Review Category : Opinion

Dress to impress (or, you know, not)

If you’ve ever worn a skirt (or shorts, or a dress, or heels, etc.), chances are you’ve been catcalled by some random dude you never have, and probably never will, meet. It’s also highly probable that after said catcall, you felt exceedingly self-conscious about what you were wearing. Are my shorts too short? Is my top too low? Would creepy strangers leave me alone if I were wearing sweatpants? The answers to these questions are clearly, emphatically, no. But sometimes, when you’re all alone on the street somewhere, it’s easy to question, or even blame yourself, for the offensive choices of others. Or maybe you’re the kind of person who has the guts to call these assholes out on their behavior — in which case, you’re awesome. Keep up the good work. However, this type of self-blame happens far too often and it’s not necessarily just a case of being too intimidated to respond to the aggression of others. In fact, I would argue that this self-blame is the result... ...

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Whoa, man

I heard a song on the radio. I think it goes something like: “Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhh!” It’s a really great, sticky melody and the production really makes the track shine. No, it isn’t “Good Time” by Owl City. No, I’m not talking about Sam Smith’s epic melisma showcase in “Stay With Me’s” bridge. No, the riff to “Seven Nation Army” isn’t even actually sung in The White Stripes’ original recording. People do that because, I don’t know, sports make them do it! To be honest, what song it was is a riddle with no answer. Songwriters, from behind-the-scenes, filthy-rich hitmakers to the SoundCloud free music sharer, all have access to the holy grail of catchiness: the much sought-after long “O” sound. I think of it as the monosodium glutamate, or MSG, of the music world; sprinklings of it here and there might make food tasty, but overload will surely kill you. “Ohs,” just like MSG crystals, are shortcuts to adding real substance. Let’s sample American Authors’ hit “The Best Day of My... ...

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Uncritical Calvin

Watterson, Bill. There’s Treasure Everywhere: A Calvin and Hobbes Collection. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1996. Print. One reason Calvin and Hobbes has stayed relevant in our culture is the insight it is able to provide with humor. I started reading the comic when I was in second grade. Almost 11 years later, I still find it as fresh as ever. Similarly, it satirizes themes that have stayed significant for decades. In the comic strip above, we see Calvin arguing for learning by “factoid.” Since the strip’s publication over 20 years ago, the issue of how we learn has become even more relevant. There seems to be a consensus across all disciplines that critical thinking is the best way to understand a given topic. But critical thinking is threatened in modern society by trends in technology. To understand why, we have to first examine exactly what critical thinking is and the process by which we derive knowledge from it. We will see that the rise of factoids creates a cog... ...

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Reality Bites, But It Doesn’t Have To

Crafting Gemeinschaft Most of the time, when we hear the word sustainability, we think about our resources and the environment, but the word can provide some insight when you think about it in terms of yourself and your daily schedule. It is common for people our age to overschedule themselves, to pile a minimum-wage job on top of a minimum-wage job because it is better than feeling unproductive. But there has to be something wrong with overscheduling ourselves to the point where we are uncomfortable with doing nothing. There’s often this false notion that taking the time to do things that make us happy is unproductive. And if we give into this false notion, it is going to lead to pent-up aggression that is going to manifest itself down the road. It does not help that companies are placing unrealistic demands on their employees, expecting them to carry their work home with them. The sad part is that the employees have to put up with a never-ending workload because they... ...

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Online Thoughts

When was the last time you read an opinion online? It was probably a few minutes ago, when you saw your friend’s Facebook status, or my own Facebook status, recommending that you read this article from The Aggie because it provides such great wisdom and insight. (It’s true!) You probably did read something that someone online thought of very recently, and whether you know it or not, it affected your thoughts in some way. Online opinions are here; they’ve been here; and they are just as valuable and important as those in print. Journalism is changing. Newspapers are moving to the internet, sometimes because they want to and sometimes because they have to. But either way, they’re here. We have websites like Facebook, Buzzfeed and Tumblr. Basically, if someone has an idea, they can post it and get it seen. You can choose to agree or disagree with what they have to say, and then you can tell them what you think by posting it in the comments. Online posts... ...

