This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
SAB Gets a Cash Injection While Clubs Take a Hit
Clubs and Organizations Student Activities Board
By Nick Statt
The Student Activities Board (SAB), the event-coordinating wing of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG), has received an additional $130,887, a 32.4 percent increase over last year, while the club budgets have been cut by $208,062, an 18.3 percent decrease from last year’s final budget. Nearly 70 percent of all clubs saw a cut in their budgets and SAB now has $534,887 to spend on campus events. USG officers saw immense promise in SAB throughout the last two semesters, which was the organization’s first year after the controversial 2010 Establishment of Student Life Act that restructured SAB and put former USG Treasurer Moiz Khan in charge of event planning. “They successfully put on big programs clearly demonstrated by Aziz [Ansari], Best Coast and obviously Bruno Mars,” said current USG Treasurer Thomas Kirnbauer, who drafted the budget alongside last year’s treasurer Jackie Mark and a six-person budget committee. “We want to keep the status
quo because we feel that SAB has done a pretty good job,” he added. “If you give them $1,000, that doesn’t help them. This money will help them go,” Kirnbauer said. The additional money SAB has received is aimed at supporting a Fall event as large as Bruno Mars, but on the Staller steps. USG’s 2011/12 Original Budget, released on sbusg.org on June 1, is provisional and will be changed after budget revisions this Fall, which any club can apply for. This process, called Fall revisions, takes rollover money from the previous year’s club budget that wasn’t spent and appropriates it to clubs that apply for additional money. With the Clubs and Organizations’ Original 2010/11 Budget at $929,053, many clubs will be awaiting the chance to apply for a budget revision and Kirnbauer estimates that that figure will rise back up to seven figures, where it was last year in both the final and original budgets of 2010/11. “We are pretty confident that our Fall revisions will mend any wounds that occurred,” Kirnbauer said. While USG officers are stressing that one must compare original budgets to get a better sense of the change, the Clubs and Or-
ganizations’ budget still decreased by $175,771, or 16.2 percent, from last year’s original budget and eventually received only an additional $32,290 to their roughly $1.1 million budget, a 2.9 percent increase, after Fall revisions. It must also be noted that a percentage of the decrease in club budgets is due to the removal of the individual Residence Halls from the overall Clubs and Organizations budget, which accounted for $38,000 of both the original and final budgets of last year. Those line items were merged into one budget that can be found under USG Agencies, Services, and Organizations under the Residence Hall Association. The revised decrease in the new budget for Clubs and Organizations, with the removal of the Residence Halls budgets, would be
15.5 percent if comparing to the Final 2010/11 budget and 13 percent if comparing to the Original 2010/11 budget. This year’s budget contains another point of interest concerning SAB. The spreadsheet indicates that SAB’s Original 2010/11 budget was $270,000 and that it received an increase of $134,000 when the budget was finalized in the Fall. That would equate to a 98 percent increase in its budget if one compared only original budgets from 2010/11 to 2011/12. Kirnbauer says that those numbers represent a lapse in the spreadsheet and that the new, restructured SAB was never put through the budget process in the Spring of 2010; rather it was given the full $404,000 in the Fall using leftover money in USG’s budget. “It’s prob-
The Stony Brook Press
With SUNY 2020, Compromise was Key
By Carol Moran
The NY-SUNY 2020 bill, passed on June 24, championed by SUNY leaders and President Stanley will quell cries for a predictable tuition plan, offer more need-based scholarships for students whose providers make less than $75,000 a year and award tuition credit to students eligible for TAP, New York State’s Tuition Assistance Program, so that they will be unaffected by the increase. Supporters of the bill, including assemblyman Steve Englebright, say the annual increases of $300 in tuition over the next five years will allow students to plan ahead rather than face a large spike in tuition in the middle of their education, as has occurred in the past. Thirtyfive percent of the revenue from the tuition increases will be set aside for need-based scholarships, though middle class students who aren’t eligible for need-based financial aid may be most affected, Englebright said in a phone interview. Wealthy patrons of Stony Brook have offered to set up grant programs to help keep Stony Brook affordable for all students in the future, though nothing has been negotiated thus far, according to Englebright. Supporters of the SUNY 2020 bill say the rest of the revenue will keep SUNY university centers affordable by increasing class offerings and faculty members so that students can graduate in four years. But that only has the chance to happen if the bill can prevent Albany from committing what Assemblyman Englebright called “backdoor larceny” when the revenue from the tu-
ition increases falls back into Albany’s general fund rather than remaining within the SUNY system. To address that problem, the NY-SUNY 2020 bill includes a provision known as the Maintenance of Effort that keeps state support for SUNY operating expenses at or above what it is for the 2011-2012 school year, unless Governor Cuomo declares a fiscal emergency. “We have an arms-length agreement to proceed with the understanding that the governor won’t let that happen,” Englebright said. “The governor seems to have a good grasp of how important it is that that agreement not be violated.”
