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Life & Other Drugs, Satire

The Ethics of Magic in Sabrina the Teenage Witch

May 10, 2017

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the best television show in the history of motion pictures, the moving image, and humankind. It’s the best show because it combines teenage girl problems (studying, sneaking out, what to do when your boyfriend gets two cartilage piercings) with young witch problems (getting your Witch’s License, traveling through a vortex in your linen closet, what to do when your furniture starts talking during your Halloween party), thus making it highly relatable.

If this premise doesn’t convince you of Sabrina’s excellence, let me remind you that the school mascot was the Fighting Scallions, and that Ru Paul, the Violent Femmes and Jerry Springer were guest stars, and that in one episode the family’s talking cat Salem dons a suit stuffed with dollar bills and orders sushi from two very confused chefs.

I rest my case.

I just finished re-watching the first two seasons of the show, which accounts for how happy and into 90s fashion I’ve been lately. And even though I’m totally into all the puns, flying vacuum excursions, and inter-realm drama, there are definitely some glaring issues and inconsistencies that lie within the show.

I would like to take this up in an academic manner, seeing that all of my thoughts during this time of year are academic. Not wanting to step on any toes, I searched the web to see if this field had already been pioneered. This is what I found:

Thus, I present to you my totally original, totally well-researched, totally holds-together, totally not-done-at-the-last-minute Rib Thesis—The Ethics of Magic in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Even the Other Realm Needs a Moral Code.

Part I: The Economic Implications of Magical Use

Sabrina and her aunts live in the U.S., which operates under a capitalist system, but Sabrina and her aunts, being witches, have any material good they desire at their literal fingertips. Are witches really not paying for anything? And what does that mean for the world economy?

In one episode, Sabrina and her BFF Valerie go shopping for school dance dresses. Valerie sees a sporty little number she likes but, since it’s out of her price range, Sabrina secretly zaps a 20% Off Clearance tag on it. It is later revealed that Sabrina’s theft was not without repercussion, as 20% of her aunt’s sweater disappeared due to the work of a figure called the Equalizer. This may seem like the answer to our economic predicament, but the Equalizer only appears in one episode and is a grown-ass man who wants to coerce Sabrina into marriage as payment for her debts. This definitely discredits him.

Thus it seems that witches are stealing from the hands, mouths, and pockets of mortal families, or they’re participating in the economy in very inconsistent ways because Sabrina still pays for her pizza at the local Slicery. All I have to say is: what gives?

Part II: Manipulation Through Magical Means

In the first two seasons alone, Sabrina’s magic turns her Vice Principal into a monkey, makes her perpetually nervous best friend unwillingly ask her crush out, and transforms her nemesis Libby into a jigsaw puzzle. These are all regular ol’ human beings who definitely did not sign any claims of release saying “yeah, it’s okay if Sabrina Spellman transforms me into the barn animal of her choosing, or changes my personality, or makes me feel like a deranged loon when I wake up after passing out in the backseat of a flying car, that’s fine.”

Where is the consent? Where’s the respect paid to her peers and neighbors? She is rarely punished for her spells that go awry, and when she is, the punishment is doled out by a council of wig-wearin’ witches who honestly couldn’t care less and usually reverse their decision. There is simply no order.

 Part III: A Witch Could Change the World…So Why Hasn’t One?

Salem the Cat became a cat as punishment for almost taking over the world, so witches clearly have a lot of power. Why aren’t witches using their power for the common good? What I’m really asking is, how come Sabrina let Bush get elected?

Yes, I am assuming that the political system of our world is the same in Sabrina’s—there’s nothing to suggest the contrary. The school’s sexist Vice Principal makes it clear that Sabrina’s world is still governed by the patriarchy so you gotta wonder—what’s stopping witches from brewing a potion that makes people respect consent, and also reverses ice cap melting and also fixes the criminal justice system? I guess I just want my witch idols to be socially responsible feminists, seeing as they literally are the means of production.

