A Sentimental Education

the oft-romanticized ruth simmons

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Editors-in-Chief Sam Knowles Amelia Stanton Managing Editor of Features Charles Pletcher Managing Editor of Arts & Culture Jennie Young Carr Managing Editor of Lifestyle Jane Brendlinger Features Editors Zoë Hoffman Emily Spinner Arts & Culture Editors Clayton Aldern Tyler Bourgoise Lifestyle Editors Jen Harlan Alexa Trearchis Pencil Pusher Phil Lai Chief Layout Editor Clara Beyer Aesthetic Mastermind Lucas Huh Copy Chiefs Julia Kantor Justine Palefsky Staff Wrter Berit Goetz Copy Editors Lucas Huh Kristina Petersen Allison Shafir Berge Watcher Matt Klebanoff

CONTENTS
internsh*ts // charles pletcher

NAKED PHOTO

3 upfront 4 feature

a sentimental education // marshall katheder o, canada // michael chiboucas blurring the lines // amelia stanton a world without borders // berit goetz my muffin is all that // jen harlan community works // emily spinner

5 arts & culture

6 arts & culture 7 lifestyle

Naked people! In a show! Check out The Visit at PW, this Friday through Monday night.

8 lifestyle sexicon // MM
emily post just dorian

READ POSTThursdays in the Brown Daily Herald

LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
Last week, we were out by 1:30. Clara got her mozzarella sticks at last—a pipe-dream realized, an unexpected celebration. Fast forward to Issue 2, the one that lies before you. When 9:30 rolled around, everything changed. An epic game of musical chairs waged in our rectangular war room. There were casualties, of course—including a beautiful cover you’ll never see. But alas, qué será, será. So we sign off, a little later than last week. But we all survived. Please read us. If only because Marshall is back, in all his glory...

OUR ILLUSTRATORS
cover // madeleine denman internshits // sheila sitaram ruth // phil lai canada // phil lai perkins // anish gonchigar borders // adela wu muffins // marissa ilardi

weekend

Post- Magazine is published every Thursday in the Brown Daily Herald. It covers books, theater, music, film, food, art, and University culture around College Hill. Post- editors can be contacted at post.magazine@gmail. com. Letters are always welcome, and can be either e-mailed or sent to Post- Magazine, 195 Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906. We claim the right to edit letters for style, clarity, and length.

sam and amelia

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SALVADOR DALI EXHIBIT Hilel Thur 7:30PM

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BTS NIGHTMARKET Sayles Hall Fri 7PM

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BLOW YOUR MIND Phi Sci Fri 10PM FIRE & ICE Zete Sun 10PM

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FALL CONCERT Lincoln Field Sat 7PM

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TOP TEN Things You Don’t Want to Hear After a One-Night Stand

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

upfront

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1 2 3 4 5

I can’t wait to tell my mom about this. Ratty for brunch?

6 7 8 9

I like the way your nostrils flare when you sleep. I f*cking love cocaine!

I feel pregnant. It’s cool that I taped that, right?

How much do I owe you?

music is
listening to drunken serenades of the new babies in the Intergalactic Council of A Cappella.

Think about how great this will be when you lose 10 pounds. I love you.

Let’s go with lights off next time.

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books is
eating leftovers, reading The Leftovers, and fantasizing about the rapture.

Internsh*ts

summers spent saving souls
he shouted incomprehensibly about locks and the apocalypse—outside my purview. I wake up to lungs full of city-bred oxygen— the smog has curbed my cigarette habit these past twelve weeks. I have no need for an alarm clock: the infant down the hallway cries without fail at 7 a.m. I throw off my covers and head to the bathroom, where I luxuriate under the showerhead’s lukewarm trickle. Water doesn’t stay hot in these parts for long. I throw my still-wet towel in my suitcase and head downstairs. The mumbling man is slumped outside of what I have always assumed to be his apartment—he goes in sometimes, but he must often forget his keys. He stirs as I pass; I smile. I recognize the baseball bat against the wall a few floors down—the elevator has been broken since mid-July, and despite several calls to Craig, it’s not yet made it to the top of his to-do list. In the meantime, my calves have surpassed my biceps in circumference. As I leave the complex, the taxi beeps and the driver asks me what the hell took me so long. I confidently assert, “Airport.” I have done important things this summer—or so I’ve been told. I have no time for indigents. I return to Providence to study repression and subalternity–I guess I’m going to save the world.

