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Totalitarianism is more than a political project. It is a popular psychology that facilitates tyrannical societies through a particularly brutal form of groupthink intent on the destruction of free thought. Totalitarian governments are not simply top-down regimes; they instead emerge from entire societies operating in a totalitarian manner. The great political theorist Hannah Arendt famously noted that the Nazi and Soviet systems did not appear overnight, but instead emerged from cultures inundated by the 19th and 20th centuries’ popular ideological movements of imperialism and anti-Semitism. History’s most dangerous demagogues thus share culpability with the masses that subscribed to their ideology and formed their cults of personality.
In the two weeks since the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, the United States and Iran seem to have stepped back from the brink of war. Thankfully, the two states’ brief exchange of conventional force has given way to a de facto ceasefire.
My dad always had a bad history with phones. We bought him his first one in 2014: a Samsung Note 3, the largest phone we could find on the market. For extra precaution, we equipped it with an Otterbox case, holster belt clip and a tempered glass screen protector. Unfortunately, he put his phone on top of the car, drove away and never saw it again; even worse, he forgot to set up a password.
On March 22, special counsel Robert Mueller delivered his report on the two-year long investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election. Many Democrats have spent the previous two years on the edge of their seats, hoping Mueller’s report would allege that the Donald Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Two days after Mueller submitted his report, attorney general William Barr submitted a four-page summary of the report to Congress — a decision that many Democrats decried as indicative of a lack of transparency and oversight. Given Barr’s public skepticism of the investigation, Democrats aren’t wrong to question whether Barr held back details that could have hurt the President’s standing. But even if Democrats have grounds to pursue a full release of the report, they dwell on the issue at their own peril.
Campus outsiders use many stereotypes to describe Dartmouth students. Posts on college-matching website Unigo portray Dartmouth as a fraternity-dominated, beer-drinking party school, but also as a place where students are laid back, outdoorsy and active. I find these Dartmouth stereotypes contradictory — on one hand, students are known for extreme partying, and on the other, they are seen as healthy and physically active. The truth is that both stereotypes are largely valid.
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.
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.
In an age of digital reality, I find it vitally important to reevaluate, if not mourn, the many wrongdoings endured the previous year while celebrating the start of a new year. Without doubt, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi would be at the top of many journalists’ lists. On Oct. 2 last year, Khashoggi, an acclaimed Saudi journalist and an opposition to the Saudi government, was allegedly ordered to be assassinated by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as suggested by an audio recording. The news shocked the entire international community, especially given that the cold-blooded murder took place inside a consulate, symbolic of how tenuous and flimsy the idea of freedom of the press still is.
A sullen silence filled our kitchen in the early morning before I left the house to board our team bus for a cross-country meet in Duluth, Minnesota. A receipt for the Nov. 2017 SAT subject tests lay on the kitchen table next to my packed cross-country bag. My ears rang with shouts from the night before, disbelieving exclamations of “You want to skip your SATs to run in a cross country meet?”—angry and cutting, even in the quiet of the early morning. As time ticked away, I was reminded of my impending choice: the decision to continue as I always had, on the path that others had set for me. Or the opportunity to forge into the unknown territory of disobedience, alone. Closing my eyes, I picked up my cross-country bag and left the house without looking back.
The line between politics and self-identity has long been blurred in America, and this past midterm election has highlighted this. Politics are felt in every corner of the country, whether it is at the municipal, state or federal level. As such, the American political system has become intertwined with many citizens’ personal identities. Whether people wish to tune into politics or not, decisions made in the White House are inevitably going to affect their lives. As a consequence, there is a higher level of emotional energy directed into campaigning, political conversations and voting. This personal stake correlates with a higher level of ownership that I believe is good news for the future of American politics.
The anti-Semitic mass-shooting that targeted the congregation of the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue left me deeply wounded. Before anything, I must state that I condemn this atrocious hate crime and send my condolences to the nation and especially to the Jewish community, including the Jewish community at Dartmouth.
In May of 2017, the United States Department of Justice launched an investigation into potential Russian attempts to influence the previous year’s American presidential election, as well as possible coordination between Russia and the Trump administration. Since then, as a country, we’ve reached a kind of impasse; a national gridlock, one born of a long, mired period of what for many feels like purgatorial waiting. During this time of opacity, reading and listening to the news has become, for many (including myself), a form of control. We get to latch onto the coverage of Mueller’s proceedings, assigning our own levels of significance to moments like the indictment of Michael Flynn and more recently, a foiled smear campaign to frame Mueller for sexual misconduct. People spend their time reading into his findings and framing them the way they want to see them. However, patience is running thin. Fortunately, for those of us feeling that we can’t take this much longer, reports of Mueller’s findings are expected to come flying back into the news following the midterm elections.
The photograph of Amal Hussein, an emaciated 7-year-old Yemeni girl on the brink of death, took America by storm when it was first published in the New York Times. Its wide circulation drew long-overdue attention to Yemen’s ongoing crisis — although crisis seems too small a word for it. Famine and cholera have swept the country; as of June, one million Yemenis were infected with cholera, and 18 million don’t know where their next meal will come from. Of the country’s population of 28 million, over 22 million live in dire need of humanitarian aid. The health and survival of over 80 percent of Yemeni children are at risk. The U.N. has dubbed this catastrophe the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and potentially the worst famine the world has seen in a century if the war continues.