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This weekend, I spent some time knocking on doors in Hanover as part of a get-out-the-vote effort. Door-knocking in a college town has its pros and cons. Pro: People are generally nice and willing to talk to random college students, especially when said college students look cold and a little miserable in the 40-degree weather. Con: Finding specific student housing apartments requires immense navigational skill, of which I have none. How can you find apartment #21B when the number “2” has fallen off the door? More cons: Lots of people do not answer their doors. Even the people who do answer don’t always want to talk once they realize the knock doesn’t come from a package delivery.
Jack-o-lanterns grin from Hanover’s porches in the last orange bursts of peak foliage, the year’s most anticipated horror movies premier onscreen and campus anticipates spooky festivities with candy and costumes. It’s time for horror enthusiasts like me to relish in our favorite genre. In the spirit of Halloween, many students scrounge for something scary to consume and find themselves looking at a foreign menu. For anybody with no idea what to order, I offer a few humble recommendations.
The destruction wrecked upon the home of a girl named Sally and her brother as a red-and-white hat wearing anthropomorphic cat and his two “Thing” henchmen balance on umbrellas, fly kites indoors and knock pictures off walls requires a magical cleaning machine to ameliorate. Dr. Seuss’s 1957 book may have succeeded in stimulating childhood imagination, but unfortunately (in case you didn’t realize it) we don’t live in “Cat in the Hat” universe, and the Dartmouth alumnus couldn’t succeed in bringing about a way to go back in time and reverse the damage we’ve done.
Major ramifications for generations to come: that seems to be the gist of opinions around campus and the country about the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Both sides of the aisle have galvanized their bases in reaction to the confirmation process and in preparation for midterm elections. Both sides of the aisle have painted the historically apolitical Supreme Court into a political issue to win seats in Congress. Not only have the confirmation votes themselves become more ideologically divided, but the process itself has been dragged out to take an average of 2.3 months.
There are few things more futile or depressing than attempting to teach leadership via sticky note and slightly dry Crayola Broad Point Washable Markers. Yet the words “With your support, we will build on this legacy by creating a comprehensive, four-year cocurricular strategy for cultivating that spirit of leadership” on the Call to Lead capital campaign’s website immediately conjure the image of several bored undergrads contemplating death-by-catered-sandwiches while a leadership guru gesticulates madly in the background.
House music is a vague term for the vast and eclectic sea of sounds that are coming out of speakers everywhere around the world. Similar to jazz, it is a term that cannot do justice to the feeling and spirit of the music that it describes. If someone asked you to define the forlorn and fey sound of Miles Davis playing the trumpet, the best explanation you could give would be to put on “B—es Brew,” as recorded by Miles Davis. As Jesse Saunders wrote in her brief history of house music, it “is a feeling that can’t really be defined.”
The landscape of American higher education is changing. Amidst already daunting challenges in the form of rapidly rising tuitions, decreased funding and a student debt crisis reaching its zenith, the march of technological progress is also reshaping higher education.
A few weeks ago, in the midst of the outrage surrounding alleged rapist turned Supreme Court Justice (yes, in that order) Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, people across the country took to the streets to protest, pressure their senators to vote against him and support sexual assault survivors.
As we sped down Highway 89 en route to my very first college debate tournament, the four walls of our team’s rented minivan vibrated with the beat of pop music blasting from the front of the car. My teammates shouted over the music and each other, our deafening six-man circus drawing annoyed glances from passing cars. Squeezed into the back row, the ruckus from the front and the sound of my fingers tapping anthropology notes into my computer provided the harmony to the opening chords of the Moana soundtrack, played on a loop through my earbuds for the duration of our two-hour journey.
With the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the United States ushers in an entirely new era of legality. Chief among the staples of this paradigm shift: the retention of a conservative “political” majority. Mind you, I wholeheartedly believe that justices should serve as objective arbiters of the law, but I’m not so stupid as to presume that human beings suddenly eschew their beliefs and predilections the moment that they don those dapper, black robes. A consensus in viewpoint is thereby nothing short of monumental. But unlike the previous 5-4 majority, Kavanaugh represents a grand unknown atop the bench. His predecessor, Justice Anthony Kennedy, was renowned for his propensity to forego an automatic adherence to party lines. He was conservative, of course, but one couldn’t predict his judgement simply by glancing at the accompanying “Republican stance” on any given issue. Such is the sign of a great judge: putting objectivity before subjectivity. And Kennedy should be commended for it.
