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3 upfront
bad sex // beej emily post- // emily postjudgement day // lauren sulkin

Editor- and Editrix-inChief Clayton Aldern Jennie Young Carr Managing Editor of Features Zoë Hoffman Managing Editor of Arts & Culture Alexa Trearchis Managing Editor of Lifestyle Rémy Robert Features Editor Kathy Nguyen Arts & Culture Editors Claire Luchette Ben Resnik Lifestyle Editor Cassie Packard Serif Sheriff Clara Beyer Large Plaid Asian Phil Lai Staff Writers Lily Goodspeed Caitlin Kennedy Adam Davis Staff Illustrators Marissa Ilardi Madeleine Denman Adela Wu Sheila Sitaram

Greetings from Brown University’s only indispensable publication!

editor’s note

4 feature

We hope your parents enjoyed Paragon. We hope our guide to the Weekend did you well. We hope you’re familiar with aircraft carriers. We hope you’re dressing up as aircraft carriers for Halloweek. We also hope you’re surviving midterms. We share your pain. We too have numb unmentionables from long hours in desk chairs. We too have written too many essays, and we’re frankly not that thrilled about writing this editor’s note. Let’s make a deal; we’ll phone this one in, and you can just lightly graze the page with your eyes. You’ve read enough. Might we encourage a mélange of the spirits of the week: Try, for example, studying in costume. A padded rump via Nicki Minaj costume may battle the effects of prolonged chair-wood. You’re not wearing sweatpants to the Rock; you’re in your Wheel of Fortune contestant costume. Get in good spirits: Spike your apple cider. Get in better spirits: Spike your spiked apple cider. Who the f*ck schedules a midterm on Halloween anyway?

art, uninhibited // caitlin kennedy

5 arts & culture
the new mr. ocean // dillon o’carroll lemon out // adam davis

6 arts & culture
proust and the tyranny of salami // clayton aldern

7 lifestyle
tater tribulations // rémy robert gateway sexual activity // MM

8 lifestyle
a great dive // julia borden post- it notes top ten

jennie and clay

Spookily and sedulously,

illustrations by
Cover Marissa Ilardi

< naked photo
Naked people who sing! Company at the PW Downspace October 26-29 at 8 P.M. There will be a 2 P.M. matinee on October 28.

Judgement Day Adela Wu Art, Uninhibited Phil Lai The New Mr. Ocean Madeleine Denman Lemon Out Emily Reif Tater Tribulations Sheila Sitaram

Our most heartfelt apologies to Kirby Lowenstein, who drew our heartstoppingly beautiful cover for last week’s Family Weekend Issue and was not credited. May she find it in her heart to someday forgive us. We love her very much.



bad sex
Dear Beej, Halloweek is coming up, and I can’t wait. With all the partying, HalloWhisCo, not to mention fun-sized Almond Joys, it’s by far my favorite college holiday. However, I’ve come across a bit of a dilemma—as a 20-year old single male, I’m at a loss for what to wear to social events to make me seem the most appealing to the opposite sex. I’m not talking about something to make me look more attractive (well, not exactly), but a costume that says something along the lines of “It’s Halloweek, I’m DTF.” I feel like it’s easier for girls, since fishnets have a universal popularity. But do you have any suggestions for a male equivalent? Sincerely, Dressed to Kill, Down to F*ck P.S. Since Halloween is on Wednesday, which weekend is Halloweekend? Dear DTK/DTF, First off, I’ll refrain from acknowledging your comment about the “universal popularity” of fishnets, as well as your attitude that “it” is “easier” for girls. That being said, your question is not totally invalid. Although, in our heart of hearts, we might desire to honor our childhood impulses and dress as Pikachu or Squirtle, so often we check this impulse with the sobering adult thought, “Who would want to f*ck a Pokémon?”

bangin’ pokémon
Here, though, is where we veer astray. For do not forget, this is Halloween, a night of possibility and reversal, when saints dance with sinners and angels be grinding on demons. In the end, is a girl going to get with you because of an alluring costume—do the clothes really make the man? Or are we all just too drunk to notice? So, though what you wear won’t be a deciding factor in attracting a partner, be sure to consider the physical implications of any attire. Whatever garb you choose, keep in mind, “I might be having sex in this.” Large constructive elements such as cardboard, face-obscuring masks, or easily-transferable paints all provide challenges—and sometimes even literal barriers to physical contact. Feel free to let your freak flag fly and dress as Squirtle—but perhaps leave Squirtle’s impenetrable shell in the closet if you’re looking to get some. One more thing to consider: morning-after Halloween can be quite the walk of shame, whatever you choose to dress as. But since this is unavoidable, start pumping yourself up to walk the march of pride. Happy Halloween, kid, Beej P This weekend. .S. P .S. Almond Joys suck. .P


emily postetiquette expert
constant low-grade tension. (Emily, on the other hand, finds constant low-grade tension to be a powerful aphrodisiac.) If the idea of creeping into your dimly lit kitchen late one Monday evening and denuding her premade salad of cherry tomatoes doesn’t send a frisson of pleasure down your spine, perhaps you ought to choose an alternate route. Is it absurd of you to be irked? Oh, darling, absurdity is so subjective. Emily’s pet peeves include: insufficiently steeped tea leaves, waiting in line, and the existence of bread-and-butter pickles. Would it be wise to grit your teeth and allow your fruit to be pilfered? Perhaps. But if you’re gritting your teeth so hard that you’re developing lockjaw, it may be time to consider a tactful remark. Emily would like very much to believe that you are capable of having an adult conversation about this with your housemate. If not, ply her with liquor and wait until the third bottle of Cabernet to tearfully “confess” how deeply this is affecting you. Failing that: “I read on the Times website that the sugars in fruit are a leading cause of weight gain.”

