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Satire

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.

It's a Girl Thing, Satire

We’re Obsessed With This Liquid Lipstick Collection Inspired by the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862

April 21, 2017

The. Wait. Is. Over.

After six torturous months, we’ve finally got our hands on them. And we’re never letting go.

In case you haven’t heard/ don’t have internet connection/ live under a rock, Old Crone Cosmetics just dropped their  highly-anticipated Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862-Inspired “Granted” liquid lipstick collection. It’s got 12 gorgeous shades ranging from pinks to nudes to reds to yellows (say what?!) and everything in-between.

Ever since BH Cosmetics dropped the Galaxy Chic Palette in 2012 and Too Faced the Funfetti Collection in early 2017, it feels like makeup fans everywhere have been lying in wait for the next big thing. And (you heard it here first) “Granted” is it. It’s fearless, it’s flawless, and it’s inspired by one of the finest pieces of legislation concerning proceeds of federal land sales this country has ever seen.

While the full collection retails at $350, (yikes!) you can get each individual color for $40 a pop.

Sorry bank account, but every woman deserves to feel like a bit of an “act donating public lands to the several states and territories which may provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts” now and again.

But enough talking! Let’s get to the colors…

 

The Populist Girls

A near-natural blush that’s perfect for the “no makeup” look. This look was very popular during the implementation of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862.

Model Farm Model

A pepto-bismol pink that’s a playful nod to Iowa University’s roots as “State Agricultural College and Model Farm” under the Morrill Act of 1862.

Grant My Wish

A sunny tangerine that, like the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, will make any young man go west.

Morrill Dilemma 

An orangey-red as timeless as Vermont Senator Justin Smith Morrill and the bill to which he lent his name: the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862.

Wish You Were Engine-Near

A provocative hot pink that just might keep a few engineers from graduating–unlike the Morrill Act of 1862, which increased the number of degreed engineers over 100 fold in a 50 year period.

Higher Ed Red

A sophisticated red that will make you feel right at home at elite colleges like MIT and Cornell that were made possible by the Morrill Act of 1862.

Agri-Cultured

A warm cocoa that just might inspire you to get down and dirty like the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862 inspired agricultural programs in colleges across the country.

Civil Whore

A rich and sexy burgundy that derives its name from the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862’s historic backdrop.

Acres Away

A bold midnight purple that’s perfect for a night out on those Morrill Act of 1862-borne college towns.

Corn Belt

A surprisingly on-trend mustard that brings to mind all of nature’s bounties–facilitated by the Morrill Act of 1862 or otherwise.

Army Candy

A striking military green that will make you ROTC (a program that colleges had to keep to maintain their land-grant status under the fine Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862) ready.

Secession Obsession

A futuristic gray that has its roots in the uniforms of confederate past. While southern states didn’t support the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, it still passed because the opposing states seceded.

 

So….yeah. We’re head over heels. Fingers crossed they release a collection for Morrill Act of 1890!

Let us know what your favorite color is in the comments, that is, if you can pick just one…

 

Images via, viavia, and via.

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

My Story: I Got a Record Deal from Humming in the Ratty

April 21, 2017

My trip to the Ratty started like any other. I got up from my table and started humming a tune the second my foot hit ground because I can’t stand to be alone with my thoughts for more than a moment. I shamelessly continued to showcase my vocal talent at the peanut butter station. I know what you’re thinking, and no, this wasn’t a teeny tiny hum, audible only to me and to dogs with enormous, floppy ears. I was humming from the heart, and the people around me definitely heard. I mean, it’s just humming. I wasn’t full out SINGING like a weirdo; I was merely producing a wordless tone through my nose with my mouth sealed shut like that time capsule my middle school buried. When are we gonna open that thing, anyway?

I guess I’m kind of weird like that, but I love humming! I did choir in high school, so it comes really naturally. I also tried out for a cappella at Brown, so, like, duh. Just one of my quirks, I guess!

