The Carl Online


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.

 

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Don’t Have A Halloween Costume? Have Faith by carlmagazine
October 20, 2010, 8:18 pm
Filed under: Society | Tags: , ,

By Dan Antoszyk

Halloween is fast approaching; do you know what you want to be? Well, let’s brainstorm. What kind of creature is full of deceit, envy, and maliciousness? What type of beast gives birth to babies that are inherently evil? What is that one being that purposely betrayed the creative force of love? You. Why not just be a sinner for Halloween? You won’t even have to dress up.

Unashamed is the campus publication that deals with all matters related to “faith,” and this October’s issue focused on the concepts of good and evil and how they relate to human nature. This topic turned out to be perfectly themed for the holiday at the end of the month, as some of the submissions turned out to be downright spooky. While not every piece was in this vein, there was one especially forceful section that argued for a worldview in which we recognize that all people are born evil. The article and the magazine itself are meant to provoke discussion, and I have been sufficiently provoked.

First, the author lays out the argument from the good Old Testament. Adam and Eve betrayed God, and our lives now “reflect the lack of trust” that began with this original sin. While God may have created us to be good, “we have chosen to turn away from Him,” abusing the free will with which He, “in His love,” endowed upon us. Luckily, Jesus was sent down to die for us all on the cross. By making Jesus “king of our lives,” we may yet be able to avoid “the punishment of eternal death” which God must mete out onto those who stray too far. This is all very well, but it is also internally inconsistent. If God were omnipotent, why would He (She/It) create people that He knew He would have to punish? What’s the use of free will without knowledge in the first place? Was it only Adam and Eve who really had free will, deciding for everybody else that we would be born sinners? I wasn’t even aware that in my “heart and life” I had chosen to “forsake God,” and I’m not quite ready to call this ‘an accurate explanation of my own human nature.

The author then tells us that there are “many instances ” that illustrate how “human nature is tainted with sin.”  To prove this point the reader is asked to closely observe a baby. Babies do not need to be taught to cry when hungry or when their diaper is soiled. This is proof that little children are predisposed to put themselves before everybody else; thy are selfish, and selfishness is the root of evil. “What is the middle letter of sin?” asks the author. “I.”

Well, perhaps babies can seem a bit scary when one gets to thinking about them, and maybe they do seem to only care about themselves. Yet, what would you expect a baby to do? Politely inquire for some peeled grapes? Sit quiet0ly in a dirty pamper and ponder how to do good deeds? Suppose babies (and grownups for that matter) do put themselves before others. Is that really a bad thing? I think we might recognize that by caring about others we also help ourselves, and this is totally ok. I would contend that when people try to follow God and avoid eternal punishment, they are engaging in a self-serving action. So what? They may be doing wonderful things for the world. At the same time, this does not mean that humans can’t engage in selfless action. There are plenty of cases in which one person, before there is even time to think of the consequences, will put him or herself in harm’s way just to help another.

It sometimes seems like volume 4 issue 1 of Unashamed had the message of “be ashamed.” Yes, we can look back to Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening of the mid 16th century to see that this idea has always played a role in our society. For the most part there has since been an evolution to the point where today, there are not many who think it necessary to actually live in fear. At the same time, accepting human nature as sinful has helped many people live their lives, and it continues to do so now. So, if you wish to be a sinner for Halloween, by all means go ahead.   However, I would like to add that really, you don’t have to.



Let’s Get It On Campus by carlmagazine
October 19, 2010, 6:23 pm
Filed under: Campus, Society | Tags: , , ,

By J. Woodcock Strong

It’s true that Carleton students love to scale campus buildings, it’s also true that Carleton students like to scale the heights of sensual passion in campus buildings (and other non-dorm room locations).  Here’s a little guide to some of the cozy, crazy, and kind of bizarre spots.

EAST CAMPUS

1. The Arb: For a rustically good time hit up Cowling Arboretum.  Those who frequent the Arb for a good time say it’s “real nice with a blanket and a couple bottles of wine.”

2. Evans: The Evans lounge may seem sketchy but it provides ample space and couches. It’s easily accessible after a Cave dance or an Evans Dining Hall dance, or even just an MSR and Ron Diaz addled night in an E Column quad.

3. Cowling Recreation Center: For a steamy time both literally and figuratively; the Cowling Gym saunas are a sure thing. One must be very careful because Professors, students and Northfield citizens enjoy using the pool and sauna so either try and stay quiet or find a way to break in. I bet it’s been done.

4. Watson: There are a lot of choices for getting busy in Watson.
a.  Basement Kitchen: A good drunken spot is the basement Watson kitchen. No one ever goes there so privacy is practically guaranteed.     Unfortunately, there is no seating/laying apparatus other than the floor, so perhaps this locale is better saved for those drunkest of nights.
b. Laundry Room: Between the tables, and machines, and clothes for extra softness the laundry room services as a unique but cozy spot… as long as it’s a time when no one wants to wash their clothes.

