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What we’re reading: Ferguson edition

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Today, BlogDH lends it platform to the coverage of the events in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.

We start with the fundamentals: how was the decision reached? The Washington Post provides insight into the process of how grand juries in Missouri work. If you want to read any of the material that the Grand Jury looked at in the past months, the New York Times has an interactive feature containing the documents released by the county prosecutor.

For coverage of the protests taking place after the decision was announced, the Root does straight reporting on how the police force responded last night in their article “61 Arrested, 10 Businesses Destroyed, 150 Shots Fired.” On the other hand, Mic.com uses 20 photos to portray a much more civilian-centered account of the protests in Ferguson. Spoiler alert: the police force in St. Louis have a very different interpretation of the protests than the civilian protesters do.

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Much of the news coverage is centered around the resulting violent protests. Obama’s address to the nation asked for a peaceful response after the Grand Jury’s decision was released. The Huffington Post contrasts Ferguson with civil unrest around the nation that has nothing to do with politics, such as the scene of wreckage in San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series. In international coverage, Palestinians have been tweeting advice to protesters in the states on how to deal with tear gas.

Moving on from reporting, we look to analyses and media centered responses. FiveThirtyEight details why it is so unusual for a Grand Jury not to indict the accused, except in the case of police officers standing trial. The Root speaks to legal expert and attorney Eric Guster about the possibilities for bringing Darren Wilson up on civil charges, as the past few months have only held deliberations over criminal charges.

Some important opinions articles on the subject of race relations are being recycled due to continuing relevance. In August, Carol Anderson wrote an opinions piece in the Washington Post on why black rage against an unjust system is ruthlessly bashed in the media, while white rage against progress and equality is backed by the courts and the government. The Atlantic just bumped a powerful features piece called “The Case for Reparations: Two hundred and fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”

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Hyphens of Brown: A tale of two names

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“Hello, can I make a reservation for two at 7:00, please?”
“Yes, what’s the name?”
“Kate Storey-Fisher.”
“Okay, Ms. Fisher—“
“Actually, the whole last name is ‘Storey-Fisher.’”
“Oh, sorry about that, Storey. Now—“
“MY LAST NAME IS STOREY-FISHER IT’S HYPHENATED OKAY?!”

I’ve had many conversations that go something like the one above, and I’m sure most other people with hyphenated last names have had similar experiences. Disregarding the fact that I also have to include “and that’s Storey with an ‘e’ and Fisher with no ‘c,’” clarifications that anyone with a last name other than Smith can relate to, many people just don’t seem to grasp the idea or importance of a hyphen.

Hyphenated names are more than just quirks designed to confuse maître d’s; they represent a shift in the long-standing tradition in America and many other parts of the world of passing last names down the patriarchal line. While much change has been made in society towards gender equality, this process of naming lags behind, and hyphenated names are still rare.

Hyphens are a step in the direction of equality, but it can feel like they bring up more issues than they solve. Which parent’s name should come first? What if there is no hyphen to bubble in on a standardized test? What do I do when the name on my license is missing my hyphen and doesn’t match my plane reservation, so I can’t check in for my flight? And of course, what are people with hyphenated names to do when they have children themselves? These are just some of the struggles of being a hyphen-baby (hyphy?).

In an environment like Brown’s, many people are familiar with hyphens and understand their use. But students and professors at Brown with hyphenated names—all united by that unwieldy underscore-hyphen combination in their @brown.edu email addresses—still have their fair share of anecdotes and opinions related to their hyphens. I sent out a call to the people with hyphenated last names in the Brown community and found many who were eager to share their hyphen-stories. Continue Reading


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What we learned at yesterday’s sexual assault lectures

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Last Friday, November 14, President Paxson sent out an email to the Brown community that addressed a number of concerns regarding university sexual assault policy and planning for the future. In particular, she called attention to the Janus Forum event that was to take place the following week, “Valenti/McElroy: How Should Colleges Handle Sexual Assault?” Paxson wrote:

“Some people–including writer Wendy McElroy, who will speak with Jessica Valenti at a Janus Forum event next week–have argued that sexual assault is the work of small numbers of predatory individuals whose behaviors are impervious to the culture and values of their communities. I disagree. Although evidence suggests that a relatively small number of individuals perpetrate sexual assault, extensive research shows that culture and values do matter. Societies that have strong norms against sexual assault have fewer assaults.”