Dear Emily, My housemate is generally easy to live with, but she has a terrible habit of stealing my fruit. It’s never blatant—a banana goes missing here and there, or a bunch of grapes—but it drives me insane. Sometimes, I look forward to biting into a juicy Honeycrisp all day, only to find that she’s eaten the last of my apples. Am I being ridiculous to care about this? Is it more trouble than it’s worth to bring it up? What should I say if I do? Constantly Reserving Oranges in Private Spots Have you considered purloining her vegetables? For maximum effect, Emily suggests carving a cross-section out of an eggplant, then carefully returning it to its plastic wrapping. Of course, this is likely to prompt allout warfare which (heavens forbid) might escalate to include dry goods. So, darling reader, gird your loins for battle! Of course, we’re not all made to wield a paring knife. You may be numbered among the select few who prefer domestic felicity to

judgement day

thoughts from the other side of the podium

LAUREN SULKIN contributing writer
The clusters of desks remind me of being in first grade, joking around with my best friend while we filled out worksheets in crayon. Now, though, I’m far from being a first grader. Instead of whispering and laughing, there’s shuffling of paper and beeping timers in this classroom. I sit at one end of the room, my desk stocked with legal paper, a timer, and a pen. I’m about to begin judging at a policy debate tournament in the Bronx, even though I’m only a college freshman, and my own memories of debating at tournaments like this one are fresh. One high school policy debate team from Massachusetts sits to my left, intently reviewing their work and studying an online entry I wrote describing my personal philosophy on debate. An excerpt: “Truth claims are not conditional. An economy impact and a cap bad K contradict. If you read a DA with a warming impact and security, the aff can weigh a warming add-on against your security K.” You can see that debate has its own jargon filled with shortcuts to explain complex theories applied round after round, a language that can only be fully understood with years of practice. As we wait for the other two judges and the competing team to arrive, I think to myself that the pair of debaters in front of me reminds me of myself a mere year ago. They’re anxious but happy. They’re one of 32 teams (out of over 100) to advance to the final elimination rounds at this tournament, but they know they have to make it much farther to attend the national championship in the spring. The team consists of a boy and a girl, occasionally speaking quietly to one another. As I watch, I see that even in the subtleties of their movements, they are in sync as they prepare. They pass papers back and forth, take sips of water at the same time, and sketch out a diagram of their plan for advancing their arguments. After studying them for a moment—and, I’ll admit, taking out my phone to text my former high school debate partner Brian—I realize that I know the girl from somewhere. “You’re Emily, right?” “Yeah,” she replies, without looking up from her computer screen. “We went to 7-week together two years ago.” I immediately remember her; we weren’t friends, but we were in the same class at a 7-week summer camp where debaters are taught by the best coaches on the national circuit. The elite debate community is small— the kids I attended camp with were the same ones I saw at tournaments and traveled across the country to visit on vacations. Debate certainly attracts a type, though it isn’t always the stereotypical too-large-suit-wearing nerd that comes to mind. It’s mostly competitive academics who aren’t good at sports. “And I went to 7-week with Brian this summer; you should tell him I say hey,” remarks her partner. I feel uncomfortable not remembering the boy’s name, but I do remember his style and the arguments he frequently ran. Debate is like that; you have to know a little bit of everything—not just about policy, philosophy, and argumentation techniques, but also about

other teams and judges. I remember being a high school freshman and watching the debates of one of the other judges on this panel (he’s now a college senior) and being amazed at how much he knew about the technical process of wind power. But now, after my own four years of debate, I know exactly how many military personnel are in South Korea and how a quantum gradiometer functions. Finally, the debate is about to start. The other judges in the room had judged me just a year ago, and I’m intimidated to be judging with them. While my personal success means I might be more qualified than others who have also just graduated from the high school circuit, I don’t have nearly as much practice as the other two judges. The debate covers a wide variety of topics, from transportation infrastructure, to gender binaries in international relations. Fortunately for me, the round isn’t too difficult to decide. The choice takes only about 15 minutes of consideration after the almost two-hour debate is over, even though I’ve routinely seen decisions take more than hour. Deciding a debate isn’t about who you feel is right: It’s about making a “correct” decision according

to a given methodological framework. At the end, the judging discussion hinges on abstract theories of decision making, comparing ontological and empirical methods of justification. Empirical decision making—displayed by the team from Massachusetts—wins. What is interesting, though, is not what the decision was or how it was made, but rather how easily it could have been different. I’ve had debates on everything from military policy in the Arctic to the implications of the world actually being flat and controlled by the Illuminati. Debaters must know a little bit about everything and have research on twice as much. It’s not uncommon to create a file with over 500 pages of research and analysis on a single topic within a few days. Nevertheless, the daunting amounts of work become worth it when the competitions begin. The intellectual stimulation, the competitive aspect of the debate, and the amazing community make it almost as effervescently fun as being a first-grader with a container of bubbles. Illustration by Adela Wu