charles PLETCHER managing editor of features
I knew nothing of city living when I began my hunt for an apartment. A man named Craig had a number of rooms available, and I chose the best balance of features, location, and price: a top-floor suite with a remodeled kitchen in one of the hottest places in town. Craig hadn’t posted any pictures, but I was assured in a thick Jersey accent that I wouldn’t be disappointed. My first night in the apartment goes smoothly enough. The pipes are a little leaky, but city life is too invigorating for me to mind. Smoking a cigarette on the roof—Brown has taught me nothing if not the joys of nicotine—the ecstatic air of summer in the city mingles with the smoke as I inhale. When I call the elevator, the door opens to a sleepylooking tenant. “Don’t go on the roof,” she rasps; I notice the baseball bat in her hands. I don’t say anything, but I board the elevator alongside her and take it to the bottom floor—I’d rather walk up the 12 flights of stairs to my apartment than tip her off to the location of my abode. Weeks in the office fly by in the green blur of Jeffersons and Benjamins—real power. I fetch coffee and I fix spreadsheets. I don’t exactly know what my supervisor does, but I know he’s important. He doesn’t seem to know what I’m doing either, but I convince myself that I’m important. My spreadsheets are the fulcra of corporations. My supervisor occasionally checks in on me. I tab out of Facebook and swivel around in my Aeron. He says something about the great work that I’m doing (it’s kind of alarming that more people don’t know how the SUMPRODUCT function works), and I thank him and promise to keep it up. The exchange doesn’t exactly galvanize me, but unlike Sisyphus, I roll my rocks down the other side of the hill. Carrying late-night takeout from the corner Chinese restaurant whose name either escapes me or which I can’t pronounce, I give a nod to my neighbor mumbling in the hallway. He seems a stand-up gent, although I wonder why he always finds himself out so late. I approached him once, but

tv is

looking for shelter under Ron Swanson’s manly-man mustache on the season premiere of Parks and Recreation. Tonight.

theatre is
taking nudy pics of theatre nerds in the downspace. Go see PW’s The Visit. Sept 23-26.

food is

stuffing French toast like Turduckens on Mondays at Jo’s.

booze is
running out of ways to advertise $1 drinks.

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feature
POST-

A Sentimental Education
many. A 20 percent increase in faculty. Beginning need-blind admissions. Countless facility renovations and several new buildings. Simmons also advocated for environmental responsibility, sought accountability for our deplorable relationship with slavery, and worked to improve the overall quality of student life. Brown was noted in the Princeton Review for having the happiest students in the country two years in a row, in both 2009 and 2010. Ultimately, Ruth’s greatest contribution to Brown is polishing its product name. The press she received early in her career—Time Magazine ranked her America’s best college president the same year she was sworn in—raised Texas Instruments and Pfizer but has since resigned. Now that she’s announced her resignation from Brown, I suspect that Simmons, who served considerably longer than the typical college president, will take her time off—sorry, “sabbatical”—and enjoy her considerable earned wealth. Just as Brown will enjoy the fruits of her labor. It’s a highly mutual arrangement. But with the peak of the Ruthrooters’ fervor long gone, is the Herald’s choice to put a picture of her gleefully embracing a student for their exhaustive tribute a silly scoop? Absolutely. Simmons’ image is too watertight to not be manicured. She is a good face for a good school. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t care, but she’s clearly not in the business of academia just for the hugs. It’s obvious that Simmons’ legacy is sure to be nothing less than notable. And her successor will no doubt have difficulty

marshall KATHEDER editor emeritus
Like most of you, I was surprised when I received the email from Ruth Simmons a week ago announcing her departure at the end of the spring semester. Seconds later, surprise settled into a semblance of ambivalence, and I started to wonder what sort of drink would be most suitable to commemorate her exit. But what do I drink to? Do I glug some Goose for Ruth, the decorative yes-woman for Goldman Sachs? Should I sip some organic free trade tequila that’s proceeds are used to save an endangered sea snail—and are libations wasteful? Or is it all right to pop and knock back champagne, like I won a championship game, for the innumerable positive moves Simmons made for Brown? The Ruth Simmons mystique is disjointed, and Brown students’ affections for her are as unyielding as they are unfounded. Generally, the Bruno-psyche harbors these warm and fuzzy feelings because she smoothly embodies our university’s deliberate progressive attitude: “Brown students would rather save the world than rule it.” But this station clashes with her position as a highly effective financial agent and potent political figure. The two are not mutually exclusive, but the latter does cast her as a more complicated character than her groomed campus persona. She is part liberal mouthpiece, part fundraiser, and a total brand name. Simmons launched Boldly Brown, a 1.4 billion–dollar initiative—the most ambitious in the institution’s history. This plan included hashing the deal for Sidney Frank’s $120 million gift in 2005, the largest lump sum ever bestowed to Brown. Two years later, Warren Alpert provided a $100 million medical school-bolstering donation, further establishing Simmons as an exceptional moneymaker for the comparatively impoverished Ivy. The target amount of $1.4 billion was met in 2009, years ahead of schedule. In addition to her prowess as a fundraiser, it’s widely accepted that, as an individual, Simmons possesses tremendous character. Virtually no Brown students doubt she has the best interest of the school in mind, as evidenced by her 80 percent approval rating, reported in the BDH in 2009. One current senior, Michael Tackeff, recalls that he corresponded with her after seeing her speak at ADOCH (A Day on College Hill, the pre-freshman preview of Brown) in 2008. He sent her a handwritten note saying how moved he was by the lecture, and she graciously wrote back, indicating that she hoped he would chose to attend Brown. But Tackeff concedes this isn’t a typical interaction. “I don’t think many students have [had] direct contact with her ... but they do interact every day with the buildings that wouldn’t be here without her.” The soon-to-be retired president’s positive actions for the school are