Assemblymember Deborah Glick, a sponsor of the original NY-SUNY 2020 legislation, said in a phone interview that she agreed to the final bill only after the inclusion of the maintenance of effort provision and the tuition credit that will be awarded to SUNY’s poorest students, and she did so reluctantly. Her original proposal was a three-year bill that increased tuition by $200 the first year and $150 for the two years after. As part of the NY-SUNY 2020 Grant Challenge program, the bill offers the four university centers a total of $35 million dollars to support long-term economic and academic proposals. Stony Brook’s plan, which President
Stanley presented in Albany weeks ago, includes the construction of a new medical research building, 245 new faculty members and public-private partnerships. The grant challenge initiative is expected to attract funding from private sources that could as much as double the original $35 million. In a statement made in response to Stony Brook’s NY-SUNY 2020 presentation, Governor Cuomo said, “I am committed to the project and will make sure that my administration concentrates their efforts in making this a reality. Stony Brook’s plan of action addresses the major issues on Long Island and throughout the state.”
SAB Gets a Cash Injection cont.
ably just how much they allocated to the old SAB,” he explained. “When I was in the Senate, there was an appropriations bill for $404,000. The previous treasurer who did that spreadsheet just might have put it that way.” Former Treasurer Jackie Mark could not be reached for comment on the topic of SAB’s line structure in the budget. USG President Mark Maloof has yet to replace Moiz Khan, this past year’s Student Programming Agency director who runs SAB alongside the VP of Student Life. With no SPA director, the organization is in the hands of Duran Hill, USG’s current VP of Student Life, with Kirnbauer acting as SAB’s treasurer and VP of Communications and Public Relations Farjad Fazli as secretary. Not only does that put SAB’s leadership in question, but it clouds the future of the now half-million dollar organization’s efficiency, considering that it went over budget last year. “The reason why SAB goes over budget is the end of the year concert,” Kirnbauer explained. “I’ve had a lot of discussions with Administration with what we can do better in the future and I think the big problem was that we really had one person in SAB kind of running the show,” he added, referencing Khan’s assumption of responsibilities as SPA Director. Kirnbauer said that Maloof is looking for an SPA Director who is fiscally responsible, “…but we really need to stick to a process,” he added. Kirnabuer will be releasing SAB’s full 2010/11 spending history on sbusg.org later this month, thereby making the activities of one of Stony Brook’s fastest growing, and controversial, pillars of campus life fully transparent.
Executive Editor Nick Statt Managing Editor Carol Moran Associate Editor Evan Goldaper Business Manager Siobhan Cassidy Production Manager Mark Greek News Editors Inquire Within Features Editor Alyssa Melillo Arts Editor Alexa Rubinstein Multimedia Editor Vincent Barone Ula Gradowska Copy Editor Lauren DuBois Sports Editor Vincent Barone Social Media Editor Kenny Mahoney Ombudsman Carolina Hidalgo
Layout Design by Jowy Romano
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
The Future of Fun
There’s no doubt that Stony Brook, with its 16,300 undergraduates, is a large school. It’s also unquestionable that Stony Brook’s students are a diverse group, with varied interests and outlooks on life. So we at the Press find it strange that the current Undergraduate Student Government (USG) budget for the 20112012 academic year does not seem to reflect this. Of the approximately 130 USG-funded clubs and organizations, roughly 70 percent received some type of cut, and the exceptions to this trend are startling. The Student Activities Board (SAB) has received a 32 percent budget increase over last year’s final budget, giving them just over half a million dollars. It is obvious that this money is targeted at one specific purpose: allowing SAB to plan another concert not unlike last spring’s Bruno Mars show. The percent increase equates to $130,887, easily allowing for one more concert. Bruno Mars cost $140,000 plus additional fees, although we have argued in the past that this was inefficient spending for such an event. But of course, the Bruno Mars show was admittedly popular, attracting around 3,700 people. But is that enough? One event planned by one organization cannot possibly appeal to every student on campus, and though 3,700 guests would translate to the equivalent of 22 percent of the undergraduate student body, not all of the attendees were Stony Brook students. But even if Bruno Mars was a total success, which is a difficult question we’ve explored before, it raises just as many issues as it tries to solve concerning event planning on our campus, which is still unarguably plagued by the stigma that nothing worthwhile ever happens here. For one night, soon to be two nights, there was something to do, but that’s not enough when each semester is sixteen weeks long. One could argue that this additional money will help SAB plan more small-scale events, like Christian Finnegan or Best Coast, but it’s quite clear that USG has its sights set on oneupping itself with bigger and better events any chance it can get. So we find it unlikely that our campus will see a noticeable increase of such events. As for the nature of the increase, why tackle the problem by concentrating so much money into one place? If these funds had been spread out among the other clubs, Stony Brook would be able to get a variety of small guests and events that, while never attracting 3,700 students, would always interest some people. Case in point: last year, a new club called the Fine Arts Organization (FAO) planned two successful art shows, the MAMAs, which attracted a fairly large number of students from around campus with a budget of only $650. This year, the club has already faced a 26 percent budget cut to $475, severely hindering its potential to expand, or even perform at the same level as last year. USG will argue that FAO can