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NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 13, 2011

NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 13, 2011

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[The] New School
Free Press
Issue 6, November 30 - December 13, 2011
Behind the Writing on the Wall:
 What Actually Happened Inside the All-City OccupationThe Lang Science Department — An ExperimentThe Opinions Section: Occupied
 
Editor in Chie 
Miles Kohrman
 
+
Managing Editor
 Amanda Aschettino
Editors
[News]Rey Mashayehki[Arts & Culture]Elisabeth Sherman[Opinions]Kimberly Lightbody [Photography]Courtney Stack[Copy] Ashley Chervinski
Deputy Editors
Chris Hooks, Jill Heller,Michael Kaplan,Eric Fernandez, Cal Stamp,Harrison Golden 
Reporters
 Ada Akad, Danielle Balbi, Stephany Chung, Lara Hannawi, Emily Katz, Aaron Light, Brianna Lyle,Joey Mulkerin, Richard Rabeau, Andrea Vocos
Faculty Advisors
Heather Chaplin, Andrew Meier
 
   +
The opinions expressed heirein are thoseo individual writers and not o 
The New School Free Press.
Please send any lettersor submissions to nsreepress@gmail.com.
The New School Free Press
doesnot publish unsigned letters. Letters &submissions will be edited or length andclarity.
The New School Free Press
is notresponsible or unpublished letters orsubmissions.
++++
 Additional Faculty Editors
Charles Taylor,Josh Karant
The New School Free Press
Published by theEugene Lang CollegeLiterary Studies Department.65 W. 11th St. Room 458New York, NY 10011
=
+
Designers
 Amanda Aschettino,Courtney Stack
+
Design Editor
Daisy Georey 
2
[ins&outs]
   T   A   B   L   E   O   F   C   O   N   T   E   N   T   S
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Letter to the Editor
I eel like a crotchety man yelling rom the sidelines. It’s your show and I respect how you’ve handled it. But because I’ve devoted three years to the paper I think I’ve earned the right to give you an honest critique o how it’s changed. I’ve told the current board beore that Ilike the idea behind the redesign. Readers now have dierent news habits and organizations need to adapt to that. Since most people nowget breaking news online, print publications need to shit their breaking coverage to the web and their print product into a longer analyticalorm that helps readers digest the constant stream o data they’re bombarded with.But in the last issue, the redesign looked like a huge gamble that ell short. The layout is ull o small mistakes (a proud
 NSFP 
tradition)and the graphic choices seem arbitrary. I you put so much emphasis on graphic design, you must execute. The many small mistakes andshortalls throughout the issue give it a garbled voice that comes o as amateur.It has no banner, which I think is indicative o how the redesign shredded the brand and whatever gravity that the paper had beore. And I think a lot o the alumni dislike the redesign because that brand was totally abandoned. Sure, it’s purely sentimental; we nurturedthe identity o the paper or years. But it was also a symbol that told people that we should be taken seriously. The three onts are also odd,and again, I like the idea behind it. But right now, it looks cheesy and contributes to the garbled voice/brand. The idea is really smart: distinguish dierent sections in subtle ways. But because they are all so distinct, it conuses the voice. Within each section, it’s negligible, but when they’re all next to each other like on the ront page, it looks like a yer or a 1920sthemed 8th grade dance.There are a lot o other little things, but there always are so it’s not air to nit pick. The two things I mentioned above best represent theproblem with the redesign. 
The Free Press
looks like
 Inprint 
and the
 Lang Student Dispatch,
two slapdash papers the alumni tried really hard to distinguish them-selves rom. Both wanted to be very graphic and lacked cohesion which sunk their brand/voice.Don’t take this to mean I want you to do things the way we did them. Progress is good, but this progress looks like a regression to some-thing that a lot o us tried to be better than.-Aidan Gardiner,
The New School Free Press
News Editor 2008-2011
In Response
 
