The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Author: Halley Posner (Page 2 of 8)

L/A Participates in Statewide Bikeshare

Lewiston and Auburn may join Norway and Machias as cities in Maine with bikeshare programs. Seniors Sadie Mae Palmatier, Ben Berger, and Matt Reback are working on making this a reality for their project in ENVR 417, “Community-Engaged Research in Environmental Studies.” They are working with Professors Francis Eanes and Ethan Miller as their faculty advisors, as well as the Assistant Director of the Center for Global Education, David Das, who is a member of the Complete Streets Committee.

Eanes said that the move to bring a bikeshare program to Lewiston and Auburn came about through a collaborative process between the students and community partners. This project builds on Reback’s Environmental Studies senior thesis which focused on alternative modes of transportation. It was entitled, “Enhancing Sustainability and Justice in Urban Transportation: An Analysis of Equity Initiatives in Bikeshare.”

The timing coincides with the creation of the Complete Streets Committee, which was formed when ordinances were passed by both Lewiston and Auburn last September. The committee’s website states that their purpose is to promote “multi-modal” transportation for everyone. Simultaneously, the Complete Streets Committee works to ensure safe transportation and community and economic development. Safe transportation includes alternative means of getting around: for example, biking and walking paths that make it safer, easier, and more enjoyable for pedestrians to get from one place to another.

Speaking about the potential of the project, Reback noted, “We know what bikeshare looks like in other cities. Our aim with this project is to work with the Complete Streets Committee, as well as solicit as much feedback from L/A residents as possible, so that any type of bikeshare program meets the particular needs of this community.”

After submitting a project proposal and conducting a literature review on bikeshare in other cities, the crux of the project for the three seniors has been oriented around conversations with community members and formal surveying methods. Some of their local contacts include Marcela Peres from the Lewiston Public Library, John Grenier from Rainbow Bicycles, Shanna Cox from Project Tipping Point, as well as members of the Auburn and Lewiston Economic Development and Public Works departments. They hope to establish connections in each city’s Planning Department as they move ahead.

Looking forward, the group wants to continue to involve members of the Lewiston and Auburn community. “Next, we are going to get a map and start asking people where they would like greater access to bicycles for transportation. We imagine this as a tool which just makes general transportation easier for people, whether they are trying to go to the library, the grocery store, or a job. Often times, biking can be faster and easier than driving a car, it is definitely cheaper, and just more fun.” Reback said. In addition to general transportation, the bikeshare has the potential to be an amazing resource for Bates students committed to community engagement in Lewiston and Auburn. However, the bikeshare’s primary purpose is as a viable transportation alternative for the people of Lewiston and Auburn.

Bikeshares are not just fun outlets for people with disposable income. They are also an environmentally friendly, safe, and healthy transportation option for people without other means. The group sees it as a way to connect people from different areas in Lewiston and Auburn, while also getting people out into the surrounding area. The group has already started consulting with bikeshare companies. Although the project is still a work in progress, Reback says that it may become a reality as early as next year.

Who Makes the Best Takeout in Town?

As a second-semester senior, I often find myself yearning for food outside of Commons, yet also hoping to stay in my pajamas. Luckily for all of us Bates students, Lewiston is home to more than 20 restaurants, many of whom offer takeout or delivery. For your convenience, I have here ranked the top 4 options for a lazy student desirous of a quick bite. Here’s my opinion on the best takeout in town:

1. Mother India

This Lewiston staple has been the recipient of many a grateful phone call on weekend nights, when I’m not feeling corn dogs, chicken patties, or carbonara. Serving up basics like Chicken Tikka Masala and garlic naan, the pangs of hunger are always quelled by a quick visit to the Lisbon St establishment. All entrees are served with rice, so you know you’re getting a full meal. This place also gets top ranking due to their wide variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options; Mother India easily accommodates those dietary restrictions, providing healthy options for all hungry people.

