Revolution on Repeat

The revolutionary and tumultuous year of 1968 contributed greatly to what we now know as modern America, where egalitarian values, individual rights and social protests were on display. It was a year when America was politically divided and social groups pushed their agendas.

The racial tensions in the country reached chaotic levels in over 100 cities including Baltimore, D.C., Chicago and Detroit after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. Two months later, Robert Kennedy–the brother of John F. Kennedy who was shot four years earlier–was assassinated after a rally in California. He was highly favorited as a Democratic candidate who would end the Vietnam War and resolve the intensifying racial polarization in America.

The Vietnam War was heavily protested as the counterculture movement emerged as the younger generation separated themselves from existing cultural norms and values. At the same time, college campuses were experiencing the effects of these movements as students protested injustices at their schools. Columbia University students protested the school’s support of the government involvement in the Vietnam War and a segregated gymnasium to open nearby. School protests like this proved that schools of higher learning weren’t in a bubble and were affected by the sweeping political, economic and social changes in society.

Hundreds of feminists showed up at the Atlantic City Boardwalk to protest the 1968 Miss America pageant. Their complaints were: the pageant objectified and harmed women, never crowned a black Miss America, supported the Vietnam War (since the winner would go over to Vietnam to entertain the troops) and judged participants on impossible standards of beauty.

On Oct. 16, two black sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their fists with black gloves on at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Their objective was to bring awareness to the enduring injustices and discrimination facing black people back in America.

Even on television, new milestones were being accomplished as “Star Trek” showed the first interracial kiss on Nov. 16. Capt. James Kirk, played by white actor William Shatner, kissed Lt. Nyota Uhura, played by black actress Nichelle Nichols.

The election of 1968 pitted Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat Hubert Humphrey against each other. Nixon used the Southern Strategy to appeal to white southerners by using their racial resentment toward blacks.

In 2018, the problems which enraged and ultimately changed American society are still present in the country. Social movements like the Civil Rights movement are now summed up in hashtags from #BlackLivesMatter to #MeToo that are sweeping the nation. The polarization of the country is due to the action and words of President Trump. Black people in film and television, from Ava DuVernay to Donald Glover, are accomplishing new milestones and breaking records. Athletes are protesting by taking a knee for the injustices plaguing America. The parallels between 1968 and 2018 are intriguing and, like many people, I am anxious to see if there will be other huge accomplishments or if are we romanticizing a time in the country that had so much more to learn then what we have now.

BROCKHAMPTON’s trailblazing discography is prolific

Robert Dinkins
Viewpoints Editor

“Have you heard of BROCKHAMPTON?” was probably my most popular question during the months of August and September. For those familiar with my Last.fm account, BROCKHAMPTON is my number one artist with 1,154 scrobbles at the time of this sentence. By the time this article is done, it will be even more.

BROCKHAMPTON is America’s newest boy band on the music scene. Founded in 2015 in San Marcos, Texas, between a group of friends on an online Kanye West forum. The group is now based in California where last month they were able to release over three studio albums comprised of 40 songs. There are currently 14 members in the group, each playing a special role in the creative process.

The lead member and founder is Clifford Simpson, better known as Kevin Abstract, a rapper from Texas. He is known for his popular album “American Boyfriend,” as well as his braggadocious approach to his sexuality. Ameer Vann follows close behind as the second most popular individual member, known for his dark tones exploring his experiences about depression and growing up black in America. The other members are less known, but still contribute valuable talent from Merlyn Wood’s crazy lyrics to Matt Champion’s smooth bars. Bearface reminds many BROCKHAMPTON fans of a younger Frank Ocean and Dom McLennon has shown extreme lyrical growth in each succeeding album. JOBA also brings a unique twist to the genre that BROCKHAMPTON incorporates.

BROCKHAMPTON is a boy band, but they are very different from your mother’s boy band. Instead of singing cheesy lyrics that only high school girls could enjoy, BROCKHAMPTON brings straight fire to the mic with their intense approach to rap and R&B. Their rap ability is on full display in their debut album, “Saturation.” With songs such as “HEAT,” “GOLD” and “BUMP,” the album offers much for the veteran hip-hop enthusiast. BROCKHAMPTON is still able to change gears and offer great R&B songs such as “BOYS” and “FACE.” They also explore the college experience in the song “MILK” and offer advice for being unashamed of who you are.