Not everyone shares my passion for the art form. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hummed a ditty while in line for an omelette. In those moments, I am in my own little world — until the person in front of me says, “What?” and I have to explain, “I didn’t say anything.”

But last Tuesday, I didn’t have to do any explaining. I had just finished my meal, so I got up to bus my plate. I fell back on one of my favorite melodies: The “Five Dollar Foot Long” song on repeat. As I scraped rice pilaf into the compost bin to the beat of the tune, a woman approached me. I steeled myself for a trash-related insult, but when I looked in her eyes, I saw tears of awe.

Image result for tears of joy

“I heard you humming, and I recognized your immense talent. I’m so glad you shared your gift with every single person you pass by in here,” she gushed, laying out the paperwork.

And then I signed a deal with Interscope Records!

I know, I know, it’s crazy. What are the odds that a talent scout would compost her food in a student dining hall just in time to hear the musical stylings of a virtuoso like myself? All those years of friends and family begging me to stop humming at “inappropriate times.” All the accusations of humming loudly for the attention — I mean, yeah, I occasionally work a riff into “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” but I do that for me. I thought my biggest contribution was my ability to get songs stuck in the heads of all who cross my path… Turns out, my greatest strength is my angelic voice that has been dying to come out this whole time.

I’ve been with my label for a week now, and recording is going really well! The sound engineers don’t love that I keep humming during the instrumental intros, but like, that’s my brand, ya know? I know I’m going to be a big star — even though my vocal cords only work when I’m holding a plate from the Roots and Shoots line.

Image 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.

On "The Hill", Satire

A Millennial’s Guide to Meme Tagging

April 16, 2017

Have you ever been tagged in a meme? Or maybe you’ve wanted to tag your friend in a meme? I have decided to create “A Millennial’s Guide to Meme Tagging” to help all my fellow social media lovers who need some help with traversing the complicated world of meme tags.

First: Spot a dank meme.

Fresh content is always the best content, so do your best to find memes that are relatively new. Usually, it’s okay to have one or two other friends previously tagged in the meme, but don’t you dare be that person that tags people in stale memes like a middle-aged mom that discovers viral trends three weeks late through Ellen. It’s embarrassing for all of us. At its essence, dankness is an ineffable quality that you can truly understand by hanging out with dank people and browsing dank places on the internet. If you’re interested, the origins of the word can be found on urban dictionary. I recommend that you just spend some time observing which memes have a lot of tags and likes on Facebook. An appropriate amount of reconnaissance is integral to using memes like a millennial.

Second: Determine a suitable friend to tag.

While deciding who to tag in a meme is often an organic process (you’ll just see the meme and think unironically, “Wow! This is so us.”), sometimes you need to be careful with who you tag. It’s important to ensure that there is no way the meme could be misinterpreted as shade–petty meme tagging is its whole own art. Also, it’s good to align yourself with other meme lovers in these dank times, so that they have a solid understanding of the semiotics of memes. Hopefully, they study of the evolution of memes with the same intensity as you and your bond of friendship will happily deepen.

Third: Lie in wait for that delicious like and reply.

This step is self-explanatory. There is nothing like the thrill of waiting for your friend to open Facebook on their phone or computer to see that sweet notification that they’ve been tagged in a meme. So many possibilities lie ahead. They could reply with a witty retort that begins fruitful banter. Someone else could insert themselves into your conversation, which will further complicate the dynamics of your squad. They could slight you by ignoring the tag and start a meme war. It’s such an exciting time to be alive.

 

Image via.

On "The Hill", Satire

My Life As a STEM Major

April 10, 2017

I wake up every morning at 6 am. Sike!👏 👏 👏 👏  I never went to sleep ‘cause the grind 👊 don’t 😈  stop👏! Camped out in the basement of the Sci Li all night, working on that problem set. My body is deteriorating but Orgo waits for no one! 👩‍🔬🏃

I step out of the Sci Li and head straight to class. Breakfast you ask? No time for breaks👏 ! The only sustenance I need is avocado’s number! 6.023^10th for breakfast👏  lunch👏  and dinner 👏 .

