AN APOLOGY TO THE POLITICIZER
The Staff of The Horizon
THE STAFF OF THE HORIZON APOLOGIZES TO THE STAFF OF THE POLITICIZER.
THE POLITICIZER SENDS A MESSAGE TO THE HORIZON
The Politicizer Staff
I speak for the entire staff of the politicizer when I say we will not tolerate this misrepresentation and complete slaughter of all of the morals and ideals that
the politicizer stands for. We held a long meeting today about your “article” and what we think of it and we as a group came to the conclusion that the horizon is trying to make us look foolish and immature and we will not stand for it.
Our first complaint is that you misspelled the names of two of our most important members. Cooper HASKELL and Klay Enos, notice the K!
Secondly, you undermine the seriousness of our club. It may be a humerous magazine, but we take it very seriously and it is not a joke.
Thirdly, you failed to let the editors of the politicizer know about this article and clearly if we had known we would not have approved of it. What should have been
done is we, the editors should have been fully notified about the interview that took place and also about the article about to be published. We never approved of
As you can see we are very upset and here is what we would like to happen:
We would like for this article to be taken off the web immedietly and we would like a formal apology in the next issue of the horizon.
LETTERS TO THE EDITORS
To the Editors
I’d like a personal apology for Meaghan Chen’s slanderous article about the Glen Cove Lanes show which Far From Elysium played @. This is deformation of character.
I apologize for not liking the set which Far From Elysium played. However, I cannot apologize for not liking the type of music which they played. If you notice, it was a review, and not an objective news story. You should be pleased that Far From Elysium got some press. If you have any further complaints with my “slanderous” review, I suggest you speak to my good friend Joe Caciola, the organizer of the show.
MOVIE REVIEW: “SOPHIE SCHOLL: THE FINAL DAYS”: DIRECTED BY MARC ROTHEMUND
Sophie Scholl’s story is one of heroism and the fight for freedom. Members of the White Rose, an underground student resistance group formed during the Nazi regime, Sophie Scholl (Julie Jentsch) and her brother Hans distributed pamphlets at Munich University. These pamphlets went against Hitler’s ideas, drawing attention to what he was doing with the people he considered inferior, and the bloody massacres he was bringing about. These acts of rebellion did not become public knowledge until after the end of World War II, and now director Marc Rothemund has taken it upon himself to create “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” so that the entire world will know.
The movie starts out happily and lightly on February 17th, 1943 with two girls singing along to the radio. However, this is the only scene in which any genuine happiness is shown. The plot develops at a steady pace after this, as the film becomes darker and more emotionally disturbing. During the interrogation of Hans and Sophie after they are arrested, they both deny all charges against them, saying that they had been there to look at a certain department of the university, and they were just leaving when arrested. Eventually though Hans and Sophie confess, and Sophie says she was proud of what she had done.
Because she is a woman, her interrogator Robert Mohr, played by Alexander Held, says that she has one chance to save herself by discarding all her ideals and becoming an honorable German citizen. Instead she asks for a punishment no more lenient than that of her brother. It is only after her unfair trial four days later, where both she and her brother as well as their friend Christopher Probst, who was convicted because of the letter found in Hans’ pocket, that Scholl shows her feelings of desperation about the fact that she is going to die.
From the beginning of the film, Julie Jentsch develops Sophie’s character as a normal woman who has a hard time thinking about her surroundings. Her ideas about freedom and the need for a new government are shown in her attempt to explain them to Mohr, yet he refuses to believe that the execution of the mentally impaired is actually happening, and that it would not matter anyway since they are a drawback to German society. It is obvious by the end of Scholl’s interrogation that she has managed to force Mohr into thinking about whether or not his ideals are actually correct. Yet, Mohr has become a tool of the German government and he no longer thinks for himself.
