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Ask anybody what “violence” is, and they will most likely give you a straightforward answer. A Google search returns “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” Everybody agrees that there is no place for this definition of physical, bodily violence in public discourse and protest. Yet the ways in which perceptions of violence, barbarity and unruliness are deployed in the public sphere through protest, public engagement and policing in America do not always align with Google’s clear-cut definition.
On GroupMe and Snapchat, most exchanges with my friends begin with questions like: “Breakfast at 7:10 a.m.?” “Lunch after class?” “Collis or Foco?” At 10 p.m. on any given day, we can be found at the Hop for Late Night (“$5.50 for a fruit cup?!”) calculating how many meal swipes we’ve used that week. Over the past month, campus dining has streamlined my diet into a rotation of salads, pasta, omelettes and smoothies. Most nights I pair the latest offering from Ma Thayer’s with cantaloupe cubes while my more athletic friends gorge themselves on plates of pizza and grilled cheese. Yet as someone who believes that “you are what you eat,” I’ve felt that an essential part of me is missing.
Dartmouth’s community is rooted in a sense of place, in historic landmarks, aged buildings and a collective memory of centuries. The College on the Hill rests beneath the gaze of Robert Frost, and at the top of the hill itself, the historic stump representing the original Lone Pine still rests. So what will happen if the College elects to drop a massive dormitory complex on Robert Frost’s head?
At its surface level, the internet seems to be a website where marginalized communities and individuals can receive affirmation that their social worries are valid and comfort from friends who like their posts or offer compassionate comments. This is evident in trending hashtags about feminism, identity-based meme pages and long Facebook posts concerning individuals’ personal struggles. While it is important to have public conversations about sociopolitical struggles for many marginalized groups, the internet helps to disadvantage visibility-related issues.
When I first read Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” as a high school student, I loved its romanticization of academia. The novel ostensibly focuses on the aesthetics of higher education. The main character, Richard Papen, arrives at the fictitious Hampden College and instantly falls in love with New England. He later manages to join five other students in the school’s exclusive classics department and spends most of his time bonding with his classmates over studying Greek literature.
If the Biblical sacrifice of Isaac were written today, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell might stand in for Abraham, and instead of the voice of the angel of God above, the faithful might read of the cries of disabled activists dragged in flex-cuffs from Congressional hearings. And our progenitor of nations, spared from certain death, is not Isaac but the Affordable Care Act. After the congressional GOP’s third abject healthcare failure, this is not the least apropos comparison, though it may verge slightly into the poetic.
Feminists are proud, independent women, but in order to further our cause, we do, in fact, need men. A major shift in the social paradigm is impossible when only part of the population is fighting for change. We need the other sex to fill the gaps, to help us form a united front and to project our voices in the places where we are not heard yet. This does not mean we are asking for charity.
If you were to ask a Dartmouth student studying Mandarin why they were devoting their time to learning the language, they might cite its potential utility in the near future. With a population of around 1.3 billion people and an economy that, depending on who you ask, either is about to or already has surpassed that of the United States, China is irrefutably a major player on the international stage. So, the Mandarin-learning Dartmouth student would be right to say that Mandarin will become more useful. However, its overall use will remain limited, and it is unlikely to ascend to become the next global lingua franca — or “bridge language.”
I’m sure most of us at Dartmouth have heard of the Stanford Duck Syndrome — it’s frequently mentioned around campus, although rarely actually discussed. For those of you who may need a refresher, the Duck Syndrome gets its name from the fact that ducks appear to wade calmly through water, but underneath the surface they’re frantically paddling to stay afloat. When referring to people, we’re talking about those divine humans who seem to be flawlessly succeeding in every aspect of their lives, from looking well-dressed to getting 4.0’s to being a charismatic and talented leader all at the same time, while internally trying not to drown just to meet the demands of life.
What do you do when the world melts apart?
Dartmouth encourages and aspires for us to become citizens and leaders of the world, and an international perspective is a critical indicator of an enriching education. Yet gaining this perspective begins with how we read the world. To read it insightfully and critically, we require intercultural competence, knowledge about one’s own culture and other cultures and the ability to bridge these divides through dialogue. For many of us, especially those not fortunate enough to currently be studying abroad or completing an internship, our source of literature is the news. When we watch the news, we should consider issues in an international perspective to achieve our goals, to fulfill our civic responsibilities and to expand our minds.
What were your first memories of Dartmouth?
Rush is here. Dartmouth’s rush system — and the Greek organizations it feeds — are both imperfect, but for the weekend they are here to stay. For both members of the Class of 2020 hoping to join Greek houses and affiliated students, these few weeks are a stressful time. Even for those uninvolved, the campus atmosphere can feel decidedly different.
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.
It was announced earlier this month that Equifax, a consumer credit reporting agency, was hacked and the personal and financial information of consumers stolen. It was also recently revealed that Equifax knew about a significant breach of its network in March of 2017, five months before it was disclosed publicly. The company has stated that the hack in March was unrelated to the recently disclosed breach in which millions of American consumers’ personal information was stolen, which is questionable considering both incidents reportedly involved the same hackers.
There is a common saying often heard by husbands: “Happy wife, happy life.” This saying also holds true in the primary and secondary education system: If teachers are happy with their work life, both the administration and the student body will be more likely to thrive. State and local governments currently have too much jurisdiction over education curriculum, which may be contributing to the lack of quality teachers across the United States.
Like many Dartmouth students, I went through a transitional process from high school hopeful to nervous college student last fall, a shift that involved a great deal of uncertainty and doubt. As Eliza Jane Schaeffer ’20 astutely observed in her Sept. 13 article on adjusting to Dartmouth life, “The College on the (Northeastern) Hill,” ordering Collis pasta is quite the feat for a first-year. In that same article, Schaeffer pointed out the unique challenges Southerners face on Dartmouth’s campus, where they are heavily outnumbered.
On adjusting to Dartmouth.
After seeing “Antigone in Ferguson” on Friday night, I did not leave necessarily with mixed emotions but rather with numerous discrete, difficult-to-handle thoughts, ideas and feelings. The show itself — a modern reading of the eons-old Greek tragedy “Antigone,” interspersed and complemented by song — was spectacular, raw, powerful, vulnerable, thought-provoking, discomforting and (by design) cathartic. The parallels between “Antigone,” which tells the story of the young title character and her quest to bury her dead brother Polyneices after he is deemed an enemy of the State and left to rot in the streets; and the story of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and whose body was left uncovered in the streets for four hours, were clear. Even so, the cast of “Antigone in Ferguson,” which included established actors Tracie Thoms and Zach Grenier, as well as equally talented performers who were closer to the tragedy in Ferguson — two of Michael Brown’s teachers and multiple members of the Ferguson police force — did not explicitly equate Michael Brown with Polyneices. Rather, it seemed the intent was, as Bryan Doerries, the artistic director of the production, put it in an interview with The Dartmouth, “to set up the conditions for a conversation in which people will interrogate what the word ‘Ferguson’ means to them.”
They broke the law — plain and simple. It’s the common thread that runs through every argument directed at the millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Even the phrase “undocumented immigrant” seems to irk conservative Americans, who more commonly prefer “illegal alien” as well as the crude shorthand: “illegal.” As if breaking a law in a broken system is all that defines a family seeking a better life. But I digress.