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Around 3 pm last Friday, the universe in our corner of the world shifted into shock, disbelief, and grief. As a resident of the neighborhood adjacent to the College, and as an alum, I am writing to let you know that we, your neighbors, felt this shift as well.
“There should be Oscars for porn!” This is a comment that I overheard this past weekend in response to the Oscars. Now, I know this comment was meant to be funny, but when you actually think about the abhorrent role the media plays in the lives of women, it’s not so funny anymore.
Never feel bad for how you feel. Everyone deals with these things differently. You’ll already be feeling a lot of challenging emotions: guilt doesn’t have to be one of them.
In its final tune up for the MIAC Championships, the Carleton College men’s track and field team competed at the Ole Open Qualifier, held across town at St. Olaf College.
The Carleton College women’s track team outdid itself yet again at the Ole Open. Another slew of school records fell on Friday night in what has become a weekly occurrence in the team’s remarkable season.
Patton McClelland ‘17 aided in a thrilling doubles win and then dethroned the reigning MIAC Player-of-the-Week in singles as the Carleton College men’s tennis team dispatched Bethel University by an 8-1 margin.
Zach McGowan, Carleton College Class of 2002, is a television actor from New York, NY. He recently landed a prominent role in Black Sails, a major STARZ production.
Humans of Carleton creator Thomas Hiura ‘17 says that if there were one question someone should ask to get to know him, it would be what his top ten favorite rap albums are.
On February 21st, 2014, Garrick Utley ‘61 passed away. For 30 years, Utley worked as a NBC foreign correspondent and news anchor.
Cans, trash, and a Zamboni tire flew from the audience to the ice, as Ole fans shouted “Carleton sucks” and Carl fans sang “screw ya ya” in mockery of the St. Olaf song lyric “um ya ya.”
Students, professors, staff, alumni and members of the Northfield community poured into Skinner Chapel Saturday to mourn the loss and celebrate the lives of James Adams ‘15, Michael Goodgame ‘15, and Paxton Harvieux ‘15, who died Friday in a car accident.
A record-breaking indoor season for the Carleton College women’s indoor track and field team continue this week as six members of the squad have the opportunity to compete at the NCAA Championships on March 14-15. This year’s national meet is being hosted by Nebraska Wesleyan.
The 86th Academy Awards were held on Sunday, March 2 and, as always, were filled with laughter and tears. Noteworthy moments included Jennifer Lawrence’s second Oscar-worthy fall, John Travolta’s butchering of Idina Menzel’s name, Benedict Cumberbatch’s U2 photobomb and Leonardo DiCaprio’s trek home Oscar-less… again.
The night also included some fantastic music, including performances by the nomninees for Best Original Song, an award that went to “Let It Go” from “Frozen,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and sung in a noteworthy performance by Idina Menzel. “Let It Go” beat out “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2,” “The Moon Song” from “Her” and “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”
My favorite category, however, was the award for best original film score. Before I begin discussing the nominees, I must confess that I have not seen any of the films in question. That said, I have listened to the soundtracks on the Internet and read as many articles as I could get my hands on about the composers and their scores. And the nominees are…
“The Book Thief”
Composed by John Williams
No stranger to the Oscars, John Williams has been nominated 49 times for his original scores, songs and adaptations. Williams won five Best Original Score awards for his work on “Schindler’s List,” “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial,” “Star Wars,” “Jaws” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” Williams also composed the scores for the first three Harry Potter movies, all four Indiana Jones films and “Lincoln.”
Composed by William Butler and Owen Pallett
Both Butler and Pallett are members of the band Arcade Fire, making the “Her” soundtrack a poignant example of a trend in which pop and rock musicians are entering the film score industry. While “Her” is their first collaborative full-length score, the band is not unfamiliar with making music for film. The group recorded “Abraham’s Daughter” to play over the credits in “The Hunger Games,” and band members Win Butler and Régine Chassagne also played a part in writing the Capitol’s anthem, “The Horn of Plenty,” in the film’s sequel “Catching Fire.”
