March 21, 2005 - Dolphin Student Group Web Accounts

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March 21, 2005 - Dolphin Student Group Web Accounts
The Undergraduate Magazine
Vol. V, No. 15 | March 21, 2005
Single Serving Asshole
Shira shares her airborne angst: where’s
a flight attendant when you need one?
Page 3
Lone Home State
Michael clicks his heels and journeys
back to a land before liberals
Page 4
California Dreamin’
Rob urges McPenntrification- all the way
to L.A.
Page 5
It’s the Inflation, Stupid!
Thuy differentiates love and the
excitable bulge in your pants.
Page 8
GENERATION
YAWN
L A U R E N S A U L | W E E K LY S A U L U T A T I O N S
EVERY WEEK OR TWO, many newspapers run a token story about problems
unique to our generation. We are obsessed with our possessions, we can’t go
anywhere without our precious iPods,
some of us jump through ridiculously
twisted hoops to gain acceptance into
top universities, we take drastic and unhealthy measures for the sake of appearances… the list goes on. The media and
our Baby Boomer parents gripe endlessly
about our materialism and the plethora of emotional issues which
afflict us. This reaction may be the result of a lack of potential
complaints — after all, our generation is not the dope-smoking,
anti-establishment group of rebels that our parents reminisce of
being. We aren’t challenging the status-quo with the same pitch
as they did when they were young, and so we fail to bring them the
level of outrage they bestowed their parents. Our pathos, instead,
is something no one ever would have imagined: the quest for perfection.
The illegal usage of drugs like Adderall is widely known. Unlike
our parents, who used drugs for fun purposes and to relax, we also
use them to speed ourselves up so we can be even more productive.
Red Bull is also a readily available and heavily marketed product,
especially at colleges. Unlike some of our mothers, who swore off
bras and other constraining clothing, we commit painful acts to
improve our appearance. The most “scandalous” high school stories often involve hordes of suburban teenagers gathering at an
empty house and drinking kegs of beer. Therefore, I say, we may
as well face it: our generation just isn’t that cool. The Zach Morris
character from life is gone, and he took his silly antics with him
to TV purgatory. The replacement: reality TV and shows like The
OC, where any physical flaw is forbidden. Would it be possible to
imagine the debut of a show with Saved by the Bell’s kooky-looking
cast now, in 2005? I think not. Stories about frantic actions to
gain acceptance into college are also a relatively new phenomenon,
MARIAN LEE something we were the first to be greeted with upon coming of age.
WATER VILLAGE
In the past, fewer kids endeavored to be a super-athlete, musician,
president of everything, and star. A recent Times article described
how the number of sports injuries has increased tenfold in the
past decade, because children are specializing in a particular sport
early on, and spending all their time developing their skill in that
particular game so they will have a special talent by the time they
ROZ PLOTZKER | SEX AND THE UNIVERSITY
reach college. Gone is the notion of “just playing.”
Here at Penn, the pursuit of improving one’s resume never
FOR MY SPRING BREAK VACATION, two friends and I planned a cross-country
ends.
Eating disorders are a well known problem and are in some
road trip. The final destination: Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado. For
cases
institutionalized.
And many of us work really hard to remonths we charted routes and researched oddities to see along the way, such as the
ceive good grades, all cool kid pretensions aside. Sleeping is passé
world’s second biggest ball of twine in Kansas, the largest office chair in Alabama, and
— that time is better spent partying hard or studying endlessly.
the Museum of Questionable Medical Devices. We budgeted, we made lists and phone
Best situation: tell people you are doing the former while you are
calls, we bought books. Then, two days before departure, we found a last minute speactually holed up in your room, learning accounting terms. Penn
cial on a fight to Trinidad, so we went there instead.
students are known (and stereotyped) for their amazing abilities
Like hundreds of other college students, we found ourselves on an airplane headed
to drink copious amounts of alcohol so as to party as much as their
for some wonderful sunny shore that would trick our skin into getting a tan (or in my
case a burnt back side) at the end of winter. Spring break is a lucrative industry, like
state school compatriots a few miles west, while at the same time
diet schemes or Ivy League universities. People buy trip packages. You get a place to go, a place to stay, things to
studying intensely to get that good job. Perfection is a challenge,
do, and most importantly a way to get there.
because it requires balance. Many people impressively manage to
Come March, college students and girls waiting to go wild assail the airlines. With this boom in vacationers,
maintain this heady equilibrium, even if it involves studying with a
combined with a shift in who is vacationing , not just retirees on bird watching expeditions anymore, I bet there’s
hangover. However, for some people, it is a tough act to follow.
a spike in new Mile High Club memberships. No offense to retirees. I’m sure they have exciting, vivacious sex lives
My recommendation: everyone needs to take a chill pill. It is
too, but let’s face it, even if the bird watchers were adventurous enough to sneak into the closet of a bathroom for
harder than ever to, with societal pressures and the Ivy League
some action, arthritis or some other condition would make it difficult to maneuver the right angles, thrusts, etc.
ethos, but we only live once. If you’re joining clubs only to write
How does one have sex on an airplane? Here’s some advice the Sex Clearing House had to offer: “About 1/3 of
the leadership position you’re currently trying to get on your rethe way into the flight, when they start to wheel the carts down the aisles with peanuts or beverages, have one persume, I strongly encourage you to give up such practices. Interson go to the bathroom … about two minutes later, the other person heads to the rest room too.” The cart means
viewers may sense how dull you really are, and such antics will not
the flight attendants are busy, and that people are staying in their seats. “Person no. 2 enters with a secret knock
go unnoticed by fellow students. Studying is valuable in modera(planned beforehand). A quick Are you OK? statement upon entering helps [to keep people unsuspicious]. Once
tion, especially if it is without the aid of prescription drugs, and so
inside, lock the door and get busy! Flush the toilet when you’re finished, and hey, clean up after yourselves. On the
is partying. Self-discipline is an invaluable asset for anyone going
way back to your seats, hold hands and have person 2 say, Are you sure you’re okay?”
through life with goals and hopes, but if it stifles creativity and
On this particular flight, I had no such luck playing sick for a quickie, nor did my travel mates, since we all left
one’s sense of adventure, it may become hard to remember why we
our boyfriends at home. Not that the thought hasn’t crossed my mind: “Sex on an airplane? Cool!” But then again,
bothered with such efforts at all. At times people would benefit
sex anywhere is kind of cool. Except under the button! This is not cool! Little kids play there, for goodness sake.
from an aimless walk through Philly, or an out-of-the-blue converA few summers ago, a friend of mine found out the code to get into Franklin Field. He’d worked with one of
the athletic departments. Access to Franklin Field in the summer is like having a key to your own private, well,
sation with an unexpected person, even if important work must get
football field for lack of a more creative name. A group of us made a bet on who could sneak in and score on the
done, or making an appearance somewhere is a priority because
50-yard line first. I was a shoe in to win since the only other person with a significant other was in a long distance
it’s Thursday night. Overachievement, whether it’s to maintain a
DESTINATION: SEX
Continued on PAGE 5
Continued on PAGE 6
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
P AGE 2
FirstCall
Vol. V, No. 15 | March 21, 2005
The Undergraduate Magazine
Editor-in-Chief
Robert Forman
Editors
Andrew Pederson
Lauren Saul
Assistant Editor
Anna Stetsovskaya
Columnists
Shira Bender
Christine Chen
Robert Forman
Adam Goldstein
Julie Gremillion
James Houston
Mickey Jou
Michael Patterson
Andrew Pederson
Roz Plotzker
Lauren Saul
Anna Strongin
Thuy Tran
Writers
Anonymous XX
Anonymous XY
Artists
Shira Bender
Jay Kim
Photographer
Marian Lee
Layout Editor
Krystal Godines
Business Managers
Alex Chacon
Greg Lysko
Marketing Manager
Leah Karasik
Marketing Staff
Lauren Saul
Anna Strongin
Advertising Staff
Ruchi Desai
Webmaster
Rachit Shukla
Contact Information
330 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 898-3200
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school and class.
