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You know, the time when Carls are super busy, have a lot of work, and become incredibly stressed? Oh, wait, that’s true for every day of the academic year for every Carleton student.
This photo was captured by Alex Madsen ’18 during her interim trip to Morocco with her disposable film camera.
For the second time since 1998, all twenty actors nominated for Oscars this year are white. All the nominated directors are white men. No female screenwriters or cinematographers were nominated either. This lack of diversity at the Academy Awards seems especially blatant after last year, when Twelve Years a Slave won best picture and three black actors were nominated for their performances.
In response to the homogeneity of this year’s nominees, many critics have expressed disappointment with the lack of both actor and director nominations for Selma. The film is about the 1965 civil rights protest march led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Selma was nominated for best picture, though its director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo, who portrayed Dr. King, were passed over for nominations for the directing and acting awards. Many had expected DuVernay to be the first black woman and fifth woman ever nominated for best director.
Given Selma’s relevance to the tragic events in Ferguson and other current protests over the racism and injustices perpetrated by the police and justice system, many critics interpreted the Selma Oscar snubs as an egregious lack of social consciousness by the Academy voters. Mainstream films made by and about people of color are an important component of a more honest dialogue about race in the United States. In recognizing Selma at the Academy Awards, Hollywood had the opportunity to amplify and support black voices. Shamefully, they did not to the extent they might have.
Many attribute the lack of diversity in the nominations to the lack of diversity among those casting the votes. A 2012 infographic by Lee and Low Books shows how the demographics of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences contribute to its lack of appreciation for diverse perspectives. Of the 6,000 voting members, 94 percent are white and 77 percent are male, with a median age of 62. Darnell Hunt, coauthor of the “Hollywood Diversity Report” expressed a similar view in the Los Angeles Times:
“There’s a certain taste and culture [in the academy], and a particular type of storytelling that isn’t very inclusive of diverse points of view.”
While many moviegoers no longer regard stories centering around white men as universal in any way, older white men remain in charge of the movie industry. The LA Times notes that despite recent efforts to include more women and minorities in the Academy, the group has not actually changed much because members have lifelong terms. If Hollywood’s only effort to change comes through appointing more minorities, Hunt argues, “diversity will take years to accomplish.”
Furthermore, 98 percent of both Hollywood writers and producers are white. The infographic states: “Producers and writers make all the calls related to what content is developed and who is cast in leading roles. Is it surprising that every single category in this study is overwhelmingly white?”
In a Jan. 27 interview with Democracy Now, Selma director Ava DuVernay responded to a question about her lack a nomination for best director with her own question: “Why was Selma the only film that was even in the running with people of color for the award?” In addition to including a more diverse group of people in the Academy, the film industry needs to foster more opportunities to develop films that represent diverse people and perspectives.
Moving forward from the disappointing lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations, moviegoers should also recognize their responsibility to demand that diverse voices and stories are portrayed in film. As consumers, we vote by spending money and attention on the media we find meaningful and interesting. Outrage at a system that does not value diversity must be coupled with a commitment to support creators of diverse media by watching their movies and TV shows and reading their books.
Anna Chotlos ’16 (email@example.com) is from Madison, Wis. She majors in English.
Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER
On Wednesday, Feb. 11, The Pause’s Main Stage hosted Defamation, a traveling show written by Todd Logan. The play dealt with issues such as race, religion, class and gender, all in the form of a courtroom drama with the audience as the jury. The event was sponsored by St. Olaf organizations Cultural Union for Black Expression (CUBE) and Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC), as well as the Departments of Education, History, Race & Ethnic Studies, Religion, Sociology/Anthropology, Theater and Women & Gender Studies.
The format of the show opted against the standard Law & Order-type court scene in favor of a more realistic approach, opening with two attorneys (played by Kimm Beavers and Jonathan Stutzman) inaudibly reviewing notes with their respective clients until the judge (played by Malcolm Rothman) entered to introduce the case. He was wearing a normal suit instead of a judge’s robe, which was mildly distracting, but I digress.
The trial was a civil case where a black woman from a poor background (Regina Wade, played by Stacie Doublin) was suing a white man born into affluence (Arthur Golden, played by director Richard Shavzin) for defamation (hence the title). She believed the man had spread false information that directly caused the loss of her company’s major client, leading to its bankruptcy.
How well was this case represented? Honestly, for about the first half of the show, audience members easily started to realize why programs like Law & Order put on such theatrics. Initially, the play was like an actual trial. A dry, dry trial. However, the show did pick up, and the context of the case laid out by the dull introduction gave more power to the poignancy of the third act. A highlight of the show was when the defense attorney faced off against the plaintiff in one final testimony.
