Rather Be

Manitou Messenger - Tue, 11/18/2014 - 9:27am

I would rather be a ship than love you

Getting tossed throughout the ocean

I would rather be a lion than love you

Fighting for my food and shelter

I would rather be a corporate lawyer than love you

Selling my soul for a five figure paycheck

I would rather be a gravel path than love you

Being stepped on and kicked around

I would rather be unhappy than love you

Because only then would I learn how

Categories: Colleges

St. Olaf ranks No. 1 in study abroad for sixth straight year

St. Olaf College - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 3:33pm

Students enjoy an outing while studying French language and Moroccan culture during Interim.

St. Olaf College sent more students to study abroad during the 2012–13 academic year than any other baccalaureate institution in the nation, according to the Open Doors 2014 Report on International Educational Exchange.

This marks the sixth straight year the college has ranked first among its peers in the total number of students studying abroad.

St. Olaf currently offers study-abroad programs in 45 countries, including 65 semester or year-long programs and nearly 25 off-campus courses during Interim. Faculty-led semester programs include Global Semester, Mediterranean Semester, and Environmental Science in Australia.

Open Doors is the comprehensive information resource on international students in the United States and on the more than 200,000 U.S. students who study abroad as part of their academic experience. The Institute of International Education publishes the Open Doors report annually with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Categories: Colleges

Women in gaming prompts diversity debate

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 1:48pm

It is no secret that women are misrepresented in gaming culture. Video games have always been regarded as a “guy thing.” The adoption of the term “Gamer Girl” makes it seem as if gamers are male by default and a woman playing games is an anomaly. Anita Sarkeesian, a Canadian blogger and critic, has been speaking out against that stereotype for the past few years. Her nonprofit organization Feminist Frequency tries to bring light to some of the injustices women face in the gaming industry and criticizes tropes in video games, primarily through educational Youtube videos. Sarkeesian makes some controversial claims in her videos that many have criticized. However, one thing we can all agree on is that the onslaught of hatred and death threats she has received make her seem more like a war criminal than a humble critic of the medium.

Sarkeesian’s arguments mainly revolve around the idea that most video games are created with a male demographic in mind, perpetuating harmful stereotypes about women to appeal to their audience. She cites examples of women playing the role of a weak damsel in distress that always needs a male hero to save her. In many of these games, the females are always either the damsel or a peripheral, over-sexualized and shallow character designed solely to appeal to the male fantasy.

The problem with Sarkeesian’s arguments is that they ignore the larger issue of diversity in the video game industry. Women aren’t the only ones targeted in this way – a huge portion of titles that make it to the top of the retail market appeal to this very narrow spectrum of gamers. Publishers say that targeting your specific audience makes sense, but it’s a classic case of the chicken the and egg. More girls aren’t playing games because publishers assume they don’t and exclude them from their campaigns. This has been a self-fulfilling prophecy for a very long time, but the fact is that right now women represent 45 percent of active gamers in the U.S. according to a study published by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

However, there has been a huge boom in “indie titles” in the past few years. Those are video games produced independently from big publishers, usually in teams ranging from two to 10 developers (as opposed to the hundreds at the top-tier studios).

Indie games are known for their creativity, diversity and inclusiveness. As creators are free from the shackles of big budget investments, no topic is too taboo to express through the medium. This is the new wave that we see coursing through the gaming community, replacing ideas of elitism that have seen many an online forum thread debating who is and who is not a “real gamer.” Sometimes it can get so extreme, as with cases like Anita Sarkeesian, who has seen not just online death threats but was forced to move due to phone calls to her and her family filled with threats and harassment.

A more recent case was Carolyn Petit’s review of the acclaimed Grand Theft Auto  Five game. Almost every review about this game was touting it as a brilliant masterpiece. Petit praised the game but expressed her concern over its misogynistic sequences and its portrayal of women. She was immediately harassed, and irate gamers launched a petition to get her fired from GameStop as a video game reviewer. All of this happened despite her giving the game a rating of nine out of 10.

The good news is that the gaming community is waking up and taking a stand. These controversial cases have succeeded in putting a face to the issue that we can relate to and talk about. People are also starting to realize that these masculine stereotypes are hurting men as much as women by perpetuating this image of overly macho men that is impossible to live up to.

