September 13, 2005
Laugh it Out
| September 13, 2005
While this column is not usually a forum to discuss issues beyond the scope of Hollywood-related faux pas and the general musings of the college-student pictured to the right, once in a while it is time to get serious – about laughing.
The past few weeks have flooded our conscience with stories of pain, suffering and loss from Katrina. Cornell has done a great service in welcoming Tulane students onto its campus and into its classrooms; As well, the entertainment community, led by Oprah and others, have done their part to aid victims of Katrina. Equally important, they have made us laugh.
While of course some topics are sacred, tragedy should not force us to stop laughing. In fact, a little levity does a body good. Isn’t that what New Orleans was all about? Or was Mardi Gras a day of silence and reverence. I’m pretty sure girls showed their boobs for beads.
In fact, we could probably learn a thing or two from our new Tulane friends about how to have fun. Leaving the bayou for the gorges won’t be easy come October’s first snow, and they are going to need those skills honed during Mardi Gras if they want to keep a positive attitude during prelims. According to urbandictionary.com, Cornell University is: “Regarded to be the easiest to get into [of the Ivy League Universities] (due to the state colleges that are branches of the university) but the hardest to stay in. In one article, it was mentioned as ‘the only campus where you walk up a 45 degree incline in 45 degree weather to get a 45% on a test.'”
You might not think it when given this reputation, but laughter is the Cornell student’s best medicine, not adderal. Certainly in this section we know a little about that. Late nights, lots of coffee – this is the journalist/student’s life, and it takes a lot of laughter to get through it. But I digress. I am in no way comparing the stress of school to the tragedy experienced by those in New Orleans, or, as the anniversary of September 11th this weekend reminds us, 9/11, but I would defend my right to lighten up and laugh above all other rights given to me by my creator. I ask you – if we didn’t laugh, what would we be left with?
This is where the importance of entertainment comes in. It’s ok to enjoy a cheesy show like The O.C. or an irreverent comedy like Family Guy, or whatever it is you like, just because you enjoy it. Even more, it is ok to turn your attention away from the news pages and maybe pick up this section, because that’s what it is there for – to entertain you. Now go get some beads.
Archived article by Logan Bromer
We are an independent, student newspaper. Help keep us reporting with a tax-deductible donation to the Cornell Sun Alumni Association, a non-profit dedicated to aiding The Sun.
September 14, 2005
Thousands of animals were left homeless in the wake of Hurrican Katrina, unable to find food or clean water, not to mention their owners. Exposed to bacteria, strong sun and oppressive heat, they had no access to medication for days after the storm subsided. Much like their human counterparts, they had nowhere to go. Unlike the millions of people who found solace in shelters right away, many animals were alone for days before being rescued and brought to veterinary clinics across the South. The College of Veterinary Medicine responded to the growing crisis of displaced animals as soon as phone lines and internet service was restored at veterinary facilities in the affected area. Beginning with a package of catheters, antibiotics, bandages, sutures and leashes, sent Sept. 2, the veterinary college has donated significant material and monetary aid to non-human hurricane victims. They sent a second package on Sept. 7 that included even more medical supplies. The veterinary college also sent four members of its staff, including veterinarians and technicians, and two senior-level students to Baton Rouge on Sunday to help the affected animals. “The response here has been incredible. Students have gone all-out,” said Dr. Nishi Dhupa, Director of Emergency and Critical Care at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. She is overseeing the veterinary college’s response to the hurricane. The college has been sending supplies and monetary aid to the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, which is running a temporary shelter at the LSU AgCenter Parker Coliseum. The facility usually hosts rodeos and livestock shows. The LSU facility is housing nearly 1,100 cats, dogs and rabbits, and even a few chickens, ducks and pigs. Prof. Joseph Taboada from LSU, one of the operation’s organizers, explained that the facility is sheltering pets that are known to have owners, but whose owners cannot care for them at this time. Another building nearby is hosting more than 300 rescued and stray animals, as well as horses that cannot be accommodated in the LSU arena. Animals entered the shelter with head stress and severe dehydration. Some, including older pets who had not received medication in a few days, were more critical patients and were treated for renal disease, bacterial infections or flare-ups of arthritis. Dhupa explained that animals are very important to people experiencing trauma of this magnitude. When displaced, many people find comfort in companionship, especially with animals that have become part of their lives. “By helping the animals, you’re also very directly helping the people,” Dhupa said. Ginger Guttner, public relations cooordinator for LSU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, said that although the veterinarians there are working on a rotating shift schedule, they are still exhausted. “With any situation like this, you’re burned out, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself,” she said. LSU is still running its regular veterinary medical clinic but it has a depleted staff. In addition to the six Cornell veterinarians who went to Baton Rouge on Sunday, Dhupa said another six are expected to leave next weekend. They will stay for one to two weeks, providing what the veterinary college’s Dean Donald Smith called “critical support.” After that period, the administration will re-assess where Cornell’s expertise and supplies would be most effective. In a message sent to students in the college Thursday, Smith stated that the number of animals that need medical care and shelter “poses a monumental series of challenges” to the LSU veterinary staff. Smith told students that they could help defray the aid package’s expenses, which are “escalating rapidly,” by donating to the college’s Katrina Fund or other animal organizations like the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association or the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Students who did not have the training to help out in Baton Rouge immediately organized a school-wide bake sale to raise money on Friday. Cornell has also made contact with the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine in Starkville, where doctors are traveling to the surrounding areas to help animals in need. They are currently just asking for monetary support.Archived article by Melissa KornSun Senior Editor