2. Pure Thai

Coming in second is Pure Thai, located at the end of College St. This Asian fusion restaurant offers both takeout and delivery: a dangerously convenient option for readers without transportation. Having ordered from here numerous times, I can confidently say that Pure Thai’s lunch special is the most magical food deal on the planet: a full entree and appetizer for $6.99 (or $7.99 if you get shrimp or beef), served every day 11am-3pm. Contributing to the magic is that the operator always overestimates the time necessary to prepare the food. Often frustrated by the usual 40-minute wait time, I noticed that my food regularly arrives 10-15 minutes early! The Pad Thai is a generous portion of noodles with egg, sprouts, peanuts, chives, and your meat/vegetable of choice, while the Basil Fried Rice lives up to its warning of “very spicy.” All in all, an excellent option replete with heaping dishes of noodles, spice, and good service.

3. Kim’s Kitchen

A Bates classic, this convenience store-turned-takeout place quickly realized a potential market for takeout food and capitalized on the hungry college student population right next door. My freshman year, Kim’s Kitchen was simply known as Lewiston Variety; since then, Kim and her Kitchen have risen to Bates fame via her popular and quick fried rice and sushi options. Included here simply due to the impact Kim’s has on Bates (see “Kims: Praise in 9 parts” by Nico Lemus, published in 2016 for more information), I personally do not find the food to possess a magical quality warranting its popularity. However, Kim’s still remains in the top three due to ease of access and friendliness of employees. Whatever Kim’s lacks in flavor is made up in charm.

4. Bua Thai

Located across from Hannaford’s on Sabattus St, Bua Thai confers a hassle-free dining experience. Offering takeout and sit-down eating, I used to frequent this restaurant during my first two years at Bates; my sister, Becky Dobbin ’16, took me here while we were on the hunt for sushi, and I have been loyal ever since. The restaurant sells pan-Asian fare, ranging from Thai entrées like Red Curry to Japanese seaweed salad, and everything in between. Personal favorites include the decadent Bua Thai roll and the Spring Rolls. While away from the center of town and campus, this little spot is worth the drive!

There you have it: the best 4 options for dinner that you can eat in pajamas!

 

Saleha Belgaumi ’18 Finds Herself in Art

Saleha Belgaumi ’18 is one of the most talented people I know at Bates. We met during a life model drawing session last winter semester after she came back from a study abroad program in Rome. It was my first time modelling for the sessions and Belgaumi, quickly realizing my inexperience, gave me tips on how to better sustain the longer poses. Belgaumi (who I quickly got to know as “Sal”) had a number of incredible life-size studies of the human body pinned to the wall of the drawing studio in Olin.

As a fellow studio art major, I already knew that Belgaumi was up to something intellectually and technically challenging and, even back then, I could not wait to learn more about her practice. Last Thursday morning, I finally got the chance to interview Belgaumi about her senior thesis work and career at Bates.

As I walked into Olin 253, I was mesmerized. Three senior thesis students shared the space – the walls and floor were covered in studies, sketchbooks, brushed, canvases, and wood. All studio art theses are year-long and there is a good reason for it. It takes time to find one’s personal voice, even for the most experienced artists. “I’ve only just made a piece that is finished; that I am happy with; that I think is resolved in itself,” Belgaumi told me. The fantastic artwork that Belgaumi referred to is a large canvas drawn in charcoal portraying a crotch covered by a pair of hands. On top of the figural body, intricate yellow patterns in yellow paint flatten the dimension of the image while adding dynamism to its composition. Pinned to the walls, I could see dozens of studies that led to that final composition. The size, subject matter, color balance, and the raw canvas texture of the piece immediately called my attention. For me, the pull of the gaze was accompanied by a push, in form of the slight discomfort of looking at an intimate framing of a gestural life-size crotch.

Belgaumi was reluctant to provide any explanations about what the work is about – the audience has to do the work of interpreting and relating to it in the first place. What Belgami revealed was a trend that connects a few of her works: “My work is about my thoughts and feeling about the experience of being myself,” she mentioned.

