Stop catcalling, please

Anya Cohen

I am just going to come out and say it: I am sick of being ogled, badgered and yelled at whilst walking on Beall Avenue. While the first perpetrators that come to your mind may be the town residents who seem to get off on cruising their heavy bass bearing, under glow sporting cars down the street, I’m much more annoyed with an entirely different crowd: First-year boys.

I live way up on north campus. As a matter of fact, I live as far north as you can get and still be considered living on campus. This means that I need to walk by the  cluster of first-year dorms multiple times a day. While the town residents plague me by day with their uncannily large eyes staring out of their car window, it’s the firstyear boys that pester me by night with their cat-calling from Bornhuetter. “Ay girl, where you going? Don’t be shy! Ay girl!” I’ve heard this statement, or some incredibly uncreative variation, far too many times this year.

I’m not sure if this has always been a problem or if I’ve just lived too far south on campus to notice it in the past. God knows that first-years can be difficult. They make the Pop’s Sub Stop line really long because they can’t figure out what to order, they pass out drunk in weird places around campus and dance in a disgusting manner at the UG. I could forgive every single one of the first year’s shortcomings if they would just put a stop to the Beall Avenue harassment.

And it doesn’t just happen to me. It also doesn’t just happen to girls. The other day I was walking back home a little after dark and I saw a handful of boys outside of Compton Hall physically blockading a boy who was trying to walk. They were jumping around and giving the kid a really hard time. However, that was before they saw me and yelled, “Nice legs. When do they open?” to my sweatpant covered stems.

First-year boys, this harassment needs to stop. Not only is it annoying to be the recipient, it reflects poorly on  you. Do you think after you beckon me crudely from your dorm room window, I’ll actually come in? Or that by asking me when my legs open, I’ll decide that the time to open them is now? None of these things will happen. No one will do them. Ever. I promise. So stop.

An argument for professional experience

Kent Sprague

I like Wooster.  I like the education I get here.  I like my professors and I love the students.  As much as I enjoy living and learning in the accurately described “bubble” of Wooster, I don’t think I’ve ever made a better choice than leaving it.

When you’re working in an academic setting, you can achieve great things.  Regardless of your area of study, you have the chance to learn and adapt traditional methods.  You can lay a foundation on which you build further work and experiment with the furthest reaches of what is possible.

You are taught the history of drama and literature, the facts and findings of science, the theory of music, and the future of art and education.  These are important. They are the basis of the Wooster education, and without that experience, I would be lost.  However, you reach a point where you have covered the basics.  You have to decide if you want to coast until you start your I.S., or if you want to search out new challenges that the outside world offers.

This semester I have chosen to live and work in New York City.  It’s a little bit of a change to say the least.  Classes five days a week?  Nope.  Meal plan?  Not a chance.  Anyone I know?  Hardly.  But what I do get, and what I would argue is invaluable, is a chance to study and work with professionals in my field.  For me, it is a trial by fire, a way to really test myself in the real world settings I hope to someday work in.

While many colleges and universities would like to advertise programs that offer a “professional work environment,” I argue that nothing will give you the edge and insight of actually working for a professional.  Find the person who has the job you want, and help them!  Collaborate, create, observe or fetch their coffee.  Do whatever it is that will let you meet those who are successful at doing what you love.  Making contacts and learning from those who are good at what they do is a recipe for future professional success.  For me, off campus study has done even more than that.

I have been able to count three major benefits.  First, I have found that I love living in the city, and I’m willing to brave the costs and headaches involved in order to live there when I graduate.  Second, I have had a glimpse at how the professional theatre business works.  I have talked to, and worked with, people in my career path at all stages of life, and as far as I can tell, all of them have a roof over their heads and food to eat.  That is quite encouraging for a theatre major to hear.  Third, I have discovered my weaknesses.

Working in professional theatres with strict time limits and intensive schedules I have discovered the hard way, which technical skills I need to improve in order to be successful professionally.  While I have improved these skills here already, I now know how to tailor my academic schedule to make the most of the time I have left in the “bubble.”

For me, the off-campus professional experience has been totally worth the investment.  I now have a network of professional contacts, valuable experience, and an increased knowledge of how the industry functions.  While leaving Wooster was a difficult choice to make, and I do miss it, I would highly encourage those of the high-achieving persuasion to really investigate the options offered through the off-campus study office as well as the summer internship opportunities that can be accessed through the APEX program.

“When a friend votes Romney”

Letters to the Editors: Responses to “When a friend votes Romney”

In the Sept. 21 edition of the Voice, Adair Creach laid out her argument on what to do if one’s friend wanted to vote for Romney. I have been a Romney fan since his announcement for candidacy nearly two years ago. As I go to a liberal arts college, there is no shortage of liberal thinking which means my case for a Romney presidency falls often on deaf ears. In the rare case I am able to articulate my case however, I have these arguments to make. 25 million people out of work, a 14.7 percent U-6 (real) unemployment rate and a job participation rate at a 30 year low of only 63.5 percent under Obama.

