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Chin: Muse-en-scène: Thinking in the Nude

(01/31/19 7:15am)

If Mapplethorpe had Instagram, would his account get banned? In museums, nudity and emotional expression are well-accepted. But the account @artwerk6666, which often features twerking and seemingly baroque iPhone photos of the nude body, recently got deleted at 69 thousand followers for about the 17th time. Featured on Vice, Dazed 100 and a couple of smaller culture websites, Alexandra Marzella, the owner of @artwerk6666, is an artist, selfie taker and feminist performance artist — so what’s the issue? Nudity. Nudity is crass and unsophisticated, or so digital admins would have you believe. Her account, however, is one of many that intentionally misuses social media to display an affect of rawness that destabilizes the idea of a polished public face. An Instagram feed with different variations of golden-hour selfies would be a boring place to be. Social media spaces should take the recent Tumblr regulation initiatives as a sign to take a step back, since feminist performance artists rely on social media to destabilize the image of the perfect woman for consumption.

Samwick: Leadership at Rocky

(01/29/19 7:20am)

 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.”

Shi: Representing the In-Between

(01/29/19 7:15am)

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. 

Shi: My Mary Oliver

(01/24/19 7:25am)

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. 

Okutan: Let’s Talk ‘Bandersnatch’

(01/24/19 7:04am)

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.” 

Zaman: Yellow Vests, Not-So-White Lies

(01/22/19 7:06am)

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.

Leutz: Razor Thin Rage

(01/22/19 7:00am)

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. 

Verbum Ultimum: Big Green Dues

(01/18/19 7:20am)

On campus these days, it’s hard not to notice the grandiose energy that Dartmouth’s 250th anniversary has ignited. The festivities launched on Jan. 10 with speeches by College President Phil Hanlon and the 250th co-chairs, vice president for alumni relations Cheryl Bascomb ’82 and English professor Donald Pease, in the lobby of Baker Library. A new initiative, the Call to Serve, was announced, setting a goal for the Dartmouth community to achieve 250,000 hours of community service by the end of the year. In the spirit of the liberal arts, eight new courses and 20 symposia have been created to foster reflection amongst the community on Dartmouth’s past and future. Exhibitions, projects and performances under this same theme abound for the rest of the year. And very soon, the long-awaited opening of the newly renovated Hood Museum of Art will bring in a year of special programming and exhibits to continue the celebration. 

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