There are a number of challenges that come with portraying one’s own experience. Belgami is a biracial (half American and half Pakistani) female artist, and her identity certainly is evident in her work. But there is more to experience than collective identity. Belgaumi told me that no one should be responsible for representing the collective and general experience of the race, gender, origin, and culture. Belgaumi mentioned the art world’s tendency to tokenize identity, reducing artists’ lived experiences to a collective struggle (and reducing a collective struggle to a personal experience).

While her work may encompass collective identity, it is representative of her own personal experience that surpasses any possible check boxes. “I don’t intend to represent a whole group of people, because I am not a whole group of people,” she told me, responding to the stiffening of identity in issues of representation. Belgaumi’s hope, which I am sure is already successful, is that the audience will look at her work and have a reaction to it without the need for a reductive given explanation. “I just want you to look at it and have your own thoughts! That’s the whole point,” she emphasized.

The technical aspects of her art are as impressive as her critical approach to interpretation. Belgaumi has had some form of structured art making practice pretty much constantly for over a decade – she is familiar enough with the forms of the body to create and recreate it from memory. I look forward to seeing what Belgaumi will put forth for the senior thesis show later in the semester. In her technically skilled self-exploratory practice, she already far surpassed conventional notions of identity painting, and there is much to expect from this body of work.

 

It’s Two Minutes to Midnight

It seems like Doomsday is almost here. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the minute hand of the influential Doomsday Clock on Thursday, January 25. We are living the closest to midnight the world has been since 1953, the height of the Cold War. A common threat underpins all the reasons for the change: hateful and unmeasured words.

In the statement released on January 25, The Bulletin states, “The greatest risks last year arose in the nuclear realm. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program made remarkable progress in 2017, increasing risks to North Korea itself, other countries in the region, and the United States. Hyperbolic rhetoric and provocative actions by both sides have increased the possibility of nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.”

Important here is that The Bulletin is not excusing one side or the other. Both leaders of the United States and North Korea must be held accountable for inflammatory rhetoric. Leaders’ ravings are little more than declarations of superficial power; each wants the other to cower behind their might.

Let’s consider why Kim Jong Un might feel he needs nuclear weapons. From the onset let me clarify that a person cannot know what another really thinks. I am speculating based on a foundation of nuclear proliferation theory.

I believe the general population forgets that there can be influential domestic drivers for the development of nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un was third in line to the dictatorship, and in theory he should never had gotten to the seat of power. He was also very young when he took control, clocking in somewhere in his early thirties. In a country where coups are the norm and political power shuffling happens at gunpoint, there was a necessity to show his generals that he was capable of holding power and preserving his regime.

Consider his propaganda speeches. They occur in front of compulsory audiences and always have a strong message of North Korean superiority and unity against their enemies. Each time, Kim Jong Un—again this is my supposition—is trying to prove he has complete control over his domestic policies and those policies prevent both external and internal forces from deposing him.

North Korean nuclear buildup is not the only factor given to explain the minute hand’s change. Other contributing factors to the new time are: U.S.-Russia straining relations, tensions in the South China sea, India and Pakistan’s mutual nuclear arsenal build-up, uncertainty surrounding U.S. support for the Iran Nuclear Deal, and the looming calamity of climate change.  The Bulletin even suggests that the world is looking at another arms race, but on an even larger scale than what we have seen during the Cold War.

The statement released by this think tank criticizes the U.S. isolation policies that look frighteningly similar to those of FDR in the 1930s.  Unstable U.S. leadership is also highlighted as a major catalyst for the minute hand’s move. Now, there is a lack of predictability coming from top U.S. officials.  Translated into political terms, the U.S. is unable to provide reassurance to its allies and delivers weaker deterrence against enemies.