The old editorial board o 
The New School Free Press
prided itsel on giving the newspaper an “identity.” They had reason to be proud —compared to what the newspaper had once been, they transormed it into a coherent and inormative publication, one with a solid reader-ship and a respectable reputation.But when the new editorial board took over the newspaper, we quickly realized that its “identity” wasn’t working anymore. The articles were well-written and the design was proessional, but there was an inherent problem: every two weeks, we published a paper that ap-peared to hold breaking news, but that, in reality, held articles that were outdated and irrelevant by the time they were read.Logistically, we couldn’t make our newspaper a daily, or even a weekly. So we did this.The redesign o 
The New School Free Press
may have “shredded the brand” that the old board built. But that was the point. Our printpublication now contains only a ew longer, in-depth eature articles, while our website is updated daily with shorter, more timely stories. While everything that we publish — on web and in print — is still important and inormative, our layout needs to mirror the type o paperthat we are. We can’t masquerade as a daily newspaper with breaking news when, in act, our print content is now much more magazine-ey.The redesign o our paper is not a regression. It represents, rather, our growth as a publication We no longer look like a daily newspaperthat ocuses on spot news. We look like what we are: a bi-weekly newspaper with long eature stories.The current editorial board spent a sub-stantial amount o time deciding how tochange the design o our newspaper. It was a not a decision that we took lightly. We regret that certain members o theold editorial board aren’t happy withthe current
 New School Free Press
, espe-cially considering how much their eortshelped us get where we are. But our newnewspaper is a denite step in the rightdirection, in terms o both content anddesign.
The New School Free Press
hasnally entered the 21st century o jour-nalism. We moved to the web, and welaunched an overhaul o our print edi-tion. That overhaul merited a acelit —one that would make us look more like anews magazine, and less like a pseudo-
 New York Times
.-Kimberly Lightbody,
The New School  Free Press
Opinions Editor
38476101112
The Sheikh and I
 How to (not) make a lm with Caveh Zahedi
Occupy The New School
What went down at 90 Fith Ave.
Death o an Institution
Cooper Union considers tuition
Dissecting a Science Department
The mystery department at Lang 
The New Youth o AA 
 Examining the rise o teenagers in Alcoholics Anonymous
The Making o a Literary Magazine
Critics, poets and essayists come together to tell the story o The New School 
The Opinions Section: Occupied
 An outsider’s perspective- how DVZ successully handled the occupation A statement rom the occupiers and a note rom DVZ 
 
Two Dierent Perspectives
9
Get it Done
To-do lists rom New School students
 Front page photos: top: Daisy Georey,bottom: Andrea Vocos
 
[News]
 
