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In its Verbum Ultimum on Jan. 25, The Dartmouth editorial board asserted that “The [Rockefeller] Center must recommit to its original guiding mission.” The contention in the editorial is that “much of the Rockefeller Center’s identity has been constructed around the notion of ‘leadership.’” In this response, I will explain why the second of these assertions is true but the first is not. I will also argue that rather than being a detraction from the liberal arts experience at Dartmouth, leadership programs of the sort offered at the Rockefeller Center are an essential element of Dartmouth’s mission to prepare its students for “a lifetime of learning and of responsible leadership.”
The premiere of “Crazy Rich Asians” and the inception of the Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits were only a month apart last fall, marking a turning point in how Asian identities are perceived in mainstream media. Despite their names, both the film and the online community cater more toward an audience of Asian descent than an Asian audience. “Crazy Rich Asians,” a Hollywood film, was made for American Asian viewers. The scope and reach of Subtle Asian Traits has become much greater. The group was started by a handful of Australian high schoolers in Melbourne to bond over what it meant to be the children of Chinese immigrants. Intending it to be a local Facebook community, the students had added all of their Asian friends and classmates, but then membership increased exponentially to a thousand people within a few weeks through the same process. Subtle Asian Traits currently has over 1.1 million members globally, many of whom live overseas in Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and other Western countries. And while “Crazy Rich Asians” has experienced an unprecedented amount of mainstream success for a film of its genre, Subtle Asian Traits is ultimately more effective when it comes to representing and building the global Asian community.
In the past, I had never considered myself a “poetry person” — not because I disliked it, but because I couldn’t seem to understand it. I could appreciate a poem only after several rereads, a critical analysis and perhaps some outside research to catch any allusions I’d missed. I liked the work behind understanding a poem, but there was never a point when my enjoyment from poetry came naturally.
Since it first dropped on Dec. 28, it seems like everybody has been talking about “Bandersnatch,” the interactive “Black Mirror” episode that allows the audience to control the main character Stefan’s actions through mouse controls, which may in turn lead to many possible endings. One of the film’s most alluring allusions is the concept of free will and fate, as Stefan starts to question whether his actions are controlled by some upper force other than himself. In fact, in one of the endings, Stefan, who himself creates a multiple-choice interactive video game, refers to his audience with a similar parallelism: “Now they get the illusion that they have free will, but really, I decide the end.” Producer Russel Mclean underscores, “That’s the clever thing that Charlie’s [the co-creator of Black Mirror] done with this in the theme — what is free will? What is control? Who is in control? It’s all there to be looked at and figured out.”
It was a weekend of protests. While Americans turned out for the third Women’s March in three years, France saw thousands of Yellow Vest protesters rally for the 10th weekend in a row. (Make of that what you will.) The Yellow Vest protests originated in outrage toward a diesel fuel tax that French President Emmanuel Macron — the target of the protesters and, in their eyes, the embodiment of the gap between the wealthy elite and lower class — says is meant to minimize fossil-fuel use.
Gillette, a men’s razors and shaving products brand, recently released an ad that questioned its own slogan this past Monday. In a campaign against toxic masculinity, the commercial asked consumers if “this was really the best a man can get,” calling for them to set a better example for the next generation of men. Adriana Cohen, writing at Real Clear Politics, called the ad a continuation of the “war on men.” As a member of the male community, I do not feel as if I am at war and would like to personally apologize to anyone who actually is at war for the laughably ridiculous comment. In contrast to Cohen and many others, I continue to be a supporter of free speech, and respect Gillette for risking economic consequences to make a statement, continuing the conversation about sexism and sexual assault. It is a conversation that clearly needs to continue given the extreme backlash to an ad that is far from insulting.
Breaking news! Donald Trump is at his Mar-A-Largo Club. Breaking news! Donald Trump is serving NFL players fast food. Breaking news!
My inner monologue goes something like this. “Get over it! Twilight came out 10 years ago. Wait — am I really that old?” Yes, Twilight the movie came out in 2008; 10 years, one English major and several French New Extremist films later, and I still am a Twi-hard. I enjoy Claire Denis’ “Trouble Every Day” as much as the next girl, or as much as the next girl who really wants people to know she has “good taste” in films. But there is something to be said for the unrelenting melodrama of a film like “Twilight.” One thing that many feminists and blatant misogynists can agree on is that, put simply, “Twilight” is trash. I do not think “Twilight” is so easy to hate because it is corny; many campy teen or kid flicks are met with little hate, such as the “Harry Potter” series and the television series “The Big Bang Theory.” “Twilight” gets hate because of the way it confronts the reality of emotion. “Twilight” certainly is no feminist rallying call, but the hate it receives makes evident how people (especially women) are stigmatized for embracing their feelings. The growing popularity of auteur culture led to an overvaluing of intellectual control over emotional vulnerability. But pop culture representations of love, in the broadest sense of the word, remind us to forget about being cool; instead, it acknowledges that idealistic emotion can be cheesy and politically problematic, but can bring people together through a now-rare idealism.
Remember Blu? That loveably awkward macaw from “Rio”? As of 2018, the Spix’s macaw, upon which Blu was based, has been declared extinct in wild habitats.
A longstanding debate in philosophies of law goes something like this: We place power in our legislatures to create and enact laws, and in our courts to apply those laws to cases before them. When courts encounter a case that does not fall clearly inside or outside of existing laws, do they still have the authority to decide what the just result is, and what the scope of their discretion is in deciding that justice? Either way, the court must make a decision about the interpretation of the law — choosing to follow the explicit letter of the statute for the sake of precision still allows a judge to decide what is within the scope of the law and what is not. This means that regardless of what decision is made, it will be a verdict on whether the facts of the case fall within the bounds of one law and not another. Midway through readings for class on this very debate, my phone alerted me of a case that exemplifies this concept and the importance of navigating it carefully and thoughtfully: the commutation of Cyntoia Brown by the governor of Tennessee.
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.
I recently purchased a tote on Instagram with the words, “The cyborg in me recognizes the cyborg in you.” With the enthusiasm somewhere between that of a hypebeast and intellectual nerd, I told my friends how it fell into my hands; the bag is sold by Instagram meme account @sighswoon, who created the phrase after reading a text by digital and feminist studies professor, Donna Haraway. My cyborg tote is one product within a larger trend of not only text-heavy apparel, but simple pieces that reference moments in high culture. Some fellow theory lovers have dismissed this as sad and reductive, while some of my more fashionable friends encourage me to resist the urge to read into it. But Theory Garb, as I’ll coin it, demonstrates the pop culture potential of theory when it does not take itself too seriously, and serves as a reminder that it is the beginning of a question and not an answer to one.
I don’t always notice it — when trying to beat the KAF line or, in the opposite direction, rushing to my history classes in Carson. But, when not confronted by a menacing time crunch as I progress down First Floor Berry, the year 1968 can’t help but catch my eyes in its bright red lettering.