art, uninhibited
CAITLIN KENNEDY staff writer
On my first visit to AS220, I dodge puddles and cower from the rain as I flit among the organization’s various downtown buildings, from its Mathewson Street main office to its several spaces on Washington and Empire Streets. A thriving arts nonprofit, AS220 currently oversees more than 100,000 square feet of real estate in downtown Providence—space the organization utilizes as galleries, theaters, affordable residential and work studios for artists, community studio spaces available for public use, a youth facility, and even an award-winning bar and restaurant. With its seemingly endless array of programming, AS220 can be a lot to absorb on a first visit, particularly when one is drenched and shivering. But AS220 creates an atmosphere so warm that I almost forget my sopping socks and chattering teeth. Escorted around each site by communications director Dave Dvorchak, I am welcomed warmly by artists and staff members, all of whom speak animatedly about their respective work. I chat about zines in the Printshop with book arts instructor Jacque Bidon, savor the aroma of roasted pumpkin and squash soup in the restaurant with manager Guy Michaud, and ogle the recently acquired 3-D printer in the AS220 Lab. From its hightech media arts equipment to its busy lineup of classes and performances, AS220 adds a lively dose of art and culture to this blossoming urban neighborhood. Since its inception in 1985, the organization has become a thriving cultural hub for the newly revitalized downtown Providence. A lot has changed since 1985, when Providence’s bleak downtown area was a mere shadow of today’s bustling city center; it was a time when dark warehouses and boarded up buildings created the aura of a ghost town. In those days, Brown and RISD students were advised to avoid downtown—first, because there wasn’t much going on there; second, because it was considered unsafe. But one chilly September night, a slew of students ignored these warnings, marching down Waterman and Washington all the way to 220 Weybosset, where a fledgling AS220 occupied a space above the Providence Performing Arts Center. Industrial punk blared from inside the building, leaking through thin walls and invading the empty, silent, streets of downtown Providence. The sound carried for blocks, its sharp clatter reverberating through narrow alleyways and across wide-open intersections with brash, unapologetic fury. Though the concert was sponsored by AS220, Brown and RISD students organized the event. The lineup featured Shit House, a student band, as well as The Blues Explosion and Sleep Chamber, who incorporated the violent whir of chainsaws and other jarring industrial noises into their sets. Burnt wormwood and incense permeated the air, smoke hanging everywhere like a cloud. The room was packed wall to wall with bodies, from artists and musicians to students and other locals. “Everything was completely irreverent that happened that night,” AS220 founder and artistic director Bert Crenca told me, chuckling, as he described the chaos. When I had asked Crenca for an overview of AS220’s history, earsplitting debauchery and raging parties weren’t quite what I’d envisioned. Though AS220 wasn’t formally founded until 1985, its saga began in 1983, when a Providence Journal critic panned a show of Crenca’s at the Antonio Dattorro Studio Gallery. A scathing op-ed written by artist Steven Emma in response to the Journal’s negative review initiated a dialogue among local artists, which led to the creation of a widely distributed manifesto lamenting the state of the arts in the United States and demanding change: “It is time we artists stop harboring false hopes and come to terms with the present deteriorating situation in the arts.” After signing the manifesto, Crenca distributed the text as a press release to Providence newspapers. As the document gained traction in the Providence community, he received many phone calls and letters expressing the same sentiments: The manifesto had aptly criticized the state of the arts in America, but what did Crenca envision as an alternative? How would he make things better? Gradually, Crenca began working to promote a Providence art movement that operated outside the confines of juried museums and galleries. Crenca acquired Brown’s Ashamu Studio and the Antonio Dattorro Gallery as venues for his Rhode Island Art Event, which included both visual and performance art. This experience proved transformative for the 33-year-old artist. “The process of creating the manifesto and doing the show is really where my thoughts about the role of the artist became solidified,” Crenca said. “It wasn’t theoretical anymore.” It was at this point that he became really committed to the idea of pursuing a career as an artist, he said. After a stint at the New England Institute for Contemporary Art and a brief jaunt to Europe, where he explored museums and exhibited his work, Crenca was more committed than ever to turning the ideas from his manifesto into a tangible reality. He returned to Providence with only 800 dollars to his name, which he promptly used to rent the 220 Weybosset Street space—and thus AS220 was officially born. Its name signifying both “Artists’ Space” and “Alternative Space” and referencing its street address, AS220 was founded on the principle that artists can take charge of their own relevance, sharing their work independently, without the sanction of galleries and other traditional exhibition spaces. These institutions, according to Crenca, have traditionally discriminated against artists, despite public funding. AS220’s mission is to provide artists with an unjuried, uncensored venue to share their work. With the acquisition of a stable headquarters, Crenca believed his dream of creating an inclusive art space was finally coming together. On the night of the Shit House concert, however, Crenca admits to worrying that he had bitten off a little more than he could chew: “I remember leaning against the wall and thinking, ‘Holy shit. Is this what I meant? Can I do this?’” Crenca wasn’t the only one overwhelmed by all the commotion—the PPAC board just happened to be meeting the same night as the concert, and they didn’t like (or, at the very least, didn’t understand) what they heard. “The board thought that some kind of satanic ritual was happening,” Bert said, explain-

the egalitarian allure of as220

ing that people weren’t used to so much ruckus in deserted downtown Providence. In the nicest way possible, Crenca said, the PPAC kicked him out of the building. AS220 found shelter on Richmond Street, where Crenca had to pull strings just to get the electricity turned on. Despite these logistical hurdles, the Richmond Street space soon became a lively venue for alternative musical acts, hosting many international groups and touring bands that later made it big, like Green Day. By the 1990s, AS220 had made a name for itself as an important cog in the underground music circuit— and AS220 leaders decided it was time for the organization to acquire its own permanent building. In 1992, AS220 moved from Richmond Street to Empire Street, one of several spaces in downtown Providence still owned by the organization today. At the time of the move, AS220 had a budget of approximately $80,000 and one paid staff member. Today, the organization operates on a budget of $4,000,000 each year, oversees more than 95,000 square feet of real estate investment, and has an equal pay policy for its staff of over 40 people (every full-time staff member receives the same salary, regardless of his or her position). From professionally trained artists to novices, anyone is welcome to take advantage of the organization’s facilities—the AS220 Printshop, AS220 Labs, and AS220 Media Arts—which include world-class equipment like a 3-D printer, laser cutter, and letterpress. AS220’s various locations are always bustling, evenings and weekends glutted with performances and special events, from last week’s Literary Death Match to Friday’s upcoming drag performance by artist-in-residence Javier

Hurtado. This is not to mention the organization’s dozens of workshops or extensive youth programming. AS220 Youth strives to have a long-term impact on at-risk youth, offering students financial support and employment opportunities. Furthermore, in keeping with the AS220 mission, any Rhode Island resident is welcome to exhibit in one of AS220’s five gallery spaces, free of charge and without undergoing a juried selection process. AS220 also oversees an unjuried performance space at 115 Empire Street, where musicians, dancers, and other performance artists can showcase their talent. Demand for these spaces is high, with an average waiting period of three months for the performance space and three years for gallery access. This policy applies to everyone, without exceptions. When Crenca wanted to mount a show to honor AS220’s 25th anniversary, for example, he put in the application three years in advance. This gesture speaks to AS220’s democratic nature, a characteristic the organization has preserved even as it has expanded and evolved. While the organization has indeed grown larger and more complicated with time, it has retained an unwavering commitment to the core tenets of the original manifesto. “We challenge the pervasive notion that complete, unbridled, uncensored freedom produces mediocrity and that excellence rises out of repression,” the manifesto proclaimed. By showcasing brilliant—and uncensored—work, AS220 proves that art can in fact flourish outside the traditional jurisdiction of exclusive and often discriminatory institutions. Illustration by Phil Lai

