Monday, October 28, 2013

Hey there, pals!
     We hope you’re braving the abrupt plummet in temperature, as well as the blitzkrieg of midterms, essays, and other mid-semester madness you probably experienced last week (or are experiencing, now).
     We would like to wholeheartedly thank all who attended the English Majors’ Open Mic, and give a special shout-out to all the incredible poets, novelists, singers/songwriters, and writers alike who shared a piece of their work with us. The Open Mic was a refreshing hiatus from the hustle and bustle of everyday life on campus, and an opportunity for us to sample each other’s brilliance and bask in the glory that is writing.
     That said, we’d like to offer our sincerest apologies to those who were unable to present due to the time constraints. If you e-mail us at boylanblog [at] brookyln [dot] cuny [dot] edu, we’d be happy to guarantee you one of the first spots at the next Open Mic in the Spring of 2014. We’d also urge you to submit your work to The Junction, which we’ll discuss more in the upcoming weeks and next semester.
     Until then, grab a cup of tea, sink into your sofa, and take solace in knowing that we’ve made it halfway through the semester. And, once again, thank you for your unwavering support of and participation in all that we do. Cheers!
          -Alex Hajjar
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American Education: Diverse or Lazy?

     “Diverse” and “lazy” aren’t exactly diametric opposites; they’re hardly related, in fact. Or are they?
     Al Jazeera predicts that by this time next year, students may be able to jubilantly highlight two days on their school calendars as days off from school. The reason? The celebration of Eid-al-Fitr, a holiday that marks the end of the Muslim celebration Ramadan. Evidently, both mayoral candidates support the idea. Mayor Bloomberg, however, vehemently rejects the suggestion, positing that an observation of the holiday would “take away from the students’ education and open the door to similar requests from other religion and ethnic groups.”
     But, isn’t that – in part – what America is all about? Aren’t our doors supposed to remain open to requests that would both acknowledge and respect other religions? Republican mayoral candidate, Joe Lhota seems to think so. He contends: “We have a growing Muslim community in the city of New York and their religion needs to be respected as all other religions are respected.”
     Last week, my education class mused on diversity in America’s education system and the subtle ways by which the system continues to promote certain religions. We discussed how the “under God” clause in the Pledge of Allegiance has yielded controversy; but, when my professor’s question, “There’s one more really obvious enforcement of religion that we’re ignoring; what is it?” met with blank stares and flummoxed faces, she said it: holidays.
     Holidays, such as Christmas and Easter are not only overt acknowledgments of Catholicism and Christianity, but their celebration suggests that they bear more significance than Jewish or Muslim holidays. In New York, my professor explained, we do a much better job at veiling this prejudice with politically correct terms such as “winter” and “spring” break. This isn’t the case in other states. Pennsylvania, she argued, will call it “Christmas” and “Easter Break.” In New York, we’ve grown to acknowledge Jewish holidays, and therefore enjoyed the days off from school. But this begs the question: Why do we only celebrate Jewish and Catholic holidays? Can we afford to celebrate all religious holidays at the expense of our education? If not, then what is the standard for deciding which holidays are worth celebrating?
     I think this leaves us with a bit of a paradox. Can there be a middle ground between these two arguments? Do you think we’re willing to grant days off from school because of political correctness, or do you think it’s an affirmation of the lazy American stereotype?
          -Alex Hajjar
     
 