Composed by Alexandre Desplat
While Alexandre Desplat has not yet taken home an Oscar, he has been nominated in five of the last six ceremonies. His work on “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The King’s Speech,” “Argo” and now “Philomena” has earned him exceptional praise from his peers. Desplat also composed scores for the final two Harry Potter films, “Moonrise Kingdom” (a quirky yet entertaining score that I highly recommend) and dozens of French films.
“Saving Mr. Banks”
Composed by Thomas Newman
Nominee for 12 Academy Awards and winner of none, Thomas Newman is the most nominated composer never to have actually taken home an Oscar – think of him as the Leonardo DiCaprio of composers. Despite his failure to actually win any awards, Newman’s name and music are quite well-known. He has composed scores for “Shawshank Redemption,” “American Beauty,” “Finding Nemo,” “Wall-E” and – my personal favorite – “Skyfall.” For those of you familiar with the music of these films, you know that means that Newman has a very broad range of ability. That said, his scores do all have one very important thing in common: passion.
… and the winner: “Gravity”
Composed by Steven Price
Relatively new to the composing game, Steven Price has made quite an early impression. As of now, Price only has three complete film scores out – for “Attack the Block,” “The World’s End” and “Gravity” – with plans to work on “Fury” and “Ant-Man” over the next two years. However, after this Oscar win he will no doubt be a highly-sought-after composer, drawing on experience he gained working as a programmer, arranger, performer and music editor on many prestigious scores including The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and “Batman Begins.”
At the Oscar concert on Feb. 27, Price noted that his score for “Gravity” is driven by Sandra Bullock’s character’s heartbeat.
The moral of the story, gleaned from these five composers’ stories, is four-fold: Awards are not one and done (you could win 49, perhaps); there are no hard lines in the music industry (only blurred ones); if you don’t succeed, try, try again (and again and again and again and again…); and finally, you don’t have to be a seasoned composer to win an Oscar.
This past week at a stop on the “Bangerz Tour,” two women, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, shared a kiss. It may seem minimal in the scheme of current events, but the kiss became a scandal across the Internet as various sources wondered if the celebrities could possibly be, gasp, lesbians! Yet others cried out against these waves of speculation and against Perry and Cyrus for using pseudo-lesbianism as a publicity stunt and spitting in the face of the LGBT rights movement.
I cannot comment on whether the celebrities are lesbians or pseudo-lesbians, for both sides of the issue could stand to remember that sometimes, a kiss is just a kiss. But I’d like to discuss the criticism that the two celebrities are using lesbianism as a publicity stunt. It seems quite likely. If there is one thing that Perry and Cyrus have been good at throughout their respective careers, it is finding cultural boundaries to what is acceptable and jumping across them to cause scandals for the sake of attention.
But here is where I find a problem: For these two to have caused a scandal by acting as pseudo-lesbians would mean that they crossed a cultural boundary that dictates that lesbianism, or even same-sex expressions of affection, are not fully acceptable and are matters of controversy. If the Internet is shocked by two arguably grown women kissing each other, it shows that our society as a whole still treats lesbianism as something foreign and unacceptable.
When we support celebrities such as Ellen Page for coming out, as we should, we celebrate them for crossing a cultural boundary dictating that lesbianism is abnormal. At the same time, we are unconsciously acknowledging and assisting the continuance of this unjust cultural boundary. Let me explain: Would Jennifer Lawrence cause a media uproar if she admitted that she was attracted to men? I think not. We did cause an uproar for Ms. Page, however, and by treating a declaration of lesbianism as a spectacle, we let the media know that we still consider lesbianism to be something abnormal and uncommon. Even in celebrating her bravery, we reinforce the power of a cultural boundary against lesbianism that she had to cross and is now considered different for crossing.
Why does our society pay such heed to a boundary that is being enforced by what is rapidly becoming a minority? I don’t believe that we can be a fully LGBT-friendly society until we cease to acknowledge the existence of this archaic boundary, until we treat lesbianism as something wholly normal and until our society as a whole can see two grown women kissing and not freak out.