September 14, 2005
Distinguished architect Peter Eisenman ’54 returned to his alma mater last night to comment on architecture’s modern history and to speculate on its future. Throughout his prepared lecture, entitled “Architecture Matters,” Eisenman invoked a diversity of artists and philosophers, including Roland Barthes, Le Corbusier, Martin Heidegger and Richard Wagner. He combined a theoretical treatise on architectural currents and contemporary design theory with a detailed analysis of one of his most recent projects, Germany’s Memorial to the Jews Killed in Europe during World War II. In his introductory remarks Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, hailed the return of “one of the most celebrated graduates of [the College].” “Peter Eisenman is one of the very few architects in the world today that has managed to combine theory, art and practice,” Mostafavi said. Early in his lecture, which he delivered from the stage in Kennedy Hall’s Call Auditorium, Eisenman pointed to post-structuralism’s influence on his thinking and career. “There was a moment in philosophy from 1965 until 1968, when several important works – for me most notably Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology – set the stage for post-structuralist thinking in philosophy and language,” Eisenman said. In Of Grammatology, Derrida doubted extant language’s communicative efficacy. In an essay published in 1986, which Eisenman cited, Derrida urged architects to reconsider the means by which they communicated. “Architecture is a language unto itself – unlike semiotics and other forms of verbal and written communication,” Eisenman said, summarizing Derrida’s argument. “And he says in the same essay that if we are unable to articulate in the languages we possess, we must find a way to overcome language.” For centuries, architects’ “inherited language” has been the Cartesian plane. To Eisenman, architects’ and artists’ search for a new language became all the more important after terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001. In fact, he wondered if architecture itself had to be fundamentally reconsidered and reinvented. Eisenman recalled how, in the wake of World War II, eminent literary theorist George Steiner questioned whether there could be poetry penned in the German language after the Holocaust. Eisenman wonders if architects are at a similar turning point. “It may be impossible to continue with the existing language of architecture now,” Eisenman said. To Eisenman, the latest paradigm shift in architectural modes of thought occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. “[Sept. 11, 2001] was the last great spectacle,” Eisenman said. “And I don’t think that anything that architecture could do could equal this.” In his opinion, the two calculated attacks on important, symbolic landmarks in New York City and Washington signified the end of situationist filmmaker and writer Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle. “What is interesting for architecture, is that that spectacle – so vivid, so violent, and so graphic – caused architecture to change,” Eisenman said. “Not because it needs to be turned inward, but because it can no longer compete with the spectacular image of media.” He spoke about the power of experience: he witnessed the terrorist attack unfold from his firm’s Manhattan offices. To Eisenman, “being there” was transformative, and is now central to his architectural theory. Later in his lecture, Eisenman praised several of his colleagues’ contributions to architecture’s evolution, emphasizing the incontestable importance of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ early designs and theory in particular. While Eisenman believes that some architects are continuing to do important work, he worries that many of his contemporaries are beginning to fall victim to celebrity. “Architects today are arguing over who is going to do the perfume for Madam Prada,” Eisenman said. “The architects who have become the media stars follow an agenda of consumption.” Eisenman also lamented some of his colleagues’ interest in aestheticism and beauty. “In architecture, there is a need to overcome the optical,” Eisenman said. “These relationships bring about the displacement of the functional from the contiguous spatial article.” Prada’s Koolhaas-designed Los Angeles boutique and Seattle Public Library do not excite Eisenman; they are not, by his standards, groundbreaking. In the second half of his lecture, Eisenman spoke at length about the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which he designed. The monument, which is comprised of 2,711 concrete pillars of varying heights, occupies an urban tract in Berlin on which Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels’ house, garden and bunker once stood. Some visitors have trouble understanding the space and Eisenman’s design. There are no names carved into the gray concrete blocks, nor is there a center or a single navigable pathway along which people walk. As such, and as the architect intended, it is easy for someone to find himself alone, lost in the memorial. “I was attempting silence,” Eisenman said. In the question-and-answer session that followed his talk, Eisenman spoke of his early desire “to change the world,” wondered if today’s architects’ goals are as lofty and noble and reiterated his belief that architects must reinvent their language. “If we are to begin to act again, the suggestion is that we must rethink how architecture communicates,” Eisenman said. “Not for change itself, but change for some social purpose.” After the lecture, many students and faculty lingered in Call Auditorium. Rio Wight ’10, who has only just begun his five-year term as an architecture student, left enthusiastic. “It was inspirational to hear [Eisenman] talk,” Wight said. “To hear him be so into architecture.” Initially, Eisenman and designer Lars Müller were scheduled to visit Cornell together for a book signing. Last week, however, Hurricane Katrina flooded Müller’s studio and rising waters destroyed many of his records. Eisenman, who founded Oppositions, the journal for the Institute of Architecture, is presently at work on a 68,000-seat stadium for the Arizona Cardinals; a cultural complex in Galicia, Spain; and three entries for major architectural competitions. His firm, Eisenman Architects, is based in New York. Archived article by David GuraSun Senior Writer