A Budding Movement

grinding the message of legalization

2
Editors-in-Chief Sam Knowles Amelia Stanton Managing Editor of Features Charles Pletcher Managing Editor of Arts & Culture Jennie Young Carr Managing Editor of Lifestyle Jane Brendlinger Features Editor Zoë Hoffman Arts & Culture Editors Clayton Aldern Tyler Bourgoise Lifestyle Editors Jen Harlan Alexa Trearchis Pencil Pusher Phil Lai Chief Layout Editor Clara Beyer Aesthetic Mastermind Lucas Huh Contributing Editor Emerita Kate Doyle Copy Chiefs Julia Kantor Justine Palefsky Staff Wrters Berit Goetz Ben Wofford Copy Editors Lucas Huh Caroline Bologna Kristina Petersen Allison Shafir Blake Cecil Nora Trice Chris Anderson

CONTENTS
massive distraction // sam martin

LETTER FROM THE EDITORS
The night started off quietly. We stared at our screens in silence for a while. We tossed out a few Bieber-related puns; we asked folks to write some headlines. But even after a few solid hours at 195, it’s still eerie when the articles appear to be ... done. Jennie and Alexa are fantasizing about Norton editions of Greek myths; Phil is happily drawing yet another sock. We are so content and complacent that, in fact, we’re even having a little fun. Our fun works in your favor. We’re offering you a clear roadmap for the legalization of pot, some musings on viral videos, and Sexicon’s thoughts on the forced birth movement. In addition, we’ve chosen to spare you a headline involving homosexuals and potheads (it was funny at the time, we swear!). So instead of getting excited about Thanksgiving, which is too far away, get excited about our latest issue. It’s almost as good as pumpkin pie. Until next time,

3 upfront

4 feature

a budding movement // ben wofford

music to my memes // lily goodspeed aural fixation // berit goetz booze scrawls // drew dickerson sweet escape // jane brendlinger of shirtless-ness and “sex blah blah” // kate doyle

5 arts & culture

6 arts & culture 7 lifestyle 8 lifestyle

sexicon // MM pick-ups: a campus guide // sexy sadie

sam and amelia
OUR ILLUSTRATORS
cover // madeleine denman massive distraction // madeleine denman a budding movement // marissa ilardi music to my memes // alexa trearchis aural fixation // adela wu booze scrawls // caroline washburn sweet escape // sheila sitaram sex blah blah // julia stoller pick-ups: a campus guide // phil lai

GOT PROBLEMS?
formspring.me/lovecraftdorian formspring.me/emilypostmag

WANT TO WRITE?
email post.magazine@gmail.com and tell us why you’re awesome. if you want to hang out with cool people, we want to hang out with you. yours truly,

weekend

Post- Magazine is published every Thursday in the Brown Daily Herald. It covers books, theater, music, film, food, art, and University culture around College Hill. Post- editors can be contacted at post.magazine@gmail. com. Letters are always welcome, and can be either e-mailed or sent to Post- Magazine, 195 Angell Street, Providence, RI 02906. We claim the right to edit letters for style, clarity, and length.

post-

five
1

11/11/11 EVERYWHERE Fri 11PM

2

Martine + dAd RISD Library Fri 8:30PM

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#OCCUPY THE SEAS Wayland Arch Sat 9PM

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DAM HIP HOP CONCERT Alumnae Hall Sat 9:30PM

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GET $LEAZY Zete Sat 10PM

upfront
TOP TEN Pros and Cons of Banging the Biebs
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2011

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1 2 3 4 5

He’s probably hairless.

It’s kind of like sleeping with your little brother. He might invite Usher. The best protection is prepubescence. You don’t want Selena to be mad at you... Look what happened to Demi.

6 7 8

He’s totally jailbait.

Canada.

Singing lessons in the sack. He never says never. “Baby, baby, baby ... Oh.”

9 10

music is

NOW: 40 perfunctorily rereleasing all the songs we already pirated ... for the 40th time.

Massive Distraction
sam MARTIN contributing writer
Mondays at 10 a.m., you’ll find me crumpled half asleep in the back of a lecture hall (next weekend I’ll catch up on sleep for sure) with two windows open on my laptop. One, a crisp document, detailing the economic difficulties of 17th-century warmongering Spain; the other, a Game Boy emulator where I’m beating the piss out of some Hiker lost in Mt. Moon. In the course of a single lecture, I’m learning the effects of war and experiencing the heat of battle. And I don’t imagine I would be quite as prepared to comprehend the economic complexities of the situation if it weren’t for all the Settlers of Catan I played on my phone throughout Neuro 1. Although I’ve seen others similarly supplementing their lecture experience with Pokémon training, Metroid destroying, or some form of Hadouken-ing, games are not at the top of the lecture multitasking world. I shouldn’t have to name its true powerhouse, so I won’t, and if you’re having trouble you can look around in lecture tomorrow and then smack your slow-witted self in penance. Though I’ve never been a huge proponent of this method personally, its benefits are obvious—it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the outskirts of your social circle and its practitioners will never forget the birthday of even the most obscure of “friends.” Films are the most desperate method of multitasking, for the student only holding onto consciousness by a frayed shoelace due to either sleep deprivation or sheer boredom. I was once hit by a deadly combination of the two: freshman year, when I attended a school farther inland, I was forced into a lecture on grammar that met at the terrifying hour of eight in the morning. I have no memory of getting there each day, (my brain seems to have whited out that trauma) but I do remember that class with something that resembles fondness—huddling in the back, sharing a pair of headphones with a friend. Through one ear, we learned that lions lie and chickens lay eggs. Through the