arts & culture


the new mr. ocean
DILLON O’CARROLL contributing writer
To most, Frank Ocean is the delicate, softvoiced crooner who has displayed his talents in a bevy of arenas. I first encountered Ocean through my discovery of the rambunctious and rowdy crew of which he is a member, Odd Future. A rap group out of Los Angeles, Odd Future is a collection of bizarre but talented rappers who go against the grain. If you look at the surface, you would never think that a guy as subtle, sweet, and soft as Frank could run with this group. Odd Future is seemingly populated by long lost bastard children of the Wu-Tang clan, orphaned at birth and raised by wolves—thus contextualizing the group’s full name, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. But the surface can be deceiving. This summer, Ocean released his sophomore album, channel ORANGE, arguably the best album of 2012. The music is intricate, but you don’t need a compass to find your way through channel ORANGE, because Ocean is your guide. He tells his story by introducing complex, electric sounds and binding them together with his once-in-a-generation voice. For instance, in the song “Bad Religion” Ocean openly questions God, religion, and his place in the world. “I swear I’ve got three lives/ Balanced on my head like steak knives/ I can’t tell you the truth about my disguise,” he croons over distinct, resonant chords. His passion for the music is evident through his genuine lyrics—lyrics that have a palpable sense of

frank ocean makes it cool to be yourself again
emotion, torment, and honesty. He sings as though he wants everyone to feel his love, and he makes sure that each story of love and heartbreak is applicable and relatable. This can have a simplifying effect overall, but Ocean never “dumbs down” his lyrics or music. With ORANGE, Frank Ocean propels himself to a legendary level alongside artists who have that same intangible ability to bring the listener intimately close to the musician. His unique sound and voice put him on Mount Rushmore with artists who connect the listener and artist, such as Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, Edith Piaf, and the original Mr. Ocean, Frank Sinatra, who had his own rowdy and rambunctious crew. But this Frank’s prose is just as important to his music as is the poetry and sound. On July 4, 2012, thirteen days before the release of channel ORANGE, Frank Ocean published a letter via his Tumblr, a short screen shot of a Mac document entitled “thank you’s.” In the letter, he describes the summer of his first love. He writes of the elation of touch and the despair of rejection and reveals to the world that his feelings were for a man. “By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice,” he says. Ocean mentions in the letter that he was in romantic relationships with women before, but had never felt a love like he felt with this man. This revelation of Ocean’s bi-sexuality is more than just a coming out. His pronouncement is not an exclusive act, but rather it is an inclusive one that allows people to feel comfortable with their own great loves. The letter is a symbol of hope for all those who love, and the album is a confirmation that talent does not discriminate. By freeing himself from a manufactured and fictitious shame, he has allowed others to do the same. It’s not often a celebrity uses his or her talents in a way that not only promotes radical social change, but also feels genuine. Ocean has made the most of his opportunity to further human rights, and his message encompasses more than the crucial issue of social change for the LGBT community. Frank Ocean is making it cool to be yourself again—to not run from your secrets, but to embrace them instead. Listen to channel ORANGE. You will hear and feel Ocean’s talent. There is no sense he has changed himself to make hit records; in fact, it is clear that he has made hit records by being himself. I first listened to Ocean’s second album a month after its release at a get-together with some friends at Brown. I was not yet familiar with his music, but everyone else at the party knew the lyrics, had a favorite song, and sang along during the entire album. These were people from different places, with different interests and different backgrounds, yet they all connected to the album on a multitude of levels. As one of my friends said, “Frank Ocean taught me how to love again.” Illustration by Madeleine Denman

lemon out
ADAM DAVIS staff writer
When 30 Rock premiered almost six years ago, critics were already writing its obituary. They loved it, yes, but taking into account its esoteric jokes and the competition from fellow NBC show-about-late-night-comedyshows Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (sorry, Sorkin—at least now you’ve got The Newsroom), people weren’t too optimistic about Lemon and Co.’s chances for survival. Somehow, though, 30 Rock has survived through dismal ratings to make it all the way to a seventh—and final—season. After years of groundbreaking comedy and some of the greatest catch phrases in television history

the final season of 30 rock gets underway
(“Blerg!”), it’s almost time to say goodbye. It will definitely be sad to see 30 Rock go, especially after the first few episodes of this season. Let me rephrase that: It will be sad to see 30 Rock go, especially after two-thirds of the first episodes of this season. The season premiere, which revolved around Jack’s advice that “tanking it” is the quickest way to get out of something you don’t like, did exactly what it was mocking: The writers clearly tanked it. It was almost like 30 Rock was trying to make viewers forget how brilliant it once was so that the inevitable breakup wouldn’t be too hard. The plot felt stale (Jenna wants to have a crazy wedding? No way!), the jokes seemed old (awkward product placement is funny still, right?), and the worst character ever, Hazel, was featured too prominently. (Side note: Kristen Schaal is hilarious. What is she doing playing such an obnoxious character? #saveschaal.) It wasn’t until episodes two and three that this final season kicked into high gear and returned to its usual form. 30 Rock is at its funniest when it delves into current events (remember when Jenna proclaims her allegiance to Osama in ’08?), so it was refreshing to see Fey tackle the 2012 election in one episode and, in the next, address the recent clamor about whether women can be comedians. The second episode, “Governor Dunston,” was hilariously on point, drawing attention to the media ridiculata that surrounds political candidates. The writers spoofed the 2011 Michele-Bachmann-eating-a-corn-dog photo with a scene of the Tracy Jordan–esque Dunston at a state fair. Plus, Liz’s claim that she only used direct quotations in her TGS sketches was a hilarious call-back to SNL’s skewering of Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, in which Fey’s lines were almost exactly equivalent to what Palin had really said. Throw in a cameo from Bryan Cranston (when did Walter White get so funny?), and the episode was a winner. The third episode was perhaps even stronger than the second. Whereas the presidential election is an easy current-events target, Fey addressed a different public debate: She used the episode to defend the role of women in comedy. 30 Rock’s been on for six years, with Fey serving as creator and writer, and its gotten critical love throughout its run—so it’s only natural that the show should take umbrage when people like Adam Carolla (who’s that, you ask? Exactly.) suggest women aren’t as funny as men. And while Liz Lemon enlists Jenna to help her prove that woman can be just as funny as men (or monkeys), it was clear that Tina Fey, Jane Krakowski, and all of the women in the 30 Rock writers’ room were keen to display their talents to a wider audience. “Stride of Pride” took all of the classic 30 Rock components—melding meta in-jokes with physical comedy, probing Lemon’s relationship with her co-workers, displaying its media savvy—and used them to prove that Tina Fey is one of the funniest people in show business today. Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, and … you know what? I don’t need to provide a list of brilliant female comedians, but they would all be proud. Plus, the show finally let Lemon have her Sex and the City moment, giving props to HBO’s seminal comedy series and its influence on 30 Rock over the years in the last scene as a tutu-donning Liz types up her relationship problems (in an email to Zappos) in the same way Carrie Bradshaw waxes philosophical at her keyboard for her column. 30 Rock is working to cement its place in the pantheon of great television comedies, and so far this season has shown (albeit perhaps not with as much consistency as I would have liked) why it deserves to be there. Fey, Baldwin, and the rest of the cast have developed some of the best onscreen chemistry in recent comedy history, so I can only hope that they work together on some projects in the future. Until then, I’m cherishing the last season of 30 Rock more than Liz Lemon cherishes a good slice of ham. Illustration by Emily Reif


