Internet Meme of the Week: Ridiculously Photogenic Guy

When Zeddie Little entered the 10-kilometer Cooper Bridge Run, he never thought he would shortly become an internet sensation. Now known across the World Wide Web as the face of the meme “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy,” Little was caught smiling into the camera lens of computer programmer Will King. His photo has since become the template for a Photoshop meme that uses captions to establish Little as an archetypal character that represents and exaggerates the power of physical attractiveness.

Most captions on his picture are comprised of two parts, a premise and a conclusion with a slight twist. Examples include, “Runs marathon and wins … my heart,” and “Gets made into a meme… so everyone can keep looking at him.”

One of King’s friends dubbed Little “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” after viewing King’s photo and within an hour of posting the photo to Flickr, it had reached 300,000 views, according to the Charleston City Paper. Gaining further popularity on Reddit, Mashable which featured Little Photoshopped into a photo with Tina Fey and Facebook, “Ridiculously Photogenic Guy” attracted so much attention that Little and King were both invited for an interview on Good Morning America.

Now Playing in Hanover: A Separation

This year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, “A Separation” (2011) details the story of two families living in modern day Iran. Simin and Nader (Leila Hatami and Peyman Moaadi) are seeking a divorce because Simin wants to leave the country, but Nader cannot because his father is afflicted with Alzheimer’s. When the divorce isn’t granted, the two separate, and Nader hires Razieh (Sareh Bayat), a deeply religious pregnant woman, to take care of his father. One day, when Razieh leaves Nader’s father alone, he gets seriously hurt in her absence. In a rage, Nader physically ejects Razieh from his home, which she claims causes her to lose her baby. Nader is then charged with murder under the labyrinthine Iranian justice system and must fight the case with Simin’s help. Varun Bhuchar

Directed and written by: Asghar FarhadiWith: Hatami, Moaadi, Bayat123 minutesRated PG-13

“A Separation” offers no satisfying resolution and few happy moments. Instead, fraught with emotion and tension, the film welcomes an audience into this dysfunctional family’s home to think about the issues of justice, religion, pride and much more. Gavin Huang

Perhaps the greatest achievement of “A Separation” is the character development of the Iranian protagonists, to whom American audiences can relate surprisingly easily. Farhadi’s script is nothing short of genius for it remarkable complexity and gravitas in handling the issues affecting his country. Moaadi is also fantastic as a man fighting for his freedom in a justice system that Kafka himself couldn’t have come up with. Varun Bhuchar

You know a foreign film is really good when you forget that the characters are speaking another language. “A Separation” was enthralling, combining a painfully realistic script with complex and passionate actors to create a multi-layered story that left me with more questions than answers by the end. The complex narrative implores you to reconsider justice. The Academy Awards chose right with this one. Sophia Archibald

New Music Festival showcases talent of student composers

This year's New Music Festival

This year’s New Music Festival, called “Song and Sound” and performed on Sunday, features a harmony of contemporary sounds complemented by more traditional music. The festival consists of three concerts, all featuring original works by students and faculty members that represent the wide spectrum of talent that flourishes on campus, according to festival organizer Nic Chuaqui ’12.

A campus-wide email was sent out during Fall term encouraging students to submit original compositions, which were then read by a three-person festival committee and chosen for the concerts, Chuaqui said. The first concert, held on April 26 at the Spheris Gallery in downtown Hanover, featured music by graduate students. The second, held on Sunday at the Top of the Hop, featured music written and performed mostly by undergraduates. The festival will culminate in a concert at Spaulding Auditorium on May 1, featuring several graduate and faculty-written pieces as well as a performance by the Dartmouth Aires.

“Many of the pieces that will be performed are premieres, as the music festival has traditionally had a strong focus on new works,” David Kant, a second-year graduate student in Dartmouth’s digital music program who is also helping organize the festival, said.

