desires in life that we all do,” Ratner said. “We need to stop treating the cancer and start treating the woman.” —graphic by Christine Mi YH Staff The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
A critical distance Maude Tisch, BR ‘15, traces the illustrious history of literary theory at Yale and examines the role it plays here today
ig glasses and a sea of cigarette smoke. Black leather pants, bellbottoms. There’s not an empty seat in sight, and way up at the front of the room there’s a man in his midforties. Every pair of eyes and ears hones in on him, and he talks in his distinctive French accent for one hour, two hours, more. The year is 1975, and the man is Jacques Derrida. Fast forward to 2013. The spacious lecture hall of LC 101 isn’t anywhere near filled to capacity. Undergraduates are scattered throughout, and the winds of fashion have clearly changed direction. The subject of the lecture is the same—the dense thicket of one of Derrida’s seminal Deconstructionist essays—but the man at the front isn’t Derrida: it’s Paul Fry, William Lampson Professor of English, and the course is LITR/ENGL 300, “Introduction to the Theory of Literature.” Things could not be more different here from how they were when Derrida himself held his Yale audience rapt with the very same ideas. What Fry is teaching is now part of the history of criticism, not its cutting edge. But when Paul Fry began teaching literary theory in the late 1970s and 80s, it was “a thing absolutely of the moment,” he said. “As I told the teaching fellows, I had a colleague in those days who looked at me enviously and said he wished he had the black leather concession at the door. Theory was both hot and cool, and it was something about which, following from that, one had not just opinions but very, very strong opinions.” Theory today at Yale is decidedly room
temperature. Paul Fry’s allusion to a literary moment gone by served as a reminder of the days when Yale was a hotbed of theory, a world-renowned center of intellectual discourse, debates, and publishing about new literary theory. The discipline was in fashion; what was generated then is discussed now only as a great moment in the history of ideas. These theories were dominant intellectual forces on campus for several decades,
that can seem synonymous with pretension and cocktail party conversation. But behind the polysyllables and the glasses of white wine, the ideas behind these words prove fundamental to every Yale education—and, beyond that, to the way we see the world. At its core, literary theory is about how we read. It presents critical approaches to reading: not just considering the words on a page, but why they’re there. What did the
and the true beginning of literary theory at Yale, with W.K. Wimsatt, who ushered in the long reign of New Criticism at Yale. “Theory at Yale seems to me synonymous with the name W.K. Wimsatt,” wrote Paul Grimstad, assistant professor of English, in an email to the Herald. Wimsatt’s mode of thought focused on close reading and relied on the idea of the text as an independent unity. It was an austere, but also revolutionary and
“There was a profound conviction among the undergraduates that this was the last theory. That you would never need to go beyond this in any way. We had reached the end of days.” —John Rogers, SY ‘84, GRD ‘89, professor of English but now they’ve faded into the fabric of what we learn rather than being the lens through which we learn. Has Yale’s relationship to theory truly faded into the past? What kind of legacy does it hold? For nearly 30 years, from the ’50s to the ’80s, Yale stood at the forefront of intellectual discourse, of new approaches to literary theory and thought. Now—as the next 30 years have passed— where do we stand? In the way we read, how do we see literature? ONTIC-ONTOLOGICAL DIFFERENCE, RHIzomes, the trace and the pharmakon: this is the vocabulary of literary theory, a language
author intend? What does language connote and denote? Theory examines how we interpret meaning and significance, how our preexisting knowledge serves as a frame of reference, and how we distance ourselves from what we know. Derrida and fellow literary theorist Paul de Man weren’t the first to contemplate these questions; they’ve been on the table since the days of Aristotle and Longinus. But literary theory as a discipline really took off in Europe in the early 20th century, with Nietzsche, Freud, Marx, and the beginnings of Modernism. The 1950s saw the arrival of this intellectual movement in the U.S.
surgically precise way of approaching literature, and Yale rose to prominence in opening up new paths of entry into old texts. In the years that followed, New Criticism remained the prevailing intellectual tide both at Yale and in the world of literary theory. This dynamic began to shift in the 1970s, when Yale found itself home to a group of Deconstructionist thinkers, the radical revolutionaries around whom would develop a formidable cult of personality known as the Yale School. Among these figures were Derrida, de Man, J. Hillis Miller, and Peter Brooks; Harold Bloom, still a huge name on the Yale campus today, had a more
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
complex relationship to the movement. The Deconstructionists argued that texts subvert themselves, undoing the meanings that they try to construct. Soon, Yale found itself at the center of that movement, though this change did not occur without resistance from the University’s earlier generation of literary greats. “The older faculty at Yale who represented the New Criticism felt that the Deconstructionists and the Yale School were attacking something they saw as fundamental to literary criticism: the possibility of a verifiable reading of a text,” said Penelope Laurans, master of Jonathan Edwards and professor of English at Yale since 1973. Even within this Deconstructionist era, not everyone had the same approach. Bloom brought a different set of ideas to the table. By virtue of the fact that he taught at Yale at the same time as the members of the Yale School, Bloom is often grouped with his Deconstructionist colleagues, but his ideas of literary interpretation really differ greatly from their approach. “They were friends [Bloom and the Deconstructionists] because they were these brilliant guys, but Bloom believed in authors, and his work was…so different from the Deconstructive wing of literary criticism,” said Margaret Homans, PC ’74, GRD ’78, professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexual-