Overall, it’s clear that the witching world has no concern for the repercussions of their exploitative actions, probably because they are too busy skiing on Mars and getting serenaded by the Backstreet Boys. I love this show so very much, but let’s just say that if I were its writer, I’d keep the lunch room banter and velvet crop tops and crazy special effects the same, but make Sabrina progressive.

In conclusion, witches be crazy.

Images via, via, and via Sarah Clapp.

Satire

I Listened To All These Things Backwards and Here’s What I Heard

April 26, 2017

As everyone knows, rock ‘n’ roll is the devil’s music  and many rock ‘n’ rollers have relayed satanic messages through backmasking, a recording technique in which a message is recorded backwards onto a track that is meant to be played forward. There are many famous examples of well known rock ‘n’ roll music bands using this method to send subliminal messages to their fans about all kinds of freaky stuff, but I have found many more secret messages from other famous songs, speeches, and other assorted noises. Here’s what I found…

  1. “Revolution 9” by the Beatles

Universally regarded as the most lyrically heartwrenching Beatles’ song, “Revolution 9” is also an iconic song when listened to in reverse. Most people know that “number 9” backwards sounds like “turn me on dead man,” which of course refers to John Lennon’s highly publicized sexual fascination with corpses. But, when listening to the frenzied musical interlude about 5 minutes in backwards, you can hear clear as day “Ringo Starr ran away from home, help us find Ringo Starr.” This may seem like a nonsensical message, but the recording of this song aligns with Ringo Starr’s so-called “Lost Day.” Many believe that he simply overslept and missed the session, but this song confirms the fan sightings of Starr walking sullenly along train tracks carrying a small sack of his belongings on May 12, 1968.

2. Final Jeopardy! Theme Music

Given the bright metallic sound of these thirty seconds of deliberation music, it’s hard to believe that what you hear listening to this track backwards is “Cory, it’s me your father, Alex Trebek, please call me.” That’s right, every week night just before 8 P.M., Alex Trebek is sending a subliminal message to his son, imploring him to drop a line because they haven’t spoken  in years. So next time you’re sitting at home trying to come up with the answer to that last question about “Ancient Wonders of the World,” remember that Alex Trebek’s sole motivation for being the host of Jeopardy! has been to contact his estranged child.

  1. “The Wizard of Oz”

Many people have heard of “Dark Side of the Rainbow,” which refers to the bizarre synchronization of the visual portion of The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd’s classic album Dark Side of the Moon. But did you know that when you play The Wizard of Oz backwards, it is the same movie, just with Dark Side of the Moon playing as well? It is truly astounding that the filmmakers in 1939 were able to mirror ever shot and piece of dialogue over the course of the movie in addition to anticipating the distinct progressive rock sound of Pink Floyd. That’s what they call “Movie Magic!”

4. Bill Clinton saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

President Clinton had no shortage of scandals, from Whitewater to that time he went to an ice cream parlor in Arkansas and ate all the waffle cones without paying, but the allegations about his relationship with intern Monika Lewinsky are perhaps the most infamous. Many may remember Clinton’s assertion that he “did not have sexual relations with that woman,” but many never took the time to listen to that sound bite backwards. When reversed, you can hear a section of Bill Clinton playing “Heartbreak Hotel” on saxophone from his appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1992. Perhaps he wanted to harken back to a simpler time when he was just the cool dude in the shades looking to get his hands on the nuclear codes. Or, given that the saxophone is unequivocally the sexiest instrument, he may be communicating that he totally related sexually to that woman.

5. A blender on high speed

Try this at home! Make a recording of your blender at high speed and listen to it in reverse. Sound familiar? Yep, that’s right, it’s The Communist Manifesto in its entirety! Ever wonder why you’re prone to daydreaming about Karl Marx while making a smoothie? It’s not the strawb-banana goodness making you think about seizing the means of production, it’s the fact that you are literally hearing The Communist Manifesto, just backwards.

