The College hill

TheBrown/rISDweekly|FeBrUAry172011|VolUmeXXIIISSUe2

FROM THE EDITORS:
The latest rumble in the never-ending battle of man vs. machine has been taking place on the set of “Jeopardy”—over the last week, two human “Jeopardy” champions (Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter) have been pitted against an I.B.M. computer named Watson. To put it bluntly: Watson’s kicking ass. At the end of the second (of three) days, the computer stood at $35,000, while Rutter and Jennings lagged behind, with $10,400 and $4,800 respectively. Is anyone surprised? They shouldn’t be: after all, Watson uses data stored on 10 I.B.M. servers—the equivalent of 2,800 computers—that take up a whole room in the “Jeopardy” studios (though he’s not allowed to use the Internet). And it has an undeniable advantage in buzzing: Watson’s reaction time is superhuman. Jennings and Rutter were slightly helped out by the fact that Watson will only buzz in if he calculates a high probability of his answer being right; nonetheless, it was able to answer first for 24 of 30 Double Jeopardy questions. Still, we’re probably not on the verge of a brainy-computer takeover: unlike Deep Blue, the chess computer that toppled world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, Watson’s successes are likely attributable to an extensive knowledge base and lightning-fast speed, not to particularly advanced artificial intelligence. Case in point: he fails on the Indy’s #1 test of intelligence—puns. While Watson has been surprisingly adept at working out the riddles and word patterns of the show’s questions, a New York Times demonstration shows that wordplay still isn’t its forte: in response to “This new dynamic duo is made up of Bruce Wayne’s superhero self and a famous bandit of Sherwood Forest,” Watson’s top answer is, bafflingly, “Lincoln Green Revolution.” He didn’t feel strong enough to buzz in with his answer (nor the runner-up: “Ribbon Tree Farm,”) but in any case, it’s likely that the pun-minded humans of the world will be on top for a while. –GB

THE ISSUE:
News
WEEK IN REVIEW
by Jonah Kagan, Sam Levison, and Ashton Strait

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A NEW DAWN FOR SUDAN
by Emily Gogolak

Arts
THE NEXT BIG THING
by Mary-Evelyn Farrior

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by Maud Doyle

THE BEST-LAID SCHEMAS OF MICE AND MEN

Metro
STATE OF THE UNIONS
by Simon van Zuylen-Wood

THE INDY IS:
MANAGING EDITORS Gillian Brassil, Erik Font, Adrian Randall • NEWS Emily Gogolak, Ashton Strait, Emma Whitford • METRO Emma Berry, Malcolm Burnley, Alice Hines, Jonah Wolf • FEATURES Belle Cushing, Mimi Dwyer, Eve Blazo, Kate Welsh • ARTS Ana Alvarez, Maud Doyle, Olivia Fagon, Alex Spoto • LITERARY Kate Van Brocklin • SCIENCE Maggie Lange • SPORTS/FOOD David Adler, Greg Berman • OCCULT Alex Corrigan, Natasha Pradhan• LIST Dayna Tortorici • CIPHRESS IN CHIEF Raphaela Lipinsky • COVER/CREATIVE CONSULTANT Emily Martin • X Fraser Evans • ILLUSTRATIONS Annika Finne • DESIGN Blake Beaver, Maija Ekey, Katherine Entis, Mary-Evelyn Farrior, Emily Fishman, Maddy Mckay, Liat Werber, Rachel Wexler, Joanna Zhang • PHOTOGRAPHY John Fisher • STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Drew Foster, Sarah Friedland, Annie Macdonald • SENIOR EDITORS Katie Jennings, Tarah Knaresboro, Erin Schikowski, Eli Schmitt, Dayna Tortorici, Alex Verdolini COVER ART Annika Finne The College Hill Independent PO Box 1930 Brown University Providence, RI 02912 Contact theindy@gmail.com for advertising information. // theindy.org Letters to the editor are welcome distractions. The College Hill Independent is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters and is printed by TCI Press in Seekonk, MA

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Features
LOVE STORIES THROUGHOUT HISTORY
by Eve Blazo, Belle Cushing, and Mimi Dwyer

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Science
SEX, LIES, AND SURVEY RESULTS
by Maggie Lange

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Food
LOCAL FLAVOR
by Belle Cushing

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THE GREAT AMERICAN COCKTAIL
by Greg Berman

Literary
DEVlLBOLICAL
by Sam Alper

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EPHEMERA:
EL PEQUENO LAROUSSE ILUSTRADO 1916

Occults
SECRETS OF THE PULSE
by Natasha Pradhan

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AS IF YOU CARE:
Around 8PM Wednesday night,reports of attacks on Pearl Square, the center of protests in Bahrain, began to surface. The following are Tweets sent from the BlackBerry of Maryam Alkhawaja, head of the Foreign Relations at the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. The tweets began around 3AM in Bahrain: People are whistling clapping and chanting, and someone is telling them on mic to stay peaceful and not leave now they’re chanting “peaceful, peaceful” I see them on the bridge, hundreds of them They’re shooting at us People are chanting “we demand the fall of the regime” There are wounded, area is surrounded They’re attacking from everywhere Women are running carrying their children they’re shooting repeatedly non stop On my way to hospital now to see wounded News of more than 70 wounded and tht paramedics are nt being allowed to pick up wounded from the roundabout Messages are going around about missing children News tht anyone walking or driving is stopped and beaten by riot police in villages around “Alkhalifa are criminals, history and the world are our witnesses” the crowd chants. News that ambulance was stopped by riot police and driver and nurse were beaten Guy telling me he saw riot police tie up men, hands n feet, then beat them. And he saw them burning tents while ppl were still inside. ppl lying on the floor more than 1000 injured at pearl roundabout. police not allowing access to help them by ambulance

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

NEWS| 2

WEEK

FIRE ‘N’ FIRE IN AZ In what has become a national pissing contest, Arizona is now counter-suing the federal government for blocking the state from enforcing its harsh immigration laws. The Justice Department sued the state last year to challenge S.B. 1070, the controversial law aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants in the state. For Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the clear solution was counter-suing the national government in federal court on behalf of the state. The lawsuit claims that the feds have neglected to maintain “operational control” of the border or protect Arizona from “harms associated with rampant illegal immigration.” This fight-fire-with-fire approach has apparently stirred up the enthusiasm of constitutional authority hot-heads across

the state—if the fact that the counterclaims have been funded entirely by private donations is any indication. Arizona’s also playing fast and loose with Webster’s, claiming in the suit that they are facing an invasion that the federal government has failed to stop. After all, didn’t you know that the “word ‘invasion’ does not necessarily mean invasion of one country by another, but can mean large numbers of illegal immigrants from various countries”? The claims in this lawsuit make it sound as if Arizona is under siege by an invading horde. Of course, they expect their very own Great Wall to keep out the angry Huns—the suit calls for construction of a 700-mile-long reinforced fence along the border between Arizona and Mexico. –AS

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RESHRUNKEN HEADS According to University of Wisconsin anthropologist John Hawks, the human brain has been shrinking. Nope, it’s not from all that ecstasy we’ve been taking, but simply good ol’ natural selection at work. “Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimetres to 1,350 cubic centimetres, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball,” wrote Kathleen McAuliffe in Discover magazine, citing an interview with Hawks. “The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion,” she added. This new revelation raises a multitude of new questions: Why is this happening? Are we getting dumber? Several groups of scientists have offered different explanations for what Hawks called a “major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink.” Harvard University primatologist Richard Wrangham believes that as natural selection has weeded out our more aggressive traits, humans have become domesticated—just like dogs, whose brains

VIEW
FAILIN’ PALIN: SARAH’S TRADEMARK WOES She may be able to see Russia from her house, but it seems that Sarah Palin’s trendy eyewear has failed her in the task of discerning the all-important dotted line. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the conservative sweetheart’s application to trademark her name was rejected after she neglected to include her signature on the document. Following in the footsteps of accomplished female celebrities like Paris Hilton, Cher and Barbie, Palin is seeking to add “brand” to her long list of titles that currently includes former governor, former vice-presidential candidate, and current face of ghostwriter Lynn Vincent. Palin, who’s been basking in the conservative spotlight since John McCain got desperate in 2008, hopes to acquire the trademark as she begins a career on the lecture circuit and prepares for a possible 2012 presidential campaign. It appears that dotted-line blindness is genetic. Palin’s daughter, Bristol, also had her trademark application rejected for failure to sign. The younger Palin gained national exposure by reaching the finals on last year’s Dancing with the (pseudo)Stars despite receiving consistently low scores from the judging panel, but is also known for preaching the gospel of abstinence to young women across America following her unplanned pregnancy in 2008. Both Bristol and her mother believe that the trademarks are necessary for protecting the use of their “motivational speaking services” against exploitation. –SL

are 10 to 15 percent smaller than those of the wolves they evolved from. Another theory contends that the warming trend of the past 20,000 years has favored the development of smaller skeletons, and thus, smaller skulls, since bulkier bodies retain more heat. While it’s just as tempting to blame it all on global warming as it is to imagine humans one day living a carefree life playing fetch with ourselves, a group of scientists from the University of Missouri has used what little brainpower our species has left to come up with a more plausible explanation. They hypothesize that as societies became more complex, individuals no longer needed to be as smart to survive. Humans born with a little less gray matter could rely on the help of others to get by. To put it in terms we modern cretins can understand: smaller brains mean lower IQs. So if we are left with the sad conclusion that the human race is getting dumber, at least we will finally all agree that size does matter. –JK

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FEBRUARY 11 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