crowds, and students and professors alike clamored to hear the newest theoretical developments taught by the rock star scholars of the day. Laurans looked back on what she described as “those heady days in ’73, ’74 and ’75 when de Man was giving classes... the excitement of being on a campus where two equally influential and exciting schools of literary interpretation were extant at the same moment.” Homans, who was a graduate student at that time, remembered a similarly vibrant atmosphere. She recalled lecture halls so packed there was no room to sit. “Everybody took the elevator to the top of Bingham to go to Paul de Man’s lectures, and Derrida’s lectures, and people were hanging from the light fixtures,” Homans said. “It was a really cool scene.” These new ways of reading affected not only graduate students like Homans, but also undergraduates seeking to study theory in greater detail. Enter Yale’s Literature major, developed in the early 1970s with the intention of exposing undergraduates to the theoretical developments that were until then only available to graduate students in the Comparative Literature department. The courses offered in the Literature major would differentiate it from the English department offerings. “Instead of starting with
they were literature, as if they were narrative.” This method of reading hinged on close analysis of the text at hand. Both the structure and the content of the course were new; at that point, theory was considered the stuff of graduate education. “We didn’t have even an undergraduate course in the history of literary criticism in those days,” Brisman said. “It was really a subject that only our graduate students studied. Our undergraduates studied literature.” Suddenly, what it meant to study literature was up for debate. The scholarly approach to narrative widened to include not only the words on the page, but also the questions underlying their placement, questions of interpretation, guided by the theory prominent at the time. “Instead of approaching literary works historically and chronologically, we approached them first and foremost by asking questions about the text and reflecting philosophically on the nature of what we were reading,” said Laurans, who taught Lit X in the ’70s. Once theory became accessible to undergraduates, demand for these courses became so great that Yale’s repertoire needed to expand. “Lit Y was introduced just really out of necessity,” said Fry, whose current lecture course, Literature 300, is its contemporary iteration. “I was teaching it by
“In a sense, theory was successful in that it moved from being radical to being mainstream.” —Peter Brooks, former Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature ity Studies. Homans explained that Bloom believed strongly in authorship and studied the relationship of writers to authors who had come before them. Bloom argued that writers struggle with their precursors the way that a boy fights to overcome his father à la Freud’s Oedipus Complex: at once indebted and determined to kill him off. By contrast, Deconstructionists saw authors and their texts in conflict not with other authors and texts—but with themselves. Often in Deconstructionist readings, it turns out that works mean the opposite of what they seem to be saying. By taking this approach, Deconstruction radically questioned the traditional and accepted approaches to meaning. The ideas of the Yale School featured heavily in the study of literature, challenging students to go beyond face value and to analyze intention, order, and structure, and, above all, rhetoric—and perhaps, to conclude that there was no meaning at all. Across the country, these ideas began to take hold; new literary journals sprang up as a result of these conversations at places like Cornell, and the University of Minnesota saw cutting-edge advances in theory. THE YALE SCHOOL’S DYNAMIC WORK made one thing clear: literary theory was a hot topic. “With the graduate students and the young people, the ferment associated with the literary theory was kind of a magnet,” Fry said. Classes and lectures drew
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
a course in canonical literature it was going to start with literary theory,” said Leslie Brisman, Karl Young Professor of English. “It was called Lit X. That was the path to bring heightened attention to literary theory to Yale undergraduates.” Literature X was part of a three-course series of prerequisites, whose striking names— Literature X, Y, and Z—conveyed the novelty of their approach. Literature X was originally officially called “Man and His Fictions,” but was later renamed for the sake of gender neutrality; it still exists, now known as “Introduction to Narrative.” “We were interested in asking questions about the nature and function of literature, and juxtaposing classics like Oedipus or Faulkner along with some more problematic and popular fictions,” said Peter Brooks, currently an Andrew Mellon Foundation scholar at Princeton University, formerly Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale, and one of the creators of Lit X. J. Hillis Miller, former professor of English at Yale and prominent literary critic, voiced the questions to which Brooks alluded in our interview.“Why are there stories? How do you go about talking about them? What use do they have for people? Why is there such a thing as the novel?” Hillis Miller mused, as he reflected on the aims of Lit X. “Every year, we’d change the readings [for Lit X], which were sometimes overambitious. They were serious pieces of literature, mixed in with what looked like theoretical works, but the theoretical works were read as though
the early ‘80s, it had been around for seven or eight years when I taught it for the first time—and I have to say, my syllabus hasn’t changed all that much.” The class, originally taught by Peter Demetz, still surveys 20thcentury theories of literature. But Yale’s most distinct undergraduate literature course was Literature Z. “The simplest way to put it was ‘the world according to de Man,’” Fry said. An unsigned—but commonly attributed to de Man—proposal for the course describes it as “quite different from Literature X which deals with the relationship between literary fictions and society, and from Literature Y, which deals with the history of contemporary critical theory rather than with exegesis, or the practical application of critical theories. In Literature Z, students will read a series of increasingly difficult texts (poetic, narrative, dramatic, as well as historical, philosophical, and critical) and are initiated at the same time into the bewildering variety of ways in which such texts can be read.” Team taught by de Man and Geoffrey Hartman, the course first ran in 1977, and continued to be offered until shortly after de Man’s death. Because Lit X, Y, and Z were the introductory courses in the Literature department, most students in these classes were either freshmen or sophomores. Before this program was developed, theory had been largely out of reach for most undergraduates, but now entry-level courses were being taught by the biggest names in the game.
