Should Hewitt go Trayless?

       I’m sure most of us (if not all of us) can remember countless times of walking to a table in Hewitt Dining Hall with a tray heaped with two plates full of entrees, one bowl of soup, a plate of dessert, a small bowl of salad, fruit, and a cup of juice our first year. We may also remember pushing aside some food we decided we didn’t like and getting up to get seconds and thirds. Ok, so maybe this only happened on those very hungry days when we were so busy we forgot to eat, but the point is that lots of food has been wasted. Could trays be the reason many of us have wasted lots of food and water?
      Many colleges around the nation have gone trayless. Yes, it’s a hassle to get up each time you want something else to eat and the lines might be a little longer, but then you might only go for food you really are going to eat. Less dishes and no trays would be washed, which would save water. Pounds of food would not go to waste. Can this be a green initiative that Barnard can take on?
      Read the article to find out more: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/nyregion/29tray.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

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Battle of the Lectures

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As many of you may know, next Monday, May 4 at 8:00pm, Columbia will be host to two very different speakers. On the right we have Ann Coulter: social and political commentator, author, and die-hard republican. On the left we have Kate Bornstein: author, performing artist, gender theorist and BDSM expert. Invited on to campus by the College Republicans and the Columbia Conservative Forum, Coulter will be promoting her book, “Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America”. Her latest work seeks to prove that liberals, who claim to be victimized by a ruthless republican machine of death, are in fact doing extensive damage to society and to themselves. She points an especially accusatory finger at single mothers, who cause irreparable harm to their children, who, in turn, disproportionately end up in prison. Conversio Virium, the student run, city-wide BDSM group on campus, invited Kate Bornstein to talk about her newest book, “Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws”, which promotes alternatives to suicide for all those contemporary outlaws who fall between the cracks of social normalcy. Her talk is scheduled for 9:00pm the same day, preceded by an 8:00 potluck dinner.

Are these two (in)famous figures aware of the other’s looming presence? In response to the overlapping booking, Bornstein’s twitter reads: “For the life of me I cannot fathom Ms Ann Coulter’s appeal to anyone. She is like a drag queen in reverse”. I don’t know if Coulter has responded, but as you can imagine Coulter’s potential presence on campus has created quite the hullabaloo among the queers. Nevertheless, Coulter will certainly produce the more high-profile event, as is the nature of controversy. And if anyone knows how to create a media frenzy, it’s Ann Coulter.

All I’m saying is that if Coulter and Bornstein got into a fight, Bornstein would win. Be sure to hit up at least one of these lectures.

That’s What’s Up There. Married Gay People.

Most of you have probably seen the National Organization for Marriage’s ridiculous ad called “The Gathering Storm”, which is just generally really stupid and nonsensical. Plenty has been said about this ad, and the response has been comforting. It actually took me a while to find the original ad on YouTube, because the internet has been flooded by parodies.  So, instead of writing an analysis of everything wrong with the ad, I just want to leave you with my favorite parody thus far, from Funny or Die.

Edit: Embedding is not working, so if you want to watch it, click here.

Happy Earth Day!

To celebrate the planet which we inhabit, Barnard launches its new Sustainability website, or “Barnard Growing Greener”. I really dig this clean, new design that Barnard’s got going on (pat yourself on the back, Communications). More importantly, the sustainability website has a great set of resources for students who are interested in all different levels of involvement. You can just learn more about what Barnard is doing to stay green, or explore career opportunities in the field! My personal favorite is the “What You Can Do” page, which has not only green tips for everyday living, but also a little sidebar with sections like “Calculate your carbon footprint” and “Guide to Greeen Computing”. Lastly, there’s a part in “Student Initiatives” that gives a shout out to the Eco-Reps, our longtime collaborators!

Yep, green is definitely beautiful, but let’s try to make sure that this movement doesn’t just become a fad, okay, everyone?

Claire’s Pulled Ad

A recent attempt by a business called Claire’s to attack underage drinking was the following ad, claiming that drinking would lead to prison…which, essentially, would make one a gay prison bitch:

The add has since been pulled, but I am surprised it hasn’t made a bigger stir. For starters, “Queen” is a complicated term within the queer community. Some use it proudly, but when used derisively it implies that being feminine and possibly a gay man is a bad thing. This alone should have made the ad controversial. My biggest problem with it, however, is something that I have noticed a lot in mainstream culture, which I think is not nearly discussed enough by the queer OR feminist communities: using prison rape as the…”butt” of jokes (oh my god I’m sorry that isn’t funny).

In our culture, there seems to be an idea that prison rape is funny and somehow acceptable, just because the victims have committed a crime in order to be imprisoned. While Television shows such as “Bad Girls” and “Oz” have portrayed the seriousness of this issue, jokes about “dropping the soap” are commonplace, and people even vindictively rejoice in the fact that a criminal may end up being “punished” for his or her crimes by other inmates, as well as the government.

I don’t mean to imply that jokes about prison rape are more offensive than other jokes, the problem is that prison rape is automatically treated as a joke, even though it is incredibly wide spread and often goes unreported. Additionally, Just Detention International reports that “inmates who are gay, transgender, young, mentally ill, or incarcerated for the first time and for non-violent offenses are at highest risk.” The trauma of this rape–often leading to suicide–can be accompanied by diseases and other physical problems. Clearly, prison rape is not a joke.

Claire’s may not have said “Don’t drink or you’ll go to prison and get raped, ya big queer”, but the media needs to start taking the issue of prison rape more seriously. More than that, feminists, queer activisits, and EVERYONE ELSE on the outside needs to start taking a more pressing interest in this serious issue.

BREAKING! The blond polemicist, aka Ann Coulter, is coming to Columbia

This in from Bwog:

Coulter is being brought by the Columbia College Republicans and the Columbia Conservative Forum, with assistance from Young America’s Foundation and the Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute (Coulter’s speaking fee is typically $20,000), and will speak at 8 p.m. in Altschul Auditorium in IAB. Her speech will be followed by a signing of her latest book, Guilty: Liberal “Victims” and Their Assault on America. No doubt many measured repartees will accompany the signings.

In celebration of this momentous occasion, let us watch Michaela Watkins’ great rendition of Coulter on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Also, does anyone remember that we have the College Republicans to thank for this guy coming to campus and instigating a riot?