A NEW DAWN FOR SUDA N
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named Abyei, was placed under joint north-south authority with little success. Violence has since persisted between Abyei’s Muslims and Christians; and a separate referendum to decide whether the region should join the north or the south was canceled last month due to partisan disagreements over who in Abyei is even eligible to vote. Further complicating the matter is the question of oil. Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s crude is produced in the south, but the pipelines to export it run through the north. Sudan has recently witnessed massive economic growth—oil exports since 1989 have tripled the country’s GDP. A cut in the flow would be devastating for north and south, and both sides have expressed deep concern over how to divide their resources and share infrastructure. In addition to the oil and border quandaries, another major roadblock to a peaceful transition is demobilization. Sudan is haunted by hundreds of thousands of former military and armed rebel groups who fueled the civil wars, and continue today to wreak havoc across the country. Analysts warn that low-level clashes could easily expand into another full-scale war. On February 6, the day before Mr. Bashir publically approved the vote, a Sudanese army mutiny broke out in the oil-producing Upper Nile State. The military reported over 50 deaths. Last week, 16 were killed in a clash between rebels and a former army commander. A few days later, 100 were reported dead in more rebel-military disputes. What is worrisome is that there is no way of knowing now just how these clashes will impact peaceful transition. As Sudan scholar and Professor at University of Haifa in Israel wrote in an email to the Independent, “We are witnessing the secession between North and South and it is not peaceful; however, this does not imply that it will escalate into full scale civil war, we have to wait and see.” CRUDe, KAlAShNiKoVS, AND CAiRo As if the threat of violence weren’t enough, Sudan now faces yet another reason for anxiety: political unrest. Mr. Bashir faces many of the same economic woes as his Egyptian neighbor to the north, and anti-Mubarak protests have spurred a wave of anti-Bashir sentiment in Sudan. While most think that it would be highly unlikely for the government of Sudan to follow Egypt in revolution, the opposition’s timing is worrisome, coming just when the government of Sudan should be focusing on post-referendum negotiations with the south. Initially, thousands joined the streets in peaceful protests, but the momentum—and speculation of regime change—all but disappeared when the government responded with force. In Khartoum, the Christian Science Monitor reported that Sudanese security forces attacked protesters with tear gas, water pipes, and sticks. One student was killed, another 113 were arrested, and Bashir made clear that he would continue to rule his country—or what remains of it—with an iron fist. In analyzing the Sudan vote, it is important to also consider how southern secession may impact the north. In light of the government’s response to the protests, it is clear that the development will not solely change the fate of the south. In a recent op-Ed in the New York Times, Sudan expert and Washington Post correspondent Rebecca Hamilton explained, “With the south now out of the equation, dissident northerners fear being left without allies at a critical moment in the battle to define their new country.” The battle is for political reform, and recent remarks from Bashir paint a bleak future for the north. In December he announced, “If South Sudan secedes, we will change the Constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity.” In the midst of celebration for a new Sudan, both sides are right to temper idealism with caution. The south is escaping the wrath of a tireless tyrant, but half a nation is still privy to the wrath of Bashir. And while southerners largely see secession as the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel, for many, memories from decades of brutal war still ring too close to home. “This war killed millions. You cannot believe just how many people died,” Jany Deng told the Independent in an interview. Deng, a refugee from southern Sudan living in Phoenix, fled Sudan in 1987 and was one of the first refugees from the civil war to be resettled in the US. “But,” he said, his voice picking up, “this is a moment of a lifetime, of history. All the dead, they died for this moment. We are going to have some issues at first. We are a new nation. We need a constitution. But people are tired, tired of the dying. We cannot mess up.” He paused. “The world is watching.” EMILY GOGOLAK ’12 wonders what Omar al-Bashir has for breakfast.

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udan is no stranger to struggle. For most of its post-colonial history, the largest nation in Africa has been at war with itself. Two bouts of civil war have ravaged Sudan since its independence in 1956, taking the lives of 2.2 million. Ongoing bloodshed in the western region of Darfur has forced more than two million from their homes and killed over 200,000. The government is a nightmare for human rights, and its President Omar alBashir is among the International Criminal Court’s most wanted. The most recent development in the Sudan’s bloody history, however, may give the nation a new reason for hope. In January, the Sudanese people finally got the chance to take the future of their nation into their own hands. Hundreds of thousands turned out to vote for a referendum on the independence of southern Sudan, which was mired in war for decades for with the north. The process began on January 9, and lasted through the 15th. According to the final count, 98.83 percent of the over 3.8 million registered voters in southern Sudan chose to separate from the north; in many parts of the country the affirmative vote was over 99 percent. On February 7, President Bashir publically accepted the referendum results, and the date was set for July 9, 2011 for southern Sudan—to be named the Republic of South Sudan—to become the world’s newest nation. The gReAT DiViDe To understand the significance of this vote, one must first look at the dynamic between northern and southern Sudan. While the north is predominantly Muslim and identifies with the Arab world, the south is Christian and animist and has closer ties to sub-Saharan Africa. The dis-

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cord between the two regions is not only religious and cultural, but also economic and political. Wealth and power have historically been concentrated in the north and northerners have consistently sought to rule Sudan along Islamic lines, including the official appropriation of Shariah law. Meanwhile, the non-Muslim south has been steadfastly opposed to Arab control and has long harbored secessionist sentiment. Just as Sudan won independence from joint Egyptian-British rule in 1956, these tensions spiraled into a full-scale civil war that lasted until 1972, when the military regime of then-President Jaafar Numeiri agreed to autonomy for the south. The respite was short-lived, however, and fighting resumed in 1983. The civil war—the longest in African history—finally came to an end in 2005 when the main southern rebel groups signed a peace treaty with the government of Sudan. The agreement granted the south “semi-autonomy” and included the option of a 2011 vote to remain part of the Republic of Sudan—or to leave. Six years later, the south has nearly unanimously chosen secession. “This is a new, historic moment for Sudan, a new dawn,” Haile Menkerios, head of the UN mission in Sudan, announced to the Security Council. Although spirits were high and the general mood very optimistic, this new phase for Sudan is not without its share of fears. The most immediate concern is how to draw the border between the two Sudans: it remains highly ambiguous just where the Arab north ends and the Christian south begins. Jeffrey Gettleman, chief Africa correspondent for the New York Times, explained the sharp local division: “One thatched roof hut carries a roughly-hewn cross at the top and next door an identical hut flaunts a crescent moon.” In the 2005 agreement, this regional crossroads,

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

ARTS| 4

Brown’s Granoff Center waxes contemporary
by Mary-Evelyn Farrior

THE NEXT BIG THING

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orty million dollars in donor funds and 38,815 square feet later, the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts officially celebrated its opening last Thursday. In a swanky gathering of trustees, donors, university administration, professors, students, and more, the kickoff displayed the building to its fullest. As in any proper assembly of well-to-do people, scenes from Pippin were performed, Stephen Sondheim was in attendance, and Ruth Simmons gave a speech. The Granoff Center seems to encapsulate our current concept of modernity, but the idea for a building of this type has been around for decades—over forty years, to be exact. Richard Fishman, the director of the Creative Arts Council, explains that the concept first came into existence at about the same time as the open curriculum. But not until ten years did the Creative Arts Council assemble and put together their super-power rings to make this idea a reality. “There was a movement within art to cross boundaries between disciplines, so we wanted to find a way to encourage that to happen,” said Fishman. The Council championed the idea of a collectivist space in which the needs of each individual art department was met in a shared environment. Even upon completion, no one department holds claim of the building. Instead, the center is open to everyone, only approval from the Creative Arts Council is needed to officially use the space. Currently, classes, ranging from Africana Studies to Modern Culture and Media, are conducted in the building and multiple student-produced arts and theatre performances are already scheduled for the upcoming months. “It is revolutionary in that it brings together a diverse group of people and disciplines that represent not only art, but

sciences, humanities, and no individual department has ownership of any space” said Fishman. To foster this, the building houses everything from a robotics lab to a recording studio: “[this building] will bring people together and allow them to see into the working process of other people. I think this building will act like a magnet for the campus community.” Once the Corporation got on board with the idea, the wheels began spinning quickly. In 2006, the Facility and Design Committee of the Corporation, staffed by Facilities Management, began preliminary work on the project. By 2007, twenty-two different architectural firms, selected by the committee, were in the running to design the new building. The committee then toured buildings by these six finalists, as well as the firms themselves, and met the proposed design teams. Architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s recent work on Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art wooed the committee. “That was well known at the time; it was a similar type of program to what we were trying to do,” said Stephen Maiorisi, Vice President of Facilities Management. “There was something about Diller Scofidio, that we knew that if we hired them something special would come out of it.” The New York based architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is used to the limelight by now. As their website boasts, Diller and Scofidio, a husband and wife design duo, were together ranked in “World’s Most Influential People” by Time Magazine in 2009 and were also the first architects to ever receive a MacArthur Genius Grant. In addition to working on sexy projects like creating the entrance to New York Fashion Week in 2010 and giving a facelift to the Lincoln

Center, their architecture has become a favorite among top American universities—such as Juilliard, UC Berkley and Columbia—and museums such as the Broad in Los Angeles and the Museum of Image and Sound in Rio de Janeiro. Brown Professor of Architectural History and architect Deitrich Neumann explains that designing for universities can often be a challenge due to the complex nature of creating something for so many users, but DS+R thrive under such pressure: “Diller Scofidio + Renfro were really wonderful architects to work with. They responded to each new idea on our side…always with a positive response.” The building, an architectural gem that Neumann believes “really puts us on the map as a place to go to see good architecture,” is located on Angell Street, near the center of campus. With the completion of “The Walk” between Pembroke and main campus within the last three years, this area may very well become the new heart of Brown. As you walk down the one way street, gray, zinc, curtain-like pleats begin to reveal the walls of glass that form the entire west side of the building. The choice of gray throughout the building is intended to provide a backdrop for the creativity inside the center, rather than distract from it. The use of glass and transparent materials throughout the entire structure was the brainchild of DS+R, particularly Charles Renfro, who served as “principal-in-charge” for this project. The split level design of the building, which was presented in one of the initial meetings between DS+R and the committee, allows people inside, as well as outside, to see the goings-on in different rooms of the building. Everything from the walls between the split level to parts of floor are visually

permeable. This artistic voyeurism aims to catalyze the creative process. Richard Fishman hopes that the Granoff center will lead students to “open their eyes and minds to these things they would not normally.” Brown has a history of embracing new architectural styles and uber-celebrity architects. After all, the List Arts Center was designed by Phillip Johnson in 1971, the architect also behind postmodern chef-d’œuvres like the AT&T Building (now call the Sony Tower) in New York and the ultra-modern Glass House (CT) where he died in his sleep. “There is a certain courage to try things out, and I think we all know that some buildings [at Brown] weren’t quite as successful as we wish them to be, so I like the fact that you can find buildings from every period of the 20th century and 19th century and see sort of development and history and richness,” said Neumann. However, with every new building the question of coherency comes into play: some may find a high-tech, grey and glass building out of step with the Georgian brick Main Green, the suburban brick of the bookstore, and the postmodern brick of the BioMed center. Still, for a university that prides itself on its diversity, the choice of different architectural styles could be seen as a natural reflection of its student body. Maiorisi voices this attitude: “It’s looking for the best, just like looking for the best students. Looking for the best in everything that they do. That doesn’t mean that the most money has to be spent, but it does mean that you are searching for excellence in everything—including architecture.” MARY-EVELYN FARRIOR B’14 is also working on sexy projects.

a brief architectural history of brown:

University Hall 1770 Joseph Brown

Manning Hall 1834 Russell Warren, Tallman & Bucklin

Sayles Hall 1881 Alpheus Morris

John D. Rockefeller Library Sciences Library 1962-1964 1968-1971 Warner, Burns, Toan and Lunde

List Art Center 1971 Phillip Johnson

Watson Institute 2002 Rafael Vindy

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FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

STATE OF THE UNIONS

Chafee, Charters, and Choices in Rhode Island

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ngus Davis is a handsome local boy who skipped college and became a Silicon Valley prodigy when he was 18. That was in 1997, when becoming Netscape’s youngest-ever employee was a huge deal. Ten years later, he had earned a fortune, a reputation as a fervent charterschool advocate, and a seat on the Rhode Island State Board of Regents, the state’s engine for education policy. In 2008, he orchestrated legislation that overturned a ban on new charter schools; a year later, he helped found the first “Mayoral Academy” Blackstone Valley Prep, a charter school in Cumberland, which operates under the direction of several area mayors. Last year, his Board of Regents worked with Education Commissioner Deborah Gist—his recruit—to win a $75 million grant in the federal Race to the Top contest, which includes provisions for more charter schools. Citing the harmful influence of “brain-dead, asinine” policies which blindly protect unions and senior faculty, in 2007, Davis claimed that “the public education system is absolutely screwing low-income kids of color.” Less than a month after he was sworn in, Governor Lincoln Chafee sacked Davis along with two other board members. Chafee’s replacement candidates, unlike Davis, have the full support of local teachers’ unions. Without their support, Chafee, who won only 36 percent of the vote, likely would have lost the election. This fall, empowered by the Citizen’s United v. FEC Supreme Court decision, the National Education Association RI and the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals—the state’s two major teacher unions—spent $183,000 on pro-Chafee television ads. Local teachers unions’ political action committees gave more than $11,000 directly to Chafee’s campaign, and individual teachers and administra-

tors across the state contributed more than $4,000 of their own money. No other set of interest groups spent close to that much for Chafee—or any of the other gubernatorial candidates. Chafee, needless to say, also received the endorsement of both unions. In return, unions are relying on Chafee to slow the pace of Gist’s plans for school choice expansion. Gist has stood at odds with big labor since last year, when she drafted a proposal that got all 72 Central Falls teachers fired, then re-hired under harsher terms of contract. Though labor representatives have been cagey over the reasoning behind their distaste for Gist (and would not comment for this article), there’s little doubt it comes down to the battle over Gist’s belief in school choice, which represents the latest, greatest threat to the political strength of teachers unions. As (non-unionized charter schools grow, unions have fewer bargaining chips to lobby for a preferred contractual terms and funding for their school districts. Gist has stated that the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) will use the $75 million Race to the Top funds in addition to another $2 million dollar federal charter school grant, to expand the number of charters from 15 to 35 over the next few years. A TASTe oF ViCToRY So far, the teacher unions have gotten their way. On January 31, Chafee asked US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for “flexibility” on the portion of the Race to the Top grant, which funds charter schools and requested a “thoughtful pause” on the current direction of public school reform. Some speculate that Chafee’s talks with Duncan may jeopardize the entire grant, which is not yet in Rhode Island’s possession and awaits final confirmation based on RIDE’s allocation

proposal. The situation may also be jeopardized by Chafee’s new Board of Regents, named on January 2 (and currently awaiting confirmation from the State Senate), which has full control over whether new charters are granted or not. Regents board members have three year terms. Eight of the nine members’ terms were up this year. The three ousted were proGist. Two of the four new members have union ties. One appointment remains to be made. Central Falls superintendent Fran Gallo, who pulled the trigger on the infamous fire/re-hire plan for her low-performing district, isn’t optimistic about the immediate future of public school reform. The Board of Regents expurgation, Gallo says, is “a clear indication that the education reform effort…now has weighted breaks on it... Anybody who has stood their ground and put children first—instead of the union agenda of adult comfort—was definitely targeted for replacement.” Among the board’s new members are former State Assemblyman George Caruolo, who has echoed Chafee’s ambivalence over the Race to the Top grant (only a fraction of which deals with charter school funding) and Carolina Bernal from the Institute of Labor Studies, whose president is a former official for the National Education Association—along with the American Federation of Teachers, the largest teacher union in the country. Replaced alongside Angus Davis were former State Supreme Court Judge Robert Flanders Jr., a Gist supporter, and Anna Caro-Morales, the president of the Central Falls School Board and a head figure in the nascent education reform group Rhode Island Campaign for Achievement Now (RI-CAN). On January 25th, RICAN director Maryellen Butke wrote an open letter urging Chafee to keep Gist in

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

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power and the Board of Regents intact. In spite of the signatures of heavy-hitting school choice advocates Joel Klein and Jeb Bush, Chafee shuffled the board, and some speculate that Gist will soon be gone too. If Gist is ousted, anyone familiar with the entrenched battles between unions and charter-school advocates in poor urban areas won’t be surprised at the outcome. The scenario is likely to be similar to events this December in Washington, D.C., when Mayor Adrian Fenty was defeated largely at the hands of the teachers’ unions, who poured money into the campaign of Vincent Gray, his challenger in the Democratic primary. A few months later, D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, one of the stars of Davis Guggenheim’s anti-teacher union documentary “Waiting for Superman,” offered her resignation. In her three-year tenure, Rhee fired hundreds of underperforming teachers and closed down under-enrolled schools to free up funding for new programs and charter schools. Rhee resigned because she felt the new mayor’s stance on public education would make it impossible to maintain the trajectory of her reforms. Chafee’s Regents Board could play the same role. “You wonder at what point Gist turns around and asks if this is worth it,” says Jim Sturgios, the director of the Bostonbased education research/advocacy firm Pioneer, and education blogger for the Boston Globe. Chafee’s appointments are “a pretty black and white issue,” Sturgios says. “I do have documents showing that [the appointments] are precisely what the unions wanted.” Not that one needs much help reading between the lines. AllieS oR eNeMieS? On some level, the unions’ trepidation about school choice is understandable. Money that could be going to public school districts may go toward charters instead. And if teacher evaluations are linked to test scores, one of Gist’s proposals, equally competent teachers from poorer and richer districts will not be judged fairly—the 2010 statewide NECAP science results revealed that students in economically disadvantaged districts performed 20 to 35 percent worse than their

wealthier peers. This scenario becomes especially troubling if some of the better students test into charter schools, and traditional public schools are left with even worse-performing students. Nonetheless, one of the stated aims of the school choice movement when it emerged in the early 90s was not only to provide an independently-run, publiclyfunded alternative to underperforming public schools, but also to facilitate cooperation between public schools and charters. “I don’t understand the hostility,” Gallo says. “We have partnerships with our charters. We partner with the Learning Community Charter in Central Falls— they assist us with professional development at the early childhood level. With their assistance, we are improving.” looKiNg AT The NUMBeRS Governor Chafee hasn’t indicated that union pressure factored into his new Board of Regents selections and his misgivings about Race to the Top. Instead, he cites the work of Diane Ravitch, a prominent education expert and school-choice advocate turned school-choice naysayer. In her latest book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, Ravitch argues that many charter schools perform far worse than neighborhood public schools. Still, Jim Sturgios notes that Gist’s commitment to reforming—not just chartering—alternative public schools distinguished Rhode Island’s Race to the Top. In addition to her proposal to link state teacher evaluations and test scores, Gist has threatened to cut off funding for charters that test worse than comparable district public schools. “It’s not just a proposal that says charters are the answer,” Sturgios says. “It’s a full, comprehensive plan that she put together, that frankly [stands] head and shoulders above many,” including Massachusetts. One of Chafee’s sacked Regents Board members, Bob Flanders, said that although plans for charter schools were only one of many provisions in the state’s Race to the Top application—the main ones being new state-wide common

course plans, better teacher evaluations, and technological innovations like ‘virtual classrooms’—its hot-button topicality was a leading factor in securing the grant. “It provided not only a promise of a lot of money to do this work, but it proved to be a tremendous unifying factor in bringing together disparate stakeholders toward goal of reforming education for benefit for student achievement.” The local education community has been effectively split in two, and the traditional Democratic stranglehold on union support has been challenged by progressive reform groups like RI-CAN and Democrats for Education Reform. But they have had little effect in Rhode Island so far. Though Chafee ran as an Independent, his platform was old-school Democratic and netted him the support of most of the state’s public employee unions. One look at the campaign contributions going to the overwhelmingly Democratic state legislators also reveals the union’s influence in state politics. The next debate between the RICAN Democrats and the union Democrats may hinge on students’ recent performance in the NECAP science exams, standardized tests administered for 4th, 8th, and 11th graders. So far, the results—released last week—reflect an existing geographical dichotomy. The best scores have always comes from suburban districts like Barrington and East Greenwich and the worst from Providence and Pawtucket. Of all 4th graders this year, the second and third best scores of the 169 Rhode Island public schools went to two suburban charter schools, Kingston Hill Academy and the Compass School. Both schools’ students tested around 90 percent proficiency, an improvement of 40 percent over last year. (The median proficiency level in Rhode Island was 44 percent.) Inner-city charters Times2 Academy and Highlander Charter saw their 4th graders test at 13.7 percent and 8.3 percent, both about 9 percent worse than they did last year. It’s likely that the union-friendly Board of Regents will cite these statistics if they decide not to approve the slew of new charters and Mayoral Academies that will be applying for funding this year.

