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WANG | Joker & Performing Mental Health

Last Friday, I finally sucked it up and watched Joker with another friend. Joker, styled in bold, strained yellow as the film’s title card, is exactly the kind of film it has been marketed as so far. Replete with jagged violence, moody lighting and an inimitable Joaquin Phoenix performance, the movie thrives on concocting shock and rage to drag out a visceral reaction from its audience. “Holy Shit,” someone muttered next to me, in what I turned out to only be the movie’s fourth or fifth most disturbing moment. It was just that kind of film.

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WANG | Andrew Yang, Taikonaut

While Hollywood has in recent years swooned over space blockbusters like Interstellar and Ad Astra, it has reminded us of the dangers that befall those bold enough to make the first step into the unknown. The whole beauty of these movies is the uncomfortable vagueness to them. What made sense down here on earth is tossed out for something far more foreign — think Titanesque waves, space pirates and power surges that shake the foundation of our solar system. Watching these films is less a suspension of belief than an improvisation of law. The rules, as the characters learn, are made up for them as they go along. The themes in these films cross my mind as I follow Andrew Yang, his very chill presidential campaign and the expensive crusade to give away as much money as possible.

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WANG | The Beginning of the End

The first day of my last year at Cornell began with me co-leading a tour of first-years around campus. To be totally honest, I thought it was a pretty dreadful idea for me to be the co-lead for the tour, mostly because I have a rather unpopular opinion of the comings and goings around campus. Duffield Hall? Best place on campus in my eyes. My engineering friends think it’s a miserable wreck of a place that sucks the soul out of them, but I think it’s a quirky cross between the glassy exterior you find in extravagant skyscrapers, and the plush interior of stylish hotels.

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WANG | On Mental Health

This upcoming weekend, Cornell will host the fourth annual Ivy League Mental Health Conference, where delegates from all the Ivy League schools come together to discuss the state of mental health on our campuses. Considering Ivy League schools recently got slapped with a D or worse by the Ruderman Family Foundation for our leave of absence policies, there’s a sense of urgency in rectifying the mistakes we made. If we’re really among the best schools in the nation, it’s time we act like it. Cornell Minds Matter has been the driving force in organizing the conference, brainstorming, making calls, asking for funding. As a small part of the organization, I’ve gotten a first-hand view of the planning for the conference.

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WANG | On Buttigieg and the Religious Left

Normally, Christianity and liberalism don’t blend well in this country, if at all. But in one of the oddest interviews in my recent memory, a Cornell alumnus and a green mayor from South Bend, Ind. engaged in a whole new debacle on the issue. On one side was the casually smug Bill Maher ’78 hosting an episode of the Bill Maher Show on HBO, and on the other was the newest rising star of the Democratic party Pete Buttigieg (pronounced Boot-Edge-Edge), dressed in a toned down outfit that gave the vibe of suburban dad getting off from work more than presidential hopeful. Buttigieg’s resume has landed him on voters’ radar — Harvard educated, Rhodes Scholar, Afghanistan veteran, speaker of seven languages and mayor of a rebounding Midwestern city — but it’s his down to earth demeanor, wide smile and most importantly, a laser-like ability to lay out his thoughts that has had him surging in recent polls.

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WANG | On Yesterday, Song-Writing and Artificial Intelligence

By now, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming film Yesterday. It follows a struggling musician who gets the break of a lifetime when he’s rudely waylaid by a truck, and he awakens to a world suddenly forgetful of The Beatles. Through sheer bashfulness and chutzpah, he starts to “write” hit song after hit song from the Beatles catalog for a girl he’s after. We can guess where the movies goes: He gets the girl, writes the hit song, rides off into the sunset. The whole movie is a sundae in cinematic form: Sweet and reliable with a pleasant aftertaste.

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WANG | Tackling LGBT Topics as a Chinese American

When I was younger, I found myself in a Shanghai bookstore looking up at a tall bookshelf that seemed to be only that large to mock me. Oddly, I had an urge to get to the top shelf. So, I climbed. Well, it ended poorly. I only got a foot on the shelf before wiping out and bringing down with me an impressive amount of material.

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WANG | Escape Reality

This weekend, I went with a group of friends from the LGBT resource center to Escape Ithaca. The facility, which is surprisingly one of five escape rooms within commuting distance, is located just a couple of blocks from Cornell in Downtown Ithaca. Escape Ithaca, which is the first escape room in Ithaca, charges $10 for each person (we had 10 people in total), which is rather cheap for an escape room (which usually charge $20 to $45 per person). I swear people have a Ph.D. in creativity when it comes to fun. We invented skydiving to fly, rafting to churn and Catan to indulge in our imperialistic urges.

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WANG | Gillette is Chasing Profits, Not a Purpose

A YouTube commenter is apoplectic. “Just STOP buying Proctor and Gamble Products.” Another chimes in: “Gillette you just lost a 20 yr. customer.” Over the weekend, Gillette released a short film on YouTube titled “The Best Men Can Be” with a message that was simple, reasonable and needed: men should hold other men accountable for their actions. You’d think something level-headed would get a level-headed response in return. Instead, if you go by YouTube commentators, none seem too pleased.

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WANG | To Be Kyler Murray

For some reason, on Saturday afternoon, I sat myself down to watch the University of Oklahoma and Texas football teams lock horns to determine the winner of the Big 12 Championship.  And even though I don’t know half the words I just typed thanks to my neophyte nature when it comes to college sports, and my disdain for football that largely stems from the abusive damage it lays on its players, I stayed sitting and watched. Because once in a while, you just have to see something exceptional. Kyler Murray, who plays quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners, is short for his position. He’s also one of the five most talented athletes in the world.