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Carl PDFs Fall 2010 by carlmagazine
November 11, 2010, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

November 5, 2010

October 22, 2010

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Art, Hatred, and Reconciliation by carlmagazine
November 3, 2010, 10:29 pm
Filed under: Music, Society

by Charlie Rosenthal

When we interact with art, are we supporting the values it espouses? By consuming the art, do we, by default, approve of the viewpoints contained within it? Am I encouraging homophobia when I listen to Nas, who once rapped about “Gay-Z” and “Cock-a-fella Records”? How about misogyny, when I hear Killer Mike espouse the virtues of women who “gobble up j**m like school lunches”? Or, even, domestic violence when I listen to the Smiths and Morrissey moans about “smashing every tooth” in his girlfriend’s head, right before claiming that he’s persecuted and feels like Joan of Arc?

My completely selfish instinct—after all, I like Nas, Killer Mike, and the Smiths a lot—is to not alter my behavior at all. If it doesn’t bother me, why should I make my life worse? I imagine I’d be a slightly less happy person if Led Zeppelin I were no longer in my iTunes library, but that doesn’t change the fact that the members of Zep basically spent most of their career doing depraved stuff to women, like penetrating them with mudsharks. Does the artistic value of what they created—the ferocious apocalyptic moan of “When the Levees Broke” or the slow burning blues of “Dazed and Confused”—outweigh the raging cock rock of “The Wanton Song”? Yes and no. Yes, because artistic and literary value is enough to redeem something, at least in the eyes of the law. No, because, even if the work is not obscene, it can still espouse views that are offensive, untenable, or otherwise unsavory.

However, is listening to a misogynist like Mick Jagger or a homophobe like Cam’ron any different than listening to fringe neo-Nazi nuts like Skrewdriver or Prussian Blue? On some level, yes. Mick Jagger and Cam’ron are, above all else, popular. They’ve gone platinum. Skrewdriver and Prussian Blue are probably praying to go gold. However, that sort of thinking just gives Killa Cam the bully pulpit to scream “no homo” while clad in head to toe pink fur. We can’t let popularity get in the way of principles. Popular acts should, thus, be more responsible to the masses. We do get that, to some extent. If a song is on terrestrial radio during the day, it’s likely to be free of overtly offensive views, thanks to the FCC. You just won’t catch Taio Cruz espousing the same views that hard heads like Boot Camp Clik would.

I’d wager that a vast majority of Americans who enjoy the genre of music that Skrewdriver plays, i.e., punk rock, refuse to listen to the band entirely on basis of their political views, as opposed to any real or perceived lack of talent. For all I know, Skrewdriver plays exactly the sort of punk rock I enjoy. I just refuse to listen to them because I find their political views to be personally offensive. This leads me to believe that I’ve created a double standard for myself. I’m perfectly okay with Biggie “[smacking] the b***h in the face,” but not with Prussian Blue’s twin Aryans singing about killing Jews. Is it because I know that I’m not going to go and smack women around? Is it because the anti-Semitic blather hits just a bit too close to home? In both cases, yes. All of that aside, I think the real difference lies in intention. Prussian Blue makes hate music. In each and every song, they’re out to let everyone know about the superiority of whites, whereas Biggie doesn’t appear to be intending to convince anyone to hit women. He’s just telling it how he sees it. However, this does not let Big off the hook at all. He’s still responsible for whatever terrible things he advocates.

Many, many critics have attacked rappers for “glamorizing” the gangster life style. While I write this article from the comfortable perspective of a white, privileged, liberal arts college student who will not have to rely on “sellin’ crack rock or [having] a wicked jump shot” to succeed in the world, I can still say that there is a certain glamorizing inherent in not only rap, but most popular music. What could be cooler than doing many shots of Patron with Trey Songz before going back to his crib, except, maybe, selling several kilos of the purest Peruvian white with Rick Ross and then riding around in his Maybach, chilling with DJ Khaled? There’s no way to guarantee that musicians do not portray their lives as rich and famous people as fun and cool. Of course, people could realize that dealing drugs isn’t a good life style and musicians could realize that it’s pretty reprehensible to peddle such propaganda, but that’s just not going to happen.