The combination of the fledgling Literature program’s undergraduate focus and expert teaching was unique to Yale at the time and rendered the experience all the more novel. “There were sections, of course, taught by junior faculty or graduate students—but the courses were run [by senior professors], and most of the lectures were given by people like Peter Brooks or Paul de Man,” said Hillis Miller. “These were freshman, sophomore courses. But a huge number of published essays came out of the lectures. Peter Brooks published some of his lectures, Paul de Man published some of his early famous essays. Geoffrey Hartman published some things from his lectures, and so on.” This was the time when public literary discourse flourished, the height of the movement. The Yale School was at its prime. “There was a profound conviction among the undergraduates that this was the last theory,” recalled John Rogers, SY ‘84, GRD ‘89, professor of English, with amusement. “That you would never need to go beyond this in any way. We had reached the end of days. That was incredibly exciting, that with the principles of Deconstruction and Poststructuralism, all illusions could be exposed for their illusiveness and we were faced with the knowledge of the abyss that is the meaninglessness that is part of everything and that seemed incredibly exhilarating. And we pitied the people who didn’t get it.” THE 1980s SAW A SHIFTING LITERARY climate, though, and the role of the Yale School—and of theory itself—began to change (rephrase this sentence). In 1983, de Man died of cancer. Three years later, both Derrida and Hillis Miller left Yale for the University of California at Irvine. But the real death knell of the Yale School came on Dec. 1, 1987, when the front page of The New York Times ran an article revealing that de Man had written some 200 articles for an anti-Semitic newspaper in Belgium during the Second World War. The discovery, the work of a Dutch graduate student named Ortwin de Graef, broached the possibility that de Man’s theory of literature was in large part geared toward concealing his past. That aside, this cult figure of the American intelligentsia suddenly seemed a whole lot less appealing. “De Man died, and then we found out that he was a Nazi sympathizer, and the whole thing kind of turned over,” Homans remembers. The disappearance of iconic figures like Derrida, Hillis Miller, and de Man from New Haven permanently changed the University’s approach to theory. It also coincided with the beginning of a new era for Yale. Until the 1980s, women could be lecturers, but were never awarded tenure. “Another date that’s very notable to me is 1986: the year that Hillis Miller left, and the year that I got tenure,” Homans said. She remembered feeling disappointed that she would not be able to teach alongside Hillis Miller, who had been one of her closest advisors, but she also saw this as a watershed moment for the landscape of theory as well. “Things just got more diverse after that, which is probably a good thing. That was the moment when New Historicism started, in the late 80s. So we all got historical, in
one way or another,” she recalled. The diversity to which Homans alluded to manifested itself first in New Historicism; over the next 30 years, other theoretical approaches would emerge, including techniques of postcolonial criticism, feminist criticism, and queer theory. Yale was perhaps slow to keep with the times at first. “In the early
skills of close attention to textual detail. “I don’t have the sense that there’s that kind of conceptual divide at all,” said Rogers. “A lot of it is whether there is a commitment to doing something comparative and pursuing another literature as well as an Anglophone one. That said, Comp. Lit. and the Literature major will always have—or cer-
Literature departments involves a certain amount of necessary overlap. A theory-based approach and a close reading method are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they rely on one another, and have always done so. “Theory, in the form of Deconstruction, was all about close reading,” Homans said. “It was kind of a method of close reading. It was also a
“Theory, in the form of Deconstruction, was all about close reading.” —Margaret Homans, PC ‘74, GRD ‘78, professor of English years of New Historicism Yale was left in the dust, because we just had the last gasps of Derridianism and de-Manianism,” Rogers recalled. But in time the new approaches filtered through. In the Literature department, with a rising emphasis on global narrative has also come theory surrounding the art of translation. “Comparative Literature has taken up a lot of energy from [the domain of world literature],” said Dudley Andrew, professor of Comparative Literature and Film Studies. “It brings up issues of translation theory, which include questions of adaptation among media, how a culture operates as a diffusion device where major ideas in texts are taken up in other places, other media, by different kinds of readers and viewers.” These issues of translation—of actual texts, but also of ideas and of movement across media—speak to the larger comparative aims of the Literature major. But the program has, to some extent, moved away from these theoretical questions toward a focus on close reading of literature across cultural and temporal boundaries. Though the English major still emphatically only teaches Anglophone literature, it stresses those same
tainly still have—a stronger commitment to certain theoretical interests and drives. And that’s the case: the theories have changed, but it seems that there will always be some difference, it’s just not nearly as stark. The battle lines aren’t drawn with anything like that clarity.” Though the aims and approaches of the two departments do converge, their different identities become apparent in other respects. Some professors see a distinction between the ways that students of English and Literature analyze texts. “The standard line is that if you’ve got a class of half English majors and half Lit majors, the Lit majors are very skillful in argument, and very fluent,” said David Bromwich, PC ’73 GRD ’77, Sterling Professor of English. “Their minds rove around literature and they have names for what they’re seeing—that comes to them pretty easily, a kind of argumentative, dialectical, theoretical discourse. English majors are much less fluent, but they’ve read more literature, so they can compare a play by Shakespeare to a poem by Milton or Wordsworth.” The relationship between the English and
theory of culture and life, but it depended on acts of close reading. I think that’s one answer to the question of why Deconstruction found such a happy home at Yale—it’s because this was the close reading place.” The larger questions, then, remain about the way we read, how words on a page possess meaning, what criteria we use to evaluate significance. The concerns of theory, are, in turn, also the concerns of literature. Theory may no longer be shocking or sexy in the way that it once was, but its legacy remains behind the scenes. “In a sense, theory was successful in that it moved from being radical to being mainstream,” Brooks said. “But you could say that, in the process of going mainstream, it also lost some of its cutting edge and became a little more domesticated. I think most people, certainly at Yale, recognize that there is a place for theory—not necessarily applying it directly to your reading, but as a framework for understanding your reading and criticism.” THIRTY YEARS AFTER THE YALE SCHOOL swept this campus, theory has settled down, but it’s also settled down to stay. The days
when the newest Derridean untangling of a text was a cause for flash mobs has come and gone; but so, too, has the cultish mentality that made literary theory a matter of who’s on the inside and who isn’t. “I think there are theoretical pockets that are balkanized, and I think that’s a wonderful thing,” Rogers said. “There’s not an entire departmental move that tries to bring all students into one way of thinking. We have really interesting and committed queer theorists, language philosophers, professors and graduate students committed to affect theory, and any number of more or less distinct contextualizing intellectual moves.” If you’re looking for Yale theory, you’re not going to find it anymore. But if you’re looking for theory at Yale, it’s alive and well, even if quietly. After all, theories of literature arise from the simple act of reading, and the English and Comparative Literature departments are still doing plenty of that. “From the inside, there was never any such thing as theory,” Homans said. “It’s a term that’s applied from the outside. There were practices of literary criticism that were informed by Derrida’s philosophy, but if you were a student here doing literature, it always took the form of doing reading.” In that sense there’s the distinct possibility that the vast theoretical structure that Yale built in the ’50s through ’80s was all a dream, a mirage. All the layers of dense abstraction turn transparent, and what you’re left with then is just the books. As Derrida and de Man taught, things—even, or especially, theories—tend to mean exactly the opposite of what they seem to. In this strange way, the apparent absence or reticence of literary theory here at Yale may just be a sign of its renewed vigor and healthiness. —contributed reporting by Sophie Grais, Eli Mandel, and Emma Schindler —graphic by Christine Mi YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
Hungry for hockey A “Beanpot” for Connecticut? by Evan Frondorf
t’s been called the “Battle for Whitney Avenue” by sportswriters and the “Battle for Toad’s” by neon-clad undergraduates. On Saturday, February 2, the Quinnipiac Bobcats, ranked No. 2 nationally at the time, made the short trip down from Hamden to take on the No. 7/8 ranked Bulldogs. The 3,500 seats in the quaint but epic Ingalls Rink—with its small seating bowl but breathtaking arch overhead—were sold out a week before the matchup. Box office tickets cost $18 at most, but many quickly found a home on resale websites like StubHub, where tickets were posted for nearly $200. Though college hockey has been in Connecticut for more than a century, it seems that only now are Nutmeggers starting to wake up and smell the Zamboni fuel. Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy was one of the fans in attendance that Saturday. “This is great hockey. This is great Connecticut hockey,” he said to WYBC’s Konrad Coutinho as the Bulldogs got bounced 6–2 by the ‘Cats. But don’t worry—the Elis have another shot at reclaiming Toad’s next Friday, when the Bulldogs make the return journey to Quinnipiac’s TD Bank Sports Center. It’ll be another 3,400-fan sellout and another raucous atmosphere, this time bathed in Bobcat Gold instead of Bulldog Blue. Hockey fever has officially reached a new high in New Haven.