“… [allies] have been forced to negotiate a thicket of conflicting policy statements from a U.S. administration weakened in its cadre of foreign policy professionals, suffering from turnover in senior leadership, led by an undisciplined and disruptive president, and unable to develop, coordinate, and clearly communicate a coherent nuclear policy,” states The Bulletin.  In past administrations, the U.S. has been seen as a helpful and stable force for its allies.  But now, with the current administration, it seems that is not the case.   

On the flip side, deterrence of enemies is only viable if the threat is credible. Without predicable follow through by the defender, the challenger, the object of the deterrence, is more likely to make a move against the defender’s interest. Weak deterrence, poor reassurance, and now frightening movement towards Doomsday seem to stem from the isolationist policies the Trump administration imposes.

Words have immense power. They can build lasting relations between allies but can also be escalatory if enemies spout rhetoric with the sole purpose of reaching a political boiling point.

In these last two minutes to midnight, remember that we need to watch our words, consider our actions, and strive to deescalate the problems at hand.

Men’s Basketball Find Mixed Results in Connecticut

Last Saturday, Jan. 20, the Bobcats kept the crowd at their edge of their seats as they barely edged the Jumbos 77-75. This past weekend, after coming off of an exhilarating victory at Tufts, the men’s basketball team traveled to two different NESCAC schools in Connecticut and came back to Bates with one loss and one win.

On Friday, Jan. 26, in Middletown, CT, No. 14 nationally ranked Wesleyan defeated the Bobcats 68-50. Jeff Spellman ‘20, from Boston, MA, scored a team-high 10 points for Bates. Spellman’s three-pointer early in the game put Bates on the board as the Bobcats were held scoreless until the 16:51 mark.

Despite the upsetting outcome, the Bobcats made some impressive plays. Nick Lynch ‘19, from Westford, MA, contributed eight points, six rebounds and three blocks while Malik Velmar ‘21, from Yorktown Virginia, scored a season-high seven points. Velmar scored a three-pointer in the final minute of the game. Finally, senior captain, Shawn Strickland, from Middletown, CT, led the team with three assists.

“One thing that we focus on as a team is to always keep improving, regardless of what the score may read at the end of a game,” says Strickland. “Overall, we are a much more experienced, mentally tough and cohesive group  than we were on November 1st when the season first began, and with that being said I think that we are a team who will surprise many during the second half of NESCAC play and into the NESCAC tournament.”

The Bobcats came back strong on Saturday, January 27, putting their tough loss against Wesleyan behind them and defeating Connecticut College 69-56. 17 points apiece were scored from Spellman and Max Hummel ‘19.

During the first nine minutes of the game, the Bobcats were only able to score via a pair of three throws and immediately trailed the Camels 12-2. Regardless of the slow start, Bates slowly started to come back and led 33-29 at the half. Spellman scored six of his 17 points at halftime while Hummel added 10. Spellman and Hummel were both key to help drive the Bobcats forward in the second half and the Bobcats were able to leave Connecticut with a satisfying win.

When thinking about their season thus far, head coach Jon Furbush notes Spellman’s first collegiate award. Spellman was named Maine Co-Player of the Week on January 17, by the Maine Men’s Basketball Coaches and Writers Association. The last player to earn MMBCWA of the week was Mike Boornazian ‘16. As of January 17, 2018 Spellman ranked third in the NESCAC in scoring, with 16.9 points scored per game. In Connecticut, Spellman kept his pace and scored an impressive total of 27 points for the Bobcats.

“Jeff is a difficult player to guard because he’s proven that he can shoot the 3, has a great in between game and finishes well at the rim,” says Coach Furbush. “Spellman leads by example and makes his teammates better. He has a good demeanor that keeps our team on an even keel, regardless of the adversity we often face in games.”   

“Spellman being named Maine Co-player of the week comes as no surprise to me,” adds Strickland. “Since his arrival last year I knew that he had the potential to be a special player for us and we will continue to value his role as the rest of the season unfolds.”

Currently, the men’s basketball team is ranked eighth in the NESCAC standings with three games remaining.

