Storytelling event April 21st at Hood

Hood College’s very own Blackbox Theatre in Tatem 10 will house a storytelling event open to all students.

This event is entitled “True Story!” with the theme of new beginnings. The show will be made possible through the partnership between Hood College Theatre, Humanities Council, and Beneficial-Hodson Library.

“True Story!” will occur on Friday, April 21st at 7 p.m., with no prior sign-up necessary. The only thing needed in order to participate with the event is a story they would like to share and an audience.

Inspiration for the event comes from “The Moth,” which was launched in New York in 1997. “The Moth” is a conglomeration of performance events, community workshops, and radio airings to give people a chance to artistically express themselves through storytelling.

The originators of the Hood event were also inspired by “The Stoop,” a Baltimore borne series which is similar to “The Moth”. Other colleges have held events inspired by the two series. Stevenson University calls their own version of the series, “Quad Stories.” 

Many students may be familiar with the brains behind the operation: Aimee Gee, one of Beneficial-Hodson’s Reference Librarians; Joe Brady, the director of the theatre program at Hood College; Aaron Angello, an English and Communication Arts professor at Hood; and Sophia M. Libman, the NEH Professor of the Humanities.

“I had the idea last year because I’d known that other colleges had done similar events and I’m a big fan of ‘The Moth’ and ‘The Stoop’” said Aimee Gee. “I couldn’t get everything off the ground, but partnering with Joe Brady and Aaron Angello has made it possible this year.”

Anyone can meet and become familiar with the creators of this event during auditions to be the show’s host on Friday, April 14 in the Blackbox. The chosen host may also be a part of the storytelling.

There will be free pizza at the event and a donations box will be present for anyone who would like to help offset the cost of this event and future ones.


Hood Republicans and Democrats debate



On Monday, Feb. 20, the Hood College Democrats and Republicans were each represented by two debaters on the topic of healthcare.
Representing the republicans were Weston Bimstefer and Brendan Mahoney. Representing the democrats were Paula Del Valle-Torres and Molly Masterson.
In accordance with the typical debate format, there was an overarching topic with three subjects. These subjects were the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, abortion, and physician-assisted suicide.
The first debated topic was the Affordable Care Act, a topic Bimstefer and Mahoney believed to be one of the most relevant and important.
Aligning with Republican values, the student representatives argued that a market-based approach to health care would be the best plan to replace the repealed ACA.
The logic behind this policy alternative is that market competition will work to drive down the cost of insurance, particularly with the policy of buying across state lines.
They also see this as a tool that will allow consumers to purchase their own unique plans with doctors of their choice.
In a short interview with Mahoney, he stated that he is excited for the future of healthcare under the Trump administration.
“I don’t think it’s going to be driven by Trump,” Mahoney said. “I think it’s going to be driven by Congressional Republicans. They’ve legislated before and have seen what doesn’t work in our healthcare system, and they truly want to make a better one.”
The Democrats opposed the market-based approach, claiming that it would only “secure healthcare for those who can afford it.”
Masterson said that the population class most likely to be without healthcare under a market-based system would be the poor.
The next topic was abortion, which all four debaters said in their interviews was one of the most salient topics. This issue was debated from the standpoint that life begins at conception by the republicans. They affirmed this argument by listing the stages at which brain activity can be detected, heart beats can be heard, and movement can be felt.
“The child is a human being, a member of society,” Mahoney said.
The democrats argued against both arguments by adhering to the legal definition that a fetus is a “person with rights after birth.” To follow, Democrat Del Valle-Torres claimed that “it is the woman who is a citizen with rights to be respected.”
They then discussed the faultiness of the foster care system and lack of adequate resources available to poor mothers, which are apt to be even more inaccessible with conservative dislike for entitlement programs and welfare.
The democratic argument continued with an approach centered on body autonomy for the woman in consideration of her health, the health of the fetus, instances of rape or incest, and financial instability.
“It is the woman who should be able to choose whether or not she will undergo the pain and duress of pregnancy,” Masterson said.
The final topic, physician-assisted suicide, reflected many of the same ethical principles for both the democrats and republicans.
From the republican perspective, the availability of physician-assisted suicide eliminates the possibility that one can find purpose after the diagnosis of a fatal illness.
In opposition, the democrats argued from the perspective of body autonomy and the rights of persons to choose the fate of their own lives.
Audience questions were taken after the debate for the debaters. Though enjoying the format of the debate, all debaters expressed their wish to be able to “rebut answers to audience questions.”
Overall, the debaters and the advisor of both the Hood Democrats and Republicans, Dr. Carin Robinson, believed that the debate inspired thoughtful discourse on relevant issues.
Dr. Robinson remarked about her contentment with the political discussion taking place on campus and her hopes for it to continue.
“The debate format wets the appetite of the Hood College community to be more interested in these topics, to research them themselves, [and] to carry on additional conversations. I think it challenged some peoples’ predispositions. I think some people never even hear the rationales behind opposing viewpoints. I think it’s good for us to be aware of opposing points of view.”