WHILE 3,500 FANS FOR A COLLEGE hockey game may be an achievement in Connecticut, those attendance figures for a local rivalry game in Boston would mean a quarter-full arena and a disappointing evening. Because over in Boston, college hockey is a big deal. It’s highlighted by the “Beanpot,” an annual hockey tournament contested at the 17,500-seat TD Garden (also the home of the NHL’s Boston Bruins) among the four Division I hockey schools in the city: Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern. “I have a good friend who ended up playing for Harvard and I know a large part of
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
his decision to go [there] was the opportunity to play in the Beanpot,” said Nick Maricic, DC ’13, Yale goalie. The Beanpot was created without any expectations of grandeur as a stopgap measure to fill the old Boston Arena on otherwise untouched weekday winter nights, according to an article written by Jack Grinold, the Beanpot’s secretary, on the tournament’s official website. Today, as though it were a federal holiday, the Beanpot is ordained to take place every year on the first two Mondays of February. “Look at where the Beanpot is now—the tradition, the history; it’s on national TV,” C.J. Marottolo, Sacred Heart men’s hockey head coach, and, until 2009, a 13-year Yale assistant coach, said. From its small, revenue-driven beginnings in 1952, the Beanpot has become one of those I-only-attend-once-a-year city sporting traditions, as much a draw for hockey fans as for regular Bostonians, not unlike the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Kentucky
necticut? Connecticut also has exactly four Division I men’s hockey teams: Yale, Quinnipiac, the University of Connecticut, and Sacred Heart. Call it the “Nutmegtree” for identification purposes. Marottolo has already felt the pressure: “A lot of people who aren’t involved with college hockey are always asking me, ‘Why don’t the four teams do something like the [Beanpot]?’” “TIM TAYLOR [FORMER YALE COACH] AND I had agreed on getting a Connecticut 4 team tournament going about a month before he retired. We had UConn and Sacred Heart on board,” said Rand Pecknold, the men’s head coach at Quinnipiac for the past 19 years, adding, “It was something that had been discussed for years.” Connecticut college hockey is experiencing unprecedented success, fueling thoughts of bringing the state’s teams together once a year. Sacred Heart and UConn have climbed the ranks to earn places in more prominent conferences. In
ning above 90 per cent capacity (according to the United States College Hockey Organization). Yale has made the year-ending NCAA Tournament three out of the last five seasons and is on the verge of another. The Bobcats have risen from .500 mediocrity over the past few seasons, culminating in their current 21-game undefeated streak, a No. 1 ranking, and a dominant run through the ECAC. Pecknold also offered academic and logistical reasons behind a Connecticut tournament. “My primary reason to support this All-Connecticut tournament is travel. [Having] more local games is better than traveling to Alaska, Minnesota, Alabama or elsewhere for games. It would allow our student-athletes to focus on their academics and lessen lost class time,” he said. A “Nutmegtree” Connecticut tournament could also impact more than just the players on the ice. “I think it’s a very unique idea. I think it would help grow Connecticut hockey. Kids could say, ‘I remember Sacred
Connecticut college hockey is experiencing unprecedented success, fueling thoughts of bringing the state’s teams together once a year. Derby in Louisville, or the Indianapolis 500 in…Indianapolis. Yale rookie Stu Wilson, SM ’16, posted a picture of the Beanpot festivities on his Twitter account on Feb. 4 with the comment “Well… I’m jealous.” It’s easy to see why other teams might be jealous. In Boston, a city with four professional sports teams, even college hockey gets its two Mondays in the spotlight. “Playing in a big building in front of a lot of people in a rivalry game is why you play. Those are the most fun games to be a part of,” Maricic said. So why not bring the Beanpot to Con-
2003, after several years as a Division I independent, Sacred Heart found itself a conference home in Atlantic Hockey, one of five Division I conferences. In 2014, UConn will make the big move from Atlantic Hockey to Hockey East—the holy grail of all hockey conferences, with elite members including BU, BC, UMass Amherst, and New Hampshire. Yale and Quinnipiac, as comfortable residents of ECAC Hockey, can point to continued strong attendance and winning seasons. Over the last five years, both teams have filled their rinks above 80 per cent capacity on average—this season, they’re both run-
Heart vs. Yale. I want to go to Sacred Heart, [or] I want to go to Yale,’” Marottolo said. THE CHANCE TO CREATE A CONNECTICUT version of the Beanpot fizzled during Yale’s transition between head coaches. In 2006, Yale hired Keith Allain, DC ’80, who is unconvinced by the idea: “I’m not a Beanpot guy. I don’t live in Boston. It’s a provincial tournament for Boston area people,” he said. “One of the things that makes [the Beanpot] endearing is, it’s got…I don’t know…60, 70, 50 years of tradition. So if you create a tournament in Connecticut, maybe 50 years from now it’ll be big.”
Allain is not the only skeptic. Even Maricic, who thinks “it would be fantastic if it could happen,” adds that the tournament probably wouldn’t work at the moment. There seems to be some consensus that Connecticut college hockey simply hasn’t had enough of a gestational period for something like a Beanpot to be successful. “A Beanpot-esque tournament could definitely happen,” said Andrew Sobotka JE’15, a co-founder of The Whaling Crew, a Yale fan group that made its name promoting Bulldogs hockey. “[But] the rivalries aren’t that strong—yet. UConn and Sacred Heart, frankly, aren’t well-renowned hockey programs, Quinnipiac is kind of emerging right now, and Yale has been consistently solid throughout the history of its program but doesn’t have too much of a rivalry with the other schools.” Sobotka makes a valid point. UCo nn basketball—men’s and women’s— may be perennially powerful, but the men’s hockey team hasn’t had a winning season since they joined Atlantic Hockey. Sacred Heart is in an even more unenviable situation. The young, growing program is winless on the 2012-13 season. In a college hockey world where scheduling difficult nonconference opponents is essential for high rankings and tournament qualification, Yale players and fans share the opinion that Sacred Heart and UConn don’t pass muster—at least not yet. “ [The men’s team] would benefit from playing a more geographically scattered group of teams who are at a higher caliber of play than the surrounding CT teams,” Jamie Haddad CC ’16, a member of the women’s hockey team, said.