6. “The Star Spangled Banner”

Francis Scott Key penned this catchy number during the War of 1812—a war that involved Canada, which makes sense considering our national anthem played backwards is “O Canada.” Doesn’t it just blow your mind that at every sports game in America, people are clutching their camo hats to their chests and holding back patriotic tears to a song that is secretly about our neighbors to the north? (Note: “O Canada” played backwards is not “The Star Spangled Banner.” It’s just a whole lot of indistinguishable noise, like what you might expect from playing something backwards.)

Image via Sarah Clapp, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, via, and via.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill", Satire

Keeney Gym: An Exposé

April 17, 2017

Last year, I came to the conclusion that Keeney Gym is a nexus for strange happenings after witnessing two bizarre events there. These stories could be surmised as “the time a boy jumped in through an open window, lifted one weight, then leapt back out” and “the time a group of pot-smokers inexplicably walked through the gym with lit joints while I watched on from my stationary bike, most likely listening to Bet On It from the High School Musical 2 soundtrack.”

I’ve since wondered—is Keeney Gym a place of cosmic significance? Does a high density of exercise equipment just invite shenanigans among college freshmen? Are Keeney Gym antics becoming a rite of passage, akin to eating your first spicy with, completing a Sci Li challenge, or breaking an exit sign? I’ve also wondered—what hijinks have I been missing out on this year!?

So as an amateur comedy writer investigative reporter with decades of experience in the field, I decided to go undercover to see if I could witness more tomfoolery. Perhaps, I would gain a better understanding as to why Keeney Gym is a reoccurring locale for mischief. Perhaps I would gain a hilarious tale to tell. Perhaps I would make actual gains.

After all, I hadn’t worked out in awhile and figured, ya know, two birds one stone.

On a warm Wednesday night, I went to the gym-in-question with sharp focus and ASICS sneakers on. You could call me Woodward and Bernstein, or also Adidas Just Do It (I don’t know anything about athletics). As nonchalantly as possible, I strolled over to an elliptical with my headphones on, queuing up the tunes for my workout. I should also note that aside from window-jumping and pot-smoking, I will forever associate Keeney Gym with the Velvet Underground because I have such a distinct memory of listening to them for the first time there. Your typical Velvet Underground song was not written to accompany intense exercise (which begets the question: why the hell did I workout to them in the first place?), but nonetheless I found it imperative to put the band’s discography on shuffle so I could recreate the circumstances of my previous experiences as precisely as possible.

Three minutes into my workout (a.k.a. the moment I realized I was in over my head because of my excessive panting), I decided to take in my surroundings. Most of the treadmills were occupied, which made me hopeful that a flash mob would break out. All of the windows were open, which made me hopeful that a drone would fly in to deliver food or a tiny dog. And there was a suspicious looking phone on the wall, which made me hopeful for a prank call.

Eight minutes in and I was slowing down, which I attributed to the slow, sultry voice of Nico that had just entered my ear canals. But wow, I had not worked out in a long time. Was the last time I went to the gym really that time I did the most gentle yoga sequence ever in the midst of a group of intense squatters?

After “running” one mile on the elliptical, I moved over to a stationary bike for a different viewpoint. Everyone was doing pretty standard gym things: stretching, flexing, watching episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on their iPads. Since everyone had the nerve to be normal, I let my mind wander and started devising scenarios I really wanted to happen. Here is the list I came up with:

  • a trap door opens to reveal a secret laboratory
  • the boy lifting weights grows a tentacle
  • someone is Prom-posed to
  • one of the weight machines transforms into a human man
  • the walls start to close in on themselves and I have to escape
  • the ghost of Richard Nixon floats through jangling chains with his hands raised in double V signs
  • someone runs through in the nude, and I belatedly realize it is Rod Stewart
  • free ice cream

Once I had Rod Stewart on the brain, I realized my efforts were futile. Everyone was going about their run-of-the-mill routines and no one had tried to jump in through a window and the quad didn’t even smell like weed that night and I couldn’t keep biking because I lack defined calf muscles and I had to throw in the towel, reasoning that Keeney Gym had just lost its eccentricity since my Jameson-tenure last year.

