Blogosphere

The Weekly List – The Led Zeppelin III Show

KYMN Radio - 4 hours 24 min ago
This week, the boys try something new and focus the show on one album. Curiously, they have picked Led Zeppelin III.

Easter brings joy as churches begin to move beyond COVID

Northfield News - 4 hours 55 min ago
After a year of virtual services and limited in-person attendance, success in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine locally helped to bring Christians back into area churches just in time for Easter.
Categories: Local News

Campus Highlight

Manitou Messenger - 6 hours 14 min ago

Categories: Colleges

Adventures in the New Humanities: The light at the end of the tunnelen

St. Olaf College - 7 hours 46 min ago
In this "Adventures in the New Humanities" blog post, Professor of History Judy Kutulas says we're starting to see the light at the end of the very long COVID-19 tunnel — and as we emerge into our "new normal," she encourages us to remember the lessons we've learned this past year.
Categories: Colleges

Martig says action requirements key to strategic plan; School district applies for formal online learning certification; Memorial Park Pavilion available for rental

KYMN Radio - 10 hours 22 min ago
By Rich Larson, News Director After another work session devoted to the city’s new strategic plan, City Administrator Ben Martig said the process is now in the final stages of coming together.  Tuesday Night, Martig, Mayor Rhonda Pownell, the city council and members of the city staff met to look over a rough draft of

Minnesota Supreme Court ruling will not affect Title IX process on campus

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago
Illustration by Kenzie Todd ’22

 

Students have expressed concern after a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision that upheld a law that does not extend the definition of “mentally incapacitated” to voluntarily inebriated victims in cases of sexual violence.

This ruling reflects a loophole in Minnesota legislation that makes it more difficult to press charges against assailants if the victim was intoxicated. Lawmakers in Minnesota are working to address this outdated and harmful legislation.

This recent ruling should not impact the Title IX reporting process now known as the grievance process for St. Olaf students.

“While this is a clear loophole in the state’s definition, our St. Olaf policy doesn’t have that same loophole,” said Title IX Director Kari Hohn. “So if a student is too intoxicated to consent, that would violate our policy regardless of whether the student was drinking voluntarily. And I don’t foresee our policy changing in that regard.”

Hohn spoke on the impacts that this legislation may have if a student chooses to report an incident to the police, “the sphere where that ruling would have more of an influence” Hohn said. Hohn acknowledged that while the school’s policy may not change, the decision reflects a new hurdle for legal reporting.

While Hohn does anticipate that this legislation will be changed,  “Until then, I would imagine this ruling negatively impacting individuals interested in reporting to law enforcement.” Hohn said. “Any insinuation that a survivor is at fault for what happened to them is extremely damaging, regardless of what next steps they’re considering.”

Hohn discussed the pervasive impacts that legislation like this can have on the emotional wellbeing of victims. “This can have a huge negative impact on victims and how they think about their experience and their ability to cope and deal with it,” Hohn said.

There is certainly reason to believe that this loophole in Minnesota’s sexual assault legislation will be changed in the coming months, though Hohn encourages students who are concerned about it, or anything else related to Title IX to reach out to her or any member of the Title IX team.

leikvo1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

New registration system finalized for fall semester

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

Following a change in the class registration process from last fall, the Registar has implemented multiple changes to address student and faculty concerns. On Friday, March 5, College Registrar Ericka Peterson announced initial alterations made to the registration system in an email to the student body. The registrar made these changes after receiving input from faculty, staff and students via a schoolwide survey.

The initial changes to the registration process would have split up students alphabetically into two groups andl staggered students registration time by class year.

Based on this proposed plan, first-day registration would have opened to students in class years 2021 and 2022. Priority registrants would have signed up for classes at 6:30 a.m. in accordance with federal regulations. At 7:00 a.m., students with last names beginning with A-L would register, followed by students with last names starting with M-Z at 7:30 am.

Students raised concerns about alphabetical ordering, which coincided with concerns about equity and accessibility. Due to these worries, the registration implementation team made new modifications to the registration process. On Monday, March 22, Peterson sent a new email announcing the changes.

The new registration process is now randomized in an attempt to give equal opportunity to all registering students.

“There will no longer be A-L and M-Z ordering. All entering students will be split into two groups randomly for registration. A computer program will determine random assignments,” Peterson said in an email to the Messenger.

The ongoing pandemic has also created hiccups in the registration process. The main two issues were COVID-19 limits on classroom capacity and the need for students who were planning on studying off campus to have access to on-campus classes. The registration implementation team had to reckon with these problems in order to create the revised system.