In the end, there isn’t a singular answer to the question of how we are to react to music that espouses views that we, ourselves, do not hold. We could boycott the music or we could ignore it. It’s up to each person to come up with his or her own answer. I, personally, choose to believe this, which is, in my mind, a massive cop-out: I’ll continue to listen to whatever objectionable music I want, while, subtly, criticizing it for the outlooks that I don’t hold, resting sure in my own ability to not let Morrissey’s sexism, Nas’ homophobia, and Killer Mike’s misogyny pollute my thinking, all while enjoying the music as much as possible.

 



A House for Everyone, and Me by carlmagazine
October 30, 2010, 9:38 pm
Filed under: Campus, Feature | Tags: , , ,

By Emily Ban

I was drawn to the idea of living in Dacie’s because of the open-door spirit and the warmth of community that surrounds the house. Admittedly, part of the draw was that I could be paid to bake, something I always spent a whole lot of time doing anyway. My roommate (Emily Winer) and I wanted to help maintain the wonderful tradition of “grandma Dacie’s” while somehow incorporating ourselves into the house. While living here this summer, we started hosting themed Wednesday night dessert parties that were open to the Northfield community and we were amazed at how many people came each week! My personal favorite event which we threw together was the “1950’s Dessert Party” where we served banana cream pie, angel food cake, and about a hundred whoopee pies. Ultimately, I think I chose to live here because I wanted to live in a home and encourage other students to make Dacie’s a home too.

Living here has been a wonderful experience so far although it is a very different experience living and working here in the summer and during the school year. Granted, it is a rather unique living environment for a student, I sometimes feel as if I’m an RA for the entire community because it seems as though almost all of Carleton passes through my house. While it can be very frustrating to know that sometimes students take ingredients for their own use or borrow pots and forget to return them, living here has generally given me more faith in people. Truly, this house would not exist if there wasn’t such a large group of students who not just use the house respectfully but genuinely care about it as a beloved part of the Carleton community.
I’m always so happy to see students using the kitchen to bake and bond with their floormates over improvised recipes. I also love having the acapella groups here, I’m a very big Knights fan so I feel pretty lucky to get to listen to them practice as I work. I’m also very excited about our new floors and carpet (everyone should come by and see!) and I’m even more excited that the whole carpet installation process is over! It’s always slightly anxiety-provoking to change the house in any way because there are a lot of community members and alums who want the house to remain exactly as it was when Dacie lived here.

I personally think Dacie would love our new floors and would be happy that the carpets were so thoroughly used by adoring students that they had to be replaced at all. From what I know about her, I think that she would be very pleased that her house is still a home for so many Carleton students and for me.



The Strength of Generosity: An Interview with Julia Uleberg by carlmagazine
October 29, 2010, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Campus, Feature | Tags: , ,

By Yuvika Diwan

Comfy couches. Haunting smells of freshly baked cookies. Tinkling music in the background. And now, crunchy carpets. As I stepped into Dacie Moses House, one sunny afternoon, I was greeted by a confused dog who came out of the kitchen to the living room, now decked up with a lavish blue carpeted floor. I walked to the kitchen, and as I had expected, there were cookies waiting for suddenly-hungry-stomachs, and I grabbed one (while thinking if I should grab another, and moving away before I could), and walked down from the kitchen into the little garden at the back of the house. There I met Julia, the coordinator of Dacie Moses House, cutting vegetables on the hammock, and then moving blocks of firewood, leftover from a bonfire that was used in one of the Sunday brunches.

