At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Donald Trump paraded the country’s rising tide of economic success. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year-low at 3.5 percent, and hourly wages for some of the country’s lowest income earners have risen. Americans’ attitudes generally reflect those numbers, as many feel better about the economy than they did a year ago.
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In Round 2 of a fight that started four years ago, the Justice Department and the FBI are pressuring tech giant Apple to create “backdoor” access to its iPhone encryption software. The request comes as the FBI investigation into a shooting at a Pensacola, FL, naval base looks for information on the shooter’s iPhone.
The next Democratic debate, on Jan. 14, will likely have only five presidential contenders. There will be the three clear frontrunners — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — along with Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, both of whom recently cleared the DNC’s threshold for a debate stage appearance.
“African Americans are struggling.” “Democrats have not done enough for them, and the best way to punish the latter is at the ballot box.”
The term “cancel culture” is the latest euphemism for political correctness. Often a term lobbed leftward, cancel culture refers to the online public shaming, usually of a celebrity, for some past action now deemed inappropriate. The intention is to encourage others to “cancel” consumption of the celebrity’s work.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the multi-billion-dollar movie empire Tyler Perry has built. Last Saturday, Perry held a gala celebrating the expansion of his studio headquarters in Atlanta, which spans some 330 acres, complete with 12 sound stages and massive complete replica set pieces for his upcoming shows. The studio complex is larger than Paramount’s, Warner Brothers’ and Walt Disney’s Burbank filming lots combined.
While e-cigarettes are now, for the first time, attracting serious national attention, their popularity is nothing new to me. Nearly five years ago, there existed a sort of underground market for e-cigarettes at my private high school in Louisiana. The profiteers in this racket, a handful of sophomore boys, used all sorts of ingenious means to buy product to skirt legal age restrictions — fake IDs, siblings over 18 and online purchases made with Bitcoin.
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.
Like many high school students, I too hated taking the ACT. Even after I was accepted into Dartmouth, I felt bummed out that my score was not in the top quartile like the scores of some of my other classmates. I assumed that this indicated I had an inherent disadvantage, destined to have a dismal college transcript follow me around after graduation. Yet two years later, I can say that this will probably not be the case. I barely think about those scores now, nor do I think that they were very telling. Indeed, some of the other college students I have talked to about this issue are in agreement that these tests are inaccurate at predicting college success.
Seeing so many freshmen on campus in the past week made me reminisce on what my freshman fall was like. Before I began looking for any and all club sports and extracurricular activities to join, most of my time was just spent in classes. I remember really enjoying my Writing 5, “Contemporary Moral Issues.” We’d spend several weeks tackling big issues — physician-assisted suicide, capital punishment, abortion — and consider the legal and moral implications of each.
Dear Class of 2022,
Anyone studying a humanities subject has heard this at least once since declaring their major: that STEM majors (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) get paid more. Firms ranging from investment banks to technology giants need people who can analyze large chunks of data. In terms of career placement, future earnings, and, to an extent, prestige, a degree in the humanities seems to lose the argument over utility and applicability every time. But it does not have to be seen this way. In fact, the myth of STEM superiority was not always so.
Society dictates the ideal body. For women, it’s thin with luscious hair. For men, it’s broad shoulders with lean muscles. And for students at colleges with deep athletic traditions, the pressure to have an “ideal” body intensifies because so many people are physically fit. As Michaela Artavia-High ’21 noted in her recent Mirror piece, “Buff: The Ideal Male Body,” the connection between the demands of athletics and body image adds a layer of complexity to how everyone, including non-athletes, views themselves.
Before writing for The Dartmouth, I was an opinion columnist for The Authored Ascension, my high school’s online-only newspaper. Though I lacked the authority to influence much, I had a clear vision for the paper’s direction. Up until that point, most written pieces were school-specific. News of homecoming events, sports match-ups and the like were the predominant topics for most writers. Few ventured out to tackle national hot-button issues. As a 16-year-old newly equipped with a driver’s license and many opinions, I planned on changing that.
The ability to tell the truth and, conversely, the ability to conceal it are immensely powerful. Truth must be told earnestly; it must be told with a desire to inform without regard to the consequences. For the health of society and the welfare of the individual, it is crucial not only to tell the truth, but also to be receptive to it.
If Richard Pryor was the godfather of comedy and Bernie Mac its uncle, then Dave Chappelle is comedy’s first cousin. He was cool when audiences first saw him back in the 1990s, as a 20-something cracking jokes on “Def Comedy Jam.” And as we got older, Chappelle got better. Slapstick humor meshed with racial and social commentary, setting the foundation for the highly successful but short-lived “Chappelle’s Show.” And we liked him. America’s older first cousin matured. Now in his 30s, he taught us more grown-up lessons in his sketches about George W. Bush-era geopolitics with “Black Bush,” and the nuances of America’s racial imaginary in “When Keeping It Real Goes Wrong.” Yet he retained the familiarity that made us love him in the first place, with some sketches whose chief aim was goofiness, like “A Moment in the Life of Lil Jon” and various sketches that followed the misadventures of crackhead Tyrone Biggums.
“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” This was the opening line for Marina Keegan’s final column in the Yale Daily News, published days after her graduation. Keegan was a magna cum laude graduate with a promising future as a journalist at The New Yorker. Already an accomplished writer, Keegan had received an award for her play “Utility Monster” for best stage reading at a playwriting festival in Manhattan.
In a crowded hall at the Cambridge Union over 50 years ago, some 700 observers at the world’s premiere debating club sat poised, eager to bear witness to an oratory spectacle. The motion of the day: “Has the American Dream been achieved at the expense of the American Negro?” Arguing in the affirmative, legendary African-American author James Baldwin stood at a podium in a dishearteningly white space. On the other side was William F. Buckley, conservative intellectual, tasked with defending the contrarian view of equal opportunity in America.
Michel de Montaigne is widely considered to be the first modern essayist. “The Essais,” which in Middle French means “attempts” or “trials,” were the products of Montaigne’s sometimes messy ruminations. He freely admitted these were abundant with inconsistencies and contradictions. However, now compiled in books well over 1,000 pages long, “The Essais” is one of the most significant contributions to Western thought.
Earlier this year, I published my first column in The Dartmouth, “Consumerist Masturbation,” in which I identified consumerism as seen in Kevin Spacey’s hit movie, “American Beauty.” Though it was released in 1999, the film’s satirical take on consumerism remains a relevant criticism of American society. Lester Burnham (Spacey) leads a miserable life: He has a strained relationship with his wife and daughter, a monotonous job that offers no corporate advancement and an unquantifiable amount of regret and unrealized potential. But the screenwriter’s focus is on the material that, by conventional measures, show his social rank: his two-story house surrounded by a literal white picket fence and a Mercedes SUV.