arts & culture

proust and the tyranny of salami
reflections on the jonah lehrer scandal
CLAYTON ALDERN editor-in-chief
In the scientific community, researchers call it salami slicing. Appropriately, the act consists of shaving down a collected dataset until a scientist reaches the smallest scrap of result that still constitutes an original idea. This decontextualized whisper defines the least publishable unit: the publon. The researcher proceeds to neatly separate the salami slice from the rest of the data and use it as the meat of a submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The next step fills out the sandwich: Authors repeat the submission process several times with various combinations of the same publons and different academic journals. Taken together, the publons coherently describe the results from a given set of experiments. Separated, they boost the publishing rates of researchers. In a meritocracy where tenure is dictated by industry prestige—measured by CV length—it is no surprise that many researchers are slicing their salami as thinly as possible. Jonah Lehrer is not a research scientist, but he was my hero. A Rhodes Scholar, Lehrer entered Oxford with a Columbia degree in neuroscience and left with a penchant for science communication. Early this summer, he became one of The New Yorker’s youngest staff writers of all time. His three books—Proust was a Neuroscientist, How We Decide, and Imagine: How Creativity Works—garnered heaps of public excitement about understanding the brain. As a young science writer, he did everything a young science writer is supposed to do: He distilled complex scientific concepts in concrete, accessible terms, he got people excited about original research, and he looked damn good in edgy glasses and tailored jackets. But Jonah Lehrer’s skyrocket to fame turned out to be largely fueled by the journalistic version of salami slicing. In the journalistic sphere, writers call it selfplagiarism. Gradually, Lehrer’s close readers had realized that his New Yorker posts were similar to pieces they had read years earlier when Lehrer wrote for Wired. He had recycled paragraphs, ideas, and nearly whole columns. But in the journalistic moral court, there is no verdict on selfplagiarism. It seems ethically squishy; morally ambiguous. The diehard Lehrer fans may have been getting a double dose, but new readers were engaging with new, exciting concepts. Because of the lack of a formal position on self-plagiarism, Lehrer was able to lay low for a couple weeks and maintain his position at The New Yorker. That is, of course, until Michael Moynihan published a now-infamous piece in Tablet on July 30. Moynihan chronicled an investigation with the science writer that led to Lehrer’s admission that several Bob Dylan quotes in Imagine were either completely fabricated or taken out of context to further a point. Facing such ethically inexcusable errors, Lehrer promptly resigned from his staff writer position. Over the following weeks, new information continued to surface in reference to his books and other work, including several instances of factual inaccuracies, as well as formal examples of plagiarism and press-release plagiarism. Wired dropped him as contributing writer, Houghton Mifflin yanked Imagine from booksellers worldwide, and The Wall Street Journal completely deleted Lehrer’s existence from its archives. The exposé threw Lehrer’s self-plagiarism under new light, and the resulting irony is jaw-dropping. Consider the wasteland that was his New Yorker-hosted Frontal Cortex blog. A glance at a single post neatly summarizes the crux of the scandal. Sandwiched between “The New Neuroscience of Choking” and “Why Smart People Are Stupid”—two concepts with which the science writer should be particularly familiar—is Lehrer’s June 7 piece, “Why We Don’t Believe in Science.” And just beneath the byline, in its coy, italic glory, rests an inadvertent thesis statement: “Editors’ Note: Portions of this post appeared in a similar form in a December, 2009, piece by Jonah Lehrer for Wired magazine. We regret the duplication of material.” Reading any further is superfluous; the editors answer the question laid out in the post’s title. (As appetizing as the salami sandwich may be, close your mouth.) In the instant gratification generation of TED Talks and Facebook Mobile push notifications, industry standards encourage writers to sacrifice content for wowdacity. In his GOOD post “Jonah Lehrer and the Tyranny of the Big Idea,” Andrew Price lays out the problem explicitly: “What made Lehrer so successful— with his books, at Wired, and then, for a time, at The New Yorker—was his ability to mold the results of hard science into tidy, consumer-friendly, and often unexpected insights. That’s exactly what smart, curious, and busy readers like you and I want: surprising, Fun-Size ideas with just enough academic heft.” Proust was a Neuroscientist sold well because of the intellectual quirkiness proposed in the book’s title. It was one of those “surprising, Fun-Size ideas with just enough academic heft.” But one person can only be expected to have so many “unexpected insights.” The need to continually produce groundbreaking ideas suggests a mismatch between supply and demand. To ignore the idea-hungry nature of the publishing industry is to ignore its foundation. This is where blogs enter the fray. The pressures behind salami slicing and selfplagiarism should be absent in the blogosphere, supposedly the ancestral homeland of ethical publishing. Fact-checkers, polemicists, freewriters; bloggers theoretically have the power to think critically about an issue without being subjected to the systemic issues inherent to journalistic publishing. They publish themselves, so there should be no pressure to file on time—each individual blogger determines his rate of publication. The science blogosphere is democratic and fair, and as a whole it has come to foster the public trust in science that writers like Lehrer tend to erode. Unfortunately, it turns out the same pressures that lead to salami slicing in academia and self-plagiarism in journalism do trickle down to the blogosphere, fueling similar brands of reductionism and hasty publishing. As soon as the Tablet exposé went up, bloggers inherited the scandal. It was a veritable swarm. Within hours of Moynihan’s piece going live, they were fact-checking, polemicizing, and freewriting on Lehrer’s errors. Piece after piece flowed in, each positing motivation for Lehrer’s plagiarism. He had no apprentice. He was too young and rose to prestige too quickly. He was not a scientist. He lacked a moral compass. Aside from the psychoanalysis, there was a vast array of publishing industry critiques. Some bloggers advocated on behalf of industry, demanding higher fact-checking standards and stronger self-plagiarism consequences. Some praised Lehrer, congratulating him on managing to point out the flaws in the industry that allowed him to sneak through the cracks. Someone performed a close reading of a poem Lehrer had written as an undergraduate. Sam Harris used the opportunity to push his book Lying. But there is something wrong with this picture. There is only so much insight a person can have between learning of a scandal and self-publishing a few hours later. For all of the psychoanalysis, the only person who knew why Lehrer did what he did was Lehrer himself, and he certainly was not blogging about it the day the Tablet piece went up. Whether it matters or not why Lehrer did what he did raises another question, and one that may not have an answer. The industry standards at play were the more important issues, but they were glossed over in favor of succinctness, personal interest, and speed of publication. Yet the more egregious error of the blogosphere is that, unknowingly, the bloggers mirrored the process they critiqued. In jostling to publish quickly and with biting insight—as is the nature of the blog game—bloggers were too reductionist in their approach and focused on trite speculations. They emulated young researchers scrambling for their first NIH R01 grant. They continued to feed the beast of their industry. Combing through the responses to the scandal actually ends up revealing more common threads between bloggers than differences. Price begins his “Tyranny” piece by introducing Lehrer as a “wunderkind,” and then encourages readers to Google “jonah lehrer wunderkind.” There are 138,000 hits. Even meta-critiques of the “schadenfreude” responses to the Moynihan article hit harmonics across the industry. Robert Wright at The Atlantic manages to use the two words in the same sentence: “God knows how many species of schadenfreude have been loosed by the fate that befell wunderkind writer Jonah Lehrer today after he got caught fabricating quotes.” It was “the fall of a hipster intellectual” and “a grievous oraculism.” It was “Gladwellization.” In The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, Kundera writes, “Once the writer in every individual comes to life (and that time is not far off ), we are in for an age of universal deafness and lack of understanding.” Just as salami slicing data across journal articles prevents a coherent understanding of the whole experiment, infinite speculation and reductionism on behalf of Lehrers and the blogosphere sacrifice vital underlying complexity and distance us farther and farther from the truth. Of course neuroscience is that much closer to home when the secrets of the mind-brain-body complex were wholly imagined by Marcel Proust. The brain is that much easier to understand when it is portrayed as a representative bundle of ten neurons giving rise to consciousness. But there are 1014 synapses in the human brain. Public adherence to industry pressures of unrealistic, wow-hungry publication standards—in academia, journalism, and the blogosphere—ends up letting the industry down at an intimately fundamental level. Bloggers play a dangerous game, because they do have industry standards of their own. The blog, hailed as a free writing workshop, is only free to a certain extent. Especially among science bloggers, the self-inflicted need to have a new take on a concept as quickly as possible manifests itself in a form of competition among bloggers that ends up detracting from the issues at hand. Yet the struggle for ethical publishing is a battle being fought on two fronts, and we are losing on both. While considering the “demand side of this equation” makes for some exceptionally idealistic pontification—no doubt, it is the subject of this essay—we cannot ignore the personal responsibility at stake. It may make sense that we cater to the industry standards, but the act of catering itself hosts a store of ethical transgression. Researchers are still slicing their salami thinner and thinner; Lehrer still copy and pasted his own writing and others’ in order to further his career—and yes, he is already working on a new book to tell his side of the story. With each slice, science communication becomes more and more diluted. Ultimately, it is the individual that makes the decision to plagiarize, self-plagiarize, or publish snippets. Maybe we should read Lying after all. As they say, change comes from within (the sandwich?). In the parabolic tennis set that is the blame game between industry and individual, a personal, moral obligation to the truth may be the only impetus for match point. On all fronts, scientific publishing deserves the same level of rigor and veracity it purports to share. Psychoanalysis takes more than an hour. The brain has more than ten neurons. Proust was no neuroscientist. This piece is an abbreviated version of a longer article by the author. The full version is available on the author’s Compatiblism blog on science20.com.