the oft-romanticized ruth simmons
temperament less charming. But it does make her a more complicated individual than is generally thought. Ruth Simmons, recently appointed to President Obama’s Commission on White House Fellowships, is a calculated political force. After resigning, her next move is unclear. But it will be of interest. Typical Brown students, at the end of her career, are more indifferent now about her than in years past. By and large it’s because her changes are taken for granted—it’s what we signed up for. Among Brown’s constituents, the ardently appreciative era has already ended for Simmons. Gone are the Che Guevera– style shirts with her face plastered on them. But her powerful presence will not soon be forgotten. And maybe in a few decades, whatever future incarnation of hipsters that emerge will don those shirts. So here’s to Ruth Simmons. Let’s go to a bar. No one drink can summarize for Ruth Simmons’ presidency. I’ll have a White Russian. You get whatever you’re feeling, kid. But I think Simmons should pick up the tab.

Brown’s profile. Simmons’ presence partly contributed to Brown re-entering the national stage; last year Brown received more applicants than ever before—nearly 31,000. Despite the murky shadow of the Big Three (Princeton, Harvard, and Yale), Brown has become a fashionable choice (enter Family Guy, the O.C., Gossip Girl, etc.). And the chic quality of the Brown brand, with our lofty school crest, makes it more valuable. The diplomas are worth more. Make no mistake, the modern university is a business. And Simmons is a shrewd businesswoman. In 2009 Simmons was paid $323,539 for her position at Goldman Sachs. In 2010 she left there with a stock worth $4.3 million. That, in addition to her $576,000 salary from Brown. During her tenure she also served on the boards of

matching her likeability and effectiveness. But there are contradictions in her glossy guise. The record of her presidency resists her being chalked up to an ever-beaming, sociallyprogressive personality. Her clout should be considered. It doesn’t diminish the value of her tenure, which is extraordinary. It doesn’t make her

O, CANADA
michael CHIBOUCAS contributing writer
CANADA is an art collective from Barcelona, the work of which includes the eccentric, often re-blogged music videos for “Ice Cream” by Battles and “Bombay” by El Guincho. Multilingual in context, the collective is responsible for a variety of artistic modes: music videos such as these, interviews, short films, advertisements, and screen tests. The clips serve as extremely enthusiastic and earnest love letters to French New Wave nonsense, and the viewer’s ability to enjoy such nonsense will likely determine how they feel about these pieces. When the group’s absurdity is combined with the lack of exposition in the CANADA website, an environment for untethered exploration of this nonsense is created. Some may write the collective off as all style and no substance, or as a very close friend put it, “meta-bullshit.” The only proper response to such a statement would be: of course. Many of the videos, regardless of mode, seem to focus on one topic. A first viewing of a CANADA video is akin to running alongside a train that has been deliberately boarded up by the artists. The group tends to indulge in ob-

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

arts & culture

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grasping at straws in barcelona
imagery—colorful motifs mindlessly cycle like a psychedelic carousel. It is, and must be, up to the viewer to enjoy these things. Choosing to approach the work of CANADA with suspicion of artistic legitimacy is perfectly acceptable, but you will most likely walk away with the emotions you carried in. Embracing CANADA’s nonsense is rewarding, as the group’s experimental fun is present not only in content, but also in cinematographic technique. “My First Love,” one of the collective’s interview pieces, contains some dialogue that may come off to the viewer as unbearably heavy-handed. The composition of the video, however, is extremely clever. The short film is simply an interview of a girl wearing a large t-shirt, underwear, and long red socks. Her hair is morning-after wavy-long and she sits somewhat vulnerably in the center of an echoey white room. The interviewer’s voice barely washes in from the furthest off-screen corner; the text of the questions appears briefly over rosy images before once again revealing the girl’s romantically introspective face. In what is reflective of the minimalism of the group’s web-

scurity, sometimes supplying nothing more than an abstract title and an irrelevant advertising thumbnail. It is as if the group is trying to keep the viewer permanently ignorant, and in the time spent, one forgets why he was trying to board the train in the first place. One of CANADA’s pieces appears to be about how the bland subjects are slaves to their cigarette addiction. They look tired, the video is scrubbed so the smoke reverses back into their mouths, they continue to tire as the video goes on, and the pattern is repeated in a monotonous drone. CANADA says nothing as if to hide that they have nothing to say, and then the question is raised again: is this just stylized nonsense? Yes–but that nonsense is the point, and they are actually pretty great at it. Whereas some music videos tell a story, others stylishly score a song. It is immediately obvious which kind of music video CANADA makes. Paradoxically, the frustratingly inaccessible videos are very easy to watch, simply because of how much fun they are. Animal costumes, weird video overlap manipulation, bows and arrows, dancers and aesthetic beach