Passing by Nella Larsen

“She was caught between two allegiances, different, yet the same. Herself. Her race…It was, she cried silently, enough to suffer as a woman, an individual, on one’s own account, without having to suffer for the race as well. It was a brutality, and undeserved.”
     Nella Larsen’s novella Passing is an oft-overlooked gem of the Harlem Renaissance. The story chronicles the lives of two friends, Irene and Clare, who are both of mixed ancestry but are fair enough to “pass” for white in society. Clare uses her appearance to her advantage, marrying a wealthy white business mogul who also happens to be a thoroughbred bigot. Irene, on the other hand, marries a black man and raises their children in Harlem so that they at least grow up with a supportive black community in the backdrop a racist society.
     I expected the story to dwell more on the injustice of American racism, but at its core, the tale is about Irene and Clare’s complicated friendship and the problem of asserting your individuality when you are doubly oppressed by your identity politics. Irene resents the fact that Clare pretends she is not black in order to live in high society, yet she takes advantage of her marginal access to white privilege when it suits her as well. The story even begins with Clare and Irene meeting each other by chance after years of separation in a “whites only” restaurant. One particularly insightful passage explains, “It’s funny about ‘passing.’ We disapprove of it and at the same time condone it. It excites our contempt and yet we rather admire it. We shy away from it with a kind of revulsion, but we protect it.”
     Larsen herself was keenly aware of the double-bind of the “tragic mulatto.” Larsen was “passing” in her own right and struggled with being fetishized for her “exotic” complexion and with being a woman at a time when women’s control over their own lives and bodies was limited even among white women.
     The “tragic mulatto” trope is something I can relate to only to the extent that I, too, have both black and white ancestry, and it can be strange navigating other people’s assumptions about what being black or white means. However, I think the “tragic” stem should be dropped. Inter-racial marriages are at an all-time high and more and more people are checking multiple boxes for their ethnicity on the census. Even our current president is biracial. Perhaps this is why the tragic mulatto trope is, at least to my knowledge, an antiquated construction. I can’t think of contemporary film or fiction that frames the issue in a similar way. Of course that means there is now a vacuum, a blind spot in our consciousness since more and more children are being born with multiple ethnicities and there is relatively little material in fiction or pop culture to reflect this new trend. I wonder how artists will address this issue in the days and years to come…
          -Josane Cumandala

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MY ADDICTION

I was waiting, waiting!
Waiting for you to realize that I’m here.
I was waiting!
Hoping someday you would realize that I’m still here.
Standing there
You left me hanging.
Hang-ing on your leash
I hung
Begging for treats of flesh
Tasty
I bit into you
Itching, life dying, sin igniting
Erasing all restraint.
My Mind Shifting
I… was Born Again of God
But Adam took over
Eve’s flirting   
Life and Death
Dripping like honeyed words and batted eyelashes
Dangling from the tree
I bit into
Flesh.
The touch of your brown skin against my palm –
Life –
Your pink lips on mine –
Death –
          -Eta Oyarijivbie
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Thumbelina

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     You may wonder why I am writing about Thumbelina, especially when there’s Anastasia, a much more popular movie by Don Bluth from 20th Century Fox. My reason is pretty simple. Thumbelina was one of my favorite movies as a child. It wasn’t that I didn’t like Anastasia. I absolutely loved it, but I didn’t watch it as much as Thumbelina.  Anastasia, due to my having seen it as a preteen, doesn’t evoke childhood memories in the same way Thumbelina does. Anyway, I’ll get back to the Currently Watching.
     The movie Thumbelina was based on a Danish tale, Tommelise, which is about the adventures of a tiny girl. The main issues that the girl faces relate to appearance and marriage. She successfully rejects offers from toads, insects, and moles before marrying a fairy prince who is just her size.  After escaping from the mouse’s shelter, due to pressure to marry the mole, Thumbelina meets a sparrow that she nurses back to health. In Hans Christen Andersen’s tale, the sparrow is a bluebird who keeps watch over Thumbelina from beginning and eventually falls in love with her. When Thumbelina marries the fairy prince, the bluebird is devastated and moves to a small house. He, the bluebird, tells his tale to someone who is implied to be Andersen. In the movie, the bird, named Jacquimo, still watches Thumbelina. The difference is that now the bird is not in love with Thumbelina, but helps her find the fairy prince, who is named Cornelius in the movie, to marry.
     The movie Thumbelina received low ratings from movie critics. They saw it as one that would capture the attention of children rather than adults. When I watched the movie last week, I found the movie to be interesting, but perhaps it was because I liked the movie ever since I was a child. This contrasted with the critics of the original fairy tale in Denmark, who said that the tale was immoral. The movie, Thumbelina, won a “Razzie” for the “Worst Original Song” for the song, “Marry the Mole”. In defense, I think that there were some good songs in the movie.
  1. “Soon”