The acting in the film is so good that the characters actually seem human, instead of instead of symbols of right and wrong. Scholl only cries once, and is not portrayed as a person who believes that she is above others because her ideals oppose the slaughter of those seen as the bane of German society. Scholl is presented as a woman who asks herself whether or not the Nazi government is going about making Germany into a prosperous society in the right way. She creates layers of emotion that slowly peel away as her eventual death gets closer; a looming threat that is known throughout the entire movie.
“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” does not just teach its audience about the life and death of its protagonist, but also about the blossoming of the idea of conviction, and how that can lead to elevated influence. Though Scholl was not able to influence Germany after the fall of the Nazi government, when her interrogations were released, present-day Germany is much more similar to what she believed it should be.
“Sophie Scholl: The Final Days” is no longer playing at BAM, but it is playing at the Film Forum, which is on West Houston. To get there from BHSEC you should walk all the way to the end of Houston St. and turn left onto West Houston or take the F train to West 4th street, then walk towards West Houston. This is a very limited engagement, so it is recommended that all those who wish to see this movie do it very soon. It is worth the time. (German, with English subtitles)
DEATH OF A HOLIDAY
Yeah, that’s right: calendars are wrong. There is no April Fool’s Day.
The original idea for this article was to present a series of witty anecdotes, stories about memorable Fool’s Day pranks. I interviewed at least twenty students, ten family friends, and tons of parents. Yet no one could recall a single gag or joke: no itch powder in gym shorts, no fake vomit on a desk or chair, no cars lent out and totaled. It was clear to me that April Fool’s Day was dead.
How did this happen? It’s a famous holiday immortalized by books and movies, and printed neatly in the corner of your calendar. But lately, kids just haven’t gotten into the Fool’s Day spirit. Maybe it’s because pranks are harder to pull due to security measures. Maybe it’s because kids aren’t awake enough to pull a good joke. Or maybe it’s because a bucketful of fish falling out of your locker actually isn’t that funny.
Most people don’t even realize the importance of April 1st. You wake up and think it’s just another day. Even if you do remember that it is April Fool’s Day, you know pranks will be scarce if there are any at all. In fact, the best joke ever played on me was when a third-grader told me she spilled milk all over her head that morning, which doesn’t even count. I have never heard anyone say “Hey, let me tell you about the awesome trick I’m playing on Sue tomorrow!” or “I cannot believe what John just did to me!”
But I urge you to get back into the Fool’s Day mood! Next year, convince a friend her paper was due yesterday. Place a well-inflated Whoopee Cushion on a random seat. Hand your little brother a bagful of puppy kibble and say it’s Cocoa Puffs. April Fool’s Day is a day to embrace your inner child and be completely and totally juvenile. I know we’re in an early college and we’re supposed to be serious and mature, but everyone needs a little comic relief; everyone needs a little fun.
So please, for the sake of America, bring back April Fool’s Day!
IV’E GOT SPIRIT, HOW ABOUT YOU?
“Did you hear about the game last night?”
Walking through the halls of BHSEC, these words aren’t spoken loudly. As a matter of fact, they’re not spoken at all. Maybe they should be.
Personally, I’ve always associated school spirit with obnoxious cheerleaders and dumb jocks. Going by this definition, it’s easy to see why there isn’t any school spirit at Bard. We don’t have any obnoxious cheerleaders or dumb jocks (which I personally think is a good thing…a very good thing), but missing out on the spirit that usually comes along with Johnny Football and Jane Cheerleader is not.
Recently, I’ve decided that school spirit doesn’t have anything to do with pep rallies or cheerleaders or sports, but with actual pride. Pride in your football team or in your state-champion mathletes. Pride. That’s all you need. We have more than enough to be proud of here at BHSEC. That being said, where’s the school spirit?
I know I said that school spirit doesn’t necessarily have to do with sports, but let’s be honest, what’s a better source of school branded paraphernalia than a good old sports team?
BHSEC Athletic Department sweatshirts have been made available this year for the first time. Also popping up in the hallways are BHSEC Raptors sweatshirts, sported by members of the basketball team. Prior to the appearance of Raptors’ gear, the only visible outpouring of school spirit was associated with the girls’ volleyball team, who like clockwork, showed up to school wearing our school colors on every game day. They made it a tradition of sorts, and that’s what we need.
