Tagged: America

What I Missed Most About Boston Over Thanksgiving Break

By Sabrina Katz, Staff Writer
@sabrina_katz

The grass is always greener on the other side./PHOTO VIA Flickr user araza123

After spending three months working at BU, I was more than ready to take a break. I was so excited to go back to Texas for a week that I never realized how much I would miss Boston, the place that had grown to be my new home.

Sure, by going to Houston I’d get to meet up with old friends, see my family, and visit the amazing Galleria (twice!), but by the end of the break I was pleased to return to school and get back to studying.

My little trip brought to mind all the things that Boston has offered me and showed what I truly miss the most about Beantown.

1. The T – Getting behind the wheel was a huge treat during my few days back home. But one thing I really disliked was always having to find a darn parking spot. Public transportation is basically nonexistent in Houston, so going to the shopping center a few miles away meant getting in the car, driving over there, and searching endlessly for the closest parking spot which was two lots over.

2. Having every type of cereal I could want whenever I wanted it – While sitting at home one afternoon, I began craving a huge bowl of Cinnamon Chex and Sargent Choice granola (if I could buy it by the box, I totally would). Unfortunately, the only cereal in my house was off-brand Honeycombs and my dad’s cheerios. But hey, I love cooking so I can’t really complain.

3. Being in the same vicinity as all my friends – If you didn’t know, Houston is one of the largest cities in America, with a circumference of about 60 miles. With friends from all over the place, it’s hard finding a good time to see a buddy who lives 20 minutes away. Here at school, if I want to meet up with someone, they’re just a quick text away. And if you’re one of those lucky souls whose house is down the street from their best friend’s, I tip my hat.

Over the break, my dad brought up an old saying: “the grass is always greener on the other side”, meaning you may not always be happy with what you have. But being away from school has made me those things more, so that when I got back it felt that much better.

But you know, I really wouldn’t mind going to Houston right now so I could wear my sundress and sandals and enjoy the 79 degree weather…

Die Antwoord: Bizarre With A Purpose

By Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Staff Writer
@bufoodist

Die Antwoord is a force to be reckoned with./PHOTO VIA Flickr user Kris Krug

When Lady Gaga decided to tour South Africa in 2012, she landed on an opening act she thought would be appropriate for the area: Die Antwoord. Die Antwoord was a somewhat-successful local rap group with a “similar” bizarre image.

Die Antwoord disagreed. In response to her offer, they released an acidic response video where a lion eats a meat-dress-wearing Lady Gaga (Lady Gaga wore a dress completely made of meat to the 2010 VMA’s). But more importantly, front-woman Yo-Landi Vi$$er shed important light on the blatant privilege and appropriation of Lady Gaga in general.

Adorned in blackface, Yo-Landi wore yellow eyes with dollar signs pupils and berated the pop artist for assuming they would jump at the privilege to perform with her. In her Afrikaans-English fusion of a language, she talks about her upbringing as an impoverished child in South Africa and the hypocrisy in her newfound attention as a wealthy, “profitable” rapper. “I used 2 beg borrow or steal jus 2 hustle sumfing 2 eat,” Yo-Landi spits, juxtaposed next to a woman dressed in food she’s wearing just for the couture of eccentricity.

Die Antwoord offers a new, postmodern rap that captures various manifestations of poverty in South Africa with a sense of humor and social message, either intentional or not. For instance, the song “I Fink U Freaky,” at first glance, simply celebrates deviancy. The video, however, presents an aesthetic with primal elements and, again, a representation of poverty and despondence that makes you wonder what kind of world these artists came from. In another song, “Baby’s on Fire,” Yo-Landi and her rap partner, Ninja, play brother and sister in a classic lower-class white neighborhood; together, they shed a light on sexism, objectification and racism within these environments and a desperate conceptualization of ‘luxury,’ from Ninja watching girls fight in a plastic kiddie pool to Yo-Landi gasping at a gift from a male guest: a doll version of herself.

Part of what makes Yo-Landi such an interesting rap artist is her almost self-parodying over sexualized child-like presentation. Yo-Landi regularly wears crop tops and shorts in bright pastels, pigtails, and sneakers. That is, until you hear her rap. In that Micky Mouse voice, Yo-Landi spits harsh, violent rhymes that demand you see her as a force to be reckoned with. Not to mention, Yo-Landi’s almost-bowl-cut and invisible eyebrows make her seem just a bit too strange to be “heterosexy.”

So, you can see why the two would be so offended by Lady Gaga’s claim of similarity. For Lady Gaga, deviance is chic, upper-class or “special.” Die Antwoord earned its aberrancy from seeing it, living it, in all its glory and horror. Although South Africa is a world away, American fans can learn to be a little more open-minded with a dose of Yo-Landi.

Check out some of Die Antwoord’s work here and here.

VodkaGinTequilaRum

By Amira Francis, Staff Writer
@Mircatfrancis

Your college drinking habits could set the stage for the rest of your life.

Your college drinking habits could set the stage for the rest of your life/IMAGE VIA nutritionistics.wordpress.com

Let’s talk alcohol. Sitting in my room, shuffling through article after article on the Internet, I stumble upon a title that shouts the name of my home-away-from-home: “Boston again ranked America’s drunkest city.” 

Drinking. The never-ending quarrel between you and your parents. The  passionate debate between two parties who both feel their ideal regulations must be implemented.  The activity that occupies many a college students’ weekend nights.

After developing a few questions about college drinking culture, I consulted Archie Brodsky. Brodsky is an alcohol specialist who has co-authored several books, including Love and Addiction and The Truth About Addiction and Recovery.

Though drinking is often dismissed as innocent and casual it can also be very damaging.

“America has always had an uneasy relationship with intoxicating substances. In the United States unfortunately, the Northern European model has predominated over the Southern European and Asian model of more sensible drinking and viewing alcohol as one of life’s mild pleasures that may lubricate social interactions, but not something that should be allowed to get out of hand. If we had adapted the latter, we would be better off,” Brodsky said.

What exactly is the Northern European model, you ask? It’s something called a Temperance approach – regulatory actions and attitudes that urge less drinking and promote the idea that drinking is bad. This, however, can actually be detrimental to society in terms of alcohol abuse.

“The cultural attitudes that lead to abusive drinking or abstinence are an all-or-none attitude towards alcohol. People are taken up with the view of alcohol as this all-powerful substance that can just take over your mind and control your behavior.

Now, people may see that in a positive way, that they’re looking for some kind of oblivion or looking for some kind of potion that gives them power in life, and enables them to feel as if they are great, as if they are all-powerful, and naturally if people feel that way or are looking for some kind of escape, like regularly drowning their sorrows, then they get into a cycle where they drink more and more, in seeking this escape or oblivion, and they become addicted,” Brodsky said.

This type of drinking is often reflected in college life. Admit it, you probably don’t look at drinking as a health benefit. As a college student, it’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in looking forward to the weekend because that’s when you’re going to get “wasted.” That’s when you can finally relax and lose control.

However, these drinking behaviors can easily lead to binge drinking.

“If anything, student binge drinking should show you that we don’t have very healthy or health-promoting views of alcohol. We don’t have ways of teaching young people about drinking that promote responsible behavior, responsible drinking. And instead, what you have is a peer group culture that has developed its own norms of binge drinking.”

So this leaves us pretty close to where we started. Drinking can be good or bad depending on how you approach it. We all know the potential dangers associated with drinking – domestic abuse, drunk driving, violence, crime. Being fully aware of how Americans approach drinking, and the consequences can make us more responsible in the present and in the future.