This is my favorite song in the movie. The vocals are excellent, period!
  1. “Let Me Be your Wings”

     Maybe I really like this scene because it contains the subject of trust similar to that of the song “A Whole New World” in the movieAladdin.
Don’t tell me this:
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Doesn’t remind you of this:
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  1. “Let Me Be Your Wings (Sun Reprise)”
 
     This song basically is in the tune of “Let Me Be Your Wings” only Thumbelina is the only one who sings it. It is a song about loss, both the loss of the song and of her love Prince Cornelius. This song also provides the contrast between her and the mole since the mouse tells her to sing to the mole. Thumbelina longs for the sun while the mole hates the sun, preferring the darkness, a place where he feels like he belongs.
     Even though I like the movie a lot, there are two problematic aspects. In terms of gender, Thumbelina was problematic, because like in Disney children’s movies, the main goal of Thumbelina was to find someone to marry. But maybe I shouldn’t complain about that aspect since the goal of marriage was in the original fairy tale. In addition, one could argue that Thumbelina provides a sense of female agency, since Thumbelina chooses the person who she wishes to marry. Another problematic aspect of Thumbelina that is similar to that of Disney children’s movies is the stereotypical Latin tropes applied to the family of toads that kidnapped Thumbelina.
          -Jacqueline Retalis

Blasts and Beats From the Past

     Rap seems to be the only genre of music where the past isn’t idolized. Of course, it’s done among certain older groups of people, but it seems if you were to ask a youth, the rap industries main target audience, who KRS-One or Slick Rick is, you’d perhaps notice a bewildered face. The same people who claim rap to be their favorite genre of music, and can recite lines from all the popular tracks, don’t fully understand the history, relative newness, and cultural significance of their favorite genre outside of what has been pushed by mainstream music outlets (Rap is sooooooo much more than a beef between Bigge Smalls and Tupac). In asking the question, “why don’t you listen to such and such artist?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received the reply, “well he’s too old.” It’s really a weird, and frustrating, reason if you stop to think about it. I can’t see a similar thing happening in any other genre of music. A fan of Rock N’ Roll, Heavy Metal, Country etc, is more than likely listening to the old stuff.
     There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a rapper embrace the history of his art, as was the case in 2005 when Common released the music video The Corner. What made the track and video special was not just the crazy beat or Common’s great lyricism. It wasn’t even Kanye West’s great directorial touch. It was the inclusion of The Last Poets. The origins of rap can be traced back to New York City. However, specifically speaking on those individuals who have influenced the earliest rappers, you’d have a hard time finding a better place to start than The Last Poets. The Last Poets were a group of spoken word artist/political activist in the 60s during the Civil Rights movement. They were extremely political in their message, and it was them, among others including Gil Scot Heron, who paved the way for a lot of the socially/politically conscious rappers we enjoy today. The song itself from Common is great, but it’s not outside the usual greatness you’d expect from him. The parts that were really striking were the lines in between Common’s verses. These lines are from one member of The Last Poets, and I absolutely loved what he had to say. Take their last line for instance,
The corner was our Rock of Gibraltarour Stonehenge
Our Taj Mahal, our monument
Our Taj Mahal, our monumentOur testimonial to freedom, to peace, and to loveDown on the corner
     This line is amazing. It reveals a grandeur that’s not usually associated with “the Hood.” There’s a beauty in a taking something, that’s not supposed to be good, and making the best out of it. The corner (as in the corner you stand on before crossing the street), will never be confused with some of the world’s greatest wonders. But the corner was “ours,” and that’s what made it great. The corner was culturally significant. This becomes pretty clear in their second to last line.
The corner was our magic, our music, our politicsFires raised as tribal dances and war criesBroke out on different cornersPower to the peopleBlack powerBlack is beautiful
     This line is great because it’s connecting several generations of people. You have The Last Poets, who are of a certain generation, describing a time in the music video of a rapper, who is of a later generation, which is then being played for a mostly younger audience, who is of an even later generation. In fact, “Fire raised as tribal dances and war cries,” can be taken as an allusion to Africa. If so, then that’s another connection that can be added.
          -Shayne McGregor


How Many Kids Can I Buy If I Gave You a Silver Coin?

