VOLUME XXII, ISSUE 10 APRIL 21, 2011 BROWN/RISD WEEKLY GOP Candidates // 3 Reality TV // 9 Open Source Academia // 11
T H E
I N T E R V I E W
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FROM THE EDITORS:
The New York Times reported today that iPhones are recording their locations in a hidden file, amassing a log of points in space-time which, plotted out over a map, can show their users’ trajectories. — Fireflies make spiralled traces through the night: it’s just a symptom of our sluggish vision, but perhaps it also means that we leave ghosts of our own presence behind. — A psychogeographer of Paris tells us of one student whose daily life took him to only two or three locations, by the same route each time. If his movement were that of a stylus on a map, it would have worn right through the paper: and then through the table under it and down onward, into nothingness. — Klee says that drawing is just taking a line for a walk: and in the Nazca Desert, that’s precisely what one pre-Incan culture did. They dug shallow trenches through the topsoil, forming geometric figures miles wide, or looping into massive pictographs: llamas, monkeys, hummingbirds. New Agers and anthropologists debate their function: routes of pilgrimage, spaceship runways, astronomical markings à la Stonehenge, drawings for the benefit of gods. — Perhaps a long time from now ‘hidden files’ and other such digital terms will look like arcane philosophical categories, like scraps of Kant or Plato: made metaphysical by their antiquity, as time turns grape juice into wine. What would it mean to look at the present as if it were archaic already? Perhaps this is the opiate of theory: to dim the present’s vividness with folds of thick imaginary time. —ASV
WEEK IN REVIEW
by David Adler, Mimi Dwyer, and Erica Schwiegershausen
DO THE RIGHT THING
by Emily Gogolak, Emma Whitford, and Ashton Strait
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
by Jonah Wolf
BOB THE BARBER
by Malcolm Burnley
A LOGICAL CHOICE
THE INDY IS:
MANAGING EDITORS Gillian Brassil, Erik Font, Emily Martin • 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 Alexandra Corrigan, Natasha Pradhan• LIST Dayna Tortorici • STAFF WRITER Erica Schwiegershausen • CIPHRESS IN CHIEF Raphaela Lipinsky • COVER/CREATIVE CONSULTANT Emily Martin • X Fraser Evans • ILLUSTRATIONS Annika Finne, Becca Levinson • DESIGN Maija Ekey, Katherine Entis, Mary-Evelyn Farrior, Emily Fishman, Maddy Jennings, Eli Schmitt, Joanna Zhang • PHOTOGRAPHY John Fisher, Annie Macdonald • SENIOR EDITORS Katie Jennings, Tarah Knaresboro, Erin Schikowski, Eli Schmitt, Dayna Tortorici, Alex Verdolini • MVP Emily Martin COVER ART Emily Martin Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for advertising information. // theindy.org
e College Hill Independent receives support from Campus Progress/Center for American Progress. Campus Progress works to help young people — advocates, activists, journalists, artists — make their voices heard on issues that matter. Learn more at CampusProgress.org.
by Aaron Regunberg
LIBERIA COMES TO AMERICA
by Grace Dunham
A TASTE FOR TRASH
by Eve Blazo
OPEN SOURCE ACADEMIA
by Annie Macdonald
9/11: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
by Maud Doyle
A NEW DISCOVERY ZONE
by Maggie Lange
AS IF YOU CARE:
At its theatrical release in Sweden, Mel Brooks’s The Producers (1968) was given the Swedish title Producenterna (The Producers), but it was not a success then. After it was re-released under the title Det våras för Hitler (Springtime for Hitler), it scored with the Swedish audience. Because of this, all of Mel Brooks’s films were given a title with Det våras för... (Springtime for...) in Sweden, up until Life Stinks (Det våras för slummen, Springtime for The Slums). For example, Blazing Saddles was retitled Det våras för sheriffen (Springtime for the Sheriff) and Spaceballs was retitled Det våras för rymden (Springtime for Space).
EXCERPT FROM BOTTLENECK
by Kate Van Brocklin
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
EK E W
4/20 UPDATE Detroit is a decrepit city—its former industry in dark shambles, its slums rife with poverty. But don’t worry! Gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger has the solution: legalize marijuana and prostitution and thus create “the new Amsterdam.” Like fairy dust, all it would take is a sprinkle of Euro-style “coffee shops” and a few streets where sad women can dance slowly in cages and Detroit would be back on its feet. Such revisions would “make Detroit a fun city,” Fieger asserted. “They would flock here.” Of course, who “they” were was left entirely unclear. Perhaps “they” are thousands of venture capitalists seeking a weed-and-prostitute friendly environment to house the new decade’s Silicon Valley. Or, perhaps, it’s the same “they” who flock to the old Amsterdam: 18-year-old stoners dropping daddy’s money for a Eurotrip looking to get so baked, bro. When asked how these policy changes would help education and unemployment, feathered-haired Fieger retorted, “Detroit couldn’t get much worse.” Though this statement is outright false (see: Detroit with more drugs and more prostitutes), Fieger’s claim is merely an outgrowth of a larger movement toward marijuana legality that is growing by the day. In a recent poll conducted by Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who support the legalization of marijuana has grown from 16 to 45 in the past twenty years; those against it shrunk from 81 percent to only 50. Meanwhile, Canadian judge Donald Taliano swiftly struck down many parts of Canadian law against marijuana this week, giving the government 90 days to either appeal the ruling or reform its strict laws regarding marijuana. At the end of this 90-day period, growing, possessing, and smoking pot will become legal (100 points for Canada). With such fervor sweeping through the hemisphere, it’s hard to label Fieger an outlier. Our twenty-first century manifest destiny is unfolding—let’s just hope Detroit à la Amsterdam doesn’t lie at its end. –DA
usen ersha g hwie nas a Sc arde ric E ta C and ulie yer, dJ i Dw Mim n an dler, inso Lev vid A a ca by D Bec s by tion tra Illus LADY LIBERTY FOREVER COMMEMORATES SIN CITY KNOCKOFF The Las Vegas hotel and casino New York-New York received a literal stamp of approval from the U.S. Postal Service this week: apparently, the recently issued Statue of Liberty Forever stamp is based on a photograph of the casino’s 14-yearold replica. That’s right: what you may have assumed was a headshot of the reputable statue in New York Harbor that has ushered in huddled masses for the past 125 years actually depicts a half-size imitation that welcomes drunken gamblers to a Gotham-themed Disneyland. The blunder was brought to attention last week when Linn’s Stamp News, the leading publication for American philately, pointed out what in hindsight seem like some fairly obvious tip-offs. Apparently the hair on the two statues is different, the replica’s eyes are much more sharply defined, and the fake crown has dark areas instead of windows. Others point out that the faux figure has a wider nose, more distinct eyelids, and a furrowed brow, as well a curious rectangular patch located on the center spike of its half-size crown. The USPS remains largely unperturbed by the revelation and has stated that it doesn’t plan to pull the stamp out of circulation. Perhaps with good reason. After all, as Gordon Absher, spokesman for MGM Resorts International, pointed out: “Everyone thought the post office was just honoring one great American institution, when in reality they were honoring two— the Statue of Liberty and Las Vegas.” Roy Bettes, manager of community relations for the Postal Service in Washington, said that although the post office had no idea that the photograph was not of the original (apparently the Postal Service used stock photography and neglected to read the caption), “there are no errors on the stamp, so we’re not recalling them.” Jay Bigalke, associate editor of Linn’s, told NPR’s Robert Siegel that this incident will go down in history as one of the biggest philatelic blunders of all time. “This is right up there with the Grand Canyon mistake that they made…where they accidently printed a caption underneath the Grand Canyon photograph that said ‘Grand Canyon, Colorado,’” Bigalke said. –ES
EW VI E
VIVA GERIATRIC REVOLUCIÓN This Tuesday, Cuban government officials strapped the wheels onto their respirators and swept the dust off their state-subsidized walkers for the first convention of the Cuban Communist Party Congress in fourteen years. The geriatric members of Congress met at the demand of president Raul “Sunshine” Castro, 79, and his brother Fidel “Not Dead” Castro, 84, intent on appointing a “new generation” of Cuban leadership to helm the crumbling state. While numerous commentators have speculated that the Cuban government will complete its slow opening to capitalist investment after the Castro brothers join that big revolution in the sky, Fidel insisted that the new leadership will “defend, preserve and continue perfecting socialism, and never permit the return of capitalism” in Cuba. He proceeded to announce his resignation from the secondin-command position in the cabinet. Castro named José Ramón Machado, 80, as the new head of the Communist Party, and Ramiro Valdés, 79, as his lieutenant, citing a dearth of competent younger leadership in the government. (Kids these days just don’t sport a .12-gauge and ammo overalls with the same swagger they used to.) The two new appointees fought alongside Castro in the original revolution. They are also members of the hardworking witch coven successfully working to keep members of the regime alive forever. Indy staff members can’t wait ‘til their first wrinkle—we hear that is the first step to spearheading a successful revolution these days, and to fucking like Che. –MD
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
What to consider as the race begins
Wendy Schiller, US Politics expert and Professor at Brown, on the GOP: The GOP race for the presidential nomination for 2012 is wide open at this point in time. It appears that the Republican Party is currently choosing from familiar figures from the past (Gingrich, Romney) and newer faces (Michelle Bachmann, Donald Trump). But what is important is the issues that will become the focus of primary and caucus voters’ attention next January. Will the Republican Party focus on Tea Party issues like the national debt and deficit, or more familiar social issues like gay marriage and abortion? Or will the Republican Party unite around a platform that calls for the repeal of ObamaCare even though that has already failed to pass Congress? Political scientists still argue over whether primary voters are sincere or strategic; in other words, do they vote for their ideological or policy preferences, or do they vote for who they think can win the general election? President Obama has to be hoping that the Republicans nominate someone who is too far to the right to win the general election, or someone who is a lightning rod for controversy such as Palin, Gingrich, or Trump. Just remember that most voters did not know who Bill Clinton was at the end of 1991, and they did not know much about Barack Obama in December 2007, so a strong contender could emerge in the GOP field that we do not know about yet.
STATUS: Not yet. AGE: 64 BORN: Queens, NY LIVES: New York, NY EXPERIENCE: Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization Real estate mogul-turned-reality TV show star
PROS: Super rich. Universally recognized. The ultimate outsider. Finding unconventional ways to use his last name in the campaign. Did we mention that he’s wealthy? “Part of the beauty of me is that I’m very rich. So if I need $600 million, I can put $600 million myself. That’s a huge advantage over the other candidates,” he told ABC News in March. CONS: Flooding TV with ads will be easy, but what happens when Trump has to defend his views on political issues? And Trump, wooing voters, sweating in the August heat at the Iowa State Fair, a hotdog in one hand, Mrs. Trump (no. 3) in the other. At first, many suspected that Trump’s flirtations with the presidency were all for show (and revenue). But his recent outreach to the evangelical community and key officials in early voting states suggests that Trump’s political aspirations are for real —and he has the rabblerousing rhetoric to match. DT brought back an old far-right favorite this week: the question of President Obama’s citizenship. “Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate … I’d love to give my tax returns. I may tie my tax returns into Obama’s birth certificate,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Wednesday. The birther debate might Trump Donald’s credibility, or it could be just the thing to give him the Tea Party street cred he’s looking for.
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kabee Mike Huc ’t excision isn and his de Not yet, STATUS: til April. pected un Age: 55 Arkansas e: Hope, nida Birthplac each, Flor f Arkansas, Preside ta Rosa B o Lives: San Governor e: Former nows Experienc , 2008 e party. K ate r with th is an ortial Candid known and popula ahead. He ell r the race ligious right can’t PROS: W prepare fo e re xpect and ter (aka th what to e ptist minis GOP uthern Ba makes the , let dained So governor h). the middle vernment get enoug win over s a pro-go l right to is record a CONS: H Too far to the socia visors, sy. ty and ad . of his par base unea ts, inependents the advice hundreds of convic 009, about Ind 2 nd against alone talk ces of ckabee in is term, a the senten haunt Hu During h or shorted e back to rs. pardoned isions cam lice office ” since Huckabee These dec d pour po d “Capitol Offense urderers. 2000 kille n cluding m paroled in man of the rock ba iminal he t when a cr e has been the fron Huckabe 1996.
