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Khanna: Preference for Privilege

(04/09/19 6:00am)

The recent college admissions scandal has focused national attention on college admissions processes at elite institutions. However, only some of these accounts considered the influence of social inequalities on students’ experiences after admission. Especially at elite colleges, social inequality between students runs deep, unfairly disadvantaging some students. These inequalities can effectively bar disadvantaged students from the same opportunities that their privileged peers enjoy. 

Inventing Innovation in Silicon Valley

(04/04/19 6:00am)

A new HBO documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” chronicles the rise and demise of Theranos, a health-tech company that claimed to have designed blood tests requiring a very small amount of blood. Its inexpensive tests could, it claimed, be administered and analyzed without a physician or a lab, thereby bringing healthcare closer to the consumer. Theranos received endorsements from a series of influential figures, including former U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The company’s peak valuation reached $9 billion. But in 2015, its technological claims were revealed as false. By 2016, Forbes estimated the net worth of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes at virtually nothing. Her company was a scam.

Subway or the Highway

(04/04/19 6:05am)

The sun was setting in the Mataderos neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and I had just attached myself to the longest bus line I had ever seen: It wrapped around the corner and ended right next to an overflowing public trash can. Ten minutes passed, and the line and general discontent only grew. Another 15 agonizing minutes passed. Finally, a half-filled bus rolled up to the stop. I took one look at the line and knew that I’d probably have to wait for the next bus. 

Elias: The Early Death Wish of Journalism

(04/02/19 6:05am)

We all know the feeling — you’re scrolling through Facebook and you find that New York Times article you just have to read. Perhaps it’s about how unlovable Theresa May is, or breaking news that Donald Trump does have terrible cardiovascular health. You eagerly click on the article and BAM! You’ve been hit with the dreaded pop-up: “You have reached your limit of free articles.” Great. 

Zehner: The Gray Dynasty

(04/02/19 6:00am)

According to Western news media, China presently faces a large number of problems. News stories are constantly awash with reports concerning the pollution in Chinese cities, political and religious repression and government corruption, among more. But there is one issue in particular that will seriously threaten China’s success within the next thirty years: Demographics. Even as a nation of 1.3 billion people, China will soon lack a sufficient number of citizens to support its economy. The country is aging quickly, and the repercussions of this should be a grave concern for Beijing.

Chin: Muse-en-scéne: A Crisis of Desire

(03/29/19 6:00am)

I began the year writing a manuscript about desire but quickly realized that words fall short of experience. One weekend away from the opening of the installation, “Dora’s Room: Digital Dreams,” at the Hopkins Center for the Performing Arts, I started to think about the practical implications of desire. People want to experience sex — not talk about it. Most adults remember having “the talk” with their parents when they were teenagers or having to sit through a sexual education course; these conversations were probably more uncomfortable than they were helpful. Given the national institutions that seem to oppose embracing sexuality and a collective desire to do just that, talking about it is more important than ever. This means that taking control of our own sexual health (both physical and mental) requires not just paying attention in health class, but also looking to media that acknowledges the aesthetic element to our bodies. While there are biological and scientific explanations for what happens to our bodies, there are emotional reasons for why these scientific occurrences are allowed to happen. 

Pak: Skirts and Slacks

(03/05/19 7:00am)

 At the 91st Academy Awards on Feb. 24, stage performer and singer Billy Porter waltzed onto the red carpet donning a resplendent, head-turning black velvet gown skirt with a tuxedo-like top half and a black bowtie to match. News headlines raved about the celebrity, praising him as an “icon” and his outfit as “remarkable.” Oscar viewers fired up Twitter in energetic support. Vogue called the dress a “play on masculinity and femininity” that “challenged the rigid Hollywood dress code and was boundary-pushing in all the right ways.”

Ellis: Gabbard Gets It

(02/28/19 7:25am)

 While growing up in Hawai’i, Tulsi Gabbard has been a household name in my family since I was old enough to start caring about politics. The seasoned congresswoman’s intent to join the congested Democratic heat may have come as a surprise to some. Dubbed by Vox as the “Long-Shot Democratic 2020 Candidate,” Gabbard might just actually have the tricks up her sleeve to reunite a polarized democratic populace, and possibly even challenge President Donald Trump to the Oval Office in 2020. A veteran, a woman of color, a hard-liner on terrorism and foreign policy, and a social progressive rolled into one, Tulsi Gabbard is the American Democratic candidate of the future. Whether you agree with her policies or not, Gabbard has a shot at meaningful bipartisan appeal and might not be such a long shot.

Pak: The Ugly Mess Under the Rug

(02/28/19 7:20am)

 If there’s one thing that comes to mind when reflecting on the Trump presidency, it’s the astounding number of hate crimes and race-related incidents that have occurred before and after his inauguration. There are attention-grabbing shockers like vilifying Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists while on the campaign trail, retweeting white nationalists without remorse, his failure to attribute blame to Charlottesville white supremacist perpetrators and calling some of them “very fine people,” denigrating Native Americans, the Muslim ban, attacking kneeling NFL players — needless to say, the list goes on and on.

Adelberg: Declare Independence

(02/14/19 7:10am)

 The 2020 presidential election is rapidly approaching. President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign war chest grows to over $100 million; meanwhile, more and more Democrats are announcing their campaigns to replace him. America is not ready for another round of the polarizing, tribalistic turf war that increasingly defines this country’s presidential politics. Tensions still run deep from the toxic 2016 elections, and little suggests that the entrenched party elite on either side of the aisle will jostle for power in 2020 with any more civility than last time. 

Fishbein: Cancel “Canceled”

(02/14/19 7:15am)

 When convicted illegal campaign contributor Dinesh D’Souza ’83 tweeted Tuesday morning about his lecture at Dartmouth Monday night, he had little to say about the content of his “A World Without Walls” speech. Perhaps D’Souza — who started his career as provocateur by outing gay classmates while editor of The Dartmouth Review and has since gone on in his numerous books and movies to make abhorrent statements that do not merit repetition — felt as though his followers already knew what his brand of hatred had to say about the border. More likely, though, D’Souza saw an opportunity to stir up his base. “...the campus leftists yelled, chanted, obstructed, & even cried!” D’Souza wrote. “Despite the best efforts of these little fascists-in-training, the event went on ...” Fox News reporter Heather Childs parroted this idea in her coverage of D’Souza’s visit, claiming on Twitter and television that protestors had “harassed” and “verbally attacked” him. 

Chun: A Return to Education

(02/14/19 7:20am)

 Four years ago, Dartmouth formed the Ad Hoc Committee on Grading Practices and Grade Inflation, and to quote Douglas Adams, “This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” Of course, the rationale seems both simple and unimpeachable: Dartmouth gives a lot of As, and if we keep going about it this way, soon everyone will have an A (and if that happens, Dartmouth isn’t doing its job). I added the part in parentheses because it’s an implicit assumption of Dartmouth’s approach toward education, and because I want the reader to read it in a stuffy bureaucratic voice that undermines it as a normative assumption about what Dartmouth’s job is. A giver of well-distributed grades is a terrible way to think about a college education.

Ellis: Comedic Decorum

(02/07/19 7:20am)

 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. 

Chin: Muse-en-scène: Thinking in the Nude

(01/31/19 7:15am)

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.

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. 

Chin: Muse-en-scène: Critical Clothing

(01/10/19 7:30am)

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.

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