Another interesting point of the production was the way the casting was intricately crafted to preserve the balance of the story. The plaintiff, a black woman, was represented by a white male attorney, while conversely the white male defendant was represented by a black female lawyer.
“That’s how it would go in the real world,” Shavzin said. “When a black woman sues a Jewish man, she’s going to go out and get herself a Jewish lawyer. And once the defendant looks who’s suing him, he’s going to immediately hire a black woman to defend him.”
In another interesting twist, the only third-party witness was also a black woman, but her interests fell in favor with the defendant. This balance served the production well, as it prevented audience members from disregarding the actions of the play as merely acts of racial and gender favoritism, leaving more room for debate.
Once all testimony had ended, it was time for the jury to make its decision. First, the audience was asked to stand up for the side they were leaning towards immediately after the end of the trial. Around two dozen attendees stood for the plaintiff, four stood for the defendant, and the remaining three dozen remained undecided. This initial poll was followed by a period of deliberation where individuals volunteered to explain why they had favored one party over the other. These explanations varied from dry legal interpretations to impassioned speeches on both sides of the debate. After deliberating, the audience was called to a final vote to decide the ultimate winner of the case. The plaintiff came to a landslide victory as all but three attendees favored her case. This result was not atypical; of the 163 times Defamation has been performed, the defendant has only won 29 times.
The event was not yet finished, however, as the cast members remained on stage for a talk-back session in which they discussed the play’s themes with the audience, as well their experiences touring the show around the country. Beavers and Shavzin answered the majority of the audience’s questions. Beavers talked extensively about how aspects of various characters affected the audience’s perception of the case, while Shavzin was focused on the effect the demographics of the audience had on the outcome of the trial. He claimed that the only demographic that consistently sided with the defendant was Catholic high-schoolers. Not Catholics of all ages, mind you, only Catholic high-schoolers. On the opposite side, shows at Jewish Centers always gave the plaintiff a landslide victory.
Beavers also shared why she initially hesitated to join the cast: “At first, I was concerned about the scene where my character intensely grills the plaintiff because I was worried it might perpetuate the stereotype that black women don’t get along, and I abhor that stereotype.”
Eventually, the discussion ended and the audience returned home while the cast and crew packed up to continue their 2015 tour, which will take them across Minnesota, St. Louis, California and New Orleans. Overall, after a slow start, Defamation was a powerful and fresh approach to the discussion its sensitive, but important topics.
Saturday saw the Carleton College men’s swimming and diving team move up one spot in the team competition, finishing fourth overall. The Knights captured All-MIAC performances from sophomore Alex Mathson and senior Evan Harris on the final day of the MIAC Championships.
The Carleton College women’s swimming and diving team concluded the MIAC Championships fourth in the team standings, moving up one spot in the rankings from the previous year. Sophomore Maria Wetzel turned in the Knights’ sole All-MIAC performance on Saturday, taking second in the 200-yard backstroke.
The Carleton College men’s track and field team split up the squad for the second-to-last regular-season meet, taking a large contingent across town to St. Olaf’s Tostrud Open where the Knights won four events, in addition to sending the distance medley relay to UW-Stevens Point.
Senior Ellie Wilson took command of the 400-meter dash from the start and posted the winning time with a season-best 58.82 at the University of Minnesota’s Parents Day Open. The meet provides tough competition for the Carleton College women’s indoor track and field team as they face student-athletes from the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels.
Junior Claire Spencer did her part to help the Carleton College women’s tennis team remain undefeated this season as the Knights blanked the College of Saint Benedict, 9-0. With the triumph, the No. 26-ranked team in the country improves to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in MIAC matches.
Saturday’s season finale loss at Bethel University closed one chapter for the Carleton College men’s basketball team and gave a further glimpse into the program’s future. Senior Shane McSparron capped his collegiate career with a 17-point effort in the 64-60 setback, while rookie Kevin Grow posted his eighth double-double of the year as he recorded career- and game-highs of 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Senior Skylar Tsutsui poured in a career-high tying 29 points to cap her collegiate career as the Carleton College women’s basketball team concluded its season with an 84-77 defeat at Bethel University.
Oleville.com is the official website for the Student Government Association (SGA). SGA has recently launched a Web application that allows students to order pizzas, complete with customizable toppings, all in a very easy and intuitive way. The impressive app even allows students to track their orders by giving an estimated time of delivery. The application seems rather straightforward, but development on it started almost a year ago.
“If the whole process feels simple, that means we’ve done our job right,” said Drew Volz ’16, the main Web developer on this project.
The complexity of most computer software is hidden from the user. Programming is a very iterative process; the very first incarnation of the online Pause order app probably looked nothing like what the St. Olaf community sees now. The Pause has been wanting to create an online ordering system for a long time. It’s far more efficient for both the customer and the Pause staff.