     Thirty days ago, a baby was born. A little over seven pounds with all his health, he collided with this world with awesome newness. Eight days later, he received his Bris (a Jewish circumcision ritual) and twenty-two days after that he was bought back from a Jewish man of the tribe of priests.
     A brother of mine— for all intents and purposes, though not by blood— gave a speech at his newborn son’s “Pidyon HaBen,” a Jewish ceremony where the family of a first-born son not born of a Kohen or Levi (the tribes of priests and temple-workers of older times) buys back his child from a man of that tribe. The custom dates back to the first and second temples, where only those born of the tribe of Kohanim could do the work in the temple, except for first-born sons who were given the opportunity to join the priests in the holy work.
     After poking fun at the guests of this event for having nothing better to do on a Friday afternoon, my friend discussed the idea of a Pidyon HaBen in his speech. The family of the new child is given a choice, spending some money or keeping their child. At first he remarked, “Of course every parent would keep their child! Who in their right mind after all the hardship of pregnancy would give up the wonderful and beautiful fruit of their labor’” (pardon the pun). 
     But, he continued (and I’ll paraphrase). How easy is it to forget the gift of a child? How easy is it to look at a child as a “cost,” either of money or of time or of energy? How many parents fall victim to resentment toward their kids, and forget that they too once were so young and somewhat helpless, and asked of their parents resources?
     It reminded me of a conversation I’d had with a few friends of mine, debating the value of having a child. They argued that from an economic standpoint a child is just a financial drain, another drop in the bucket for world-overpopulation, an obstacle to themselves and their partner’s dreams of world-domination. 
     I responded that I was sad for them. If any human life— no matter how old or how young—is shoved into this little box of economy, or biology, or any other logical-sounding, box-fitting method created and stamped “safe” by scientists, how will we appreciate the that-ness that is life, the adjective that has no name, the specialness that is a human being. The reason why every parent buys back their child at a Pidyon HaBen is that because no matter how holy the work of G-d is, there is a bond between humans, specifically family, that transcends the silver coin. And that, I think, has the power to illuminate.
          -Rebecca Najjar

 
     I love sandwiches. As a kid, it was the standard peanut butter and jelly with some barbecue chips thrown in for extra crunch and flavor. My adult side cringes. Fortunately, I grew out of that stage around age seven. Then it was grilled cheese and tomato soup, which is now my children’s favorite. Pregnant with my third, and the nine-month finish line gleaming on the prenatal horizon, I have been eating all kinds of sandwiches. 
     But there is only one I dream about. Enter the celestial harps.
     It is a delectable combination of toasted Ezekiel bread, homemade mustard sauce, sprouts (I like radish, garlic, alfalfa), lettuce, sliced kumato (but regular tomatoes work too), and feta cheese. I do not know why, but this is THE SANDWICH for baby me. Maybe it’s because it tastes awesome and it’s healthy.
     I wonder what I will be craving tomorrow?
          -Ariella Shapiro

JJ Levine is a photographer from Montreal whose work explores issues surrounding gender, sexuality, identity and queer space. Levine’s work uses photography to reject and rework traditional or normative gender masquerades. The photographs used to commentate on gender performance is striking and intriguing, leaving the observer captivated by the works ambiguity. Levine exposes the binary divide between masculinity and femininity as a social construction built on the binary opposition between men and women. Clues as to Levine’s subject’s gender are made indistinct throughout Levine’s work leaving the observer in charge of the way in which they choose to perceive the individual or the portrayed relationship; as homosexual, heterosexual or something entirely new.


Levine’s photo series titled “Switch” portrays a couple dressed and staged in both the masculine and feminine role. Even height is taken into account and played with as a mode to emulate masculinity.




