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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. 

Chin: Why I Still Like Twilight

(01/17/19 7:15am)

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. 

Hill-Weld: Miscarriage of Justice

(01/15/19 7:20am)

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.

Mize: Flitz Clamantis in Deserto

(01/11/19 7:15am)

 Much has been said about Dartmouth’s isolation. We are “the” voice crying out into the wilderness, and the institution wears this as a badge of pride. Cut off from the realities and logic of the real world, Dartmouth students have essentially developed that own language — a complex network of lingo and slang that is intimidating to many at first, then exhilarating when mastered. “Meet me in Blobby,” I can now say with ease. “Can I borrow your flair?” I ask with a peaceful smile. As a result of our propensity to name things, these fairly typical collegiate concepts (costumes, the lobby of the library) become Dartmouth-specific. When we as a student body lay this sort of nominal claim on a thing, it becomes an important part of our culture. Nothing signifies the power of this act of claiming as much as the almighty flitz, or the “flirty Blitz.”

Verbum Ultimum: Tough Road Ahead

(01/11/19 7:20am)

 For the next year, the College’s libraries will be filled with exhibits extolling Dartmouth’s scholarly history and ostensibly bright future. Much of this revelry will focus on the community of alumni who once called Hanover home. But celebrations of the College’s academic pedigree and achievements may be inconvenienced by an awkward reality. For the first time in decades, the College on the Hill will be in a town without any bookstore.

Holzer: No Host? No Problem.

(01/10/19 7:20am)

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.