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15 SEPTEMBER 2011 VOLUME XXIII ISSUE 1 THE BROWN/RISD WEEKLY
T HE COLLEG E H I L L I N D E P E N D E N T
WEEK IN REVIEW
As a weekly publication, we’re constantly faced with the daunting task of covering the most newsworthy events without simply rehashing daily headlines. Ten years ago, when four passenger planes struck two towers,one government building near D.C., and a grassy field in PA, every media outlet followed the event. A generation of journalism came to be defined by that day—from the immediate reflections of John Updike in The New Yorker, to the war reporting which ensued. This week, we’ve been thinking about how anniversaries are hard to define as either necessary or voluntary inclusions in a paper. We’re justified in turning our eyes towards remembrance, but must weas editors celebrate it? The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks paints our first issue, but only with subtle strokes. The sheer amount of global coverage of 9/11 this September is remarkable— proof that media has changed since the event itself. Twitter and Facebookhave emerged in the past ten years, and this is no coincidence. The terrorist attacks left us feeling vulnerable, naïve, and uninformed as a nation, and social media comforted us. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to capture all of the complexities of an historical event like 9/11 in 140 characters. That's why we are proud to be stewards of print production. We hope to always provide a platform for in-depth discussion.
DAVID ADLER, ERICA SCHWIEGERSHAUSEN KATE WELSH
2 7 3 4 5 9 11 12 13 14 15 17 18
DAVID ADLER, ERICA SCHWIEGERSHAUSEN, KATE WELSH
TEA PARTY HATS
-MB JC EW
SAM ADLER-BELL , CAROLINE SOUSSLOFF
F E A T U R ES
MIMI DWYER, ANNIKA FINNE
YEAR OF CHINA
MANAGING EDITORS Malcolm Burnley, Jordan Carter, Emma Whitford : NEWS David Adler, Erica Schwiegershausen, Kate Welsh : METRO Sam Adler-Bell, Grace Dunham, Caroline Soussloff : OPINION Stephen Carmody : FEATURES Belle Cushing, Mimi Dwyer, Max Wiggins : INTERVIEWS Timothy Nassau : ARTS Ana Alvarez, Eve Blazo, Emma Janaskie : SCIENCE Ashton Strait, Joanna Zhang : METABOLICS Chris Cohen : LITERARY Michael Mount, Scout Willis : X PAGE Rachel Benoit, Audrey Fox : LIST Allie Trionfetti : WEB Max Lubin, Jonah Wolf : DESIGN EDITOR Mary-Evelyn Farrior : DESIGN TEAM Joanna Zhang COVER EDITOR : Annika Finne ILLUSTRATIONS EDITOR Robert Sandler : MEGA PORN Katie Barnwell : SENIOR EDITORS Gillian Brassil, Adrian Randall, Erin Schikowski, Dayna Tortorici : MVP Mary-Evelynn Farrior`v` Cover Art: Annika Finne THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT PO BOX 1930, BROWN UNIVERSITY PROVIDENCE, RI 02912
ASHTON STRAIT, JOANNA ZHANG FALL 2011
Letters to the editor are welcome distractions. The College Hill Independent is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters and is printed by TCI press in Seekonk, MA. 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
AUDREY FOX,, BECCA LEVINSON
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
WEEK IN REVIEW
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGARY FOR?
by Kate Welsh
MEL GIBSON AND THE JEWS (REPRISE)
by David Adler
TWITTER GAINS USERS, LOSES CREDIBILITY
by Erica Schwiegershausen
s it possible for bureaucracy to be sexy? The country of Hungary seems to think so. In a video that went viral on social networking sites Wednesday, a topless young woman clutches at her ample bosom as she answers the door for a census taker while wearing only red lace booty shorts, black stockings, and holding a whip. The offscreen, stammering census taker—who presumably wields a clipboard and wears socks with his Tevas—realizes that he has arrived at an inopportune moment, which she makes abundantly clear by periodically looking back into her apartment at what we can only imagine is her partner (bound and gagged? Spread eagled? Swinging on one of those complicated-looking sex contraptions awaiting his or her lover's return from this bureaucratic inconvenience?). The government worker conveniently offers the option of completing the census online. Imre Dobossy, a top communications official at the Central Statistics Office, told Reuters, "We want to reach the younger generation as well, and the internet is more for this generation, it uses their language." Meanwhile, the creator of "The Jerry Springer Show," Republican Bob Turner, just won Anthony Weiner's Congressional seat.
They profaned his temple. They killed his father. In the face of great odds for something he believed in…” So begins Mel Gibson’s pitch in The Atlantic for his upcoming film, a biopic of the great Jewish warrior Judah MaccabeeFor those of you who don’t know, Judah Maccabee is the hero of the story of Hannukah, a guerrilla fighter who protected the Jewsagainst the vast Greek army in the second century B.C.E. Mel Gibson is the notoriously anti-Semitic filmmaker who once reported to a cop— while being issued a DUI—that the “Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” The collaboration between Gibson and Maccabee may seem a bit ironic at first (or confusing or wrong or offensive), but don’t worry, Mel Gibson insists he is not a real anti-Semite. As he explained, his lawyers are Jewish and his publicist is Jewish, and everyone knows that once you fill the quota you cannot be accused of anti-Semitism. Furthermore, in his own words, “no Judah, no Jesus”—without Judah’s protection, Jesus Christ could never have been born, although, according to Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, he also would never have been killed. The film, to be released by Warner Bros., has been in the works for over a decade. Gibson imagines the Maccabee story as a perfect parallel to the struggles of the modern church in today’s godless, secularized den of the devil. The casting for the film has not been finalized, and Gibson reports that“he has not ruled out the possibility that he could act in the film.” As you might imagine, the Anti-Defamation League has spoken out against the Maccabee film, claiming that “it would be a travesty to have his story told by one who has no respect and sensitivity for other people’s religious views.” But, in the vein of Gibson’s logic, at least he’s circumcised.
t’s been a rough week for the 16th most visited site of 2011. Just a day after Twitter issued an optimistic blog post claiming that the site now has 100 million active users—more than half of whom log in every day—hackers and careless fact-checkers wreaked havoc on the social media giant. On Friday, The Twitterverse was temporarily rocked by a blatantly misinformed tweet announcing Steve Jobs’ death. Apparently CBS News’ weekly online news and chat show “What’s Trending” is to blame for the original tweet, which read: “Reports say that Steve Jobs has passed away. Stay tuned for more updates.” To their credit, the show realized the error and deleted the tweet within a minute, but unfortunately not before many of their 11,000 followers saw the bogus news and went nuts. In the ensuing moments, thousands of people re-tweeted the false report, in many cases attributing it to CBS news, creating a great deal of pandemonium and short-lived confusion. In the humiliating aftermath, “What’s Trending” celebrity blogger host, Shira Lazar, has explained the tweet was the work of a “junior staffer” after some serious “miscommunication in the newsroom.” However, CBS was unforgiving, and has already severed its relationship with the
show. It’s safe to say that @WhatsTrending’s hasty, misspelled tweet of contrition, which read: “Apologies – reports of Steve Jobs’ death completely unconfirmed. Live on,” didn’t help win any sympathy votes either. Shortly after the shameful affair CBS announced that it is no longer hosting “What’s Trending,” and has since removed all evidence of the show from the CBS website. In other fake news, a hijacked civilian airliner crashed into Ground Zero last Friday, as seen on the NBC News Twitter feed. The feed sent out a handful of tweets around 6pm, claiming that Ground Zero had been attacked, ending the series with “NBCNEWS hacked by the Script Kiddies! Follow them at @s_kiddies!” The Script Kiddies, a group of cyber pranksters whose main hacking agenda seems to be infiltrating mainstream media outlets, also claimed responsibility for the prank tweets about the assassination of President Obama that appeared on the Fox News Twitter account this July. Twitter has banned the hackers’ account, and news anchor Brian Williams apologized on the “NBC Nightly News” for the scare that was caused by a “reckless and irresponsible act.” So folks, you heard it here first: you can’t believe everything you read on Twitter, even if it’s trending.
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
RECLAIMING RHODE ISLAND
North Kingstown’s Two-Hour Tea Party
by Grace Dunham
Express Tour, both gave enthusiastic introductions. Kremer, wearing a red windbreaker, announced to a chuckling audience, “We are happy to bring our buses here that are made in America. President Obama can learn a little about job creation when you have products that are made in America and not Canada, right?” Despite the rain, the scene at Wilson Park was a lively one. Supporters wore pins, held signs, and waved American flags—a few men even wore black colonial style hats. When the musical acts came on, the crowd danced and sang along. Lloyd Marcus, a self-titled “(Black) Unhyphenated American Entertainer/Spokesperson for the Tea Party Movement” and the writer of the American Tea Party Anthem, performed the anthem while tapping his feet and donning a black suit and black leather top hat. “Freedom ain’t free,” he crooned, and the crowd sang the same words back at him. Ron and Kay Rivoli, a husband and wife duo described on their website as “Exciting, funny, energetic and charismatic personalities…who write music to reflect their love of God, family and country,” also gave a lively performance. Ron stood at the back of the stage playing an acoustic guitar while Kay was front and center in a tie-dye blouse, pumping up the crowd with a light rock ‘n’ roll rendition of lyrics such as: “Listen up, listen up, listen up, here’s what you need to know! We’re reclaiming America with the power of our vote.” The special guest speaker of the day was Sharron Angle, a former member of the Nevada Assembly and the unsuccessful Republican opponent of Senate Majority leader Harry Reid in the 2010 Nevada Senate election. Local Rhode Island gay rights groups protested the appearance of Angle, who opposes gay marriage, allowing same-sex couples to adopt children, and adding sexual orientation to the list of protected minorities under existing civil rights laws. Marriage Equality Rhode Island called on Doreen Costa—the North Kingstown Tea Party Organizer responsible for bringing the express to Rhode Island—to “disavow” Angle’s “bigoted beliefs.” The organization urged Costa to let the public know that “discriminatory principles are not welcome in the Ocean State.” Angle, in a sea foam green blazer, began her speech with a reference to Senator John McCain’s recent comment in the Wall Street Journal that “Sharon Angle and those tea party hobbits need to go back to their holes in Middle Earth.” “You need to read ‘til the end of the story,” said Angle. “The hobbits win! They’re the heroes! So, we decided we had to come in our Team Hobbit Express.” Lo and behold, Angle’s SUV—parked behind the merchandise tent—did in fact bear a “Team Hobbit Express” bumper sticker. After the buses had pulled away—bound for Pennsylvania—and the contents of the merchandise truck had been packed back up into a truck, a dozen or so supporters still lingered in the rain. Will Grapentine, a young man in a trench coat and black colonial hat, felt strongly that the rally was a success. “Usually we get a big turn out in April, which is tax season, Tea Party season” he said. “But considering the weather and considering that it’s off season, we got a huge, huge, turn out.” When it comes to the future of the Tea Party in Rhode Island, Mr. Grapentine feels optimistic. “Rhode Island was recently ranked as the most corrupt state in the nation,” he said, “And I think that reputation is spilling over into people’s approval of public officials. People want change.” Jeff Brown, a financial planner and investment advisor from Barrington, felt similarly. “There was a lot of enthusiasm here today,” he said. “A lot of enthusiasm. The Obama camp is already counting this state as a done deal, but I think that’s far from the case.” GRACE DUNHAM B’14 is an exciting, funny, energetic, and charismatic personality.