site, the absence of the interviewer and the ceaseless focus of the viewer on the girl create the perfect space to intimately engage with her words. Art makes itself about its audience. In generating an environment that encourages connection to their nonsense, CANADA imposes the relevance of independent art. The fact that CANADA promises the viewer nothing is the group’s greatest strength. Free from expectations, they operate in a weird, infinite artistic space that permits making a statement–or an understatement. We invite you to skate around in the infinite space of CANADA’s barebones, thumbnail gallery of a website. It is hard not to feel comfortable, which in turn makes it pretty hard not to have fun with them ... even if it is a bunch of nonsense.

Blurring the Lines
amelia STANTON editor-in-chief
A good writer, a spinner of words and sounds, was once perhaps just as mythical as the time-honored centaur or the enchanting Siren. I liked to think that unquestionable brilliance—Toni Morrison’s Beloved or Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays—was birthed like Athena, burst forth from the author’s head. Completely formed, no need for tweaks or alterations, these bound extensions of lives so close to mine emerge and then are here. On bookshelves, atop desks, in backpacks. They land smoothly, without delay, the dates of conception and arrival separated only by the time it takes to print and package. Not quite. While interning at Open Road Integrated Media, the trailblazer of the e-book megafront, I observed an intense level of correspondence between editors and authors. The process involved several drafts and constant changes. And with each successive draft, it seemed that authorial agency decreased. Everything from the point of view, to the setting, to the title of the given manuscript was up for debate, and the voices present at such a debate might include the head editor, one or two of her colleagues, all of their respective assistants, and the occasional intern. In one such meeting, yours truly lost her cool and her coloring when asked, “So, what do you think? Does the title work?” A college student who barely had a 25-page paper under her belt was now involved in a dialogue that would assuredly lead an experienced, scholarly, MFA/PhD-holding writer to alter a core element of her soon-to-be published book. The power was almost crippling.

the writer-editor relationship reconsidered
house of Scribner, the publishing establishment responsible for literary staples like Henry James and Edith Wharton. Unlike his colleagues, Perkins had a knack for nurturing young writers who might not otherwise have been welcomed into the rather stuffy sphere of book publishing in the 1920s. You might recognize the names of some of Perkins’ authors: Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, among others. Now, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and Wolfe are cardcarrying members of the American literary canon. The Old Man and the Sea is a go-to for high school English teachers, and the mythic endurance of The Great Gatsby reveals the great American longing for the Edenic landscape of our country’s former, pre-materialistic self. If not for Perkins, not only would their names be obscure and perhaps irrelevant, but their masterpieces would likely not even exist. Given the wide-ranging scope of Perkins’ influence, why is it that his name is far from synonymous with those of the epic literary superstars he brought into the public eye? Some might say that all that these inherently brilliant writers need is a facilitated entrée into the barely penetrable old boys’ publishing club. But a good editor, an editor of Max Perkins caliber, is much more than a glorified checkpoint. Ever heard of Look Homeward, Angel? When Perkins first read what would later become Tom Wolfe’s first novel, he determined that Wolfe had great raw talent but little self-restraint. In order to publish the book, Perkins strongly encouraged the author to cut an inconceivable 60,000 words. And what about James Jones’s renowned From Here to Eternity? Jones was one of Perkins’ last discoveries. Had Perkins not prodded Jones to abandon the never-to-be-published novel he was working on when the two first met, Jones would probably not have produced his National Book Award winning debut novel, which now rests comfortably at number 62 on Modern Library’s list of the 100 Best Novels. It would be difficult to argue that, in the crazed landscape of the book publishing industry, the editor is actually more instrumental than the writer in bringing a given work to your bookshelf. Yet, in my limited scope of experience, an editor still truly shapes a text. Perkins might not be the rule, but he definitely wasn’t the exception. I must admit that, at first, this revelation was pretty disappointing. A book does not simply spring into being. Then I realized that, if my fantastical notion of the publishing process were accurate, writers would be little more than superhuman robots, constantly spewing brilliance, and editors mere inboxes that accept manuscripts and pass them along to the appropriate printing authorities. Yet, my discovery that writers do in fact collaborate with their editors means that there is a place for both. Editors are not merely writers who don’t have the courage to write. Rather, when the line between communication and collaboration blurs, a book is born of two parents— author and editor, mother and father— never from the hands of one.