books is tv is

misplaced productivity
earbuds burrowed in the other, we were taught the pitfalls of technological dependence and its effects on evolution. (Whether we were watching 2001: A Space Odyssey or Wall-E is left to the dear reader’s imagination.) Finally, there is the truly productive kind of multitasking. This category is not reserved for desperately typing up a paper due in your next class, or even more desperately scribbling on the printed pages due at the end of that very class. Rather, I mean the way a friend of mine became a Times published crossword puzzle master during a course on Shakespeare. I’m talking about the browsers open to articles on Occupy Wall Street or the European debt crisis, the doodles that grow into full works of art, the Wikipedia articles exploring a subject briefly mentioned by the professor. Last semester, I found myself referring back to my lecture notes on Mehmed Ali’s reformations in order to write a script for my screenwriting class—its plot, characters, and structure had all been devised in the margins. So don’t ditch class, kids. This article may or may not have been copypasted from my lecture notes.

scribbling on the Occupy coloring book. Here, kids, a policeman with a baton!

re-watching seasons 1-7 of The Office in preparation for the arrival of Jim Halpert ‘01.

theatre is
super p-s-y-c-h-e-d for the s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g bee.

food is

stocking up on pastries at ABP between the hours of 9 and 10 pm. Half-priced, halfstale, all delicious.

booze is
taking a shot for ever y day Kim Kardashian was married.

4

feature
POST-

A Budding Movement
grinding the message of legalization
staff writer
atic territory by showcasing loving samesex families alongside straight-parent families, and accusing “family values” proponents of hypocritically undermining the very principles they purported to defend. It may seem insane, but the data behind legalization indicates that a similar approach could prove highly effective. Like gay marriage, legalization advocates must have the courage to co-opt their opponents’ greatest strength, and undergo the same transformation as gay marriage, morphing the national conception of legalization from Bob Marley into Cindy Jones, concerned mother. Legalization must out-protect the child protectors—by using the facts to shamelessly, articulately, and relentlessly accuse anti-legalization conservatism of putting drugs in the hands of children. This is the foundation for legalization’s larger strategic reconstruction: recasting their ideals within a familiar sphere of family values aimed at white suburban mothers. That means having a central message (protecting children), a peripheral delivery system (coalitions of mothers), a rhetorical rallying cry (“regulate” or “restrict,” not “legalize”), and a new aesthetic (sans pot leaf and graffiti). Imagine a surgically-crafted, fiveyear campaign targeting suburban areas around five major cities from New York to Atlanta. Billboards, advertisements, and mailings, messages from Mothers Against Drugged Children might read: “If 40% of children could buy a gun in 24 hours, you’d do something, right? Every month, millions of children get high with marijuana they buy themselves. Why do we send our children through a gauntlet of drug dealers? Let’s treat marijuana like we treat gold at Fort Knox—lock it up away from children. I’m a mom, and for god’s sake it’s time to regulate.” It’s just a sketch. But it’s time legalization fundamentally embraced a center-oriented pivot to capture this crucial demographic. Surveys increasingly suggest mothers are ambivalent about the War on Drugs; in essence, they’re just waiting for someone to build a rhetorical and organizational infrastructure that makes it safe for them to support legalization, just like gay marriage. Outwitting family-values conservatives on children is the most effective way to do that. The gay marriage lesson indicates you can’t obfuscate or counter-argue your way to reclaiming family values; you have to fight for it, by annexing the debate on protecting children. The time is perfect for legalization to undergo the same transformation. Say goodbye to legalization, and say hello to the bipartisan effort to protect children through regulation. Such a strategy would electrify the movement, shake up the debate, energize fundraising, and finally—at long last—give suburban moms a compelling reason to support sensible drug reform. If it’s possible, the time is now. Ben Wofford is a sophomore leading and recruiting an independent research team on this topic in the Spring.