Strickland is eager to lead the team to a successful trio of games. “I think that our team chemistry has been great overall. This is really important for us having such a young team and it’s something that we’ve been building on since the fall when we all arrived on campus,” he says. “The team chemistry that we’ve built, which can be seen during our games in how supportive we are of one another, has been a large part of the success that we’ve been able to have this season.”

The Bobcats will host Hamilton on Friday, Feb. 2 and Amherst Saturday, Feb. 3. Both games will be held in Alumni Gym so be sure to support Spellman and the men’s team as they look to dominate their home court.

Phillip Pullman Pulls Out Another Winner

Philip Pullman is a creator of worlds. With words, he writes new realities into existence, constructs empathetic and entertaining characters, and ties it all together with a story line that seems to reach off the page and pull you in.

The world in the His Dark Materials series is set in an Oxford similar to ours, but different in one cataclysmic way: peoples’ souls live outside their bodies. I know, that sounds really weird, and semi-creepy. But these are not just ephemeral floating ghosts beside you; they take the shape of an animal that represents your essence: a dæmon. Until a child reaches puberty, their dæmon can change shape. Depending on mood or situation, the dæmon can be a ferocious lion, a timid mouse, a sneaky ermine; the possibilities are endless.

Central to this plot of these books is a girl, Lyra Belacqua, and her dæmon, Pantalaimon or Pan for short. These books were originally marketed for children, so the plot has enough adventure to keep a child’s mind occupied and engaged. But woven throughout the plot is a subplot detailing a controlling religion and a quasi-anarchical social structure that only the more advanced or adult readers understand.

His first novel was originally released as The Northern Lights in England 1995, and then later renamed The Golden Compass in 1996 when it hit the American market. The series then continues in The Subtle Knife, and ultimately concludes with The Amber Spyglass, published in 2000. There were two short novella spinoff stories after the third book, but since the original three, Pullman has mostly been quiet.

The universe in these books revolves the central topic of Dust (yes, that is with a capital “D”). This elusive particle was produced at the start of the world, when consciousness itself was created, and therefore, the particles themselves are sentient and can be communicated with. It is associated with original sin and settles on people who have hit puberty. The main point of strife in the original series is figuring out a way to communicate with Dust via a tool called the aletheiometer. This may sound convoluted, but Pullman lays everything out in methodical and purposeful ways throughout the series, so the reader never feels lost.

We, his adoring fans, thought he went dormant for good, and that Lyra would continue to live only between the pages of the three aforementioned tomes. But, in 2017, Pullman gifted us with something new.

The latest book in the acclaimed His Dark Materials series, The Book of Dust: Volume One La Belle Sauvage, is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the original three books, but instead, Pullman describes it as an “equal.”

The reader is taken back to the world Pullman painstakingly created for Lyra and her adventures. We meet Malcolm Polstead, the son of innkeepers, who is equal parts curious and brave. When he is not working at the inn, Malcolm favors taking rides in his paddle boat, La Belle Sauvage. Our new protagonist learns about the existence of a special baby girl, who grows up to be Lyra, who will one day go on important ventures to save the world as he knows it. When a flood strikes, Malcolm and a new character, Alice, paddle baby Lyra to safety, but along the way, encounter dangers that might befall two eleven year olds on a quest.

We are, however, gifted new glimpses of characters that have been pivotal to the storyline in general. Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel, Lyra’s mother and father, respectively, make cameo appearances to help ground the story and give readers perspective on events. We even get to see this world figuring out what Dust, or Rusakov Particles, does and how to communicate with it: a central point to the original plot.

Overall, Pullman’s latest installment fits seamlessly into the architecture of the original three books. Maybe there was a grand strategy behind his whole endeavor since 1995.

 

Think Beyond the 24-Hour News Cycle

The twenty-four-hour news cycle is an idea ingrained in the nature of modern day reporting. With all the social media platforms that disseminate news, in addition to the websites of each newspaper giant, stories cross a screen as fast as users can click a button. But is this breakneck pace really good for the world’s understanding and   internationalizing of the news?

