Jason Chaffetz Doesn't Believe in Non-forcible Rape

Introduced on Jan. 20, 2011, "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" (or H.R.3) is a bill intended to cut the amount of tax-payer money going to provide women with abortions. What, of course, is strange is that there is already legislation in place to limit the amount of women receiving tax-subsidized abortions: the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment both place limits on who can receive Medicaid money for abortions and when. What's stranger is that the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" attempts to radically redefine the definition of rape to include ONLY "forcible rape". Forcible rape is that which can be proved by a vast amount of extant physical evidence (namely in the form of blunt force trauma). The rest of rape - coercion by a friend or colleague, rape by drugging, or incest between a child and a full-grown adult - is written off as invalid.

There are two names at the top of the list of the 173 co-signers to the bill: Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop. Utah's finest. I don't live in Bishop's district but I do (somehow, even though he lives in Alpine?) live in Chaffetz's district. So I wrote him a letter. It follows below:

Mr. Chaffetz,

Let me make it clear to you. I did not vote for you. I do not like your style of politicking. I'm in the midst of writing an article for the BYU Political Review about how much I dislike your choices and where you choose to place your considerably hefty power.

That being said; I don't think you're all that awful of a person. And I honestly don't think you're in Washington intentionally trying to harm others. Your support for "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion", however, will do exactly that. Did you know that between 80 and 93% of the reported rapes in Utah are committed by someone that the victim knows(http://health.utah.gov/vipp/rapeSexualAssault/overview.html)? By your signing of HR3, you're cutting out a significant (i.e. 80 to 93% of the 63.7% out of 100,000 women who are raped annually in UT) portion of those who have already been stripped of their right to choose not to get raped, from deciding what to do following their rape. By narrowing the definition of rape to what is defined as "forcible rape", you are saying that the only legitimately accepted definition of rape by the United States Congress is the kind of rape that takes an overwhelming amount of extant physical evidence of blunt force trauma to prove. This totally discounts rape via coercion and drugging.

Utah has some of the highest sexual assault statics in the nation. By sanctioning the narrowing of the definition of rape, you are aiding and abetting continual widespread sexual violence against women. This bill is about more than cutting down on tax-sponsored abortion. There's already the Hyde Amendment and the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to limit the amount of women benefiting from State-sponsored abortions. This bill is not about abortion. It is about the common misconception that, somehow, women are responsible for rape. It is about clamping down the right for a woman to choose what her course of action will be after the traumatic and unthinkably life-altering experience of having someone rape her. This is not about being pro-life. It is about much, much more.

So I would like to cut you a deal, Mr. Chaffetz. If you cut your endorsement with this bill, I will vote for you in the next election.

As an alumni of BYU and a fellow member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I ask you to please reconsider your stance on this issue. I am a member of your constituency and you are indebted to hear me out. I pay for your stint in Washington. Never forget who you're there to serve. The women of Utah Valley, and the men who stand behind them, need you on their side in this issue.

Alexander Ross Christman

I encourage anyone who cares about the prevention of rape and rape apology to write their Congressmen and the Congressional leaders. You can email them (find their email here), or tweet at them (make sure you use the hashtag #DearJohn), or you can mail them a letter. Whatever. Anything. If you care about breaking down the rigid barriers that protect rapists and further victimize women, please take some time and get involved.

Reading material:
Text of H.R.3
Mother Jones
Sady Doyle's #DearJohn crusade
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Ripped from the pages of a blog: Thoughts on Mormon Perception of Sex

I put this up here originally, but there is no comment feature there in case people want to issue a rebuttal. So here this thought is again.

Rerum vulgarium fragmenta: Thoughts on Mormon Perceptions of Sex

The other day I was in the office of the free cinema on campus (it’s a university program which shows three international films per week, completely free, with visiting lecturers. It’s probably the greatest thing I’ve ever had in my life), talking with a friend. Due to strictures from the university, the films shown for free on campus have to be censored in order to avoid offending anyone, as well as to escape culpability in the event that anything shown in the film might lead to a moral transgression and, thus, a transgression of the illustrious BYU Honor Code. All of the cursing must be removed, any nudity or adult things must be removed, any promotion of drug use or loose morals must be trimmed and hedged. All of this editing is done with clearance from the filmmakers, so there aren’t any copyright laws being broken (don’t worry internetland). The friend I was talking with is the head of the program and ultimately responsible for the smooth operation of the whole thing.

He was telling me how the movies get edited. He and a panel pick the films, which are then viewed. Review cards are made to specify which parts of the film might be offensive and therefore need to be removed. Here’s the interesting thing: no males are allowed to do the actual editing of the film. There is usually one woman who does the editing and if she is not available then it must be another woman. I said that this was interesting (considering the fact that over the centuries, women have been far more associated with the concepts of transgression and lust). He then said said that it makes sense to him due to the Church’s conception of females as being less sexually stimulated by images of pornography. He even quoted a General Conference remark pertinent to the subject.