As I emerged from the gym onto Benevolent street, which was warm and shiny and slightly sticky like a puddle of Hawaiian Punch Vodka on the floor of an Everett double, a wave of realization washed over me. Could it be that, perhaps, I was the strange thing all along? Me, a sophomore in a freshman quad whose sole purpose in that space was to anticipate a weird happening (yeah, yeah, yeah and work out too I guess). Me, with my crazed eyes, my highly alert posture, Lou Reed’s voice emanating from my earbuds, was it me all along?

Sweaty and content, catching my breath under streetlights, bursting out in a joyous rendition of “Pale Blue Eyes,” I left the gym with newfound knowledge: I am weird, Keeney Gym isn’t very weird, and I need to work out more.

Image via Sarah Clapp.

Life & Other Drugs, Satire

Dorm Hunters: Brown University Edition

March 23, 2017

Narrator: (sounds a lot like Christina Paxson) Prospective roommates Katelyn and Caitlin are looking to share a room during sophomore year. With high expectations and low numbers in the housing lottery, can these friends settle on a double? Let’s meet them.

Katelyn: Hi, I’m Katelyn. I’m a freshman concentrating in Applied-Math-Econ-CS-Biology from Portland, Maine. I currently live in Andrews, and am looking for the same brick aesthetic and access to breakfast burritos in my new room. My other must-haves include natural light, quick access to a laundry room, hallways that don’t smell like weed 100% of the time so my parents don’t give me that look when they visit, and a spacious closet.

Caitlin: (looks just like Katelyn, except with a pointier nose) And I’m Caitlin. I’m a freshman concentrating in Econ-CS-Applied-Math-Biology from Portland, Oregon. I live down the hall from Katelyn in Andrews, so naturally I’m not ready to give up that sweet sink in the room set up. But really, I just want a bike rack outside, a single bathroom, a hot neighbor I can have a star crossed love affair with, and hardwood floors.

Katelyn: Oh yeah. Hardwood floors.

Caitlin: (demonically) Hardwood floors.

Narrator: Katelyn and Caitlin are going to meet with their upperclassman friend, Kaitlinne, who will show them three rooms in three buildings across campus.

Kaitlinne: (eating pho, splashing the broth everywhere) So, tell me, what’s your place in the housing lottery?

Katelyn: (looks at Caitlin, grimacing) We’re at the bottom of the third to last page.

Kaitlinne: (inhales sharply, nearly choking on a large basil leaf, with a face that screams ‘Perkins’) Well, I think there are still a few options within your number-range. Why don’t we get started?

Narrator: Kaitlinne takes Katelyn and Caitlin to Olney Hall first. With a central location on Wriston Quad, Olney offers accessibility to many on-campus amenities and also the opportunity to be awoken by loud youths late at night.

Kaitlinne: I know the interior smell leaves something to be desired, but trust me, the rooms are spacious. What do you think so far?

Caitlin: My first impression is that a frat lives here.

Katelyn: My only impression is that a frat lives here.

Kaitlinne: (opening up the door to a room) As you can see, the rooms here are very open and, oh, uh… (trailing off upon noticing a very large stain on the floor)

Katelyn: Uh…

Caitlin: Uh…

Kaitlinne: Did I mention the Ratty is like, right over there?

Narrator: Kaitlinne then takes Caitlin and Katelyn to Grad Center, which has the unique added benefit of doubling as an indestructible and unnavigable shelter in the event of nuclear fallout, a zombie apocalypse, or student riots if Dave Binder stops coming to Spring Weekend.