CENTRAL CAMPUS

5. The Concert Hall: The practice rooms can serve as a nice spot with piano benches and soft carpets. Perhaps, start off with some serenading and foreplay. The Concert Hall itself has nice acoustics so it’s pretty awesome for loud sex.

11. Boliou: Boliou 104 might have the worst desks in terms of comfort and note-taking ease, however, the big screen has big appeal. Whether you’re into The Notebook or  8th Street Latinas, setting up the projector is a great way to set the mood.  Maybe if you don’t make it all the way in Boliou, it could serve as a stop on the way to the Arb, the first on this sexual tour of Carleton.

WEST CAMPUS

6. Scoville Hall: Go down to lower Scoville, to the GSC lounge, if you want a good time. Let the Gender and Sexuality Center be your Sexuality Center and enjoy the comfy couches and basement seclusion.

7. Dacie Moses: Everyone knows chocolate is an aphrodisiac and there’s usually plenty of it at Dacie Moses.  Enjoy lots of sweets and the comfy couches. Keep the lights low unless you like to feel like you’re banging at your grandma’s house.

8. Musser: The first Musser study room (the weird room on the left with minimal windows and no TV) was the first random location I ever heard about someone having sex in at Carleton. It’s already pretty overheated; so I suppose encounters in this spot are steamy from the get go. The generally sketchy room, popular for post-1AM homework, is filled with lots of couches, chairs and tables. This diversity in furniture can make for wild times in a rather plain room.

9. Laird Stadium: While the benches may be hard and cold, the Stadium is certainly a dramatic place for a love and/or lust filled night. The elevation leaves you closer to a beautiful blanket of stars – a great way to set the mood, unless there are late night lap runners.

10. Willis: The Economics Lounge to the left of the front stairs is super old school and beautiful. It has nice couches and chairs. It’s the perfect place to let a discussion about Keynes turn to one about Kinsey.



Flow Job: Diving in for Seconds? by carlmagazine
October 17, 2010, 6:27 pm
Filed under: Campus, Society

BY MADELINE MUZZI AND GALEN GORSKI

Friends, we at The Carl understand your need to hook up. Sometimes randomly, sometimes obsessively… Who are we to judge? The problem is what comes next. After sharing a passionate moment with a possibly special someone, the best course of action can be unclear, and we would like to help. Another hook up or was once enough? Cut out the following flow chart. Stick it to your mini fridge. It is specifically designed for college students and guaranteed to guide you through any post-hook up scenario possible. All decisions are based on a thorough analysis of  context and the twelve principals of successful hook ups. The dashed lines are NO and the solid lines are YES. Good luck.



Tales from the Great Northfield Flood Part 1; Keeping the Waters at Bay by carlmagazine
October 8, 2010, 9:33 am
Filed under: Campus, Northfield, Society

An Interview with Kirk Campbell, Director of Maintenance and Custodial Services

By Lily Shieber

I got my rain boots wet, I even helped sandbag the Cannon, but amidst all this talk of the flood, I thought it would be interesting to hear from someone who was—and still is—in the thick of cleaning up the mess here on campus. Earlier this week, I sat down with Kirk Campbell, the Director of Maintenance and Custodial Services (and might I add, an extremely nice man), who, just about two weeks ago, was waist deep in the murky, black water in West Gym. For Mr. Campbell, that fateful Friday, September 24th, began with a phone call at 4 A.M., alerting him that the water alarms—yes, those exist—were going off. What followed was an all too typical plot of man versus nature, and nature was off to a roaring start. The attempts to keep the Cannon River water away from the stadium and West Gym with pumps and sand berms quickly turned into a lost cause, and as Mr. Campbell said, you have to know when to abandon ship. From then on, the available resources and manpower went towards keeping the water away from the electrical source that controls half of our campus. Power was shut down in the stadium, West Gym, and the nearby houses; yes, sacrifices were made, but it could have been much worse. For most of us, the immediate effects of the flood are mostly over, if not totally old news. For Kirk Campbell, the work has only just begun.