The “Song and Sound” festival features a program that aims to reflect the relationship between old and new music, he said. Kant added that he is serving as the “spokesperson” for graduate students in an effort to “represent the musical diversity of the College.” The major difference between the graduate concert at the Spheris Gallery and the undergraduate performances at the Hopkins Center was the focus of the graduate program on digital music and electronics, according to Kant.

“The graduates are heavily interested and work a lot with technology, so our music is different in format,” Kant said.

While the graduate students performed a few pieces featuring electronic improvisation, the undergraduate students showcased more traditional musical forms on Sunday. The program included “Give a Rouse,” a dance-style remix of Dartmouth’s alma mater, written by Alexander Shen ’15, and “String Quartet,” written by Austin Greenfield ’12 and performed by the Dartmouth Vibes, a student string quartet ensemble.

“Give a Rouse,” a snazzy, modern interpretation of the melody that the undergraduate audience knew well, fit perfectly with the Top of the Hop setting overlooking the Green and Baker Tower.

The two main choral pieces in Sunday’s undergraduate performance, “Awepu” and “This Must Be the Place,” composed by Kianna Mist Burke ’12 and Billy Zou ’12, respectively, were performed by several of Dartmouth’s student choirs. “Awepu” (which translates to “A Calm”), composed in C minor and described as the “time of tranquility directly before the tumult of a storm” by Burke, is a relatively short piece consisting of no more than 60 measures.

“The libretto is adapted from the lyrics of the Talking Heads’ song of the same name,” Zou said of his composition “This Must Be the Place.” “I wanted to write a love song paired with the physical power of a big vocal ensemble, which I think is the most powerful type of sound from an emotional level.”

The piece builds to a climax, recedes and “then builds up again, repeating, She lifted up her wings,’ arriving at this must be the place’ at triple forte,” he said. Zou has been composing since high school and has always had a “knack for melodies,” he said.

“I think it’s really cool to create something from nothing just the idea that you can create this whole world and this whole experience,” Zou said.

On Sunday, graduate student Alexander Dupuis also showcased his composition “Diving Bell,” which was a distorted recording of four digital wind chimes in feedback loops. The individual sounds of the bells seemed random and unorganized but were cohesive as a whole.

The Aires are scheduled to open the third and final concert at Spaulding Auditorium with the premiere of “October,” written by Nic Chuaqui ’12 and inspired by Robert Frost’s poem of the same name.

Other performances will feature several graduate and faculty-written pieces for the visiting ensemble Callithumpian Consort, a small chamber ensemble from Boston, including “Duet in D minor” for cello and piano by Will Lowry ’13 and “Waltz Quartet” by Evan Ross ’13. Evan Griffith ’15 also wrote a piece called “Minuet and Trio,” which is scheduled to be performed on the Spaulding organ.

“I think this festival is really cool because this kind of event doesn’t happen often at other schools,” Chuaqui said. “The great thing about a liberal arts school that isn’t a conservatory is that things like this are open to everybody.”

Music professor Kui Dong, the only faculty member involved in the decision-making progress, has been a director of the festival multiple times in the past years, he said.

“Although the festival theme differs every year, the core value is promoting student works that don’t necessarily come from the music department,” Dong said.

Dong, Chuaqui and Kant, who made up the panel that chose this year’s pieces, worked as a three-person team that shared equal responsibility, according to Dong.

“We come up with the ideas from scratch, and it’s been really rewarding working with my two associate directors,” Dong said.

Lowry is a former member of The Dartmouth Staff.

‘Undue Influence’ returns with revisions that address sexual assault

The Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble brought last May’s production of “Undue Influence” a theatrical commentary on the pervasive issue of sexual assault at Dartmouth back to the stage this past week with five performances, showcasing the production’s revisions and new cast members. The Sexual Assault Awareness Program and the Office of the President, helped bring the show back to emphasize how important discussion and awareness of sexual assault is at Dartmouth, according to a Hopkins Center press release.