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APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
STATUS: Announced, March 3. AGE: 67 BORN: Harrisburg, PN LIVES: Washington, DC EXPERIENCE: Speaker of the US House, 1995-1999. Led the “Republican Revolution” in 1995 in the House, ending 40 years of Democratic majority. PROS: Household name. An effective grassroots organizer and well liked across the party board. The GOP’s fallen revolutionary. An “ideas guy.” CONS: Messy personal life, with mistresses and multiple divorces. He is celebrated as a thinker, but sharply criticized for his frenetic leadership style. “He’s a guy of 1,000 ideas, and the attention span of a 1-year-old. His discipline and his attention to any individual thing is not his strong suit,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). POLITICAL RX: His platform ranges from strong national security to personal responsibility, but he’s not a bythe-book Republican. On immigration he favors a strong border policy, but also is a supporter of a guest worker program and a flex-fuel mandate for US-sold cars. “MY VOWS TO...AMERICA”: In an interview aired on Christian Broadcasting Network, Gingrich discussed his infidelity: “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.” John Bolton STATUS: Not yet. “Yes, I am considering it.” AGE: 62 BORN: Baltimore, Maryland LIVES: Bethesda, Maryland EXPERIENCE: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, 2005-2006 PROS: Foreign policy powerhouse. GOP outsider. CONS: The only 2012 GOP potential with direct ties to the Bush administration. Active NRA supporter. EXTRAS: Bush appointed him to his post at the UN, and some fear seeing the hawkish W in Bolton’s world policy platform: “There is no such thing as the UN. There is only the international community, which can only be led by the only remaining superpower, which is the United States,” he said. Bolton is a GOP wildcard, and knows it. And, if he plays smartly, it might just be this outsider’s ticket through the primary. “As I survey the situation, I think the Republican field is wide open. I don’t think the party’s anywhere close to a decision. And stranger things have happened. For example, inexperienced senators from Illinois have gotten presidential nominations.” Another thing Bolton has going for him, his mustache.
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APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
Farming on the West Side
by Jonah Wolf Photography by John Fisher
n a 4,275-square-foot lot among Harrison Street’s clapboard houses in West Providence, 14 cubic yards of compost stand at a second-grader’s height, and orange flags mark eight different beds. This is Sidewalk Ends farm, which Laura Brown-Lavoie B’10.5 founded this spring along with her sister, Tess, and their friend Fay Strongin. FROM PROVIDENCE TO FRANCE TO MAINE AND BACK A Comparative Literature and Literary Arts concentrator whose lyric essays have been published in publications both national (the Seneca Review) and local (the Independent), Laura first got her hands dirty during her semester off, traveling France with the popular program World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, which allows world travelers to help out on farms in exchange for room and board. Upon her return, she started working at both Red Planet Vegetables, the local farm run by Catherine Mardosa B’03, and City Farm, the 3/4-acre farm in Providence’s South Side that serves as a (literal) training ground for many local growers. Tess will graduate next month from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individual Study, where her self-designed curriculum investigated “the way that industrial agriculture is underpinned by a whole system of economic and political values, but also social values, and even certain narratives of American history.” Over the last summer, the two sisters and Strongin all worked at a farmto-table restaurant in midcoast Maine. GETTING THE LEAD OUT The urban farmer’s second task, after finding a space, is controlling its lead levels: many city plots, once occupied by lead-painted houses, still contain trace amounts of the contaminant. When Sidewalk Ends began, their soil had lead concentrations upwards of 400 parts per million. As a result, they haven’t been able to plant anything; in the meantime, Fay and Laura’s Governor Street apartment plays host to a young crop of carrots, as well as six baby chicks they bought off Craigslist. The farmers are planning to build a chicken coop on the most contaminated part of the lot (“We thought it would just take the Pythagorean theorem,” Laura says, ruefully, of her first foray into architecture); for the rest, they’re replacing the top five
inches with alternating layers of dry leaves and compost. (This latter will include the clippings from haircuts Laura will provide over the summer, along with a muffin, for $5.) CSA-OKAY The Sidewalk Ends farmers take encouragement from Front Step Farms, down Harrison Street, whose farmer, Nathaniel “Than” Wood, has been able to rehabilitate his soil over the one year he’s been in business. The two farms share a steel broadfork to work the soil and a plot on Bowdoin Street in Olneyville, whose lower lead concentrations are more amenable to deep-growing roots and tubers. This summer, they will pool their produce into a small Community-Shared Agriculture program, a subscription service whereby Rhode Islanders can pay $10 a week for fresh vegetables. An optional bread share will be baked weekly in the cob oven Wood built, out of all-local clay and straw, on his plot. (Wood also plans to run, for the second consecutive summer, a clandestine restaurant serving pizzas topped with his vegetables on a picnic table in the back of his plot.) The two farms have joined the Little City Growers’ Cooperative to distribute their produce to local restaurants, and will participate in the Farmers’ Market at nearby Armory Park over the summer. CONCLUSION In the five years since Michael Pollan published The Omnivore’s Dilemma, urban agriculture has become something of a hipster cliché, the stuff of Stuff White People Like (#5: Farmers’ Markets, #6: Organic food, #132: Picking their own fruit). Still, the environmental benefits of eating locally are as undeniable as the hegemony supporting large, single-crop farms. Even if the new jobs barely dent Rhode Island’s eleven-percent unemployment rate, one can’t but be heartened by the initiative of these farmers and their investment in this city. White people like JONAH WOLF B’12. For more information about Backyard Farms CSA, and to subscribe, email email@example.com. The Armory Park Farmers Market occurs Thursdays 4-7 from June 2 to October 27.
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
METRO OPINIONS| 6
Why it makes sense to repeal tax cuts for the wealthy in R.I.
A LOGICAL CHOICE
by Aaron Regunberg Illustration by Annika Finne
hode Island has a $295 million deficit. That’s a lot of money, and none of the solutions proposed thus far sound very just or very smart. Despite what the Tea Party says, we cannot cut anymore— we just can’t. We’ve been cutting for the past decade, and with schools closing and bridges crumbling, there simply aren’t any services left to cut. But there’s also a strong pushback brewing against plans that put most of the tax burden on working families and small businesses. So it seems Rhode Island is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Or at least that’s what some would have us believe. Luckily, there is another option, one that would solve our fiscal problems in a socially and economically responsible way. State Representative Larry Valencia is currently drafting a piece of legislation (it will be officially entered next week) that would function as a state-level repeal of the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy. Though the tax breaks were implemented at the federal level, this piece of legislation still functions as a repeal because it raises the state income tax for the wealthy by the same amount President Bush cut the federal income tax for these highest earners, thereby restoring their overall rates to what they were before W. took office. When people talk about the deficit, the term ‘shared sacrifice’ comes up a lot. But what usually happens is this: working families and small businesses are asked to absorb all the cuts and extra fees, while those who can best afford to share in the sacrifice are given a free pass (it is no coincidence that they’re the ones who write the big campaign checks to the politicians
who make these decisions). The idea behind Valencia’s bill is to actually share the sacrifice. It’s not a huge sacrifice; Valencia is simply asking the rich to pay what they were paying before the Bush tax cuts—back when our country and state were running a budget surplus, and when the unemployment rate was less than half what it is today. That last statement may come as a surprise for those who buy into the right’s refrain that taxing the wealthy hurts the economy and causes job loss. To those folks, I’d recommend looking at a graph showing Rhode Island’s state income tax rate increase for the wealthiest 1 percent and Rhode Island’s unemployment rate over the last 15 years: it’s a big fat X. As the tax rate on the wealthy has been steadily cut, from a little under 10 percent in the mid-1990s to a little under 6 percent today, the state unemployment rate has steadily grown, from around 5 percent in the mid-1990s to over 11 percent today. Some conservatives claim that even if this cut will help the economy in theory, it will actually just make all the rich people pack up and leave. And here we see myth #2, or what I like to call the ‘Flight of the Earls’ folly. The right wants to scare Rhode Islanders into thinking that we can’t ask the wealthy to pay their fair share or they’ll move, but the truth is that there’s a wealth of research showing this myth has no basis in reality. Just this month, Jeffrey Thompson, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, published a study called “The Impact of Taxes on Migration in New England,” in which he definitively states, “Taxes do not play any notable role in causing people
to leave Rhode Island.” The study found that in five of the six New England states (the sixth being Vermont), the relationship between net migration and relative income is positive. That means more people enter and/or fewer people leave the state as relative taxes rise. The truth is that tax increases generate revenue, which can be spent in ways to make an area more attractive to current and potential residents. That concept has been missing in Rhode Island, where for the past decade the establishment has argued that we need to cut taxes to improve the economy. If that tactic had been working, if our economy were in great shape and the rich’s rising tide had in fact been lifting us all up, then I’d be all for more tax giveaways. But we’re not in great shape. We’re in a pit, and we’re certainly not going to get out of it using the same policies that got us here in the first place. I support Representative Valencia’s upcoming bill because it is, quite simply, the only answer to our budget deficit that makes any sense. In this time of need, when small businesses, students, cities, teachers, and working families are being asked to sacrifice, it makes sense to ask a little more from those citizens who have been receiving an immense windfall for the past decade thanks to President Bush’s tax breaks. Let’s hope our leaders in the Statehouse are finally able to learn from their mistakes and move on to a better future. If not, we’re all going to have to pay. AARON REGUNBERG B’12 works with Rhode Islanders Advocating for Fair Taxes.
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
30 YEARS IN THE GAME WITH
BOB THE BARBER
Old-school haircutting in Providence
by Malcolm Burnley Photography by the author
be “a straight-shooter,” unlike his son, the current Governor Lincoln Chafee. “The kid is spaced-out,” Lepore says, groaning about Rhode Island’s potholes, filth, and the Governor’s call to implement a new sales-tax on barbers and other exempt cash businesses. “It will never pass.” When Lepore started out as an aspiring barber in the late ‘70s, it was an intimidating business to enter. Young barbers dealt with second-hand smoke from customers (ashtrays were built into chairs in the ‘80s), and endured second-class treatment from veteran barbers. Providence had a notoriously hostile and exclusive barbering community, where veteran barbers held a monopoly over the business, often working into their ‘90s, and required long hours and low pay from assistants. “They liked to get respect, to show you who is boss.” Back then, customers were more open and confided in barbers while getting their hair cut, treating them as serviceable replacements for paid psychologists. Now, Lepore says, “you got to take a lot of shit, because the customer is always right.” To prepare him for the modern demands of the trade, Lepore credits the Army of all places—home of the buzzcut—for his longevity in the industry, calling his time in the reserves, “the best thing that ever happened to me.” After graduating from Providence’s Central High School in 1968, he enrolled in the Massachusetts School of Barbering in 1971, located on Boston’s Washington Street, known as “The Combat Zone” at the time for its violent shootings. It was a safe haven compared to the alternative: Vietnam. “My number was very close to being called,” Lepore says, but he managed to circumvent combat action by enlisting in the Air National Guard for six years. He would travel to South Carolina or Alabama for two weeks each summer, fulfilling active-duty training. Drill Sergeants doled out discipline like candy: push-ups, morning runs around the barracks, and worst of all for an aspiring barber, dry shaves. “That was torture,” Lepore says. In the staggering Southern sun, drill sergeants checked their troops for stubble. If they found sufficient 5 o’clock shadow, an excruciating dry shave was warranted. Using a dull blade and no shaving cream, each man would scrape the stubble clean from his cheeks and neck. “They don’t do stuff like that now,” from what Lepore hears, but he continues to believe in military discipline. “You need some kind of structure in life. They should bring back the draft, so you won’t see these guys on the street, bumming around.” LONELINESS AND LONGEVITY After completing 1,000 hours of barber’s training, while serving his time in the Reserves, Lepore earned his certification and began working three days a week at Paul’s Barber Shop on Chalkstone Avenue, in Providence. In 1984, he opened the Hospital Trust Barber Shop, tidying up the hair of bankers and bureaucrats who stopped in during lunch breaks. Lepore relocated to his current location on Dorrance Street in 2006, where he plans to remain for the foreseeable future. “I can work until I’m 85, unless my hands start shaking. Then they’ll put me in a home,” he chuckles. According to Lepore, the owner of Tony’s on Hope Street worked until he was 95 years old. “It probably took him all day to do one customer though,” he says. Lepore is resilient in his refusal to retire, bragging that he is just as proficient with scissors and clippers as ever. When Lepore furnished the Dorrance space, he installed two swivel chairs, even though he lacked an assistant. Originally, he hoped that his friend and colleague, Francesco Marsocci, might join him some afternoons to snip sideburns at his side. Marsocci was known as “Frank the Barber,” a one-time Barber Commissioner for the Rhode Island Department of Health, who used to work part-time for Lepore at the Hospital Trust Barbershop, but he passed away just before the grand opening of Bob’s Barbershop. Without a partner or successor, Lepore held out hope that one of his two sons might end up taking over the business, but “neither wants any of it,” he says. Bob’s Barbershop continues to be one man’s solitary pursuit. “I get on the bus, I go to work, I get back on the bus, and I go home,” Lepore says, where he lives with his wife and one of his sons. In July, he will begin collecting Social Security, although he has no extravagant plans for the money. Lepore never travels, claiming that he gets tired (and bored) after two or three days away from Rhode Island, but predicts he will indulge in some modest luxuries like cigars, brandy, and family cook-outs. He might even invest a portion of his Social Security “in the tracks,” meaning gambling, he says. Most days are slow, and Lepore likes to spend downtime in the customer waiting area, un-anxiously awaiting the next businessman. “You gotta be low-key in this business,” he says, yawning. “If you have a lot of energy, you’d be climbing up the walls.” MALCOLM BURNLEY B’12 didn’t get a hair cut (he got them all cut).