Although BHSEC is a new school and we don’t have a parade, or wrap the school mascot in duct tape to protect it from rival schools (I’m by no means suggesting that we start wrapping things in duct tape), we should definitely start some traditions. Our current level of tradition and spirit is not set in stone. There is definitely room to build on our rather scarce traditions, and I think we should embrace the opportunity.
The examples of school spirit shown by the athletic teams are a very good start, but aren’t enough. School spirit is a group activity, one that requires more than a dozen people, one that is open to all students, not just the athletes.
While it has been argued that school shouldn’t be fun, I don’t think this is necessarily true. School shouldn’t be a nonstop party, but it doesn’t have to be void of all things amusing. In addition to fostering a sense of community, spirit in general is uplifting, which I think is something that we sorely need; given the amount of work we receive on a weekly basis.
So full steam ahead with rah-rah-sis-boom-bah and all that jazz. I’ll be walking around in my BHSEC sweatshirt. So if you feel up to it or if you just need a surge of pep, I urge you to do the same.
I’ve got spirit, yes I do. I’ve got spirit. How about you?
WHAT THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS BROUGHT FOR LUNCH
I admit to taking certain liberties with this title. The picture book “The Paper Bag Princess” really deals with a Princess whose castle is attacked by a dragon and all she has to wear is a paper bag…but this is beside the point.
I, unfortunately, am among the student population that is not blessed with a consistent (or, rather, present) lunch period on a daily basis. Therefore, to satiate myself, I have learned to sneakily munch during classes — never leaving crumbs or a mess, naturally. Even for those of us who have the opportunity to leave class and eat lunch leisurely, I believe that the following suggestions may prove useful.
First off, take small bits of food. This is ideal for eating surreptitiously in class. Some foods in this category include nuts, grapes, and little veggies (such as baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and string beans. I caution against fruits besides grapes because they tend to be juicy and messy).
As for entrees, I never take those Hot-Cold thermal bags to keep food at a constant temperature, and I only take thermoses when I’m sick and can’t eat anything else. I will stick with foods that work in the context of brown paper/plastic bags. Fish and meats tend to be a problem, as there is no way to guarantee that room temperature will be conducive to their freshness. Canned fish might stay, but that is definitely not something you can munch on in class when you don’t have a lunch period. The squashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich in tinfoil also repulses me, and perhaps you feel the same way.
Therefore, I recommend foods that are aesthetically pleasing, inconspicuous, and do not require a complicated mode of transport. A very simple sandwich involves your favorite kind of cheese, lettuce (PLEASE not iceberg), tomato, and avocado. Avocado helps you take in even more nutrients from everything else that you eat, and the cheese is a healthy dairy in its own right. If you go for a creamier cheese, such as brie or goat cheese (not cream cheese), then you can eliminate the need for any condiments. To avoid the squash factor, use strong breads — such as whole wheat with little grains in it, or hard baguette-like bread — and wrap it in several layers of tinfoil.
Another suggestion for those of you who don’t like sandwiches would be some kind of pasta salad. This is easily transported in a plastic Tupperware container. One example of this kind of lunch is tortellini. This can be bought in frozen packages, which come to life after being boiled in water. Make a box of tortellini over the weekend and stow it in the fridge. When you want to take it to school, put it in a Tupperware container with some olive oil, salt, cherry tomatoes, and some mozzarella cheese (optional). This is not for messy eaters, as the ensuing olive oil mess creates problems for the unprepared.
Any of the breakfast tips that I gave in a previous article would work for lunch as well (as long as lunch is not in lieu of breakfast). I feel obliged, however, to provide a more appealing version of the classic peanut butter and jelly before I conclude this segment.
PB and J Chips: Slide some pita wedges into the oven for about 5 minutes at 350 degrees. Put PB and J between the crisp pitas, and PB and J chips are born! The risk factor is crumbs, but this can be avoided if you don’t fling them around too much.