The future looks promising as more and more people embrace diversity in the gaming community. A new initiative called “Girls Make Games” is not only encouraging more women and girls to get involved in the game development scene, but is also making headlines with the summer camps, events and workshops they regularly hold. A group of young girls have already launched an award-winning adventure game through this program, and this can only encourage more to join. Whether or not you agree with Sarkeesian, she deserves to be treated as a human being, and the way to protect her rights and many like her is through celebrating diversity in gaming culture.

Omar Shehata ’18 ( is from Alexandria, Egypt. He majors in computer science.


Categories: Colleges

Legacy Dance group breaks away from traditional genres

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 10:03am

On Saturday, Nov. 8, a new student-led alternative dance crew revealed the product of its months of work in a short but effusive showcase in the Lion’s Pause.  The group is appropriately named Legacy Dance.

Legacy Dance was brought to St. Olaf by Don Williams ’18 who serves as the group’s choreographer and organizer.

“It is based on a group from my high school. I wanted to change St. Olaf students’ perspectives on dance,” Williams said. “Dance is more than popping, or twerking, or whatever else you do on the dance floor. It involves hard work. So I wanted to bring Legacy to St. Olaf.”

Williams recruited his group of seven dancers at the extracurricular fair this past September and they immediately set to work, learning a variety of styles. The group defies any one category or genre, seeking instead to promote a cultural shift in views of dance.

“Legacy is a dance group that wants more, wants to expand people’s horizon of dance and just wants to have fun as a team, because as a team, we learn so many things,” Williams said. “We learn communication, hard work and we learn how to stick together while still being ourselves. I tell them when they are dancing, ‘Don’t be like the other person next to you or even me – push your personality into it.’ So Legacy is where people can be themselves, but evolve.”

The showcase on Saturday followed the theme of a zombie apocalypse, beginning with a video warning St. Olaf of an incoming invasion, police siren lights from the Pause’s spotlights and alarm sounds while the dancers waited, motionless, in a single file line in the middle of the central aisle of the audience.

From there, they danced on stage in bright yellow jerseys and make-up smeared to imitate the wounds zombies bear. Williams took the lead and conducted Legacy as if he were its drill sergeant, but then all broke into a Beyoncé number that spliced between shocks of ballet, combinations from hip hop, some Zumba-esque moves, body percussion and stomp dancing. After two dance numbers, the showcase was over, and the dancers sat on the stage for a talk back session.

“If I had to describe Legacy in one word it would be diverse,” Williams said. “I know that’s something St. Olaf really strives for –diversity. A lot of these moves  are things you can put in ballet, or that you can put in hip hop, so I just collaborate them all together into one performance.”

Williams explained the zombie theme as a twist on what it means to be a zombie and how we can see zombies in a more positive light.

“When you think of ‘zombie,’ you think, they don’t care, they’re just loose and they go for it. They don’t think of the risk. So I thought that could be our first performance, because if we think of ourselves as zombies, then it’s going for it, just going for the top- kicking as high as we can, popping as hard as we can, stepping as hard as we can,” Williams said.

And “hard as we can” is a worthy description of the dancers who were shouting, stomping, clapping and grooving, riveting the audience into the world of dance that could not be defined.

As a whole, the group has had success so far during rehearsals, retaining a consistent group of dancers, as well as continually gaining new ones. Legacy is still seeking to expand,  and the group is currently welcoming new members, provided they are willing to work hard. Practices are Sundays, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., and review sessions are Thursdays, 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., in Dittman Studio 2.

“If you just put the hard work in and try, then you went somewhere. It wasn’t just for nothing,” Williams said.

The group has an upcoming performance at the half-time of the boy’s basketball game, on Nov. 19, along with another half time show on Dec. 13. Look forward to more performances, a spring fashion show and appearences at campus events.

Categories: Colleges

Caf Fast raises funds to combat sex trafficking

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 11/17/2014 - 8:00am

On Thursday, Nov. 6, hundreds of St. Olaf students participated in a community tradition that occurs once per semester: the Caf Fast. The Caf Fast requires that on one designated day, some students pledge not to swipe in to Stav Hall with their Ole Cards for lunch. The money that would have otherwise gone to this meal instead goes to a campus charity or nonprofit group.