arbers haven’t always just cut hair: during the Middle Ages, so-called barber surgeons performed bloodletting procedures on plague-ridden and disease-stricken folk to alleviate them of evil spirits, through leeching or cutting their veins. Once finished with bloodletting operations, barbers displayed their crimson bloodstained bandages on cylindrical posts outdoors in order to advertise their medical practice. Out of this custom arose the modern emblem of the barber’s pole. While the role of the barber has evolved over time, from a part-time doctor to a professional trimmer to a pop-culture stylist, the red, white, and blue helix has endured as the industry’s calling card. But you won’t find one outside Bob’s Barbershop in downtown Providence: that’d be a bit too flashy for its owner. Bob Lepore, 62, prefers simplicity to swagger. He runs an old-school operation, but would not go as far as call himself medieval. “Barbers used to pull teeth, you know? If I had to, I would just tell them to drink a gallon of whiskey and hand over the pliers.” Lepore, who is bald, grew up in Providence and has barbered in the city for three decades. He has made the same daily commute, six days a week, for the last 28 years, arriving off Bus 57 from Johnston each morning, even on sleepy Saturdays. While the rest of downtown Dorrance Street is near-dead, when City Hall is still in slumber, Lepore stiffly hobbles down Dorrance, staggers up four flights of stairs, and is open for business at 8:30 AM, ready to welcome walk-ins. “I’ll be working until I’m dead,” he says. OLD-TIME APPEAL Bob’s Barbershop reflects Lepore’s humble, easy-going demeanor. “I fly under the radar,” he insists. “I keep it simple.” His space is 260 square feet of clean white walls and wood-stained floors. It is a scaled-back example of the old-time barbershop and a simplified alternative to modern day salons. “No computers, no rushing around, no hustling,” is one of Lepore’s mottos, demonstrating his concern over comfort, rather than commerce. “Everything is money now. That is status.” Lepore sells no retail products, doesn’t bother with appointments, and never advertises beyond keeping the door propped open. This formula has kept him in business since the ‘80s, attracting the same clientele for years. Bob’s Barbershop draws mainly professionals in search of a trim either before or after work. “The businessman—that’s my style of haircut,”
Lepore says. Although his space lacks the lavish accommodations of some old-time barbershops, like a personal tuxedo service (Lepore prefers to wear black t-shirts and khakis), it still exemplifies their leisure. He sees 50 customers on average each week, about one for every hour he works—meaning he can provide an abundance of attention to customers and still be left with long stretches of idleness. He spends most of the day alone, routinely killing time: getting a coffee, reading the newspaper, or listening to the Oldies play on the radio, like his favorite—the Rat Pack. Lepore relishes the convenience and consistency of the trade. “It is always clean, warm in the winter, and cool in the summer,” he says. Sipping on iced tea and eating peanut butter crackers, he reminisces about the old days, “when there was a barber shop on every corner in Providence,” each offering old-time amenities. He remembers Tony’s on Hope Street—now a CVS—with its hot lather foams and two-track razors, warm towels and relaxing massages. Lepore is a hold-over from this era, a generation of barbers decreasing in number. “They say small barber shops are coming back, but I don’t believe in it. Kids want to go to Supercuts.” Style and speed are what appeals to today’s customer, and Lepore admits he provides neither. He dislikes it when customers show up in a hurry, talking on cell phones while he works. “You have to be gentle, and have lots of patience.” WHAT IT TAKES During his three-decade career in Providence, Lepore has witnessed the barbering industry ebb and flow: it was at its lowest during the ‘60s, he claims, when flowing locks and freedom ‘fros ruled supreme; it peaked in the booming ‘90s, when sleek business-cuts were all the rage. The ‘80s were the heyday for business, when one of Lepore’s regular customers was Governor John Chafee; Lepore found him to
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
LIB ER IA
West African eats in Cranston
by Grace Dunham Illustration by Becca Levinson
in America. Given the relative size of the community, it’s even more impressive that Elea’s was the first Liberian restaurant in Rhode Island—and, for a long time, the only one. *** Elea’s is big and open, with light yellow walls, white tile floors, and a few circular tables spread out around the room. When I first walked in, there were four people at tables and no one at the register. Though everyone sat alone, they all seemed to be eating together. When I asked if Elea was around, they stared at me for a moment and then shouted her name. After a minute, Elea emerged in an apron from a doorway behind the register. We introduced ourselves, she softly asked my friend and me what we wanted to eat. We said we’d eat anything, and she disappeared through the doorway again. Elea’s is covered in flyers and posters promoting local Liberian events and businesses. “Liberian Fastest Rising Star: in concert for one night only at Jovan’s, South Portland Avenue,” reads one poster by the bathroom, the text framed by headshots of the contestants. A few homemade flyers pinned to a corkboard advertise “Januetoh Enterprise,” a company specializing in wedding cakes, Liberian donuts, and African crafts for “weddings, baby showers, birthdays, baptisms, etc.” A glass case by the register displays DVDs and videos for sale. Everyone at Elea’s seemed to know each other. At one table sat Esther W., her hair set in a ‘60s style flip, a seethrough plastic bib over her chest as she spooned palm butter out of a big bowl (palm butter, the national food of Liberia, is a creamy green sauce made out of palm fruit). Esther and Elea were schoolgirls together in Monrovia in the ‘70s. Back then, Monrovia was a thriving city. “We had everything America had,” Elea told me later. “We had all the movies. We listen to Elvis Presley, James Brown, all of them.” Later, Elea and Esther studied economics together at the Univeristy of Liberia. At another table sat Nya Taryor, a self-professed “practical theologian” who has studied at seminaries across America since he left Liberia in the ‘80s. Mr. Taryor is a Liberation Theologist. He was also the chaplain and a professor of AfricanAmerican studies at Hamilton College. When I asked him how he ended up in Providence, he laughed loudly and said, “You don’t wanna know.” Soon, Mr. Taryor was giving me a brief history of Liberation Theology and a list of book recommendations. Ten minutes later, Elea emerged from the kitchen with two red plastic trays. Each carried a big plate piled high with steaming food: crispy fried chicken, collard greens, creamy palm butter poured over tender chunks of beef and greasy, delicious jollof rice (a mess of rice, meat, and vegetables). On the side, she brought us containers of fiery pepper sauce and big oily hunks of rice bread—a dense sweet cake made of rice and mashed bananas. Liberian food combines traditional West African cuisine with the American influence of its 19th-century settlers. Elea’s daily specials are written out in crooked white letters on a big black board on the wall. Some of the specials on the board—potato salad and okra—are as American as fried chicken and greens. Others, like oxtail stew and plantains, are a little more exotic. Some, like kittily torborgee and fufu, I hadn’t even heard of before (fufu, I later found out, is a fermented cassava dumpling and a staple of the Liberian diet). Our food was great—in a spicy, crispy, heavy, saucy kind of way. Elea sat with us through the whole meal. Whenever we complimented her cooking, she laughed and said “Really?” with what seemed like real surprise. We talked about business, about Liberia, about America—and about being Liberian in America. Elea came to Providence in 1984. For a long time, she owned a produce store. People used to ask her how to make things. One day, after her friend at the barbershop told her to try cooking, she made a few different things and sold them at her store. People loved it, so she made more. One thing lead to another, and finally Elea decided to open a restaurant. She says she never thought she’d own a restaurant, let alone her own business. She likes that about America. “If you work hard in America,” she said, “you can make it.” When Esther heard Elea saying that, she shouted across the room, “The American dream!” Elea, Nya, and Esther all admit that they plan on going home someday. They miss Africa. But when Elea visited Liberia in 1997, it was a completely different place than the one she’d grown up in. “They’d broken into everything, burned big buildings, killed people,” she said. “They killed my relatives. They killed my brother, killed my sister-in-law, killed some of my nephews. They killed so many people.” Elea, Nya, and Esther are all confident that things are on the way up. “Liberia is good now,” Nya said. “Good for business. We’re the first in Africa to have a female president! That’s her,” he said pointing at a framed picture on the wall. There in the picture, standing next to the President, was Elea. She met the President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, when she visited Providence in 2006. Thousands of Liberians gathered in Kennedy Plaza to sing, chant, play drums, and watch the President give a speech. “Each and every one of you has a role,” the President said. “Each and every one of you has a contribution to make to help Liberia achieve a vision that includes peace, reconciliation, and national credibility.” Providence’s Liberian population may be small, but for Liberians, it’s expansive and important. It has churches, community associations, and dozens of events a year—balls, benefits, talent shows, even a Miss Liberia Rhode Island competition— but things like that aren’t always so accessible. But eating good food at a restaurant is easy. It’s the best way to see a slice of life not generally on display. GRACE DUNHAM B’14 licked the rice bread and fried chicken grease off her fingers. Elea’s Restaurant 1542B Broad Street Cranston, Rhode Island 02905 (401) 383-9404
E AM A RIC
oard the number 11 bus at Kennedy Plaza, ride it south down Broad Street, and you’ll get a sense of the kinds of people that have made Providence their home over the past two decades: block after block, bright Spanish signs mark Dominican, Guatemalan, Puerto Rican, and El Salvadorian restaurants. But if you keep going, over the border and into Cranston, you’ll eventually see a small sign attached to a telephone pole with “ELEAS” printed on it in big red letters. Nestled under a small yellow awning at the end of a wide, windowless, concrete building is Elea’s Restaurant, where Elea Beaie has been cooking Liberian food since 1996. Liberia, a West African country about the size of Tennessee, wasn’t colonized until 1822. What makes Liberia different from any other country in Africa—or any other country in the world, really—is the fact that its first foreign settlers were freed American slaves. The settlement was the brainchild of the American Colonization Society—an organization working to “repatriate” African-American slaves to Africa. That first colony of former slaves was built on a 36-mile-long and 3-mile-wide strip of land that the ACP purchased— most say forcefully—from a group of local tribes. In 1824, the colony was named Liberia, after the Latin word for liberty, and the capital was named Monrovia, after President James Monroe. As the colony flourished, more and more American states started shipping freed slaves back across the Atlantic. In 1847, the Americo-Liberians voted in favor of independence. Not surprisingly, Americo-Liberian culture was deeply rooted in the antebellum American South, and a stark split formed between the Americo-Liberian colonizers and the Africans who had been there all along. In a bizarre version of the conditions they’d left behind, Americo-Liberians acted as the master-class over local tribes they forced into slavery. For over a hundred years, Liberia was ruled by a small number of families whose ancestors had been on that first ship back to Africa in 1822. In Africa, Liberia was known as “Petite America.” Then, in 1980, an African named Samuel Doe murdered the President in a military coup. From 1980 until 2003, Liberia was in a state of virtually continuous violence, resulting in over 200,000 Liberian deaths. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled the country, many of them to America, and many of those to Rhode Island. With an estimated 15,000 Liberian residents, Rhode Island has the highest percentage of Liberians of any state in the country. Though Liberians only make up 0.4 percent of Providence’s population, Providence maintains one of the three largest Liberian immigrant communities
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | FEATURES | APRIL 21 2011 | www.theindy.org
ducing, what identities or ways of being is it naturalizing, enforcing, and disrupting? H: Now she calls them “fiercely real.” This reality program is a way for her to—not wage war on the fashion industry, but certainly challenge a lot of their preconceived notions of beauty. But on the other side of the coin, you also have shows that have a much more narrow focus, like a Jersey Shore in which it’s all about a kind of repetition and circulation of what it means to be an Italian-American in your twenties.