PB and J Twists: Put PB and J on malleable bread, and roll it up into little tubes. Cut the tubes in thirds so that you have little swirls of sandwiches. My best recommendation would be to experiment with different kinds of jellies. There is not only grape jelly (apricot is also good), and jam works nicely as well.
I hope that these alternatives to Blue Truck cuisine will be well-received by the BHSEC populace, and, as always, failed attempts, recipe ideas, and complaints about crumbs should be sent to the editors. Be sure to read the next installment, ideas for great food for parties (thinking outside the pizza box).
THE POLICIES OF THE POLITICIZERS
As everyone knows, it is not a hard thing to start a club at Bard. Get a few dependable students, a teacher to “overlook” the activities, and do your thing. We have a wide assortment of clubs, the Step Team, the Model UN, the Food Lovers Forum, and of course the Horizon. Yet one of the most unique and baffling organizations at our school is the Politicizers.
Comprised mainly of 10th graders, the paper’s staff includes Camilo Burr, Tzvi Prochnik, Christian Gaffney, Cooper Haskell, Jackson Lynch, and Max Marinoff (Year 1). The group started out with its current editors, Cooper and Christian, yet later grew to its now regular half dozen members.
Just as with everything else having to do with the Politicizers, the name itself contains a degree of irony, as the club is hardly political. The first and only issue included articles about people from Bard, and poked fun at teachers. Articles also discussed various things in our neighborhood (there was a whole piece on the park neighboring Avenue B). Also featured was an article describing 101 ways to use a straw. Even though they plan on branching out and covering other topics besides school life, they “will never run out of stuff on Bard,” says Tzvi.
One might ask how did this club come about? “We had a bunch of stupid ideas…to start a magazine that poked fun at everything,” says resident “spy” Camilo Burr. The group got together and drew up a slew of ideas, bringing on Dr. Mak as a supporter. Yet the beginning did not run as smoothly as they had planned, especially when they had to cut out a lot of their initial articles due to “inappropriateness.” Impropriety aside, one can say that this club has a lot to offer. Anyone who flips through the last issue can agree on the acerbic and sarcastic mood of the Politicizers. From the many “very controversial” phrases to inquiring about a certain student’s afro in an interview, there are a lot of inside jokes in the articles.
The satirical qualities, along with the comical aspects of the paper, help boosts its popularity among the student body. The club members say they “planned to be sarcastic.” The first issue drew its power from its relaxed but funny style, as well as from the wide range of articles. Randomness played a large role, as did the complimentary straw stuck in between the pages. One piece, written by Year 1 Stephen Bonnett was so biting that it rivaled “A Modest Proposal” in sarcasm.
For the next issue, the members plan a teacher’s edition, making fun of all of the faculty and that “crazy math tutor.” The members say that there are also going to be regular columns, such as Klay’s Corner. According to the staff, “whatever Klay wants to write about, he’ll write it.” For that matter, it is obvious that whatever the Politicizers will write about whatever they want to write about.
THE MAIL: FROM THE COLLECTION BOX TO YOUR HOME
I’m sure that at some point we have all been confused about why the mail hasn’t come yet, or why it has come so late. When we ask these questions, we never consider how much must be done before our mail is placed in our mailboxes.
There are about 20,000 people working for the postal service in the five boroughs of New York City. They only send and sort about ten percent of the mail. Machines do most of the work, which gives you an idea of how much sorting must really be done. Every borough has local branch offices, but only one processing center.
The mail is picked up by the mailman, where he/she brings it by van to the local branch. There it is loaded into a seven-ton truck which delivers the mail to one of the processing centers. The mail is then dumped onto conveyer belts that sort out thick or oversized mail from the letters.
Letters are sent to the “advanced facer-canceling machine” which cancels the stamps, and separates the mail into handwritten, typed, or “previously bar-coded by the customer.” These three categories of mail are separated and transferred once again to different machines. The handwritten and typed letters are put in a “character reader” machine which stamps a nine-digit bar code on the mail. These “character reading” machines can bar code up to 13 pieces of mail per second.