RiSiNg TiDeS Outgoing Regents member Bob Flanders was recently appointed Receiver for Central Falls, where he’ll function as a mayor. This fall, the school district’s NECAP scores improved for all students and were significantly better than most Providence public schools, despite a high number of teacher absences. Flanders says he’s committed to an approach to school reform that encourages “best practice.” In other words, the better-managed charter schools will work to help the underperforming public schools. A rising tide, he says, will lift all boats, he says, in the traditional rhetoric of the trickle-down economists. “It’s insane to not do anything. We keep turning out people that are behind the 8-ball, who face a life of economic despondency—as a result of very little education that they can use in life,” Flanders says. “These are the people who end up on the social dependency lists—if not in jail or the training school—so the rest of us pay through the nose because of the failures of the education system.” Clearly, Flanders’s words aren’t a vote of confidence. But if he hopes to enact any change at all for the troubled city, he’ll have to work with union leadership. Ideally, the state can one day have the best of both worlds—unionized charter schools— something the GreenDot network in Los Angeles has tried with great success. But if GreenDot or anything like it is coming to Rhode Island, it’ll have to be approved by the new Board of Regents first. SIMON VAN ZUYLEN-WOOD B’11 is neither brain-dead nor asinine.

by Simon van Zuylen-Wood Illustrations by Annika Finne

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Lilth and Adam: an Argument
he legend of Lilith, Adam’s wife before Eve, found its first mention in Sumerian times. Lilith appears as an ancient Middle Eastern goddess, vampire, and harlot. Other variations portray her as a winged cherub with horns. The most wellknown Lilith appears in a Talmudic scripture written by Ben Sira, a Jewish mystic or Kabbalist, whose writings were rejected by the Hebrew Bible. According to Sira, Lilith was created at the same time and from the same earth as Adam. When Adam wished to sleep with her, he demanded that she lie below him, but Lilith, dismayed at Adam’s need to occupy the dominant position during sex, responded, “Why should I lie beneath you when I am your equal, since both of us were created from dust?” But Adam was determined to overpower her, so Lilith defiantly flew away to the Red Sea full of lecherous demons. There, Lilith partook in rampant promiscuity and bore over one hundred demon babies per day, some of whom she ate. God sent Lilith three angels who begged her to return to Eden, but she refused, even when the angels threatened to drown her in the sea. Lilith negotiated with the angels and agreed to the death of one hundred of her babies each day. In need of a new wife, Adam used his thirteenth rib to create Eve, his second and more subservient wife. Upon learning of Adam and Eve’s marriage, Lilith returned to Eden and slept with Adam against his will. Lilith has been immortalized as the incarnation of lust—the child-killing, nocturnal demonness who haunted the beds of men who slept alone, and who caused women barrenness and miscarriages. So why couldn’t Lilith be envisioned as a quasiperverse symbol of female empowerment? Or as a great creator and destroyer of life valorized for her dissidence, challenging the belief that the drive to nurture is as instinctual as the drive to destruct? Although some artists and academics have rewritten the history of Lilith as an empowering archetype for women, standard commentary depicts her as a seductress and devouring demon mother—the embodiment of our collective morbid imagination. –EB

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Garbo and Dietrich
t’s been said that Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich had an affair in post-war Berlin prior to their Hollywood fame. Famous for being Euro-imports of exceptional beauty and talent, the two 1930s icons also had a penchant for cross-dressing and ambisexual activities. The women were known onscreen as femme fatales, but offscreen sported butch-drag, vamped both sexes, and engaged in “sewing circles”—the discrete gatherings of early Hollywood’s lesbian set. Not only did they look similar—with their pale skin, chin-length coiffure, and pencil-thin eyebrows—but they both romanced the same woman: Mercedes de Acosta. Unlike Dietrich, who wore her sexuality flamboyantly even while married, Garbo led a reclusive life and never married. According to the New York Times she referred to her affairs with women as “exciting secrets.” Dietrich ostensibly seduced Garbo on the set of the 1925 silent film The Joyless Street, and introduced her to the infamous drag balls and cabarets of Berlin’s emerging gay mecca. Nevertheless, the two women would pretend for six decades that they had never met. Although the duo sustained a rivalry throughout their lifetimes, Garbo and Dietrich survive as gay icons with huge followings in the queer community then and now. Through their androgynous fashions and illicit romance, the actresses played a role in making lesbian subculture of the era visible and valid. –EB

Byron ‘N’ CREW

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he summer of 1816 was a steamy one in Lake Geneva, Switzerland. Lord Byron invited Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary’s half-sister Claire Clairmont, and Byron’s doctor John Polidori to holiday at the Villa Diodati. Already celebrities, the group presented a business opportunity to a local hotel owner who rented out a telescope to tourists to watch the Villa from a perch across the lake. At the villa, tourists/peeping toms reported seeing petticoats strewn across the balconies. Then the stories got wilder: naked women running across the yard, and nearly every possible permutation of group coupling caught in the act. The “league of incest” of 1816 gained notoriety back in England, and Byron took most of the heat for it. Still, some fruitful pillowtalk was had at Diodati. At Lord Byron’s suggestion, the group began a ghost story competition. Mary Shelley took the prize: she composed most of Frankenstein that summer. –MD

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

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Héloise and Abelard Freaky Pygmalion
aris’s reputation as the city of irrationally passionate acts in the name of love dates back to the twelfth century. Then as now, the personal lives of the elite caused scandal and outrage. Abelard was a renowned scholar who immersed himself in his work with little outside contact. Until he met Héloise. Twenty years his junior, Héloise was known for her beauty and quick-witted intelligence that put her ahead of her time. Abelard, whether out of predatory intentions or true love at first sight, arranged to become Héloise’s tutor, and moved into the home where she lived with her uncle, Fulbert, the canon of Notre Dame. Whatever the dubious nature of the affair’s beginning, the two soon fell passionately in love and carried on their relationship behind closed doors. When Héloise discovered that she was pregnant, the couple married in secret and Héloise had a son, whom she named Astrolabe. Following their clandestine wedding, Héloise took shelter in a convent at Argenteuil so as to not draw attention to their relationship. Her uncle, in a classic case of starcrossed misunderstanding, didn’t know about the marriage and believed that Abelard had forsaken his niece and driven her to the convent out of despair. He hired servants to sneak into Abelard’s house in the middle of the night to punish him, where they brutally attacked and finally castrated him. Abelard, stripped of his manhood, buried himself in his work and shame. Héloise, upon learning of her husband’s demasculinization, gave up her son, whose fate remains unknown, and retreated to the convent. Their love story became an epistolary tale, and their surviving correspondence will forever retell their medieval melodrama. The two are buried together in Père Lachaise cemetery, in the city of love. –BC

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ou remember the story: Pygmalion, devoted sculptor/recluse, falls head-over-heels in love with his masterpiece ivory sculpture. He’d seen some prostitutes in town and found himself so disgusted by the baseness of real (read: fleshy) women that the only thing that could get him rock hard was, well, stone. His stone, to be specific. His precious. He took to his chisel and began to sculpt the form of Venus, but instead created his ideal bride, whom he named Galatea. He begged Venus to transform his inanimate maiden into a real woman. She complied, and the couple lived happily ever after. We tend to view this story romantically—Pygmalion believed so deeply in art as an expression of love and vice versa that he literalized that love, etcetera, etcetera. But over the last two centuries, likeminded “Pygmalion syndrome” fetishists have tried to exercise their stony love to little social avail. In Psychopathia Sexualis, Dr. Richard von Krafft-Ebing reports on a gardener who, in 1877, became so enamored of the statue of the Venus de Milo he’d been tending that his neighbors found him pants-down in the act of copulating with it. Psychopathia also reports a man expressing a compulsive desire to engage in intercourse with an unspecified statue… but only after placing a hunk of meat on its crucial area. The fetish thrives today, as evidenced by discussion on p-synd.com, a Pygmalion syndrome fansite: some “are into the classic plaster, marble or alabaster look, denoting the look of a statue from myth, sculpted by some artist extraordinary, or petrified by a Gorgon... I myself would completely dig a completely reflective gold Milla Jovovich from the neck down.” –MD

LA Confidential

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illiam Randolph Hearst had it all: the publishing tycoon sat through the Roaring Twenties atop his financial empire, which included the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and a money bag full of movie investments starring his mistress, Marion Davies. The inspiration for Orson Welles’s movie Citizen Kane, Hearst was ruthless in his ambition. He was also possessive of Davies and prone to jealousy, despite the fact that he remained married throughout their entire affair. On November 24, 1924, Hearst’s yacht, the Oneida, took off from San Pedro, CA. Davies, Hearst, his production manager Thomas Ince, Charlie Chaplin, and gossip columnist Louella Parsons were among the Hollywood types aboard for what was hoped to be a relaxing cruise in honor of Ince’s birthday. But before the party could land in San Diego, Ince was rushed to shore on a water taxi and taken to two hospitals before returning to his Benedict Canyon estate where he died 48 hours later. The official cause: heart attack. The real story: murder. Rumor is, Hearst caught Davies and Chaplin, who were rumored to have a secret relationship, as they stole a forbidden kiss. Enraged with jealousy, he grabbed his gun and shot at the couple. In his blind rage, however, the bullet flew wild and struck Ince in the head. A doctor on board accompanied the producer to shore, but it was too late. The Examiner reported that Ince had been rushed off the boat with a severe case of indigestion,and died of health complications. Chaplin denied ever being on the yacht, Parsons was bought with promises of an even juicier story, and the scandal was swept under Heart’s expensive Oriental rug. --BC

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how a full cabinet distills the universe

THE BESTLAID SCHEMAS OF MICE AND MEN
By Maud Doyle Illustration by Emily Martin

“‘Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English).” So opens the exhibition “Curiouser” at the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium in Roger Williams Park. For the exhibition, several contemporary artists were asked to go through the museum’s natural history collections and create works using the objects they found there, effectively reinterpreting the Cabinet of Curiosity. The works on display in “Curiouser” all point to a relationship between art and life: art imitates life, and life—arranged in glass display cases or Rococo cabinetry— becomes art. For The Cabinet of Another Order, Susannah Strong considered an amateur’s study of the museum’s collection as a “work of art,” and assembled the scrap-book pages (drawings, notes, their taxidermied subjects) of an amateur natural historian like a collage. Jennifer Raimondi’s beautiful assemblage Comfort consists of a small, kneeling fawn draped in a blanket of hundreds of delicate grey butterflies, identifying “art” in the objects themselves.

“Cabinets of Curiosities,” private collections that featured everything from antiquities, African masks, and portraits of historical personages to the teeth, claws, and horns of exotic animals, rose to prominence during the Renaissance. The mysteries of the universe, Renaissance collectors felt, could only be represented by “curious,” rare, and exotic objects–– giants’ bones, geodes, American Indian moccasins––that encapsulated divine possibilities that more ordinary objects could

WILD LIFE

not attest to. From 1550 to 1750, a time suspended between widespread religious acceptance and the more contemporary scientific belief in method and organization, these Kunstund Wunderkammern (Art and Wonder Cabinets) sprang up across Europe in the hundreds, driven by exploration of new worlds and the rise of a comparatively secular intelligentsia. Chambers with stuffed alligators hanging from the ceilings and corals lining the walls were meant to be encyclopedic records of the world’s wonders. In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the wonders of the natural world defied rationality. The early collectors of the 16th century, too, felt that the world exceeded human category; unlike the collectors of today’s museums, they did not distinguish between the natural and the man-made–– the collection was meant to chronicle the entire universe, including human history. This was an era in which people still believed in God-made miracles; they did not believe in categorical laws of nature, but rather in the infinite variation of form. Such collections housed images and objects that were rejected by official public collections (those of the state) and the collections of the standard-setting Church. Eventually, these collections would be opened up to the public, becoming the first modern “museums” as we understand them. (It wasn’t until 1770, when Joseph II of Austria opened the Hofberg collection as a natural history museum, that any collections were freely opened to the broad public.)