ben WOFFORD

“Let me take a look.” I pass him the flimsy sheet of printer paper. At once, his eyes light up. “Holy shit,” he says, eyes still locked. “Wait, can I see?” asks a girl on the couch. I hand it her way. She pauses for a moment. Then, the predictable. “This is unbelievable. How do more people not know about this?” The last few weeks I’ve witnessed this scene dozens of times—this particular one takes place in a Pembroke living room. I’ve handed them a recent Gallup poll, showing that Americans favor legalizing marijuana for the first time ever. There’s more. 62 percent of 18-29 year-olds (that’s us) favor legalization; at 65 and older, support plummets to 30 percent. After explaining this data, I ask my friends if they believe we’ll legalize within our lifetimes. They answer, “Yes,” as expected. I ask the next logical question: “So if you could choose, would you rather legalize when you’re 67 or 27?” They shoot me their best sarcastic smirks. Then I ask them the last question. “What if I told you that we have that choice?” Right now in the legalization movement, there exists an urgent misunderstanding of the political playing field—a playing field whose “rules” are fundamentally dictated by historical trends revealed in data to which few are paying attention. Marijuana legalization, unthinkable just five years ago, now sits at a major crossroads—as does gay marriage, which also crossed the 50-percent threshold in Gallup recently. But unlike gay marriage, which has succeeded after articulating a middle-oriented message for years, legalization is just now emerging from the Stone Age of political messaging and self-awareness. Gallup illustrates an arsenal of national support cocked and at the ready; the legalization movement illustrates a complete lack of agency to utilize it. We could wait to legalize until we’re 67. But data reveals we can do it right now, if we leverage the rules to build a serious political blueprint. Here’s how. First, the problem: national support may be growing, but legalization is still a third rail in American federal politics. Why? Politicians won’t risk the accusation of “putting drugs in the hands of children,” a standard political survival rule. But who monopolizes that vocabulary? See for yourself. The national anti-legalization rhetoric is unified, consistent, and thematic. Virtually every argument references “children”: marijuana affecting brain development, school performance, or parenting. Who is this message aimed at? History has the answer. The reason virtually every marijuana PSA over eight decades features children—including the first propaganda campaign in 1936 alleging that marijuana corrupts kids— derives from Prohibition, a policy made possible only after the new electoral

power of white, middle-class women following suffrage. Prohibition’s repeal in 1933 likewise occurred when white, middle-class, suburban mothers flipped positions, convinced that it was harming, not helping, their families. The first antimarijuana campaign utilized the value of this pivotal demographic, and targeted them with child-oriented rhetoric. The strategy has succeeded ever since. Eighty years later, these women are still the key. Gallup shows the holdout demographics on legalization—support between 44%-51%—are 45-64 year-old women living in the “East” and “South.” Data from Berkeley and the University of Chicago adds “white,” “middle-class” and “mothers” to that list, and shows the discrepancy of legalization support between families with and without children. Finally, studies suggest that motherhood has a negligible impact on legalization support—that is, mothers are persuadable. The data is screaming at us: white suburban moms are the key. Is anyone listening? Partially. The non-profit Drug Policy Alliance, funded by George Soros, commands a smart, savvy staff led by Harvard drug policy expert Ethan Nadelmann, whose leadership has been crucial to promulgating a new perception of legalization as smart, articulate, and sensible policy. On television, Nadelmann commands the facts like no other, referencing crowded prisons, public health systems, and Drug War statistics with unmatched skill. Yet Nadelmann has lost almost every debate he’s ever had. Based on this emerging demographic data, advocates like Nadelmann shoot themselves in the foot every time they mention prison reform, comparative systems, civil rights—even the word “legalize.” These are liberal rhetorical tropes

that literally alienate white suburban mothers. Meanwhile, the opposition superbly manipulates the suburban-mom dog whistle of child-oriented rhetoric. Nadelmann senses the next phase of legalization: “We won’t win until the average parent believes drug reform protects kids better than the War on Drugs,” he said in 2001, when Gallup support was only 31 percent. With 50 percent, we finally have a chance to persuade them. It starts with political spin doctor Frank Luntz’s credo: “It’s not what you say; it’s what they hear.” Policy arguments require mastering facts; political arguments require mastering persuasion. Few people demonstrate this doctrine better than anti-legalization advocates, who master child rhetoric even when current marijuana policies make drugs more accessible to kids than ever: study after study shows its easier for children to get marijuana than alcohol, cigarettes, or prescription drugs—40 percent can get marijuana within one day. The factual impetus behind children—key to winning white suburban moms—favors legalization, if only we can utilize it. How do we recapture that persuasive impetus? One recent blueprint provides the key: gay marriage. Ten years ago, gay marriage was unthinkable—today, inevitable. When Bush’s 2004 campaign hinged on gay marriage’s unpopularity, gay rights faced a moment of truth. Perceived as harboring questionable values, gay marriage suffered a lingering, 80’s era image of pride parade drag queens. Instead of downplaying their greatest weakness, though, advocates made a bold and courageous move: They began to co-opt family values as their own, fighting tooth and nail for years to reclaim that idiom-