The first album offered a blueprint that BROCKHAMPTON was quick to copy in their future albums “Saturation II” and “Saturation III.” “Saturation II” contains songs such as “GUMMY,” “QUEER” and “GAMBA.” The boys are not afraid to let their individual talents show on each song, and together it produces beautiful music that I’ve personally enjoyed for the past six months. “Saturation III” is their most recent album and contains more R&B and alternative pop than its predecessors. With songs such as “JOHNNY,” “BLEACH” and “RENTAL,” BROCKHAMPTON was able to accomplish a cohesive album once again.

My personal favorite aspect of BROCKHAMPTON is their consistency. From the month of June to Dec., they were able to produce three studio albums, and each arguably better than the last. They are also not afraid to break down barriers. By calling themselves a boy band, they are essentially removing many stereotypes that most people tend to associate with boy bands. Kevin Abstract is not afraid of discussing his sexuality, which is stereotypically difficult to do as a rapper and a black man. Other members of the group also are not afraid to express their emotions. As a listener, I am able to identify with many of the emotions being expressed, many of which have become personal theme songs.

The group has already announced their fourth studio album, “Team Effort,” which should be coming out this year. This group is hungry and shows no sign of letting up. It is still the beginning of their journey, so it is not too late to hop on the bandwagon. Start off with “Saturation” and you too will be asking, “Have you heard of BROCKHAMPTON?”

Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile debut collaboration

Eleanor Linafelt
A&E Editor

A collaborative album between Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile was a good concept; they’re both accomplished solo artists and talented guitarists, they have the same haircut and they even share first names with a legendary ’90s rock couple. Unfortunately, the duo’s largely underdeveloped songwriting on their Oct. 2017 album “Lotta Sea Lice” does not quite allow for the musical collaboration to live up to its potential. However, the couple of standout original songs, well done covers and the musicians’ sheer talent on their instruments do make this album worth giving a listen to.

“Lotta Sea Lice” starts out on a lively note with one of the better originals, “Over Everything,” on which Barnett and Vile trade off singing each line. The song’s lyrics, as well as those on the rest of the album, are honest and uncomplicated, reveling in the poetic potential of the typically mundane aspects of life. At just over six minutes, “Over Everything” is one of the longer songs on the album, but unlike the others, its length is warranted, as much of it is made up of the instrumentally intricate outro in which both Barnett and Vile display their impressive skills on guitar.

“Continental Breakfast” is another strong song, with touching lines like, “I cherish my intercontinental friendships/We talk it over continental breakfast,” supported by a pretty melody and twangy, upbeat guitar riffs. The song is also an endearing nod toward the songwriters’ own intercontinental friendship, as Barnett hails from Melbourne, Australia and Vile from Philadelphia.

The nine songs on the album are all at least four minutes long and include multiple rambling tracks that lack the structure and catchy melodies that truly good rock songs demand. “Let It Go,” “On Script” and “Peepin Tom” are three slow, trudging songs that particularly fall victim to the weak songwriting. These songs feel like filler songs on the album and are easy to skip in order to listen to the more fully-developed ones.

Though Barnett and Vile’s songwriting at times lacks interesting melodies, the album’s sound, primarily developed through the harmonizing, complicated guitar parts, is robust and distinctive. This is particularly proven through the two covers on the album: “Fear Is Like A Forest,” a song originally by Barnett’s wife Jen Cloher, and “Untogether” by the 1990s band Belly. The crunchy, dark tone of the guitars on the Cloher cover complements the song’s lyrical content well. On “Untogether,” the final track, Barnett and Vile sing the entirety of the thoughtful song together, making it a fitting end to their collaborative effort.

Though previous fans of Barnett and Vile may be disappointed by the songwriting on “Lotta Sea Lice” in comparison to the musicians’ respective solo projects, the album has redeeming qualities that warrant it a listen. Through the playful lyrics, well done covers and interesting guitar parts, Barnett and Vile present listeners with an endearing, if somewhat underdeveloped, product of an intercontinental friendship between two talented musicians.

Scotlight

A weekly inside look at the unique faces and personalities that make up The College of Wooster community.

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

What gives you strength to handle everything you’re doing?