“The registration implementation team consists of two members of the Registrar’s Office as well as five members of the Information Technology team,” Peterson said. “There have been multiple conversations with and advice from the Curriculum Committee, the Advising Study Group, faculty and student survey results, and conversations with students, faculty and other staff.”

Registration for fall 2021 begins on April 20 and ends on April 23. Students can currently view the registration system on SIS and begin planning their schedules.

“The goal and reason for implementing a new registration system has always been about equity,” Peterson said. “Since last registration, many new functionalities have been added and we are optimistic that this next registration will go much more smoothly.”

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Spotify Playlist: Mitski songs ranked by sadness

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

For all of the sad Oles out there, I made a playlist of just Mitski songs. I ranked her songs by sadness, so you can start the playlist wherever you’d like depending on whether you’re just having a bad day or having an absolute mental breakdown.

 

Categories: Colleges

Theatre returns to the theater

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

New York City’s theaters, music venues and comedy clubs finally have the opportunity for which they’ve been waiting for  over a year: the chance to start holding performances for live audiences again.

On March 3, 2021, Governor  of New York Andrew Cuomo announced that beginning April 2, performing arts establishments could host audiences at 33% capacity, with a limit of 100 people indoors or 200 people outdoors.

Broadway theaters first closed on March 12, 2020, initially as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 in New York City. At first, theaters closed for just one month before they ultimately chose to implement a rolling reopening date that they have repeatedly pushed back, and which currently stands at May 30, 2021. As this date has drawn closer, however, it has become clear that the arts scene will not be springing back to life but rather inching towards it.

The first major event that will be taking place is called PopsUp, a city-wide outdoor festival that hopes to encourage people to get out and explore the arts. Another notable performance that will be taking place is “Blindness,” a socially distanced, immersive audio installation at the Daryl Roth Theatre.

In perhaps the most fitting program for the mood of the pandemic, the Park Avenue Armory plans to open a new piece which involves audience members dancing in their own socially distanced spotlight. All 13 performances are currently sold out.

While no theater is currently requiring audience members to be vaccinated, they are requiring each individual to provide a negative COVID-19 urgent test, an action which effectively puts a stop to day-of ticket sales. Additionally, theaters will put protocols in place for casts and crews, such as hand-sanitizing stations and mandatory social distancing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently stated that “if enough people get vaccinated and are careful in reopening and resuming activities, based on current projections, I believe we likely could see a return to more fully open movie and Broadway theaters sometime in the fall.”

True to Fauci’s word, the majority of Broadway shows have projected a fall 2021 reopening date, including new productions and reopened shows, although it is uncertain which will open first. Excitingly, there are rumors that “Hamilton” will be the first Broadway show to reopen, with exclusive performances for a socially distanced audience held on July 4. If these rumors are true, it could prompt many darkened New York theaters to open their doors once more, marking the end of a long, often bleak hibernation.

allbro1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

1986: Women’s tennis conditioned for success

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

 

By Joe Piche, Sports Editor

“We do a half-hour of conditioning a day,” commented Kathy Bull, head coach of the St. Olaf women’s tennis team.

“But Coach, you just swept Macalester 9-0 and the week before that you humbled St. Thomas 9-0 as well. Don’t you think they at least deserve a little rest? Maybe even a treat at the Dairy Queen?”

“We condition everyday regardless of whether we win or lose.” Bull continued, “We’re a more disciplined team than we have been in the past. We’re intense and we want to win.”

Concentration is evident in the face of Sheila Patterson. The Oles hosted a four team invitational in which no score was kept.

 

And win they do. In their first two conference meets the women have completely dominated play at the line and at the net. Out of a possible 18 matches the Oles have lost none. For a casual observer, one might notice that the team has a good number of freshmen in the line-up. In fact, three of the Ole’s top six single players are freshmen. Leading the way is Sheila Patterson. Patterson, the team’s number two singles player has teamed up with Robin Parmley to comprise possibly the toughest doubles combination in the conference.

Said Mittlestadt, “She [Bull] has made us work hard—she’s conditioned us more, physically and mentally. Instead of just making us play tennis all day Kathy has prepared us to be more disciplined and conditioned athletes.” Just how prepared and conditioned the Oles are is still the question. With meets against St. Mary’s, Bethel and Hamline before break the team has a good chance of continuing their roll, and a good chance of proving that they have more than just beginner’s luck.