Music to my Memes
lily GOODSPEED contributing writer
The internet is a wonderfully perplexing place. A website called “IsItTuesday. co.uk” informs the viewer if it is, in fact, Tuesday (it’s not). The infamous “Icanhascheezburger.com” is the most trusted source for pictures of cats overlaid with blocky, Microsoft “Word Art” text. The particularly endearing thing about this seemingly random mess is its democratic nature. Websites or pictures or videos become established internet jokes, or memes, because the online community collectively establishes their significance by linking and re-blogging. If only politicians could be chosen via 4chan. These memes can be divided into a number of subcategories, but I would argue that the most lasting Internet icons are either animal-based or musical. It’s “LOLcats,” not “LOLwatermelons,” because everyone loves a cute cat or guinea pig or armadillo doing something weird. Look at that dog skateboard! Look at that panda sneeze! Look at that “slow loris” being… slow! There are no cultural barriers to animal memes, unless perhaps the Chinese Communist government considers kitten videos a silly, capitalistic whim. As for musical memes, I’m convinced their success lies in their obnoxious catchiness. For example, one of my favorite YouTube superstars is the “Nyan Cat,” a Poptart-shaped cat who flies in front of a starry background with a rainbow waving behind it. Sure, the video has the standard markings of a great meme: Cat, rainbow, space – but it’s the song that really gets you. It’s just an endless loop of “meows” and chiptune blips. As of today, viewers can watch 50 hours of uninterrupted space feline. Fall into the infinite vortex of Nyan Cat. Shh, don’t resist it. In fact, one of the earliest video memes I can remember watching is “Badger, Badger, Badger,” an infinite loop of, you guessed it, cartoon badgers dancing. The video is accompanied by an unsettlingly aggressive vocalist. He demands badgers, he demands mushrooms, and he demands the occasional snake. These viral YouTube videos also have the terrifying power to catapult embarrassingly untalented artists to popularity. Case in point: Rebecca Black and her droning yet hilarious performance of “Friday.” Unfortunately, Black’s awkwardly titled follow-up single, “This is My Moment” has no rap interlude. There is no girl in braces dancing terribly. There is no 13-year-old illegally driving a car. What a shame. To me, the most successful internetdriven musical acts are ones who recognize their own ridiculousness. “The Lonely Island” succeeds where Rebecca Black doesn’t because Rebecca Black thinks she’s a serious musician. Lonely Island can parody themselves and the music industry, and can do so with better musicality. My roommate’s favorite faux-rapper group, loosely assembled under the moniker “Turquoise Jeep Productions,” is a testament to the genius of

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2011

arts & culture

5

the democracy of the web
Europop. A few years ago, savvy internet users began the practice of “rickrolling.” To rickroll, one links to a supposed site or video and then, oh my gosh, instead it’s a video of Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up.” YouTube pulled off an amazingly paradoxical April Fools joke in 2008 when all the videos on its main page linked back to Rick. As for Europop, the Moldovan group O-Zone caught their lucky break when an awkward, overweight, bespectacled dweeb lip-synced their single “Dragostea Din Tei,” colloquially called “Numa Numa.” I’m not sure if you’ve picked up on the trend, but on the internet the rule of awkward, overweight, bespectacled dweebs is law. I recently forced my less-internetsavvy friend to watch the 4-minute long masterpiece that is “BrodyQuest” in which a cutout image of Adrien Brody bops through an endless stream of background images and eventually crescendos in a celestial guitar solo and world domination. I cackled all the way through, but my friend looked puzzled. “Why did someone make this?” she asked. I honestly couldn’t give her an answer. That’s the beauty of memes. At least for the good ones, it’s clear that a significant amount of time was devoted to creating these strange amalgamations, although they ultimately make no sense. They don’t need to have a purpose beyond sheer absurdity. And it helps if they have a catchy melody as well.

musical satire. Their slow-burning R&B jams have become cult favorites, especially the songs “Smang It” and “Fried of Fertilized.” I insist everyone go peruse their YouTube channel, but some highlights include Yung Humma’s lustrous tresses and the invention of the holiday “Sexgiving.” Memes also have real influence over the lexicon of our daily life. Since the video came out, said roommate uses the word “smang” for practically every social situation. Yesterday I was asked if I would like to “go smang” some groceries at East Side Market. Not all these songs are originals. Memes often draw from two inexhaustible sources of cheesiness: 80s pop and

Aural Fixation
berit GOETZ staff writer
One fine fall afternoon at the beginning of the school year, I was delighted to read the following Facebook status of a (male) friend: Guys in cars love yelling things at me. Today’s gem (while walking down Wickenden reading my book): “Haven’t you heard of books on tape? Nerd!!” Irony aside, this anecdote dredges up the memory of a cherished childhood experience. Perhaps you remember lying quietly on your bed, listening to the gentle narrative ebb and flow of books on tape. Now it crescendoed at moments of tension or danger, now it subsided to cadence in a low whisper, but at all moments of the music, the story came alive with a brilliance that silent reading couldn’t hope to match. This kind of listening to literature, rather than reading it, can be a powerful tool for honing the young intellect. A 2001 study published by the International Reading Association found that the aural comprehension of young children far outstrips their word recognition competence. That is, children can grasp complex content in storylines when it is presented verbally, even if they don’t recognize the meanings of all the individual words. When we listen, a host of verbal cues—from inflection to dynamics—enrich our understanding of the storyline by clueing us into the emotional sig-