Nike made headlines this past month by introducing Colin Kaepernick as the face of its newest advertising campaign — “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the campaign’s slogan declares. It illustrates how Kaepernick sacrificed his career in the NFL to protest police brutality and social inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. The release of the Kaepernick ad on Instagram shattered Nike’s previous record views on any post by the millions. Not all viewers double tapped, however, and while Nike’s sales surged in the days following the release of the ad, videos of Nike apparel being torn apart and burned went just as viral.
Reporters were treated to a one-of-a-kind show in the Oval Office this past Thursday. While it may have been sloppy journalism, the White House spectacle did not fail to cover a wide range of important topics: everything from stop-and-frisk, Chicago and Larry Hoover, to manufacturing, Foxconn and hydrogen-powered airplanes.
As a child, I always pictured sayings in my head. When people claimed something was the “best thing since sliced bread,” I’d picture sandwiches being made between two huge half-loaves. For some reason, “break a leg” was a chair, lopsided due to a snapped leg. But a more significant phrase had a very specific picture, and it was one I had to face in many important moments of my life. The phrase was “let it go,” and the picture was a small girl hanging off the edge of a cliff.
The comparisons were too easy to make. The world watched a charismatic leader and advocate of democracy released from years of confinement by an authoritarian government, who went on to win the country’s first openly-contested elections. Many people, including myself, firmly believed that Aung San Suu Kyi’s impact on Myanmar would mirror Mandela’s reformation of South Africa, that she would eliminate the draconian restrictions of the established military government and herald a new era of Burmese democracy. This, however, has not come to pass. Tragically Suu Kyi, now the country’s de facto leader, has overseen the erosion of democratic potential in Myanmar. The country that so recently carried the hopes of the international community has regressed.
“Thank you for trying out … unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a place this year.” Over the past few weeks, such blunt statements have had a dominant presence in my inbox. Yet despite experiencing so many rejections in my first month on campus, I couldn’t be happier.
The Brett Kavanaugh hearings felt like rock bottom. They won’t be, of course — if we know one thing, it’s that scandals will keep rolling in. Still, there’s something deeply concerning about a Supreme Court hearing turned to partisan theater. Every hour came breaking news about scandalous details of high school yearbooks and binge drinking. Not that those things aren’t serious and relevant given the assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh. But still, reality-television style politics dominated the confirmation process.
Dartmouth is full of beloved traditions, and the Homecoming bonfire every fall reigns as one of the most sacred and celebrated. The bonfire saw its first flames over a century ago, and every year since has welcomed home a new class with warm and open arms. Dartmouth alumni, no matter where they end up, return home en masse to pay their alma mater a visit. Amidst shouts of “Touch the fire!” and “Worst class ever!,” it sends the message to the newest members of the Dartmouth community that her spell on them truly is enduring.
Before coming to Dartmouth, everybody had something to tell me about the Greek system: it’s the campus social scene; one can find friends outside of it; it’s pervasive; it’s a great community; it’s overbearing. Most of my peers told me that despite my reluctance, I’d probably end up joining a sorority — it’s just what Dartmouth students do.
Two phrases every Dartmouth student knows and loves: “distrib” and “NRO.” These terms epitomize the unique Dartmouth experience — a wide range of knowledge gained through 14 required courses, colloquially known around campus as “distribs,” and the safety net that comes along with learning a new subject, the Non-Recording Option. Dartmouth prides itself on its liberal arts focus, claiming to offer students (albeit forcibly through graduation requirements) a “breadth” of knowledge. The College encourages its students to take advantage of this breadth through the NRO — a relieving way for students to exclude a grade from their transcript if it doesn’t reach their selected threshold. Unfortunately, Dartmouth does not allow these two aspects of its curriculum to work together. The NRO, if used on a distrib, will bar the distrib from fulfilling its graduation requirement. This has deterred many students from choosing a distrib by interest, and has caused them instead to fill their distribs using course-difficulty indicators, such a past medians, syllabi and Dartmouth’s version of RateMyProfessor: LayupList.
This past week, the Department of State announced that the U.S. will deny family visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States. This means that those who are already in the country must either get married or leave by December 31st this year. Since 2009, same-sex partners were considered family under the G-4 visa policy. This rule reversal, according to a State Department official, was made to “promote and ensure equal treatment” for both same and opposite-sex couples. Though this new policy grants exceptions for the partners of diplomats who are from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal, the caveat is that the other country must recognize same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats posted there. This most drastically affects same-sex partners of international employees who work for organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, since the exception does not extend to them.