“We’ve got a good chance to be 5-0 before break with clean sweeps in each meet if we play well,” said Bull. “But after break is when our schedule gets a little tougher.” Indeed! With an average of three meets a week plus those workouts the squad should have their work cut out for them. The competition will also pick up a bit as well. Teams like nationally rated Principia College out of Illinois, and U of Wisconsion Whitewater, along with Luther, Gustavus, and Carleton should be incentive enough for the Oles to keep working hard.

This team’s hard work and discipline are exceeded only by their coach’s. Coach Bull deserves much credit for reshaping a program that was sagging before she arrived. Women’s tennis at Olaf has never really been poor, but conversely it has never been great. The time for greatness may soon be eclipsing for the women’s team—this could be the start of a dynasty. Middlestadt summed up Bull’s attitude to succeed by stating, “After our double match against Mac, she told us we looked terrible—and that was after we had beaten them 7-6, 6-2.”

Categories: Colleges

Horoscopes

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

Aries: Your season is coming to an end and what a season it was. Spend this last week doing whatever you want. Try to use your powers for good for once.

Taurus: Spent all your Cage money on poke bowls and the drink of the month? Sounds like a great time to ask that person in your class to be your sugar bestie.

Gemini: It’s hard to focus right now but try.

Cancer: Take a break from listening to “Fearless (Taylor’s version)”. You’ll do greater things than dating someone on the cross country team.

Leo: Y’all are getting ready for the summer of a lifetime. Check-in with yourself this week and see what’s up, it’s okay to be sensitive.

Virgo: … you don’t have to be right all the time. Also, it’s okay if you aren’t always busy. It’s not a competition.

Libra: Take a walk through the natty lands and ponder the great questions of this world. Wait, you already do that. Try making a decision.

Scorpio: Vulnerability is what makes us human or whatever, you should try it. 

Sagittarius: I get it, you feel trapped in this bubble. Create some adventure this week and say yes to everything. Stay sexy my fellow sags.

Capricorn: December Capricorns — why are you the way you are? No hate just a question to ask yourself. January Capricorns — not everything has to be a resume filler, don’t go to The Piper Center this week.

Aquarius: Reconnect with old friends this week. You don’t have to go through it alone.

Pisces: Stop staring at them and ask them out.

Graphics by Sadie Favour ’23

Categories: Colleges

Heartbeat

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

Self-love is a difficult thing to achieve. In my experience, I have struggled with self-love ever since I can remember. After being classified as overweight starting at age 11, I could not ignore the constant reminder that my body is not the ideal norm. When you’re surrounded by advertising, media and celebrity culture that praises a certain kind of body, you’re always reminded that you are not seen as desirable. If you don’t meet the status quo that these images perpetuate, self-love can become harder and harder to accomplish.

There’s a saying that I’m sure many of us have heard before: “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” It’s problematic in many senses, but I didn’t realize until recently how much I had adopted that mindset. I don’t seek out romantic relationships for fear that I will not be seen as an ideal partner. It made me wonder just how many people are feeling the same way.

After a lot of thought and an uncomfortable journey into the depths of my own insecurities, I began to despise the statement “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else” more and more. Right off the bat, it implies that self-love is a concrete destination to which we can travel. Once you have “achieved” it, then you can try loving someone else. In reality, every single person struggles with something that they may not love about themselves. It’s a journey from which no one is exempt.  If we are waiting until the end of that journey, then, well, it seems like we would all be single forever, right?

Even though I’m still in the midst of a very complicated self-love process, I feel love for people. I feel love for my friends, my family, my pets. I think limiting our idea of love to romantic love is harmful, and I, like many others, am just beginning to realize this.

This is not to say that anyone should settle for anything less than what they deserve simply because they are in a complicated stage of their self-love journey. It’s more to say that we shouldn’t stop ourselves from looking for love, no matter how much we think we don’t deserve it.

I truly believe everyone should work on loving themselves and should prioritize their self-love before anything else. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you cannot love someone until you love yourself. Finding the things that are holding us back from living as our most authentic, whole selves sucks and takes time, but it may help us go from “you have to love yourself before you can love someone else” to “I deserve love no matter where I am in my self-love journey.”

lindah2@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Student activists organize Palestine Liberation Week

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

Photo Courtesy of Danely Quiroz

 

The Political Awareness Committee (PAC), the Palestinian Study Group (from a RACE 298 Independent Study class) and Passion Project organized Palestine Liberation Week in order to provide information on Palestinian resistance and culture to St. Olaf students and faculty.