Kaitlinne: Well, welcome to Grad Center. It’s a very special place, as you can tell. I mean, all of your guests are bound to get lost on the way to your room so there’s extra fun built in to living here.

Katelyn (pacing along the hallway of a suite):  Hmm, I don’t know. This feels like a big fixer upper. The curb appeal is really lacking—it’s so 1968and everything just seems kind of sad in here.

Caitlin: Maybe a coat of paint on the exterior could spruce it up? We could take on some renovations. Install granite countertops, an infinity pool. The whole works!

Kaitlinne: I’m pretty sure you’d be charged for room damages if you made any drastic changes.

Caitlin: (rolling her eyes, whispering to Katelyn) See, I told you we should have hired a Property Brother.

Narrator: Kaitlinne finally takes the girls to Perkins Hall. Although it was recently renovated with a large newly furnished lounge, you cannot escape the fact that Perkins is very far away from everything and that the tiled walls make the upper floors seem like hallways in a sports club.

Kaitlinne: Here’s the final room. It’s a bit snug, but there’s a kind of hipster-charm to almost living off campus.

Katelyn: It’s just so outside our neighborhood. It would add an extra 5 minutes to our commute.

Caitlin: But there’s a school across the street.

Katelyn: (confused) We don’t have kids.

Caitlin: I figured that after we got a FAFSA marriage, we’d adopt a child.

Katelyn: (very confused) FAFSA marriage! Child?!

(Katelyn and Caitlin stare at each other intently and awkwardly. Kaitlinne stares into the camera, unsure of how to navigate this dynamic).

Kaitlinne: Do you want to see…the kitchen?

Narrator: Katelyn and Caitlin get together just before their housing lottery time slot. What will they choose? A centrally located double with a mysterious stain that probably involved a six pack of Natty Light? A concrete bunker with potential for illegal improvement? Or a remote room where the girls can start a family? Katelinne follows up with them after they make their decision.

Katelinne: (with a mouth full of spicy with) So, what’d you choose?

Caitlin: We chose…

Katelyn: Perkins. Mostly because it was the only dorm left for us.

Caitlin: And it’s in a great school district.

Katelinne: (unsure whether to interpret this as sarcasm) Well…that’s great.

Narrator: Six months later, Katelyn and Caitlin settle into their Perkins double, putting up their matching John Belushi ‘College’ posters and making their beds with their matching Bed, Bath & Beyond comforters. Cozy and clean, their room has become a place for studying, hanging out with friends, and crunching the financial aid numbers to see if marriage is worth it. Hardwood floors are soon to be installed.

Images via Sarah Clapp and via

Life & Other Drugs

Confessions of a (Degrassi) Fan Fiction Writer

March 13, 2017

My middle school diary—polka dotted, protected by a lock and hidden somewhere in my room—is one of my most cherished keepsakes. Through it, I can relive all the school dance “DRAMA!!,” remember how totally unfair my Algebra 1 teacher was, and recall in extreme detail specific episodes from the 10th season of the television show Degrassi.

Apparently, this long running Canadian teen ensemble drama had become my utmost priority by the end of eighth grade because that’s when I stopped cataloguing encounters with my crush and started dedicating entire entries to theorizing about what would happen on next week’s episode. I also wrote extensively about my favorite character, Eli, the resident goth boy with a heart of (somewhat) gold. In my thirteen year old eyes , he was the definition of perfection with his love of literature, his cool jacket, his swooping hair, and the attention he paid to a quiet blue eyed girl who I definitely did not see as myself. Nope, not at all.

Aside from the fact that (for better or worse, but probably worse) “my type” is still modeled off Eli to this day, Degrassi helped me come into my own as a writer by introducing me to the world of fan-fiction. As my diary would suggest, I couldn’t get enough of the show. When would Eli and Clare finally get together? Would everyone find out that Anya faked her pregnancy? Why hadn’t Mr. Simpson left the halls of Degrassi High since 1986!?