The mail that has now been bar-coded is sent to yet another machine, which reads the bar codes and separates the mail by zip code. Finally, all this bar-coded mail is loaded into a van which brings the mail to another bar-code machine. The mail is put into carts, and is then safely delivered to our doors.
It’s amazing that all of this can be done so quickly and accurately; and this is only the easy mail. So the next time your mail’s a little dirty or crinkled at the edges, just remember the trip it went through to get to you.
BRING THE LOUNGE BACK
At a recent Horizon meeting it was noted that one of the most widely read articles from the most recent issue was “Study Munchies” by Elizabeth Goldfarb, a column containing easy recipes for study-smart and heart-healthy foods such as homemade pita chips and “sun tea.” In the preceding issue one of the most popular articles was Tim Casey’s delightful, step-by-step master class in the art of popcorn making. The popularity of these articles tells us something that perhaps our stomachs have already tried to grumble in our ears to no avail: we are hungry.
And why shouldn’t we be? We are teenagers, living out the best metabolic years of our lives with long days that start early and end late. We starve ourselves during classes to stem the spread of cockroaches and mice and sometimes we sacrifice filling our tummies for cramming our heads full of equations, declensions and conjugations.
Lunch itself can be an ordeal. Thanks to numbskull urban planners who decided to build housing developments with no potential for commercial growth in the name of psuedo-suburban green lawns, the closest food to Bard is the much loved blue truck, which supplies the basic street vendor hallmarks hotdogs and soda. But when stale candy and square knishes just don’t cut it, you are forced to venture out into the world of Avenue D, where greasy chicken and not quite mediocre Chinese food await you. To find good, wholesome food, one must journey to Avenue C, a twenty minute round trip pilgrimage. So what is to be done? Simple, bring the Lounge back.
For the few weeks in which the Lounge was in operation, it was an enormous success. On many occasions there was little left to sell by the end of the school day, and hundreds of dollars had been taken in. A simple core menu of sandwiches, Cup Noodles, sweets, fruit and hot and cold beverages was all that was available, but it was enough. Students were even willing to pay what some thought to be inflated prices (the Lounge was after all a fundraiser for the Year II trip). This suggests that the Lounge would be a profitable venture if it reopened.
The key to the Lounge’s success, of course, was the easy location; students could buy what they wanted when they wanted it. Easy and quick access to food is even more important now that the school day has been condensed, with five minute intervals between classes. Sprints to the blue truck during ten minute breaks used to be possible, albeit hurried. Now those days are gone, which is especially bad news for those unfortunate students who don’t have lunch periods on certain days.
The main obstacles to the Lounge’s revival are the logistics. Pleasant as it was to walk across from the library and chow down, the original Lounge invaded the College Transfer office. The faculty in this office would probably not like having a never ending throng of eating, talking students in their workspace. Perhaps a lightly used classroom could serve the purpose, although this would mean that the Lounge would have to work around scheduled classes. There is also the question of staffing. It could become a club of sorts, perhaps with incentives for members. The other possibility is to use the proceeds to hire a part time operator.
These are questions that would have to be reviewed by the administration, and they could be sorted out once it is clear that people support bringing back the Lounge. For now, just think about it as a possibility. Of course, there are other options such as bringing lunch from home or the cafeteria, but based on the popularity of the short lived Lounge, it is likely that people are still hungry and would like nothing more than to have the Lounge back.
Jonathan M. Mottola Loonam
I love the Oscars. I mean, I really love the Oscars. For days leading up to the ceremony, I obsess over them. I think the Oscars are important. I think it’s important, culturally, to recognize and award films for their artistic achievement, and in an ideal world, that would be easy.