To me, this is striking. The LDS Church prides itself on its historicist view of Christianity - that it is the inevitable, late incarnation of the original church of Christ - and thus it has a huge mix of thematics that range from Classical antiquity to early modern moralists. The LDS Church’s stance on lust is a great example of the church’s historical borrowing, and its overall views of sexuality. Every year in our university sanctioned wards (congregations organized upon geographic location and marital status), we have the so-called “sex talk”. In it, the bishop (the pastor, or priest to normalize the term) speaks to the congregation both at large and in closed, gender-specific meetings. He speaks to the general congregation about sexuality and the pitfalls of pre-marital relations (with others and with yourself). Then, in your gender-specific meetings (Elders quorum for men, Relief Society for women), he goes into further detail regarding what is correct sexual conduct for the gender roles in the context of the Church. Normally, men get the “don’t coerce girls into sex” and “it’s your job as the male to set the boundaries” line. I don’t know what the women get, but from what I’ve heard, it’s more of a “your body is a temple” idea; A.K.A. don't let anybody into it without a temple recommend. The stress, then, is one of passive resistance, predicated on the idea of women as less interested in sex and lest tempted by immorality and carnal desire.

The Church, as I’ve mentioned, draws from a huge array of classical and romantic influences in its outward expressions of gender, gender roles, and cultural perceptions of sexuality. I find it most closely limning the Renaissance’s idealization of the feminine form in art (an outward manifestation of a nearly timeless societal strata). It is no secret that women in the LDS Church are held to a standard that, at almost all times, higher than the male standard. The male standards are explicit, stated in all texts, often with an eye to “prevention” of moral transgression. Though the Church doctrinally does not believe in the concept of original sin, it does profess belief in a deep strain of constant and overwhelming temptation. What’s more interesting is that it almost without question that this temptation (sexual, substantive, credible) is male-centered (I must stress that this isn’t a doctrinal concept, but a cultural reaction to the doctrine). The temptation is for men, as are most of the rules. As an example: when we discuss homosexuality in the Church, we are discussing male homosexuality.

Thus, the Church’s primary disciplinary job, it seems, is to regulate the behavior of men. They are, after all, the ones responsible for the eternal sanctity and salvation of their families. The rules for women, however, are far more open-ended. Women are not constantly told to not look at pornography or to cheat on their spouses because, it seems in the eyes of the members of the Church, women are not as susceptible. The disparity in guidelines and rules between the sexes, as well as the general idealization of women in the Church, leads to a Pygmalion-like existence for women within the Church. Men make women, who then make men, who then are responsible for the sanctity of the marriage, which is between man and a woman, and all of which is forever and ever. Sounds like a pretty standard summation of the perceived history of the world.

N.B.: Sorry for no sources, links, or evidence. This is more of a thought exercise than a total dissertation and is open to total logical destruction. In fact, total disproving is encouraged. Make your comments politely in the comment section please.
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On the End of the Year

It's December. Holidays are being celebrated. Families are sharing in wealth and happiness. Gifts are being exchanged, food is being consumed, communities are coming together, and A Christmas Story is like Jimmy Buffet's "Happy Hour"; it's always on somewhere.

Many people like to reflect on the year and create expectations of the one to come. Me? I really don't involve myself. I never really created "resolutions", or wrote down some list of goals that wouldn't be revisited, remembered, or seen again until the next December when I think to myself, "Hmmm.. I never did commit time to watching every documentary about marijuana on Netflix, did I? Where's the time gone?". That was always a bunch of hubbub that I never had interest in.

New Year's is to me what Christmas is to atheists; just another day. It's a time to start changing the last two digits in the date on all of my school papers. It's a time to recount how old I'll be turning on March 15th. It's a time to wait and see how many companies will be having a 10/25/50/75/100 year anniversary of being in business. It's a time to, well, do nothing really out of the ordinary.

On December 31st, 2010, I will be watching the Kentucky Wildcats/Louisville Cardinals college basketball game. I will be probably working sometime that day. And I will not be highly anticipating the night or morning to come.

I will be going home and playing video games. I will be eating the same dinner and cereal that my parents make or I buy. I will be laying down next to the same girl I do now. I will be drinking the same drinks, snacking the same snacks, listening to the same damn music. Hell, I may even be wearing the same clothes that I have on now.

It's not a rejuvenation of myself, my personality, my physique, or my outlook on life. It is, however, the end of something.

After the 25th, life for me is in limbo. The excitement of Christmas wears down. I make sure I visited all the relatives that are still relevant. I count the gift cards, try on the clothes, and test the gadgets. The leftovers of "Christmas Joy" are being consumed, and until January 1st of 2011, I feel like I'm walking along a cliff. On the plateau, I am still waking up thinking I have presents waiting or buffets of food to eat, or surprises waiting. I go to work expecting holiday greeting cards to be ordered, questions about picture mugs to be asked, and the general busy-ness of end-of-the-year retail. Over the edge, it all ends and the only Christmas left is snow on the ground or the decorations that my mom fails to put away until Valentine's Day. That six day period, from December 26th to 31st, is spent in an awkward dance, joyful from all of the eventful events that have happened and meek from just slowing down.

Then New Year's Eve, and it sinks in; tomorrow will be Day One of Two Thousand and Eleven, and this will all be put behind me. And on New Years Day, I'll wish customers a Happy New Years, I'll go to Wendy's and get my lunch, I'll go home after clocking out, and I'll start counting down the days before I go back to school. Nothing out of the ordinary.