n Wednesday, September 7th, over 200 people gathered in North Kingstown’s Wilson Park, enduring the day’s drizzle to welcome the Tea Party Express to Rhode Island for the first time. For two hours, the crowd huddled under colorful umbrellas listening to speakers, musicians, and a comedian—Jim Labriola, known for his portrayal of “Benny” on the television show Home Improvement—who all took to a temporary stage transplanted in the parking lot next to Wilson Park’s playground and asphalt basketball court. A merchandise tent was set up nearby, and a JumboTron advertising the Tea Party Express website was installed near the stage. The two Tea Party Express buses—one deep blue and the other wine red, each with a white map of America painted on its side—were parked at the edge of the lot. The Tea Party Express was founded in 2009 by the California political action committee Our Country Deserves Better PAC. The idea was to travel around the country rallying together Tea Party activists and endorsing and promoting both local and national conservative candidates. The North Kingstown rally was a stop on the Express’s fifth bus tour, “Reclaiming America.” Howard Kaloogian, chairman of Our Country Deserves Better PAC, and Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the
Each group of words has in common one word that appears either before or after each in a common phrase. E-mail your answers to email@example.com and be named Puzzler of the Week! CHOCOLATE U.S. DOUBLE CONDITION TOWER WORK OUT ALARM RANGE CUT RIGHT FAIR
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TABLES UP LONG CAN’T
RED NAME PIG GEL
DICE CALL TIDE DRUM
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
ALLIGATOR IN RESCUED FROM THE WOONSASQUATUCKET
by Sam Adler-Bell
the topic of alligator domestication—eHow. com’s entry on “How to Legally Own an Pet Alligator”(sic) contains five steps and two warnings; “How to Write a Check” has seven steps and five warnings—eager reptile-lovers consistently find themselves unprepared to raise these prehistoric creatures. People (i.e. teenage girls on vacation, frat boys, Arizona Cardinals lineman Darnell Docket—according to his Twitter anyway) buy baby alligators when they are cute and manageable, but release them into the wild when they start to get big, which they invariably do--get big--with or without genetically messed-with chow. According to Gail Mastrati, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Management, the Woonasquatucket alligator, native to the warm waters of the American Southeast, would surely not have survived the bitter cold of a Providence winter. But thanks to the efforts of the anonymous firefighter, and the good Samaritans who spotted the creature and alerted authorities, the alligator will instead weather the cold coming months at the R.I. House of Reptiles on Harris Ave in Providence, where he will be part of the House of Reps’—golden!—ongoing educational programming and frequent cub scout birthday parties.
magine a teenage girl goes on vacation with her family to some subtropical Floridian tourist trap, bringing home, as a keepsake, an adorable baby reptile only to have her stern and zoophobic father flush the infant alligator down the toilet upon their return. And imagine some time later, the sewer-dwelling, bitterly abandoned pet, whose diet of growth-hormone-injected lab rodents has made him somewhat less cute and considerably more enormous and menacing, begins to viciously exact his revenge upon our species, whose callous disregard for nonhuman feeling and perpetual demand for quirky geographically-specific souvenirs begot the alligator’s lonely, radioactive existence. This is the plot of Lewis Teague’s 1980 monster flick Alligator, but subtract from it the radioactive gerbils and ferocious, animatronic killing spree, and you get a story which resonates importantly with what happened here in Providence over the summer—at least in terms of the probable human short-sightedness and cruelty at both their centers. On August 23, a city fireman ‘fished’ a three-foot baby alligator from the Woonasquatucket River off Atwells Ave near Eagle Square. Based on eyewitness reports, the alligator had been living in the river since at least July. City officials quoted in The Providence Journal agree that the as-of-yet unnamed alligator was likely the victim of what state veterinarian Scott Marshall calls “irresponsible pet ownership”—an apparently not uncommon fate for young alligators in America. Despite the wealth of information available online on
RIPTA DELAYS DECISION ON SERVICE CUTS
by Sam Adler-Bell
ways to reduce costs, including negotiating with unions representing drivers and mechanics over absenteeism and overtime in their contracts. Despite efforts by former Governor Carcieri’s administration to prove otherwise, no independent audit has ever found RIPTA to be a particularly wasteful or inefficient government agency. Rather, RIPTA blames its perennial budgetary difficulties on its funding structure, which derives most of its revenue from the gas tax. Now, the Indy is no Ben Bernanke, but this funding structure seems kind of counterintuitive on the face of it. If one of the stated purposes of a public transportation system is to have fewer cars on the road clogging up traffic and polluting our city’s air, not to mention allowing drivers to save money on gas, why would the funding of said transportation system be dependent on the perpetual sale of gas? Does that mean that as more people ride RIPTA instead of driving their cars, RIPTA gets less money? Can that possibly be right? Hello? Anybody?
n June, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) proposed cutting the state’s bus service by 10% (reduced to seven in more recent proposals) to combat the agency’s four million dollar budget deficit for this fiscal year. The cuts, as proposed, would affect 39 routes in total—completely eliminating some lines, running fewer buses on others, and cutting service after 10PM for many routes. The proposed cuts have met with much public outcry from riders who count on RIPTA to get to jobs, school, and medical appointments. Progressive legislators and political organizations, like Ocean State Action, which has helped to organize protests at the statehouse against the cuts, have been quick to point out that cuts to RIPTA disproportionately impact the working poor and disabled, for whom public transportation is the only option for getting to and from work. In late August, after 10 public hearings and over 600 testimonies from those who would be impacted by the cuts, the RIPTA Board announced it would delay any decision on cuts until September. The grassroots group RIPTA Riders, which has campaigned furiously against the cuts, said on their website that the delay was “a small victory in the fight against service cuts” but the “battle to secure sustainable funding to keep buses rolling for years to come” was still at hand. In the interim, RIPTA has sought new
n the stormy morning of August 28th, 2011, Officer John Brown received a radio call. Chief Whiting needed backup; he had two suspects fleeing the scene of a crime. As he sped down Paisley Street, Officer Brown saw a car crash through the rain—a 1999 green Ford Explorer slammed against a parked car—and, behind it, an undercover police car, lights blazing. Chief Whiting informed Officer Brown that he had lost the suspects, but only after an automobile chase through city streets, resulting in the collision. Strewn about the backseat of the Explorer were “women’s lingerie, clothing, and high heeled shoes”—all dry. But then: a pocketbook—curiously soaked, Officer Brown noted—containing the driver’s license of a Ms. Justina Cardoso, but no cash. This is John Whiting’s version of the story. He was Chief of the North Providence Police Department, but has since been relieved of duty and charged with larceny and two counts of obstruction of justice for reasons that will become apparent. Even by Ocean State standards, the affidavit against him is notable, a cross-genre narrative of noir and farce. Having lost sight of his suspects on Paisley Street on that fateful rainy morning, Chief Whiting searched their vehicle. Finding Ms. Cardoso’s wallet, he removed it from the car and discovered that it contained $714 in cash. This he promptly pocketed. He then tossed the now-rain-drenched wallet into the backseat, where, of course, Officer Brown would rediscover it, minutes later. In the end, Officer Brown did not get to crack the case. Instead, Chief Whiting provided him with an anxious, unsolicited confession. He then made him an offer that was remarkably philanthropic in light of the fact that the chief was experiencing marital problems and probably could have used a vacation. “‘I know you like to go to Las Vegas,’” Chief
WHAT HAPPENS IN NORTH PROVIDENCE DOESN’T STAY IN NORTH PROVIDENCE
by Caroline Soussloff
Whiting said, “‘Take this money and have fun. Don’t say anything about it.’” Unfortunately for Chief Whiting, Officer Brown did say something. What followed next were several botched attempts at a cover-up, culminating in the Mafioso phone message, “‘I spoke to that guy, just do what he said and follow his instructions.’” Still, the scandal might have transpired without becoming too much of a sensation were it not for the capture of Justina Cardoso, wronged owner of the green Ford, lingerie and high-heeled shoes. She crunched the numbers for the State Police: $200 of what had been in the wallet came from her stripping gig at the Satin Doll, $600 was a “gift” received after a night spent with a client at the Comfort Inn. There is something profoundly cyclical in that, had it ended up in Vegas after all, the money could have journeyed from the pocketbook of one stripper to another. Today, Whiting is out on bail, awaiting his fate. If sentenced, he will be in good company. North Providence is in the process of assembling a veritable old boys’ club behind bars. In May, three of the town’s councilmen, including the Town Council President, were arrested for bribery and extortion. At least they had the good sense to pocket that cash for themselves.