In response to the Perry and Cyrus issue, my advice is to ignore it, or at least to avoid making a big deal out of it. If they meant it as a genuine romantic expression, great. If it was a publicity stunt, then treating it as if it was something normal will let them know that pseudo-lesbianism is ineffective since lesbianism is no longer a cultural boundary that our society acknowledges. If a celebrity comes out, congratulate them for their courage but leave it at that. Ignore the cultural boundary that they are crossing; let this unjustly imposed boundary die from a lack of acknowledgement. Try to create a society where people can express love however they choose without having to make a declaration of their sexual orientation. Force our culture to acknowledge homosexual relationships as the normal relationships they truly are, not as the subject of spectacle.
This may not strike at the heart of the problem for our American culture’s unjust treatment of lesbianism, but it is something that everyone can practice in order to create a society in which expressions of lesbianism are normal, not the subjects of spectacle or scandal. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating for any kind of quietism. I certainly believe that we should continue campaigning for LGBT rights and fight against injustices. Rather, my proposition involves our behavior in our daily public spheres. I believe that we each must work to alter our individual perceptions of lesbianism in order to force our culture to treat lesbian relationships like the normal, perfectly acceptable and wonderful relationships that they are. We should not apathetically allowing ourselves to support a society that treats open lesbianism as a spectacle.
Bergen Nelson ’15 (email@example.com) is from Buffalo, Minn. He majors in English and philosophy
Graphic Credit: ALLI LIVINGSTON/MANITOU MESSENGER
Political and human rights enthusiasts gathered in the Black Ballroom on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 5:30 p.m. for a dinner presentation and discussion co-hosted by the Political Awareness Committee (PAC) and GLOW. The dinner discussion was titled Trans* Politics, and congressional candidate Paula Overby was the greatly anticipated speaker. Settling down at the crowded tables with their dinner trays, the students idly chatted and waited for the guest speaker to arrive. This was the first of several events coordinated by GLOW last week in recognition of transnational LGBTQ week.
In April of last year, Paula Overby made history when she announced that she would be running for a position in Minnesota’s second congressional district for the 2014 election. She is the first openly transgender candidate to ever run for congressional office in Minnesota. Although her campaign announcement made headlines, Overby publically stated that she does not want her gender identity to be the focus of her campaign. With her simple campaign slogan, “Take the money out of politics. Put the people back in,” she hopes to relate to a broad audience. In the 2014 election, she will face tough competition as she runs against Mike Obermueller, who ran and lost in the last election, as well as Thomas Craft.
Although her gender identity is not central to her political campaign, it was the main focus of her speech at St. Olaf. Overby began her presentation with a casual explanation of the complex issue of transsexual identity.
“Often, transsexuals move into the LGBT community for support,” she said. “However, when they transition, they often leave the community and enter back into the gender binary.” It is a common misconception that people who identify as transgender strongly identify with the LGBT community. However, as Overby explained, people who identify as transgender often identify with a specific gender and therefore see themselves as members of typical society.
“The most difficult part of being a transgender woman is being a woman,” Overby said.
Identifying as a gender that contradicts the social constructions associated with one’s anatomy comes with many challenges. One of the main struggles people who identify as transgender face is a lack of a cohesive community. As it becomes more culturally acceptable to identify as transgender, the community has fragmented along interest lines.
“We are a culturally diverse community in a wide range of occupations,” Overby said. “We cover all ethnicities, races and political views.”
Gender norms pervasively define what is acceptable in public places. A challenge transgender people often encounter is navigating their way through shared spaces. Overby told an anecdote about bringing her son to his dance recital and the frustration of not being allowed to go into the backstage dressing room.
“People think that because we have allowed for marriage equality in Minnesota we have solved the problem, but that simply isn’t the case,” she said. “Even if we are more accepting culture-wise, a lot of it comes down to resources, facilities.” She explained the problematic situation of public spaces that are gender-designated, including bathrooms, locker rooms and dorm rooms. The discussion illuminated the difficulty of allotting public resources to accommodate transgender people in these spaces.
