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SWAN | Well Well Well Well; Thanks for the Memories Fall 2016

“Well this is some old-school, Ivy Leaguer, boys and girls, three-feet-on-the-floor stuff,” I thought to myself. We were going to Wells College for a semi-formal. My friend’s girlfriend goes there, and his girlfriend has a friend, and through the potentially awkward workings of social arrangement, it was established that I would be her friend’s date for the evening; so it goes, so it goes. For those of you who don’t know, Wells College is a small, liberal arts institution situated on a dreamy, picturesque campus in Aurora, New York, about 25 miles north of Ithaca. Founded in 1868 as a women’s college by Henry Wells, the institution — in true, 19th century Utopian fashion — was intended to produce the “ideal” contemporary woman.

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ALUR | Some Things To Be Thankful For

Yesterday, on my 4 a.m. cab ride to the infamous Ithaca airport, I got into an accident. It was snowing heavily, and my cab skidded onto the other side of the road, making a 180 before slipping into a ditch off the highway. It was a truly bizarre experience. I felt as though the whole thing happened in slow motion. I remember screaming; yet, I don’t remember being afraid.

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STANTON | Sharon Jones and the Upside of Echo Chambers

Last Sunday, John Oliver concluded the third season of Last Week Tonight with a cathartic send-off to the year in a segment so eloquently dubbed, “Fuck You, 2016!” If you haven’t seen the episode, I’ll give you three guesses as to what it’s about. In a year that began with David Bowie’s death, the state of affairs never bothered to resettle on any form of status quo — opting instead to perpetually tumble further downhill. The general mood on campus following Election Day has seemed to oscillate somewhere between vitriol and despair, to the extent that a casual “How are you?” serves as an invitation to air out grievances rather than go through the motions of small talk. And whether in tone or subject matter, the election results have pervaded a large portion of the Daily Sun’s output because, well, what else is there to think about? As the White House proceeds in its transition to high-stakes reality TV show, pundits have made much of the modern media’s role in President-elect Trump’s ascent.

MEISEL | Poetry in a Time of Crisis

Admittedly, during times of intense crisis or panic, most people aren’t running around asking what the poets think. My own interpretation of this fact is not that people don’t care what poets have to say. It’s rather that they don’t believe in any reason for listening to them (a faulty judgement that I suppose amounts to the same result). If we experience social upheaval, for example, what good would reading Wordsworth do? If we encounter history in palpable manifestations, why read a poet to understand that history?

Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting

GUEST ROOM | Who Needs Meaning?

When I was a junior in high school, I taught a film and media class at my former elementary school. I gathered a group of 11 year olds around a computer to write a script and asked them, “What message do you want to share to your audience?” They told me they wanted to make a movie about a dog traveling around the world; somehow dynamite and chicken wings were involved but I can’t remember how. “No, I mean what do you want the meaning to be?” I asked again. They didn’t understand what I was trying to say. They suggested dinosaurs instead of the dog.

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GOULDTHORPE | DreamWorks Revisited: Where Are They Post-Trolls?

A couple months ago, I delivered my thoughts about DreamWorks Animation, a studio that’s grabbed the industry spotlight — not through any smashing successes this year, but because of their recent acquisition. I don’t want to go through that whole rigamarole once more, but some recent developments have grabbed my attention and deserve to be brought to the discussion table. First of all, some good news: Trolls seems to be doing very well in theaters. After two weeks, it’s brought in $226 million worldwide. With a budget of $125 million, it looks like there’s some profit in DreamWorks’ future.

COURTESY OF NBC

JONES | SNL and the Normalization of Donald Trump

I hardly ever watch Saturday Night Live, or even single skits from it. From what I’ve seen, its sense of humor isn’t really my style: too broad and too topical without offering real criticism. Nonetheless, I watched the post-election episode, and thought that the show was exhibiting a new side. Kate McKinnon’s opening performance of “Hallelujah,” in character as Hillary Clinton, paid simultaneous tribute to the deaths of Leonard Cohen and Clinton’s presidential prospects (and the hopes of millions). This double-sided swan song was surprisingly powerful, especially when McKinnon ended by turning to the camera and saying sincerely, “I’m not giving up, and neither should you.”

Following just after, Dave Chappelle’s opening monologue was a reminder of his talent, a rumination on Trump and America’s progress that was by turns cutting, glum and hopeful.

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CHAZAN | Creon’s America

“What report do you come bringing us from god?”

“A good one! For I say, things hard to bear might chance to mean good luck — if, by some chance they turn out straight.”

Thus, Creon reintroduces himself to Oedipus after a long journey, bearing significant news. His report is of course not good. This I the first thing I said as I walked onstage for three nights, in the recent Classics department production of Sophocles’ Oedipus. This circular, beguiling phrase, swollen with hope and deceit, has come to haunt me.

Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty

GUEST ROOM | Trump: A Cinematic Perspective

Like many students on this campus, I was devastated at the victory of Donald J. Trump in his rise to the office of President of the United States. I sat there with my friends who had just been canvassing in New Hampshire as we all asked ourselves how in the world this happened. I was shocked like everyone else, but I shouldn’t have been. I should’ve seen this coming. I’m not qualified to speak on the politics of this election.

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

SWAN | Expression in the Era of Trump and Pseudo-Masculinity

When I was much younger, around four or five years of age, I played soccer on a YMCA little league team. Yet, as I’ve been subsequently told, rare was it that I actually joined in and played the game with the other kids. I possessed no interest in the ball and I instead preferred to run around carefree behind my team, acting out my own fantastical Power Rangers- or epic action-adventure. After soccer came a brief, two-year stint in little league baseball during elementary school. My brazen defiance of the rules in both of these sports indicated to my parents that organized sports were indeed not my forte (and around this time I began taking piano lessons).