Editorial Policy
First Call is the undergraduate magazine
of The University of Pennsylvania. First
Call is published every Monday. Our
mission is to provide members of the
community an open forum for expressing ideas and opinions. To this end, we,
the editors of First Call, are committed
to a policy of not censoring opinions.
Articles are provided by regular columnists and writers. They are chosen for
publication based on the quality of writing and, in the case of commentaries, the
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First Call, its editorial board, or individual members of First Call other than the
author. No content in First Call unless
otherwise stated represents the official
position of the administration, faculty,
or student body at large of the Wharton
School or the University of Pennsylvania.
Next issue: March 28, 2005
Editorial
ROCK ON, PHILADELPHIA
Though you might not know it from the near-total campus outrage with this year’s Spring Fling
Concert line-up, Philadelphia and rock music actually do mix in a way quite unlike oil and vinegar.
Perhaps you’ve been living under a rock or on a tropical island for a week somewhere toward the beginning of March, but Y100 is no more. Radio One, the parent company, took Y100 off the air due
to poor Arbitron ratings in order to pave the way for rebranding and yet another local hip-hop rap
station.
Don’t get us wrong: we like these genre. We at First Call also like diversity and are not ready to
live in “the biggest town in America without an alternative rock station,” to paraphrase the catch line
on www.y100rocks.com. The website is a chimera of grand proportions, featuring a dedicated radio
streaming section mirroring the DJs and playlists from 100.3 FM, a petition (Save Y-100), a press archives with stories about the protests and said-petition, and a band support section with articles from
Rolling Stone and shoutouts from bands like Hot Hot Heat, Garbage, and Penn’s own Off the Beat.
Not since 2003’s protest against the war in Iraq have we seen Philadelphia residents and college
students so passionate about something other than elections and football. Rock, it appears, rocks. Or
at least it’s trying to, despite some hefty opposition. For every fan of The Faint or Franz Ferdinand on
campus, it seems there are nine people who want nothing more than to listen to 50 Cent make “subtle”
references to oral sex. To Penn students angry about Sonic Youth et al blemishing the tradition of
rap and hip-hop acts who annually grace our stage while shouting expletives about rich white kids
(thanks, Busta), First Call kindly asks you to shut up.
You haven’t heard of Sonic Youth, although of the headliners the past three years only Sonic Youth
can boast a guest stint on The Simpsons. Apparently you don’t like them. Some people on campus
might. No one in the First Call office does, mind you, but chances are someone in the undergraduate
population, a Sonic Youth fan exists. The best way to tell SPEC you’re unhappy with the selection is
to boycott the event by not buying a ticket. It’s Spring Fling; there will be many opportunities to get
wasted. Don’t waste your time and money in Wynn Commons booing professional musicians.
Though we don’t necessarily approve of SPEC’s headliner, we applaud the change to rock music in
light of the Y100 fiasco described above. We might have suggested a band students had heard of—The
Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Green Day, Coldplay, and any of the multitude of pop-punk bands
currently “in” and prominently featured on The OC. We also question the point of a recent survey in
which Penn students were asked to suggest three bands for the Fling concert… clearly the polled advice wasn’t taken.
There is a silver lining to this all. One, Citizen Cope is an excellent live musician, so make it to the
concert for the opening acts. Two, illegal downloads of the three bands’ here-to-unknown songs will
skyrocket on campus—and maybe people will find a use for their iTunes winnings from Diet Pepsi
bottle caps.
JULIE GREMILLION | SOUND ADVICE
Julie presents the old, the new
and the diehard favorites
RETRO REWIND
“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”
Dusty Springfield
IN STEREO
“Evil”
Interpol
EDITORIAL ADVICE
“Goodnight Goodnight”
Hot Hot Heat
For the short-sighted folks who think Eminem was the first white guy gone black, let
me introduce Dusty Springfield, a white female musician from London, who tore up the
charts throughout the sixties with her blend
of British pop and American soul. Sometimes called The White Negress or The White
Lady of Soul, Dusty blended jazz, blues, and
pop to form a unique sound that complemented her rich, smoky voice. She grew up
listening to jazz and blues with her father
and developed a deep admiration for Peggy
Lee, but after working with various groups,
she became a solo artist and began exploring
her passionate love of blues. Her hits in the
UK and America included “Stay Awhile”, “I
Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself ”,
and the very famous “Son of a Preacher Man”.
“You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” was her
biggest hit in the UK and displays her signature 60s sound. What will amaze you is the
number of songs written originally by Dusty
that have been covered by other artists. The
short list includes “Wishin’ and Hopin’”, “I
Only Want to Be with You”, “Tell Him”, “Will
You Love Me Tomorrow” and “You’ve Really
Got a Hold on Me”. What’s also remarkable
is how many Motown artists eventually rerecorded her songs. It would be a shame not
to possess any of her songs in their original
form, so hop to it!
Now I’m a pretty decent fan of Interpol, especially since this is their second single about
which I’ve written. I think their music has a
relatively unique sound in a sea of conformity,
a sound accented by the interesting quality of
lead singer Paul Banks’ voice. While not immediately popular with their initial album,
Interpol has taken the rock world by storm,
being recently featured on the cover of Spin
Magazine. One of the few interesting tidbits
from an otherwise unsurprisingly Spin article
is that drummer Sam Fogarino “grew up in
hard-ass West Philadelphia”. How’s that
for local Philly pride. “Evil” doesn’t depart
from Interpol’s basic sound but does have
an interesting rhythm over the course of the
song, quieting down at times before rising to
the attacking chorus. I had the unfortunate
experience of seeing the video for “Evil” on
MTVU this morning, and I think I’m still
scarred by it hours later. The basic premise
is a horrible car accident and a girl, presumably “Rosemary”, who is extremely messed up
by the accident. The singer in this case is a
Crank Yankers-esque puppet character who
has a very disturbing face. It may be something different from “Slow Hands” and from
the new trend of rewinding smashed things
so they end up put back together in their
original form by the end of the video (how
clever), but it’s still creepy. Avoid the video
at all costs.
I admit I was reading Spin, a magazine I
don’t really like, but what else do you do
when stuck on a bus going to North Jersey?
