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This month, a study group created by the College will recommend a course of action regarding the Hovey murals. The murals, originally painted in the 1930s by Walter Beach Humphrey, a member of the Class of 1914, illustrate a drinking song written by another Dartmouth student, Richard Hovey. The murals used to decorate the walls of a faculty room in Thayer dining hall (now the basement of The Class of 1953 Commons), but are now locked out of view. Depending on the study group’s conclusions, the murals may remain where they are, be destroyed or be relocated. I hope that they will be relocated.
Together, the pages I follow on Instagram feed have two sides: emotional excess and visual excess. Everyone follows different content, whether it be food blogs, fitness pages or nature pictures, all of which carry their own trends. Because I tend to follow clothing labels, emotional meme pages, photographers and magazines, my media intake is a narrative that seems to summarize the contrasts between inner and outer feeling. The narrative of sexual liberation in popular personal pages and magazines compared to the shame that seems to pervade more emotional accounts suggests that, in general, the sexually explicit is more socially acceptable than what I might call the emotionally explicit.
Life isn’t fair; get used to it. My father’s favorite tidbit of “parental wisdom,” this brutal truth applies quite well to the realm of collegiate admissions. In fact, this sentiment colors how people gaze upon all of academia. It guides them to bemoan privilege, to champion the underdog, to seek true meritocracy. And yet here we stand, looming over an academic precipice which stands to plummet higher education downward and subvert the progress that has been made toward climbing Mt. Meritocracy. This generation stands privy to the death of standardized testing — the death of the great legitimizer.
You’re walking to class and you see a penny on the sidewalk. Do you take a moment to pick it up or do you walk past it? According to an analysis by the New Yorker, if you spent more than 6.15 seconds to pick the penny up, you could have better used your time.
“Yeah, I can’t believe they did that. It’s so…”
Seeing so many freshmen on campus in the past week made me reminisce on what my freshman fall was like. Before I began looking for any and all club sports and extracurricular activities to join, most of my time was just spent in classes. I remember really enjoying my Writing 5, “Contemporary Moral Issues.” We’d spend several weeks tackling big issues — physician-assisted suicide, capital punishment, abortion — and consider the legal and moral implications of each.
“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” is corny but good — a throwback to “Sixteen Candles” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” unlike what its misleadingly poetic title might suggest. Most of the online hype praises the film for including an Asian female lead while still remaining accessible to other audiences. It delves into high school issues to which other girls can relate — popularity or lack thereof, embarrassing gossip, complicated family situations, teen angst.
The incoming freshman’s first exercise in college-styled time management presents itself at Orientation. Parents and regularly scheduled class times do not dictate the time dedicated to moving into dorm rooms and getting adjusted to life as a Dartmouth freshman. In fact, neither does the Orientation schedule. Sheets of paper that lay out the day in colored codes corresponding to words like “optional” and “mandatory” ought to mean little to a college freshman recently released from the binds of a high school agenda. What is a schedule during Orientation week? Merely a suggestion.
At the time that I am writing this, I am in Rio de Janeiro — far away from Dartmouth, both physically and mentally. I’m living in Tabajaras, a favela in Copacabana that is run by a cartel with just three golden rules: do not rape, do not steal, do not kill. Break one, and the last remnants of you will be your ashes scattered over a mountaintop.
“I felt like a big celebrity on campus. Well, the kind of celebrity you could conceivably be at Dartmouth if you weren’t a jock or a sorority girl, who were the real celebrities.” This is the beginning of Mindy Kaling’s ’01 New York Times Bestselling memoir “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).” Though she is one of the more famous Dartmouth alumni, her public reflection on her years at the College ranges from fond to brutally honest, sometimes due to her self-deprecating humor and sometimes due to her willingness to address some very real problems that plagued campus in her day. Most of what she says, even her more frank quotes, are still not “bad press” for the College. But it’s possible the admissions office wouldn’t want her version of Dartmouth to be the first prospective students come to know.
To the Dartmouth Class of 2022,
A recent Nike advertising campaign is the latest controversy in our prevailing culture of “like or dislike.” The first ad posted on Sep.3 is a black-and-white photo of a solemn Colin Kaepernick overlaid with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This is a powerful statement for what it signifies about corporations and activism in America, as well as what his words say and mean to you.
Earlier this summer, plastic straws were in the news. Seattle banned plastic utensils from bars and businesses, Starbucks announced it will stop using plastic straws by 2020, and major companies such as McDonald’s are joining the movement to end the use of single use plastics. It’s hard to imagine a time without plastics, but widespread use only dates back to the early 1950s. Over the past six decades, we’ve produced over eight billion metric tons of plastics – a number that continues to rise exponentially – of which only nine percent has become recycled. The plastic straw movement draws attention to the importance of replacing single use plastics once and for all. While the cost of change may appear prohibitive and daunting, we need to replace single use plastics with more durable materials, as the former damage the environment, food chain, and human health, both within our communities and around the world.
Despite my interest in politics, I have no plans to run for political office anytime soon. While I firmly believe that political participation is important at any age, the rush of millennials to run for public office in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency is an ineffective and reactionary approach, and it’s not what America needs right now. College-aged students are inexperienced, unprepared and are substituting legislation for political activism and protest.
Democracy rests on people’s ability to respectfully disagree. When America’s democratic fabric has eroded to the point where political opponents become incorrigible enemies, the last thing it needs is more incivility. Unfortunately, incivility is the type of discourse many people seem to promote.
After completing my first year at Dartmouth, taking a step back from campus life was almost as overwhelming as plunging into it. Life back in the “real” world moves slowly, particularly if one’s off-term does not include an internship, a research grant or any other educational endeavor. Friends go home at the day’s end, and no regularly scheduled club meetings fill up one’s evenings. Students find themselves with a lot of free time and little idea of what to do with it.
Activism can seem like a dichotomy, with little leeway between social justice warrior and champion of the status quo. But limiting people to these two categories obscures the effectiveness of a quieter form of activism that occurs within, not against, the status quo.
A friend, a relative, an Olympian and an old teammate: Four people who, though they did not do so knowingly, contributed in one way, shape or form over the past week to challenge my view of the world. It may sound hyperbolic, or tinged with shades of a philosophical game of Clue, so let’s start somewhere light: Green Key.
May is Asian-American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPIHM) in the United States, and Dartmouth has been recognizing the month through programming over the past few weeks. The theme of this year’s AAPIHM at Dartmouth has been “Counter Currents: Beyond the Surface,” which was meant to highlight and uplift identities and narratives that are typically subsumed and homogenized within mainstream definitions of “Asian,” “Asian-American” and “Pacific Islander.” Much of the programming planned by this year’s AAPIHM committee has centered around deconstructing perceptions of identity and making new connections and solidarities with those identities, which typically do not get included in popular discourse of what being “Asian” is. This impulse toward further reflection, critique and inclusion in Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities should be lauded. In my view, Pan-Asian activists and community members should take a step further and seek to deconstruct how “Asia” emerged as a geographical unit in order to understand how and to what degree myriad people from various populations in “Asia” do and do not self-define as “Asian.”
I don’t mean to open old wounds, but it’s time to have a conversation about the 2016 election and its media coverage. In an age when various kinds of media have more influence over political campaigns than ever before, the 2016 election stands out. The vast and particularly damning negative coverage of Donald Trump, which did little to slow his campaign, seems to be reflective of an era during which the conventional wisdom of “no coverage is bad coverage” is correct. If this is true, how should the public consider and value the media coverage of campaigns, and to what extent do politicians themselves now play a role in creating their own press?