Primary organizers, including PAC Coordinator Danely Quiroz ’21, Head Editor of Passion Project Zibby Trewartha-Weiner ’21, Maha Abadi ’21, Ella Panchot ’22 and Hanane Idihoum ’23, changed the name from the more commonly known Israel Apartheid Week (IAW) to Palestine Liberation Week.

“[Israeli Apartheid Week] is something that happens traditionally across college campuses,” Quiroz said. “But some other colleges, including our group, did not want to focus on apartheid. We wanted to highlight and amplify Palestinian voices and resistance. The media only centers on the violence perpetrated against them.”

Beginning March 28, the week-long event provided multiple resources for students to connect and directly engage with the liberation movement. The hallway between Buntrock commons and Rolvaag Memorial Library displayed information on the movement and Palestinian history and was decorated with Palestinian flags and olive branches. Zines to display symbols of resistance through photography, digital art and prose hung from vines on either side of the hallway.

 

The hallway between Buntrock Commons and Rolvaag Library displayed information on the liberation movement and Palestinian history. Photo Courtesy of Danely Quiroz.

 

“It was impossible to ignore because it was interactive,” Trewartha-Weiner said. “I felt inspired by that. It was celebratory towards Palestinian experiences and their connections to land. That was one of our goals.”

The organizers streamed the film “Naila and the Uprising” in Viking Theater on March 30 to highlight the prominent role of Palestinian women in the first Intifada. The film, directed by Julia Bacha, blended direct interviews and archival footage with the medium of animation.

PAC also provided free copies of “Palestine: A Socialist Introduction” written by Sumaya Awad and Brian Bean, activists of the Palestinian liberation movement, to offer an educational resource to interested parties. The organizers led a discussion of the book’s first chapter, “Roots of the Nabka: Zionist Settler Colonialism,” as an introductory conversation on Zionism and its direct ties to colonialism and imperialism.

“The book was very important to us because it laid a foundation about what we learned in our study group. So people will know that we are anti-Zionists, meaning we do not support colonialism, we do not support white supremacy and we want to lift up the voices of Palestinians this week,” Panchot said.

Co-author Awad, an anti-imperialist socialist, discussed the United States’ geopolitical interest in Israel, the Canary Mission blacklist which harasses student activists in solidarity with Palestine and the weaponization of anti-Semitism during an event on April 1. Awad condemned Zionism for operating on colonialism, ethnic cleansing and overall human rights violations.

“It’s important that people don’t conflate anti-Israel with anti-Semitism as well. There’s a difference between being Zionist and being Jewish,” said PAC Executive Assistant Monique Geronimo ’21.

The week concluded with an in-person event in Buntrock Commons crossroads on April 2, where performances by organizers were held in dedication to Palestine. Students gathered together to hear people sing, recite poetry and prose and hear the voices of Palestinian students.

“What was so beautiful was the people coming forward — people outside of St. Olaf campus, outside of Northfield … people from Rhode Island, New York — they were people from other organizations, people who I never interacted with, telling me how beautiful this week had been,” Quiroz said. “That it had been transformative and had so much intention … to echo the words of another PAC member, liberation is beautiful.”

cajiao1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Rest days and the want for creative administration

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

Illustration by Sadie Favour

 

I feel that my good friend Eggy Benzireg ’21 sums up the general consensus on how people feel about St. Olaf’s rest days. “Rest days? More like stress days!” I couldn’t help but laugh about how ironically accurate this was. Their awkward placement in the middle of the week gives me a glimpse of the relaxation I experience on the weekend. But then I’m plunged into the icy waters of reality as I remember I still have two more days of school left!

This kind of confusion and stress is what prompted the petition for a “no outside classwork week,” to simulate an actual spring break, which ultimately passed without any administrative change. 

If anything, this one day of rest creates more confusion. What do we do for this one day? Play a little volleyball outside Ytterboe with friends? Worry about the work that is due for the rest of the week? Get more sleep?

I asked my friends for their opinion in order to reflect on my own. Izzy Black-Johnston ’21 described not liking them too much. “They make me more tired, and in general they’re work days for me.” She also brought up the valuable point that three rest days are not equivalent to a spring break. In past years where we got a whole week off we were able to feel rejuvenated from the feeling of burnout that sinks in midway through the semester.