One of their recommendations was this allegedly great song; I should have known
better when the song below it was a song
from a “Canadian neo-folkie” who “strums
and swears herself blue”. Hot Hot Heat is
billed as Canada’s top Modern Rock band
and has been relatively popular on college
campuses. Their new album Elevator will
be released on Sire Records on April 5th and
will highlight the third track “Goodnight
Goodnight” as the first single. The song
isn’t terrible; it has a driving drum beat, fastpaced lyrics and that renewed garage band
sound. My problem is that Hot Hot Heat
is essentially a cross-breeding of Green Day
and The Strokes, with a few more Strokes
chromosomes than Green Day. If the song
were slightly more refined, you would not be
able to determine whether you were listening
to The Strokes or Hot Hot Heat. And yet,
oddly enough, The Strokes is conspicuously
missing in Amazon’s list of other artists fans
of Hot Hot Heat enjoy. Frankly, I’m extraordinarily tired of the garage band reinvention,
particularly since most people think its
“new”. The 70s and its music still exist even
though you weren’t born yet; you have an
obligation to be informed! If you’re one of
many caught up in this trend, you’ll enjoy the
song, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
P AGE 3
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
NADINE, AIRPLANES,
AND SWEET, SWEET HATRED
SHIRA BENDER | IN ALL SHIRIOUSNESS
SHE SHUT HER WINDOW the
second she sat down. Who does
that? If you get the window
seat on an airplane, you cherish
it. I’m guessing she probably
never grew up with siblings
whose very purpose in life
the moment a
vacation rolled
around
was
to obtain the
almighty window throne. After a couple of minutes, out
came the ipod, newest edition, but none of
that mini-shuffling-neon green craziness
kids are into these days. I watched her for
a couple more moments, still in shock over
her window faux-pas, but eventually she fell
asleep, at which point she slumped down in
her seat and knocked her ipod to the floor.
Nothing changed after that so I turned my
attentions elsewhere. I had never yet seen
Memento, and seeing as my friend and I had
two copies of the DVD, two laptops, and a
headphone splitter, this was not going to
be another missed opportunity to finally
watch it and be able to take part in all those
pseudo-intellectual conversations people
have about the film so that they can tell
themselves they’re highly intelligent beings
who miraculously figured out the ending
like, 20 minutes before it was over.
Well, that’s done with. Good movie, but
certainly not without its weak spots. Hey
guess what, he killed his own wife. Anyway,
back to my friend over by the window, I
think I’ll call her Nancy. No, Nadine. Nadine
is currently reading The English Patient
while sipping on some Ginger Ale that the
stewardess brought her about an hour ago,
and listening to her ipod. Her window’s back open, but only
because I opened it while she was in the bathroom, for the
second time. She’s wearing a brown zip-up sweatshirt with
two white racer stripes down each sleeve, baby blue lines
along the edges, and some sort of elaborate design in the
middle which I can’t quite make out though I suspect it’s
some sort of Abercrombie imitation. She’s got a bit of an acne
problem. Well, a lot a bit of an acne problem, and she keeps
rubbing her face and picking at it, which happens to be one
of the grossest things a person can watch. Not only that, but
she’s doing the thing where she picks at it and then looks at
her fingers and rubs them against each other, as if she’s examining the treasure she has just unearthed from within the
depths of her skin. ::Shudder.:: Dark brown hair, Asian, but
I’m not going to attempt to specify where in that continent
she hails from since I honestly can’t tell that sort of thing.
Sorry, is that something I’m not supposed to put in writing?
Well, what can I say, I grew up in a Jewish private school in
the middle of the upper east side of Manhattan – the closest
I ever came to anyone past France on the globe before coming to Penn was probably at the Kosher sushi place on 42nd
and 7 th – and I’m pretty sure they were Jewish too.
The captain just turned on the seatbelt sign since we’re
beginning our descent, so she had to put the tray table back
up. She’s holding the ginger-ale now, and I’m pretty much
waiting for her to spill it on herself. I don’t have anything
against the girl; it would just be pretty entertaining, that’s
all. Actually I kind of do have something against her, I’m not
going to lie. From the window-closing to the pimple-picking
to the getting up twice in the flight and making me move all
my stuff around so she can get through – what can I say, I’m
a judger.
Nadine and I, along with three of my friends from
school and the rest of the people on this airplane are on our
way back to Philadelphia from Oakland, California. We’re
making a stop in Chicago, but I have a feeling she’ll stay on
the plane with us for the rest of the trip, as she looks too
comfortable to be thinking of getting off the plane in a few
minutes. Speaking of which, the stewardess is glaring at me,
so I’ll have to continue this after we land, since my laptop
might make us crash into something.
Nadine left me. During our 20-minute break on the
ground in Chicago, she switched her seat to a few rows up,
next to a friend of hers. Thank god for that. I hate sitting
next to people I don’t know on airplanes. In fact, I hate
airplanes period. I hate that moment of bumpiness while
you’re going through the clouds, I hate when the captain
tells you how high above the ground you are, I hate knowing that when I was little, if the oxygen masks came down,
I would always get them second. I hate knowing that the
bathrooms never quite lock and that the
peanuts will never taste good no matter
how many times I try them and that the
kosher meal will always be some form of
watery chicken and soggy peas. I hate Nadine. She currently embodies all that I cannot stand about this airborne death-trap,
and she doesn’t even know it. I should feel
bad for this unwarranted animosity, but
somehow, I just don’t. I almost feel like
she deserves it. Am I losing it? Does this
happen to other people? Does everyone get
these moments of random and pointless
hatred of another person? Maybe this is a
sign. Maybe I have this intrinsic ability to
judge someone’s character based on their
brown/blue sweater and acne constellations. Maybe she’s truly a bad person, and
I’m just picking up on that vibe. Or maybe
I’m just being entirely unfair and childish.
This doesn’t happen often, I’m usually
not a very judgmental person, at least not
when I’ve never even met someone before,
but every now and then, people like Nadine appear in my life while I’m on an airplane 5 million miles above solid ground; I
can’t stop staring and wondering whether
I’m right about her. I can still see the top
of her head a few rows ahead of me. Every
now and then it disappears completely and
then pops back up again. Why does that
bother me? Why can’t I stand her? What’s
wrong with me? Wait, she’s getting out of
her seat. She’s walking back. She’s –
“Hey, Shira.”
“Um…hi? Do I know you?”
“Yea, I wasn’t sure at first if it was you, but we’re in
COMM together. My name’s Nancy…you lent me your notes
in the beginning of the semester.”
“Nancy! Woah! I completely forgot!”
“Yea… Sorry I didn’t get them back to you in time for
the midterm. Anyway, I was on my way to the bathroom.
See ya.”
“K…see ya…”
Thanks for that moment of justification, Nancy. And
you’re not welcome for the COMM notes. Biatch.
Shira Bender is a freshman in the College. You can write to her at
[email protected]
Critically Inform.
Signed up for too many activities and wound up doing nothing?
Wanted to get involved in a campus publication, but didn’t know how?
It’s never too late.
First Call, the Undergraduate Magazine, is always looking for new members:
• Writers
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Come to our weekly meetings and participate.
Mondays 9pm, Huntsman Hall Room G86
Submissions due Wednesdays at midnight.
No application or experience necessary.
P AGE 4
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
DESPITE EVERYTHING, STILL A TEXAN
M I C H A E L PAT T E R S O N | O U T O F T H E F O L D
OVER SPRING
BREAK,
I
returned
to
Texas for some
much needed
R&R.
Many
people remain
surprised that
I still occasionally go there,
much less for
my Spring Break. They say things like, “Michael, how can you like hanging out with
conservatives?” or “don’t you feel uncomfortable there, being gay around a bunch of redneck southerners?” Many people have this
construct of Texas, and many other places in
general, that often seem less than fair.
There are a lot of things about going to
Penn that I like and will certainly miss when
I graduate in May. The student body is more
or less liberal — certainly the faculty is. It is
situated in a rather large city with no shortage of places to go. Also Penn, unlike many
schools, really pampers the students here,
making even those of us not used to such
treatment a bit spoiled. I mean, come on
— where else can you get awesomely delicious smoothies in the library while you do
your homework?