The day Brandon Hite is really looking forward to is December 22nd, 2012. R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World As We Know It" will be stuck in his head, all day, until the apocalypse.
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A Firm Resolution

It's New Year's Evil! So metal!

Today, everybody will be making up stuff they need to "fix" in their lives, so they can tell their friends what their resolutions are. We've put together a list of things you can memorize, so that way if you're too lazy or apathetic to think up your own New Year's Eve resolutions, you're still covered. Service-y.

1. Become a cat.
2. Purchase more local music.
3. Don't get into a committed relationship, especially involving emotional attachment.
2. Don't be hermetic or monkish though. Get out there and get your lips kissed!
4. Have some fun, for heaven's sake! You're __ years old. Work less.
5. Be friendlier to people you don't know (pro-tip: this will help you get your lips touched by other lips).
6. Pack your bags, you're going on a trip!
7. Eat more cheese (??).
8. Listen to Wu-Tang Clan pretty loudly.
9. Listen to Wu-Tang Clan while driving past the Temple. Feel embarrassed but *ok* with that.
10. Buy more stuff...
11. ... To give to charity!!
12. Gain some weight. Y'all look anemic.
13. Love people with the intensity of a million hugs.
14. Learn to play an instrument.
15. Set more impossibly high goals for yourself. Goals which, at the outset, seem interesting or fun or helpful, but the execution of which involves changing basic, fundamental parts of your personality that you haven't felt comfortable with for years; parts which would involve either brain surgery or total emotional shock to alter. Feel the weight of your resolve approximately one hour after making the declaration to yourself and give up on it already. Eat a potato chip. Fall asleep.
16+. Email Bare Bones and become a staff columnist!

Hey 2010, you were A PLUS PLUS, would live it again. We're almost five months old you guys! Aren't we precious?? Get in contact and contribute! For the sanity of the editor-in-chief!

Love you,
Bare Bones
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Music, Music, Music!

So, here's something we thought we'd give you all. CHRISTMAS PRESENTS. BECAUSE WE LOVE YOU. Here's over like 23293 million gigs worth of music. Hope your brains can handle it. [all of this music is safe and almost legal to download! A lot of it is also illegal to download. Don't download illegal music. It's *bad* for you. But all these links are safe]

100 Best Albums of the 1980s.
A real nice cross-section of the best music to come out of the 1980s that wasn't Thin Lizzy or Sammy Hagar (although Sammy Hagar is so metal it hurts). The author obviously has broad yet specific tastes. There is a lot of R.E.M., Pixies, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Cave throughout the list, not to mention a ton of hidden gems. Enjoy.

100 Best Albums Before the 1980s.
The selection here is kind of hilarious, but there are some great albums on here. I just like that all of Scott Walker's albums are on here but no Howlin' Wolf or Lightning Hopkins or Dusty Springfield or Elvis or ad nauseam. Still, highly addictive once you get into reading and downloading. If you aren't careful, you'll blow your computer to smithereens trying to cram it full of sweet jams. Oh, also: WIRE. DOWNLOAD EVERY WIRE ALBUM, EVER.

Said The Gramophone: Best Songs of 2010.
This was worth it just for the rattail song. A really great overview of the year.

Cocaine Blunts: Top 50 Hip Hop Songs of 2010

Poorly put together and labeled, this still has some bangers on it. Recommend if you want to "catch up" on "non-mainstream hip hop".

Fluxblog: 2010 Survey Mix
Eight discs of this year's tracks. PRETTY AWESOME. NGL (not gonna lie).

Pitchfork's Top 100 Songs
Man I hate Pitchfork but they're givin' out music so whatever.

Fuel Friend's Blog: Fall/Winter Mix
This is just a good fall/wintry mixtape.

Little Monsters: Christmas Mix
One of the best Christmas mixes ever. Seriously. HIGHLY. RECOMMEND.

Christmas Music That Doesn't Totally Suck.
That's the name of the tape and that's exactly what it is.

Orphan Elliott and the Lonesome Trio: Happy Christmas
Orphan Elliott has a great tumblr mostly and this Christmas mix is great and everything is great. I want to grow up to be a turkey. GOBBLE GOBBLE!

So there. Merry Christmas. Download some jams. Don't die on the roads. We'll see you soon!
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Bare Bones Weighs in on Wikileaks

Well, basically, there are two game-changing responses to this whole thing.

The first is this really interesting and well thought-out Slate article called, "The Wikileaks Cables as Literature". Man I do so endorse that. It's all Roland Barthes and Baudrillard-like. I'm down.

But, truly, DJ Alligator already had this figured out back in the early 2000's. The editorial staff here sides with Assange and the 'Gator.

You guys could tell us what you think, but beware we'll probably just backtrace it and sick the cyber police on you.

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On Thanksgiving: The Crucial Act of Nappin'

I passed out everywhere. I passed out in the arm chair, sitting straight up. I passed out in the arm chair with my legs tucked around me. I passed out on the couch. I passed out on the floor, with my arms shoved straight under me. That's the position for nappin'. I passed out at the beginning, middle, and end of a game of Life. I passed out during a commercial break. I passed out in a quiet house.