J: Reality television has offered many more spaces for women, queer folks, [and] African Americans than most TV, but also in very circumscribed ways. So you could ask: is it changing the notion of what it is to be American—for good or for bad? We have a panel that looks at reality TV as a moralizing machine, the way it suggests for people notions of good and bad, and how it enters into ethical discourses. And then we have one panel about reality TV and notions of citizenship, the way reality TV is so much about people actualizing themselves within communities. How do you think about how to literally survive in the world of business or in a social situation and what is this suggesting to people about the ways we enact the self? H: We’re also bringing in scholars such as Anna McCarthy, whose work looks at programming in the 1950s and what sort of genealogy of reality TV we can trace in television’s own rich and expansive history.
tends to be seen, as Hunter said, as the bad object. It’s interesting though, given its dominance across TV, that now there are subdistinctions made within the genre, like high-class reality TV versus low-class reality TV. Actually, one of our MCM alums, Lauren Zalaznick, the head of Bravo, was interviewed in the New York Times about how Bravo is now seen as making high-class reality shows, like Project Runway and Top Chef.
INDY: Not Jersey Shore.
his is the real world. There are no prizes for piecing together the best office-appropriate outfit or eating bugs in the wilderness. There are no expert celebrity judges determining how well we can ‘smize’ in photographs while being harnessed in mid-air. The reality we watch on television is a fantasy. Yet even the most scripted reality TV shows reveal something about life—the banality, the little victories and loses, the absurdity—that fictional shows can’t. Whether we watch with irony or sincerity, reality TV has seeped into our cultural consciousness—introducing words like Andre Leon Talley’s ‘dreckitude’ and various Snooki-isms like ‘kookah’ or ‘badonk.’ “We Are Who We Watch: Reality Television, Citizenship, Celebrity,” the reality TV symposium taking place at Brown University this Friday, April 22, addresses the perverse pleasures and complexities involved in watching reality TV—how the form both entertains and moralizes, insidiously instructing its viewers on what it means to be a good or bad citizen. Professor Lynne Joyrich and MCM PhD candidate Hunter Hargraves, organizers of the symposium, spoke to the Independent about the necessity of interrogating the really real affects of this global phenomenon. J: McCarthy looks at early developments of television in which there was in an interest in using it as a tool for governance, teaching people what it meant to live in a civil society. She’s interested in the way that’s articulated in Golden-Age documentary on television up through today’s ideas of reality TV that offer these lessons for citizenship. Laurie Ouellette’s work is also about these issues of neoliberalism, governmentality, and citizenship. She’s another one of our invited speakers who’s co-written a book entitled Better Living Through Reality TV: Television and Post-Welfare Citizenship. H: That whole book is about how makeover programs, rehabilitation programs, and court TV are very instructive in teaching individuals how to manage their own selves. J: In very particular and historical terms, in that they teach a notion of success and citizenry as managing the self and learning how to be entre-
J: Yeah, and The Real Housewives series is different from Fear Factor or Survivor. So even with their attempts to create status distinctions within the genre, what’s most interesting for me is to interrogate what’s at stake in people even wanting to do that. What is that code for? How is it itself just a marketing term, a kind of branding, and how does that fit into today’s economic world?
INDY: So why host this symposium now? Why at Brown? What can we learn from reality TV in an academic institution?
Hunter HARGRAVES: The genesis of this course started in the Fall… I was talking to Professor Joyrich, who said she’s going to be teaching a course on Television Realities, which is a graduate seminar that’s running this Spring in MCM. We were just kind of bouncing some ideas off of one another about how reality television, at least within the field of television studies, has accrued a significant weight of books and articles and scholarship as a whole, and how a lot of that [scholarship] has tended to start thinking through questions of citizenship and what sort of lessons reality TV ultimately ends up teaching the viewer, or its audiences.
H: Which is also to say that celebrity culture has turned to reality TV as a fantastic, untapped reservoir of what we now know of as tabloid celebrity. So you look at any of the supermarket tabloids and they’re talking about Teen Mom, they’re talking about The Bachelor, and these are now the kind of sources where we get this celebrity culture that migrates into other media forms such as the Internet. This is why I think having a Real Housewife as part of the symposium makes it precisely that much more fascinating, because there is something about reality television that has now adopted celebrity as both what it produces and what it relies upon. So you need celebrities like Tyra Banks or Heidi Klum or Jennifer Lopez to serve as your judges. But [reality TV] also produces celebrities. You have people who win reality-show competitions that then get another reality show documenting their own lives. So there’s a way in which the notion of celebrity has become part and parcel of the
J: Or even the ones that are broader like The Real World. People joke about how there’s always the angry black-man role and the naive white-girl role and the fiery-Latina role. So in a way it’s opened things up, but in very circumscribed ways. But also I think it’s important to think about issues of reception with reality TV, that when people condemn reality TV for producing these troubling images, it’s always these other viewers that they talk about, these “dumb” other viewers that model their lives on Jersey Shore. But one of the things that a lot of TV theorists are interested in is precisely the real complexity of the way that people engage with television shows. A lot of it is a game that people play with [reality television], knowing that it’s not real life. People play with those levels of what counts as real, what doesn’t count as real. When is somebody the really real or the parody of the real. There are all these different levels that are producing new understandings of what we mean by reality. Nobody puts themselves in that position of, “Oh yeah, I just fall for reality TV,” but we have these patronizing discourses of those other audiences who are supposedly just so dumb that they fall for it. But everybody has a much more complicated spectator relationship, I would argue. Which doesn’t mean we’re also still not falling for certain things, often in ways that are more invisible. INDY: What is the pleasure or guilty pleasure in watching reality TV? What makes it additive, appealing, entertaining? Is this just voyeuristic pleasure? What is the fascina-
, N ABOUT CELEBRIT Y, CITIZENSHIP A CONVERSATIO D THE BAD OBJECT OF REALIT Y TV AN
Lynne JOYRICH: We’re trying to think about it critically from our positions as scholars and as viewers. We really tried to mix who’s there—so we have internationally renowned scholars from different fields, some from a mass communications background, some emphasize more issues of political economy, and some of the other scholars come from a more MCM-ist, textual-theory background. We also really wanted to mix in Brown students. So the panels are a mix of visiting scholars, Jill Zarin, star of The Real Housewives of New York City, and also presentations from Brown graduate students and one Brown undergraduate student. And, obviously, the reality TV viewers who we assume will be our audience. And, as Hunter was saying, there is a lot of very interesting scholarship in television studies about reality television, obviously because it is such a big and important trend in TV itself—so therefore television studies is trying to analyze why is it such a big and important trend, not only in the US, but globally. There’s a lot of [scholarship] on the economics behind global reality television and what lessons it teaches us on how to engage with the world, about reality television in terms of our culture’s constructions of race, gender, and sexuality. And celebrity—what does it mean to live in a society of instant, real celebrity? So there are all these issues that television studies scholars are debating, and
Illustrations by Annika Finne
it seemed it would be useful to bring them together and take this thing that a lot of people see as the lowest of the low in some ways, and say it actually raises these very important issues for thinking about our culture. What does it mean that this is such a prevalent, dominant media form now? We have to take it seriously, we can’t just dismiss it, or laugh at it, or cry about it, or whatever.
Design by Eli Schmitt
H: It’s almost as if within the history of TV studies itself, there’s always a kind of bad object. It used to be that TV studies would critically interrogate the soap opera and actually talk about how the soap opera is a lot more complex than just being daytime women’s trash TV. And then it became the daytime talk show, the Jerry Springer, the Ricki Lake, and scholarship appeared about that. Now I feel like it’s reality TV’s turn to occupy the site of the trash object of TV, where people like to say, “We’re smarter than that.” Audiences can actually watch it with a degree of skepticism or irony. What we’re trying to say [in this symposium] is that, just as much as audiences are responding to this, reality TV is sending some very curious messages back to the viewer about what it means to be a citizen, what it means to be of particular identity groups, or not.
by Eve Marie Blazo
J: I feel like people who are not in the discipline immediately think that it sounds so silly to do a whole [symposium] about reality TV. Whereas, again, I would say, TV is the world’s most dominant media form, it pervades our entire society and defines the times and spaces of our lives. We can’t just ignore it. TV studies is not about either approving or disapproving, it’s serious analysis of what does it mean to live in a world where these are the forms that people are seeing, this is what people do in their leisure time, these are the things that they talk about. We are trying to really study this thing that is making up the fabric of our lives and talk about it critically, to produce a media literacy in people. preneurial and self-enterprising, having to both market and make use of the commodity form in our culture—but not too much. It’s interesting and potentially quite troubling how that fits into today’s state discourses. We’re in a society that tells people to take care of themselves, sacrifice themselves, to be entrepreneurial. We have this whole cultural [rhetoric] all about self-reliance, so what does it mean that state functions of government are getting less and less support while this entertainment form based on watching people compete for their self-actualization [is getting more]? H: In very direct cases, charity has shifted from the state to reality TV programs like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. J: And a lot of the therapy shows, where people can’t get medical coverage. What does it mean that now we can turn on our TV and watch people call in and get their families into an intervention center, or a new home built for people who are established as models of their own civic duty? H: It’s always people who have lots of community involvement and volunteer. J: Even Trump’s The Apprentice: what does it mean to prove you’re a wiz at business? It’s TV as a job market. The way that reality TV fits into certain social and historical conditions is really important for people to analyze instead of just dismissing these shows. [These shows], in fact, have a real impact on our world and help construct the way people think. They’re fitting in to what’s going on in our society in ways we really need to interrogate. INDY: Is it possible that resistances to, or subversions of, dominant culture emerge from this form? H: Tyra Banks has always said about America’s Next Top Model that this program for her is a way for her to expand the Western notion of beauty to include more women of color. INDY: And plus-size women!
form and the genre.
INDY: Where do you think reality TV fits on the high-lowbrow art spectrum? What are its implications for issues of “taste” in art? Is this the death of popular art or is this creating something new?
J: And, as with any form, it has certain conventions. There are things you can do with it and there are limitations. So with any of these shows, I would say it’s not that the form in and of itself is inherently good or bad, but it’s the particular way it’s articulated. I feel that you can use some of the conventions of reality TV in interesting, unique ways, and there are even artists playing with that form. Or you can use it in incredibly troubling and exploitative ways. So I feel like one has to really stand back and analyze what exactly is this form, what are the conventions, and therefore start to be able to see how could one maybe play with it, articulate it differently, explode it, or restructure it.
A TASTE FOR TRAS H
tion with watching what can often be banal, mundane things going on?
H: High and low culture traffic with one another. Reality TV provides a funny example of that with something like Slumdog Millionaire. It was a reality TV show that was then exported to another country, then a book was written about that reality TV show in another country, that then became a movie. So there’s this really interesting re-circulation of this reality TV text, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, but that literally travels across the globe and across media, but then also across the registers of taste. Which is to say, a movie that won Best Picture at the Oscars was first something that starred Regis Philbin, which we laughed at as a primetime reality TV program.
H: Importantly, this isn’t just an American phenomenon. Many of the reality programs that are considered to be some of the more famous ones, at least in an American context, we actually poached from other areas of the globe. Big Brother used to be Dutch.
INDY: Something that is so explicitly about making money can be translated into more of an art form as a film.