ID EN CE
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
9/11 in the classroom by Belle Cushing Graphic by Cecilia Salama
he teacher stopped band class, and we were called into the gym for an assembly with the whole sixth grade. Something had happened, the principal evasively announced, before assuring us that school would always be a safe place. Rumors swarmed in the hallways. A school shooting. A plane crash. A bomb. And then the walk home from the bus stop, into my parents’ bedroom, where the TV was on, and the towers had fallen. Where were you? It is a memory branded onto the minds of anyone who, on the morning of September 11, 2001, at the dentist’s, on the train, in second-period class, heard and felt that the world had changed. Ten years later, the memory is still there, stilted and spotty, or clear as a nightmare. In high schools across the country, the focus of the ten-year memorial was on remembering. Teachers began with the exhausted question — What do you remember? — a question that is becoming more and more difficult, as current high school students recall less and less about that day. Someone must fill in where memory fails, and schools are beginning to face that challenge. REMEMBERING THE DISREMEMBERED Neeltje Henneman, Head of the Upper School at the Wheeler School in Providence, oversaw a memorial assembly focused on remembrance last Monday. For Henneman, the memories are inescapable. She was a teacher at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn when she watched from her windows as the towers fell. When asked about what she had witnessed, amid shrieks coming from students in the next room, she would insist that only the top third of the towers had been shorn off. The buildings hadn’t fallen. They simply couldn’t have. For Henneman’s students, ten years and 150 miles removed from the attacks, memories are not as concrete. A student beginning his freshman year would have been only four in 2001. Matt Baum, a history teacher at Wheeler, is beginning his fifth year teaching seniors a course on Contemporary World Issues. Baum introduces the unit on terrorism with a discussion of 9/11, and each year, he notices definite change in his students’ responses. “The first year, they really remembered it to a small degree. Now, they remember adults trying to hide things, like when there’s a death in the family. For the current seniors, it is more myth.” 9/11 IN THE CLASSROOM Integration of 9/11 into high school education has been slow and varied. Only a handful
of states require its inclusion in public school curricula. Private institutions like the Wheeler School have no regulations. Directly following the attacks, however, non-profits and government organizations recognized the importance of such education, and began drafting lesson plans designed to teach the event referred to by one curriculum writer as “the ultimate teachable moment.” A 2007 study by the National Council for the Social Studies examined textbooks and curriculum materials put out in the four years following the attacks. According to the writers of the study, Diana Hess, associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Jeremy Stoddard, assistant professor in the School of Education at the College of William & Mary, “there is an ‘American Tale’ of 9/11 presented in everything we examined— both in what is given attention and what is left out.” Although 9/11 informs the personal backgrounds of current and future students, they will nonetheless lack certain background knowledge. Of the nine textbooks examined, only four mentioned the number of casualties or who was behind the attacks. Responding to Terrorism: Challenges for Democracy, one of the curricula included in the study, is developed by the Choices Program at Brown University’s School of Continuing Education. Resource books and online supplements, used in about a third of the country’s schools, provide teachers with case studies, role-playing situations, and critical thinking questions to help students understand terrorism and 9/11. Susan Graseck, program director and a Senior Fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies, sees the resources as a means of teaching through a “civic lens.” Students are given choices, and must decide for themselves what they ultimately believe, mirroring the process of decision-making that determines world events. “It’s a case of having some ownership over what’s happening,” Graseck insists. “History doesn’t happen; it’s made.” Wayne Chatterton, Chair of the English Department at Westwood Public High School in the suburbs of Boston, twenty miles from where the planes destined for New York and Washington took off from Logan Airport, looks not only at how to teach 9/11, but at what 9/11 can teach his students. Each English class is driven by an “essential question,” and essays and televised talks about 9/11 are used to address questions such as “What is man?” While there is still little young adult fiction deemed appropriate or adequate in its discussion of the events, How They See Us, a book of essays by non-Americans reflecting on their
view of post-9/11 America, was introduced into the junior curriculum last year. This attempt to steer away from the ‘American Tale’ identified by Hess and Stoddard elicited a wide range of responses. “Some teachers loved the book,” says Chatterton, “some felt quite uncomfortable; students' reactions varied, too, from enthusiastic agreement to criticism of the US to vehement anger.” The book’s sometimes scathing critiques of America forced students and teachers alike to re-examine where the country currently stands, both in relation to where it was before 9/11, and to the rest of the world. For some, however, even a decade out is too soon for such self-reflexivity. As in many schools, 9/11 has no set place in the Wheeler School curriculum, but the event inevitably finds its way into classroom discussions. To help students comprehend the magnitude of historical events, such as Pearl Harbor, Matt Baum introduces comparisons to 9/11. Yet as his students’ personal experience of the attacks decreases, these comparisons will cease to be helpful. For this generation, whose view of 9/11 is caught between personal experience and historical knowledge, there will be no comparison. NEW MEMORIALS, NEW MEMORIES Despite blurry memories, students are seeking meaning in the events of 9/11. Sarah Jane Clark, a junior at a public school in Virginia, 100 miles from where the plane struck the Pentagon, is grateful for the emphasis being placed on the tenth anniversary. “It's being publicized everywhere and I think it's great.” While her school has not yet integrated 9/11 into its curriculum, students have stepped up to memorialize an event they barely remember. The ceremony organized by Sarah Jane and other students of school government and the leadership team focused on commemoration rather than memory itself. The local fire department, police, and rescue squad visited the school. Students wearing white ribbons in honor of the victims listened to the school band play the national anthem, and a retired French teacher returned to share the story of his sisters, who worked in the World Trade Center and made it out alive. The Wheeler School has seen a similar level of student-led responses. For the past few years, students have adorned the playing fields with small American flags as a tribute to the victims. Even as adults struggle to define an educational method of 9/11, kids, though maybe incapable of fully comprehending, understand the events as something significant. As such, they will rise to the responsibility of remembering it. “They’re teenagers,” says
Baum, a hint of pride in his voice. “They’re not supposed to be as engaged with the world. But for lack of a better word, it’s cool to be involved.” THE AFTERMATH In early May, when the news broke that Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed, the announcement resonated with students far more than their teachers could have expected. “I realized then that this was their generation,” Baum says. “Bin Laden had been a shadow, this evil specter haunting the country as they were growing up. Many do not know the specifics, but they know this person.” Students joined countless Americans in patriotic celebration, while also grappling with their guilt for rejoicing in someone’s death, and relief over the end of a decadelong search. “Their lives have been informed by the search for Osama bin Laden,” says Henneman. “I had underestimated how important that would be for the kids.” Wherever it is in America that teenagers go to school, 9/11 and its consequences, most of which are as yet unknown, have and will continue to affect them. In four years, incoming freshmen will not even have been born in 2001. To those who remember, 9/11 is personal experience. Soon, it will become historical event. This change will come earlier to those without direct memory of the attacks, and for many American students, the transition is already underway. Rather than sharing memories of interrupted classes and frightened parents, children will read aloud from textbooks not yet written, and answer multiple-choice questions on terrorism. The lesson plans may engage the students critically, or may be as impersonal as some taught to students on Pearl Harbor or the Cold War — academic detachment, memorized cause and effect. “Remember 9/11” has been America’s hymn. With 9/11 absent from many students’ personal recollections, it will be up to the schools to maintain the day in children’s awareness, and, in turn, to determine how it will be learned and remembered. Belle Cushing B’13 remembers.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
Lowdown on Libya by Kate Welsh
ibya spent more than40 years under the erratic rule of Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi before aprodemocracy revolt pushed him from power in August, bringing an end to a six month struggle. In February of this year, the unrest sweeping through much of the Arab world erupted in several Libyan cities (specifically, Benghazi, Mizrata, and Zentan) and swiftly spread to the capital of Tripoli. Colonel Qaddafi—who notoriously travels with a cadre of female “Amazonian” bodyguards that he and his sons reportedly raped, abused, and then discarded—lashed out with unspeakable violence. However, the rebel opposition managed to cobble together the semblance of a transitional government, field a makeshift army, and portray itself to the West and Libyans as a viable alternative to Colonel Qaddafi’s repressive
rule. The Arab League, European Union, and the United States have all recognized the Rebel Transitional Council as the official government of Libya. On August 23, Qaddafi’s forces gave way to an assault on Tripoli after several days of bloody urban street fighting. The rebels have been struggling to restore order to Tripoli, while Qaddafi’s whereabouts remain unknown. After a lifetime under his corrupt and oppressive regime, Libyans report that they still feel uneasy laughing at the ubiquitous anti-Qaddafi graffiti covering the walls of burnt out buildings in Tripoli depicting him with the moniker Sharfufa, or “Frizz-head,” a reference to his unkempt and bushy hairstyle—a source of widespread contempt among assiduously groomed Libyans. On September 6, a convoy of high-ranking Libyan officials fled to Niger,
but reports indicate that Qaddafi was not among them. He has said recently, “Democracy means permanent rule,” and “I will stay in Libya until I die, or until the end of time God allows me to live,” so it seems unlikely that he will relinquish any semblance of power over the country. While the rebels struggle to maintain control (with mixed results: they have yet to overcome loyalist resistance in BaniWalid and Surt, and have recently taken to imprisoning darker skinned African migrants on the dubious claim that they are Qaddafi mercenaries), reporters and human rights advocates have uncovered troves of documents amassed by Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence agency. The documents show that the relationship between Libya and the CIA as well as Britain’s M-16 was much closer than previously imagined. The CIA sent
terrorism suspects to Libya at least eight times, despite the country’s reputation for torture. One of these men, Abdel Hakim Belaj, is now in charge of the military committee responsible for keeping order in Tripoli. He says, however that there are no hard feelings towards the U.S. “ Now we are in Libya, and we want to look forward to a peaceful future. I do not want revenge.”
