The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Month: March 2013 Page 1 of 12

Not ‘the naked dance’: Lick-It 2013

If you didn’t hear on your AESOP that Bates is a “clothing-optional campus,” then your leaders were kinder than most. Although the Residence Life staff has taken time this year to put an end to the student body’s scantily-clad dreams, the spirit behind this cherished Bates rumor perks up every spring in the days leading up to Lick-It. Sponsored by OutFront, Lick-It is a nineteen-year old tradition that asks Batesies to let loose, in direct contrast to how they will behave the following night at the All-College Gala.

This year, OutFront Coordinator Jarron Brady ’15 decided that Lick-It’s reputation needed a facelift. He stumbled across the famous Rolling Stone photograph of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, which inspired him to launch a new advertising campaign for the dance. OutFront had promoted Lick-It with scandalous posters in the past, according to Dean Keith Tannenbaum, but Brady was ready to take it to the next level. With the help of some friends, Brady recreated several famous Rolling Stone covers and plastered the photographs across campus and on Facebook. “You can be as sexy as John and Yoko or as studly as Patrick Dempsey,” said Brady. “It’s all about showing Bates students in a different light.”

So what is the purpose of Lick-It? Brady resents the colloquial designation of the event as “the naked dance”. Instead, Lick-It is about pushing boundaries. “The message that I inherited from past years is that this is a dance at which to be sexually expressive without worrying too much about it,” Brady said. “If that means wearing a lot of clothes or getting down to lingerie, do whatever you want.”

Some Bates students seemed perplexed by the advertising and the message behind the event. Was nudity encouraged? Brady explained that since our campus does mandate clothing, and since the Mays Center is a small venue, some form of clothing was necessary for entrance. The purpose of the dance was, as Brady put it, to be safe, be smart, and have fun. While Lick-It was certainly meant to push some boundaries, no one should feel unsafe or uncomfortable, and public nudity tends to have that effect.

While the dance was sponsored by OutFront, not every member of the LGBT community was entirely comfortable being associated with the event. “A few people who are out and active around campus were concerned that [the LBGT community] would be judged based solely on their behavior at the dance,” said Brady. He explained that, since Lick-It is a space for sexual expression, it would necessarily challenge heteronormative constructions of the weekend hookup. After some deliberation, however, the club decided not to pass the event on to the Bates DJ Society and continue to host it themselves. “Gay people are just as deserving of a dance floor make out as any other student,” noted Brady.

Fundamentally, Lick-It is meant to challenge the student body’s conception of itself. Brady encouraged students to push the envelope while still remaining true to themselves in terms of dress and behavior. “So many people are not comfortable with expressing themselves in a way other than how they are every single day,” said Brady. Whether this refers to a girl afraid of being called a whore for wearing something risqué or a boy worried about exposing too much upper thigh in those jorts, it comes from a culture that is inherently uncomfortable with sexual expression.

“Bates doesn’t want to be a sexually repressed campus, but it doesn’t really know how to express itself,” noted Brady. Lick-It was meant to be a venue for just that. For the most part, students seemed pleasantly surprised by their experience. It could be because only a handful of students really went wild with their clothing choices, or because Lick-It somehow managed to feel like a departure from typical Bates dances. Brady recalls a first-year student who sought him out, commending him on his ability to make Lick-It feel somehow different from other “Silo” dances, even though the student couldn’t explain why. “People do the most growing when they’re out of their comfort zone,” Brady said. “We don’t know where Lick-It will go on this campus because it’s hard to combat the stigma of ‘the naked dance’, but we want to make people to debate how comfortable they are. The point is to just be expressive.”

Whether or not you went, Lick-It’s message is important. As trite as it sounds, tolerance and self-acceptance are valuable traits, and if it takes a raucous dance party on the evening before Bates’ most classy event to remind us, then here’s hoping for another twenty years of Lick-It.

Stay iTuned: In defense of radio

Podcasts are the hidden gem of the entertainment world, and like most forms of media that we consume these days, they’re almost always available free of charge. The best are artful and distinct: a medium unfettered by ads, open to more interpretation than the visual world, and strangely successful in transforming a listener’s regular space into wherever the hosts or hosts take you. Well-known on-campus podcast favorites are often but not always broadcasted through NPR: “RadioLab,” “All Songs Considered,” “The Moth,” and my own personal obsession: “This American Life,” hosted by Ira Glass.

