February 8, 2024 Issue

Vassar College's student newspaper of record since 1866




Volume 161 | Issue 3 | February 8, 2024 | miscellanynews.org

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NEWS

Black History Month kickoff celebrates Blackness at Vassar

Makenna Monaghan/The Miscellany News.

MAKENNA MONAGHAN | Students, faculty and community members all joined together to celebrate the first day of Black History Month on Thursday, Feb. 1. The kickoff event, hosted by the Jeh Vincent Johnson ALANA Cultural Center, in collaboration with nine different student organizations and affinity groups, is the first of the month-long series of multi-organizational events all under the theme of “Celebrating Blackness at Vassar.”

Institute for Liberal Arts nears completion

WILLIAM SORGE | On the corner of Raymond Avenue and College Avenue, the Institute for Liberal Arts is currently under construction. According to its website, “The Vassar Institute for the Liberal Arts will convene scholars and thought leaders from Vassar, our local area and around the globe. Reflecting the Vassar ethos of ‘going to the source,’ the Institute will create a space for meaningful dialogue and lively debate, and will be an incubator for scholarly discoveries limited only by the imagination.” 

ARTS

Rediscovering Usher before his superbowl halftime show

NICHOLAS TILLINGHAST | Like any good concert-goer I prepare beforehand, listening through an artist’s back catalog so I can get into the music during the show. The concert in this case is Usher’s Super Bowl halftime show and, while I will not be a paid on-field audience member or part of the stadium crowd more widely, I, like millions of others, will be watching live remotely, both as an NFL nerd and a music fan. After sharing some of my Usher findings, I will answer the question of whether or not Usher was a good pick for the show and then ponder Usher’s potential setlist.


Navigating lyrics on queerness and rap

RAE-AILA CRUMBLE | As a transgender lesbian woman who has listened to rap her whole life, nothing scares me anymore. Living this life is like the meme of the ant with a stick and bag slung over his shoulder—you don’t want it. I have become so accustomed to being the butt of the joke that I can predict when a rapper is going to drop a slur based on their rhyme scheme. Unfortunately, the negative lyrics are something I have come to terms with. Rap music is so integral to my Black identity that sometimes I try to turn a blind eye, like when grandma says something a little strange at the Thanksgiving function. Rarely do I feel seen and heard by the occasionally popular queer rapper; I am usually having my ears harassed by a homophobic 40-year-old dude in a Rocawear hat.


FEATURES

New duo of Arlington restaurants delights community

BENJAMIN SAVEL | In early December, two new restaurants opened their doors, each a block from Vassar: Spettro, an upscale Italian sit-down restaurant, and La Vickyna, a Latin fusion eatery.

Image courtesy of Benjamin Savel ’26.

Oscar-nominated short film explores senses

LUKE JENKINS | The Academy Award for Best Short Film is an often overlooked category at the event, and most of the short films fail to reach large audiences—with the exception of the few that accompany larger animated features from studios like Disney, such as 2016’s “Piper” and 2018’s “Bao,” which played in theaters before “Finding Dory” and “Incredibles 2,” respectively. I have fond memories of these short films when they played in theaters, and when I recently looked for something short to watch late at night, I decided to play “Ninety-Five Senses,” directed by Jared and Jerusha Hess, creators of “Napoleon Dynamite.” Like the other animated shorts I have seen, it makes good use of its brief structure to deliver viewers a concise yet powerful and emotional punch.

Cold Spring offers the ideal day trip getaway

Image courtesy of Madeleine Nicks '26.

MADELEINE NICKS | I can admit that sometimes Vassar and its surrounding Poughkeepsie area can be a bit claustrophobic. While my love for our homey Arlington spots continues to grow, sitting in Crafted Kup or Bagel World occasionally makes me feel a little stir-crazy. The solution to the Poughkeepsie blues is, usually, to take a trip to New York City. While I feel endlessly lucky that we always have that option at our fingertips, the train is not inexpensive and the journey is long enough that it feels like a bigger trek than I would like for a day trip over the weekend. I still want to be able to journey off campus and, as a born-and-raised Californian, the quaint towns in upstate New York hold a Gilmore Girls-esque charm that are begging to be explored. Cold Spring more than fits the bill. It is only three stops away on the Metro North and round-trip tickets are under $15. If you have a car, it is an easy and scenic 40-minute drive. It has one perfect main street that slopes up from the train station, so it is incredibly walkable, safe and never too crowded. After taking a few trips, here are my recommendations for the ideal day in Cold Spring. 

HUMOR

Ranking Vassar's table tennis tables

Oliver Stewart/The Miscellany News.

OLIVER STEWART | According to a recent survey of Vassar students, table tennis is the college’s third-most popular sport, after ultimate frisbee and complaining. Although a recent intramural table tennis tournament was canceled due to a lack of signups, general participation in the sport is high, as is the use of table tennis balls for unspeakable, unrelated games which bring the sport into disrepute. Vassar offers a number of potential venues for table tennis, all of which have their pros and cons; without further ado, here they are discussed in depth and ranked worst to best.

Redecorating my room or losing my mind?

