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KANKANHALLI | The World, My World

Everything worth saying has already been said. Everything worth writing has already been written. We’ve heard it all before. We’ve read it all before. I just hope that everything worth doing has not already been done.

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MORADI | In Response to Your Inquiry on How I’m Doing

Well, I just stress ate a good third of my friend’s leftover birthday cake. I haven’t gone on my daily run in several days, and my period is a good four days early. I’m not pregnant, but what if I wanted to be? Gah! I haven’t finished updating my resume from this summer.

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GROSKAUFMANIS | In Defense of Commentary

In the fall of my freshman year, I thought it would be a sane idea to write about gun control for The Sun. As an 18-year-old barely moved into my first-year dorm, I looked at a topic that has caused intense political conflict for decades and thought, yup, time to take a stab at that. Needless to say I got absolutely flamed in the comments section. At the time, each one felt so personal. Reading through the comments now, some have a bit more meat to them than I had originally thought.

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BENITEZ | Some Original Self-Help

This summer, I attempted to “re-program” some aspects of my thinking. In accordance with psychological literature promoting gratitude journaling, mindfulness and the like, I resolved to following proactive steps that would hopefully offer a sense of emotional groundedness. In periodically following these steps whenever I’ve remembered them over the past few months, I have begun to see how some of the abstract theories I’ve been exposed to at Cornell may actually have an applied purpose. The other day, on the commute home, I found myself ruminating on a view called “event-causal determinism.” To summarize, under this view, it’s inaccurate to claim that other people — agents — cause phenomena. For instance, in the event that a car speeds over a puddle, splashing muddy water all over your beautiful outfit, how would you answer the question: “What caused your outfit to become dirty?” While most of us would instinctively claim it was the driver, under event-causal determinisim, blame for ruining your outfit isn’t specific to the driver.

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GUEST ROOM | On Intersectionality, #TakeAKnee, and Call-and-Response Chants

On Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of students and staff gathered on the Arts Quad to take a knee in protest of racism and white supremacy on Cornell’s campus and throughout the United States. The event, organized by the Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy, was a great display of solidarity and resistance, but there was a brief moment that made me rather uncomfortable. During his speech, Prof. Russell Rickford, history, passionately denounced the recent events on campus, and ended his time by leading the group in chanting “Free Palestine.” I understand how hypocritical it would be for me to tell Prof. Rickford that he can’t use his time to say whatever he would like. After all, that would make me more similar to the people attempting to silence protestors around the country than to those protesting in the first place. That being said, I was nonetheless frustrated with his decision to initiate a chant of “Free Palestine.”

A quick note in the interest of full disclosure: my father is Israeli, his parents moved to Israel shortly after its independence while fleeing persecution in Yemen.

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GUEST ROOM | The Attacks on Greek Life Have Gone Too Far

By way of disclaimer, if you think Greek life no longer has a place on this campus, you and I are not going to agree on much. What happened two weeks ago is nothing short of tragic and abhorrent, so we can start with that, at least. I am a proud member of the Greek community, and I have many friends who would say the same, both in my chapter and in others. I am not a white supremacist. I do not know a single white supremacist.

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DANBERG BIGGS | Power, Complicity and Us

Hate is a brute expression of power. At its most transparent, a cross burns on the lawn of a black family and a sign is posted in a storefront signaling who need not apply. Then, hate is motivated by a desire for power, a gruesome declaration of exactly who ought to belong. White Americans are trained to spot this kind of power grab, shown black-and-white diagrams in textbooks outlining racism like it’s some strain of poison oak that we can sketch, memorize and hop over on our way to get where we’re going. Yet when confronting bigotry that requires us to break stride, when an act of hate expresses a kind of social power from which we benefit, our response is often insufficient.

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JEONG | In Memoriam: Youth and Idealism

My favorite book in elementary school was The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, a chapter book about a ragtag group of orphans merrily pickpocketing their way through Venice á la Oliver Twist. Upon finishing the book, I knew there were  two certainties in life: first, that I, too, would one day run away from home to join a scheming, yet kind band of thieves, and that Venice was undoubtedly the most beautiful city in the world. Although I had never so much as seen a picture of it, I became smitten with the city. For class art projects, I would sketch a colorful metropolis completely submerged in water and stick figures rowing their way door-to-door on long gondolas. What is important wasn’t so much that I was showing symptoms of early-onset kleptomania  (I also enjoyed Ocean’s Eleven a little too much as a kid), but that I was exhibiting  a precursor to the romanticism that came to define my adolescence — where ideas and feelings held more gravitas than reason and rationality.

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LEUNG | Not Just Your Resume

At 1:44 p.m. last Wednesday, I made an executive decision. For the next three hours, I sat with other students, feeding off the energy of the room and, occasionally, the free popcorn I realized I hadn’t been taking more advantage of. I sent an email to my professor on why I couldn’t make it to class and regretted not feeling sorry. The decision wasn’t difficult, but I owe it to my sophomore year English professor. No matter what we discussed in her class, we were grounded by our feelings; we were students studying texts, but we were not purely analytical beings who were detached from emotional connections.

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LIEBERMAN | Time to Take a Knee

I’m not going to pretend that I know how to talk about football, but I won’t play clueless either. I had the middle-of-America, Friday Night Lights high school experience. I stood in bleachers, and I watched. Slowly, throughout our lives, we develop a de facto rulebook for what our athletes — American heroes of sorts — are allowed to do. This distinction between right and wrong hit its most dissonant chord in this weekend’s news.