tater tribulations
JANE BRENDLINGER food columnist
When the brilliant Nora Ephron passed away this summer, the world over mourned her death. The screenwriter of movies including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, she had chick flicks down to a science, such that they could be witty and even win Oscars. She dabbled in directing, wrote several books, and was famously both kickass and intimate, candid but hilarious. Less well known in her oeuvre is the essay “Potatoes and Love.” In it, she depicts the arc of romantic relationships with the humble symbol of the potato. She woos new mates with impressive displays of crispy potatoes, can slack off with only so-so renditions once the honeymoon phase is over, and comforts herself with huge bowls of buttery mashed potatoes in the throes of heartbreak. I shared the essay with my friend Ana, who is a 20-year-old incarnation of Ms. Ephron, and although we are both thankfully heartbreak free, we were nonetheless stricken with a craving for mashed potatoes. I offered up my kitchen and soon we were cooking. Because we are both analytical and perfectionist, we analyzed various recipes online for the best way to prep our tubers. My housemate, herself an incredible cook, mocked us relentlessly: “You’re overthinking it! It’s mashed potatoes!” We were not fooled. The original plan had been to make Nora’s recipe, but that calls for a potato ricer, which I do not have. (Does anybody under the age of 40 have a potato ricer?) Nor do I have a longhandled potato masher, and so we decided to use a fork. Poor choice. When at last the potatoes were fork tender—we swore they were fork tender—and we started to mash with our flimsy stolen Ratty silverware, they shapeshifted into a sad, grey mess, huge chunks of al dente potato suspended in a thin starch soup. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I did manage to f*ck up mashed potatoes. Nora may have been able to move past her exes with the help of butter and fat, but no amount of butter could fix this heartbreak. My housemate was right after all. Mashed potatoes do not merit overthinking. They shouldn’t, anyway: They involve little more than boiling and pulverizing, the two most artless culinary tasks imaginable. It should be foolproof, right? Wrong. Ana and I had both considered ourselves to be decent cooks, perfectly competent when it came to following