Stalemate in Yemen
by Erica Schwiegershausen
lthough it is Egypt that dominates mainstream headlines, it has been more than six months since protesters took to the streets in Yemen to demand the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country since 1978. In April, there was hope that the situation might be improving when Saleh agreed to a plan that would turn over power to a national unity government. However, violence between government forces and tribal militias resumed in May after Saleh repeatedly evaded signing the agreement, balking on three separate occasions. On June 3, Saleh was wounded in a bombing attack on the presidential palace when a mortar shell or rocket struck the mosque just yards away from where he was praying. Saleh blamed the attack on the Ah-
mar family, the opposition leaders of the tribal militia that has been fighting government troops (a spokesman for the Ahmars denied responsibility). The president was rushed to Saudi Arabia for treatment, where he remained until his hospital release on August 7. Since his release, the president has made several television appearances in which he seems relatively healthy. He has yet to return to the country, despite vowing repeatedly, “See you soon in the capital, Sana.” On Monday, Yemen’s official news agency, Saba, published a decree signed by Saleh granting his deputy the authority to negotiate with opponents for a transfer of power. Meanwhile, the country remains in a protracted stalemate. Within Yemen, the opposition seems increasingly divided about how to move forward, and the political calamity
has led to an economic crisis. Food prices continue to rise, shortages of electricity, water, and fuel are widespread, and public services are nearly nonexistent. Earlier this week, the U.N. issued a report that the Yemeni government has used excessive and deadly force against peaceful protesters, killing hundreds and wounding thousands since the beginning of the year. The report also accused the government of cutting off access to electricity, fuel, and water in attempts to pressure and punish civilians for demonstrations. Hanny Megally, who led the U.N. mission, described the present situation in Yemen to reporters as “a bit of a powder keg waiting to explode…if there’s not immediate help from outside, it could lead to the disintegration of the country and civil war.”
Essam Mohammed, a car salesman who recently transitioned to a career as a taxi driver because of Yemen’s extreme decline in car sales, explained the country’s prospects to the Times: “If Ali Abdullah Saleh doesn’t come back, we will have a war. If he does come back, we will have a war…If the situation stays where it is, we’ll have problems.”
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
Murabank on Trial
by Erica Schwiegershausen
lthough former president Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 after 18 days of angry protests, Tahrir Square has remained a site of intermittent demonstrations throughout the summer months. In May, Egypt’s top prosecutor announced that Mubarak would be put on trial for conspiring to kill nearly 800 unarmed protestors during protests in January and February. Despite widespread doubts among Egyptians that such a trial would truly take place, an ailing 83-year-old Mubarak was rolled on a gurney into a makeshift courtroom in a refitted police academy in Cairo on August 3 to face charges of criminal corruption and complicity in killing the protestors. The former president, who could face the death penalty if convicted, pled not guilty. On the first day of the trial, crowds of Mubarak supporters and detractors gathered outside the courtroom to watch the proceedings on a large-screen television. The initial theatrics of the case were shockingly immediate to Egyptians, as media images from the courtroom showed Mubarak caged in his hospital bed, symbolically brought down to the level of a common criminal. However, on the second day of the trial, Judge Ahmed Refaat ruled that the proceedings would no longer be televised, claiming that he was turning off the cameras to “protect the public interest.” Many have been upset with media coverage
of the trial, which has been dominated with dramatic photographs of the former president behind prison bars. Metal cages like the one that Mubarak shared in the courtroom with his sons, Gamal and Alaa, who are also facing charges of corruption, are standard practice in Egyptian courts. However, many worry that the trial may prove to be more symbolic than effective. Testimonies have been contradictory, and the prosecutors, who are holdovers from Mubarak’s regime, have been increasingly criticized for their witnesses’ self-defeating evidence. In an unprecedented move in Egyptian courts, Judge Refaat has summoned two of Egypt’s highest ranking Military officers, including current military ruler Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Gen. Sami Enan, as well as Mubarak’s former intelligence chief and vice president, Omar Suleiman, to testify. All of these figures were in Mubarak’s inner circle during his final days as president. Refaat has stipulated that the high profile testimonies take place under strict secrecy and has forbidden journalists not only to attend, but also to report anything about the testimonies. The secrecy and restriction of information have furthered skepticism that Mubarak will not have a fair trial, as some fear the secret testimonies are part of a set-up to acquit the former president of the most serious charges. On Tuesday, Suleiman testi-
fied under a complete media blackout. The testimonies of Tantawi and Enan have been postponed until later in September. Many Egyptians remain frustrated with the military council that has taken power since Mubarak’s resignation, as well as a perceived slowness in the trial of Mubarak and other offenders. Worries about the ineffectiveness of the interim military council have heightened in the wake of Friday’s attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, when thousands of protestors tore down a protective wall, scaled the building, and ripped the Israeli flag to shreds. The violence of this attack, which lasted almost 13 hours, marks a shift from the previously peaceful nature of demonstrations in Tahrir Square since Mubarak’s resignation, and many have criticized the military council for failing to provide any security for much of the day, only to respond later with tear gas and brutal force. In response, the Egyptian government has pledged a new crackdown on disruptive protests and reactivated the emergency law that allows indefinite detentions without trial, which many remember as one of the most contentious policies of Mubarak’s regime. The repeal of the emergency law was one of the most significant demands of the revolution. Although democracy for Egypt may seem far off at the moment, a presidential election, which will be the second in all of Egypt’s history, is expected to take place in October or November. In June, Egyptian television
anchor Bothaina Kamel, famous for her public resignation at the height of the revolution, became the Egypt’s first female nominee for president, another symbolic indication of what a democratic future for Egypt may look like. However, in the wake of recent events, some find it hard to be optimistic about a democratic future. In a pessimistic statement, Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo told the Times: “Egypt is not going towards democracy but toward Islamicization.”
by David Adler
fairy tale image of revolution has emerged from the success of the Arab Spring uprisings. Yet in Syria, the reality of the slow grind of revolution has settled in as protesters and administrators remain locked in a stalemate that continues to inflict casualties on civilians and military personnel alike. Since March, President Bashar al-Assad has unleashed a wave of violence on street protesters—slaughtering many and detaining others for torture—with the death toll approaching 2,600, according to a U.N. report. Today, the revolution stands at a precarious moment—President Assad refuses to resign; discontent with his authoritarian rule continues to fester. In August, after tip-toeing around Assad’s violence and calling for reform, the Obama administration joined many world leaders in asserting that “the time has come for President Assad to step aside.” Earlier this month, the European Union banned all imports of Syrian oil, inflicting serious damage on a Syrian economy already bleeding from massive decreases in tourist revenue. Perhaps most shockingly, Iranian president and longtime Syrian ally Mahmoud Ahma-
dinejad called for an end to Assad’s violent crackdown on protests last Thursday. “A military solution is never the right solution,” Ahmadinejad reported without a trace of irony. Of course, this announcement stems less from Ahmadinejad’s concern for human rights than his from own agenda: an opportunity to bolster his image in a global community that continues to vilify his political program; a fear that a successful revolution in Syria would put Assad out of office and establish Sunni rule in Syria—a threat to Iran’s Shiite majority. The religious component of the Syrian uprising is the key to understanding its violence. Assad, along with most of the military and political elites of the old guard, is a member of the Alawite sect of Shiite Muslims. Syrian protesters, by and large, are Sunnis, and the ethnic conflict is the fuel to the political unrest whose flames continue to grow today. Despite the difficulties it faces, the Syrian uprising represents a watershed moment in the country’s history as it is the first major revolt since 1982, when Hafez al-Assad—father of the current Syrian President—faced an increasingly
violent Muslim Brotherhood. Then, much like today, al-Assad moved swiftly to quell protests, killing over 10,000 Syrians and destroying much of the city of Hama. This method appears to have set a precedent for his son, who also focused his military efforts on the city of Hama, pushing much of the revolutionary spirit underground. Whereas in spring, images of large-scale street protest in Hama proliferated, the summer has seen empty streets visited only by the occasional latenight band of brave revolutionaries. In response, Syrians are begging the international community to recognize human rights violations on display in the streets of Hama and Homs, which is known as the “capital of revolution.” Many Syrians were initially reluctant to look to the international community for assistance—fearing the possibility that their revolution might be co-opted by the political and economic interests of the West—but the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi at the hands of Western forces has pushed many to see the advantages of international aid. Fortunately, their cries are beginning to be heard, as the U.N. is now taking steps
to add “teeth” to sanctions on Syria. Nonetheless, even in the face of widespread conflict, Assad has maintained a stranglehold on the center of Syrian life, Damascus. Even as the destruction mounts throughout the country, the Syrian military has succeeded in keeping conflict away from its capital. The revolutionary spirit in Damascus is palpable, and the tension is beginning to manifest itself—in coffee shops, in salons, in the home. But on the surface, Damascus is business as usual, and it is on to this last bastion of stability that Assad continues to cling. He has maintained a tight control on the media’s influence in Syria, largely disconnecting Damascus from the revolutionary sentiment across the country. “Everything is normal, just don’t watch Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya,” one Damascus resident told the New York Times. “They are spreading lies. Watch only Syrian channels to learn the truth.” For now, it appears Damascus belongs to Assad, but if violence engulfs the city, Assad and his regime may have nowhere left to hide.