Juniors Stephanie Wesson and Vic Sliwa had a WRBC show last semester that borrowed the intellectual whims of “RadioLab” podcasts, blending shows around broad topics such as “humor” and providing listeners with perspectives that neuroscience (Sliwa) and philosophy (Steph) majors can offer. Mike Creedon ’15 became hooked on radio when he was twelve years old and discovered “The Moth.” His love of podcast storytelling hooked him on memoirs of all mediums. Other students find themselves drawn to NPR news hours, indie music showcases—such as Seattle’s famously-high quality independent radio station KEXP—and sportscasts.

Podcasts are so varied in genre that a person is bound to find an interest to listen to, regardless of their niche. Jordan Becker ‘15, outspoken male feminist and one of the leaders of the Bates Action Energy Movement, is particularly fond of “Citizen Radio,” which he said is “a blog hosted by vegan feminist liberals” and “so awesome.” Nick Steverson ’15 prefers listening to “All Songs Considered,” a program that showcases new musicians, because it’s “easier to access than TV,” while still guiding him toward artists instead of spending hours surfing the deep recesses of the internet. Podcasts also reach out to the oft-forgotten auditory learners, noted Becker and others.

Joe Richman, founder of the radio and podcast series Radio Diaries, who spoke at a Colby lecture series two years ago, is an outspoken advocate for the power and sway of documentary radiobroadcasting. It’s an older art form than many of the other media types that we more frequently consume, and its storied history often is written off because of its age and connection to “nostalgia-only” programs. On the contrary, radio podcasts—in their mobility, accessibility, and flexibility in length—are often allowed a freedom that other media outlets lack. Radio storytelling, notes Michelle Devoe ’15, is often the most powerful when it follows Richman’s design and is “raw, real, and unpolished.” Although most often connected to major entertainment outlets—CNN, HBO, ESPN, and VH1 to name a few notables—creating a podcast is relatively easy and inexpensive and, much like a blog, the barriers to the world of podcasting are relatively small in comparison to those of TV, books, and movies. This fact also makes the podcast pool seem endless and daunting—but there’s something for everyone. On the long, dreary March walks from the end of Frye Street to Commons, having a story told to you on your way just might be the best way to find out about the latest headlines or book review.

Softball salvages split of double-header at Maine Maritime

The Bates softball team split their doubleheader at Maine Maritime over the weekend, winning the second game 7-6 after a 10-6 loss in the first game. Senior Caroline Gattuso, despite looking strong in the first half of the doubleheader with nine strikeouts in 4.1 innings, was a victim of the homerun ball, surrendering homers to Maritime sluggers Sabrina Keach, Kelsie Hilton and Haley Rae. The loss was not without some strong individual performances as shortstop and captain Mary Lewis joined sophomore Kelsey Freedman in scoring two runs apiece in the first game of the doubleheader.

Bates recovered well in the second game, finishing with a dramatic 7-6 victory in extra innings. With the game tied at 6 in the eighth, junior captain Alayna Garbarino scored the game-winning run on a sacrifice ground out by freshman Anna Berenson.

Starting pitcher Kelsey Freedman had the game on lockdown, retiring the side in a Mariano Rivera-like fashion in the bottom half of the eighth to ensure the 7-6 victory.

Lewis commented on the victory, “It always helps to end a series with a plus. That win definitely was key mentally for us, especially as we are looking forward to our games against Thomas and our NESCAC series against Tufts.”

Freedman finished the game with 10 strikeouts, earning her first win of the season in a strong complete game effort. Lewis was effusive in her praise of Freedman’s outing. “

She made the adjustments especially in the later innings to finish off the game for a win in the 8th with a key strikeout. Her dedication, mental toughness and hard work have contributed to both her personal success and the success of our team.”

Despite Freedman’s great performance, the victory was far from a one player show. Senior catcher AnnaMarie Martino contributed as well, getting on base three times and scoring twice. Lewis did her job as the leadoff hitter, getting on base twice and scoring two times as well. When asked to look forward to the rest of the season, Lewis remarked, “We are mentally strong, unified both on and off the field, positive, dedicated and aggressive in accepting and taking on any challenge that comes before us.”

The team will be back in action on Friday, when they begin their series at Tufts.

A new era in the AL East?

It’s hard to imagine a year where both the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are on the outside looking in on the American League playoff picture in September. The last time where at least one of the two teams did not earn a playoff spot was 1993 (we can attribute that mostly to the Yankees, who have earned a playoff spot in every year during that span except for 2008). However, given a relatively unprecedented offseason for both teams, there is strong evidence that for at least the short term, we may be entering a new era in the AL East.