Levine’s works expose the faults and limitations upheld by the traditional notions of gender. The dichotomies of heterosexual/homosexual, masculinity/ femininity are subverted and the hierarchies that have been placed on each opposition; heterosexuality as the norm and masculinity as the way in which gender is defined, are put into question. When these norms are stripped of their power, it then becomes possible to rework and redefine identity and sexuality, which Levine gives us through this photography. Levine refuses to view gender and sexuality categorically and instead understands them on a more fluid spectrum, opening up a new scope through which normative perspectives can be understood.

-MC

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Monday, October 21, 2013

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Hello, readers, writers, and everybody else! 
     As midterm season is starting and the weather is getting chillier, I hope you still take the time that you do have to check out this awesome blog. Since you all are probably super busy, here are two quick announcements:
     One: Tomorrow, October 22, will be our Open Mic in the Woody Tanger Auditorium. The sign up sheet will still be on the door for all of you creative writers who wish to participate. We promise that this year, it will be better than ever before. 
     Two: As always, copies of The Junction are in our office. Enjoy reading stories and poetry from our fellow creative writers. As well, you could start thinking about ideas that you would like to submit to The Junction next semester. You could e-mail submissions at bczinesubmissions [at] gmail [dot] com. 
     Before I say goodbye, here is some motivation for you guys: 
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Have a great week and we hope to see some of you at the Open Mic! 
          - Jacqueline Retalis 
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Free Cooper Union Banks on Banksy 

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     Free Cooper Union students have been protesting The Cooper Union’s board of Trustees’ decision to charge tuition in light of their not-so-recent financial troubles since its announcement last April. The school, founded by Peter Cooper, opened under the mission that the highly selective school for artists, engineers, and architects would be free for all those who merited admission.
     Until now.
     The board of trustees, headed by president Jamshed Bharucha, made a decision to charge tuition instead of closing the school’s doors. The decision, made on the school’s inability to continue to financially uphold free tuition for all of its students, shell-shocked all who looked to the school as a beacon of hope for free educational opportunity. This decision has generated ‘Free Cooper Union’ activism from all of the school’s disciplines, and even its alumni. Protest has included:
     Occupation of President Jamshed Bharucha’s ofiice on the seventh floor of the foundation building:
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     Artistic renditions of the Board of Trustees’ faces on matchboxes (assumed to portray the destruction created by their decisions, like the destruction a fire can create):
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 Painting of the school’s architecture studios black (in mourning):
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     Most recently, vandalism of vandalism in the form of an anonymous graffiti artist was seen on the walls of a concrete piece of coastal pipeline in the East Village of New York. This artist re-faced the street art of infamous graffiti artist “Banksy” to make a statement about The Cooper Union’s creator and the current president.
It looked something like this:
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Now, after the midnight vandalism, it looks something like this:
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     On the right presides a rendition of Jamshed, in the position of confessor, with his eyes to Peter Cooper. His hands are together in a sign of request, presumably for the forgiveness of the excellently bearded man.
     Bansky’s pope has been remodeled into Peter Cooper, looking distraught, signifying the genius and innovator’s sadness over the school’s deviation from the mission with which he created the institution. Many students feel it would be better to shut down the school than to continue its existence contrary to the pure instructions given by its benefactor.
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     Either way, keep your eyes peeled for more artistic activism from the Free Cooper Union protesters, they’re armed with a mission and endless energy and creativity.
           -Rebecca Najjar
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The Violin of Wallace Henry Hartley