THE OFISH ORPH ETAM M
By Annika “Fin”ne and “Dive”ana Dwyer Design by Annika Finne I’d just hit rock lobster in the coddled coves of Prawnvidence. The sunlight splashed across my room, though I practically live in a cave-iar. The Dharma Chums was splayed on the deck and I could hear Phish playing in the cabin next door. Someone had been cruising Crabslist on the MackerelBook. It was hard to breathe. A deep, worried eeling engulfed me. “Halibut a cigarette?” I thought to myself. I had quit the other day but I didn’t marine it. They were leeching the life out of me. I hadn’t tried to flop out of the sheets yet. My eyes and skin felt dry and scaly. The cell foam beeped. “Water u doing fishmael?” It was Emily Seagull, catching up about last night. Last night. Went overboard. Left me reeling. Everything is fin and games until someone gets abduckted, and the net result is a clamity. I never set out to make anemones. But I mast; everyone famous has to step on a few groupers. It’s hard to work in rocktopus. It was time for some deep reeflections. Flashback Sent from my iFoam Things were getting reel. The big tuna was going to be there that night. I could hardly eat my grub. We hadn’t whaled like for this years, not since we moved from Portland to Rowed Island. My hands were clammy and my friends were gathered at our favorite barnacle, Bravo. Pirihanna was on the radio. I popped a clamopin to evaporate my nerves. But the whole crew was nervous. We’re always nervous now that ol’ Turtleici is off herrin-oin . Gil Brassil was trying to form a conger line. Tonight, though, I was nervous for a different reason. I wasn’t worried about the gig. I had a doubloonstep remix of my album to anchor the mood. I was worried about Ariel. I had given her crabs. I knew she’d be in the crowd to hear my oar-ation and feel my flow. I never manatee hurt her. What did she think now? In truth, I always knew she was reel nauti. A few months ago I saw her covered in seamen at a party. But she’d been koi and I wanted to get blowfished. “Carpe diem,” I’d said-- that’s my mantra ray, and tonight I felt buoysterous. So I went for it. I didn’t mind that she was a bit of a whale-- she had a face like a dollphin and was bayoutiful in her own way. It was fishtory from there. “Holy Mackerel!” I thought when I spotted the jailbait in the crowd. She looked kelpless. Worse, her father was standing in the corner in his swimsuit and codpiece. I wish that he had better style. Ariel had a heart of gold and a plankton of money. And she loved the waves my music was making. But the ranchor in her eyes said she hadn’t forgiven me re: the crabs. And now her father was here. He was a stern and shellfish man, a total deckhead. I knew he’d swab the poopdeck with me. I pondered what to fight for. It’s hard to angle for things when you aren’t sure how to fillet your days. I felt like a small fry adrift in a big pond. Can you bathe in currentcy? Can you raise a family in such squallor? It seemed hopeless, shrimpossible. Moor than anything, I wanted to be famous. I wanted to be more famous than that last time I was famous. I wanted to play a tuna to change the world, fundamentally different at its albacore. I wanted to part the seas. But existorrential angst paralyzed me.
of smoke. . . these clams must be baked, I thought. Whaleward souls. Her stare assailed me like a thousand swordfish. Lust will atrophy your mussels, make them slippery. Make them flop all over. I’d been practicing my scales all day, and now I felt literally scaly. . . It was dead winter. . . I needed to moisturize. . . She was doing something to me. It felt like magic. It was all so murky. Ariel pointed the narwallet and me and muttered something. This I saw sharkly. It was unmistakably some magikrill shit. “Fishmael,” I said, “your legs are jelly.” The phrase floated off my lips but all I saw were bubbles. The crowd was getting angrier and I could see some punks looking to mutiny me. That’s all I can remember. But something wild must have happened. I tried to respond to Emily, but I felt somehow different. Something was fishy. “Hey girl. On further exsalmonation, my dexterrity is lcking. yfouyfuyguoiuhoiu fck” I couldn’t text. My fingers looked like fins. I wasn’t rolling in my bed-- I was swimming in my sheets. I had been properly harpooned. Call me Fishmael.
Look at these prawns! I thought. Watch them flounder. They have no porpoise. They are born alone, live together, and then Cod, the great orca-strator, krills them. Things are the same on the otter side of the universe. Things are the same in every universe, at every bar-nacle. No one undersands us. We grow old and oarnery. The chords were floating by, rippling through my bod. My hands strummed my bass, but the music felt diluted. I was out of my league: this was Bravo. Moby played here, but I’m only Fishmael. Whatever, I said to meself, it’ll all get pirated anyway. That’s why I need Ariel. For her fishcal support. Music, theory--it’ll grab the hooks, reel you in, string you up to dry. She was moving to the music and I must admit I was distracted. Suddenly nothing was shipshape and I couldn’t fathom my next move. She was doing something funny with her hands, and some bones, some seaweed and her dad’s narwallet. She was chewing fruity Trident. I could smell it from the stage. I’d taken the costume as some Beach House bullshark, but this was different. She was knot sushi said she was. As she locked her tentacle eyes with mine and began to reel me in, my breaths grew short and punctuated. I felt the urchin to touch her, but-- I was gasping for air-- it felt full
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
China exhibited in Granoff Center
Translation by Kelly Ma ’08, Project Manager at Cai Studio, New York by Ana Alvarez
alking by the Granoff Center absent- mindedly, you are startled by two life-sized crocodiles, supported by wooden stilts, writhing in mid-air with their jaws wide open and their steely black eyes staring back at you from the window display at the Cohen Gallery. You peer closer and realize why the frozen beasts are squirming in pain; hundreds of small hand knives, box openers, and other blades are stabbed into their scales. Although Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibition is titled Move Along, Nothing to See Here, that’s about the last thing the work makes you want to do. Cai’s show, which opens in the Cohen Gallery this Friday, is meant to launch Brown’s Year of China. Although he is a permanent resident of New York City, he refuses to speak English, instead hiring a full-time Chinese translator. He is best known for his work with gunpowder— both in his pyrotechnic performances and his burnt drawings—and for life-sized animal sculptures, which range from the Granoff’s crocodiles to tigers and to wolves. The show at the Cohen Gallery includes exemplary works from all of these mediums, presenting students with unprecedented access to the work of one of the most lauded artists of the past decade. Cai spoke to the Independent about his work. INDEPENDENT: Move Along, Nothing to See Here is the first of several events organized by Brown to commemorate its Year of
China. Through this series, Brown wants to celebrate the cultural and historical richness of Chinese tradition. As a native Chinese artist now living in the United States, what would a Western celebration of China look like to you? CAI GUO-QIANG: Today [September 12] is the Mid-Autumn Festival, and it was the tenth anniversary of 9/11 yesterday. When Chinese people celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival, they also think about what 9/11 meant to the West. We can say that everyone in the world can share the same sentiment and judgment. Americans may also understand the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, where everyone in the family gathers together, and lovers and friends separated by geographical distance get in touch. It is just an exchange of culture, to communicate with each other. I: Your work seems to strike a balance between Eastern references—such as scroll paintings and gunpowder—and your own Western background Could you expand on how these seemingly antithetical influences – East versus West – play out in your work? Do you think that the perhaps oversimplified binary of East and West is fitting within the global setting of your work? C: There is always the element of paradox in my work, but this conflict is what is real and has its own charm. Sometimes I feel that I am a pendulum, very regularly rocking between the West and the East, clas-
sical and contemporary, social issues and formal and materialistic focus, etc. Sometimes I feel my job is like a tunnel, where I travel in time. However, I am in search of something that is more tolerant of all. I: This exhibition also comes hand-in-hand with the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. Some of your past work has subtly referenced terrorism – specifically the pieces Inopportune: Stage One (2004) and Inopportune: Stage Two (2004), which are visually analogous to Move Along, Nothing to See Here. As people take the next few days to commemorate the terrorists attacks, what response did you intend your works to illicit? C: On the day of September 11th this year, China Central Television also reviewed the 9/11 events. According to my friends, the CCTV also referenced my work on the rooftop of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It has been quite a while since the 9/11 events, and the art world still finds it hard to develop work around the subject or even what to think of it. Although I created some works because the events had a lot of impact on me, my general focus was still the debate on the confusion and loss in the human society. Of course, the purpose of an artist is not to use his work to place the blame on terrorism; sometimes artists just want to open up the topic and view from different perspectives with the rest of the world. It is my pleasure, nevertheless, to present at
the Granoff Center at such an opportune time around the 10th anniversary. I: You studied theatrical set design before you formally began your career as an artist in Japan. This seems fitting, since many of your well-known works—using pyrotechnics and life size animals—have some dramatic shock value. Is this your intention? Are your works like Move Along, Nothing to See Here meant to just be visually jolting or is there some underlying purpose to their aesthetic aggressiveness? C: When I first started, I was learning to paint; it was only later that I wanted to pursue contemporary art. Whether it was the set work in the propaganda drama troupe or my studies in stage design at the [Shanghai] Theatre Academy, all of my projects naturally led to the sense of time in my work. Audience participation and team collaboration, especially, contain a lot of the dramatic effect. Additionally, my socialist upbringing, the tidal waves of political movements in my youth, and art being more of a wake-up call to the less-cultured masses, all affected me. My work is thus more of a popular taste, with a stronger visual language. Of course, I like to describe myself as a little boy who enjoys to play with large firecrackers to scare people (he laughs, startling others and myself). I think I do an okay job at frightening people. Anyway, I am just a fun artist.
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
lthough it was not sent in the mail, on April 28, 2003, you received an invitation. “On behalf of all New Yorkers,” it read, “we welcome your participation in the World Trade Center Memorial Site Competition,” signed: George E. Pataki and Michael R. Bloomberg. The competition to design a memorial for 9/11 was run by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a company set up after the attacks to plan and fund the many projects for rebuilding the downtown area. No restrictions were placed on who could submit a design, but each proposed memorial had to satisfy five conditions: it would honor all the victims of both the 1993 and 2001 attacks; it would be an area for peace and contemplation; it would provide a space for the victims’ survivors; it would house the unidentified remains from the World Trade Center; and it would highlight the footprints of the towers. The winner would be selected by a 14-member jury comprised mostly of artists, architects, academics, and city administrators,including former Brown president Vartan Gregorian. Over 5,200 submissions were received from 63 countries and 49 states (Alaska, for the curious). Eight finalists were announced on November 19, 2003 and given time to expand on their original ideas. The winner was revealed on January 14, 2004. Reflecting Absence, the National September 11 Memorial, opened on Sunday for families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. The public was let in on Monday, though visitors must reserve tickets online.None are available before October but, even without seeing the memorial in person, it will be hard to avoid its image over the next few weeks. Ten years have passed since the events Reflecting Absence commemorates, and the personal memories of the attacks that Americans formed during those years now have a counterpart in the collective memory the memorial embodies. As time goes on, it may become increasingly easy to rely on Reflecting Absence as a guide for how 9/11 should be remembered. Before that process gets too far underway, it should be acknowledged that there were 5,200 other paths it could have taken. These are a few of them; the title of each designis followed by the names of the designers and where they are from.