Yet despite the discomfort that much
of Texan culture still brings to me, and the
great liberal wonder that is the Northeast, I
was very much ready for my flight back to
the Lone Star State two weeks ago.
The first night back in Dallas, however, I
was bluntly reminded of some aspects of the
culture that still exists that initially drove me
to leave Texas for college. Sitting over dinner,
an old high school friend of mine was telling
me about a class of hers, and how just the
previous week, her professor (something to
do with education) was informing the class
of an experience she had being a nanny
years ago for a gay male couple’s child. Upon
describing one element of the experience or
another, without regard to the sexual orientation of the child’s parents, the professor
asked the class what their thoughts were. A
young woman raised her had, and proceeded to say, “First off, I don’t think two faggots
should be adopting and raising children.”
I was troubled, to say the least, when I
heard what the girl said. I can’t say I was
surprised, however.
There certainly are other students at
Penn who come from environments less
than conducive to who they are. We have
people from the former Yugoslav, refugees
from the ethnic cleansing against Muslims
from the early 1990’s, some with whom I
have spoken expressing a strong desire to go
back someday. These are people who had to
flee a nation which, at the time, was bent on
destroying their very culture. Yet still, it is
home to them.
My freshman year, I had a friend in a
similar situation, except this time, his family
was from pre-Taliban Afghanistan, having
fled to the U.S. when the country became the
human rights nightmare the Taliban made
it. In the twenty-some years since leaving,
his parents have built a life, careers, have
had children, and have made new friends.
Yet after the nation was freed, more or less at
least, from the Taliban, they began discussing going back for extended periods of time
to help rebuild it.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be considered so
strange that those who grew up in places less
than ideal for them would want to return.
It’s hard to grow up somewhere, no matter
where it happens to be, and leave without
taking a part of it with you.
I may never return to Texas to live permanently, but if I do, I’ll go there to retire.
I will purchase a large plot of land, with a
ranch house (except fully equipped with
internet, modern technology, etc...) Perhaps
by the time I’m 67, the culture will even have
of the Texas Hill Country, the sun hung incredibly low in the evening sky, igniting the
clouds above it this deep, chardonnay-red
color that I have yet to see anywhere else.
changed enough in Texas that people won’t
take a second look when they find out that the
other person I share the place with is a man.
I hope they won’t care. Perhaps we all must
eventually return to that place from which
we came. And if you can’t go back physically, you can at least go there in your heart.
Last week, on my way between Dallas and
Austin, I sat there staring at the passing
scenery. Over this great, gorgeous expanse
Not only was the view stunning, but it
was warm, nice and warm. No coat, no scarf,
no gloves.
Michael Patterson is a senior in the College. You
can write him at [email protected]
CONGRATULATIONS!
First Call reader Hank Balbirer predicted 16 of 24 Oscar recipients
correctly from the 77 th Annual Academy Awards, and will receive
a DVD copy of the winner of Best Picture: Million Dollar Baby
when it is released.
Thanks for reading, Hank, and thanks to everyone to who
participated in Rob’s Oscar Contest! Keep your eyes out for more
First Call contests!
Haiku Corner
Beneath fevered beams
Spin amid gossamer wings
And soft, glow unseen
Indignant dolphins
Leaping over frothy waves
When will layout end?
Two nudist seniors
Frolic on the breezy shore
Pass the sedative
Sexy girls unite
Out will come the flippy skirts again
When the sun returns
Critically informed
Batman dominates us all
Overpriced sandwich
Weeeeeeeeeeee!
-The First Call Editors-
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
P AGE 5
CALL FOR LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
ROB FORMAN | MY 13-INCH BOX
IT IS PERHAPS
conventional
to write about
Spring Break for
the first postbreak issue of
First Call, but
I’m going to do
it anyway. My
Spring Break was
not conventional
by any means, though it certainly had the
trappings of the typical collegiate week-long
vacation. Warmth? Check. Sun? Yep. Not
near my parents? On the other coast. With
a friend from college? You bet. While it may
sound like I went with my fraternity brothers for a fun-in-the-sun and night-life-loving
stay in the Dominican Republic, I was in fact
in Los Angeles interviewing in “the biz” for
summer internships. Hey, it beats going back
home to Princeton.
No, I’m not here to regale you with the
successes or haven’t-heard-back-froms of my
trip— though I’ve got to say, the Arrested Development Best Comedy Series Emmy is awe
inspiring in person. I will neither expose the
inner-workings of various HR departments
nor provide tips on getting and conducting your own interviews for the glory of the
unpaid entertainment industry internship.
Suffice it to say I did get an offer I intend to
accept. This provides a significant problem
for an East Coast resident who only has relatives in Northern California: housing.
Anticipating this dilemma, I asked the
assistants and Human Resource people
who interviewed me about their company’s
current and past interns. What did they
do about housing? Shock of shocks, many
are out in Los Angeles during the Spring
semester through internship programs with
their schools, and not just Los Angeles based
institutions.
Boston University, Northwestern,
Ithaca,
and
many other
schools have
programs in
SoCal available to their
Communications students
(or others who apply) during regular term semesters and the summer. They take a couple
of classes, do two or three days at an internship, and build a resume while the university
provides a roof.
How convenient! These others schools
were doing all the work, and I could just
leech onto their student pricing deals with
apartment complexes! Not. After contacting
the school-specific programs, it became clear
to me that housing was just that: school specific. My not attending Northwestern means
I can’t share in its students’ benefits.
Okay, I get that. It sucks, but I understand.
I don’t understand, however, why Penn—and
specifically the Annenberg School—does not
have a program in Los Angeles. Joke all you
want about it, but Penn alums (aka the Penn
Mafia) run a good portion of the entertainment industry. It’s not all Wharton grads
or Communications majors, if you think
a specific background might be necessary.
So… what about us current students? In an
industry
that
demands prior
work experience
for an assistant
position and is
infamous for being about “who
you know,” why
not help current
Penn students
out?
One look at
our Communications program might elucidate an answer. Compared to Northwestern’s
Department of Radio, Television and Film,
Penn’s Annenberg School is highly theoretical and pretty much shuns the practical.
Northwestern’s RTF program is only a portion of its Communications school, but Penn
has no equivalent beyond a few of Professor
Messaris’ courses and a select handful of Fine
Arts filmmaking seminars.
Other Communications programs have
some practical elements to their curricula, as
well, and production courses certainly aren’t
the whole business, a fact which other schools
recognize. Most internships won’t be “practi-
Joke all you want about
it, but Penn alums (aka the
Penn Mafia) run a good
portion of the entertainment
industry.
cal” anyway, so knowing when to use a wide
lens or a deep focus—or even knowing the
terms—wouldn’t necessarily help. The Wharton Undergraduate Division finally offered an
Entertainment and Media Marketing course
this semester—a lecture whose enrollment
was maxed out and had to reject about half
of the students who showed up for the first
session hoping to get in off the wait list—but
it’s a far cry from the numerous courses and
established programs other schools have.
There is interest on campus. I’m not just
blowing steam because I, myself, have been
slighted, though that’s certainly a part of it.