simply apply for a revision, but again, that is a significant stress applied to the organization and its leadership. On another hand, why couldn’t USG keep the money aside to allow for more new clubs to develop and fill some obvious voids in our campus life environment? It could be a bleak year for clubs and organizations, and it needs asking if a handful of “fun days” is worth this step backwards. Quite simply, throwing money at one organization is no way to run any college campus, let alone one like Stony Brook that thrives on its complex microcosms born from our immense diversity. There’s a basic problem with slashing student organization budgets across the board to boost the already tremendous funding available to one central concert-planning group, a group that was already the scene of a controversial power grab. It’s a fundamentally undemocratic way to approach event planning and organizing. Of course student life is enriched by the large events with high-profile headliners that most colleges boast, and we at the Press have editorialized in the past, complaining about the lack of such events. But funneling so much money out of clubs and into the SAB not only stifles countless smaller events, but in a very material way it takes the power to participate in event programming away from other students. SAB’s budget from two years ago, about $200,000, might not draw a headliner willing to catch a grenade for Stony Brook, but it ought to be enough to put on a number of excellent events, because frankly it’s an awful lot of money. USG Treasurer Thomas Kirnbauer, who described cutting the budgets of most clubs as keeping “the status quo,” said of raising SAB funding, “If you give them $1,000, that doesn’t help them.” For most small clubs and organizations, however, losing $1,000 can make a huge difference on their ability to program events. And for a new club looking to get started, $1,000 can be the difference between existing or not, as FAO exhibits perfectly. And it’s the wealth of small clubs on campus that provide the diversity of campus events ensuring that Stony Brook’s many and varied students find campus life rewarding.
Sam Aldenton Michelle Bylicky Lionel Chan Natalie Crnosija Mike Cusanelli Eric DiGiovanni Brett Donnelly Amanda Douville Lauren DuBois Sarah Evins Andrew Fraley Colleen Harrington Samuel Katz Nicole Kohn Iris Lin Andi Liao Erica Mengouchian Frank Myles Howie Newsberkman Vanessa Ogle Carlos Parreno Gabriel Panadero Jessica Rybak Emily Torkel Matt Willemain
The Stony Brook Press is published fortnightly during the academic year and twice during summer session by The Stony Brook Press, a student run non-profit organization funded by the Student Activity Fee. The opinions expressed in letters, articles and viewpoints do not necessarily reflect those of The Stony Brook Press as a whole. Advertising policy does not necessarily reflect editorial policy. For more information on advertising and deadlines call (631)632-6451. Staff meetings are held Wednesdays at 1:00 pm. First copy free. For additional copies contact the Business Manager. The Stony Brook Press Suites 060 & 061 Student Union SUNY at Stony Brook Stony Brook, NY 11794-3200 (631) 632-6451 Voice (631) 632-4137 Fax Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write for e P!
Meetings Every Wednesday at 1PM, Union Building 060
The Stony Brook Press
Hate what you see? E-mail your letters to email@example.com
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Google: It’s All About Us...I Mean You
By Evan Goldaper
oogle, the friendliest business this side of the Sombra Corporation, has placed its final bid for the complete and total domination of our lives. Not content to monitor merely everything we search, everyone we email, and everywhere we go, Google has decided that it must take control of how we waste time and socialize over minutiae. Yes, I am of course speaking of that most hallowed of all industries: social networking. Admittedly, Google has tried to steal the crown from Facebook before, with Google Buzz. If you don’t remember that, you’re not alone. This program allowed you to see brief status updates from your Gmail contacts, and is re-
membered by basically no one other than me (and that’s only because I kept confusing it with my favorite Pokémon, Electabuzz). Google, however, finally believes they’ve found the solution to killing Facebook once and for all, and everyone’s been significantly more excited for this one than they were for all of Google’s other products combined. Chances are if you haven’t been having an actual social life, you’ve heard of this venture, inexplicably called Google+. Currently, Google+ is in invitationonly beta, but if you happen to have any geeky friends, they’ll be happy to hook you up. Though I’ve always been a late adopter to social media—I didn’t get a Myspace page until two years ago—I
was intrigued by Google+ because my techie friends wouldn’t shut up about it. And if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s placating my techie friends, because if I lose them, I’ll have no one to fix my computer or come over for N64 Night. So how do I feel about Google+? Four days later, I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s clear that Google+ has a lot of good ideas. The most obvious one is that it forces you to sort your “friends” into circles, which are groups like “Friends,” “Acquaintances,” and “Family.” Though Facebook had this option as well, the fact that Google+ forces you to use it makes it very easy to filter who sees what messages and who doesn’t, which has let me keep my family from knowing about my secret Dungeons and Dragons habit. This also lets you avoid having to read messages from annoying people, whom I plan on sorting into a separate group and blocking. I also enjoy that there are fewer ads than on Facebook, which is a useful side effect of the fact that Google already gets tons of money from its other services. It also has none of the stupid games, apps, farms, horoscopes and all those other things that most people tend to block from their newsfeeds. My friend Paul assures me that this will make Google+ run faster, which is something to look forward to, but at the moment, there’s no real proof of this.