Having fast and secure access to breaking events is necessary to keep the world informed. According to The New York Post, Americans check their phones an average of once every twelve minutes, eighty times per day. When looking at their screens, people are checking out the latest photos on their social media accounts, looking at what their friends are up to, or maybe texting to coordinate plans. In any of those interactions, people are either reading or hearing about the news and the trending stories of a given day.

In their hearts, people are curious – but that trait can also lead to being interested in reading the most gruesome stories. No one wants to hear that a cat was successfully rescued from a tree. Boring, right? People want to hear that there were twelve kittens dangling precariously from said tree and that shirtless firemen with eight-pack abs had to dive-roll to save the helpless, though cute, baby animals. Granted, that is a rather flamboyant example, but imagine the clicks a story like that would get.

But think about North Korea. Everyone knew the second the North Koreans fired a ballistic missile test over Japan; it was splattered across every new source. But, when the two Koreas decide to march under one flag at the PyeongCheng opening ceremonies, that headline is splashed across outlets, then quickly cycled out. If you Google North Korea right now, countless articles concerning their missiles and ideas of how to combat the country pop up. But you would have to dig around, or type in a more specialized phrase into the browser, to get to the aforementioned flag story. Maybe the question of twenty-four-hour news is a merely a product of Google or Apple’s browser algorithm, not with an intrinsic norm of twenty-first century news.

Having news and information so readily accessible can change the way we regular people read it and think about the impact it has on government planning. Imagine: what would have happened if a Roman farmer took a selfie with Caesar casually crossing the Rubicon in the background and posted it to Twitter? Well, an analyst working for the Roman Senate would have passed the information along to their supervisor and there would have been time to prepare a more effective counter strike. Maybe Caesar would have been defeated. This is a hyperbolic example to be sure, but I say it with the hopes that it will convey the potentially history-alternating nature of real-time publication of facts.

The primary function of news sources, this paper included, is to disseminate facts and to educate the public. Technology allows new sources to broadcast those stories at an exponentially faster rate than was ever possible in the past. Now, there are so many more stories at everyone’s fingertips; someone in New York can know what is happening on the streets of Kabul, a German reader can know that Prime Minister of New Zealand is pregnant—there are infinite examples.

With the rate at which new stories come to light, older, though not any less relevant, ones can be thrust aside. While we consume newer and newer headlines, we should not forget about the enduring humanitarian crises or fallouts from natural disasters that need our constant support and attention. We have to remember the news from days, months, and weeks ago.  It is not any less pertinent, although it may be somewhat less accessible.

Douglass Morency: New Director of Security Champions Dialogue

On November 15, 2017, Douglass Morency started as Bates College’s new director of campus safety. Taking over from interim head, Paul Menice, Morency hopes to bring a fresh, new set of ideas to Bates security.

Born in Haiti, Morency moved to northern Virginia at a young age when his mother got a job at the World Bank. “I grew up Virginia in a very eclectic neighborhood and school system,” Morency remarked. “I was in school with everybody from all walks of life. Very working class growing up, I was always involved with different groups, whether it was cub scouts or church groups, athletics.”   

From his own experiences being mentored by such a supportive group of people, community engagement was always high on Morency’s list of priorities. “One thing I knew about myself was that I love working with people and with everyone helping me out and keeping me on the right path, I wanted to do the same and pay it forward.” This mindset propelled him to his first career on the Washington D.C. police force after graduating from Howard University.

Pivoting out of that field, he then went to work security at a private school in northern Virginia, implementing new protocols surrounding active shooter events and emergency responses. But then he spotted the Bates job announcement looking for the new head of security.

For Morency, “It was the first time I had ever seen a job announcement being framed in the sense of community, outreach and supporting students from different walks and students from the LGBTQ+ community, just working outside the scope of your title and just being part of the community. I said this is me, this is what I want.”