So to the Internet I went, like any young millennial lady with access to her family’s desktop computer would, where I found the holy grail for people like me: fanfiction.net. I was drawn in by the visually uninteresting though easily navigable interface, speed-reading through romantic one-shots and multi-chapter AUs. (For those not hip to the fan fiction lingo, that means stand alone stories of an amorous nature and longer tales that take place outside the confines of the Degrassi universe).

As a gal who loved creative writing and also projecting her romantic fantasies onto dark haired Canadian boys, I signed up for my own account and began writing. I’m not going to give too much away because I’d like to keep some of my dignity intact, but I will say this: My first story involved super powers obtained from a lightning strike, teleporting to the Grand Canyon, a Leonardo DaVinci secret society and currently has 1,788 views. I was shocked to find this out, and even more so when I saw someone had left a review that deemed my story “AWEASOME.” My second story involved amnesia, a fake girlfriend, a dangerous cult and has fewer views but one commenter noted that they had tears in their eyes after reading it. I’m not saying I was famous or anything, but seven whole people had my superhero story tagged as a “favorite.”

Unfortunately for my loyal, devoted fan base, I never published the final few chapters of either story. I moved on to other subject matter, including a particular Nickelodeon show and a particular Peter Jackson film franchise. I also at one point wrote fan-fiction about my US History class, but that’s an entirely different story. But perhaps, since I have recovered the password for my fanfiction.net account in research for this article, I could make a comeback. After all, I recently watched most of the latest season of Degrassi in one long, wild night so I’m well equipped to dive back into the world of youth dating, adolescent issues, and Toronto. Or maybe I’ll leave this fan-fiction as an artifact of my past—my dirty, dirty Degrassi obsessed past—and move on with my life.

That’s probably the better call.

Image via Sarah Clapp.

Life & Other Drugs, Satire, The Tabloids

Rib Classic Movies Presents: Sarah Clapp & the Summer of 2009

February 28, 2017

This week on Rib Classic Movies, we tell the story of young actress Sarah Clapp, who, at the tender age of twelve, took the film industry (of the Boston suburbs) by storm when she starred in two movies produced by her creative arts camp class “Big Strange Movie.” In that fateful summer of 2009, she captivated an audience of small children, her immediate family members, and those with a keen eye for pure talent. With her short frizzy hair, teeth that had yet to be straightened by orthodontics, and stiff on screen presence, Sarah had that special It Girl quality which makes it even more unfortunate that she withdrew from the spotlight.

Sarah’s first film was Enter the Namuh, the story of five cousins who gather in a spider invested attic to summon otherworldly spirits for shits and giggles before going on interdimensional romps with creatures called Namuh. Sarah plays Sarah, the eldest cousin, a quiet and powerful visionary who looks completely possessed throughout the entire film. In the one interview Sarah gave after the movie’s release, she is quoted as saying that “we had an audition of sorts where we had to react to being pursued by a paranormal force and, well, I was pretty shy so I just kind of stood there and looked into the distance.”

Sarah Clapp, Best Actress in a Staring Role

It is this intense gaze that anchors the film, as we open with a slow zoom on Sarah’s steely blue stare. Set to a soundtrack of Gregorian chants, the cousins embark on their strange individual, journeys surrounded by an aura of mystery. On their adventures, they meet a memorable supporting cast of characters, including a steampunk weatherman, a counselor dressed up in an ape costume, and the all knowing, metallic lipstick wearing goddesses Chaniqua and LaFonda, who contribute heavily to the surrealist landscape of the film.

Our Indie Darling/America’s Sweetheart Sarah is noticeably absent in the middle of the film, but she returns just in time to save her cousins from being trapped in these realms forever. Though a character of few words, she holds immense power—both in terms of her supernatural abilities, and her ability to command attention in khaki cargo shorts. At the end, Sarah must sacrifice herself to save her cousins, and the film ends where we started, with her trademark blue eyes. The last scene is of her in a wheelchair staring out a window while the rest of the cast waves from the outside. The most apt description for this ambiguous ending is “trippy.”