J: I think it’s a mix of a lot of different kinds of pleasures, and different ones in different mixes for different shows. Certainly there is the pleasure of voyeurism, but there’s also the pleasure of playing with voyeurism—imagining oneself as the object of voyeurism, the exhibitionist pleasure—taking Andy Warhol’s “everybody can be famous for 15 minutes,” but now it’s like 15 seconds. Everybody kind of imagines the reality show of their life. It’s about voyeurism but it’s also the critique of voyeurism. I think often people watch precisely to say, “I can’t believe those people want to be filmed.” I also think part of the pleasure is moving throughout what we think of as different levels of the real. It’s a form of epistemological game playing—[people want to] get a glimmer of the real-real within the reality. But everybody also knows that it’s a fantasy. Many of these shows are unscripted but clearly constructed through editing, casting, etcetera. We still don’t have an adequate vocabulary in our culture to talk about the complex ways in which we all live in a mass-mediated world between virtual realities, fantastic realities, gritty realities—they’re all marketing terms, yet also the realities in which we live. I think that people in their daily lives are constantly making judgments about how you present and perform yourself to the world. We don’t have a good language to talk about this yet, which is partly why scholarship about this is so important to get people to think about: what do we even mean by reality? “We Are Who We Watch: Reality Television, Citizenship, Celebrity” will take place at Brown University Friday, April 22 from 9:30-7:30pm in Pembroke Hall 305. EVE MARIE BLAZO B’12 is critically interrogating the fiercely real.
J: Even American Idol used to be Pop Idol in Britain. That’s a great example of the ambivalence of reality TV. Because it is such a hugely popular global form, it is so easy to import and export. Instead of having to export a whole program and then subtitle it and translate it, you can just sell the format. These media conglomerates will sell the formats to different countries to remake them with their own contestants so it has that kind of local flavor. So you could say, well, it’s totally part of a kind of economic media imperialism. On the other hand, it’s not that simple, because when they are redone in other places, they do take on other local meanings. They’re articulated differently and they read differently in different places. I think it’s important to look at the different ways in which local audiences always make sense of things through their own particular social and discursive frames, so it’s not just like Western culture taking over the world. They’re way more complicated relations.
J: As opposed to wanting to argue about what is high or low, in television studies, it’s better to actually ask: what’s at stake in those very categories? Why do people want to categorize things like that? What does that signify, how does it let audiences make sense of other audiences or themselves? But I do think reality TV
INDY: I’m so interested in what you said about citizenship and morality. What does reality TV do to its viewers? What is it pro-
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
A C A SOUR D E M CE IA
n of k
n April 4, 2001, a project spearheaded by the then-president of M.I.T., Charles Vest, was announced in the New York Times under the heading “Auditing Classes at M.I.T., on the Web and Free.” The goal of the initiative was to publish lecture notes, problem sets, syllabi, exams, simulations, and even video lectures for nearly all of its 2,000 course offerings on a completely public and freely accessible website. Vest’s undertaking was motivated by a value that is present in many university mission statements—to disseminate knowledge as widely as possible. The site would not provide a degree, but rather access to educational material that had previously been confined to admitted and paying M.I.T. students. A decade later, Vest’s project, MITOpenCourseWare, currently averages 1 million
visits each month—56 percent of which originate outside of North America. The site has been recognized as an invaluable step towards developing a public body of knowledge, and many universities have followed suit, including Yale, Carnegie Mellon and Duke.
A HACKER’S MANIFESTO
It was not a huge surprise that something like this came out of Cambridge, MA, since the very ideals embedded in the production of OpenCourseWare are deeply rooted in the language of a technological movement of the 1950s and ‘60s led by M.I.T. students. A group of self-proclaimed hackers developed and depended on free and open-source codes to further the functionality of room-size IBM computers hidden away in a university build-
ing. They developed assemblers to translate instructional language into binary code, debuggers to locate the glitches, and simplified and re-simplified codes to maximize efficiency by minimizing the necessary memory space. They invented the word as it is known today: a hack was defined as a project that was driven by the pleasure of involvement rather than constructive end results; however, this community of mutual sharing, after breaking into some locked doors, got results. The ethic behind this security breach was that access to information and machinery operations should be unlimited and total to allow for user-generated modifications for improvement. This concept has since been furthered and legitimated by loosercopyright (“copyleft”) licensing options offered by Creative Commons, used as a
fundamental launching point for exceedingly familiar tools such as the online encyclopedia Wikipedia and web browser Mozilla Firefox.
Though some have hailed these free-information sites for making great strides in dispersing knowledge that was previously limited to collegiate ivory towers, others are not as pleased with the limitless access—especially in the legal arena. The fair use doctrine, which guides the re-use of intellectual property, has been used to challenge the publishing of notes, as it arguably provides a substitution for university enrollment. But, the counterargument goes, an undergraduate education, especially one in liberal arts, has increasingly come to emphasize the value
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
HOW LONG WILL STUDENTS CONTINUE TO VOLUNTARILY SUBSIDIZE THEIR OWN COLLEGE EDUCATION FOR THE COMMON GOOD?
ANNIE MACDONALD B’12 is open. [Finalsclub is planning on bringing more schools into its fold next fall, including Brown. If you are interested in programming or being a campus representative email Andrew@FinalsClub.org]
of interpersonal relationships with professors who can provide personal feedback on work, rather than merely providing a direct relay of information. The more pressing concern lies in the Copyright Act of 1976, which states that a lecture is automatically protected under copyright law if a professor has prepared a tangible expression in the form of notes, an outline, or a script, or documented the class via video or audio recording— meaning professors aren’t required to have patents or other formal disclaimers to protect their work. (This exclusive right becomes rather convoluted by discussion seminars where the format is determined in real time by students and professors alike and any recorded preparations are merely prompts for collaborative dialogue.) The statute was referred to when certain professors at Harvard objected to the publishing of class notes on Finalsclub, a recently formulated version of OpenCourseWare developed by Andrew Magliozzi. With Finalsclub, Magliozzi sought to create an outlet for students at his alma mater to share without relying on a third party for-profit company to assume ownership, such as Study Blue, Cramster, Koofer, and Grade Guru, or ad-hoc materials which are difficult to consolidate and organize. “I believe that education is founded on the freedom of ideas. We build new knowledge on top of old knowledge. And without freedom and openness of expression it is very difficult to innovate on the idea level. In a sense, education must be open if you want it to be generative—if you want to create new knowledge. I don’t think any professor or academic or scholar would say his or hers ideas come out of a vacuum. Everyone needs to learn in order to teach,” Magliozzi told the Independent. To further the scope of his project, Magliozzi is looking to develop non-proprietary software—including a rewriting of the backchan.nl program, which has been successfully used in conferences to allow attendees to ask questions and post comments that can be voted up or down in priority while being viewed on a screen at the front of the classroom—harnessing the tendency for side conversation during lectures.
FREE AS IN FREE SPEECH, NOT AS IN FREE BEER Magliozzi’s project, although not recognized by Harvard, has been granted status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and has recently received funding from the Will and Flora Hewlett Foundation to the tune of $150,000. Though the objective in open source is to make information, software, and culture freely accessible and usable, that does not mean that it is free to produce. Funding can come in the form of donations, in which case the project retains its sharing economy through and through, or it must develop into a hybrid by involving mechanisms of commerce, usually through forms of advertisement or selective pay-in features. These politics of labor, (often ignored to prioritize the ideals of community and collaboration in open-source production) do point to the benefits of copyright legislation. When a copyright clause was included in the US Constitution, Thomas Jefferson espoused the author’s right to compensation so as to incentivize innovative production that allows for ‘the progress of science and the useful arts’—a benefit to all of society. This tenuous balancing act between the private and public good is still extremely relevant today. The professors protesting at Harvard have since been appeased by an instantaneous email alert that is sent when their class is added to the site, giving the ability to opt out and have the notes removed. The claims that Finalsclub breached their intellectual property rights or that the public platform would disturb the intimacy of their classroom were recognized as valid—even though Magliozzi doesn’t agree with them. Another concern, presented by a Harvard professor of English, Amanda Claybaugh, to The Chronicle, was that the quality of the student notes published on the site compromised the information she delivered. Yet this content concern could probably be alleviated by more time and attention given by users to the open-sourced editing feature of the site and with the development of a comprehensive rating system. Harvard professors have recently received another alternative for making their work available—DASH, an open ac-
cess repository of research that would make the mediated student notes less appealing. The problem, however, with substituting OpenCourseWare variations with a free online research journal written by professors is the accessibility of the language; this work is not written with the student in mind, but rather to build a reputation with colleagues and peer reviewers in order to be eligible for tenure. DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION The Free School Movement offers another variation of open academia, insofar as it opens up educational decision-making to all levels to the student body. Based on the model of the Summerhill School of Suffolk, England, founded in 1921, these schools “emphasi[ze] learning as a natural product of all human activity. They assume that the free market of ideas, free conversation, and the interplay of people provide sufficient exposure to any area that may prove relevant and interesting to individual students” (“Democratic Education”, Wikipedia). In this self-reflexive sphere, anything can be put up for debate, including the role of adults, evaluation, rules and human rights. As one might expect, a significant amount of time is often devoted towards play—encouraged within the framework as an essential component of social learning but regarded from the outside as excessive leniency. Self-imposed responsibility for students is also an issue when it comes to the intention of the user of OpenCourseWare-like sites. The fear is that this access will be used as a crutch for students who want to skip class or save time, instead of serving as a supplement to individual engagement with the material. Though this is a legitimate apprehension, it is important to recognize that this potential for the evasion of schoolwork has always existed in some capacity. The real progress here is the opening up of information to non-collegiate users who could make use of this leverage to self-learn and teach in areas off campus. The question remains: how long will students continue to voluntarily subsidize their own college education for the common good? Magliozzi believes that the motivation for student participa-
tion in Finalsclub up to this point is “altruism—but altruism alone is a necessary but not sufficient component for doing this on a large scale, so we need something more. Something more in my perspective is a novel way of collaborating and communicating within education, which I think we have our finger on the pulse of.”
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
9/11: THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
he first official memorial to the 9/11 tragedy was built in light, twin beams serving as an intangible but indelible memory of the buildings. Before that, though, there were the grassroots memorials, collections of objects left by disparate individuals—the missing posters preserved on the walls of St. Vincent’s Hospital, candles and flowers by the fences downtown, commemorative tiles painted by New Yorkers and hung on the chain-link fence around a 7th Avenue parking lot. All of these versions of memorializing are far from the monolithic tradition of permanence and stone. Local Projects, a young media design firm, developed an iPhone app, Explore 9/11, to create a “Memorial Experience” with a GPS-guided tour of Ground Zero, complete with images and testimonies from the actual event. Local Projects creates interactives, websites, mobile apps, and digital and tangible installations for museums, public spaces, and public projects such as StoryCorps. They developed Explore 9/11 as one element of a suite of media projects for the 9/11 Memorial Foundation (which is responsible for both the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the 9/11 Memorial). The suite includes interfaces to navigate the memorial, and, with Thinc Design, the exhibition itself. Jake Barton, the founder and principal of Local Projects, talked to the Independent about making an app for history. INDY: How did the Explore 9/11 take shape? Jake Barton: The app takes its cues from the approach of the Museum itself, which is very much made up of the voices of witnesses to history. We created the website “Make History” to gather images, written stories, and videos of people’s experiences on 9/11. We wanted people to narrate the events of that day and the history that they created, and got thousands of submissions from around the world. We then took those submissions and composed them into the walking tour and storytelling experience that is Explore 9/11. INDY: Traditionally, memorials are very permanent, both aesthetically and literally. On the other hand, the app is by nature temporal––it could be updated and reconfigured both by users and by programmers. Do you think of this project as a memorial or as something else? JB: I think of this project as a Memorial Experience. 9/11 was witnessed by one-third of the world in the moment, and another third within the first 24 hours, meaning that 9/11 was an event of unprecedented human attention. This Memorial is made up of so many experiences, from those far away, to those at the sites themselves. The fluidity of digital media means that as we learn more and gather more material, Explore 9/11 can evolve with it. INDY: So 9/11 was experienced by most of the world virtually, is what it comes down to. JB: It’s hard with a consumer product like an iPhone to make something appropriate, and in fact, Fox News did an hour special where they asked people on the street if it was even okay to have stories like this on an iPhone. People didn’t seem to mind, given the way the stories themselves were treated with respect and were in the voice of the witnesses themselves. INDY: I think that in this case the possibilities offered by a mixed-media platform with live GPS tracking actually enables more than it binds. Do you think of the app as an educational platform, or a memorializing one? Is there a difference?