Julia first came to the House, 22 years ago, many years after Dacie’s death. What brought her to live in this 100 year old house within the boundaries of a student campus? She was attracted to the ‘community idea’ of living in Dacies, and how a history had to be preserved within its confines. Dacie, when she was alive, was an ordinary resident in Northfield, who opened her house for students, feeding them with the best that her cooking skills could create. After her retirement, she is believed to have used her pension money to maintain the same relationship with students as long as she could. In return, students volunteered to run her errands, paid her grocery bills, and later when she was unable to bake on her own, baked for her and other students, continuing this tradition. And this tradition amazingly continues to exist. Julia calls it ‘the spirit and strength of generosity’ that Dacie has left behind. According to Julia, with Dacie’s death the ownership of the house passed on into the hands of students. Student ownership is now kept alive by her and the student workers and through continuously organized events in the house. It is an open house, which means any student can come in and make use of its services. This is one aspect that particularly appeals to me about coming and hanging out in Dacies. Even as I looked all around me, while talking to Julia, I noticed a left over cup of water, a forgotten baseball glove, an opened sheet of music and cushions that looked sat down on. The house is happily lived in by so many people, and when they walk out from the front door, they leave some imprints behind. This is a house bundled with layers of memories. Nothing lasts forever, and the house has become more and more fragile with the amount of traffic and usage that it undergoes every term. There have been many occasions when the existence of the house has been threatened by people who feel that it could be much better used. But the student energy has brought life and energy to this house and so it has stayed. There is still a lot of concern for it, not just among the alumni, but also current Carleton students, who never knew Dacie in person. Referring to the replacement of 20 year old carpets, she says,’We are just dressin’ the old gal.’

Before I left Julia and Dacies, I reminded myself to grab another cookie.



A Willow is Planted, a Star is Born: Introducing Willow Smith by carlmagazine
October 27, 2010, 5:31 pm
Filed under: Music | Tags: ,

By Rachel Feinberg

Recently, Justin Beiber has dominated the airwaves with his prepubescent but catchy tunes.  King Beibz better watch out, because there is a new girl on the block: Willow Smith. Willow Smith, the nine-year-old daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, just burst onto the music scene with the catchy, upbeat jam, “Whip My Hair.” The song combines a fast, percussion-heavy dance beat with Rihanna-esque vocals. The lyrics are pretty simple. 80% of them are the repetition of the phrase “I whip my hair back and forth.” The rest of the lyrics are about confidence and women and girls feeling empowered. “Ladies if you feel me/Do it to whip your hair/Don’t matter if its long or short/Do it to whip your hair.”

With the catchy song comes a fun video. It opens with a whimsical scene of Willow entering a dull silent classroom where the walls and furniture are all a sterile white. Soon she brings it to life and into color by playing her music and whipping her hair dipped into bright colored paints. The later scenes show Willow and other students dancing in other parts of the school. Her fashions in this video channel similar looks to Janelle Monae or the aforementioned Rihanna with intricate hairdos, a face bedazzled with diamonds and trendy, futuristic outfits.

As the daughter of two of America’s biggest stars, there is no question that nepotism played a role in her rise. She was featured in her father’s blockbuster, I Am Legend, as well as Kit Kittredge: An American Girl. She was also signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label.  It is easy to draw a comparison to Miley Cyrus (pre-Vanity Fair photoshoot) when looking at Willow. They both have famous fathers and as youngsters entered careers on screen and in music, garnering fans from their tween base and beyond. Perhaps Willow’s career will go in a different direction than Miley as her sound is a little less poppy. Even Nicki Minaj released a rap over “I Whip My Hair.”

The future of young Willow Smith seems bright for now with tons of attention in the media, the blogosphere, and even a tribute video from Jersey Shore’s Snooki. I wish the best of luck to Willow; as she embarks on her career as she brings to the airwaves prepubescent sugarcoating combined with a spicy twist of swagger.