Another question that comes to mind is why not make the rest day on a Friday or Monday? In this way, Olaf students could enjoy a longer weekend. Clearly, this situation was not in the realm of possibility due to concerns of students partying or traveling off-campus in the midst of the pandemic. However, my friend Brita Gallagher ’21 suggested a scenario of rest days that I think could’ve worked out better: What about having two rest days in a row? If we’re going to have a random day off in the middle of the week, at least make it a longer period so students can recover.

Most importantly, in light of the heightened Yellow Alert Level on campus, our recent rest day had students stay on campus. In the past, spring break was an opportunity for me to get away from school. But now that we’re in lockdown,  I’m unable to escape the stressful school environment. This factor, with the daily stressors of the pandemic and feelings of all-around unmotivation, makes it difficult for me to clear my mind for rest.

Juliana Goldman ’21 and Josie Goellner ’22 suggested organizing more events and activities organized on campus during rest days. Perhaps a movie night outside? Events like these could help bring the student community together and allow us to de-stress on rest days.

Although these rest days are appreciated, and better than none at all. I feel that there are creative ways St. Olaf could’ve arranged them so that we feel less burnt out. In the end, though the rest days may seem nice in the moment, I’m always left wanting more.

kettne1@stolaf.edu

Laras Kettner is from

Madison, WI

Her major is nursing.

Categories: Colleges

What to listen to on KSTO this semester

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

So you’re thinking about listening to KSTO? Great idea! In preparation for this article I listened to 17 different shows (not including my own) and honestly all of them were good. That being said, I understand you might not be able to listen to 17 hours of different radio shows, so I’ve created a handy guide based on some of my favorites.

If you like to stay informed:

“Social Justice & Socialites” (Thursday, 1-2 p.m.) is a great program. When I listened, the hosts covered Derek Chauvin’s trial and other major news items. It was really educational, and they broke up their different topics with some groovy music. If you want to catch up on news, I would definitely recommend tuning in.

If you’re an early riser:

I’m not a morning person but being able to listen to “And That’s The Tea” (Tuesday, 8 a.m.) is fantastic motivation to get up early. The hosts are hilarious; I was laughing along with them as they recounted anecdotes from their lives. They played some songs, but it was mostly highly entertaining banter.

If you need a topping for your sandwich:

The name of this show really threw me off but it’s actually quite clever. On “Lost in the Sauce” (Tuesday, 6 p.m.), the hosts picked a sauce and created a playlist based around it, keeping me engaged as I pondered what sauce could be behind all the different songs. The sauce when I listened was revealed as oyster sauce, which I didn’t know existed. “Lost in the Sauce” is a great way to discover new music, and new sauces!

If you’re feeling nostalgic:

“Tales Away From The Swamp” (Tuesday, 5 p.m.) unpacks films from childhood. The hosts discussed “High School Musical” when I tuned in, and it was wonderful. The songs they played made me happily nostalgic, and their analysis gave new meaning to my thoughts on the films. I’ll definitely be tuning in again!

If you’re a Norwegian major:

The whole reason I started listening to KSTO is because two members of the Norwegian House started the show “Moose Goop” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.). They mostly play indie music with the occasional Norwegian song. I often call into the show, which is great fun. If you do listen to “Moose Goop,” call in and request “Mambo Mambo.” It’s their theme song!

If you want to know the future:

“Astris Perturbatis” (Friday, 4 p.m.) is an awesome show. The hosts read out horoscopes for people who call in. I would strongly encourage calling into a KSTO show; it’s cool to be on the airwaves! This show had clever responses to people who called in, and the hosts had an awesome song selection.

If you’re a St. Olaf history buff:

I have to take the opportunity to shamelessly promote my own radio show, “The Bathtub” (Wednesday, 8 p.m.). My friend and I discuss St. Olaf history, mostly using it as an opportunity to roast the College’s founders. You can follow us on Instagram @theogbathtub to let us know what topic you’d like us to research next!

If you like music:

I think a majority of the KSTO shows play music. My favorite music show was “Teatime and Tunes” (Saturday, 2 p.m.), because the hosts played some unusual songs, including a French song I really liked. “Alt Vibe Pt. 2: The Vibe Won’t Stop” (Friday, 10 p.m.) had super nice vibes and is planning something big for April 23, so make sure to tune in.

Those were my favorites, but every show I listened to provided its own unique flair. Including, but not limited, to Goblin Hour (Thursdays, 10 p.m.).