While Boston general manager Ben Cherrington was busy signing the likes of Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, and Mike Napoli in attempt to build a team of overpaid, league average veterans with… wait for it… “a positive club house influence!” the Toronto Blue Jays were busy actually improving their team. After acquiring one of the best shortstops in baseball, an all-star corner outfielder, the NL 2012 Cy Young award winner, and two additional top of the rotation starters, the Blue Jays enter the season as the Vegas favorites to win the AL East.

A large portion of the player additions the Jays made this offseason came from a trade that surprised everyone except Marlins fans who remember the fire sale of 1997. The Miami Marlins traded essentially their whole team to Toronto in an attempt to dump salary. The Miami-Toronto trade was also unique because it wasn’t the traditional AL East juggernauts coming out ahead in the salary dump coup, but the traditionally mid-market Blue Jays. Historically the Red Sox and Yankees have used their financial muscle to improve their team by taking on contracts unaffordable to teams from smaller markets. This year we have seen a total role reversal.

The previously high spending Yankees have spent the entire offseason sitting on their hands, watching the rest of the AL East improve around them as they continue to age, potentially out of the playoff picture. All of a sudden, owner Hank Steinbrenner seems to value staying under the luxury tax in 2014 over winning championships. How else can you explain the New York Yankees walking away from the offseason with Kevin Youkilis as their biggest acquisition? This looks to be one of the weaker Yankee teams inrecent memory.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays, who have recently replaced the Oakland Athletics as the darlings of the sabermetric community, have shown no signs of falling under the 90-win plateau they’ve built for themselves the last three years.

Despite losing pitcher James Shields, the Rays added twenty-two year old slugger Will Myers, who by all accounts figures to haunt New York and Boston pitching staffs for years to come.

Lastly although the Baltimore Orioles overachieved last year (its hard to believe a team that almost gave up as many runs as they scored last year won 93 games), they have a young talented core, and finally broke their lengthy playoff drought last year. While it may be asking for too much to expect them to make another playoff run, the days of them being easy fodder for Boston and New York are long over.

The Red Sox and Yankees have dominated the American League East in the 21st century because they have made good player evaluation decisions, and used their money to cover up their mistakes when they didn’t. More simply, they have won because they’ve had the best players. The current talent on each of their rosters, however, do not compare with the talent on their rosters just two years ago. In an environment where the young upstart Orioles are coming off a 93-win season, the Tampa Bay Rays have established themselves as perennial contenders, and Toronto Blue Jays enter the season as AL East favorites, this very well may be the first season since 1993 that both juggernauts miss the playoffs.

Projected AL Standings:

Toronto Blue Jays- 93-69

Tampa Bay Rays – 90-72 (Wild Card)

New York Yankees – 86-76

Boston Red Sox – 81-81

Baltimore Orioles – 78-84

Q&A with Professor Loring Danforth, winner of the Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching

Charles A. Dana Professor of Anthropology Loring Danforth is this year’s recipient of the Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Bates Student had the chance to sit down with him last week for an interview.

Sam Learner: What scholarship have you been working on recently?

Loring Danforth: The most interesting thing I’ve done in a while was take a short-term to Saudi Arabia. It was a wonderful teaching activity and also really interesting from the point of view of my scholarship. We had so many interesting experiences there; I decided to spend my sabbatical this year writing a collection of essays on different aspects Saudi culture—about museums, science, evolution, and religion in Saudi Arabia—instead of doing a project in Greece, which is what I was going to do. We all came away impressed by how little Americans know about Saudi Arabia. What they do know tends to be so negative—executions, no rights for women, no democracy, sand and oil—period. There’s just so much more going on than that. These essays as a whole will try to demonstrate the complexity and variety of Saudi culture that Americans are not aware of.

SL: What has your work for most of your career focused on?

LD: I did my dissertation on spirit possession in northern Greece. Since then, I’ve done a book on modern death rituals in Greece, a book on Greek nationalism—the Macedonian-Greek conflict over whether Alexander the Great was Greek or Macedonian. It’s really a big political issue in the Balkans. Most recently I did a book with a coauthor about child refugees in the Greek Civil War.

SL: Why Greece?

LD: Third grade we had to pick three places in the world we wanted to go. I picked Greece because of the ancient Greek culture. I also picked Panama and Iceland. I’ve spent years in Greece, been to Panama once, and am going to Iceland in May. I also studied ancient Greece in high school, and went to Greece the first time to study archaeology. I then went back to teach for a year and discovered modern Greek culture was really interesting. I was still interested in ancient Greece, but the problem with archaeology is that you can’t talk with people. Archaeology is not as fulfilling as being able to go live in the place you study and talk with people every day.

SL: Let’s move on to your teaching. How did you win this prize?