In short, and again: I passed out everywhere. I ate a ton of food, thought about calling my parents, and fell asleep. I rode the food train to crazy dream town. And it was good.

A good post-turkey nap is essential to Thanksgiving. I didn't have to think about how far away I was from home. I didn't have to think about the ethics of the holiday. I didn't have to think about how the turkey got to the table, or about how bad turkeys are for mass confinement. A turkey is a very bad bird to factory farm. They are large, proud, and have very fragile immune systems. Aside from pigs, they are the worst animal to factory farm because they do not conform well to the system of crippling, force-feeding, and denaturalization. Every year, turkeys are held hostage in internment camps to be slaughtered and placed on our tables to be consumed, greedily and happily. Sometimes chickens and ducks are put in the stomachs of turkeys. It's sort of funny, like the turkey ate the chickens and ducks before it was killed, and you just cooked it and surprise! Poultricide! Poultranibal! Gobble!

When you pass out after a good, humongous, filling meal, you don't have to answer questions, you don't have to ask questions, you don't have to yell at the television, "Why are you on? You cannot be on! I cannot have you running your mouth all day, every day, for hours at a time! You are the reason Black Market Friday happens! You are the reason my head aches in the middle of the night!" You don't have to do anything but feel warm and sleepy and content.

A good post-giving nap is crucial to understanding the holiday. It's what makes you thankful. It's cathartic. Some people say sleep is akin to death. When you eat a turkey, pass out with flesh grease still shining on your lips, and wake up, you're reborn. You can preen your feathers the whole drive home. You're new. You're beautiful.
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On Thanksgiving: Jeepsgiving

Thanksgiving is over. By which I mean: it's passe. Franklin Delano Roosevelt moved the date back and forth so many times that it's meaningless anyway. And do you know why he did that? To extend the holiday shopping season. Probably because he wanted people to buy more cigars as stocking stuffers! (That was uncalled-for. Cigar jokes are too easy.)

But really, I'm done with Thanksgiving as an institution. Some people feel that it's "meaningful" to "take" the "time" to "be grateful" for all of the things that we "have." I, on the other hand, can see right through that. I've seen how it works. Here's how it works: People tell themselves, 'Maybe a third of the world doesn't have access to uncontaminated drinking water. But . . . we have a turkey! And hey look, a TV!' It's like overconsumption is a form of gratitude, especially when it only ends in wishing that there were more brie to be had.

To me, the end of November will always symbolize something much more important: the day when I got my Jeep. My family bought it from a rainy pile of leaves outside of our friend's house in Seattle, filled it with cassette tapes, packs of gum and a tire, and then drove it down two states to my florescent-lit apartment in Provo. They called at 1:30 AM when they were in Salt Lake; I knew exactly how long it would take to get where I was. So I stayed up. It felt surreal. I was barely awake, trying to grade a paper over and over and over in my burning florescent living room. My roommates had left, so the house was empty. While the light burned, I imagined the car coming toward me, as lurid and unbelievable as a parade float, streaming with glitter and overflowing with clowns. Really? A Jeep? I wondered if the pilgrims had arrived at the villages of the Native Americans they killed in a Jeep.

But then they were there, in the dark night, in a 1992 red Jeep Cherokee that looked like it was smirking at me in the rain. They hugged and hugged me. Who? I didn't know, I was asleep. The seats were tweed. My brother's hair was longer.

The next day, we left the house, with all of its food smells and unbreathable rooms and my worries and worries, and we got in the Jeep. The sun came in the window as I turned the key, the sun that was red and brown and smelled like tweed. We drove up the side of the mountain, toward brown trees and a blue sky, blasting Led Zeppelin mamaaa caught you smiling at me, that's the way it should be, and then purple rain, purple rain. I drove and drove, across long streets and short streets, and it got warmer in the car, three children yelling in the back. I couldn't see through my sunglasses. We drove and drove, up hills and through trees and past bright signs and around my old house and your old house. Then the sun got sweeter like a pie, darker, and I drove too fast because the day was over.

So think for a minute. Is there a Jeep in your life that you have taken for granted? Take a minute to give thanks this Jeepsgiving.
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On Thanksgiving: Dear Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

You came and went. I ate and ate more. I didn't clock in and work, yet I'll still get paid.

If every Thursday was Thanksgiving, then, well, I'd get paid for every Thursday. So thanks, Thanksgiving, for one free Thursday's worth of paid hours.

Until next year,

The Guy From Behind the Counter
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Something Something Transportation

Ok! So, most of you saw my editorial in the Salt Lake City Tribune. Wasn't that fun! I've gotten word from a staff writer, actually, that the Trib wants to a more in-depth piece on the whole thing. Press is good because press equals press-ure. And not pressure to get our demands (this isn't a hostage situation by any means) but pressure on the University to understand that it needs to do something about this issue. It needs to recognize that transportation lies at the heart of a stable, economically vibrant community. So that's exciting!

Also, a lot of people have been asking about the symposium we put on. Well, below are the links to all of the talks given that night. Each link is to a video, and the whole thing ran less than two hours.