My girls; my three daughters. They give me the strength every day to wake up and do what I do. I have some big goals in life and I just want to help people. I know that with going to college, getting a degree to be a physical therapy assistant, I can do that — although I’m not sure that’s what I want to do anymore, I think I want to be a peer recovery coach — but either way, helping people in the world. I just take it one day at a time. Time management is huge; I’m getting better at being a planner and not living moment to moment. One day I’ll focus on my school work, and then I know my set days that I have to come in and do my job, and I’m lucky to have a great support system. It really is just one day at a time. I’m kind of a free spirit, so whatever I can get done, I get done in that day, and I don’t stress about it because as long as I’m doing the best that I can, that’s all that matters.

What are you looking ahead to?

Yeah, so I’m actually moving to Colorado. I’ve done some training to be a volunteer for our local shelter — domestic violence groups and stuff — so I kind of want to take that with me when I go. I’m looking into a scholarship program, and I’m hoping they’ll pay for my training and my certification to be a peer recovery coach. I’ve already looked into stuff over in Colorado, and it’s pretty pricey, so I’m hoping the scholarship program they have in Millersburg will help me. But yeah, I’m just ready to start a new life. I’ve been here my whole entire life, 29 years, and I’m really looking forward to getting my girls a new opportunity, showing them that you don’t have to stay in one place, that there’s a whole other world out there, and it’s hard work to get there, but we’re putting it in.

What do students get wrong about people who live in Wooster and the surrounding areas?

I know that Wooster has a bad rap sheet. I mean, you have those bad groups of people everywhere you go, and I know that people like to spotlight that a lot of time. But there are a lot of good people, too; I’ve met a lot of wonderful people that work here that live in Wooster. I don’t live in Wooster — I live 25 miles in the opposite direction — but down there too, we have that bad group of people, and a lot of times people just like to focus on that. But it’s all about shifting your mindset. We come in here every day to help you guys — and of course to pay our bills and stuff, there’s that too — but yeah, I would say you can’t just always define people by the negative you see, there’s always good and it goes a long way when you switch your mindset.

How do you have so much empathy for college students?

I came from a really rocky background. Like I said, I was a recovering addict; I’ve been to jail; I have a rap sheet; I’ve lived the opposite life of what I’m living now. And coming through that, I’ve just completely shifted, really, the way I think and the way I view other human beings. We all come from different areas of the world, we’re all raised differently and I guess you have to keep that in mind.

A lot of people don’t know what you know, and they’ve experienced different things than you have; they may not be aware of the same things. Like, when students just leave the messes that they have, I think, like, did their parents ever teach them to clean up after themselves? Were they catered to their whole entire lives? What’s happening to them today, what’s going on in their heads? We all live and think differently, and we don’t get to our final destination unless we work as a team. If we’re constantly like, “Oh, how dare they do this?” and only think about the negatives, then that’s the downfall of everything; we’re not going to get anywhere. I just try to put myself in everyone else’s shoes.The [justice dialogue] was great, because I feel like I could come in and just give a breath of fresh air to what people think.

Three things that bring you joy?

Singing and music is a big one. Positivity, too… and kindness; kindness brings me joy.

Campus honors MLK Day with ‘day on’ of justice dialogues, service

Laura Haley
Staff Writer

On the morning of Jan. 15, students, faculty and staff kicked off Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day by hearing from keynote speaker, activist Natalie Warne. Drawing on her personal journey of becoming a social rights activist, Warne said, “instead of choosing fear, instead of feeling paralyzed by what is going on, continue to choose forward movement and action, to continue to choose persistent engagement and mobilization.”

Through sharing her experiences, Warne’s goal was to encourage individuals of all ages to work for justice. Continuing with the idea of ways to get involved, Warne asked the audience to question creative protests within the communities closest to us.

“A creative protest is a relevant, new and creative approach that you’re taking to tackle the justices of our time,” said Warne. With this, Warne continued to point out that communities should become more aware of the surrounding issues and address needs that should be taken care of within the community.