Maricic also pointed to attendance and success as major issues. “BC, BU, Northeastern and Harvard are large schools with bigger fan bases. For a tournament like that to pick up any steam, there has to be a large enough following to keep attendance consistent even in years where the teams involved aren’t having great years, and I don’t know if all the potential teams involved have that.”
There may be other possible formats for the Nutmegtree. In fact, Connecticut women’s hockey has played the annual Nutmeg Classic for the last nine years. It’s a similar four-team tournament held at a participating college’s rink between Yale, Quinnipiac, UConn, and another invited team from outside the state. This year, the Classic was held at Ingalls. The Nutmeg Classic is small, but it could be a good model for
the trips to Alaska and Alabama that Pecknold wants to avoid. Sobotka summarized the concerns by reflecting on the Beanpot’s success: “The fact that the Beanpot schools are all in Boston, all accessible to each other by public transportation and have well-established, deeply ingrained rivalries in more than just hockey and athletics—that’s probably what makes the Beanpot as well-loved and well-re-
“One of the things that makes [the Beanpot] endearing is, it’s got [...] 60, 70, 50 years of tradition. ” —Keith Allain DC ’80, head coach, Yale men’s hockey Sacred Heart currently shares the Milford Ice Pavilion and its mere 1,000 seats with a number of high school teams, and average attendance has hovered around the 400 mark for the last five seasons. UConn draws fewer than 1,000 fans on average. Combining turnout at the four college rinks wouldn’t bring an organizer close to matching the capacity of Connecticut’s two major arenas, the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport and the XL Center in Hartford. But as Maricic mentioned, “playing in a big building” is a huge part of the atmosphere and the excitement of the Beanpot. So if you can’t play at the XL Center, why play at all? Marottolo thinks the arena atmosphere is essential to a new Connecticut tradition. “We’d be selling ourselves short—Connecticut is hungry for hockey—if we weren’t at Webster Bank Arena or the XL Center. It would create some tradition, some history,” he said.
the fledgling Nutmegtree. “With the Nutmeg Classic taking place over the course of just one weekend, the first place trophy seems like a much more tangible goal and each game holds that much more significance,” said Haddad. “Our sense of competition is heightened and everyone plays harder because of it.” WHILE THERE ARE VOCAL CONNECTIcut advocates for a Nutmegtree, the consensus among those in the Yale hockey community is that the state isn’t ready— yet—for its own Beanpot. At its core, the Beanpot is successful because it’s local. “It really is a regional Boston area thing,” said Maricic. The entire state of Connecticut may be too big to foster the same type of good-natured hatred seen in New Haven’s “Cats and Dogs” battle (Quinnipiac’s Bobcats vs the Bulldogs), though it’s certainly a smaller space to cover than
garded as it is. People have more invested in it.” Yet it’s worth remembering Marottolo’s view on the topic—“deeply ingrained rivalries” have to start somewhere. “Coaches have to build some momentum,” he said. “They have to keep moving [the idea] up the flagpole.” While some coaches and fans may not seem as anxious to get the ball moving, that doesn’t mean players aren’t dreaming big. Maybe Connecticut isn’t ready for an indoor Beanpot, but what about bringing Yale’s biggest rivals outdoors? “We do kick it around amongst players in the locker room…an outdoor game at the Yale Bowl,” Maricic said. He went on to name Quinnipiac, Harvard, and Cornell as possible opponents. The message is clear—great rivalries aren’t about proximity. They’re about tradition. —graphic by Christine Mi YH Staff The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
CULTURE Popping privilege by Jessica Sykes YH Staﬀ
aux-fur coats, alternative modes of transportation, and heavy gold jewelry are all things that principally define me. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that nine seconds into the music video for Macklemore’s chart-topping track “Thrift Shop,” I felt completely connected to the Seattle-born rapper. In the video, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, and a crew of ethnically ambiguous young people parade around Seattle, Slurpees in hand, searching for the perfectly salvaged Louis Vuitton fanny pack. Macklemore was practically screaming my name as loudly as he could over the muffler of Lewis’s DeLorean. Ben Haggerty is a rapper, a talented one at that. His first studio album The Heist, a collaborative effort with photographer-turned-producer Ryan Lewis, dropped last October, and ever since that fated fall Tuesday, white upper-middle class twenty-somethings have been sitting in the pews of the Church of Macklemore. You won’t find these believers fanning themselves with church programs or wearing wide-brimmed Sunday hats, because the church is air-conditioned and the only hats in sight are snapbacks. I was there, with my Raiders fitted and shiny Jordans. In his singles he was preaching anti-consumerism, gay rights, and atheism. Through his mention of these issues in his lyrics, Macklemore is able to connect to like-minded individuals. In the world of Macklemore, I was surrounded by people who looked like me and thought like me. We were all singing along, singing hymns of individualism and nonconformity. I felt like some kind of prophet, telling people, “having the same [shirt] as six other people in this club is a hella don’t.” My cheetah print muumuu is a source of pride, not exclusively because of its silky nature, but also because no one else has one. Sometimes originality trumps content. To me, Macklemore was doing something crazy. He was exposing my crippling fear of being ordinary by building a fanbase out of all the other people in the world who felt the same way. Macklemore’s self-released The Heist featured language of revolution. But his revolution was not without motive. He seamlessly appeals to free-thinking and -dressing, anti-consumerist, whatever young people as a way to access a large, affluent market group. But for Macklemore, this tailorfit-
ted connection between lyrics and image seems too calculated, incongruous to the individualism he moralizes. I felt, as he himself says, “swindled and pimped, shit / I call that getting tricked by business.” But so goes the way of the media. I was part of his target audience, and I had taken the bait. Macklemore was talented no doubt, but his art was cheapened in my eyes. His whiteness, which I had previously looked past, was now bothering me. Not only was he acting as something of a messiah for “individuals” (white college kids), he was also appropriating a culture that he couldn’t claim as his own to do it. It was only when I listened to his song “White Privilege”, released in 2005, that I saw his true place in the system. And as any good artist does, by telling his own story, he questioned the very institutions that allowed him to make his music. As the first full-length song on his album The Language of My World, “White Privilege” can be seen as a preface to the rest of his work. The beauty in the song is in Macklemore’s honesty and self-awareness; his flow and rhymes have since improved.