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Swiper No Swiping

UC Davis Dining Commons (DC) recently implemented a new rule that will only allow students with meal plans to have 10 guest swipes. This means that those students can only swipe in 10 additional guests a quarter. The rule will limit the sense of community that sharing swipes has created in the past among freshmen and upperclassmen, while also limiting the ways in which students can use the swipes they have already purchased. An officer of Student Development said one reason for the new policy is to prevent freshmen from feeling pressured to use their swipes to let in big groups of people from extracurricular activities they are involved in. This was specifically listed as an issue among athletes and students participating in Greek Life who may feel that they have to swipe in their whole team or multiple members of their sorority or fraternity. In our experiences and based on what we’ve seen with others, the act of swiping in a group does not result from feeling pressured, but... ...

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(Re)Fashioning Gender: Get in Loser, We’re Going Shopping

If you thought this column was going to be about the movie Mean Girls, I’m so sorry to have to tell you that it’s not. But please, before you leave to re-watch clips of what is probably the best teen movie ever made, I have a proposition for you: Find me a place where I can comfortably shop for gender-neutral clothing. Seriously. I dare you. I’ll even buy you the limited edition director’s cut of Mean Girls if you succeed. (I’m kidding. Probably all I can afford to give you is a high five.) In all seriousness, the struggle to find clothes that aren’t exclusively made for women or men is extremely difficult. Sure, American Apparel has a few items that are labeled “unisex,” but you can’t deny the fact that their store is divided into two distinct sections solely devoted to men and women. Virtually every other clothing store you might find yourself in is also divided by gender. Why is this? When did we, as a society, decide... ...

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Edumacation with Calvin and Hobbes: The Institution

I came to college to learn. I’m interested in many subjects and have been fortunate throughout my life to enjoy the benefits of top quality public education. But learning, when done right, is never easy, and is often hindered by varying circumstances, policies and individuals. Calvin, from the popular comic, Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson, lives the woes of modern education and displays intelligent cynicism on the matter — an intelligence distinct from the poor test grades he receives. Calvin and Hobbes can help us understand issues concerning education in a comical way (because I’ll be damned if I make this column another homework assignment). This column will address the discrepancy between self-education and institutional education. The strip above illustrates the problem in a simple manner: boy feels he’s learned enough, teacher says no, boy sits back down. Institutional education (which sounds bad, I know) exists in part to provide resources and professional guidance to students. It presupposes that the teachers know more than the student and that the... ...

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Tunespoon: Do What U Want

Music is sound. It’s also a cultural, social, emotional and economical phenomenon. I want to explore them. Welcome to Tunespoon. “Let’s turn this into a dance party.” I was at a tUnE-yArDs concert last June, and front-woman Merrill Garbus prefaced dancy anti-vigilante anthem “Stop That Man” with the above command. It was Saturday night at San Francisco’s Fillmore, the city’s counterculture Mecca, and I was ready. Everything about her performance of the song played into the perfect go-wild atmosphere. The frenetic lights and kooky laser patterns, the relentless funky clackof a looping drum beat and everyone on stage jumping up and down like robots fueled by the energy of a quarter-note groove. It was fantastic. And then I saw around me: People standing still. Well, not perfectly still, but it wasn’t the dance party she asked for. I do not call the minute baby-bobbing of knees a dance. I was thinking, “Why wouldn’t this audience comply with her? The money they paid surely should let them own this night.” I... ...

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The Maturing Moviegoer: Fin

This is it — this is the end. For the last 10 weeks, I have had a wonderful time watching and rewatching some of the classic movies of our time in an effort to learn something about what it means to come of age today. I have learned a great deal about myself in the process of writing this column, and it is my sincerest wish that some of my readers feel the same way about themselves. To conclude a topic as expansive as the one that I have chosen is no easy task. So I’ll take the easy way out and not give this column a nice and tidy ending. After all the ambiguities that we’ve considered thus far, would coming up with one steadfast thesis on aging really be appropriate? For me, self-deprecation has been a fun tool to use for humor. I amuse myself thinking that someone may actually take what this 18-year-old has to say to heart. It’s part of the reason that I have no... ...

