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Review: Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ continues to be an inspiring show

(04/12/19 6:00am)

The Fab Five, the beloved group of queer men on the Netflix series “Queer Eye,” are back for their third season in Kansas City, MO — more sparkly and delightful than ever. After two seasons of makeovers in Atlanta, GA, the group hones in on the Heartland of America. Filled with stunning transformations, heartwarming moments and plenty of “yaass girl”s, the third season entertains with its bright, feel-good plot and humor.


‘The Black Outdoors’ course explores race and the environment

(04/11/19 6:00am)

This spring, English and creative writing professor Joshua Bennett is teaching ENGL 53.29/AAAS 35.50; “Introduction to African American Environmental Thought: The Black Outdoors.” Bennett said that his work as a poet and a professor of the class both relate to his interest in preservation and spreading awareness.His course seeks to bring light to the vast artistic and ecological life of the African American literary canon as well as their lived experiences in the outdoors. Bennett has a fascination with black literature and poetics, especially in relation to environmental and animality studies. 


HBO series ‘Game of Thrones’ has left a monumental legacy

(04/09/19 6:09am)

As “Game of Thrones” begins its eighth and final season this Sunday, a retrospective examining of the show’s legacy feels inevitable. After all, “Game of Thrones” was never just a popular TV show; its astonishing critical and commercial success has only been matched by the countless think pieces about the show’s impact on the television industry, its approach to adapting George R. R. Martin’s nigh-unadaptable “A Song of Ice and Fire” series and its many, many controversies. Indeed, considering the immense cultural ripple effect of “Game of Thrones,” it’s not shocking that both the show and its legacy are a bundle of interwoven contradictions and paradoxes. Just as the show has been praised for its nuanced female characters, critique of fascist despotism and perceived allegory about the dangers of climate change, it has also rightfully received vociferous criticism, particularly for its often-reckless depiction of sexual violence.


First-year seminar reflects upon and explores immigrant literature

(04/09/19 6:00am)

The first-year seminar ENGL 53.10: “Immigrant Women Writing in America” provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences through film, novels, short stories and poetry. English professor Melissa Zeiger offers the class to all students, but caters the literary content of the first-year seminar toward the goal of helping first-year students establish their skills as writers and find their bearings in their new college environment. The class studies a combination of media, including film and written work from immigrant women writers who recount their experiences in the United States. While the students study the stories of renowned writers, they are also encouraged to reflect upon their own experiences with immigration and how immigration has shaped their environments.“Immigrant Women Writing in America” consolidates written and visual works that touch upon themes of race, familial relations and sexuality. 


Review: ‘Lincoln in the Bardo’ weaves history into a tale of grief

(04/09/19 6:06am)

“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders is a luminary novel depicting a single night of grief. Set in a graveyard where Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, is buried, the story follows Lincoln’s visits to the tomb where several ghosts discuss their lives and their deaths. The novel is narrated by these ghosts who all occupy a purgatory-like existence called, after the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, “the bardo.” The ghosts in the bardo have all decided to stay between the living and the dead for a host of reasons. For instance, one of them, a preacher, knows he will go to hell if he leaves the bardo. The most common reason for staying, however, is that most of the ghosts are convinced that they are simply “sick” and set to eventually return to the realm of the living. For Willie, the choice between leaving for heaven or staying in the bardo is only complicated by his father’s return to his tomb. While the other ghosts try to convince Willie to leave — for the bardo is a complicated place where the young often go crazy — he desires nothing more than to stay with his father.


Intro to UI/UX: Designing Beauty and the User-Experience

(04/05/19 6:00am)

 This spring is the inaugural term for the class “Intro to UI/UX Design I” with professor Lorie Loeb. According to Loeb, the class, which is open exclusively to first- and second- year students, focuses on creating meaningful, accessible and beautiful interfaces for technology. The class, which requires no previous experiences, uses elements of human-centered design, graphic design and design with digital tools. As the first part in a two-class sequence, students are expected to take “Intro to UI/UX Design II” in the following summer, fall or winter terms in order to apply their skills in the DALI lab as a designer.  


'Apollo 11' is compelling, even without embellishment

(04/02/19 6:00am)

In my review for HBO’s “The Inventor,” I wrote about the varying necessities of documentary art, focusing on the balance between pure recording and critical analysis. I acknowledged that some documentaries only require the deft eye of observance, while others, such as “The Inventor,” need an extra layer of insight and analysis to fully succeed. Todd Douglas Miller’s extraordinary new documentary “Apollo 11” succeeds with such simplicity as a documentary entirely composed of recorded moments and devoid of any analytical imposition. As such a work of art, it is a marvelous testament to the sheer power of observance, carried not by narrative or analysis but rather by the awe and wonder of what it captures on camera. 