JB: One is meant to be more didactic and explanatory, while the other looks to secure memory in a memorial fashion. They are intertwined here, but not the same. The development team had always recognized that it would be a challenge to make an experience that could speak both to those who ran out of the burning buildings, whose lives were forever changed on that day, and then also to young adults who had no direct experiences of the event. We always wanted to have the one group describe the event to the other group. So we highlight the storytelling through oral histories and first-person accounts to create something authentic and meaningful for all visitors. INDY: One of the things that struck me about the app experience was the facelessness of those offering us witness testimony. In the documentary tradition, we are used to attributing words and voices to individual faces. This version feels more anonymous to me. Perhaps by not anchoring the experience to an individual with distinct features, it offers one experience as an experience of many—or at least all of the individuals who appear in the slideshows being voiced over. JB: While the speakers aren’t pictured, their voices are arguably more intimate and create a closer relationship then you might experience from just a photograph. Having a person tell you his story in your ear is a very individual experience. INDY: Interesting, particularly because we’re accustomed to having individual conversations over the phone. Actually, the stories, as received through this app, are easier to concentrate on and really listen to than I think they would be in a museum setting. Sometimes, educational memorial museums feel cluttered and close. The app, on the other hand, offers images and words together, one at a time, orchestrating a simpler experience of the material. On the other hand, it cannot provide tangible relics. Is this a proposal for a new kind of memorial museum? JB: The New York Times review said that the personal and intimate nature of the app experience offered the perfect memorial for 9/11 and how New Yorkers in particular feel about the event right now. But when the Museum opens, with the raw physicality of the artifacts, that will have such potency and presence, I believe it will really transform our relationship with 9/11, whether you are a New Yorker, whether you have an intimate personal experience, or whether you know very little of the event. INDY: For me, the beauty of this app is its connection to physicality. It’s rooted in the spaces of downtown New York. JB: There is a power to physical space and to the authenticity of being at the site itself that is indelible and chilling. The experience of memory can be heightened by that reality, so the intangible heightens the physical location. INDY: Do you think that as this strange rupture that we call Ground Zero becomes the Freedom Tower—hopefully a living, functioning space—the nature of the app as a grounded thing will change? How do you avoid the replacement of memory with memorial? JB: I think the space of our experience will change as the event grows into the past. There will be many who will never be able to get out of that day. However, there are young people today who won’t have that personal relationship with the event. Hopefully the app will allow them to feel like they are standing and witnessing history,and help them understand the experience a little more deeply.
an interview with the creators of the “explore 9/11” app
by Maud Doyle Illustration by Alex Corrigan
A NEW DISCOVERY ZONE
by Maggie Lange Illustration by Robert Sandler
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
An Interview with Bonnie Epstein of the Rhode Island Museum of Science and Art
the 11 and up group won’t ever see it. But in Rhode Island, the cultural attitude is that the children’s museum does a great job and they think ‘we’re good!’ I think that it’s never too early to start, but there is also no good age to stop. INDY: So is this really for eleven and up—adults included? BE: Adults love the exhibit as well. We have our Board test each exhibit before it happens to make sure they are interested. Also, we make sure the height of the exhibits and the information in the signage are geared towards older children. INDY: Tell me about the debate on location for this museum. BE: I’m deciding between Providence and Pawtucket. Both are urban, accessible, and both have this creative, funky, museum-y culture. INDY: And your plan now is to prove the success of your projects so that you can interest investors? BE: Yes, that’s why we are wall-less. We got great advice from the New York Hall of Science, who said that we had to prove our concepts first. No one will offer anything to crazy people with an idea. ML: How have you been proving this? BE: We have been proving our success at places like Waterfire and Foo Fest. There, we actually get some numbers and can do evaluations. It’s not just enough to have good photos, but metrics, ages, how long people are spending there. Then we can be attractive to funding. Don’t just say you can do it, prove you can. We have to prove we are a feasible, attractive nonprofit. We can move in but we are going to need a little help with our rent, and that’s where this proof will help us out. MAGGIE LANGE B’11 says it and proves it.
he Rhode Island Museum of Art and Science (RIMOSA) is a nonprofit that calls itself a ‘wall-less’ museum. For now, the museum’s founders travel around the state, to schools, events, and festivals. Their installations are mesmerizing: colorful sand that drizzles through sieves to create a flow of amazing patterns, a inexplicable bubble-machine—as if Willy Wonka and Bill Nye the Science Guy were asked to collaborate. The experiments have an impressionistic combination of art and science: the visuals are stunning, there is some principle at work, but no heavy-handed message is forced upon the participant. These installations have been at WaterFire, FooFest, and most recently at Slater Mill. But RIMOSA’s nomad status is shortlived. Their Board of Directors—a dozen accomplished educators, scientists, and artists—are in the midst of looking for a home, and they plan on setting up a fullfledged museum with four walls in the next five years. Bonnie Epstein is the founder and CEO of RIMOSA. She received a Biology and Geology degree from Brown, and then a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island. Since then, she has taught everything from elementary school science to a course called “Environmental Disasters” at RISD. Bonnie sat down with The Independent to explain why art and science should be combined, and what she envisions for RIMOSA’s next step. —Maggie Lange INDY: So, why art and science together? BE: Well, both my parents were physicians, so I grew up knowing about science—I always knew how things like digestion worked, but I was always very drawn to art. I love that it is literally creative, that you are supposed to start with raw materials and come up with something beautiful or interesting. When I was a grad student in science, many of my friends took pottery, and wove, or painted. From the scientist’s side, I’ll say that they never saw themselves cut off from art. But I fear that artists feel that they are cut off from science. INDY: What are examples that you have seen of artists who feel cut off from science? BE: When I taught at RISD, I learned that artists had the same attitude about science that I had had about art—some of them had always been interested in science. I knew a lot of scientists that had been torn between choosing a career in art or science, and they decided to continue with science, because who has ever heard of a starving scientist? However, I think that there are a bunch of people who had come down on the side of art. Really, it’s unfortunate that we force people to choose one direction. INDY: Do you see art and science as inspiring each other? BE: Definitely. I wish that I could have
said I thought of this on my own, but it’s based on the San Francisco Exploratorium, which I visited when I was fifteen. It has the same feel as MoMA—but with less on the wall and this invitation to play with it, and there was science involved. INDY: Did it feel forced at all? BE: The pairing of science and art is natural if we think about the beginnings of both. What is the passion the fuels them? The ability to observe the world and ask questions about it—to ask questions and to experiment. INDY: You think that their minds work in similar ways? BE: Some scientists are very logical… but the true breakthroughs, and people who look at things in very different ways, have the minds of artists. You know quarks— that is absolutely a crazy idea! Subatomic particles… seeing a bug stuck in amber, and wondering how to figure it out. INDY: And you hope that RIMOSA will stimulate this curiosity? BE: It’s this wondering I want to encourage. The installations we set up—like a cool table that allows you to play with gears and a mesmerizing sand in a sieve—aren’t supposed to have any end goal or resolution. Video games, games where you can win them, don’t have this thrill of endless permutations. INDY: What has inspired you to do this? BE: The thing about formal scientific education right now is that it’s about transmission. You know: I give you the facts, then please tell them back to me on a test. Teachers just don’t have the time or resources for anything else. The fact is, kids can ace the tests and then not remember a thing. I admire science teachers hugely—
they have a difficult job because they don’t have the time. INDY: What would be a better way to teach about science? BE: The way kids learn best is by letting them play and experiment on their own. Kids remember what they discover for themselves. It’s that joy of discovery, this moment of “I did this!” You can see it, they show all their friends, and they are the discoverer and the teacher. INDY: Based on your observation at other science museums, like San Francisco’s Exploratorium, how do kids behave? BE: When you bring kids to a science museum they fan out. Then you hear, ‘Hey, come look at what I found.’ You can see the discovery. I remember, there was a little boy explaining to anyone that would come by how his exhibit works. He had total ownership. There is also the inter-group communication—this is proven by studies. These museums promote intercommunication between families and from kid to kid, even kids that don’t know each other. INDY: And what about learning on an individual level? BE: It gives kids a chance to work something out by themselves, rather than a parent or teacher telling them how things work. It’s about experimentation and learning—that hard work is necessary. They might not know the names of the concepts that they are learning, but they are looking at the natural world and how it works. INDY: What age group are you really targeting? BE: The Providence Children’s museum does a good job with the early stuff, but
APRIL 21 2011 | THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT | www.THEINDY.org
he pillow was a soft, cool cave for everything dark. Waking up with a damp neck and mossy hair, she was still stuck in the hot seaweed. A howling wind battered the windows, thirsting to crack her. There were only windows; she had never known walls. Salt flooded her nostrils and her stomach swooped and she knew that this was it, that this time she was truly paralyzed. If she tried to lift her ankles she would only feel buzzing teeth chewing across her brain. When the numbing subsided she would be released. Breath tuned to the wind’s hollow sucking, she narrowed in on her own howls. Each inhalation brought her farther from her body. She was leaving this shell, finally. Baring her teeth at the skeletal brace that hulked in the corner, she soared, then faltered. A big toe flexed beneath the covers.
ny, she could never brace herself for the fury. Shutters clapped above water’s standing ovation. A murmuring crawled across the depths. Pressing her plastic-sheathed body against the curved stucco wall, she fell into the violence and watched the clouds bloom. Each bloody hue screamed on the horizon. That means East. This is when she first began dreaming of deserts and how to reach one. Her bones sweltered beneath her shell. Sometimes a breeze flooded her spatial bits and she imaged falling from a window. There was a time when she tried jumping off tall chairs, dressers, her bed, only to find the metal trappings beneath her feet magnetized to the floor. She would practice lifting her tingling legs as high as they could before they suctioned back down. Her father would hunch down the narrow hallway and stand in the crooked light, watching her trudging through invisible molasses, her face electrified. With one lurch it would all be flushed away. Her feet were bare and raw where the metal had rubbed. Looking down at her lobster flesh, she curled her toes around the balcony’s edge and felt the concrete’s abrasion. Below, the swells formed hoops. She was not her body so her body let go. A claw gripped her. Her eyes ran up the stranger’s arm, the lacework of veins and moles. She searched his face but found no anger. He was a raccoon boy with deep caverns under his eyes and sand in all his cuts. There was something about the way he rasped that struck her. His hand was still wrapped around her metal sheath so tightly she thought she saw an indent. The breathing, something about his breathing. She remembered it growing louder as someone trundled up the winding staircase. The sound of smothering, the gulping. The food boy. Teetering against the wind in a violent hug, beets rolled at their feet and over the edge. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her farther over the railing. Stomach lurching, she saw what he aimed at—the little rowboat being knocked against the rocky bank. She stared at the frantic wooden frame surging with the maniacal waves. Running her hands down her second skin, she peered at his bony face and shook her head. Her owl eyes blinked too much. He looked at her intently before swinging up the paper bags of food and slipping back into the kitchen. Following him, the girl heard muffled poundings from down the hallway. She staggered into the shadows where the voice like a hot iron rod clanged. Let me out! She’ll disintegrate I tell you! She’ll just die! Slowly backing away, she turned around and saw the deep eyes rippling. He set the silver key on the wooden table and stepped away, raising his eyebrows. Metal dug into her thighs with each winding step. The boy’s hand guided her along the narrow curvature, but
She knew the words before the meaning struck. She first heard it when she was learning how to walk again—that glass forms when lightning hits sand. That’s what happened to you, her father would say. That’s why you’re all glassy. She used to believe that all teacup-boned girls lived in towers above the roiling sea. Then she found a stash of National Geographics while chasing a marble and maddeningly blushed while ravaging the pages, getting paper cuts and smearing blood on a gaunt-faced village. No metal encased them, no plaster. Before long her father found oily stains all over the gloss, the pictures of hungry girls in Laos, places where someone had fingered their malnourished bones. After that she found calcium supplements under the bed instead. The moon and a full glass of milk leered above her spine in its serpentine curve. The wire between the girl and her father became taut at night, though he tried to lighten the air with cello concertos, violas, and the sounds of hollow instruments. Every time milk appeared her eyes fogged over, little ocean marbles. She sat in the high-backed wooden chair, chin raised, posture searing. If she faced the black window a monstrous figure was spat back. The spotlight pulsed its code into the void, illuminating the metal plate that covered her torso. She hummed and avoided the glass’s gaze. Her father’s veins throbbed all over the cream cascading down the sink. Plugging her ears against the gurgling that went straight down into the sea, she imagined that her unwanted milk was what made the waves froth and furious. Walking around the lighthouse, she never knew where to put her hands. She would stumble around on her large feet, arms stretched out, as if blind. Only in the earliest morning could she play these games. Abandoning the insulated slippers at her bedside, she pretended she was a grasshopper and sidled along the whitewashed floors, wincing and smiling with each splinter. On the rare occasions when empty wine bottles were on the kitchen table, she knew she could risk the door. It always surprised her how nimbly the lock sprung after having gathered so much pressure. Stepping pointed-toed on the balco-
by Kate van Brocklin Illustration by Annika Fine
she was stiff and confined in her trappings. The metal hummed on her bones. When she reached the last step, her whole body propelled backwards. Spine arced and limbs splayed, she clattered and yet could still move. She stood up again, realigned her vertebrae and gawked at the boy. I didn’t break. She flapped her arms wildly as the metal smashed against itself. Of course you didn’t. What did you think you were made of? The boy chortled and began cutting at the metal with a sharp blade. Each piece falling to the rocky floor screeched. The final piece was wrapped around her torso, and without it her stomach expanded as she let out a long breath. She ran her fingers across the doughy expanse. Lagoons of purple and green spotted her whole body. The boy draped a thick woolen blanket over her and held the boat steady as she clamored in. He cut the rope loose and started the small motor. Shaking under the wool, she feverishly pushed on the marks. No matter how hard she rubbed at the bruises they wouldn’t smear. She had found it all strange: how he had two train tickets for that afternoon, the way he ignored people who tried talking to them, that the tent was already set up on the anonymous landscape. But the sand was the so richly clay red that she laid her head back down and let the thought skate away. If she squinted, her vision blurred the edges of all that she could see and the vastness could eat up the sea. Tiny particles shivered over her arm hairs as she licked her dry lips. She closed her eyes and imaged sinking beneath the sand. Burrow yourself down enough and no one even knows you lay there in the dampness, she told the boy. The trick is to close your eyes very tight and even you don’t know you’re there. But the boy wasn’t listening. He sprung up, suddenly alert, and craned his neck in the direction of nothingness. Grabbing the girl’s arm, he pulled her skin into the tent. The small purple canvas swished as she tumbled in, still getting used to her own limbs. The boy’s eyes were swollen and swimming. She looked to him in hope that this was a game that he was making up as he went along. She stuck a finger into his jawbone. He whipped his head around and gaped. His angles were shifting; he no longer appeared carved but hollow instead. The tent was palpitating now. What’s happening? Howling. He took one of her limp arms. You can move, see? Flap your wings. Look, real skin! He swung her pendulum arm. Ouch. Stop it. She crawled toward the tent’s flap but he caught her with one arm. They sat crouched with eyes flying. The girl watched the canvas gulping sand through the cracks. There was a wailing outside that wanted in.