All of these numbers have barely moved even three years after the official end of the recession, an 800 billion dollar stimulus, two years of Democratic super majority in the legislative branch, an additional 600 billion dollars in stimulus just last year and trillions of dollars in money creation by the Federal Reserve through which time the value of the dollar has actually increased. All of these numbers should indicate magnificent growth, however incomes have only grown two percent, almost equally with the GDP growth of 2.2 percent since the end of the recession in June of 2009 (for comparison three years after Reagan’s recession averaged 4.75 percent growth). The simple argument for Romney, is that he will get things done. He worked with Democrats in Massachusetts, he built one of the most successful private equity companies, Bain Capital, and he ran one of the best Olympics in modern history. Romney is not a scary right wing monster who wants to kill grandma, enslave the poor, and give power to the rich. He is just an awkward rich man who may or may not connect with voters. However in a distressed time as we are now in, we don’t need a president who will connect with the unemployed, we need one who will put the unemployed back to work.

 

-Ian Murphy ’16

I am writing in response to the viewpoint article written by Adair Creach. While I was reading this article, I actually wondered if it was being serious. It was so incredibly condescending that I at first thought it may have been a joke. The article asserts that if you find out your friend is a Romney supporter, you need to “Follow the steps to guide them along the healing process.” This article treats finding out someone is a Republican/Romney supporter as if it is the same as finding out they are an alcoholic, or are addicted to heroin. Not only this, but the author goes on to say that the person needs your help to “…move through this dark time.” The author assumes that because someone is a Republican, that they are misinformed and need her glorious guidance in order to “heal.” I am sorry, but how dare she be so arrogant as to automatically assume someone who identifies themselves as a Republican needs help? I consider myself Republican, and I have no doubt I am just as informed as her. The difference is that I do not assume someone is misinformed if I find out they are a Democrat. Why is this, you ask? Because I am respectful of others’ opinions, and do not feel that it is my place to ostracize others for their beliefs. The tone of her article would indicate that clearly, she is right about everything politics, and if anybody thinks differently than her then they are misinformed. She ends by saying that you should “Stand up for what you believe, but do so with grace and patience towards others who do not share your views.” I suggest that she begin to follow her own advice, because her article lacks any type of grace or patience towards others who do not share her views. In fact, I hope for her sake that she realizes being demeaning and patronizing to those with views other than herself is a good way to no longer have any friends to “…guide along the healing process.”

 

-Trevor Roston ’14

RIAA has long since lost touch

Ian Benson

Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit remanded a lower court’s decision and awarded the Recording Industry Association of America $222,000 in damages from Jammie Thomas-Rasset, who the courts found to have lied about illegally uploading music to the internet.

Thomas-Rasset was accused by the RIAA of sharing 1700 copyrighted songs back in 2007, but the number was eventually brought down to 24 songs. For which, she is being fined $9,250 a song.

While sharing  copyrighted music through the Internet is illegal, it’s also a problem that’s nigh-impossible to combat, with some estimates saying that almost 65 percent of all music acquired in the United States is done without paying. Yet the statistic that the RIAA is ignoring in their quest to make housewives pay for sharing “Bills, Bills, Bills” is of that 65 percent, only around 30 percent is actually acquired from online peer-to- peer sources. The other 70 percent comes from the exchange of offline swapping of music, be it hard drive sharing or burning discs for friends.

So does that mean that next the RIAA is going to stop you from giving your friends a flash drive with the new Mumford and Sons album, or burning them a mix CD of music they haven’t listened to? Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Now the RIAA oftentimes likes to decry pirating and sharing of music and shout about how it negatively impacts the artist, though frequently the people who are willing to download an artist’s entire discography are also willing to spend $30 on a ticket or maybe even another $30 on a shirt, but that’s neither here nor there.

If the RIAA genuinely cared about the artists, they’d be overjoyed that people care enough to risk the law (and the RIAA’s ire) to download a new album and to share it among their friends. Instead, they’re concerned with their own money, a lot of which they’re blowing to combat an issue that is never going away.

The greatest failing of the RIAA was that when the business climate changed, they continued to cling to the old ways and began making enemies out of anyone who they could blame for their loss of revenue, calling those who shared music “bad customers.” The RIAA squandered the opportunity to continue providing music to the people, instead allowing tech companies to step up and provide music. Remember, Apple had long since lost the operating system war when they decided they wanted to become synonymous with MP3 players and created the only music library software the majority of people use. The RIAA is nothing more than a business that lost out and is blaming others for its own failures.

The RIAA wasn’t the only industry to fall into this problem, with Hollywood spending time focusing on what would be the next home video medium, Blu-ray or HD-DVD (remember those?), realizing too late that it was digital downloads and Netflix. Of course, the Motion Pictures Association of America back in the day also tried to ban VCRs for being an evil tool of piracy, so forgive them for not knowing better.