The Sounds of Violence: 10 Scary (and Possibly Spooky) Songs by carlmagazine
October 23, 2010, 8:24 am
Filed under: Music | Tags: , , ,

by Andreas Stoehr

Want to put together the ultimate Halloween playlist? Well, we at The Carl have got you covered! And you have just enough time before the big night to, uh, purchase these songs through perfectly legitimate means. Or something. So give your dorm that macabre atmosphere with these classics of scaaaaary music…

10. “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” by Bauhaus

Back when “goth” meant something more than a high school fashion statement, Bauhaus released this tribute to vampiric icon Lugosi, who shuffled off this mortal coil in 1956. Long and atmospheric, the song was featured in the opening scene of The Hunger (1983), where it helped establish mood better most of the noisy, confusingly edited scenes to follow. Its eerie simplicity set an example that director Tony Scott would’ve been wise to follow. Sample lyrics: “The virginal brides file past his tomb / Strewn with time’s dead flowers…”

9. “Pet Sematary” by The Ramones

Written for Mary Lambert’s 1987 film of the same name, it was the song that finally brought together punk rock and Stephen King. In their typically repetitive fashion, The Ramones beg not to be interred in the titular burying ground. The band had a history with the horror genre – see the Freaks references in “Pinhead” – so they were a pretty natural fit for this material. But once you’ve heard the Ramones’ rendition, you should listen to the even creepier cover by the Swedish band The Tiny. Sample lyrics: “And the night, when the moon is bright, / Someone cries, something ain’t right…”

8. “Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson could be a pretty creepy guy, and I’m not talking about his appearance or personal life. I’m referring to his frequent use of monsters and the supernatural in his music. (See also: the multimedia extravaganza Ghosts.) And with the assistance of John Landis and a rapping Vincent Price, “Thriller” is not only one of the best scary songs; it’s also a truly great horror movie. Werewolves and zombies and meta-commentary, oh my! Sample lyrics: “It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking in the dark…”

7. “Transylvanian Concubine” by Rasputina

Much of Rasputina’s music reveals a morbid sensibility at work (see also “Christian Soldiers“), and frontwoman Melora Creager sure has a knack for blending idiosyncratic humor, wordplay, and gruesome imagery. In this song from their album Thanks for the Ether, she invites the listener to a vampiric community of sexual abandon. The song also introduced Rasputina to the wider world through its appearance on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sample lyrics: “You can never be too rich or too / Thin. The blood has run out…”

6. “In Heaven” by Peter Ivers

In Blue Velvet and Mulholland Dr., David Lynch gave disturbing implications to Roy Orbison (“In Dreams,” “Llorando”) and Bobby Vinton (“Blue Velvet,” duh), but Eraserhead‘s “In Heaven” is probably the most aggressively surreal use of music in the whole Lynch canon. From the gurgling ambient noise in the background to Ivers’ twangy delivery and the shaky organ accompaniment, every aspect of the song contributes to the deranged vision of “heaven” that Eraserhead’s hero Henry pines for. Sample lyrics: “In heaven, everything is fine / In heaven, everything is fine…

5. “Gloomy Sunday” by anyone

Rezső Seress’s infamously depressing song carries decades’ worth of depressing rumors, including ones about its composer’s own suicide. But that hasn’t stopped generations of musicians from covering it! Some of the best include Billie Holiday, Artie Shaw, Lydia Lunch, Portishead, and Sinéad O’Connor, each of whom gives it a unique (and always depressing) spin. It’s not called the Hungarian suicide song for nothing. Sample lyrics: “My heart and I / Have decided to end it all.”

4. “Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield

Maybe this wouldn’t be considered “scary” if it hadn’t been used in The Exorcist. But hey, it was, and now it’s impossible to hear those bells a-ringing without conjuring up thoughts of danger, darkness, and Pazuzu. They just sound so redolent of both the 1970s and the unexplained. This also makes great mood music for frightening trick-or-treaters.

