Picture1

LEUNG | (Not) Behind Closed Doors

While my professor unpackaged the books and distributed them around the room, I felt as if I was actually witnessing a part of history; as if this was something I would look back on years from now and say, that was me he handed a copy to. That was my professor. Prof. Andrew Moisey, art history and visual studies, recently published The American Fraternity. This photobook places photos that Moisey took in an unnamed fraternity at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 2000’s next to text that comes from a 60-year-old ritual manual that was found on the fraternity’s floor. Starting in 2000, Moisey documented his younger brother’s involvement in the fraternity, from initiation rituals to drunken parties to an untimely funeral.

Picture1

RUSSELL | On Texting

She wiggled her fingers through a clump of hair and pursed her lips. “It’s not like that.”

“What’s it like then?”

“He’s just…”

“Don’t ask any questions, just answer his.”

When you spend your Tuesday evenings “studying” at Starbucks, you grow so accustomed to eavesdropping on these types of conversations you forget you’re doing it. This time, I sat on a high up wooden stool, following intently as a pair of friends went back and forth about proper etiquette when texting a guy who quite clearly isn’t “the one.”

You don’t need an Ivy League education to ascertain that texting is a lot more complicated than it should be. When I get a late night iMessage from a friend I can only wonder whether it’s the result of a brainstorming session with a panel of trusted advisors or a drunk whim from Hideaway. But that’s the beauty of it.

Picture1

PINERO | I Believe You, Brett Kavanaugh

Dear Mr. Kavanaugh,

Watching your confirmation process has caused me great distress. As the daughter of one father, it makes me sick to see a good, upstanding family man torn apart by baseless allegations. In hopes that it will help you navigate this crisis, I’ve formulated the following strategy for you and your team. First: deny, deny, deny. You’re doing a great job already, but you can’t let the pressure get to you.

Picture1

AHMAD | Who Am I?

Countless times throughout my undergraduate career as a psychology major, I’ve been forced to memorize lists of psychologists’ names and their corresponding theories. These theories are sometimes fascinating and other times mortifying (yes, I’m looking at you, Freud), but they are almost never memorable. Sure, I can generally tell you what Kohlberg’s theory of morality is, or half-heartedly explain what Piaget’s deal was. I’ve never fully understood what was up with Freud, but I could still monotonously recite his psychosexual stages if you really wanted me to. My point is, none of the details of these psychological theories ever stood out to me.

Picture1

LAM | Social Media Firms Need to Provide Tangible Services to Live on Ad Revenue

This past summer lacked one thing: a new social media fad. It seems that app developers have finally realized that an idea doesn’t cut it unless they figure out how to make money from it. Social media is a peculiar good or service in the economy. It adds some value like communications and entertainment, yet people are often unwilling to pay for access, unlike a bottle of water or a subscription to Netflix. This phenomenon is probably because of the demographics involved: teenagers or college students often don’t have a lot of cash to spare.

Picture1

VALDETARO | Our Discomfort Is Worth It

The #MeToo movement has dominated news cycle after news cycle since last October, as men, and some women, from all walks of life have been accused of sexual misconduct. This has most famously been through allegations against figures such as Harvey Weinstein, almost-Senator Judge Roy Moore, actual-Senator Al Franken, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and now, Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh. They are accused of a wide range of acts that have forced us to consider not just how we deal with the abuse of power dynamics with sex, but what that abuse should be constituted as. This more complicated, more nuanced question forces us to deal with a topic that is present not just in gender issues, but in all of society’s most contentious and most controversial topics: discomfort. Discomfort is not as often in the headlines.

Guest Room

GUEST ROOM | House Candidate Mitrano ’95 Describes Platform, Students Voting

My name is Tracy Mitrano. I am the Democratic challenger running for Congress in New York’s 23rd District against Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY). I write to urge every Cornellian to take the midterm elections seriously. If and how you vote on November 6 could well determine the kind of society and political culture that will shape your lives for decades to come. Running for political office takes grit, determination, clear vision and, most of all, strong personal values.

Picture1

WU | A Career in Finance, Ten Years After the Crisis

Ten years ago, before many of us had the requisite adult teeth to pronounce “synthetic collateralized debt obligation,” capitalism failed. Or at least it seemed that way. On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers, once an investment bank holding assets worth thrice the GDP of Greece, filed for bankruptcy. It was, and remains, the largest bankruptcy in American history. Markets tumbled across the globe in a housing-fueled financial crisis that wiped out over $30 trillion in wealth by March 2009.

Picture1

GROSKAUFMANIS | Land of Second Chances

Two years ago, while sitting on a roof in Collegetown, I saw a girl run barefoot down Catherine Street holding an open handle of Absolut while zig-zagging away from a cop who, from my vantage point, was palpably frustrated but remarkably patient. I couldn’t see what happened when they reached the bottom of the hill, or if the girl — probably drunk and potentially underaged — got into any kind of trouble. But if she did, it was probably a muted version of the kind of punishment one might receive outside this unusual land of second chances. Relative to other places, there seems to be little consequence for “bad behavior” at Cornell. Sure, on any given weekend in Collegetown you may see an officer lecturing a freshman about an open container or someone being written up for peeing in public, but for the most part, illegal behavior here — in this uniquely privileged, unusually wealthy bubble we live in — seems to happen with near impunity.

Picture1

CHANG | The Politics of a Liberal Campus Groupthink

As election season is starting to heat up, the political conversations I have are fading into a haze. The same talking points are repeated with a slightly different explanation. We Cornellians are fed the exhausting narrative of pessimism that we are never doing enough. The intersection of this mostly academic and social lens with our political lens contributes to a campus political culture that can be described simultaneously as “mindless” and “radical.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love to discuss politics.