Memes become a way to commuicate

Meme from "The Office" Photo courtesy of ShruteFacts

Meme from “The Office”
Photo courtesy of ShruteFacts

“[A]n idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture,” that is how Wikipedia defines “meme.”
You know, a meme – those things that circulate the internet that everyone knows about if they spend more than 5 minutes on Facebook or Tumblr, the supreme meme realm, but can never quite explain to someone who hasn’t experienced the fluid joke flood.
When my mom asked me what a meme was, I struggled to explain it. Some years back, my brother referred to them as internet comics (boy, was he misguided) mostly because of the generic Impact font that gets slapped over a popular picture.
Probably the most popular memes as of late are Salt Bae: the guy who’s been compared to Juandissimo from Fairly Oddparents (rightfully so) that prepares dinner meat in a rather…unique fashion, topping it off with some salt that barely reaches the meat because his elbow is in the way; Danielle, the “cash me ousside how bou dah” girl who isn’t even old enough to know that Dr. Phil, along with every TV judge ever, is the god of daytime television (television viewing is polytheistic); and a guy who sort of looks like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America aka the Safe Roller dude (pictured below).
The common link between all of these is that typically people in our generation and younger use catchphrases and pictures to depict one’s own reaction to a situation other people can relate to.
So, in a sense, memes are like a legit cultural thing.
Just ask Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist and hardcore atheist who coined the term “meme” back in 1976 in his book The Selfish Gene. In it, he defines the cultural significance that memes have in how they transmit ideas and cultural phenomena that help culture to evolve.
Don’t tell him I said this, but Richard Dawkins just might be the meme God.
But don’t fear! I highly doubt (or rather hope) that American culture will not only be about meat poorly salted by cartoon men and Eddie Murphy impersonators. Nay, I see something else important.
What if I told you (claps if you caught that Matrix meme reference) that memes could be the new political cartoon?
It’s plausible. No, I’m not talking about sick Obama-Biden memes or Putin puns. I mean all the memes that throw massive shade at heads of state and their political decisions, or address the threat of a nuclear war.
What if memes, in all their comedic glory for telling what could be decade’s worth of history in a single photo, are our generation’s way of coping with their qualms about the state of foreign politics or the political legacy we are likely to leave behind?
What if someone photoshopping the face of Shrek onto President Trump saying “get out of my swamp!” is a way someone chooses to communicate their fear of alienation and heightened bigotry?
We all have our methods of expression. So…what if?

This Halloween, the 90’s are Forever


Halloween is just around the corner and if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably need some help deciding on your costume.

Being that the students here now are the last of the 90’s kids, I imagine (or at least hope) you have the same amount of nostalgia as I do. It’s a scientific fact that the 90’s were the best years in a lot of ways.

The great thing about Halloween is that this is your chance to revive it. So, why not be your favorite cartoon character from when you were a kid?

These kinds of ideas are especially awesome if you do it with some friends, and there are tons of DIY pages that ease the pressure of preparing for Comic-Con.

Have a highlighter and pencil next to you, because here’s where article annotation and research skills actually matter.

Remember “Recess”? Snag five other friends and you’ve got the crew! The looks for the Recess crowd are relatively basic and lend themselves to being inexpensive.

Take Spinelli for example, the favorite among solo Halloween goers. Her look is probably the most recognizable out of all characters (save for Ms. Finster or King Bob) and therefore gives all of the other characters context.

The thrift store is a great resource for this character and the entire posse.

Another favorite from the 90’s is “Rugrats”. It’s a great team costume idea with a lot of ways to be creative and an excuse to walk around in just a diaper and a t-shirt… Or if you’re uncomfortable with that concept, you could always swap out your diaper for some white shorts.

The costumes for this crowd are a little more involved than those of the “Recess” group, but nothing beats craftiness. Rely heavily on the thrift store and a local crafts shop for this one.

If you’re still nostalgic, have no shame, because I am too! And if you know me at all, you know that my core values are the scripts for seasons one through three of “SpongeBob Squarepants” (even though this extends into the early 2000s).

I’m still dreaming of the day someone agrees to do this with me, but SpongeBob supporters can get their best friends and create the dynamic duo of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (this one also requires some craftiness as well. Make me proud.).

Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy weren’t the only heroes we looked up to and the 90’s were chock full of heroes to emulate.

You can never go wrong with the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. There are even shirts you can buy online with their abs and belts printed and ready to go.

Another almost cult classic, winning option is “The Powerpuff Girls”.  Who wouldn’t want to be any character from that show?

Basic dresses and some felt are practically all you need if you want to be the tremendous trio.

If you’re anything like me (which, by now you’re probably hoping you aren’t) “Sailor Moon” is where it’s at. And while these costumes can be a little complicated, it should be some consolation to know that all you really need is a skirt (color of course based on which ever sailor you are) a pair of long socks or tights, some ribbon to make two bows, and a white, short-sleeved shirt.

Anime fan or not, we all have some attachment to “Pokemon”, especially today. I know some of you shed a tear when your favorite childhood game got revamped.

If you really want to show your everlasting support, you can go as any of the iconic human characters like Ash, Misty or Brock, all of which have simple outfits that a thrift store or Amazon could help you out with. You can even go as Team Rocket, which is just as simple with some paint, t-shirts and black shoes.

However, you’d probably have the most fun as a Pokemon. I did when I was both 5 years old and when I was 17 years old. What’s the fun of Halloween if you can’t pretend that you’re an animal with superpowers?

What’s the fun of Halloween if you can’t pretend that it’s 1999 all over again?