UNTITLED, SALLY PHILLIPS, PURCHASE, NY UNTITLED, MICHAEL ODZIEREJKO, POLAND In addition to the five requirements of any submission, there were nine “guiding principles,” the last of which was that the memorial “evolve over time.” For the majority of submissions, for all the people who proposed buildings, statues, or some combination of the two, this must have seemed daunting. Yet a few solved the problem very elegantly. Sally Phillips’s memorial submission consists of the phrase “PLANT APPLE TREES IN THE MEMORIAL SITE AND YOU BRING PEACE” repeated six times. Michael Odzierejko’s submission contains only the text “SEQUOIAS AMERICA” alongside several beautifully drawn pictures of two trees, one in each tower’s footprint. One image shows the trees in full bloom, covered in leaves; in another, the same trees are bare and charred. It seems the latter is how he intended them to be for the memorial. The original proposal for Reflecting Absence made no mention of trees. However, over 250 have been moved to the September 11 memorial grounds “from within a 500-mile radius of the World Trade Center site, with additional ones coming from locations in Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C.,” according to the memorial’s website. The trees will form a field of informal rows on the memorial grounds. In addition to the swamp white oaks, the “Survivor Tree,” a single Callery pear tree had been placed on the site, near the two pools. On the day of the attacks, the tree was discovered at Ground Zero, charred and stripped of all its leaves, but still alive. It was moved and nursed back to health and has now made its homecoming. Moving a tree with a trunk that is between eight and ten inches wide, the size of a young white oak, requires a machine that weighs 14,000 pounds and is 13.5 feet tall. At that width, the size of the root ball that needs to be dug up is approximately 12 times the trunk diameter. Without a large fraction of the root system, it becomes less likely the tree will survive in its new home. Sally Phillips’s exact vision is unknown because her submission contains no images, but since she calls for the planting of apple trees, transplanting would be unnecessary. New Yorkers, rather than waking up this week to a miniature forest fully formed in the heart of their city, would see just an empty patch where, upon closer inspection, tiny buds are peeking out. Michael Odzierejko’s sequoias could be transplanted; the same machines that transport missiles sometimes move very large trees. These two submissions do evolve over time, but neither indicates how they would meet the five main requirements. It might not be that hard, though. For example: one might carve the names of the dead into the trees as, sometimes, lovers do.
N E L
9/11 tition the pe au s on l Com ass n N thy ctio moria o e Tim Refl Me by
mental traditions of Greek and Soviet art: “the Tyrannicidesgroup at the national Museum of Naples… Vera Mukhina’sWorker and Collective Farm Girl, the colossal group set on top of Boris Iofan’s USSR Pavilion at the Paris Exhibition of 1937.” Between the two statues there is a space of emptiness. Within that space, resting on the ground, there is a catafalque, a platform for a dead body or a casket. Rising up next is the Torch of Memory, held out by Mnemosyne. The vertical axis terminates, say the designers, “at the pinnacle of the recovered transcendental vertical in the new, sky-scraping building,” referring to One World Trade Center. If a victim’s family saw this memorial, maybe they would feel comfort imagining their loved one resting between these two figures, rising through memory into the sky. The two women, though archetypal and made of stone, exude reassurance through their nobility. When the Lincoln Memorial, also of Greek influence, was dedicated on March 20, 1922, the president’s only living son was in attendance. Perhaps when he saw the statue of his father, he desired nothing more than to sit on his lap.
THE SPIRITUS: A SPECTRAL HOTEL, PAUL LAFFOLEY AND JOAN RATCLIFFE, BOSTON, MA In 1908, Antonio Gaudí was commissioned to build a monumental hotel on the land where the World Trade Center would later stand. For unknown reasons, the project was aborted and only a few sketches pay testament to its existence. The designers of this memorial call Gaudí’s hotel an “architectural ‘ghost’” and propose to give it a material form where it was originally intended to stand, not as a “skyscraper” built of glass, girders, and reinforced concrete, but as a “space modulator” made of steel pipes and wire, a ghost turned skeleton like the Eiffel Tower or Giacometti’s Palace at 4 a.m. Another material is specified: live plants. The designers write of their desire “to show the vegetative image of Gaudí’s hotel” and they say that the architect planned his hotel as “a new plant form,” but what that means is not explained. Perhaps the plants would grow up from the bottom, clinging to the pipes and slowly filling in the gaps of the structure, as if a green blanket had been draped over it. Or perhaps they could be housed within it, free to stretch their branches through the holes in the hotel, free and enclosed simultaneously. This design itself is now just one more architectural ghost. So too are the Twin Towers, though in a different sense, having died rather than never being born. When the Twin Towers fell, they became, at 1,350 feet, the tallest buildings in America ever to be destroyed, and the second tallest in the world. The tallest, at 2,121 feet,was the Warsaw Radio Mast which collapsed in 1991. Before 9/11, the record in America was held by the Smoky Shot Tower, which stood at 700 feet. The tower was destroyed in 1957 when “Smoky,” a 44 kiloton nuclear bomb, was detonated at its tip. The Spiritus plays with these kinds of absence, one ghost commemorating another by not quite being there. REBUILDING NEW YORK, ART LOHSEN, ALEXANDER STODDART, MICHAEL FRANCK, JAMES MCCRERY, MICHAEL RAY, CHARLES BERGEN, ELIZABETH RUEDISALE, C.J. HOWARD, JULIA HUGHITT, AND ABDUL MUZIKIR, WASHINGTON, D.C. On August 22, 2011, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. was opened. It features a statue of the civil rights leader emerging from a giant stone, as if frozen in Carbonite. For every American memorial that is figurative, there seems to be one built around the same time that is not. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial stands opposed to the abstraction of the September 11 Memorial as the Korean War Veterans Memorial differs from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial or the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument. The monument proposed by Art Lohsen and company consists of two robed women: Clio, Muse of History on the left, Mnemosyne, Muse of Memory on the right. Clio holds a tablet and Mnemosyne a torch, so that history may be read by the light of memory. Together these women, their dress, the things they hold—they hearken back to the Statue of Liberty, who in turn is described by the designers as a derivation of the Greek Tyche, the “Civic Goddess.” Other references cited further establish the tone, drawing on the great monu-
REFLECTING ABSENCE, MICHAEL ARAD AND PETER WALKER, NEW YORK, NY Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox once got lost in a blizzard. They wandered blindly for several hours, crossing and recrossing the tracks they had made. Later, when they had left their disorientation behind, rain filled their footprints and formed the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota. Today, Ground Zero has become a forest. What was once there has disappeared, leaving its footprints behind. The events that occurred there remain incredibly complex and abstract. Why not say that a giant passed through? This is what will actually occupy that ground. Where each of the Twin Towers stood there is now a square pool of water about an acre in size. The sides of the two pools are formed by what have been billed as the largest man-made waterfalls in America. The water flows down the sides and rests in a depression several feet in the ground, forming a reflective lake. Then, in the middle of the pool, the water falls through a much smaller square-shaped hole and disappears from view. [You can see all the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition submissions at: wtcsitememorial.org/submissions. html] TIMOTHY NASSAU B’12 is out stealing your trees.
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
WHAT HAS S C I E N C E SCIENCE
DONE FOR YOU
by Ashton Strait and Joanna Zhang Illustration by Charis Loke
IT’S CREATED DETONATING CANCER BOMBS
You read it right
GONE UNDER THE RIVER AND THROUGH THE AMAZON
To the Hamza subterranean river we go!