Nonetheless, he addresses contentions I didn’t even know I had with him. Through “White Privilege,” Macklemore explains the problematic nature of making hiphop as a white man who grew up in the suburbs. He doesn’t rap about the “block [he’s] never been to” or the “struggle he’s never been through.” The “Egypt” of hip-hop, the South Bronx, was the birthplace of a revolution. Unlike Wu Tang, Dre, and the Hieroglyphics, his cause is not institutionalized racism, black-on-black crime, or an inner-city crack epidemic. Macklemore’s creative convictions are a product of his come-up. The mainstream nature of hip-hop today has turned a once subversive medium into something that longs for depth. And Macklemore is no exception. Macklemore wears his feelings on his tiger print sleeve. He laments, “we want what we can’t have, the commodity makes us want it.” Maybe Macklemore wishes he could rap about the struggles of growing up black in Compton, but he chooses not to. Macklemore doesn’t claim to be anything he’s not. Unfortunately his fans, myself included, cannot all share in his righteousness. My fear of being seen as common is a fear of being revealed as something I’m not: a fear of being misunderstood. This fear is a manifestation of a disregard for Macklemore’s primary tenet. “I’m gonna be me so please be who you are / This is something that’s effortless and shouldn’t be hard.” Unfortunately, being oneself is harder than putting on a pair of Pro Wings—Velcro is for kids who can’t tie their own shoes anyway.
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
A February that never ends By Anna-Sophie Harling “It was the best of times, it was the best of times, it was the best of times...” So spoke one Yale alumna, class of ’78, in reference to her Feb Club experiences. Another alum merely remarked, “Memories of Feb Club? Isn’t that an oxymoron?” Feb Club is a longstanding campus tradition in which 28 parties are thrown for seniors to escape the misery of midterms and the cold. Legend has it that Feb Club originated in the ‘70s and ended sometime during the ‘90s, to then reappear in 2006. But now, Feb Club isn’t only for overwhelmed undergrads. In 2008, two members of the Class of ’87 came up with the idea for a “Feb Club for old people.” And so, Feb Club Emeritus (FCE) was born. And this “Feb Club for old people” has gone global. On Thurs., Feb 28, there will be FCE parties in Munich, Dallas, Portland, Singapore, Kobe (Japan), Laramie, Rome, Aspen, Hong Kong, Lake Tahoe, South Salem, Norfolk, and New York. FCE provides alums with a space to relive their brightest college month. This year, the kickoff party for the month of festivities took place at the Yale Club in New York City. The description of the event on the FCE website begins with the line “It’s Friday, Friday! Gotta get to the Club on First Feb Friday!” The blurb for the Boston party reminded its guests that “The location may be super
classy, but we don’t have to be.” The Tokyo page boasts a number of Feb Club Emeritus records, including ‘Highest Number of Shots Per Person’—105 shots consumed by 23 people—accomplished on Feb. 26, 2008. The fun doesn’t stop there—Feb Club Emeritus also has a Facebook group. Dubbed ‘Feb Club for Old People,’ the group has 2,351 members and is managed by Tim Harkness YC ’87, one of the founding members of the Club. Harkness is clearly an adept party planner. In one post, he asked, “Should we have Gangnam Style/K Pop Feb Club? Dress Classy and Dance Cheesy. Sounds like a Feb Club to me.” His catchphrase, “Build it and they will come . . .” is continually used to encourage alumnae around the world to host Feb Club Emeritus parties. And if the Facebook group is not entertainment enough, the Feb Club Emeritus Guest Book offers an outlet for alumnae to reminisce about their Feb Club festivities. “The only Feb Club party I can *remember* was in the basement of Branford in 1982,” wrote one alumnus on the Feb Club Emeritus website. “Think concrete, dim lighting and blue haze...Various and sundry substances flowed, including hormones.” Feb Club Emeritus participants are well aware of the age gaps that exist within the organization. One alumnus lamented, “I am afraid that many who visit this site might
not know what a Safety Dance is. What is perhaps worse, we danced to ‘Safety Dance’ music when it first came out.” However, for some its a source of solace. One anonymous ’07 graduate exclaimed, “This gives me hope that when I’m old I can still be cool.” But for any alumnae who fear they are too old to participate, the website’s Q&A section offers reassuring words: “If this year is like last, we expect attendees of all ages who are cool, hip, lively, bad, rad, hot, groovy, crunk, or even swingin’, depending on their era.”