how i became a super mash pro
recipes and even sometimes good at improvising new creations. Where did we go wrong? Did we mis-boil? Mis-mash? More than disappointed, we were ashamed. We needed a chance at redemption. I ordered a potato ricer that night ($12!), seduced by its promise of infallibly fluffy, starchless taters. One week later, I bought four more potatoes and Ana returned. As excited as we were about the new gadget, we were even more nervous. The stakes were high, the dirty potatoes suddenly fraught with existential meaning. We couldn’t blow it on our second try or we’d forever live in disgrace. Once the quartered potatoes were in the boiling water, there was nothing we could do but wait. Twenty turbulent minutes passed. We tested for fork tenderness. Not yet. Five more minutes, still a little tough. Five more minutes, not quite there. Each time we poked in the fork, we hovered around the pot and analyzed the level of ease with which its prongs sank into the potatoes’ flesh. At long last, we determined they were ready. We were in potato purgatory, but here was our chance to turn it all around. “Asbestos fingers” is the way Ana’s aunt refers to cooking extremely hot foods with bare

hands, aided by an almost Zen-like disregard for the pettiness of first-degree burns. With the ricer perched jauntily across the pot’s rim, we braced ourselves. Equipped with our own sets of asbestos fingers, we piled lump after fork-tender lump into the ricer’s receptacle, finally clamping it shut so that the potatoes were pushed through the other end in long white strands. It was one of the more satisfying things I’ve done this year, and to all of you without a potato ricer, I say: Find one immediately. The instant gratification it provides will transport you back to kindergarten. Minutes later, we had a vat of potatoes, fluffed and de-starched, wafting with steam. To them we added a dash of cream, a (un)healthy amount of butter, and a dash of salt. Dignity restored, we sat down to enjoy them the way Nora would have—minus the heartbreak. Illustration by Sheila Sitaram

gateway sexual activity
MM sexpert
In May, Tennessee legislators decided it was a good idea to ban health teachers from discussing with students any activity that may be thought of as sexual. The law, which Stephen Colbert lampooned pretty heartily at the time, allows educators to condone kissing and hand-holding as appropriate alternatives to sex, but bars them from mentioning any “Gateway Sexual Activities” in the classroom. For the past five months, teachers across the state have been asking themselves what the hell this phrase means. David Fowler of Tennessee’s Family Action Council, the group that wrote the bill, explained that “Gateway Sexual Activities” are those that involve contact with “Gateway Body Parts,” which include not only the genitals but also the buttocks, breasts, and inner thighs. Discussing GSAs, according to Fowler, runs antithetical to the mission of abstinence-only curricula—the only legal kind of sex education in Tennessee, and the only kind statistically proven to increase rates of abortion and teen pregnancy. Why is now a good time to talk about this law? Because this month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the dissemination of a $5 million federal grant to fund abstinence-only education programs nationwide. Because Obama’s vocal opposition to abstinenceonly curricula hasn’t lessened their prevalence in America. Because a few weeks ago, a California school district got sued for failing to discuss condom use with its students, instead recommending that they prevent pregnancy by “respecting themselves, getting plenty of rest, socializing in groups, and practicing abstinence.” Because this summer, a Texas school made news for teaching not the benefits but the ineffectiveness of condom use, telling students that dysfunctional or punctured condoms can lead to death. Because it’s 2012 and sex education isn’t getting any better. So I thought I’d revisit David Fowler’s pet neologism, to see if I can do for Tennessee what the law wouldn’t: Delineate in explicit terms these unacceptable sexual behaviors, their risks, their benefits, and what kind of gateway they may open.

n. any form of physical contact that could, by the world’s most conservative estimate, have sexual implications
The Layperson’s Guide to Gateway Sexual Activities: Red State Edition
Unless the orifice in question is the oil pan of a giant SUV, you should never find your fingers occupying any sort of concavity whatsoever. Vaginas are covered in pathogens, which incidentally accounts for the weakness, histrionics, and frigidity that characterizes most women. It also explains why they store so much fat in their asses.

Foot Jobs:
Feet are shaped like hands for a reason, and that’s because anything you shouldn’t do with your hands you also shouldn’t do with your feet. This includes touching your or others’ genitals, touching your or others’ mouths, shoplifting, and wearing shoes. You would look stupid with shoes on your hands.

Hand Jobs:
Mutual masturbation qualifies as a Gateway Sexual Activity because it sometimes leads to orgasm, which is the first manifest symptom of SARS. A good way to predict the risk of orgasm is to note if the penis is soft like a slug or hard like a snail. In the latter scenario, the penis should be washed vigorously in a baptismal font to avoid contracting an STI.

Body parts within a choad’s length of the neck are considered Gateway Body Parts.[1] Ears and necks are highly erogenous zones, secreting small amounts of amniotic fluid whenever stimulated. If this fluid is ingested, do not induce vomiting and do not contact a medical professional. It will be too late.

If the vagina is the lava-filled forge of Mount Doom, then the thighs and buttcheeks are like the high peaks of Ephel Dúath. You feel me? One does not simply walk into Mordor.

Oral Sex:
If you wear a dental dam over the vulva or a condom over the penis, oral sex is a safe alternative to intercourse. Just kidding; every time a tongue comes within three inches of a genital, an egg somewhere in the universe is inexplicably fertilized.

Nipple Sucking:
Nipple sucking between consensual adults is occasionally defensible if the behavior does not result in further sexual contact. However, under no circumstances should an infant be seen sucking from the nipple of an adult woman. This is a sacrilegious practice, and moreover it is gross and makes grown men feel weird.