Though he has only been on campus for a few short months, Morency is already working to implement his own security philosophy. When asked what that means to him, Morency answered, “My focus is more supporting the students and to make sure that they have the good college experience they are here to have. Along the way if issues arise, you know, try to figure out how to take care of them and to really find a learning opportunity with those situations and to move forward. I think for me, also makeing sure that whoever we are dealing with has their dignity is intact once we’re done and there’s respect that is given on both ends. We must look at it through a lens of understanding and compassion and trying to find a way through it.”

It seems that Morency opts for a policy of transparency and aims for easy relations with the student body. Students come to Bates, and any college really, looking for an experience that will be enriching both academically and socially.  Morency aims to support students in all those endeavors.

When asked how he found the Bates student body and community, he answered without a pause. “They’re nice,” he plainly informed me. At the start of his career here at Bates, it is clear that both the students and the administration are working to create a cohesive and symbiotic relationship with the new head of security.

Strengthening the student-security relationship is high on Morency’s to-do list. Last semester on a snowy day before finals week, security had a pop-up cocoa stand for students outside of commons. There were even security members who came in on their day off to help distribute the chocolaty treat to stressed students walking into Commons.   

Talking about his team, Morency noted that there is a lot of longevity there. But as retirements approach, he is not opposed to diversifying the force.

In the more immediate case, security is “expanding the safe rides program. By doing that we are going to add two more driving positions, non-security, not uniformed, just driving positions to help with transporting students around campus and some locals off campus. When it’s time to go out there and roll it out, I’d like to talk to folks in the community, do a little presentation and tell them about Bates. If there’s a group…[of single moms like what his mother had] in Lewiston I will found out and I will go to those groups and say ‘hey we have these jobs and this is what we’re offering, this is what the community is like,  this is what our approach is.’”  Gaining some minority and female perspective on the force would be a welcome addition.

So far, things are off to a great start. Time will tell of all the lasting impression Douglass Morency has on the Bates community.

  

Club 280 Going Up on a Friday

 

Certainly the biggest plot twist of this year is how the basement of 280 has become a “club” and is now the place to be on weekend nights. It was great seeing the look on all the back-from-abroad juniors’ faces when they heard that not only is Club 280 a thing, but a popular thing, too. No one alum will believe you when you tell them that the line to get into Club 280 is longer than the line to get into off-campus parties. Yet here we are, where Club 280 has become a staple in the Bates party scene.

A lot of factors go into why this happened. The Lewiston Police Department is not exactly approving of off-campus parties, and Bates Security is not exactly approving of on-campus parties. So next thing you know, Campus Life offers free alcohol to anyone of age, so long as they drink it in the 280 basement and mix in free pizza for all students. Then, they enlist Peter Cottingham and the DJ Society to provide ‘club music.’ They even recently added new speakers and fancy lighting to really dive deep into the ‘club’ aspect of Club 280. There were a lot of questions leading up the first Club 280 event of 2018. Will people go? Will it be ‘cool?’ Will it be fun? Who knows!?

Turns out, free alcohol is enough to get the people going, and the DJ Society created a perfect vibe to get people to stay. Very few schools give free alcohol to their students, and we are very lucky that not only does Bates give free alcohol, but they give it relatively often. Furthermore, there weren’t only people 21 and over who came; all class years came and jumped around for an hour or two. Unfortunately, this past weekend’s alcohol choices were PBR and Coors Light, which is not ideal compared to the hard cider and craft beer options last semester, but this fact didn’t deter the crowd. Honestly, what is more fun than having campus celebrities like Carson Dockum and Catie Moran serve you alcohol? Plus, the amazing Franky fist bumps you as he keeps the place clean for us!

Nonetheless, there is a larger issue about partying on and off campus and the students’ relationship with the police and security. Club 280 is not a perfect alternative, at least from the student’s perspective. Campus Life loves it because they can contain the drinking among students and even watch out for drunk kids easily. The lights come on at 1AM which sends everyone home or to the den and makes the local community happy, but also attempts to force students to end their night. Furthermore, they have a large staff watching and making sure everything is going smoothly. It’s great to have a support staff, but trying to carelessly dance while there are adults watching is not easy. In addition, Club 280 does not permit underage students from drinking on the premises, thus doing nothing to address these students’ potential binge drinking before arriving.