Penn has the connections in the business. It
just doesn’t have the real estate in Los Angeles, and isn’t looking. But wait! USC has an
Annenberg School. There has to be a way
to set up some sort of cross-school program
to hammer out some efficiency. Precedent
has been set for allowing students to attend
other domestic universities for a semester,
considering we have an “abroad” program
in Washington, D.C. True, I wouldn’t relish
taking a course over the summer or paying
tuition while at an unpaid internship, but it
would show that Penn is trying.
Until then, I’m surfing Los Angeles’
Craigslist for summer sublets.
Robert Forman is a junior in Wharton. You can
write to him at [email protected]
THE CHOSEN
BY ANONYMOUS XX AND ANONYMOUS XY
CORPORATE AMERICA DESCENDED upon campus, and
within a week it had infiltrated all aspects of the Wharton
mentality. Throughout the following week, Whartonites
dressed in “business casual” to pay due homage to the demigods of Wall Street in whatever manner was appropriate; be
it weaseling a business card and harassing recruiters or the
ceremonial sacrifice of a goat. Whartonites will stop at nothing to get that “perfect” internship: to be the Chosen One at
Wharton.
A steady stream of manic paranoia, with just a hint of
Wharton arrogance, rang throughout the sacred halls of
Huntsman:
“Oh did you e-mail the UBS recruiter?”
“The corporate culture at Bain fits perfectly with my personality.”
“I would just die for an internship with Goldman.”
“Did you see how many people were at the Morgan Stanley presentation?”
“Wasn’t that recruiter’s nervous tick distracting?”
“Oh, I screwed up my interview sooo badly, I completly
blanked on what a trade-weighted exchange rate was.”
And now to our main event: the 30-minute sell-yoursoul-to-I-banking interview. Let’s meet our contestants:
Ameya is a New Jersey junior with finance and OPIM concentrations. Unfortunately, he only has a 3.94 (yeah...you’re
off by a tenth man...bummer). After waking up, yet again, at
Huntsman, he returns home for a daily dose of the Family
Guy and Japanese video games targeted at 15 year olds. He
may have time to brush his teeth and take a shower in between checking shocks and daydreaming about his $100,000
starting salary. In the future, he aspires to become the next
Warren Buffet and guarantee Wharton admission to his dynasty by donating his own personal Wharton building.
X. Blake Malcolm IV is the quintessential fourth-genera-
SEX
Continued from PAGE 1
relationship. But! By a tragic twist of fate, the long distance
sweetheart visited soon after, and I lost the bet.
It’s kind of comforting to know that sexual urges can
overpower thoughts like Here?!? But that’s so inappropriate.
In a sense, when ya gotta go, ya gotta go. This was not the case
in the Franklin Fiend Fiasco. However, planned spontaneity
is lame and not nearly as funny as what comes out of real
spontaneity. Plus, I’m bitter that I lost. My friend Lindsay
– who I write about a lot because 1) she’s done hilarious things
in her sex life, and 2) she lets me write about whatever I want
– dated a leather worker who she met working at a Renaissance Fair. Or was it a Faire? Anyway, eventually she ended up
bent over his workbench in a heat of passion. Another friend,
who we’ll call Cher, went on a vacation with Sonny, and while
tion Whartonite with connections. You may wonder what his
GPA is, but the better question should be, “Does it matter?” If
something goes wrong, daddy will be very angry, and then he
makes a quick phone call. Those recruiters clearly don’t know
what they’re doing and won’t have a job next year because of
their incompetence and poor taste. Blake’s primary interests
include partying, showing off his wealth, PARTYING, thousand-dollar wines, PARTYING, and weekends in New Hampshire with his Tri-Delt girlfriend Lara.
We couldn’t get a hold of our third contestant Liz, since
she’s booked solid with classes and overnight trips to New
York for grueling five-round interviews. Beginning the semester with 80 OCR applications submitted, she accomplished
the impossible: 25 first round interviews, 5 second round
interviews, a deep hatred towards those snotty Princeton
students, and 0 final offers. Her motto is “OMG, let me check
PennLink again. Why can’t those geniuses with multiple offers just decide and let the alternates have a chance? It seems
like everybody is so busy with interviews.”
Finally we introduce the underdog contestant John,
who only has one shot at landing a coveted OCR I-banking
internship. John is distinguished by his total indistinguishability. He makes vanilla look exciting. Since his GPA is only
average, he’s going to have to rock the interview. Perhaps his
group leadership, as Treasurer and Founder of the M&A Club,
which he started this year, will finally pay off. The value of the
$160,000 education at Penn is on the line; if he fails, I guess
the internship with the Bureau of Personnel in South Dakota
is looking sweeter every moment.
And now for the judging.
Ameya did well in all practical aspects, and since his
personality is under-developed, he fits perfectly with the machine-like qualities I-banking is looking for.
X. Blake Malcolm IV faired terribly in the interview; I
guess straight Ds in the Wharton Core Curriculum can’t help
him now. Maybe daddy has to provide a little encouragement.
Liz barely made it to the interview and only had a minute
to re-check her hair. She was very enthusiastic but a combination of malapropisms and verbosity may hurt her chances.
John might as well change his last name to Doe.
As predicted, the I-bankers realized they had found one
of their own in Ameya, who was re-assimilated into the land
in which numbers defy reality. X. Blake Malcolm IV got an
internship offer at his daddy’s company, Cantor Fitzgerald.
Yeah nepotism! Liz ended up with three different job offers,
perhaps now she can quit talking about internships to the less
fortunate. John ended up in Nebraska working for a small
regional bank.
And you can see, boys and girls, we are all winners and
losers. So once you have an internship offer, treasure it in your
heart and don’t conveniently bring it up in every conversation
(“Oh so what are you doing this summer?”). Good luck this
summer and come back to campus raring for Round 2: Job
Market.
The writers would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the
memory of Chaim Potok, who in all honestly did not need his
modern classic work on the restrictions of Orthodox Judaism
to be befouled with the stench of internship season. We hope
that he will keep in mind that someday these Whartonites will
be free...hopefully before they drive us insane.
they were in the ocean swim trunks came off and they did
their duet right there in broad daylight. You thought kids peeing in the pool was bad.
I sometimes wonder, though, what if you did plan it
out. If you had to have sex in Van Pelt, which section would
you choose? Reference? Periodicals? Eastern Literature?
Rosengarten Reserve? What about in FroGro? The produce
is a little out in the open, but something about the candy section in the back with the bread and the soda just feels cheap.
How about in the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology?
It wouldn’t be too difficult to find privacy there on a weekday,
or weekend, or any other time. You’d just have to be careful
about making noise. The echoes are terrible in that building.
Someone might think a mummy had risen from the dead.
It’s funny that “location location location” is a big
deal. It either signals an uncontrollable sex drive – you just
couldn’t hold back; also maybe a playful daredevil or even an
exhibitionist who revels in the risk of getting caught.
In the end, no matter where you are, you’re doing
the same thing. If you’re a human being who has done it in
a bed (or anywhere else), you have done the same activity as
any Mile-High-er. There is nothing that separates you from
them. But to join any prestigious club, there are prerequisites,
and rules are rules. You can’t just sign up for the list serve and
consider yourself a member. 5280 Feet. Minimum. Officially.
Personally, when the food cart came by a third of the
way into the flight to Trinidad, I was perfectly happy with my
kosher meal and a ginger ale.
All characters are fictitious; any resemblance is purely
coincidental.