There are a lot of reasons why the Oscars don’t work. For one thing, the idea of a “Best Picture” or “Best Director” of the year is kind of impossible. Technically that means they’re putting Dodgeball and Saving Private Ryan in the same category. And let’s face it slapstick comedies like Shallow Hal for instance, don’t usually beat out more serious films like Schindler’s List. But the problem is, shouldn’t the movies that are more successful at the box office technically be the best movies? If they weren’t good, why would people go see them? It couldn’t only be that major production studios have more money then smaller studios and can pay for tons of trailers and previews, commercials, and movie posters. If more people are going to see the movies that star major celebrities, and are directed by major directors, aren’t those the better movies?
For example, in 1997 Titanic definitely should have won Best Picture. Poor Kate Winslet even wore diapers for her underwater scenes. The Best Picture should also win for editing, art direction, cinematography, and directing. It only makes sense.
Warner Brothers, Paramount and Fox were confident in the fact that, no matter what, as long as they put major money into their movies, they could bring home the gold. That is, until a lesser known film trilogy came along, Lord of the Rings. In 2001, Fellowship of the Rings won all the awards that movies like Lord of the Rings are supposed to win, you know, makeup, original score, visual effects, etc. etc. In 2002, The Two Towers took home the measly visual effects award, and sound editing. Things were good. The people were satisfied, the Academy was satisfied, Hollywood was satisfied, the hobbits weren’t satisfied, but who cares about them?
And then came 2003. The infamous 76th Annual Academy Awards, known simply as “the year that Lord of the Rings won everything”. It’s talked about even today, two Oscars later. The Academy didn’t know what hit them. They didn’t know just how suicidal it was to give a film (granted, a pretty good film) about a wizard and his super-cool adventures in the mystical land of Middle-Hell an award. We could handle giving Best Animated Feature to Nemo instead of the brilliant Triplets of Belleville. We could deal with Master and Commander getting Cinematography. We could even handle giving Lord of the Rings best adapted screenplay over American Splendor (though that one was hard to deal with). But, come on! Lord of the Rings? Lord of the Rings? We all knew what was going to happen! Like you thought they wouldn’t destroy the ring?
The Academy knew that this was the end. The glory years were over, the trust was broken, and it could never be repaired. The Academy knew that big changes were going to have to be made for 2004. So, they turned hip and cool and freaked us out. Morgan Freeman got an Oscar he should’ve gotten years ago, Hilary Swank won for best display of lower back, and when she got up to accept her award, the PA system announced that she was the “first actress to accept an award for playing a female boxer”. Which is essentially the equivalent of saying Catalina Sandino Moreno was the first actress to be nominated for playing a drug smuggler from Mexico, which is essentially, meaningless. Cate Blanchett won a deserved award for her Katherine Hepburn imitation. And of course, the inevitable, Jamie Foxx won an award for his superb phoniness. The fact that Ray even got a nomination for Best Picture is absolutely outrageous, mainly because the movie wasn’t even finished, and it closed with a Power Point Presentation of Ray Charles album covers.
The Academy had tried so hard to be new, to be different, to be young and hip. They did all they could. They allowed Scarlett Johansson, the indie it-girl of the moment, to present awards. They shortened acceptance speeches. They radically gave people awards in the middle of the aisle, instead of giving them the courtesy of being allowed to come up on stage. They picked family favorites like Jamie Foxx and The Incredibles. And when it got down to Best Picture, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wasn’t even nominated, and Sideways didn’t win, which is just a sin. Frankly, the Oscars were embarrassing.
But if you’re going to give them a second chance, why not a third chance?
The 78th Annual Academy Awards, which just passed, was revolutionary in a lot of ways. Not so much because of the of the gay thing, or the race thing, but because the films nominated for Best Picture, the films nominated overall, were smaller, more thought-provoking, more culturally important films than those nominated in the past. King Kong won the Visual Effects Award, which it deserved, but that’s it, despite its huge box office numbers. War of the Worlds, a star-studded film with Steven Spielberg backing it, was barely considered, and Star Wars didn’t even win the Makeup award.