Alex Christman: Intro

Zac Whitmore of the Provo Bike Committee: Alt-Transpo in Provo

Wills Hickman of the Student Provo City Alliance: SCAMP and Parking in Provo

Justin Hyatt: The History of the BYU EdPass

Alexander Lovett of the BYUITE: BRT and Upcoming UTA Improvements

Dr Mitsuru Saito, Professor of Transportation Engineering: Transportation System Design

Dr George Handley, Professor of Humanities: Public Transportation and Environmental Stewardship

Brother Jared Doxey, Worldwide Director of Architecture, Engineering and Construction for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Sustainability and the LDS Church (Part One; Part Two)

We're getting a lot done! This is exciting and fantastic and thank you all for being so supportive and interested. We'll be posting more soon, hopefully; this semester plus getting all of this stuff together has been time consuming. We appreciate your support and readership and will see you soon!
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I Am This

I am this October leaf
Not dead, but changing
Green still, some, on the outside
and red, a little, in my veins

But mostly yellow

Unsure of whither
or whether to go,
to hold to the branch
or to take the Fall

There is safety on this tree,
and danger below
But joy in the Fall
and hope.
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On the Art of Being Talked Down To

It takes a very peculiar disposition to tolerate constant patronizing. I honestly must say that I didn't expect to find so many with this particular trait in one of the nation's most revered private institutions. However, BYU administration seems to understand most of their students quite well; the majority of Brigham Young University's undergraduates are easily handled.

Let me back up. Some have asked how the Transportation Symposium went. It went wonderfully. We had no complaints from the attendees. In fact, most everybody I saw, presenters and audience alike, left the room in a buzz of excitement.

We did have one minor complaint though. This came namely in the form of the administration trying to shut us down. About halfway through the day of the event we were, in effect, barred from presenting on campus. We were saved by a professor with tenure who, after voicing his endorsement and reserving us a room, was asked to attend a "meeting to discuss some concerns" in the ASB. Whoops!

So I guess we pissed some people off. And yesterday Jan Scharman, our lovely patron saint of Student Life, issued this. What does this say? Here's the breakdown:

- The EdPass is over.
- The door is always open to UTA to restrike a deal!
- It takes two to negotiate (AKA it's UTA's fault everybody!)
- Bus passes and parking permits are not the same thing.
- Our tuition doesn't include extraneous fees beyond our education.
- It would be too hard to talk to the Board of Trustees about this issue.

Ok! So! What have we learned here: BYU knows that it can, basically, say anything it wants to and the student body will not care.

As I've said, it takes a very special attitude to tolerate patronizing. And BYU has that in spades.

Here's what's wrong with everything the administration is telling us:

1. Jan Scharman's assertion that bus passes and parking passes are not "apples to apples" is absurd. It's absurd because it's based upon the fact that parking is used for the "multifaceted needs" of the campus. For football and so on. Ok, cool. Why is that an argument that they should be free while bus passes aren't even touched? And how does that not signal, in the most overt way, that students are not the focus of Brigham Young University? Isn't it a travesty that some students aren't able to afford bus passes because every once in a while BYU actually wins a game and people want to park sort of on campus? Is that really the question we have to ask right now?

Not only that, but her statement is in reference to how money is spent to fund these two forms of transportation. She isn't saying that they are two different issues; at least I hope she isn't. Because if she is then I have reason to honestly fear how our money is being spent. Anyone in a position of power who doesn't understand that TRANSPORTATION IS TRANSPORTATION IS TRANSPORTATION doesn't deserve to make decisions about transportation. Mainly because they have no clue what they're doing.

2. UTA isn't being cooperative. Well, from all my talks with Mountainland and Provo City and UTA, it seems as though BYU has been kind of the worst business partner possible. In fact, they actively restricted the BRT line from coming up to the Wilk. No buses on campus, period, is the policy. How is it that UVU payed over $200,000 per year for their EdPass Program this last year but BYU payed around $500,000 (information from Stacy Adamson and Dawn Burgess, thanks ladies)? Sounds like somebody just doesn't do good business around here!

Really though, it's not even a matter of pointing fingers. It's the most childish thing in the ENTIRE WORLD to say that someone is really difficult to deal with. You are currently the administrator who services 30,000 undergraduates dude. Gird your loins and make a decision that will BENEFIT YOUR STUDENTS. Life is hard, but the Church ain't cheap. You're going to have to bite the bullet sometimes.

3. Which leads me to the BYU Board of Trustees thing. Really? You are seriously saying, to any one and everyone, that you aren't going to talk to your bosses, the heads of the Church, because it would be difficult? Is anyone else appalled that our Student Life VP is afraid to talk to her brother? Oh and I don't mean that in the Church sense. Cecil O. Samuelson. Brother to Janet Scharman. Whoops!

4. Our tuition doesn't pay for anything other than our education. Ok, I don't know if I believe that whatsoever, but let's just say I do. What about our tithing then? Doesn't that go towards subsidizing every aspect of University life? In a sense, then, we're already paying for everything else. It's not a big deal to tack on five extra bucks to our tuition if it will benefit the students. Are you really being that petty?

