Sextion: What we’re reading


Hey guys!

Now, I know you have plenty of your own school-related reading to do, but take a break from it for a little and read about way more interesting things sex:

You have probably heard someone, likely a woman, described as having “no chill.” In the youth culture of America, “having chill” has become somewhat of a prerequisite in the dating scene. But does “having chill” simply mean that you don’t express your emotions? In her article “Against Chill,” Alana Massey explains the ways in which “Chill” (she capitalizes it in order to make it “a thing”) is actually “a sinister refashioning of ‘Calm down!’ from an enraging and highly gendered command into an admirable attitude.” If you only have time to read one of the articles in this post, pick this one! It made me question and reject a fairly long-held aspect of my dating persona: my “chill.”


The face I made when Massey explained to me that expecting people to be “chill” in relationships is just another instrument of the patriarchy!!

Continue Reading

Pollerbears: What is the quietest space on campus?

Even the freshmen must have figured this out by now: Brown students create quiet study spaces where there are no laws mandating silence, and talk and chew food where signs tell us to do otherwise. As rule-breakers and trendsetters, we don’t care that the Rock’s “Absolute Quiet Room” has a sign prohibiting laptop use or that the Leung Gallery was actually meant to be an upper Blue Room social space. We talk or don’t talk as we please! We type where we want. Except for the Hay; everyone respects the Hay.

Rules no one ever has followed

A photo posted by BlogDailyHerald (@blogdailyherald) on

Particularly laughable is the SciLi’s attempt to tell us what decibel level to speak at in specific areas. I have no idea how many decibels normal speaking voice or whispering is, but I do know that the 00 decibel space is definitely supposed to be quieter than the 75 decibel space. This never happens.

So, we at BlogDH are here to poll the student body on what actually is the quietest space on campus. Silence etiquette is definitely important — it’s basic manners — albeit hard to figure out.

Happy midterms season!

What's the most quiet of Brown's quiet spaces?

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Narragansett Brewing Co. releases the Lovecraft-themed ‘Innsmouth Olde Ale’

Innsmouth Olde Ale

“It was a town of wide extent and dense construction, yet one with a portentous dearth of visible life. From the tangle of chimney-pots scarcely a wisp of smoke came, and the three tall steeples loomed stark and unpainted against the seaward horizon. One of them was crumbling down at the top, and in that and another there were only black gaping holes where clock-dials should have been. The vast huddle of sagging gambrel roofs and peaked gables conveyed with offensive clearness the idea of wormy decay, and as we approached along the now descending road I could see that many roofs had wholly caved in…

Here and there the ruins of wharves jutted out from the shore to end in indeterminate rottenness, those farthest south seeming the most decayed. And far out to sea, despite a high tide, I glimpsed a long, black line scarcely rising above the water yet carrying a suggestion of odd latent malignancy. This, I knew, must be Devil Reef.”

No, it’s not a description of Wickenden Street — it’s the fictional town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, from H.P Lovecraft’s short story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” The tale, in which the protagonist uncovers Innsmouth’s plague of murderous amphibian creatures from the sea, is regularly taken as an allegory for Lovecraft’s thinly veiled racism and xenophobia, extending particularly to issues of interracial marriage and immigration. But that’s all right, because it turns out it’s inspired a beer!

Lovecraft, often called the “Father of Modern Horror,” was born in Providence and spent much of his life here. The ‘Innsmouth Olde Ale’ is the second in the Narragansett Brewing Company’s line of H.P Lovecraft-themed beer, the first of which — the ‘Honey Ale’ — was released in January. The Honey Ale has been off the shelves for some time now, but was recently replaced by the Innsmouth themed brew in liquor stores throughout Rhode Island (and presumably the rest of New England). The line of beers feature artwork from local artists on the cans.

Thus, they’re worth a try, bitter taste of the late author’s rampant intolerance notwithstanding. Where the Honey Ale was “backboned by the combination of five pale malts, open[ing] up with a hint of honey sweetness, then turn[ing] with a herbal hop crescendo and a smooth finish“– according to the Narragansett website — the Olde Ale “draws its balanced, robust, and slightly toasted features from a complex blend of Two-Row Pale, Crystal, Cara, Dark Munich, and Chocolate malts, Chocolate rye and finishes with just a touch of Summer and East Kent Goldings hops.

Narragansett has yet to announce the name of their next Lovecraft-themed beer — ‘Cthulu’s Urine’ seems probable — but in the meantime, local stores will be selling 16 oz tall boys (at 7% ABV, these can be dangerous, so drink responsibly). 

Image via.

Recommended Reading: Silence Once Begun, by Jesse Ball


The most common feature of life at Brown is all of the wonderful free time students have. Now, what to do with all of it? Ha, ha. Ha. Okay, we’re obviously all up to our necks in work, but if any of you are like me, you’re apt to spend some of your precious sober leisure time with a good book. Recommended Reading is a biweekly column in which I’ll tell you what I think is worth reading. If you don’t have the time to sit down and read Moby Dick (You should try to find time, though; it’s great.), don’t worry. The content will include poetry, comics, short stories, and perhaps the occasional essay. If you think I’m a hack and all of my opinions are shallow and boring, feel free to hate-read.

It’s rather unusual for a writer to focus on the meanings conveyed by a lack of language, but Jesse Ball’s novel Silence Once Begun focuses on exactly those vague conveyances of thought. In so doing, he crafts a tale that is both engaging and mysterious, following a crooked path through the tale that is fraught with doubt and ambiguity.

The novel is narrated by Jesse Ball, though how much the character overlaps with the author himself is never entirely clear. When his wife stops speaking to him, Ball journeys to Japan to research the decades-old case known as the Narito Disappearances. The crime in question involved the mysterious vanishings of elderly people who lived alone in the Narito area. The man who signed a confession to the crime, a reserved thread-store worker named Oda Sotatsu. Sotatsu signs the confession after losing a bet to two other people: a man named Sato Kakuzo, and a woman named Jito Joo. But even as he wastes away in prison, Sotatsu never speaks to the police, neither to proclaim his innocence, nor admit his guilt. Continue Reading

Brown as setting for Eugenides story in ‘The New Yorker’

If you’re a reader of ‘The New Yorker,’ especially of the fiction section, then you probably caught the story “Extreme Solitude” in a July issue by Jeffrey Eugenides. Eugenides, who wrote “The Virgin Suicides” and “Middlesex” (which, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend), and an alumni of Brown, uses Brown as the backdrop for this story about two Brown students studying semiotics who fall in love–or something like it. The story is good, and that it’s set at Brown makes it even more interesting and fun for a Brown student to read. Though this story is set during the 80s, maybe it will inspire some of those who are looking for love to sign up for semiotics this fall.

Click here to read Eugenides’s story.