The mission of “Undue Influence” directed and choreographed by professor Ford Evans, director of the Dance Theater Ensemble was to increase community awareness of sexual assault on campus, according to the press release. In the spirit of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, “Undue Influence” raised issues discussed last year, including binge drinking, rape, the Greek nightlife culture, Committee on Standards hearings and the lack of bystander intervention in problematic settings. “Undue Influence” also raised new issues through this year’s introduction of two adult characters, who represent the voices of parents, alumni and the College administration.

One of the new adult cast members was played by professor and theater department chair Peter Hackett ’75, who helped conceive “Undue Influence” with Evans. His portrayal of administrators and alumni was on target and very symbolic, particularly in one scene in which his character parties with his fraternity brothers while ignoring the younger students’ aggressive treatment of one another.

“People need to understand how powerful the alums are in decisions being made about social life on campus today,” Hackett said. “The administration saying that it is up to the students to solve this issue is absurd. We can all speak up. The theater department collectively took a stand on the issue, but this issue needs more support.”

Martha Hennessey ’76, who played the other adult role, had one of the most terrifying scenes in the production, in which her character described getting hit in the face for wanting to leave a fraternity. All of the stories in the show actually happened to people, and direct quotes from the administration were used for the script, according to Hackett.

The production overall was vivid, colorful, straightforward and dramatic, highlighting specific scenarios seen in fraternity basements, ranging from pong games to dance parties. All of the play’s scenes touched upon the issue of territorial power in fraternity basements while displaying the talent of the dancers involved.

“When people realized how powerful it was, we got all of this support,” Hackett said. “The cast consists of students who are willing to stand up and speak out about what they believe in. Without these types of students, there will never be change.”

The cast included returning members of the Dance Theater Ensemble as well as new faces, including Big Green defensive lineman Julian Flamer ’12, who played Will, a character that spoke out against assault and the poor treatment of women on campus. The new cast represented diverse students, cultures and viewpoints, adding a realistic element to this year’s show.

“I still go out as much and enjoy the night scene, but it has raised my awareness of what is going on around me in a major way,” Flamer said. “I have spread the word to my peers and want a group effort on preventing sexual assault.”

Christine Averill ’13, a returning cast member of the performance, played Heather, and she has been involved in running both of the shows. Averill said she was pleased that there were more performances of “Undue Influence” this year.

“I think the people who have seen the show have felt affected to some degree or another by it,” Averill said. “I think the show has sparked many conversations surrounding the issue of sexual assault. It has certainly been an effective step in the movement of social change, but there still are many people who choose not to participate in the conversation who would be vital for a true shift in culture here.”

The Dance Theater Ensemble’s message was as powerful as their dancing, as Averill, Chloe Moon ’13, who played Sophia, and Mayuka Kowaguchi ’11, who played Vivienne, displayed beautiful technique, passion and athleticism. As heavy and explicit as some of the scenes of assault were, there were also positive scenes that helped to illuminate healthy relationships.

Ariel Murphy ’12, who played Catherine, said in a discussion after Friday’s performance that the scenes of positive intimacy featured in the performance represented the hope for a better future and the possibility of changing the mindset and approach to relationships at the College. “Undue Influence” made an effort to focus not only on the negative aspects of our Dartmouth’s social scene but also on the whole story and what Dartmouth could be, according to Murphy.

The show helped address a serious issue through art and showcased the hard work and effort that the Dance Theater Ensemble puts into their annual performances.

“I don’t think people always realize how much effort the dance ensemble is putting in,” Hackett said. “I love these students, and I am proud of them.”

“Undue Influence” is more than a show it is a movement that has begun to resonate on campuses elsewhere. The Dartmouth Dance Theater Ensemble performed at Colgate University this month, according to Hackett. The cast is planning to make a film from the footage of this year’s show to create “a permanent record,” Hackett said.

“Power dynamics among students, heavy drinking and administrations that seek to protect the name of the school are contributing factors to the issue of sexual violence ubiquitous across many college campuses,” Averill said. “Our group became particularly aware of that when we toured the show at Colgate, where many audience members expressed how the show paralleled many of their own experiences. I think it would be really great for other schools to see the show. The overall messages are very universal.”