French author Antoine Furetière defined a “Curieux” as “he who wishes to know everything.” Possession and knowledge of curieux, or rare objects, were means for the individual to form a relationship be-

ANIMAL HUMANISM

tween himself and totality, to transcend the “earthly condition.” The Wunderkammern would render visible the totality of the universe. So naturally, curiosity was morally interdit. “Curiosity is a harmful science,” wrote Isadore of Seville. “It leads to heresy.” (The “curious sciences” included alchemy, chemistry, and physics.) St. Augustine warned that curiosity, an Evelike human pursuit, would lead the questioner away from God by asking after what should remain unknown. Even St. Thomas Aquinas differentiated between curiosity and study, study was a virtuous endeavor that pursued only acceptable knowledge; curiosity, a worldly vice. Curiosity is human, and study divine. Collectors, despite being accused of flying too close to the sun, continued to attempt an encyclopedic record of the universe. The collector Pierre Borel (16201671), a doctor from Castres, called his Wunderkammer the Elysian Fields––a room full of dead things brought back to life: snake skins, giants’ bones, fishs’ skeletons, antiquities, preserved birds, insects in amber, fossils, fruits, flowers, fragments of stone. They played Noah, if not God himself, attempting to recreate all the wonder of the universe in their library. Collecting provided, then as now, a move towards immortality. The amassing of objects satisfied the human desire to record the world in which we live. Those records were, in turn, immortalized in commissioned etchings and paintings of the Wunderkammern. The reproductions detailed each object meticulously, delineating the vast universe in a single image. Etchings included Venuses, Cupids, and all the historical figures who had visited the collection over time––as though the gaze of important visitors was

how a full cabinet distills the universe

THE BESTLAID SCHEMAS OF MICE AND MEN
The tension between the Wunderkammern as a timeless preservation of objects and artifacts, and as a historical moment (as seen by the inclusion of famous visitors in their reproductions) continues to be played out in art museums today. In the 1970s, the art critic Harold Rosenberg described the original conception of the museum: “In Malraux’s view, the museum stands above the torments and defeat that the iron determinism of history inflicts on the man of action. Its sacred obligation is to compile and keep intact the record of human freedom and creativeness.” This emphasis on the timelessness of preservable, collectable, recordable art, which exists outside of history, has given way in the face of contemporary art, which seeks to combine art and life (again). While the contemporary art of amalgamation does not reflect the same Godmade universe that Pierre Borel’s 17thcentury collection did, it does seek to

another object to be chronicled. Reproductions transformed the collections into allegories for man’s ability to apprehend art and nature: trans-temporal renderings that set the cabinets outside of history while simultaneously making them part of it. Toward the end of the 1770s, around the same time museums became a phenomenon, Wunderkammern grew increasingly rare. Natural history collections were still amassed, perhaps even more impressively, but the purpose was no longer with God, but with science. Wonder gave way to dim Victorian practicality, and the curiosities were tamed by glass cases and butterfly pins. Curiosity was supplanted by method.

EARTHLY WORKS

By Maud Doyle Illustration by Emily Martin

The Rennaissance curieux treated nature as inherently metaphorical. Each natural object was already gifted with meaning or not attest to. signification––a work of art inFrom of it- to 1750, a time and 1550 self. Collecting and preserving nature is as suspended between widespread religious acceptance and the more describe the contempo- much an exercise in display and arrange“‘Curiousment as it is one of possession––that is, it contemporary scientific belief in rary human universepop er and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so amalgamation as much as is an art work of method and organization, these Kunstculture, society, the Modern masmuch surprised, that for the moment she und Wunderkammern (Art and Wonder Schwitters’s highly regarded Merzbau. ters. These works quite forgot how to speak good English).” of amalgamation--exemAlison Owen’s piece forsprang up across Europe in the Cabinets) “Curiouser” plified across the century by the exhibition “Curiouser” at dissociated labels (labels So opens major figures mounts objects’ hundreds, driven by exploration of new like Arman, Man Ray, Joseph Cornell, History and become separated from their obthe Museum of Natural that have Plan- worlds and the rise of a comparatively secKurt Schwitters, etarium in Roger Williamsject) on butterfly pins and arranges them Robert Rauschenberg, Park. For the ular intelligentsia. Chambers with stuffed and Damien Hirst--often treats contem- in reimagined configurations of species the ceilings and exhibition, several contemporary artists alligators hanging from porary objects aswere asked to go through and museum’s corals lining the walls were meant to be collectable specimens. the subspecies––by color, handwriting, Kurt Schwitters built a veritable Cabinet and typeface. Sheencyclopedic records of the world’s wonnatural history collections and create relished the humanity of Curiosities in the Merzbau, a modern they found there, ders. successive visit,” works using the objects of the labels. “On each interpretation of effectively reinterpreting the Cabinet of the grotto constructed she says, “the museum In Lewisless sterile, in Wonderland, seemed Carroll’s Alice entirely with found materials over a pe- less objective, andthe wonders of the natural world defied raCuriosity. much more subjective, riod of ten years (1923-33), which includ- in “Curiouser” She asks, The early collectors of the 16th The works on display human, fragile.” tionality. “Why do we all point to a relationship collect art and century, too, editor the ed work by his contemporaries (Hannah between things?” Fritz Karch, thefelt that of world exceeded life: art imitates life, and collecting at the Martha Stewart Living Höch and Raoul Hausmann, for example) life—arranged in human category; unlike the collectors of glass display cases or Rococo cabinetry— today’s museums, they alongside odd objects. Damien Hirst magazine, says, “You go back to primitivedid not distinguish becomes art. For The Cabinet of Another between the natural and has arranged hundreds of pills as though life—it’s like hunters and gatherers. Some the man-made–– Order, of a species. people are an the collection some the chronicling the variationsSusannah Strong considered wired some ways and was meant to chronicle the amateur’s study of the other. collecwired. I love the hunt While man-made objects have come museum’sI’m doubleentire universe, including human history. tion as a “work land- and love to gather.” Amassing the in which to dominate the contemporary of art,” and Iassembled This was an era objects people still bethe scrap-book pages of our world, chronicled contemporary scape, natural specimens are still often(drawings, notes, lieved in God-made miracles; they did not their breathtaking ele- of an amateur believe in categorical a figured as particularlytaxidermied subjects)artworks and ancient wonder rooms, is laws of nature, but natural historian com- human instinct. ments. Several of Rauschenberg’slike a collage. Jennifer rather in the infinite variation of form. Raimondi’s objects that Such collections housed images and bines––assemblages of found beautiful assemblage Comfort consists of a small, kneeling fawn draped objects that were combine sculpture and painting––feature MAUD DOYLE B’11 is curiouser rejected by official pubin a such as hundreds taxidermied animals, blanket ofthe large of delicate grey lic collections (those of the state) and the Angora goat withbutterflies, identifying “art” in the objects collections of the standard-setting Church. a tire around its middle themselves. Eventually, these collections would be that dominates Monogram, or the bald opened up to the public, becoming the eagle featured in Canyon. In each case, he bought the creature before conceiving of WILD LIFE first modern “museums” as we underthe painting or sculpture it would belong private collec- stand them. (It wasn’t until 1770, when “Cabinets of Curiosities,” to—it took him five years to get from a tions that featured everything from an- Joseph II of Austria opened the Hofberg stuffed goat to the complete Monogram. and portraits of collection as a natural history museum, tiquities, African masks, The success of Hirst’s Butterfly Paint- the teeth, claws, that any collections were freely opened to historical personages to ings, in all their and horns of exotic animals, rose to the broad public.) mock-religious wonder at transcendent specimens, attests to the Renaissance. The prominence during our continued fascination with the varieties of mysteries of the universe, Renaissance ANIMAL HUMANISM the natural world.collectors felt, could only be represented Phaidon’s monumental French author Antoine Furetière de2001 rendition ofby “curious,” rare, and exotic objects–– fined a “Curieux” as “he who wishes to know Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, the massive record of American Indian everything.” Possession and knowledge of giants’ bones, geodes, drawings from Seba’s collection, encapsulated divine pos- curieux, or rare objects, were means for moccasins––that graces gleaming coffee tables everywhere. ordinary objects could sibilities that more the individual to form a relationship be-

NATURAL COLLECTION

11 |SCIENCE

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

SEX, LIES, AND SURVEY RESULTS
Studies on Love, Sex, Snuggling
by Maggie Lange illustration by Charis Loke

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here is a seemingly ceaseless stream of studies that reduce each gender to a vaguely irritating stereotype. The men fear commitment, the women crave intimacy. One study suggests that a coquettish attitude and coy game-playing pave the road to seduction. The two studies below have a characterization of gender that nearly describes the male and female leads of a formulaic romantic comedy. Though they come from peer-reviewed journals, their simplicity and repetition is reminiscent of Cosmo’s 500 variations of “500 Ways to Please Your Man – TONIGHT!” CUDDliNg: NoT A MAle PRioRiTY The Journal of Sex Research’s recent study “Sex Differences in Post-Coital Behaviors in Long- and Short-Term Mating: An Evolutionary Perspective” focuses on the intimacy gap between men and women after sex. The study, conducted by Susan Hughes and Daniel Kruger at the University of Michigan, surveyed 170 collegeaged students. The online survey listed options for the participant to rate their post-sex inclinations: talking, sleeping, cuddling, leaving the room, smoking and drinking, asking for favors, eating, and considering “the likelihood that pregnancy may have resulted.” Women listed bonding activities like chatting and cuddling highest on the list of post-sex activities, while men preferred eating, smoking, or making a drink—generally activities that involved withdrawing into the next room. The evolutionary analysis of this study explained: “Males tend to mate more opportunistically,” while females “are less likely to dissociate coitus from emotional involvement.” The “pair-bonding” ac-