NUPUR SHRIDHAR Nupur has been referred to as the Pancho Villa of Providence for her brave standoffs against the forces of evil time & time again. When she spots mischief afoot, she’s DTF, duh—but when she spots cruelty: Noop, there it is! She swoops right in, rugby shirt crisp & dimples dimpled, and challenges the wrongdoer to a battle he’s sure to lose: CHUG-OFF. One point eight seconds & one can of fine local brew later, Nupur stands triumphant, foam dripping down her chin—“My lack of gag reflex is wasted on me,” she says—but she doesn’t stop there, oh no: she’ll drag you up to her face, your collar in her fist, and say: “DON’T FORGET TO PLEASURE YOUR WOMAN TONIGHT.” And she’ll know if you do. The woman’s got radar or some shit. FRASER EVANS July 18, 1969 IN EVENT OF MOON DISASTER: Fate has ordained that the man and woman who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace. These brave people, Fraser Evans and Neil Armstrong, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice. These two people are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding. They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared to send two of her children into the unknown. In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man. In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their horses in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men and women of flesh and blood. Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Mankind’s search will not be denied. But Fraser Evans and Neil Armstrong were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts. For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind. EMILY FISHMAN Emily Fishman wants to shop with you and play X-box with you. She wants to pillow-fight in the middle of the night. She wants to drive your Benz with five of her friends. She wants to creep past the block, spying again. She wants to roll with you all day, and chase skeeters away; she wants to fight with lame chicks; she’ll blow you away. She’ll expect the best; she’ll kick you to the curb if she finds one strand of hair longer than hers. She wants love in the Jacuzzi; she wants to rub up in the movies. She wants access to the old crib, keys to your new digs; she wants to answer the phone, tattoo her arm, that’s when you have to send her back to her mom. She’ll call you ‘heartbreaker,’ when you’re apart it makes her want a piece of paper to scribble down ‘I hate ya.’ But she knows she loves you because she loves everything you say and everything you do.
KATIE DELANEY Kathryn “Katie” C. Delaney was born in a top-secret government lab on a small island off the coast of the Celtic Sea. The only photograph ever recorded under her true name is from when she won the lab’s Most Beautiful Blastocyst contest by an embarrassing landslide. At the age of three, she assumed a new identity and set sail for the Americas on a boat made out of popsicle sticks and glitter glue. When she arrived, she told everybody she was at least five and began kicking ass instantaneously. At eight, she single-handedly won the World Series, and at nine, she won the Pulitzer for penning a truly touching article about it. After that, Katie took a small break from her accomplishments and grew to be unforgivably good-looking. Her side-smile is now the legal equivalent of a space heater turned all the way up. News sources report she may actually be thirteen years old. Katie plans to attend medical school next fall. KATIE JENNINGS By far the most brawny competitor at this humble newspaper, Katie Jennings is the only person I’ve ever heard of who needed to be hospitalized after the voracious rage of athleticism she displayed at the Indy-BDH kickball game. We all thought we heard the gentle murmur of choice anti-imperialist swears as she was wheeled away in her giant fur coat and leather boots. Additionally, Katie has been run over by a fully-grown motor vehicle. Eying it up and down, she couldn’t resist throwing it a thin-lipped glare and flicking the ash of her last cigarette on its brutish hood before slouching off to the hospital, where the nurses had begun to depend on her for spontaneous a cappella routines and cooking tips. LOLA BATES-CAMPBELL Lola means godmother in fairy-speak. To walk into her lair is to be enveloped in a magical womb: you are fed a bowl of delicious soup, stripped of your dull habits, clad in lace and fringe, rechristened Xavier, and reborn as a calmer, softer, better-smelling version of yourself. Later, you wonder whether your soup was spiked—the witch does have a spicy side. In past lives, she was the herb doctor of brahmins, a ‘90s Guess? model, and maybe Annie Oakley. How else to explain her eerie awareness of secret happenings in Providence? Or her brilliance in everything from chemistry to cuisine to beautiful newspaper collages? Her cackle casts spells, bottom line. And no one’s bottom has ever looked so fly in them high-waisted jeans. ERIK, HIJO de María y Angélica Font, lesbias rancorosas, hermanas incestuosas—concebido bajo los cielos encendidos, los cielos dantescos y cenicientos del DF, en la manera menos inmaculada. Se cayó riendo del útero doble, tomó una cerveza y partió inmediatamente al norte. Es por eso que, en línea recta entre el DF y Nueva York, hay miles de niños, precocemente barbudos y fumadores compulsivos, que aún el nombre de su padre ignoran—pero en cuyos pechos arde indistintamente las brasas de un linajedesconocido. Es por eso que, todos los 23 de febrero, todos los ríos de México se vuelven negros de ceniza, y todos los ríos norteamericanos se vuelven rojos de sangre. Despuéstomó otra cerveza y pidió una za… De verdad no entendemos a este hombre, y no estamos seguros si deberíamos. Sólo queremos que no nos haga sufrir demasiado. Y cuando a la orilla del Infierno se encuentra finalmente con Roberto Bolaño, su abuelo por propiedad conmutativa, y cuando los dos se pinchan al lado del mar fluorescente y teñido de mezcal— esperamos que pensara en nosotros, los pobres que abandonó.
RACHEL WEXLER Sometime between Gutenberg and the Banishment to New Pembroke, Rachel and Liat descended upon the Indy like a pair of InDesign angels, Rachel fluttering down on the wings of a flowy boho shirt. Upon landing, Rachel used the mystical powers of her cameo necklace to conjure spreads that left you weak at the knees. Rachel has fluttered back to the heavens from whence she came. But hark, children; if one Wednesday night you detect a sweet-smelling presence hovering over you, fear not. If it carries a shoulder-bag, fear not. If it gives you a sideways glance that says “Fuck all of this cigarette-induced anorexia, Imma eat this Oreo and then 3 more and still manage to look bangin’ in my sweater that buttons up the back,” fear not. ‘Tis but the ghost of a great designer. CHARLOTTE CROWE In the glow of the first full moon to shine over the wilds of Canton, Connecticut, the immaculate baby lizard Charmander came into being. Raised by giant black poodles in a magical world full of lichen but devoid of Starbucks, the charmed lizard baby learned yoga, and not to wear brown with navy, and was very happy. Soon, a spider who wove beautiful stories heard of this unblighted creature. The spider granted Charlotte her legendary name, and her gift for finding resonance in the dark corners of the mundane word. Charmandar grew into Charmeleon, and Charmeleon soon grew into Charizard. Eventually, her power of Empathy grew so strong that she shed her lizard skin with the cry, “I am Woman!” and found herself in the world of men. Newly softened with Kiehl’s moisturizer, she descended in full Amazonian glory, with a glimmer in her eye and a gavel to rival John Boehner’s, to croon folk music among the mortals of the Indy. She banished cruelty and snark from Conmag, and melted the icy hearts of Indy readers with silvery stories. “They’re not sentimental,” she would insist, “they’re just about feelings.” And so she blew our minds. JOHN FISHER Whether he is drinking wine or whisky, whether he is wearing a collared shirt or a shirt without a collar, John is modest and handsome. He springs as he steps, he smirks when he likes you. He stands tall and speaks truthfully. Even his name—say it aloud, “Fisher, John, John Fisher”— rings out with a direct, untarnished honesty, for he is, in fact, a fisher avid about fly-fishing—a sport at which he has a distinguished talent. Thankfully, John had the foresight to cultivate another his natural talent, that of picture-taking. Through his photography, we have been able to share in his honest, virtuous gaze: a vision that marries the charm of a wide-eyed child and the wisdom of a worldly old man. John has been the Indy’s eyes, and without him the Indy is not so much blind as incomplete.
FRANCIS GONZALES On the day of his scheduled interview, the words “Congratulations New Photo Editor” miraculously appeared on the door of Wilson 101, the horn of Gabriel sounded like a vuvuzela, and a new era dawned on the College Hill Independent. Since then, Francis “Our Savior” Gonzalez has blessed us with Epic Mealtimes; there have been endless bags of Green Mountain Gringos deep-fried in beer batter and perpetually-full jars of Sweet Baby Rays. Not to mention all the Sir Richards condoms one could ever dream of. We would adorn ourselves in clothes from Savers and read from the holy scriptures of Harry Potter if only we thought this paradise would last. But evil has risen and villains resembling Amy Poehler and in desperate need of stylists have driven Francis away from our publication and our lives. No photo editor/athletescientist-astronaught (sic) can fill the dinosaur footprints that remain. Francis, you walked into the interview room and walked away with our hearts (as well as our saw horses, Alumnae Hall benches, and refrigerator doors). That Canadian Ham is still in the freezer. Maybe it will help heal the deep pain your absence has wrought. Goodbye. KATIE LINDSTEDT Once upon a time, Lil’ Red Lindstedt decided to go on a walk through the forest. She wore high-waisted acid wash jean shorts and a red halter top, and she carried a huge purse full of muffins for her grandma. En route, Lil’ Red Lindstedt saw a liquor store. “Oooh,” she said. “I think this walk would be better with some wine!” The liquor store man knew she was too young for wine, but charmed by her shy smile and sweetly bobbed hair, he handed over a big ol’ bottle. So Lil’ Red Lindstedt continued on her walk, growing red-cheeked and tipsy, calling out to her animal friends and skipping. When she arrived at her grandma’s house, there was a WOLF instead of an old lady in the bed—but Lil’ Red was having none of it, and bashed the wolf over the head with her empty wine bottle. “That takes care of that!” she said, and went on to become a wildly successful journalist and photographer of sexy male actors. The end. BEKAH BERGMAN In the far off land of the Kingdom of Kind Souls, it was time for the villagers to elect a Queen. “It should be somebody who likes cats!” one villager shouted. “She should be calm and patient, even when unnamed co-editors don’t pull their weight!” The crowd murmured assent. “She should be ambiguously ethnic-looking, so that people of all kinds can identify with the Queen!” Villagers stood up with excitement. “SHE SHOULD WRITE POETRY AND LIVE BY THE SEA!” The Kingdom cheered and had a potluck to celebrate. And so it was that Bekah was elected Queen of Kind souls. She left the Indy to live out her reign, living a quiet but regal life presiding over royal matters and wearing knits in her seaside cabin.