SUPPLEMENTED YOUR ART HISTORY TEXTBOOK
GIVEN YOU ANOTHER REASON TO HOP ON THE PROBIOTIC BANDWAGON
How micro-organisms can quell stress
A group of scientists from Harvard, MIT, and a Swiss institute (ETH) in Zurich are now testing an early-phase technology that uses circuits, implanted in cells, to identify and destroy cancerous ones. The circuits are first programmed to detect five different markers—various microRNA combinations that almost always signal cancer. If, and only if, a cell expresses all five criteria, the circuit will induce apoptosis, part of the ominously named process of “programmed cell death.” Early testing in HeLa cancer cells has proven successful. Because the marker detection system is customizable, there are hopes to use the technology on a variety of cancers. But Professor Yaakov Benenson of ETH reminds the public in an ETH press article, "We are still very far from a fully functional treatment method for humans.” He recognizes it as an "important first step that demonstrates feasibility of such a selective diagnostic method at a single cell level." The breakthrough is an exciting new step away from the current problem that most cancer therapy and treatments face—a lack of selectivity (i.e. chemotherapy, which destroys healthy and cancer cells indiscriminately). Consider it targeted warfare of experimental cancer treatments. —JZ
In 1503, Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci received a commission to depict the Battle of Anghiari on one wall of Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio. According to long-dead Renaissance historian Vasari, Da Vinci was forced to abandon the project due to the technical difficulties of using oil paint on a fresco. However, this account has its skeptics, who believe that Vasari—hired to renovate the room in 1560 for the Medici family—may have intentionally covered up the at-least-partially-completed fresco. Historians’ suspicions arise from Vasari’s treatment of a Masaccio fresco in the church of Santa Maria Novella, which he preserved beneath a hollow panel upon which he painted a different mural. Until now, Da Vinci’s lost fresco has lived on only in preliminary sketches, but scholar Carlo Pedretti has discovered a hollow space between the wall where the fresco once was and the newer brick reinforcing walls built by Vasari during the renovation. This space—like the one in the Santa Maria Novella—might have been created to preserve da Vinci’s work. Now art historians and physicists alike are working on a “gamma ray camera” that will shoot neutrons at the wall. These neutrons will excite the metal atoms used in Leonardo’s pigment, causing them to emit gamma rays (a type of high-energy electromagnetic radiation) that can then be read by the camera’s unique copper lens to create a map of the hidden fresco. The project still needs to raise several hundred thousand dollars in funds because of the high expense of creating a miniature particle accelerator (the device used to fire the neutrons), but they may begin work as early as next year on proving the existence of the lost masterpiece. —AS
Speaking of things hidden/below other things: scientists in Brazil have discovered what looks to be a river 2.5 miles beneath the Amazon— similar in length (4,000 miles) but four to eight times wider (some 125-250 miles wide). Using data collected inside 241 abandoned mining wells and a mathematical model that analyzed temperatures from the wells, the team predicted the river's location, size, and flow— approximated at a glacial .04 inches an hour (compared to its top bunk neighbor clocking with speeds of 16 feet a second). Critics argue the Hamza River, as it’s now being referred to, cannot be a river. It may not empty into any ocean and its water may be saline, potentially missing two important criteria for the coveted river status. "My colleagues and I think this work is very arguable—we have a high level of criticism," Jorge Figueiredo, a geologist with Petrobras, the Brazilian energy multinational who originally drilled the mining wells in 70s and 80s, told BBC News. While its existence is still unconfirmed, it may not technically be a river, and even the scientists who discovered it put the word “river” in quotes in their report, Indy Science chooses to believe. The finding, if confirmed, would put the Hamza among a club of subterranean rivers that include the Puerto Princesa in the Philippines and Mojave River in California–rivers that support dark-adapted forms of life like cave-dwelling troglobite species.—JZ
Lately it seems that probiotics, the healthy and beneficial bacteria that live naturally in most mammals’ digestive systems, have been the hot new thing on the nutritional supplement circuit. Where fiber additives were once the go-to for digestive regulation, probiotics are now being touted as a cure-all for gastrointestinal problems. And while it has long been understood that the brain can influence the stomach (stress-induced ulcers, anyone?), scientists are now presenting empirical evidence that that relationship goes both ways. They’ve found that mice who take probiotics show significantly fewer behaviors associated with stress, depression, and anxiety than those mice on a normal diet. They also have lower levels of stress hormones in their brains. Scientists suspect that the physical connection between gut and brain is the vagus nerve, which alerts the nervous system to changes in the gastrointestinal tract. Doctors also stimulate this nerve in severe cases to treat depression, but neuroscience researcher John Cryan of University College Cork in Ireland has proposed, "by targeting the gut with probiotics, we could indirectly target the vagus nerve without surgery." The only downside? The strain of lactobacillus bacteria used in the study isn’t commercially available in probiotic supplements, and the effects haven’t been studied in humans. Nevertheless, there might eventually come a day when scientists will be prescribing yogurt to cure the blues.—AS
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
S U STAINABLE O N THE H ALF SHELL
Re-evaluating the Oyster
By Chris Cohen Illustration by Alexandra Corrigan
tereotypically, raw oysters are a high roller’s food. A tray of raw oysters on the half shell, carefully laid on a bed of ice and accompanied by tiny forks and fancy sauces seems to be the culinary equivalent of a flashy car or a designer handbag. It calls to mind champagne, chandeliers, and monocles. Raw oysters seem to be a prelude, a suggestion of yet more decadent courses to come. The very idea of it: an overfed diner, swallowing a whole living creature, seems grotesque, the product of a more primitive age. The ecological and ethical reality of the Eastern Oyster, Crassotrea virginica, couldn’t be farther from this image. Food ethicists have stressed the importance of avoiding or reducing meat consumption for a sustainable diet — meat production causes a tremendous amount of greenhouse gases, and livestock is often raised on factory farms before being shipped across the country in C02 belching trucks. Oysters, on the other hand, do not contribute to greenhouse gasses or require large-scale factory farming. In fact, oysters filter the water they are living in and feeding from, removing algae and nitrogen that would otherwise choke other organisms out of the ecosystem. The animals are such good filters that environmental groups across the country have begun programs to plant oyster beds in order to improve water quality, most famously in New York Harbor. For those keeping score at home, if eaten locally, farmed oysters may even be a net plus for the environment, hardly what’s typically associated with champagne swilling gourmands. With seemingly every hot new restaurant bragging of its commitment to ethical and local cuisine, I wondered: could the decadent raw oyster really fit into up-to-date approach to enjoying food? * That is how I found myself slurping oyster after oyster on a small aluminum motorboat on Point Judith Pond near Narragansett, RI early on a misty morning last week. I was riding along with Cindy and John West, the husband and wife team that run the farm that produces Moonstone Oysters, the trade name they use
for their stock. Their oysters are a delicacy: they’re served in raw bars nationally, including under the famous vaulted white tile ceiling of the Grand Central Oyster Bar in New York. Standing in my borrowed bright orange rain gear and swaying with the motion of the boat, though, I couldn’t imagine a setting farther from a fancy restaurant, but John kept shucking and passing them along, complete with a rapid-fire anatomy lesson (“here are the growth rings”, “here’s the stomach”). They were delicious. Boating back and forth between plots, the Wests showed me the basics of how full-sized oysters are raised. To put it very simply: the farm buys tiny immature oysters – referred to as seed — every year. These are “planted” underwater: they’re placed in mesh bags of greater and greater size until they reach sufficient length to sell, about two or three inches. The bags are left underwater in large racks that call to mind a lobster trap on steroids when lifted out of the water with the aid of a motorized winch. All of the growing happens in a large plot of water on Point Judith Pond, within a five-minute boat ride from the dock, and is handled by John and Cindy, with occasional assistance from hired hands and their teenage daughters. The fast-moving summer season requires the couple to be on the water at least six days a week, and the winter brings ice and bitter cold. It’s clearly not easy work, but when they describe the drudgery of the less physical aspects of operating an oyster farm — selling and shipping the oysters, dealing with the relevant land use boards — it’s obvious that they truly enjoy being on the water. Two things about their farm immediately jumped out at me. First, the oysters receive a tremendous amount of attention before they are brought to market. The animals, whose natural inclination is to grow in clumps, are vigorously shaken to keep them separate and the shells tough, keeping them from becoming “potato chip-y”, as John described it. They estimate that every animal is handled individually three times before being sold, and hundreds of thousands of oysters are brought to market ev-
ery year. The second point of note is how little needs to be added to the ecosystem to assure the oysters grow to marketable size. There is no food or fertilizer to add. Nothing is electrified, unlike farms that use pumps to guarantee water flow. The oysters are content to feed on and filter plankton and algae already present in the ecosystem. In contrast to farmed salmon, which require a huge amount of electricity and feed, oysters become instantly integrated into their ecosystem. This low-impact approach is part of what drew the Wests into oyster farming. Through government grants, they are helping to replenish wild stocks of oysters, and their farm’s simplicity and sustainability adds a layer of satisfaction to their work. Because so much depends on the environment, oyster farming is an intensely local practice. The temperature of the water and the availability of food have huge effects on the flavors of the oysters. As Cindy pointed out, “the real oyster connoisseurs know that they’re eating the taste of a whole body of water.” Moonstone Oysters reflect the particular qualities of Point Judith Pond, and John and Cindy are proud of that flavor. At one point John declared that he “wouldn’t eat anything south of New York, because it just doesn’t taste like anything”, as warm water produces larger oysters, which tend to be less flavorful. I mentioned that the French have a word for the unique quality given to wine by a specific plot of land, and John picked up the implication: “On land, they call it, like, terroir? Out here it would be, what, aqua-rroir?” * Oysters don’t have to be fancy, or even crushingly expensive, if you’re able to get them directly from a farmer; Rhode Island has many. I bought a bag of Moonstones to share when I got back to Providence, and can testify that raw oysters make for an ideal activity for sitting around with friends. A plate of finely crushed ice and white wine is nice, but a plastic bucket, chunks of ice, and beer works just as well. Shucking them at home is moderately difficult,
but also part of the fun. Hold the oyster flat side up in a dishtowel and, using a real oyster knife, gradually work the point into the joint between the shells on the thicker side. The shells will eventually separate with a satisfying pop. Slide the edge of the knife all the way around the joint to fully separate the shells. Discard the top shell, disconnect the meat from the bottom shell, and serve. John suggested that you’re able to tell someone who really likes oysters because they don’t add anything when they eat them. I’m inclined to agree, but for the squeamish, and for variety’s sake, it’s common to garnish with lemon juice, mignonette sauce, or (if you really have to), cocktail sauce. Mignonette Sauce: Stir finely minced shallots into white vinegar, about half a shallot per ¼ cup of vinegar. Add cracked pepper to taste. A little goes a long way. Cocktail Sauce: Stir a liberal amount of horseradish and Tabasco into ketchup. Chris Cohen B’12 slurps oysters like a fat-bellied baron.