And it all leads back to this. The article up there mentions that the Student Advisory Council voted to negate the pass on Tuesday. Thanks BYUSA, you really helped us out didn't you? What happened to SERVE MORE? What happened to BELONG MORE? What ever happened to your Charter?

BYUSA is charged with the two-fold responsibility to serve and advise, and is granted administrative support and funding from the University's President's Council... The Student Advisory Council, or SAC, helps to perform the organizational mission in advising the administration and students across campus... Under the Peterson-May (2010-2011) Administration, the SAC Vice President role was reorganized. Responsibilities previously assigned to the SAC VP, are now performed by the Executive Vice President.

[sourced: Wikipedia]

The last time I talked to Sterling May (Student head of BYUSA) about all of this (he's, by the way, a paid employee of the University), I was told that he, and BYUSA, couldn't do anything about the situation. Well looks like they just did.

It's just absurd. It really is. And the message is sent over and over and over again that BYU students should shut up and be quiet about what they want and need on campus.

I raise this question: there are around 200 physically handicapped students on campus (this does not include those with short-term physical disabilities, like a broken leg). If this is a "walking campus" as the administration so often reminds us, what is someone supposed to do if they can't walk, let alone drive? Is there even an answer to that?

I don't really think the majority of BYU students enjoy doing kowtows to Janet Scharman and BYUSA. But it doesn't really matter what I think. It matters what happens, and I guess the message is pretty obvious: BYU students will eat anything and everything that's shoved down their throats.

To Janet Scharman, Sterling May, Cecil O. Samuelson, and the BYU Board of Trustees:

You are not currently serving your students. The disparity between the amazing aspects of the University and the nonexistent ones is impoverishing your image. Suck it up. Stop shortchanging us. Stop favoring the rich, white, and able. Just be the loving, equitable, educational institution you profess to be. Because, honestly, it's incredibly insulting to the students who would like to be on equal terms with their Sisters and Brothers in the Church.

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I will be giving the opening remarks to the Transportation Symposium. Followed by a bunch of other people who can speak better and know more. Fun right?

Just a reminder; we're talking all about sustainability and transportation tonight in room B190 of the JFSB. It starts at 6:30 PM and will go until 8 PM.

Please come and join in the discussion. These are big and important issues.
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Transportation Symposium and Social Media

Hey y'all. You know we're upset about the Ed Pass thing. We know you are too. It's never going to be water under the bridge, is it?

Nope, and that's why this Thursday at 6 PM a group of students, faculty members, and Church officials will be giving an informational event on public transpo in Provo!

It gets even better. In addition to free information, we're giving away free food. More specifically, free gift certificates to Communal.

In the next few days if you facebook about, twitter about, tumblr about, blog about, or even email about this event, tell us!

Send us an email here at barebonesmagazine [at] gmail [dot] com with your name and method and we'll put your name into the hat of gifts. We'll announce the winner of the gift certificates at the event.

Get out there and start getting interested in your local community. They're interested in you.
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Stage Door, David Jon Banks, and BYU's Niche Theatre

This is a trailer for Stage Door, running from October 27 - November 13.

Stage Door is a play, originally made famous by an RKO filmic adaptation starring Katherine Hepburn, Lucille Ball, and Ginger Rogers. It's a classic, to be sure, and if you've ever marathoned TCM, chances are you've seen this film. However, it's interesting to note that the film has almost nothing to do with the original play aside from the basic premise and a few character names. This is all to say; don't think you've seen this if you've only seen the film.

Directed by Stephanie Breinholt and Assistant-Directors Jason Langlois and(the illustrious) David Jon Banks, the play promises to depart from most boorish, theatrical conventions. This is the team who brought you Tartuffe last semester, which melded Moliere's classic farce with morbid Victorianism and contemporary pop culture. Stage Door can be expected to continue that tradition of interweaving alternate periods of time, varying modes of technology, and playing off of the collective cultural experiences of a specific audience.

The very fact that it is being performed in the Margetts Theatre is a pretty good indicator of the character of the performance. Margetts is used, primarily, for small and experimental pieces. The entire room is 30 by 50 feet with performers and audience members squeezed together, facing one another, often without the ability to distinguish where the stage begins and ends. Physical proximity, if utilized properly, can heighten the best sensations of a live show.

BYU has a phenomenal legacy of musical theatre. Unfortunately, at least for me, this is more legacy than presentation. The gigantic productions that I've seen, like the Hamlet interpretation (a really intriguing concept), or Thoroughly Modern Millie, are great for mind-numbing spectacle. If I was not really into thinking about theatre as a legitimate art form then, yeah, these would be sufficient displays of performative prowess. Worst of all, really, is this space between the performance and the audience. There is an ever-felt distance in these grander productions that, to me, underscores a certain amount of safety. These are large standard affairs. Nobody is ever going to give the department any guff for putting on Thoroughly Modern Millie, especially when the performances are so technically dynamic. And that's the problem. Anybody with a talented cast can put on a Rogers and Hammerstein and get away with it.

However, I've seen adaptations of Frankenstein , Death of a Salesman, and Tartuffe that got me bro. These were small, informal, and wonderfully engaging performances. They also all had their fair share of flaws, both major and minor. Yet, they were fun, they were thoughtful, and, most importantly, they were courageous.