audiobooks on the brain
forces us to slow down and appreciate literature. Furthermore, it transforms literature into a dramatic, dynamic performance. It’s true that having the manuscript of the text in front of you is invaluable for note-taking and for providing a fixed point of focus. But listening to a book can be a potent supplement to visual reading. Just as verbal cues elucidate content that young children don’t fully understand, listening can do the same for us when we tackle the knottiest passages of reading. This benefit isn’t restricted to English and Comp Lit concentrators. Audio content for nonfiction and scientific writing is available on the internet—a casual perusal led me to a book on DNA by Watson himself with no difficulty at all. You probably won’t find that JSTOR or PUBMED article in audiobook form, but there are lectures available on everything from biotechnology to astrophysics. For college students, listening to literature represents an opportunity to experience texts differently and deeply, not as a substitute to the traditional reading model, but as a supplement to it. Of course, there’s always the danger—for fiction, at least—that the dramatic interpretations of the voices on the audiobook will swallow up whatever original image or interpretation the listener might have had. But our interpre-

nificance of plot events and characters’ reactions. They even give us an idea of what our emotional response as readers could be. But that’s not all that these verbal cues can do—they also aid us in visualizing real people and places behind the voices we hear. Every flipped “r” or drawled vowel conjures up a dialect, and with it, a certain cultural milieu to which we imagine the character might belong. Listening opens up new imaginative possibilities even as it expands our understanding of literary content. Of course, listening has its drawbacks as well. For young readers, the visual and tactile stimulus of actual books, whether they are colorful baby board books or illustrated chapter books, is lost when the story is transmitted on tape or CD. A solution to this is reading aloud with parents—and this is exactly what the U.S Department of Education and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend. But what about us older readers? Listening plays too small a role in the literary lives of college students. We’re all used to blasting through texts with the determination and rapidity of stampeding cattle. Yes, efficiency is a plus, but much is lost in the quest to maximize our time. The speed reading mind has less time to form images, construct dialects, and recreate the nuances of plot and characters in the mind’s eye. Listening

tations never exist in a vacuum—they are constantly being filtered through the lens of our experiences, our conversations, and our exposure to other texts. College students should approach audiobooks as they would any lecture, speech, or reading: receptively, but critically. Even though the cassette tape has gone the way of the dinosaur, there are multiple audio resources available to college students, from podcasts to downloadable speeches to audiobooks on CD (a great choice for those inevitable college road trips). The benefits are the same no matter what genre of text you’re listening to. Also, Anna Karenina on your iPod is much more portable than the 862 page text. So hop online and find out whether your next reading is available on audio. Then relax and delight in the rich narrative world that emerges when we listen to literature.

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arts & culture
POST-

Booze Scrawls
vanni Ribsi). The Puerto Rican locals’ collective feathers are rustled, Kemp drives very fast for the sake of doing so, and everyone drinks rum like they’re fulfilling some sort of titular obligation. But there’s trouble in paradise, as Sanderson (just Sanderson, thank you, played by Aaron Eckhart), a dubious businessman tries to recruit Kemp into writing copy for a chain of hotels he plans to open on a nearby, undeveloped island. We’re made to believe that this is bad because Sanderson is an Eisenhowerera capitalist. While The Rum Diary has moments of charm—a hungover Kemp being forced to drink from a fishbowl after his water is shut off, a gaudy and bejeweled live turtle crawling around on a living room floor—it ultimately lacks focus. The Sanderson story-line plays out about halfway through, leading to a lazy and nonsequitur third act that is never resolved. Though this may be a symptom of faithfulness to the original work, it makes for a weak movie—clocking in at two hours, The Rum Diary goes on long after several logical conclusions. The love interest, Sanderson’s fiancée Chenault (played by Amber Heard), is underdeveloped and does little but serve as genre convention. Sala proves to be a hapless but lovable henchman, Moberg his comic foil. Kemp, in a similar turn, develops very little over the course of the movie. There is a last-minute paradigm shift in which he decides that the role of journalist is to go after the ill-defined “bastards.” But the lack of precedent for this radical change in worldview undercuts its believability—what’s more, it’s signaled by the unfortunate line, “You smell that? It’s the smell of bastards. It’s also the smell of truth. I smell ink.” Thompson’s work is hard to adapt to the screen. The very qualities that