15 O P I N I O N S
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
ENCOUNTERS WITH AUTISM
Sizing Up the Treatment of ASD
by Stephen Carmody
s autism awareness grows, our society must address issues in healthcare, publically-funded special education, and general social accommodation for people with autism. Our society experiences autism in a limited scope. Popular media presents us with the archetype of the Rainman—a person with Asperger Syndrome capable of extraordinary cognitive processing on hand, but demonstrating profound social difficulties on the other. Yet we rarely encounter people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), unless in a specific position of care. I spent this summer working in a Rhode Island school for children with moderate to severe autism. For all the students, public school was not equipped with the necessary support. The people surrounding me on staff were capable of handling difficult and stressful situations in a productive manner, experiencing student non-compliance without a jab to their ego, re-teaching students relatively simple skills without losing passion, and handling aggressive behavior safely. With the support of this staff, I, too, became more humbled, more patient, and calmer. A diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Dis-
order—comprised of “Autistic Disorder,” “Asperger Syndrome,” and “Pervasive Developmental Disorder”—defines a range of disabilities. According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, it serves as a blanket diagnosis for children with difficulties in social interaction, communication, and repetitive behaviors. Everything from holding eye-contact to understanding non-verbal cues may be hard for a child with an ASD. Due to delays in the coordination of speech muscles, coupled with impairments in cognitive functioning, some students at the school could not express themselves in speech, and required a “Talk Book” filled with laminated picture-words to express their wants in simple sentences. Disruptions in the normal routine of the day stressed other students. Each student presented a special case to me; I had to learn the indicators of their moods, their academic strengths, and what stressed them out. But to engage with them successfully in the classroom, I also had to know them as individuals. My engagement with children with an ASD was both personal and scientific. Like many others across the country, the school employs Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), touted as the only research-proven method of treating ASD. “Treatment,” however, gives me pause; it implies a deficiency that can be overcome, and sug-
gests that until some compromise can be reached, a child with autism may not be able to engage with the society he or she lives in. Treatment involves intervening in the relationship between a person’s actions and environment. ABA uses a rigorous reward system—everything from edible incentives to verbal praise—to reinforce behavior that allows a person with ASD to operate in our society. It avoids disciplinary behavior. We taught students everyday living tasks: how to tie their shoes, go to the bathroom, and purchase snacks at Wal-Mart. We taught students academic concepts like letter identification, simple arithmetic, and handwriting skills. We also promoted correct social behaviors, like saying hello and keeping a quiet voice, in response to their opposite behaviors. I found myself saying, “nice job staying calm and relaxed,” throughout the day, almost as a chant. The lessons do not differ from the education an elementary student might get. But the method speaks to the great difference by which the student with ASD experiences the world. Instead of ‘picking up’ a skill by experience and observation, a student in the classroom is actively taught an action over and over until it becomes rou-
tine. We broke down a task into its basic stages, and repetitively introduced each part in discrete and intentional steps. For instance, learning to read first involves recognition. One student in my classroom was taught how to recognize her name from a group of three names. First, a teacher instructed, “Touch B,“ and the student would be physically prompted to touch her name by the teacher’s own hand. Later, the teacher will just point to the name and tell the student to touch her name. Each of these stages can take weeks or months to master. Eventually, the student can independently choose her name amongst others in that setting. But this skill may not yet translate to other environments. The teachers may then Velcro the same names to the wall in the hallway, and as the student walks by, she may not be able to pick out her name. Once learned, each skill must then be generalized into multiple contexts. The task is daunting, and progress grinds. By extension, the learning goals a student can achieve—even in the most intensive oneon-one setting—can only stretch so far. Compromises are made to the ‘typical’ expectations. Viewed through the regimented approach of ABA, my interactions at the school
THE COLLEGE HILL INDEPENDENT
were completely altered. The psychological language changes the characteristics of an individual into a set of “behaviors.” ABA both assists in recognizing behaviors and responding to them. I came to see ABA as a medium through which to interact with a student. In part, this is because we have little to no access into the internal mental lives of children with severe autism. Science can infer many elements of that internal life from our understanding of typically-developing children. But this understanding, based firmly in the causeand-effect logic of science itself, yields answers that can only achieve a simple level of complexity. At the school, we stressed communicating wants. At snack-time, one student would hand a sentence strip to me with four laminated words Velcro-ed to it: “Teacher, I want pretzels.” As far as I know, earlier in the student’s life, he had learned that handing a picture of pretzels to a teacher resulted in him receiving pretzels. Later on, he was taught to form a sentence with the food item he wanted at the end of it. He saw that performing this task correctly led to a certain result. The very cause-and-effect logic used in the ABA method was successfully imposed onto the mental life of the child. Understanding my interactions in the classroom from a behavioral perspec-
tive also provided a necessary buffer for me. This became clear in the case of student stress and aggression. Many students with severe cases of ASD have developed aggressive or self-injurious reactions to certain situations; unfamiliar staff, overly bright lighting, disruptions in schedule, and being told “No” can all be triggers. These environmental factors— “antecedents” in ABA parlance—lead to a build-up of stress which, in some cases, can lead to banging tables, scratching, biting, punching, or the like. This language, describing aggressive behaviors in a pattern of stress levels, changed my encounter with a potentially dangerous student. When I was scratched across the cheek, after a moment of shock, I did not feel immediately threatened. I saw it as a failure of communication. That student could not let me know that I was too close for comfort.
Encountering students with ASD, admittedly, is an extreme encounter with otherness. Most of my hopes, goals, and perspective on the world will never be accessible to a child with autism, severely limiting our shared surface. A child with autism may never read a novel for enjoyment or talk for hours with a friend about
experiences and dreams. This is not to say that people with ASD cannot find fulfillment and happiness in life; rather the terms of this fulfillment and happiness need to be radically adjusted. Perhaps a woman with Asperger Syndrome—a less severe type of ASD—will be hired to a job that promotes her skills in processing raw data. And she will have had the support in childhood such that she can express the terms of her social anxiety to her colleagues. But in general, our society does not provide a patient and understanding environment that caters to the needs of people with ASD in any way close to the way my co-workers could provide. Some adults with ASD may never be able to live outside a residential community that gives them the necessary support to live each day. In many ways, the school is providing some of the most rigorous and holistic treatment available. Behind the work that the school does with these children is a set of ethical values in the subtext of our society. We value human interaction, we value personal agency, and we value happiness. So, the end goal of a communication program for a student is the eventual ability to interact with other people in his or her life, to express needs and wants. Yet inevitably, the terms of these ends will not fit anything perceived as ‘normal.’ A person with au-
tism may be able to survive, but not without being placed in a specific position of being cared for. The decisions and lived experiences of people with autism will always be framed by the limits of our ability to support them. There is an intense sorrow in this realization. It is a sorrow borne on the back of the very character of the society we inhabit, combined with the ethical obligation to each human life, typical or not. STEPHEN CARMODY B’12 had an enlightening summer.
15 SEPTEMBER 2011
by Scout Willis
The therapy should have started from the moment the cell splits. Shit only gets more riotous, people and parents more desirous, Daughters love their mothers Daughters hate their mothers Mothers want to be their daughters Daughters want to fuck men their father’s hate. Tiny teens in plastic kitten heels trying to push up the bar, push up the bra, nostalgic underfed super cunt tripping down gang planks to gang bangs to six year olds with toy purses and neon lavender lipstick. Grown up phallic intrusion from that first popsicle, no wonder that girl looks like she needs a dick in her mouth. Dessert suburb, crème brûlée with a side of subdivision sandlot. Tremendously teenaged and huddled round, the ember on that spliff gets closer to the end of the line, each drag bringing the group delicately hurtling into a nostalgia for a time before it was even rolled. But that feeling of uneasy worthlessness returns today. Once again she finds herself in the reflection of what she assume others may see. I’m no good if no one is there to recognize it, right mom? She took off maternal bliss, the truth was far more hideous than her subconscious had previewed to her, on freshman year rainy Sundays and unnecessary cigarette anxiety. The sadness, which crept slowly suddenly, had all the force of a shiny SUV piloted 95mph by a gin-breathed mad man. She was finding herself consumed again and again by her own devices: She would fill in all the space with her desire, till there was no air at all, save the dream lover shaped gap, into which she thrust fool after fool, auditioning them, see if they fit. She dallied with the king of fools, renowned cities over for his notorious behavior. Slick glittered skin and the newest corn silk hair cant make those tripped out deadly tendencies disappear. So despite the false sense of confidence gained at summer’s start, she let him fuck her in a dirty stairwell, in a club deep in Hollywood. Next morning she unwittingly found herself at his alter, slashing each wrist, precisely, so as to give the king as much of her self worth as she could. How trite the tale of a girl who in the face of self-doubt runs, not towards love, but to the illusion of such. The idea being the #1 turn on while the reality would only ever make a generous second best. But so often reason is beat to shit by the need for instant validation. Like bad television and too much weed it numbs the senses. But underneath something is rotting. “I am feeling a lot of things.” She said to no one in particular, but her nature is more of less excess. Maybe it was better to stay away from substances all together with a family history like hers. With a family like hers. When she’d been alone more she’d felt more transparent, hallucinating beautiful meaning and spitting it out, tattooing it on a page at her discretion. When she had been alone more she saw more of her ribs, now idle all her bones evade her big time big gulp save me. The need to be noticed, the desperate want to be loved, and cherished and needed. Continually overwhelmed with the pace of change, her nature was still clinging to the familiar. Sickly sweet desperation might make her thirst for a cold glass of water, but thankfully the fine California weather allowed her to stave off the depths until a seemingly far away September. The head will never allow the heart to feel for it has been programmed to rationalize And rationalize And Rationalize. To analyze each emotion instead of just feeling. “we must champion our discomfort.” She said to her sisters. “embracing it fully we will know the worst.” (the illusion often outweighs the truth) The eldest said knowingly. The summer burned flamelike, leaving nothing as it had been before. Even from her canyon bungalow perch she was seduced by images on her computer’s screen. A relentless parade of the preternaturally beautiful, waifish girls with waist length hair, loved by angel bodied boys with silent film star eyes, driving beat up cars, and wearing the perfectly punk rock black leather jacket. Slight relief came to her mid morning as she sat backwards on her bed, the tangled white sheets heavily perfumed by her skin and just faintly of sex. Staring at her ragged flag she realized (for the second time in years) the truth about these seemingly carefree people, the most of it was an elaborate hoax, beautifully lit. And the remainder was just a bore.
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