Each Caf Fast begins with a detailed selection process in the Student Organizations Committee (SOC). If a student organization wishes to receive funds from a Caf Fast, the organization must apply to SOC with its idea for the money and the group’s mission. This year, there were between eight and 12 groups. Once all the organizations that want to participate have applied, SOC holds a meeting in which each student organization presents its cause and justification for receiving the money. Groups discuss how they will use the money to help others  and often emphasize their engagement with the St. Olaf community.

“SOC brings them all in, and we all listen to the presentations. We look for a wide criteria of information; we wanted to see what they will take the money to. We looked at some of their past things, to see if they were a new club, were they a starting club,” William Seabrook ’16 said. Seabrook is the Executive Assistant of SOC and a St. Olaf Senator.

He went on to emphasize that SOC does not judge which organization is best, but rather which is best prepared to effectively use the funds for a good cause.

“One isn’t better than the other; it’s just to see where they’re at and where they want to go. Are they going to give money to help Oles do something, which we’ve done in the past, or is it going to the organization to give it to someone else off campus? Because that’s good that we as Oles get to help people, but then it doesn’t just feel like we’re spending money away without actually feeling the good,” Seabrook said.

This year, SOC narrowed it down to three organizations that moved on to the vote before Senate: Global Brigades, St. Olaf Leaders Abolishing Slavery (SOLAS) and St. Olaf Students for Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Stateless People.

Senate then examines the plans each organization details for the funds.

“We have a lot of discussion on ‘is this organization going to help the people that they’re serving, is it going to go for travel, is it going to speakers to come here, what’s it going to go for?’” Seabrook said.

“Those are some of the longest discussions: how do you compare them at all? There are no bad organizations. It’s comparing great against great. It’s the best versus the best,” Seabrook said. The Senate minutes detailing these discussions can be found on Oleville.

To help in the selection process, Senate sets out criteria by which it will examine each chosen organization.

“We want it to have a good balance, something that will always help the world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean only in St. Olaf, doesn’t mean only in the global sense. It just means some betterment of society,” Seabrook said. “We just want to make sure a lot of Oles are involved in it and that they will be involved in the action, be it the actual physical things done by the organization or by things done in general.” This year, SOLAS was selected to run the fall Caf Fast.

“[SOLAS] works towards raising awareness about human and sex trafficking around the world and working towards making St Olaf a fair trade community- trying to integrate action goals as well as helping people,” said Kailee Oram ’16, a SOLAS member.

For the Caf Fast, SOLAS continued its three-year partnership with a Twin Cities nonprofit organization called Breaking Free.

According to its Web site, “Breaking Free is a nonprofit organization based out of St. Paul, whose mission is to educate and provide services to women and girls who have been victims of sex trafficking. In addition to providing support groups, led by survivors of sex trafficking, Breaking Free provides legal advocacy, educational and career opportunities, safe housing and therapy to hundreds of women and girls.”

St. Olaf Senate chose SOLAS for several reasons.

“There was two parts that they were giving it to,” Seabrook said. “One part that is going to the organization itself, and the other part is going to go for buying Christmas presents for those who can’t afford it because they were involved in sex trafficking.”

Seabrook emphasized that the senators were looking for an organization that contributed money to a good cause but also allowed St. Olaf students to have a hand in the process.

“And the club is growing and has a lot of cool ideas and interesting advertising,” Seabrook said.

The portion of the money going to Breaking Free will be put to good use.

“[It will] fund support groups and classes, for those who are 16 and older; they also do some de-criminalization, they work with law enforcement officers and the judicial system to decrease charges when it’s understandable that they don’t apply,” Oram said.

In the words of the founder of Breaking Free, “Prostitution is not the world’s oldest profession; it is the world’s oldest oppression.”

Categories: Colleges

Knights Headed Back to NCAA Championships

Carleton Sports - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 9:45pm

A day’s worth of nervous anticipation ended on Sunday when the Carleton College men’s cross country team was awarded one of 16 at-large bids to next weekend’s NCAA Championships. The Knights are headed to Nationals for the second straight year, the fifth time in the last 11 seasons, and the 22nd time overall.