Really, that’s the whole problem with Google+. Currently, I have 247 friends on Facebook, and though I don’t care about all of them, I certainly speak to, or at least stalk, a percentage. On Google+, I have 12, and I feel like I’ll regularly speak to five of them. My feed page changes just once a day: perhaps the guy who sat next to me in JRN103 will upload a photo, or the Press’s sports editor will post a link. On Facebook, there’s a constant influx of information, and though most is worthless, it’s usually a fun time waster to parse through it. And without Facebook’s power of stupid links, maybe I’d have never found that Neil Patrick Harris / Phineas and Ferb crossover video, and we all know the world would be a worse place without that. Similarly, I could upload photos and video to Google+, but why bother when Facebook already contains hundreds of them? The whole issue is that in order to sway over these thousands of people who’ve been using Facebook since high school, Google+ has to offer something Facebook doesn’t, and a streamlined interface doesn’t seem like enough to force people to pack up and move. Personally, I’d wait until Google+ opens to the public. At the moment, it’s just a novelty compared to the ultimate king of novelties that is Facebook.
The Stony Brook Press
The Press Presents: Our Guide to Google+
Compiled by Vincent Barone
Circles are an ingenious idea on Google’s part. Instead of “friending” someone, you add them straightaway to one of your neatly organized circles. Google oﬀers friends, family, acquaintances and following circles, but you can also create your own, like “Annoying Girls” or “Dudes at Like Cars Too Much.” And, of course, you can browse each of these feeds individually, ﬁltering out the nonsense from your (Internet) life. Also, before posting, you can choose with which circles to share your information with. Now you can post about getting white-boy-wasted without your family circle, or work circle, for that matter, ﬁnding out. Yeah, this stealthy social networking is possible on Facebook, but Google seems to have streamlined the process of surreptitious social network sharing.
Google is really trying to throw its weight around with Sparks, which provides web feeds of speciﬁc topics like cycling, fashion or soccer. Users can post articles or videos into these topics, which work kind of like RSS feeds, or share something that they’ve found with their circles. And don’t worry, dudes that like cars too much, there is a sports car feed.
For the record, yes, the “+1” is equivalent to the “like” button on Facebook, except that Google organizes your +1’s on your page, just in case you forget what you plus’d at 3 a.m. aer you’ve been staring at your computer screen for ﬁve hours straight. You know you have work in the morning, but what the hell, right? You miserable dog, you. Pluses show up under posts in a way very similar to how “likes” do on Facebook, with a line of everyone who plus’d the post. It’s kind of annoying that it’s called the “+1” button. I’ve recently been trying to incorporate the term as a verb into my vocabulary, and it’s even more annoying to say than talking about something you liked on Facebook.
A ‘hangout’ is the super silly term Google uses for video chatting. How it works is that someone in your circle can start up a video chat and anyone who they made the hangout available to can virtually drop by at any time for a cyber chill session. And so, social networking takes yet another step closer to imitating real life. Probably the best part of this feature is when you leave the video chat and Google posts to your circles’ feeds in bold: “John Doe hung out.”
By Mark Greek
The summer of comic book movies continues. Now 3/4 of the way through, and with DC Comics’ only contribution quietly on its way out of theaters, it might be a good time to reflect on the state of the comic book movie industry as a whole, while touching upon the very average Green Lantern. Ryan Reynolds’ classic humor is prevalent throughout, which may or may not be a good thing if you enjoy smug one-liners that occasionally break the 4th wall. Reynolds plays Ryan Reynolds, but he also portrays Hal Jordan, ace pilot and douchebag. He is chosen as the bearer of the ring of power, and is tasked with taking it back to Mordor. He spends most of the film as a talking head super-imposed on an unfortunate glowing costume with an equally terrible and ill-advised digital mask. Joining him is a subdued Blake Lively as his love interest/fellow pilot Carol Ferris, in the continuing series of actresses who are too pretty to actually have their character’s jobs. (See: Natalie Portman as an astrophysicist in Thor.)