This is the type of movie that you’d come across in the corner of a dusty consignment store, watch late at night, and wonder–“woahhhh, did I just hallucinate that?” because it simulates a drug trip. For it’s psychedelic special effects and high fantasy, Enter the Namuh could easily become a cult favorite for people who are into that sort of thing.

Later that summer, Sarah showed her versatility by taking on the role of the smart and sarcastic vampire hunter Daphne in the film Escape from Vampire Island. In the thick of the vampire craze of the mid-2000s, this film approached vampire lore from a variety of interconnected angles: vampire children displaced from their home, vampire campers trying to keep their identities a secret, a documentary film crew on the beat, and the vampire hunters on a mission, known as Black Coats for their polyester uniforms (think, “Matrix Junior”).

Sarah steals every scene she’s in–wearing cat eye sunglasses while steering a canoe, inspecting a syringe full of garlic juice, and eventually embracing life as a vampire when she gets bitten at the end of the film. There are many unforgettable scenes throughout the movie, such as an elaborate chase sequence set to a rendition of ‘Paint It Black’ performed by the camp’s resident rock band and a poignant scene where a vampire child disintegrates into a pile of pebbles, but the most memorable scene for Sarah Clapp fans is when the Black Coats recruit a cyborg to help with their mission. When a malfunctioning bot knees her annoying male cohort in a sensitive region, Sarah quips “I like these robots,” showing her undeniable comedic chops.

“I like these robots.” – #113587 on the AFI List of Top Movie Quotes

While only a few copies of this film survive, the film trailer is online. One might stumble across it after watching every Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan video, or listening to a lyric video playlist of the Twilight soundtrack in a moment of intense existential confusion. But once the artistic and cultural significance of this film is widely recognized, Escape from Vampire Island is sure to be shown at art houses on nights celebrating the occult, the bloodthirsty, and the Sarah Clapp.

We may never know what happened to Sarah Clapp after that summer of cinematic excellence. Some say she is a student at Brown University, but obviously those people are just thinking of the less impressive Emma Watson. But for her nuance, her pathos, and her complete inability to act naturally on camera, she is a performer hard to forget.

Images via Sarah Clapp.

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs, Listicles

A List of Very Specific Brown Bears Admirers Submissions Clearly About Me

February 23, 2017

To the girl singing “Bennie and the Jets” in the Perkins ground floor shower like an Elton John impersonator who has had too much to drink–are you okay? Are you in pain? It sounded like a cat was dying in there. Anyways, thanks for making the hall smell like coconut.

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To the girl at the Grad Center Gym who was literally just sitting there for ten minutes, I’m sorry I judged you before realizing that you were just doing a very mild yoga sequence. My apologies! You looked like you were very concentrated on exhaling. From, the people squatting rigorously across the room

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To the girl playing Carole King and Sufjan Stevens songs on piano in Steinert…who hurt you?

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To the girl who spilled tea on herself at the Ratty but pretended that she didn’t, I admire how unfazed you were and also how much cake you got at the dessert bar. Also, you might want to get your burn checked out at Health Services!

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To the girl slouched in a chair in the Blue Room watching John Oliver clips and getting so many goddamn muffin crumbs on her…wow. I have never seen so many crumbs on one person at one time.

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To the girl I’ve heard say “trust no one” on at least three occasions. I don’t even know your name, but I know that you must really like the X-Files. That must count for something. Coffee?

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To the girl in the Leung gallery who kept discreetly looking at herself in her phone camera because she thought she was smearing red lipstick all over her face while eating a focaccia sandwich, a) you were not discrete and b) the lipstick looked great, girl!