In order for said manuscript to arrive in the hands of a powerhouse editor at Open Road in the first place, it needs to be backed by an agent. Upon receiving a given manuscript from a writer seeking representation, the agent often asks for a complete round of edits— sometimes two, even three—before she will even consider pitching it to a publisher. And yes, it is an intern who first reads the manuscript and briefs the agent on its publishing potential. The agent can’t possibly read every manuscript that arrives at her office. I was further disillusioned by A. Scott Berg’s National Book Award winning Max Perkins Editor of Genius, which my boss encouraged me to read over a long weekend. “You’ll never look at a book the same way again,” she said. My authoridol worship might, alas, be misguided. Perkins is likely the most widely known literary editor in American history. Starting in the early 20th century, he carefully challenged conventions at the hallowed

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arts & culture
POST-

A World without Borders
bye-bye, borders
staff writer
independent bookstores to the death! But things were quite different for the longfaced bibliophiles who wandered into Borders’ 399 remaining stores one last time over the course of last week, staring dully at black and yellow banners blaring messages like EVERYTHING MUST GO. To them, “everything” might well have included Western civilization as they knew it. It’s not hard to imagine the source of their anxiety: Fusty arts and culture columnists have been prophesying the end of the printed book ever since the Internet reared its virtual head. But now, with public libraries and small independent bookstores both struggling to compete with online book vendors’ matchless selection, large “concept stores” like the late Borders have become some of the few places left where people can go to participate physically in the time-honored rituals of browsing and buying the first store to introduce me to the concept that books and music could be sold together—that these media are deeply interconnected despite their very different modes of transmission. So why didn’t this model work for Borders? While the company stayed ahead of its industry for decades with an innovative inventory management system, it ultimately failed to establish an online presence. The company increased its number of stores by a staggering 25 percent in 1998, but didn’t launch Borders.com until May of that year, and even then it mostly relied on sales through a 2001 contract with Amazon until a website re-launch in 2008. And while Amazon Kindles were selling out in late 2007, Borders had no competing product until the Kobo eReader in 2010. By this point, Borders’ fate was well sealed. The offline book market reached carrying capacity sometime in the last decade, and Borders was the least-adaptive competitor. So how should Brown students feel about Borders’ demise? If we accept As much as I would like to see the fall of one of the last great bibliogiants as a victory for Jack and his small, independently owned beanstalk, the fact remains that both online sales and various forms of the electronic book put much more significant pressure on the company for years. The giant may have tumbled earthwards, but the aftershocks continue. Although Barnes & Noble now holds the uncontested title of super-biblioretailer of the day, the battle for supremacy between print and cursor is not over. “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers,” or so the ancient Kiswahili proverb goes, according an inspiration-byte caption in my old eighth-grade school planner. So will readers be caught in the crossfire sometime down the road when Barnes & Noble makes its last stand against online retail? Even if you’re not convinced that the printed book is on its way out, or even that the fall of a book chain is such a bad thing, be warned: You will find yourself thinking wistfully about

berit GOETZ

In recent weeks, the media has been agog with reports of a certain “earthquake” striking Virginia—an earthquake that shook the foundations of our nation’s capital, cracked the roof of the National Cathedral, and even set apartment buildings swaying in Boston. But dear readers, it is my bounden duty to report that this was no natural disaster. The tremors you felt stemmed from a severe shock to the American system, yes—but the shock was not geologic. That shock was the crashing fall of a retail giant: that once-invincible purveyor of the printed word, Borders Books.

When the #2 American bookstore chain filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 16, bookworms wept nationwide. Borders announced that it would close 200 stores and a distribution warehouse, lay off 45 employees at its Michigan headquarters, and delay payments to publishers in an attempt to stay afloat in a cutthroat print market. Investors, however, were not impressed; in fact, the chain’s second-largest shareholder, “Wall Street rockstar” William Ackman, publically called Borders his worst investment ever. This vote of no confidence was the beginning of the end. On July 18, Borders finally announced plans to throw in the towel completely, kicking off a two-month grieving period for its many devoted customers. Now, typical Brown students probably wouldn’t give a second thought to the fall of a bookstore chain, given our stereotypical penchant for all things independent and quirky. Give us a Mason jar brimming with dark roast, and our flannel-clad ranks will defend

without sacrificing the convenience of a large and varied inventory. With Borders’ closing, we lose one more way to enjoy the printed word through all our senses—and, with it, a bit of our connection to centuries of reading tradition. No virtual shopping cart can match the feel of paper slightly indented where the ink has pressed it, the solidity of glue-bound book spines, the hush of a vast carpeted space devoted entirely to the written word in all its glorious forms. Borders stores were often quite successful at shedding their strip mall roots; they became instead a place for browsing and luxuriating. The one in my home city boasted reading nooks near the books of existentialist poets; a cheerfully carpeted children’s section complete with toys and bean bags; high, discreet shelves for the seedy romance paperbacks; a generously-appointed café (with ungenerous prices, unfortunately); and an entire balconied second floor packed with CDs, DVDs, and sundry other media. Borders was even

the “Internet as the end of all civilized culture” hypothesis, then the death of a bookstore, any bookstore, ought to make consumers, and perhaps students and intellectuals in particular, fiercely protective of the unique pleasures of ink on paper and binding glue. But perhaps you think small independent bookstores across the country are pouring out libations of thanksgiving–with one less Goliath in the ring, the small Davids of biblioretail will have a fighting chance against massive competitors like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Consider, however, that Borders was not so very different from one of these Davids once. It began its life in 1971 as a usedbook store in the quirky college town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, quickly expanded nationally and abroad— only to come to a grinding halt.