The Sheikh andCaveh Zahedi
I Don’t Hate Las Vegas Any-more (1994)
In the beginning,Zahedi calls this lm “an experi-ment in aith” and an attempt toprove that God exists by docu-menting a trip to Las Vegas withhis estranged ather and hal- brother. The lm drew ack orone scene in particular, in whichZahedi tries to convince his dadand brother to take ecstasy withhim on camera. Whether or notZahedi succeeds in ullling theloty metaphysical goals he setsor the lm is anyone’s guess.
In the Bathtub o the World(2001)
A video diary basedon the concept o lming oneminute every day o 1999 andediting the results down to 90minutes, the lm shows Zahediat his most playul and whimsi-cal, but also his most narcissisticand sel-indulgent.
One minutehe’s worrying about a myste-rious indent in his orehead,the next he’s at Sundance la-ment
ing not being able to meetMichael Stipe in the bathroom when he had the chance, all cul-
3
CHRIS HOOKS
Reporting by EricFernandez & Aaron Light
I
t is hard to understand why thecurators o the Sharjah Art Founda-tion in the United Arab Emiratescommissioned New School proes-sor and
l’enfant terrible
o Americanindependent cinema Caveh Zahedito create a lm or the Sharjah Bien-nial, a cornerstone o contemporary art in the Middle East. Surely some-one along the line would realize thatthe auteur behind the autobiograph-ical “I Am a Sex Addict” would be anill-tting choice or the most impor-tant cultural event in the Emirates, aconservative autocracy most amousor its extravagant wealth and hu-man rights abuses.But commission they did. Withthe promise o $15,000, money romthe Emir o Sharjah himsel, Zahedilet New York in the dead o winteror the arid Gul State. With NewSchool students in tow as internsand production assistants, he set outto make a movie about the experi-ence o making a movie in Sharjah.One year later and the lm is banned in the United Arab Emir-ates, having never been shown atthe biennial it was commissionedor. Zahedi and his crew have beenthreatened with arrest i they return. A year-long legal battle about therights to his surviving ootage hasonly recently been resolved in his a- vor. Now, the director is working ona eature-length version o his story;a movie about censorship, politics,religion and lmmaking itsel.“I think they thought that becauseo my name, I would know what todo and what not to do in a country like that,” Zahedi, an Iranian-Ameri-can, said. “I didn’t.”When Zahedi accepted the gig, thecurators gave him three guidelineshe was required to ollow: no rontalnudity, no mockery o the prophetMuhammed, and no derision to- wards the government o the U.A.E.or Sheik Sultan bin Muhammad al-Qasimi o Sharjah — who unded the biennial and whose daughter, theSheikha, ran it.“They didn’t make it sound se- vere at all. They made it sound likeI could do whatever I wanted, i Iavoided a ew specic things,” Za-hedi said recently in the basemento a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, where he lives with his wie and son.“It sounded like I might have to cutcertain scenes or the biennial, butthat I could do whatever I wanted with my own ootage.”It’s air to say that Zahedi ollowedthe prohibition against nudity to theletter. But in the nished product,“Plot or a Biennial,” the director rst bumps against, and then steamrolls,the second two directives, identiy-ing almost every kind o politicaland cultural sensitivity he can andconronting them ull-orce.Just a ew o the highlights: arow o Indian kids, the children o migrant laborers, dance the can-can to the Islamic call to prayer. A Palestinian working with the bien-nial describes pervasive racism inthe Emirates. In one scene, Zahediconvinces a local Sharjah resident,ater a great deal o coaxing, to play Sheikh al-Qasimi, the Sharjah big- wig, in an elaborately staged kidnap-ping plot, ater which, in one itera-tion, the Sheikh comes to his sensesand changes the labor laws o Shar- jah — a sore spot with the country’sruling elite, as Human Rights Watchaccuses the U.A.E. o exposing mi-grant workers to “severe exploitationand abuse.” Closer to home, Zahedishows how the Sheikh’s daughter, who ostensibly helps run the pres-tigious art oundation, is never actu-ally in her ofce. Day ater day, her
 The Films of Zahedi
secretary oers the same excuse: theSheikha is “praying.So it’s unsurprising that the lm wasn’t warmly received when Za-hedi submitted a cut to the estival.First, the lm was banned. Then, thedirector and his crew were bannedrom the country, along with his stu-dent assistants, and threatened witharrest i he returned. The U.A.E. isone o ve Muslim-majority coun-tries that has the death penalty or blasphemy, the likely charge.But Sharjah oundation ofcials weren’t content to merely preventthe lm rom being shown at theestival. At rst, the oundation de-manded that all scenes reerring tothe Sharjah Art Foundation or theSheikh be deleted, which wouldhave constituted the majority o themovie. Eventually, Zahedi and theoundation worked out a settlement which allowed him to keep his oot-age.Now, Zahedi is working on a ea-ture-length movie about his experi-ence in the U.A.E., the making o themovie, and the ght aterward. OnNovember 11, he screened a roughcut o the new movie, “The Sheikhand I,” or his Lang contemporary cinema class, his lawyer in tow.
T