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To the girl who I saw walking down the Grad Center staircase like Jerry Lewis in the movie Cinderfella–are you an old person in disguise or my dream girl because I didn’t think any other young people knew that movie!

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To the girl taking surreptitious bites from a hazelnut Snicker’s Bar in the Hay Reading Room—there’s no food allowed in there! Please take your snacks elsewhere. From, the Hay librarian

Image via Sarah Clapp.

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs, Love & Romance, Satire

If I Were The Bachelorette

February 15, 2017

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every year one man and one woman must sacrifice themselves to satiate the network gods at ABC by becoming the “Bachelor” and the “Bachelorette” and embarking on a sacred quest to find the least objectionable suitor to date long distance for a few months before realizing that they can’t actually marry someone who they only made out with in a hot tub a handful of times.

There are at least 7000 things wrong with The Bachelor(ette). That’s why I watch every season. When I watch this incredibly odd and morally ambiguous mating ritual, my face is filled with either shock, dismay, or complete horror as I watch male contestants demonstrate the emotional range of a head of lettuce, or female contestants slut shame one another, or the Bachelor(ette) remain completely oblivious to the chaos they’re immersed in. When I watch with my mom, she’ll look over at me, roll her eyes and say something like “I’m teaching you about relationships by exposing you to the complete opposite of what you should be looking for.” It’s a very tender yet aggravating mother-daughter bonding experience.

But after years of hashing out my grievances with the franchise, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to be the Bachelorette—not because I like the idea of having a hoard of very buff men vying for my rose-scented approval, but because I think it would provide me with the opportunity to raise some hell, shake things up, and call out the show for its lack of racial diversity, its glorification of toxic masculinity, and its misclassification of a date as watching twelve generic men with the same haircut play flag football.

Listen up ABC Gods because if becoming Bachelorette is written for me in the stars/a contract with a lot of fine print, here’s how things will go down:

-I would forgo the typical intro package B-roll (roller skating in cut-off shorts and looking off into the sunset) for something more my style (chasing a flock of pigeons and singing all of the parts of “Bohemian Rhapsody” in my car). This would immediately classify me as “the wildcard Bachelorette” which is a gentle way of saying “a bizarre woman who has no place on reality television.”

-I get that most guys who go on The Bachelorette are only looking for post-show pseudo-fame. They just want sponsorships from protein powder companies or recognition for their half-baked music careers, and I’m fine with that. But I’m going to make sure that only the good ones remain relevant long enough to cash in on their social media followers. In the first few weeks, I will tirelessly go after the men who incite nonsense. Any whiff of misogyny invites immediate elimination, drunken shenanigans will be investigated to the fullest extent, and if you don’t laugh at my weird jokes, then there’s the limo.

-I will not put up with helicopters, appearances by B-list country singers, or having to wear a bikini on a yacht (the holy trinity of a Bachelor(ette) date). Instead, I will drive my Volvo station wagon to all locations, hire Frank Sinatra impersonators exclusively, and wear a wet suit to maximize my comfort on the high seas. I will also request the following dates: a karaoke night where the only song option is “I Ran” by A Flock of Seagulls; a group date to Area 51 where whichever dude can sneak me into a restricted zone can literally marry me on the spot; and a Willy Wonka-esque tour of a chocolate factory that facilitates my elimination process for that week.

-I really want to have a feud with Chris Harrison. There is always a very compliant relationship between the Bachelor(ette) and long time host Chris Harrison and I would love to change that.

-By the end of this madness, I would have forgotten that I was even looking for a husband, so I’d just make ABC pay for my final two men to go on meditative retreats because obviously they must have put up with a lot of BS to have made it that far and probably deserve some R&R. Also, maybe the three of us can have a group chat. This will be the final straw for Chris Harrison, who will probably try to throw me into the ocean for messing with the status quo. Thankfully I will be wearing a wet suit and not a bikini, so I’ll be fine.

Image via Sarah Clapp.