LD: Well, I think you defiantly get better at teaching over time because you figure out what works and what doesn’t work. The biggest challenge for me is to get students to be engaged, to take what we’re talking about seriously, and to get students to want to ask questions and figure out what’s happening. My ideal class is when I say “what did you think about reading,” and then students argue about what the author said. More often the challenge is to come up with questions that aren’t too vague and general or too specific. Students I think often don’t like to play that game where they fill in the blanks for you. Instead, I like to read something, go over it, and then take a contemporary example and say “how does what we read relate to this example?” I also like to set up a question or a problem and have students argue it out. I really like it when a student raises his or her hand, and says “I think this,” and then another student raises a hand and says “I think that.” Another student might then turn to me and say “well, I think this,” and I say, “no, talk to them!” If you can get a conversation going between students, that’s a lot of fun.

SL: Has your teaching changed over the years? Has technology changed what you do in the classroom?

LD: Well first, I’m probably one of the least technologically sophisticated faculty members—I’ve been known to use slide projector or overhead transparencies. You get as nice a picture as PowerPoint. One big change though was moving toward small group discussion in class. When I was a student, nobody did that. When you start teaching, you think “who is best teacher I had? I’m going to try to teach like that person.” But now, twenty years later, people teach in ways that I haven’t seen, so Bates teachers start experimenting, and new teachers bring in new ideas, like breaking larger groups up into smaller groups. I tried that and it worked really well. You know some people think I lecture because I stand in front of a class of fifty people. But what I try to do is maybe talk for five or ten minutes to make sure some difficult concept is clear and to provide some background. But then I’ll do a quick Q&A, followed by something else.

SL: Do you have any reservations about this new teaching style?

LD: Well, here’s the worst-case scenario: I sat in on a class where the professor broke the class up into five small groups and then circulated around the room, group-to-group, listening in. Meanwhile, I was in another group where the professor wasn’t, and the students just started talking about the football game, the weather, or the dance. But that’s the worst case. You also see great things. For example, one time a student sat in class for weeks and never said a word. One day we broke into groups and the student was full of great ideas and asking great questions. I said to this student afterward, you have great ideas, I would love for you to contribute. I told the student to feel confident. That is another thing that contributes to good teaching—having a personal enough relationship so that the student knows you really care.

SL: You mentioned that professors often turn to past professors for teaching inspiration. Have any one of your professors inspired you?

LD: It’d be hard to pick one. I had an anthropology professor who would stand up in front of one hundred people and keep us fascinated. I was also an ancient Greek literature major, and so I had classes with just four people sitting around a table translating Greek, so I can’t pick just one person.

SL: Now that you’ve been recognized for your teaching, have you found “it?” Will you keep changing and experimenting with your teaching, or do you plan to stick with what you know works?

LD: Well, you’re always learning, always trying different things. The world keeps changing, and I keep reading new books. For example, there’s a book called “Things Fall Apart,” which I’ve been teaching for thirty years, and it continues to be a delightful book to teach kids about cultural relativism. But new events happen in the world that are directly relevant to this book. For instance, the big scandal a few years ago with Shell Oil polluting the lands of the Ogoni people in Nigeria is directly comparable to what “Things Fall Apart” talks about, except the book takes place one hundred years earlier and deals with British colonialism. So now I can assign “Things Fall Apart,” find some websites with Shell Oil PR and the movement to save Ogoni people, and have students read these to see how they are related to the course. It’s really just a combination of wanting to continue to be a good teacher, going to programs Bates sponsors for teaching, and keeping alive yourself—and that’s where doing scholarship and teaching come together.

SL: So how do you balance your teaching with your scholarship?

LD: First, there are some schools that value scholarship 90/10, and other schools where the ratio is reversed. Bates is about 50/50. I really like that balance and wouldn’t want to be at a place where nobody cares how you teach, or, conversely, where nobody does scholarship. There are lots of people at Bates who like that balance. The challenge is to do both well. My strategy is to devote myself 100% to teaching during year, but then, during the summer or when I’m on sabbatical, it’s like flicking a switch. From the day after graduation to the day before classes, I’m in Greece doing fieldwork, or sitting in the library writing an article or a couple chapters of a book.

SL: How do you think teaching anthropology will change over the next thirty or forty years?

LD: (laughs) You need to ask someone who is 30 years old. One thing I will add, however, is that the Harward Center, community service, and service learning have all been a huge change that I think will continue. I taught a course on fieldwork and research in the Lewiston-Auburn area for ages. But when the Harward Center became active and the idea of community service really took off, I began to offer, encourage, and even require students to tutor Somali refugees in Lewiston as part of their service learning component of the course. I did it too. It changed my life, and the students found it really rewarding. You know, the classroom is the real world. I’m not in some ivory tower. I feel that teaching is changing the world in a different way from, say, someone going out to give people advice about how not to get AIDS. But one of the greatest joys is to have students who go on to do things like that.

