When the universe wants to tell you something, it will tell you a few times. I take the same attitude with phone calls. Unless you call a few times or leave a voicemail, I’m not calling back. Late last night, when I was falling asleep to an episode of S-Town, I realized that I’ve been learning the same lesson for about a year. I will graduate in almost exactly a month, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the lack of despair I feel about that fact.
Many of us are easily familiar with the name “Lebowski.” When we hear it, we think of bathrobes, bowling balls and buddy-love between John Goodman’s Walter and Jeff Bridges’ The Dude. With its one-of-a-kind storyline and its clever comedic interjections, The Big Lebowski has become a household film title, an easy answer to the ice-breaker question “favorite movie?” and a classic go-to choice when you and your friends couldn’t agree on anything else to watch on Netflix. But the film has not always been held in such high regards. Twenty years ago, when it was first released, The Big Lebowski was met with dissatisfaction and criticism. The reviews were mediocre at best, and in the box office, it was far from a hit.
On April 7, 1993, one day before Macedonia joined the United Nations, history was made: David Mickey Evans’ The Sandlot was released in theaters across the United States. It’s been one score and five years since its release, so let us celebrate why this film still stands. 1. The shoes: There is still nothing better than seeing canvas Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars or PF Flyers striking the dirt diamond and trampled plates. 2.
Considering America’s current political climate and the media’s obstinate fixation on criminal motive, it’s not surprising some people might suggest that the U.S.’s broken conception of masculinity could have something to do with recent mass shootings. While attempting to link the two is a causal leap, and in the wake of tragedy comes the risk of sounding a bit tone-deaf, I believe it’s as good of a time as any to begin discussing masculinity’s modern definition. Further, we can use art as a lens to determine masculinity’s place in society. While many people would argue that women in the U.S. face far more pervasive disadvantages than men and, as a result, conversations on masculinity are subordinate to those of femininity, there is no implication that I am arguing that men face systematic disadvantage. Moreover, many of those who would argue that American women face systematic oppression would also argue that masculinity (the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, etc.) is at least in part to blame.
One of my best friends is that guy who you might have seen on the Ivy League Snapchat story a few weeks back, wearing an Army uniform and playing the pedal steel guitar. Before I met him, during the Fall 2016 semester, I had only some vague sense of what the pedal steel guitar is, what it sounds like or what it even looks like. I think I understood that the pedal steel is behind that ambient, stoner wave in the beginning of “Breathe (In The Air)” from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. This, of course, was news to my friend, who primarily considers the instrument as it appears throughout classic country music, by artists such as George Jones or Buddy Emmons — we often like to joke about the humorous dichotomy between my city-folk tastes and his north country musical preferences. The entire niche culture around the pedal steel was foreign to me, as was the brand of classic country that he enjoys, but nevertheless, this did not stop us from becoming friends and even playing music together.
If you’re a fan of the rap group/radical-left hype-men Run the Jewels, you may have been surprised by the news this weekend. Rapper Killer Mike, who forms one-half of Run the Jewels with El-P, gave an interview with the NRATV host Colion Noir in which he seemed to agree with the NRA and guns-right activists that new gun-control laws are not a solution to gun violence, separating himself from the progressive left that he has often acted as a celebrity spokesman for. In the interview, Killer Mike accused guns rights activists of being “lackey[s] of the progressive movement,” adding that “I told my kids on the school walkout: ‘I love you — if you walk out that school, walk out my house.’”
To be fair, Killer Mike was not simply aping the NRA’s incendiary rhetoric — he was trying to make an argument about the need specifically for African-Americans in poorly-policed areas to be prepared to defend themselves against threats. Killer Mike apologized in two videos he filmed at home soon after the NRATV interview was posted online, saying that he had unintentionally allowed the NRA to post the video as a counter to the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, a protest which he called “a very noble campaign that I actually support.” However, he has chosen to explicitly align himself with gun-rights activists in the past: he said on Tavis Smiley’s show on PBS last year that “White men don’t want to give up their guns, and I’m with that. If you don’t want to give up your guns, and I have that right — not privilege — but I have that right too, then I’m standing on your side of the room when they say, ‘Who’s for guns?’”
A less surprising attack on gun control activists came from Jesse Hughes, the frontman of Eagles of Death Metal.
During my sophomore year, former Arts & Entertainment Editor Sean Doolittle ’16 wrote a polemic titled “I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore.” Doolittle put Cornell students on blast for failing to value the arts. “We don’t make time for art anymore,” Doolittle wrote, “There’s no urgency for beauty.”
I disagreed with Doolittle’s column. Ways to appreciate arts and culture were everywhere on campus. Every weekend, students presented a cappella concerts, dance performances, live theater and more. Even if you wanted to stay in after a long week, who’s to say that watching Netflix doesn’t count as engaging with art?
When the trailer for NBC’s new series, Rise, popped up on my news feed a few weeks ago, I cursed Facebook’s advertising algorithm and made a mental note about the pilot airing date simultaneously. I mean, a show about a high school theater troupe putting on Spring Awakening, starring Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) and Auli’i Cravalho (Moana) and produced by Jeffrey Seller (Hamilton)? It practically has my name written all over it. So naturally I had high expectations going in, but I also worried that Rise might fall into the dangerous trap of clichés. And I believe I was right to a certain degree.
Two weeks ago, I wrote about Coco’s win at the Oscars, and reflected on the film and what it meant. A couple days after though, a story broke in the Hollywood Reporter. Darla Anderson, the producer behind Coco and a long time Pixar veteran, announced on March 8 that she would be departing the studio. She released a statement saying, “I’ve had a magical and privileged experience working at Pixar for over two decades. The creativity, imagination, and innovation at Pixar is second to none.
Last year I took an elective that touched on the study of sound design, or the ways in which sound is organized — or unintentionally disorganized — in various settings. A big philosophical topic of interest in this field is the use of headphones by individuals in personal transit. By using headphones, are we effectively silencing the natural soundscape of a place? This initially seems like a rather pedantic point, one best mulled over in a musicology elective. Yet, shouldn’t we be worried about so many people dismantling the collective identity of a place, just as we are worried about climate change or the tearing down of the Nines?