To understand Mr. Campbell’s most daunting challenge these days, you have to understand one word: plenum. Don’t know what that means? Neither did I. I now know that a plenum is a pipe that pumps air around a building. All plenums have insulation—insulation that cannot get wet. And can you guess what happened to the plenums in West Gym? Yup, those suckers got soaked. Unfortunately, the pipes in an older building like West have insulation on the interior, so each piece of plenum has to be removed and cleaned out, then replaced. Oh, and perhaps I should mention, as Mr. Campbell did with a smile, that some of these pipes are “big enough for you and me to walk through”. So before you complain about not being able to practice in West Gym, imagine ripping out pipes the size of an adult human, gutting them, fixing them up, and putting them back. Indeed, when I asked Mr. Campbell what we could do to help now that the flood has ended, he replied, “be patient!” Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Carleton can’t dry up in a week. Despite all the work that lies ahead, Mr. Campbell seems incredibly positive, and even willing to laugh at the ridiculousness of the situation—he mentioned how strange it was to have his staff split between crisis management on one side of the road, and setting up inaugural festivities on the other. I asked how he would describe his job these past few weeks: “It’s been nutty,” he said. Here’s hoping that Kirk Campbell’s workday will be back to normal soon enough.



Carleton Alumnus Speaks Tonight on Farmworker Issues by carlmagazine
October 5, 2010, 10:05 am
Filed under: Society
Tonight at 7PM there will be an event in the Athenaeum where two representatives of Bon Appetit will speak about the fieldwork they’ve done. One of them is Vera Chang (’09), cofounder of Food Truth.
You can read an article that Vera wrote about tomato farming here.
The workers are bent over, picking tomatoes, some of them so close to the ground they are practically kissing it. The farm workers pick quickly, their movements rapid and repetitive. These workers are truly like machines in the fields.


Houses RIP by carlmagazine
September 28, 2010, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Campus, Northfield, Society

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the death of two houses that once stood tall and strong on the Carleton College Campus.

REYNOLDS

Reynolds House, Carleton’s Jewish interest house of many years, was brutally knocked down this summer. It’s death did not come as a surprise to friends and family as  a variety of piping malfunctions left it closed for the majority of 2009-2010 school year. Reynolds will be remembered for its multi-faceted personality which ranged from spiritual to fun to absolutely ridiculous.

Campus rabbi, Shosh Dworsky remembers fondly the “certain coziness of that dark dingy living room.” The living room was the site of many a alumni Shabbat.  Rabbi Shosh says that it was “fun for me to see and hear them [alumni] as the memories came rushing back.” There are three classes still at Carleton who will recall Reynolds House memories every time that they see its’ empty plot on Union Street.

Will Taylor (’11) describes himself as a “part time resident” of Reynolds House during the 2008-09 school year, as he was a good friend of two of the house residents, Moshe Emilio Lavi (’11) and Iosif Sorokin (’11). Will often found himself passed out on the Reynolds couch. On Saturday mornings he usually woke up to what he describes as some of his most striking memories of the former Jewish home. Every week Iosif hosted 4th and 5th graders from Northfield for chess lessons, “surrounded by piles of MSR and bottles of wine- sheer destruction.” This moment epitomized the spirit of an interest house- an intersection between community outreach, (or what Jews would call tzedakah) and the happy go lucky wear and tear of collegiate festivities.

Iosif remembers when “…a bird flew in through the fireplace and Moses chased it around with a broom for about an hour until he finally knocked it into a box and then we moved it outside and released it.” Just as that bird was freed almost two years ago, it is time to let go of Reynolds House. It seems that the Jewish Students of Carleton (JSC) were ready for and accepting of change. “Though it certainly took my breath away the first time I drove by the empty lot,” Shosh says that, “I can’t say I shed any tears.”  Or as Moshe Lavi more bluntly put it, “I think it was a nasty and rotten house when it comes to the manner in which it was maintained. I want to say good riddance, but to be honest with you I could not care less.” Reynolds was reaching its end with pest issues and some spatial issues too. Perhaps some day something new will come into the space of Reynolds House, a place where all people and things from Jews, to MSR, to 8-year old chess players are welcome.

Watson House

Another home that was reduced to broken timber this summer was Watson House, once located near Watston Hall on Maple Street. Watson House served many purposes over it’s storied years. It was once WHOA House, a residential house and was also Knight House. Knight House existed for one school year, 2007-2008 and served as a school spirit house and a home to many of the Cheer Boys. Dash Cole (’10), a Knight House resident and part-time house manager, explains that, “residents were required to go to at least two sporting events per term, which was really not that much. The house was also supposed to be an open forum for anyone who wanted to talk about Carleton athletics, from varsity to club to intramural.”  Mary Bushman, a resident the year after Knight House, says, “it became a lot more boring in its post-Cheer Boys days,” though she did appreciate the frequent visits from Toff.

Much like Reynolds, Watson was in poor physical shape during its last couple years of existence. Dash remembers feeling rather nervous about the crumbling edifice, saying,“we had parties in the basement sometimes, and there were three pillars that were structural support for the house. One of them could be moved pretty easily, and wasn’t even still connected to the ceiling. The other two just looked really shaky. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it collapsed while we were living there.” Because of this, Dash believes it was a good thing that Watson House was knocked down, though he will always remember his times there fondly.