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     On Saturday, Oct 19, 2013 the long lost violin of Titanic bandmaster, Wallace Hartley was sold at auction for a whopping $1.45 million. While the antiques world is buzzing with the news, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past of this instrument and of the brave man who owned it.
     When I was twelve I went through a nautical phase. I went to the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA nearly every weekend. My room was filled with books about ships, and mostly on famous disasters such as the Lusitania and the Titanic. And this was before the movie came out. I was obsessed.
     I even owned a model or two.
     I remember my mother passing by as I sat on the carpet reading about Wallace Hartley, and she said she thought he was a handsome man.
     Hartley learned to play the violin while still young at the Bethel Independent Methodist Chapel where he was a Sunday school superintendent. He pursued a musical career into his adulthood, playing in the Huddersfield Philharmonic orchestra, and later in 1909, when he was hired by the Cunard line to play aboard its ships.
     By the time of the Titanic’s maiden voyage in 1912, Hartley was soon to wed his fiancee Maria Robinson, and the violin he brought with him on the Titanic, bore an inscription from Maria to commemorate the engagement.
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     During the sinking, Hartley and his fellow musicians played until the very end, and most reports claim their last song to have been “Nearer my God to Thee.” None of the musicians survived. Two weeks later, Hartley’s body was retrieved, the violin strapped to him. He was buried in England, with over a thousand people in attendance. The violin was given to Maria, and she kept it until her death in 1939. After her death, the violin made a journey of its own through a Salvation Army, the hands a violin teacher, and eventually to its current auction buyer, who remains anonymous.
          -Ariella Shapiro
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Divestment Demand:
Why not us, too, Karen Gould?

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     A movement which I have recently been reading up on and attempting to grapple with is this Divestment Movement happening in colleges across the U.S. and abroad, spurred by environmental activist William McKibben.
     Divest- finance: to sell (something valuable, such as property or stock). Verb: To deprive (someone) of power, rights or possessions.
     The idea is to get colleges to divest the stocks they have and to freeze any new investments they plan on making in fossil-fuel companies, “because it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn the planet to climate disaster.” The push asks our very own Brooklyn College to rid its investment portfolio of any fossil-fuel stock.
     Climate change is a colossal problem that will affect every single living organism on planet Earth, an issue that should be given full attention by all.
     Did you know that 70% of the African Penguin population has died off since 2004, one cause of this decline, presumed by scientists, is climate change.
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Good-bye kisses, perhaps?
     I for one don’t just want to roll over and say, “Well it was a good run,” or (to those unfortunately younger than me) “Good luck… here is a planet that will be devastated more frequently by violent, costly, and deadly storms; I hope I won’t be here when it gets even uglier.”
     So, what shall we do?
     Well, I am on a journey to figure it out and I’m calling you to get involved with me. Movements aim to bring together people with different skill sets in order to make a difference. There is a petition - that includes Brooklyn College - which asks for 100 signatures (I am only number seven on this list). The goal of this website is to raise awareness, and serve as a platform and catalysis for change in communities near you.
Check out the website here
Check out the Brooklyn College petition out here
     There are more questions to be asked about divestment, about our very own college’s investment situation, and of course I am sure there are risks and difficulties involved to deter, most of which are unknown to me, but can they really be worse than supporting companies who are damning us to environmental ruin? Can it be more difficult than kissing loved one’s goodbye who may become casualties of climate change disasters? I think not… 
          -Maegan Ciolino
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The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms:The Chronicle Of One Of The Strangest Stories Ever To Be Rumoured About Around New York by J.P. Donleavy

     This may be a little strange, but when I saw The Lady Who Liked Clean Restrooms in the half-off paperbacks bin at The Strand’s stand near Central Park, I knew I had to read it. I usually get books with a certain mission in mind, trying to grab things that I’ve always wanted to read, or that I think I should read, but this time, the thin, orange volume seemed to be practically calling out to me. There was a particular resonance: I had always sought out the cleanest public restrooms to use and, working in midtown, I frequent the Waldorf Astoria and the Peninsula Hotel on my way home. Furthermore, the book is about a woman who, after divorcing her husband and falling into a sort of a slump of upper-middle-class ennui, wanders New York City, around Central Park (where I picked the book up), the Metropolitan Museum, and the same sort of nice restrooms that I had always preferred. Of course, I cannot relate to the first part of this sentence, but the latter part reminded me of the activities of my childhood, an interesting contrast to the activities of the fictional woman in the book.
     I opened the book and read the first paragraph that ends, “but what worried her more than anything was that she might sink down so deep into the doldrums that back up out of them she might never again get.” I thought this line was beautifully crafted; it had a kind of reflexivity, seeming to tread delicately on the words it was using. It captures the tone of the book. It is a little careful, playing and testing the tolerance of the reader who, while enjoying the meandering narrative, might find the story of Jocelyn Guenevere Marchantiere Jones a little annoying. While the book did annoy many reviewers (a perception I get from glancing at the goodreader reviews) I thought that Donleavy’s play with the notion of privilege was very enlightening. The behaviors that Jocelyn indulges herself in are typical of a male bon vivant, but readers still have a difficult time letting a woman “get away” with such indulgence.
     In the context of the charming, frustrating prose, the book is ultimately about how, after such a strong presence of the role we are meant to play (Jocelyn is a rich, East-Coast housewife), we can begin to construct ourselves.
          -Isabel Stern 
“How when one is able to indulge the luxury of beginning one’s life again.
All one thinks to do is end it.”
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Google Poetics: Creating New Ideas for Poetry in the Digital Age