Theater cult By Devon Geyelin YH Staﬀ
Yale’s undergraduate theater community is everywhere; we’re surrounded by countless productions and performance ensembles. There are small stages and large ones, classics and experimental contemporaries; and amidst all the possibilities, some specific pockets form, making something reliable within the overwhelming set of dramatic options. In an email last fall, Yale’s freshman class received the bios of seven members of a relatively new student organization called Common Room. Meant as an invitation to audition, the group described itself as “Yale’s only undergraduate repertory theater company.” Looking back, Common Room member Ruby Spiegel ES ’15 recalls the email as “pretentious and scary;” still, it convinced about 25 freshmen to audition, with Jacob Osborne DC ’16 finally joining the group. Members Chandler Rosenthal CC ’14 and Jesse Schreck CC ’14 came up with the idea of the group last September. Rosenthal wanted a performance group that would eradicate the feeling of “post-show depression.” The two thought Common Room could foster communal artistic growth while offering a less transient social experience. “Why not continue to work with the people you love? It can only allow for a tighter ensemble and better theater,” says Paul Hinkes ES ’15, a member of the group. Every fall since its inception, Common Room has put on one large original production—this past fall, it was Bed Play. They spent last spring workshopping projects and designing the next fall’s endeavor, a schedule they plan to follow in the com-
ing semester. The group has no formal roles and no real hierarchy, though Schreck calls himself the group “logistician.” Different members rotate between writing, acting, directing, producing, and filling any number of the other roles created by putting on a production. Its small size allows the group to get comfortable enough to give each other meaningful feedback—as Schreck said, their ease with each other “cuts out all the polite, stepping-around things.” Spiegel says it’s immensely helpful “to have a group of people that know how you write, know how to give you notes…and they’re your friends and can tell you, ‘no, no, no.’” For the actors, the commitment to original material means that plays will be written for the number and genders available, and possibly with parts specifically crafted for an actor’s particular voice and traits. “Like, Paul is so tall,” Spiegel said, in reference to group member Paul “Tall Paul” Hinkes. “How funny would it be if we made him this silent, mysterious character?” With rehearsals twice a week Common Room is a time commitment, but its members recognize the difficulty of time shortages. “We’re not looking to isolate ourselves from the awesome theater community that we love participating in,” Schreck said. “We don’t want Common Room to be a burden, we want it to be an exciting thing.” The hectic schedules of Common Room’s members are typical of most Yale students involved in the drama community—with many conceding that they feel like their academics are “on the side.” “Theater has kind of always taken precedence,”
said Alex Kramer, BR ‘15, of Control Group. “My work has to be done around my rehearsal schedule and when I’m in tech week for a show, there’s really no getting anything done.” Hinkes agreed: “The scale definitely tips in favor of theater. I mean, I’m hardly skipping classes left and right, but I’d always rather go to rehearsal than do homework.” The combination of the time commitment and the social element of the drama scene has created one of the most vibrant undergraduate communities on campus. As a performance art, it’s automatically one of the most visible student creative outlets, and between the 14 student theaters, various performance groups, and countless independent productions, the theater world can often seem to dominate student cultural consciousness. “That collected group is probably the most prominent non-athletic community at Yale,” said Stephen Feigenbaum, BR ’11 MUS ’13, who’s currently putting up Abyss, of the overlapping theater, improv, and a cappella scenes. “[It’s] certainly the only large off-campus community that’s not athletics or the ‘frat scene’…also because theater are people are very hard to miss.” Theater might be most notable for the intense, visible passion of its members. Although not all involved students are convinced they’ll pursue theater post-graduation, most agree that they decided a while ago that their time here would be best spent devoting themselves to an activity and community they love. “Yale doesn’t really give you life skills,” Spiegel said. “Theater kind of does.” —graphic by Kai Takahashi
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
REVIEWS Out of tune by Helen Rouner aylor Swift’s opening number should have been warning enough that viewers ought to turn off their TVs during the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, which took place on Sun., Feb. 10. Dressed in white tails and short shorts in something like an Alice-in-Wonderland-meets-circus-sideshow number, Swift strutted and posed her way through her highly processed single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” The only thing more forced than the theme was her vocal production. The spoken bit in the song (“So he calls me up, and he’s like ‘I still love you’”) she performed in a vaguely British accent, presumably in reference to her recent ex-boyfriend Harry Styles (the guy from One Direction with the hair), in a cry for attention from the tabloids (which she promptly received). Swift’s performance was, like the following three and a half hours, just uncomfortable. Officially, the Grammys are awards for excellence in the recording industry. But because the Grammy winners are determined by a vote by hundreds of people both on the production and performance sides of the industry, the contest’s outcome is more or less random. In an effort to maintain the illusion that its awards are actually relevant, the Grammy board stages an elaborate evening of performances around the actual award ceremony, making sure to include the artists most sure to make the Grammys seem cool. Sunday night’s show made it clear that this strategy is not working. Arguably the worst in the series of misconceived performances came from R&B sensation Frank Ocean. The producers had Ocean perform “Forrest Gump,” overlooking that a slow R&B song whose lyrics consist almost entirely of repetitions of a classic American film title, and whose last verse consists only of a cappella whistling, would come across as feeble and awkward in such a large, glitzy, and acoustically poor setting. Another notable failure of the night was an attempt at reinventing a classic to appeal to the audience’s nostalgia. Miguel performed a half-English, half-Spanish cover of “Your Song,” a pop anthem by one of music’s most enduring performers and songwriters, Elton John, who had performed minutes earlier and was sitting in the audience, suffering through the butchery of his music. Again, the board chose to sacrifice quality for an attempt at relevance: if they had wanted the song done well, they would have had Elton John sing it himself.
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
Mercifully, a few performances deserve to be exempt from the overall condemnation. Pop songstress Kelly Clarkson and country starlet Carrie Underwood made good use of winning American Idol: Clarkson, who won “Best Pop Vocal Album,” sang a personalized rendition of “Natural Woman,” and Underwood, (despite her decision to wear a silver dress for moving images to be projected onto for effect) belted out “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs.” The Grammy board, however, can’t take credit for the pair’s success: the viewing public literally voted both Clarkson and Underwood into fame. Justin Timberlake’s comeback performance of “Suit & Tie” with Jay-Z was at least stylistically an asset to the show: Timberlake looked sharp in a tuxedo, and the performance was aired in black and white. But on “Pusher Love Girl,” Timberlake was backed by a large jazz band and a co-ed quartet of all non-white singers, which came across as very intentional. In another questionable move, the new, vaguelytitled award, “Best Urban Contemporary Album,” featured only young, black male nominees. LL Cool J, the ceremony’s host, did little to redeem the evening. His opening speech was a collection of nonsensical sentimentalities, featuring a tribute to Michael Jackson, an homage to Cool J’s grandmother, an appeal to the “kids at home” to “strive for excellence,” and finally a repeated invitation for the audience to consider the ceremony “your show.” Nice try, LL, but you’re not taking us down with you. Cool J’s following contributions consisted almost entirely of advertisements for Twitter. He was so insistent that viewers should find occasion to employ the tag “#Grammys” that I started to become suspicious of his motives. Was Twitter paying the Grammy board for the advertising? Had the Grammy board finally realized just how useless their show is and made an attempt to prove its relevance? Considering the product the board has to market is a three-and-a-half-hour-long stream of poorly executed live performances in a giant auditorium broadcast over television, I couldn’t really blame them.