The next time you’re unsure of what to listen to you should tune into KSTO and try out something new! Just go to https://www.kstoradio.org/ and hit “Listen Live” for a good time!

peters70@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

POC Ole Theater’s ‘Under the Baobab Tree’ showcases BIPOC performing arts community

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

 

“Under the Baobab Tree,” a play that ran on April 9 and 10 in Tomson 280, was by any metric a huge success. The play, written and directed by Mary Maker ’23 and put on by POC Ole Theater, filled its audience sign-up sheet within just a few hours of its announcement on St. Olaf Extra. The short play centers on a pair of young women in love in present-day South Sudan and deals with many traumatizing themes, including ethnic conflict, rape, homophobia and misogyny.

“It has really been hard for me as a director because I am bringing out thoughts that are very traumatic to an already traumatized BIPOC community,” Maker said.

In fact, Maker connected with other BIPOC artists in the Twin Cities area to speak with the all-BIPOC cast about how to act in roles that may be triggering or retraumatizing. This dedication came through in the show; the performances were deeply impactful and emotionally resonant.

The play was excellent, but for Maker, the end result was not the priority.

“I don’t mind the output — I am really blessed by the process that they have taken from the very beginning,” Maker said.

But Maker’s real aim was the creation of a BIPOC performance community. Many of the actors in the show had never acted before, and Maker hand-picked them to play specific characters.

“POC Ole Theater is not just about putting works on stage which is, yes, a part of it, but it is a community for BIPOC students to feel represented, to find their identities and to know that they belong,” Maker said.

The second half of the show, in which there was a question and answer period with the cast and crew, really spoke to this principle. An audience member asked why the set was so minimalist, and a quick answer of “the budget” caused uproarious laughter. 

As the Q&A went on, it was obvious that the cast members had come to know each other well. By the end the Q&A was longer than the play itself, but it never felt excessive. There was a deep thoughtfulness evident in the show and discussion.

“Under the Baobab Tree” is an excellent play which signals the return and growth of POC Ole Theater. It is the first show the student organization has put on since Michelle Gibbs, the original faculty advisor of the group and former assistant professor of theater at St. Olaf, left the College. Dr. María Pabón Gautier is the new faculty advisor of the group. POC Ole Theater’s “Under the Baobab Tree” is unquestionably a marked contribution to uplifting BIPOC art and voices on campus.

graham10@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Richard Wright’s ‘Native Son’ represents contrast to pysche of the invisible man

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 24 min ago

I visited Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” in the Messenger last fall, writing about the novel’s distinct portrayal of the invisible psyche thrust upon Black folks in America by systems of oppression that consistently and constantly deny their very character as individuals. This is the realization reached by the unnamed narrator of “Invisible Man,” who charted a life of relative esteem and held positions of influence. It is not a feeling the narrator rejects; rather, he accepts it, ultimately reaching a sort of twisted, convoluted inner peace.

Bigger Thomas, the protagonist of “Native Son,” reaches a different understanding of himself at the end of Wright’s novel.

“‘What I killed for must’ve been good!’ Bigger’s voice was full of frenzied anguish. ‘It must have been good! When a man kills, it’s for something … I didn’t know I was really alive in this world until I felt things hard enough to kill for ’em … It’s the truth, Mr. Max. I can say it now, ’cause I’m going to die. I know what I’m saying real good and I know how it sounds. But I’m all right.’”

This is the final full statement Bigger presents, speaking to the lawyer, Mr. Max, who has defended him during the court case which occupies the final third of the plot. By accepting his true motivation for killing Mary Dalton, Bigger confirms his self identity. Where the narrator of “Invisible Man” denies his self to achieve a sense of existence, Bigger Thomas confirms his self to achieve a similar yet distinct sense of peace in the face of impending execution.

“Invisible Man” and “Native Son” display two sides of Black identity in the first half of the 20th century. Ellison and Wright, through the portrayals of their main characters, depict two possible responses to a life faced with a dauntless crucible of challenges and oppression, both direct and indirect.

Bigger, coming from a poor class of men pushed into ghettos by Chicago’s racist redlining policies, gains his freedom through acts of intense violence. He employs violence because it is something he has control over; it is one of the few means he realizes causes effects in the world.

“But I ain’t worried none about them women I killed. For a little while I was free. I was doing something. It was wrong, but I was feeling all right,” Bigger says to Mr. Max while in his jail cell toward the end of the book. “Maybe God’ll get me for it. If He do, all right. But I ain’t worried. I killed ’em ’cause I was scared and mad. But I been scared and amd all my life and after I killed that first woman, I wasn’t scared no more for a little while.”