he Sheikh and I” is a whol-ly remarkable lm. Instead o anhour-long piece or a biennial, un-likely to be seen much again, Zahedihas wrested rom the experience adeeply layered and involving piece o lmmaking. It is a documentary, in a way, about the Emirates. It’s also anaecting personal testimonial: someo the lm’s most memorable scenesconcern his son, Beckett. And it’s aplayul postmodern meta-narrativeabout lmmaking.Zahedi has talked in multiple ven-ues, most notably the 2001 RichardLinklater movie “Waking Lie,” aboutthe ‘holy moment:’ André Bazin’sidea that lmmaking at its best is atranscendental — and religious —phenomenon. Film is Zahedi’s reli-gion, and one he takes seriously.“Filmmaking is a release or me,and it’s hugely important to me per-sonally,” he said. “Nothing irritatesme more than people getting in the way o my movies.”The United Arab Emirates comesacross, then, as a place specically designed to rustrate the director.Over the course o the movie, Za-hedi systematically ails to be able topractice his religion, stymied by o-cials, unwilling participants, and ahost o cultural conventions.“The Sheikh and I”’s true valueis not simply that it says disparag-ing, and oten true, things about theEmirates — or example, that racismis a widespread problem. The prob-lem the lm poses to the Emir isprecisely that it shows that
no one isallowed to say
that racism is a prob-lem.As Yassan, the Palestinian bien-nial employee, says in the movie, incountries with no reedom o speech,“no one is allowed to say there is noreedom o speech.”
B
ut or all o the remarkablethings “The Sheikh and I” has to say about lie in the Gul states, the lmtook a toll on many o the people ittouched. Perhaps the most impor-tant question the movie poses to its viewers: What is the ethical respon-sibility o an artist operating in anauthoritarian state?First, Zahedi employed dozens o Sharjah residents — rom all dier-ent backgrounds — to act as extrasin his movie, and he talked to a greatmany people about lie in the Emir-ates.Now that the lm is known tothe government, Zahedi and his American assistants are saely over-seas. But the impact on the otherso taking part in what is seen by theauthorities as a blasphemous andtreasonous venture is unclear. At the very least, many involved eel per-sonally betrayed.“They’re all urious,” Zahedi said.The director added that he was sur-prised by the hostile eedback hereceived rom some o the lm’s par-ticipants.Rasha Salti, the curator who origi-nally invited Zahedi to take part inthe biennial, is troubled by the e-ect the movie has had on its partici-pants.“Caveh never realized how many people’s eelings he hurt in Shar- jah,” she said in an email. “He never wanted to acknowledge that they eltmanipulated and betrayed by him.”Zahedi also said that he doesn’tknow what has happened to any o the people he lmed in the movie.He said he has been advised not totry to contact them, as his emails would likely be read by the authori-ties.Some actors are more vulnerablethan others. O particular concernto Zahedi — and to the viewer — isa Pakistani migrant, Mansour, whoserves as Zahedi’s driver. It is Man-sour who Yassan speaks o when de-scribing the pervasive racism in theEmirates, and he also takes part inthe scenes involving the kidnappingo the ake Sheik.But others stand to be negatively aected, as well, including Yassanand Zahedi’s translator, Camille. Inone scene that is difcult to watch, Yassan tries to warn Zahedi againstusing an actor to portray Sheik Qasi-mi while being surreptitiously re-corded by the crew. Yassan proceedsto give his most damning indict-ments o lie in the Emirates. Zahedisaid his cameraman misunderstoodthe order to stop recording — but hestill put the ootage in his movie.Camille, a Canadian convert toIslam, was mortied at being part o a movie he elt mocked his religion.He’s currently seeking residency inthe U.A.E., his application may beaected by the lm.Salti remains immensely rustrat-ed and regretul about the situation.“I carry the burden o ailure thatthe invitation to Caveh eventually turned out to be,” she said. “I regret-ted every moment I trusted Caveh.”
et even though “The Sheikhand I” is at times uncomortable to watch, it’s impossible to avert youreyes.While Zahedi and his crew were inSharjah that winter, protests in Tuni-sia and Algeria, ostensibly triggered by rising ood prices, were pickingup pace and attracting scattered me-dia attention in the west. Ater they had returned to the States, the ArabSpring came into ull bloom.The Gul states have proved most-ly impervious to the wave o popularprotests. With indeatigable reserveso oreign currency, the Emirateshave been able to attract high-pro-le Western cultural institutions— a branch o the Guggenheim, theLouvre, an NYU campus in AbuDhabi — while masking the autoc-racy within. Zahedi’s movie poses anexcellent and well-timed challengeto the hollow, ake openness o theGul States.Zahedi is condent that he madethe right decisions, and said he hasreceived positive eedback rom oth-er lmmakers.Alan Berliner, the documentary lmmaker, told Zahedi that “youdid everything you were supposedto do as an artist. The act that they  banned it just means you hit the bulls eye.”Bahman Kiarostami, lmmakerand son o legendary Iranian direc-tor Abbas Kiarostami, was morepassionate in his support.“It is an honor to be banned by those Emirati bastards,” he said.
minating in taking ecstasy  with his wie on new year’seve, moments beore thenew millennium. Zahedi’sdaily lie isn’t consistently interesting enough to war-rant an hour and a hal o one’s undivided attention, yet, in it’s own way, thelm is signicant or beingahead o its time: a precur-sor to the deluge o video blogs that have since be-come ubiquitous in mod-ern society by way o siteslike Youtube.
“I Am a Sex Addict”(2005)
Zahedi’s mostully realized lm, I am aSex Addict took 15 yearsto make. By way o reen-actments, home movies,candid conessions andanimation, Zahedi chroni-cles his longtime addictionto prostitutes and the hav-oc his perpetual honesty about it wreaked on hismarriages and relation-ships.
Caveh Zahedi and his son Beckett, a main character in his new lm “The Sheikh and I,” at their home in Carroll Gardens. Photos by Eric Fernandez 

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