Anal Play:
Anything involving the anus is a Gateway Sexual Activity by default. This is because the gateway in question is literally the anus. The anus is the one body part reserved for Jesus, which is the etymological reason why both words end in –us.

The State of Tennessee has no opinion on this term, since we do not know its official definition. Generally, words we do not know the definitions of are banned, and perpetrators are denied contraceptives for an entire year. Ha! Take that, Planned Parenthood! WHO PREVENTS MORE TEEN PREGNANCIES NOW?! [1] The State of Tennessee defines the official length of a choad as 1.62 inches (.01 inch less than the width of the average Tennesseean penis).

This Gateway Sexual Activity is often participated in by lesbians, which are a rare kind of venomous scorpion. Lesbians have the highest incidence of pregnancy per sexual behavior of any procreative being. Discussing lesbianism in a sexual education class is as irrelevant as discussing evolution in a biology class, and almost as apocryphal.



a great dive
or at least some lobstah
JULIA BORDEN contributing writer

music is film is

not relating to Taylor Swift.

admiring Cloud Atlas.

books is tv is

going Back to Blood with Tom Wolfe’s latest. eating raw ramen with Schmidt. stockpiling pumpkinshaped Reese’s. tapping the GCB pumpkin brew.

food is

possible reasons tedeschi closed

booze is

Ah, Captain Seaweed’s—where the theme is nautical, the beer is cheap, and there’s a very real chance you could leave with a live lobster if you happen to be there on a Thursday night. This hidden dive bar on Ives Street is best known for its outrageous décor and somewhat scruffy clientele (“Tattoos welcome, teeth optional” writes one reviewer on Yelp). The place has an aura of mystery for most Brown students. It is experienced by a few, whispered about by a few more, and largely unknown to the vast majority. I was in that majority a year ago. So when a fellow editor at the magazine I work on suggested we host our release party there, I thought he had invented the place as a joke. Trying to advertise the event to my friends, who had also never heard of it, they mimicked my initial reaction of mocking disbelief. I expected the worst, imagining my fellow editor and myself as the only two students at a dusty, dingy bar, sitting next to a pile of shiny magazines forlornly watching old men smoke around a poker table. It’s impossible to anticipate your first encounter with the Captain. The interior decoration immediately shatters all preconceptions. You are greeted at the door by the large painted face of Captain Seaweed himself, his full, green beard swimming with golden seahorses and crimson crabs. You pull, enter, and are instantly overwhelmed by the abundance of nautical paraphernalia. Models of old sailing ships line the walls under clustered oil paintings of stormy seas. A stuffed parrot surveys the

scene from its perch on a trapeze hinged to the ceiling. A life-size hammerhead shark hangs above the front windows, a human hand protruding from its mouth. It’s grotesque if you’re sober, but hilarious if you’ve had a few drinks. Buoys, plastic fish, and skull-and-bones motifs adorn the walls, along with mermaids and warnings to “Beware of High Seas.” An outdoor patio features a tiki tent, a seagull perch (with seagull included), and a fish pond (with real fish). For a pub with such a specific theme, the experience is wildly unpredictable. My first time at Seaweed’s was our magazine’s release party, and the atmosphere was a product of the organized event. The place was packed. My fellow editor had managed to get all his upperclassman friends to fill every open space the pub could offer. People milled about drinking Seaweed’s signature $1 beer from plastic cups, talking over the loud music pouring from the coin-operated jukebox against the wall. A few Providence locals gathered around the pool table, where a single fluorescent bulb shone down on their game, out of place in the dim ambient light. Our crowd had forced a group of old men to the dark back corner of the pub, where they sat, bitter and amused, surveying us. It was easy to order a beer from the tap; the bartender seemed too overwhelmed by the amount of people to consider carding. Two people won lobsters that night in a classic game of Thursday Night Trivia. Later, I returned to Seaweed’s with four good friends, looking for a casual night out

away from the sloppy atmosphere of WhisCo. No crowd of classmates greeted us this time. Instead, Providence locals wearing leather jackets and sagging pants surveyed us from the bar and pool table, their neck tattoos exposed under overgrown scruff. Chatty women, in push-up bras but with no neck tattoos, sat with them. They all appeared to be in their late 20s or early 30s and seemed to view Seaweed’s as we view Jo’s: an entertaining place to go when you’re out of ideas but don’t want the night to end. Since we stood out as students, we were instantly carded. The owner explained that he was our age once, he understood, but there had been police checks recently and they didn’t want to risk losing their liquor license. A combination of fakes and terrible lying got us through (“Please, sir, I was born in 1991! I swear it so!”), and we settled in with a $7 pitcher of beer. We stayed late drinking, talking, and laughing until they called for closing at midnight, the required closing time for a residential pub. You can describe Seaweed’s as anything ranging from casually quirky to aggressively eccentric. Regardless, it’s a fantastic place to go if you want cheap beer, like to people-watch, and don’t want anything too classy (or too WhisCo-y). Maybe it’s the sheer force of the nautical theme that eliminates any discomfort. The absurdity of the place is enough to keep any conversation going, and there’s no false pretentiousness. Seaweed’s is a good time guaranteed, and you just may win a lobster.

1. Space needed for pop-up Warby Parker Halloween store. 2. Price gouging allegations over York Peppermint Patties. 3. I don’t know, but I’m going to miss the Tedeschi guys
partying at my house. #realtalk

weekend five
Bikes@Brown Halloween Bike Ride on Friday at 5:40 P.M. at Faunce Arch. Ward B on Friday at 10:00 P.M at Buxton. The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Friday at 9:00 P.M. in the Petteruti Lounge. Dress (in)appropriately! Brown Ballroom Dance Masquerade Ball on Saturday at 7:00 P.M. in Alumnae Hall auditorium.

4. Eccentric billionaire to open eccentric water park. 5. Put out of business by CVS automated checkout. CVS
employees also affected.

6. Finally sold out of ‘06 Pringles. 7. They f*cking loved cocaine. 8. Typhoid. Rampant typhoid.

top ten

Hugh Manatee at the Sidebar (127 Dorrance) feat. Eric Axelman at 9:00 P.M.

9. Purchased and liquidated by Bain Capital. 10. Store actually an extended prologue to Dadaist exhibit
of people pulling on locked doors.

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