ALICE HINES In Shanghai, I fell in with a cold and indifferent group of French expats. On summer evenings, we would run to the edge of the water, irritated with the incessant attentions of bourgeois gaze, and made ourselves ill with drink to escape this fondling that disgusted us. One savage evening, a nondescript playwright swaggered in in the latest New Look. The silk dresses lived out her martyrdom through perfection of ennui. She possessed supreme composure and an apparent tranquility that masked terrible transports. I knew when I first saw her that she would be the death of me. While she bathed in milk, I whispered to her: “Mon petit chou, viens avec moi.” Alice protested: she had arranged her mode. My idiocy meant nothing to her wit, grace & wild sass. She acted as she liked, chewing up and spitting out careers and lovers at will. Roger Federer reported that she had named an elephant after me, but, as is wont to do, it fell ill at her fourth wedding. ALEX VERDOLINI You probably know Alex Verdolini as that kid who rolled his eyes when you mispronounced something basic in some easy French lit course first semester of sophomore year, which—for the record— he didn’t find particularly challenging anyway. Be not mistaken: underneath that blue gingham shirt is not only a deliciously tall and slender physique, but also a heart of silk gold yearning to reveal itself. Here’s how to access Alexander Silk Verdolini’s cuddly side in record time: 1. If you’re gonna design for any publication over which ASV presides, leave your wide-ass columns in Athens, OK? 2. Make him a mix tape—bbbuttt lay off the Fleetwood Mac. 3. Obtain one quill pen to write him a letter by the light of the moon. Use a Slavic tongue (you may have to borrow one) to lick the envelope. Sign it, “Miluju t, Saa.” Then, seal, send, deliver; he’s yours. 4. Tickle him with umlauts. 5. Prove that you share his refined taste. Fake it til you make it. Pretend that your favorite European cities are bound together by some arbitrary alphabetic commonality: “Oh my god, my favorite places to visit also all start with B’s: Budapest, Berlin, Bratislava…” 6. Change your name to Gillian. LAURA TSUNODA Ever since I could speak, I demanded of my progenitors, “Little sister, please.” They never provided, and Laura Tsunoda, well, someone else grabbed her first. It’s not that I wanted Laura for my own because she was so young or so naive—she wasn’t. It’s that she was precocious. In class she mostly hid behind that scintillating curtain of hair but when she did speak, I finally understood the phrase “out of the mouth of babes.” Laura would dismantle the canon with the most jaded blowhard but when she bounced out of class she wore her backpack high and her tennies fresh. I had the sensation of wanting to buy her her first beer. She will attribute this to “that Cali good”—some native chillness which disarms the strivey East Coaster—but do not be mistaken. The stoner’s pleasure principle is not her shield but her stimulus. Like OG hedonist Aristippus, in Laura the abstract Form of the Good becomes the concrete notion of Pleasure, vividly rendered: the banquet on Thayer Street, the prattle on FML, the sluice of California rain, the skin of an avocado.
MICHELLE NGUYEN It’s 4AM and the Internet isn’t working. Andrew isn’t picking up your calls. You still need to design a spread & nobody wants to listen to “Party & Bullshit in the USA” anymore but it’s stuck on repeat. And the Jay-Z song was on. Fuck, right? But then you hear “Uh” in a droll monotone that says so much with so little, gently upbraiding and infinitely generous. It’s Michelle Nguyen, there to solve all your problems. She was always already there, at the SciLi at 10AM when you screwed up the PDF—and three hours before, when you finished the first issue & swayed to Mary J Blige as the sun came up. I’m looking for a Real Love Michelle mouthed, eyes closed, stroking the cinderblock walls of CONMAG II. You looked at her. You’d found yours. BRIAN JUDGE Most of us will die and go to Hell. Not Brian. As you tread your way down the steep staircase from Purgatory to Inferno, you may see him cruise by in his green pick-up truck, listening to DragonForce or La Roux, talking to an estranged lover on his Blackberry, exclaiming that so-andso was being “such a pussy.” But what will happen to Brian, in Heaven? He will probably recline on the sunny porch of a rural law office, sipping mint juleps in a white pinstripe three-piece, talking on his Blackberry about how everything Nussbaum thought is wrong. TARAH KNARESBORO The last known eruption of the Chimborazo volcano in Ecuador was thought to be in 550 AD. Scientists were baffled when on June 24, 1989 a rumbling sounded from deep within the earth and Chimborazo began to spit and sputter clouds of volcanic ash. Residents report being overcome by the sweet smell of homemade bread. As the cloud floated over the equator, scientists chartered its path to San Jose, CA. Once the sky cleared, a never-before-seen tropical plant rose from the ashes, which botanists affectionately referred to as the a. rares boar knoth [the K and the H are silent, duh]. Unfortunately, the Americas were never the same, as most residents became addicted to the hallucinogenic substance, sold on the street as Big T. MAGGIE LANGE Maggalicious def. Maggalicious def. Maggalicious def....def-def-def-def-def Maggalcious definition make the boys go crazy. They always claim they know her, comin’ to her call her Stacy. But—hold up. This AIN’T STACY. So don’t be confused. She’s the M to the A to the G to the G to the I to the E and watch out, ‘cause I’m thinkin’? my bets are? first editorial VIP in space. SAYIN’? Callin’ it now. Also? Under those winter gloves? Midasfingers. Sayin’. Get over here and touch all these wack-ass news stories and turn ‘em to gold, Maggie. Four, tres, two, uno. ALEX SPOTO In a town called Spoto, mustachioed men roam the street in wintertime, bumping softly against each other in puffy down coats. Everyone writes country-western songs to express the emotions of their everyday lives: “Delighted and Excited for My Thrift Store Pants,” “Hanging Ceiling Fabric (In My Jetta),” “Oh, Darlin’, You Wouldn’t Believe This Swedish Roommate of Mine,” “My Ol’ Commie Dad.” In Spoto, there are only three meals: shrimp & grits, lentil soup, and brandy. And O, it’s a town of ladykillers, of slick seventies dance moves and boyish grins and record collections. WELCOME TO SPOTO, the highway sign reads, GET READY FOR SOME STORIES.
LIAT WERBER Liat doesn’t think that looks good. She doesn’t think that looks good either. No, no, move over and let her do it. Yeah, it’s humbling. You thought you had a ‘good sensibility,’ an ‘intuitive sense’ of how things should be. You don’t. Face it. The shit you make looks like shit. The only reason Liat doesn’t tell you to your face is because she can tell you with her face. The only reason Liat hasn’t Command+E’ed then Shift+Click+Dragged your ugly, big face smaller is that it would be a waste of her time. And she doesn’t waste time. MAUD DOYLE It’s still a mystery how Maud went, but it was probably more fun for her than it was for you, more fun than we can even understand. She probably came in wearing black leggings with leather panels down the outer length of them—maybe she had a glass of white wine in her hand. As she emerged, some straight girl you barely know couldn’t help but whisper in your ear: “I want to have sex with Maud.” Then, pretending she didn’t know exactly what was whispered, and despite her frown, Maud probably said something clever and/or uplifting. Then she kissed you on the cheek, delicately and decisively, and laughed a little, maybe at you. Then she was gone. EMILY MARTIN Sorry, were you trying to pay attention? Did the sound of uproarious laughter distract you? Were you making a Photoshop collage while telling someone that you were thinking about them thinking about the thing they just told you they were thinking about, and laughing really hard? No. You weren’t doing that. Emily Martin was. Yeah, of course, you see her around a lot. In fact, seeing her around a lot convinced you that there were humane, beautiful, charming, hilarious people for you to try to get to know in this frustrated tundra of over-educated mediocrity. But now you are trying to read, or finish that problem set, or copy-edit, and her laughter keeps you from it. Well you know what? She knows you’re thinking that. And it’s making her laugh harder. Even though she’s kind of embarrassed. So just feel lucky that she’s thinking about what you’re thinking. Because you probably won’t be that lucky again for a long, long time. GREG BERMAN He slicked back his hair in one fluid motion, golden locks falling neatly into place. The tortoiseshell comb caught the light of the setting sun as he tucked it away in the inside pocket of his blazer, close to his heart. How I longed to be a tine upon that comb. Oh, but how he deluded me, this morsel of WASPdom, thief of hearts. I always had a weakness for the poetry of Greg’s single sext: “hey sorry to be bitchy and call i think i left my udon noodles but other peeps will have food…was going to text about how not finding these noodles is ruining my life but just realized you’re in Indy discussion so good luck instead. derek, whose hip I apparently have become attached to in recent days, and myself are grabbing a drink at one or two places and my RISD crowd is calling but for some reason no amount of caffeine can persuade me to do anything but lounge. so i am unsure as of yet but if you find yourself doing anything unexciting feel free to let me know. uhhh I am so long winded sometimes.”
ELI SCHMITT Intimacy with Eli Schmitt is quick. Pray, take your time—but suddenly he’s saving your life, heaving you out of a sinkhole or pulling you against a riptide by your big toe, and in no time you’re crying on his shoulder, deep in the K-hole, while somebody’s humping your leg. It’s OK though. Inside that impeccable brain, trenchant as a blade and glittery as a Fabergé egg, some unplumbable well of empathy makes it OK. Both a dark forest and a tall mountain himself, Eli gets it—and however fond of Fierce Independent Criticism he may be, Eli’d “rahther” invent categories & cry False Dichotomy than act the man of maxims. There he goes now, a walking contradiction—breezing through the party with that Dionysian swagger & those Apollonian calves. Oh my goodness. Girl, look at him. He’s the cutest brother in here. And he’s coming this way, Ooh! SIMON VAN ZUYLEN-WOOD Simon’s main line of work is being a paragon of human excellence. You don’t look him straight in the face without becoming somehow incapacitated, and even when glimpsing his profile, you should probably take an antacid. You can’t edit his articles because you’d just besmirch the beauty of his prose. Simon once re-wrote a thousand-word article completely from memory after it was destroyed by a computer who couldn’t keep up with his superior mental capabilities. He is the only one who truly understands that every article in every issue should really be about the local election. Word count doesn’t matter for Simon because the pages expand to accommodate his genius. One of his “Activities and Interests” is JSTOR. His handshake is firm. A true man. RAPHAELA LIPINSKY-DEGETTE Given: E=G, R=D, and Y=I. Begin code: DRJPXG XC JDEATACI NPG EWCI JGDMEW QPE QXCC AG TACG NE DGTL NPXM. QPTN QXCC QG LE QXNPEON PGD? DTJPXG, NPG XWLI CEVGM IEO. That’s an XXX Mega Porn if you ask me, but don’t ask me. Ask Raphie. EMMA BERRY The Emma C. Berry, built in 1866 by James A. Latham of Noank, CT, is the only surviving example of a “well smack,” a fishing sloop whose wells could be used to store live fish. Emma F. Berry, born in 1988, comes equipped with comparable wells of knowledge, both of local news and of Romance languages. During her semester on the Metro desk, Emma could be counted on to never ‘berry’ the lede. Just remember to use formal address when you ask her the merits of the Chafee administration. And don’t expect her to come to meetings on Valentine’s Day. MARGUERITE PRESTON Oh, Marguerite, we remember the first time we saw you at run down, with those eyes, those eyes that remind us of kale – kale in wintertime. We see you. We see you, Marguerite, and you get us dreamin’: someday, we’re gonna wake up slow to walk the dogs, and we’re gonna hike (our backpacks filled with organic/local peanut butter and jam sandwiches), and the whole time we’re going to be licking our lips, wondering what’s the easiest way to get you out of those cute little pastel pants. Ah, Marguerite, here’s to what we were, and what we’re going to be.