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To most people walking through Robinson Hall on any given day, Room 110 wouldn’t seem to be anything but ordinary. If anyone did stop by, they might notice that the small, rectangular chamber has a few lopsided old couches and a rickety wooden table accompanied by four creaking chairs and a layer of dust.
On Monday, April 15, people around the world watched as emergency responders struggled to halt the flames tearing apart the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The Notre-Dame fire was likely caused by accident. However, in the same month that the cathedral burned, cultural and religious institutions around the world experienced very deliberate attacks. Consider church burnings in Louisiana or the recent terrorist attack in Sri Lanka. The damage to Notre Dame is no doubt a tragedy. But the present destruction of spaces of communal worship reflects a larger and far more concerning pattern throughout history regarding the circumstances that enable some sites to survive and not others.
Solemn crowds of Parisians gathered on April 15 to watch as one of the city’s greatest icons, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, burned. The news sent shockwaves around the world and has prompted immense sorrow for one of the greatest emblems of France and a marvel of Gothic architecture.
We arrive at Dartmouth in all our intensity and meet an equally intense schedule. The D-Plan does not let its presence go unnoticed: It smothers both our academic and social lives. As we are broken into quarters, with breaks in between each quarter, our time here is sectioned off from itself. In my own experience, this makes each term, each parcel of time, feel like its own lifetime. Each quarter seems to have its own narrative arc framed by its clear beginning and its ever-looming end. And that transforms the way we think about our relationships with one another. That said, what I term as the “let’s grab a meal” mindset is a clear case study of the problems that result from this transformation.
If you’ve never been to a Supreme Court hearing, I would highly recommend it. There are some things that even recordings miss. I did not learn in my constitutional law class that the justices sit through much of oral arguments with their faces cupped in their palms, eyes almost closed. They behave like bored students in a 9L lecture, bouncing and swiveling in the nation’s most esteemed wheelie chairs. If not for seeing it with my own eyes, I would not have believed that Justices Stephen Breyer and Clarence Thomas (one liberal and one extremely conservative) could lean back almost out of view of the public and giggle together at their inside jokes.
Last week’s Final Four generated an estimated $142 million of revenue in its host city, Minneapolis. And that was just the start; CBS and Turner Sports made $1.32 billion in advertising revenue last year, and advertising revenues have consistently increased each year since 2014, which means that this year’s total may be even higher. Social media platforms and live streams allowed American workers to spend an average of six working hours per year watching the NCAA tournament, which would present a problem if their bosses weren’t also watching.
There’s no shortage of pop psychological drivel that claims that one can tell a lot about people by what they eat. But in my experience, the more interesting question is how people react to what others eat. I have been Muslim my entire life, and I’ve rarely, if ever, experienced skepticism or pushback when I’ve declined to eat pork and bacon. What I chose to eat or not eat was my business, between me and my beliefs.
Last Thursday, the students of Georgetown University voted in favor of a measure to impose a $27.20 fee per semester in honor of the 272 slaves once sold by the university. Proceeds from the fund would directly benefit the descendants of those slaves. This news comes just as multiple Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls have come out in support of reparations for descendants of slaves. While no major candidates have called for direct compensation, many have proposed reparations in the form of reduced monetary strain. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has advocated for tax credits to middle- and working-class citizens of any race, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) came out in favor of free or reduced-price child care for low-income families.
“The temple bell dies away/The scent of flowers in the evening/Is still tolling the bell.”
Hovering over our packs slung on the bus station bench, I count the cars as they pass by and wait for one of them to slow down. My traveling companion, Noah, and I rifle for snacks in my 45-liter Osprey, which holds all of my possessions for the next two months. These are the first stages of our survival plan. If our host doesn’t show, we will camp out at the bus stop until a car heading in the right direction comes by the next morning and then we’ll catch a train to a major city. Fifteen minutes pass, then 20.
The body is where things happen, and the body makes things happen. But in light of Sexual Awareness Month, I am thinking about how a body is also a burden. Your body is your heaviest baggage, bearing the scars of physical strain or perhaps even trauma — and in spite of that trauma, the body is daring to feel longing and lust. Everyone has a theory of their body whether or not this theorization is conscious. It comes from watching cinema, scrolling through social media feeds and simply existing. All of these activities happen in spite of and in relation to the emotional history of one’s body. Survivors of sexual assault often struggle with body image and the feeling of being objectified. But the sexualization of the female body, along with the reality that women are disproportionally affected by sexual assault, means that simply existing in a female or femme body is difficult even for those who have not faced sexual assault. So how does one live in a marginalized body with agency and without fear?
The coffee shop is a privileged space. Since coffee was exported from Ethiopia to Mecca and Medina in the 10th century, coffeehouses have been a staple of cosmopolitan life around the world. People have used coffeehouses as local meeting places, cornerstones of an interconnected and reflective neighborhood.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.