Throughout the day, students were encouraged to take advantage of numerous dialogues and service opportunities on campus. During the panel “Social Justice: Past, Present and Future,” panelists reflected on social justice in the past within the United States and analyzed the direction and promotion of social justice within the College community and the city of Wooster. The panel included members of the Wooster community, such as captain of the city’s police department Scott Rotolo, former NAACP President Juanita Green, Wooster alumni Scott Gregory, President Sarah Bolton and others. Similarly to keynote speaker Warne, these panelists concentrated some of their time on how individuals can become involved and what it takes to be knowledgeable of social rights issues. Green acknowledged that the use of modern technology can be vital to reaching broadening audiences.

“Use social media to push forward a positive agenda that we all are going to benefit from,” said Green. Bolton agreed with Green’s approach by adding, “being able to see in an honest way what is being in action structurally, systematically and individually is the first step, if you don’t see, you can’t move.” Bolton, as well as all faculty and staff, encouraged students to take action this MLK Day of remembrance.

Continuing with the tradition of MLK Day, students, faculty and staff joined together to recognize the need in the community and donate their time and talents. Meg Heller ’18 explained why students should reach out to the visible needs of the community.

“Service was something MLK was extremely passionate about… and being able to honor him through that is incredibly important,” said Heller. While volunteering her day at Flex for Good, Heller organized volunteers and sorted goods to be donated.

“[Volunteering] also creates this great jumping-off point for people for the semester, getting off to a great start, doing a volunteer project, seeing how we can help out in our community and then finding ways we can continue that throughout the semester,” said Heller.

Honoring what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pushed for, the Wooster community came together to complete a “day on” of service while acknowledging the needs of the community and future procedures to enact social justice.

Great Decisions lectures to discuss issues that transcend borders

Sally Kershner
Features Editor

Returning this spring, the Great Decisions lecture series will be hosting four highly regarded speakers and a film screening starting on Feb. 1. The Great Decisions series is a joint effort between The College of Wooster and the local Wooster community to shed light on national issues that are impacting the world beyond our borders.

John Rudisill, the executive director of Great Decisions and chair of the philosophy department at the College, highlights the questions that need to be considered when choosing a theme.

“What are really important issues? With Great Decisions, it is a series of global international policy and issues. What are the big issues that face the world today?” said Rudisill.

Determined by the Great Decisions board and planning committee, the series’ theme this year is “Resurgent Nationalism and Borderless Problems,” with lecture topics addressing issues such as cybersecurity, immigration policy, the current presidential administration and the disappearing of the world’s coral reefs.

“Whether nations choose to put themselves first and focus on their own issues, there are problems that face us all and aren’t bounded by any geographic or political border. The theme really is a series of problems that just don’t stop at your political borders or otherwise,” said Rudisill.

“These are the topics that all point out the semi-permeability of borders and how, although there is a protection policy and resurgence of nationalism, there are a lot of issues that will take cross-nation operations to solve,” said Emma Woods ’18, a member of the planning committee.

Here is the schedule of lectures as follows:

• Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m., cybersecurity expert Laura Galante starts off the lecture series with her lecture “Cybersecurity in the Age of Connectivity.” Galante is the founder of Galante Strategies, a cybersecurity company that protects governments, companies and private citizens from cyber threats, and is a senior fellow of the Atlantic Council.

• Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Angela Maria Kelley will present her lecture “Immigration Policy and Politics under the Trump Administration: What’s Happened and What’s Happening Next.” For the Open Society Foundation and Open Society Policy Center, Kelley is a senior strategic advisor on immigration whose work focuses on the policies and politics of immigration and integration issues at the state and federal level.

• Feb. 13 at 7:30 p.m., journalist E.J. Dionne will present “One Nation After Trump,” a commentary on the book he co-authored titled “One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported.” Dionne is a nationally known commentator who regularly appears on National Public Radio, MSNBC and other media outlets.

• Feb. 27 at 7 p.m., “Chasing Coral,” a documentary about the disappearing coral reefs, will be screened. The 2017 film premiered at the latest Sundance Film Festival and follows a group of divers, scientists and photographers trying to unravel why the world’s coral reefs continue to disappear.

• Feb. 28 at 11:45 a.m., producer of “Chasing Coral” Larissa Rhodes will present her lecture “From Chasing Coral to Chasing Conversations” in Kittredge Dining Hall as a luncheon.

Tickets to the luncheon are $13.50 and can be purchased online, but all other lectures are free and open to the public, taking place in Gault Recital Hall inside the Scheide Music Center.