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Green Lantern Was...A Movie
The eternally snaggle-toothed Mark Strong plays a perfect Sinestro, as any good comic book fan knows, the paradoxical ally destined to be GL’s greatest villain. Unfortunately, he probably won’t be able to portray his character as the
antagonist he rightfully deserves to be. With a low showing at the box-office, a sequel is not guaranteed at this point. The film has only made $139,883,956 foreign and domestic, as of July 8th, and with a budget of $200 million, that’s a
bad combination if you want to follow the ice-cold romance of Jordan and Ferris any further. From the first scene, the film repeatedly forces you to question how much effort was put into the special ef-
The Stony Brook Press
Arts & Entertainment
fects. The $200 million must have been stashed away to buy another IMAX camera for the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, because it definitely wasn’t put into GL. The quality of the effects varies from decent to pretty bad. Fans of similar films should be able to recognize the cheesy, rubberlike movements typical of CG figures with human heads, namely Crispin Glover’s Stayne character from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. And much like that debatable travesty, there is an annoying villain with a giant head; although this one is done with practical makeup. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard), a faithfully recreated villain from the original comic, becomes increasingly disgusting as time goes on, and his transformation is one of the few things done well. Sinestro’s purple face is also practical, and a highlight of the FX in the film. Despite successes like Avatar and A Christmas Carol, we might not be at the point where computer generated graphics can beat good old-fashioned latex and corn syrup, (with a little bit of digital cleanup of course). It’s certainly not a Christopher Nolan epic, but Green Lantern accomplished the modest goal it set for itself: Taking a lesser-known DC character and making an acceptable film. Having said that, DC has to work on its consistency. Superman Returns failed critically with a major character and (at least box office-wise) GL doesn’t look like it’s
going to challenge The Dark Knight anytime soon. But Batman is the most human of any hero this side of the Punisher, therefore his world was easier to replicate in a believable way. Marvel’s Spider-Man was successful in this regard, keeping a naturally human character in a rich and realistic environment. Green Lantern’s gaudy power is limited only by his imagination, and giant translucent green objects are not easy to ground in reality. Director Martin Campbell does a decent job of creating a decent universe for this to occur in, by basically limiting human interaction in the film to Jordan, Ferris and Jordan’s nerdy friend who doesn’t have enough screen time to even deserve a name credit. The characterization is shallow, and the ever-present “son trying to live up to his father’s reputation” archetype is not employed in any refreshing or original way. It succeeds in being adequate, and won’t challenge the stranglehold that Marvel has had in the film industry since X-Men re-established it in 2000. Comic book movies had been on a downward spiral, typified by awful sequels like Batman and Robin and Superman IV The Quest for Peace (Yes, The Third Movie Had Richard Pryor In It And Wasn’t The Last One, We Understand How Depressing That Is). Marvel brought it back with a substantial set of releases that bookend any decent con-
tributions from DC (Pretty much exclusively The Dark Knight). After excellent releases like Thor and X-Men First Class, Green Lantern has failed conclusively to make a dent in the one-sided industry this summer. And with Captain America: The First Avenger ready to mop up come July 22, Marvel has handedly whipped their “Distinguished Competitors” again. The Dark Knight is the exception, not the rule, and if DC ever hopes to reclaim the widespread success that has eluded them for so long, they have to follow its example: humanize the main character, give him flaws and make the movie more about the environment than the character himself. Green Lantern was wholly spent establishing
his origin, and it may have been difficult to shy away from the cocky, screenhogging, A-hole character that Reynolds portrays effortlessly, but the world around Hal Jordan seemed empty and lifeless. Batman basically had a cameo in the second Nolan film, which allowed a strong villain like The Joker to come to the forefront and steal the show. If by some miracle the Guardians of the Green Lantern Corps. use their almighty Oan energy to interfere and get this a sequel, hopefully these faults can be rectified. But, much like the prospect of The Flash movie being greenlit now, it’s probably not going to happen.
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Michael Bay...Still Making Money Somehow
By Vincent Barone
Michael Bay’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon gets right down to business after the title shot, opening with the sultry legs of Carley Spencer (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley) as she climbs up to her room, where her new boyfriend Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) awaits, scantily clad in her panties and his oversized dress shirt. I see you, Bay. What better way is there to make us forget about Megan Fox than hiring a talented actre—er, Victoria’s Secret model? As all the teenage boys in the theater ogle Bay’s new eye candy, we learn that Witwicky, after saving the world from utter robo-domination twice, is having difficulty finding a job, which is quite amazing. After several miserable interviews, however, Witwicky does manage to snag a position in a mailroom. So with the world as his debtor, we have our hero working a position equivalent to a job at Chuck E. Cheese’s. Right. Fifteen minutes in and I already wanted to cry. The next 140 were just as painful. The characters spoke only in clichés; the leading couple (LeBeouf and Whiteley) was as dull as it gets. One of the giant Decepticons could have thrown Whiteley into orbit and there would have been nothing to make the audience care for her character at all. LaBeouf ’s bouts of rage, which were zany and sort of endearing in the first film, are now just tired and annoying.
One of the biggest problems with the Transformers series is the difficulty to relate or feel for any of the Autobots. With their hulking 30-story frames and lack of any kind of facial expressions, I just cannot find it in me to care for the Cybertronian race. Just the fact that Bumblebee doesn’t have a voice of his own fails to make him endearing—even with that sick paint job. Speaking of sick paint jobs, Transformers teetered on the lines of a Fast and the Furious movie—cars, chicks, explosions and an absolutely asinine plot. In fact, Whiteley’s boss actually uses his expensive car’s looks as a metaphor for her hotness in one scene. It’s pretty
bizarre, actually. It’s also peculiar that the Decipticons chose Chicago, of all places, as the nexus for their world takeover. Why Chicago? Maybe that’s the reason why Witwicky and a handful of his gung-ho military pals were the only people that even tried to prevent the end of the human race. Where was the full-on U.S. military assault? Suffice it to say that nobody cares about Chicago, which, I assume, is why the Decepticons’ plot wasn’t taken seriously by the rest of the world—let alone the United States. Sorry guys, you should have gone for New York or Paris. In all, the completely dreadful dia-
log and mangled plot made the twoand-a-half-hour long movie seem like it lasted for days, hitting every cliché before the curtains closed. Still, despite these gripes, the movie’s over-the-top special effects helped rake in $37.315 million on opening day and, 9 days later, it became the fastest film to reach $500 million mark. Okay, so Bay’s recipe for a box office hit—1) hot girl, 2) neat effects, 3) action scene, 4) another action scene, 5) repeat—works again. Humph. But, honestly, how many more car-to-giantrobot transformation scenes do people really want to see?