Beyond the structural challenges transgender people face, there are also social stigmas and cultural criticisms that they are forced to endure. “The biggest challenge I deal with as a transgender person is not knowing how people are gendering me,” Overby said. “People will interpret behavior differently based on if they think it is coming from a man or a woman.” Overby hopes that voters will look beyond her gender identity when they are voting and focus on her campaign platform.
While Trans* Politics was the first of several events hosted by GLOW this past week, another highlight of the week was Leah Entenmann’s presentation, Queer Uganda. Author of “Aggravated Homosexuality: U.S. Influence in Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Legislation,” Entenmann explored the role of the U.S. in the persecution of queer people in Uganda and explained how we can fight back.
The week concluded with a film screening of the contemporary American drama film “Pariah.” Premiering in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, “Pariah” tells the story of an African-American teenager and her journey to embrace her identity as a lesbian. The film won the Excellence in Cinematography Award.
In the past couple of years, Minnesotans have worked tirelessly to end human rights violations by promoting gender equality, but, as Overby reminded her audience, the struggle is far from over. Look for more GLOW events in the coming months to learn about issues centered around gender equality and what you can do to bring about change.
firstname.lastname@example.orgPhoto Credit: SIRI KELLER/MANITOU MESSENGER
INDIANAPOLIS - St. Olaf will have three men -- Grant Wintheiser, Paul Escher and Jake Campbell -- compete at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend in Lincoln, Neb.
INDIANAPOLIS - Dani Larson was named a participant in the pentathlon at this weekend's NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field Championships in Lincoln, Neb.
If you haven’t already seen “12 Years a Slave” then please stop reading now. Spoiler Alert! You have been warned…
When I sat down to write this review after watching Steve McQueen’s masterpiece “12 Years a Slave,” I caught myself staring blankly at the flashing cursor on my screen. Words were elusive as I mulled over the vast suffering presented in the film. And even if I could think of words, what could I possibly say to review a movie that has already won the Academy Award for Best Picture?
“12 Years a Slave” has been met with nearly universal praise since its initial release in the film festival circuit during the fall of 2013. Many more eloquent writers than I have labored to write beautiful reviews and responses to the movie (I recommend Manhola Dargis’s review in The New York Times).
Still, as I considered the film, I felt that there was one thing that several reviewers were overlooking.
“12 Years a Slave” is an unflinching, brutal depiction of slavery in the United States. The scenes of physical torture will leave many audience members in tears, particularly the whipping of Patsey at the forced hands of Solomon.
To walk away from the film with just disgust for the physical brutality of slavery is, however, to miss an important point. The longest-lasting and perhaps most insidious evil of slavery is the psychological torture of both slave and master that allowed the institution of slavery to continue. This is the aspect of slavery that echos far into racial issues still facing us today.
The scene in which Solomon’s captors beat him and verbally erase his identity (replacing it with that of a Georgian runaway) was, for me, the most disturbing moment in the entire film. It is this attempt to erase any sense of identity and humanity that has had the furthest-reaching consequences in historical U.S. racial tensions.
Another moment like this occurs when Solomon develops a method for transporting logs for his first master. He is attacked by the white overseer for thinking like a person, specifically a white person. We can see echoes of this same mentality in other historical events, like the brutal murder of Emmett Till, almost 100 years after Solomon Northrup published his autobiography. Till was an Afican-American boy killed simply for acting confidantly around whites who believed that he wasn’t even human. Lack of a conscious racial identity echoes even today in news reports that depict black teens as only aspiring to criminal activity.
If you were to venture online to places like Facebook or Youtube in order to read viewers’ responses to the movie (please don’t subject yourself to this horrible cesspit), you would find many comments along the lines of, “We get it already … Slavery is bad,” “We’ve heard this so many times, why do we have to keep watching people get whipped?” or “I haven’t whipped anyone, c’mon.”
This mentality highlights why movies like “12 Years a Slave” are necessary for Americans to see. If the wrongs of slavery can be boiled down to beatings and whippings, then we have forgotten why slavery is so evil and why its effects are still shaking the U.S. over a century later.