Art: Societé Anonyme The Yale University Art Gallery has gathered a formidable array of pieces for its latest Société Anonyme Exhibition. The exhibition presents both major staples of modern art as well as some lesser-known gems, all collected under the aegis of Marcel Duchamp, Katherine Dreier, and Man Ray in the early 20th century. Among the standouts are five works by Wassily Kandinsky, whose streaks of abstract color and visual fantasies open the exhibition on a high note. Other hallmarks include Piet Mondrian’s famously stark De Stijl paintings. Among the less recognizable works are a copy of “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” putatively the first animated feature film (yep, that’s before Disney). It’s a strange and charming love story taken from 1001 Arabian Nights that deserves a second look. Overall, this exhibition’s greatest merit is its bulk. Don’t feel obliged to spend time with every work—if you do, you’ll never finish. It’s best, rather, to pick and choose what suits your fancy. You may not find every artist included in the exhibition particularly striking, but that’s all right, because the sheer volume of the exhibition allows you to pay attention to the artists who do. Consistent with the YUAG’s mission, the Société Anonyme Exhibition invites you to look around, linger on certain pieces, pass by others, and let yourself enjoy a finely curated collection. —Andrew Koenig
Movies: Side Eﬀects If you want to learn something about the darker side of the human psyche, see Side Effects, Steven Soderbergh’s dark psychological thriller. The film is Soderbergh’s last theatrical release before his self-initiated “sabbatical” from filmmaking, a sinister send-off for audience members to consider while he’s gone. Rooney Mara plays Emily, whose husband Martin (Channing Tatum) has just been released from prison. This event triggers a relapse of depression, so she goes to see Dr. Banks (Jude Law) for psychiatric treatment. From there, things spiral down quickly into a mess of greed, deceit, violence, sex, and obsession. The film may turn off some viewers because it’s nowhere near as quick and electrifying as Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’s last joint effort, Contagion. In terms of pacing, it more closely resembles Soderbergh’s Haywire; both “thrillers” are incredibly talky at certain points. But despite its slow start, the film picks up after an unexpected turn a third of the way in—and the end of the film is so full of exhilarating twists that you might end up looking on Wikipedia for plot details that you missed. Aside from speed and shocks, the film finds its strength in forcing us to question each character’s morals and intentions. Mara, as the mentally unstable Emily, is eerie and unpredictable, and even Tatum, a former stripper, is more dynamic than his usual romantic comedy stock character. While there are traces of Hitchcockian mastery in Soderbergh’s supposedly final film, the film is nowhere near as timeless or eye-widening as many of Hitchcock’s classics. Still, it’s an admirable effort that merits serious consideration. Just make sure to pay close attention—it’s a twisty ride. —Wesley Yiin YH Staff
Music: Cakes Da Killa Cakes Da Killa is having a lot of sex and wants you to know. In fact, he’s written 12 songs just to let you know when, where, with whom, and how much. What makes his first full-length mixtape, The Eulogy, stand out, however, is its ability to revel in the unapologetic crassness so common in rap while simultaneously subverting it. This subversion lies most obviously in the fact that he, unlike most rappers, is rapping about sleeping with men rather than women: he uses “faggot” to refer to himself as often as he uses it to denigrate his enemies. Other times, Cakes Da Killa subverts more comedic hip-hop tropes, like when he talks of getting in the back of a Honda Civic where other rappers might talk of their Lamborghinis. In this vein, even while aligning himself with the growing community of queer people of color making music today, he displays an excess that his peers do not. In a laugh-out-loud segment of “Da Good Book,” he riffs on Frank Ocean and croons, “I’ve been thinkin’ ‘bout dick, oh na na na, do you think about it too?” The Eulogy will make you laugh and dance. But it will also make you rethink the norms of hip-hop. Most importantly, it will make you want to listen again. —Kevin Su YH Staff
Books: Parallel Nathan Harden’s Sex and God at Yale and Natalie Krinsky’s Chloe Does Yale have created their own niche: books by Yale alumni attempting to document a glamorous, alcohol-fueled Yale experience. In her upcoming novel, Parallel, (to be released in May by HarperTeen), Lauren Miller, SM ’02, tries to break away from this. Unfortunately, it’s an unsuccessful attempt. Miller begins by offering a protagonist, Abby Barnes, who reluctantly attends Yale and spends most of the book trying to escape. In fact, at the beginning of the novel, Abby wakes up suddenly at Yale without any memories of how she got there. This is the most gripping aspect of the book: Miller has Abby floating between parallel universes, deftly juggles multiple storylines, and brings the book to a tricky yet satisfying conclusion. With Parallel, Miller has found a niche somewhere between “Doctor Who” and The Time Traveler’s Wife. Eventually, though, Miller begins to stray. Abby spends her first few days after waking up in an alternate universe drinking pitchers at Viva’s and sake bombs at Samurai’s, finding attractive straight men, and taking trips to Toad’s. “Next time you decide to come to practice hungover, do us all a favor and take a shower first,” one of Abbey’s crew teammates grumbles. Miller paints a picture of Yale that tries repeatedly to be genuine: Abby lives in Vanderbilt, buys “dirt cheap” bagels from Durfee’s, and shops classes with hot-shot professors. But something feels disingenuous. It seems that Miller is still dazzled by her time at Yale; there’s a sort of star-struck, ‘oh-em-gee’ quality in the descriptions of everything from boys (“He’s good-looking. Like, really good-looking”) to Sterling Memorial Library (“The exterior is impressive, but the interior is breathtaking”). Miller really likes Yale and wants you to like it, too. Even Abby, who insists that she doesn’t want to be there, keeps telling us how awesome everything is. In the end, what prevents Parallel from reaching its full potential are tropes that have become ubiquitous in teenage novels: fights with friends, dilemmas about sex, and a love triangle. Sadly, the forced, unconvincing romance takes up valuable time and space in a novel that, with truly interesting elements of fantasy, could be so much more successful. —Alisha Jarwala YH Staff
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)
BULLBLOG BLACKLIST The link to pay for your Smooch’d ticket with your credit card, the Smooch’d promo graphic, plus, you know, everything else about Smooch’d.
Can’t decide whether we hate it more in theory or in practice.
But also people not complaining about Valentine’s Day.
Unrequited love is bad enough.
Professors who hold class even though it’s a snow day
People who judge us for not leaving our apartments for 36 hours during Nemo
People complaining about Valentine’s Day
“Harlem Shake” videos The only time we’ll ever thank SigEp National, for making our friends at 31 High take theirs down.
Ted Nugent Mayor DeStefano literally requested that Yale be shut down. He is literally the mayor and he literally requested that Yale be shut down.
Yale-NUS stealing good professors
Please. You live your life, and we’ll live ours.
Welcome to the blacklist! This is where you belong—not Congress.
So how much are they paying you? Drinks on you next time!
The Yale Herald (Feb. 15, 2013)