all those 90-percent-off goods the next time you drop a fifty for one measly volume of postcolonial theory at the Brown Bookstore. Never fear: I hear Borders.com is still open.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

lifestyle

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My Muffin Top is All That
jen HARLAN lifestyle editor
Ah, September in Providence. The air is crisp, the sky is blue, and we’re all still in that happy limbo between coming back from summer vacation and actually doing any work. But for those of us venturing off campus, and off meal plan, for the first time, the blissful blur of decorating your new living room and throwing your first house party is swiftly followed by the realization that you have no idea what to eat three times a day, every day. You long for the time when you could pop into the Ratty for some gnocchi or Cracklin’ O’s, when Chicken Finger Friday was part of your weekly routine. This food-sick angst is only made worse by the Blue Room’s latest advertising campaign: posters taunting you with retouched photos of their fluffy, flavorful muffins. Sweet, soft, and delicious—the muffin is a magical food, consumable anytime, anywhere. It’s so special, in fact, that Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New York all have their own official state muffins (corn, blueberry, and apple respectively, in case you were wondering). The Blue Room features all three of these varieties in their delectable display, ranging from the bright, all-natural green of the pistachio to the warm scarlet and mauve of the triple berry. But before you get too bogged down in your muffin-less angst, take a deep breath and step into your kitchen—you can totally handle this.

get yourself a piece of that

How to make Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 large egg 1/2 cup milk 1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
For starters, muffins are quick and easy to make. Even better, you can make dozens of them at a time and save them for an afternoon snack or portable breakfast as you rush out the door five minutes before your class in Smitty-B. They also score bonus points for being super versatile (blueberry, strawberry, cartoon, imaginary—the list goes on and on), and for using ingredients that you probably already have lying around the house. So here, for your culinary pleasure, is my super easy, super yummy muffin recipe. Just 20 minutes in the kitchen and you can be enjoying that fluffy goodness, the perfect balance of bread and cake—a warm cinnamony cradle with tangy blueberries or sweet chunks of apple nestled inside. The first warm, fresh-out-of-theoven bite bursts with home-cooked happiness that, to be honest, you just can’t get in a plastic baggy, even if it only costs a couple points.

Apple: add 3/4 cup peeled, chopped apple, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Blueberry: fold in 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (thawed). You could add cinnamon to these as well, or a little lemon juice to the wet ingredients. Chocolate chip: add 1 cup mini chocolate chips (or more — in this writer’s opinion, there can never be too much chocolate).

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; make a well in the center of the mixture.

Stir together egg, milk, and oil until blended. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Once you’ve added the filling of your choice, spoon batter into Now that’s the base for your lightly greased muffin pans, filling basic, plain, sweet muffin. Easy, 2/3 full. right? Now feel free to spice it up with whatever goodies you’d Bake at 400 degrees for 13-14 like to toss in. Some of my favor- minutes. Remove from pans imite variations include: mediately.

