GUEST ROOM | Why We Hosted Michael Johns

On Tuesday evening, the Cornell Political Union hosted Michael Johns, Sr., a conservative political activist and Tea Party leader, to speak to the body about President Trump’s ideology and his perspectives on American populism. He spoke mostly to explain, not to defend, and attempted to offer his perspective and confer an understanding of this brand of politics. We considered this talk valuable and necessary, and are proud that we hosted it. We also believe Mr. Johns was wrong — at the end of our event, we voted to reject Mr. Johns’ ideology on a vote of 40-14. When we first announced this event, it was met with a great deal of interest and excitement from the Cornell community.

LEUNG | The Aesthetic Experience

The Decadent movement in the late 19th century, which affected both literature and art, was one of excess. It favored aestheticism, devoid of anything with political, spiritual or moral value. Edgar Allen Poe, a notable Decadent writer of the time, thought the only purpose of poetry was to be beautiful to read. It should be separate from truth and feeling — an “elevation of the soul.” The focus of his poem, “The Raven,”  is not his dead wife, but rather the musicality of language and the way the vowels and rhyme scheme sound when read aloud. There is no significance behind the name “Lenore” beyond the fact that it rhymes with the repeated word “nevermore.” He wrote “The Philosophy of Composition” to describe poetry as an impersonal process, the largest emphasis being on technical and lyrical composition, so that the final product would be one with the greatest aesthetic value.

KOWALEWSKI | The World is an Angry Place

Everyone who was paying attention could tell that Donald Trump was an unusually poor match for the presidency. Casting aside all of his racist statements and nonsensical policy proposals, Trump’s hasty, oversensitive personality should have been disqualifying in itself. Ironically, Trump still managed to campaign on persistent promises that he would strengthen and protect the security of the United States. His words were devoid of value, but valued nonetheless. Now, Trump does not merely speak words.

GLANZEL | Let Silicon Valley Thrive: Part I

Silicon Valley is quickly becoming the beating heart of the American economy. The American tech industry is rapidly developing the capacity to touch the economic, social and political infrastructure of every major nation across the globe. The immense potential contained by Silicon Valley demands that government create an environment in which the tech industry can grow. This article is the first in a two-part series in which I will look at the steps the federal government should take to help foster growth in America’s rapidly expanding technology base. Before delving into the specific policy actions the government should implement, I want to emphasize one major point: Silicon Valley is good.

RUSSELL | Seeing Stars

Over the summer, I heard an old Drake song that mentions star projectors and soon became fixated on the idea of buying one myself. I think the appeal comes from childhood memories of seven-year-old astronaut-wannabe me, sprawled out on the carpet flooring of a friend’s bedroom, staring up at a fake version of the night sky as if seeing the real one when I went outside wasn’t enough. When last semester began, I made my pilgrimage to the toy section of a department store and bought a new star projector, for old times’ sake. Oddly enough, it feels deeply profound to lay on my hardwood bedroom floor and stare up at colorful light-shapes on the wall. It’s introspective and placid and energizing, all at the same time.

EDITORIAL: Make It Public

“‘The forgotten man and woman will be forgotten no longer.’ I’ll explain tonight, 7:30 pm, Cornell,” tweeted Michael Johns, co-founder of the Tea Party movement and conservative policy analyst. Johns was scheduled to give a public talk, hosted by the Cornell Political Union, at Anabel Taylor Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday evening to discuss the merits of a Trump administration. However, on Monday, CPU turned the event private after speaking Cornell University Police Department about the intent of campus organizations and certain community members to protest the guest speaker. “I was told the Union could either pay $2000 in security fees to ensure the presence of CUPD officers at the event, cancel it altogether or make it private,” said Troy LeCaire ’17, co-founder of CPU. The public was kept in the dark as CPU refused to disclose further details about the event, which is open only to Union members and certain guests.

RUBASHKIN | Disney Gets Greedy

Despite the recent standout successes of films like Spotlight, La La Land and Moonlight, the past several years have been dark times for cinema. Last summer, droves of Americans willingly spent a collective $176 million to see a movie titled Ant-Man, not because of any particular affection for either ants or the second-tier superhero who obtains their powers, but because we were compelled to do so as a part of Walt Disney Studios’ master plan. See, a standalone film about a man who can shrink himself to the size of an ant probably wouldn’t do so well, regardless of how unassuming and charming the actor playing him was (and Paul Rudd is about as unassuming and charming as they come). But a film about a man who can shrink himself to the size of an ant that happens to be part of a larger so-called “cinematic universe”? Instant blockbuster.

EDITORIAL : Beating the Bias

On Jan. 25, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights opened its sixth Title IX investigation into alleged mishandling of sexual assault investigations by Cornell, making it the university with the most active Title IX investigations. Under Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” At Cornell, that promise has come into question. The accounts of all parties involved in the recent Doe v. Roe case were unfairly evaluated under Policy 6.4, the University’s problematic policy for handling cases of sexual harassment. Cornell came under fire for instances of evident discrimination in this case.

WANG | The Seven Degrees of Cornell

“Hey, Adrian?”

“Yeah?”

I’ve stopped in my tracks now, and I’m looking back at the Arts Quad. It’s a typical Monday afternoon during dry December, and the streams of people flooding into the center of the school has gotten me doing mathematical gymnastics in my head. “How many people did you say were at Cornell?”

He pauses for a second. “21,000, I think, if you count grads and professors.”

I cock back my head in surprise: no seriously? But he was right.

REDDY | Why Affirmative Action is Necessary

Everyone has dreams, and a college degree has always been seen as a crucial means to reaching them. As a result, more people than ever are trying to obtain higher education, and they have good reason to believe that the quality and prestige of the college they attend can have a significant impact on the quality and prestige of the work they do after graduation. Controversy arises when it’s deemed that certain groups of people have an unfair advantage in the admissions process. I have listened to engineers — male engineers — lament the school’s allegedly lower standards for female applicants. They had to work extremely hard to gain acceptance to Cornell’s engineering program, while others, they claim, just “walked in” because they “have vaginas.” Despite the misogyny conveyed by this language, however, unqualified girls in engineering are the least of our concerns, when one considers the apparent injustice done when black and Latinx applicants with credentials inferior to those of white applicants are given what those white applicants deem preferential treatment in college admissions.