The narrator of “Invisible Man” charts a different course. Coming from a higher class, the narrator achieved an education before moving to New York City to pursue a life of informed community leadership. The narrator consistently attempts to use his intelligence and willpower to make a place for himself and for his people in the world, clinging onto a notion of faith in Black prosperity.

But, in the face of this blind faith, the narrator constantly finds himself objectified and made invisible by the domineering forces of power and oppression surrounding him. Instead of acting as an intentional agent of violence, as Bigger does, he is buffeted around the city by waves of violence he unintentionally sets off when trying to act on his faith and defend his people against racist policing. He only escapes catastrophe by accepting his invisibility and becoming nothing, a hidden figure in a cellar siphoning off electricity from the apartment above him.

While Bigger Thomas dies physically, the narrator of “Invisible Man” dies spiritually, left a husk of a man who inhabits the world merely as a resigned spectator. Resignation is the only way left for the narrator to accept his identity, whereas resignation was the starting position from which Bigger acted in fits of violence and rage to confirm his own identity.

Ultimately, both characters act out of a deeply-rooted sense of fear. The unnamed narrator’s sense of fear stems from him letting his family and his community down by not using the gifts that placed him in a perceived position of influence relative to the majority of his people. Bigger’s sense of fear stems from his perceived position of powerlessness juxtaposed with the white people he saw on the street, flying in the air or on the movie screen.

While I don’t mean to display the lives of Black people in early 20th century America as a dichotomy between invisibility and violence, or between an intelligent class and an uneducated class, I believe the dichotomy that exists between the main characters’ actions in “Invisible Man” and “Native Son” can teach the reader valuable lessons regarding the mistreatment of Black people in this country. Similar to how Ellison created his narrator with the mission of revealing the “human universals hidden within the plight of one who was both black and American,” Wright created Bigger to depict the naturalistic underside of the same plight.

He writes in his added section, “How ‘Bigger’ Was Born”, “The more I thought of it the more I became convinced that if I did not write of Bigger as I saw and felt him, if I did not try to make him a living personality and at the same time a symbol of all the larger things I felt and saw in him, I’d be reacting as Bigger himself reacted: that is, I’d be acting out of fear if I let what I thought whites would say constrict and paralyze me.”    

marand1@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Microfiction Corner: A Drake Parker Story Revisited

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 25 min ago

So my foot’s totally stuck in there, right? I’m freaking out, the dog’s having a seizure, and I still have half a pie left. So I leave the pie and wiggle my foot, but the dog won’t budge. Finally it coughs up the toy, but goes straight for the pie. And I need to protect the pie! So I end up in this fetal position over it while the dog’s barking. I manage to kick the toy across the room, the dog takes the bait, and I book it outside. Crazy right? So now I make Josh go instead.

Categories: Colleges

A guide to SGA executive elections

Manitou Messenger - 10 hours 25 min ago

Student Government Association’s (SGA) spring elections take place on April 16. Students will have the opportunity to vote for SGA executives as well as branch coordinators. There is strong competition for Coordinator positions for Volunteer Network (VN), Diversity Initiatives Support Committee (DISC) and Political Awareness Committee (PAC). Coordinator positions of Music Entertainment Committee (MEC), Student Activities Committee (SAC), After Dark Committee (ADC), Student Organizations Committee (SOC) are running uncontested.

Fenton Krupp ’24 is running for the Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC) Coordinator after a year of service on the team. He hopes to increase BORSC recognition and solve more campus issues during his leadership.

Fenton Krupp ’24

Sandra Chimutsipa ’23 and Jessica Hollister  ’22 hope to continue their current work as ADC and SOC coordinators respectively.

Sandra Chimutsipa ’23

Chimutsipa’s platform focuses on increasing student engagement by listening to the student body’s needs and suggestions for events. She’s passionate about working with ADC again.

Jessica Hollister ’22

Hollister plans on updating funding for sports clubs and increasing coordinator accessibility by making herself available for discussion in the Office of Student Activities, every day of the week.

  Lily Braafladt ’22 is campaigning for MEC Coordinator and has served on MEC for three years. Her platform involves hosting more musicians from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds, reducing confusion with navigating multiple social medias, and mentorship.

  Zoe Golden ’22 is running for SAC Coordinator to increase transparency with the student body and establish equitable spending. She’s served on SAC for three years.