tivities were initiated and preferred much more by women than men, both in shortterm and long-term mating. Enlightening: women prefer intimacy while men are programmed to sow their wild oats. While these results are not particularly groundbreaking, the study of post-sex behavior is: this is one of the first studies to examine people’s predilections after sex. The vast majority of studies in human reproductive strategies discuss behaviors leading to sex: mating dances, primping, courtship rituals, and demonstrations of strength and desirability. But Hughes’s and Kruger’s study stresses that reproductive strategies don’t stop after intercourse. Mates are analyzed as long-term or shortterm based on their actions following the main event. “These findings may not seem surprising, as they are consistent with evolutionary psychological theory,” Hughes and Kruger write, “but, to our knowledge, this is the first attempt to document and quantify post-coital preferences.” WoMeN loVe TheM SoMe RelATioNShiP gAMeS Meanwhile, another recent study in Psychological Science concluded that women are most attracted to men who make their feelings unclear. Conducted by two University of Virginia professors, Erin Whitchurch and Timothy Wilson, and Daniel Gilbert of Harvard, the “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…” study found that men who send mixed signals are the most desirable. The test surveyed about fifty female undergrads at UVA. Each girl was shown four men’s Facebook profiles (fabricated for the study, but the participants believed they were real). The girls were told these men had viewed her profile along with those of a dozen or so other coeds. A third of the girls were told they were the most highly rated, a third were told they were rated as average, and a third were told they were rated either the most highly or average. It was the third group—the group uncertain about their male prospect’s attraction—that ranked the males as most attractive. The study noted that while hearing that someone is attracted to you is affirming, it is not thrilling. “In contrast,” the study reports, “when people are uncertain about an important outcome, they can hardly think about anything else.” The study concludes with this statement: the “popular dating advice is correct: Keeping people in the dark about how much we like them will increase how much they think about us and will pique their interest.” Does this conclusion, then, encourage people to play games in their relationships? To keep everyone guessing because they’re worried they will turn their crushes off if they show some straight-up affection? Perhaps, but only in the beginning. It seems that the study, rather than looking at substantive attraction, focused on initial frequency of thoughts. In the beginning, it is the uncertainty that heightens the attraction. “I don’t think it’s that people enjoy the chase,” Erin Whitchurch wrote in an email, “but that uncertainty increases our thoughts about a person in a very subtle way and that is what, to a certain extent, increases attraction.” Furthermore, it’s worth nothng that the researchers chose to examine this initial attraction through a virtual medium. This lens of removal, Whitchurch says, helped her and her co-writers build a more believable situation. Certainly, the scenario was believable—people do peruse and pursue their potential crushes on Facebook—but in reality, relationships are hardly built solely on the Facebook interface; they’re usually just sparked there, in the same way that seeing someone at a party might spark a little crush. “This study only explored initial romantic attraction—so no, this study does not support the idea of playing games once in a relationship,” Whitchurch writes. “Personally though, the advice I give my friends is to play the game to the point there is an obvious attraction—right to the point where you both want to admit your feelings—then wait until the next conversation, text, date to do that.” After all she warns, too much uncertainty can cause a partner to “get frustrated and quit.” PleASe YoUR MAN ToNighT Implicitly, these studies offer some form of advice, since empirical studies have an implied relationship to truth. In the case of these sex/love studies, they appear to shed light on the true predilections of members of the opposite sex. The language often pits the genders against one another, and implies that there is an irresolvable gap between them. This might be why these peer-reviewed studies seem so close to magazine headlines. “16 Dirty Guy Phrases – Translated!,” actual Cosmo headline, runs off the same steam. Both these studies and “16 Dirty Guy Phrases” offer a translation of behavior between the two sexes. Ostensibly, the information from these studies will wiggle into some advice offered in Cosmo or Maxim, as a sure-fire way to seduce the object of your desire. Though these studies are backed by empirical research, both will offer the same simplified vision of romance, sex, and love. MAGGIE LANGE B’11 – translated!

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

FOOD| 12

LOCAL FLAVOR
RI Local Food Forum serves up optimism, but little else
by Belle Cushing illustration by Shay O’Brien
(albeit with Narragansett Creamery mozzarella and rustic French bread). At networking time, professionals were guided from table to table and the well-meaning facilitators used clapping games to calm the rowdiness. The keynote speaker, Dorothy Brayley, enthusiastically encouraged listeners to join her mission for “happy kids, happy adults!” Brayley is the founder of Kids First, a nonprofit designed to bring healthier food options to public schools in Rhode Island, and a newly formed spinoff called Real Food First, which aims to widen the distribution of local goods to convenience stores, hospitals, workplaces, and universities. Her programs have been extremely successful: she brought 200,000 pounds of local foods to public schools in 2010, and helped revise the RI nutrition requirements to include all whole grains, less processed foods, and healthy vending

“F

resh where we work” was the catchphrase of the day at the seventh annual Rhode Island Local Food Forum held on Tuesday February 8 at Brown University. Members of every part of the local food industry gathered in Andrews Dining Hall at this brainstorming-cum-networking event with the goal of making professional connections and sharing ideas to increase the amount of locally food consumed in Rhode Island. This year’s theme focused on bringing local foods to schools, hospitals, and workplaces. Sanitary chefs in white coats shared tables with fleeced farmers. Striped and suited sales reps passed out business cards to food writers and restaurant owners, and eager Brown students chatted with butchers over organic vegetarian bisque. It was a meeting place for environmentalists, epicureans, and all the characters in between.

tary school kids she caters to, with her deliberate enthusiasm and emoticon peppered PowerPoint presentation. The tone was set for an event that emphasized sugary success stories, but failed to effectively address issues for future progress. Conference presenters preached to the culinary choir, lauding the benefits of crisp, freshgrown cucumbers to an audience of CSA subscribers and loyal patrons of farmers markets. A panel made up of a farmer, two chefs, a purchasing coordinator, and a produce supplier discussed the effects of bringing local food into schools and hospitals in Rhode Island. Success stories and minor logistical snags were well received by the panel and audience. It was when issues arose about affordability that the answers began to get vague. An organic farmer found little support when she brought up the challenge of keeping prices low while still paying her workers a living wage. When the public can get access to local foods through school and work, without paying for it directly, the reception is widely positive. When shopping for themselves, however, many people will not pay more for local over conventional food. Panel members insisted that patrons must see and taste the tangible difference, but the price gap remains a barrier for the local movement. ReAl PRogReSS More down-to-earth speeches came from Ken Ayars, the Chief of the Department of Environmental Management’s Division of Agriculture, and Noah Fulmer, executive director of Farm Fresh Rhode Island. Ayars spoke on governmental action, such as the mapping out of a fiveyear plan toward sustainability and the initiation of a Rhode Island Food day in October. Fulmer spoke eloquently about Rhode Island’s potential for growth in local industry. He outlined plans for directing federal dollars toward the local food industry, through food stamps that can be redeemed at farmers markets and a plan to prove the link between health and local foods in efforts to receive more funding. Both speeches focused on increasing the amount of in-state produced food consumed in Rhode Island. For all the hype about local foods recently, the statistic is still a mere one percent. Brown student Lillian Mirviss spoke about the university’s efforts at trayless dining and composting, while Johnson and Wales instructors and students looked like they wanted to take a butcher knife to

the next person who lauded Brown and RISD’s involvement in the local movement. It was a RISD executive chef who sat on the expert panel, and Brown students who publicized student organizations on everything from market shares to biodegradable take out containers. Due to high attention to food safety laws and liability issues, Johnson and Wales is behind other Providence schools in bringing local foods into food service programs. The JW chefs and students present, however, expressed a strong desire for change, looking for ways to bring one of the nation’s top culinary schools up to par in the local movement. eASieR SAiD ThAN DoNe The projects being discussed have generally found success in widening the availability of local foods. Despite the positive reception of local produce on behalf of the public, it became clear that eating local would take some getting used to. Demanding diners at elementary schools sent back their local broccoli because it looked different from the florets at the grocery store, and workers at Blue Cross Blue Shield were concerned about the state of never before seen local vegetables: “Why is my potato blue?” Although the forum was flavored with a definite cheesiness, the optimism was truly genuine. In a time when much of the public has adopted a “been there, done that attitude” towards local sustainability as an over-hyped foodie fad, it was refreshing to see that none of the guests needed convincing about the importance of the issues. The conference served its primary goal of establishing lasting relationships among food industry professionals that would have more power to address the issues at hand than would a five-hour conference. The most effective discourse took place during Speed Networking, where all different sectors of the industry exchanged business cards and hopes for progress. Questions that had not been addressed during the panel found interest in these more casual conversations. Most apparent was a shared love for food, and for the land that produced it. BELLE CUSHING B’13 sometimes needs her rowdiness calmed.

glAZiNg oVeR The iSSUeS The forum had the feel of a middle school leadership conference for adults, complete with cheese sandwiches at lunchtime

machine options—a big change from the Super Donuts kids received for breakfast when she first started her campaign. She might have been speaking to the elemen-

13 |FOOD

FEBRUARY 17 2011| THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

The history of America’s most spirited cultural institution
by Greg Berman illustrations by Adela Wu
mericans didn’t invent the art of drinking. Instead, like the art of governing, they simply revolutionized it. People had been drinking and governing for thousands of years before the first English boot tread on North American shores—the only problem was that most of the drinks had been unpleasant and most of the governing oppressive. For those of us who didn’t doze off throughout the entirety of high school, the latter part of that revolutionary equation should sound familiar. The story goes something like this: around 1776 an underdog team of misfits defeated a bigger, stronger, better-funded team of jerks, ultimately saving the day and making the world a better place for all. But while we all know the heroic story of Washington crossing the Delaware, very few of us know the equally heroic story of Washington getting sloshed at the Revolutionary War victory party, proposing a staggering 13 individual toasts, one to each of the newly liberated colonies—or the fact that John Adams, our second president and iconic patriot, is rumored to have enjoyed a large helping of beer with his breakfast.  Sure, America combined the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy into a form of self-government, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the golden age of Ancient Greece. But America also combined liquors, sugars, and juices in equally revolutionary ways, creating potable concoctions that would inspire downtrodden peoples the world over.  Today, it might seem odd that something that is now so commonplace, so predictable—merely a palatable mixed drink—ever even had to be invented, let alone that any nation could claim cultural rights to it. A brief look at the history of the cocktail, however, reveals that alcohol runs in the blood of America—not just in a chemical sense, but in a cultural one as well. The golDeN Age oF The CoCKTAil No one knows exactly where the word “cocktail” came from—reported origins range from half-breed horses to Mexican princesses—but none stand out as more authentic than the rest. What we do know is that for the majority of the nineteenth century, cocktails were relatively crude concoctions consumed at bawdy, raucous taverns. In his book The Joy of Mixology, Gary Regan discusses these grungy establishments in painstaking detail. Most of these 19th century taverns far upstaged even the dingiest of contemporary dives, playing host to cockfights and offering up all-you-can drink specials wherein a customer paid a nickel to suck