Community Works
emily SPINNER

bursting the brown bubble
features editor
act of service that governs the action’s authenticity. The struggle at this point is not merely to help—as many organizations do, one could just find ways to throw money at the problem—but to help genuinely. The Director of Advising and Community Collaborations at the Swearer Center for Public Service, Alan Flam, says he is reminded of one thing at the start of every year: Brown students “bring a strong sense of idealism, in that they want to make a positive contribution to society at large.” Mr. Flam also coordinates the UniversityCommunity Academic Advising Project (UCAAP), which was designed for students who want community service and social change work to be a central part of their Brown experience. According to Flam, UCAAP attempts to “put the muscle into the idealism that students bring to campus.” This combination of thought with action lies at the heart of UCAAP’s mission. Too often, it is easy to become mired in the ethical amibiguity surrounding service. However much we might despise Ayn Rand, her views seem to lie at the heart of every interrogation of altruism: Can I really help someone selflessly? I’m sure if you’re familiar with the conundrum, you realize that the problem may be as simple as word choice. Indeed, according to Flam, “When using the word ‘service,’ there is a blurring of who is serving and who is being served. When teaching someone to read, are you helping them sound syllables or are you learning from them as well?” Flam prefers the term, “community work,” which subverts the notion of server and served—the familiar “us” versus “them” trope—by focusing instead on the active site of engagement between two individuals. The relationship is thus mutually beneficial and a-hierarchical. In a space where the philosophy of altruism is suspended, the project becomes collaborative instead of didactic. Though most students intend to leave Camp Bruno eventually, we all fall victim to the Brown bubble that unknowingly segregates us from the community at large. The interior of the Van Wickle Gates is rife with evidence of affluence, yet Providence remains one of the poorest cities in America. Even so, when most of us speak of injustice, we refer to Hegeman bathrooms and Ratty lunches. Herein lies the problem of community. Our Brown community comes prepackaged: The university institution tells us which people have interests that align with our own, and the groups we choose to join decide our closest friends. Not so with the larger Providence community, of which we are—at least geographically—a part. Don’t get me wrong: We have not been sent to save the native Rhode Islanders from themselves, whatever that might mean. We are not God’s gift to Narragansett Bay. The challenge lies in our understanding of justice. We carry a sense that status is earned, but we fail to question the circumstances from which status arises. The first step toward social justice is an honest examination of those circumstances and the realization that some statuses are predetermined. Justice is not simply working for the underprivileged; justice, perhaps paradoxically, has no patience for judgment. Justice arises from patient dedication. It is the fruit of recognizing the limits of our own influence and the vastness of others’ abilities. Justice doesn’t spring from the pages of political science textbooks—it is enacted. Thoughts never built a bridge.

You checked the box. Complete bullshit, slight exaggeration, or total authenticity ruled the 10 stingy lines the Common Application devotes to extracurricular activities, the eye candy of college admissions directors. Envisioning the jam-packed April envelope, you wrote the words that guaranteed a closer look. Undoubtedly, you scribbled: “I do community service.” Like saying “please” and “thank you,” we were taught at a young age that volunteerism and community service are societal expectations and that there are many people less fortunate than we are. Recall the old dinner table admonition, “Finish your crust first, there are starving children in Africa.” But as successive generations of children have asked, what does one thing have to do with the other? A dual ambiguity troubles most notions of community service: What is community, after all? And if we can answer that, then what is service? There is merit to ladling soup for the hungry and donating cold-weather clothing, but the merit and the action do not correspond neatly. There’s something at work behind the mere

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lifestyle
POST-

Cooter Coterie
MM sexpert

n. sex between more than two parties; group sex
sex. A rainbow party is an event where people perform serial fellatio wearing different colored lipstick so everyone’s dick looks like a rocket pop by the end of the night. A daisy chain involves a line of partners each performing oral sex on the adjacent person. I recently learned about soggy waffle, a game that involves a bunch of dudes jerking off on a waffle and the last one to ejaculate has to eat it—or, if you’re closer to the Ratty than the V-Dub, you can sub a cookie for a waffle in a variation called “ookie cookie.” (P.S. Don’t do that.) At Brown, group sex more often takes the form of naked parties and consensual sex between groups of friends. I’ve been to enough parties at Brown—naked or otherwise–to know that it’s unfair to characterize any one kind of hookup as inherently safe, unsafe, comfortable, uncomfortable, hot, raw, or as nauseating as Kim Kardashian’s new fragrance line. Everyone’s sexual experience is different and valid. Everyone is entitled to feel emotionally and physically safe. But we all should try to expose ourselves to the least potential risk, especially with regard to things like sex parties. Orchestrated group sex often presents an opportunity for sexual partners to experiment beyond the bounds of monogamy while still consensually experiencing what might otherwise be a sexual transgression. But if you don’t want to see your girlfriend sucking another dude’s peen, don’t initiate a foursome. And if even a single participant (whether there are three or 33) feels unsafe, then everyone’s complicit in a sub-optimal experience. (Note, though, that complicity does not always equal responsibility.) Though sex with strangers is always a little bit of a crap shoot, sex with friends can be just as scary. Ultimately, by entering into a sex act with your BFFs (whether you’re touching, sucking, thrusting, or just looking), you risk causing strain or damage to preexisting relationships. However, such experiences also have the potential to bring people closer together, to afford pleasure, and to engender new levels of intimacy. Group sex can be the hottest thing ever (think: twelve tongues on you at once), but with every participant comes another set of emotions, preferences, fetishes, and risks. Some of the women present at an orgy may be on the pill; some may have herpes; others may never have seen another boob before, ever. There’s a lot going on in a roomful of nude bods. Then again, for some people, the pressure lessens as the group grows. It’s not just you and the person you’re pressed against–there exists a new, more social element. The category of group sex is as big and amorphous as Priapus’ dick. As always, I recommend acting with respect, empathy, and, if not sobriety, then at least a little prudence. Don’t enter into a situation that poses a potential threat to your emotions or the relationships you value. That said, there’s no better way to get comfortable with your bod than by showing it off to people who will appreciate it. And love it. And praise it. And touch it.