Further, Paxson informed the community of an alternative event to “provide… more research and facts about these important issues.” This lecture, “The Research on Rape Culture,” given by Brown University Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior Lindsay Orchowski, Ph.D., would occur concurrently with the Janus Forum event, but in a different location. By initiating this alternative to the Janus Forum, Paxson made a bold statement to the student body, faculty, and the Brown community: she offered us the option to educate ourselves through a fact-based presentation or to attend a discourse in which two contending speakers posed significantly different solutions to handling sexual assault on college campuses. The events differed in purpose, in lesson, and in nature.

Though both events were videotaped, it was intentionally impossible for any person to attend both. So if you went to one and not the other, or if you missed them altogether, we’ve got you covered. BlogDH sent one writer to the Janus Forum and another to “The Research on Rape Culture.” Here’s what we heard:

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BlogDailyHerald Presents: Brunonia Episode 3, I’m Slightly Shmacked

If you’ve ever wished Brown had its own “I’m Shmacked” video: you’re welcome.

Here’s the third episode of BlogDailyHerald’s webseries Brunonia.


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Avec Meal Plan: The Ratty

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Here’s the deal. If you think the Ratty sucks, you’re just high maintenance. No, it’s not three catered meals given to you on a silver tray by Wolfgang Puck, but if you thought it would be, that’s on you. It’s a college dining hall, and when a single kitchen has to serve three square meals a day in a (theoretically) unlimited quantity to thousands of hungry students, I think it deserves to be cut some slack.

The Ratty is not delicious, but that is as much your fault as the Ratty’s. You clearly just aren’t aware of the options available to you. You are making your Ratty experience sucky when it could be distinctly just alright.

The lunch rush happens around 11:50am and lasts till around 12:45pm since, you know, that’s lunch time. Hate lines? Guess what? Not the Ratty’s fault. Eat a nice breakfast and you’ll be able to hold out until 1. Eat an early lunch and you’ll just have a nice afternoon pre-dinner snack. If you can spend time in the Ratty, you have time to make a perfectly tasty and respectable meal.


Bistro/Chef’s Corner:

These are perhaps the two busiest lines of any eatery on Brown’s campus during the lunch rush, but it also serves the main food options, which can be satisfying or mediocre depending on the day. The Bistro station serves breakfast items through the afternoon, and then it switches to hot entrees and sides. Breakfast for lunch is always a good look, and one frequently unconsidered past noon. You are not better than 1p.m. french toast, and don’t you forget it. Chef’s Corner usually serves alternative entrees, but if Bistro is serving something popular (i.e. chicken fingers), then Chef’s Corner will serve it as well. In any case, checking out both sides is usually a good idea.

Apricot noodles with beef is weird, but damn, snaps for bravery.

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BREAKING: President Paxson has a twin??

At BlogDH, we’re all about doppelgangers. We have a special doppelganger column, and we even welcomed a writer this semester who thinks that he’s Ellen DeGeneres. Thanks to a crucial news tip from a Blog alum, we have found the ultimate doppelganger pair that will shatter everything that you think you knew. We’re not sure how to conduct ourselves.

We have found a set of twins that will soon join the ranks of Mary Kate and Ashley, Tia and Tamera, and the Weasley twins if they haven’t already. We must also disclose that we’re almost positive these two people aren’t actually related. But one can dream.

Are you sitting down? Please do so before you proceed.

Screen shot 2014-11-07 at 1.03.55 PMMeet President Paxson’s twin, or known to most as Amy Klobuchar, a US Senator from Minnesota (D). You recognize her name because you read her book, Uncovering the Dome, in your City Politics class. You might also know her as Minnesota’s funniest senator….or maybe you know her because she is LITERALLY CHRISTINA PAXSON WITH AN ORANGE SCARF.

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