Anonymous XX and Anonymous XY. You can write to them at
[email protected]
Roz Plotzker is a senior in the College. You can write to her at
[email protected]
P AGE 6
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
STONE ON IN
SECRECY
A N N A S T R O N G I N | A TA S T E O F M E D I C I N E
THE OTHER DAY, my roommate the PPE superstar volunteered to attend the taping of “Justice Talking,” an NPR
program. Afterward, I got an excited phone call from her
telling me how much I would have enjoyed the show since
it was all about boring medical and healthcare issues. She
mentioned that medical marijuana was among the things
discussed, which got me thinking about the subject.
On the one hand, there is something intrinsically uncomfortable about legalizing a substance that has been
illegal for as long as can be remembered. But on the other
hand, it is hard to disregard the people who are suffering from chronic pain associated with tumors and multiple sclerosis as well as nausea related to chemotherapy
— some forms of which are alleviated exclusively by marijuana. In fact, two California
women sued the government for the right to legally use marijuana as a painkiller, a
right granted by the state of California, but overruled by the federal authorities.
Clearly, then, there is a very legitimate basis for medical use of the drug, which
neither proponents nor opponents deny. However, this is not enough of a reason to
simply legalize the drug and convert it into a prescription medication.
Doing so would confer positive qualities to something that for the most part
is far from positive. As of now, 50% of the population has tried marijuana at least
once—and that’s with the knowledge that it is illegal and considered “bad.” So if the
drug were made legal for medical purposes, people would be more prone to starting
up or expanding their marijuana use, simply because of the positive association they
will make in their minds.
Such is reality, before even considering the fact that legalizing medical marijuana
will simply expand its availability. Since it would not be legal for everyone, drug dealers would continue prospering in
their trade. But in addition to that,
now there will be another channel
for drug attainment—one that is
legal but abused. The fact that such
abuse will occur is quite likely, as
any college student with five exams
in two days will tell you, as he or she
pops another pill of Adderall (or was
it Ritalin?)
Clearly, legalizing marijuana only
within a specific context will do far
more harm than good. If people are
so set on being able to use the drug
for medical purposes, they might as
well fight for legalizing the drug altogether. This way, there would be a
single channel for drug attainment
(preferably one controlled by the government), but its use need not be promoted.
Physicians can recommend it to their individual patients, but the overall message
sent out by the government can be one of discouragement and warnings against regular (or any) use of the drug—basically approaching marijuana with the same attitude
as alcohol and cigarettes.
Such a shift is unlikely to increase the use of the drug any more than would legalizing medical marijuana. Plus, the government would be putting numerous drug
dealers out of business, as well as pocketing a pretty hefty profit that could go toward
research of cancer and MS, so that ultimately, people suffering from the condition
would not need to rely on marijuana for pain relief.
But if that’s an uncomfortable concept for proponents of medical marijuana, the
other alternative is to promote research on its medicinal properties with the specific
focus on the chemicals in the drug responsible for pain relief. These chemicals could
then be isolated and made into a potent pain medication without having an individual consume all the other chemicals that make up marijuana but have no beneficial
value.
While this may be a longer and far more expensive endeavor than simple legalization, in the long run it could prove to be the more effective option. If the government
chooses to fund research on the drug, in a few years we may have a new pill on our
hands that doesn’t just work in individual cases, but helps fight illness symptoms on
a mass scale. Perhaps, it will be a less addictive and more powerful version of OxyContin, or perhaps it will be an entirely novel drug for alleviating chemotherapy side
effects.
This all is yet to be determined. But one thing is clear: of all existing options, legalizing medical marijuana is the least practical and beneficial choice.
Which of the others is better? As you light up your next joint, think about it and
let me know.
As of now, 50% of the
population has tried
marijuana at least
once -- and that’s
with the knowledge
that it is illegal and
considered “bad.”
Anna Strongin is a junior in the College. You can write to her at [email protected]
m
s
i
l
l
a
our dose of
c
t
s
weekly wisdom
r
fiDEAR
HARNWELL RESIDENTS,
NO HOT WATER? HAUL ASS
TO THE SCHUYLKILL!
LOVE, J-RO AND HACKNEY
BEST BETS
3/21 - 3/27
Rob’s TV picks for the week
Monday: The Osbournes (MTV, 10:30 p.m.) Remember when Ozzy and his clan were
the biggest thing on TV since Regis and his monochrome ties? Well, that mass popularity trailed off and Nick & Jessica took their place, but this Monday’s airing is the series
finale of the show. Once more, for old times’ sake… SHARON!!!!!!!!!!
Tuesday: The Shield “Grave” (FX, 10 p.m.) I don’t care if some critics thought adding
Glenn Close to this show’s cast was a mistake… the ole’ gal rocks! I’m just happy this
series bucked the trend almost every show in its fourth season has used to gain more
viewers: restarting itself and getting rid of pesky detailed backstory. It’s nice to have
some continued payoff with regard to the Armenian money train, Acevada’s rape, Claudette’s moral detective work, and the broken relationships between the ex-Strike Team
members. I just wish Danny and Julien would get more air time while Close’s character
establishes herself.
Wednesday: Alias “The Orphan” (ABC, 9 p.m.) Oh, if only I could recommend two
shows next Wednesday. Alas, I refuse to reveal anything about the show that has supplanted next week’s Alias episode featuring Marshall—finally—in all his insane geeky
goodness. Trust me, next week’s Wednesday pick is worth it. This week helps explain
some of Nadia’s unknown past, which can only mean bad things for current love interest
Agent Eric “I’m giddy like a middle-schooler” Weiss.
Thursday: The Office: An American Workplace “Pilot” (NBC, 9:30 p.m.) NBC just
doesn’t learn. While the translation of The Office from BBC isn’t nearly as hideous as
last season’s Coupling fiasco, there are too many problems with the American version
to actually be excited. Which is a shame, because Ricky Gervais and company did such
a great job in the original show. At least the first episode bears great resemblance to its
British counterpart.
Friday: Kojak “Pilot” (USA, 9 p.m.) The first of two reinventions on this week’s recommendations, USA has put together a pretty decent version of the 1970s cop show. It’ll
normally run on Sundays at 10 p.m. And, yes, the man still loves his lollipops.
Saturday: Little House on the Prairie (ABC, 8 p.m.) The first two hours of the Alphabet
network’s miniseries update of the classic and inexplicably long running show. Hey, it’s
Saturday, you wanted me to recommend LAX burn-off on NBC?
Sunday: Desperate Housewives “The Ladies Who Lunch” (ABC, 9 p.m.) Whoops! Sorry
about telling you all this episode would be on last Sunday. That’s what happens when I
have to talk about scheduling three weeks in advance. This episode features a lice outbreak, sewage woes, a new single man on the street for Susan and Edie to battle over,
and Maisy Gibbons. That’s right, Ms. Dominatrix is getting arrested, which means her
clients—including Bree’s husband—are going to have some bad press.
If You Can Only Watch One: Desperate Housewives.
YAWN
Continued from PAGE 1
reputation or to live up to parental expectations, has become a problem. Its effects
rear their ugly head every time another person has to fight some form of compulsive
behavior pattern, and no college student is left ignorant about such vulnerability for
long. We only live once, and even self-improvement can be taken too far.