A

as much whiskey as he could out of a rubber hose. Regan writes of one especially unsavory saloon that featured a gutter running around the foot of the bar to serve as a urinal for the truly passionate consumer. In 1862, bartender Jerry Thomas, commonly considered to be the father of American mixology, published his seminal work, How to Mix Drinks. The book formally collected and organized what had previously been a diffuse knowledge of recipes based primarily on word of mouth. A charismatic professional and born showman, Thomas was something of a celebrity in his time. His signature concoction, the Blue Blazer, was not so much a drink as it was pyrotechnic display. To prepare a Blazer, Thomas would pour flaming whiskey back and forth between two cups, creating a waterfall of blue fire in the process. The 1890s mark the dawn of the so-called Golden Age of the cocktail. In many ways, this came as a result not only of calculated experimentation, but also in response to improvements in transportatpearance of vermouth—an aromatic wine originating in Italy—on American shores. Vermouth proved to be exceptionally well suited to mixing; it’s telling that arguably the world’s two most famous cocktails—the Manhattan and the Martini—were invented around this time, both featuring vermouth as the essential ingredient. While many drinks of this era remain popular today, the true legacy of this period is the establishment of essential cocktail types. The sour and the highball formats—cocktails containing fruit juice and carbonated liquids, respectively—were formally established in this period, and represent the vast majority of all cocktails served today.  It was also a period in which the cocktail finally made its way into the realm of high society. That’s not to say people weren’t still paying nickels to suck whiskey from a rubber hose and piss through their trousers onto the floor. It’s just that there were now also stuffy, mustachioed gentlemen lurking around fancy Manhattan bars, nibbling fruit cocktails garnishes with miniature spoons and griping about the nuisances of labor unions. It was precisely this ability of the cocktail to occupy dual cultural spaces that made it one of the most democratic and egalitarian institutions of its time. AN igNoBle eXPeRiMeNT Not surprisingly, the Eighteenth Amendment’s constitutional ban of alcohol in 1919 had a profound effect on the devel-

opment of the cocktail.  Prohibition also had an effect on another American cultural invention, a relative to the cocktail: jazz music. The speakeasy culture of the 1920s exposed thousands of Americans to the swinging music that had been brewing in the African-American communities of New Orleans and Chicago since the turn of the century. The lively upbeat melodies provided the perfect backdrop to the wild, illicit, and slightly risqué atmosphere of the speakeasy. But while jazz gave the soundtrack, it was booze that kept the dance floor packed. During the 1920s, cocktails on the whole became significantly sweeter. This was not because of a mass shift in taste on the part of the consumer, but because the quality of the liquor dropped drastically during prohibition—much of it was literally brewed in bathtubs or had toxic agents added to mimic the sting of alcohol. In response to the repulsive taste of most Prohibition-era liquor, the bartender’s primary goal became the masking of the “alcoholic” taste—which many contemporary drinkers still cling to as the modus operandi of all drink making. Eggs, cream, and enriched fruit syrups were all employed in an attempt to smooth over and cover up the taste of crudely brewed alcohol. Thus, prohibition gave to the world a series of strange concoctions, many of which would have been considered horrid mutants by the Golden Age bartenders of previous decades. The DAWN oF A NeW eRA Though prohibition formally ended in 1933, the cocktail would continue to remain mired in its sugary sweet past for decades to come. The situation was not helped by the advent of certain convenience products in the 60s and 70s. Concentrated fruit juices, dehydrated flavoring packets, and presweetened mixes all contributed to a general erosion of the essential principles that guided the mixologists of the 1890s. It wasn’t until the late 1980s, when certain rebellious bartenders began experimenting with what Regan labels “punk cocktails,” that new life was breathed into the industry. These “punk cocktails” tended to be highly alcoholic and featured grotesque and often sexual names (like the Fuzzy Navel and the Slippery Nipple). Hardcore punk bars also offered a “down and dirty” atmosphere reminiscent of the 19th century taverns—one could order a round of Abortions before head-banging, or, as Regan details, lounge by the bar,

leisurely sucking a “sperm du jour” from the inside of a hollowed out banana. While such punk cocktails were often hit-or-miss in terms of taste, the spirit of experimentation that underlay them sparked a renewed interest in the art of the cocktail. For the past two decades, there has been increasing interest among bartenders and epicureans alike in rediscovering the traditional aspects of cocktail-making. Boutique cocktail bars have been growing in popularity and more and more restaurants have begun offering upscale drink menus. In July 2008, a life-size wax model of Jerry Thomas welcomed visitors at the grand opening of the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans. The museum features, among other things, an extensive display of vintage cocktail shakers—most of which bear a closer resemblance to Roman vases than they do to the chic chrome devices we are familiar with today.  On weekends, the museum holds mixology classes, and a quick glance at their website reveals dozens of video tutorials whose meticulousness borders on the neurotic—one such tutorial took over 8 minutes to explain how to make a martini, a two ingredient drink. While there is no shortage of watered-down, oversweetened mixed drinks available today, one cannot help but hope that this recent recognition of the cocktail portends the dawning of a new golden age: a renaissance of the American cocktail.    Perhaps it was David Embury, a cocktail enthusiast of the 1950s, who best expressed the transcendent potential of truly great cocktail. “The well-made cocktail is that most gracious of drinks. It pleases the senses… this refreshing nectar breaks the ice of formal reserve. Taut nerves relax; taut muscles relax, tired eyes brighten, tongues loosen; friendships deepen; and the whole world becomes a better place in which to live.” Cheers to that. GREG BERMAN B’11 is a teetotaler.

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

FOOD| 14

Here are a few rough for cocktails representative of various time periods. As always, proportions may be altered subject to individual taste. Remember, the mixing of a cocktail can be just as enjoyable as the consumption of one, and experimentation is a cornerstone of the craft. But blind mixing can be daunting—not to mention putrid— so it helps to keep a few basic rules of Embury’s in mind: Most cocktails are composed of three distinct parts: a base liquor, a modifying agent (vermouth, fruit juice), and a special flavoring/coloring agent (bitters, grenadine, sugar syrup, eggs). Those three components are to be used in decreasing order of quantity, with the base liquor making up at least 50 percent, and much more likely somewhere upwards of 80 percent—Embury recommends a standard 8:2:1 ratio. This is a good guide, but its certainly not set in stone, one of the best things about cocktails (and America) is that you have a great deal of individual freedom, don’t be a afraid to innovate; it’s what made this country (and its drinks) what it is today.

RECIPES

The (Old) Old Fashioned (early 1800s)
1 cube of sugar (or 1/2 oz sugar syrup) Angostura Bitters

True to its name, the great granddaddy of cocktails.

Put the sugar or syrup in a rocks glass, saturate with bitters and muddle until fully absorbed. Add ice and fill with whiskey. Nowadays, they are often topped off with soda water, but purists blanch at the thought. *While not in the original recipe, a wedge of orange is sometimes included in the muddling process, resulting in a fruiter, sweeter drink.

The White Lady (1920s) Don’t be scared by the egg, it actually smoothes the drink out in a delightful way. Ratios have been adjusted to make it more palatable than its true prohibition version, which was created with bathtub gin in mind.
2oz Gin 1/2oz Lemon 1/3oz Triple Sec (preferably Cointreau) 1 egg white for each 2 drinks. Put egg white in shaker with ice and shake vigorously until frothed (alternatively, whisk it up separately). Add other ingredients, shake briefly and strain. (Adapted from Esquire and Embury) 1.5oz Bourbon 1oz Sweet Vermouth Orange Bitters Stir with ice and strain. Interestingly, if you swap out the whiskey for brandy, you have a drink called The Harvard (snobs).

The Manhattan (1890s) Probably the best cocktail in the world.
2:1 ratio of Whiskey to Sweet Vermouth. Stir with ice and strain. Add a dash of angostura bitters and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

The Brown University

DEVILBOLICAL
by Sam Alper illustration by Becca Levinson

ChARACTeRS: JUDY – Young and starved for company. BRY – Same. Night. The back porch of a country house, in the deep country, the backwoods. A rocking chair and a steel bucket, placed at a diagonal from each other. Sound of an owl. Something drops out of the sky into the steel bucket and makes a loud sound. Pause. JUDY comes outside. She looks around. She looks in the bucket. She reaches in and takes out a ball. It has the weight of granite and is perfectly round and black. JUDY looks at it, moves it from hand to hand. She sticks out her tongue and cautiously starts to lick it. BRY (off-stage): Hay! Don’t lick that! Put that ball down, girl! BRY enters. BRY: I said put that down. JUDY: Well I ain’t gonna. BRY: You should. JUDY gives it another lick. BRY: I’m only sayin for yer health. JUDY: Whada you know about it? BRY: Just everything. I saw one of these balls. fall outta the sky and kill a wild turkey. It was like a bolt from god. JUDY: So. BRY: So you don’t lick a thing like that. JUDY: What kind of thing do I lick like? BRY: What? JUDY: What, what? BRY: What do you mean? JUDY: You know what I mean. BRY: No.

JUDY: Really? BRY: I’m serious. JUDY: It was an innuendo. BRY: What’s that?

JUDY: So? BRY: I love you. I do. You got me. JUDY: How much? BRY: First you tell me what you saw.

JUDY: It’s a way of talking sexy where no JUDY: I saw you pickin’ tomatoes. one can get mad at you. BRY: Oh. BRY: Sounds nice. JUDY: And you were havin’ an ecstasy. JUDY: Well you missed yer chance to do BRY: Oh. I’m sorry you saw that. I know it. I’m not ‘sposed to. Those tomatoes are just so... BRY: I did? JUDY: You’ve lost yer window of oppor- JUDY: Smooth? tunity. BRY: Yeah. BRY: Well damn. JUDY: And round? Pause BRY: Yeah. Yeah, that’s about the cause of it. JUDY: Yer the neighbor boy. BRY: Yep. JUDY: I’ve seen you. BRY: Doin what? JUDY: Thought so. How much do you love me? BRY: Very much.