The RIAA and others are currently dying out by viewing the world as static and unable to cope with change. Copyright infringement hurts the business only if you are unwilling to adapt to the world, and many Internet start-ups, tech companies and bands have shown a willingness to change in this new business model. So change or die RIAA.

Let’s just stop wasting food

Ben Strange

You probably have a love-hate relationship with campus dining. Some days that means you sit down with a plate full of Lowry-ready tan and grey food and promptly lose your appetite. But every other Thursday in Kittredge you put extraordinary effort towards piling macaroni and cheese on top of a grilled cheese sandwich.

Every day at the College of Wooster, food is available, hot and unlimited for our thoughtless consumption; with 2,000 pairs of eyes too big for their stomach, food waste happens. Yesterday I saw an entire plate of fries and two slices of pizza go through the conveyor belt — the antithesis of the clean plate club.

Food waste is a serious problem in America. The EPA estimates that Americans wasted more than 34 million tons of food in 2010 — exceeding our waste of plastics by almost three tons.

Of all that food, less than three percent was recycled (composted). Most of the other 97 percent sat in a landfill where it joined a decade of food waste past to anaerobically decompose and produce methane — a notorious greenhouse gas, and one avoided by careful composting. Other food waste is just incinerated.

I also need to mention that there are people here in the city of Wooster, your age and even much younger, who went hungry today.

Am I suggesting that you start a compost pile in the Kenarden formal lounge? No. I mean, that would be neat and sort of funny, but no. You are all busy, important people who have a paper due this week. I am, and do as well. So all I am asking is that you take personal responsibility for the food you put on your plate. That plate belongs to you. You put food on it. You can be magnanimous, powerful.

So the next time you stare contemplatively at the cheesy risotto in Lowry, take an extra eight seconds to stare before scooping it onto your plate. It will taste the same as it did last time, and no one is in line at the vegetarian station to rush you anyway. If you haven’t had something before, maybe take a camp-size portion. That food is new, and you two might not play well together.

Who knows? I bet if we took less, they would make less. I’m pretty sure that’s how cafeterias work.

Now I know that motivation is key for any kind of personal responsibility campaign. Unfortunately, I have no BPA-free Nalgene to sell you and no different colored recycling bins to give you the self-satisfaction of picking the right one in front of your friends (though you should use those compost bins when able). This is a simple consumption problem, and only caring about what and how much you consume will fix it.

I can only offer these words of advice: when you waste food, you should feel like a butthead.  Just a real, honest, butthead. When you don’t waste food, quietly appreciate how great you are. You deserve it. After all, you are a grown person, enrolled full-time at one of America’s premier liberal arts colleges and you managed to judge how much food you wanted to eat.

Should politicians ignore opinion?

Wyatt Smith

Both political parties have seemingly bought into the idea that a strong leader ignores polling data. Altering a policy to align it with national opinion is unanimously thought to demonstrate a lack of resolve.

In April, The American Crossroads Political Action Committee, run by Republican strategist Karl Rove, released an ad labeling Obama “a celebrity president.” The short video clip implied that Obama’s popularity is detrimental to his ability to govern.

In his convention speech, Obama responded to such attacks by saying, “If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them.”

But is this how we want our leaders to behave? Whether or not politicians should heed polls taps into an age-old debate in political science. Some say that politicians should base their decisions on the will of their constituents while others say that they should rely exclusively on their own judgment.

I am not trying to settle this debate or say the conventional wisdom is necessarily wrong. However, I believe that the other side of the argument should be presented.

Both presidential campaigns have included populist messages that contradict their “strong leader” rhetoric.

Romney’s campaign website condemns “Obamacare” for being unpopular, claiming that the “American people recognize that [it’s] the wrong approach.” So according to the website, Americans are wrong for liking Obama, but right for disliking his health plan.

Obama told supporters in Charlotte, NC that his 2008 victory and the policies he enacted were not about him, but rather about his constituents. “My fellow citizens,” Obama proclaimed, “you were the change.” This is from the same man who made the aforementioned joked about ignoring public opinion just minutes later. Obama’s belief that his policies are successful because he disregarded popular concerns is at odds with the idea that the voting public can claim credit for those self same statutes.

From these odd juxtapositions, it is clear that neither campaign truly advocates for brushing aside the will of the people. The inconsistency reveals the absurdity of a politician ignoring opinion polls. If campaigns actually wanted to sell their candidate as someone who makes the hard, unpopular decisions, they would drop the populist rhetoric.

While it is clear that America’s four-year presidential terms and lack of national referendums are signs of an intentional, institutionalized attempt to insulate the executive  branch from the whims of the masses, public opinion should still be taken into account in governmental decision-making. Responsive politicians are an essential ingredient in our political system.

If our choice in November is between two candidates who plan on ignoring the will of the people, do we still live in a democracy?