The way the system works is that the Pause Kitchen has a screen where new orders are posted immediately, as soon as they are placed.
“They get a big sound every time a new order arrives, like a beep, so that it can be heard over the loud music,” said Volz.
Whoever starts working on the order then clicks a button to let the system know that the order is being processed. This is done several times during the pizza making process
“We basically have all the same tracking features that the Domino’s tracker has, except for the delivery part,” said Volz.
The system also knows how many orders are in queue and can tell the orderer if the pizza will take a little bit longer to get ready. All the hard work seems to have paid off. The app is quickly gaining popularity, having accrued a total of $500 worth of online orders since its launch over Interim. It was not developed just for the sake of providing students with the gift of pizza, however, but as part of a larger vision for Oleville.
“We want Oleville to act as the hub of information for students,” said John Bruer ’16, the Webmaster. “We want it to answer questions ranging from ‘What sort of activities can I get involved in?’ to ‘What can I do on a weekend?’ or even, now, ‘How do I order a Pause pizza?’”
The core development team consists of four students who continually manage the technical aspects of the Web site and write code that updates it with new features. They have recently revamped the Web site. While the new design looks very slick and makes the Web site easier to navigate, the changes happening behind the scenes are much more impressive. The development team has been working hard to internally restructure the Web site and build the tools that will help SGA reach and connect more efficiently with the student body.
For example, there used to be a weekly newsletter that went out to the student body with updates from SGA meetings. This was useful, but quite painful to manage, since there was no interface system. Every newsletter required changes in the code, and if another branch of SGA wanted to send a newsletter, or wanted to change how it looked, it would require the technical knowledge to dig into the code and change it.
The new tools will allow any branch of SGA to easily customize a newsletter in terms of style and content and send it out without needing any technical background.
“Transparency is one of the issues we want to address,” said Bruer. “Our goal is to be able to broadcast as much information to the student body as possible.”
Doing that without inundating everyone can be a challenge, but these tools can set the foundations for that. The plan is to expand so that student organizations can also use the same tools to easily broadcast information and connect the interested students to the right organizations.
A tremendous amount of work has gone into updating Oleville, and more exciting changes are on the way. Students should watch for these upcoming changes, and in the meantime, enjoy a Pause pizza that was ordered online.
Graphic Credit: ETHAN BOOTE/MANITOU MESSENGER
In a time where people can simply say whatever they want to say and rant about their “freedom of speech” when they are barred from doing so, it becomes more and more difficult for the masses to know what is the truth and what is a lie. In the case of Brian Williams, however, it gets more complicated than that.
Brian Williams, who has made a name for himself during his decade-long career as a news anchor for NBC Nightly News, is facing scrutiny and criticism over the “lie” he told the American public. On Jan. 30, he retold the story of his Chinook helicopter being hit by a Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) and making an emergency landing during his coverage of the Invasion of Iraq in 2003. According to military news source Stars and Stripes, however, crewmembers of the helicopter hit by the RPG remembered that Brian Williams and his journalist team arrived about an hour after they landed, in a different helicopter that was not hit by any projectiles or warheads at all.
Williams finally recanted the story on Feb. 4 and apologized for making “a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago.” The next day, he voluntarily withdrew from the anchor desk on a temporary basis and by Feb. 10, Williams was suspended without pay for six months from the Nightly News for an “inexcusable” action. Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal called Williams’ suspension “severe and appropriate.”
Brian Williams’ reputation as the “voice of truth” gradually solidified as he made the steady climb to the Nightly News desk, and this event severely diminishes the trust placed in the news as a reliable source of the world’s events. As many other media have been placed into categories due to their liberal or conservative bias, Williams’ mishandling of his own personal experience will make it harder for the people to find someone that they can rely on to speak the objective truth. As a result, apathy and disregard for the nationwide development may also rise, which could lead to an eventual lack of progress simply because people do not care anymore.
As for Williams, it will be hard for him to regain the American people’s trust. As history has repeatedly shown, humans’ great accomplishments can be torn down and dissolved into oblivion by a small and seemingly trivial event. Although his journalistic accomplishments are many, Williams will mainly be remembered for “mistakenly” and “unconsciously” misleading the American people into believing a lie at the time when they have seen and heard too many lies from left and right.
While the media frenzy mocks him as delusional or dishonest, all he can do now is stand firm and make sure that if he does get back behind the news desk, he is ready to once again start from the bottom, speak the truth and eventually become as trustworthy as he once was.
Samuel Pattinasarane ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Jakarta, Indonesia. He majors in political science and Asian studies.
Cymbeline, the most recent play by the St. Olaf theatre department, ran from Thursday, Feb. 12 to Sunday, Feb. 15. This production of one the more obscure works by William Shakespeare was directed by St. Olaf Artist in Residence Gary Gisselman and guest artist Jon Ferguson. There were five performances.