While I’m in class my mom texts me. I smile at my phone even though I don’t know what the text says. I can’t read.

But who needs to be able to read Harry Potter when you’ve got the real heroes, my boy Isaac Newton 🏃and homie Madame Curie👩‍🔬! G👏O👏A👏T^10th

On my way to the lab I pass by the kindergarteners playing in the playground. I chuckle and shake my head. Foolish children. 😈 Who has time to do the monkey bars when the lab 👩‍🔬grind🙌 is 👏 non👏  stop👏!

I leave the lab having cured cancer, eradicated the common cold, and shoved a beaker up my ass. Work hard👊, play hard🙌!

I head back home, towards the sci li. When I realize I haven’t grabbed dinner (mind always on the equation) I eat a couple of radium atoms and record the change in molecular weight once it’s digested while I settle down at a desk in the 50 decibel section of the basement. Never a 00 for this stem gal! 50👏 is👏 an👏 A 👏with👏 the👏 curve👏.

As I sit down to oxidize some proteins and grind through 12 problem sets, I hear some humanities concentrator mention to her friend, “Yeah, I’m writing about gender and sexuality in Macbeth but also Shakespeare on a broader scale-“

I scoff. “Shakespeare? More like Will-I-get a job with this worthless English degree? Answer: no.”

She gave me a weird look, “What?”

But I didn’t answer her, instead choosing to triumphantly shove my head in pipet. Changing the world, demolishing one humanities major at a time. 👏😈👏👏👩‍🔬 👏

Image via.

On "The Hill", Satire, Uncategorized

Solo Spring Breaker

March 24, 2017

I’m about to experience my first spring break as a college student. I’ve seen all those quintessential movies about people going crazy during spring break. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I will not be spending spring break getting lost in Cancún with five friends that look like supermodels and waking up with a bad tattoo. Instead, I’ll be going home for spring break. For some reason, I imagined it would be an idyllic week of bonding with all the friends that I miss from back home. But in reality, none of my friends have the same spring break as I do. In fact, most of my own family won’t even be home during the week. So, if your spring break is looking as lit as mine is at this point, please enjoy this list of solo spring break activities.

 

1) Be a Woooo Girl by yourself.

Scream “Wooooooooooooo!” in super loud voice, as if you’ve taken a love shot with all your girlfriends at a trendy bar. Make sure that you are completely sober. It’s a lot more fun that way. I’m sorry if you startle your dog.

 

2) Swim some laps at your local public pool.

It’s essentially the same thing as enjoying the sand and the surf at a hip beach resort. You might not be able to frolic in the waves, but you’ll have fun throwing on a sexy swim cap.

 

3) Pretend you’re on a road trip while you drive to Trader Joe’s.

You probably have to go grocery shopping at some point during the week so that you don’t starve. Take this opportunity to imagine that you’re going to a music festival or someplace equally chic. Sing along loudly to classics like “Tik Tok” and “Boom Boom Pow” that are nostalgic for the whole crew. Silently reminisce about your favorite memories and inside jokes.

 

4) Bother your friends that are still in high school

Everyone loves that alum that hangs out at their old high school all the time, right? Interrupt classes until your old teachers find a polite way to kick you out. Convince everyone that you’re a super cool college student and dole out sage advice like “Go to office hours” and “Try new things.” I’m sure people will appreciate your unwavering presence. Bonus points if you manage to make it to your elementary or middle school and hang out on the swing set alone.

 

5) Sleep

Sleep is here for you when people aren’t. You’ll have the rare opportunity to start school feeling refreshed while everyone else is still hungover. It’s important to be especially alert as you peruse all the new Facebook albums to intensify your jealousy.

 

Images via and via.