Every once in awhile, I wish someone would run into Huntsman with a clown
costume and an entourage of Screech Powers and AJ Slater, slide down those forum
steps with loud music playing, and walk around as if it’s those days of slacking in
the early 90s. Maybe one day, ordinary slacking and fun will come back into vogue,
to replace a TV and world filled with boring clones having the same old drama as
always. Television needs to take a step back from the Dawson’s Creek-inspired,
verbose, pseudo-intellectual diatribes on life’s heart-wrenching pain. Teenagers on
TV should return to scuffles with Mr. Belding, instead of the endless overdoses of
intensity provided by the WB and other networks. Too many of us are going down
a path devoid of lightheartedness. I implore the over-ambitious, who are becoming
blander by the day, to realize a sad truth: this way of life will surely lead to piles of
money and certain kinds of prestige, but it may not lead to much else.
Lauren Saul is a sophomore dualing in the WHollege. You can write to her at [email protected]
M ARCH 21, 2005 | FIRST CALL | VOL . V N O . 15
P AGE 7
J A M E S H O U S TO N | T H I S M AC H I N E K I L L S FA S C I S T S
First Call’s Weekly
Album Reviews
The Mars Volta, Frances the Mute
Tori Amos, The Beekeeper
The Mars Volta is
the best young band
in the world. Implicit
in every note played
is a confident promise
not to waste a second
of our time. And in the
4617 seconds (nearly
seventy-seven minutes)
that comprise Frances
the Mute, this six-piece
sonic militia shows
no intention of welching. Their first album,
2003’s De-Loused in
the Comatorium placed them safely out of the clutches of hipness,
which increasingly seems like a terminal illness when contracted
by bands. Instead of aloof detachment and famous girlfriends,
they opted for virtuosity, cryptic conceptual logorrhea, and disdain for traditional song structures. It worked. Such grandiose
ambitions would flounder in the hands of lesser musicians, but
under the direction of guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Volta’s
abundant chops and effortless restraint yielded a classic.
Frances the Mute uses the same ingredients—which I won’t
insult by calling a formula—and adds the self-assurance and improved teamwork that always beset good bands after their first
full tour. Like Comatorium, the germ for Frances was the memory of a (different) departed friend. But these are no dirges—this
is fast, furious rock music delivered with all the skill and urgency
of Cream or Led Zeppelin at their upper-induced best. Jon
Theodore, worth five of any other contemporary rock drummers,
leads the band from a stuttering metal pocket to an authentic
salsa strut on “L’Via L’Viaquez,” and makes it all seem easy. He’s
probably the best natural musician of the six, but not by far. Two
minutes into “The Widow”, Rodriguez-Lopez unleashes his hitherto concealed finger speed in a series of Page-esque lead fills as
keyboardist Ikey Owens reminds us why every rock band used to
have a Hammond organ.
Despite having the second-wildest hair in the group, singer
Cedric Bixler Zavala leaves the most lasting impression. His live
presence is matchless, and his voice (last Zeppelin comparison,
I promise) combines Robert Plant’s inflection and range with
a wailing desperation all his own. He writes intensely weird
firehose-of-consciousness lyrics that perfectly compliment Rodriguez-Lopez’s angular compositions, to wit: “I found the remnants of a crescent fang / It cleaned my wing down to the bone
/ Umbilical syllables left to decode / There was no cradle, I can
taste it.” (“Cygnus….Vismund Cygnus”) Rather than alienating,
their cumulative effect drives home that The Mars Volta have no
patience for convention, and for that reason can only get better.
Grade: A
Since
her
early days as
heiress apparent
to Joni Mitchell,
pinning down
a large male
audience
has
never been easy
for Tori Amos.
From her early
rants about “fascist panties” and
how making her
cum does not, in
fact, make one Jesus, to the album Strange Little Girls in
which she had the massively ironic balls to reinterpret classic tunes by The Beatles, Neil Young, Lou Reed and others
“from a female perspective”, few men have found their way
through the patchouli fumes to hear her powerful talent,
which stands separate from any ideology.
The Beekeeper is a brave nineteen song offering allegedly organized into six categories with baffling names like
“Rock Garden” and “Elixirs and Herbs” It’s unlikely that
this or any of the other conceptual mumbo-jumbo (like
printing the lyrics in the hexagonal shape of honeycomb)
are essential to enjoying her polished compositions and
crystalline singing. Except for her highly unorthodox
pronunciation of certain words, this is a very professional
record—about the same production value as we might expect from certain overachieving Tori clones lately infesting
the charts. But copying her image is clearly easier than
copying her ability: The lead track “Parasol”, an emotional
meditation on a Seurat painting, glides on a beautiful
minor-key verse/major-key chorus juxtaposition. “Sweet
Your Sting,” a simmering, bluesy update of “You’re So
Vain”, is the best song on the album and one of the best by
anyone so far this year.
The problem with The Beekeeper is that it’s eighty minutes long. Inevitably it becomes tiring and the pleasure of
the excellent songs is diluted by the numerous throwaways.
As one of the rare brooding Liliths of the last twenty years
to deserve the title of “artist”, Tori Amos needs to remember that omitting is an important part of creating.
Grade: B
Devendra Banhart, Rejoicing in the Hands
Just like I envy
anyone who sees
Psycho for the first
time with no idea
why “The Shower
Scene” is a proper
noun, I envy those
who get to form their
own mental picture
of Devendra Banhart
based on his name
and music without
knowing what he
actually looks like.
Or more precisely,
who he actually looks like: Jes—I mean, Jim Caviezel with
a beard. And Janet Leigh gets knifed in the Bates Motel
shower, and Kevin Spacey is making up his entire story in
The Usual Suspects. Yeah, I hate you too.
Anyway, describing this wraithlike post-folkie as an
enigma would be too easy. If any puddles of primordial
ooze still exist in the world, I’d believe Banhart stepped out
of one twenty-whatever years ago, or at very least was immaculately conceived. Rejoicing in the Hands, the better of
two albums he made last year, is an alternately soothing and
unsettling collection of ditties about soup, Elvis, beards, and
“tit smoking.” Though Banhart’s exceptional skill on acoustic
guitar makes a band unnecessary, a sparse handful of guest
musicians and vocalists are sprinkled tastefully on about
half the songs. But nothing distracts from his voice—a soft,
nasal plaint that could find a musical home in any of the last
eight decades. He can go from upbeat (“This is the Way”) to
heartbroken (“Autumn’s Child”) easily, but his unique vocals
are what separate him from the boring guitar-dude pack.
The human body seems to fascinate and mystify him—it’s
anybody’s guess what lines like “Your hair does see-saw / It
sees and then saws / And I’ll get some extra fingers growin’”
(“See Saw”) and “Because my teeth don’t bite I can take ‘em
out dancin’ / I could take my little teeth out and I could show
them a real good time” (“This Beard is for Siobhan”) mean,
but Banhart is clearly more interested in creating moods
than telling stories. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be onstage at the
Grammys, which is why you should get this album.
Grade: A-
James Houston is a senior in the College. You can write to him at
[email protected]
Jay Kim is a junior in the College. You can write to her at [email protected]
THE UNDERGRADUATE MAGAZINE | M ARCH 21, 2005 VOL . V N O . 15
BE THE ENERGIZER BUNNY
ANDREW PEDERSON | BRUT FORCE
P E O P L E
NEED SLEEP.
It’s what the
body
was
designed
to
do within the
natural course
of a complete
day, and under
no
circumstances can the normal cycle be circumvented
for long. Most of the attendees of any Monday
morning lecture are ample proof that the god
of sleep, if not amply sated over the weekend,
will take what he needs, when he needs it, with
or without our permission.