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
IT’S SUMMER! Eat Some Hotdogs
By Vincent Barone
Arts & Entertainment
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
She Really is a Bad Teacher
By Lauren DuBois
Imagine your favorite teacher from seventh grade, if you had one, and think about the reasons why you liked them. Were they great because they guided you so well in the pursuit of knowledge? Are the sole reason you attend college today? Well, then you never had Elizabeth Halsey. In this summer’s Bad Teacher, Cameron Diaz plays a foul-mouthed middle school teacher who doesn’t care about anything except snagging a rich husband. However, after getting dumped by her fiancé, Elizabeth switches gears and starts raising money to get a boob job, all while trying to woo the wealthy new teacher in school, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), fighting off the advances of the poor but endearing gym teacher Russell (Jason Segel), and eventually trying to beat out main competitor Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) for a nearly $6,000 bonus for achieving the highest scores on state tests, money that Elizabeth is not only certain will pay for her surgery, but will win her Scott as well. Amy is the overly-enthusiastic teacher who thrives at being number one, but when she starts to feel herself lose control, she also begins to cross over to the dark side in hopes of exposing Elizabeth as the fake she is. Sadly, the same cannot be entirely said for Timberlake’s Scott. His character is still a child in a lot of ways, which makes him funny, but Timberlake doesn’t do much with his role. Humor, at least the raunchy kind that is prevalent in movies like this, doesn’t seem to be his forté, and he pales in comparison to his co-stars. The film also suffers a little bit from some excess humor. When a comedy turns up the raunchy comedy factor with sexual references and drug use, things like bathroom humor tend to not only detract from an otherwise funny script, but destroy the movie’s otherwise decent flow. Overall, the film is definitely one of the better ones to see this summer, because it does make its audience laugh, which is its basic job, but also because it allows us all to think back and wonder if this is really what our teachers (and maybe professors?) are like behind our backs. If that’s so, it’ll be difficult to ever think of them the same way again.
The movie has both high and low points, but overall it allows the audience the chance to laugh. It’s refreshing to see Diaz in a role that allows her to be a little bit less wholesome (actually a lot less wholesome), and more bad-ass in a non-Charlie’s Angels kind of way. Her methods of teaching, which include throwing her students in front of a movie so she can sleep off hangovers, taking sips from her secret mini-bottles of booze and getting high, are unbelievable, but still funny because they’re so
unexpected. Likewise, when she starts getting serious about her job, she’s still unorthodox, either smacking the kids with dodge balls when they answer questions wrong, calling them incompetent morons or telling them straight up that they’re losers. Elizabeth’s fellow teachers in Segel and Punch are also great to watch. While Russell is still that sweet and endearing schmuck that Segel tends to play in most movies, he too exhibits bad behavior, and has a fondness for drugs.
The Stony Brook Press
Arts & Entertainment
By Kenny Mahoney
I don’t pretend to know a lot about music. Sure, I’ve been awkwardly shuffling back and forth on stage in a smattering of bands since my teenage years, holding instruments as cool as the guitar and as lame as the trombone. However, my more musically-inclined friends would tell me that my taste in music stems from my inability to process and understand “good music.” This, perhaps, is why I’ve spent most of my life listening to 20-somethings yell about their ex-girlfriends and drug abuse in a genre known today as “punk.” With this in mind, take it with a grain of salt when I say that on a recent trip to the Looney Tunes record store, I stumbled across possibly one of the greatest musical accomplishments of 2011. As I casually flipped through the new arrivals to the used CD section, one disc in particular caught my attention. On the cover was a crudely-drawn black and white image of a man with parts of his face melting off, standing amongst a pile of garbage. On the side was indecipherable scribbling that appeared to be kanji, the Japanese language’s writing system. The back cover was just as good, featuring a 25-song track list with titles like “No One Gives a Shit,” “Semiconscious Godsize Dumbass” and a price tag which read ‘3.99’. There was no force on earth that would keep me from leaving the store without this. When it came time to check out, my good friend Dan behind the counter exclaimed “So, you’re buying the new Wormrot album?” “The new what?” I replied. He took the disc from my hands and turned it on its side, at which point the formerly unreadable characters solved itself like a temple trap in an Indiana Jones movie, vaguely spelling out the name “Wormrot.” “Yeah, Japanese grindcore,” he told me. For those unfamiliar, grindcore is what happens when thrash metal bands decide they’re not fast enough and too melodic (I would later discover that Wormrot hails from Singapore, if anyone cares). When I got back to my car, I immediately popped Dirge into my stereo. The first track is a subtle introduction to the mayhem that is sure to ensue, with long, ringing chords from an incredibly detuned guitar (so detuned, in fact, that there is no need for bass guitar in this three-piece band). The tracks that follow are full of the grindcore tropes we know and love, including ridiculously fast blast beats, ear-splitting pig squeals, and brutally heavy guitar work. Honestly, I’m not even sure how to talk about it, as it would have taken a
keen eye on my car’s dashboard to be able to tell when each track actually changed. One minute, you’re looking at track three, and before you know it, you’re on track seven, with only the minutest changes in chord patterns, drum beats, and incomprehensible screaming to discern one song from the next. However, after a few listens it becomes easier to distinguish each track, and a glance at the laughably bad lyrics booklet (yes, there are actual, English lyrics) can help identify the songs. So what is there left to say about an
album I bought as a joke for four dollars to annoy my girlfriend? It’s almost scary to admit, but I’m really starting to like it. I’m not sure if it’s the intense screaming, balls-in-your-throat speed, or sheer novelty of listening to it, but Dirge was most certainly worth the pocket change I paid for it. (Note – You can head over to Earache Records’ website and download this whole album for free at http://www.earache.com/misc/downloads/wormrot/. I highly recommend it.)