CASSANDRA BROOK | Rather than spending my weekend battling homework, social interaction or Deece food, I spent my last weekend doing the impossible: decorating my room. I know, I’m a failed domestic woman; I should love Martha Stewart and chopped pillows as much as everybody else. For me, though, decorating is stressful. I have endless options but—since I live in a dorm and not in the middle of the ocean—limited space. But I powered through it with the help of my mother, friends and a twinge of insanity. I feel like I should get an “I survived decorating” shirt because the result of decorating could have been scarier than any roller coaster I’ve ridden. However, because I didn’t slip and fall off of my incredibly stable stool on a chair configuration, here are my reflections on decorating.

Image courtesy of Benjamin Savel ’26.

A totally real film critic expertly predicts Oscar winners

Image courtesy of Jordan Alch '26.

JORDAN ALCH | “The Holdovers.” “Poor Things.” “Anatomy of a Fall.” What do all of these have in common? I haven’t seen any of them. Also, they’re up for an Oscar. My roommate Madeleine Nicks wrote a Misc article a few weeks ago about her favorite films of the year. This prompted me to think about what movies I’ve seen this year. I saw “Bottoms” and the end of “Pitch Perfect.” I’ve been thinking about watching the new “Hunger Games” since it came out, so I think that technically counts as watching it. 

Deece discovers takeout container called "your stomach"

BENJAMIN SAVEL | In a statement last week, the Deece announced the availability of a new take-out receptacle that will cut costs by over 200 percent. The container is available to students at no additional charge and can be found between your esophagus and small intestine. 

Image courtesy of Benjamin Savel '26.

OPINIONS

Conservative conspiracy surrounds Swift-Kelce relationship

SUFANA NOORWEZ | ​​As a passionate fan of Taylor Swift, I have been avidly following the saga of the pop star’s relationship with NFL star, Travis Kelce. I feel that I have now grown out of my phase of actually caring about who Swift dates, but this relationship has held my attention for a reason I did not previously expect: It bothers America’s right wing.

Image courtesy of Flickr.

AI-generated photos violate women's privacy

BRITT ANDRADE | Last week, the internet was flooded with sexually explicit, artificial intelligence (AI)-generated photos of Taylor Swift. One image was shared and viewed 47 million times before the user’s account was suspended by X, formerly known as Twitter. In fact, for every account suspended and photo suppressed, dozens more popped up across the internet. Fans of the superstar and lawmakers have latched on to the incident, demanding new legal systems be established to protect victims of sexual harassment and abuse online. However, Swift is not the first to be victimized. She is perhaps the most famous, but the news is already moving on, looking for the next story. The news will not be there to talk about the mental health crisis that Swift may experience. They will not be discussing how vulnerable Swift may be feeling, how unsafe she might be feeling in her own skin. They certainly are not talking about how AI photos are actively ruining women’s lives and that legal protections do not exist in the Wild West of the internet. 

'Barbie' snubs discourse highlights flaws in the feminist movement

Image courtesy of Flickr.

YAKSHA GUMMADAPU | On Jan. 23, the 2024 Oscar nominations were announced via livestream, sparking the annual online snub discourse. I woke up to my entire Instagram Explore page filled with article posts announcing that Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig had not been nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and Directing, respectively, for “Barbie.” I was extremely confused, especially since Ryan Gosling had been nominated for his role as Ken in “Barbie.” But I was also baffled that it took 20 minutes of scrolling to come across an article about Lily Gladstone’s historic nomination for her work in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” making her the first Native American to be nominated in the Best Actress category. And, for curiosity’s sake, I scrolled through the comments on many Oscar snub-related posts to see if anyone had said anything about the phenomenal acting performances from “Past Lives” going unrecognized. As confusion faded, my intrigue grew: Why do certain snubs stand out more than others—sometimes, even more than nominations? 

SPORTS

Women's basketball rides impressive win streak into final stretch of the regular season

NICK VILLAMIL | Every season, collegiate teams aspire to reload, not rebuild. Losing players to graduation is inevitable, and replacing experienced four-year players is always challenging. Losing a coach can pose an even greater challenge. Coaches are meant to be the one constant in a collegiate program. They are supposed to make sure that a standard is maintained. When new leadership arrives, these coaches must instill their own values and collaborate with their new athletes. A program undergoing all of these changes all at once could be reasonably expected to struggle throughout the season.

Field hockey seniors remain active in post season

CARIS LEE | With a new collegiate sports season underway and the fall and winter sports seasons in the books, the athletes who played intensely last semester now have newfound free time during their off-season. During this time, it may seem like these athletes would remain idle, relaxing and relishing in the warm indoors, gaining distance from their teammates and their sport. Instead, athletes—like those of the women’s field hockey team—maintain their fitness and the joy of exercise through other means. Their off-season is an opportunity for them to create their own structure of training, as casual or strict as they would like, so long as they keep moving.

Introducing Brewers Ballin’: McDermed leads team to two wins

NICK VILLAMIL AND CARIS LEE | The Miscellany News Sports section is excited to introduce our new recurring feature: Brewers Ballin’. Our goal is to feature Vassar athletes who starred for their team the week previous to publishing. If you would like to nominate an athlete, please email nvillamil@vassar.edu.

Image courtesy of VCWBB via Instagram.

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