SL: Any big plans for the prize money?

LD: The most important part of the award is the satisfaction that comes from working really hard to be a good teacher for 30 years and to have students appreciate that enough to say positive things. I almost didn’t notice the money. I plan to divide it into 12 paychecks and go to the bank.

MEDLIFE: Helping low-income communities in Latin America


Still searching for a rewarding summer experience? Consider Medicine, Education and Development to Low Income Families Everywhere (MEDLIFE) – a non-profit organization devoted to providing low-income communities in Latin America with better access to medicine, education, and community development initiatives. For several years, Bates students have spent their summers with MEDLIFE. This summer, you could be one of them.

In 2005, Nick Ellis of the University of Maine founded MEDLIFE. Today, MEDLIFE has chapters at 48 universities and colleges across the world. Currently, Bates’ chapter is lead by Logan Greenblatt ’14.

“[Ellis] decided to make a difference. I have seen what he has seen; it is time to help others. For my whole life I feel I have had things handed to me. It isn’t fair that people have to live in these kinds of situations. By bringing MEDLIFE to Bates I can share my experiences and hopefully get other students on the train and do what we should do, help,” said Greenblatt.

Greenblatt has already succeeded in inspiring several Bates students to join MEDLIFE including Patrick Tolosky ’15 and Alex Millstrom ’15. Last July, Tolosky and Millstrom traveled to Tena, Ecuador to volunteer in a MEDLIFE mobile clinic.

“For me it was really special, since I speak Spanish well enough to converse quite thoroughly, so I was able to speak directly with the families that we were helping. I even got to perform some physical examinations of children when large families came in to see the doctor I was working with, and, I helped diagnose them with some parasites and other illnesses. That was the coolest part for me, since if I had not been paying attention, or hastily went through the examination, these kids would not have received the care they needed, so my actions were having an immediate effect on these kids and I could see that my presence was doing good right in front of my eyes. I have been very moved by my trip to Tena, and I hope in the future that I can do more trips to come,” said Tolosky.

As Tolosky acknowledges, MEDLIFE is a worthwhile cause for any Bates student. It aims to accomplish three fundamental goals. First, MEDLIFE strives to provide easier access to healthcare in these communities via mobile clinics (in which local and foreign volunteers work together to provide the most efficient care to families).

“Every day of the trip, the volunteer group will travel to a different community, set up camp, and from about 8 or 9 in the morning until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, the group can see anywhere from a couple dozen to a couple hundred individuals. There are different stations that the families will see, including an education station, teaching kids to brush their teeth, seeing a general care physician, a gynecologist, a dentist, and then receiving their needed medications and given instructions at the mobile pharmacy. The system is well structured, and works quite efficiently,” explained Tolosky.

MEDLIFE also emphasizes education. The organization cites lack of basic healthcare knowledge as a major problem in these communities. MEDLIFE aims to address this problem by offering educational presentations in each community it helps.

Lastly, MEDLIFE conducts enduring projects in each community.

“Whether it is a set of latrines to prevent contamination of food or water, or building a set of stairs in a highly traversed area so that people do not fall an injure themselves, these projects look to prevent injury or illness before they can happen,” said Tolosky.

This semester, students have been working on a constitution in the hope to become a formally recognized student group on campus. Their goals are to spread awareness about the many families in need of assistance in Latin America, and to encourage other students to partner with MEDLIFE.

Currently, about a dozen Bates students have expressed interest in joining the MEDLIFE movement this summer. The group is planning to travel to Riobamba, Ecuador to volunteer in a mobile clinic from June 8th through June 16th.

“Each individual person is so important in the effort to help these families in need, the trips will truly change how you see your own life, along with those of the families who are not as fortunate as us, and to be honest, the trips are extremely fun. It is a stress free, happy environment, working with great people to accomplish a meaningful task that will directly help these families. I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want to go,” said Tolosky.

Interested in the cause? There is still time to sign-up to work in a MEDLIFE mobile clinic this summer. The deadline to pay the $100 deposit for the trip is estimated to fall in early or mid-April. Email Tolosky ( with any questions about the organization or the upcoming trip. Consider giving back this summer.

What makes Bates so special?

During my time at Bates, I have regretted choosing a liberal arts school and especially, the Politics major on several occasions. What the hell had I been thinking? Had I been thinking at all?