Categories: Colleges

Music on Trial: Which artists will stand the test of time?

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 5:58pm

Ours is a generation obsessed with nostalgia. Many of us look to the past for our icons, like Bowie, the Beatles and Zeppelin. Contemporary stars tend to rehash the aesthetics of bygone eras (à la T-Swift’s recycled new-wave 1989), rather than innovate something that resonates with the moment.

I don’t mean to demonize anyone; it’s not like we’re any more or less original than our forebearers. This is not the first era to be hopelessly derivative. However, I often wonder which artists from our generation will withstand the test of time and be hailed as true visionaries 20, 30 or 50 years down the road.

Here, I’ve compiled my predictions for the artists whose legacies will endure after Katy Perry retires to be a soccer mom and Coldplay has sunk so deep into the electro-pop scene that Chris Martin will reinvent himself as a B-list underground DJ.

Lana del Rey

For every hater, there are three ride-or-die fans (I’m so devoted that I’ve considered getting an LDR-style hand tattoo). Lana’s evocative and orchestral sound exhibits a level of musicianship absent from most pop music with as big of a following. Her meticulously-crafted persona may be the target of ridicule and accusations of melodrama, but no one can deny her intense, poetic glamor.


The genre-fusing brainchild of British legend Damon Albarn set the standard for 00s dance music with 2005’s Demon Days. Its follow-up, Plastic Beach, further schooled the world on how atmospheric dance/hip-hop/rock should be done. Collaborations with Lou Reed, Bobby Womack and Little Dragon proved that not only does Albarn have a lot of friends, but one of the most versatile musical minds working today.


Who would have thought that a member of the forgettable early-aughts post-hardcore ensemble From First to Last would metamorphose into the face of dubstep in the U.S.? He wasn’t the first to construct his own music from technology alone, but Skrillex almost single-handedly normalized it. His cutting-edge marketing and investment in growing the industry made little Sonny John Moore a king, even among those who wouldn’t usually get down with the “womp-womp.”

John Mayer

Just because he epitomizes the colloquial use of the world “tool” doesn’t mean that the man isn’t a demigod at composing perfect pop melodies. His affinity for womanizing and spewing megalomaniacal nonsense in Rolling Stone is an unfortunate distraction from his simple and resonant songwriting. He does not got enough credit for his blues guitar mastery . . . or maybe I’m just trying to rationalize paying the arena-ticket price to see him play.

Kanye West

I’m not going to say he’s the greatest rapper in the game, but he is possibly the greatest crossover artist of our time. Kanye West is the cultural institution that brings together rap neophytes and seasoned fans. He is the force of nature you cannot ignore. Indifference is futile.


Beck has been lurking in the nebulous territory between indie and mainstream since the early 90s. No matter if his work is met with worshipful acclaim or crickets, every album he turns out is distinctive. The grace with which he embodies different genres calls to mind a great actor embodying different roles. His latest release, Morning Phase, carries a rare, authentic introspection that testifies to his decades of experience in the industry.

Categories: Colleges

Letter to the Editor: November 14, 2014

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 2:00pm

Dear Editor of the Manitou Messenger,

A recent article written by Ben Pelegano in the “St. Olaf Sentiments” column of the Variety section deeply concerned me. In this satirical article, the author encourages students to “never sleep” and states that sleep is a “social construct” that one doesn’t need and when a person is tired and unable to “form coherent sentences at breakfast” they should take a lot of power naps and drink coffee.

While I believe the tone of the article was intentionally flippant, the message was still serious — not sarcastic. The final conclusion of the article is that if you go to bed early you are missing out on all the wonderful things St. Olaf has to offer, and if you aren’t tired, you aren’t truly an Ole. Since sleep is a critical part of maintaining mental health, I found this article ironic in an issue of the Mess where the front-page story was about our campus depression confessions.