The Inventor is a near miss about an American fraud

(04/02/19 6:10am)

HBO’s new documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” chronicles the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose company, Theranos, claimed to revolutionize the world of blood testing. Spurred by an intense desire for wealth and fame, Holmes devised a way to carry out complex blood tests — the sorts that usually require an uncomfortable venous draw — with only a drop of blood obtained through a finger prick. The problem she and her company encountered, though, was that they simply couldn’t get the process to work. Terrified of failure and obsessed with her own legend, Holmes lied and connived to keep Theranos afloat, deliberately misrepresenting the abilities of her company. “The Inventor” dutifully tracks these events with straightforward documentary reporting, but it fails to fully delve into the fascinating character of Elizabeth Holmes or her web of deceit, resulting in a film that lacks intrigue and coherence. 


Hasan Minhaj's 'Patriot Act' is breath is a breath of fresh air for comedy

(04/04/19 6:00am)

Netflix has been a boon for stand-up comedians these past few years, offering an enormous platform for artists whose work would have been a little more difficult to find for our generation of instant streamers. I fell into the rabbit hole of stand-up around the same time I started my Netflix subscription, which means for a while, I hadn’t done much else but listen to the upteenth comedian give a self-deprecating monologue. 




Review: ‘Us’ is a new masterpiece that blends horror and comedy

(03/26/19 6:10am)

It’s been a while since I’ve been as excited to see a movie as I was to see “Us,” the new film directed, written and produced by Jordan Peele. Like millions of people, I was blown away by how unexpectedly good Peele’s 2017 film “Get Out” was, so I came in to “Us” with high expectations, looking for something just as thought-provoking and well-constructed. While I don’t think that “Us” has “Get Out” beat, I still think it’s a fantastic, smart film that should be watched by everyone looking to walk out of a movie theater all giddy — like you used to before everything became a reboot or a third sequel in a franchise. I enjoyed it so much that I gladly paid to see it twice this past weekend.


Review: ‘Triple Frontier’ has a bloated plot with boring characters

(03/26/19 6:05am)

“Triple Frontier” dropped on Netflix earlier this month with little advertisement but has since exploded into an online sensation. However, I think that the film’s high ratings can be attributed to the hype from its attractive, star-studded cast rather than the quality of the film itself.  


Review: ‘Captain Marvel’ is a blockbuster with an indie touch

(03/26/19 6:00am)

At this point, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has garnered a reputation for tenacity when it comes to selecting unique directors whose prior work doesn’t always make them obvious candidates for mega-budget superhero extravaganzas. This strategy is noteworthy because it has paid off time and time again; the fact that Taika Waititi and Ryan Coogler have recently managed to reinvigorate the franchise with “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Black Panther,” respectively, suggests that this strategy is extremely viable. 


Review: ‘This Land’ doesn’t provide a cohesive musical identity

(03/05/19 7:25am)

Gary Clark Jr. seems to be in the midst of an identity crisis. After bursting out of the Austin music scene as an heir to greats like Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, he settled into a comfortable role as a jam-and-solo blues guitarist.Yet somewhere along the line grew tired of the redundancy. Starting with his 2015 album “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim,” Clark began experimenting with sounds that veered into R&B and funk, and his latest release, “This Land,” is even more of a departure from the traditional blues image he once presented. I would even go so far as to say that “This Land” is not a blues album at all. Rather, it is a sampler of Clark’s genre-bending experimentations, which hover somewhere between rock, R&B and hip hop. Unfortunately, the result is a messy record that has intriguing moments but lacks a coherent identity, sounding like the product of an artist who is still unsure of his own place in the world of modern music. 



‘Black Panther’ should have won Best Picture at the Oscars

(03/05/19 7:30am)

You may have heard that the 91st Academy Awards ceremony took place a little over a week ago, and you may have also heard that the results were … controversial. But as much as I disapprove of “Green Book” as the Best Picture winner, I don’t really have the desire to explore that any further in this article. Instead, I’d like to discuss “Black Panther,” another Best Picture nominee and one whose failure to win the top prize reflects a series of ongoing problems with the Academy Awards.


Review: Hozier’s ‘Wasteland, Baby!’ is a pleasant musical surprise

(03/05/19 7:35am)

This past Friday, Hozier’s second studio album was released, closing a five year gap between his debut album from 2014 and his latest. Given the massive success of the Irish singer’s first album, “Hozier” and five years’ worth of expectation, Hozier’s second album was released upon high anticipation. So does ‘Wasteland, Baby!’ rise to the challenge? 


Review: 'Alita: Battle Angel' is entertaining, but its script falls short

(03/01/19 7:16am)

“Alita: Battle Angel” is the latest in the line of big budget, young adult sci-fi films to not do well critically or commercially. Following in the footsteps of the “Divergent” and “Maze Runner” trilogies, I felt like “Alita” tried too hard to recreate the success of “The Hunger Games.” While it might have worked in 2012, I think that today’s audiences are bored of the generic “chosen one” teenaged protagonist who must fight to overthrow a dystopian government, all while having to deal with a ham-fisted romantic subplot that does nothing but drag the plot down. That being said, I did enjoy this movie.