But the Academy still managed to deviously strategize their awards system anyway. For instance, they didn’t nominate Terrence Howard for Best Supporting Actor for Crash, they only nominated him for Best Actor for Hustle & Flow. Therefore, he wouldn’t have to be nominated along with Matt Dillon. They placed him against the impossible to defeat Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger. Paul Giamatti or Jake Gyllenhal should have won Best Supporting Actor, but because George Clooney wasn’t going to win Best Director, Best Picture, or Best Original Screenplay, they gave him the less-deserved Best Supporting Actor award.
The Best Actress award was even more of a debacle. There’s a reason why Dame Judi Dench is called Dame Judi Dench; she is one of the best actresses of all time, and by all rights she should have won Best Actress. But until she’s dead she’ll keep winning Oscars and other awards, so the Academy couldn’t give her Best Actress. Charlize Theron and Keira Knightley deserve to be smothered, more than they deserve Oscars, and so the Academy was left with Felicity Huffman and Reese Witherspoon. Let’s face the facts; even if Reese Witherspoon was more enjoyable to watch, she was essentially playing herself. Felicity Huffman not only had the huge acting challenge of playing a born again Christian cross-dresser, she managed in the meantime to shatter her reputation as a Desperate Housewives mom and show everyone that, not only is she married to William H. Macy, but she’s an amazing performer (and stylish to boot). So basically, there should’ve been no way for Reese Witherspoon to win, but she did. And, her acceptance speech was the most embarrassing moment of the night.
The Screenplay awards should have been easy. Brokeback Mountain definitely deserved Best Adapted Screenplay, which it got. Good Night and Good Luck should have gotten Best Original Screenplay, especially over the idiotic Crash. Best Director was obviously Ang Lee. I mean, the Academy can be messed up, but they aren’t that messed up. Now, on to Best Picture.
It was obvious that Brokeback Mountain (regardless of whether or not it deserved to win, although it did) wasn’t going to win. Everyone thought Brokeback Mountain was going to win, or at least, everyone thought everyone thought Brokeback Mountain was going to win, so the Academy couldn’t give it the award because hey, that would make them predictable. It couldn’t go to Good Night and Good Luck, because (regardless of its being an amazing film) it made very little money and wasn’t shown in a lot of theaters. Munich wasn’t going to win because it simply didn’t get many good reviews, and it wasn’t an Oscar winning kind of movie. Now, Capote definitely should have won. It got amazing reviews, everyone loved it, and it was just controversial enough to make no one happy and no one upset. But the Academy proved to be as dumb as they look.
Why did they choose Crash? The answer is easy, it was the family favorite, the movie that was “hard” and “moving” without being hard or moving. It was a movie without a villain, it was a movie about L.A., it was a movie that gave people an excuse, a million excuses rather, for being racist. It attacked everyone, but no one. It displayed no real human emotion, only over-the-top, extreme situations and emotions, and then, it showed us that those emotions were meaningless It was a dumb, dumb, dumb movie. And I’m being nice.
But the sad part is we need them. We need the Academy. Why?
Because every once and a while a deserving movie does win an award, because movie-makers around the world create their art because they aspire to walk the red carpet, because humans need a hierarchy, a reward system to make us happy. In the end, everyone loves the Oscars. They aren’t perfect, but they’re great. In the end, the Oscars are like the movies they end up awarding: they’re silly. In fact, the Oscars are just like Crash. It makes no sense, it has no point, it gives everyone false hope, and at the end, Ludacris unleashes a bunch of illegal aliens into the streets of L.A.
MOVIE REVIEW: “THANK YOU FOR SMOKING” DIRECTED BY JASON REITMAN
“Thank You For Smoking” is a satirical work guaranteed to elicit smiles, sighs and satisfied smirks. The protagonist of the film, Nick Naylor (played flawlessly by Aaron Eckhart), is a clever, witty and morally ambiguous tobacco lobbyist. Naylor is paid by the tobacco industry to argue that cigarettes are not harmful, or more accurately, that there are things more harmful than cigarettes. He is able to put a spin on any subject so well that the viewer sometimes needs to stop and figure out why they ever believed in some of their firmest philosophies.