But some feel like they don’t quite fit in
with the grander scheme of things. The day
has twenty-four hours, and they won’t be
denied less than their full share. To extend
their active time, though, is not necessarily
within their own power. So, they resort to an
external aid of some kind. Anybody has seen
these types on campus enough times to recognize that a segment of the undergraduate
population, come midterm and finals, are on
something. They look a bit like tense puppets
that skitter around with jerky motions and
can’t quite keep their vacant stare from darting
here and there. Surprisingly, they’re not all in
Tabbard.
Normal, or close to normal, students who
are driven a bit too far for whatever reason, a
finance test, an unhealthy compulsion towards
late night study binges or an inordinately large
investment in extra-curriculars increasingly
turn towards a quasi-pharmaceutical crutch
that reaches beyond the arena of mere caffeination.
Adderrall, or Ritalin for those with a flair
for the nostalgia of youth, has become the blue
cocaine of the masses. One little tab can net a
student between a rock and a hard place hours
of pure, crystalline concentration and allow
him or her to accomplish weeks of backlogged
work in an evening.
Certainly, everybody, or nearly everybody,
has chugged the equivalent of a pot or two of
coffee to keep sharp for exams or an especially
finals, there is a great distinction between the
rather mundane efficacy of caffeine and the full
blown narcotic, dependency forming class of
substances like Adderrall. Unlike Adderrall or
Ritalin, caffeine acts in extremely small doses
to increase overall alertness, but does not in
any meaningful way alter one’s state of mind
time consuming project, but the practice of
systematic drug use for planned work binges
is on the rise, and for all students, not just
those who choose to exchange a couple of
million brain cells for a night or two of clarity, this manner of abuse represents a massive,
inexcusable phenomenon that must be purged
immediately.
Unfortunately for those who choose to
schedule recreation through class in the anticipation of a sleep free week right before
or personality. A person after two cups of coffee will find it more difficult to go sleep, but by
no means will the delicate chemistry inside
his brain be altered in any noticeable pattern.
People who introduce the extremely powerful
stimulant Adderrall to their systems are not
only increasing their capacity for work, they
are using a narcotic chemical to change the
way their brain functions temporarily. That is,
where a cup of coffee will help you to be more
alert, a tablet of Ritalin makes your brain alert,
one could even say forces you to be awake and
focused on the task at hand.
One could argue that this is a simple matter of semantics, of where one would draw the
line between harmless substances that aid
alertness, and drugs which unfairly alter performance. However, the difference between
caffeine and Aderrall is much like the difference between eating a good meal before exercising and jamming a syringe full of adrenaline
into your leg before a race. One is good preparation. The other is blatant cheating.
There is no grey area as far as using stimulants designed to treat ADD as study “aids.”
Anybody and everybody who uses these substances to accomplish their work is a cheater
and a fraud. Not only for the simple reason
that Adderrall and Ritalin are restricted narcotics, but because any sane person who had
at least attempted to get their work done on
time would have no need of such a crutch. Instead, those who choose to use these drugs feel
they can use a cowardly shortcut to make the
grade, much as professional meat heads like
Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds use steroids
to disguise the fact that they are actually giant
pussies.
Probably the people who most need to read
this article are busy getting drunk and lubing
up for initiation, but in any case, this practice
should not go overlooked by the student body
at large. People who are, in effect, academically doping are taking an unfair advantage
and should be exposed wherever possible and
subsequently stripped and flogged publicly on
College Green. If the rest of us refuse to address the problem, we’re merely letting another
herd of slackers slip past without doing their
fair share.
Andrew Pederson is a sophomore in the College.
You can write to him at [email protected]
SAY THAT YOU LOVE ME
THUY TRAN | SIMPLE TRUTHS
WHY IS IT that people can want,
so badly, what they know to be terribly emotionally unhealthy? The
behavior is reminiscent of that of
a child who cannot resist touching
a hot pot, despite being well aware
that it will burn him severely.
One would think adults would
know better, but the
propensity to pursue
things that will result
in nothing but pain is alive in many people’s hearts
when it comes to relationships.
People are in love with “being in love.” For
example, my friend Joe has been in love with Jane
for over a year. Jane clearly told him months ago
that she is not interested in a relationship, for she
has recently parted ways with a boyfriend of three
years. However, Joe continues to pursue Jane. As
time swims by, he becomes more deluded. He
clings to a thread of hope. He refuses to surrender
to the irreversibility of an unrequited love. The
truth is, “loving” Jane just gives him an illusive goal
and fantasy. Pathetic, eh?
Love and infatuations are distinctly different in more ways than one. Being caught in the
whirlwind of fairytale romance is addictive, both
psychologically and physically. It is like trippin’
after consuming magic mushrooms, which generally elicit a warm euphoric feeling. Scientific
studies have shown the brain releases “feel-good”
chemicals when a person experiences love, solely,
to encourage the desire to court and reproduce. This stage of a
relationship is one of the few times one’s body dupes its owner
in order to satisfy the primitive instinct to perpetuate one’s
genes in subsequent generations. Infatuation, however, doesn’t
share the same biological processes and behaviors related to
proliferation of genes.
Infatuation, like love, begins with a spark of attraction. The
physiological explanation would assert that the “spark” is actually an initial detection of another person’s unique pheromones
that carry information about the person’s biological history,
health, and lifestyle. It is at this point that infatuation and
genuine love diverge from each other, with the former involving
more self-generated images of the person of interest and the
latter requiring more in-depth information about the person,
such as values, goals, quirks, and character. To be infatuated re-
quires the knowledge of none of those things. It needs only the
initial attraction (pheromone compatibility) and can take flight
to heights that seem to soar far higher than any real love could
ever reach. From here, the illusion begins.
Love involves the affairs of two people, while infatuation,
only one. It takes one party to transform a mere stranger into
“the one.” When infatuated with another, a person fuels the
image of the other person with qualities that he seeks in the
perfect partner and deliberately discards learned data about
her that does not reinforce the image of the entity he has created. She escalates from mere mortal existence to near god-like
status. Her every breath, word, and movement is interpreted
according to his desires. Ignorance to the real person beneath
the distorted veneer is even welcomed.
Infatuation feels like love on acid, but unfortunately, the
high is fleeting upon reality’s strike, just as a person
crashes when coming down off any hallucinogen.
While “flying,” the feelings are fervent, that one may
very easily feel that there is no need to ascertain any
real, substantive information about the other person and, yet, he/she can actually believe that love is
the affect driving the desire. Unlike love, however,
infatuation can be broken at a moment’s notice,
such as a revelation of some sort, bad news, turn of
events, a new interest. Love, on the other hand, is
not readily broken. It is so secure and so much deeper than skin-level that it is often taken for granted,
but never lost. It is self-generating, self-regulating,
and self-renewing, whereas, infatuation requires a
person’s constant conscious effort, feeding it with
attention, encouragement, and reasons to persist.
Disappointment in infatuation feels like a bandaid ripped off the most sensitive areas of the body,
while disappointment in love feels like the process
of a vital internal organ slowly failing. Losing
a flame and losing a loved one are both painful,
but the latter results in the the feeling of loss comparable to the experience of having to come to
terms with a death, whereas the former is much
like the feeling of humiliation from having one’s pride reduced
to bits of nothingness. Picking oneself up after rejection from
infatuation is a matter of dusting off the embarrassment and
getting over the ego blow, whereas one may never fully recover
from losing love, especially a first love.
Thuy Tran is a junior in the College. You can write to her at
[email protected]

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