LMFA-No Aren’t Sorry
By Siobhan Cassidy
LMFAO’s new album Sorry for Party Rocking, which features their single “Party Rock Anthem,” continues to produce ridiculous songs that are so catchy that you will find yourself “shuffling” at your next summer pool party. The duo from Los Angeles, Redfoo and Sky Blu, show off their hip-hop and electro skills in their second studio album. Sorry for Party Rocking includes featured artists and DJs. For example, the bonus track “Reminds Me of You” features Calvin Harris and a vocal remix “Party Rock Anthem” that is remixed by Benny Benassi, which is definitely better than the original, mostly because I have a personal bias for Benassi, but also because the remix hides some of the pop sound. LMFAO calibrates with Busta Rhymes, showcasing their rhyming skills, which resemble the Beastie Boys in “Take it to the Hole.” Like their first album Party Rock, this album displays a continuous theme of partying and drinking, including a song about women showering with champagne after partying “in da club awll night”— see “Champagne Shower.” A new theme on this album, however, is LMFAO rapping about hot dogs as a late night “disco food.” Party Rock was a good kick-off to LMFAO’s career, and it led to Hip Hop Nation and Grammy nominations. But Sorry for Party Rocking shows more of their personal sounds and creative skills, which is refreshing because the biggest news surrounding LMFAO right now is that they’re assisting the one and only Kanye West with his upcoming solo album. But if Mr. West trusts them, this may just be the beginning for the LA-based duo.
of his song “Awooga.” (Although Calvin Harris’s original “Awooga” wins the superior award.) There is a bonus track to
opinion Casey Closed
around At 1:45 in the afternoon on July 5, I sat in my living room in front of the television, tuned in to CNN. Alyssa Melillo The weather was beautiful, and I very well could have been outside enjoying it. But instead, I had my eyes glued to the screen as I waited anxiously for the verdict of Casey Anthony’s trial to be announced. My heart was pounding with anticipation, and slight excitement, during the moments right before the court announced Anthony’s fate. I knew for sure that she was finally going to be convicted for the murder of her daughter, and justice would be served for little Caylee. Then, the verdict was read: Anthony was found not guilty. My jaw literally dropped. How in the world could that jury acquit her? Lack of scientific evidence aside, it’s very clear Anthony murdered her daughter. Not reporting Caylee missing right away, constantly telling her parents she was with a nanny, and then out of nowhere saying she hadn’t seen her for 31 days…Anthony likely murdered her daughter, and she must have thought not reporting the death would steer her clear of becoming a suspect. As a woman who would like to be a mother someday, I don’t believe Anthony’s behavior over the last three years exhibited that of an innocent woman wrongfully accused of murder-
Vol. XXXII, Issue 15 |Tuesday, July 12, 2011
ing her child. If she was innocent, wouldn’t she be concerned with finding out who really murdered her daughter? Why did her mother, Cindy Anthony, have to report Caylee missing? Wouldn’t Anthony herself have reported her missing within a few hours and then mourned Caylee’s death instead of partying and getting “Bella Vita” tattooed on her shoulder? Sure, she made an effort to accuse a woman named Zenaida “Zanny” Fernandez-Gonzalez, a supposed nanny, of kidnapping Caylee, but that accusation fell through because it was determined that Fernandez-Gonzalez had never met Anthony or Caylee. Accusing a woman who never had any contact whatsoever with her daughter is rather careless in my eyes, especially if she was trying to avoid being caught, but she might have just been paranoid and tried to avert attention away from herself. Although the evidence in Anthony’s trial was tested with ground-breaking scientific methods, Caylee’s
decomposed remains and the single strand of hair found at the crime scene were not able to determine a cause of death or turn up any sort of DNA to prove that Anthony killed her. Even though the jury found Anthony not guilty, I do believe that many of the jurors, if not all of them, did not think she was innocent. In fact, I believe that if Anthony was to be sentenced to life in prison rather than death by lethal injection, she would have been found guilty. Because there was reasonable doubt, and the fact that the death penalty is a controversial issue, I think the jury in this trial did not want to be held responsible for the wrongful execution of Anthony if it was found sometime in the future that she was innocent. Alan M. Dershowitz, a law professor at Harvard, makes a valid point in an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal about the trial’s verdict. Dershowitz wrote that while Anthony was found not guilty that does not mean she was found innocent, as many people assumed right away. Instead, the verdict simply means there was not enough evidence to prove her guilty at this time. “… [A] criminal trial does not search for truth,” Dershowitz wrote. “Scientists search for truth. Philosophers search for morality. A criminal
