Hurricane Sandy wasn’t too hard on us here in Cambridge: minimal flooding, no power loss, and, of course, no classes. But in some of the areas that were more severely affected, people had to seriously consider what was essential to their lives and what was frivolous. People in areas where power was lost went into a strange, quasi-hibernation mode.
For Halloween, my thesis dressed up as a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts (and the Prudential Center for a spot of shopping). It was a great costume. It utterly fooled me into spending the afternoon after the museum visit working on my thesis. And I actually had fun. I actually wanted to be in the library. As a devout “idle-ist” I rarely set foot in Lamont because it fairly reeks of productivity. The harsh lighting, still air, and somewhat tense silence stifle all hope of doing no work.
While I was in Princeton, a friend took me to see Flying Lotus play at Terminal 5 in New York City. While Flying Lotus is by no means obscure among electronic music listeners, he is not a household name, certainly not for my octogenarian grandparents. “What kind of music does he play?” they asked, earnestly. And that’s just the problem. He doesn’t play anything. “He’s sort of electro-hip-hop,” I floundered, their blank expressions indicating how little that phrase meant to them.
I attempted to turn on my computer. Surely this won’t work, I thought. The power must be off on the weekend. But sure enough, my impersonal windows desktop flickered into view, along with several emails from my various bosses, sent earlier that day. They’re all aliens, I concluded.
Attempts to establish common ground and teach basic writing skills by forcing students to read about hopelessly contrived topics in courses like “Cross-Cultural Contact Zones” are bound to fail. It would make far more sense to make all students read a canonical author or text and use that as a basis for instruction in discursive writing. Aside from leveling the playing field by providing common material for all students, this might actually lend the course a feeling of purpose.
Self-portraiture is a funny thing. You have to try to be objective about a subject you cannot possibly be disimpassioned about—your very own person. Freud grasped this when he said, “The way you paint yourself, you’ve got to try and paint yourself as another person.” But it is impossible to paint yourself as another person. Facebook is a kind of digital canvas for self-portraiture, and who can claim that their Facebook pages are utterly unbiased self-portraits?
Last week The Crimson ran a story that must have plunged a certain subset of the artsy elite into a tailspin. The article detailed potential plans to implement a university-wide smoking ban that would prohibit smoking on any part of Harvard’s campus. Difficulty of enforcement aside, one cannot help but feel that this policy deliberately targets a certain type of Harvard student for whom the decision to smoke is—much like wearing thick-framed glasses—a fundamental expression of artsiness.
The veiled disdain artistic people once had for those who chose more lucrative paths has been replaced by hostility. As a junior in the thick of the summer job search frenzy, I am acutely aware of the contempt the self-appointed “artsy elite” have for those seeking lucrative internships. I have heard the terms “soul-seller,” “sell-out,” and several which The Crimson could not print applied to people aiming at more conventionally remunerative careers.
I was walking from the direction of Annenberg through the Yard one nippy evening during finals period when a security guard asked me, “What’s with everyone wearing these big glasses?” My reaction, admittedly, was rather severe, but I couldn’t help it. I was incensed. “Sorry that I’m minus 5.5 in one eye and have thick frames,” I snapped.
Presented haphazardly and in non-chronological order, Nina’s memories, from her first meeting with Philip at a Paris café to their life together in Somerville, Mass., reveal many secrets but provide no clarity.
While this album does not by any means play it safe, it doesn’t quite meet the expectations entertained by its brazen title. Devotees of the group’s sound will find much to praise in “Suck it and See,” except perhaps an adequate dose of daring.