JUDY: Make an arms of it. Show me how JUDY: Nothin. I’ve seen you, is all. much in arms. Around. BRY stretches his arms to show her how much. BRY: You’ve seen me doin somethin. JUDY: That much. JUDY: How do you know? BRY: Yes I guess so. BRY: Yer eyes. You’re not the only one who sees people around. I see you around. JUDY coughs. JUDY: Oh yeah? What do you, love me or BRY: I never thought we’d talk like this. somethin? JUDY: I never thought about it. BRY: I ain’t sayin that. BRY: Oh, I thought about it a whole JUDY: Then I ain’t sayin what terrible bunch. I never approached yer house because my momma— thing I saw you do. BRY: Aw shucks, really? JUDY: Yep. Everything’s trades with me. BRY: I guess it is. That’s fair. JUDY: Yer momma scares me senseless. Why’s she carry ‘round a crossbow? BRY: It’s from the war gainst the draculas. One of them fanged her eye. That’s why

she wears that felt patch. JUDY: Oh. JUDY coughs hard, she looks pale. BRY: You alright? JUDY: Ya, I’m just feelin funny. BRY: My momma’s not so scary when you get to know her. She lets me stroke her eyepatch sometimes, when her head’s splittin. But she doesn’t like you for some reason. She calls you that neighbor girl. And hussy. JUDY: You make me feel sorta hussy. BRY: Stop that! You’re drivin me crazy. I’m feelin all shaky. JUDY: Me too. I’m feelin all... JUDY coughs hard, she coughs a little blood. BRY: Can I get you some water or somethin? JUDY: No. Thassalright. I’m alright. I think I know why your momma doesn’t like me. BRY: I can’t see any reason not to like you. JUDY: Shh, you’re makin me red. I feel like a tomato. BRY: You look like a tomato. You look like a whole bunch of tomatoes. JUDY: Givin you ecstasy. BRY: You could. I wouldn’t mind. JUDY: Oh, I know. You wouldn’t mind a bit. You’d the opposite of mind. BRY: Uh. We were talkin bout... JUDY: Yer momma. She probably doesn’t like me cause my daddy was a dracula. So I’m part. JUDY coughs violently, seizes up. BRY: Oh gawd. Oh no. JUDY: Oh I hope you don’t mind too much. It’s not my fault. And he don’t live with us. He’s back in Transylvania with the rest of em. I think of myself mostly as a human. BRY: How’re you feelin? JUDY: Just awful, actually. I don’t know what’s— BRY: That ball you licked? I gotta tell ya—I threw that ball to get yer attention. There wasn’t nothin droppin out of the sky. I jes wanted to talk to you, and my momma only goes to town once a year so I— JUDY: You made a pretext fer talkin to me? BRY: Yes but— JUDY: So you had a plan and everythin? You were home thinkin about me and thinkin how to talk to me— BRY: Ya, but— JUDY: You had a whole devilbolical plan. BRY: Yea, I did but I gotta tell you. That ball’s my momma’s. It’s from her— JUDY freezes, goes somewhere. BRY: Hay! Hay! JUDY snaps back. JUDY: Oh my mind feels slippy. BRY: It’s from my momma’s war chest. I don’t think it’s good for draculas. JUDY: Oh. Oh no no no. No no no no no. BRY: I didn’t know you was one. Or that you’d lick it. I’m sorry. I gotta—I gotta go get...

JUDY: Don’t go. I don’t want you to go. BRY: I just gotta go for a moment. I got a big flashing light in the house, it’s a signal light my momma has, like they had in the war. We’re registered with the local police, it’ll get them here, quick, I promise. We’ll get you to a hospital— JUDY: Don’t go. Do you think I could die? BRY: I’ll go and do it so fast. Fastest thing you ever saw. I promise. JUDY: You promise? BRY: I said it so I do. BRY starts to go. JUDY: Hay! Wait! BRY: What? JUDY: What’s yer name? BRY: Bry. JUDY: Judy. BRY: Ok Judy. You just sit here. And... pretend you’re a bunch of tomatoes, just sittin on the vine. Not mindin anythin. JUDY: What kind? BRY: The kind in ma garden. The big bright peaceful kind. The kind that makes me lie down and feel everything rushing like bees. That’s the kind— JUDY: Oh my head’s startin to hurt! BRY: Sorry. I’m going now. Sorry. BRY exits, running. JUDY sits alone, shivering. After a moment a beam of light arcs across the sky. JUDY concentrates on becoming a tomato. THE END.

17 |OCCULTS

FEBRUARY 17 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org

SECRETS OF THE PULSE
From the subtleties of our pulse, Ayurveda intuits our physiological and spiritual foundations and imbalances
by Natasha Pradhan

My brother and I walked in unannounced to a small doctor’s clinic along the banks of the Gangha in Haridwar, India. My brother urgently needed care for a skin condition. Inside, Dr. Jagdish began by asking him basic questions about his skin and diet and then went on to place three fingers on my brother’s wrist. For a few moments, he stared intently past the two of us. Suddenly, we were enveloped in a deeply personal discussion of anger, initiated by Dr. Jagdish. In my brother’s pulse, he had perceived a particular dissonance with the world—a profound anger with subtle manifestations in the body. His prescriptions for my brother were abstract, demanding a radical shift in attitude, to be carried about by means of meditation, asana, cleaner (read: simpler) surroundings, herbal detoxification, and varied combinations of a few open powders he pulled from the cupboards. I was overwhelmed by the powers of this man, who had penetrating eyes and a quiet sense of humor running through his fingers. As we prepared ourselves to leave, I shamelessly turned to him and placed my left hand, palm up, onto the table. He shot me a knowing glance, aware of my childish fascination for the theatrics of his medical practice. Dr. Jagdish placed his hand around my left wrist, smiled, and pronounced most things to be in order. I am unusually calm, he decided, due to a premature onset of vata (the energy corresponding to ether and water; the energy that surges as one matures into old age; my most prominent dosha). When a physician of ayurveda touches the pulse, the noise of surroundings mute, and patterns within the pulse—the peaks and valleys, ridges and waves of this nadi that possess a wealth of intelligent consciousness—can be heard. The pulse is the electricity of spaces and consciousness around-and-within us channeled into a single flow. NATURe’S WiSDoM Dr. Jagdish didn’t even consider charging for his intuitive pulse diagnoses, and so, bearing the weight of restoring the balance of prakruti, my brother and I left the clinic feeling stunned and shifted by the sense of how we knew our own bodies. A few weeks later, I landed in my hometown of Bombay. The tragic ecstasy of the place left my body feeble, fevered, and contagiously hollow. I became depressed and fearful, feeling the absence of safe and tempered human relations. I retreated to the world’s oldest yoga and ayurvedic research institute and treatment center, which lay an hour outside Bombay. Every meeting with the doctors was prefaced by a deep reading of the pulse, during which I would hear incredibly pointed knowledge and advice regarding my own body, spiritual faith, and mental state. Often, these readings alerted me to the profound relationships between symptoms that I had learned to artificially seg-

regate. Other times, the doctors simply reaffirmed intuition. My first morning, I knew my fever to be exacerbated with each human interaction, my body increasingly dismembered by the stress of having to reason through words. The seemingly unknowing doctors sensed in my pulse a sense of loss and abandonment, inspired by the empty chaos of recent times. I had become emotionally overwhelmed to the point of forceful physical detachment. At the center, prescribed meditation and pranayama (breathing techniques) radically reconciled internal battles. These practices deal with doshic imbalances holistically, rather than simply fronting physical symptoms. Despite some contemporary medicine practitioners’ efforts, body, mind, and spirit resist compartmentalization. RiVeR oF UNiVeRSAl CoNSCioUSNeSS Translated as the science of life, ayurveda joins scientific knowledge with human intuition and belief. One cannot learn to understand the pulse without being trained and educated scientifically. Pulse diagnosis depends largely on the reader’s intuition and spiritual strength. The principles of ayurveda, including nature, purpose of life, and physiological and metaphysical health, were revealed to rishis while in states of deep meditation. The term for pulse reading in the original Sanskrit Vedas is nadi vijnanam. Vijnanam refers to a specialized understanding or knowledge. Nadi is used in a variety of contexts that correspond to ideas of flow. For instance, vishva nadi (vishva = universe) is the flow of universal energy. The word nadi, in ayurvedic texts, most commonly refers to the river of life, or the flow of life channeled in the pulse. Tantu has become synonymous with the pulse. The word also denotes strings of a musical instrument, fittingly. Both produce waves we can listen to. Each individual has a natural doshic balance—also called prakruti. Our prakruti, or constitution, is suited to our purpose in life. In order to maintain the balance of prakruti and good physical and spiritual health, one must practice a certain diet, pranayama, and yoga for their constitution. The realization of universal consciousness, existent in all living and nonliving matter, lies central to ayurveda. This consciousness manifests itself in the omnipresent female energy of Prakruti and male energy of Purusha. Purusha is formless, undefinable abstract energy— a witness. Prakruti is the divine mother, source of form and color. These energies are perceived intellectually by the transcendental intelligence, known as mahad. Mahad flows into buddhi, the individual mind and intelligence. Buddhi gives rise to Ahamkara which gives each individual being a sense of its own existence, or ego. Though formed around the individual, ahamkara possesses the same qualities reflected in all of creation, or prakruti. Those are sat-

tva—purity, essence, perceptive clarity; rajas—dynamic movement and action; and temas—inertia, heaviness, attachment to material, and resistance to change. The interplay and balances or imbalances between these qualities reflect in the doshas of vata, pita, and kapha that flow through our blood. Vata corresponds to water and ether and is light and flowing; pita, to fire and water, and is bold and warm; kapha, to water and earth, and is stable and nurturing. With sensitivity, one perceives condition and quantity of three doshas throughout the different levels of pulse. Diseases and major bodily shifts are caused by doshic imbalances, diagnoseable by pulse. The science of ayurvedaforms ntricate systems for listening to the pulse in order to extract knowledge about everything from indigestion to HIV, arthritis to pregnancy. My mother first learned she was to have a daughter from a practitioner of ayurveda. He had detected rection of the shift in the fifth level of her pulse. loST iN TRANSlATioN While ayurvedic centers are prominent in worlds where the norm is Western medicine, these centers differ significantly in their approach—if only because of the attitudes with which they are confronted. A mechanical understanding of our bodies are not conducive to pulse reading, which demands full faith in our intuitive capacities. One most often encounters an online questionnaire that claims to determine one’s doshic balance, forcing the energies of vata, pita, and kapha into a Myers-Briggs format. While some methods are helpful to an extent, the doshas themselves are not fixed categories that can be determined by these means. Ayurvedic principles cannot be extracted from their holistic context and placed into a mechanical framework. Nadi vijnanam is central to ayurvedic diagnoses, as it presents the most authentic and penetrating insight into one’s balance (prakruti) and imbalances (vikruti). The ayurvedic practioners’ diagnoses and “prescriptions” in the form of herbal concoctions, diet suggestions, asana, and pranayama empowered me to be more attentive and less questioning of my instinct. By tuning into the very wisdom concealed in our pulse we can ac-

quire detailed information regarding the imbalances within our individual flow, understanding it as a stream of universal consciousness. The magic of ayurveda lies in our own instinctual abilities. When we act in tune with this flow of consciousness, we do not succumb to the compartmentalization of the human, and can only then experience genuine healing. NATASHA PRADHAN B’12 is mostly vata.

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