trial searches for only one result: proof beyond reasonable doubt … The verdict in the Casey Anthony case reflected the lack of forensic evidence and heavy reliance on circumstantial inferences.” Although the verdict is decided, I think Anthony’s case is far from over. I believe, and hope, new scientific evidence will turn up that will prove Anthony guilty in the murder of her daughter. From this point on, Anthony’s life will never be the same. This case will come back to haunt her in many ways, and the public will surely never forget it, just like it hasn’t forgotten the O.J. Simpson trial. The whole country knows that even if Anthony didn’t murder her daughter with her own hands, she definitely had some kind of involvement with it, evidenced by the civil defamation case now underway concerning the kidnapping nanny Anthony invented to mask the disappearance of her child. For the sake of little Caylee, we can only hope that one day more truth will surface and Anthony, although protected in criminal court through the constitutional right Double Jeopardy, will at least be convicted of taking the life of an innocent young girl in the minds of the countless Americans who were emotionally invested in this case.
The Stony Brook Press
One Man’s Space Is Another Man’s Home
It was the spring of 2011— the flowers were blossoming, Stony Brook was doing renovations so incoming freshman Alexander don’t immediately Niculescu think the school is ugly and I was on commutting at the time. Even though I live about two and a half hours away from school by train, I didn’t let that be a deterrent to living as comfortably and luxuriously as I could at a fraction of the price. However, I didn’t accomplis this by couch surfing at all my friends’ places before they kicked me out. There is a storage facility called A Space Place Storage in Centereach at 21 Hammond Road that is a bike ride away from campus. At the time I wasn’t sure how many miles it was away from campus: maybe four or five. But I was sure it’s a bike ride’s distance because that’s how I got there (Google maps now tells me it’s about six miles away). What inspired me to use the facility was an article I had read when I was younger about an NYU student living in the library for a few years before being kicked out. Now, I’m no drifter, but the idea of living without limits and beating the system has always been appealing to me. Once I passed by the storage facility on a bike ride to the mall, ideas starting flashing through my head and I couldn’t resist stopping in and asking some questions at the front desk. After a
friendly negotiation, I got a chance to look at a 5x5 storage unit…I mean a 5x5 chill place. At first, I was a little shy about using the space for what I truly wanted because as much as I think being a drifter is cool, I didn’t want locals to think I was a vagabond. So I left some stuff like a Nintendo 64, some crates of clothes, just some conservative stuff. Once I started getting more comfortable with
the space, I started thinking bigger. Entrenched in my newly-found, grandiose property, I started leaving bottles of water and packs of snacks. In a way, I turned a storage unit into a halfway house. On one exhausting bike ride to the mall, I had to make a pit stop for a bike pump and a Gatorade because I got a flat tire and I was thirsty. Then, I started not bringing my book bag home, leaving some books in storage and some at home. My back thanked me, and whenever I dropped my books off at the facility, a snack or two became my habitual pleasure. It was really everything you have at home – clothes, food and comfort, minus the bed. I’ve never heard of a house you can’t sleep in, so I wouldn’t call it that. It was more like a hybrid between a locker and a home. Now, I can see how this would not appeal to everyone and might not even qualify as a positive experience. However, the point is that you can get inspired enthusiasm and apparent convenience out of any-
thing. All it takes is a little creativity. We all know Stony Brook is a commuter’s school and if you aren’t getting scholarships, I know exactly how costly it can be in this economy. So don’t stress - try to cut a few corners and make your own niche. Long island isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to do it as cool as I do, but pick and choose the way you want to customize your living experience. If you find that the spray-on tans, excessive amounts of diners, the lovely ghost town of a campus that is Stony Brook on the weekends and Long Island accents too overbearing, stay at home even if you live more than an hour away. If you live in one of Stony Brook’s cramped dorms, you can still find great use in a facility like the one I found. And it helps so much more if you don’t want to carry stuff in between home and school. Come on, who needs to take that college fridge all the way back every semester? *Note: don’t try to sleep in a storage unit. A lot of units are airtight. I also don’t recommend anyone actively live in a unit either.