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COVID-19 has put a great economic and emotional strain on the country. Lives have been put on hold as we wait patiently for the day when social interactions are once again possible. But for students, whose four short years in college are so professionally and personally pivotal, it feels less like life put on hold and more like lost time. The virus has created educational obstacles for all students. But as this unofficial sophomore summer has made strikingly clear, those educational barriers are not blind to privilege. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed clear structural inequities at Dartmouth that disadvantage its most vulnerable.
During a normal term, a Saturday night would bring a momentary respite from class work. In this remote term, this respite has become especially important amid the monotony of a virtual college experience. At home in the suburbs of Chicago, activities are few and far between. The weather here has turned from cold and snowy to cold and rainy, and in areas across the country that remain shut down, options for activity outside the home are often not available.
Even commercials are talking about coronavirus. Companies from Walmart to Pizza Hut want Americans to know that they are “here for you” in these unprecedented times. When every connection to life outside the home is colored by the pandemic, at what point does it become too much? Mention of COVID-19 has become obligatory in everything from calls with friends to emails with professors, and it crops up everywhere from Zoom classes to television.
Put complaints of an overlong ceremony, political speeches by out-of-touch celebrities and awards predictability aside. Today, the most significant issue with the Oscars is the lack of diversity.
Today, the concept of a universal basic income is synonymous with Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend.” The self-proclaimed “MATH” candidate likes to use his campaign’s cardinal policy proposal — sending every American adult $1,000 per month — as a panacea for the country’s myriad problems. These include climate change, poverty, racial divisions and the gender pay gap — all ambitious goals to announce in just the second Democratic presidential primary debate.
The cold morning of Sept. 30 saw a trickle of people headed towards Rollins Chapel: elderly folks from cars, tallis and yarmulke in tow; professors corralling tykes in itchy clothes; some students in slacks and sport coats and some in khakis and sweaters; security guards in dark uniforms, hired to keep the peace. While everyone looked different, everyone tried to look their best.
With more than 400 days until Election Day, an overlong list of Democratic candidates shows no signs of shrinking. The slate of candidates is polling at numbers as varied as their experience, policies, backgrounds and tones. At the forefront of the minds of presidential candidates and Democratic voters alike is how to beat President Trump in the 2020 election.
I hold my coat tight to my chest, the only protection from the biting Chicago cold. The sun just edges up from the jagged tree line, casting long shadows on the almost vacant Toys-R-Us parking lot. It is 4 a.m., and I could not be more awake. The year is 2006, I am 7 and my brother and I have managed to convince my mom to wait in line with us to buy the newly released Wii. A wad of ones and fives bulges in my pocket, dollar by dollar meticulously saved from the past year of birthdays, holidays and any odd jobs with which my neighbors would trust a 2nd grade child. Like everyone who arrived in line earlier than the store’s 8 a.m. opening, we had managed to snag a Wii, but the now outdated gaming console is, unsurprisingly, not what sticks with me all these years later — my brother ended up selling it to pay for some newer system. No, what sticks with me is the line.
I have no qualms about claiming that “Parks and Recreation” is the best sitcom of the decade. Those who know me are certainly unsurprised by this claim. If my obsession with this show was not brought up in our first conversation, I have certainly quoted, referenced or forced you to watch at least one of my favorite scenes. “Parks” is my go-to pick-me-up — Andy’s gleeful silliness is contagious. “Parks and Rec” is my go-to for motivation — Leslie Knope’s boundless determination is enough to inspire anyone to do their homework. And it’s definitely my go-to for a laugh — the different characters that make up Pawnee, Indiana are hysterical. Basically, “Parks and Rec” is my go-to any day, any time.
The Golden Globes began with an unexpected change in direction Sunday night. After two years of programing consumed by commentary — on topics ranging from sexual assault to immigration to the 2016 election — the show had begun to steer its reputation from drinking celebrities and casual festivities to a deeply political awards show. But Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, the evening’s hosts, set the tone of the 2019 ceremony from the get-go as apolitical. This transition back to the Golden Globes’ original identity underscores a broader shift in the awards circuit. In a world where live awards shows are no longer the ratings juggernauts they once were, producers have to make a decision: embrace the reality of live entertainment today or try to fight their way back into a lost past. Unfortunately, they haven’t had much success with the former, and aren’t likely to achieve the latter.
It’s Saturday morning. The cool fog wraps itself around me as I throw open the North Fayerweather door. Carried across campus by the thought of breakfast food, I find myself in the middle of the Green. Gazing at the black mark surrounding me, I smile, filled with humility and pride for this community of which I am so lucky to be a part.
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.
The 2016 presidential election mucked a phrase up from the dark corners of the internet and into the public eye. By questioning the biases of mainstream media, people began to doubt their very foundation of truth. Suddenly, media with which people disagreed became “fake news” and the only reliable sources those which supported their beliefs. Now, it seems “fake news” and news are equally prevalent. At some point or another, every major media outlet has been labeled “fake news” by those who disagree with what they publish, and no one blinks an eye at the assumption.