Zoe Golden ’22

President & Vice President

Andy Nelson ’23 and Michael Paredes ’22 are running unopposed for SGA President and Vice President. Following a debate hosted by the Messenger, Hannah Niederman ’23 and Maddy Bayzaee ’23 formally conceded from the race for SGA President and Vice President on the condition that Nelson and Paredes agree to work towards their list of demands. Their platform covered a wide range of issues from reforming the campus protest policy to environmental justice 

“Please know this is not the last of us. We will be making noise,” Bayzaee said.

Some of Nelson and Paredes’ most relevant qualifications include Nelson’s service as a Member-at-Large for SOC and Coordinator for SAC.  Paredes has worked as SGA’s International Student Senator for three years. The pairs platform focuses on restructure SGA finances and student engagement.

  “We want to work with organizations to help them spend money efficiently and proportionately throughout the year, so that students not only have a community, but they get the value that they deserve,” Paredes said.

Diversity Initiatives Support Committee

Linden Hoskins ’22

As a self-identified white, trans and disabled organizer, Hoskins hopes to connect queer students to St. Olaf’s multicultural orgs. “I want to be your technician and your mic, but not your voice,” said Hoskins on their online campaign. They believe their facilitation skills, especially with Northfield Mutual Aid, sets them apart from their opponent.

Mbuyisile Tlhwaele ’23

  “When I heard there was no one running, I thought: ‘Oh, no! We can’t have that happening!’” Tlhwaele said. “This is a sign that I should take it with open arms.”

   She said what sets her apart from her opponent is her experience as an international student, Karibu Co-chair, and DISC liaison. Her platform focuses on new programming strategies to implement in-person, COVID-safe multicultural events that increase event engagement.

Political Awareness Committee

Mohamed Yassin ’23

Yassin serves as PAC’s current Bi-weekly Events Coordinator and gives his time and leadership to several St. Olaf departments and volunteer programs. “I am running for PAC Coordinator as a recommitment to amplifying silenced voices. I hope that through this position, I not only reaffirm these core values, but continue to foster thought-provoking dialogue and a rekindle of moving towards justice together,” Yassin said.

Matt Mackenzie ’22

Mackenzie’s experience consists of being a part of the Climate Justice Collective (CJC), Northfield Mutual Aid, and other orgs focused on community change. “I hope to solicit more input about the types of voices and programming our students would like to see featured in our political dialogue. I’m also hoping to expand on PAC’s great section of online resources, make them more accessible, and encourage students to engage with them,” said Mackenzie.

Volunteer Network

Missy Daniels ’22

Daniels has served on VN for her whole college career. “My current experience as VN’s Financial Officer makes me the ideal candidate for VN Coordinator, as I have the analytical background needed to make knowledgeable decisions about where our money is going,” said Daniels on her online campaign. Her platform consists of increasing VN’s visibility on campus as well as expanding VN’s campus events.

Camille Stich ’22

Stich serves as VN’s Social Media Director and Alpha Phi Omega’s VP of Service. She hopes to expand VN’s membership to increase student involvement, promote volunteer outreach, and provide scheduling flexibility, according to Kaitlyn Chalfant ’22, Stich’s proxy. Chalfant said, “Stich is the current VN Coordinator’s ‘right-hand woman.’ She’s always collaborating with him and having so much fun. I’ve never seen anyone who’s as dedicated as her.”

vue11@stolaf.edu

Categories: Colleges

Cool Weather Greens

Growing cool weather greens is a great way to maximize the short Minnesota growing season and enjoy fresh produce sooner. Many leafy greens prefer cooler weather, so late April to mid May is a great time to plant them. 

Cool weather greens like lettuce and spinach can be interplanted with warm season crops. As the summer heats up, they thrive in the cool shade of taller plants like tomatoes. Crops like kale and cabbage should be planted where they will have room to mature and enjoy full sun.  

Leafy greens do best in rich soil, so work slow release fertilizer into the planting beds to keep them producing happily. 

Eat Your Greens

Lettuce, spinach, leafy greens – Direct sow in late April. Plant in an area with light shade to help prevent bolting when weather warms. Harvest as needed and cut from the outside for leafy types. Head types can be harvested entire.

Kale – Sow in late April in rich soil. Kale happily grows in cool weather and keeps producing all summer.  Harvest as needed, cutting from the outside.

Cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli – These cool weather crops take a bit longer to mature, but they love getting a start in cool weather. Direct sow in late April to early May in rich soil. Mulch plants as warm weather approaches to keep the roots cool and retain moisture. Plant seedlings out in cool weather too!

Hungry for more? Check out our blog on root crops for cool weather! 

 

 

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