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In the op-ed “Red, White and Offended” published in The Dartmouth on Jan. 31, Peter Leutz delves into the issue of free speech in comedy and declares that infamous comedian Louis C.K.’s recent jokes and their offensive content “should be of little concern” as long as they’re for comedic purposes. I applaud Leutz for his defense of free speech and his analysis of modern comedic discourse, but as a person who both preforms and enjoys comedy, I disagree with his thesis entirely. While many comedians rely on “shock value” and often tread the grey area of “too far” and “just enough,” C.K. should be heavily criticized, and his jokes, such as his most recent mocking of Parkland shooting survivors, have no place in modern comedy.
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.
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.
I recently purchased a tote on Instagram with the words, “The cyborg in me recognizes the cyborg in you.” With the enthusiasm somewhere between that of a hypebeast and intellectual nerd, I told my friends how it fell into my hands; the bag is sold by Instagram meme account @sighswoon, who created the phrase after reading a text by digital and feminist studies professor, Donna Haraway. My cyborg tote is one product within a larger trend of not only text-heavy apparel, but simple pieces that reference moments in high culture. Some fellow theory lovers have dismissed this as sad and reductive, while some of my more fashionable friends encourage me to resist the urge to read into it. But Theory Garb, as I’ll coin it, demonstrates the pop culture potential of theory when it does not take itself too seriously, and serves as a reminder that it is the beginning of a question and not an answer to one.
I don’t always notice it — when trying to beat the KAF line or, in the opposite direction, rushing to my history classes in Carson. But, when not confronted by a menacing time crunch as I progress down First Floor Berry, the year 1968 can’t help but catch my eyes in its bright red lettering.
Wearable technology is expected to be one of 2019’s biggest fitness trends. Many major companies and institutions are interested in promoting innovation in these areas, such as universities across the country. For instance, Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma requires students to purchase a Fitbit and walk at least 10,000 steps a day for a letter grade. As of September 2018 the insurance company John Hancock now provides discounted premiums to individuals enrolled in their Vitality life insurance program who use activity trackers and opt to report this data to the company. Individuals in the program automatically receive 20 to 40 percent discounts on these wearable fitness devices. While linking fitness to one’s health is a positive goal, however, insurance companies should not have access to fitness data because of data errors, privacy concerns and the negative impact of fitness trackers.
The emails seem to roll in on almost a daily basis, offering thousands of dollars to students looking to pursue “design your own” internship programs with Dartmouth organizations. Deans, professors and fellow students encouraged me to apply for programs with Rauner Library, the Center for Social Impact, the Dickey Center, the Rockefeller Center or even individual departments to secure funding for my upcoming off-term, which I had filled with an internship at a nonprofit law office in New York. Both the candor with which they spoke and the seemingly overwhelming number of resources available made me feel confident when applying for funding that was critical to me being able to take up my offer in Albany. However, not only was I declined funding during the initial application round, I discovered that many of my friends who depend on these funding sources had also been dismissed — highlighting a pernicious consequence of pursing nonprofit internships.
Until July 20, 1969, a human being who gazed at the light of distant stars perforating the night sky had to do so on Earth. Neil Armstrong changed that forever. To him, our planet was a small blue dot mostly alone in a vast expanse of darkness. After Apollo 11 landed to unprecedented worldwide acclaim, the moon and everything else out there seemed like something we could do more than look at from Earth. Unfortunately, much like in any other place humans have landed, human apathy and thoughtlessness did not leave the Moon as it had been found.
Congratulations! You made it another year, another leap through time and space around the sun into a momentous 2019. As we approach this new year of life and experience, some of us take a moment to make resolutions that — hopefully — will stand the test of time. These resolutions reflect us with a rare authenticity — they are our highest hopes, our deepest insecurities and our most honest appraisals of our own selves.
By now the world knows, or at least many of us do, that Thanksgiving is a holiday tainted by its unethical historical context. In tasteless celebration of the white man’s massacre of indigenous peoples, Americans gorge themselves annually on factory-farmed turkey, GMO-riddled green bean casserole and squash, artificially-sweetened cranberry sauce and all other sorts of American delicacies. Younger family members are told gilded tales about Squanto and falsified stories depicting the colonists and the indigenous peoples living in harmony. Swept under the carpet are the European diseases, the unjust exploitation of natives and the sick reality that the foundations of the world we live in today were ripped from the hands of the people who called this land home before us.
I stared at question number 6 on the form.
With the United States’ midterm elections looming, the push to “get out the vote” is in full-swing. As it should be — only 61 percent of registered voters went to the polls in 2016. Perhaps even more surprising is that 2016 set the record for voter turnout in a presidential election. If we take a closer look at the 137.5 million voters who actually, well, voted, we see something else surprising: close to 90 percent of people reported they would vote along party lines. This tribalistic divide in the American civic body mirrors the partisan divide in Congress, where party unity voting has increased from sixty percent in the early 1970s to 90 percent in 2017.
I received several attention-grabbing emails in my inbox last week. The messages advertised that conservative commentator David Horowitz would be coming to campus to discuss “Identity Politics and the Totalitarian Threat from the Left.” Potentially provocative email subject lines containing quotes by Horowitz included “Israel is the victim,” “Angry voices of the left” and “Identity politics is racist.” The planned format of the event was 40 minutes of prepared remarks, followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.
In the ongoing battles over student voting in New Hampshire, the anti-vote side latches onto the claim that students aren’t “real” residents of New Hampshire, and so don’t deserve the right to vote. And they’ve acted on it. A court recently struck down Senate Bill 3, one of two recent voter-regulation bills, but House Bill 1264, another bill that effectively disenfranchises students, goes into effect on July 1. Unless something changes, many students will still essentially lose their right to vote.
This weekend, I spent some time knocking on doors in Hanover as part of a get-out-the-vote effort. Door-knocking in a college town has its pros and cons. Pro: People are generally nice and willing to talk to random college students, especially when said college students look cold and a little miserable in the 40-degree weather. Con: Finding specific student housing apartments requires immense navigational skill, of which I have none. How can you find apartment #21B when the number “2” has fallen off the door? More cons: Lots of people do not answer their doors. Even the people who do answer don’t always want to talk once they realize the knock doesn’t come from a package delivery.
Jack-o-lanterns grin from Hanover’s porches in the last orange bursts of peak foliage, the year’s most anticipated horror movies premier onscreen and campus anticipates spooky festivities with candy and costumes. It’s time for horror enthusiasts like me to relish in our favorite genre. In the spirit of Halloween, many students scrounge for something scary to consume and find themselves looking at a foreign menu. For anybody with no idea what to order, I offer a few humble recommendations.
The destruction wrecked upon the home of a girl named Sally and her brother as a red-and-white hat wearing anthropomorphic cat and his two “Thing” henchmen balance on umbrellas, fly kites indoors and knock pictures off walls requires a magical cleaning machine to ameliorate. Dr. Seuss’s 1957 book may have succeeded in stimulating childhood imagination, but unfortunately (in case you didn’t realize it) we don’t live in “Cat in the Hat” universe, and the Dartmouth alumnus couldn’t succeed in bringing about a way to go back in time and reverse the damage we’ve done.