gonzo adventures in the rum diary

drew DICKERSON contributing writer
In 1980, Bill Murray starred as journalist Hunter S. Thompson in Where The Buffalo Roam—a film that’s been alternately described as thinly-veiled comedy and highly fictionalized biopic by critics and viewers. This film was the first of three Thompson movies, each with varying degrees of success—Where The Buffalo Roam was critically panned and was subsequently forgotten, while the 1998 adaptation of Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas retains cult status even after its box office flop. The third film to mine the Thompson literary legacy, The Rum Diary, was released this Friday, October 28. The Rum Diary is based on Thompson’s novel of the same name and stars Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in his second big screen portrayal of a Hunter stand-in. Depp is deeply invested in the source material, as well. The novel was originally written in 1961 but remained unpublished until 1998, when Depp published the script while befriending Thompson in preparation for his role in Fear and Loathing. Depp would play a large role in lobbying for its publication. The movie also marks Bruce Robinson’s first directorial credit since 1992 and his first screenplay after 1999’s In Dreams—during which time he was mostly sober, though he started drinking during a bout of writer’s block while working on the script. This may be one of several contributing factors in The Rum Diary’s fixation on alcohol. We first meet Paul Kemp in a poorly lit hotel room in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is hungover and remains so for the vast majority of the film—whenever he isn’t drunk, that is. Kemp has flown in from New York to pursue a career as journalist at The San Juan Star. He quickly makes the strange acquaintances of Bob Sala (photographer at the paper and played by Michael Rispoli) and Moberg (the paper’s religious correspondent and resident Nazi sympathizer played by Giomake for strong (or at least interesting) journalism—idiosyncratic rambling and rejection of stylistic conforms—don’t easily translate to film. It’s no coincidence that critics’ main complaint with Where The Buffalo Roam was its general lack of plot and situation. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas works because it embraces that very non-narrativity. The audience gets a psychedelic lightshow and walks away with enough quotable lines to secure the piece’s place in the moviegoer’s canon. It isn’t held to classic three-act criteria because it tries so overtly not to be that sort of film—the sort of film that, deep down, The Rum Diary wants to be. Though its subject matter is, for the most part, outrageous, Robinson and Depp try to play it straight—hoping the whole effect will come off as a representative biopic. And therein lies the problem. The Rum Diary never decides just how much, or in what way, it wants to appeal to the cult of Hunter S. Thompson—whether to present itself as faithful adaptation of source material (which, in turn, presents the question of novel versus life-story as source) or as the drugged-out romp most die-hard Thompson-ites were probably hoping for. These approaches are juxtaposed with the context of this movie: the original text was written at a time long before Thompson would come into his grungy, impressionistic own. However, what we do get is an anemic attempt to reconcile the two—Sala and Kemp break the rules, but do so in the sort of lowstakes Hollywood environment that completely does away with any of the risk or suspense. They are arrested but quickly make b a i l . They drive a car down an alley to no consequences. The same Hollywood quality also does away with any potential bid for a realistic film. Our suspension of disbelief is unpleasantly stretched for punch-lines and pay-offs that don’t ultimately land. The Rum Diary, as it exists as original text, is not Fear and Loathing, though it can be read within the context of a career that produced that text. Such moments as Kemp’s talking to a lobster while on acid ring false because it is an afterthe-fact imposition on the work as it originally stands. The devotees want quality Thompson, and Robinson tries to deliver, whether or not this is good for the movie as a whole. Is Paul Kemp supposed to be Hunter S. Thompson? Maybe. Sort of. Thompson was in Puerto Rico in 1960 and surely would have welcomed the comparison. In many other important respects: no—though we do get a title card just before the end credits that details a biography more or less identical to that of the real-life author. The fact that Robinson as screenwriter never makes this decision is characteristic of the entire movie’s failure to choose. While the movie is interesting and fun at times, these times come between large, unstructured segments where little to nothing happens. Had The Rum Diary committed to a single voice and editorial stance, it might have succeeded as a cohesive work. Instead, we’re left with an idea of the movie that could have been.

lifestyle
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10TH, 2011

7

Me Jane, You Food
jane BRENDLINGER managing editor of lifestyle
“Stressed is desserts spelled backwards,” my good friend Anna once pointed out. What a perfect reversal, an incantatory antidote, a remedy in sugar and butter. When we find ourselves in times of trouble, Anna and I heed this sage advice, looking for solace and satisfaction at Pastiche. Pastiche is a small café and bakery on Federal Hill, tucked away on Spruce Street. Its name, of French origin, means both “pastry” as well as “an artful compilation.” The menu lives up to its name, a list that draws upon a mélange of culture and tradition. Tarts, tortes, cakes, and pies, with a supporting (but equally important) cast of brownies, macaroons, biscotti...I have to stop. And all their desserts are on display at the front, a baffling, breath-taking, I-want-to-eat-all-of-this-how-can-Iexpand-my-stomach array. Entire pastries for sale, tarts sliced in tempting cross-section, the eroticism of a cake’s layers exposed. Half the experience is seeing, choosing, pointing: The eye begins the process of digestion. To get the most from a Pastiche outing, Anna and I have developed a system. We begin at the display case, purvey what seems especially beautiful that evening. A brief discussion, or sometimes a heated debate, precedes our choice. This is a serious affair, and though a lemon bar might be perfect citrus refreshment, we’re not here for small-time pastries. It’s the cakes that call to us, impressive and lordly beneath the glass. So we choose a pair to split, two that complement each other in their difference. These journeys are about inspiration, expanding horizons—though it’s tempting to get our favorites, we take the noble path of venturing beyond. The danger of new dessert is risky business. I wonder if the waiters can sense our excitement as they approach, if they’re amused or disturbed by our passionate enthusiasm. At Pastiche, I can hear the pitch of my voice raise, I start giggling profusely, and I drink water at an alarming rate. To be honest, it’s like there’s a hot guy in the room. In this case, the hot guy is a decadent slice of chocolate mousse cake, equally attractive and arguably more seductive, though I don’t think I’ve managed to impress. I’ll settle for this one-sided relationship, though, content that my love will suffice for both of us… Through our sweet sojourns, Anna and I now have a number of desserts under our belts, figuratively but mostly literally. Please excuse if the following descriptions seem like an indulgent,