Last week, one of my housemates and I had lunch with her friend, a prospective student, and her mother. Trying to overwhelm the prospective student and her mother with all of our Bates love and ultimately convince them that no other school that they planned to visit would even come close to Bates, I started asking myself: What makes Bates so special?

At some point, all liberal arts schools become one in the same. We hear Bates tour guides across campus, detailing the small classroom sizes, the writing and reading intensive coursework, and the accessibility of professors. I look at the prospective students and their parents thinking, haven’t they heard all of this before? And why didn’t you wear more layers?

So then, why Bates?

Is it the fact that I can sit in the fireplace lounge at any hour of the day and turn on a timed fireplace? A fireplace with a timer—I wanted to make sure that was clear—or maybe the fact that we have a “fireplace lounge” with a grand piano nonetheless. Could it be the unlimited meal plan? Maybe that nothing on campus takes you more than ten minutes to reach by foot? I think that it comes down to one thing in particular: the people.

As nauseous as it makes me to write that, after hearing it over and over again from companies, other schools, and the like, and thinking what BS they had been dishing me, at Bates this seems to really hold true.

After reading an article from the Forum last week on the need for Bates to offer a computer science degree, I thought: what else could Bates do better?

Asking around campus, I came up with a laundry list of pretty consistent items: (1) The gym: more treadmills, more equipment in general; (2) Printers (we all know where this is going, and there have been improvements); (3) Revamp the General Education Concentration (GEC) system; (4) A library makeover (also on its way); (5) More majors, e.g. computer science, finance, or anything business-related; (6) An advisor system, where your advisor does not just approve of your classes, but one who you actually maintain a relationship with; (7) In Commons: more big bowls and mugs, Greek yogurt, and Chai tea—not a general consensus suggestion obviously, but certainly one of mine—and the list could continue on.

Despite comments on all of these issues, one thing went overlooked. At Bates, the lack of knowledge of current events never ceases to surprise me. Swamped with tests, papers, sports, finding a job or an internship, and other activities, we might not have a minute to read the front page of The Boston Globe or sift through another paper in Commons or on one of our million electronic portals.

In my Economic Sociology course this semester our professor asked the class for someone to discuss the latest happenings in Cyprus and the current situation. Sure maybe I have a shy class, but after the lack of hands raised, literally zero, my professor responded, a bit shocked and taken aback, “Wow you guys really need to start to read the papers, man.”

After talking with a student from the earlier section of the course, whose class also failed to raise any of their hands, it only reiterated my feelings.

How could we get Bates students to read the news more? Could we spend a quick five minutes in the beginning of each class just to debrief on the latest events? Could we up the amount of free subscriptions that Bates started to provide this year to certain newspapers online?

Knowing and, more importantly, understanding events happening all around us coupled with possessing the ability to clearly articulate events like Cyprus to others is an important piece of our education and Bates should ensure that all students have that ability.

How could we guarantee that when a question arises about Cyprus next week, a few hands might go up?

I always wonder whether if we had attended non-liberal arts schools, we might not have such a tough time finding a job or an internship. Perhaps with the millions of employers that swarm their campuses and the wide range of business-related degrees available, life might have been a whole lot easier.

Maybe Bates can keep making itself different and more “liberal-artsy,” or eventually, will it have to conform, add that Computer Science degree, and     really start competing?

Flirting with The Swaggering Damsel

In The Swaggering Damsel, men sport elaborate tops and scabbards, while the women flaunt full-length velvet gowns and delicate headbands. Animated jesters are unsubtle with their flasks and stumble weakly as they move set pieces from one side of the stage to the other. Men who learn that their love for a beautiful woman might be unrequited threaten to commit suicide, numerous times. Yes, these characters appear to be living just after the Elizabethan era, but this play is not a work of Shakespeare.

The Swaggering Damsel

follows the complicated and budding relationship between the hesitant Valentine Crambag (Gunnar Machester ’15) and scheming Sabina Testy (Sarah Wainshal ’16). The play delved into the relationship between sex and love, and later featured the uncommon but extremely amusing cross-dressing of both main characters.

The great extent to which Shakespeare’s works have been produced in modern performing arts makes it particularly easy to disregard the other aspiring social commentators of the time. The Swaggering Damsel is the only play written by the amateur playwright Robert Chamberlain. After experimenting in the professional fields of law and religion, he directed his energy toward writing poetry, satire and jokes.

Unfortunately, Mr. Chamberlain’s sense of humor is not nearly as touching as Shakespeare’s. His jokes, though accessible, did not seem cunning enough to evoke a genuine fit of laughter form the audience.