Stage Door could be awful. And even though I don't think it will be, the fact that if it is I'll be watching it burn slowly about three feet from my chair is reason enough to support this kind of performance. Respect where respect is due: to the brave few at BYU who deliver honest aesthetic experiences.
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Attention: Utah Drivers. Red Means not to Go.

The cold, unstable body inhales green, coughs yellow, then bleeds red. Two beings intersect an alternative, bringing failure to the traffic light’s responsibility. And though this indicator still insists a moving forward, it is continuously stopped by such cruising stupidity.

If it’s not the texters, lipstick-appliers or turn-around-to-discipline mothers that cause a twenty second delay in taking advantage of the green light, then it’s the put-my-life-in-risk drivers who exploit utahardation.

First time, it’s a bizarre experience that you shock your mates with. The second time, you huff, puff and blow an, “Are you freaking kidding me out the window”. But a third time, your horn avows an utter frustration. Eventually your temper dials down and you take the detour to interstate relief.

But errands have left you with five more miles of traveling. The grumble of your V-8 engine stalls followers into irritability. However, an audience grants access to you and the others. And proudly a triple turn is performed ahead and encourages no encore.

Yes, there is the occasional generosity, but this does not suppress the rudeness expressed on the roads in the boroughs of Utah County.
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Kanye West and Richard Wagner

In watching Kanye’s newest, 35 minute video “Runaway”, I couldn’t help from being struck by an obvious connection: Kanye West is our generation’s Richard Wagner.

Here are 8 Reasons Why That’s the Truth:

1. Intense cult of self. Wagner fancied himself the savior of German culture and identity in a predominantly effeminate world. His writings portray an artist intensely struggling with his own sense of mastery. Wagner really was a big dickhead. Kanye’s twitter is pretty much the equivalent of Wagner’s correspondence with Franz Liszt, and when Wagner proclaimed, “God save me from all of these Napoleons!”, Kanye sang, “Let’s have a toast to the scumbags, everyone of them that I know.”

A Scholar and a Gentleman

2. Both use a synthesis of art forms and technology to create a dilettantish composite piece of genius. Wagner brought together mythology and opera, with music used as narrative and technical innovations raising the bar of live performance in leaps and bounds (ascendancy to Valhalla is kind of a big deal, technically speaking, you guys). Kanye is doing exactly the same thing. He’s bringing together hip-hop, electro, auto-tuning, film, the internet, ballet, pyrotechnics, as well as a huge variety of other musical forms (spoken word, whatever it is that Justin Vernon is, Mozart, etc.). Both Wagner and Kanye betray a sense of dilettantism; Wagner’s prose, poetry, and intellectual treatise were less than stellar. They are often confusing, misguided, and deeply convoluted. Likewise, Kanye’s individual enterprises aren’t bad but they also aren’t deeply impacting. Both artists need to merge all of their faulty expertise into one product in order to excel.

Gettin money

3. 35 minutes on the internet is basically the 21st century equivalent of 4 nights of opera.

4. The focus on the occult and intrigue of the night; the sensual and exquisite. Kanye’s interest in the power of mythic symbolism is distinctly Wagnerian. One mustn’t be intensely well-versed in all of the obvious Judeo-Christian, Grecian, and scientific myths to understand the emotional and cognitive connections in the piece. Not only is there a plethora of traditional mythic symbolism, but cultural mythology (the cult of Michael Jackson in the beginning) works in much the same way. Kanye is combining traditional mythic structures with cultural signifiers of the past 50 years (the guy wears a doo-wop suite). This is as revolutionary as Wagner’s use of traditional Germanic and Nordic myth in operatic context. Not only that, but Wagner, like most of the 19th century Romantics, was interested in the beauty of the night. He had a massive hang up for exquisite and foreign things; luxurious fabrics, feathers, gold and silver. Orientalism was at its high point and there was a mysterious sensuality to most serious art works. There is a definite cultural parallel in today's world. One only has to look at any number of photo-based tumblrs (example, example, example, example) to see this self-serious obsession with the dark and occult. This is twee and juvenile yet intensely attractive at the same time. Kanye has captured this feel perfectly in his strange, Bergman-like festivities, the perfectly selected color palette, and the frequent returns to the forest. It's that inborn, bourgeois preoccupation with something distinctly alien to our culture, that return to nature, that pagan construct, and it's ever-present in the work of both artist.

Early form of shutter shades

5. The creation of a mythical story within a single piece. As I’ve stated above, one mustn’t be totally knowledgeable about the allusions in the piece for it to work. The whole of “Runaway” is created in its own plane, on its own time, from the beginning of “time” (Kanye’s life begins with the muse’s landing on Earth) to its logical end with the bird woman returning to the stars (Twilight of the Gods anyone?).

6. There’s no way the phoenix isn’t directly related to the concept of a Valkyrie. I mean, come on. She’s even wearing a metal corset at the end. All she needs is a horned helmet and a spear.