I believe this line of thinking perpetuates a dangerous culture here at St. Olaf. It’s one that says being exhausted is the norm and if you aren’t killing yourself with two majors, a concentration, 10 extracurricular clubs and a job while also being social then you somehow aren’t taking advantage of everything St. Olaf has to offer. But that’s just it: a person can’t do everything. This article perpetuates the FOMO (fear of missing out) syndrome that is prevalent here and in our generation as a whole. If we have to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. on a weeknight just to have social time, I believe we are doing something wrong.

Instead, I would like to counter this article with the idea that we can make the most of our four years here without sacrificing our mental, physical and spiritual health.

Getting eight hours of sleep a night might make our St. Olaf experience richer because we can engage in our classes without falling asleep, and having a less-packed schedule would allow us to actually sit down for dinner with friends and have a meaningful conversation. What if we envision a St. Olaf where students are involved and engaged, but also healthy? Where our involvement doesn’t stem from the fear of missing out on something, but from a genuine interest in learning or spending time with others. Where being an Ole means valuing sleep and health as much as we value our academic, extracurricular and social experiences.

Sonja Helgeson ’15 ( is from Andover, Minn. She majors in biology and environmental studies.

Categories: Colleges

You’re Still Miserable and Tired, but Now ON A COUCH!

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:24pm

Where are the best couches on campus?

Categories: Colleges

A Distressing Fence? Don’t Panic!

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:21pm

During a meditative stroll, an unsuspecting Arb appreciator might suddenly exclaim in shocked distress, “AH! What’s going on in the lower arboretum now?!” A large fence of sinister proportions looms feet above the head of the mere mortal onlooker, who is now frozen in place, jaw locked in a silent scream.

Categories: Colleges

Ask Aphrodite

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:18pm

Dear Carls,

Every relationship goes through bad phases, terrible ones, even. Times where you can’t believe how awful the other person is, how they could be so annoying, so insensitive, so oblivious to your needs, so careless, so very, very wrong.

Categories: Colleges

A Thousand Years of Guzheng

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:16pm

I have never seen myself as a decisive person, especially when the question comes to whether I should pick vanilla or chocolate flavor for ice-cream. However, perhaps under some sweet magical spell, my five-year-old self announced to the whole world that she was going to learn this incredibly beautiful instrument she saw on TV, and luckily she did.

Categories: Colleges

Jaded or Justified? On Voting

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:12pm

People often throw around the phrase, “you vote with your fork.” The idea is, we can shape the food system by changing what we buy, and what we choose to eat can in turn tell the markets what to product.

Categories: Colleges

Surrounded by Many Voices

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:05pm

We’ve come very, very far from the days when empires could effectively wipe someone out of history through book burnings and other means of coercion, destruction, and death.

Categories: Colleges

Garden of Truth

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 1:02pm

If knowledge power, then self-knowledge is a weapon. Without using it conscientiously, this tool of cultivation probably turns its blade toward others or even yourself. Put to its true use, self-knowledge can be a great tool for personal and interpersonal growth.

Categories: Colleges

That’s Some Very Expensive Pizza

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 12:58pm

As Carleton students, we are part of the elite. We have the privilege of receiving one of the most prestigious educations in the country, we have peers, faculty and staff that truly support one another, and we have the opportunity to express our concerns and voice our objections to authority – to question our actions and the actions of others.

Categories: Colleges

Polk’s 19 Tackles Redeem Knights’ Senior-Day Rout

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 12:56pm

It was Senior Day at Laird Stadium and the Carleton College football team recognized the 10 seniors on the roster during a special pre-game ceremony. Unfortunately, the national No. 23-ranked University of St. Thomas squad crashed the party as the Tommies prevailed in a lop-sided affair.

Categories: Colleges

Steinke Blazes to the Finish

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 12:52pm

On November 1st, junior Ruth Steinke won the Women’s Cross Country MIAC Championships to lead the Carleton women’s team to a repeat team title.

Categories: Colleges

What Would Schiller Drink? Carls’ Tumblr Takes Off

Carletonian - Sun, 11/16/2014 - 12:37pm

If you haven’t heard of the blog called Literary Starbucks by now, you’re missing out. “Literary Starbucks” is the title of a Tumblr blog started by Jill Poskanzer ’15, Wilson Josephson ’16, and Nora Katz ’16.

Categories: Colleges

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