That being said, it’s important that audience members adapt an open mind to the work of Elizabethan playwrights other than Shakespeare. Learning to appreciate amateur or lesser-known works of theater may broaden our knowledge of social perspectives of the time.

First-year Rebeccah Bassell has already adapted this mature mindset. She commented, “It’s so refreshing to see a theater production from seventeenth-century England by someone other than William Shakespeare. With gems from the show such as Valentine’s grandiose declarations of love and the comic interplay of the main characters in their cross-dressing confusion, the show is something not to be missed.”

Thankfully, the skilled Bates actors in The Swaggering Damsel filled their roles appropriately and with great confidence. English from that time period is intimidating enough to mumble in a high school Shakespeare class; therefore, the conviction with which the Bates actors performed their lines was comforting and impressive.

Although the cross dressing scenes were exciting for the audience, the necessary change in appearance and demeanor posed a challenge for the actors. In order for cross dressing to have its full comedic effect, the actors must be aptly convincing in their alternate role. Rather than be intimidated by this responsibility, Sarah Wainshal attacked the challenge by taking lessons with a voice coach outside of rehearsal. The convincing result was certainly a testament to her hard work.

The Bates Theater Department was lucky to have visiting professor of English and Bates alum Matteo Pangallo (Class of 2003) direct Chamberlain’s comedy. His blocking within the small Gannett Theater made the play significantly more enjoyable from the audience member’s point of view.

Rather than letting the small and confined space of Gannett Theater suffocate the audience members, the actors engaged them when appropriate with confirming glances and delightful references. Entrances and exits from polar ends of the theater made the play almost feel like it was performed in the round. The play’s opening also added to this sense of cohesive involvement.

Instead of entering when their characters do, the actors approached a costume rack in the center of the stage and began dressing in front of the audience. Not only did this establish a laid back and comfortable atmosphere for the audience members, but it also marked dressing and costuming as central themes in the play.

Even though Chamberlain is no Shakespeare, the direction and acting in The Swaggering Damsel made the play an enjoyably humorous experience for anyone who was lucky enough to fit in Gannett Theater last week. The Bates community should be proud to have these developing and delightful actors providing us with frequent cultural experiences.

Men’s lax blows out Trinity 14-6, moves to third place in NESCAC

A week after upsetting No. 14 ranked Wesleyan; the Bates men’s lacrosse team set a team record for the largest margin of victory in a NESCAC game by beating the Trinity Bantams 14-6 in Hartford on Saturday. The win also marks the team’s first win against Trinity since 2006, which was also the last time that the Bobcats made the NESCAC playoffs.

After scoring an impressive 11 goals against Bowdoin in a losing effort last week, Bates continued to demonstrate their offensive potency by hanging 14 goals against Trinity and forcing the Bantams to use three different goalies, with three different Bobcats posting hat tricks.

As they have in each game this season, the Bobcats jumped out to a quick lead as senior midfielder Rob Highland, still recovering from a knee injury, scored off of a dodge on Bates’ opening possession. Sophomore faceoff specialist Mac Jackson won the ensuing draw, fought for the ground ball, and tore through the Trinity defense to beat the goaltender on a shot and put Bates up 2-0. After a long possession with methodical ball movement, Highland added his second goal on an assist from sophomore attackman Jack Strain.

After Trinity responded with their first goal of the game, Bates’ junior midfielder Will Gilkeson prevented the Bantams from building up significant momentum by scoring on a dodge from the wing. Highland then completed his personal hat trick, again scoring unassisted on a dodge from the top of the box.

The Bantams tried furiously to mount a comeback, scoring two hard-earned goals to cut the lead to 5-3, but Bates’ defenders frustrated Trinity, smothering Trinity’s dodges and causing an impressive 30 turnovers.

“Our D executed the game plan together,” commented head coach Peter Lasagna, “We limited their best offensive player to one assist, and held down a talented Trinity attack.”

“Defenders Torben Noto ‘13, Charlie Clark ‘13, Andrew Berry ‘13, David Cappellini ’16, and Matt Proto ‘16 clamped down and made it impossible for Trinity to string together a run. The man down unit was unblemished for the 3rd straight game, while Charlie Kazarian ‘14 stopped the ball and controlled our clearing game.”

Kazarian, last week’s NESCAC Player of the Week, played another outstanding game in net, recording 11 saves on 17 shots on goal. “I think the key to stopping Trinity’s offense was limiting their transition opportunities and communicating well during six on six settled situations,” explained Kazarian.