3. “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” by Krzysztof Penderecki

I don’t know nearly enough about musical technique to say why “Threnody” is so chilling, but its feral, anarchic sound – and the use of Penderecki’s other music in movies like The Shining and Shutter Island – confirm its status as scary music. Blame pop culture for putting this commemoration of a national tragedy into such vulgar contexts, but it’s now impossible to hear it now without thinking of long, narrow hallways and something lurking around the corner.

2. “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

One of the best songs from Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, it’s a paean to everything good and scary about the season, from “the one hiding under your bed” to “the clown with the tear-away face.” It’s also informed by the subtle undertones of poignancy, regret, and tradition that fill Nightmare. The whole segment is a triumph of beautifully grotesque animation meeting catchy songwriting – and it’s only the first of the film’s many musical treats. Others include “Sally’s Song” and “Oogie Boogie’s Song,” or you can try Marilyn Manson’s not-for-all-tastes rendition of “This Is Halloween.” Sample lyrics: “Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright /It’s our town, everybody scream…”

1. “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett

Pickett’s one-hit wonder is really the beginning and the end of popular Halloween-themed music. It’s harmlessly tongue-in-cheek, but contains a deep and infectious reverence for the Universal horror films of the 1930s. Incorporating Karloff, Lugosi, and the rest into the musical fads of early ’60s, the “Monster Mash” is a reflection of just how ingrained in American pop culture these monsters were. It’s also the quintessential song for radio airplay on October 31 – and the same should go for your iTunes! Sample lyrics: “The scene was rockin’, all were digging the sounds / Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds…”



by carlmagazine
October 22, 2010, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Josiah Burns


So The Social Network is a really good movie. For all you creeps
out there, that’s my current Facebook status. I’ve been to the theater
three times this year (also for Inception and Winter’s Bone), and
Fincher’s latest is easily my favorite. It’s not just about Facebook or
its creator, but also the people he screwed over. The narrative flows
more like The Godfather than a minifeed, jumping between betrayals
within a misogynistic empire of greed.

On paper, it doesn’t sound that fun to watch Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse
Eisenberg) be a dick for two hours. On celluloid, Eisenberg’s so good
it’s a blast. Acerbic stares and veiled scoffs abound as Zuckerberg
outsmarts Harvard, the law, and the Internet itself. He’s a viciously
lovable devil, always ten steps ahead of his audience. Aaron Sorkin (A
Few Good Men, The West Wing) reasserts his reputation as one of
Hollywood’s sharpest screenwriters, alternating between hyper-quick
dialogues and dizzying coding sequences. Against Trent Reznor’s
pulsating score, Fincher sculpts extended music videos. Who knew that
programming FaceMash (a proto-Facebook) could be the subject of the
year’s most virtuosic montage? He’s also not afraid to employ daring
aesthetic techniques to cover important scenes. For example, Fincher
covers the film’s crucial crew race in tilt-shift cinematography, highly
abstracting backgrounds in order to intensify subjectivity.

I think The Social Network is David Fincher’s best film. I’m a
sucker for epic romances, but Eric Roth’s frame narrative in The Curious
Case of Benjamin Button is too clumsy. Here, Sorkin and Fincher
seamlessly weave past and present, overlapping sound cues and repeating
set-ups to create fluid transitions. The Social Network tells an honest,
universal story of ambition, corruption, and its humble origins. In
comparison, Fight Club seems sexist and culturally irrelevant. Zodiac,
while itself something of a masterpiece, runs a reel too long. The
Social Network doesn’t have a single extraneous moment. Each shot
advances the narrative; each character shows a different side of
humanity. Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake match Eisenberg’s manic
intensity, charging the film with nonstop energy. These are three of
many technicians within a greater artistic hierarchy. Fincher’s
storytelling empire (itself a network of actors, crew members, and
rotoscopers) is a well-oiled machine, one of Hollywood’s best.