     When you think about Google, the first thing that you think about probably is not poetry. The blog, googlepoetics.com, will make you think otherwise. This blog is relatively new and was created in October 2012 by Sampsa Nuotio and is run by both Nuotio and the curator, Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is simply a compilation of Google autocomplete suggestions. These suggestions are popular searches by people from around the world. Hence, when one creates a Google Poem, it is not just his or her poem. It is also a poem that belongs to the digital world.
     Google Poetics are a reflection of the world and represent both the individual and the collective. Due to the increasing amount of technology, the social capital in our society is deteriorating. Hence, more and more people experience a sense of isolation. The representative of the individual and the collective treads on the topic of aloneness, but perceives it to be reflective of our current society. 
     Since Google Poetics is a reflection of the world, the lines of the poems vary. The lines range from cheerful to gloomy, and can occasionally be strange or Dadaistic. May lines are the lyrics of songs, making some of the poems rather musical. However, some of the lines could be problematic, which reveal our severely flawed society. One example is an ad by UN Women which show the world’s popular opinions of women through google autocomplete search engines, which reflects the rampant misogyny in our society. The link is here.
     Perhaps I should try to end this post on a more positive note. Here are some of my favorite Google Poems on the blog:
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            -Jacqueline Retalis
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Reign

     On Thursday night, I was one of the 2 million people who tuned in to watch the CW premiere of Reign. My thoughts? Kind of mixed! (Spoilers ahead!)
     I’m totally into the “supposed” setting. Reign takes place in 1557 France. The storyline follows the betrothal and future marriage of Mary (Queen of Scots) to Francis (Prince of France).
     Francis’ mother, Catherine, is the “evil queen.” She tries to have Mary drugged and raped so that she will be unfit to marry her son. Oh and by the way, Francis doesn’t want to marry Mary. Yikes.
     Prince Francis isn’t exactly charming, either. In fact, he’s following in the footsteps of his father who is married with a son (Francis) and has a mistress on the side with a son from her (Sebastian). Francis has been seeing another girl in the castle (I think her name was Natalia), also on the side. Another twist? Sebastian is totally hitting on Mary. I hope this won’t turn into a full-fledged love triangle—I have The Vampire Diaries (another CW show) for that!
Francis, Mary, and Sebastian (left to right) The three next to each other reminds me of promo pictures for TVD!
     As if the family drama isn’t enough, there’s an added supernatural element. Interestingly, Nostradamus is a character on the show! He tends to the queen telling her his visions. Unfortunately, he has predicted that Marry will cause the death of Francis, which, not surprisingly, the queen isn’t too happy about.
     Overall, I was pleased with the premiere. I would rate it at a 6/10. My issues lay mainly with the setting. I felt it was not true to 1557 France. The characters, particularly Mary’s friends, are too modern. It feels like Mary’s friends were pulled out of Gossip Girl(another CW show) and thrown into lavish dresses to “fit in” the setting. And that’s another thing I found inaccurate—the wardrobe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think the dresses are absolutely stunning. But did women wear sleeveless dresses in the mid-1500s? I don’t think so.
     Will I watch the second episode next week? Yes. Will I finish the season? Yes. Do I hope the plot unfolds a little better? Yes!
          -Nadia Hamidi
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