Right between “Gonzo” and “Hairy” on XTube’s categories of pornographic videos, there’s “Group Sex.” It’s a vague term, as it can comprise of participants of any gender, orientation, race, or age, doing any of an infinite number of sex acts. Unlike most fetish porn, group sex porn is by nature inclusive–each scene’s possibilities equal to the permutations of all members’ interests, experiences, and desires. I’m going to go ahead and say that group sex is the most postmodern kind of porn. Part of the appeal of group sex is that you can watch sex happening while you’re engaging in it. And when you’re spanking it to group sex viddies, you’re watching people watch people having sex. And everybody’s getting off. I think of the orgy scene in Borat every time I think of group sex. But the term doesn’t just refer to swingers at sex parties or orgiastic pornstars; group sex can look like a threesome, a foursome, double-penetration, a gangbang, a circle jerk. Bunga-bunga is the technical term for underwater group

etiquette advice for the socially awkward and their victims

Emily Post-

Dear Emily, I met my girlfriend during orientation. Our eyes locked at the ice cream social, and for a brief, Elysian moment, we were the “it” couple of the freshman class. But our blossoming romance has been uprooted; she found an older man and dumped me. I am not writing to inquire what Brad of the class of 2014.5 has that I do not (chest hair and a single, she kindly informed me). I am writing because of the ignominious behavior of her friends, shallow shedevils who shared mozzarella sticks with me at Jo’s, only to go home and “like” the end of my relationship on Facebook. Surely the empress of etiquette has some censorious words for them? --Dumped and Diss-Liked

Empress? Ah, you flatter me. I have not even a principality to my name, just a simple scriptorium where Otto, my personal monk, transcribes and illuminates my e-mail correspondence. I find that a bit of calligraphy and gold leaf goes a long way toward civilizing this barbaric age. Speaking of barbarism—I shudder at your story. What business had you making a relationship of less than a month’s duration Facebook-official? An Emily Post- rule of thumb: If your relationship has not outlived a carton of milk, do not consummate it technologically. Other interests, and invest in a scriptorium. forms of consummation I leave entirely

to your discretion. Preliminaries aside, I must admit that these “she-devils” comported themselves quite poorly. It is a misfortune of our modern age that spite is so easily and publicly expressed. However, there is the slim possibility that their “like” of the situation is due to their excitement that you are newly single. I suggest that you choose to believe this interpretation and embrace your status as a hot commodity on the relationship market, rather than fretting over Facebook pettiness. It’s a harsh world out there, DDL. You will be unceremoniously dumped, and your friends will decline to exchange handwritten missives via carrier pigeon. Yet, you must strive to remain above the fray. Behave as if you are unmoved by these small dramas, even if you then must lock yourself in your room and listen to “Everybody Hurts” on repeat. (Actually, turn that off, and turn on “Sono andati?” from La Bohème. Now that’s music to weep to.) What was I saying? Ah, yes—above the fray. Do not lower yourself to monitoring Facebook for reactions to your break-up, or presenting a friend with a mated pair of carrier pigeons for her birthday when you know that she wanted a Sèvres tea service. Bitches will be bitches, and philistines will write e-mails. Distract yourself by Facebook-stalking potential love

fiends of flirting
Dear Dorian, I am a flirtatious person. I enjoy making people laugh, and, for me, that often involves jokes that rely on sexual undertones. How do I go about maintaining my friendly way of interacting with people while avoiding leading them on and being seen as someone who gets around? —Forever Translation Dear FLIRT, There are many benefits to being a flirty person: you make friends quickly, you’re accepted into many social groups, and people always seem to be smiling at you. But, at the same time, this leaves you constantly beating off the poor scoundrels who fall head over heels for your winning charm. It sounds like you are quite an endearing person—are you by any chance single? Back to these people you may be leading on: do you notice that they sometimes seem to flip a switch and get awkward around you? Perhaps they become very forward and ask you outright to be in a relationship, or maybe they seem suddenly putoff by your flirtatious nature. In any case, it’s important to recognize the signs of pushing through the waferLost in Romantic thin boundaries of the friend-zone and wandering off into the boundless unknown of people’s sexual fantasies. Did I mention how enticing your friendly nature is? I bet you have a wonderful smile ... I can almost picture it. Oh yes, well. About those boundaries. Learn how to recognize when you may have accidentally crossed the line with someone. If you don’t, you run the risk that their confused emotions will fester within them until they heighten to such intensity that they cannot be contained and erupt! Then they are left with no choice but to give in to their most carnal instincts... Oh, my–wasn’t that exciting! I feel like this is going somewhere ... Are you free for dinner this evening? Ahem. Most importantly, keep in mind that this is who you are, and you should never feel the need to change in order to fit in. Just be aware of how other people react to your flirtatious behavior. As long as your actions are within reasonable limits, it’s their own fault if they’re obsessed with you. Excellent! I will see you at nine, you mischievous minx! Your Friendly Neighborhood Stag, Dorian