Before the show’s premiere, Gisselman often joked, “Cymbeline is one of Shakespeare’s least performed plays, and we’re trying to prove why that is.” While the show was in no way bad, it is understandable why stage productions of the show are so rare. Being among Shakespeare’s romances, Cymbeline exists in a strange mixture of tragedy and comedy that not all audience members find pleasing. In addition, the plot is incredibly convoluted, even for Shakespeare. In contrast to such greats as Hamlet and Twelfth Night, Cymbeline falls a little short. That being said, the cast and crew produced an incredibly well-made interpretation of the challenging script. All of the technical aspects were simply phenomenal. The set could only be described as beautiful, with its tall, amazingly painted trees, its superbly detailed rocks (complete with fungi), and a screen in the background, projected with a multitude of vivid colors. The play’s use of music was exceptional as well. From great musical numbers to improvised ambient music playing throughout, the instrumentals served to hypnotize the audience members, drawing them further into the world of the play.
The acting was also top-notch. The actors, who rehearsed up to seven hours every day during Interim, appeared to be quite immersed in their characters, giving fun and stellar performances. In short, the cast and crew of Cymbeline should be commended for the near impossible task of putting on a Shakespeare play and having the script be the weakest point.
There were, however, some issues with the play. Some additions to the performance were awkward and didn’t quite fit. Notable examples are the attempts at referencing modern day pop culture, such as a twerking episode, or in the beginning when a character asks her iPhone to “find a good forest location for Cymbeline.” In a show where so much is done to successfully immerse the audience in the world of the play, these oddball attempts to be relevant just distract from the play’s magic. Speaking of unnecessary additions: there is a character in this play referred to as “the Russian Stage Manager.” As one can probably guess, she is not one of the original characters that Shakespeare wrote into the script. Why is she there? This remains unknown. The character does not add anything to the show in any way. Her purpose is just to be there and speak Russian. She is played for comedic effect occasionally, but it’s always essentially the same joke: “Hey look, someone’s on stage who isn’t supposed to be. Also, she’s speaking Russian.” It’s taking a bit that didn’t work that well to begin with, and repeating it again and again.
That being said, the good qualities of Cymbeline far outweighed the bad. In terms of acting, Jordan Solei ’15 undoubtedly steals the show, playing both Posthumus and Cloten – two men competing for the heart of the king’s daughter, Imogen (Amy Jeppesen ’15). Seeing Solei deliver a passionate lover’s speech, and then return mere moments later as the world’s snottiest prince was an absolute joy. That’s not to say that others were not also entertaining. Dario Villabandos ’18 was equally hilarious and disgustingly creepy in his portrayal of the mischievous Iachimo. The booming voice of David Gottfried ’15 created himself as a powerful presence as the play’s title character. The brothers, Arvirarigus and Guiderius, played by Dominic Bower ’16 and Lily Bane ’17, were also fun to watch as they alternated between silly antics and terrifying ferocity (and sometimes both simultaneously). In truth, all of the actors were great and played their parts well.
Two moments stand out distinctly as the highlights of the show. The first was Prince Cloten’s side-splitting attempt to woo Imogen through a very off-key musical number, complete with a groovy tune and back-up dancers. The other, more dramatic, stand-out moment was the battle scene, where the dark lighting, swift and fierce movement, and hypnotic music all came together to produce one of the most tense sequences seen on stage this year.
The playmakers even managed to play on some of the weaker aspects of the show. The excessive complexity of the first half comes to a hilarious front as all the characters gather at the end to figure out everything that had just happened in a lively “but wait, there’s more!” style.
Overall, despite its flaws, Cymbeline was an enjoyable and worthwhile opportunity to experience one of the more obscure Shakespeare plays, and almost certainly better than the film adaptation coming out next month.
PHOTO CREDIT: ABBY DAVIS/MANITOU MESSENGER
Following the second day of racing at the MIAC championships, the Carleton College men’s swimming and diving team defended their admirable third-place standing. The Friday night session featured five all-conference finishes, and Stephen Grinich played a role in breaking a pair of school records.
After two days of competition at the MIAC Championships, the Carleton College women’s swimming and diving team maintains its fourth-place ranking. In the evening session, sophomore standout Maria Wetzel led the Knights to both individual and relay All-MIAC performances.
On the top of my Christmas list every year was one thing: a dog. And until I was twelve, that dream didn’t come true.
On Wednesday, February 11th, I woke up feeling feverish, weak, and dizzy after having a nasty sore throat the night before.
Conspiracy theories are appealing, because they give the world order. So much of what happens in our world is chaotic, and things happen without any discernible reason.
Someone’s gone missing, turned up in a hospital or worse yet is just suddenly and impossibly gone.