An extremely powerful and emotional production, the message of “Undue Influence” will leave a lasting impact on the College and in the discussions of every student and staff member who has involved or who saw the show.

“It was one of my best experiences at Dartmouth College and an experience that will forever be a part of my life, no matter where it takes me,” Flamer said.

Valdes: Letting Go of a Broken Past

I spent the weekend of Dimensions of Dartmouth collecting signatures for a petition articulating the concerns that many prospective students and their parents have regarding Greek life on campus (“Petition circulates to prospective students,” April 24). As I collected signatures, I had the opportunity to speak with parents of prospective students, who overwhelmingly expressed serious concerns about Greek life. They asked me questions about the Rolling Stone article: Is it true? Do you have to join a fraternity or sorority? Is the social pressure really that bad?

When I approached one parent to ask for his petition signature at a reception Friday evening, we ended up talking for about 20 minutes. He told me Dartmouth was his son’s first choice, but the Rolling Stone article had raised serious doubts. Yet he said he didn’t want his son to turn down an Ivy League education. After talking for a while, he signed the petition and we parted ways. Saturday afternoon, I saw him again at a panel about social life on campus, featuring Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson. He came up to me and told me he had decided not to let his son come to Dartmouth.

Three other parents approached me after the panel to ask my opinion. One mother said that the panel did not assuage her fears. “The number one concern for parents in addition to education is safety,” she said.

In her recent email addressed to members of the Dartmouth community, Associate Dean of Campus Life April Thompson said, “I look forward to continuing the conversation and hearing from you about how we can work together to make Dartmouth even better.” There are students who want structural changes to the Greek system. The reality is that sexual assault, hazing and alcohol abuse problems can only be adequately addressed through an honest engagement with the structural organization of our community. Greek organizations are glorified at Dartmouth because of their social power and economic influence. Exclusive, male-owned clubs control the majority of social spaces on campus. When acts of abuse occur, including hazing and sexual assault, they are seen as isolated events and handled internally if talked about at all.

Holding individuals and organizations accountable is crucial but not singularly important in changing the worst parts of Dartmouth culture. When students are incentivized to join organizations that perpetuate violence, there is a much bigger problem. As we brainstorm solutions, let us put all our options on the table, including abolishing the Greek system and changing it to a residential housing community. Let us think about making all houses coed. Let us think about keeping the Greek system intact but making membership open to all. Let us think about abolishing pledge terms altogether.

The administration needs to make a firm commitment to reduce hazing, sexual assault and alcohol abuse at Dartmouth, and doing so will require reducing the Greek system’s dominance of social life on campus. Together, we need to create a larger, integrated community that is not prey to the social fragmentation inherent to the Greek system. In addition to facilitating alcohol abuse and various forms of violence, the dominance of the Greek system stifles the creation of social spaces that are more in line with the academic values of this institution and that may be desirable to others, including a diverse contingent of prospective students. I am not necessarily advocating for the abolishment of the Greek system, but I am saying that its preponderance has to stop.

In an interview with The Boston Globe, soon-to-be former College President Jim Yong Kim said he had not realized the difficulty of the problems involving student life. It is time to either let prospective parents and students know how difficult the problem is or to substantially change the problem so that they feel comfortable sending their children here.

It would be interesting to see how the recent media attention on hazing at Dartmouth will affect enrollment. If the problems facing Greek life are deterring the best students from coming to our school, real discussion focused on structural change is crucial. A speaker at Take Back the Night asked the audience two important questions: Can we envision a Dartmouth that does not glorify violence? Is it really that hard to let go of a broken past?