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Guest Opinion: As Graduation Approaches, A Call to Service

Days from now, the Class of 2014 will begin their lives beyond UC Davis leaving behind the infamous egg heads scattered around our school, the very distinct cow smell of Tercero, the delicious coffee of the CoHo, the bike crashes by the Silo and many other important landmarks distinct to our beautiful UC Davis campus. A year ago, I stood where they will, thinking about how my four years on campus had prepared me for the challenge I was about to take on. Now here I am, a Resource Specialist (RSP) for the Sacramento Unified School District and a first-year corps member for Teach For America. As any first-year teacher will tell you, those early days in the classroom are exhilarating and intimidating. In those first few weeks, the importance of the work ahead of me came into focus. All of my students receive special education services and I am only one component of their education. My students are placed with a general education teacher and I go into their... ...

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Letter to the Editor: Hate Speech on Campus

Dear UC Davis community, Today, Wednesday, May 28, I witnessed a group of men holding up signs, some of which said “You deserve to die” and “You’re going to hell.” I’m all for free speech, but where do we draw the line between free speech and hate speech? On a campus dealing with the issues of violence and hate, and as seen tragically at the recent events at our sister campus UCSB, how can we let this group disrupt the very point of this University: to educate? I am a TA for several courses and had several students unable to attend discussion section due to being emotionally upset by both the shooting and the group on the Quad. Aren’t our Principles of Community about instilling tolerance and respect and most of all, to create a safe environment to learn for all our students? How can we abuse the title of “free speech” on a campus that could very well face the same issues of violence and hate seen at UCSB?... ...

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Editorial: Safer communities — Call for change

On May 23, six UC Santa Barbara students were killed and 13 community members were injured after a Santa Barbara City College student went on a rampage. Like the many mass shootings that have occurred within the last few years, this incident is tragic and horrifying. The occurrence of incidents like these have prompted discussions regarding what can be done to prevent them in the future. Over the weekend, we all received emails from Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and UC President Janet Napolitano expressing their sympathies to the UC community and the friends and families of the victims of the attack. Katehi said that it is our responsibility “to seek out those in need and to make our campus safer in thought and in deed.” While we agree with these sentiments, we cannot help but feel that their words leave out many of the deeper issues raised in light of this tragedy. Although the assailant’s state of mental health was debatably at play in his actions, we cannot ignore that... ...

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Co-op Bonanza: Thanks for all the Seitan

I am an avid journaler. I have 29 journals that don’t shut all the way because they are packed with tickets and pressed flowers and receipts and cards and notes and fruit stickers. Okay, I’m a hoarder. I’m also a sentimental cheese-ball. How is this important? It means that I have a detailed record of my co-op life. The first week of co-op life was a flurry of bike rides, dried lentils, cats and sitting on the porch confused about how to live with 14 people. When I visited the co-ops as an applicant, it was a place to garden, dance and eat seitan. I hadn’t considered what living in that space actually entailed. In the first month or so the main things I learned were how to cook over-easy eggs and that Youth Lagoon somehow feels like a leather sofa, rooftop phone calls, nerve-wracking nights, fire alarm tests, cleaning for 12 hours and the “feelings” meeting agenda item. Over the last nine months in the co-ops, I managed to... ...

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Breaking Norms: Expect the unexpected

On my quest for answers to the age-old quandary of why social norms exist and how they came to be, I discovered not only that society implemented these standards long ago for arbitrary reasons, but also that they can easily be broken and repaired for kinks. By this I mean that social norms are based off of what a society as a whole deems proper and acceptable — whether that concerns behavior, public decency or mannerisms — and it’s easy to deviate from those standards, but it comes at a cost. And that cost is the judgment that lingers in the air after one breaks social norms, which can also come in the form of weird looks from strangers, peeved responses from friends and an overall adaptation of how people view you. Throughout Spring Quarter, I did some odd things that I’ve personally never witnessed before. I wanted to elicit responses from students on campus when I broke free from the constraints of the (technically unwritten) rules of social conduct.... ...

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