sweet escape
fatty prose poem. We have eaten: the above-mentioned chocolate mousse cake—bittersweet chocolate mousse on a chocolate crust, topped with chocolate shavings and served with fresh whipped cream. An Italian Mascarpone torte, airy genoise soaked in espresso rum, layered with mascarpone cream. Pumpkin praline tart, in for the season: flaky, buttery crust, a pumpkin filling garnished with pecan toffee crunch. Hazelnut torte, a light sponge cake of crushed hazelnuts glazed with chocolate and tiered with hazelnut mousse. And our favorite, the banana cream tart. Not a usual suspect, I’m much more likely to spring for a sultry chocolate, to drool over something sexier. Yet with this dessert, sex is what comes to mind. Rarely do I use the word “orgasmic” for food, but here I’ll make a n exception. Shortbread crust, a layer of ripe bananas topped with vanilla custard and a heaping mound of whipped cream, drizzled with caramel sauce. Heaven, if such a place exists, might taste like this. Although sexual excitement wasn’t at its peak, sound effects did come into play: Oooh, that’s it. Don’t stop. Life continues, and I look for an excuse to return. A reward at the end of a midterm, perhaps, or to relieve the stress of studying for one. Or why not celebrate life itself, the fact that I’m still breathing, chewing and swallowing? Next in line is the carrot cake and the torta di ciocolatta. I need no excuses—Pastiche is the occasion.

Of Shirtless-ness and “Sex Blah Blah”
brown as a lifestyle choice
kate DOYLE editor emerita
back. It was a healthy, bite-size dose of Brun-oddity—introductory stuff. No big thing. “Um,” said Maggie. Which was when I realized the backrubber, too, was shirtless. Huh. Ah, and suddenly every other woman in this New Dorm sex den? And every man? Holy Sex Blah Blah. We had a bit of a situation. (One that I have never lived down, by the way. Now if I tell my family I have been to a party, they just express pleasant surprise that everyone was wearing underwear.) It was at this point in my pre-visit e-ditherings that my housemate Olivia waltzed in to announce plans for a Saturday night celebration of the pagan New Year. There would be effigies! Tarot cards! Body paint! Halffilled with cold horror and half with the warmth of Brunonian pride and pagan fire ritual, I pressed “send,” and steeled myself for the weekend’s storm of loving sisterly discomfort. But, fear not! Or maybe: I apologize. This story does not end in me chaperoning my preppy little sister to Sex Power God. (True, my housemate was pulling for it. But the words, “Jennifer, you are asking my baby, er, 19-year-old sister to drive into town, remove several layers of clothing, and go with us to meet my new boyfriend at a SEX PARTY,” finally, barely, quelled her enthusiasm.) In fact, the truth is, I think I may have redeemed the weirdo Brown lifestyle this weekend. We spared ourselves a visit to Sex Blah Blah, Maggie called the jazz party “fun,” and we spent five whole minutes at the New Year Party with everyone still clothed and yet to paint pagan symbols on their bare chests! Maybe if there’s a thesis statement to this story of my sister, sex, and um, swinging, it’s this: having any visitor around gives a beauteous sense of perspective, a funny institutional pride in your own weirdness. Not unlike seeing your friends strip in front of your baby sister, it just makes you look at stuff differently. Brunonia, whether one participates or no, life without at least the possibility of regular sex parties and swing dancing seems a sorry prospect indeed—does it not? An existence lacking in spirit, spontaneity, and shirtlessness! These are the things we signed on for when we came to this school: freespiritedness and Sex Blah Blah. Which means that when my sister arrives, she, like all visitors, brings with her the kinds of question that make me remember why I’m proud to go to Brown. “Really, that sex party is university sanctioned!?” she asks in shellshocked admiration. And what can I say? Like Ruth-worship, S/NCs, Spicy Withs, and Naked Donuts, it’s beautiful and bizarre—and it comes with the territory. As scarring as our Saturday night promises to be, Maggie is still coming to visit. But “what happens at Sex Blah Blah anyways?” she wants to know. I draw a breath at this one. Holy Starf*ck, what a question. Like Ruthworshipping, S/NCs, the venerable Spicy With, and the Naked Donut Run, it’s hard to find the words for the so very “Brown-ness” of such a weird, storied and, yea, majestic institution like Sex Power God. “Sex Blah Blah is mysterious,” I write back. “It’s just like…people go scantily clad and some people make out.” It’s possible I’m downplaying for the sake of baby sister’s comfort levels. Nervous, I add, “Alternatively, there is a jazz party?” And then I sum up our options in one fell blow: “It’s the two sides of the Brown coin you hate. The stripping nonsense, and the fancy nonsense.” Sorry, sister. Please don’t cancel your trip. It was with a sure sense of fighting a losing battle that I’d promised to redeem Brown University in Maggie’s eyes over the course of her upcoming visit. She’s never known whether to call my campus frightfully debauched for its infamous sex parties, or hopelessly outdated for its occasional swing dance—neither would ever go down at her miniature Connecticut college. Let me explain. The last time Maggie came to visit—she of the Barbour jacket and Sperry loafers, she the oddly