7. Each artists’ eclectic oeuvre. Wagner went from being a celebrated traditionalist in the opera to being a revolutionary. He worked on a variety of projects, always singularly focused on creating something worthwhile, even to the detriment of a consistent and solid career (until after his 40’s, at least). Kanye has been everywhere and back. From The College Dropout, he’s been on top in the rap game. He’s been both in the public’s favor and decidedly out of it, all the time creating new and intriguing things. “Runaway” shows a concerted effort to focus and perfect his new, culturally intangible art.

8. The one thing that Kanye is lacking is a political base as intensely invested as Wagner’s. That might be a good thing, however. Kanye’s politics are certainly obvious and innocuous, while Wagner’s politics were, in the end, used for decidedly nefarious purposes. Where the two diverge on matters of politics through art, they are certainly on the same page when it comes to politics OF art. They are both dedicated to the use of art as a cultural informant, with the power to change and influence people the world over. Kanye’s politics of art alone work here in a positive way; who would have thought the guy who wrote “Stuck my dick inside of life until that bitch came” would lend legitimacy to hip-hop and the youtube video?

Truth. One Love.

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Insider’s Guide to Carbonated Fountain Drinks in Provo

Eliza has been a soda expert for years. She's here to take your small faces in her hands and tenderly drop some fat knowledge on all y'all. Here is Eliza Campbell's Insider's Guide to Carbonated Fountain Drinks in Provo.

1) The Chevron Extra Mart on Canyon

It’s here that I’ll identify myself as a Diet Dr. Pepper (DDP) enthusiast. The story of how that came to be is material for another rock opera, but suffice it to say that it was the wily charms of this particular Chevron station that turned me. Chevron’s blend of DDP sets the standard by which I measure the timbre, flavor, and voice of its counterparts at other stations. The ratio of syrup to soda water is particularly well-balanced, leading to a mellow yet tangy flavor that brings to mind the sweetness of a particularly delicious baked good, perhaps one crushed beneath the weight of a gentle hug from an enormous teddy bear.

2) The Conoco on Bulldog

The distinction between “chewy” ice (CHI) and “crunchy” ice (CRI) is important here. Anatomically speaking, we’re looking at two kinds of ice, but psychologically speaking, the difference is crucial, possibly even medical in nature. CRI is your standard ice, something that flows freely out of Subway cups the world over – simple square or circular cubes. A request for CHI – smaller, ‘ground-up’ ice molecules - might raise a few eyebrows around the uninformed fountain pump. Consider it a bit more of a novelty, a bit more specialized, maybe like an organic baseball hat. Conoco does regular, and Conoco does specialty. Count your blessings that we live in a world of such equal opportunity – and then indulge yourself in two kinds of ice.

3) 7/11 On University

The seasoned Provo-ite will be most likely to recommend this bustling downtown refill-o-rama, the 7/11 on University Avenue that has become a local standard. Your Provoite might even that they have a close friend working the taps. “Oh, I hope Raj* is there!” they’ll say, rolling down the window of their Chevy Tahoe in anticipation. Roll they will, and roll they should. Raj’s superstardom is not to be taken lightly. This local celebrity holds the reins of his refill taps like the John Wayne of aspartame, and the product of his close attention is one of the most challenging and innovative blends of DDP I have ever experience: a sort of bold, biting refreshment, highly drinkable, with a smoky, almost wistful aftertaste. The entire experience, of course, may demand that give in to the ‘cliché’ 7/11 fare and indulge in the store’s local specialty: any of the inviting Taquitos. If you’re going to go for the trendy downtown scene, you may as well go all the way.

4) Crest on 9th East

Now comes an awkward yet important question to ask in polite company: what is, in fact, ‘fun for the whole family’? Steak? Go-Carts? Caffeinated soda? Non-caffeinated soda? Those who abstain from caffeine might answer that their beverage is in fact, more fun. These caffeine kosher-ites tend to frequent this Crest, particularly because of its residential location and its reputation of firm Sunday closure. In the opinion of most experienced refillers, myself included, this only adds to the charmingly-traditional feel and flavor of this particular venue. Diet Coke is obviously the local specialty, along with its caffeine-free alternative. But the most charming aspect of the Crest experience comes in its drive-thru service: its employees can take the most complicated of orders through their small service window, even going as far as to adjust ice level to a precise degree.

5) Will’s Pit Stop

Welcome to the other part of town. Here, on the rough-ridin’ outskirts of north Provo, people prepare to leave. Think of this last pit stop as a kind of biker bar, or maybe a saloon. A vast selection of rough-and-tumble amenities includes local staples, including an inspiring array of beef jerky. Chat with your fellow travelers about their next destination: where are they headed? How many trailers have they managed to fit on their 4X4? How, in fact, does one wear a cowboy hat and Tevas at the same time? The answers to these questions and more are just part of conversation at Will’s. While you conversate, I’ll be in fillin’ up on one of the sweetest DDP blends there is. Will’s DDP reminds me of why I fell in love with my drink to begin with. At the end of the day, I love Diet Dr. Pepper because it tastes like fear, relentless energy, an affinity for loud music. It tastes like the open road.

Eliza Campbell embraces the gas station zeitgeist.

*This article was written at a time when Raj still frequently appeared in the 7/11. Does anybody know where that dude is? We miss him...
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