Eckhart has not acted in dozens of films or achieved universal fame, but the projects he has been involved with are all high-quality. For instance, he was a strong asset to the powerful film, “Erin Brockovich,” a comedic addition to a couple of “Frasier” episodes, and a dependable actor in “Possession,” where talent was scarce.
The remaining cast members were also well-chosen. Robert Duvall, William H. Macy, Rob Lowe, J.K. Simmons, and Adam Brody are among the bevy of talented actors in the movie, each of whom contributes a character interesting and quirky enough to make the ten dollars spent at the box office appear more worthwhile. In fact, the majority of the actors in “Thank You For Smoking” are so good that it almost makes the viewer wonder if the director, Jason Reitman, had to do anything besides hold the camera.
For a movie that on the surface seems only to provide its viewers with some laughs, I found it to also be surprisingly thought-provoking. It was appealing to see a humorous, sarcastic side to a subject that is typically colored by tragic stories of cancer and filled with anti-tobacco propaganda. It is refreshing to hear a perspective not often touched upon, since the ever-looming need to be politically correct prevents us from knowing why anyone is driven to a career similar to Naylor’s. If you have ever contemplated how a person who makes a living out of obscuring the truth can bear being in his or her own skin, “Thank You For Smoking” is a good way to spend a rainy afternoon.
BHSEC MODEL UN CLUB TAKES HOME MULTIPLE AWARDS
Every Wednesday twenty students file into Ms. Poreba’s room and transform themselves from teenagers into United Nations delegates. The Model United Nations (MUN) is an international organization in which students take on the roles of United Nations delegates and debate the issues that the UN currently deals with.
During the weekend of March 3, BHSEC’s MUN delegation participated in a Model United Nations Conference (MUNC) hosted by Stuyvesant High School. The purpose of a MUN Conference is to form mock resolutions for the situations under discussion, which in this conference varied from land tenure reform to sex crimes in Sudan. Such resolutions do not play a role in the actual United Nations, but they give purpose to a long weekend of discussion and teach students about world issues. At this conference BHSEC students represented such countries as Angola, Bolivia, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Haiti, South Africa, and even the Chinese Politburo.
To add an element of competition, three awards, Honorable Mentions, Outstanding Delegates, and Best Delegates are given. The Best Delegate awards are handed out in the form of gavels, which are also used during the simulated conferences. BHSEC won four gavels at the Stuyvesant conference, more than any other school attending the conference. The gavels were won by Raphael Sorcio, Sylvia Mendez, Alex Tatarsky, and Hannah Ensler-Rivel.
According to MUN Delegate Raphael Sorcio, “It feels good to represent Bard. Nobody else at the conference was prepared, and I realized how the BHSEC students are much more mature.” He added that the MUN opens his eyes to current events and helps him realize his own potential. He also expressed concern about BHSEC’s atmosphere, saying that he sensed an indifference to current events and advocated that MUN be offered as a course.
MUN Under-Secretary General Hannah Ensler-Rivel says that it was “a rewarding experience, especially since we’re a relatively new club. We’ve worked hard to get where we are now.”
Secretary General Sylvia Mendez, upon being asked if she was surprised at the success of the club said, “I wasn’t really surprised, because everyone is well-spoken.” She noted that the emphasis on discussion at BHSEC, especially in Seminars, helped prepare delegates for the conference.
The BHSEC MUN was formed in 2003, and has since expanded greatly. The club has become better organized and its membership is steadily increasing. Initially, there were ten participating members, but that number has grown to eighteen, and includes students from three of the four grades at BHSEC.
From March 30 – April 2, the MUN members will be going to Washington, D.C., for WA-MUNC, held at George Washington University. This is their first trip to an out-of-state conference, and the club has worked hard to raise money to fund this trip by making and selling scarves, and from generous donations.