ardent oarsman of that really skinny 8-person rowboat—I brought her to a small gathering in New Dorm. “Why is that person only wearing a bra?” she asked skeptically, 15 minutes in. “That’s Shana. She does that,” was my reply, as I spared a perfunctory glance at the girl, who lay on the floor relishing a long backrub from another individual perched on the small of her

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lifestyle
POST-

Forced Birth Movement
MM sexpert

n. the group of mobilized anti-abortion wackos championing pro-life legislation in states like mississippi, michigan, and even rhode island
of miscarriage, by the way, (before infection, radiation, uterine abnormalities, old age, liver and blood diseases, and symptomatic medication) is a chromosomal abnormality in the fetus during the first trimester, which occurs independently of parental health or the uterine envoronment. It would be sort of demeaning to be accused of murder under such conditions, amirite? But this initiative would affect all of us post-utero humans. It would change sex in America, in the most restrictive and disempowering sense of “change.” The movement is predicated on a belief that sex is for procreation alone, that sex for pleasure or intimacy is a waste of biological material, precluding manual, oral, and anal sex, sex toys, and masturbation entirely. By this rationale, when an egg and sperm bump into each other, even before they implant in the wall of the uterus, a new human has come into existence. Now, I love babies almost more than kittens, and the idea of truncating the life of an “innocent” is as abhorrent to me as it is to Chastity McFetus-Freak. But a baby is not the equivalent of that which precedes it, the way an oak tree is not tantamount to an acorn. It’s our responsibility to ourselves, our bodies, our mental health, and our sexual satisfaction to maintain a sense of rationality–an allegiance, above all, to our health and the health of those we love, alive in the world today.

Tuesday night, Mississippians voted on Initiative 26, or the “personhood” initiative, to pass legislation declaring that life begins at fertilization. The amendment would illegalize abortion, intrauterine devices, and other forms of hormonal birth control, bestowing upon a zygote full human rights–whatever that means. According to the official Personhood website, Initiative 26 would act to overturn Roe v. Wade, revitalize and inspire the pro-life movement, and foster a renewed faith in God’s grace. Abortion would be classified as homicide, and women who experienced miscarriage would be investigated for homicide (all while they sought to recover from, you know, the trauma of losing their

fetus). Though all Mississippi’s gubernatorial candidates endorsed Personhood, though it gained viral national publicity, though polls projected its victory nearly unanimously, the ballot initiative was defeated in a popular vote by a majority of 58 percent. Thank the patron saint of not being an effing idiot. What’s crazy about the zygote zealots is their willingness to disregard and jeopardize the rights of citizens of the ex-amniotic world. It’s a women’s rights issue, sure: it’s an effort to deprive women of the freedoms to opt for birth control, to get abortions, and to exist free of suspicion and surveillance if they have the misfortune to miscarry. The most common cause

Pick-ups: A Campus Guide

Want to pick up a cutie during a night out on campus but don’t know what to say? Here are some easy talking points to help you approach your target.

1. A Literary House: Common Interest: Samuel Beckett Shared Course: Proust, Joyce, and Faulkner Conversation Starter: How lame it is that people grind all over each other on Wriston Say it With Your Eyes: I’m a tender lover who will read (obscure) poetry aloud in the morning.

2. International House: Common Interest: Your recent trip to Par-ee. Oui! Oui! Shared Courses: Corporate Finance Conversation Starter: How many languages you speak Say it With Your Eyes: That’s right baby, I know how to use your tongue!

3. Campus Coop: Common Interest: Sustainable agriculture Shared Courses: Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet Conversation Starter: How little electricity you consume Say it With Your Eyes: I like to leave the lights off. Rawr.

4. Jo’s Post-Party: Common Interest: Spicy With Shared Courses: Drunk at Jo’s on a Wednesday again? Do you even go to class anymore? Conversation Starter: How much you’ve been drinking that night Say it With Your Eyes: I might be sloppy but I sure am easy!

5. Keeney: Common Interest: Losing your virginity Shared Courses: Your First Year Seminar Conversation Starter: How much you’ve been sexiled Say it With Your Eyes: It’s time to get my roommate back. Tonight.

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