Hoyt: A Cycle of Consumption

Each term at Dartmouth, we spend 10 hurried weeks skimming texts, flicking through flashcards and clicking our way through lecture slides. We memorize incessantly, filling our minds with facts that we have trouble remembering days after the exam, let alone the next term or year. During finals, we count down the days until summer or break, pushing through exams with the knowledge that, in just a few days, our work will be done. Our terms culminate in a blurry haze of half-packed boxes, quick goodbyes and futile attempts to sell back the books we just spent nights pouring over. We leave determined to put our classes behind us and get on with the next term.

At some point over break, we fill out course assessments, haphazardly clicking through a few multiple choice questions to rate our classes, receive our grades and put a definitive end to our relationship with last term’s courses. When we get back to campus several weeks or an off-term later, we neglect to pick up the final papers or exams we spent so long preparing, instead preferring to confine last term’s work to last term and jump head first into new classes.

The process of consuming information and spitting it back out has come to define our educational experience at Dartmouth. With only 10 weeks to gain a basic understanding of a new subject, our professors must move quickly through material, challenging us to demonstrate our ability to take in and process information rapidly. However, the fragmented nature of the D-Plan is not singularly responsible for the superficial manner in which we engage with our course material. Instead, we as students are. In large part, we’ve resigned ourselves to an academic culture of consumption, in which our courses are a means to achieve short-term goals good grades and jobs after graduation.

To gain value from our academic experience, we must engage not only with the lecture slides and texts on the syllabus but also with the larger structures and ideas that unite these sources. To learn without asking why we are learning is to forgo the most salient and enduring part of our education: the connections that emerge between subjects and individuals.

Reflection allows us to move from the minutiae of facts and figures to the big picture ideas that unite courses and subjects. Our capacity to memorize and retain information is finite; reflection helps us winnow from quantity to quality, allowing us to assess the information that is most critical moving forward. Furthermore, by asking why and how we are learning, we come to situate ourselves within the material. We can assess our own understanding and realize how we evolve over time as students and citizens.

Last term, I was asked to submit a written summary of the successes and challenges I faced during each assignment of a project-driven engineering class. Initially, I was irritated at having to review work I considered finished. However, as the term went on, I began to see connections between earlier problems and later solutions. I could trace the evolution of my thinking process, recognizing areas where I improved or continued to fall short.

What if we were asked to re-evaluate our papers after we handed in the final drafts? To reflect on tests after we took them? What if we were asked how we’ve changed as a result of our coursework, to think critically about the evolution of our personal outlook and opinions? What if guided reflection were the norm rather than the exception in the classroom? Although certain classes are undoubtedly more suited for written reflection, there is room to ask why and how we are learning in every subject. If our professors set a precedent for reflection through writing assignments and class discussion, we will come to see reflection as a critical component of the learning experience, a practice that informs our learning and our broader outlook, rather than a quick form to fill out after finals to get our grades.

Ultimately, however, the onus for allotting time to reflect on our coursework is on us. Classroom time is limited, and, in large part, should be devoted to covering content. We can ask professors to integrate reflection into their teaching; however, the answers to why and how we learn come from us. By actively reflecting on our courses, we can challenge the prevailing culture of information consumption and create understanding that endures well past the 10 weeks of the term.

Daily Debriefing

Last Wednesday, the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted to pass a new version of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state. The vote follows a pledge made one day earlier by Gov. John Lynch, D-N.H., to veto the bill due to concerns that drug use after the bill’s passing, though the new version of the bill passed with a veto-proof majority, according to WMUR. Because the bill involves budget issues, it will now be sent to the House Finance Committee before returning to the Senate. The veto-proof majority vote is encouraging to the bill’s supporters, who have been pushing for the bill to be passed even without Lynch’s signature, WMUR reported. House members hope that the vote will send a message to the governor that both legislators and constituents are behind the bill, according to WMUR.

The cause of death for Harvard College senior Wendy Chang was ruled suicide a by the Massachusetts medical examiner’s office, The Boston Globe reported. Chang’s death marks the fifth reported suicide this academic year among Boston-area college students, according to The Globe. Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, a Suffolk University senior and a Boston University graduate student all committed suicide within the past year, according to The Globe. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates that each year, 1,100 college students take their own lives and that of these, 85 percent do not seek help prior to their deaths, The Globe reported. Factors such as the poor job market and the stress of transitioning from college to life after graduation can put students at greater risk as graduation nears, according to the The Globe.