Who knows, maybe everything will change again and Club Pettengill Atrium will become a thing. For now, Club 280 is a surprisingly fun time regardless. There’s good music, free alcohol, free pizza and a friendly ‘club-lite’ vibe. What more can we ask for?

People are eating Tide Pods and the 280 Basement is the spot. It’s a weird time.

 

What Are the Golden Globes?

 

No one knows the point of the Golden Globes. Being a Golden Globe winner just does not have the same ring as being an Oscar winner or Emmy winner. In the grand scheme of award shows, the Golden Globes are the “kickoff event,” where the movie winners become “Oscar frontrunners” and TV winners (sometimes) get a slight boost in their prestige and ratings. Besides being the first awards show of the year, the Globes really do not exist beyond NBC giving one of their network’s stars (e.g. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers and, annoyingly, Ricky Gervais) a chance to promote their shows through a biting monologue. There are not even any musical performances or skits! Since the Globes award both movies and TV shows, the three-hour telecast is a sequence of two actors making an awkward joke or two before presenting the award, then the recipient makes the classic award show acceptance speech before getting cut off by the house band.

Despite the lack of need for the Golden Globes, they end up being a weird but entertaining awards show. Instead of taking place in a theater, the nominees sit at tables with their cast members and crew and the presence of alcohol leads to a more lighthearted environment. It also leads to moments like Jack Nicholson admitting to being on Valium during his acceptance speech one year or Renée Zellweger missing her name being called because she was in the bathroom.

Yet, since the Globes are the first awards show of the year, the host and attendees get the first chance to comment on everything currently happening. Last year, the Globes were the first major awards show since Trump’s election, and this year, the Globes were the first major awards show to be able to comment on Hollywood post-Weinstein. Almost everyone spoke out against sexual harassment in one way or another. Everyone wore all black with “Times Up” pins on their clothes. Eight actresses brought activists as their guests to the show. Seth Meyers opened the show by welcoming the “ladies and remaining gentlemen.” He proceeded to skewer Harvey Weinstein (“He’ll be back in 20 years when he’s the first person ever booed in the In Memoriam”), Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey. Natalie Portman presented the nominees for Best Director but not before calling them the “all-male nominees.” Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Elisabeth Moss and Reese Witherspoon all spoke about ending sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood while empowering women to speak up. Oprah Winfrey gave an inspiring speech while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award and, either accidently or slyly on purpose, launched her 2020 presidential campaign.

Nonetheless, the Golden Globes are an awards show, so the winners are worth mentioning. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri was the night’s big winner, taking home four awards. One of the weirdest parts of the Golden Globes is the splitting of movies into two categories, drama and comedy/musicals. While, in theory, this is a great way to shine the light on more movies, the movies that end up in the comedy/musical category sometimes are a stretch. The nominees for Best Comedy/Musical this year were The Disaster Artist, Get Out, Lady Bird (the winner), The Greatest Showman and I, Tonya. Baby Driver was also considered a comedy. While those movies had funny moments in them, Lady Bird was rarely described as a ‘comedy.’ Last year, Moonlight won best drama and La La Land won best comedy/musical and we all know how that played out at the Oscars, so look out for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri v. Lady Bird to be the story going into the Oscars. Unfortunately, Call Me by Your Name was shut out, but there is still time for the Oscars to fix that.

On the TV side, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Marvelous Ms. Maisel and Big Little Lies were the big winners, with each of them winning awards for best show in their respective drama while also picking up wins for their actresses and actors.

While there was no epic Best Picture mix-up to end the show, the Golden Globes still kept its reputation as being the weird and early awards show no one needed, but people still watched.

 

 

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