After Trinity’s brief run in the second quarter, Bates turned on the jets offensively, exploding for a 9-3 run for the rest of the game. When asked what gave Bates its biggest advantage, Lasagna commented, “

I credit the offensive efficiency and shooting accuracy we displayed in the first half for building a 10-4 lead at halftime. Trinity was forced to cycle through three goalies. Our offensive group moved the ball as well as we have yet.”

Freshmen attackmen Jack Allard and Charlie Hildebrand would each score twice in the second quarter to combine for Bates’ next four goals, with Hildebrand’s both coming off of forced Trinity turnovers. Strain added an unassisted goal right before the half to put Bates up 10-4.

A defensively dominated third quarter was marked only by another Jack Allard goal, this one on an assist from senior midfielder Kyle Starr. Strain scored twice in the fourth quarter, and sophomore midfielder Conor Henrie became the seventh Bobcat to score with his rip on an assist from senior attackman Dan Hines.

Strain and Allard both had exceptional games for the Bobcats with three goals apiece, two assists for Strain and one for Allard.

By beating Trinity, Bates all but assures itself a spot in the NESCAC playoffs and has a legitimate chance at attaining a home playoff game if they can win two or three more games. After playing what Lasagna called, “our most complete game yet,” Bates looks like one of the more dangerous teams in the NESCAC, ranking fifth in both offense and defense.

“Seven different people scored goals. Ten different people had points. Our balance and unselfishness makes us very difficult to defend,” added Lasagna.

The red-hot Bobcats will travel to Keene State this week to face an undefeated Owls squad in an out of conference game before traveling to Williams College on Saturday.

Arguing with idiots

It is, as we’ve seen in the past, impossible to negotiate with terrorists, and that’s what these people are. Just a week ago, Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) gun control legislation was essentially neutered in an effort to make it more marketable. House Majority Leader Harry Reid opted to remove the oft-controversial assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limits, citing the fact that the bill lacked the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

We’re catering to the fringes of society, here. Catering to the groveling fanatics who constantly think—misguidedly—that the government is trying to take their guns away. These are the same people who view the second amendment as being more important to our society than the first, even in the face of a majority of Americans who support gun control measures according to a recent Pew poll.

To any outside observer this debate is simply preposterous. If the massacre of dozens of schoolchildren and schoolteachers cannot sway public opinion in favor of more intelligent regulations of these weapons of mass destruction, then what will? How many people need to die before the American people, as a majority, look at themselves and ask: what have we wrought?

It is admirable what Dianne Feinstein and her allies in Congress are trying to do, but bowing out to the fringe lunacy is, in itself, lunacy. Feinstein herself acknowledges what everyone already knew, “The enemies on this are very powerful. I’ve known this all my life.”

So, what do we do? How do we get the sensible among us to stand up and demand change? To say that we won’t take it anymore? Well, you counter the money that the NRA and other lobbying groups are able to throw at the issue with more money from the other side.

Recently, Michael R. Bloomberg, mayor of New York, has stepped up with his own fortune to try and sway public opinion, as well as the opinion of several “swing” Senators. He said, of his decision, “The N.R.A. has just had this field to itself. It’s the only one that’s been speaking out. It’s time for another voice.”

And the victims of these crimes need to be given a voice. Each time this country is subject to another gun massacre, voices cry out in the night, but are soon cast down to a whimper as groups like the NRA suggest that the only way to prevent more shootings is to add more guns into the mix. I don’t need to highlight the terrible logical progression there. It is patently obvious and patently absurd.

Bloomberg’s campaign is a start, no doubt, and every single effort like this begins with small steps, but an issue like this demands swift and comprehensive change. I know I’ve talked about incremental change for other issues like gay marriage, and even two weeks ago I mentioned incremental change for gun control, but the truth of the matter is that not all issues are created equal. Gun violence, in the eyes of myself, and the eyes of many, is an issue that demands action.

The second amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to bear arms in order to maintain a well-regulated militia, but over the decades and centuries this maxim has been warped and loosened to allow gun owners free reign over the issue and conversation. I’ll level with proponents. I have only small qualms about some gun ownership, but suggesting that one needs assault weapons, which are tantamount to those used in the military, to protect one’s home is simply ludicrous.

And so I stand with Dianne Feinstein and Michael Bloomberg on this issue. It has been too long that the NRA, and the fringe groups at the edge of society have been dictating the terms of this hostage situation. You can’t, it seems, argue with idiots any more than you can negotiate with terrorists. We have both groups working in tandem to ensure that everyone has access to the weapon of their choosing, whether they intend to kill themselves or murder any number of innocents.

This country demands change as it has done over and over again for decades. It seems as though change cannot come soon enough, though. One has to wonder how many more gun deaths we will see before we get meaningful conversation on the topic, as well as meaningful change.

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