Louisiana State University President John Lombardi was fired from his post on Friday, which has caused suspicions that his dismissal was due to political reasons, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The system’s Board of Supervisors fired Lombardi, who was previously forced out of both his position as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and president of the University of Florida due to his confrontational style, according to The Chronicle. Lombardi has actively opposed several initiatives of Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., who appointed half of the Board’s members, The Chronicle reported. The governor’s staff previously attempted to strengthen its control of the Louisiana system by urging Lombardi to fire several system officials who did not fully support Jindal’s agenda, according to The Chronicle. Lombardi declined to fire the officials and continued to fight many of Jindal’s proposals prior to his removal, The Chronicle reported.

Carey earns prestigious fellowship

Constitutional scholar John Carey, the chair of the government department and the John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences, was elected as a fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Carey specializes in the study of constitutions, legislatures, elections and Latin American politics and has written five books and authored and co-authored over 50 articles and additional book chapters.

The Academy, which was founded during the American Revolution, aims to bring together the best scholars in the United States to discuss the greatest issues facing the world today.

Carey said he is excited to be elected as a fellow in the Academy.

“It’s an honor and a thrill and completely unexpected,” Carey said. “I’m familiar with a lot of the big name people in political science who are in the Academy, so the idea that they actually know who I am and elected me is amazing.”

The Academy, founded in 1780, is one of the nation’s most prestigious honor societies and is an independent policy research center focused on multidisciplinary studies of current and emerging world problems, according to the Academy’s website.

“Carey is considered as one of the very leading scholars studying electoral design and legislative voting, which are critical to understanding how democracy itself works,” government professor Benjamin Valentino said.

Government professor William Wohlforth said that this prominent distinction is a product of the top-quality research Carey has done. Carey has traveled to Afghanistan, Jordan, Tunisia, Yemen and South Sudan to conduct his research, according to a College press release.

“The sine qua non is scholarly distinction, and John has an extremely successful, visible and influential research program,” Wohlforth said. “More than that, the Academy is kind of super think tank, deploying scholarly expertise to address weighty problems of the day. It’s little wonder that the selection committee was attracted to his work.”

The Academy was founded by leaders including John Adams, James Bowdoin and John Hancock, with the stated purpose to “cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honour, dignity and happiness of a free, independent and virtuous people,” according to the Academy website.

“Election to the Academy is both an honor for extraordinary accomplishment and a call to serve,” Academy President Leslie Berlowitz said in a press release. “We look forward to drawing on the knowledge and expertise of these distinguished men and women to advance solutions to the pressing policy challenges of the day.”

Wohlforth said that election to the academy is recognized as an enormous honor in the academic field.

“Political science is a huge discipline and only a tiny, tiny number are ever elected to the Academy,” he said.

Valentino said that Carey’s election to the Academy not only speaks to Carey’s accomplishments, but also to the strength of Dartmouth as a leader in academic research.

“It brings much deserved recognition to Carey, the government department and Dartmouth in general for the kind of high-level scholarship that goes on here,” Valentino said.

Professors at Dartmouth are able to combine top-quality research with top-quality teaching, Valentino said.

“It shows that doing both of those things well teaching and the highest level of research is not only possible, but that they go together,” he said.

Carey will be one of 220 newly elected members to be inducted to the Academy on October 6 at the Academy’s headquarters in Cambridge, Mass., according to an Academy press release.

Previously, several individuals affiliated with Dartmouth have received this recognition, including College President Jim Yong Kim, President Emeritus James Wright and former College President James Freedman, as well as philosophy professor Robert Fogelin, Tuck School of Business professor Kenneth French, Thayer School of Engineering professor Elsa Garmire and music professor Christian Wolff, according to the College press release.